Books Read in November

1. The Comforters – Muriel Spark. For university. Very meta, but I didn’t particularly enjoy it, I’m afraid.

2. Shark – Will Self. Also for uni. I actively despised this book. A 500 page book of one paragraph, post-post modernist prose with no q
uotation marks. So the opposite of my cup of tea.

isla3. Isla and the Happily Ever After – Stephanie Perkins. After reading Shark, I needed a palette cleanser of something easy to read and fun. I loved Perkins’s previous work and this helped me recharge.

4. Complete Atopia Chronicles – Matthew Mather. Book research. Mather is an IT security expert who self-published some short novellas, which were then put into one collection. I really liked how the novellas overlapped between the various characters, and found the ideas fascinating.

5. Austerlitz – W.E. Sebold. Another book without paragraphs. Though I still found it hard to get into, I enjoyed it more than Shark. I’ll enjoy every book I read this year more than Shark.

Total for this year: 67 books in 2014.

“Being Human” and Book Week Scotland

Book Week Scotland

Last week the University of Aberdeen had a festival called “Being Human.” Unfortunately, I was only able to go to one event, a lecture on time, time machines, and the Victorians by one of my professors. It was good research for a book idea I’ve had for years that hasn’t quite gelled yet. The festival also had and interview with Will Self, a talk on Viking funeralscapes, an informal “Skeptics at the Pub” event, and more. I really wanted to go to a talk on the history of disability, and another on terrors, gods, and magic in the north, but between part-time day job, existing studies, and the fact that I was away in Glasgow Thursday and Friday meant that I couldn’t go.

This week is Book Week Scotland. I’m a Patron of Reading for the Aberdeen City Library, so a letter to the library I wrote will be on display within at least one branch, I think. There are some great events on both through the public library and at the University of Aberdeen library, though again, due to the semester nearing an end and the day job needing me for extra hours this week, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to attend any. I’d like to go to the historical crime event on Saturday, and I’m going to at least look at the miniature books on display before my lecture tomorrow at the University library! Tonight there was a bookbinding workshop I wish I could have gone to rather than toiling on my essay. One day, I’ll have free time…! But if you’re free in Aberdeen, you should definitely pop along to some of the upcoming events if you can to celebrate books an libraries.

 

Books Read in October

Thanks to grad school, I read a lot in October! Mini-reviews as usual because I have All the Words to write for NaNoWriMo.

jane-eyre1. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë. I read this as a teen so it was fun to revisit it a decade later. Though I seriously side-eyed Rochester’s attempts at wooing. Maybe DON’T dress up as a gypsy to try and trick your crush into revealing her feelings about you. Or maybe don’t pretend to love someone else to see if your crush gets jealous. Also, maybe don’t have a hidden wife in the attic. I wrote a 2,500 word essay on fairy tale illusions in the book as well.

2. The House of Seven Gables – Nathaniel Hawthorne. Also read for uni. The only other book by Hawthorne I’ve read was The Scarlet Letter. I enjoyed this well enough, but a lot of the characters were a little flat for me.

3. Down on the Other Street: Volume 1 – Jennifer Cie. Read this as a judge for the Bisexual Book Award, so no comment.

4. The Portrait of a Lady – Henry James. Another university read. I enjoyed it mightily at the start, thinking Isabel was lively and good fun. Then it got rather depressing as her light went out. Still well-written, but man, so long.

5. Murder Most Rare: The Female Serial Killer – Kelleher & Kelleher. Research for Brainfreeze Book. Fascinating and chilling. Serial killers are separated by type with case studies for each major type: poisoning, angel of death, crime or profit, sexual violence, team killers, etc.

6. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn. Finally got around to reading this, just before going to see the film. Had some issues with it, but overall it was a compelling read.

7. Dirty Work – Chris Farnell. A short story anthology Chris asked me to read, which I really enjoyed.

8. Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf. Also for university. My first stream of consciousness novel. I enjoyed it, and it made me want to re-watch The Hours, as I feel I’d get all the references I missed.

Total books: 62 so far in 2014.

Books Read in June

Not that much reading again this month. Haven’t been able to concentrate on much.

intothewoods1. Beauty Queens – Libba Bray. I couldn’t quite get into this one. I think satire is not my thing. It was clever but the characters were all so clearly archetypes being subverted I couldn’t connect with them. Others might feel differently.

2. Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell. I started and abandoned a few books until I found this one. Fell right into it and read it over a day.

3. Into the Woods: A Five Act Journey into Story - John Yorke. It’s been ages since I read a book on writing. I picked this up as it focuses a bit more on screenwriting. I found it fascinating and would highly recommend. It was interesting to look at my latest WIP and see that it perfectly fit the 5 act structure through no conscious effort on my part. I also really like how stark and simple the cover is.

Total: 34 books

Books Read in March

houseofsmallshadows

Thank you all for the kind comments on my last post.

1. Fables Vol 16: Super Team – Bill Willingham.

2. Fables Vol 17: Inherit the Wind – Bill Willingham. Enjoying the new material.

3. Falconer 2 – Elizabeth May. This was a beta, but I figured I’ll count it since it’ll be released next year :-) A worthy follow up to The Falconer!

4. The House of Small Shadows – Adam Nevill. Good lord this book was creepy. And good. I love his books because they are definitely horror and terrifying, but they focus a lot on characters and the atmosphere is fantastic.

5. A Brief History of Witchcraft – Lois Martin. Vaguely book-related research, but mostly I just like learning about witches.

Plus I beta-read two other manuscripts this month. Busy!

 

Books Read in February

neurocomic1. Neurocomic – Hana Ros. A short comic about the inner workings of the mind. A guy falls into his own brain and comes across the various parts of his brain, guided by famous scientists and philosophers. Entertaining, and a very beautifully packaged book.

2. Publish on Amazon Kindle with Kindle Direct Publishing - a free short guide as a primer on my short stories I’ll be releasing in a few months.

3. Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins (audiobook). Finally finished the story. Enjoyed it – looking forward to the movie.

4. Blood of Dragons – Robin Hobb. Epic end to an epic quartet. All caught up and can’t wait for The Fool’s Assassin!

5. The Fool’s Journey: A Journey into Wisdom: How to Become a Successful Tarot Reader - Ruth Arahoni. No, I’m not going to become a tarot reader. It was a great resource for one of my Vestigial Tales, though.

6. Unteachable – Leah Raeder. I think this is my first NA book and possibly my first self-published book I’ve read. I enjoyed following her journey on AbsoluteWrite and the book has become a runaway success. Gorgeously written and far more than just “student boinks her teacher.” Lots of layers. Really recommended. Raeder just sold this book to Atria.

7. The Fault in our Stars (audiobook) – John Green. Finally read it! And even knowing how it ended I sniffled. *shakes fist at John Green*

intothelandoftheunicorns8. Into the Land of the Unicorns – Bruce Coville. This was one of my favourite books when I was 11-12. I read my copy to absolute pieces. Re-listening to it was fun. At the time I was devastated that there weren’t any sequels. But now there are! So, for my 11 year old self, I’ll be reading the others.

Total this year: 16 books

I also finished the manuscript I was beta-ing for a friend last month, and near the end of this month I received two more to beta (one of which is Elizabeth May’s The Falconer 2 yaay!). I enjoy critiquing and giving back to the betas who have helped me so much.

Ebook sale: Pantomime (and other SC titles) on sale for £0.99/$1.55!

pound

For a limited time, Pantomime (and other awesome SC titles!) are on sale for ebook to celebrate Strange Chemistry’s first birthday.

It’ll only be a limited time, so if you’ve been meaning to buy Pantomime for your Kindle, now’s the time, and the sequel, Shadowplay, is just around in the corner in January. Please help spread the word–I’d love more people to take a chance and pick up Pantomime.

Where to go: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Nook

Pantomime-cover R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass – remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone – are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimeras is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.

Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star. But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.

And don’t forget to take a chance on some other SC titles, links to which can be found on Strange Chemistry’s website here.