Saturday, July 21, 2012

This Week in Book News: 7.21.12

This Week in Book News is a weekly collection of news links about books from around the web with an accompanying commentary by me, which may or may not be completely sarcastic.   
This week, it’s ebook mania! The sale of ebooks is becoming a major source of revenue for publishing companies.  Publishers looking to cash in on some of the success of self-published authors like EL James are buying up companies which cater to self-publishing authors.  and Christian ebooks: are ebooks helping Christian fiction like they helped erotica?  
Plus: A comparison of Harry Potter characters in the books and in the movies, and a picture that brings some of our happiest literary dreams to life.   
While I love the feel, and the smell, and just the general coolness of having an actual book you can hold in your hands, I do think the increasing popularity of ebooks can be a good thing. 
Let me tell you something: It is possible to find good, self-published ebooks.  But it’s freaking HARD.  Unless you are really in to crappy erotica, or crappy Christian fiction, you are probably not going to find a self-published author you enjoy as much as the guys from the big-name publishers.  There’s something to be said for the natural filter of publishing houses.  
I’m probably going to avoid a self-published author unless there is a way for me to see a good example of their work, whether it’s through their blog, or an extensive excerpt available on their website.  Otherwise, my time and money is too valuable to me to gamble on something that, when I consider the ratio of good books to bad books that I find in self-published works, I probably will not like. 
Speaking of crappy erotica and Christian fiction, it seems your Jesus fetish is about as socially acceptable as orgies.  Which is: quite acceptable, so long as it’s behind closed doors and you don’t mind taking part in something that makes the rest of us scratch our heads and say “do people still do that?” 
Basically: Character in the movie = A hot (by Hollywood standards) and less awkward version of the character in the book. 
Is this what Heaven looks like?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Kindred by Octavia E Butler

There are some books which I see descriptions for and think, “wow! I want to read that book right away!” and then I don’t read it for ages. Kindred was one of those books. Why did I ever wait so long?

Kindred is about a black woman, living in California in 1979, who keeps getting pulled back in time to early 19th century Maryland in order to repeatedly save the life of one of her ancestors- a white slave-holder. When his life is in danger, she appears at his side without knowing why or how, and when her life is in danger, she is sent back to 1979. Every time she is sent to the 19th century, she tries to guide him to be kinder and to free the slaves on his plantation, only to find that as he grows older, he continues to be more and more erratic and untrustworthy, and she becomes more and more assimilated to life as a slave.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dreams of Joy by Lisa See

(Note: This review contains spoilers for Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. It would be difficult to avoid Shanghai Girls spoilers here, as Dreams of Joy is a sequel to that book, but I promise Dreams of Joy will not be spoiled here.)

I have been a fan of Lisa See ever since I first read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan four years ago. I’ve found all of the books by her that I’ve read well-written and engaging, and every time I read something new from Lisa See I find myself raving to my friends- whose eyes quickly glaze over when they realize I’m not going to run out of air anytime soon. I was particularly excited to read Dreams of Joy, as it’s the sequel to Shanghai Girls and I’ve been at the edge of my seat since I finished that book in 2009. I had high expectations, and Dreams of Joy did not disappoint.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

48 Hour Book Challenge: Finish Line

So I'm stopping a couple of hours early because I won't be able to read for the next two hours, and I want to make sure I actually make a finish line post this time around. So-

Total reading time- 18 Hours
Number of books read- One and a half (What can I say? I'm not a very fast reader.)

So it was fun, but there just happened to be some personal drama that decided to happen right in the middle of my reading time, and then resolved itself just this morning. Hopefully, next year, I'll have a little more time and a little less drama.

48 Hour Book Challenge: 13 Hours

I just finished Dreams of Joy by Lisa See, and all I can say is... wow. I've been a fan of Lisa See ever since I first read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, and her novels have never disappointed even my highest expectations. I definitely recommend this book. I would write a proper review, but I stayed up until 4:00 AM to finish it and I'm sleepy. I'm also anxious to wake up tomorrow and get started on Kindred by Octavia Butler.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

48 Hour Book Challenge: 5 Hours and 35 Minutes

After I posted last night I stopped reading, and then I didn't start reading again until 3:00 today. There's enough real-life drama around me at the moment, so I could probably fill an entire book series with the details, so it has cut into my reading time a bit more than I like. Anyway, I am 147 pages into Dreams of Joy. It's been a little easier to keep reading today, especially since a few romances have started brewing in the story, and I'm a sucker for that kind of thing.

Friday, June 3, 2011

48 Hour Book Challenge: 3 Hours

I'm 81 pages into Dreams of Joy by Lisa See. This probably wasn't the best book for the 48HBC, because the subject is a little too exhausting to read non-stop. I don't want to give anything about the story away, but it feels like the characters are in a hopeless situation. I don't mind difficult situations in books, the stories would be boring without them. But when it's the main character against a much larger force or system - in this case, the communist political system - I guess I just tend to feel incredibly tired on the character's behalf. Anyway, I am 3 hours into the 48HBC. Now, back to reading.