Things that make me go hmmm…

I know this happens to all of you too. You’re reading and an author makes a reference. You get the reference. You think it’s amusing. You give it a little, “Heh,” and read on only to find out the author doesn’t think you understood and begins explaining the reference, in several sentences, and you’re no longer, “Heh” but “Grr.” That. Actually, the book which contained this annoying bit turned out to be pretty good and I ended up liking it in the end but it annoyed me so much I felt the need to mention it.

So, tell me. When you’re reading, what makes you go hmmm?

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The Sunday Salon – Time (Someone loan me a time turner, please.)

TSSbadge1How much time do I spend on content creation? Andrea at the Little Red Reviewer had an interesting post about this very topic and here’s my answer — not much as I’m posting barely once a week which got me wondering as to whether or not I want or should continue since I’m not actually offering much in terms of book reviews or news. I’ve seen this from a number of bloggers lately so I know I’m not alone but I don’t want to get caught up in that thought because even though I may not be sitting and creating, I’m constantly thinking about topics to write about. In fact, I have a whole list of topics in a file that I just keep adding to. Of course, I’m not writing but that’s another story.

Life got complicated a few months back and while things are better, there are still other things that occupy my time and thoughts. I’ve even been reading less. Shocking but in a way it’s a good thing because I’m also doing other things that I’ve been wanting to do and I feel very good about. Hello, yoga! 🙂 There’s a trade off to everything. For me, it’s about the time. Time to read books, time to write down thoughts, time to edit, and time to post. I also want to find time to write about things other than blog stuff. Writing is something I enjoy and I keep saying I’m going to find time to do it but I’ve yet to get there. I need to do that which means that the blog may need to take a little hiatus for me to get things in order. I’d be okay with that actually but I don’t really want to do that either which means I need to find a better system. (This is when I get envious of all the people out there who seem to be able to wring every usable second out of a day. Obviously, I’m not one of those people. If you are, I envy you. Know that.)

So this question of Andrea’s has me thinking about all things now and not just the blog. Although, I have been thinking about the blog lately and how I need to get things done. It also got me thinking about how I haven’t seen the last few episodes of Doctor Who. I know the tragedy! I don’t even watch that much TV and I can’t seem to find the time to watch a show I enjoy. What is it I’m doing then? How the hell should I know?! Okay, I should know the answer to that and it’s been bothering me because I highly suspect I’ve been doing nothing. We spent two weekends in a row traveling and I had a work conference that sucked hours and the life out of me. I’ve been doing some reading and reviewing for another website too. I know, I’m cheating on myself. I started writing for this site long before I started my own blog; it was one of the reasons I started my blog actually. I agreed to do a few reviews that were out of the regular pattern for me and it reminded me how much I still like reviewing.

Back to the topic that started this whole string of random thoughts, how much time. I don’t really know but I think the next few weeks are going to be a little experiment to find out and see how organized I can be. I warn you, this probably won’t last long.

The Sunday Salon – Awesome Con

TSSbadge1Awesome Con happened this weekend in Washington, DC. Since it was in walking distance of our house, we decided to stroll over and see what it had to offer. It’s a small con, and the first in DC actually, but over 3,000 came out for it, which was, well, awesome. (Oh, like you wouldn’t have gone there!) I didn’t get to see everything I wanted to, but there were some great moments and great costumes.

We couldn’t get into the costume judging but there was a small parade after.

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We found this in the exhibit hall. The husband went back and bought it for me. 🙂

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One day two, I ran over early to stand in line to see Phil LaMarr and Billy West discuss Futurama. It was like listening in on a conversation and so funny. If you’re fan of the show, (Hi, me!) it was a fantastically entertaining. The line for this one was huge, and for a few minutes, I cursed my need for coffee hoping it wouldn’t mean I would be standing outside the door while it was going on. I lucked out, making it in the room to one of the few seats left in the back.

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I also dropped in on a session on writing fantasy novels and comics featuring: Justin Jordan, Allison Pang, Diana Peterfreund, Meagan Spooner, Tom King, and Alma Katsu. It was interesting to hear their take on the genre and how the publishing industry views it. Also, Katsu said her final book in The Taker trilogy is coming out soon. Yay!

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A few more random pics.

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Yes, I know I take truly awful photos but there you have it. I may write more about it in the next few days when I don’t have deadlines looming over my head.

Were you at Awesome Con? Questions? Let me know and I’ll answer as best I can.

I’m off to read a bit more of The Shadow of the Sun and questions will be answered tomorrow since that’s read along Q&A day. Be prepared, there are some sexytimes happening.

Do you take notes?

TSSbadge1I don’t take notes when I read. The reason I don’t is that I don’t like to break the spell (Go ahead, make fun but sometimes I get really sucked into a book!) to stop and write down passages, thoughts, or quotes. I wish I did that but I don’t. It’s my reading style. It’s how I’ve always read, and for the foreseeable future, this is how it will probably be.

Even though I don’t take notes, I do write down my thoughts after finishing a book and I do use those notes for my reviews. Sometimes the notes are helpful and sometimes they aren’t. It’s the way it is. Sometimes I can’t read my writing and sometimes I throw away all the little notes I make on Post Its because I have no idea what they refer to.

I have a Nook (We needed to stem the tide of physical books coming into the house; limited space and all.) and sometimes, though infrequently, I do take advantage of the notes feature and type up a few things as I’m reading. Most of the things I type though have to do with aspects of the story that annoy me and I’ve noticed that these notes aren’t that helpful. Apparently, I don’t have the hang of it yet, but I will keep on with this experiment in the hopes that it might yield something, eventually.

My husband is currently reading Cloud Atlas and mentioned to me yesterday that he had to go back and re-read a chapter because the author referred to something from the first chapter and he needed that bit of info to understand what was going on later in the book. In a situation like this, where the book is really one big puzzle, I can see notes being useful. When I get around to finally reading this, I probably won’t take notes and will just constantly ask my husband what’s going on, and after I annoy him and he stops talking to me about it, I’ll google. Would taking notes be easier? Hell yes. Will I do it? Hell no. Some days being me is a pain but I persist.
So, some questions. Do you take notes? Are they helpful? What do you do with all the notes after you finish with them? Any tips, let me know. I’ll admit I’m jealous when I hear people talk about their notebooks filled with quotes and passages they loved but I’m not that sort of reader. Then again, I have this blog, and for me, it’s sort of my way of taking notes on my reading.

The Sunday Salon – I’d think up a title but I’m going lazy today…

TSSbadge1I was sort of appalled when I realized I still had that awful rendition of a turkey up here. Then I continued to watch TV. Obviously, I quickly got over it. I thought taking a bit of a break would help, and it has especially on the reading front, but what it’s also done is make it easier not to do anything.

So, what have I been doing when I’m not reading or writing posts? I’ve been watching Call the Midwife on PBS for the last week. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it now. It’s a wonderful show and I’d say more but this whole post would just dissolve into a snotty love fest full of tears and joy and sappy language that I don’t even want to temp myself into writing. It’s better if you just watch it yourself. The show is based on a book and I’ll probably be buying it.

In the last week, when I wasn’t watching TV, I finished City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte which was a bit of ridiculous fun. I’ll be posting about it this week. I also finished The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I’m still trying to figure out what I thought of it. It was interesting but fell flat at the same time. I’m not sure if it was the mystery or just that I wasn’t in the mood for it, but it was boring. I know; right now I suck as a Sherlock Holmes fan. Next book. A co-worker loaned me a book of short stories called The Firefly Dance which has a story by Sarah Addison Allen. She’s one of my favorite authors and never fails to cheer me up. This one did the trick. It’s called In My Dreams and was exactly what I needed to read. I’ll probably skip the rest of the stories in the book though. I’ve been reading The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan the last few days. It’s interesting and I’m hoping to finish it today as it’s pretty short. Also, I have Maureen Johnson’s The Name of Star waiting for me at the library so I don’t want to start anything new. I’m late to this one but now that everyone’s talking about the sequel, I now want to read it.

For the rest of today, I’m planning to sit on my couch and alternate reading and watching shows about the apocalypse on the History channel. Why? Because I can. I might also watch the first season of The Walking Dead too. I foresee a relaxing day ahead.

Happy Sunday readers.

The Sunday Salon – Conquering the Slump

Last week I refused to believe a reading slump was coming on. Much like I always refuse to believe I might be getting a cold. Anyway, it hit. Not too hard; it just sort of snuck up and nested itself right on my book making it impossible to read. Furry, little reading stealer… It’s odd because the book I’m reading (and have been reading for over a week now) is good. Really good. I thought that if any author would keep the slump at bay it would be Tana French. She’s good but sometimes, well, sometimes nothing can help.

If I’m honest with myself, it’s that time of year when my reading slacks off. Not only are we in the middle of trying to get a major purchase straightened out before the holidays and travel commitments descend upon us, but I’ve also got recipes trolling around my head making it difficult to sit still for any amount of time to read.

Here’s my plan — I’m going to finally finish up the last few pages of French’s The Likeness in the next two days. I’m going to put aside the book that hasn’t been interesting me and give it a few days without reading. I’m going to reset fellow readers. This will work. I know it will. We all need a break and I think it’s my time for that. My books will be there for me when I’m ready.

Enjoy this lovely Sunday.

The Sunday Salon – Brain Candy

Early Saturday morning, I got off a redeye flight from Las Vegas. An hour after walking in my front door, I was asleep and was pretty much in that state all of yesterday. Sunday has been much the same with one exception — I’ve been watching Finding Bigfoot on Animal Planet. It’s sick how addicting this show is! Seriously, someone come take the remote from me.

*Backing away from the TV now.*

Typically, the week I spend in Las Vegas is usually a very good week of reading for me. I can get in about 2 – 4 books depending on what I’m reading. I was prepared, as we readers are, with numerous choices in case my tastes changed somewhere mid-week. Unfortunately, I broke no records this year. I finished one book, a short story, and started two other books. Here’s the wrap-up:

A Crystal Age by W.H. Hudson — I downloaded this one from The Gutenberg Project a few weeks back in anticipation of this trip. It’s vintage science fiction and I was excited about this one simply because I have very little knowledge of science fiction from the early 50s and 60s. I wasn’t blown away but I did find it interesting. It falls into the anthropological category of science fiction with cultures trying to understand each other and the implications of those differences.

The Year of the Big Thaw by Marion Zimmer Bradley — This is a short story I also downloaded from The Gutenberg Project. I adore Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon, and knowing she has written outside of the fantasy genre, I wanted to explore more of her works. This seemed like a great candidate and it was. It’s only about 25 pages and reminded me so much of a take on Superman but it was a great little piece to read while drinking tea and eating breakfast in the middle of a casino.

Key Out of Time by Andre Norton — Another Gutenberg Project download. I love a good time travel story, and this one is interesting, but I’m having a bit of trouble with it. I want to like it so much more than I am and the problem I think I’m having with it isn’t necessarily the book. It’s me. I kept reading it in between work events and only for a few minutes at a time and I haven’t had the opportunity to get into it for more than a few pages at a time. I may decide to sit down with it this week and finish it and hope that I can get into.

The Likeness by Tana French — With my Nook battery running low, I went for the one real book I brought with me, Tana French. I loved, loved, loved In The Woods. Half asleep on a layover but happy to be back on the East Coast, I wanted to stay awake to board the plane and get home and I knew French would keep me awake. She did. I’m about 55 pages into this book and let me tell you how good it is. I thought In The Woods was great, well, this one is already better.

If I can pull myself away from the TV for a few hours later tonight, I plan to pick up The Likeness again. For now, Bigfoot is calling. I’m scared to stop watching; they might find something when I’m not looking.

Happy Sunday readers. Finish any great books last week? Tell me about them. My stack is getting low.

(Also, ignore any typos. I’m still recovering from last week.)