Category Archives: Reading

JMaltman-TARDIS

Irregular Writing and Reading Update #1

You may have seen that I’m no longer a regular co-host on the To Be Read Podcast. I had a great time being one of the three for more than a year, but the demands of my new job and how it’s rearranged family life around here squeezed out time for the podcast. The entertaining John L. Monk has taken over for me, and is doing a great job. And I’ll still visit from time to time, but more likely in the slower summer.

Part of why I stopped is that I wanted to make sure I maintain time for new writing despite the busy schedule. I’ve done that, and I’m more than halfway through the first draft of Book IV of Arts Reborn.

For those of you newer to Arts Reborn, you might be wondering where Book III (and the 2.5 novella) went? The life update above answers it in a roundabout way.

The novella (which takes place between books II and III) is very close to finished editing. When I have a little more time, I should do one final pass and get things finalized for publishing. I feel bad for anyone who has been waiting a long time, so if you’d like a sneak peek, send me a message here, on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ and I’ll find a way to get you an advance e-book copy.

Similarly, book III is complete but still needs more editing. For the time being I’ve prioritized continuing forward on book IV over getting those two published. But if you’re waiting on book III as well, the same offer stands as for the novella.

So what have I been reading before bed, and sometimes on my commute?

I finished The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, possibly Haruki Murakami’s most acclaimed book. I liked it a lot, with that Japanese magical realism he does so well. I probably liked 1Q84 even more, but it’s still very good.

Speaking of returning to favorite authors, I got to read an ARC copy of Greenstar Season 3 by Simon Canton and Dave Higgins. This one was a LOT of fun. Their brand of comedic sci-fi (blended with a bit of fantasy and more this season) really works for me.

If you haven’t checked out the earlier seasons, definitely go enjoy them first, and in fact, they have the first few episodes set up as a free sampler! Try it out, risk free!

On recommendation from one of our former guests on TBR, I started reading the much acclaimed Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian. Yes, the one that was made into a Russell Crowe movie. Very detailed and ornate descriptions of the period in this intro to an epic (13+ books?) historical series that is considered by many to be the best nautical historical series ever. I’m liking it so far.

What have you been reading? And if you’d like it to be my next novella and/or book III, let me know!

Note:
As always, if you click on a link and buy something, Amazon may deign to send a few pennies my way.

TBR

MyTBR#75: Tropes!

After missing last week, I was back on the show for a chance to delve into tropes, even bordering on cliches.

Aside from writing more of Book IV along with NaNoWriMo, and celebrating my little guy’s 4th birthday, I’ve been doing some Murakami reading.

Over the past couple of weeks I finished off Wind, Pinball, the combination of the first two short novels from Haruki Murakami, author of 1Q84 and Kafka on the Shore that I’ve previously enjoyed. The second one had a hint of the magical realism that I really like in Murakami’s work, but the simple, even stark style is there. I’d recommend his other books first, but this one is an interesting one to check out to see where he started.

Speaking of Murakami, I finally started his acclaimed book, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Really enjoying it so far, and unlike the trim 200+ pages of the dual novellas, this one is over 600 pages and I’ll be staying here a while.

As always, if you click on a link and buy something, Amazon may deign to send a few pennies my way.

TBR

MyTBR#73: Hallowe’en means Mark Leslie of Kobo

We welcomed back good friend of the show author Mark Leslie Lefebvre of Kobo Writing Life fame, who as usual had some horror recommendations, as well as filling us in about everything he and Kobo have been up to. Check Kobo in your region to see whether there’s a big sale going on right now! And I was back, after the Jays gave it their all but fell short to the Royals.

Last week I finished off Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart, a Superhero story in a bit of a dystopia, after Patrick enjoyed it, and I’ll definitely read book 2 (and 2016’s book 3!)

After that I started on Wind, Pinball, the combination of the first two short novels from Haruki Murakami, author of 1Q84 and Kafka on the Shore that I’ve previously enjoyed. More on this current read next week.

Have a happy Hallowe’en if you celebrate!

As always, if you click on a link and buy something, Amazon may deign to send a few pennies my way.

MyTBR#72: I Missed Reader News, but you don’t have to…

Even quicker one this week, because I’ve had even more going on between a new job and the Jays’ extended postseason run.

Jays

PT Hylton joined the guys last night to talk about reader focused news.

More than half-way through Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart, a Superhero story in a bit of a dystopia, after Patrick enjoyed it.

As always, if you click on a link and buy something, Amazon may deign to send a few pennies my way.

TBR

MyTBR#71: Mash-Ups and Smash-Ups

Just a quick one this week, because I’ve had a ton going on.

We talked in #71 about ideas for story and genre mash-ups we’d like to see:

Here’s the Smash-Up game I mentioned. It’s really a lot of fun, with lots of expansions, including Chthulu, Munchkin, Sci-Fi Double Feature, and more.

I’ve been enjoying Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart, a Superhero story in a bit of a dystopia, after Patrick enjoyed it.

As always, if you click on a link and buy something, Amazon may deign to send a few pennies my way.

TBR

MyTBR#70: Author David Bruns

We had a nice visit with author David Bruns this week, hearing about his background in the U.S. Navy and his varied writing and reading interests.

Only one thing to report on my reading:

I finally finished A Feast For Crows, book 4 of A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. Now I have to order book 5, to get the other half of what should have been one big volume. It really felt like this was the B team, but the focus on characters more than big events was an intriguing change, and still enjoyable. But I’m ready for some epic in book 5.

Yes, if you happen to buy one of these from Amazon based on my recommendation links, they’ll throw a few cents my way as a thank you. Or go get the book out of the library (I love my library), buy it in a used bookstore, or borrow it from a friend. If it catches your eye, you’ll find a way.

TBR

MyTBR#69: Helpful Reviews

What do you find helpful in a book review? We talked about what we like (and what we don’t) in TBR#69.

My son and I finished Jeff Smith’s Bone world: The Quest For the Spark vol 1 by Tom Sniegoski. He wants to read the next one, so that’s a vote in favor!

More than 3/4 of the way through A Feast For Crows, book 4 of A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. Really feeling like this volume is in between major happenings… unless a big finish comes soon.

Yes, if you happen to buy one of these from Amazon based on my recommendation links, they’ll throw a few cents my way as a thank you. Or go get the book out of the library (I love my library), buy it in a used bookstore, or borrow it from a friend. If it catches your eye, you’ll find a way.

TBR

MyTBR#68: Books with Multiple Authors

This week on the To Be Read Podcast we looked at books with more than one author, and even diverged into worlds with more than one author too.

My son and I are at the very end of the first novel in Jeff Smith’s Bone world: The Quest For the Spark vol 1 by Tom Sniegoski. Some fun little twists in there, though the technical writing is definitely targeting a younger crowd.

More than half way through A Feast For Crows, book 4 of A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. Still enjoying it, even if it feels a bit less connected than some of the past books… though when the lines do cross it’s pretty cool.

Yes, if you happen to buy one of these from Amazon based on my recommendation links, they’ll throw a few cents my way as a thank you. Or go get the book out of the library (I love my library), buy it in a used bookstore, or borrow it from a friend. If it catches your eye, you’ll find a way.

TBR

MyTBR#67: One Star for Your Favorite Books?

We took a bit of a backwards look at our favorite books this week on episode #67 of the To Be Read Podcast, by looking at some of the one-star reviews. One man’s treasure is another man’s trash, and there certainly are people who will write at length about the books they didn’t like, especially if they were popular. We also talked about the one-stars in general, what we think of them, and tried to figure out what motivates some of those people to write those bad reviews.

My son and I are about halfway through this middle-grade novel in Jeff Smith’s Bone world: The Quest For the Spark vol 1 by Tom Sniegoski. It’s turning out to be quite an epic story, with a diverse cast of people and creatures.

And I’m zooming through A Feast For Crows, book 4 of A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. Lots of new POV characters new and old, and a bit of a different direction for the story, but interesting events in the aftermath of everything that came to a head in book 3. If I keep going at this rate I’m going to have to order book 5 soon. Or should I wait until book 6 comes out and read them back to back? Haven’t decided yet.

Yes, if you happen to buy one of these from Amazon based on my recommendation links, they’ll throw a few cents my way as a thank you. Or go get the book out of the library (I love my library), buy it in a used bookstore, or borrow it from a friend. If it catches your eye, you’ll find a way.

TBR

MyTBR#66: Great Fantasy Series with Justin Sloan

For episode #66 of the To Be Read Podcast, we were joined by author, screenwriter and writer on Telltale Games’ Game of Thrones game: Justin Sloan to talk about some of our favorite fantasy series. 🙂 One of my favorite topics to date, and a great show if I say so myself (and didn’t have time to mention every great series. And all the ones I still must explore.)

I did it! I finished Storm of Swords (Book III of George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones series)! And the final third was absolutely fantastic. Best of the series so far.

My son and I also dove back into the world of Bone with The Quest For the Spark vol 1 by Tom Sniegoski. This one is a kids novel rather than graphic novel, with only occasional pictures. Interesting introduction to the various tangential characters so far.

Yes, if you happen to buy one of these from Amazon based on my recommendation links, they’ll throw a few cents my way as a thank you. Or go get the book out of the library (I love my library), buy it in a used bookstore, or borrow it from a friend. If it catches your eye, you’ll find a way.