Mining the Depths

I'll read almost anything and love what captures my imagination. Best of all is responding to books in the larger cultural sense, loving or loathsome. Literature should have a place in the wider world.

 

And I'm another GoodReads refugee. 

Let's Get Criminal - Lev Raphael

I haven't read this since high school! I so need to find this again. Thank goodness for the amazon list it was on, or I never would have remembered the title/author/character name. And I totally had this book in particular, but a different cover that I hated (a naked torso behind some blue/watery filter? not in character)...some other one in the series, the first I read at the local library was all splashy yellow with a woman in a leopard print head scarf. So much nostalgia. 

Reading progress update: I've read 325 out of 781 pages.

The Well of Ascension - Brandon Sanderson

Well, the second part wasn't as annoying as the first, mostly because it was a lot more plotty. Elend was no less lame, and I'm starting to seriously question how Sanderson sees the world (at least in terms of politics and society and how they function), but you know, lots of stuff happens.

 

The POV shifts between the main two characters are fine, aside from how Elend is boring and useless on his own, but the random chapters from side characters are a little jarring. And Sazed's first uses his magic powers to literally info dump at the audience for a while which was so annoying and not compelling I just skimmed his section to the plot again. 

 

Still, even with things happening, the actual plot is moving pretty slowly. Elend was finally just [spoiler]deposed[/spoiler] at the end of part 2 (I think it's the longest part in the book), because he got so busy doing his own thing he forgot he actually set up an actually government. But I'm the king! he objects. This was the part where I start to question Sanderson's political ideals here, because Elend is in the wrong and the Assembly is pretty right. Sure the characters have justifications, but they aren't exactly communicating them to anyone else, nor are they doing a great job of governmenting. Dissent and disorder shouldn't exactly be a surprise at this point.

 

Worst of all is Vin freaking out about her relationship. I guess I can see it from her character, but it's still a chore to read when she's so much more useful than her boyfriend in every way. Even from her character back story it doesn't make sense for her to worship Elend like she does. It's really rather uncomfortable the way she demeans herself for him. I have no idea where that's even supposed to be going, either for character building or plot reasons. Because romances need conflict? But it doesn't even sound like a relationship that works.

 

Oh well, at least I'm near half way through the book and it's not a chore to read or anything. It's just much easier to nikpick than compliment because fun as it...it is just fun. The world building is well, it is, and the plot moves. Those are just really hard things to give any real word count to. That doesn't mean I think the book is bad so far. So far. :P

All the things I don't remember

The Well of Ascension - Brandon Sanderson

It must be at least a year, probably two, since I read the first Mistborn novel, which I enjoyed enough to buy the trilogy in a set when it was on sale for the price of two books. 

 

But it must have been too long. The first two chapters were completely bewildering and the plot and characters had completely escaped me. I realized all I had left from the first book were impressions of action and a vague though of 'the premise was cool, right?'

 

Now that I've finished Part I (there are still five more parts and an epilogue)...well, the characters are still barely more than props with names, especially since we're focused on the protagonists Vin and Elend. And there's the biggest issue.

 

Because Vin is fun when she's going around fighting people and thinking out strategies and taking risks with her magic powers; all the ways she twists (fighting) scenes to her own advantage in ways that apparently others never tried make her interesting. Note: the fact that not one single other person in the world other than our heroes has the slightest twinge of curiosity and experimentation is the only thing holding the plot together though, but that may just be because the author has no idea how humanity works (I read, like, have of Steelheart, I'm pretty sure on this point).

 

Which brings me to my main problem, which is Elend. Who is not nearly as smart as the novel wants me to think he is. He is a godawful leader and a lame politician. If I'd been this group of misfits, I would have insisted on making Lord Penrod head of the Assembly (Oh right the Assembly meeting: sure let's throw all the representatives, who we apparently just grabbed of the street after the revolution in a room and have them create order; even business meetings have procedures, Elend, you are terrible at this). Penrod, at least, will make people listen to him. Even though later in the novel he's evil (at a guess), at least he gets people to listen to him. Elend just works really hard on a speech, gives it, and then remonstrates helplessly while everyone else talks over him. Since he's king, my example is going to be...

 

Can you imagine what would happen if the British parliament did that to the queen? How utterly disrespectful. She would be a figure of scorn, a laughingstock. No one would take her seriously. Which they do now, because the queen is awesome. 

 

So yeah, Elend. 

 

He even makes Vin worse. Like I said, Vin is good in her action scenes, and when she's planning to fight. But it's not because she's actually a badass, or even an action girl. No, she's one of Whedon's waif-fu's. (Actually as I read the page to link it, I wonder if the author saw that definition and wrote specifically to that definition.) She's a broken bird and just so fragile, no matter how many big strong men she can beat up. Every time she's near Elend her narration switches from 'how can I take the world on and mix my magics to best beat everything ever' to 'woe is me, how can sad traumatized girl like me be good enough for Elend?' And when we're in Elend's head and he's not planning out all the ways to be the worst leader ever and still feel self-righteous about it, he's think 'lol, girls so crazy, and Vin is just so broken, but at least she's hot and will make out with me!'

 

Ugh, Elend, what with the nice-guy-ism's and turning Vin into your personal Magic Pixie Dream Girl even though we know she isn't when she's not being your girl friend because we've been in her head, and barely managing to brush your hair for state events because you're just such a dork no one could possibly expect you to take this seriously. And every one of his sections, I get a creepy feeling he's the author's insert and Sanderson is standing just over my shoulder as I read saying "isn't Elend awesome? he's great isn't he? look, he likes to read! love him!"

 

Shudder.

 

So how many words is that? A lot. It's a lot. And I've only read part one. 

 

More notes! 

 

Mostly the writing is, well, workmanlike, mostly invisible. Which is fine, I don't mind that style. This is something you read for the plot and magic rules anyway, like a D&D game. But sometimes there's terribleness. See:

 

Alendi's height struck me the first time I saw him. Here was a man who towered over others, a man who—despite his youth and his humble clothing—demanded respect

 

That's one of the little blurbs that comes between chapters for mysterious hints at worldbuilding history and possibly plot points. I mostly ignore them though, mostly because they sound like that. Here, for instance, Alendi demands respect because he's tall, apparently. Now, some tall people do use their height to their advantage. Or, like one of my schoolmates back in the day, they feel hugely self-conscious, and slouch their way through life apologetic for taking up so much vertical space. And some small people use personality to make up the difference. Instead the unnamed, unidentified writer assigns vales to people based purely on physical attributes. No wonder it didn't work out well. Also, he's (it's always a he), is apparently hammering all these out on metal at the climax of his story, because he just has a spare couple weeks or something. And that's why I don't read them.

 

Just as a beautiful woman demanded attention by virtue of her face and figure, Breeze drew it by near unconscious use of his powers.

Now, it would be one thing to say a woman with a beautiful face and figure is so accustomed to attention she demands it with her attitude (using a personality in place of physical attributes, which we found in the previous example to be impossible in this world), but instead we get a beautiful woman demands attention by existing. Her beauty is a power she doesn't use consciously, but still forces others attention to her. Which I know is what it says because that's what the Breeze character is doing. He constantly manipulates other people's emotions because he can't be bothered to stop himself, so they all just get used to it. Because he's one of those flamboyantly gay types and it's cute when they do it (not that I remember if he is gay or not, but it's definitely that character type and on the previous page the narration made a point of saying he doesn't date because he loves himself so much. Maybe if I had more faith in the author...) I mean, oh gawd, aren't those hot girls such a pain? They use their mad beauty powers to get you to stare, but then aren't interested in you. So. Rude.

 

So wow. Long. Can you imagine I'm actually still planning to finish this book? I hope this doesn't happen every single section.

If I'm Going to Make a New Year's Challenge

I may be a bit behind the curve. 

 

But nevertheless: one, I want to start posting here, so I get used to it.

 

Two, I think I'm going to commit to reading books I already own.

 

I don't know if that's as difficult a goal for others as it is for me. I'm a book collector as much as I am a reader. And the Friends of the Library host such great sales. I think last time I counted, I have some fifty linear feet of bookshelves in my room, some shelves filled two rows deep. Then there's my Nook, with at least two hundred ebooks. Then, because my brother gave me his old tablet, I also have the Kindle and Kobo apps.

 

I also finally fell into the smartphone bandwagon despite myself and have learned it's yet another reading device! 

 

So anyway, mostly I end up reading library and borrowed books. So this year, I'm going to go to all--well, not all, but a good number of--those poor, ignored books, so hopeful when they were rescued from pulping only to end up alone and dusty.

 

Goal: 

50 total preowned books, 30 physical books, 20 ebooks by the end of 2014

BookLikes Banned on Tumblr

Reblogged from I'll think of a damn title later:

Through the Tumblr I'm managing about the recent Goodreads policy change, Censored by Goodreads, I've discovered a glitch wherein any links to BookLikes are blocked. I put out a call on Tumblr, and a response told of how the user tried to alert the Tumblr overlords to this situation, and got swatted for her trouble. Links to BookLikes are absolutely vital, given that this is the main destination for the Goodreads diaspora, and there have been a variety of posts here that it's killing me I can't post. 

 

So, can we social media this situation? Can someone alert BookLikes that they are banned by Tumblr? Or can someone get me contact info for someone on BookLikes that I can talk to? 

 

And I'm http://ceridwen.booklikes.com/ just in case the reblogging thingy strips out point of origin of post. Reblog at will.

 

Keep circulating the tapes. 

 

Out. 

Reblog: BookLikes Community Guidelines Supplements & Official Statement

Reblogged from Reading a Thousand Lives:

Since many questions and some incorrect statements made by others occurred, BookLikes would like to clear things up. Here are several points that supplement and explain BookLikes Community Guidelines, which are still valid and in force. 

 


 and   

Each BookLikes member receives personal webpage with Blog, Shelf, Timeline which can be edited and personalized in particular tabs in Settings and Customization tab

 

Each BookLikes member is administrator and has access to admin mode of his/her webpage and Dashboard once he/she signs up and then logs into service. Public view of webpage is available with individual address yourusername.booklikes.com. You can also use your own domain with no fees. 

 

Supplement:

Each administrator is responsible for content published on his/her site.

 

 and 

Dashboard is a place where you see writings and bookshelf updates of people you follow. 

 

BookLikes Community can be found on Explore page. Blogs are put into categories. You can edit and change your categories in Settings/Blog.

 

Supplement:

It is the BookLikes member who decides who to follow (and see writings on Dashboard) and who to unfollow. It is the BookLikes member who decides how his/her webpage will be categorized on Explore page.

 

 

 and  

You can publish review, text, photo, video, URL of your choice and complement it with a book/books (up to 10). Inspiring and well written reviews are always encouraged, welcome and may be promoted. 

 

You can create posts and publish them on your webpage, however, if BookLikes members find it assaulting or violating they can block the user who might be removed from Follower list. This means that the person with inappropriate texts might receive lower priority and may not be presented in Explore page where we present BookLikes Community. 

 

Supplement:

All users who assault or harass other BookLikes members may be blocked by BookLikes users and reported to BookLikes Team. Each complaint will be evaluated by BookLikes Team who can decide whether to block a given user or not. If user's behavior is inappropriate he/she can receive Ghost status, his/her rates and reviews will not be counted to overall book statistics and will not be promoted on BookLikes pages visible for all members: Explore Page, Dashboard, Book Page. Users who follow member with Ghost status will still view his/her writings on Dashboard. BookLikes will not unfollow anyone from your Following list.

 

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You can import books from Goodreads (export your library to csv file),LibraryThing (export your library to csv file), Lovely Books and Lubimy czytać in Settings/Import. You can also sync your Goodreads account with your BookLikes profile - then books and reviews published on BL will be also visible on GR.

 

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Thank you and one more time welcome to BookLikes :-)

Belated Hellos

It's been just over a week since GoodReads imploded, which is unfortunate because the news doesn't seem to have gotten very far.What uproar came from the publishing industry from Amazon's purchase doesn't seem to have come again after all fears were confirmed. 

 

Naturally, my post about that is still languishing in my wordpress drafts, where it has plenty of company at least.

 

In the meantime, I thought I'd actually introduce myself here instead of just lurking and following people like a creeper. Hi! Too bad I've never said much on GoodReads either because I'm not sure anyone remembers who I am. Oops. 

 

Hopefully I'll gather myself enough to finish that GoodReads post, because I do think it has industry implications, and that's my area of focus (once, I thought I'd be willing to make a living as an editor—it's even less than authorship, given your name isn't even likely to end up in the book). If I do finish it, I may repost here. And booklikes may help me build my own 'brand' in terms of actually writing reviews.  (Maybe...)

 

Dear Amazon, I'm more than happy to use your servers to talk to all the lovely people there. However, I'll also be keeping my words to myself. Hope you didn't want to sell them!

Brilliant, Rose. Simply brilliant.

Soapbox Saturday: Et tu, Goodreads? at Writing Through Rose Tinted Glasses

 

Every author who says they've been bullied or anyone who thinks this was the right thing for Goodreads to do should have their nose rubbed into Rose's words until they get it.

Easy Tips for Customizing Your BookLikes Blog

Reblogged from I'll think of a damn title later:

On the top of your homepage you’ll notice your navigation bar.

 

 

 

This will bring up your Settings page.

 

 

Now Scroll down a bit until you see this:

 

 

 

That’s going to bring up the template customization page. In the upper left hand corner, you’ll see this:

 

                                                               

Once that is done, beneath the above posted menu you can scroll down. Do so until you find this:

 

 

 

DON’T FORGET TO CLICK SAVE!!!

 

 

 

Now comes the fun part, making that image static. Click on the Edit HTML button.

 

 

This is going to split your screen, with your blog showing below and the code window at the top. Don’t freak out. Scroll down through the code until you find these lines:

 

 

Now, where you see the green word ‘repeat’, replace that with ‘fixed’. It should now look like this:

 

 

DON’T FORGET TO HIT SAVE!

 

 

Okay, so as you’ll notice in the screenshot above there’s a drop down menu with the word Blog selected. In order to assure that your background is fixed for all your pages you have to select that drop down and repeat the code change for each one listed:

 

 

DON’T FORGET TO HIT SAVE FOR EACH ONE!!!

 

 

Good luck, everyone. Hope this helps! 

 

 

Share Your Writing and Let Others Comment on Yours

Reblogged from BookLikes:

BookLikes owlGet involved into discussions, comment and be commented. Book lovers at BookLikes read, write, shelve and review their books but you can also discuss and comment. Our commenting system is based on Disqus which gives easy, nice and neat experiences when it comes to sharing, viewing and managing your comments.

To discuss and let others comment on your posts and reviews at BookLikes follow these three steps:

 

1. Sign up or log in at Disqus.com

2. Register your webpage - your blog at BookLikes (username.booklikes.com) and choose your site’s shortname at Disqus (for example, your blog’s name)
3. Add you site’s shortname at BookLikes Settings Blog and Save


Voila - adding comments on your blog is ready now. To add comments click on a post title and write notes in a comment window below. The person will get notification about your note and you'll get information about the reply. Try by yourself - enter your blog post and check if your comment window is visible. If you have any questions, contact us (or leave us a comment).

 

Don’t keep your opinions to yourself - be social, share them and let others share theirs with you. So who will be the first one to comment on this one? :-)

 

Reblogged from I'll think of a damn title later:
"“Censorship ends in logical completeness when nobody is allowed to read any books except the books that nobody reads."

George Bernard Shaw

Book Cat
Book Cat

Book collections occasionally grow skeptical cats...beware!

The Best American Mystery Stories 2012 (The Best American Series (R)) - 'Tom Andes',  'Peter S. Beagle',  'K. L. Cook',  'Jason DeYoung',  'Kathleen Ford',  'Jesse Goolsby',  'Mary Gaitskill',  'Thomas J. Rice' A nice variety of "mystery" stories, though often they were just tangentially related to mystery. But that was addressed in the introduction, so that didn't bother me. Definitely worth the read.
Death of an Artist: A Mystery - Kate Wilhelm I almost wonder if there's something about audio-books that just don't work for me, but listening to A Wrinkle in Time is going perfectly well. So I'm going to just go with this book just doesn't work.
Partnerships Can Kill - Connie Shelton 3.5
The Oracle Glass - Judith Merkle Riley I had to read the last 20 percent in less than an hour. In some way, that may have been the most exciting part of the read.

Currently reading

The Well of Ascension
Brandon Sanderson
Progress: 325/781 pages
Steelheart
Brandon Sanderson
Progress: 26 %
Fearsome Journeys: The New Solaris Book of Fantasy
Daniel Abraham, Robert Redick, Saladin Ahmed, K.J. Parker, Scott Lynch, Elizabeth Bear, Ysabeau S. Wilce, Ellen Klages, Jonathan Strahan, Jeffrey Ford, Trudi Canavan, Glen Cook, Ellen Kushner, Kate Elliott
Progress: 57/395 pages
Dracula
Leonard Wolf, Bram Stoker
The Guermantes Way
Christopher Prendergast, Mark Treharne, Marcel Proust
The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present
Teachers & Writers Collaborative, Phillip Lopate
Mad Ship
Robin Hobb
Pitch Like A Girl: How A Woman Can Be Herself And Still Succeed
Ronna Lichtenberg
A History of Pi
Petr Beckmann
English Creek
Ivan Doig