As usual, I’m going to start a post by talking about something only tangentially related. After falling for and having my heart broken by Alistair Theirin (Dragon Age: Origins) I actually came to quite like his character—as a friend. Always a friend. In fact, my favourite relationship with him was as the brother from another mother for my Warden, Aedan Cousland. I went on to write something like 600 thousand words of fan fiction after the game, most of which included their extremely close friendship. A large part of my affection for Alistair’s character stemmed from his dialogue and the note-perfect voice acting of Steve Valentine.
Because I’m something of a geek, when I find something I like, I look it up and see what’s related. Other things I can play, watch, read, experience. I do this for video game writers, directors, actors and voice actors, and authors. It’s how I find a lot of my favourites. So I looked up Steve Valentine and discovered he voiced a character in the game Uncharted. Naturally, I wanted to play this game. But I didn’t own a PlayStation 3. I had an Xbox 360. So, basically, I was S.O.L. (My budget didn’t extend to two consoles of the “same generation.”) Continue reading
How is it October already? Just last week (in August), I was thinking to myself: “You need to do another reading post.” I made a note in my planner and… turned the page. As always, I’ve been reading lots of awesome books, though. And, as always, I want to share the most awesome ones with you.
Descender, Vol. 1: Tin Stars by Jeff Lemire
The art caught my eye on this one. It’s an interesting style—less “comic” and more “fine art,” with swift lines and watercolour shades. It reminded me of another of my favourite comics, East of West, and it’s just as good. The story starts simply: ten years ago, giant harvester robots swept through the galaxy leaving destroyed cities, dead bodies, and terror in their wake. Since then, even the simplest robots have become enemy number one and hunting them down has given rise to an entire guild of scrappers who hunt rogue bots with the enthusiasm of bounty collectors. Continue reading
I watch a lot of movies. I also read a lot of books. I’ve watched a lot of movies inspired by books—and that’s my favourite way of phrasing it, because even a faithful film adaptation will differ from the source material. It’s the director’s vision, and the actors’ interpretation of the script. Like a game of telephone, the story is always going to change by the time it hits the end of the line.
There are instances where the movie is better than the book. Buzzfeed has a list of 39. I agree with numbers 8, 13, 18, 27, 29 and maybe 37, but only because I loved, loved, loved these movies. (Also, I always find Stephen King more entertaining when he’s been cut down to two and a half hours.) I could argue over a lot of the other entries on this list, but that’s another blog post. Continue reading
I have participated in the Goodreads reading challenge for six years now. It’s the only challenge I’ve ever actually completed – probably because it’s based on the number of books rather than specific titles. This year I lowered my goal from 200 to 100, thinking I wouldn’t have as much time to read. I’m at 97 books right now and June has only just begun, so I think I’ll be adjusting the total back to 200.
Apparently I found time to read. I also found some great books!
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, #1) by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
I hardly need to recommend this book. It has won all the awards, and has over 400 five star reviews on Amazon. I’m going to recommend it anyway, because it’s just that good, and because of the sweet nature of the romance, it will appeal to a wide audience.
I love coming of age stories and I adore the trope “friends to lovers.” Both are handled beautifully in this slow burn love story about two boys whose friendship is all about discovering the secrets of the universe – and themselves. Ari’s struggle to accept himself will break your heart. The way he cares for and protects Dante will put it back together again. The final chapter is just beautiful. Continue reading
This year I stopped rating books on Goodreads for a couple reasons. One, it felt hypocritical, even though, intellectually, I know it’s not. What writer isn’t also a reader? And why shouldn’t I express my opinion of what I’ve read? Even if I haven’t enjoyed a book, I still internalize a lot of elements such as character, plot structure and pace, either as “things not to do” or “things to explore.” Every book is useful in some way.
More, though, I found that reading with a score sheet hanging in the forefront of my mind placed too much pressure on every book to perform. I was more easily disappointed and less often delighted. I was reading too analytically.
The sense of freedom that comes with deciding not to quantify a book, or qualify the experience of reading it lightened my perspective. The other upside, of course, is that if I’m reading a book inside my genre, I no longer have to wrestle with the “should I or shouldn’t I?” question. Finally, without a score, any comments I leave can be left open to interpretation. Continue reading
I could have skipped this update and rolled the books into my yearly list of Favourite Things, but there are seven books on this list and they’re all titles I want to talk about and recommend now. I have a hard enough time choosing just a handful at the end of the year as it is. 😉
Dinner at Jack’s by Rick R. Reed
What I love most about Rick Reed’s books is that they’re love stories. The romance never feels rushed for the sake of getting to the good stuff. More, we get time to get to know the characters—who they are, who they want to be. Who they will be together. Another aspect of Rick’s books I really enjoy is the feeling he is sharing a part of his life with us. Either someone he once knew or someplace he’s been. There’s a sense of reality to most of his stories and, whether my observations are true or not, I feel I get to know the author a little better with each read. Continue reading
After a bit of a slump where I tossed a few and flipped through a few more somewhat forgettable books, I’ve recently hit a patch of really good reads. So of course I’m going to share them.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
This book. Oh my goodness. What a lovely surprise. Nearly the entire time I was listening to it, I either wished I’d written it or wanted to write my own version. Ove is exactly the sort of character I like. Gruff, rude, apparently selfish and not at all charming. Yeah, I sure know how to pick ‘em. Thing is, when a character like that is the star of a book, you can pretty much read on with two assumptions. One, he’s not as he appears. There will be hidden depths. Two, finding out why he’s like this is going to be your reward. Continue reading