Posts Tagged books

Books: The Traveler, City at the End of Time, Enchantment

I’ve recently finished three different books: two physbooks and one ebook. I’m not big on writing book reviews, but I wanted to give a short opinion on each of these. I’ll start with the ebook, though it’s available as a physbook as well, so the format isn’t actually relevant.

cit_at_the_end_of_timeCity at the End of Time, Greg Bear

I thought this was a very interesting premised, but it never really drew me in. I managed to care a bit about some of the characters, but the story would switch to other settings that I found too esoteric to keep me entertained. I also found the end of the story to be quite anticlimactic. Skip it.

the_travelerThe Traveler, John Twelve Hawks

It took me quite a while to get into this book, and I never really felt like it hit its stride. There was a lot to like about it, but in the end I just found it to be incomplete. In its defence, it is the first book of the Fourth Realm Trilogy. However, I needed a better story arch within this first book to get me interested in continuing. That didn’t happen so I have no intention of reading the other two. That being said, it is entirely possible that the trilogy as a whole is worth reading. Take it or leave it.

enchantmentEnchantment, Orson Scott Card

I read the first 50 pages of this book during our trip to Toronto, because I was close enough to the end of The Traveler at the time that I didn’t want to take it. I didn’t continue Enchantment until our trip to New York. While both The Traveler and City at the End of Time took me several months to finish, I finished Enchantment in one weekend (discounting the first 50 pages). Don’t miss it.

Perhaps fittingly, the next physbook I’ve started is also by Orson Scott Card — Ender in Exile. Of course, this is part of a long line of books where I’m fully vested in the story. I’m terrible at impartial critiquing in such situations and tend to just enjoy more time with the characters and in the world.


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Reading Recession

I’m a fairly avid reader. It started before gradeschool, took a break for much of elementary school and then returned with a passion at the start of high school. Fiction is pretty much all I read, and it’s predominately SciFi or Fantasy, with some Mystery/Thriller thrown in.

For nearly a decade now, I’ve been reading eBooks in addition to physBooks. I always have at least one of each that I am in the process of reading. The physBooks generally take me much longer to get through as I primarly read them in the bathroom while the eBooks get read in many other situations since they’re always at hand.

Lately, however, I’ve noticed that I’m making very little progress with either type. A glance at my aNobii profile (also in my sidebar) shows that I’ve been reading the current eBook since May 14th and the current physBook since April 5th. And I’ve got quite a bit left to read on each of them. To be fair, I’ve actually set the eBook aside for a little while while I read a short story, but that shouldn’t really have taken very long and I’ve yet to complete it after a few weeks.

The truth is that other factors have dramatically reduced the amount of time I spend reading. For the eBooks, the two biggest factors are Twitter and my new Bluetooth headphones. When I’m not catching up on Twitter (or tweeting), I’m often listening to a podcast or watching a movie on my iPhone. The “watching a movie” distraction also happened for a month or two when I first got the iPhone, and probably the iPod before that, so that may be a short-lived distraction. I suppose the same could be true for Twitter; time will tell.

For the physBooks it comes down to one simple factor: my current diet has dramatically reduced my available time for reading. I’ll let the implication of that statement stand on its own.

On the other hand, there is another factor that I suppose could be the real root cause, at least for the eBooks. I’m simply not that into either of the books I’m currently reading. I’m more than halfway through each of them and with most books I read that would mean that my reading would accellerate as I was drawn more and more into the stories. I’m not the kind of reader that abandons books easily — perhaps that’s a mistake?

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I’d rather be reading

I don’t mind doing a meme every so often, but it really has to interest me. I saw this series of book questions over at Everyday Goddess, and decided to give it a go.

1. Hardback, trade paperback or mass market paperback? Mass market paperbacks, though sometimes hardbacks if it’s a book in a series that I’m anxious to read.

2. Barnes & Noble or Borders? Barnes & Noble, usually.

3. Bookmark or dog-ear? Bookmark, definitely. I don’t like to damage books.

4. Amazon or brick and mortar? Both.

5. Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random? Grouped by author, at least some of the time, but not ordered.

6. Keep, throw away, or sell? For a long time I kept all books, but now I only keep some and sell the rest to Half Price Books.

7. Keep dust jacket or toss it? Keep it.

8. Read with dust jacket or remove it? If a book has a dust jacket, I use that instead of a bookmark.

9. Short story or novel? Mostly novels though I occasionally buy collections of short stories. Also, I sometimes buy individual short story eBooks.

10. Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket? Neither, though I read part of the first Harry Potter book to my kids when they were younger.

11. Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks? When tired.

12. “It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”? Both.

13. Buy or borrow? Both, though usually I buy. Though in recent years I really only buy eBooks, but I receive physbooks (yes, I just made that up) as gifts.

14. New or used? New.

15. Buying choice: book reviews, recommendations, or browse? All three, though recommendations is the least common.

16. Tidy ending or cliffhanger? I prefer a tidy ending, though it can be implied. A cliffhanger is acceptable if a sequel is all but guaranteed.

17. Morning reading, afternoon reading, or nighttime reading? Idle time reading of eBooks. Physbooks I mostly read in the bathroom or on trips.

18. Stand-alone or series? Either. Perhaps a slight preference for series.

19. Favorite series? That’s a tough one. Probably Issac Asimov’s Foundation series. Or maybe Piers Anthony’s Incarnations of Immortality. Or Julian May’s Pliocene Exile and Galactic Milieu series (together).

20. Favorite children’s book? Well, the first one I remember — and I can still recite parts of it, “eek awk, squeak squak” is Timothy Tinker. Actually, that’s the first one I remember reading. The first one I remember at all is the one I used to hide away so it wouldn’t be read to me: The Monster at the End of this Book.

21. Favorite YA book? I’m honestly not sure whether the books I read as a young adult (that really means teenager in book-speak, right?) were specifically young adult books. But surely all of those Xanth books I read were, so I’ll say one of those. Centaur Aisle, probably.

22. Favorite book of which nobody else has heard? Hmm, that’s a tough one. I’m not sure I really read much that’s obscure. I’m going to go with an eBook, though it looks like this is available as a physbook as well: The Sex Gates, which is the first in a series. The series isn’t bad, but the first book is better.

23. Favorite books read last year? I don’t keep track well enough to know what I read last year. Dead Until Dark was probably one I read last year, so I’ll say that was my favorite. Yes, I was late to the party.

24. Favorite books of all time? Excluding the three series listed above, that would be Macroscope. And maybe Debt of Honor.

25. What are you reading right now? Physbook: The Traveler, eBook: Aethereal’s Pride

26. What are you reading next? I actually just started both of these books recently. My next physbook is probably going to be Enchantment and my next eBook, perhaps City at the End of Time. I may also download an audio book or two for next week’s drive to SantaFe.

27. Favorite book to recommend to an eleven-year-old? That’s tough for me. I’ve been trying to get my 11-year-old to read A Spell for Chameleon, the first Xanth book, but she keeps reading other books instead. It may be a bit too mature for her.

28. Favorite book to reread? I haven’t reread anything in years; there’s just so much new to read all the time. But I would like to reread all three series I mentioned above. And I’ve reread the book I listed as my favorite a number of times in the past.

29. Do you ever smell books? Of course. Well, maybe not the eBooks.

30. Do you ever read primary source documents, like diaries or letters? Nope.

Wow, I made it through all that. I wasn’t sure I would. Did you?