#WWW Wednesday – 31 May 2017

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

I finished Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder and enjoyed it quite a lot. I posted my review here. It’s a bit of a different take on usual high fantasy and I enjoyed that a lot.

I also posted my review of Stephen King’s On Writing. Click the title to read it. As I said last week, I wasn’t the biggest fan, and I went into a bit more detail why in the review.

What are you currently reading?

Dracula by Bram Stoker and Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice on audio  are still ongoing. Haven’t really made much progress on either of those this week. Not sure when I’ll have time for more Dracula, but South Pacific opens this Friday and I have a few occasions where my car pool buddy won’t be with me, so I’ll be driving to and from the theatre on my own. I should be able to knock off a few hours then (though driving home at midnight, I often blast show tunes to keep myself awake, so taht might eat into it a bit).

I have also started Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder, and I’m far enough through it I’m ticking if off for May on my April – June TBR. I’m enjoying it so far but the general consensus on this series seems to be that the follow-ups weren’t as good as the first book. So I’m approaching with caution. I think the fact that I wasn’t a fan of the romance aspect of Poison Study, and Valek and Yelena are separated in this one, is helping.

Finally (I know, I have way too  many books on the go at the moment), I am also reading The Dalai Lama’s Cat by David Michie and it is ADORABLE! I worried that the perspective of the cat would be annoying or just plain weird to read, but it’s not at all. And the aspects of Buddhist teachings are woven in so well that you barely even realise you’re learning about a tenet of Buddhism as you go.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I will hopefully want to read Fire Study next, though I did find that I didn’t want to start Magic Study immediately after Poison Study, and that a couple of days’ break between them was good. I might try to find a standalone to go inbetween. There are a few things on my current TBR that would work.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

~ Emily

P.S. If you’ve come here looking for WIPpet Wednesday, head on over to my new writing blog, Letting the Voices Out. Today’s WIPpet is up! 🙂

“Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.” // Review of “On Writing: a Memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King

Title: On Writing: a Memoir of the Craft
Author: Stephen King
Genre: Non-fiction
Date Read: 16/05/2017 – 23/05/2017
Rating: ★★

Review:

Okay, here’s the thing: I was probably destined not to like this book very much. I’ve not especially liked the books by King that I’ve tried to read (neither of them were well-known ones and I’ll probably change my mind when I get around to reading Carrie or something) nor do I especially like craft books. But literally everyone talks about how inspirational this one is, so I thought I would give it a look.

It‘s not that I didn’t find parts of this book inspirational, but these were mostly in the more memoir-centric parts of the book, rather than the actual advice on writing. I loved that as a teenager, King kept his rejection slips on a spike in his room to spur him on. I loved the story about the editor of a magazine he submitted to when he was only eleven showing up at a book signing decades later asking for that piece of history to be signed. I even didn’t mind the post-script of sorts talking about the incident in 1999 that resulted in several surgeries and confined him to a wheel chair for a period.

One of the things that bothers me about craft books, and this one is no exception, is the conflation of “the way I do it” with “the way you should be doing it”. There are so many books on writing out there and they each contradict a dozen others, but they all claim that theirs is the only method for successful writing (or the tone that is always used seems to suggest that). But then, I think what bugged me even more than that was King then turning around and essentially saying down the track, “But whatever. Do what works for you.” I guess he was meaning that he is providing the framework and we have to do the hard yards, but it still left me thinking, “So… why have I just bothered with the last 150+ pages?”

I think there was also the issue that this book is nearly 20 years old, and it felt dated. When the book was written, the Kindle hadn’t been invented, self-publishing wasn’t worth a person’s time, and blogging was only just taking off as a platform. Most of the useful advice that was presented in the book was stuff that I had read on a dozen blogs before. If I had read it when it was published, when this sort of information was a lot harder to come by, then I may have put more stock in it.


Find me on:
GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

#WWW Wednesday – 24 May 2017

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

I finished On Writing by Stephen King, though I wasn’t really that into it, to be honest. Long story short, I’m not really a King fan or a craft book fan and so I was destined to never really like this one. My review will go up on Friday with more detail.

I have posted two reviews this week, Heart of Brass by Felicity Banks, and The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias. Both were 3* reads for me.

What are you currently reading?

“I don’t like vampires,” she says, then proceeds to read Dracula by Bram Stoker (which continues to be enjoyable, unlike most classics I try to read) and listen to Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice on audio concurrently. The guy who narrates this has the most soothing voice! It’s kind of long but I’m at about 20% going to have a few solitary car trips over the next couple of weeks so I should get through it then.

I have just today started Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. I’ve been really looking forward to starting this series, but as often happens with books I own, I kept putting it aside for library books, ARCs, etc. If nothing else, the covers on these editions are really stunning, but I’ve flown through the first quarter with no trouble today and plan on reading more before bed.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I still have The Dalai Lama’s Cat by David Michie from the library, so I should probably pick that up before too long. But at the same time, if I want to continue the Study series straight away, I’ll do that.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

~ Emily

P.S. If you’ve come here looking for WIPpet Wednesday, head on over to my new writing blog, Letting the Voices Out. Today’s WIPpet isn’t up yet, but you can pass some time reading my other posts for the Story a Day in May challenge.

#WWW Wednesday – 17 May 2017

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

I finally finished Heart of Brass by Felicity Banks. It picked up a bit in the last quarter, and I actually enjoyed the tie-ins with actualy historical events. My review goes up on Friday.

I then whizzed through The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias. It started strong and remained readable throughout, despite some pacing issues. My review is scheduled for next Monday.

My review of How the Aliens from Alpha Centauri Invaded My Maths Class and Turned Me Into a Writer… and How You Can Be One, Too went up on Monday (and hopefully, I will never have to type that title again! Haha!). I feel like I’m finally back on top of reviews, after falling  off the wagon a bit lately. That review is here.

What are you currently reading?

I’ve  been concentrating on  Dracula by Bram Stoker this week. I’m aiming to read two or three chapters each week, and then it won’t take me forever to read it.  Most of the chapters are under 15 pages, so it shouldn’t be that hard. So far my main takeaway is that I want to give Dr Seward a hug. He’s all sad but stoic after Lucy rejected his proposal.

I also managed to pick up On Writing by Stephen King, since all the cool kids are reading it right now. 😛 Off the top of my head, I think I’m only about 50 pages in, so he’s still mostly talking about his childhood, but I am enjoying it so far.

What do you think you’ll read next?

My mother recently recommended The Dalai Lama’s Cat by David Michie to me, so I have got it from the library. The author is a Buddhist and uses the cat’s perspective to inform the reader about Buddhist teachings. It sounds cute but I’m not entirely sure I will enjoy the perspective. We’ll have to see.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

~ Emily

P.S. If you’ve come here looking for WIPpet Wednesday, head on over to my new writing blog, Letting the Voices Out. Today’s WIPpet isn’t up yet, but you can pass some time reading my other posts for the Story a Day in May challenge.

Book Review: Ur by Stephen King

Title: Ur
Author: Stephen King
Genre:
Speculative fiction/sci-fi
Date Read:
23/08/2014
Rating: ★★☆

Review:

Ur_coverThe only other Stephen King book I’ve read is The Colorado Kid, and I didn’t particularly enjoy that one either, so maybe I just keep picking the wrong books. The main thing that unsettled me with this one, though, is that I was never quite sure whether this book was an ad for the Kindle or a caution against it. The first third or so certainly felt like the former, but the rest felt like the latter.

Wesley Smith is an English professor and ardent book lover. He’s dealing with a break-up and his (ex-)girlfriend’s parting shot, “Why can’t you just read off the computer like everyone else?!” After discussing it with a pupil, he decides to buy a Kindle, but the one that shows up at his house is not the white one he ordered, but a bright pink one. It also arrives the next day, when he doesn’t remember paying for next-day delivery. Soon, Wesley discovers an experimental feature called “Ur” and soon learns that he can access author databases in approximately 10 million alternate universes, allowing him to devour works that never got written in our own world. He shares this discovery with aforementioned pupil and a colleague, and then they discover that this is not the only function the UR provides… and those they love could be in danger…

One thing that bugged me the whole way through this book was that even though this book was only ever released on Kindle, King seemed to be assuming that his readers had no idea how technology works. He basically explained step-by-step how Wesley sets up the Kindle when he first receives it, and says things like “he sat down at his desktop Dell computer”, which just felt clunky. I also felt like the characters accepted the nature of the URs far too quickly, especially as it is even mentioned that there are computers that can generate text to emulate particularly authors. That idea is quickly dismissed, though; no, this writing is too good to be an emulation of Hemingway, it could only actually be Hemingway! What?

Apparently the ending ties into King’s Dark Tower series, which I am not familiar with, so that explains why it felt weird and rushed to me. The consequences for Wesley’s misuse of the UR at the end do not seem to really fit the crime (and within the sci-fi context of the story, it basically is a crime), so it felt like a bit of a let down. I’m sure that plenty of people would tell me I just need to read Misery or The Shining but I’m pretty sure those would freak me out too much and I would end up not enjoying those either, albeit for different reasons. Maybe Stephen King just isn’t for me.