Finally back to this!
I only read three books that I classified as speculative fiction:
I also read two pieces of historical fiction:
I read one novella, another Captain Lacey story by Ashley Gardner, The Necklace Affair. Again, the Captain solves the mystery with the help of his many friends and even an enemy or two. I really enjoy this series!
Finally, I listened to one audiobook, On the Trail of the Space Pirates by Carey Rockwell. I got it from Librivox.org. The story was written for kids, but it was fun to listen to. The young hero, Tom Corbett, is a Space Cadet in the traditional sense of the word, and he ends up saving the day. I enjoyed it.
So that finished up my May reading. So far in June I haven’t read as much as usual, but I may catch up!
I’ve been traveling and haven’t had time, interest or internet connection to post last month’s reading until now. But finally, I am back home and ready to post.
I read The Conquest of the Illinois by George Rogers Clark. It was very interesting to me. I like reading about history (as long as there are no wars involved!) and, being from Illinois, I am especially interested in the history of that part of the country. I won’t say that this was always an easy or fascinating read, but I am glad I read it.
I read 7 mysteries:
OK, I managed to take a lot longer to finish this post than it should have, and I still have a bunch of books to go, so I will be back to finish May’s reading!
Well, it has taken a little while for me to get back to this, but here goes.
I read two pieces of speculative fiction:
For Historical Fiction, I read The Sudbury School Murders by Ashley Gardner. I really like these books. They are mysteries set in the early 1800s. As is always the case, the mystery was good, and the glimpse into England at that time was quite enjoyable. Captain Lacey has taken a job at a boys school, apparently to solve the problem of serious pranks being played on people at the school. It ends up being much more complicated than that, as the title would imply. I thoroughly enjoyed this book!
I read two pieces of shorter fiction:
I also got back in to listening to books, Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy this month. It was an interesting story of how the world might have been in the year 2000. Bellamy had much higher hopes for us than we deserve, I’m afraid. I got the audio version from Librivox.org.
So April wasn’t a bad month for reading, but it wasn’t great, either. Let’s see how May goes!
I didn’t do a lot of reading in April. My classes took a lot of time, getting the students all settled and comfortable with the courses. But I did some, and I’ll tell you about it here.
I read one non-fictoin book, Hagakure: the Book of the Samurai by Yamamoto Tsunetomo. It was read a research for the books. The edition I read was a poorly done one, but it was free, so I guess I can’t complain! It was an interesting read, but by now it seems familiar. If I were going to read this again, I would opt for a different edition.
I read 4 mysteries:
OK, that’s all I have time for today. More tomorrow?
I read an article on the Guardian today that has me thinking. The title is “How eBooks lost their shine: ‘Kindles now look clunky and unhip’. Unfortunately, I am not sure what I think about it.
The author talks about the resurgence of physical books, stating
figures published today by the Publishing Association show that sales of consumer ebooks have dropped by 17%, while sales of physical books are up 8%.
Overall sales of books in Britain have risen, she goes on to state, which is the good news in all of this as far as I am concerned. The format of the books isn’t as important as the reading of books.
What irritated me was this:
Once upon a time, people bought books because they liked reading. Now they buy books because they like books. “All these people are really thinking about how the books are – not just what’s in them, but what they’re like as objects,” says Jennifer Cownie, who runs the beautiful Bookifer website and the Cownifer Instagram, which match books to decorative papers, and who bought a Kindle but hated it.
In general, this seems like a throwback to the days of people having libraries or bookshelves filled with books that were there to impress, not to be read. That doesn’t seem like progress to me. Books are for reading, not as a kind of art. It shouldn’t matter what the cover looks like; the story is what matters.
And I have to wonder why she didn’t like her Kindle. Was it because it was unhip or because reading on it was not pleasurable? Did she give the Kindle a chance or just abandon it right away?
Buried way down in the article was a very important statement:
The figures from the Publishing Association should be treated with some caution. They exclude self-published books, a sizable market for ebooks. And, according to Dan Franklin, a digital publishing specialist, more than 50% of genre sales are on ebook. Digital book sales overall are up 6%.
Most of the authors I read are self-published. Part of that is because there are some awesome self-published authors out there, and part is because traditional publishers often price their ebooks at or higher than the paperback editions.
There is another side to this discussion, too, and that is privacy. My husband sent me a link to a First Monday article by Clifford Lynch on reader privacy in the age of reader analytics. I will admit to not having read the whole article, but his closing thoughts include these:
At some point it’s worth asking what readers of various kinds will actually tolerate before the creepiness factor becomes overwhelming and repulsive. Suppose, as a thought experiment, that Amazon said it would share every purchaser’s e-mail address with the author of books they purchased? (Pick your own opt-in or opt-out boundary conditions). How about sharing this information with the book’s publisher? Would a discount on the purchase price or some other reward make most readers more comfortable? What conditions (enforceable or not) might be imposed on the author or the publisher regarding reuse of this purchaser information, and would this make any difference to readers’ comfort levels? What choices would customers make in such situations?
I probably don’t worry as much about privacy as I should. Do I need to worry about Amazon or Kobo selling my data? Would I be better off switching to paper books? Amazon could still sell my data if I buy my books from them. I don’t see much way around it: we have very limited privacy anymore.
My husband loves to buy and read physical books. He only reads used books that he buys or gets from lending libraries without any paper trail. He is very concerned about privacy and, although he has had two ereaders, never got into ebooks. His approach is a fine one, I think. But it doesn’t work for me.
I love my ereaders. I love my ebooks. I buy mostly genre fiction by independent authors, so ebooks are right for me. What about you?
I had thought that Deathless, this month’s free tor.com ebook club selection would be easier to read than Shadow and Claw was last month, but I think I spoke too soon. I am over half way done with it — just over halfway done with it. It is going very slowly for some reason.
I think it is because the fantasy isn’t realistic — as silly as that sounds. It is too fantastic for me. The book is based on Russian folklore, and it just isn’t working for me. Maybe if I knew the stories behind the book, it would be easier to follow. But I don’t know the stories, so…
I am going to finish this book just like I finished last month’s. And I will get next month;s book and read it, too. But I will begin to lose interest in them if they keep being too strange for me. Even a free book isn’t worth struggling through if it isn’t enjoyable.
I hope, if you happen to have read this book, that you will leave a comment and tell me what you thought. I am completely open to believing that the fault is mine, not the book’s. I just need for someone to help me see it through different eyes!
If you were considering reading Deathless while it is available from Tor.com’s ebook club, I encourage you to do so. I am more than a quarter of the way through it, and I have been pleasantly surprised. In some ways it reminds me of Shadow and Claw, but it is much, much easier to read. I can’t say that I really love it so far, but I am enjoying it. So if you were wavering, I encourage you to give it a try. After all, it isn’t going to cost you anything! Remember, it’s only available through April 16. Get it here.