Déjà vu

I have the weirdest feeling that I’ve already read the book I’m reading now (Quicksilver by Amanda Quick). And yet, I’m usually really good at remembering books I’ve read, so I’m a little thrown by this. I will admit, the time frame for when I could have read this book falls at a particularly stressful time in my life, so maybe I just legitimately don’t remember it. When I say particularly stressful, I mean one of the most stressful periods in my life, ever.

So it is possible I have read this book and don’t remember.

It’s maddening. Some parts of it feel so familiar and some do not. :o

Also, I’m looking for a new ebook reader app (primarily for EPUBs) for Android. Aldiko is going downhill fast and I’m not sure what to do about that, because it’s the only ebook reader I actually like. :(

Time to restart the reading log for 2018

It’s time to restart the reading log. This time for 2018. :-)

I’m not worried that I haven’t been reading enough fiction this year. Far from it. I spent a lot of time in the first half of this year reading fan fiction. A lot of fan fiction. I can’t tell you how much, but I was so focused on reading that I was reading 2-4 stories a day, a great many of which were novel length.

I delete fan fiction stories and books from my library as soon as I’ve read them if they’re not keepers.

Since January 1, I’ve added 277 stories to my library that I’ve read and gone on to keep because I might want to read them again some day. If that’s anywhere near a representative sample and I keep even one out of every three stories that I read… well, that’s a lot of reading. If I only kept one of out five (more likely) or eight (definitely possible), well then, the numbers start to get ridiculous. Considering how obsessively I was reading, it’s entirely possible the numbers are ridiculous.

All that said, there are a lot of original books I want to read, books I’ve been collecting all year, and it’s time I got started reading them. Putting a number to my progress will remind me not to let time get away from me now that I’m obsessing over my writing again.

I had originally posted all this to the top of the reading log page, but after a little thinking, I decided that I wanted to keep the reading log page focused on the actual reading log and not explanatory text. :)

Kindle Unlimited: a pirate’s treasure

Here’s a screenshot of a post on a forum. Maybe you can guess the forum, but I’m going to do the sane thing here and not mention it by name, because I’m not interested in sending goons after the bad guys and becoming a bad guy myself.

But ain’t that grand?

Personally, it’s just one of many reasons I stay far, far away from Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program.*

(Also known as: Customers ripping off authors by downloading loads of books while signed up to a three-month trial of KU costing 99¢, stripping DRM from those books, reading those books in a way that won’t register for the author’s benefit (AKA authors not getting paid for pages read, because Amazon can’t stop this or account for it because payment is based on page reads instead of something reliably easy to track like, you know, borrows…), and then keeping those books indefinitely after canceling the KU membership.)

Pirating happens, and so does stealing, if one defines this kind of thing as theft. (I do, and although there are technicalities about why this might not be actual theft, I don’t care. Thievery is as good a name for it as any as far as I’m concerned.) There’s not much an author can do about this that won’t cost more in time and effort than is lost to the pirating (and theft), so I don’t worry about it much. Just nothing to be done.

Amazon has proven they’re unwilling to do anything. They switched from a system that worked around this kind of thievery to make sure authors got paid at least for the download to a system that pays literally as little as possible and makes authors eat any losses because of badly behaving Amazon customers.

In all honesty, I probably wouldn’t let this stop me from participating in KU if there were other benefits that I was interested in, but there aren’t, so I don’t. It’s an ugly system, and I choose to stay as far away from it as I can.

As for the pirating and thievery, well, people are either willing to pay or they aren’t. The money gets too slim, they’ll have to read someone else’s books because I won’t be writing, so tough on them if they really liked what they stole. And if they didn’t like it, well, too bad so sad for them. That’s a sweet revenge of a different sort. Reading that stolen book wasted their time, and that’s something they ain’t never getting back. :D

*I did have one book in KU way back when. I won’t bore you with details here but there’s a link if you want to know more.

A link about reading comprehension that’s worth sharing

The Passive Voice posted a link to a great little article about reading today, “How to Get Your Mind to Read,” that tempted me to comment. I wrote one, but then decided the comment went a little too personal for me to post it there, so I’m putting it here instead. :-)

“This was a great piece. I always did spectacularly well on the reading portions of standardized tests, but only after I passed the fifth grade, when I started reading stuff that I wanted to read, a wild collection of random things. Up until then, the school had kept me in the slow reading groups. I also started doing much better than my classmates on games like Trivial Pursuit at about that time, even though I really didn’t like the game much. I can almost bet that had something to do with the kind of reading I started doing at about that time. Not kids’ books, that’s for sure. :) In the end, I graduated third in my class and ended up with my picture on the wall because of my test scores on the ACT. It’s still there, unfortunately, and my poor kids had to live with it staring down at them all through high school. It was awkward that my daughter looks so much like me. She actually had friends ask her why her picture was on the wall and had to tell them it was her mother.”

I liked that this article gave me some interesting ideas about why I might be a “good reader” even though I actually read pretty slowly. I do tend to comprehend what I read, but there are times when I question how I think of myself when it comes to reading. Just yesterday I read an article online that required me to reread a paragraph about four times before I felt like I knew what the heck it was saying!

Sometimes I wonder why it can feel so hard to read some things and not others—even when the words aren’t any more challenging in one piece than another. (In fact, I was thinking about this just yesterday.)

Maybe it’s simply that I’m trying to make connections with knowledge that’s full of gaps.

The article is good reading. Go read it. :D

I’ve been reading (instead of writing!)

Today I read a book. Actually, I read a book the day before yesterday too.

Yesterday, I’m not sure what I did, but I didn’t write, so I had to have done something to pass the time. I did watch this interview with John Banville/Benjamin Black—it was actually fascinating, despite the fact that I’ve read none of the man’s books. Oh, and I did write a post about not writing. It’s quite obvious I wasn’t happy about that. :D

But back to the book I read today: Dauntless by Jack Campbell.

I’ve been planning to read this book for a very long time. At least two years. But I finally got to it today.

The thing that most interested me about the story was the idea that Captain Jack Geary is found in stasis after a hundred years where everyone thought he was dead—and believes he’s a hero. Only he doesn’t see himself that way at all. I like this theme and it’s one that I find difficult to pass up as a reader. :-)

I liked Geary a lot, and I liked the way the book was written. The space battles were ridiculously slow and nail-biting, which sounds totally weird, I know. But when I say slow, I’m not talking about the tension or the pacing, I’m talking about the fact that it takes hours for these guys to make contact after getting visuals because of the time delay that is light in space. It was nerve-wracking waiting for things to happen. :D I have no idea what is and isn’t possible or correct, but as the reader, I believed it, and that’s what matters when it comes to reading fiction.

It was a good book, and I enjoyed it. I still wish I’d spent the day writing instead, but that’s not the fault of the book, trust me.

Of course, you can find out more about Dauntless at Amazon if you’re interested!

The day before yesterday I read The Naturalist by Andrew Mayne and got halfway through it before I realized I’d read something else by this guy. It was a book on writing called How to Write a Novella in 24 Hours (Amazon). I don’t remember much about the book, to be honest.

I didn’t mean to read the whole book in one sitting (of ten hours! because I’m a slow reader), but once I’d started it, I just couldn’t bring myself to stop.

That might say more about me than the book in my current state, but I actually liked this book a lot. If the last couple of chapters had been just a little different I might have loved the book. :D

Dr. Theo Cray was a great character and the science in the book was really cool. I’m not a biologist so don’t ask me if any of it was accurate, but it was interesting and entertaining trying to guess just how knowledgeable Mayne is about this stuff, because he did a fantastic job of making me believe he knows quite a lot. But—and there’s definitely a but—the ending of the book disappointed me.

It ended a little too abruptly to be satisfying. (And now I feel a lot more sympathetic to the reviewers who complained about that with a couple of my books, lol.) (Although, honestly, I felt pretty sympathetic to start with. I still have a problem with endings despite the fact that I’ve been publishing for five years and that’s how I make my living. I’m working on it!)

I’m not even sure why I decided to read The Naturalist instead of something else, but once I’d started the first page, I was hooked. :-)

The book was a Kindle First selection a while back and that’s how I got my copy. This makes the fourth (I think) Kindle First book I’ve actually read all the way through. (Let’s see if I can remember: Doubt, A Death in Sweden, When They Come for You, and The Naturalist.) I definitely liked The Naturalist best of all those books.

The Naturalist is at Amazon if you want to know more!

Read a really lovely essay today on a random blog

I think I clicked a link to get to it from somewhere, but by the time I read the essay, I’d lost track of where I’d been. It doesn’t matter. The essay was lovely and I enjoyed it enough to want to share. :)

It warns you for politics, but it really isn’t political. It’s about being human.

Surviving trolls, extremism and other curses of modern life

Binge reading means no writing

I’ve been binge reading again. Unfortunately, when that happens, I don’t write. I don’t have time. I read in every spare moment I have and I can’t seem to pull myself away. I’ve read a lot of books in the last several days and started even more that I didn’t finish for one reason or another.

However, I have to get some real writing done today no matter how desperate I am to finish reading the book I started a few hours ago (The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick) (after I finished reading How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days by Kerrelyn Sparks).

I mean it. I have to write today.

I haven’t written a word of fiction in two days and it’s bumming me out. Unfortunately, that hasn’t actually made it easier to do any writing. I think I’m avoiding my book.

I don’t have a time machine so there’s no point in dwelling on it, but I do have to do better today.

I have to stop avoiding my book. >:-{

More reading—productivity tips for artists

I’ve been procrastinating again—or, really, I never stopped. I’ve pretty much spent the entire day reading articles about productivity, flexible schedules, fixed schedules, procrastination, and tiny habits. Today’s most interesting find was “How to be Productive When You’re Lazy – A Guide for Artists” at rubberonion.com.

I do just about everything mentioned already, but it set off a few thoughts that I’m still trying to follow to their endpoint.

The thing is, I have huge aspirations for the next 12 months. I want to write a great many books this year, and I’m not off to a strong start. Frankly, in the bluntest of terms, I haven’t started at all this year.

I obsess too much about how productive I’m being (or not being), and I don’t give myself enough real* downtime, which usually sets off a cycle of procrastination that eats up significantly more time than I might have if I’d just given myself permission to be lazier. ;) These aren’t points of the article/post but they’re the thoughts that came into my mind while reading the post.

Anyway, more to think about as I try to get myself back to writing every day.

*TV watching is not real downtime! (Something I’ve only recently accepted.) When I watch television/videos, I don’t ever end the time feeling better, more rested, or more energetic than I was when I started. Comparing it to something else: reading often makes me want to start writing, but TV almost never does.

Reading Log: Garden of Lies

Started reading: 9/19/2015

Garden of Lies - Amanda Quick

Finished reading: 9/22/2015

I started reading this one this morning. So far, I like it very much. It’s set in Victorian England and the hero and heroine are both interesting characters, as are several of the background characters. :)

Update 9/22: I finished this one today. I actually liked it quite a lot. I have this feeling Slater was mentioned in a previous book but I can’t be sure. Either way, I enjoyed a lot of different things about this particular one. I thought the mystery was very well done. I still kind of miss the more common tropes Quick used to write (fake engagements, etc) but I didn’t miss it quite so much in this book.

*I’m trying out a new way of doing my reading log posts. This way I get to keep up with some of the books I start and don’t finish for a while.