The State of the Reader: 8/30/17

<–The State of the Reader: 8/23/17          The State of the Reader: 9/6/17–>

A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and where I am with them in addition to what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads to make it easier for interested parties to add any books that might strike their fancy.  I attempt to use the covers for the edition I’m reading, and I’ll mention if this is not the case.  If you have a Goodreads account feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Samples Read This Week

  1. Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison: Passed – Urban fantasy has to work really hard to get my attention, and this doesn’t do it. Way too many UF clichés for my taste. I know Kim Harrison is pretty popular and has other books/series, so I’ll try some of her other stuff before writing her off (yes, I suppose that was a writer pun).
  2. The Spirit Within by Sheila Renee Parker: Passed – It didn’t hold my interest despite its Final Fantasy-esque name, though to be fair, that was not a good movie.  It (the novel) is about domestic abuse and withstanding that, which I’m fine with as a narrative, but I don’t think there’s enough of a fantasy element for my tastes..
  3. First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones: Kept – Witty and wonderful writing, and the beginning saw the main character in a situation hilariously dire, awkward, and strange.
  4. Hounded by Kevin Hearne: Kept (RWTR) – 21 centuries old, hot, Irish shapeshifter with a magic/holy sword.  Yes please.
  5. Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray: Kept – As grim of an opening as First Grave on the Right was humorous.  The main character Noemi knows she’s going to die in three weeks (20 days), and she wants her death and therefore life to have some purpose.
  6. Planetfall by Emma Newman: Kept – Opening with something I can fully relate to is a good way to start a story, and I was already drawn in by what the blurb itself promised.
  7. Eating Robots: And Other Stories by Stephen Oram: Kept – Kept and purchased for a low price.  It’s a collection of short sci-fi stories recommended by a fellow blogger.
  8. Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede: Kept (RWTR) – This was recommended by none other than Hungrygoriya herself.  It took me a while to get to the sample, but I loved it.  I’ve read a lot of unconventional princess stories, but when done right, they never cease to delight.
  9. Blood Rose by Danielle Rose: Kept – It’s good enough to borrow from the library.  There’s an ancestral war between witches and vampires.  That’s a new one for me.
  10. Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut: Kept – I’m definitely interesting and probably would’ve kept this even without the sample.  It’ll more than likely be put on my library list, which I may actually make on the library’s site.
  11. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury: Kept – Same as Vonnegut above.  I want to get more into science fiction and the science fiction greats.
  12. The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley: Kept – Wibbley wobbly timey wimey!  I’m usually pretty good for any story that features well done time travel.

Books Purchased This Week: 2

Title: Master of Crows
Series Title: Master of Crows
Author: Grace Draven
Date Added: May 12, 2016
Date Purchased: August 26, 2017

Master of Crows

Media: eBook/Kindle
Price: $3.99
Retailer: Amazon


Title: Eating Robots: And Other Stories
Author: Stephen Oram
Date Added: April 10, 2017
Date Purchased: August 27, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Price: $2.99
Retailer: Amazon

Total Price: $6.98
Average Price: $3.49


Books DNF This Week: 1

Title: The Metaphysical Detective
Series Title: Riga Hayworth
Author: Kirsten Weiss
Date Added: October 22, 2016
Date Started: August 20, 2017
Date DNF: August 27, 2017
Reading Duration: 7 days

Media: eBook/Kindle
Percentage Read: 20%

The premise is interesting, a widow potentially murdered by her dead husband, but none of the characters really intrigued me, and I’m not interested enough in the mystery to get past that.


Books Finished This Week: 2

Title: Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain
Author: David Eagleman
Date Added: May 7, 2017
Date Started: July 2, 2017
Date Finished: August 25, 2017
Reading Duration: 54 days

Media: Paperback

I have so much to say about this book.  On one hand is was a marvelous venture and exploration into the literal stuff that makes us us, but on the other I have fairly egregious critiques.  I’m not even sure how I’m going to rate this.  The information presented and the insights it gave are invaluable, and the amount of notes I have on the subject show that, but I can’t divest them from the biases of the source.  By the time I get around to reviewing this (and it’s at the end of a 20 book list at this point), I’m sure I’ll have had plenty of time to ruminate upon it.  Suffice it to say I do recommend this volume for anyone interested in the mysteries of consciousness, and by some lucky coincidence I happened to read this around the same time I was watching SOMA.

Title: The Archived
Series Title: The Archived
Author: Victoria Schwab
Date Added: July 12, 2016
Date Started: July 11, 2017
Date Finished: August 29, 2017
Reading Duration: 49 days

Media: Hardback/Library

This book was an absolute delight to read in terms of Ms. Schwab’s prose.  I had very little problems with any of the plot (save for some annoyance at one of Mackenzie’s foolish, yet understandable, decisions).  I was surprised that the love triangle produced two likable candidates, though one was obviously a bad choice, and I was playfully irritated at one of the villains, because (for me) it was just too expected.


Books Currently Reading: 7

Title: The City of Ember
Series Title: The Book of Ember
Author: Jeanne DuPrau
Date Added: June 28, 2016
Date Started: August 30, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle (Library)
Progress: 8%

What a time to be alive!  I borrowed this from the library through Amazon Kindle.  I have it for 21 days (hopefully I can renew if necessary), and this means I don’t have to make a trip to the library in order to borrow books.  It’s a fantastic resource that will help people who have mobility, transportation, and/or any other issue that makes it difficult for them to be out and about.  This is why I love technology.  It can be a wonderful tool to provide ways and means for the entire population.

So far, I’m really liking this novel.  I just started it right before I left work, and it’s the perfect example of when a prologue is valid.  Ember’s mysterious builders needed the citizens to stay in the city for at least 200 years, but they provided a box on a timer that would open up on the appropriate date with instructions therein.  Each mayor had instructions about the box, and they were supposed to pass it on to their successor, but as things can often go, the information was lost and the box forgotten.  Now Ember is in trouble.  Food is growing scarce and famine is imminent.  The electricity is unstable, and if it goes out, the city will be left in utter darkness.  It’s been 241 years, 41 since the box has been open, and time is running out.

Title: Abstract Clarity
Author: B. W. Ginsburg
Date Added: June 27, 2017
Date Started: August 28, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Progress: 25%

This is a series of short stories by the blogger friend who also wrote Rest in Piece.  I’ve read two stories so far and the premise of each was very interesting.  Because we’re in email communication, I’m probably going to send her one with my critiques before posting anything on Goodreads or Amazon.

Title: Chobits, Vol. 1
Series Title: Chobits
Author: CLAMP
Translator: Shirley Kubo
Date Added: August 27, 2017
Date Started: August 28, 2017

Media: Physical/Paperback
Progress: 17%

So far I haven’t gotten beyond what I saw with the anime yet, but I do remember how messed up this story was haha.  Where Chi’s “on” switch is located is quite…interesting *headdesk*  This was clearly written for a particular demographic, but I’m not giving up hope yet :p

Title: Popular Tales from Norse Mythology
Author: George Webbe Dasent
Date Added: June 19, 2016
Date Started: August 27, 2017

Media: Physical/Paperback
Progress: 5%

As much as I love Norse Mythology, the writing in this is really dry.  It’s less of a story and more of a stating of information.  I’ve only read “The Story of Gram” so far, but I’m hoping the next ones are more prosaic, else this might end up in my DNF pile.  If it does, I’ll just pick up The Prose Edda, and call it a day.

Title: Strange the Dreamer
Series Title: Strange the Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
Date Added: April 18, 2016
Date Started: August 26, 2017

Media: Physical/Hardback
Progress: 11%

I can’t imagine a world where this book isn’t going to receive five stars.  I love when authors hide cleverness in simplicity, and the title does just that.  Double entendres are one of my loves (I use them myself all the time), and I’m happy I figured out the one in the title before it was blatantly revealed in the text.  It’s both describing the Dreamer as “strange” in a poetic way, and it’s also giving the main character’s name and title/description as (Lazlo) Strange, the Dreamer.  It’s so simple, but so clever.  Also, I thought I’d already picked my Book of the Year for 2017, but I may have been wrong.  I love everything about this novel, and the more I read, the more I adore it.

Title: Dweller
Author: Jeff Strand
Date Added: February 13, 2017
Date Started: August 23, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Percentage: 73%

I actually was close to declaring this DNF, because the writing seemed a bit too juvenile for me, but I realize it perfectly fit the character, and it “grew” as he did.  This is one of the most unique books I’ve ever read.  We’ve all heard of monster stories, but stories where the protagonist not only befriends, but is best friends with the monster is something new to me.  Some really fucked up stuff happens in this book, yet you can’t help but sympathize with Toby and understand how in his loneliness he found a friend in the creature he named Owen.

I thought I figured out how this novel would end, but I now have no idea, and I love that: when an author makes you constantly reassess where you think a story is going.  I’m about three-quarters done, and the stakes could not be higher.

Title: The Winter’s Tale
Author: William Shakespeare
Date Added: August 24, 2014
Date Started: August 14, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Progress: 55%

I haven’t reached the problematic part of this play yet (problematic in that it doesn’t fit into Shakespeare’s four categories of comedy, tragedy, history, or romance).  I’m quite invested in the story and am happy I’m adept enough at Shakespearean English to have little trouble comprehending it.


Books Removed from Goodreads TBR List This Week: 1

Title: Magicians of the God: The Forgotten Wisdom of Earth’s Lost Civilizations
Author: Graham Hancock
Date Added: August 22, 2017
Date Removed: August 24, 2017

Yes, this is a new section.  I’ve removed quite a few books from my TBR list that I haven’t mentioned, and I figured I ought to.  After talking with my mythology/theology/symbology expert friend, she more than agreed with my trepidation and misgivings about this volume and told me it wasn’t worth my time even for the symbolism aspect.  She’d heard of the author who was, as I’d put it, a “History Channel aliens” type.  This conversation cropped up, because I specifically asked her for recommended reading on Venusian symbolism and wound up disclosing this addition.  She’s the one who gave me the recommendations on the first two books added to my TBR list below.  So though I removed one; I added two.  No luck in clearing or even cutting down my list I suppose.


Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 6

Title: Lost Goddesses of Early Greece: A Collection of Pre-Hellenic Myths
Author: Charlene Spretnak
Date Added: August 24, 2017
Recommended By: Other

What the hell is this “other” recommendation, you ask?  Well, this and the book below it were suggested to me by an old, high school friend who doesn’t have a blog.  I didn’t want to put “N/A,” because that wouldn’t be true, but I guess I don’t see the point in putting a name if there’s no blog or site to link it to.

Title: Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood: A Treasury of Goddess and Heroine Lore from Around the World
Author: Merlin Stone
Illustrator: Cynthia Stone
Date Added: August 24, 2017
Recommended By: Other

I keep meaning to renew my Barnes and Noble membership card; its only $25 to do so, but I keep forgetting.  I desperately need to do another book run, because I have no graphic novels and I’m running out of (interesting) references to read.  Another recommendation by my erudite friend.  The knowledge of the ancients shall be mine mwahahaha.

Title: The Sun Is Also a Star
Author: Nicola Yoon
Date Added: August 25, 2017
Recommended By: N/A

I swore I already had this on my list.  One of my blogger friends posted about it, and I commented such on their page, but then when I looked to verify, I found I inadvertently spoke falsehood.  Since I don’t recall whose page I last saw it on, I can’t add a proper “Recommended By,” and, well, since it wasn’t technically recommended to me by them, but rather reminded to me by them, it wouldn’t be quite accurate anyway, would it?

A fate and the universe story.  I’m looking forward to seeing what all the hubbub is about.

Title: Unraveling Oliver
Author: Liz Nugent
Date Added: August 26, 2017
Recommended By: By Hook or By Book

Dark and psychological with a 5 star review from someone I trust is all that’s needed for me to add a novel.  The first line (or the line Kim used) still stays with me “I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.”  It’s terrifying and dangerous to plunge into the heart of darkness, because what you may find may shatter the light rather than be illuminated by it.

Title: Chobits, Vol. 1
Series Title: Chobits
Author: CLAMP
Date Added: August 27, 2017
Recommended By: N/A

This was a lapse on my part.  I’ve owned this book for years, but I must have missed it when I went through my bookshelf.  This is pretty perfect though, as I needed a graphic novel to read.  I’ve only seen parts of the anime, so it’ll be nice to find out the rest or at least more of the story.

Title: Ubik
Author: Philip K. Dick
Date Added: August 29, 2017
Recommended By: Professional Moron

More existential horror for TSN!  I must be a glutton for punishment or perhaps I’m just willing to suffer for my art, which (still) seems to be the fashion.  Since I want to write cosmic and existential horror, it’s crucial I read it.  This is considered one of the 100 greatest novels since 1923.  Let’s see if it holds up to the test of (almost) a century.

Total Books on Goodreads TBR List: 489
Change from Last Week: -2


Books Added to Reread List This Week: 1

Title: The Name of the Wind
Series Title: The Kingkiller Chronicle
Author: Patrick Rothfus
Date Added: August 28, 2017

Not only have I read this before, but I’ve reviewed it, too.  Damn my supervisor/coworker for reminding me about it lol.  He came back from vacation and around Monday at 4:00 or so asked me if I’d read this and why the hell hadn’t the author finished the third yet.  That started a conversation about Rothfuss and Martin, because they both published their last book in 2011, and nary a publishing peep has been heard from them since.  I said I should reread this, because it’s almost as epic of a series as ASOIAF.

Total Books on Goodreads To Reread List: 69
Change from Last Week: +1


Fanfictions Finished This Week: 0


Fanfictions Currently Reading: 1

Title: I Will Call You Home: A Recounting of the Fifth Blight
Fandom: Dragon Age/Dragon Age: Origins
Pairing: Leliana & Various
Author: AthenaTseta
Date Started: March 16, 2017

Progress: Chapter 30

I have this scheduled to read on Mondays, but I don’t think I got to it before I played Mario Kart with one of my Twitter friends.  I think I need to change the day I read it or add another day of the week (if possible).  I still have a lot of chapters to get through.  Maybe I’ll be able to catch up on vacation.


Fanfictions On Hold: 2

Title: I’m the Darkness, You’re the Starlight
Fandom: Final Fantasy VI
Pairing: Celes Chere & Setzer Gabbiani
Author: runicmagitek
Date Started: June 19, 2016

Last Update: February 18, 2017
Latest Chapter: Chapter 18

Title: The Broken Orrery
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Pairing: Sephiroth & Aeris
Author: CymbelinesHalo
Date Started:  April 1, 2015

Last Update: August 1, 2016
Latest Chapter: Chapter 39


Fanfictions Added to TBR List This Week: 0


What are you currently reading and/or what’s on your radar to read next?  What would you recommend based on my current and recently added?  As always I look forward to your comments and suggestions!

<–The State of the Reader: 8/23/17          The State of the Reader: 9/6/17–>

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28 thoughts on “The State of the Reader: 8/30/17

  1. Pingback: The State of the Reader: 8/23/17 | The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

    • Not at all! It’s actually not only informative, but entertaining. It was around Chapter 5 or 6 where the first “blunder” came lol. It’s one of those you take it with a grain of salt, and it’s also possible I’m more bothered by it than others will be. Athena read it, too, but saw it more as the way a structural neurologist would look at thing. I still think the social aspect is important, BUT he does state that in the last chapter.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I agree you should read it! Considering the subject matter, Eagleman does a really great job explaining complex neurological ideas in a very approachable and understandable way.

      And yeah, I’m not bothered by his emphasis on brain structure and neural connectivity. The “mind,” to me, is this thing we’re trying to understand, and it’s within a room full of windows. Everyone is looking at it through one window or another, so they’re not wrong, they just see things from a different angle, and use their own language to say the same things, sometimes. It’s definitely worth your time!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve read some of the series mentioned of Kim Harrison. I stopped after book 4 because it went places that I wasn’t fond of. I basically read these books as a distracton, and I didn’t need to think (started them that winter I stayed over your house every weekend lol).

    For some reason I could never get into Vonnegut. I’ve tried three of his books and couldn’t even get to the halfway point-if I even kept reading after a few pages. I’m willing to try them again, since it’s been awhile since I’ve tried to read his books. But I have so many other books on the to be read list it’s not a priority.

    I’ve read the book of Ember (the whole series), and I agree with you. They were definitely enjoyable to read.

    The Winter’s Tale doesn’t really fit his molds, like you said, But it actually became one of my favorites.

    The Archived, Strange the Dreamer, and Ubrick all sounds very interesting, especially Strange the Dreamer. Let them all be put on my “TBR” index cards (I should really make an excel chart…).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I just added The Drafter to my TBR list on another friend’s recommendation. That one looks really interesting.

      My brother had his Time Quake. I never read it, but someone I think Issa recommended Mother Night.

      I really like the Ember series so far, and The Winter’s Tale was a must read because I’ve read Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin, which I’m assuming was named for it, but so far, I don’t see any similarities hah.

      Do you use Goodreads? That’s how I keep track of all of the books I want to read.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Woo! Glad to see Hounded made the cut. 🙂 I really need to get back into the Iron Druid Chronicles soon. I loved Hounded when I read it.
    And yay, Strange the Dreamer! ❤ I wish I had some more free time on my hands to really burn through this book like I want to. I devoured the Daughter of Smoke and Bone when I read it (it's easy to do with Laini Taylor's writing), but things have just been far too busy lately. Harrumph!
    I'm so glad Dweller didn't get condemned as a DNF. I am really looking forward to hearing what you think of it once you've finished reading it. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s exactly how I feel about Strange! I wish I had more time to just read and read. This is the first book by her that I have, even though I think I have/had Daughter of Smoke and Bone on my TBR list. I heard too many good things about Strange to not read it first.

      Omg Dweller…I’m glad I kept going to. It had the perfect ending for the type of story it was.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, there’s definitely nothing more frustrating than having the best book to read, but never the time you need to sit and read it as much as you’d like to. 😛 I added to my suffering recently by picking up another book I’ve had on my TBR list since it was first announced (Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman novel). So now I lack the time to read the books I’m currently reading (and loving) and have a book I can’t wait to read on the back burner for who knows how long. lol It’s torture, I tell you, absolute TORTURE!
        Yay, that makes me SO happy that you kept going with Dweller and that you enjoyed the ending. I agree, the ending was perfect for the story. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: The State of the Reader: 9/6/17 | The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

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