The State of the Reader: 9/6/17

<–The State of the Reader: 8/30/17          The State of the Reader: 9/13/17–>

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. The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima: Kept – I remember picking this up in the bookstore on one of my many trips there.  It was a bit pricey (over $10), so I didn’t just purchase it, but it was interesting enough for an add, and any story that has a secret and evil amulet is usually good enough to hold my interest.
  2. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket: Kept – Despite not liking the movie with Jim Carey as the villain (and I haven’t yet seen the Netflix show), I like the charm and laissez-faire voice of the book.
  3. The Grim Company by Luke Scull: Kept – I’m kind of blanking on the samples I read this week.  I remember I liked this enough (and it was inexpensive enough) to buy it, and from reading the blurb I can see why.  I’m fond of stories where the heroes aren’t shy about killing if necessary, and a world that suffers for the pettiness of the gods in their eternal warring always makes for a rousing tale.
  4. Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke: Kept – Though this is a classic by a renown sci-fi author, I wasn’t immediately intrigued by the beginning, but the premise of humans being a “child” race forced to grow up is something I’ll utilize my library for.
  5. The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyne Keene: Kept – The first book in the Nancy Drew series…drew me to it not the least for nostalgia’s sake alone.  While it shows its age plainly before the end of the first page, this in now way dissuades me from adding it to my (growing) library list.
  6. Coal by Constance Burris: Kept – I knew I was going to keep this, because I’m pretty sure the main character is a Black kid, and while fiction/fantasy is definitely getting a lot better, it still needs support.  The fact that the book was literally free meant I have yet another novel in my Kindle collection.
  7. The Field Guide by Holly Black: Kept – This was one of the rare samples that never reached the sample text.  It ended right after the table of context.  I put it on my library shelf.  It’s the first book in The Spiderwick Chronicles.
  8. The Survivors by Nick Farmer: Kept – It reminded me of The Last of Us a little bit, but with more “immune” infected I suppose.
  9. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld: Kept – I believe an IRL friend said she would lend me this book/series.  It’s an interesting concept, literally receiving prettiness at the age of 16 like a driver’s license, and there’s quite a bit of social commentary that can be made about such a a thing.
  10. Red Harvest by Joe Schreiber: Kept – A Star Wars novel.  Why the hell not?
  11. Out of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis: Kept – I never knew Lewis even wrote sci-fi until a certain bookish Mage told me so.  I’m sure I can procure a copy from my local library.

Books Purchased This Week: 6

Title: The Grim Company
Series Title: The Grim Company
Author: Luke Scull
Date Added: April 18, 2017
Date Purchased: September 1, 2017

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

Title: Coal
Series Title: Everleaf
Author: Constance Burris
Date Added: April 23, 2017
Date Purchased: September 2, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Price: $0.00
Retailer: Amazon

Title: The Survivors: A Novelette
Author: Nick Farmer
Date Added: April 26. 2017
Date Purchased: September 3, 2017

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

Title: A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings
Author: Gabriel Márquez Garcí­a
Date Added: May 17, 2017
Date Purchased: September 3, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Price: $0.99
Retailer: Amazon

Title: The Epic of Gilgamesh
Author: Anonymous,
Translator: N. K. Sandars
Date Added: June 6, 2017
Date Purchased: September 3, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Price: $0.99
Retailer: Amazon

Title: Oryx and Crake
Series Title: MaddAddam
Author: Margaret Atwood
Date Added: August 8, 2017
Date Purchased: September 5, 2017

Media: Physical/Paperback
Price: $14.40
Retailer: Barnes & Noble

Total Price: $22.36
Average Price: $3.73

Books DNF This Week: 1

Title: Popular Tales from Norse Mythology
Author: George Webbe Dasent
Date Added: June 19, 2016
Date Started: August 27, 2017
Date DNF: September 3, 2017
Reading Duration: 7 days

Media: Physical/Paperback
Progress: 8%

The writing was just too dry and plodding.  There was no real prose in it.  My next book on Norse Mythology will be The Prose Edda.

Books Finished This Week: 2

Title: Dweller
Author: Jeff Strand
Date Added: February 13, 2017
Date Started: August 23, 2017
Date Finished: August 31, 2017
Reading Duration: 8 days

Media: eBook/Kindle

This book…this book.  So fucked up yet so intriguing.  It took me a bit to get into it and grow used to the writing style, which is a bit simplistic, but once I did, I realized it was the best form for this type of story.

Title: Abstract Clarity
Author: B. W. Ginsburg
Date Added: June 27, 2017
Date Started: August 28, 2017
Date Finished: September 5, 2017
Reading Duration: 8 days

Media: eBook/Kindle

Time to write up a review!

Books Currently Reading: 7

Title: Moon Called
Series Title: Mercy Thompson
Author: Patricia Briggs
Date Added: August 23, 2016
Date Started: September 6, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Progress: 5%

I need to figure out where I left off reading when I had the sample.  This is why I’ve started just reading a page or two of that, because I can usually tell pretty quickly if I’ll keep going.  I really, really love the mien of this book, though I was warned about some misogynistic overtones.  I did notice a bit of a self-deprecating statement from Mercy herself:

Sometimes being a female is useful in my line of work—my hands are smaller so I can get them places a man can’t. However, even weightlifting and karate can’t make me as strong as a strong man. Usually leverage can compensate, but sometimes there’s no substitute for muscle, and I had just barely enough to get the job done.
If this is as bad as it gets, I can handle it.  I’m on the fence about whether I completely agree or disagree. Like Mercy might not be able to be as strong as a strong man, because of her build,but it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s universal for all woman.  So far this is reading like the typical, er, stereotypical views of men and woman, which while annoying, isn’t a complete deal breaker so long as it doesn’t get completely out of hand.  Do I analyze things to the extreme?  Yes, I do, so there’s no need to inform me of this 😉

Title: Hands, Kings, & City-States: Analyzing a World of Ice and Fire
Author: Steven Attewell
Date Added: May 12, 2016
Date Started: September 5, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Percentage: 2%

It is so weird to read a book that’s a reference for a work of fiction, but really when you think about it, how many books and studies are there on mythology, which most people of course now believe is fiction (atheists would argue that an analysis/study on current religious belief fall under the same umbrella, but I shall not be that antagonistic)?  So I’m looking at this more as an examination on a narrative that is poised to become as much of a cultural influence as J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, which has quite a few published analyses, nor is it the only work of fiction to boast such.  Ironically (and I’ll explain why momentarily), I’m drawn to the Umberto Eco quote that I used in my Fanfiction Defense, and Martin abhors fanfiction, which I really need to discuss in an update of the fore mentioned above.

Anyway, this is a thorough examination of the office and concept of Hand of the King by Steven Attewell who is either in the process of or has completed brilliant breakdowns of each chapter of Martin’s seminal work on his website Race for the Iron Throne.  Thus regardless of my opinion on some of Martin’s views, he has managed to create something that inspires analysis and creation, and that at least casts a light on the gist of Eco’s words.

Title: Master of Crows
Series Title: Master of Crows
Author: Grace Draven
Date Added: May 12, 2016
Date Started: August 31, 2017

Master of Crows

Media: eBook/Kindle
Percentage: 21%

This is going slow, but it is progressing nicely.  I’m okay with a slow burn book as long as the fire never goes out, and this one only grows.  I’m starting to recognize some of Draven’s favorite tropes and motifs: paranormal/outcast male character, not “conventionally” attractive female character who nonetheless is witty and clever with a kind heart who doesn’t treat people typically deemed “lower class” or servants poorly (I really like this one), and the female character “escapes” from a former, shrewish guardian.  Shit…I know why I like her stories!  All of those motifs are ones I used in my The Serpent’s Tale.  Oh mercy, I am a Shameful Narcissist :p

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: 27%

This book is both fantastically imaginative and yet utterly jarring in how well I can picture it.  Even though the city of Ember doesn’t exist (to my knowledge), the rising fear of what will occur if they continue on as they have is palpable.

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: 63%

Now this is the type of sexism/misogyny that makes me want to gnash my teeth, and yet…there’s something that keeps me reading.  It’s probably the ridiculousness of the anime/manga medium with its little quirks and stylistic consistencies.  The whole idea of computers being in the forms of women (I’ve yet to see a male persecom) with Shimbo’s laptop Plum being a tiny woman he keeps in a satchel is the literal definition of objectification.  Woman are objects for men’s use.  It’s…pretty disgusting when you think about it, and the human female characters aren’t much better.  They all essentially exist for Hideki to ogle   At the very least it gives me something to write about when I review, and hopefully, I’ll figure out why the narrative is still so enjoyable even with this egregious paradigm.

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: 18%

I wish I had more time to read this.  Even on vacation, I”m still scrabbling for hours and minutes.  I can’t talk too much about it, because it’s the type of book that just needs to be read/experienced.

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

Media: eBook/Kindle
Progress: 81%

Since I’m currently working on my Unfinished Seventh essay and in the midst of summarizing Oedipus Rex, I just realized that this story has a parallel to that as well with Perdita.  Leontes gives the infant to his servant to kill, but later changes his mind and just has him take her away.  The servant exposes her and she’s found by a shepherd just like Oedipus was.

Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 9

Title: The Drafter
Series Title: The Peri Reed Chronicles
Author: Kim Harrison
Date Added: August 30, 2017
Recommended By: By Hook or by Book

I didn’t want to give up entirely on this author, but The Hollows series just didn’t interest me.  This one was recommended, and I’m much more engaged in this just by the blurb.  The MC can jump back 40 seconds in time to correct mistakes, but she has no memory of the event (not sure of the specifics as in does she not remember the replaced 40 seconds or what she did?).  It sounds like the same ability in Prince of Persia: Sands of Time.

Title: Icefall
Series Title: The Clearsky Chronicles
Authors: Walt & Mica Stone
Date Added: August 31, 2017
Recommended By: Raven and Beez

I wound up recommending this book to LightningEllen as soon as I read the review from Raven and Beez, because (from my limited knowledge) it reminded me of Final Fantasy XIII, and as a bonus there is no romance whatsoever, which is almost unheard of in a YA.  There’s a dystopian, frozen world, genetically engineered people, and a plot to take down an evil corporation.  I’m already on board..

Title: Last Star Burning
Series Title: Last Star Burning
Author: Caitlin Sangster
Date Added: August 31, 2017
Recommended By: By Hook or By Book

A sleeping plague destroyed the world, and the main character is a branded criminal forced to endure the sight of her mother’s body on display above Traitor’s Arch, stricken by the same slumbering pandemic.  Just from the cover I can see this book is going to live up to the diversity proclaimed in the review.  Oh, and the main character’s name is Sev.  I’m hoping that’s short for “Seven.”

Title: Girls Made of Snow and Glass
Author: Melissa Bashardoust
Date Added: August 31, 2017
Recommended By: N/A

Described as “Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist reimagining of the Snow White fairytale.”  While I’m not familiar with The Bloody Chamber I’m sure I can hazard a guess it’s fairly dark.  The protagonist’s father literally cuts out her heart and replaces it with glass.  Later she becomes a stepmother, and she and her stepdaughter made of snow from the dead queen’s image have to decide whether they’ll become allies or foes.

Title: Reincarnation Blues
Author: Michael Poore
Date Added: September 2, 2017
Recommended By: N/A

The main character is in love with Death and has been searching for immortality’s secret through 10,000 reincarnations in order to be with his true love.

Title: Low, Vol.1: The Delirium of Hope
Series Title: Low
Author: Rick Remender
Date Added: September 4, 2017
Recommended By: Cheap Boss Attack

Another story set in the deep, blue sea.  Mankind fled the surface millennia ago to escape the sun’s scorching rays, and I can’t say that I blame them.  Stupid sun…anyway, humanity launches robotic probes into the galaxy searching for another home.  So it sounds like we fucked up the planet (sigh) and need to find a new one to destroy.  Typical humanity.

Title: This Darkness Mine
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Date Added: September 6, 2017
Recommended By: Pretty Deadly Blog

According to the review on the blog I just followed today, this book is beyond fucked up.  I’m so curious.

Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Date Added: September 6, 2017
Recommended By: Bookchanted

This book has been orbiting my sphere for a while, but I never added it, because it didn’t seem like it would be something I liked.  This is why good reviews are so integral, because they show you what a blurb alone can’t.  Apparently, the writing in this is gorgeous, and while the pacing is slow, if the writing is prosaic, I want to savor it for as long as I can.

Title: Black Bird of the Gallows
Author: Meg Kassel
Date Added: September 6, 2017
Recommended By: By Hook or By Book

This was recommended to me by Kim through Goodreads itself.  Marvelous feature.  I had to add it.  It’s about a woman who falls in love with the harbinger of death.  Not that I’ve ever read (or written) anything like that before 😉

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 31

My Bilingual Bonus in French comes in handy so often lol.  Orlesian was written as that language, and I remember enough of high school and college classes to not need a translation.  Reyna and company are still trying to escape the clutches of the Fade, but I have no doubt the dreaming/nightmarish state won’t dim their resolves for too long.

Fanfictions Added to TBR List This Week: 3

Title: Another Perfect Life
Fandom: Final Fantasy VIII
Pairing: Julia & Laguna/Julia & General Caraway
Author: runicmagitek
Date Added: September 4, 2017

It looks like my FFVI fanfiction writing buddy (the author of “I’m the Darkness, You’re the Starlight,” which is on hold below) is still working on other things.  There’s a good chance she ran into some writer’s block with the other story.  I might shoot her a message to see how she’s doing, but I’m glad she’s at least putting out some other things.  I don’t normally read FFVIII fanfiction, but since I like her writing style I’m sure it will be worth my while.

Title: Maybe
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Pairing: Sephiroth & Aeris
Author: Ardwynna
Date Added: September 4, 2017

I probably could’ve just read this super quick, since it’s only 600 words, but I figured I’d just add it to my backlog.  What’s one more thing to do???

Title: Unspoken
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Pairing: Sephiroth & Aeris
Author: mihoyonagi
Date Added: September 4, 2017

I organized my bookmarks today (which is why there are any additions at all), and somehow or another this one by the author of my favorite fanfiction slipped under my radar.  It’s (more than) novel length, too at over 140k words, so I’m pretty stoked to read it.

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

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: 8/30/17          The State of the Reader: 9/13/17–>










16 thoughts on “The State of the Reader: 9/6/17

  1. Pingback: The State of the Reader: 8/30/17 | The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

  2. The Norse mythology book looks like a familiar cover… Did one of the other mythology books you read have something similar? Hm…

    I’m still plodding through Incognito. It’s the book I read when I’m on the treadmill, but I’ve been sick and not being incredibly active, and my gym bag is waaay over there (haha). No, but seriously. I’m almost done!

    That’s too bad Childhood’s End didn’t really grab your attention. It’s one of the few novels I sat down and read all in one sitting. Hopefully it picks up for you, if/when you continue!

    I’m glad your Orlesian came in handy 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe? I’m not sure. I’ve had that book for YEARS, but just now got around to reading it aaaaand I didn’t like it lol. It’s going to go into the donation pile.

      What chapter are you on? I was looking at some of the reviews of it, and they’ve given me some things to ponder. A lot of people didn’t like it as it went along, but they had problems with some of his crime resolutions. I’ll admit a few of his ideas bothered me in a way I couldn’t explain, but I’m on the fence about his claims on the foundation of criminal behavior. Can’t wait for you to get there so we can discuss!

      I’m still definitely going to read it! The premise is good enough that it might just not grab me in the beginning, but I”m sure once I get to the meat of it, I’ll be ready for the full course.

      Ah yes, I’m glad I was so diligent with my studies of that language 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Moon Called seems interesting! I have to agree with her statement. It’s just a fact – men naturally have more muscle mass than women do. Women have to work much, much harder to achieve the same results as men do (sometimes it’s just not possible to physically match them). This is coming from a woman who does weightlifting, martial arts, and has been in the army reserve infantry. Men have greater muscle mass (meaning they can lift more easily), but women have greater muscle endurance (meaning we can hold weight longer).

    Thanks for the Icefall recommendation! No romance and FFXIII related?? I’m definitely going to LOVE it!! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Do you think it’s on an individual basis or a general rule? Like I know I don’t have the build to become that muscular, but I’m wondering if there are some women who can. Granted, I know a lot of muscle is predicated on the amount of testosterone you have, and in general men do have more than women. See…now I’m in scientific method mode lol. I don’t have time to look up abstracts!!!

      I had to recommend it. When I saw that it was YA without romance and then I read the blurb and it ignited my limited knowledge of FFXIII, I knew who to call 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: I Dare You Book Tag | The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

  5. The book in reference to ASOIAF sounds like it would be a really interesting read. 🙂
    I hate that we’re both in the same boat about lacking time for Strange the Dreamer. >_< It's a book that could easily be devoured in a small time frame if one only has the time. So frustrating. lol
    I really wanna check out Low, too. I need to remember that one the next time I'm out comic shopping.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I follow his blog, and he’s like a political theory genius. I wish I had more time to go through all of his chapter breakdowns.

      Ugh right?? I just want to binge read that book so badly.

      I looked for it last time I was at Barnes & Noble, but they don’t have a great non-DC/non-Marvel selection. I’ll probably have better luck finding the next volume of Chobits though.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: The State of the Reader: 9/13/17 | The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

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