What do you read, my lord?

Words, words, words.

Big Bad, Three Years Running, Or How to Solve a Problem Like DRM | Booksquare
Comparison of e-book formats – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The myriad of e-book formats is sometimes referred to as the “Tower of eBabel”.

eBook Evolution: Amazon and Google on Different Paths – The Millions
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What Would Micropayments Do for Journalism? A Freakonomics Quorum – Freakonomics Blog – NYTimes.com

Times are a-changing. Isn’t it great?

I wanted to do two things with 2004: write more and read more.

Writing

The Plan has worked out better than I had ever expected it would. I finished MarieII, began and finished JoanneTheNovel, and did NaNoWriMo in 2004. I have a feeling my word goals will be increased when we start the next novel. Yes, I was productive and screwed myself. 😉

Here are the official totals (and 2003’s):

Total Word Count: 229,160 (206,740)
“Official” Projects: 148,386 (99,366)

  • Marie: 12,649
  • Joanne: 81,462
  • Grayscale/NaNoWriMo: 54,274

RPG Journals: 64,709 (89,743)
Other: 15,964 (17,756)

Yes, I realized the numbers don’t quite all add up…

I could still be doing better in the land of ‘selling’ my work. We went to two conventions this year, our firsts. I’m not sure if they really helped in the land of marketing and networking, but they probably didn’t hurt. They were very good for inspiration purposes. In the New Year I’d like better turn around on getting novel proposals back out the door.

Reading

I did half of my yearly reading list back in July. Here’s the rest:

She’s Not There by Jennifer Finney Boylan. Biography. Great book. This is the first I’ve read of transsexualism that was completely devoid of sensationalism. And another book I would have never picked up without DearReader.com.

Mucho Mojo by Joe R. Lansdale. Mystery. I believe I went on quite a bit about this one when I finished it. Disappointing.

The Legend of Pope Joan by Peter Stanford. Non-Fiction. I will read anything by Peter Stanford and happily forgive him for being religious. He writes with humor and familiarity.

The Doorkeepers by Graham Masterton. Horror. I really like the core concept of this book. Alternate Puritanical timelines is a good start. But… Another completely boffed ending. And I’m still fairly convinced that Masterton violates the rules of the gimmick that he put forth.

Let’s All Kill Constance by Ray Bradbury. Mystery. It’s Bradbury. The plot isn’t great but the details are a joy.

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. Fantasy. Big o’ Re-read. Probably my favorite book. Period. I can’t wait for the audio version to come out.

The Bird’s Nest by Shirley Jackson. Horror-ish. I won’t vouch for how accurate of a depiction of multiple personalities this is, but it was well written and bitting in some parts.

Only seven books in the latter half of the year, making for a total of 21. Not counting the things I skimmed and half-read. I must say, the non-fiction I’ve read lately has been much better than the fiction. Fiction maybe somewhat ruined for me.

These are the books I read last year. I should probably make a resolution to buy fewer books and read more of the ones I have, but we all know how that will work out… I read more genre fiction this year, a lot of “fluff” but fun fluff none-the-less. Ones with an asterisk are ones I’d actually recommend.

*Winter’s Heart by Robert Jordan (Fantasy, Part 9 of the Wheel of Time. Slower in plot than the rest but character development up the wazoo.)

Equal Affections by David Leavitt (Literary, I think I’ve read too much Leavitt…)

*Beowulf by Seamus Heaney (Fantasy, Wonderful translation, begs to be read out-loud.)

The Beast House by Richard Laymon (Horror, Part 2 of a trilogy. One these days I’ll read part one.)

The Haunted by Robert Curan (Non-fiction supposedly. Not very creepy.)

*Silverthorn by Raymond Feist (Fantasy. Good follow-up to the Magician books, part of the Riftwar saga.)

X-Men Shadows of the Past by Michael Jan Friedman (Sci-Fi (?) Not very good fluff.)

*White Plume Mountain by Paul Kidd (Fantasy. All the Paul Kidd books on this list are pure fluff, but tons of fun. Especially if you are familiar with the D&D games they’re based on.)

Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchey (Literary. Didn’t live up to my hopes, but was interesting to look at how she constructed her book verus the movie.)

Descesnt into the Depth of the Earth by Paul Kidd (Fantasy.)

*Thunder and Lightning by Natalie Goldberg (Non-Fiction. Goldberg is a good read for a writer, always.)

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis (Horror. Hypnotic, and I’m not sure I mean that in a good way.)

*The Innkeeper’s Song By Peter S. Beagle (Fantasy. Good tale with nice twists.)

*A Writer’s Tale by Richard Laymon (Non-Fiction. A great book for a writer, better maybe than Mr. King’s because Richard Laymon was a “working-class” writer through and through.)

*Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed by Harlan Ellison (Non-Fiction. I was not going to give this a star. Then I remembered the essay Harlan wrote about his mother. Harlan at his ranting, raving and *gasp* tender best.)

The Facts and Fictions of Minna Pratt by Patricia MacLachlan (Childrens. An okay book.)

*Letters from New York by Helene Hanff (Non-Fiction. Yeah, but I’d recommend anything Helene Hanff every wrote to anyone. 😉 )

The Kiss by Katherine Harrison (Non-Fiction (?) Good book on which to base a discussion about why we tell the stories we do.)

*A Density of Souls by Christopher Rice (Literary. The son of Rice exceeded my expectations. I plan to pick up his next when it comes out.)

*The Traveling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon (Horror. Again Laymon writes a vampire book low on vampires. Gotta love THAT!)

Queen of the Demonweb Pits by Paul Kidd (Fantasy.)

Meg by Steve Allen (Horror. I’d say this book was just bad, but I guess it did leave a mark on me. I still wouldn’t recommend it though.)

*O Pioneers! by Willa Cather (Literary. Maybe I was just home sick, but I loved this book. A good ole tale of love and tragedy.)

*The Silent Gondoliers by S. Morgenstern (Fantasy. Doh, I knew there was something I was leaving off of my “to buy” list…)

Hmm… Another Sunday with Eric at work…

We were planning today to go furniture shopping, but I don’t think it will get done. We were up gaming until a quarter after three last night and we didn’t get up until 11. We already went to the grocery store and now Eric’s at work. And we have to watch Traffic, which we rented last night. We were planning on watching it this morning, but hey, the sleep was good. And of course more gaming is on the agenda.

Called Andy, but he wasn’t home…

Went to Bookman’s Friday night. Sometimes I go and find nothing, sometimes I have to pare down my choices. I walked away with Dreams with Sharp Teeth by Harlan Ellison (I didn’t realize until I got it home that it was an omnibus of books I already have, but I *collect* Ellison, no big deal), Long Quiet Highway and Banana Rose by Natalie Goldberg (I’ve had my reservations about Banana Rose. I’m not sure if I’ll like it but I decided I’d read it if I found the chance), The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte (the book by Reverte that I’ve actually been looking for. All the others I’ve bought because they sounded so damned interesting anyway), A Game of Thones by George R.R. Martin (which I’ve heard is good, and I’m looking gor good fantasy), and an 1920s volume of poetry *and* translations by Dante Rosetti (THAT one made me drool in a way only a lover of words can). OH! So many books!!! I just want to wallow in words and sentances and stories!

Finished reading Strange Wine by Harlan Ellison.

The book has a history. One of the few things I remember from the spring semester of 1995 is buying this book. I had taken a walk, this was before I had moved permenently to Lincoln, to find a bookstore on F Street. None of the other bookstore had anything I wanted. It seemed like such a long walk then, to F Street. I would have never thought that I would live in that neighborhood 3 years later and walked the distance at least once nearly everyday.

The bookstore was small, one of those places that specialized in books on mysticism and spirituality. That sold crystals and incense and soothing tapes of music. And they had a small used section of genre books. And there on the shelf, lo and behold was a book by Harlan Ellison. A rare find indeed. I slipped it off the shelf and opened the cover. The book was a first edition for $70. That was a lot of money back then. I was working in the dishroom, living on financial aid. And really, it’s still a lot of money for a book. But… I didn’t flinch when I had to buy chemistry books for more. Books that I would hate, books that would cause me grief, books that I would sell back the moment I didn’t need them anymore. What was $70 for something I would keep and cherish?

The publication date on the book was 1979. I decided I wouldn’t read it until 1999 when the book was 20 years old. An odd thought, buying an expensive book and then not rushing home to read it. So the book sat on my self and traveled with me. To Omaha and back to Lincoln, to the house on Q Street, to my Lincoln Mall apartment, to my F Street apartment so near to where I bought it, and then to Arizona. And in late 1999, I began reading it. Halfway through, I put it down. Short stories are hard to read. They’re short and I wanted more. I wasn’t quite in the mood to read it, even though I had promised myself I would. But yesterday, looking through the stacks in the back room I picked up again. And just finished it today. And it is, by every means, worth the $70 I paid.

I moved the file cabinet without even banging up a shin or squishing a toe. Whoever invented the moving-dolly (that “L” shaped thing with two wheels) was a genius.

The actual to-be-read stack:
These are all books I’ve started and are in various stages of being read.
Early Poems James Russell Lowell
Some of the Rhymes of Ironquill
Just the Facts Ma’am: A Writer’s Guide to Investigators and Investigation Techniques Greg Fallis
I’ll Tell Them I Remember You William Peter Blatty
Dark Thoughts On Writing Stanley Wiater
Between Us: A Legacy of Lesbian Love Letters Kay Turner, Ed.
The House of the Spirits Isabel Allende
Haunted: Tales of the Grotesque Joyce Carol Oates
Ligtning and Thunder Natalie Goldberg
The Forest for the Trees Betsy Lerner
American Psycho Bret Easton Ellis
The Templars: Knights of God Edward Burman
A Darkness at Sethanon Raymond E. Feist
Circle of Friends Maeve Binchy
House of Leaves Mark Z. Danielewski
Savage Richard Laymon

Now to put away the rest of the books…

Finally finished Silverthorn last night. Finally! After months and about 5 other books in between! Feist didn’t disappoint and now I’m left with no copy of the last book in the series. The last forty pages were filled with good passages of sneaking and fighting, so I have a some inspiration for Marie.

Today is a beautiful stormy day. The thunder started last night before I turned in. I had sat up finishing that book and fallen asleep for a while on the couch. I woke at about 2:30 when a long rolling crash of thunder swept from one edge of the sky to the other. I don’t think the rain has stopped since then. I want to curl up with my books and just read. Which is probably what I will do. I think I will read A Pale View of Hills next. I read The Remains of the Days years ago when the movie came out and liked it alot. Unfortunately I think my copy is at my parents house. Eric teases that my book collection isn’t as big as I think it is, and actually it isn’t. He should just be happy that I haven’t decided to have my books there shipped to me! Though my mother used to read a lot, most of the book she has are mine. Mom never got into the habit of buying books used. Once I found the beautiful used stores in Lincoln, it was all over. I rarely buy new now. Then again, I have a stack of library books to be read… And DNA Publications sent me two complimentary copies of their magazines! It’s a promotional to get HWA members to subscribe although I probably won’t.

The rain is loud and settling. I have that calm feeling that comes when you know a storm was supposed to hit yesterday or the day before and then it finally does. That feeling used to be only associated with snow storms, but here rain storms build for days.