Posts Tagged ‘reading


Reading Up


I failed last year’s Goodreads reading goal. Miserably, in fact. The year before, I had set it to 100 books, thinking I’d plow through easily; didn’t even make it halfway, but at least there was reading being done. Last year, I set it at a more realistic 20 and did… three, I think? If that. Almost all of it was towards the beginning of the year.

Yeah, I’ve had a shitty time, but I know I should read more. Should be doing that instead of bringing the Vita into the bathroom. I haven’t set a goal (and probably won’t) since goals just depress me when I inevitably fail them. See for reference my performance in NaNoWriMo, where the manuscript I started is still stalled at the 12k words it was mid-November. But I intend to read something.

I’m starting with a pair of books I’ve had for a while and just never opened up to get to. The first is Confessions of a Yakuza; it’s a pseudo-memoir of a former Japanese crime boss. I have a strange fascination with the Japanese mafia that carries across all forms of media, and I’ve managed to get through 1/5th of it in the day since I started, so odds are good I will actually finish it. It’s interesting so far, though most of what’s already happened involved learning how they treated syphilis in the 1910s, pretty graphically. Fun stuff.

The other is Spooked: Science Tackles the Afterlife. I’ve owned it for a while – and had it marked as To Read for a lot longer – but hadn’t done much but crack it and glance at the first page beforehand. About 20 pages in, which may not seem like much, but I imagine the pace’ll pick up once they actually start getting into the title topic instead of musings about the nature of death and the spirituality surrounding it.

What are you reading this year? Have you got a target, or just taking them as they come along? Anything you think I should be reading? Let us know down below!

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The beauty of books — ontheedgeofeverything

There’s just something about the weight and smell of an actual book that keeps them in my heart, something that ebooks can’t replace. (Comments disabled here, please visit the original post.)

There’s something unexplainable about holding and reading a book. I can’t exactly pinpoint what it is that gives me such joy, but having an actual text in my hands and turning its pages as I immerse myself deeper and deeper in its plot is a sensation like no other. My mom gave me an article […]

via The beauty of books — ontheedgeofeverything


Reader’s Guilt

We’ve all had it, I bet. That moment where one of three thoughts occurs to you:

  1. I’m reading something other than what I should be reading. There’s some book that really needs to get read, and it’s not happening because I’m reading this one instead.
  2. I really shouldn’t be reading this. Either because it’s just plain awful but you’re determined to plow through anyway, or it’s “trash” (ala Stephen King’s mother, who he suspects would have called ‘Salem’s Lot “trash, but not bad trash.”) that you feel guilty for owning and/or enjoying.
  3. I’m reading something for the sole purpose of destroying it later.


We’ve all done all three of them, I suspect. My Goodreads list has been occupied by several (in fact, right now, a glaring case of #2 lies there; The Black Awakening.) The Amityville Horror and related works are definitely squatting in spot #3.

But I’m mostly here to talk about reason #1. I have a lot of books and stories on the Kindle app right now. Most of them are from great authors, like Lucy Brazier and Troy Blackford. Yet they either remain unread or merely poked at.

Not because they’re bad, or in any way deficient. Merely because I have problems reading on Kindle. I’m one of those crusty bastards who enjoys the feel of actual paper in his hands for one, but also because I do most of my reading in the bathroom. A guilty habit that I’m quite sure most of you have engaged in at some point or another. What isn’t done in the bathroom is typically done at work.

I don’t really want to drag my hideously expensive tablet into the room of steam, mold and possible droppage, and at work, we are not allowed to have devices that have cameras on them. So I only get to them when I’m at my computer or tablet and not writing or playing World of Warcraft or The Binding of Isaac. This means I am slow to pick them up and slower to read them, while I can blast through something I own physically in a couple of days. (I spend a lot of time in the bathroom and sitting at my desk doing nothing at work. Not that you needed to know those things.)

I’ve tried to incorporate it into my New Years’ resolutions; “I will read more of my Kindle library. I will get caught up there and post reviews as is proper.” I’ve even managed to (sort of) keep to it, having read a whopping 100 pages on the Kindle app this year. But that doesn’t seem so great when I’m already 8 books into my Goodreads Challenge.

So, to those authors I’ve inadvertently snubbed merely because of the format I possess your books in, I’m sorry. I’ll get there, I promise.

What about you folks out there? Is there something you should be or want to be reading, but haven’t managed to get to yet? Share it down below, and a link, if you’re of a mind. Maybe you can get someone else hooked while you’re at it!

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We all have need of appraisals, evaluations, and feedback. For some of us, that comes from friends and family. For others, writers groups serve that purpose.

For me, my test audience consists of some dear friends: Twilight, Khan, Springtrap, Elvira, Grumpy Cat, Le Mew, and Isaac.


Yes. An array of plushies serves as my initial audience, as they peer over my shoulder while the keys clickity-clack. They endure as I test out my dialogue, often in silly accents, and provide their input.

Khan and Elvira are not always constructive in their criticisms.

But they aren’t the one and only line of defense in the War on Bad Prose. Far from it. If it passes – by a committee majority, which is sometimes difficult to obtain due to Khan and Elvira bullying Isaac to tears, and Springtrap constantly trying to murder the others – then it is presented to the second wave.


Who else can one trust, if not Batman and the Winchesters?

Assuming Bruce, Sam, and Dean are okay with it, it goes to the final authority, to whom all the work is really dedicated to.


My darling daughter and my lost friend pass final judgment. If they feel it is worthy, then the work is saved. If not, it must return to step one until it meets their harsh criteria.

What about you out there? Who serves as your quality control team? Is there a method to your chosen madness, or is each piece evaluated in a different way? Let us know down below!

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Goodreads Review: The Priest’s Graveyard

The Priest's GraveyardThe Priest’s Graveyard by Ted Dekker

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Priest’s Graveyard is fairly standard Dekker; take one part ritual abuse recovery, one part religious overtones, season with self-doubt and hints of romance, incorporate slight twist towards the end and bake until ready.

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, mind you; it’s quite competent and interesting and kept me turning the pages until I reached the end. Once I reached that end, I did not feel any revulsion or any qualms about why I had bothered to read it at all. I was satisfied, but that was all it was.

On the technical level, the book does its job; there are no detectable grammatical, spelling or typesetting errors. The language is clear and concise, though thoroughly sanitized as Dekker is prone to doing. The characters are reasonably well formed, with distinct identities, arcs and mannerisms, with most of them providing enough information for you to get inside their heads and understand them without drowning you in exposition; only one stands out as lacking full treatment, our assumed antagonist, but since we never get a POV chapter from him and he’s meant to be at least a little ambiguous, I can live with that. Overall, nothing spectacular, but nothing that ruins the reading experience.

There are a pair of quibbles that I have with the book, however. Were it not for those, it would have bumped the book up to a solid four-star rating, rather than the 3 (and maybe a quarter) I would give it at this point. First is Renee’s backstory. Her interactions with Lamont are painted with rose-colored glasses – which given the circumstances is understandable and expected – but when you reach the end and discover certain things, it feels incomplete, as though there are things that should have been brought up – if not directly, at least hinted at – earlier. It could have been done without spoiling the twist, and given his performance in other novels (Three comes to mind), Dekker is more than up to the task.

The second is the last two pages. The apparent epilogue and the dialogue between our abuse victim and fallen priest is decent if a little saccharine, and could have closed the book out nicely. Then we’re treated to a post-epilogue scene that just feels out of place and, honestly, stupid. Chop those last two pages out, I think you’d have a better book.

Overall, though, a satisfying thriller, and would certainly recommend it to fans of Dekker’s other works, assuming they haven’t gotten sick of his basic formula.

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Goodreads Review: Look at this F*cking Hipster

Look at This F*cking HipsterLook at This F*cking Hipster by Joe Mande

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book will inspire one of the following reactions: Hysterical laughter, equally hysterical tears at where the world is going, outrage and cries of “I’m offended” or something between 1 & 2 or 2 & 3. Depends on how misanthropic you are, and how much of a hipster you might actually be yourself.

It’s a quick nothing of a picture book with a couple of funny essays, and I spent most of it laughing. I was amused. If you enjoy mocking how terrible humans are, you will probably enjoy it in a similar manner. Even if you’re a hipster yourself, you might be able to laugh at it ironically. You never know.

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Is it hipsterish of me to point out my GoFundMe and ask for those of you amused by my ramblings to stop by? Oh well, too late, did it already. Seriously, though, if you’ve got a sec, drop a dime in the jar, give it a share or a comment. It all helps and means a lot to this particular scrub. To those who already have, many thanks.



Goodreads Review: Dimiter

DimiterDimiter by William Peter Blatty

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Blatty has enthralled us before with tales of spooks, demons and religion gone awry. He filled The Exorcist and Legion with all manner of phantasms, inspiring fear of the unseen and unknown that might lurk just beyond our line of sight or comprehension.

Unfortunate that he didn’t manage that feat this time. Dimiter suffers from entirely too much ephemera, casting great clouds of smoke up for us to discover there’s barely a campfire behind it.

The book just felt like kind of a mess. There were interesting ideas, and several memorable scenes, but they are strung together nonsensically and seemingly without the purpose of an over-arcing plot. Only one character seems to have any reality or density to him, and even he is yanked around by the plot-chain quite frequently, especially in the epilogue. There didn’t seem to be much of a point to any of it, and there felt like precisely zero payoff by the end.

One saving grace was the prose; though he occasionally delves into confusing POV shifts and bizarre metaphors, overall the writing was well done, almost being decent enough to make you forget there wasn’t a story or a point to it. But realistically, I don’t think I can really recommend this book to anyone unless they’re a devout Blatty worshipper or desperate for something to pull through over a weekend.

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