Rereading and Dissappointment

I decided to reread a series of books, thinking that I enjoyed them the first go round, many moons ago (or perhaps two or three moons at least), and I enjoyed the first two books, but there was a bit of the last one was a bit of a let down in place.

The MC got all sappy, from a happy-go-lucky lass, full of vim and vigour. But the worst part was the tenuous reasons given for the characters getting from point a to point B, and not only that but once the reason was given they kept repeating that reason as if repeating it made it sound less tenuous.

But, since I am on the third book I am persevering. But it’s definitely the weak link in the series.

Do you have any series that let you down on the last book?

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Some Reasons I Don’t Finish Books

Image ©J.R.Bee 2018 available on mugs, shirts, totes, etc. HERE 

I did not finish a looot of books so far this year, too many to remember them all. The ones I have read all the way through have largely been because they’re ok. I have been wowed once. I don’t know if this is because I’m becoming a bit more jaded, or I’m just not finding the right books.

I’m sure they’re out there, they just don’t seem to be on my kindle so far, and I am trying to empty it.

I can’t remember why I DNF’d most of the books, but here are some of the reasons I set them aside. I’m not including titles or names because I don’t want to shame, just point out what hasn’t worked for me.

IN THE. FIRST. PARAGRAPH!

There was a spelling mistake in the first paragraph on the first page. I read on in disbelief, wondering if it would be a regular occurrence. It was.

And It Was All Going So Well.

You started out promising, the scene was well set, and then the mc had to go on a journey that seemed completely unnecessary. They got into more trouble than was necessary and was helped out by some magical Mary Sue. There were also LOT of info dumps. One every other page. The info dumps wore me out in the end, and the Magical Mary Sue was the icing on the cake.

Well, That’s Odd.

You started out well, you had one hell of a hook for an opening, you had likeable/ relatable characters. Then came the nemesis. She was spooky looking, and sinister, and seemed to have a weird effect on people. Then it turns out she’s not bad bad, just bad and also a bit crazed and manic in a needy kind of way.  And then there was another similar looking “baddy?” going through incredibly elaborate means to get to meet the MC, I’m sure they could have just collared him around town so much easier.  The storytelling became much more forced at this point and I just bowed out.

A Lot Of “Stuff”

There was no connection with the characters and practically no world building. The characters floated around in a world I could not visualise and seemed to simply be vessels to have interesting things happen to them. One character was a vampire mixed with a fairy, with some transforming skill, she also had attitude, and was a cop. There’s a lot to unpack there and it did feel a bit contrived, but the thing that really killed it for me was that the whole thing was written in a “then they did this, and then this and then this” style that quickly wore thin.

My 3 Desert Island Books!

I was tagged to do this by Melfka who had decided that this was a good idea. She was half asleep at the time, so I will forgive her. I will even go so far as to thank her.

As I contemplated my desert island books my first thought was to cheat. Pick a book that has a series in it, it’ll last longer. My thoughts drifted to Douglas Adams Hitchhiker’s Guide series, I have all the books in a hardback volume. I love the series,surely this would suffice? But I’ve seen the TV series, listened to the radio show, and read the books a few times now. I could probably remember most of it, and what I can’t I could make up and fill in the gaps. It would probably be more entertaining that way.

I too thought about The Lord of the Rings, again I have all the books in one volume. I don’t much like the Aragorn, or for the most part, the elves. They are annoyingly perfect. However there is a lot of book there and it’s great imagination fuel. I could create my own spin off worlds in my head, and every time I read the book it’s a different story. I appreciate it from different angles, and yes, get annoyed by new things too.

The third book is a survival guide, it has everything from which foods to eat, and how to catch it in various climes, to how to dig your own pooping place. A must for a desert Island, no?

Then I halted. The first two are my go to books when someone says “pick a book that stays with you” and the third is a cop out answer.

What then would I pick if these options were to be removed and I stuck to the single book challenge?

Three books that I have that I treasure without realising because I have always fallen back on my default answers.

The first without a shadow of doubt would have to be a Pratchett. There’s no getting past that. He is my all time favourite author. But which one? There’s a whole world of books created by him. The Witches used to be my favourite. I also like the Sam Vimes series, but I would read them as a series. Then there’s the stand alone’s- Maurice and His Educated Rodents, Nation, and many others. And of course any of his other books can be read as one off’s.

The Stand Alone that I picked rather surprised me. Monstrous Regiment. I would have thought the Last Hero would have had a look in with its beautiful imagery. But I’ve only read the Monstrous Regiment once, and it’s stuck in the back of my brain. I think about the story every now and then at odd little moments, and often for no reason.

The second would probably be The Alchemists Cat. It’s from my favourite author as a child. It’s the first book of his I read and I was hooked with a capital H. It’s dark, it’s dangerous. It does not patronise or gloss over the gory details. It’s a book that I would say defined my literary tastes. And quite possibly me. My copy is rather battered. It came to me second hand and I have moved with it a lot.

The last is a more recent discovery. Neverwhere by Niel Gaiman. It came to me as I was struggling to find a book that engaged me. Then it picked my up by my lapels and took my on a journey. That book left me feeling like I’d been places and seen things. It made my brain happy.

What three books do you treasure above all others? Feel free to take up the challenge if you so wish, and/ or comment below.

 

 

On Changing your World- #writerslife

My WIP has been worked on for quite some time now. I pretty much have the story nailed down, but I’d never been happy with the setting.
Better late than never, my brain has finally come up with the ideal landscape.

What this basically means is that a mere eight chapters from completely finishing the book I now have to go back to the beginning and change or tweak things.

Luckily for me I don’t think I need to change all that much, but still, it would have been nice for the story and the world to have appeared fully formed in my mind, rather than my derpy brain giving me all the answers I need right at the end.

Still, writer’s life I guess.

Has anyone else had this happen?

Dumping Bad Books

I’ve been reading around recently, trying out new authors, new genres, seeing what fits. Part of my “emptying the kindle” strategy.

I used to be of a mind where when you got a book, no matter how bad it was, you don’t give up. Now though, there are some that test that strength. It’s gotten to the point where there are books that are good, but written so badly I have to give up. It seems to be a more and more common experience, and so I’ve had to say no to continuing with a lot of books.

I’m starting to fall back and read books I ‘know’ are good, rather than seeking out new ones.

There have been one or two that I would happily recommend this year, Dust by Arthur Slade, and Luther. M. Siler does a good sci fi/ fantasy series are just two that immediately come to mind.

But I’ve found myself reading old classics, currently it’s the Three Muskateers, which I have about three hours of reading left, it’s a seven hour book. I liked the book for the first three and a half hours worth of reading, but now I’m starting to dislike the Muskateers as characters and it’s becoming harder to finish because of it.

So to help me through this tough period I’ve started to reread The Witches by Terry Pratchett. I’d quite like to work through The Witches series, but they aren’t new reads to me either.

I seem to be becoming more reluctant to seek out new books because, although there seem to be many new books, I rarely seem to find one that grabs me.

Anyone else have this issue?

Moving and Books

Hey folks,

I’ve been a very bad Bee, my last post was before halloween, I have had a good reason though. Moving house. We moved ourselves, which means it took us over a week to physically move between places, and we’re still in slight disarray.

As a result I have done zero art. However, this weekend I have managed to do some beta reading for a writerly friend of mine, and I also edited a bit of one of my WIP’s yesterday.

Over the weeks since I last posted I have also done a fair amount of reading, which has helped in me emptying my Kindle.

I’ve read:

Tess of the Durbervilles, which was incredibly depressing, and hard work, but it did have its moments.

A Sudden Gust of Gravity by Laurie Boris, which was magical.

Confessions of an Internet Pornographer, which I thought was based on a true story, but it turned out not to be.

Dust by Arthur Slade, a tale set in a depression era on a Canadian farm, which I loved from the very beginning.

I am now reading The Three Muskateers.

Out of that list I definitely Recommend A Sudden Gust of Gravity, and Dust.

 

To Mourn or not to Mourn- Death of a character

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Image by DasWortgewand

So one of the main characters died in the book I’m reading, won’t tell you which character, cause spoilers, or which book (in case you guess).

But it was one of the main characters, and their passing was glossed over. They died and everyone moved on around them instantly, no grieving, no mention.

It wouldn’t have worked any other way though, it didn’t need anything, which made me wonder about writing death scenes, how necessary it is to mourn a characters loss by showing another character being a wreck. Sometimes it can stall a story, but it feels odd when there’s no-one to grieve for the loss of the character, as if I as a reader need someone else in the book to go through the loss so I can process it.

Do you need characters to grieve?

Dust Jackets- Why bother?

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As I mentioned in my previous post I’m reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

The version of the book I have is the all in one hard back edition shown above. Under the dust jacket the book is black and dignified looking, with silver lettering on the spine. It is in fact, my ideal book style wise.

Which is lucky because every time I read a hard back book I have to take the dust jacket off, because otherwise it slips around and gets trashed along the edges.

I’ve never been sure why a hard back book needs a paper thin protection layer, after all the hardback cover can look after itself.

What do you think, dust jackets yay or nay?

 

The Imagination Game- Trillian Madness

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After more years than I care to remember I am reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy again.

I have heard the radio play, I have seen the tv series and I have watched the film. The trouble is, reading it this time the vision of Trillian that I have in my head, and vastly prefer to all the other Trillians, is drowned out by that blond squeaky voiced airhead that was shown in the tv series. Even though it’s been a good few years since I’ve seen it.

I’m currently reading ‘so long and thanks for all the fish’, which is the penultimate book, and yet in my head Trillian’s character still flits between the blond tv version and the more serene dark haired and dark skinned version (because the Trillian in the book is a woman of colour). Thankfully her voice has finally settled down in my brain, so that’s one thing.

It’s like my brain is having a battle of wills with itself, or like my brain is having an imagination game to see how strong my willpower is to insert the character I like into my grey matter.

Have you ever had issues where a character you’ve seen on tv has ruined the character in a book?

 

The Lost Sabriel

It’s Sabriel Day, the celebration of one of the books from my favourite trilogy!

I could read these books back to back without getting bored, there is no middle book lag, no disappointing ending, no need to ‘take a break’ between reads.

They are refreshingly different, AND they have strong female lead characters that don’t get side-lined.

I can’t remember how I first came across Sabriel, but I do know I loved the story from the first moment I read it. I loved it so much I STUPIDLY leant it to someone who was looking for something good to read.

Did I get it back? well, predictably, no.

Did they read it? No, which makes it much much worse.

I still have Lireal and Abhorsen but I haven’t been able to bring myself to replace my copy of Sabriel yet. Its absence serves as a reminder to never loan out books, to anyone, under any circumstances.

However, despite the loss, I don’t regret trying to share the story, but I have learned the power of book loss.

Sabrial came into my life like an unsung hero, waiting to prove its worth, and now it no longer graces my bookshelf its loss is most definitely felt.

Lost Sabriel book I hope you get found, read and enjoyed.

It’s at this point that I should mention the great Garth Nix is hosting a giveaway in celebration of the great day. You can find out more and join in on his facebook page.

No really, I would check it out.  The prizes are enough to make a fangirl squee!