Tag: Books

Booking: Catalog
thurs 13 Dec 2007

Entry #12 on this page (tagged: books)

Booking Through Thursday meme

Do you use any of the online book-cataloguing sites, like Library Thing or Shelfari? Why or why not?
If not an online catalog, do you use any other method to catalog your book collection? Excel spreadsheets, index cards, a notebook, anything?

commonplace book

Yes and Yes; I keep a commonplace book, a database and a GoodReads.

My favorite "catalog" is my commonplace book. All the books and magazines I've read get listed in the book. And any interesting quotes. It's a delight to page through.

I use hard backed, lined journals for my commonplace books. Currently I'm about half way through my second one. The first one is years 2001 through 2004, and the current starts at 2005.

BookBag database

The database that I use is most convenient, and I use it when I need an author's name or random book info. It's called BookBag, it's software for my handheld and it also keeps the list on my computer as well.

I've got 367 books listed right now. But that's only the books I've read since year 2000. I've not entered the books I bought before then, and there are hundreds, so unless I re-read them, they probably won't make it into the database!

As for online catalogs, I did join LibraryThing last year. I added a few of my Animal Fiction books and then lost interest. Here's my, um, 18 books there: rift's LibraryThing.


And more recently, I joined GoodReads. I've entered 18 books there, too, and written reviews for some of them. They have a "Vegan" group there... of which I was the second member and now they've got all of four! haha. Here's my profile: riftVegan at GoodReads.

I use the online catalog mostly to read reviews. Or maybe I just obsess over reading...

Tiptree Award
tues 4 Dec 2007

Entry #11 on this page (tagged: books)

I have started working through the Tiptree Award winners. I've now finished the three 2006 winners, as well as one of the 2002 winners.

Of those four books, I've absolutely loved two ( Orphan's Tales and Tiptree: Double Life) and I pretty much hated two ( Light and Half Life).

50-50. I needed a tie breaker. Because even tho I am happily happy to have read those two awesome books... I'm not sure if I want to continue if I have to keep buying crappy books I hate.

I was looking though the Award website, and a book on the 2006 "short list" caught my eye. Matriarch by Karen Traviss. Yeah, it might have been the cover (Fishies!), because I am certainly not going to read a book that is part of a "War" series.

Matriarch cover

It's book number four in a series of six, I think. I got it as an ebook, and figured if I liked it, I could get 1, 2 and 3 later.

I'm about 50 pages into it. And I can't believe how perfect this book is for me! Of course, most of this is just catching up from the first three books, but here's the basic premise:

Humans are out in space, doing their stupid human tricks. aka, making war and blowing up random aliens. Humans've bombed one species to extinction and now some other aliens are going to make earth pay. The aliens are on their way, but it'll take 30 years to get there. Of course, the humans on earth know they are coming but they don't care because it's 30 years away! haha! Plus, we're not sure what the aliens are going to do to earth once they get there. Some kind of environmental clean up? Just kill all the humans in an attempt to restore the ecosystem?

and the clincher?!?! The aliens are strict vegans! Vegans!

I am in love with the aliens. I suppose they won't be arriving at earth until the last book in the series. But I am definitely there! Or I will be once I get a lot of reading done!

Challenged: And Tango...
sat 6 Oct 2007

Entry #10 on this page (tagged: books)

2007 Banned Books Week: Treasure Your Freedom to Read

Continuing on with Banned Books Week, of which this is the last official day! The number one challenged book of 2006 was And Tango Makes Three, a childrens book by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, and illustrated by Henry Cole.

The story is about two male penguins, who live with the flock(?) in the zoo in Central Park (NYC). Roy and Silo are nesting together, and after trying with an egg-shaped rock, are given a fertilized egg. They care for the egg and Tango (a girl) is hatched.

The book was challenged "for homosexuality, anti-family, and unsuited to age group".

I try to add a few challenged books to my list every year, and this one just looked too cute to pass up. The illustrations are wonderful. I love animals and art, so I'm glad to have this book.

I disagree with all of the reasons the books was challenged. The "unsuited to age group", especially. The reading level is ages 4 to 8. At that point the kids are going to school, and being exposed to other kids and their families. I don't know why people would try to "shelter" their child from loving families.

The book is not "anti-family". It is obviously "pro-family"!

And "homosexuality". You know what? They are penguins. and "sin" is a made up, human word which only applies to humans. Silly religious humans. ;)

In sidenote, the penguin thing is amusing... Unless you are someone who spends time with penguins, you can't tell the girls from the boys anyway. ha. The penguins know, but they didn't peck Roy and Silo out of their flock.

All that said, I do have a problem with the book. Zoos. It is an outrage that we send innocents to prison.

But I would still recommend reading the book to a child. And then talking about all the different issues the book raises: love knows no bounds and zoos are evil.

I read the book to the only six year old that I know. Granted, in guinea pig years, she's actually about 90. And she would have liked to have a nibble of the book in order to enhance her reading experience.

Banned Books Week
sat 29 Sept 2007

Entry #9 on this page (tagged: books)

2007 Banned Books Week: Treasure Your Freedom to Read

September 29 - October 6, 2007
Banned Books Week

Yay Books! And Yay Celebrating our Freedoms!

The books I've read on the Top 100 Challenged Books List...

  • 17. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
  • 22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
  • 32. Blubber by Judy Blume
  • 47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  • 52. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • 77. Carrie by Stephen King
  • 78. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume

Since last year, I've only added one book to my list of banned books, #17 A Day No Pigs Would Die. It was harsh, but I'm glad I read it...

And, I am very proud to say that my Significant Other has also read a banned book this year. #69 Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. SO is not a reader, so it's a happy day when he actually finishes a book!!

This year, I think I'm going to get #37 The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. and maybe some Fahrenheit 451. And maybe re-read George Orwell's 1984...

And again, my favorite part from the Freedom to Read Statement...

We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be "protected" against what others think may be bad for them.


  Office for Intellectual Freedom Blog, Tag: Banned Books Week

  at Flickr, Banned Books Week 2007
photos of people reading banned books! Brilliant!

  Banned Books Online
wow! Great page. I've got some reading to do!

Reading Fantasy
Sat 15 Sept 2007

Entry #8 on this page (tagged: books)

Well, sheesh, I just can't get myself back into typing mode... The day job continues to overwork me and stress me out. Thusly I do not type here like I should! I've been reading intensely, instead. I've been reading a lot of Fantasy, which makes my SciFi side cringe.

I've finished the first two books of the Dark Materials trilogy. and I got a random Witch World book at FictionWise (Andre Norton coauthored with Lyn McConchie)... it was about horses so I couldn't pass it up!

And now I've run into The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden by Catherynne Valente. I had marked it for some unknown reason, but when I came back I had just read a rave review about it and so put it in my shopping cart.

I looked up the Amazon reviews, and whoa, out of 18, 17 gave the book 5/5 stars. And then I noticed the price... I could get an ebook at Fictionwise for 2.70$ less than the dead tree version. And, since I have a bunch of credit coming to me at FictionWise, I didn't even have to pull out my credit card. Yay!

Yeah, okay, I get excited about buying books. laughs.

And after I finally downloaded my new book, I figured out why I had marked it in the first place... It won the Tiptree award in 2006!

I read the 2002 Tiptree Award winner, Light, a couple months ago, but did not like it in the least. Too gritty and incomprehensible. And I just finished the Tiptree biography, Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon, which won recognition in 2006.

So now I'm interested in all the Tiptree Award winners. The award started in 1991, with a few retrospective winners. It looks like there are one to three winners every year, so that's a nice pile of books. *grins*

The James Tiptree, Jr. Award, is an annual literary prize for science fiction or fantasy that expands or explores our understanding of gender... The aim of the award is not to look for work that falls into some narrow definition of political correctness, but rather to seek out work that is thought-provoking, imaginative, and perhaps even infuriating. The Tiptree Award is intended to reward those women and men who are bold enough to contemplate shifts and changes in gender roles, a fundamental aspect of any society.

  James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award Council

Thumbs Up. And now I am thinking about making a list of the winners and typing up reviews as I read all of them. :)

Booking: 4 books at a time
Fri 17 Aug 2007

Entry #7 on this page (tagged: books)

Booking Through Thursday meme

  • One book at a time? Or more than one? If more, are they different types/genres? Or similar?

I keep a weekly tally of the books I'm reading and the page count, because I obsess over numbers. ha. I read three to five books, mostly four that I'm actively reading and at least one magazine of short stories (Mag of Fant & SciFi).

Usually there is one novel and several different kinds of non-fiction. It's not difficult to keep things straight, but it does take longer to read a specific book. Sometimes that's a good thing.

Currently Reading:

  The Golden Compass
This is the first book in the His Dark Materials series, and the reading was extremely iffy at the beginning... the book almost got thrown across the room and left for Tegan the guinea pig to munch on. The offending comment was after we find out that women aren't allowed where the men talk business: a comparison is made between "Women Scholars" and trained animals in costume. Yeah, that kind of language pisses me off from both ends, as a feminist and as an animal rights advocate. GRRR!

  Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication, Vol 2
I enjoy reading Charles Darwin and I'm glad he was such a prolific author. I started reading his books in 2004, and I'll probably still be reading him for a couple more years! And then maybe I'll start on some of his other editions (Origin of Species had 6 editions). And, by the by, you can read this for free at Project Gutenberg: Darwin: Variation, Vol 1 and Darwin: Variation, Vol 2

  James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon
This is the first biography I've ever read and I'm enjoying it. I only recently discovered Tiptree, but he (ze?) is now one of my favorite authors; sci fi, very end-of-the-world writing and I love it! I'm hoping the success of this biography will lead to putting Tiptree's books back in print.

  The Creative Habit
This book has some good ideas, but the basics are nothing I don't already know. So I read it in bits and pieces and don't really get into it.

I've also got a bookmark in a World Treasury of Science Fiction, but haven't read it in weeks. It's a huge book, just over 1,000 pages and I'd really like to finish it this year. So I should probably get back to reading it as well!

Booking: School Books
Thurs 21 June 2007

Entry #6 on this page (tagged: books)

Booking Through Thursday meme
School days, Golden Rule days

  • Do you have any old school books? Did you keep yours from college? Old textbooks from garage sales? Old workbooks from classes gone by?
  • How about your old notes, exams, papers? Do you save them? Or have they long since gone to the great Locker-in-the-sky?

Yeah, I think most of my college notes are boxed up, sitting in my parent's basement! I'm sure I saved my artwork from high school, but hopefully, nothing else from that era.

I wouldn't mind having that stuff back so that I can go through it. My art is probably not worth having, but I did take some interesting classes in college. And I'm forgetting the information I learned... The animal nutrition classes were among my favorites; I remember "PVT TIM HALL" stands for the essential amino acids, but I've forgotten what they all are!

I also took several creative writing classes, and I think I kept hardcopies of the stories. maybe? I wrote them on a jazzed up typewriter, saved to disk, but then got rid of the typewriter so the disks are useless. I totally regret ditching that typewriter. It had a little tetris game on it, even. sighs.

The books from my college classes, I mostly sold back. I did keep a couple. I was intent on reading my Astronomy book, straight up. But have yet to. It does have some great photos in it.

I think I kept the book of Chaucer. But I don't remember seeing it around, so I'm not sure what happened to that. We had to memorize the first paragraph of The Canterbury Tales and recite it in the original Middle English. "Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote..." bleh.

I also kept the Collegiate Dictionary of Zoology. I actually use this book on a fairly regular basis! I have an interest in animal classification.

... So ... from the random classes I've mentioned, do you think you could guess what my major was??

Haha, nope, you're not even close!

I majored in Equine Science, Industry Concentration. And minored in Computer Science.

And yeah, I'm a wage slave making screens to print decals. I think one time I got to make a screen with a horse on it, but that's as close as I get to my college major these days.

Booking: Paper or Plastic
Thurs 31 May 2007

Entry #5 on this page (tagged: books)

Booking Through Thursday meme
Paper or Plastic

  • Do you read e-Books? If so, how? On your computer, or a PDA? Or are you a paper purist? Why?

Quite possibly, I love ebooks more than paper books. Yep. The only exception would be art books, art instruction or craft books where the photos are important. Other than that, it's only the text that matters.


I have typed before about how much I love my handheld. It's a Palm Tungsten T2, I bought it from Amazon in 2003. It cost $372, and it has more than paid for itself in free ebooks... I've read over 90 free Gutenberg ebooks (and counting). If I bought those books, they would have to be 4$ each to equal the cost of my handheld. And, unless you're buying the weeded books from the library, books aren't that cheap anymore! So, the Palm is paid for, and then some. :)

(Granted, I could have read all the books from the library. But I would rather be playing on my computer and downloading rather than driving places and wasting my time doing socially accepted things.)

I found it interesting to surf through this week's Booking responses. Honestly, I am a bit disturbed by the stereotypical answers of why paper books are so much better than ebooks: "curling up" with a book, the smell, turning pages, "holding" a book. And the oft repeated "reading on a computer screen gives me a headache." uh huh... if it gives you a headache, maybe you should quit reading and typing blogs, which, if you hadn't noticed, you are Reading on a computer screen. *rolls eyes*

heh. I curl up with my handheld every day. I push a button instead of turning pages (I prefer not to scroll). I can read my handheld in the dark since my screen is back lit. I can switch books with a flick of my stylus. I bookmark passages I want to come back to.

Well, whatever. I love reading ebooks on my handheld and that's all there is to it!

Now, if you are a collector, that is a different matter. The physical book matters because it's got inscriptions or notes in the margins which add to the personal or historical value. Collecting is less about "reading" and more about "having" or "ownership", and so, obviously there is no reason to even consider ebooks.

I am not a book collector, altho I do hoard the books I buy. I am a reader, through and through. I guess I'm just weird that way. :)


Write, Wrote, Written: Long Live the Printed Word types about why "holding" a book is important. I don't like to touch used books, and, for me, reading is not tactile.

Caution Blind Driver: Alternate Texts Wow! What a great post about ebooks as audio books! Big Thumbs Up.

Chaucerian Girl: Booking Through Thursday :) I didn't read every single response at this week's Booking, but this is the only other blogger who reads ebooks regularly. She seems pretty cool. Oh, wait, she's an ebook author, too!

Currently Reading
Thurs 22 Mar 2007

Entry #4 on this page (tagged: books)

(Some of this entry is lifted or rehashed from my LiveJournal.)

This year, I want to get through some of the big books that have been laying in my to-be-read pile. So, a while ago, I picked up the World Treasury of SF (out of print).

The book is huge, heavy, and has over 1,000 pages, so it's a bit tedious to haul it out and prop it up to read. The stories started out pretty good. But after about 100 pages, a small annoying fact became blaringly obvious...

All the stories were written by men, for men, about men. Occasionally a female character would show up, and she would be a cardboard cutout, just getting in the way of the men.

It is making me cringe.

So, in response, I started reading some James Tiptree Jr., who is a feminist. I had gotten interested in Tiptree from reading reviews of the biography of Alice Sheldon that recently came out. It sounds fascinating, and I'm waiting for the paperback edition to come out.

From the very first Tiptree story in Her Smoke Rose Up Forever, I was hooked. And on the second story, I was addicted! Tiptree is the coolest! The stories are very intelligent, mostly end-of-civilization type, very hard to put down once you've started. Wow, I can't believe it's taken me this long to discover Tiptree!

And since the first story in Her Smoke was kind of about bird flu, I decided it was a sign to start reading the book, Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching. It's available online for free reading, at that link.

I am 100 pages in, and I gotta say, this book is terrifying. It's totally nonfiction, very researched with over 3,000 footnotes, but it reads like a horror story. We're all gonna die!

Yeah, so the book really messed up my mindset. In response to That, I've taken up reading Thoreau's Journals again. *relieved sigh* His writing is like a breath of fresh air. Not ordinary air, but spring time air, with maple sap starting to flow to be turned into sugar and snow melting and good things.

And, of course, I am still reading Darwin's Descent of Man. I am not sure when I started reading this book, but it's been more than just months... it may be approaching a year! ha.

I'm not concerned about the slow reading of Darwin. I am concerned about the magazines that keep piling up. Even tho I read my mags at work, and now on the treadmill, the next magazine shows up and the last one isn't even read yet. humph.

Booking: Counting
Thurs 1 Mar 2007

Entry #3 on this page (tagged: books)

Booking Through Thursday meme
But Who's Counting?

  • How many books would you say you read in an average month? In a year? Over the last five years? The last 10?

Ha. I totally obsess over numbers, so today's Booking is right up my alley!

I read approximately a book a week... tho this year I want to tackle a bunch of very large books, and the "book a week" thing probably isn't going to work out!

I've been keeping track of my books since 2001...

2001... 35 books read
2002... 31 books read
2003... 33 books read
2004... 51 books read
2005... 84 books read
2006... 55 books read

And so far this year, I've finished 8 books.

The five year total (year 2002 to 2006) is 254.
And an approximate ten year total is 400?

SciFi Book Meme
Tue 20 Feb 2007

Entry #2 on this page (tagged: books)

I've run across a few bloggers answering this meme and finally tracked down the originator. SF Signal's SF Book Meme posted 3 March 2005 (and the resurgence post 14 Feb 2007). It's a pretty good blog, and reminded me of a few books I need to pick up. heh, like my wish list isn't long enough.

Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror?
Science Fiction and a Fantasy book here and there. No horror, please.

Hardback or Trade Paperback or Mass Market Paperback?
Mass Market Paperback or an eBook is my preference. Storage space is becoming an increasing problem, since I like to keep my books... so I try to get ebooks whenever I can. I did belong to the Science Fiction book club for a while, so I do have a few hardbacks.

Heinlein or Asimov?
I hate Asimov. I've only read one Heinlein. I think I liked it. It's been a while.

Amazon or Brick and Mortar?
Amazon. I'm a prime member and I totally love the two-day shipping. I do enjoy browsing through a store, but I rarely bother with the drive.

Barnes & Noble or Borders?
eh. No difference to me.

Hitchhiker or Discworld?
I enjoyed the Hitchhiker series. I've not read Discworld yet.

Bookmark or Dogear?
Bookmark!! Altho I occasionally have trouble finding my bookmark after I put it down, I would never ruin a book by bending a corner.

Magazine: Asimov's Science Fiction or Fantasy & Science Fiction?
I get Fantasy & Science Fiction, and have for many years. I've never read an Asimov's.

Alphabetize by author Alphabetize by title or random?
oh geez. My bookshelves and boxes are Random. Completely and Utterly.

Keep, Throw Away or Sell?
I keep my books. I'm a little obsessive about it.

Year's Best Science Fiction series (edited by Gardner Dozois) or Years Best SF series (edited by David G. Hartwell)?
I've been reading Dozois' series for ages and I usually like his selections. I just started reading Hartwell's, so this one might be a tie. :)

Keep dustjacket or toss it?
Keep it! It adds to the value of the book.

Read with dustjacket or remove it?
I take it off when I'm reading to keep it in good condition.

Short story or novel?
Novel. I do read quite a few short story collections, but I would never just read a short story... They are now selling individual stories on Amazon and FictionWise and I can't be bothered.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?
Nope, neither. Never read, and my TBR list is long and doesn't include these books at all!

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
When tired. Very often authors put chapter breaks in very exciting spots, so you want to keep reading through. So, yeah, I just stop randomly.

"It was a dark and stormy night" or "Once upon a time"?
"Once upon a time" for me. Unless it's a dark and stormy night on another planet. :)

Buy or Borrow?
Totally buy. I hate borrowing. I hate to touch "used" books.

Buying choice: Book Reviews, Recommendation or Browse?
hm. If I'm in a store, it's browse... but I'm rarely in a store. Usually, I think it's a combination of reviews and recommendations.

Lewis or Tolkien?
Tolkien. Lewis is so simple minded with his Christian propaganda. Tolkien does some serious world building. Honestly, there's no comparison between the two authors.

Hard SF or Space Opera?
Hard Science Fiction.

Collection (short stories by the same author) or Anthology (short stories by different authors)?
I like Anthologies better. More variety!

Hugo or Nebula?
eh. Both!

Golden Age SF or New Wave SF?
New Wave, Please.

Tidy ending or Cliffhanger?
Some of my favorite books are cliffhangers. Tidy endings are nice, and all, but ... um ... yeah ...

Morning reading, Afternoon reading or Nighttime reading?
Night during the week and afternoon during the weekend!

Standalone or Series?
I enjoy series... when I find an author I love, I definitely want more! But series that go on and on for millions of books, I am unlikely to begin.

Urban fantasy or high fantasy?
Urban fantasy... You read one "high fantasy", you've read them all. And I've read the One. heh.

New or used?
New, preferrably. As mentioned, I don't like to touch used books. Another thing I'm obsessive about.

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?

Top X favorite genre books read last year? (Where X is 5 or less)
I didn't read extensive sci fi last year and nothing qualifies as "favorite", but here are the best...
Year's Best Science Fiction 20th edited by Dozois.
Year's Best SF 1 edited by Hartwell.
Rider at the Gate and Clouds Rider by C.J. Cherryh.
Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin.

Top X favorite genre books of all time? (Where X is 5 or less)
Moon of Three Rings and Flight in Yiktor by Andre Norton. (out of print)
Watersong by Mary Caraker. (out of print)
Riders of Leviathan by Toni Anzetti.
Earth by David Brin

X favorite genre series? (Where X is 5 or less)
David Brin's Uplift Series.
Tara K. Harper's WolfWalker series.

Top X favorite genre short stories? (Where X is 5 or less)
Richard Chwedyk's "The Measure of All Things". The rest of his collection is good, but "Measure" is brilliant.
Vonda McIntyre's "Grass" (which is the basis of her novel Dreamsnake).
And "The New Prehistory" by Rene Rebetez-Cortes is a good one that amuses me.

Booking: TBR
Thurs 25 Jan 2007

Entry #1 on this page (tagged: books)

Booking Through Thursday meme

  • How many unread books do you have in your house, right now?
  • To the best of your recollection, what is the OLDEST unread book in your collection? How long has it been waiting?
  • Do your TBR books (that's "To Be Read," if you didn't know) haunt you, make you feel guilty that you haven't read them yet?

There are exactly 43 unread books of the dead tree variety that I have bought but not read yet.

And there are approximately 350 unread ebooks.

I do a pretty good job of rotating through my unread books. I think I've acquired all of these books during this century (ie, since year 2000), except one.

It's a science fiction World Treasury. I think I got it new and the copyright is 1989, so that's the book that's been with me the longest. It's huge and unwieldy and physically dangerous to read. ;) But I'm hoping to get it out this year and finish it off!

I don't feel guilty about my piles. I am reading all the time, and I will get to all the books eventually! It makes me happy to own them. And I get excited to have so many choices.

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