The problem with books.

To be sure to the book lover, it’s hard to see a problem with books. Other than the fact there’s not enough time for them all. If you work out how many books you’d like to read, and the amount you manage to read each year, then the number of years you possibly have left in life… morbid or not, it really makes a difference in how willing you are to spend on a book.

That aside, bookshelves. I really want to re-organise mine. However, my books take up:

  • one wall of a room, from ceiling to floor, mostly double-stacked as the shelves are fairly deep.
  • the side of my desk, that has two shelves built in, and the top of my desk
  • two small tables crammed in somehow between my desk and the bed
  • another bookshelf, that almost reaches the ceiling, about 1.5m wide

Then there’s also the books that have floated out to be in the living room bookcase, that takes up the entire main focus wall.

And the crates of books in cupboards and downstairs in storage. And the seven massive bags too heavy to carry, of books I plan to donate to the library. Though I guess they don’t count – perhaps I’ve become carried away here. Yes.

The problem is, where I live is very humid. Books yellow here within two-three years. Bugs get to them, no matter how they’re stored – I don’t exactly have the space or money to store them all in air-tight containers. Books should be displayed! Anyhow. I’m thinking of getting rid of a lot of them, whether to libraries or charity, depending on their current quality.

Then the rest? Re-oganise. But oh the effort, only to be then ruined once another dozen books arrive in my life.

Yes. This is the problem with books. It’s a pretty wonderful problem to have, as far as problems go.

To Read List

So my reading pile is getting a bit out of hand. The following are books I have to read this year, the sooner the better. My ‘want to read’ list is well over 200, as blogged about earlier.

Aurealis Judging (these are only the books I’ve received so far, but have not read – I’ve received and read 10 so far, and there are a bunch that have been nominated, but haven’t arrived yet – last year there were 60 or so nominated so I still have quite a few ahead of me!)

Valley of Shields (Empire of Bones, #2) Black Sun Light My Way (Children of the Black Sun, #2) Dreaming of Zhou Gong (The Timekeepers #1) The Shadowed Throne (The Risen Sun, #2) Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? 

A Crucible of Souls (Sorcery Ascendant Sequence, #1)Allegiance Sworn (The Light Blade, #3) Dark Serpent (Celestial Battle , #1) The Hunt for Pierre Jnr Kinslayer (The Lotus War, #2)

Book club reading – I’ve been falling behind, lately and really should try to get back into it. These are the three I should be reading soon and/or now. But Aurealis still comes first.

Gone Girl What Angels Fear (Sebastian St. Cyr, #1)   The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking, #1)

And then as my partner and I were both complaining that we had a list that was getting a bit out of control, of books we’d been meaning to read for years and still hadn’t managed to get around to it, we came up with a list of six books each (of similar page numbers to each other) and are challenging each other to read them all. So far we’ve read one each. My remaining, are:

The Rook (The Checquy Files, #1) Flowers for Algernon The Mists of Avalon Cordelia's Honor (Vorkosigan Omnibus, #1) The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books,  #1) Blaze of Glory (The Laws of Magic, #1)

Oh, and reviewing as well. I took most of this year off from most publishers, but a few have still been arriving. There are two I received recently:

The Quarry His Stupid Boyhood: A Memoir

So, it’s not like I get much choice in what I read next as some take more priority than others, but what do you think of my current pile?

Competitions!

Two competitions for book lovers:

1. Win either 1 hardcover or 2 paperbacks equal to $20 from the Book Depository: See here for the competition.

2. Six people will win one book, one of those winners will get a $15 TBD giftcard! See here for details.

 

Both competitions are international (though in the second, international winner pays shipping) and I have nothing to do with either, so please use the links to enter!

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

So I’ve hit 50 days in Animal Crossing: New Leaf… how are my stats going?

Bugs: 56/72

Diving: 20/30

Fish: 50/72

Badges: 15/72

Songs: 9/91

Art: 6/33

Fossils: 64/67

Emotions: 32/40

Community Projects: Unlocked police station, flower clock, brick bridge, sandbox, instrument shelter (?), outdoor chair, stone tablet…

Buildings: Fortune Teller and Train Station appearance remaining to unlock.

What I really want to unlock is: blue bench, hot spring, wisteria trellis and zen garden.

Items: Unlocked gold watering can from having a perfect town, gold slingshot, and silver everything else – other than axe. All my axes break on me.

Trophies: Silver plaque for HHA points, Gold(x2) for bug-off.

What else? Have all fruits (including persimmon) and bamboo, have the room to the right, back, basement and upstairs so far. I think basement needs one more expansion, upstairs perhaps one more, and the room to the back needs two or three. Didn’t want to expand when I was trying to get the HHA points right, but eh – I really don’t get how it works beyond having complete sets and putting certain colours to certain sides.

Blue violets are probably my favourite, and currently have three Jacob’s Ladders. I have five tree stumps (despite having a normal axe) which are triforce, heart, orange and two of… well, I thought it was a mushroom, but apparently not. Oh, it’s apparently Redd’s symbol.

Oh, and only two more items to get from working at Brewsters.

 

I can highly recommend getting the (free) ACNL Guide app on iPhone (and other smart phones, I hope!) as it has anything I can ever think of wanting and it’s quite nicely done, and has updated often with more information and nicer layout.

 

And now… an owl:

tumblr_mr1fhfmzBz1qzzgeuo1_400

My character in my partner’s novel is called Amelia. Wasn’t too impressed when I saw this is how she looked in AC – but eh, could be worse!tumblr_mr1f9tmUfB1qzzgeuo1_400

My very annoying neighbour (who I’m trying to encourage to move out) fell asleep on one of the stumps. Haven’t seen this before.
tumblr_mr1fdlF0jC1qzzgeuo1_400

Note the name and appearance. Even looks sunburnt!tumblr_mr1f8oRSqY1qzzgeuo1_400

Why, uhh… tumblr_mr1f7eX75S1qzzgeuo1_400

And finally, my current look:

Screen shot 2013-08-05 at 12.58.54 PM

Surgery required

A while ago I posted:

 I’ve had a CT scan and will have a hearing test on Monday, then I see him again after that. He thinks I’ll need to have minor surgery. As long as it means I can fly without damaging my ears, then woohoo.

Well, hearing test is done (I have 100% hearing, thank goodness) and I saw my doctor again this morning. I ‘certainly need surgery’, but it would have to happen at least a month before flying again, which I have planned for the 26th of October to go to England for World Fantasy Convention. Being with my partner. Meeting Scott Lynch and Patrick Rothfuss and all the rest.

He says I can still fly without the surgery is no one’s free to do it before then – it’ll just be painful, but he can give me steroids which may help. I won’t be doing any further damage, so it’s up to me whether it’s worth it. My main issue is the hearing loss two weeks after, and I’m going to a convention which means usually packed halls unable to hear the speaker, but eh. I’m usually okay close up and if I get to meet Scott and flail then it’ll be worth it.

Currently there’s three options for surgery:

  1. Private Hospital: I think my BUPA covers it, however there would still, of course, be a few expenses and not sure on the time frame as to when it could be done.
  2. Public Hospital: 12 months waiting possibly, but free.
  3. Katherine Hospital: 4 hours drive away in a small town. Free also. There’s a ‘very good surgeon’ who goes there once a month to treat the Indigenous population, but they rarely show up for their appointment. I’d have a days notice if he’s suddenly free. This could happen on Thursday 1st August if so.

Either way, it needs to happen a full month at least before flying and I’d need 10 days absolute rest directly after. It would include one or two nights overnight in the hospital.

CT scan says:  IMPRESSION: There is mild to moderate chronic sinusitis. There appears to be acute left maxillary sinusitis.

As for now, all I have to do is wait to see if the Katherine surgeon will be free, and meanwhile, freak the hell out over the idea of surgery.

Picture of CT scan below. See the middle bit? Nose. See the curling white (bone) bits, and black (passages) bits? They should be straight. How they intend to fix that… who knows. Ouch.

Screen shot 2013-07-23 at 4.58.18 PM

 

ETA 28th July: Met with surgeon – he’s not as reassuring as one would hope for. Have the codes BUPA need to check whether it’s covered by private health insurance and may look to having it done privately instead. Yay stress. Yay stress. Yay.

Aurealis Awards 2013

For the third year running, I’ve been lucky and honoured enough to be a judge in the Australian Aurealis Awards. The first two years I was one of three anthologies/collections judges, and this year I’m convenor (as I was last year), but now of the fantasy novel category.

Last year there were 27 anthology/collection nominations. 66 fantasy novel. 30 in science fiction and 15 in horror. It’s safe to say fantasy is one of the bigger categories, though the submissions to the short stories is over 100 in each category, at least they’re still short!

To say I’m looking forward to judging fantasy novels is an understatement. I keep refreshing the nominations page multiple times a day (really should stop that) to see what’s been added. I can’t wait to start reading! As we could have up to 70 novels to read in the next six or seven months, I really hope they get the books in quickly to us, if not for the sake of our sanity, but so we all have the chance to give proper time and consideration to all entries. It would be a bit impossible if we received 30 in December!

So, if you have work eligible, please check out the Aurealis site. See below.

Any work of speculative fiction written by an Australian citizen of permanent resident and published for the first time between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2013 is eligible to be entered.

http://www.aurealisawards.com

Recent books

Quite frankly, my reading this year has been pretty poor. I aimed for 150 novels (I don’t include shorts, novellas need to be over 150 pages, and I don’t include manga/graphic novels either) and I had to revise down to my usual 104 for the year. Even so, I’m well behind where I should be up to.

Thankfully I’ve recently had a run of excellent books.

The Darwin Elevator

 The Darwin Elevator by Jason M. Hough is the first in a trilogy. The cover caught my eye on NetGalley, and when I looked it up to see if I should read it one of the first things that caught my eye (as it’s in the first line of the description) is that it’s set in the fairly tiny ‘city’ where I’ve always lived – a place other Australians have even said – non jokingly – ‘where is it?’ thinking it’s not even in the country. (The amount of times I’ve had someone down south inspect my license and then say ‘Sorry, we need an Australian one…’)… ANYHOW. The amount of mentions we get even in Australia is limited, let alone elsewhere. I contacted the author who states he’s never been here, and simply looked up on a map for somewhere close to the equator, and went with us for the double-meaning of the name. Excellent.

Well, he does a damn good job. Every reference within is an actual place – Nightcliff, Millner, and their ship is called Melville which is a nearby island. It’s well written and features some of the best action I’ve read as far as I can remember. If you like science well done, pick this one up.

 

A Trifle Dead

A Trifle Dead by Livia Day is another Australian-set novel, by the author Tansy Rayner-Roberts who lives in Tasmania, also where this novel is set. The novel is witty and simply a pleasure to read.

My weakness really is descriptions of food. They were a favourite in Harry Potter and I wish I liked the food mentioned in The Lies of Locke Lamora (darn pears, why don’t I like pears!) but in this novel, they really shine.

This is about a young adult – Tabitha – daughter to a policeman which means the whole force keeps an eye on her at all times, which is sometimes sweet, usually annoying, but almost okay when one of them is quite cute. Though in a range of funky characters and a good ol’ murder mystery where Tabitha is so real and sassy, and you have such an enjoyable book that’s simply fun. Well written – I mean, have you read Tansy’s Creature Court series? No? Well, you have another three books to add to your to-read pile then, don’t you?

Go on now, hustle.

 

VicousVicious by V. E. Schwab is another NetGalley discovery – the first 100 pages were available as a preview, to which I thought well, what’s the harm, at least it’ll be easy to review.

Eight pages in, and I’d practically quoted half to my long-suffering partner (known as Adder online) and work friend Kane. It’s witty. It’s clever with the words – almost saying half of the truth to let you figure out the rest, such as saying the girl was short and hadn’t grown an inch since she’d died, yet here she was, helping him to a spot of grave-digging. What?

It’s a super-hero/villain thing, two ferociously clever young men in university, but it’s science-fiction rather than fantasy.

And the author is just 26. She’s living my dream life. A writer – and a smashingly awesome author – and the same age. Goodness. What I would give.

 

Death of the NecromancerThe Death of the Necromancer by Martha Wells is a book I discovered through a friend on Goodreads liking someone elses review of this book, where they summed it up by saying: ‘It’s The Lies of Locke Lamora meets Sherlock Holmes‘. Pretty much my two favourite things in the world, so how could I do anything but get it straight away, even though I was at work, and start it in my lunch break.

I’m not that far in, but so far, my goodness. The description is lovely. The world-building electric and lush and you have such a sense of the characters so quickly.

I’m desperate for more time for this. I judge the Aurealis Awards however, and that opened today, so I need to finish my final review book (mentioned first in this post) so I’m ready for that… but this is the first on my books-for-enjoyment list, and I’ll be reading snatches and bits every moment I get possible.

 

The Cuckoo's CallingFinally, The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith. I’m one of those who hadn’t even heard of this book until this morning, when it was leaked that this is actually a pseudonym for J. K. Rowling. It may interest you to know that Robert means famous, and Galbraith, in gaelic, means stranger. Clever.

Amazon reviewers have said it’s so well written that surely it’ll turn out someone famous wrote it. Only two days ago Hank Green of the vlogbrothers begged her to write another book. Then it turns out, back in April when this was published, she already had. Clever clogs.

I quite enjoyed The Casual Vacancy. No, that’s a lie. I find it hard to enjoy books that are bleak and miserable. But I do think that the kind of life portrayed within was accurate, horrendously sad, and needs more publicity. I was so thankful for my own life after I’d read it.

I’ll be reading this one, too, as soon as I possibly can.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.