Why do you write reviews?

The thing about reviews is that I don’t think people read them unless

a) they’re your really good friend and are thus interested in everything you blog about
b) they’re already interested in the book you’re reviewing and want to know more about it or
b2) they’ve read the book already and want to see how your thoughts match up with theirs
c) you’re the NY Times or some really big review blog with a whole heap of pull (Dear Author, for example)

I basically only write reviews for my personal satisfaction, with a side bonus of getting some discussion (see b above). They’re the least popular posts on my blog (not counting the hits I KNOW are people Googling for help with their school projects) and yet they’re the ones I spend the most time on. So why do I keep writing them?

Writing reviews helps me keep track of my thoughts about a book! I have a pretty good memory for books anyway, but I don’t always remember WHY I liked (or disliked) a book. Because I write reviews for most of the books I read, I’m able to refer to them later on and refresh my memory. I also think reviews are great for spreading the word about an awesome but underrated book, especially backlist titles that need a bigger fan base.

I think also it’s a good idea for me to think more critically about the media I consume. It stretches my thinking muscles, and it makes the enjoyment (or non-enjoyment) of something more visceral and enjoyable as a whole.

Why do you write reviews?

Currently reading: Essential X-men Vol. 2

essential x-men instagramI’ve been marathon-listening to Rachel and Miles X-plain the X-men during my commute, and it’s given me a hankering for superhero comics! The last episode I listened to talked about a few good ways to start reading the X-men series, one of which was to pick up the Essential X-men collections. They’re basically black-and-white reprints bound into hardcover. My library had Essential X-men Vol. 2, so I decided to start there!

It’s SO GREAT. It’s silly and melodramatic, but in an amazingly entertaining way. I’m super glad I listened the podcasts beforehand, though, because it prepared me for what to expect character and plot wise. And it prepared me for Chris Claremont’s writing, too! I love picking out the various things I learned from the podcast– like CC’s mean narrator voice, and Professor X being a terrible mentor.

So I definitely recommend listening to the Rachel and Miles!

Downsides: I do miss having color pages, if only because late 1970s comics clothing is a thing of terrible beauty. Sean Cassidy’s horrible plaid pants! I CAN’T.

What’re you reading this weekend? And then…

Weekly links & wrap-up (June 8, 2014)

I’ve been reading a lot this week! Which is very exciting because I’ve been going through a little reading slump for the past few months. Now all I need to do is catch up on my reviews and I’ll be on top of the world again.

Do you like old movies? I’ve been watching pre-1960s classics like Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and My Man Godfrey, and it’s been heaps of fun. I didn’t always like the oldies, and I particularly didn’t like black and white ones– but now I can’t get enough of them.

It’s kinda similar to how all of a sudden I can’t get enough historical romances when before I barely read any romances at all! Isn’t it interesting how our reading tastes change over time?

What genre do you love nowadays that you didn’t love before? And then…

My #lunchtimeread is: Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold

I’ve finally started my reread of the Vorkosigan saga! I loved the first eight or so books when I read them last year, and so far I’m loving them just as much this second time around. I’m currently somewhere in the last half of the second book, Barrayar, and I’m having a hard time putting my Kindle down to do things like, y’know, going to sleep at night. 

In her first trial by fire, Cordelia Naismith captained a throwaway ship of the Betan Expeditionary Force on a mission to destroy an enemy armada. Discovering deception within deception, treachery within treachery, she was forced into a separate peace with her chief opponent, Lord Aral Vorkosigan – he who was called “The Butcher of Komarr” – and would consequently become an outcast on her own planet and the Lady Vorkosigan on his.

Sick of combat and betrayal, she was ready to settle down to a quiet life, interrupted only by the occasional ceremonial appearances required of the Lady Vorkosigan. But when the Emperor died, Aral became guardian of the infant heir to the imperial throne of Barrayar – and the target of high-tech assassins in a dynastic civil war that was reminscent of Earth’s Middle Ages, but fought with up-to-the-minute biowar technology. Neither Aral nor Cordelia guessed the part that their cell-damaged unborn would play in Barrayari’s bloody legacy. (from Goodreads)

This series is so enthralling! I love scifi anyway, but I particularly love scifi when it’s wrapped around deep emotional development and whatnot. It elevates the fantastic from something merely cool, y’know?

My lunch is less spectacular: shrimp-flavored ramen. I’m a little low on eatables at the moment, though, so it’ll do in a pinch.

What are you reading during your lunch break?

Currently Reading: The Girls at the Kingfisher Club

The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine comes out this June; I got my copy from NetGalley! 

Omg y’all! This book is so amazing! It’s a rebelling of the twelve dancing princesses fairy tale, set in 1920s New York with flappers! I’m about 25% into it and I am LOVING everything about it. The writing, the characters, the dancing and flapping! (Flappering?) 

Admittedly my suspension of disbelief is taking a tumble as the sister have lived both a very sheltered life trapped in the upper three floors of their huge house (the oldest has never seen the dining room!) while also sneaking out almost every night to go to underground clubs, but I’m having fun.

A great thing about this version is that I’m getting a sense of what sort of person each of the sisters are, individually! The focus is more on the oldest, Jo, than any of the others, but enough time is spent on each of their POVs that I can actually tell them apart from one another. Woohoo!

Do you like fairy tale retellings? I feel like the twelve dancing princesses one is very popular– I’ve read more retellings of that story more than any other– but I also really like East of the Sun and West of the Moon retellings. What’s your favorite fairy tale retold?