Category: Miscellaneous

Delicious Library and My Out-of-Control TBR List

Recently, I spent a fun couple of days putting together a digital bookshelf of all my books with Delicious Library (Mac OS X only).   I particularly appreciated being able to view my Kindle and Kobo ebooks, physical hard copy books (of which I still have a few) and Audible audiobooks all in the one place.  The software includes a barcode scanner, so you can scan in and add physical hard copy books.  Audible audiobooks and iBooks are added via iTunes and I used a drop and drag from the Amazon Manage Your Kindle page to add my Kindle collection.  I had to manually search for and add my Kobo books.  I should note that Digital Library has full iTunes integration so it also includes your iTunes movies and TV shows.  It took me a little while to work out how to include Audible and ebooks on the same shelf – but a quick Google search indicated that I needed to edit my shelf to include both “iTunes Audiobook” and “book” type content.  

Delicious Library can also generate fascinating stats about your library.  For example, I learned that to listen to my entire Audible collection back to back would take me 1,756 hours and 34 minutes!  It would cost me $770 to replace my few hard copy books – the software assumes a zero replacement value for Audible and ebooks and iTunes content as they are stored in the Cloud – and David Eddings is actually my top author, closely followed by Robert Jordan.

Being a collector of predominantly ebooks and Audible audiobooks, I really miss being able to display all those beautiful books on a physical bookshelf.  Of course, Delicious Library cannot quite replicate this, but it comes pretty close.  The display is simply beautiful and the books react when you mouse over them.  Content is linked to Amazon, so you can see immediately details about the books.  I did have to spend some time editing the data slightly so that my series would display in the correct order, but the nice thing is, my bookshelf will now never be out of order.

Reviewing my library in this way brought home my attention to several things; one, the Amazon one-click buy now is DANGEROUS and my TBR list is completely out of control.  Like many bookworms, I am a bit of an impulse buyer and I have so many excellent books waiting on my shelf to be read that I don’t get round to reading before I buy the next one.  So, I have put together a TBR list and will commit to not buying any more books until I have made good headway through it.  I will make some exceptions; I may read the books I have already on pre-order (the ones coming out in August have already been added to the list) and when book 12 of Anne Robillard’s Chevaliers d’Emeraude is available on Kobo I will buy it.  Also, any free books I’m offered to review will be added. My Audible credits may also be used as I wish, although I imagine I will use them to pick up Audible versions of books already in my TBR or to add to Audible series I already enjoy (Dresden Files, Artemis Fowl and Iron Druid).  I have four weeks of nightshift work coming up in a week or two, and I particularly appreciate Audible books to get me through.  Wish me luck with this!

What will be tomorrow’s classics?

During my reading for the recent BookTubeAThon in which I compared classic works of literature with more modern novels, I realised fairly early on that there is usually a very good reason why “classics” continue to be read year after year and why they have stood the test of time.    It seems to me that what they have in common is a combination of exploration of universal themes, interesting characters, entry into a fantastical new world, understanding of the human condition and/or a witty and engaging writing style. 1984 explores the theme of government control, and Big Brother is a pretty dominant “character” in the book.  Pride & Prejudice has Jane Austen’s wonderfully witty narrative combined with the eternal quest for true love.

Naturally it made me wonder which of today’s novels will become tomorrow’s classics.  Looking at Amazon’s 100 top selling books, there are several I see there that I don’t believe we will still be reading in years to come. I’m sorry E.L. James and Dan Brown, but I really doubt people will even remember Fifty Shades of Grey or Inferno in fifty years’ time.  I simply don’t think they combine enough of the criteria to last.  So what will people be (re)reading in fifty years time?

Naturally, only time will tell, and I’m basing my picks mainly on the young adult/fantasy genre which is the one I know best.  My top pick would be the Harry Potter series.  I believe in this series Rowling has combined most, if not all, of my criteria.  We have the universal themes of good vs evil, sacrifice, love, friendship and family.  I imagine these themes will still be as relevant in 50 years.  As for interesting characters, I defy anyone to truly know Snape’s motivations prior to the revelations of “The Prince’s Tale” in Deathly Hallows.  The world Rowling has created is simply wonderful – like me, I’m sure many readers wished that they could have joined Harry, Ron and Hermione for some sausages, roast potatoes and pumpkin juice at the Hogwarts end of term feast or that they could have played for Gryffindor in Quidditch.  And who could doubt Rowling’s wit and intelligence when Hermione accuses Ron of having “the emotional depth of a teaspoon” or when reading of Arthur Weasley’s fascination with and misunderstandings of all things Muggle, or fail to shed a tear when Harry asks “will it hurt?” during his last walk in the Forbidden Forest?  The Harry Potter series can be downloaded as ebooks or audiobooks from the Pottermore Shop.  Check out my post on buying from Pottermore.

Another series I imagine will become a classic is George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire.  His characters are multi-dimensional and show Martin’s real understanding of human nature.  People generally don’t tend to be wholly good or wholly bad, but a blend of both, and that comes across beautifully in his characterisation.  Martin’s use of multiple points of view characters allows him to really make them live, and it’s this that I believe will secure the series a place in today’s classics.  I wrote about how spoilers enhanced my reading of the latest book, A Dance with Dragons, in this (spoilery) post.

Robert Jordan’s/Brandon Sanderson’s Wheel of Time series is another one I believe will stand the test of time.  While it doesn’t quite have Martin’s depth of character, it makes up for it in the sheer scale and breadth of the world created.  I wrote a blog post on my reaction as I read A Memory of Light.  (Spoilers, enter at own risk).

In Quebec at least, I believe French speakers will be reading Anne Robillard’s Chevaliers d’Eméraude for many, many years to come.  I truly regret that this wonderful series is not available in English.  I’m almost tempted  to write a longer series of posts on this series to introduce it to you.  Robillard creates a fantastic world which she populates with very relatable characters who are dealing with basic human struggles while engaged in a good vs evil battle for their lives.

My final pick may surprise many of you.  I would not be surprised to see Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary on peoples’ reading lists in years to come.  I say that because it combines a witty and entertaining style with a keen eye for character.  More to the point, it captured perfectly life for young twenty somethings of the time.  I know because I have been a Bridget Jones.  So in the way that modern people enjoy reading Jane Austen to get a glimpse of life in Regency England, people in years to come may read Bridget Jones to see get a glimpse of how we live now.

Do you agree with my choices?  What would you pick?  Let me know in the comments!

What will be tomorrow’s classics?

During my reading for the recent BookTubeAThon in which I compared classic works of literature with more modern novels, I realised fairly early on that there is usually a very good reason why “classics” continue to be read year after year and why they have stood the test of time.    It seems to me that what they have in common is a combination of exploration of universal themes, interesting characters, entry into a fantastical new world, understanding of the human condition and/or a witty and engaging writing style. 1984 explores the theme of government control, and Big Brother is a pretty dominant “character” in the book.  Pride & Prejudice has Jane Austen’s wonderfully witty narrative combined with the eternal quest for true love.

Naturally it made me wonder which of today’s novels will become tomorrow’s classics.  Looking at Amazon’s 100 top selling books, there are several I see there that I don’t believe we will still be reading in years to come. I’m sorry E.L. James and Dan Brown, but I really doubt people will even remember Fifty Shades of Grey or Inferno in fifty years’ time.  I simply don’t think they combine enough of the criteria to last.  So what will people be (re)reading in fifty years time?

Naturally, only time will tell, and I’m basing my picks mainly on the young adult/fantasy genre which is the one I know best.  My top pick would be the Harry Potter series.  I believe in this series Rowling has combined most, if not all, of my criteria.  We have the universal themes of good vs evil, sacrifice, love, friendship and family.  I imagine these themes will still be as relevant in 50 years.  As for interesting characters, I defy anyone to truly know Snape’s motivations prior to the revelations of “The Prince’s Tale” in Deathly Hallows.  The world Rowling has created is simply wonderful – like me, I’m sure many readers wished that they could have joined Harry, Ron and Hermione for some sausages, roast potatoes and pumpkin juice at the Hogwarts end of term feast or that they could have played for Gryffindor in Quidditch.  And who could doubt Rowling’s wit and intelligence when Hermione accuses Ron of having “the emotional depth of a teaspoon” or when reading of Arthur Weasley’s fascination with and misunderstandings of all things Muggle, or fail to shed a tear when Harry asks “will it hurt?” during his last walk in the Forbidden Forest?  The Harry Potter series can be downloaded as ebooks or audiobooks from the Pottermore Shop.  Check out my post on buying from Pottermore.

Another series I imagine will become a classic is George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire.  His characters are multi-dimensional and show Martin’s real understanding of human nature.  People generally don’t tend to be wholly good or wholly bad, but a blend of both, and that comes across beautifully in his characterisation.  Martin’s use of multiple points of view characters allows him to really make them live, and it’s this that I believe will secure the series a place in today’s classics.  I wrote about how spoilers enhanced my reading of the latest book, A Dance with Dragons, in this (spoilery) post.

Robert Jordan’s/Brandon Sanderson’s Wheel of Time series is another one I believe will stand the test of time.  While it doesn’t quite have Martin’s depth of character, it makes up for it in the sheer scale and breadth of the world created.  I wrote a blog post on my reaction as I read A Memory of Light.  (Spoilers, enter at own risk).

In Quebec at least, I believe French speakers will be reading Anne Robillard’s Chevaliers d’Eméraude for many, many years to come.  I truly regret that this wonderful series is not available in English.  I’m almost tempted  to write a longer series of posts on this series to introduce it to you.  Robillard creates a fantastic world which she populates with very relatable characters who are dealing with basic human struggles while engaged in a good vs evil battle for their lives.

My final pick may surprise many of you.  I would not be surprised to see Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary on peoples’ reading lists in years to come.  I say that because it combines a witty and entertaining style with a keen eye for character.  More to the point, it captured perfectly life for young twenty somethings of the time.  I know because I have been a Bridget Jones.  So in the way that modern people enjoy reading Jane Austen to get a glimpse of life in Regency England, people in years to come may read Bridget Jones to see get a glimpse of how we live now.

Do you agree with my choices?  What would you pick?  Let me know in the comments!

BookTubeathon 2013

Through @katytastic I recently learned about BookTubeAthon – a book reading marathon for YouTube book bloggers. Take a look at the introductory videos. Although I don’t blog on YouTube, I think this sounds a really exciting idea, and I look forward to taking part.

In summary, it’s a challenge to book bloggers to read as much as possible between 15th and 21st July and to complete certain challenges:

(more…)

BookTubeathon 2013

Through @katytastic I recently learned about BookTubeAthon – a book reading marathon for YouTube book bloggers. Take a look at the introductory videos. Although I don’t blog on YouTube, I think this sounds a really exciting idea, and I look forward to taking part.

In summary, it’s a challenge to book bloggers to read as much as possible between 15th and 21st July and to complete certain challenges:

(more…)

A bit of an introduction to me.

MyPicture Some of you kind enough to check out my writing may not know me personally, so I thought it was probably about time to tell you a bit about myself.

To get started, here’s a fun fact. I have read Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings right through – all 1,200+ pages – in four different languages; English, French, German and Dutch.  Normally, I don’t like to be pinned down to a favourite book, but if you really, really REALLY pressed me, I’d probably have to answer Tolkien’s masterpiece. 

My handle is Scottish Bookworm in Quebec.  Yes, I am Scottish, yes, I am a bookworm and yes, I do live in Quebec.  In order to fund my book habit I work in technical support, although I’d much rather be reading with my cat Isis curled up on my knee.  

As a youngster, I always had my nose stuck in a book.  It was hardly surprising then that I studied Modern Languages at the University of Edinburgh where I spent four years dissecting classic French and German literature.  For some time after I graduated I refused to read anything deeper than the latest issue of Cosmopolitan.  

It wasn’t until I bought my first Kindle back in early 2010 that I really began to read voraciously again.  Now, however, my book budget is a source of, um, friendly discussion shall we say between my husband and myself.  I often reread books – indeed, going back to some of my favourites is like catching up with old friends – so I like to have a copy to hand.  I used to refuse to be beaten by a book and would finish it to the end.  Now I believe life is too short to waste on a poorly written book, or even one that doesn’t engage me personally.

My preferred genre is fantasy, and I’ll read anything by George R.R. Martin, Brandon Sanderson, Brent Weeks, the usual suspects.  What I look for in a book is either a strong plot line (a la Weeks), interesting worldbuilding (Sanderson’s speciality) or fascinating characters (Tyrion anyone?), and preferably a blend of all three.  Of course if there’s humour in there too, that’s even better.  I’m put off by characters with little more depth than a playing card, uneven pacing and quick fix resolutions that have not been well set up.   

When reviewing books I try to be fair; I appreciate that not everyone will be looking for the same things in a book.  I also try to remember that the author has spent many months if not years creating this story and characters and I try to respect that, even if I find it is not appealing to me personally.  If I am ever less than respectful in a review please call me up on it.

I hope you enjoy my comments on the books I read.  I am active on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, so please feel free to look me up there.  I look forward to hearing from you.

A bit of an introduction to me.

MyPicture Some of you kind enough to check out my writing may not know me personally, so I thought it was probably about time to tell you a bit about myself.

To get started, here’s a fun fact. I have read Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings right through – all 1,200+ pages – in four different languages; English, French, German and Dutch.  Normally, I don’t like to be pinned down to a favourite book, but if you really, really REALLY pressed me, I’d probably have to answer Tolkien’s masterpiece. 

My handle is Scottish Bookworm in Quebec.  Yes, I am Scottish, yes, I am a bookworm and yes, I do live in Quebec.  In order to fund my book habit I work in technical support, although I’d much rather be reading with my cat Isis curled up on my knee.  

As a youngster, I always had my nose stuck in a book.  It was hardly surprising then that I studied Modern Languages at the University of Edinburgh where I spent four years dissecting classic French and German literature.  For some time after I graduated I refused to read anything deeper than the latest issue of Cosmopolitan.  

It wasn’t until I bought my first Kindle back in early 2010 that I really began to read voraciously again.  Now, however, my book budget is a source of, um, friendly discussion shall we say between my husband and myself.  I often reread books – indeed, going back to some of my favourites is like catching up with old friends – so I like to have a copy to hand.  I used to refuse to be beaten by a book and would finish it to the end.  Now I believe life is too short to waste on a poorly written book, or even one that doesn’t engage me personally.

My preferred genre is fantasy, and I’ll read anything by George R.R. Martin, Brandon Sanderson, Brent Weeks, the usual suspects.  What I look for in a book is either a strong plot line (a la Weeks), interesting worldbuilding (Sanderson’s speciality) or fascinating characters (Tyrion anyone?), and preferably a blend of all three.  Of course if there’s humour in there too, that’s even better.  I’m put off by characters with little more depth than a playing card, uneven pacing and quick fix resolutions that have not been well set up.   

When reviewing books I try to be fair; I appreciate that not everyone will be looking for the same things in a book.  I also try to remember that the author has spent many months if not years creating this story and characters and I try to respect that, even if I find it is not appealing to me personally.  If I am ever less than respectful in a review please call me up on it.

I hope you enjoy my comments on the books I read.  I am active on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, so please feel free to look me up there.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Just checking in

Hello, I’m sorry for the long delay in an entry. It’s been a crazy month or so with a trip to Scotland, a visit to Texas and a current extended stay in a Quebec emergency room with a seriously infected leg.

There are a few posts I’m planning to share. One on the The Testing Book One in The Testing Trilogy. by Joelle Charbonneau kindly given to me for review via Netgalley. This is a YA distopian novel and worth picking up. Full review soon.

I also plan to write about my experience with Tepp Wireless and as an Anglophone in the Quebec emergency health system

Just don’t expect these posts next week, OK!

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

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