• Reading

    Fantasy vs Science Fiction

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    I’m worried I’m losing my taste for Fantasy.

    There was a time when my fiction reading was a fairly even split between SF and Fantasy. ‘Fairly even’ as in SF probably edged out Fantasy, but it was likely on the order of 55-45.

    If I look at my reading notes from the last four or five years, the ratio is more like 80-20, and this year has pushed that further so that of the 51 fiction books I’ve read so far this year, only 7 of them qualify as fitting into the Fantasy genre.

    While I’m not sure it’s fair to talk about the World Fantasy Award winners in this vein (although they are part of my long-term quest to read all of the novel-length winners of the major English-language awards), but of the 52 novels that have won the award since its introduction, I’ve attempted 24 so far and they shake out like this:

    • Loved = 1
    • Enjoyed = 6
    • Decent Read = 1
    • Meh = 9
    • Did Not Finish = 7
    • No chance I’m going to read that = 3. (One is outright Horror which is just going to make it a DNF anyway, one completely didn’t appeal to me based on a reading of cover copy and general themes, and one sharing themes with another book I barely got through – and hated – by the same author and on this same quest.)

    Not the greatest ratio for 27 books.

    I’m not sure what’s shifting in my tastes or when it started, but nearly every fantasy book I read the synopsis on or lift to read the cover copy, I get the impression that it’s something I’ve already read something very much like, or that it’s not bringing me anything fresh or exciting. Whether that’s a fair impression for any given book or all of the books I’ve put back down without reading (and that includes some books that are already in the house which seemed attractive at the time) doesn’t really matter, it’s what the Fantasy genre is doing for me lately, which isn’t much.

    And that’s weird.

    I won’t say that I discovered Fantasy before I discovered Science Fiction (see previously disclosed early memories about watching Star Trek with my Dad), but it was pretty early. I remember reading The Hobbit for the first time at about age 7, and The Lord of the Rings at 8 (my Uncle gave me an all-in-one-volume copy during a long summer visit to keep me quiet for a while – it worked, but not for as long as he’d hoped it would), and I’ve been tearing through both genres ever since.

    Except, well, not so much tearing through Fantasy anymore as poking it with a stick and mostly from a distance.

    And that feels unfortunate. I don’t get the same sense of wonder out of entering a new fantastic world as I used to, and Science Fiction still gives that to me. There’s more to it than just that sense of wonder, though. There’s something else Science Fiction gives me that most Fantasy doesn’t seem to: it makes me think.

    The more, ahem, mature I get, the more I’m interested in being stimulated intellectually by my entertainment in addition to emotionally. I absolutely want to connect with the characters – caring about them helps drive the story forward for me – but I want the story to make me think at the same time.

    And most Fantasy doesn’t seem to do that for me anymore. There are great characters to be found, and amazing worlds and conceived realities, but so often it seems to be some version of a quest or adventure or an exploration of the world and the strange cultures that the author has built or even just a telling of events happening to those characters in that setting. It’s offering me fresh vistas, but not fresh thoughts or ideas.

    So is that a problem with me or with the genre?

    Or is it not a problem at all and just a changing preference?

    Maybe I’m just not finding the right Fantasy lately.

    I’m open to suggestions for the coming reading year. Stay safe and be well, everyone.

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  • Reading,  Writing

    Genre Preferences

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    I don’t intend to argue (or even give) definitions in this post, but as I look at the world of fiction, there are 11 genres. Yes, if you include sub-genres and genre-mixings you can get that number an awful lot higher, but I’m just looking at the broad buckets here.

    And I’m going to express preferences. Remembering that your preferences are not mine, you should disagree as much as you like. Those preferences and favourites, both for reading and writing, will become apparent in the short comments that follow. I will say in advance that I have a strong preference for speculative genres and frequently only read in most of the others if they’re mixed in.

    I present the 11 genres in alphabetical order.

    1. Adventure (or you could say Thriller if you like).
    2. Crime (includes things like Detective, Police Procedurals, Noir).
    3. Fantasy
    4. Historical
    5. Horror
    6. Literary
    7. Mystery
    8. Romance
    9. Science Fiction.
    10. Suspense
    11. Western.

    For reading preferences, Science Fiction is where I live most of the time. SF offers endless possibilities for exploring ideas, concepts, possibilities, and what it means to be human. In any given year, SF makes up at least 75% of my fiction reading.

    Fantasy is where I spend the second largest amount of time. The SF/F split used to be a lot closer to 50/50 and I know that there’s plenty of awesome and creative stuff being done, but too much of it seems to be just exploring this neat world/magic system/character the author has created. I say ‘just’ like that’s a bad thing, but it isn’t. These can be great stories, they’re just mostly not what I want anymore. I want stuff to make me think, stuff to make me consider big questions. For me, the best Fantasy does that, but most of it doesn’t look in that direction. And that’s entirely fine. It’s just not for me right now.

    Third most popular genre for ready for me would probably be historical. I have general preferences for ancient Greeks and Romans, Medieval, and Napoleonic Wars, though it feels like I haven’t read a lot of any of these for a long time. Long enough that I feel like I should go and have a look for what’s published in the last few years.

    I think I’ve read exactly one Crime novel, two Mysteries, and three Thrillers in my life. Any literary fiction was for an English class. Romance, Suspense, and Westerns don’t hit the reading list on their own. Any and all of these genres are fine as elements in a story in one of my preferred genres, but I’ve never developed a taste for any of them as genres in their own right. I do sometimes wonder if it’s been a mistake not to try. Whole multiverses full of stories that I just never consider. Something to think about.

    You’ll notice the absence of Horror in everything I’ve written so far in this post. I don’t really do Horror. I tend to express that as finding aspects of reality disturbing enough and I’m not really looking for that in my entertainment. I have tried. As part of my ongoing quest to read all of the books, I keep encountering Horror novels in the World Fantasy Award group. Every one of these I’ve tried has been a DNF (Did Not Finish). More have been DNR (Did Not Read). I’ve never really understood the desire to get in touch with the dark side of things, the fear, the things that cost you sleep at night. I understand that some people do like that in their fiction, but I don’t share it.

    Horror aside, other things that I hate in fiction for the same reason:

    • Pointless gore and violence.
    • Killing/torturing/abusing children as a plot device. I abandon TV shows for that, why would I read it? There are authors whose work I’ve never gone back to because of this.
    • Torture/sexual violence. I leave the room when that happens on TV. I’ve shut off movies because of it. Not high on the list of things I want to see in fiction.
    • The bad guy winning. Happens too often in the real world, thanks.

    Am I squeamish? Over-sensitive? A wimp? Pick the word you like. I prefer to think of it as knowing myself well and being able to empathize with the character on the receiving end. And really, I get enough of these things while consuming media about reality.

    Writing preferences match up fairly well with my reading preferences at the genre level, which shouldn’t surprise anyone too much. But if I get Excel to do the work for me, I come up with the following basic percentages:

    • Science Fiction       47%
    • Fantasy                 39%
    • Horror                   10%
    • Historical              1%
    • Contemporary        3%

    Most of the Horror is probably more like Dark Fantasy, but most of then were also written with either specific anthology calls in mind or to see if I could write to a specific theme. And not one of them is particularly horrific.

    Most of the ‘Contemporary’ probably should go in the Adventure bucket. The super short stuff that doesn’t, well, I guess I’d have to mark them down as Literary, even though that feels weird.

    If I only look at what I’ve written since the beginning of 2019, the numbers turn out very different, with SF being almost 75% of all the stories in that time, counting only first drafts. One Historical Fiction novel, one short that has to be called Literary, and the rest Fantasy. Comes much closer to the reading mix, doesn’t it?

    So, reading and writing both, I’m a speculative fiction guy. Broadly speaking, just about everything I write is either Science Fiction or Fantasy, but I have some plans to branch out a little more over the next year or so.

    Stay safe and be well, everyone.

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  • Reading

    I’m Not Reading As Much As I Have Been

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    Reading has been part of my daily routine forever. Over breakfast, before bed, standing in line at the grocery store. And while I’ve gone through periods in my life where I wasn’t reading as much due to commitments and responsibilities and children’s activities, it’s never gone away.

    But I haven’t been reading much lately. At least, not fiction.

    At the beginning of the shutdown, and even before, my fiction reading had spiked. Between my last day of work and the 18th of May, I read 12 books and I’ve got several more in progress, all at least half-read, that I mostly haven’t touched in the last two weeks.

    It’s not intentional.

    Other events have intervened and I’m consuming media, mainstream and independent, at a furious rate. Articles and podcasts and journals. I’m still reading, but there’s not a lot of fiction involved. Hardly any, really, except the slush pile stuff for Bards and Sages, and I tend to come in right at deadline on that.

    But that’s okay. The fiction will come back, probably gradually. Right now, I need to know more and I need to learn more and I need to understand more. Reasons are likely fairly obvious. If they’re not, well, have a look at the list of podcasts I posted a week or so ago {link}. You’ll get caught up pretty quick.

    Stay safe and be well, everyone.

    And remember that Black Lives Matter is a minimum.

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  • Philosophy

    It’s Easy To Be Angry

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    It’s easy to find things to be angry about.

    All you really have to do is look around with your eyes open.

    I more or less wear my politics on my sleeve and they very simply boil down to people over profit. That’s not as hard to reconcile as you think with the industry I work in, although sometimes it’s more difficult than I’d like it to be. But, people over profit is the primary thing. It’s much more important to me that people are taking care of and that people, generally speaking, put other people ahead of things.

    You might guess it’s very frustrating for me to live in North America right now, and while Ontario isn’t nearly as bad as I regard the federal government in the United States, not yet, it’s not even remotely as far behind as I would like. Ideology has its place, but, whether any one particular person wants to admit it or not, not all ideas are not created equal, and some ideas are just bad.

    So it’s very, very easy for me to find things to be angry about these days.

    I don’t want to spend my life being angry, however, so I want to find things to be happy about, and that’s a lot harder.

    So I’m open about my politics, and my particular flavor of lack of religious beliefs isn’t far behind, really. That wasn’t always the case, but those are getting more open all the time and I’m less concerned with what other people think of what I think, only that I’m setting a good example for my family, friends, and the people around me.

    But does my own ideology make it harder for me to find things to be happy about? Does it set me up for probable failure when I’m looking? Those are both questions I need to answer, but they don’t mean that I need to change my ideology of her true (ideological changes should come from ideological examination). It may mean I need to look harder, and it may mean I need to get off my ass, stop complaining so much, and actually tried to change the world.

    All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to remain silent.

    Silence helps the oppressor, not the oppressed.

    Silence implies agreement.

    I’m not naïve. I recognize that my politics and beliefs make their way to my writing. That’s normal, natural, and human. But even when I’m writing a character who has viewpoints that are complete opposite of mine, I do try to make that character sympathetic if they are the direct antagonist or even if they are partially opposing the primary story arc of the protagonist. Remembering that no one is the villain in their own story, I have put mental guidelines in place to make sure that I’m not demonizing someone in the story just because their character doesn’t look at the world the way I do in the real world.

    My blog is a place for me to be more open and honest. So, to be frank, is social media. Politics and philosophy are both fairly open for me and while I certainly believe in healthy discussion and rational argument, I also believe that you can’t, and shouldn’t separate the art from the artist. I tend to think that the stories that I write and put it there can be enjoyed by anyone of any political, philosophical, or religious outlook. It’s almost all genre fiction, so you need the suspension of disbelief, recognizing that you’re not in the world as we know it. If you follow me personally on social media, or read this blog, you get closer to the real me. A lot closer, really, then anyone other than family and friends get. Until the time comes when I push enough of my energy into the idea of open activism for causes I believe to be important, it will be very easy for someone to read my stuff, enjoy it, and find more of it, without ever coming here or to Facebook or Twitter or wherever I might be hanging out electronically. But once you do, it will be a lot harder to escape or ignore what I actually think about things.

    So, if you’re reading this, you have a couple choices. You can do something I can’t, separate the art from the artist, pretend you never found what you’re reading, and enjoy myself fiction wherever you find it.

    Or you can decide we’re different enough that you can’t possibly support me in any way. I’ll be okay with that, really. Everyone needs to find their own path, see the world through their own eyes.

    Or you can decide we’re not too far apart, maybe have little interesting discussion here and there, hang around for a while, read with me.

    Or, I suppose, you can decide that I’m completely right about everything, but that seems unlikely.

    I think it’s actually considerably more complex than any of those four choices, with as many variations as there are readers. My preference? Whether or not the water is fine, it’s here. Maybe it’s different. Maybe we could talk to each other about stuff, maybe we can teach each other something. Come on in, the water is the water.

    Be well, everyone.

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  • Reading

    2017 Reading Summary

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherBut if 2017 was a weak writing year, it was a strong one for reading. Paper, electronic, audio, I consumed a lot of written words this year.

    Without going into a lot of detail, because there will be plenty when the 2017 Reading Journey file is done, my category break outs are mostly pretty favourable.

    Historical Award Winners: 17, and 4 DNFs

    Last Year’s Award Winners: 6, and 1 DNF

    Spec Fic Breadth: 7

    Other Fiction: 40, and 2 DNFs

    Martial Arts: 4

    Non Fiction: 16

    Which I make a total of 90 books. Add to that several hundred pieces of short fiction (including almost a million words of slush pile reading as a Publishing Assistant for Bards and Sages), and hundreds of comic books, and I read a lot this year.

    I hope to match or beat it in 2018.

    As far as things go, I gave exactly three 5-star ratings to book-length works this year, to:

    The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett – the last Discworld book, and it’s entirely possible that the fifth star was due to my sadness in never getting another new story in this world again.

    Abaddon’s Gate (Expanse #3) by James S. A. Corey – loving this series. Of all the works in this universe so far, only a couple of the novellas have gone below four stars. But now I’m almost caught up. One novella and one novel, and I’ll have to wait on new work with everyone else.

    So, Anyway by John Cleese – I very much enjoyed Mr. Cleese’s biography, only disappointed by the fact that it left off just as Monty Python began. Hoping for a sequel.

    Be well, everyone.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

  • Reading

    Where Did All My Reading Time Go?

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherroyalty-free-photo-antique-book-pileOne of my New Year’s resolutions this year is to become more well-read. I don’t just mean in a specific field, although I have a couple of those in mind. I mean more well-read in general. That resolution breaks down into goals that span several areas.

    Unlike a lot of the other goals I’ve set for my life as part of this year’s plan, or the current five-year plan, my reading goals for this year are something I feel like I’d like to talk about. Something that might actually be interesting to other people. Maybe.

    Genre Fiction

    Once upon a time, I thought I was well-read in Science Fiction and Fantasy. I devoured every book in both genres in every library I could reach, and most of my allowance money went towards books. After I finished with University, and started working in the book retail world, a good chunk of my disposable income, at least the entertainment portion of it, continued to feed the reading habit. Before I had kids, I probably averaged somewhere between 150 and 200 books year as an adult. I’d be reading three or four books at once, and finishing one of them every second day. I read over breakfast, on lunch at work, on breaks, when my wife was out, in the bathroom, and before bed. Rarely was I farther than arm’s length from a book.

    I’m not going to read 150 books this year. I have three kids, two of whom are teenagers, all of whom have stuff to do that I want to be involved in: homework, driving lessons, school activities, hobbies, gaming, volunteer work, and so on. My wife certainly deserves some of my time. I have a career, my own writing, my martial arts journey, and several things I’m trying to learn or teach.

    But, I’m going to commit to 15 specific genre fiction books this year. In the interest of adding a little historical depth to my reading, I set myself a particular challenge. There is a lot of history in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genres, and I may have missed a big chunk of it. Well, not “may”. I’ll never catch it all, but the following list, complete with publication years, will help me catch an eye blink, or 15 of them, in time.

    1. How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu (2010)
    2. Spin by Robert Charles Wilson (2005)
    3. Snowcrash by Neal Stephenson (1992)
    4. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (1986)
    5. Dhalgreen by Samuel R. Delany (1976)
    6. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin (1969)
    7. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (1954)
    8. Titus Groan (Gormenghast 1) by Mervyn Peake (1946)
    9. Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon (1930)
    10. A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay (1920)
    11. A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1910)
    12. In the Days of the Comet by H.G. Wells (1905)
    13. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (1864)
    14. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818)
    15. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (1726)

    This list is the product of considerable research and reading on its own. Beginning with 2010s and working backwards, there is a book that I hope in some fashion can be considered representative for each decade. While it certainly won’t represent everything about that decade, I do think they were each significant books in their own way.

    Prior to the 20th century, the list gets a little sparses, adding only three more titles: one from the second half the 19th, and one from the first, and one pre-1800.

    Added to this, I have a couple of friends with new books coming out this year. I will read those as well, and will attempt to read every anthology coming out this year I have a story in. That’s three so far (I hope there will be more), along with two from last year I haven’t finished yet.

    Martial Arts

    Shodan, the black belt, is really just the beginning of the martial arts journey. And for myself, I’m at a point in my life where any journey needs to be far more than merely physical. In this case, it’s mental and spiritual as well. To paraphrase Gichin Funakoshi, martial arts isn’t about learning being how to beat people up; it’s about building yourself into the best person you can be. My best person needs to continually study and learn new things, so there will be six martial arts books this year, possibly more, but I’m committing to these six, in no particular order.

    1. Complete Kicking by Sang H. Kim
    2. Art of War by Sun Tzu
    3. The Way of Sanchin Kata by Kris Wilder
    4. Sword and Brush by Dave Lowry
    5. Living the Martial Way by Forrest Morgan
    6. Kata and the Transmission of Knowledge In Traditional Martial Arts by Michael Rosenbaum

    Comic Books

    My long-term X-Men read continues, and I’m already far outside the re-read zone. At the moment, I have just broken into the year 2004. I’d like to manage five years’ worth of mutant comics this year, so to the end of 2008. That’s something over a thousand comics.

    Breadth Requirement

    And because well-read should, by definition, also mean well-rounded, and because I’m curious about a lot of different things, there will be a minimum of one nonfiction book in each of the following non-fiction fields:

    1. Ancient History
    2. Philosophy
    3. Mathematics
    4. Paleontology
    5. Astronomy
    6. Physics

    You might note that this small list is a bit science heavy. That’s okay, because I kind of think of myself that way, too. I’m just too much of a generalist to ever settle down into one field in depth.

    Anyone want to share their reading goals for this year?

    Be well, everyoneFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

  • Karate,  Reading

    What I’m Reading: Martial Arts After 40

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherI don’t really talk about it a lot on here, but it’s no secret I train in karate, and have been for about four and a half years now.

    It’s also not a secret that I’m in my forties, and while I trained for six months or so just before my son was born, I didn’t take up karate seriously until a little while after my 39th birthday. Four and a half years on, I’ve learned a lot and definitely ramped up my fitness level, but I’m not ready to start feeling my age yet, so I’ve been trying to expand my personal definitions of what I need to do in order to keep pushing my limits without injuring myself.

    Hence, Martial Arts After 40 by Sang H. Kim.

    The book is broken into four parts, of which I’m just starting the third

    1. Beginning Your Journey 1-4
    2. Getting Fighting Fit and Staying that Way 5-15
    3. Your Martial Arts Journey 16-25
    4. Mastery Points

    The first section breaks out things like fitness basics, nutrition, and a little bit of motivation. This is the first four chapters. And is light reading, a preaching to the choir section that doesn’t hurt to get you into the right frame of mind.

    The second focuses on specific attributes like Agility, Flexibility, Power, and so on, providing important points in each and ten or so exercises targeting each attribute with a slant towards developing for martial arts. Eleven Chapters.

    The third looks at fitness in martial arts in detail. This, for me, is the meat of the book. Upcoming chapters target skill development, forms, sparring, and a lot of martial arts specific skills and fitness. This is where I start taking notes, I think.

    51e5yJoFdMLThe fourth section is the shortest, and titled “Mastery Points”. I’m refusing to read ahead, at least at the moment, but I’m anticipating the wisdom of the ages here. Or at least some solid advice and ways to think about things to continue to grow in your chosen art as your number of birthdays continues to grow.

    Available on Amazon and probably wherever else fine books are sold.

    Be well, everyone.

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  • Reading

    What I’m Reading

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherSo I signed myself up for the Goodreads reading challenge again this year, and increased my target to 50 books, theoretically almost one per week. I’ve finished nine books so far this year, and I’m nearly done a tenth. That makes me 5 books behind schedule at the moment, but it’s not because I’m not reading, it’s because of what I’m reading.

    You see, a while back (last year), I started doing an X-Men re-read.

    X-Men, as in the comic book.

    I used to collect comic books, and I was a huge X-men fan, accumulating most issues of all of the regular series of titles (although not all of them new off the shelf, from issue 100-ish of the original series through to around 330. This is the series that most readers will know as The Uncanny X-Men.

    But I also did all of the primary spin off series in the same time frame: New Mutants, X-Men, X-Force, Excalibur, Alpha Flight, and some of the mini-series too, but my budget was limited most of the time when I was younger. There were a couple of other series I read consistently, too, but not always related: New Warriors, Darkhawk, and so on.

    Actually, I started the re-reads last year with Elfquest, The Tick, and Alien Legion, before moving into other things and winding up with the X-Men again.

    On the re-read cycle, I’ve expanded my X-Men to include more of the mini-series, and a couple of spin offs that I hadn’t gotten into at the time. And, using some online resources in addition to my many boxes of comics, I went right back to the beginning with issue #1. In the primary series, Uncanny, I just read issue #310. There have been a lot of story arcs, more than I remembered, and it’s been pretty neat to watch the development and redevelopment of the characters.

    Over the course of a little over a year, I’ve worked my way from the early 1960s origin of the team up to the mid 1990s. Forward momentum has slowed significantly as the storylines have gotten more intricate and span more titles. In the 90s, a lot more titles came out per month. And I’m getting close to the end of my own personal collection, so I’ll need to figure things out soon. I stopped collecting in mid 1996, though I went back for a scattering here and there over the next few years.

    Why 1996?

    We bought a house.

    And in 1998, we had our first child.

    Things kept building up from there.

    But I’ve been devouring them lately, to the point where they make up most of my reading. Really. I’ve read more than 500 comic books this year, and pretty much all of them are X-titles. And, like I said, I’m going to run out of hard copies very soon. However, at this point, the vast majority of everything I don’t have is available online. The Marvel digital subscription price is looking pretty good at $69 for a year with unlimited access. Of course, at my current rate of consumption, it will take me three more years to get close to the present. Which means that there’s a lot of story still to come.

    And that’s the way I like it.

    Be well, everyone.

    And don’t be afraid to read a comic book or two. If superheroes aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other genres out there. I promise, you can find something for any taste.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

  • Reading

    The Reading Backlog

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherSo one of our family goals this year was to de-clutter and clean up the house. All I can say there is that the year’s not over yet and we’ve made some progress.

    But, in the process of things, I’ve been able to get a clear idea of how many books I have in the house. More importantly, how many books I have in the house that I haven’t read yet.

    It’s a scary number.

    You see, I used to work for a large book retailer. The last several years of that particular career were in a couple of different incarnations of an office environment, so there were a few freebies here and there, but mostly in the non-fiction vein. However, whether I worked in the office or the stores, I enjoyed a nice discount on books purchased new, and I took advantage of that.

    I’ve also, at various points in my life, been a frequenter of used book stores, accumulating out of print genre books by favourite authors, discovering dozens of new authors, and picking up the occasional edition of one or more of the Lord of the Rings books (I have eight complete, plus one of the unauthorized Ace printings of Fellowship).

    Since moving to this house in late 2002, I’ve done several book purges, sending some books to the local library, some to my children’s school library, and more than I like to think about to a used bookstore that didn’t deserve them (I’ve learned better since). It’s made a significant impact on the size of my personal library in my mind, if not my wife’s.

    This is all background to lead up to the note that, if I count correctly, I have 317 books classifiable as Fantasy or Science Fiction that I have yet to read. Yes, really. They span decades, from the late 1960s to about 2010.

    Knowing I have a lot of books I haven’t read never seems to stop me from picking up just one more when I see something I really like. I think it has slowed me down, but never stopped me.

    When I left the retail book industry eleven years ago, I calculated that I had between five and six years of reading material available. Based on my reading speed in 2013, that number is closer to ten at the moment.


    But brings up the problem of other changes in my reading habits. I have a hard time finding time to read paper anymore, having almost all at once switched to e-books. Electronic text is portable and convenient and I can read on my phone while waiting to pick up a child from school, standing in a particularly long line at the grocery store, or wherever I feel like it. Paper gets read in that last little bit of time before I turn out the light.

    Consequently, paper books have become books to savour while e-books are to consume. Which is not to say I don’t enjoy reading both, but these days new physical books only come into the house if they fall into the first category.

    Which makes me wonder how long it’s really going to take me to read those 317 books.

    Or if I should even try.

    I mostly read on a screen these days, and I don’t think I see that changing. I think that 317 number isn’t likely to shrink in my lifetime. Maybe electronic versions are in order for most of them.

    Be well, everyone.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

  • Reading

    Reading Goals for 2013

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherAnd, to round things out, reading. I haven’t been reading enough for pleasure in the last few years. There was a time, long ago before I became a parent or a serious writer, or a fully functioning adult, when I read a lot more. Through most of my 20s, I read 150-200 novels per year, haunting bookstores new and used alike (and not just because I tended to work in them). Those days are gone. Most of my short fiction consumption (and there’s still a fair bit of that) is online these days, but I read thirteen novels last year.

    When I closed out my career with Chapters, I had about five years worth of projected reading material, some of it fiction and some not. There are quite a few of those books I never opened and may never. I’ve picked up plenty of other stuff in the years since, but my life has also had a lot of changes in the same time.

    But this year I want to do more reading than I’ve made time for in the recent past. For the number-obsessed geek in me, that means setting some goals. So…

    Fiction: I’m after 26 novels this year. Yup, doubling last year. A novel every two weeks doesn’t seem unreasonable to me. I brought quite a few home from World Fantasy, have lots more lying around, and have put about twenty electronic editions on my phone. No excuses. And audio counts.

    Martial Arts: karate has grown to be a very important part of my life and activity over the last couple of years. It is my intention to read at least six martial arts related books this year. I’ve picked them out already and have five of them in my possession.

    Comic Books: a couple of years back, I started doing some comic book rereads, finding old friends and catching up. I used to collect comics when I was younger and had disposable income (i.e. no responsibilities). I’ve spent most of that time with the X-men, working my way from the beginning up to the late 1980s. I hope to hit 1995 by the end of the year. Not too lofty a goal, hmm? If I make it, that’s going to carry me pretty close to the end of my collection and I’ll have to make a decision or two at that point.

    Other reading: I do a lot of non-fiction reading, mostly on the internet, either news or for research. I’m not going to set a goal here as it’s something I do almost every day, but it’s worth noting. While we’re at it, there are a dozen or so web comics I read regularly, checking in a couple of times each month to read every page published since the last time I was there. I am still reading, it just mostly hasn’t been the same stuff I used to read. But I’d like to fix that a bit.

    That rounds out my primary writing related goals for the year (and if you don’t think reading relates, we should talk about feeding the creativity beast within). As per usual, I’m crazy. But that’s okay. The attempt is more important than the success, although success on all fronts would be pretty cool. I’ll post monthly status updates and you can check my progress on the reading goal on Good Reads any time. Please go ahead and friend me while you’re there.

    Be well, everyone.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather