Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Notes from the Bunker

I haven't blogged in over a week and seeing that many days of inactivity in a row on the blog tends to make me twitchy.  For the past thirteen years of Bat Cave Gloriousness, I've tried to be fairly consistent with blogging - posting anywhere from once to three times a week.  And yet, here we are.  So to fill the void y'all are getting a hodge-podge.


I spent most of 2015 mired in a reading slump and it seems to have carried over to the start of 2016.  It's not that I'm reading "bad" books.  It's more like I don't have the energy or mental brain power to pick up a book and actually read.  I'm traveling over the weekend so I'm hoping being stuck in airports and on airplanes provide a kick start.


I still haven't seen Star Wars.  Yes, I'm an extra special kind of unicorn.


In bookish news - I got through The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo on audio.  This was a recommendation from Keishon and I liked it, but wasn't over the moon in love with it.  I'm glad I listened to it because I truly don't think I would have lasted reading the print version.  It's a long book, with loads of set-up, dual time lines (World War II and early 2000s) and the mystery is fairly intricate.  There's a very deliberate pace to the story which made it slow-going at times.  I did end up enjoying it (it was a B read for me), and I'll continue on with the series - but Nesbo doesn't strike me as the kind of writer I'm going to be able to "binge" on...even in audio format.  I'm going to need breaks in between books.

I'm in the process right now of listening to When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II by Molly Guptill Manning.  This is another book I'm glad I'm listening to on audio because I think it would be a slower read for me.  I have a lot of thoughts about this one - mostly when you juxtapose the history of the World War II home front against the current climate of the American public.  It's really striking.  Also I'll admit I'm highly annoyed that ultimately the librarian's efforts early on were dismissed out of hand when they were up against something they couldn't control - format.  World War II was really when the paperback format took off in popularity (in large part because of paper rationing and publishers having to adopt the format to fit the serviceman's unique needs), and librarian-organized donation drives mostly collected hard cover books, because that's what was widely available.  Also the profession, by that time, had shifted to largely female-dominated so yet another example of how "those in power" slapped down the librarians (who were a bunch of women anyway so what did it matter?) gets my hackles up.

Baggage, I haz it.

Anyway, I'm not massively in love with this book (yet - I'm only about halfway through), but I could see it provoking some good book club discussions if you have the sort of book club that could discuss historical vs. current events without breaking out into fisticuffs. 


Speaking of book clubs - coming up in February I'm taking part in a webinar for the library database NoveList which will be all about romance book clubs.  It's being moderated by Lisa Schimmer, RWA Librarian of the Year 2014 (and the bee's knees) and we'll be joined by Jennifer Lohmann, Harlequin SuperRomance author, librarian and all around good egg.  Jennifer has run several book clubs for her Day Job (and has a romance-centric one!) and they've asked me to join the discussion to talk about the TBR Challenge!  That's right TBR'ers - we're going to be famous.

Also, I encourage you to check to see if your local library subscribes to NoveList.  It's what we in the profession call a "reader's advisory" tool - and it's fun to search subject headings, browse the lists of suggestions and hunt down titles that may interest you.  It covers all ages, and while it's predominantly known as being a fiction tool, they do feature non-fiction as well.  Lisa's been instrumental in overhauling the romance lists - where you can now find everything from Men In Kilts to Lesbian Love Stories.


The plan was to spend most of 2016 catching up on ARCs I did not get read in 2015 (because I suck like that - SO MUCH TO READ!!!!).  I've got a pile of great books waiting for me and I'm at the point where I have things scheduled in a queue.  Here's hoping I find my reading mojo while turning over rocks in the Bat Cave bunker...


Barb in Maryland said...

I've been gifting print copies of 'When Books Went to War' to a number of my friends. I enjoyed the publishing history aspect immensely. Like you, I was really miffed at how the librarians initial book drives were later denigrated--the cads. But for me, what makes the book worth the dead-tree price is the massive list at the end of all of the titles that were issued in the Armed Services Editions. That list provides a vivid snapshot of popular reading in the mid-1940s, which in turn reflects the library collections into the 1950s and '60s. (I know this, because I borrowed a number of those titles from my local library during the late 50s to mid-60s!)

A Library Girl said...

I've listened to one of Jo Nesbo's books, and I don't know that I'd have the stomach to try another one. I remember one or two really gruesome scenes that were so intense I had to stop listening for a while.

Oh, I miss having access to NoveList. It was such a fun tool. Unfortunately, the academic library I work at doesn't have it, and our local public library has a grand total of zero databases (they don't even offer interlibrary loan, so the lack of databases is no surprise).

Anonymous said...

I liked REDBREAST better than you did, but I agree Nesbo's books aren't the type one would read back to back.

Vassiliki said...

I am sitting pretty on 6 weeks of no blogging. I didn't plan my hiatus! This will be rectified in the next 24 hours.

As for your webinar - oooooh! I want to attend! I have to think through the logistics of it. The time difference is a tad difficult.

PK the Bookeemonster said...

Movies: Have no fear -- I've not seen Star Wars yet either. Was waiting for the crowds to die down, plus I had been ill over the initial release, and now I'm hearing "meh" reviews now that the hype has died down. We'll get there eventually. I also missed getting to Mockingjay. We DO want to see 13 Hours this weekend.

Reading -- I'm back to reading after a big online binge watch of a year. I'm hoping it will last. I HATE slumps. Have you read THE MARTIAN yet? You sometimes read mysteries, I really loved THE LAST POLICEMAN trilogy. This week I'm in a big nonfiction mood for some reason, specifically walking the Camino in Spain.

nath said...

I find knowing what I'm going to read next helps avoiding reading slumps. Hope it works for you! and wow, you can read on trips? I find I'm too much on the run to :( Even during flights and in airports.

I'm more special - I haven't seen any of the Star Wars movies :D

ps - looks like everyone is already in a blogging funk ^_^;

Anonymous said...

Well, scoot over as I haven't seen Star Wars either and was already spoiled. I don't care.

All I can say is that Nesbo's books are gruesome/violent but they have their place. It's not labeled Scandi-Noir for nothing. I say if the next book doesn't improve your opinion of his writing then I'd stop there. I did kind of binge but it was like every other month till I caught up. I couldn't see reading them back to back. Often, I had to stop and start again or stop and try again. He doesn't exactly hook you in immediately but anyway, glad you tried him. I think his best books are further along in the series like The Devil's Star, The Redeemer are excellent novels in the series. Nemesis is good and it was the first one I started with actually but it's not my favorite so that might signal a chance that you might actually like it better than me ha.

Blog whenever Wendy. Nobody is keeping track (I don't mean that in a negative way). No pressure is what I'm getting at. We subscribe so hey, blog at your own pace. I hear you about a reading funk but I find myself distracted by other things that keep me from blogging and reading regularly.

Wendy said...

Barb: I just finished it and I liked it quite a bit. My favorite part? That the soldiers were clamoring for Forever Amber!!!

Library Girl: I didn't find Redbreast overly gruesome (as far as crime goes) but it was a pretty dense listen for me. Hence, having to take a break before I listen to the next book.

Lawless: Yeah, he's not really designed for binge reading for me, but I do plan to continue on with the series. Redbreast was a very densely plotted story, so I need a little breather in between.

Vassiliki: I saw your bingo card! Very cute! I think you can RSVP to the webinar and if you can't attend (which, you know, time difference) - they'll send you a link to the archives presentation after the fact.

PK: And Star Wars isn't happening this weekend either since I'm traveling. Eventually I'll get there.

Nath: It was a very short flight, but I did get some reading done. And none of the Star Wars movies?! I have met a few others who have never seen the movies, then they usually cave and then are all like, "meh, that's it?" LOL

Keishon: My sister inadvertently mildly spoiled me but apparently did not reveal The Big Spoiler to me LOL. I'm going to continue on with Nesbo for at least the next couple because I want some closure on a few of those plot threads he set-up in Redbreast. I just, you know, need breaks in between. It was a very involved read and I need to gorge on some fluffy stuff in between :)