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    Running out of Books


    2012 - 02.13

    I have this habit of finding author’s I like and reading everything that they’ve ever written.  At the moment I’m close to running out of books to read, the book that I just picked up from the library was another one that I heard about through the Writing Excuses podcast… so we’ll see whether it leads to another few authors to read (it’s also the first in a series, which I didn’t know in advance).  Failing that I may have to revisit the 100 Book Challenge and pick another couple of books from that list… unless of course someone else has recommendations…

    The World Illuminated Through a Windshield


    2011 - 11.17

    Regrettably today consisted largely of replacing bulbs, which was way more difficult that in needed to be in my opinion.  Replacing the taillight it was really simple to get it out, more difficult to put back in than it should have been.  Simple four petal design that you turn counterclockwise to remove and turn clockwise to lock back in place.  What they neglect to mention in the manual is that there is one specific petal which needs to match up with one particular gap.  Seems needlessly complex, but is easy enough to deal with once you’re aware that you need to line things up.

    Replacing the two headlights was a much more difficult ordeal, they really leave less than the minimum required amount of space to replace the bulb.  Probably took half an hour to replace both bulbs.  Hopefully it would be faster in the future, but much of it is fiddly rather than “difficult”.  The first main problem was that the manual didn’t actually explain how to release the metal bulb holding clip.  For the record: when you’re facing the car, push on the left hand side of the clip, push towards the front of the vehicle and then down to release the clip.  I don’t know if that’s unique to my car (2003 Pontiac Vibe AWD) or to the bulb type (9003).  With the amount of space available and the lack of visibility into what you’re actually doing, it was way more difficult to do than it felt like it should be, but in the end I was able to do it, despite bouts of doubt and frustration.

    Despite all of that, it wasn’t all bad.  I bought my dual pack of GE 9003 Nighthawk Platinum bulbs at Lordco where they were on sale for $38.99 (seems that regular there is $67.97 according to the invoice; regular price at Canadian Tire is $59.99).  In addition to being on sale, there’s also a $10 mail in rebate on them (at Lordco only) until the end of January, which means I’ll have got them for less than half their regular Canadian Tire price… so pretty pleased with that.  Canadian Tire however was about $4.25 cheaper for the taillight, so that’s where I got those, and installed all the bulbs in their parkade.

    We went out to the mall later to return some clothes and have dinner.  While we were there there was some kind of incident which involved someone being handcuffed.  It happened in the main atrium area while we were eating, Karin took a look.  When we went past later I saw that it was an older guy (rather than a young punk like I assumed it would be).

    Leaving the mall we went to the library to pick up the next half dozen books Karin needs to read in the 100 Book Challenge, some of which are even short.  I picked up Brandon Sanderson’s first book: Elantris.

    Leaving the library we decided to go for a bit of a drive up SFU to test out the new headlights… it’s kind of hard to tell how good the headlights are when you’re driving on streets with headlights.  It was snowing a little bit, but not enough to concern us at all.  Got up to the main intersection and there were some cars essentially blocking the straight through route that takes you to UniverCity that I’d planned to take, so we turned left and headed towards the main campus.  After the first turn we saw a traffic jam which involved a bunch of cars and a couple of buses, none of which were moving forward.  It wasn’t clear what the actual problem (aside from snow) was, so we turned around and headed back the way we came.  Snow 1; Headlight Testing 0.  On the bright side, the all wheel drive and all seasons are still really effective in the snow.

    Last Gift?


    2011 - 10.15

    Today Karin got what I think is her last birthday gift this year.  Some of the other gifts she doesn’t get to enjoy yet (as many people contributed to her Surrey International Writers’ Conference fund), but that’s a different matter.

    Karin is now the proud owner of Mary Robinette Kowal‘s debut novel: Shades of Milk and Honey which she is devouring.  I expect that it will be completed by the end of day, and may sneak it’s way into one of the remaining spots of the 100 book challenge too.  Then next weekend Karin gets to actually meet Mary at the SiWC!  She’s a little excited.

    I don’t know if she’ll get the book autographed or not, but the book is definitely easier to autograph than the 6th season of Writing Excuses which Mary is a co-host of.

    Shelves in the sidebar


    2011 - 09.22

    Finally after far too much html hackery we have Shelfari shelves displaying nicely in the sidebar.  So you can check out what Karin and I are reading pretty easily, if that’s something that interests you.  This would be where some of you would point out that it’s still there even if it doesn’t interest you, but we don’t have smart ass readers, right?

    They’re near the bottom of the right column, if you’re looking for them.  You’ll need to scroll down.

    100 Book Challenge: still in second place?


    2011 - 08.17

    We’ve been playing around with Shelfari for the last few days, and it’s been fun, although I wouldn’t exactly call all of the features “intuitive”, and I don’t know why there’s spots for advertising to appear and yet none does*.

    Anyway, we’ve created a “Community List” called Random Synapses: 100 Book Challenge (2011) which allows existing users of Shelfari to create a goal to read books on the list (doesn’t have to be all of them, doesn’t have to be this year).  Anyway, if you’re a current Shelfari user and are interested you can do so in the following way:

    1. Go to Shelfari: http://www.shelfari.com/
    2. Login, or create an account
    3. Go to your Profile
    4. Under “More” select “My Reading Goals”, should be the 5th choice.  More should appear at the end of the list of: Public Overview, Shelf, Friends, Groups, Edits, More.
    5. Beside “Current Reading Goals” click “add goal”
    6. In the drop down which defaults to “Number of Books” select “Books from a List”
    7. Select whether you want to read “all” of the books, or some other number  [I picked 15 as my goal, although it’s supposed to be a list of 100, and 92 are currently identified at Random Synapses, there are only 85 on the Shelfari list at the moment]
    8. In the “from the list” field type: random synapses: 100 book challenge (2011)  [the auto search should find the list before you finish typing, so you can select it rather than finish typing]
    9. Decide if you want to include a timeframe for the goal
    10. Save the goal, and voila, you’re done.

    This will allow you to easily track your progress on Shelfari, if you’re so inclined.  I think I’m still in second place overall with the measly total of 5 books from the list read.  Although I’ve read at least 26 books so far this year with an estimated page total of 15,790, most of them just weren’t on the list.

    Enjoy, and feel free to brag about how well you’re doing on the challenge (even if you’re not officially taking part).

    * not that I want more advertising in my life, but either it’s a new feature or it’s not attracting any advertising dollars which could be a bad thing, except it’s owned by Amazon so it’s probably worth them keeping it running.

    Back on the Shelf!


    2011 - 05.08

    In case you’ve been following Karin and her 100 book challenge 2011, she’s back on the shelf and taring through some of the books once again.  You can check out her assorted posts at randomsynapses.ca if you’re so inclined.

    I Got Book-Jacked!


    2011 - 02.14

    Went to the library today, actually two different branches of the library to pick up a few books today.  I’ve read a few books off of Karin’s 100 Book Challenge, but found that I needed something a little different.  It just seemed like although the books on the list are technically books (which you can prove because you can touch them, and they look like books) and they are presumably novels… but some of them really really don’t seem like they are stories.

    So in needing something new to read, I resorted to the library.  Karin had mentioned a book by Kim Harrison which she had bought, as the author had been recommended, but it turned out not to be the first book in the series (actually it’s book 5).  I read a couple of pages of it to get a feel for it last night, and then picked up the first four books at the library today.

    When I got home I showed Karin the books that I brought home, and she was excited to see the Kim Harrison books, I leave the room for a few minutes and when I returned, there’s Karin curled up on the couch reading the first book in the series.  That’s right, she book-jacked me, but because she’s cute and not feeling well I let her get away with it.  So now I’m reading a non-fantasy novel by Terry Goodkind: The Law of Nines, I’ll let you know how it goes, interesting so far (5 chapters in).

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo


    2011 - 01.23

    So Karin and I watched The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo tonight, the original Swedish version.  We’ve both already read all three of the novels (The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest being the other two), and really enjoyed them.  The movie itself, well we enjoyed it, but our paperback English translation is 839 pages, and it’s difficult to get all of that into a single movie.  On some level it reminded me of the Lord of the Rings series, where you really enjoyed the series and wanted to see it come to life.  Lisbeth Salander is one of those characters.

    Having read the books (which do start to blur into one after the fact) and the fact that we needed to actually read the subtitles, it’s hard to judge how easy this movie would be to follow for someone unfamiliar with the novels, but if you’ve read them it’s worth watching to see those characters come to life (although the complex interactions at Millenium do not appear in the film at all).

    I personally am really looking forward to the English version which will be directed by David Fincher, who is a personal favourite director.  His body of work includes: The Social Network, Se7en, The Game* and Fight Club, all favourites.  So hopefully he can work his magic with this one as well, which I’ll be able to enjoy more (I suspect) in not having to read subtitles.

    *The Game is definitely one of my favourite movies of all time, and like The Usual Suspects it has the most impact on its first viewing.  Strongly recommended.  If you want something similar but in book form, try The Magus, John Fowles, which I’m trying to get on Karin’s list of 100 Book Challenge 2011.

    Still in Second Place!


    2011 - 01.22

    So I’ve now completed my second book on Karin’s 100 Book Challenge: 4.50 from Paddington, Agatha Christie.  So I’ve just raised the bar for second place.

    In the Race…


    2011 - 01.15

    Ok, not really in the race, but I have now read a single book from Karin’s 100 Book Challenge, specifically The Black Prism by Brent Weeks (currently #57 on her list).  We had previously read his Night Angel trilogy: The Way of Shadows, Shadow’s Edge and Beyond the Shadows.  I believe that this now puts me officially in second place for the 100 Book Challenge, even though I don’t think I’m likely to complete it, I can be all impressed by being in second place for right now ;-)

    I received the book for my birthday I believe… and I’m sure it’s being on the list was totally coincidental since Karin gave it to me.  I enjoyed it, but now I find myself in one of those situations which I’m not overly fond of: waiting for the next book to come out.  This isn’t that big a deal if it’s a series in progress, or something you’ve just stumbled upon, but when you’re reading the book in hard cover, well that’s less good, as it means you’ll be waiting awhile, although it sounds as though he intends to put out a book a year, so it shouldn’t be too bad.

    Like his earlier novels there’s some definite youth/adult mentorship taking place in this one, which I find helps make the novels more accessible and compelling, but your mileage may very.  Overall, I enjoyed it, I struggled with it more at the beginning as early chapters introduce different characters to the story, and given that I lacked a good understanding of the world at that point, it was a little difficult to follow or understand the interplay which was taking place.  Sticking with it however was worthwhile and the story grew in unexpected ways, which is always a special treat.

    Well that’s all I’ll say about it, as I don’t want to spoil your experience should you decide to read it, although if you’re not doing the 100 Book Challenge, I’d recommend that you start with The Night Angel Trilogy instead as it’s completed and fully published, and probably available from your local library and bookstore.  Depending on how fast you read (or get to it) The Black Prism may be out in paperback, and/or the second novel may have already been published.

    On another note: kudos to Orbit (the publisher) on The Night Angel Trilogy for clearly indicating on all books that it was part of the series, and indicating clearly on the spine which number the book was in the trilogy!  It is SO frustrating to look at books and not be able to clearly tell if they are part of a series and if so which book in the series they are, or how many books are supposed to be in the series.  What’s even more frustrating is when inside the book on the “other books by this author” page, that those are not divided into series, or ordered in anyway.  Give a reader some help, I might risk taking the wrong book out at the library, but I’m not going to buy a book unless I know where it is in the series.  So way to go Orbit on getting it right!