Archive for the ‘General’ Category

What’s going on?

Sunday, December 20th, 2015

So I have realized I have not put up a review in the past few months and my contributions had already dropped in the months before. So one might ask what’s going on. Nothing in particular actually. I’ve been very busy at work, but as that didn’t result in overtime it is a mere coincidence. I have been spending my free time (outside of reading books, of course) on other stuff than writing reviews, so that plays a part, but mostly it seems to me that after 5 years of fairly dedicated reviewing I have simply lost the drive to keep writing them regularly after I finish a book or a series. I reviewed because I liked to share my ideas on a book and wanted to crystallize them into some kind of coherent thought. One thing that bugged me often that it is hard to write creatively when reviewing. Often you are rehashing similar things in different forms. I am not a wordsmith with a large vocabulary ready at hand and I prefer to focus my creative writing where it is more needed.

So will I get back to reviewing? I am quite sure I will have feel a need to write some opinion down sometimes. When I don’t know. This is after all a hobby, not a commitment, and I am not doing this to get nice comments (which I can’t since I disabled that because I just got loads of spam, even with Recaptcha installed). Personally I am already amazed I kept on going for more than 5 years and wrote so many reviews. We’ll see where it ends up.

 

2014 Revisited

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

2014 has gone by and before I start for the coming year I look back.

Like last year I am a bit behind on my reviewing activity. I lacked a bit of inspiration and time, being occupied with other things. The latter has been rather prominent in the last quarter of 2014, which saw a bit of a drop in my read and reviewing activity. Overall however it has been a good year regarding to my reading despite the fact that I feel like I am struggling to find new books and series to read. I am waiting more and more for favourite authors to publish new work. One reason for this feeling is some hard times hitting on some of my local bookstores here in the Netherlands. I used to visit those at least every 2 weeks or so but mergers, closures and reorganizations have left the book collections shrunken in size and what they have is mainly the popular or mainstream stuff, leaving me with very new interesting books to discover. I am left with the internet and checking out other review sites which is not entirely the same as holding the actual book in your hand.

To some extent it is thus quite amazing that I have read 13 more books than in 2013; that is 63, which is also one more than in 2012. Even more stunning is the total page count: 31.450. This means the average page count is 499 per book (I don’t count sections with notes, glossaries and extra’s, but as a sort of compensation I just take the pagenumber of the last page of the story). Funnily enough this is much less than last year’s average of 529 but it still means I prefer hitting the bigger tomes although I do not aim for them. As I like reading fantasy and science fiction this average probably won’t change that much. Because of that reason the number of different authors I have reviewed this year is relatively low. Many series and a couple of others of whom I have read several works.

As always the book count only covers those I review. As always I’ve read a bunch of non-fiction works as well. Those usually take more time to read but they are great if I can’t find anything to my liking.

Fortunately I am not lacking on my book pile. I still have much to read. Some books have been on my Currently Reading list for most of the year. Sadly this is because I am simply not in the mood to read them much. They are such specific works (in the matter of style) that simply prefer reading something else most of the time. I have more of such books and I need to watch out starting with more because it make me feel a bit disheartened. It’s not a good way to treat a book. It does not (always) mean they are bad, just particular to my (current) taste. Some stuff I would have read much more quickly 15 years ago.

I hope to add some reviews this weekend (obviously not one today anymore) and keep the flow going. Happy readings!

 

Non-fiction something

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

Occasionally I have made comments on me not reviewing any non-fiction that I read. I have never mentioned before what kind of non-fiction that I am reading. I did not really consider it noteworthy as these were often quite specific works and of limited interest to anyone reading my blog. As I have now reached my 300th post, after 3.5 years of blogging, I think I can indulge myself a little.

So what have I been reading recently? The first is The Chronicles Of Pug (2013) by Raymond E. Feist. When I was in my teens I read every book they had, including a bunch of his Midkemia novels. When I got older I lost interest in the series as it did not live up to the quality I like in fantasy. I can manage a couple of books, but that many tired me out.

Feist has last year completed his saga and this work is, as Wikipedia mentions, a coffee table book. It contains a rough summary of all the events set up in a series of notes. Most interesting, to me, were the many maps and beautiful artwork, all in color. I did read the summary, as I was not planning to get back to the series any time soon, and unfortunately it made me cringe because of the poor quality. It was fragmentary in nature and it was a pretty crudely presented. It was somewhat boring.

Something totally different was Vanished Kingdoms (2011) by Norman Davies. It is a selection of histories of rather interesting nations of Europe which few know something about and if there are references then they are often quite different from their origin. Davies takes a rather broad approach, comparing current views of those old nations and the behavior towards them, and their actual history. He writes in a very engaging way like many good historians do and told some fine tales. A few were of lower quality compared to the others but it certainly was a worthwhile read.

As I have been telling a bit about my reading activities I can tell a bit about my current ones. I have managed to get back to one novel from my old reading list, The Chessmen Of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Although his stories a interesting his plots are in general variations on the same theme, a girl in distress who needs to be saved. It has been long enough that I can enjoy the story again instead of the plot. I just have to take care not to start on the next one immediately after I finish it. I am currently also reading two other novels: The Age Atomic (2013) by Adam Christopher. It is a science fiction novel set within an alternate history. The other is Gambler’s Fortune (2000) by Juliet E. McKenna, the third book of five from the fantasy series The Tales Of Einarinn. A review of book 2 will be added soon, so I will not indulge too much about it.

So there is no lack of material for this blog of mine as long as there are books and I keep reading.

2013 Revisited

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Another year is gone. Time to look back.

It has been a relatively quiet year for this blog. The number of reviews went down 12, to 50, compared to last year. It is still a fair number and I need to add that I am 3 reviews behind currently. As this is typical each year, it is not really necessary to include them. The total number of pages is 26,447, which is an average of 529 pages per book. This is a stunning 100 pages more than in 2012, which total number of pages was only a little more than last year, so technically you could say I’ve read the same amount, just less books.

Compared to previous years 2013 has went by quite fast. I’ve been busy with other things than reading and this has hampered my reading activity, partially, and the lag in writing my reviews on time. On the other side I’ve been reading some more non-fiction than usual and these I don’t mention or review. There are also 4 books in my Currently Reading list at the moment, and they have been there for quite a while. I simply haven’t been in the mood to get back to them. Other books had more of my interest.

There is not much lack of books. I have a sufficient read pile and books I need to finish up, some time. I hope to catch up on my reviews soon, so there will be a good start of this new year. Happy readings!

2012 Revisited

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

The year has passed already and it ended a bit low on my reading activity. The last two months there was little activity so that my good run didn’t come close to my score of the previous year. I managed to read 62 books (as usual not counting non-fiction) and a total of 26,789 pages, giving an average of 430 pages per book. It’s 15 books less than last year, although I have to add that I didn’t get to review a few books I read during the holidays. Still, I consider 62 books not bad. Most people read less and I don’t have an e-reader, which gives me a higher threshold to trying and reading new books. Although I love reading, I don’t want it to take up too much of my free time as I have other interests and want to have some bit of a social life as well. We will see what this year brings.

2011 Page count

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

On the forum of BookBlogs, the community of blogs that write about anything related to books, of which I’m a member (see my sidebar), a question was posted on how many pages everyone had read for their blog post for the year (2011). As I like such data and I read a lot I went through the list of reviews I did in 2011, counting 77 books, checked the books for their page count (not counting glossaries and extra’s at the end) and came to a total number of 34,700 pages, which gives an average page count per book of 450 pages. That last number is no surprise as I read a lot of fantasy and SF and preferably those with many pages. As it’s a fun thing to have I’ve decided to add a book page count to my sidebar.

Upgrade issues

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

Today I’ve upgrade WordPress to version 3.3.1. I’ve stalled it for a while because a previous attempt failed and I didn’t want to spend that much time trying to figure out how to fix it. Recently I noticed the latest version to have a vastly improved administrator environment so I wanted to give it another try. Now I had some time and despite some minor issues I suddenly got stuck on the main site redirecting to itself continuously. I had no problem accessing the admin section so it had to be some setting for the main site. After some searching and trying some tips on the web the solution appeared to be that www has to be added in front of the domain essord.net. This was never an issue in the past, but a solution it is. It does mean that all the links I’ve posted might give issues, although the usual domain still seems to work fine enough. Just to make sure I’ll search for a solution to prevent possible issues, probably involving a redirect to make sure always ‘www’ is used when accessing the site without it. Trying to fix WordPress myself will only give issues again when I want to do another upgrade.

A blog about books

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

What the heck should one blog about? About something people might think it to be interesting to be read.

So for a long time I had no idea. As you might guess, I finally got an idea.

This blog will be about books. My books. The ones I have bought. The ones I am reading. And of course, most importantly, reviews of the books I have read.

Why would it be interesting? I read quite a lot. I read (a lot of) books that are not mainstream. Books that one will not find reviews of that easily, or not even any decent review, as most are colored too much by opinion and lacking good arguments.

Of course there are other places where you can post reviews, but usually those are limited or too various, do not allow comments, or get lost because they are ignored.  And most of all, I want to make it a little personal. I usually have an opinion about what I read and I would love to talk about it with others. But few read what I do, so maybe this will gain a bit of attraction. And if not, I still don’t care.

Lastly: as I am Dutch, some books I read will be in Dutch, although most books that I read these days are in English. Still, I will give a review and provide the English title, if available.