Sunday Status Update: December 7, 2014

This week, Tasslehoff Burrfoot. I have strong feelings about Tasslehoff Burrfoot. Of which variety, I remain silent (though it may be obvious).

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Tasslehoff: Hey! I’m Tasslehoff Burrfoot! Half of all fantasy readers adore me and dream of one day writing a character half as charming and hilarious! The other half of them completely despise me and fantasize about throttling me with my own oversized topknot! Wherever I go, contention follows! Am I the Puckish shining light that elevates Dragonlance, or am I the aggravating exemplar of all the series’ failings? You decide!

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Brad: This week, I mainly graded papers, but I found time to listen to some of the essays in Batman and Philosophy, as well as most of Asimov’s Foundation, which I’ve never read. I also read some comics, of course: I continued reading the pulp science fiction comic Elephantmen, which might be my favorite series that I’ve read this year  (though it’s been around for years, it’s new to me). I also read several volumes of Bloodshot and Harbinger, including the crossover arc about these two titles. Unlike most comics these days, Valiant comics like Bloodshot and Harbinger move fast and don’t decompress all scenes and all action. I think DC and Marvel need to be reminded that their action comics should have a faster pace because, well, they’re ACTION comics! Finally, I read some good books on composition, rhetoric, and logic, but I won’t list out the specific titles.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews João: I am close to finishing A Dance With Dragons, the last book on the A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE series by George R.R. Martin, a relatively unknown series which I’m sure you have not yet read. Honestly, I am not liking this one as much as I liked the previous one. My guess is that it is because there are many new viewpoints, and disconnected plot threads that are only picked up a hundred pages after, if they are picked up at all. Still not sure of what to read next, but exam season is upon me so I don’t think I will be having the reading rhythm I am used to.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews John: Working my way through Vacant by Alex Hughes. Not as engrossing as some of the previous books.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kat: Despite the end-of-the-semester rush, I still managed to read three short books this week:  Issola, book 9 of Steven Brust’s VLAD TALTOSseries was better than the last few novels. Skin Deep, the second novella in Brandon Sanderson’s LEGION series, was just as fun as the first one (the audio version is currently free!). By the time you read this, I’ll be finished with Deryni Checkmate, the second in Katherine Kurtz’s CHRONICLES OF DERYNI. As you can see, I’m still sticking to my plan of not starting any new series before catching up with all the ones I’ve already started. I’m really proud of myself. (In case you couldn’t tell.)

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kate: This week I read Moriarty, by Anthony Horowitz. I didn’t think it was very good. I saw the final reveal coming quite a ways off. That’s not always a bad thing; in this case, the why and wherefore of the plot was very interesting. But all the stuff leading up to the end was boring and unmotivated. Too bad, too; I love a good Sherlock story. Now I’m reading Bell Weather, by Dennis Mahoney. It’s set in a fantasy world which looks very much like Colonial America. I’m not very far along yet, but I like it. Mahoney has a unique way with words. Finally, I’ve been listening to more podcasts, and particularly loving the stories coming out of Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Ryan: This week, I finished reading Jeanne DuPrau‘s The People of Sparks. I enjoyed it and found it another thoughtful young adult novel from her. I’m eager to read the third entry in the series. I also finished Endurance, which was even better than I expected. I re-read Eats, Shoots & Leaves, which I still enjoyed. I expect to finish re-reading Moneyball this weekend, and I am halfway through re-reading Oedipus Rex.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Sandy: Having recently finished reading a mammoth 400-page hardcover of old Robert E. Howard stories, I am now entering into another huge tome of vintage pulp fiction. This one is called Rivals of Weird Tales, and is a 500-page collection of stories culled from the pulp magazines of the 1920s – ‘50s that were, uh, rivals of Weird Tales. This one should take me a while to plow through, but I have a feeling that I am going to love the plowing….

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Terry: I’ve continued to get caught up on Beneath Ceaseless Skies, one of my favorite magazines. I’ve also begun Kristen Painter‘s House of the Rising Sun; I’ve not gotten very far, but it seems promising.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Tim: Still working my way through the audio version of Brandon Sanderson‘s Words of Radiance, which is really, reeeeaaaally long. Fun, though, and it’s been my main text for the week. The only exception I made was to drift over to a few comics on the side, partially (I suspect) because my ability to get through a few “issues” quite quickly gives me a sense of accomplishment without the need to take a lot of time away from the primary focus. This week it was more Thor. Love me some Asgard.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Bill: As was the case last week and will be this week, I’m spending most reading time on final papers, but I did finish Beth Bernobich’s linked short-story cycleThe Time Roads and Sam Weller’s The Last Interview—actually several last interviews with Ray Bradbury at the end of Bradbury’s life. I also started T.A. Barron’s Atlantis Rising, but gave it up after 200 pages. Audio-wise, I was engrossed by a fascinating chapter on the evolution of whales as I continue to make my way through Written in Stone by Brian Switek. Finally, I’m about halfway through Katherine Kurtz’s The King’s Deryni, having broken my self-imposed promise to not start newly-arrived books until I’ve worked my way through my TBR shelf but since it’s one of my favorite series, well, you know . . .

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TIM SCHEIDLER, who's been with us since June 2011, holds a Master's Degree in Popular Literature from Trinity College Dublin. Tim enjoys many authors, but particularly loves J.R.R. Tolkien, Robin Hobb, George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, and Susanna Clarke. When he’s not reading, Tim enjoys traveling, playing music, writing in any shape or form, and pretending he's an athlete.

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  1. Those of you who read via audiobook: what are the mechanics of it? Do you download books to your smartphone and listen to them through earphones? Or what?

    • Hey Terry,
      I just download to them my iPod Touch (I’ve bought books from and have gotten them from the library) and play it through my car stereo via bluetooth (I only listen in the car).

  2. Brad Hawley /

    Audible! I have an audible subscription. I download the audible app on my phone, and then I can add and remove the books from my cloud just like on my Kindle app. I also use wireless Bluetooth headphones. These allow me to control the books w/o having to unlock my phone (or pull it out of my pocket or whatever). Mainly, I just like that I can pause a book if I need to. These headphones rest on my neck, and I put in just one earbud while I drive or need to be alert to external noise. Not having wires also is a safety issue for me while driving in Atlanta traffic.

  3. I put them all on my phone so they’re with me everywhere I go. I use the Audible app for Audible titles (no other choice, but the app is very nice) and I use “Smart Audibook Player” for MP3 titles that I either rip from CDs or download from the library or other sources (Tantor, Blackstone). It’s easy to get these onto the phone after they’re on my computer. (Use the phone like a flashdrive.) I like the Smart Audibook Player better than the Audible app because if you get a call or notification, it backs up the audio a few seconds. Both of these apps let me increase the playback speed without affecting pitch or production quality. I always have to increase the speed because they talk too slowly.

    I use the phone’s speaker if I’m alone in the house and sitting still. I use regular or bluetooth headphones when others are around or when I need my hands free (e.g doing chores). In the car I have a bluetooth receiver that plugs into the stereo system. I prefer this over CDs because I can increase the narration speed. I don’t use headphones or earbuds in the car.

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