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Wednesday reading meme

Just finished: Every durned book in James S. A. Corey's Expanse series, to wit:

Leviathan Wakes (Expanse, #1)
The Butcher of Anderson Station (Expanse, #0.5)
Caliban's War (Expanse, #2)
Gods of Risk (Expanse, #2.5)
Abaddon's Gate (Expanse, #3)
The Churn (Expanse, #3.5)

The integer-numbered books above are the novels, the decimal-numbered books are short stories or novellas. All in all, I prefer the novels, which follow the futuristic outer space drama. The novellas are planet-bound and more about the state of human culture 150 years from now. Which means they are, in short, all about showing how humankind has not progressed morally or politically in that time, and so they lack the sense of wonder that is part of the novels. Other than a few gee-whiz technological gizmos, the world depicted in the novellas could be the here and now.

The characters are compelling and well-drawn in the series as a whole, and the world building as I have mentioned before is well-done, so these books are a good read I managed to whip through in no time.

Which is kind of amazing to me. One of the things I've been grumbling about in this LJ/DW since... its inception is that I don't read recreationally as much as I used to. I could no longer blame it on "grad school burnout" fifteen years (going on twenty) since graduation. I could only fuss and throw up my hands about why watching teevee was so much easier than cracking open a book, and in many cases, equally rewarding.

There is definitely extra effort required in reading--the effort of taking in and understanding chicken scratches rather than passively absorbing sounds and images, the effort of the imagination to fill in the "you are there" sensory modalities handed to you on a television or movie screen.

And for me, I've framed this problem around "finding the time." Which is the wrong frame, I think. It's not that I don't have the time, I'm simply that I'm the sort of person who will fill up all the available time with writing (at home) and work duties (at work) if I don't stop to think about it and create new habits for myself.

Reading can also be a chore if you pick the wrong book. The science fiction short stories I've reviewed have become that for me because I'm doing it for educational purposes, not pleasure.

The solution has been switching to eBooks, especially cloud reading on my computer when I'm at work. This has actually been helpful at my job because wandering over to the novel I'm reading for a few minutes helps me relax in the middle of the day. And then during my off hours, reading for a few minutes at bedtime helps put me to sleep.

Reading now:

While waiting for the next installment in the Expanse series coming out next month, I have scratched my itch to read solar system exploration stories by returning to a series I started ten years ago and then drifted away from without finishing it, Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars series. I am re-reading Red Mars. I was enthralled reading this book, which is about the first settlers on Mars. I remember becoming more disenchanted in the middle of the sequel, Green Mars, because they were remaking Mars in Earth's image, and science and exploration was giving way to politics-as-usual in the plot line. But you can say that of the Expanse series as well, which somehow manages nevertheless to hang on to its sense of wonder. So I am giving the Mars series another shot.

What's next:

Skin Game, Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files)

Cibola Burn, James S.A. Corey (The Expanse)



May. 21st, 2014 09:32 pm (UTC)
Take care in doing so. I paid a bunch of money to this outfit I'm with now and ended up hating their design but could not afford to have it redesigned. So as a result, I have not updated that thing in two years because I cringe every time I look at it.

I have enough web saavy (although, alas not design talent) to put together an adequate-looking site on my own with Wordpress, where my writing blog is now. Hoping to launch it at the end of the month.

I think I will be more comfortable updating it myself and not paying by the 15-minute for someone else to do it anyway.

Yay I know what I'll be doing for MDW.
May. 21st, 2014 10:47 pm (UTC)
Back when I had Geekgirlz with two other friends, the one friend was the only tech savvy design person and I ran afoul of not having control. I definitely want something basic that I can control.

Wordpress is the one I'm looking at. I've heard it's fairly easy because easy is what I need.

Good luck with yours
May. 21st, 2014 10:58 pm (UTC)
Well, I always have to complicate things with customizing because I can (embedded CSS), but there are plenty of just pick-an-option ways to design no more complicated than throwing together an LJ.

May. 22nd, 2014 01:36 am (UTC)
now that's my speed. I need to find time to sit down with this and hopefully i can figure it out
May. 22nd, 2014 04:45 pm (UTC)
Good luck with that.
May. 22nd, 2014 04:50 pm (UTC)
thanks. I'll need it