Just because I interrupted myself on Thursday I’m giving you some lovely photos today. I’m hoping people will come along and identify themselves because some of these people I have no idea.
You haven’t heard the last of me…or my photos. Stay tuned for one last blast on Monday before we head back to Mondayitis and my regularly abnormal posting schedule.
I can see what you’re thinking but you’re wrong. Yes, there was a TARDIS at Armageddon (actually two of them) but she didn’t bring Tolkien (worse luck, I could just see myself totally freaking out by meeting Tolkien). What really happened is that I was confronted by the Lady Galadriel who kindly, nay, eagerly, brought back her compatriots for a photo session just for me. I was gobsmacked to say the least but managed to pull myself together to take a photo especially for my readers.
These exciting personalities were so good they got on stage and I’m going to let them speak for themselves in their own video.
Today’s Blog Hop is about book reviewing and what makes a good one. I have two thoughts here and so I’ll do my normal and ramble while I talk about both of them. The first thought is ‘what do I know about a good review’ and the second is ‘how apt’.
What do I know about a good review?
I don’t feel I know much about it, I don’t talk about reviewing but more scribbling a few words. Let me tell you what I know from reading what other people have written and also rereading some of my own words over the years. I have been writing this blog for over five years I must have learned something in the interim.
You need to tell people about the book, you can do this by either typing out the description from the back of the book or summarising the plot but be careful of spoilers, many people won’t read a book once they’ve had too many spoilers. It’s challenging summarising the book giving just enough of the plot without any spoilers.
Some people examine the themes of the book. Themes? Sometimes there is a lesson in the text whether it be ‘wars are hell’ or ‘don’t hit people’ or something rather less simplistic. Some authors such as Lionel Shriver are very big on explaining challenging concepts and making us think about them, if you’re only going to see the surface stuff then there’s little point reviewing a book such as that. The themes are often what helps society to figure out what’s important and makes us discuss things.
If you point out anything negative try to do so in a constructive manner. Never forget that there is a person at the other end and I’m not necessarily thinking about the reader but the author. Authors must go through a special type of hell when putting their works out into the wilds of readership and if their reviewers are negative without writing anything constructive then it must hurt.
Don’t do what I’ve done on occasion and focus on the typos. They are the bane of my life and while I try not to mention them while talking about a book I find they do change how I feel about it. Typos are something an author can spend weeks ensuring they get rid of all of and then someone else will find more.
I try to talk about the writing and whether I find it good or not. This is rather subjective as what one person finds good another will think terrible. Also, more subjective stuff, I find romance kills a good book for me while others either wouldn’t notice or would feel it improves a book.
There is a whole heap more that could be said about reviewing but I’m going to move onto my second thought.
This week the book world is reeling. We’re trying to understand how an author could have been so upset with a one-star review on Good Reads that she would feel the need to stalk a reviewer, find her home and her workplace and then brag about the whole experience on The Guardian.
I don’t think that writing a good review with constructive comments would have changed the author’s activities at all, the way I read this and previous articles by the same author indicates she is rather in need of therapy (and I have concerns even by voicing this so far away from the field of action).
So, I’m participating in a new book blackout in conjunction with many other book bloggers. I will not be reviewing or mentioning newly released books until Monday 27th October, if anyone even suggests a new release to me it will be rejected.
I haven’t read the book in question and I won’t, partly as it has romance and I don’t cope well with romance but also I don’t want to give the author the satisfaction. I’ve read an enormous amount about the situation from many people and thanks to BookThingo I’ve managed to read many of the original tweets and also part of the exchange on Good Reads that sparked it off. It makes me wonder if the author is the author of this book or if she outsourced it and then never bothered reading it. Apparently people liked her writing before this book but then they read this book (no, I’m not checking to find out which book it is) and didn’t like it at all. Also, the reviews mention a rape but the author constantly says it wasn’t rape – it was statutory rape as the person was under 18 and that’s the statutory age in that state.
This article is part of a Book Bloggers Australia Blog Hop. You can read the originating article on Debbish’s blog.
Just a few super heroes for you today. I didn’t take the time to write down who they were, I’ll put the photos up on a cosplay forum and see what eventuates, maybe someone will come and comment for me. The attention to detail almost has me in tears, I have such admiration.
Doctor Who was a very big theme at Armageddon this year, it might have something to do with Jenna Coleman being there as a speaker etc. There are some very inventive people doing costumes out there.
What a big weekend! I’ve just spent the past two days behind a table publicising the Australian Discworld Convention and converting (corrupting?) people to the goodness and cleverness that is Pterry Pratchett. Armageddon is a wonderfully exciting pop culture convention and the name lends itself to all sorts of puns, some of them are Pratchett in nature and some not. When I mentioned it on Discworld Monthly on Facebook people suggested I remember Ronnie Soak as the fifth horseman of the Apocalypse…there are some things that are very peculiar to Discworld fans.
It was a massive weekend with lots happening on and around my table as well as other tables, signing booths, photography type stuff and panels. I didn’t make it to a single panel, bearing in mind we had luminaries such as Margot Kidder, Jenna Coleman, Kevin Eastman, Terry Brooks and Robert Rankin I should have at least gone to one of them. I totally missed seeing the signing queues, just looking at the queues is something I love doing…don’t know why. I was introduced to Terry Brooks and had a slight melt down afterwards, I do hope I was sensible while talking to him. Managed to have a handful of words with Robert Rankin and didn’t melt down afterwards!
There were so many costumes, people are so clever. I took lots of photos and when I have a chance later today to look at them all I’ll make some decisions as to the rest of this week. If I have enough photos I might just dedicate this week to Armageddon and celebrating people’s talent. I know I have enough Doctor Who photos and Lords of the Rings but whether I can make things stretch beyond that is something I’ll find out. If I do I’ll be cancelling Mondayitis for this week but if I don’t I have a Deltora Quest which I’ve been planning and that’s highly appropriate.
I often wonder how people remember all those details they put into their reviews. Are they really brilliant with fabulous memories? Do they take copious notes? Do they spend lots of time checking back through the book to find passages to quote? This is, in part, the topic for this week’s Book Bloggers Australia Blog Hop and this is my ‘secret’.
What you’re seeing with the photo above are a number of bookmarks I’ve used. I fold a piece of paper and use it to mark my place. When I come across something of interest I feel I might possibly use in my scribbles for that book I write it down. Most of them will go inside physical books, it’s a little harder with ebooks and so I take a piece of paper and scribble notes which is likely to get left anywhere around the house as I move my iPad around with me, this is the case with the Red Cross paper in the middle.
I then have all these potentially awesome notes waiting for me to use. You’re looking for the gotcha I can tell. The gotcha here is that I can barely read my own writing. I do most of my reading in places where it’s easier for me to remove my glasses and read up close and personal to the book (book not ebook, that’s done in a chair, with glasses) and that makes writing challenging…although, if you’ve seen my writing you’d be adding in the word ‘more’. Having admitted I can barely read my own writing at the best of times you’ll notice the writing on these papers is more scribble than anything else. I learned to type a long time ago on a manual typewriter partly because my handwriting was so horrible.
The other gotcha is that I even more rarely actually look at my notes. It seems that the very act of writing stuff down makes it easier for me to remember, not just what I’ve written but also what I haven’t. This is fine if I don’t want to quote anything but there’s a book coming up next week which I’ll want to quote great slabs of, this is only if I can read my writing enough to be able to figure out which page the quote is on.
I haven’t mentioned keeping my books in order and reviewing them in advance or anything like that as I rarely do. I’m hoping for some insights from other bloggers and our ‘home’ blog, Debbish has some very good tips. She sometimes reads books months in advance, reviewing them as she reads and has a schedule but I admit I’m not that organised. When I have that many books sitting here awaiting a review or waiting for publishing date so a review can be published in a timely fashion I will have a physical pile of books sitting in front of my monitor making things challenging to see and eventually I just knuckle down and write so I’m able to see the screen.
As for being overworked and underpaid? Sometimes a week off is just the ticket. This gives me a chance to read at leisure or not read as the fit takes me and then not feel the pressure to even look at my website. I did that recently and came back to find writing was a breeze and the pile of books in front of me disappeared at a rapid rate of knots while the articles piled up and I ended up with the opposite of my normal, a nice stack of scheduled articles. Other times I need to let the creative part of me get working and I can only seem to do that in a coffee shop so I schedule some time with my iPad and head down to a busy coffee shop where I can sit and ignore everyone else around me to write a short story.
The Sound of Music. You probably all know it as the movie with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer and you may even know it was a book before that but it all started in the 1920s in Austria when Maria Augusta Kutschera was sent to Captain Georg von Trapp’s house to look after his ill daughter, she never went back to Nonnberg to become a nun.
Instead she married the Captain, had two children with him and then while pregnant with another they escaped over the hills on foot. This was after having two miscarriages. Not only that but she had kidney problems and was actually meant to be on bedrest but they had to escape the Nazis. Not only that but I didn’t mention the seven children the Captain had before Von Trapp came to look after his ill daughter. So, that’s walking across the hills on foot with nine children while pregnant.
Extensive research has been cut short as I have a funeral to attend today but I’ve watched some documentaries, the movie, read the book and viewed some of the special features on the DVD. The book is most amazing, written by Maria Von Trapp herself, she does sugarcoat some things but she does tell us how disobedient she is and how she has trouble with her tongue, it runs away with her at times. If you’ve seen the movie you’ll remember the Captain whistling at his children, this apparently is true and each child had their own tune and would come running when he blew.
Von Trapp was a very audacious person. Whenever she saw something she wanted to do then nothing got in her way. In America she got it in her head that a particular person would represent the Von Trapp Family Singers and ensure they had plenty of successful concert bookings and she kept going back until he finally accepted. This happened time and again. When she saw a way to make money she had the family going full throttle to make this work. One time the government were going to demolish a building the family had sung in and Von Trapp took it into her head to take out a lease on this building and hold music camps there. Yes, this happened but there were so many problems along the way and she solved each and every one of them, while the family worked on the family farm and also went on extensive concert tours, and also creating large debts into the bargain…and also while taking vast amounts of donations of food and clothing which were sent back to Austria.
It is a truly amazing story. I do recommend it and I also recommend watching the movie. They are rather different beasts with the movie being a Hollywood love story with the Von Trapp story as a background. The movie does a good job of showing us some of the qualities of the Von Trapps and ensures we have some idea of the political problems facing Austria during the 1930s and ’40s but both of these are rather subtly shown until near the end when the Captain is supposed to be taken away to captain a submarine for Germany.
I couldn’t find a copy of either the book or DVD for sale in any of my normal places. I picked up the book in an op shop and found the DVD at the local video library. If you can get a copy take the time to watch the special features.
Boys. They shouldn’t be let out on their own they only get in trouble. If they don’t get themselves in trouble then we get in trouble saving them.
Josh is mine. I do try to look after him but we’ve just moved to Vermont and I’m still learning my way around. Also, he has school. I approve of school, it’s good for him to learn stuff…believe me he has a lot to learn.
We did try to pretend he couldn’t have heard us talking but in the end I had no choice but to tell him about Ace. Poor Ace, that Weimaraner got him good didn’t look like he’d pull through but we talked him through it while he was at the vet’s now it looks like he’ll be fine. If Josh hadn’t been able to get Greg to take him to the vet he would have been a goner.
Didn’t know snow could be so cold, at least I get to stay inside when I want where it’s nice and warm. Couldn’t do that too much the first couple of nights of Ace’s stay in the vets. We took turns talking to him. Wish my fur would thicken up faster.
But still that boy will be the death of me. Now he wants me to make friends with that Weimaraner and he can’t even say the word right! I told him his name is Ghost…maybe that’s the beginning of a friendship and then we’ll all be safe.