2020 Books Describing YOU!

I saw this fun Book Challenge Tag on Bookstooge’s blog and thought I would give it a try. The rules are simple: Answer the questions using books you read in 2020.


  1. Describe Yourself: The Private Life of Elder Things


2. How do you feel? Alienated

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Negative Reviews

I was inspired to write this after reading a couple of intriguing posts about negative reviews by Re-enchantment Of The World and Weighing A Pig Doesn’t Fatten It. Clicking on the links will take you to each post. Please read the comments, too, as there are some great points brought up there.

(c) Alex Norris, Website: https://webcomicname.com/

Thinking over the past year of blogging book reviews, I’m pressed to remember a truly negative review I posted. I was disappointed with Stephen King’s IT because I thought it was overlong and suffered from King’s tendency to waffle. Also, it was surprisingly dull in parts and had me almost skipping pages. Despite these flaws, I still rated it 2 stars. Jeff Vandermeer’s Annihilation wasn’t a great read for me either, but I initially gave it 3 stars, mainly because I liked the weird atmosphere and some of the writing style. After thinking more about it, I’ve amended that rating to 2 stars. But if you follow the Goodreads rating system, “2 stars” means the book was “okay.” Is “okay” a negative review? Not really.

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Retrospective for 2019

View of the Inland Sea, seen from Awashima shrine

Well, another year draws to a close so it’s time to reveal Who’s Dreaming Who’s most viewed posts for 2019. Which authors and books attracted the most clicks this year? Without further ado, here’s 2019’s Top 20 viewed posts:

(Clicking on the number will take you to the review.)

1. The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick (2011) Edited by Pamela Jackson & Jonathan Lethem
2. Impostor (1953) by Philip K. Dick
3. Pyramids (1989) by Terry Pratchett
4. Inverted World (1974) by Christopher Priest
5. The Big Time (1958) by Fritz Leiber
6. The Fog Horn (1951) by Ray Bradbury
7. Neuromancer (1984) by William Gibson
8. Groo versus Conan (2013) by Sergio Aragones et al
9. Ubik (1969) by Philip K. Dick
10. Burning Chrome (1986) by William Gibson
11. Fairyland (1995) by Paul McAuley
12. The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (1982) by Philip K. Dick
13. Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988) by William Gibson
14. Good Omens (1990) by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
15. Rosewater (2016) by Tade Thompson
16. The City and the City (2009) by China Mieville
17. Oh, to be a Blobel (1964) by Philip K. Dick
18. White Time (2000) by Margo Lanagan
19. Ten Thousand Light-Years from Home (1973) by James Tiptree, Jr
20. The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy: Vol.12 (2018) Edited by Jonathan Strahan

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2084 (2017) Edited by George Sandison

‘There is no singular truth, no fact that cannot be altered, repositioned and resold to the world.’ -“Degrees of Elision” by Cassandra Khaw

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Unsung Stories’ 2084 is a collection of fifteen views of our future inspired by Orwell’s classic novel. What kind of a world could we see one hundred years after Nineteen Eighty-Four? It seems almost redundant to ask if Big Brother will still be watching us. In his introduction, George Sandison suggests that these tales are less predictions of dystopian futures than extensions of our present fears. As technology becomes ever more prevalent in our lives, are our fears of too much surveillance and too little privacy warranted?

Here are brief summaries of the stories that impressed me the most: Continue reading

Hallowe’en Reads 2018

The sky before a typhoon. View from my garden.

Happy Autumn!

As the days cool and grow shorter and the darkness spreads its ebony fingers, are you ready for some chills and thrills?

Yes, it’s that time of year again when I make – and often fail to complete – a plan for my October reading. As the theme is Hallowe’en, my chosen genre is horror or any kind of weird fiction. I’m planning to focus on novellas and short stories this year as my reading-time has shrunk over the last few months. So, without further ado, here is my list of stories to read as I tentatively set foot into the October country. Continue reading

Rediscover a Sense of Wonder

white teddy bear reading book

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In my last post, I wrote of a “Summer Meltdown” which had left me struggling to read – and especially finish – books. To those who responded, thank you so much for taking the time to read and offer advice or support, I really appreciate it.

The boiling heat of 2018’s summer has finally subsided, and autumn’s cooling touch has brought some welcome relief. BUT I still haven’t reached the end of a book. Wtf?

I’ve been doing a bit of soul searching, trying to find a deeper reason than the summer’s heat knocking everyone out, and I think I’ve discovered what’s been missing.

black and white blank challenge connect

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Let me ask you a question. What was the last book you read that you truly couldn’t put down? You know, the kind of story in which you become so caught up that you resent the time spent NOT reading it. A book or story that you keep thinking about when you’re not reading it. One which you can’t wait to get back to reading once your work or chores are done. Continue reading

Summer Meltdown, 2018

Summer sky over Yonago

I seem to have lost my way. No reviews posted for 6 weeks. And worse than that, I have lost my enthusiasm for reading books. Omg!!! I’m not sure why..?

Has this ever happened to you?

I could make excuses such as this year’s exceptionally HOT summer in Japan, (and all across the Northern Hemisphere.) But that sounds too easy. Yes, it’s been boiling hot for what seems like forever yet I’ve got an air conditioner. I can enjoy a cool, dry room at home. Perfect conditions for curling up with a good book. So what went wrong?

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The thing is, I have been reading. Just not as much as before and NOT books. I’ve got back into reading comics. “Oh No!” I hear you cry, “Don’t you know that comics rot your brain?!?” Continue reading

What the DNF?

 

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Oh no! The dreaded DNF. I feel like I’ve failed, especially considering the book and its authors. It’s been a while since this has happened. And it’s the first time this has occurred since I began reviewing books on this blog. I am ashamed to name the title, so I will give you a clue and leave it up to you to guess it.

This is a co-authored book written by two authors well known for their cyberpunk stories. Easy, right?.. What? You want another clue? Okay, it’s alleged that this book helped spread awareness of the term “steampunk.” That’s as far as I will go without naming and shaming. I was looking forward to reading this book as it has a reputation for being an important work in the genre of speculative fiction. It also has an enticing blurb which made me want to read it. Continue reading

The 2017 William Gibson Read-Along

“I think I’d probably tell you that it’s easier to desire and pursue the attention of tens of millions of total strangers than it is to accept the love and loyalty of the people closest to us.” William Gibson, Idoru

 

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2016 has been the year of Dick for me, Philip Kindred Dick. Taking part in Bookpunks’ mind-warping “Exegesis with a Side of Fiction: The PKD Read-Along” has brought me closer to Dick. I regularly found myself questioning what was real after being submerged in the latest book. Despite struggling through the dense and diffuse Exegesis, I looked forward to my monthly dose of PKD paperback, wondering what kind of bizarre and unhinged world I would discover inside. It was also a great opportunity to focus on the work of one writer, to see the different worlds they had imagined and built, to compare the later stories with the earlier ones.

So, I propose spending 2017 in William Gibson territory. One book per month, commencing with his collection of short stories Burning Chrome. Continue reading

Halloween Reads 2016

What scares you?

Is it that BUMP in the middle of the night that only you hear?
Is it the walk home through the woods with only the moonlight to guide you?readings__1224527389_9277

How about that movie you watched that gave you nightmares for a week? Or the dream that felt so real that you fought to wake up and escape it, a cry on your lips?

What was the last book or short story that REALLY scared you? As I’ve got older, I find a scary movie affects me more than a ghost story. Is that because a visual shock is more immediate than a comparable scare in a story? The filmed image is there, right in front of you, without you having to do any work creating it in your head. Is it just me? Continue reading