tephra: Fluttershy reading a book. (Reading)
Kris finally talked me into it. I loaded up my account quickly using the importer and my physical books entered at LibraryThing (those that had ISBNs anyway) and a list of my ebooks that I managed to figure out how to get Calibre to spit out for me (again, those with ISBNs). Between those and the account set up pages of "oh, you like this genre, have you read any of these?" which went on for ages I have a lot of books in there, and I know I'll probably be expanding that when I visit my family and browse the shelves there to remind me of all the books I've read and forgotten.

Before we get to my first review on the site (which is not impressive as reviews go, I'm not much for detail) here's a run down of the Goodreads rating system:
★☆☆☆☆ 1 star "I didn't like it"
★★☆☆☆ 2 stars "It was okay"
★★★☆☆ 3 stars "I liked it"
★★★★☆ 4 stars "I really liked it"
★★★★★ 5 stars "It was amazing"

As a result of this system most of what I read and like ends up with 3 stars. Things I re-read generally end up with 4, and only a very few things get 5 stars. So don't think a 3 star rating from me means it's a bad or even "just mediocre" story, it's something I liked but probably won't re-read any time soon.

The Chinese Maze Murders: A Judge Dee MysteryThe Chinese Maze Murders: A Judge Dee Mystery by Robert van Gulik

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Unlike modern western mysteries where the detective has one case to solve in the course of the story, Judge Dee solves several, mostly unrelated, cases. As a result the feel of the story is more "slice of life" than "dramatic event", which I enjoyed.

Potential readers should be aware that the story does reflect the culture of the times, both that of the writer and that of Judge Dee. There is a lot of casual violence in the day to day life of the characters, torture is a valid way to obtain confessions, and any executions will be detailed at the end. The violence is not glorified, it's just what happens, but if someone is flayed until their bones are exposed you will know it.

View all my reviews
tephra: Close up of doll hands holding knitting in working position. (knitting)
Right now Lulu has a sale, 20% any order if you use the code CABIN.

I think you all need a copy of Hilltown if you don't have one yet.

And for the only vaguely related Ravelry news:

I have a Ravelry store now. For the moment there is only one pattern available, a knit wig cap for dolls. It's free and you can download it now. :) In theory, no one has tried that link and let me know if it really does work for non-Ravelry members.

I hope to have another pattern up soon, probably after FC, for sale.
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
Any of my journaling friends over there? I joined mostly to try to get around the lameness of the library section of Ravelry (no go, it won't add books that aren't already in the Ravelry database) and now I'm stuck with a lonely account.

I'm going to limit myself to adding books I can physically put my hands on (as opposed to ebooks and things that are currently one thousand miles away) so my inventory there will be skewed away from fiction but maybe it won't be too boring for other people to browse.


Sep. 24th, 2008 11:30 am
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
Too much to do and it's taking far too much effort to get moving on any of it. :P

I need to get that hat pattern written up and the rest of the photos taken. And I had a *d'oh* moment when I realized that I had knit a solid color hat specifically to take a photo of the top detail and then forgotten to take that photo. The hat is with Mom and thus nearly 1000 miles away. There is no digital camera over there for them to take a photo and have my brother (the one with the PC) try to email it to me. *head!desk* I guess I'll knit the top of a hat again in a solid just for a photo. :P I have reached the point where I am utterly SICK of knitting the pattern. And I still need someone with a 20" head to test the small size on. I need to know if there is enough depth in the small, there wasn't in the medium when I first knit it and I had to revise the pattern.

Actually, I need to call Mom. I might have someone I can knit a hat for over there if their head is the right size, and I suspect it is. If I make it pink she'll wear it at least long enough to see if it fits.

That aside, I've been looking at Ravelry's pattern sales system and setting myself up as a designer to use it. I'll have to get my business PayPal account into shape first, then go through the Ravelry system. Hopefully the feature to offer sales outside of Ravelry with Ravelry handling the delivery of the PDF is up and running, or will be when I need it, so I don't have to futz around setting up a delivery system of my own for people that aren't part of Ravelry.

Anyway, I had started this post just to post one link. I want this book. This is the book that has the superimposed knitting charts in it. I have an idea for another pattern using superimposed knitting just because the technique is delightfully geeky fun but first I need to get the hat, and possibly the sock, pattern(s) done. And probably the sweater and the shawl. And maybe that shrug pattern that I was thinking of and actually have the yarn for already. And all that non-knitting stuff I need to do.
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
I got tired of dealing with web interfaces for posting to my other journals so I finally got around to setting up Semagic to post to them as well as here. This post is mostly to see if it works.

As for the free ebooks, take a look at Wowio. It's restricted to US residents (probably some odd legal issue) and registration is free but you do have to verify you are a US citizen. Since I'm not about to give them my SSN (who would?!) or a creditcard number for that I used the "ISP email address" method. It took them about eight hours to verify my address (possibly because I applied in the wee hours of the morning) but it was painless. You can download up to five books a day so I blew my quota today on the first five chapters of Inverloch. :)
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
cool spiral binding

I'd like one, but from the description it seems like a major undertaking. My bookbinding-jutsu is just not up to taking that on.
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
My erratic drawing skills are out to get me.

I've been playing around with Word, figuring out how to print things in signatures ("book format") and to do that I needed something substantial, and because I don't want to waste paper, something that is finished and that I will actually read. So I grabbed an old Daria fanfic that I've read a few times and dumped it into Word. It was a good choice because it actually had a lot of endnotes, which I changed to footnotes. I might as well learn a few new things about Word (and this version of Word, which is newer than what I had been using on my old machine) while I'm at it, right?

What does this have to do with my drawing skills? Well my book is going to need a cover of course. I don't like any of the existing fanart for the story so I figured I'd just scribble something in PSP. I did start something with vectors and it was sort of cool but it was really taking too long so I saved it off to work on at some later date (a few years from now most likely) and grabbed the old tractor feed printer paper and a colored pencil.

And drew something I really like.


So I scanned a copy (red pencil scans pretty well in greyscale) and saved that off. Just in case I decide to rework it later like I do my usual stuff. Now I either ink the original sketch and do my usual color job or I try digitally painting the original sketch (paint, not color, as in no outlines) or both.

All of which is a lot more work than my original "toss of a sketch and use that for the cover" intent.

And, just to top things off, this is one of those black on black on black on black images. Daria's normally dark auburn hair was dyed "greenish black" with white streaks in the story, the wings and dress are black, with black feathers and beads and such. Please insert my normal "I hate working with shades of black" bitchfest here, thanks.
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
So I'm reading the reviews for A Good Offense (the sequel to The Best Defense) and I find this:

"...im not getting the whole purple haze thing, it flew right over my head."

For some reason that made me snicker.

Frankly, the reviews [livejournal.com profile] joisbishmyoga gets for these stories often make me depressed. Apparently people are reading and yet not reading these days. It's like they forget things that they read just a few sentences ago. Their comprehension seems spotty at best, and ask them to remember something from a previous chapter? Not going to happen apparently.

Now I know I have a somewhat odd and persistent memory but I can't believe that people can really forget something they read just a few minutes ago. My ability to remember stuff I read years ago (decades in some cases) can't be that bizarre, and remembering something from a month ago should be really simple and common, right?
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
1. Total number of books I own:
If "own" can be interpreted to "bought" then I have to count the 3000 (+/- a few hundred) paperbacks that my mother and brother are holding hostage in Massachusetts. ;> They're communally owned, though I was the one that actually bought over 95% of them. (And my brother and I will likely have battles when the time comes to divide them up, I want all the Nortons but he wants at least one of her series. There may be some negotiation over getting them duplicated somehow.)

Now for books actually in my vicinity... I guesstimate another hundred or two.

2. The Last Book I Bought:
Erf. I've been broke so long that it's been a while. I think the last bunch (I never buy just one book, unless I'm buying in the airport) included books 4 and 5 of the Harry Dresden series by Jim Butcher and The Service of the Sword (Honor Harrington anthology).

3. The Last Book I Read:
Well I tried to read a book on reincarnation which billed itself as the best book on the subject that I'd read in this lifetime... my next lifetime had better have better books on the subject. I guess the last one I completed was Death Masks, the 5th Harry Dresden book.

I think at 55 chapters (with one more in the works) The Best Defense by [livejournal.com profile] joisbishmyoga qualifies as a book. I read the whole thing through again (for the 4th or 5th time) last weekend.

4. 5 Books that mean a lot to me:
This would be a lot easier if it said "that I like a lot"....

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien - Mom read this to me so often that eventually when I asked her to read it to me again she suggested that I read it myself. I think this is the first non-children's book that I read myself.

The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey- The books (it's a trilogy, and I should include the Harper Hall trilogy here as well) I read after I exhausted every horse book in the library.

Witch World by Andre Norton - What I read after Dragonriders and the start of my Andre Norton obsession. I find Gates fascinating, and Ms. Norton wrote a lot of books with Gates, not just the Witch World series.

Flanker's Tale by William J. Rogers ([livejournal.com profile] hafoc) - How often do you get to read a series of five novels as they are written? I really should read the current edit, it's been a few years and I know he's made a lot of changes since the last time I read it. It has Gates. :)

Sargasso of Space by Andre Norton - Really, I should say "The Solar Queen Series". This is the one series that I know my brother and I are going to go head to head over when the time comes to divide the book collection. Maybe by then the whole series will have been republished (several of the books have been already, but not all of them).

Tag 5 people and have them (refuse to?) put this in their journal:
Most of my friends have already done this meme, someone I name is sure to have done it.
[livejournal.com profile] morganalilith
[livejournal.com profile] toy_dragon
[livejournal.com profile] dewhitton
[livejournal.com profile] chrissawyer
[livejournal.com profile] toshirodragon
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
So I was poking around Neil Gaiman's website and came across an entry in his FAQ about Coraline. *

He was asked whether or not Coraline was a kids' book. He answered that it goes in the same pile as Harry Potter and Lemony Snickets. Basically kids and adults take away different impressions or more precisely:

"As a general sort of rule, kids seem to read it as an adventure. Adults get nightmares."

This sounds interesting.

*What is Coraline? "Coraline is the scary book for strange little girls (of all ages and genders) which comes out late summer next year in the US and the UK (from HarperCollins in the US and Bloomsbury in the UK). "
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
Via [personal profile] athelind and [personal profile] hafoc

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog along with these instructions.
5. Don’t you dare dig for that “cool” or “intellectual” book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.

A cell phone rested on the counter beside a pad of hotel stationary. A woman appeared in the window dressed in a long gown of dark silk, and picked up the cell phone. She answered it without speaking and a moment later said, "I'm sorry. You've the wrong number."

Given that Andre Norton passed away today I wish that had been one of her books. Unfortunately "my" Norton collection is in the possession of my mother (who started it) and is therefore about one thousand miles away.

Andre Norton's Witch World books were what I read after finishing all the horse books in the local library. To this day those books influence how magic presents itself in my own worlds. My taste in science fantasy is undoubtedly the result of reading (and re-reading) dozens of her works. Beyond the magic of Witch World she created the magic of the Thassa (Moonsinger books), the Wyverns of Warlock, that of Simsa (a Forerunner born thousands of years after her race vanished from history), and several more that I can't recall without glancing at her titles. Her Free Traders often discovered long lost races and vanished civilizations, some even found the latest sanctuary of the People Under the Hills. People and animals often communicated as equals (Beast Master series most notably).

I think what I enjoyed most though was that she write so many different series and standalone novels that all fit into one universe spread over time and space. The Moonsinger partnered with a Free Trader and found the new land of Fairy at some point after the crew of the Solar Queen opened trade with the Salariki and before the Patrol was overrun and forced to the fringe of the galaxy, rediscovering the legendary home of the human race. Magic and starships weren't mutually exclusive and the animals on some frontier planet might just be the degenerate descendants of an advanced civilization.
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
Karakasa by [livejournal.com profile] _spacecoyote is one of my favorite images and I'm not entirely sure why. Partly the colors and partly the inking. The subject matter as well.

Does anyone know of a good, comprehensive, site or book on Japanese mythology and monsters?
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don't search around and look for the "coolest" book you can find. Do what's actually next to you.

"If none of the specifiers BOTH, LEADING, or TRAILING are given, BOTH is assumed."
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
Anyone know of a free downloadable coloring book for adults? That's adult coloring skills, not adult subject matter. Fantasy/science fiction subject matter preferred.

I bought one at a Renaissance Faire years ago with highly detailed images on cardstock, it wasn't cheap. I noticed some period coloring books on Amazon but they don't show you the complexity of the images in the books and I'm not about to pay for something that might not be what I really want. Even if they are only 3.95 before shipping.
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
Okay, found this through a post by [profile] dewhitton but for this snarky comment you really don't need to hunt down this Amazon.com review by Anne Rice. I'm going to quote the relevant portion here:

And no, I have no intention of allowing any editor ever to distort, cut, or otherwise mutilate sentences that I have edited and re-edited, and organized and polished myself.

So the scene in Interview With a Vampire where a black woman is described both as beautiful and as if carved from diorite* is all Anne's fault and I don't get to blame an editor for not catching that horrendous blunder? I literally tossed the book aside and ignored it (more than 300 pages into the book at that point) for three weeks over that one word.

*For the non-geologists, diorite is a coarse-grained, black and white rock. It's speckled. A dalmatian could be carved from diorite, not a beautiful black woman. If she needed a rock to use in the description she could have used basalt or gabbro or obsidian or onyx (to name a few). The first three are all usually black, onyx is actually more often striped but people are used to thinking of it as black due to its use in jewelry.
tephra: A furry liger-ish dragon portrait in profile (Default)
Those of you that have had the opportunity to chat with me after midnight know I tend to get a bit verbose and rather philosophical. This has, on occasion, lead to conversations continuing over breakfast (or at least coffee) as the sun somehow managed to leap into the sky while no one was looking. Unfortunately, I rarely have the opportunity to bend someone's ear like that these days.

So I'll just ramble here. )

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