If you've ever wanted to read every book in the library, maybe you should rethink that.

Category Archives: Nonsense and Insensibility


I never thought I’d be one of those people who had multiple blogs for multiple things, and here I am.

It seemed like my reading list was clogging up any ideas I could post on this blog, so I made a site specifically for that silly “At the Mercy of My Library” challenge, along with some other challenges.

bookscuffle – a scuffle among books

Bookscuffle pits books against each other. I’m trying to go for a circus theme because that’s what it feels like. So many side shows, so little time. I’m still in the process of transferring two more posts from here to there. One post per month feels like too many when all your writing takes place of the internet, but I’ll give it a go.

I’ll ping back my favorite books over here, including a new phenomena called the Mini Scuffle. [appropriate emoticon of excitement]

Maybe I’ll close down this site? I get so tired of things that have no underlying purpose.



If you’re a writer, I dare you to begin your next piece with this sentence: “Stephen King is on his way.” Why? Because it’s creepy as fuck, that’s why.

Last January I told you all I was exploring Mr. King’s works this year. Since the year is almost over, let’s wrap this up.

Misery
See the linked post above. Hey, see this trailer for the new play starring Bruce Willis and Laurie Metcalf!

Children of the Corn
I didn’t care for this. It summarizes too much. I don’t care for short stories anyway. Yeah, I’m picky.

UR
This was a little better. This guy discovers a Kindle with news articles from alternate realities. So, basically the internet.

Under the Dome
I bought this with the intention of reading it and following up with the miniseries. I never did either. I still own the book, though! Someday. *pet*

On Writing
His writing advice. It’s on my list because it’s highly recommended. I just wanted to mention it to everyone.

The Shining
I’m currently reading this for Christmas. Yeah, I said Christmas. It takes place in the winter, right? DON’T JUDGE ME.

 

Next year, I’m working on my content.



A part of me doesn’t want to continue this At The Mercy Of My Library reading challenge because something fantastic happened: I moved across the country. This means I no longer have that library. Does this mean I should still be at its mercy?

Moving is more stressful in the preparation of it than it is in the actual act of putting of boxes inside a new place. (Was that sentence even grammatically correct?) That’s why I flaked out for months. Months! I brought Michael Crichton’s novel (which I own) with me, intending to breeze through it when I wanted to feel more at home (which was and still is all the time). In between these two months came NaNoWriMo, which always messes up my reading.

I will most likely continue this challenge because it helps me feel better connected to home. Before leaving my home state, I copied down all the books I might have taken were continuing this challenge at my old library. (Yeah, I’m crazy like that.)

Enough ado. On to the challenge!

The rating system:
0/4 In the words of Homer Simpson, “AAH! Burn it! Send it to Hell!”
1/4 It was bad, but I’d still recommend it to people who don’t like books.
2/4 It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good enough for me to want to finish it.
3/4 It was good. I finished it.
4/4 It was fantastic!

 

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh

author: Chabon, Michael
title: The Mysteries of Pittsburgh
year: 1988
special sticker: none
guess the genre: Dudes, I don’t even care! I’ve read Gentlemen of the Road twice (one time it was a comfort story while I had the flu) and loved it both times. I’m biased for this author based on only one of his books, but I have to tell you I’m exciiiiited!
pre-read impression: Hmm, there’s no summary. When there are only quotes of praise on the back AND inside of a novel, in my experience, it’s probably a crap novel. But we’ll find out when I read it.

LAST impression: It started out well, despite how I loathe stories about depressed grad students. (He was a grad student, right? English Lit, right? It really doesn’t matter.) I also loathe stories about depressed people whose sole purpose is to meet sparkly, unique people who get the main character into trouble. The protagonist goes along for the ride and doesn’t seem to have a say in his life, and we all know it’s because the protagonist is only a representation of the author himself and the only way the author COULD introduce the sparkly pixies was if he put himself in the book because he had no idea how to write for other characters without making himself the focus. (Phew!)

Sorry about the rant. I still like Michael Chabon and hope to read another of his books someday. It’s just… I’m pretty sure The Mysteries of Pittsburgh is the literary version of Garden State.

STARS: 2/4. I ended up skimming the last third to see how it ended. Once I learned how it ended, I was excited and still couldn’t bring myself to care.

 

Joe Victim (Cleaner, #2)

author: Cleave, Paul
title: Joe Victim
year: 2013
special sticker: none
guess the genre: Murder thriller.
pre-read impression: Psychological detective something, I don’t know, for some reason I want to hurry up and read this.

LAST impression: I couldn’t consume this fast enough. Cleave’s crisp writing, combined with the unreliable narrator, made me sit up. Physically, literally sit up. This isn’t a lazy story. The main character is a murderer who doesn’t believe he’s a murderer. Other character’s stories are told, as well, and they’re far more interesting, sometimes, than the protagonist. This is another book that’s split between first person and third person, which appears to be a wonderful device. I’m a fan of Paul Cleave now.

Although I’m not supposed to read sequels for this challenge, this book is actually a sequel to The Cleaner and I couldn’t tell sometimes. In the end, it didn’t matter; Joe Victim was pretty good on its own. I’m excited to read another of Cleave’s novels. It might not be The Cleaner, either. I need to see what he does with other characters, but I’m also intrigued to see how little Joe Victim got into this predicament.

STARS: 3/4. We have a 3! Glory be, we have a 3!

 

The Andromeda Strain

author: Crichton, Michael
title: Andromeda Strain
year: 1969
special sticker: none
guess the genre: The genre is Michael Crichton, LOL.
pre-read impression: We all love this guy, don’t we? I’ve never read anything by him, sadly. It’s about time I do this!

LAST impression: This novel took a while for me to love, unfortunately. The beginning promised a good book, and the end promised me that I’d just read a good book, but it took me two months to read this, damn it! It wasn’t because I was savoring the story or the writing. No. It was because all the cool graphs couldn’t quite spice up all the scientific- and government-speak. I find these languages dry and drying.

It seems tragic I don’t have much to say about this story. In fact, I’m wondering whether I want to read another Crichton novel at all. I might like the movie better. Or the mini-series.

STARS: 3/4. In the end, I think this was a good book. The thought of some minor bacteria on a spacecraft having huge mortal repercussions should be frightening for everyone. Also, the subject matter in comparison to the book’s publishing date is intriguing. I can see how Crichton carved himself a nice place in modern fiction.

 

MercyChallenge

Yeah, I think I’ll keep going with this challenge. I’m dreading the amount of disagreeable books I’ll have to work through, but what’s a challenge if you don’t, dur, challenge yourself?

I’m not even going to write my impressions of these two books. I have no hope. No hope at all! We’ll all be eaten alive by bacteria anyway!

Spellbound A Knight in Shining Armor



I saw a good variety of pacing in this batch of novels. The first promised a high-speed car chase for my mind. When it came down to reading it, there seemed to be no end to the chase. How is it possible that something so quick can go on forever? Like many car chases, we live in the thrill of the moment and never know when it will end, despite the increasing built of suspense.

With a novel, however, we know when something will end. We hold its physical entirety in our hand. What if a book is slowly paced, and its development doesn’t leave us guessing? This is where the craft of writing gets to show itself off. Can the weight of a novel, so different to another, be considered equal to the other? I suppose that depends on the personal scale of the reader.

These two books (the first two mentioned below) were the first novels of their authors. (Edit: That’s what I heard. After further research, it appears this was not Brackston’s first.) I’m glad to have explored them, but they weren’t quite right. When I reached the third book of the B authors at my library, the developmental ticks of the newly published melted away. When I opened Burton’s book, it said to me, “You’re in good hands.” At the same time, my personal scale didn’t simply shift to treat the latter book better. The story promised a slow pace with a fast, heart-thudding appeal. The paperback form helped me take in this cult type of story. It felt right, but it still wasn’t my type of story.

So which is better? Faster paced books or the ones that take their time getting to the sweet spots? Your preference is yours alone, but you must defend it wherever you can.

Let’s get on with the novels!

My star ratings:
0/4 In the words of Homer Simpson, “AAH! Burn it! Send it to Hell!”
1/4 It was bad, but I’d still recommend it to people who don’t like books.
2/4 It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good enough for me to want to finish it.
3/4 It was good enough for me to finish but it wasn’t fantastic.
4/4 It was fantastic!

The Genesis Key
author: Barney, James
title: The Genesis Key
published: 2011
special sticker: none
guess the genre: Thriller about biology?
pre-read impression: Archaeology! Genetics! Intrigue! Washington DC!

LAST impression: I was right about everything. This novel was exciting!  The problem? It just wouldn’t end! I made the mistake of setting it aside for a few days (more like a few months) to work on a writing deadline, and each couple of times I came back to the novel, my interest wavered. By the time I was 3/4 through, the events wouldn’t stop coming when I expected a conclusion. It was like an action movie; they put in so many close calls to keep you on the edge of your seat, give you a “thrilling experience,” and all that. Except the problem with that is I read a lot of these twists on my short lunch breaks and if I fell off my chair I’d get ravioli everywhere. This is the type of novel you have to binge read, not set aside for days at a time. I’d still recommend the book with this advice: DO NOT put it down. For anything.

STARS: 2.5/4. The “.5″is for how far into the book I got. Had I finished it and not moved on to greener pastures, the rating would be a 3/4. The paperback copy (is there any other?) is very light, the print is large, and the pacing is quick. This novel makes a great lunch break ravioli. I mean… a great lunch break read.

And I must add: this would make a wonderful movie.

 The Winter Witch

author: Brackston, Paula
title: The Winter Witch
published: 2013
special sticker: none
guess the genre: Historical romance.
pre-read impression: Well, it’s about a witch. It’s about a witch with powers. It’s about a witch who can’t control her powers and falls in love. Should be interesting.

LAST impression: This took me back. There was a time when all I read were novels about witches full of woe, and the first couple of pages impressed me. The point of view was presented in an interesting way. It was half first-person POV from the main character (the witch), half 3rd person omniscient POV. I enjoy it when authors experiment with character perceptions. However, the strong beginning wasn’t enough for me to continue. Brackston tended to use one of my pet peeves in which characters process through questions in lieu of providing some advance in the plot. As much as I wanted to know what happened with the main character, and guess what other characters would end up doing to her, if getting through the novel was the price I had to pay for that, I didn’t care to finish.

STARS: 2.5/4. The extra .5 is specifically for the Welsh language in conversation. I know nothing of the language but it made my heart warm. If I read this novel back when I was interested in these stories, it would certainly have made me a Welshophile. (What’s the proper word for Welshophile?)

When am I going to find a book I can actually finish? I used to read books like this all the time, when I lived and breathed fantasy in junior high. Have I grown tired of the genre? Am I out of practice? Maybe I should move on to other books, or should I give this one another chance?

 You're Not Safe (Texas Rangers, #3)

author: Burton, Mary
title: You’re Not Safe
published: 2014
special sticker: none
guess the genre: Looks like it might be a thriller/horror.
pre-read impression: Okay. Wow. Murder thriller. Can’t wait for this one.

LAST impression: This turned out to be a cop drama. Only sort of a murder thriller. This should have upset me, since I’m so tired of detective shows. (Meme: “The amount of cop shows on television is TOO DAMN HIGH!”) However, I enjoyed this novel for quite some time. The inner turmoil of the characters intrigued me, as did the mystery as to who was committing the murders. What prevented me from finishing was how annoyed I became every time I had to read about a certain character’s backstory AGAIN. There’s really no need to rehash your heroine’s past every single chapter. We get it. Only a hundred pages away from the end, I decided to stop reading and check out the epilogue. Everything turned out how I thought it would, and that was nice, but I was done.

This doesn’t mean Burton did a terrible job. It means I wasn’t as invested in the story as I wanted to be for the simple reason that I’m tired of cop dramas. (Except Backstrom and Psych. Those shows, man. Those shows. I miss you.) If I come across any of Burton’s works that aren’t cop dramas, I’d definitely take a gander. Her command of dialogue is superb and keeps me reading even when I don’t want to. Her general prose, too, is conversational, and even if I didn’t care for the story, the confidence I glean from her skill puts me at ease. It’s not often an author can do that for me.

STARS: 2.75? Okay, I’m making up this rating as I go along. Had I finished, this would have been a 3/4.

MercyChallenge

I’m sorry it’s taken so long to make this post of the B authors. The variety in pacing between each novel seems to have thrown me off balance. The C authors show so much more promise!

Chabon, Michael The Mysteries of Pittsburgh
title: The Mysteries of Pittsburgh
year: 1988
special sticker: none
guess the genre: Dudes, I don’t even care! I’ve read Gentlemen of the Road twice (one time it was a comfort story while I had the flu) and loved it both times. I’m biased for this author based on only one of his books, but I have to tell you I’m exciiiiited!
pre-read impression: Hmm, there’s no summary. When there are only quotes of praise on the back AND inside of a novel, in my experience, it’s probably a crap novel. But we’ll find out when I read it.

Cleave, Paul Joe Victim (Cleaner, #2)
title: Joe Victim
year: 2013
special sticker: none
guess the genre: Murder thriller.
pre-read impression: Psychological detective something, I don’t know, for some reason I want to hurry up and read this.

Crichton, Michael The Andromeda Strain
title: Andromeda STrain
year: 1969
special sticker: none
guess the genre: The genre is Michael Crichton, LOL.
pre-read impression: We all love this guy, don’t we? I’ve never read anything by him, sadly. It’s about time I do this!



%d bloggers like this: