Book Bites Announcement

Book Bites is currently on hiatus. Zja Noir is started a Masters degree and has had to cut back on online activities. You can still follow Book Bites on Facebook for snippets, links to giveaways, and book-related images and news. Book Bites may be updated periodically. Feel free to subscribe or follow Zja on social networking sites to see updates.

15 November 2010

Book Survey X


 
This is stolen from my friend Dutchie's blog BookishArdour. I am on a hiatus at the moment, but I thought I would share something just because :) I need to start writing up some of my reviews soon, although I have been limiting my reading due to Nanowrimo as well. I would love to know your answers too, so leave me a link if you share this on your blog too.

How much time can you end up spending in a bookstore or library?
If I have my way, an hour or more. I tend to spend hours (plural) at Galaxy Bookshop. There are so many books I want!

Do you have a system when visiting a bookstore/library?
  • At Galaxy I go after specific books first, then I go to the new release shelves, then my genre shelves, then I check out the rest of the store.
  • At Abbeys I go to the archaeology and history section, the classics shelf, the general fiction shelves, the poetry shelves and then to the travel section.
  • At general book stores I go straight for the fantasy/SF shelf, then the classics, and then look for a new Nora Robert's novel on the romance shelf. I also love checking out the art section.
  • At libraries I look at the spotlight shelving (new release or featured books, etc.) before checking the paperbacks stands and going after specific authors in the A-Z shelves. I mostly borrow non-fiction from libraries, as my interests are fairly specialist. Archaeology books are very expensive, unless you want to buy popular market archaeology books, and they are normally non-factual or generalist information.

What book do you like to give as a gift?
Nothing in particular. If I know a friend wants something in particular I will buy it for them, or if they are into a particular type of non-fiction I may pick them up a book. However, I know I hate it when friends get it wrong when buying me books, so I tend to think my bibliophilic friends have the same issues. Instead I buy them gift certificates to book stores or buy them book-related items. I love it when I get a few certificates to Galaxy for my birthday, so I know my bibliophilic friends must think the same! :D

Do you judge books by their cover?
Yes and no. I don't think that a book will be good or bad in relation to the cover, but I am drawn (or repelled) to books because of their covers. I also purchase the nicest cover I can find for each book I buy. This is why I now buy Vintage Classics as opposed to Penguin Classics, etc..

Have you bought books based on their cover?
Yes.

Where do you usually buy your books?
Galaxy Bookshop. They specialise in speculative fiction, I am friends with a lot of the customers, Count at least four of the staff amongst my friends and am part of it's paranormal romance book club. I bought a Sony Reader on Thursday, so I need to find out where to buy my paranormal romance and urban fantasy from. Galaxy doesn't stock much Lora Leigh* so I guess I will be getting those as ebooks unless I can find another store based in Australia who stocks the paperbacks. I'll be doubling up the ebooks with paperbacks when the physical copies are affordable. I bought the ereader because I can't read hard covers (hurts my hands) so this will mean I no longer have to wait more than a year for the next book in a series! :D

*I just got a tip off from Kat at Book Thingo that  Ever After sells Lora Leigh paperbacks! Yeay!

Do you prefer brand new or second hand or does it not matter?
I am not too fussed. I buy brand new these days, but that is because the books I want a new release. I still buy second hand when I see something I like. I am more interested in the words, not the appearance. I would prefer pristine condition, by my books are "loved" and I don't store them behind glass or treat them with kid gloves. I look after my books but I read them so often that they will never stay in "as new" condition. As long as a book isn't filled with someone's writing, covered in wine or coffee stains or with pages torn, I will buy it.

Online Vs Offline, which do you think is better?
I am not sure what this question refers to. Book stores? I like browsing. And I like being able to read a book straight after purchasing instead of waiting for it to be posted to me. I guess I am old school in this way. But I have bought a few books online, mostly from small specialist book sellers. I think these people deserve our support, and they are more likely to be part of a niche market, and in my own country! I refuse to buy from Amazon. They are a big bad evil corporation as far as I am concerned. I refused to buy a Kindle from them as well, because they lock everything down so they continue to have a monopoly on the market - but then they go and limit the books that non-Americans can buy!? Evil!

Do you borrow books?
Yes, and I limit to reading them at home only. This way my environment won't damage the books.

If yes, what was the last book that you borrowed?
Rosie lent me a bag of urban fantasy, paranormal romance and science fiction romance.

Do you let others borrow your books?
If I trust them to care for my books. Last year I had too many people damaging my books. I've been burnt and will no longer lend books to non-bibliophiles! I'd rather just buy them a bloody book than let them touch mine!


05 November 2010

Book Bites on hiatus because of NaNoWriMo!


I won’t be posting my usual memes for a few weeks. I have been distracted by planning for NaNoWriMo, and now writing, so I haven’t been reading all that much. Add to that, the books I _want_ to read were lent to me by Rosie, and I have a rule about borrowed books – they don’t leave the house! So I haven’t been reading as frenetically as I normally do. I've just been reading a few chapters a day. As someone who reads most of a book per day, this is quite mind boggling for me, but I just haven’t been able to churn through them like I normally do. I think I could if I could take them with me during the day – I am so rarely home! But books that travel with me become well loved. My book bag also has my notebook, bottle of water, and umbrella, so it never stays pristine. If it is my books, that is okay. I don’t mind a book that is well loved. But I am not going to prematurely age someone else’s books! So they get to stay cuddled up on my bed while I go to work *sigh* This is also the reason I am still reading Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Because I have all these goodies waiting at home for me to read, I haven’t been just reading Never Let Me Go. I read it in my lunchbreak and while I am commuting, but not at home. I’ll have to start, because the book club I am reading it for is on the 13th of November! I've only read two thirds of it so far! I am really really enjoying it however. It seems to be the type of book that sneaks up on you. You aren’t expecting it, but it just keeps on drawing you in. I don’t know how to define this book AT ALL! I don’t know who I would recommend it to, or who else would appreciate it. It will definitely be on my recommendation list however.

I am currently focusing on Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and Beyond The Night by Joss Ware. Both are dystopian, but with different bents. Beyond The Night seems to be a dystopian romance or science fiction romance? I haven't gotten far enough in to see if it is a romance, but it definitely has that feel to it. The story is interesting enough and the writing is good enough that I haven’t been focusing on the couple, but the whole story. I can’t wait to see what happens!! And if the Strangers have created those zombie like creatures! o_O And how they kicked off the apocalypse! Love it!
Edit: I finished it last night. Epic! So buying this series!


As I mentioned, I am undertaking NaNoWriMo this year. It started this week, and to put it simply, it is an international month-long write-a-thon. The goal is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. So I would basically need to write just under 2,000 words per day. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but life gets in the way. I don’t want to be writing complete and utter crap, and I have a very definite story in mind. I gave up on the concept of writing seriously when I was a teenager, so I am doing this for myself. I spend all my time editing, reworking and waxing lyrical and never finish a story. I am using this NaNo to try and overcome that problem. I’m not allowed to get hung up on editing. Which is going to be so bloody hard! I am the type of person who dithers over each sentence, and the challenge for me is to leave them be and come back latter to edit them. The problem with that is that I love words. I love making them work together, and I love them individually. So choking that impulse down will be difficult. I am already behind, so I need to up my daily goal to catch up. I am writing by hand, so I don’t have a fancy automatic word count *sigh* I thought I had a system worked out for estimating, but I counted it by hand yesterday, and I am about 1000 words behind what I thought. So instead of being about 4000 words I am about 3000, give or take. I was sick yesterday, so I only wrote 3 pages *sad face* I went to a write-in in the city on Wednesday night and found it really helpful, so I think I am going to go to the one on Sunday as well. I’ll miss the one next Wednesday because it is the same night as the Galaxy EOY party. I also miss the Galaxy book club because I am going to see Metallica (!) perform *grins* Worth missing one night, surely! Anyway, I am hoping the write-ins help me spew words onto the page, because leisurely scrawling in my lunchbreak is only churning out 3 to 5 pages… those pages have anywhere from 150-200 words per page, so it really isn’t enough! :( My friend Ari has already passed 25000 words!!! And Bons has passed 10000! O.O I need to get my freak on! Wish me luck! I already want to go back and edit the crap out of it *sigh* Are you doing NaNoWriMo? Do you want to add me as a buddy? I do have a writing blog, but I am not really writing much on there at the moment. Nothing is ready for someone else to read. It needs a lot of pruning! Instead I am commenting on twitter and facebook LOL You can add me at http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/682560 and follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/obsidiantears83 Good luck if you are doing NaNo this year! :D

I have a rule for November not to read anything urban fantasy, because I am writing an urban fantasy and I don’t want to be influenced, even subconsciously! Already it is starting to seem like her dog is a little bit more than just a dog *sigh* I need to turn him back into a canine and not a lupine! Maybe he is just a smart and empathetic puppy?

Oh, and I am also reading up on Jung's theory of collective unconsciousness in relation to my story :)

Also, I am hopefully buying the Sony Reader next week! :D I am so freaking excited!!!

Sorry if there are any typos or badly constructed sentences above! I haven't time to proof it, and I wanted to get it up and out there why I have been so quiet :) I may still pop in now and again, but I won't be blogging religiously!


01 November 2010

Meme: 15 Authors


I thought I would share this meme from facebook. It did the rounds last week, and it was interesting to see the authors and poets people were influenced by. I didn't do a great amount of thinking for this. I originally did a speculative fiction list, and later did a non-speculative fiction list and my influences can be quite diverse.

From facebook:
Don't take too long to think about this. List fifteen authors (poets included) who've influenced you and who will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. Tag at least fifteen friends, including me, because I'm interested in seeing what authors my friends choose. (To do this, go to your Notes tab on your profile page, paste these rules in a new note, cast your fifteen picks, and tag people under Tags below the note.)

This is my speculative fiction list:
  • Charles de Lint
  • David Gemmell
  • Enid Blyton
  • Frank Herbert
  • HG Wells
  • Isobelle Carmody
  • JRR Tolkein
  • Nalini Singh
  • Patricia A McKillip
  • Patricia Briggs
  • Peter V Brett
  • Raymond E Fiest
  • Sherrilyn Kenyon
  • Tanith Lee
  • Terri Windling

This is my non-specfic list:

  • Anon (for all those poets! Beowulf, Dream of the Rood, Battle of Maldon!)
  • Banjo Patterson
  • Charlotte Bronte
  • Colleen McCullough
  • Dick Francis
  • Henry Kendall (he wrote Bell-Birds near Gosford, where I grew up! Also have a look at Last of his Tribe... And Bob... And something about a grey ghost!)
  • Jane Austen
  • John Marsden
  • Melina Marchetta
  • Peter Dickinson
  • Rosemary Sutcliff
  • Ruth Park
  • Upton Sinclair
  • William Blake
  • William Langland, etc.

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