Recently bought, or a short summertime post.

It’s a very hot August in Krakow, Poland, and if you escape to the mountains on the weekend – you better start your hiking very early to avoid the scorching Sun. The caves were very cold though, yes – but muddy. So, I was supposed to write something around the last weekend, but I just couldn’t, and I have a book I want to review that will have to wait at least a week… I decided to just write a few words about my latest book-buying spree.

I buy a lot, about 2/3 used – 1/3 new. This year I decided to slow down a bit in 2018, so I’ve only bought 70 books, versus 135 last year (that is, during the entire 2017). It’s August already, so that is a slight progress 😉 Maybe I’ll even succeed in staying under 100? I’ve started my spreadsheet in 2003 and… let’s agree, it’s a costly addiction. Not as costly as cigarettes, but its objects do not go up in smoke, they occupy more and more space in my flat…

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Book piles and reading habits

Piotrek: Inspired by a recent post by an author capable of following over a dozen books at once, I reflected on my own reading habits. It was illuminating, as I realised they’ve changed quite a bit over the years. I’d certainly have trouble simultaneously reading fifteen books 😉 In fact, I used to be a strict serial monogamist in my reading, but I relaxed that rule a bit. First, I’ve added audiobooks – I usually read one dead-tree book and listen to something else (not at once 😉 ). I’ve reached “Guards! Guard!” in my Pratchett audio-re-read that way 🙂
My Pratchet set

Side note – I enjoy early Discworld novels even more than I did reading them for the first time, twenty years ago. Some are better than others, but there are no weak links so far and I find myself raising the ratings for most (excluding ones that already had top marks, like Equal Rites).

Ola: I’m rather flexible in the aspect of number of books I read in any given time. Sometimes it’s only one book – but that happens on the rare occasions I devour a book in one-two sittings. Sometimes it’s three to four novels, on different mediums: one or two in paper (one in paperback, the other one in hardcover which is too heavy and cumbersome to be toted around in a bag or backpack ;)), one on Kindle, another one in audiobook, and of course there is always a handful of non-fiction books I’m reading simultaneously. Right now it’s Luttwak’s “Strategy”, Girard’s “Violence and the Sacred”, Polish version of Campbell’s “A Hero with a Thousand Faces” and a book about secret life of mushrooms by Hofrichter… Not to mention comic books 😉

komiksy_1

 

Piotrek: There are, of course, some almost-books I’ve got started. Serial fiction, like fanfics, various essays etc… The swallow up my reading time and I’ve restricted amount I read in order to process more books. There are quarterlies I still subscribe to, but haven’t read in some time…

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Old year, new year…

Yet another year is coming to an end, and traditionally it is time to summarize past twelve months and make some resolutions for the next cycle… here we’ll cover blogging and reading.
Piotrek: Re-enchantment has changed a little. There are less posts – 71 vs 103 in 2016. Were we (and especially I) lazy? A bit, maybe, but as most of the traffic is generated by a limited number of most successful texts, I don’t think it’s a problem that we gave up on our previous two-posts-per-week schedule. We update regularly, and there are more two-shots, conversations that seem to be more popular, and certainly fun to make, but also more time consuming. So – I’d say the blog fares well.
Ola: I didn’t check it, but it also seems to me that our entries keep getting longer, turning into small essays 😉 We also seem to have less “meta” posts – something that we should focus on remedying in 2018.
Should we mention the Gallery ;)?

 

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Shadows of the Apt. Visionary, masterful, sometimes annoying.

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Spoiler alert! Unless you’ve read till the end of book 8, don’t go further 😉

Adrian Tchaikovsky is one of our favourite modern genre authors. There are several proper reviews and many favourable mentions here. I’ve just finished volume 8 in his 10 book long Shadows of the Apt series, I’ve read Spiderlands, and a few doorstopers patiently wait on my shelves for the right time. I trust this author, and I don’t feel the need to read everything at once. I know I won’t be disappointed, so I can wait. Although, if he keeps publishing two books a year, I might speed it up a bit, there seems to be quite a few stories left in him.

Shadows of the Apt are becoming one of my all-time favourite series, and  two final instalments would have to be really terrible to change that. I essentially agree with everything Ola wrote in her review, but I would like to share a few thoughts about one topic, something important for genre literature in general, and here presented with art and vision, in my opinion, unparalleled. Czajkowski makes the clash of magic and technology one of the central issues here.

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When genre meets history and theory of warfare – a few links.

A short text, just to share some great links. Not random links, mind you. There is a recurring theme in my posts, and that is historical realism. And there is something many of the books reviewed here share – war as a topic.

People I admire enough to recommend their creations today, approach the crossroads of genre fiction and history/theory of warfare from two different angles. The first one is more serious, and fairly common. History buffs judging the realism of various novels or movies are using tools like YouTube to spread the good word. Some of them are really good, and entertaining. The other one… here represented by one blog I lately read religiously, is even more entertaining, gives the appearance of fanfiction, but for an attentive reader provides a great learning opportunity.

So lets start with The Angry Staff Officer, a blog by a genuine active duty officer (US Army) with a penchant for history. And genre fiction. He wrote a series of Star Wars posts, but does not limit himself to science fiction. He retells our beloved stories as Stormtrooper’s officer’s reports, or describes the action of Wind in the Willows as an example of small unit warfare as seen by US Army doctrine. Sweet. It’s a joy for people like me, who know a little about it, but for newcomers it’s also a very educational. I wonder, how many of us thought about the logistic and maintenance problems of space warfare?  Very cool stuff.

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A few thoughts for the New Year.

Oh, it seems we had quite a break, after last New Year’s Eve post. Some of our authors are skiing, me… I’m reading non-genre lately and none of the earlier reads comes to my mind strongly enough to warrant a review.

There isn’t even any new loot to share, I have three books ordered back in November from Amazon Marketplace I’m still waiting for. I blame post office being overloaded in the Christmas season, but if they don’t arrive next week I’m filing formal complaints.

So, for lack of better things to write about, I’ll make some commitments. With TBR list measured in hundreds, I don’t make very specific reading plans. For 2017 I have two main ideas: more non-fiction, and more classics. I’m stocked up already, I just need to read. For starters – collection of lesser known Kafka, Gravity’s Rainbow, Joseph Campbell, some history…

But one serious, no, three serious series watch me from my bookshelves:

They mock me a little, while I read pulpy classics, and so I swear to read two out of three before the year ends. Starting with Cook, but then… I’ll see. That way, when the world deteriorates even further into chaos, I’ll still have something good going on.

Volume won’t change much, for the last few years I get about 30K pages of reading done each year, and I hope to keep it up for the rest of my life, there is no need to go beyond that.

And since in 2016 I bought almost exactly twice as many books as I’ve read, I’ll try to limit my purchases. Although I will continue completing my Robin Hobb collection… and now I’m screwed, because writing this post made me buy another one.

Well, it’s the first one this year, so I’m still ahead. And it was a bargain.

Happy 2017 🙂 May GRRM finally finish WoW 😉 And may Trump continue be a reliable source of inspiration for comedians, and not future archaeologists investigating the fall of our civilization…