Thursday, June 27, 2013

Two new reviews posted 27 June 2013

My real-life book circle's 160th book was Hadji Murad, the last book Tolstoy ever wrote. Really, it should have been left in the drawer. Terrific story, though, especially as it's true.

At Shelf Inflicted, the group blog, I posted my kick-off review of Jay Lake's farewell tour...he's dying of cancer, and holding the Jay Wake which is his own pre-mortem funeral...with a review of Rocket Science. It was Lake's first novel, and it's darn funny, as well as exciting.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Amazing Political Events and the Internet Age

This has been an amazing evening. Wendy Davis, Democratic Texas State Senator, filibusters a restrictive abortion bill, is shut down by Robert's Rules of Order being bent (IMO), and the gallery of the Texas State Senate erupts in hoots, catcalls, and shouting so loud that the roll call of the vote on this bill can't take place.

Kirk Watson, Democratic Texas State Senator and former Mayor of Austin, brings up points of order and is shut down without his points being addressed.

Lydia van de Putte, TEA PARTY Texas State Senator, then gets up and makes the same (valid) points of order. SHE gets shut down. And cue the Texas Spring: "When does a female Senator have to raise her hand in order to be recognized before the chair's male colleagues?" Hoots, catcalls, and no way does this go unremarked. YouTubers watch (over 110,000 of 'em), the Lege's own cams are out of bandwidth (90,000-plus) and the Texas Tribune's cams are taxed by bandwidth issues too (over 105,000 viewers).

At 1a CDT, the Looey (an idiot named David Dewhurst) summons the Senators for a caucus to determine if they're still in session, and if the abortion restriction bill passed for real (they reported to AP and other corporate media that it did). Trouble is the Lege has a computer vote-tallying system...and the vote took place AFTER MIDNIGHT local time, the Constitutional end-point of the session.

This will be SO interesting.

And then! Then! Today at 10a EDT, the Supremes (who, let us not forget, just finished eviscerating the Voting Rights Act of 1964) will announce their decision on DOMA and Prop 8 cases relating to marriage equality.

Anyone who isn't thrilled to be alive in the Internet era isn't paying attention. I am so glad I fell asleep for 3 hours this afternoon!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

New Book & TV Review Posted 25 June 2013

I read UNDER THE DOME before I watched the show Scribner has a paper edition out...$19.99! Remember when that was a top-dollar hardcover, wasn't that last week? Anyway, 4-plus stars and a good new TV show, too.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

New Review Posted 20 June 2013

I've started THE WAR THAT CAME EARLY alternative history series
Gave a whopping 4 stars for HITLER'S WAR even though more praise for Turtledove is superfluous. World War II has been refought and replayed a zillion times, like the American Civil War; but there's a reason that people stay fascinated by it.

So what, so the war might have started in 1938 not 1939, what's the difference? Might have been a lot....

Sunday, June 16, 2013

New Review Posted 16 June 2013

I've posted my at-long-last quote-filled review of TransAtlantic, Colum McCann's latest novel, on the Literary Fiction page:

It's very, very, very beautiful.

Friday, June 14, 2013

New Post for 14 June 2013

For them as has been paying me any attention at all, it will come as no shock to you that I've been bingeing on books here lately. I've been influenced by my many friends on Goodreads and LibraryThing, and their hugely acquisitve impulses as recorded there.

I got my latest installment (fifteen books!) of Keeping-Up-with-the-Biblioholics books today. All of them are from Livingston Press, all of them are hardcovers, and all of them were half price with free shipping. That is one HELL of a bargain. They publish story collections, good, solid literary fiction, and good, old-fashioned fun books by unknown or underknown authors. And, as a bonus, the annual Tartt First Fiction Award gets $1000 and publication for its prize winners. The titles with asterisks beside them have my review on the Goodreads book page linked. I praise them all, and I mean my praise. Too few publishers have the freedom that Livingston Press has to publish good work.

Take advantage of the sale, plus help support indie book publishing! When I get their catalog, it's like a crack dealer made a home delivery. Until 21 June, you can get books half price with free shipping in their Moving Sale!

We Have A Pie 4 stars
The Brick Murder: A Tragedy, and Other Stories 4 stars
The Galaxie and Other Rides 4.5 stars
Green Gospel 4 stars
For You, Madam Lenin 4 stars

The sale ends on 21 June 2013. It is so very worth a browse through their website. Half price and free shipping...take a chance!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

My latest mystery-series reviews 13 June 2013

My reviews of the first Chet-and-Bernie mysteries, with a bonus short story, at up now at Shelf Inflicted! Go! Fetch! Read!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I'm being interviewed! Like I'm famous or something!

"So, being cynical and believing the worst that can happen is but a prelude to the true hell to come, it seemed and seems to me likely that Amazon's ownership of Goodreads will mean happy-clappy fivestarland with extra soma for all is but a breath away."

That's me, in my Shelf Inflicted interview posted today. Life, reviewing, friendship...I go for them all with pinking shears.

Please come read all about it!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Big treat for 11 June 2013!

A BIG TREAT today! Superreviewer Nataliya talks Goodreads, reviews, and Being Awesome over at Shelf Inflicted! Come one come all! Learn the secrets of a Russian immigrant who went through medical school, did an internship, and is now a resident...all while reading and writing reviews of great and telling beauty.

I am such a slacker.

Monday, June 10, 2013

New and Notworthy this week

All this month! Shelf Inflicted, my group blogging home, features the Forbes 25 Most Influential Goodreaders. Take a look! We've got lots of good reviews, too...Tana French reviewed by James, The Dispossessed in all its ambiguous glory considered by Sesana...lots of quality food for thought. Join us for a course or two.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

New Review Posted on 5 June 2013

I've got a fondness for books that speak to me, directly to me, so I'm quite fond of WEST OF BABYLON, reviewed in my Kindle Originals category because the author send me a PDF (ugh) of the book. It's a four-star read. I think most of us over 40 can find common ground with the boys in the band!

Monday, June 3, 2013

My Wicked, Wicked Ways

I blog, as y'all know, in a group blog called Shelf Inflicted. It was started in a furious reaction to Amazon anaconda-ing up Goodreads. (The fallout from that is still to come. I still don't think it will be at all good for honesty and transparency in reviews. Another discussion for another day, that.) In the run-up to the sale, Forbes magazine ran a piece on Goodreads, touting its market position as largest and most trusted independent market for reviews. The article featured the 25 most influential, measured by "like" votes received, reviewers. I, he noted modestly, was #14 on their list.

Shelf Inflicted's founding spirits, in fact, are mostly from the Forbes 25, and Dan Schwent (Leader of the Shelf Inflicted Pack and #8 of the Forbes 25) decided to interview the whole lot of us for a day-by-day peep into the habits and ideas of the Cool Kids. All this month, the interviews...with a few missing persons...will appear at Today's interview is #23, Baba, who's a Swiss reader of English-language romantic fiction. You can imagine that ereaders play a large role in this.... #24 is Greg, a New York-based bookseller and reviewer, with the Industry Insider viewpoint on the Amazon merger. #25 MJ Nicholls, a Scottish youth, was first up.

All have a very interesting take on reviews, Goodreads, and reading. Go take a look!

My own review of a first-in-series mystery, LAKE ON THE MOUNTAIN (, appeared recently. It's a Canadian gay noir thriller published by Dundurn Press, the best unsung-by-Americans publisher around. Many very interesting titles in their catalog! This one will have a sequel later this year or early next.

And now you're caught up.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Forbes 25 Interviews continue! ALL THIS MONTH! Shelf Inflicted interviews the Forbes 25 Most Influential Goodreads Reviewers (I'm #14)! Today it's the turn of #24, Greg. He's a Buns and Nubile bookseller here in NYC.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

New at Shelf Inflicted! All month long we're featuring interviews with the Forbes 25 from Goodreads. This spring, Forbes magazine featured Goodreads' 25 most influential reviewers (I'm #14) in a piece about the huge added value of social media to book purchases. First up: MJ Nicholls at #25