Shelf Control #240: Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded by John Scalzi

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

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Title: Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded
Author: John Scalzi
Published: 2008
Length: 368 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

On September 13, 1998, John Scalzi sat down in front of his computer to write the first entry in his blog “Whatever” — and changed the history of the Internet as we know it today.

What, you’re not swallowing that one? Okay, fine: He started writing the “Whatever” and amused about 15 people that first day. If that many. But he kept at it, for ten years and running. Now 40,000 people drop by on a daily basis to see what he’s got to say.

About what? Well, about whatever: Politics, writing, family, war, popular culture and cats (especially with bacon on them). Sometimes he’s funny. Sometimes he’s serious (mostly he’s sarcastic). Sometimes people agree with him. Sometimes they send him hate mail, which he grades on originality and sends back. Along the way, Scalzi’s become a best-selling, award-winning author, a father, and a geek celebrity. But no matter what, there’s always another Whatever to amuse and/or enrage his readers.

Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded collects some of the best and most popular Whatever entries over the history of the blog, from some of the very first entries right up into 2008. It’s a decade of Whatever, presented in delightfully random form — just the way it should be. 

How and when I got it:

I’m not sure when exactly, but I bought a copy sometime in the past couple of years.

Why I want to read it:

I love John Scalzi’s novels — I think I’ve read them all! At some point after discovering how much I loved his writing style, I visited his blog, Whatever. And kept going back.

I’ve been following Whatever for several years now, but didn’t start until after the period covered in this book. I know I love his snark and intelligence and humor (and cat photos), so I’m pretty sure I’ll enjoy this book too, although I suspect I’ll want to read it in little bits and pieces over time.

368 pages of Whatever sounds like A LOT, after all.

What do you think? Would you read this book?

Please share your thoughts!


__________________________________

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments or link back from your own post, so I can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

The Monday Check-In ~ 10/26/2020

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

Life.

Work, walk, read, TV, sleep, repeat. What else is there to say? At least there are always books to break up the sameness!

What did I read during the last week?

Beloved by Toni Morrison: My book group’s book for October. Just as powerful and upsetting as I remembered, but a beautiful read. I’m glad to have had a reason for a re-read!

Valour and Vanity (The Glamourist Histories, #4) by Mary Robinette Kowal: I love this series so much! Only one more left. My review is here.

A Deadly Education (The Scholomance, #1) by Naomi Novik: Dark, dark, dark. My review is here.

And finally, a trio of quick reads:

My mini-review post is here.

Pop culture & TV:

I watched Hunters (Amazon Prime) this week, and feel deep into a hole of obsessing about it. As of when I’m writing this post, I have two episodes left to watch, but have a feeling I’ll be staying up late to finish! Al Pacino is practically unrecognizable most of the time, but just as excellent as you’d expect. Talented cast, and really disturbing story.

Puzzle of the week:

None. Once I start a puzzle, I can’t stop, so I resisted the urge and focused on books instead. Not a bad choice, to be honest.

Fresh Catch:

More book splurging. But how am I supposed to have restraint when there are 3-for-2 deals? Here are my new books from this past week:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

A Stitch in Time by Kelley Armstrong: A time-slip ghost story! I’m *this close* to finishing, and I’m loving it. Just too tired to commit to writing a review before my Monday post goes up… but it’ll be along shortly.

Now playing via audiobook:

Of Noble Family (The Glamourist Histories, #5) by Mary Robinette Kowal: The 5th and final book in the series! I’m going to be so sad when it’s over.

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club is re-reading Outlander! We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. This week: Chapter 20, “Deserted Glades”. Uh oh. If I remember correctly, bad things happen.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

Shelf Control #239: Central Station by Lavie Tidhar

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

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Title: Central Station
Author: Lavie Tidhar
Published: 2016
Length: 275 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

A worldwide diaspora has left a quarter of a million people at the foot of a space station. Cultures collide in real life and virtual reality. The city is literally a weed, its growth left unchecked. Life is cheap, and data is cheaper.

When Boris Chong returns to Tel Aviv from Mars, much has changed. Boris’s ex-lover is raising a strangely familiar child who can tap into the datastream of a mind with the touch of a finger. His cousin is infatuated with a robotnik—a damaged cyborg soldier who might as well be begging for parts. His father is terminally-ill with a multigenerational mind-plague. And a hunted data-vampire has followed Boris to where she is forbidden to return.

Rising above them is Central Station, the interplanetary hub between all things: the constantly shifting Tel Aviv; a powerful virtual arena, and the space colonies where humanity has gone to escape the ravages of poverty and war. Everything is connected by the Others, powerful alien entities who, through the Conversation—a shifting, flowing stream of consciousness—are just the beginning of irrevocable change.

At Central Station, humans and machines continue to adapt, thrive…and even evolve.

How and when I got it:

I bought myself a copy after reading another book by this author.

Why I want to read it:

One of the weirdest and most original books I read in 2019 was Lavie Tidhar’s Unholy Land, and it immediately made me want to read more by this author.

Unholy Land was my first encounter with Israeli science fiction. Central Station, published two years earlier, looks like another strange and fantastical trip to a futuristic world. The story includes space exploration and other dimensions, but is also set in that world’s version of Tel Aviv, and honestly, I can’t wait to see what it’s like.

The only reason that I haven’t read this yet is the perpetual problem of having way too many books to read and always finding something else that’s a higher priority. I really do want to get to Central Station!

What do you think? Would you read this book?

Please share your thoughts!


__________________________________

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments or link back from your own post, so I can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

The Monday Check-In ~ 10/19/2020

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

Life.

The sun came back out this week, and it’s been glorious. Doing my best to walk every day!

What did I read during the last week?

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow: Beautiful and powerful. My review is here.

Murder by Other Means by John Scalzi: A really enjoyable Audible Original. My review is here.

Over the Woodward Wall by A. Deborah Baker: This book is by Seanan McGuire, using a pen name that’s also the name of a character in her novel Middlegame — a character who wrote a book called Over the Woodward Wall, a bestselling children’s book that also secretly a guide to alchemy. Confused yet? I can’t believe I’m saying this about a Seanan McGuire book, but I didn’t particularly enjoy reading this. There are some clever bits, but mostly it feels like a journey to Wonderland, with lots of nonsensical elements and magical moments. It just never really came together for me, sad to say.

Pop culture & TV:

I finally got around to watching season 3 of The Crown, and ended up enjoying it much more than I thought I would. It was a little jarring adjusting to the cast changes for this season, but they’re all so talented that it ended up being a great watch. Educational too — I find myself Googling details during every episode to find out more about the people and events. Can’t wait for season 4 to drop next month!

And in my lighter moments when I just need a quick and easy piece of entertainment, I’ve been watching The Legend of Korra. I didn’t care much for it at first, but it’s growing on me!

Puzzle of the week:

For a city dweller, I sure seem to be drawn to country settings. Here’s this week’s puzzle. Cows! Quilts! What more could I want?

Fresh Catch:

I’ve been splurging. So excited for my new books! Now I need time to read them.

 

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Beloved by Toni Morrison: My book group’s book for October. I read this book when it was first released, and still have my old hardcover edition! It’s been a long time, and I’m enjoying experiencing the beautiful writing all over again.

Now playing via audiobook:

Valour and Vanity (The Glamourist Histories, #4) by Mary Robinette Kowal: Onward with the series! These books are so good.

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club is re-reading Outlander! We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. This week: Chapter 19, “The Waterhorse”.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

Shelf Control #238: Outside the Dog Museum by Jonathan Carroll

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

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Title: Outside the Dog Museum
Author: Jonathan Carroll
Published: 1991
Length: 267 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

Harry Radcliffe is a brilliant prize-winning architect—witty and remarkable. He’s also a self-serving opportunist, ready to take advantage of whatever situations, and women, come his way. But now, newly divorced and having had an inexplicable nervous breakdown, Harry is being wooed by the extremely wealthy Sultan of Saru to design a billion-dollar dog museum. In Saru, he finds himself in a world even madder and more unreal than the one he left behind, and as his obsession grows, the powers of magic weave around him, and the implications of his strange undertaking grow more ominous and astounding….

How and when I got it:

I found this at a library sale several years ago, and it’s been sitting in an unshelved stack of books ever since.

Why I want to read it:

Well, I’m not exactly sure that I want to read it, which is probably why it’s still sitting in its lonely stack waiting for some attention. I’ve read one book by this author, Bones of the Moon, which was incredibly weird (and also has one of my favorite covers of all time).

Once again, I was drawn to a Jonathan Carroll book because of the cover. (You have to look closely — but look! Doggos!)

I really can’t tell from the synopsis what this book will be like, how weird it’ll be (likely, very), or whether it will end up holding my attention. But, I do love the title and cover!

What do you think? Would you read this book?

Please share your thoughts!


__________________________________

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments or link back from your own post, so I can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

The Monday Check-In ~ 10/12/2020

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

Life.

Thinking about the election is kind of taking over all my brain cells, making it hard for me to read or concentrate on other things. Still, this was a favorite moment of the week:

I think every woman in the workworld can relate.

What did I read during the last week?

Equal Rites (Discworld, #3) by Terry Pratchett: Finally, a Discworld book that I really wholeheartedly enjoyed! My review is here.

I’m not quite sure why, but I ended up reading these three classic horror stories. My thoughts are here.

Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal: Finished the 3rd audiobook in the Glamourist Histories series, and will definitely be going on to #4 in the next week or so. My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

After reading the play, my book group decided to watch the 2002 movie version of The Importance of Being Earnest this week. Fun, funny, a little strangely put together, but what a cast!

And… I finished Schitt’s Creek! Yes, I may have shed a few tears. Love this show so much.

Now what do I watch?

Puzzle of the week:

None! I got caught up in reading and watching the news, and just didn’t get around to starting a new puzzle at all. My eyes will probably thank me.

Fresh Catch:

Two new books this week — so excited for both!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow: It took me about three tries to actually get past the first few chapters, but that’s because of my overall sense of distraction, not any fault of the book’s. Now that I’ve made some progress, I’m really enjoying this tale of sisters, witches, and women’s rights.

Now playing via audiobook:

Murder by Other Means by John Scalzi: This is a sequel to the excellent The Dispatcher, and it starts with a bang. Literally. I’ve only listened to about 10% so far, but it seems great.

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club is re-reading Outlander! We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. This week: Chapter 18, “Raiders in the Rocks”.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

Shelf Control #237: Dragon Bones by Lisa See

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

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Title: Dragon Bones
Author: Lisa See
Published: 2002
Length: 368 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

In a magnificent land where myth mixes treacherously with truth, one woman is in charge of telling them apart. Liu Hulan is the Inspector in China’s Ministry of Public Security whose tough style rousts wrongdoers and rubs her superiors the wrong way. Now her latest case finds her trapped between her country’s distant past and her own recent history.

The case starts at a rally for a controversial cult that ends suddenly in bloodshed, and leads to the apparent murder of an American archaeologist, which officials want to keep quiet. And haunting Hulan’s investigation is the possible theft of ancient dragon bones that might alter the history of civilization itself.

Getting to the bottom of ever-spiraling events, Hulan unearths more scandals, confronts more murderers, and revives tragic memories that shake her tormented marriage to its core. In the end, she solves a mystery as big, unruly, and complex as China itself. 

How and when I got it:

I picked up a paperback copy at a library sale, sometime within the last 3 – 4 years.

Why I want to read it:

I’ve read many of Lisa See’s more recent books, including two of my all-time favorites, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane and The Island of Sea Women. This book is a little different. Written earlier in the author’s career, Dragon Bones is one of three mysteries in the Red Princess series, although from what I understand, they can be read as stand-alones. (At least, I hope this is true, since I only have this one, and Goodreads says it’s #3.)

The plot itself sounds really appealing. I do love a good mystery that involves archaeology and a mix of ancient and recent history. Plus, I feel confident that any book by this author will be worth reading!

What do you think? Would you read this book?

Please share your thoughts!


__________________________________

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments or link back from your own post, so I can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

The Monday Check-In ~ 10/5/2020

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

Life.

Life imitates art…

Anyway… what’s new in your neck of the woods? It’s been a quiet week here. Work, read, watch TV, repeat. Exciting, right?

What did I read during the last week?

The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher: Super creepy horror, with a heaping helping of snark. My review is here.

Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade: Fun, geeky, body-positive romance. My review is here.

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde: My book group’s classic read — so delightful.

Well Played by Jen DeLuca: Super fun audiobook. My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

I’m all caught up on The Boys. Season finale next week!

And… I’m thrilled that season 6 of Schitt’s Creek dropped early! Starting it tonight.

Puzzle of the week:

This puzzle makes me yearn for the day when we can travel again…

Fresh Catch:

Can’t wait to start!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

It’s Discworld time again! Reading book #3.

Now playing via audiobook:

Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal: I’m going back to the Glamourist Histories series for book #3. It’s so much fun.

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club is re-reading Outlander! We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. This week: Chapter 17, “We Meet a Beggar”.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

Shelf Control #236: The Gown by Jennifer Robson

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

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Title: The Gown
Author: Jennifer Robson
Published: 2018
Length: 371 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

“Millions will welcome this joyous event as a flash of color on the long road we have to travel.”—Sir Winston Churchill on the news of Princess Elizabeth’s forthcoming wedding

London, 1947: Besieged by the harshest winter in living memory, burdened by onerous shortages and rationing, the people of postwar Britain are enduring lives of quiet desperation despite their nation’s recent victory. Among them are Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin, embroiderers at the famed Mayfair fashion house of Norman Hartnell. Together they forge an unlikely friendship, but their nascent hopes for a brighter future are tested when they are chosen for a once-in-a-lifetime honor: taking part in the creation of Princess Elizabeth’s wedding gown.

Toronto, 2016: More than half a century later, Heather Mackenzie seeks to unravel the mystery of a set of embroidered flowers, a legacy from her late grandmother. How did her beloved Nan, a woman who never spoke of her old life in Britain, come to possess the priceless embroideries that so closely resemble the motifs on the stunning gown worn by Queen Elizabeth II at her wedding almost seventy years before? And what was her Nan’s connection to the celebrated textile artist and holocaust survivor Miriam Dassin?

With The Gown, Jennifer Robson takes us inside the workrooms where one of the most famous wedding gowns in history was created. Balancing behind-the-scenes details with a sweeping portrait of a society left reeling by the calamitous costs of victory, she introduces readers to three unforgettable heroines, their points of view alternating and intersecting throughout its pages, whose lives are woven together by the pain of survival, the bonds of friendship, and the redemptive power of love.

How and when I got it:

I bought a copy in January 2019.

Why I want to read it:

I read so many stellar reviews when this book first came out. I don’t always love dual timeline historical fiction, but the synopsis for this book really intrigued me. After watching seasons 1 and 2 of The Crown, I’m very interested in learning more about Queen Elizabeth’s royal wedding. This novel’s focus on the people behind the scenes of the wedding preparations makes this sound like a really special read.

Plus, this is a good reminder for me to get caught up on The Crown season 3 before season 4 is released in November!

What do you think? Would you read this book?

Please share your thoughts!


__________________________________

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments or link back from your own post, so I can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

The Monday Check-In ~ 9/28/2020

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

Life.

I’m not actually observing, and I haven’t fasted in years, but still…

Hope all who observe are having a meaningful Yom Kippur and an easy fast.

What did I read during the last week?

Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell: This was a book group book, and I ended up loving it. My review is here.

Ties That Tether by Jane Igharo. Terrific debut fiction. My review is here.

Snow Falling by Jane Gloriana Villanueva: A very silly audiobook treat for Jane the Virgin fans. (I thought it was great!). My review is here.

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren: Christina Lauren books are always great fun, and this holiday-themed romance (with a touch of Groundhog Day too) is no exception. My review is here.

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke: This slim book is weird and wonderful. My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

I finished Avatar: The Last Airbender! You know what? It’s not just for kids — I really enjoyed it (and I’m glad my son convinced me to watch).

Who else watched Enola Holmes this week? Wasn’t it fun? I hope there’s a sequel in the works.

I also started watching The Boys, and despite the incredible amounts of gore, I’m liking it so far!

Puzzle of the week:

Two this week! First, a puzzle that my amazing daughter sent me for my birthday:

My 2nd puzzle is pretty much my dream cabin (minus the fish on the wall):

Fresh Catch:

New books this week — a trio of older books by Jenny Colgan:

Plus, I was thrilled to receive this advance copy from the publisher:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

What to read? I’m ready to start a new book — it’s between these two ARCs.

Flip a coin, maybe?

Coming soon:

Thursday will be October 1st, and that means it’s time for another Discworld book! I’m starting a new volume in the series on the 1st of each month. Coming up for October, book #3:

Now playing via audiobook:

Well Played by Jen DeLuca: I really enjoyed Well Met, and this sequel is off to a good start!

Ongoing reads:

Outlander Book Club is re-reading Outlander! We’re reading and discussing one chapter per week. This week: Chapter 16, “One Fine Day”.

It’s our 3rd and final week for our group read of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. So much fun!

So many books, so little time…

boy1