"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." (Francis Bacon)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Book Stuff

Wink is a cool site devoted to showing off books.

I've been scrapbooking the blank pages in my book journal and discovered that, after 40plus years, the spine is in bad shape despite my having tried to glue it a few weeks ago, and pages are coming out. So I got a new one, leather-bound this time, and I'll probably transfer all the entries into it.

New Book Journal and Old Glasses

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


TITLE: Moxyland
AUTHOR: Lauren Beukes

Having read and enjoyed this author's The Shining Girls, I decided to read her others and I'm glad I did.

Told through the viewpoints of four characters, this is a scary story about a near-future world. Set in South Africa, the story focuses on new tech and how it can be used to control people. Disrupters in phones that are controlled by the police. Experimental nanotech that can become part of a person and give them cravings for the products produced by the tech's sponsor. Tech that we've come to depend on can be turned against us in an instant. Kendra, an up-and-coming photographer/artist opts for the new nanotech, hoping it will enhance her artistic expression. Toby, a slacker/gamer, spends his time looking for his next high and the breaking news he can record and broadcast that will make him famous. Tendeka, part of the underclass, wants to end corporate oppression while helping street kids. And Lerato, a corporate programmer, has ambitions of her own.

Toby is the connection to the others: friend to Tendeka, friend and sometimes lover to Lerato, acquaintance of Kendra. As they weave into and out of each other's lives, through Beukes's sure prose, the feeling of tension slowly builds to a chilling climax, sparked by Tendeka's growing involvement in a protest movement, his actions increasing in risk and danger, and pushing at the controlling entities until they push back. This book is almost too close to current reality to be called science fiction. More accurately, it can be considered a cautionary tale, a warning of where society is heading.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Library Thing Update

I'm done with adding my fiction books to Library Thing. Hardest part was weeding a few titles. What made it hard was admitting I just wasn't going to get around to reading them. A few I lost interest in, but a couple, I had to weed due to tiny print and poor text to page contrast. I wish I had time to read all the books I want to read, but I wouldn't have time to do anything else and I still wouldn't get to every book.

Now on to all the rest!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Tools of the Trade

I've been adding books to my Library Thing library. When I joined the site, I added a quick hundred or so books, then most of my reference books, and since then, just the books I finish reading. But this week, I finally got started on entering all my books, and it's a daunting task as many don't have ISBNs or don't have scan-able ISBNs. If there's no cover in the database, I'm taking photos and adding them. Plus, I'm doing some quick weeding of out-of-date non-fiction and of reference books made superfluous by being too easily matched by the internet. In some ways, I feel like I'm back working.

If you're on Library Thing, you can find my library at: http://www.librarything.com/catalog/ShellyS

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Shining Girls

TITLE: The Shining Girls
AUTHOR: Lauren Beukes

I have a new must-read author! This is not her first book, and while I was aware of her earlier books, I hadn't gotten around to reading them, or even getting them. But the plot of this caught my attention: time traveling serial killer. That covers science fiction and mysteries, two of my favorite genres to read. As it turns out, the science fiction is more fantasy due to there being no explanation for the killer's ability to travel forward from the 1930s. All he needs do is be in the house he found, think of a time to visit, then step outside.

Through a series of events that seem pre-determined, petty criminal Harper Curtis comes into possession of a coat during the Great Depression and in a pocket of that coat is a key to a house, a house that seems to draw him to it once he puts on the coat. In a bedroom in the house, he finds artifacts pinned to a wall, with names beside them, names of girls written in his handwriting. Names he hasn't written yet. Names of the Shining Girls he knows he must kill.

In the early 1990s, Kirby Mazrachi is a journalism student hellbent on finding the man with a limp who nearly killed her four years earlier. She enlists the reluctant assistance of the reporter who had covered her case and together... I won't say more because this book is too clever, too mind-bending to spoil. The killings are violent and the writing is graphic in that regard, but the prose hums along, painting pictures that bring each of the Shining Girls to life before their encounter with Harper. Beukes makes you care about them and their pre-destined fate. And in Kirby, she has created a protagonist you can't help rooting for, a feisty, take-no-prisoners young woman determined to control her own fate.

The other joy of the book is how Beukes ties up the loose ends, playing with time paradoxes as Harper jumps back and forth through time during his killing spree. If you don't mind scenes of graphic violence, I can't recommend this book highly enough. And now I'm off to read her first book, Moxyland.