The Habits of Bibliophiles: Observations

The distribution of these omnivorous mammals does not discriminate between gender, sex, culture, race and geographical location. They pop up anywhere and everywhere (though there are larger concentrations near places like bookstores). One way to identify a bibliophile is by the book bags they carry or if you are lucky enough to gain an invitation into their inner sanctum (devilishly difficult to achieve), by the books you will find cluttering up all available surfaces. Sometimes, they will have more than one e-reader because one is full of books they cannot bear to delete. Another way to identify a bibliophile is to check their browser history (if you do not care about being taken as a stalker and having charges pressed against you by the law enforcement). Most bibliophiles lurk around sites such as Goodreads, Amazon, Bookoutlet, library websites. See the frequency with which they access the sites; peek into their bookmarks. The internet will reveal all.

Eating Habits

Bibliophiles take food seriously–as long as it doesn’t interfere with their reading. Pastries are consumed in huge amounts as are other easy to make goods. Sometimes spouses and roommates find themselves in the unenviable position of being the designated cook for the entirety of the time they spend in close contact with the bibliophile. As for beverages, most bibliophiles drink tea by the gallon though many others prefer coffee. Then again, bibliophiles are not known to be too discriminating–as long as there is a beverage within easy reach, they will consume it.

Socializing Habits

Bibliophiles tend to stick together and rarely venture out into the “real world.” There are three reasons for this:

1. Most of their free time is occupied with the reading of books.
2. What socializing time there is left after the books have been read are spent discussing the books that were read. It is difficult to discuss a book with someone who hasn’t read it. (I have tried it.)
3. The art of Conversation with Non-Readers is very difficult to learn and most bibliophiles would much rather read another book.

Mating Habits

There are many bibliophiles who enjoy happy and fulfilling relationships with their partners who may or may not be bibliophiles. Sometimes, the partner may not start out as a bibliophile but after long-term exposure to the bibliophile, he/she/they has/have no choice but to commit to becoming a bibliophile.

For the rest of the the tribe, there are what the bibliophiles call “book boyfriends.” The “real world” keeps on insisting that book boyfriends are figments of imagination and do not have a 3D existence. They have yet to convince the bibliophiles of the veracity of their words.

Working Life

Bibliophiles work. They have jobs. The lucky ones work in the business of creating books and perpetuating the life-blood of bibliophiles: books. The unlucky ones work at work with the singular purpose of earning money to buy books first and food second. Sometimes there is even enough money left to pay rent. Money is also needed to go to signings and other events such as Book Expo America and any ALA event where there will be books.

A much more pleasurable job, though not one that pays, is blogging/vlogging about books. Bibliophiles show more passion in this job than any others they actually get paid for.

Reading

Bibliophiles read in many different ways. Some savour books for weeks and week, reading each word over and over again. Others tear through books in stormy ferocity, leaving librarians whirling from the swiftness with which they cycle through library books. Bookstore clerks are ready with masks and shields for the hordes that descend upon their stores when a new book is released. The police, firemen and ambulatory services are all on tenterhooks during these times, waiting for calls to announce book casualties. Other bibliophiles read at a steady pace, completing anywhere from ten to twenty books a month.

Weaknesses

Book sales.

Strengths

Book sales.

NaNoWri…I’m writing okay?

Here’s an update: I’m writing.

By which I mean that while I’m not writing a certain number of words every day (what target?), I am actually enjoying writing. This does not mean it has suddenly become easy because, jeez, far from it. Because this is my second time seriously writing a novel, I expected things to be easier. *snort*

And since I am also in the querying stage and doubting I’ll ever move out of it (hope, yes, hope), for a while there, I was wondering if writing was what I want to do. Forget the fact that it’s all I can do, (my skills are very limited), the rejections are difficult to cope with as it erodes the self-esteem I never had in high supply anyway. ANYWAY, I don’t want to be a Debby Downer (who is that? well, whoever she is, I don’t want to be her), I have discovered that the second book is more fun to write than the first one.

I have always liked puzzles; I like figuring solutions to things no matter how snarled and knotty things are. For a while with this second book, I was afraid I had bitten off more than I could chew. Then I realized that my pace was too quick. Since this is just the first draft, I figure I can take my time, write as much as I want, indulge myself. And once I told myself that, the world opened up. I probably will curse this attitude when I’m doing revisions but right now, I’m having fun figuring out how to worldbuild without information dumping. How to drive the plot forward in organic ways and how to avoid depending on obvious plot devices. But mostly, it is worldbuilding that I am most preoccupied with. I feel like the world I have created is so amazing (doesn’t everyone?) and the second book gives me a chance to explore it. So I’m seeing it just as the reader will and if the wonder I feel while creating it can be expressed through my words to the reader, it’ll be happiness.

 

The Reading Forecast

Last week was a slow plodding week where reading is concerned. It’s probably because I’m not liking the books I am reading or because they are heavier than my usual fare but whatever it is, I’m not feeling reading at the moment.Here’s what I did manage to read:

  1. The Gods of Amyrantha by Jennifer Fallon
    Decided to stop with the series here as I read some major spoilers (willingly) and let’s just say, I would have been angry had I gotten more invested in the characters.
  2. IraqiGirl: Diary of a Teenage Iraqi Girl
    This one was sobering. An eye opener and a heartbreaker.
  3. Uri Appa Chwegoya. Or in English, My Dad is Awesome. The Korean translation of My Dad by Anthony Brown
    This was very cute. Lots of humour. Plus, the Korean was easy enough to read. I figure I can work my way up to reading the more complex books.
  4. Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust
    Did not like this one at all. Ugh.
  5. Julia, Child by Kyo Maclear and Julie Morstad
    All sorts of adorable things happening here.

I’m currently reading:

  1. Tiger Moon by Antonia Michaelis
    Yeah, still reading it. I was going to finish this yesterday but every time I read a paragraph, I would start coughing and my momĀ  banished me. Should finish it this week.
  2. The Walled City by Ryan Graudin
    The story moves quickly enough. Split perspectives give me pause and marked lack of worldbuilding. Still, the writing is pretty.

What I Plan on Reading:

*shrug*

I have this super wicked cough which makes sleeping impossible so I can’t function properly or as humans do. Zombie impressions are me right now. NaNoWriMo is not happening for me anymore but it’s put me on track to writing Book Two which is good so I will continue writing it.

I’m reading like five pages of Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble so there’s that. It will take me months to finish it but at least I’m reading it. I’ll probably read some graphic novels. I have one out from the library that I need to get done. Some picturebooks I need to read and schedule reviews of. As I said before, I’m sick so not feeling reading at the moment. We’ll see. I’ll probably pick something up when I feel like it. I don’t know if I’ll finish Walled City this week either. Gah.

Presenting: Book Reviews, the Short Version

So I’ve read some books (*snort* understatement) and I figure I may as well do short reviews for them because why not?

18465601The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang, Sonny Liew and Chu Hing

This one is a retelling or reimagination of sorts of an old comic book series which had a short run due to lack of readers. Yang talks at length about how the identity of the original Shadow Hero is kept secret as in the original he is always resolutely turned away from the reader so his face is never visible giving rise to the suspicion that though his skin tone is that of a Caucasian, the comic book artist definitely wanted him to be Chinese. Speculation aside, this new retelling is solid both in its art and the story it tells. I liked it quite a bit.

578618The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery and translated by Katherine Woods

So I know this is a classic and most people really love this but for some reason, I had a vastly mediocre reaction to this. If I’m going to be completely honest, the little prince annoyed the heck out of me with this judging, patronizing ways. White privilege aside, there’s a skein of colonial discourse running through it where things (in this case nature and roses) are said to only have meaning when they are “tamed.” And yes, I’m probably simplifying the “message” but being told you can not mean something to yourself, you have to mean something to someone else to be good or have any kind of worth is well, rubbish. So meh to this.

18693704The Seat of Magic by J. Kathleen Cheney

I had been anticipating this sequel quite eagerly because the previous one had ended at such an intriguing place. The sequel lived up to my expectations mostly and gave readers a closer, more piercing look at the fantastical Portuguese people and culture in the book. The worldbuilding is solid and so is the writing. The characterizations are on point as well. If I had any complaints, it would be that the spotlight shines a bit too strongly on romance. When there is one couple in the book that is fine but when brothers and sisters of the main couple start finding love with each other, there is a danger that the book can seem campy or even cheesy and I think this book is too fine to go that route. We’ll see.

13594590The Nao of Brown by Glyn Dillon

This book is so fantastic. It follows a half-Japanese woman who is sometimes beset by these urges to do terrible things which erode her confidence as a person, as a good person. She never actually does anything but the scenarios that play out in her mind are terrible and she’s terrified that some day she’s going to slip and actually do some of the things she thinks about. Running concurrently is a story about this Nothing who was half turned into a tree and whose promise to bring back a wife is what will finally set him free from the monstrous form he has been given. The art is fantastic and the book is curiously philosophical but maintains a more positive outlook than one would think considering the premise.

16158565The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker

I really enjoyed this book on a very cerebral level. The title is not wrong–this book will mostly appeal to those who like slower paced books that take a long time getting to the point and enjoy exploring the details of worldbuilding and magic systems. This is a portal adventure and focuses on a grad student who goes through a graveyard into a world where she meets a beautiful woman, her incredibly handsome son and lands into a life of adventure and romance. Only all that is a sham as the beautiful woman is a fae and everything is Glamour. She is rescued by a gruff magician and finds out that she is not even in her own world now but in one where the status of women is somewhere nearer to the slop pile than to actual human being. The book does not shy away from portraying the realistic elements of a different world in a different time but rather than being overwhelmed by the nitty grittiness of it all, you learn to appreciate the subtler turns in the narrative. I enjoyed this quite a bit and cannot wait to read the sequel whenever it comes out.

Even More Bad Parenting Advice by Guy Delisle, Helge Dascher (Translation)

20613613

Paperback, 204 pages
Published August 26th 2014 by Drawn and Quarterly
Source: Publisher

I’ve read two of Guy Delisle’s works and have become a fan of his rather breezy style. His art is immensely engaging while his writing is fun, certainly sparse but with enough insight into people and life that makes the humour more pronounced than slapstick. While I’m not an actual parent, I do live with a niece who is currently a toddler to whom I act as a pseudo-parent occasionally and I could relate to some of the situations in the book.

The book is funny and it’s good, clean actually funny humour that transcends cultures and languages because all parents can relate to the woes of another. I think this also, perhaps unintentionally, reveals the greatest difficulty parents will ever face: the pressure to be perfect to your child, for your child. You are placed on a pedestal and you are supposed to do everything that ensures you remain on the pedestal even though you are only human and prone to mistakes.

I recommend this short little volume. Whether you have children or not, this will make you laugh.

bad-dad

The Reading Forecast

So I have come to the conclusion that writing is very bad for reading. Your head is so full of your own story that you do not have space for anyone else’s. This sucks because I have some potentially wonderful reads out from the library and no desire to read them. If I keep waffling, the due date will be upon me and I will have to return them unread. I hate doing that. So I’m going to do my best though it is very slow going.

Let’s take a look at what I read last week:

  1. The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place – Julie Berry
    While certain elements in this book did upset me, on the whole, I had fun reading it.
  2. The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
    I know this is a well-loved classic but I didn’t care for it at all.I mean, it was okay but I wouldn’t write panegyrics to it.
  3. The Seat of Magic by J. Kathleen Cheney
    The romance does take a lot of attention here but I did like the way the culture came to the forefront. The magical creatures is fascinating.

I am currently reading:

  1. Tiger Moon – Antonia Michaelis
    I’m enjoying this. It took a while to pick up for me but my dad is probably enjoying it more than I am. Ha. I should hopefully finish it by the end of the coming week. I read one chapter per night out loud to my dad.
  2. The Gods of Amyrantha by Jennifer Fallon
    This is the second one in the Tide Lord series. The book is incredibly easy to read and does not contain the dense description and worldbuilding I normally associate with epic fantasy. I’m only 48 pages with about 440 to go. Hopefully I can finish this by the end of the week.

What I Plan to Read:

I don’t think I’ll be doing much reading, honestly. Not if I want to write as well. I’m going to take a break from writing but then I’m afraid if I do, I won’t get back into it again. Still, the worst that can happen is having to return the books and I can always request them at a later date.

But my brain is hungry for some more cerebral read. Something like The End of Mr. Y. Something twisted and just intelligent. Maybe I’ll read nonfiction or more probably I’ll pick up the last Yoko Ogawa book on my tbr shelf, Hotel Iris. We’ll see.

NaNoWriMo Blogging: Day 9

When I started Nanowrimo, I knew that I wouldn’t finish an entire novel in the 30 days allotted me. I simply don’t write that way. I have bursts of productivity followed by intense bouts of introspection where I’ll take what’s happening in the plot and plug it in my head and let it play out in extreme detail. Work out the kinks, plan the next chapter and then think about that before I begin to write. The writing itself is maybe the easy part. It’s all the thinking, the mental gymnastics that come before the writing that is painful.

If I have structured my outline correctly, the novel should be somewhere around 100k words. It could be a little more because there’s a LOT of worldbuilding going on. Because the first novel is told in first person, I was very limited by what I could show about the world but since the second book is told in third person omniscient (still present tense which can be odd at times but presents a challenge that I am enjoying), the world has opened up and I can talk about it as much as I want.

I find that since I am not bound by deadlines right now (though one hopes I will be someday), I can take my time and enjoy the process of worldbuilding. It’s incredibly complex and I’m probably doing a lot of things wrong but it is fun. So sometimes instead of writing, I’ll be researching the types of food the fae in my world will eat and it’s fun!

Also, because I am writing in third person, I want to make sure that I distinguish people enough that they think and feel differently. I honestly don’t know how well I am doing but I’m having fun. I have a feeling the revision process will be way more complicated for this novel as compared to the first one but I’ll let the future Nafiza whine about it.

What I most want The Glory of the Dead to read like is a race. I want it to feel dynamic always and well, we’ll see how I achieve that. I may as well move mountains one stone at a time. Eh?

Happy writing!