Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Trying Random Books

In my previous post, I mentioned that I picked up a library card to my local library. I'm excited to be heading to a library again because some of my reading felt stale. I know that sounds weird, but it mainly came down to a collection of stuff that I had picked up over the years for my Amazon Kindle. A lot of it was stuff that was either offered for free at one point in time or given to me for free.

I know this may upset some of you, but the books on Amazon that are offered for free aren't always the best quality. The stories aren't bad, and I've enjoyed many of them, but there is a big difference between books that are self-published digitally on Amazon and those that have to go through a more traditional publisher. This made some of my reading seem repetitive because there are a lot of books that follow the same type of plots.

With going to a library again, I can read some of the books I would normally pass on because I didn't have the cash to buy them. It also gives me a chance to try a random book from time to time and see if I can pick up a new author to enjoy. One of the methods I decided to employ recently involves the Goodreads recommendations. I tried it today for my first trip to the library after a couple of years. I knew there were two books I wanted to read, and I wanted to pick up random third book. I went to the recommendations page on Goodreads and narrowed it down by a genre that might be fun to read. I then went and started searching to see what book ended up at my library. As soon as I found one that was at my local library, I chose to pick that one up.

What book won the random book game this time around? The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum. I thought reading a paranormal book would be fun. This one will be a bit of a gamble because it looks like it is a paranormal romance. If you have been following me for awhile, you will know that I'm not a fan of romance novels. There have been a few exceptions to this, and they have always been in the paranormal genre, so I'm willing to give it a chance.

In case you were wondering, it took me five books on the recommendations list until I found one that was actually at my local library. Not that bad for the first time around. I was a little worried that I may struggle to find something because Goodreads is part of Amazon now, so I can see them pushing the recommendations towards books that are primarily found on Amazon.

I'm going to enjoy one of the other books that I picked up before reading The Hourglass Door, but I will post what I thought of the book when I do finish reading it.

Going to the Library Again

I've lived in my current area for over a year and a half, and I've never gone to the local library. That changed today when I stopped by and got a new library card! I've been working on my to-read list over the last hour deciding what I wanted to work on reading next and what book series to pick up on where I left off.

I think I have a good list ready, and I'm excited to use a library again to help with my reading. As much fun as free books are on the Kindle store, there is some serious reading to be done on stuff that I haven't been able to afford to buy just yet.

If you don't see me post on here in awhile, it is probably because I have my nose in a book!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Starting off 2018 with a new book

My book reading in 2017 kind of fizzled out near the end for me. I always seem to go in phases where I read a whole lot and then nothing. The last three months of 2017 was more on the almost nothing phase with me not pickup up a book the entire month of December. I had no plans as 2018 started of jumping into any reading until a few weeks into the month until I saw a tweet about the latest Humble Bundle book bundle of Sci-Fi books. It had been awhile since I had picked up a book bundle on Humble Bundle, and so I decided to purchase it and read something unique from what I had been reading throughout 2017, and I'm glad I did. I just finished one of the books, and it was a really good read.

When I marked the book as read on Goodreads, I was surprised to see that I had read the book on the 1st of January and finished it today. I hadn't even realized I got the bundle on the 1st and started reading it right away, which made it kind of fun. I have now read my first book of 2018 and hopefully there will be more to come. In fact, I know there will be. I made a higher dollar amount donation to Humble Bundle to secure all the books. I ended up with 26 of them. Interestingly enough, I also set my reading goal this year at 26 books. Maybe it is a sign.

If you are wondering, the book I read is called Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler. The book follows two individuals. One an entity that swaps bodies and the other a woman who does not age and can change shape. The covers their meeting and relationship over the years and tells a fascinating story. The entity, known as Doro, seems obsessed with breeding those with special abilities together in hopes of creating more people with special abilities, which is why he was drawn to the woman, Anyanwu. He wants to see if her ability to not age and shapeshift can brought into the group he created.

I have never read a story quite like this one. Looking into it after finishing it, I discovered the book was originally published in 1980. That surprised me a bit based on some of the topics discussed in the book. I picked up the second book in the series, so it will be interesting to see where the story goes. I'm not sure if that will be the next book I read or not, but I do plan on reading book two before the end of the month.

I really need to try random books more often because it was very refreshing. I've read quite a bit of political thrillers over the last year that they all seemed to blend together into one repetitive tale. I love political thrillers, though, so I always find myself picking up another one when I finish one. Maybe I'll keep working through my Sci-Fi bundle over the next couple of months and see what other gems I can find.

Hopefully, 2018 will be a much better year for me with reading than last year. Crossing my fingers!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Trying to be less social, but in a good way

This past week, I made a decision to remove Facebook and Twitter from my phone. I'm not quitting the services, and I didn't remove the apps out of frustration. I did so because I'm trying to cut back on social media use. It's been an interesting week because of it.

I found myself paying more attention to things around me when I would head out for lunch during work or when I went to events. It was really nice actually. I talked to my wife more when we were together, and we discovered that we hadn't had any real conversations in a while over the usual sharing something with each other.

It's been nice really. I will now check Twitter or Facebook in the morning or evening to catch up on the days events and share something with those who follow me, but that has been it. I haven't been caught up in any Facebook drama or Twitter freak outs, and the world seems like a better place because of it even though I'm sure it isn't. The simple fact that I'm not seeing constant negativity has been a big improvement.

What I am going to be most curious about is how I look at the holidays this year while minimizing my social media use. I will definitely share anything worth noting.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Be a Real Fan, Buy the Book

I just read an article about e-book piracy, and the article actually saddened me a bit. I've been an avid reader for a few years now. I've even dabbled in blogging about books on and off, and I've enjoyed it for a bit before going back to casual reading. What made it sad for me was how much I have tried in the last four to five years to really support the authors I enjoy by buying their books. It hasn't been easy for me because I am on a tight budget, and I had to put off picking up the next copy of a book series I loved until I had the cash.

If you really love an author, support them by buying their book. That is how they will continue to make a living to bring you more of what you enjoy. Be a real fan!

Here is the article I read if you are interested:

Monday, October 2, 2017

Microsoft Ends Groove Music Pass

This was a surprising headline to read today: Microsoft Ends Groove Music Pass, Offers Transition to Spotify via

Not only that, but the story also includes that Microsoft will stop selling music in the Microsoft Store. That really surprised me considering Microsoft has really been pushing that there store has a lot to offer for Windows 10 users and Xbox users. I guess Microsoft has decided to try the Google thing of shutting stuff down.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Revisiting my to-read list

I use the website Goodreads to keep track of books I have read and keep a list of books I would like to read. I joined the site at the end of December in 2010 and added a bunch of books to read in 2011. After that, I found myself reading all sorts of random stuff that came out. Joined NetGalley to find books to write reviews about and promote, and then I hit a phase where reading wasn't fun anymore for me, so I stopped and focused on other things like playing video games and watching videos.

During the years, I never stopped adding to my to-read list even though I was reading other things and not really going back to the beginning of my list and reading the stuff I added six years ago. In the last couple of months, I decided to go back to the beginning of my list and start to read the stuff I originally added.

It's been an interesting experience because I can't always remember why I added a book to my to-read list from six years ago. I can tell that my influence was on thrillers at the time because it seems that almost all of the books I added back then were in the vein of Brad Thor, Daniel Silva, and Vince Flynn. As I have been reading these books, I remembered why I have thriller on my favorite genre's to read. These types of books just have a  way of grabbing my attention and not letting go. I managed to read three of them in the past week, and I am eagerly looking forward to the next one.

I also looked down the list to the books that I was adding back in 2012. At that time, it appears I had a fantasy kick because there is like three months of added books that are all in the genre of fantasy, so it will be interesting when I get to that part of my to-read list. I do enjoy fantasy, but not as much as I used to, so I will be intrigued to see my reactions to the books that I added back then. Who knows, maybe I will rekindle my love of fantasy once more.

Either way, it has been an interesting experience to revisit my to-read list and start knocking out some of the titles that have been on the list the longest. I think my focus will remain in that area for awhile now with the occasional new book from time to time. We shall see if this trend continues, or if I get bored and go back to reading random stuff.