Sunday, December 31, 2017

Thoughts on 2017...

Usually, I have a little more to say for this post, but I feel like I would be repeating a lot of the same things I said at the end of 2016. Instead, I decided to focus on one topic, and it’s a lesson I learned this year.

At the end of last year, I stated that I was happy with the overall look of the blog and comfortable with my posting schedule. However, as 2017 wore on comfortable became a synonym for static. Static ultimately translated into lack of motivation to continue blogging and reading. I was limiting myself based off of the original idea my co-blogger, Andrea, and I had when we first started the blog back in 2013. I had to stop and think about why that was. It’s been four—almost five years since we—Andrea and I—started blogging here. Adri has joined us. My reading taste has changed and so have the subjects I want to talk about. But, the blog hadn’t changed along with those things, and that’s where the trouble ultimately came from.

Fear of change is real. I’m not trying to be dramatic. It’s there, and I acknowledge the fact that I sometimes find myself stuck in that mindset. However, I also didn’t want to abandon the blog because I’ve spent a lot of time on it. And that’s ultimately what encouraged me to keep going.

The changes seem so simple now that I’m looking back at them a couple of months later. I could have done them a lot sooner. What I’m trying to say is this: don’t abandon something you’ve worked on, change it into something that better suites your vision, current hobby, reading preference—anything. Because if something isn’t making you happy, maybe stop long enough to evaluate why that is. Make the changes you think you need.

I learned that lesson in 2017.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Best of 2017: Books

Continuing with the “best of 2017” theme, Adri and I are back and ready to list our picks for the best books we read in 2017. 

Before we get to the list, I have a couple of technical things to mention. To keep this organized, I’ve broken the post down into two sections: Fiction and nonfiction. Also, these are just the books we read this year and are a combination of 2017 releases and backlist titles. Because Adri is joining me, I'm not setting a limit on the amount of books we can pick for our respective lists. And, these aren't all the books we read and loved. This is only a very small percentage of them...

Adri's picks...
  • Raven (TPB) By Marv Wolf man, Alison Borges, and Diogenes Neves
  • Mirror's Edge: Exordium (TPB) by Christofer Emgard and Mattias Haggstrom
  • The Gauntlet by  Karuna Riazi
  • The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis
Comments: Okay, this is a sad, sad list. After I wrote it, I ran to Breana and demanded to know what fiction I read (jokingly of course)! Well this is it... sadly. I actually wanted to read more comics this year, but I'll do that next year.

Breana’s picks…
  • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
  • The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden
  • The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco 
  • The Windfall by Diksha Basu
  • Starflight by Melissa Landers
  • City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett
  • A Crown of Wishes by Rochani Chokshi
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
  • Rivals in the City by Y.S. Lee
Comments: Overall, I had a relatively good reading year. Most of the fiction I read ended up being highly enjoyable reads with unique settings, stories, and characters. There were very few exceptions to that, mainly because I was pickier this year and only read books I thought I would enjoy.

Breana’s Picks…

  • Gone by Min Kym
  • Colored Pencil Portrait Painting by Alyona Nickelsen
  • Undeniable by Douglas Axe
  • The Cosmic Web by J. Richard Gott
  • Wondrous Beauty by Carol Berkin
  • Don't Live for Your Obituary by John Scalzi
  • Discover Magazine
Comments: I didn’t end up reading as much nonfiction as I originally thought I would. Part of the problem was finding ones I was actually interested in. That being said, the books I did read were surprising in all the best ways possible.

Adri's Picks...
  • Leading Lady by Stephen Galloway
  • Color Index by Jim Krause
  • Rarely Seen by Susan Tylet Hitchcock with a foward by Stephan Alvarez
  • Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume Design By Deborah Nadoolman Landis with a foward by Anjelica Huston
  • The art of Fashion Draping Second Edition by Connecticut Amaden-Crawford
  • The Fabulous Fibonacci Numbers by Alfred S. Posamentier and Ingmar Lehmann
  • Manga Art by Mark Crilley
Comments: In contrast to Breana, I read so much nonfiction, this list only scratches what I read. This year, I mainly stuck to fashion, designer's biography, art, and other biographies. I beleive I'll continue to read books like these into 2018, because I have a long list (that I manage to lose) of books I want to read from the library.
 What are some of the best books you read this year?

Best of 2017: Music

I typically associate December with Christmas-y stuff, but it’s also that time of year where I get to talk about some of the best books I’ve read. The only difference is that this year I’ve decided to dedicate an entire post to the music I've been listening to in 2017. This list includes albums that came out in previous years as well as 2017 releases. Adri is also joining me today with her own additions to the list....
Breana's picks...
  • Lady Wood by Tove Lo
  • Blue Lips (Lady Wood Phase ll) by Tove Lo 
  • Hopeless Fountain Kingdom by Halsey
  • The Dreaming Room by Laura Mvula
  • The Altar by Banks
  • Sweet Sexy Savage by Kehlani
  • The Fate of the Furious The Album by Various Artists
  • Another Eternity by Purity Ring
  • For All We Know by Nao
Comments: In 2017, Music Monday encouraged me to keep up with new music by my favorite artists while also seeking out bands/singers/etc who were entirely new to me...

Adri's picks...
  • The Chief by Jidenna
  • Art Angels by Grimes
  • Dark Matter by Les Friction
  • Warmer in the Winter by Lindsey Sterling
  • Gemini by Macklemore
  • Awake Alert Alive Almost by Spiritual Machines
  • Le Roi Est Mort, Vive Le Roi! and The Fall of A Rebel Angel by Enigma
  • Carcal by Disclosure
  • Break From This World by Globus
Comments: Although I havn't got the chance to buy every album on this list, starting with Awake Alive Almost, I feel like I've listened to more new music this year than the last. I can only hope that next year will bring more.
So, what music have you been listening to in 2017?

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

ARC Review: Don't Live For Your Obituary by John Scalzi

36471758Title: Don't Live For Your Obituary: Advice, Commentary and Personal Observations on Writing, 2008-2017
Author: John Scalzi
Series: n/a
Source/Format: Subterranean Press via Netgalley; eARC
More Details: Nonfiction; Writing
Publisher/Publication Date: Subterranean Press; December 31, 2017

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     

Synopsis from Goodreads...

Between 2008 and 2017, author John Scalzi wrote fifteen books, became a New York Times bestselling author, and won numerous awards, including the Hugo, the Locus and the Governor’s Award for the Arts in Ohio. He also had book deals crater, lost more awards than he won, worried about his mortgage and health insurance, flubbed a few deadlines, tried to be a decent parent and husband, and got into some arguments on the Internet, because, after all, that’s what the Internet is for. Scalzi wrote about it all—the highs and lows in the life of a working writer—and gave his readers, and other writers, a glimpse of the day-to-day business of navigating a writing life in today’s world. Sometimes these essays offered advice. Sometimes they commented on the practical business of publishing and selling books. Sometimes they focused on the writing issues, arguments and personalities of the day. And sometimes, Scalzi reflected on his own writing life and career, and what both meant in the larger scheme of things. Don’t Live for Your Obituary is a curated selection of that decade of advice, commentary and observations on the writing life, from one of the best-known science fiction authors working today. But more than that, it’s a portrait of an era—ten years of drama, controversy and change in writing, speculative fiction and the world in general—from someone who was there when it happened… and who had opinions about it all...
Considering that this book was written by John Scalzi, I’m honestly not surprised that I liked it. I’ve been following Scalzi since I read his book, Old Man’s War, in 2015. I was late to the series, but nevertheless, I enjoyed it. So, I was excited when I first learned that he would be releasing a book on writing, mostly comprised of posts that have appeared on his blog between 2008 and 2017.

I liked Don’t Live For Your Obituary partly because I don’t have to go back through all of Scalzi’s blog posts to find the ones included in the book, and he has a lot of insightful commentary on his experience as a published author and on publishing in general. This book covered a myriad of topics. There was one topic I particularly liked and that was the focus on the business side of publishing—including taxes, money, and day jobs—which is something I often look for in writing books but never usually get.

Don’t Live For Your Obituary is a good book to read if you’re thinking about getting involved in anything publishing related, or are just looking for something interesting to read. It doesn’t sugarcoat or feed into lofty expectations, and often focuses on the reality of publishing. So, if you’re a fan of Scalzi then I recommend this book. And, if you’ve read the vast majority of the blog posts on his blog, Whatever, then, I still recommend Don’t Live For Your Obituary.

Disclaimer: This copy of the book was provided  Subterranean Press via Netgalley for this review.

Monday, December 25, 2017

WIP December #6: Merry Christmas! & Something Festive?

WIP: Snowy scenery at sunrise, a.k.a. I’m still painting.

Comments: First things first: Merry Christmas!

Today is also the last post for WIP December. I’m a little sad that I’ve reached the end of this but also relieved, because now I can move on to another project for the blog. Plus, there’s a chance I will do this again next year. So, it’s all good.

Anyway, today’s WIP was inspired by sunsets and snow. It doesn’t snow in the part of California where I live—except on very rare, unusual occasions—which is the complete opposite from where I used to live in Virginia where winter felt like winter. Admittedly, the rest of WIP December wasn’t very Christmas-y, and I couldn’t end this without something appropriate for the time of year. So, here’s my something-festive.

Here's a better explanation for this painting: I’ve always loved the colors of a sunsets and sunrises and how the light can affect the landscape. In my opinion, one of the coolest effects is when the trees are turned all dark and shadowy, and the snow has a bluish quality to it. It puts an emphasis on the color of the sunset. I love it! And, I also wanted to paint it. So, I did. Enjoy!

What's the best gift you gave or received? Or, what are you working on today?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...