Tag Archive: recommendations

Audiobooks and Audible

A brief update about audiobooks and Audible.

I narrated a book a few months ago and it is finally out on Audible. So you can listen to me read a very geeky urban fantasy with wolves and where I say the word bitch a bunch.

Howling Dead by M. H. Bonham

Howing Dead

Howling Dead by M. H. Bonham

Which earrings look best with fur? Kira Walker is a geek and UNIX systems administrator who has a bad hair day at least once a month. But when a wolf attacks Kira and her BFF in downtown Denver around the full moon, she’s devastated. Now, like it or not, Kira is unemployed, and the head of Denver’s werewolf pack is getting a little too friendly for her tastes. And, oddly, she keeps finding herself naked in front of road workers. Caught in this new world, Kira discovers there are sinister forces at work. Rogue werewolves have declared war against humans, and when Kira’s other BFF is kidnapped, it gets Kira snarling mad. Can she solve the riddle of the Enchanted Forest before the rogue werewolves kill again? Fashion-challenged Kira will learn that werewolves have a strong bite.

Want to know more about using Audible? I came across a great Guide to Audible from Sajan Parikh.

And if you want to try Audible for yourself you can sign up for any of the three giveaways to get a chance to win a free audiobook. (Which you could use to listen to me narrate Howling Dead.)

Reading Roundup

A little bit nerdy a little bit awesome a reading roundup this week. Not a list of books, but of very interesting tidbits of reading. (Hey these roundups aren’t always tied up neatly together, sometimes they are just some cool things I read during the week or stumbled across!)

Reading

How NOT to read like a beta reader from Kate Heartfield

I absolutely run into this when I do a lot of reading for …not pleasure. It is such a hard rut to get out of. I do feel like I do a little better with audiobooks because I don’t see things like grammar errors or other things, usually the narrator will read them correctly even if they are written wrong, which is awesome. But it is also harder to dwell or go back. I very much appreciate these tips.

Census and History

So Canada is full of nerds.

Nerds who love statistics. (You heard about how they crashed the census site right?) This is full of really great information about why census data is important, what they collect, how it comes out. And it includes links to data you can play with. (The US has some similar kinds of tools, though a lot of it is in hands of other organizations.)

census form

This is a Cuyahoga County, Ohio US Census form

Teeny Tiny Terrors

It is a mental floss counting list

I do love folklore traditions and the tiny little minions of doom that come with many of them.

I think that R2-D2 and BB-8  sort of fall into this category too. A little mischievous.

Messy Roundup

My thoughts are a bit mess this week so it is leading to a bit of a messy roundup.

Have you read blahblahblah

I told you messy. I both love and despise all of the lists about what you should read and what you have to read and what you are a horrible person if you don’t read and what you aren’t a real writer if you don’t read and whatever. They always say more about the people compiling them than anything else.

SF Signal’s How Well-Read found a new shiny toy at Worlds Without End  which lets you compare and compile lists without end in the SFF realms. There of course was the one that NPR put together that was turned into a fancy flowchart and an even fancier interactive thing.

I love that they can introduce you to new books. I love that they give you a chance to see if you are being broad in your scope. I hate the often prescriptive nature of the lists.  It feels like it is always the same books over and over and over. And the over and over nature of it feels a little like if you don’t like this thing you’re not a real fan. There is also a bit of the whole idea of a true fan that I will explore at some other point in time, but for now. Bullshit. The bullshittiest of bullshit.

messy so messy

Free Will horse from Faisal Akram because when I searched for Free Will this was the best thing that I got…

I have no choice but to write this

Illusion of Free Will I feel a little surprised that this is a new idea apparently? Is this really a new idea? I assume there is something fundamentally different about this than other stuff I’ve read.

There is an idea in some communities (I am really sure there is a Mysterious Universe episode that talks about this but I’m having a hard time finding it so I may be wrong?) that the gap in time is basically where …consciousness lives. Or where the soul lives.

But that our brains sort of back engineer things is very common. Some biases work this way. You make decisions (people are so weird during the full moon!) and then you seek out evidence to support that and dismiss what doesn’t.

*This doesn’t give you the right to be an asshole. Not having free will doesn’t mean you should go out and shoot someone and say you couldn’t help it. You’re just an asshole. Stop being an asshole.

Mesmerizing

This is a round up of things that will make you stare for hours watching how the insides of things work. So engineering gifs basically.

 

Which Words

Writers and words go together because…duh? But which words?

Call me…a miniaturist?

Maybe? Mental Floss has a list of 14 old fashioned things to call writers.

Someone who writes short pieces of fiction. Yup! (Writrix is also good but mostly because it sounds like someone who stabs someone with old fashioned quills.)

Which Words? Swear Words

How many swear words could you come up with? 400 or more? Mostly we use 10.

No, swearing doesn’t mean you have a limited vocabulary.

Cut words, ruthlessly

Would you be willing to let an app edit you? I mean chances are extremely good you already have auto correct turned on, you use spell check. Why not have an app weed out words you don’t need.

Watch nature

I looked a bit for a site (or better yet an apple tv app) that compiles all the bird/bear/shark/etc cams from different DNRs, park services, and other resources. I couldn’t find one. If anyone knows of one please tell me!

Good cam news? Condors are raising a foster chick

Bad cam news? The PA eagle hatched an egg and the hatchling did not survive. The second egg is unlikely to be viable.

Podcast Recommendations

Yesterday I posted about how to listen to podcasts, today I’m going to share some of my podcast recommendations. This is only a slim selection of what I listen to, but they are some of my absolute favorites.

Podcast Recommendations

Literary

Far Fetched Fables – 1 hour or so fantasy stories, usually more than one per episode

600 Second Saga – 10-minute science fiction and fantasy delivered weekly (I promise!)

Writing

I Should be Writing – Interviews, thoughts, suggestions, support – this is a great podcast for writers who are looking to get encouragement (check out Ditch Diggers for a more harsh get in there and do some work view of it).

Writing Excuses – Billed as 15 minutes long they are usually closer to 20 but entirely worth it. I cannot recommend going back through the entire season 10 enough.

Science-ier (because that’s totally a word)

Quirks and Quarks – Canadians! – This is a great science news show. I really recommend this (and go for the complete show) over some of the other public science news shows.

Astronomy Cast – Everything you want to know about Astronomy. The back catalogue is amazing too.

The Titanium Physicists Podcast – This is several brilliant currently working in the field physicists explaining things to people who do Not Science stuff. It is an amazing example of great science communication.

History

(I would still say I’m not a huge history fan, but I really love both of these podcasts because they are about stories, not here’s a bunch of dates, go memorize them without context.)

Stuff You Missed in History Class – Another podcast with a huge back catalogue. Whenever I need to know a quick and dirty about some historical thing I go look to see if they have an episode on it.

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History – This is the podcast I listen to when I have a really long travel thing. Most of the episodes are in the 4+ hour range. Generally only a couple episodes a year, but really chock full of information.

Other?

Like knitting? Gardening? Shadowrun? Warcraft? Owning your own business? Elearning development? Other thing?

Yes, there is a podcast for you. I really enjoy podcasts for when going for walks, commuting, and cleaning.

Save

Ravens and Wolves

Ravens and wolves work together to hunt? I would read the hell out of the modern fantasy take on that.

I listened to an episode of Mysterious Universe (14.24 – this link skips right to the relevant part, but if you are interested in penises, pain, Mayan altered perceptions, and stingrays, rewind a bit – but you’ve been warned). The guest was Matt Kaplan (he wrote Science of the Magical) who had a bunch of interesting things to say about some of the links between the usual MU topics of mythology and altered perceptions and such. The thing that made me flail was the ravens and wolves thing. (I was out for a walk so I just made a crazy face and pulled out my phone to add the book to my to read list and then looked around to see if anyone saw me make the crazy face.)

Kaplan said that ravens will chase after wolves (which humans can chase and find a potential kill). Ravens dive in and pick every bit that’s left. Sometimes in the height of winter, ravens spot a good kill and then get the wolves attention and bring them over to their prey.

There is also a video with more information on the A Matter of Fact and Fiction site.

I’m not exactly sure what this looks like as a modern fantasy story, but I feel like it would be awesome. There could be something very urban with a take on who or what exactly is prey. If this book (or short) already exists please point me to it.

Book Recommendations

Books and Holidays and Gifts and Stuff

It is winter gift season, post NaNo reading season, cold snuggle up with a warm bowl of soup and a wonderful sweater season, and year end wrap up season. I am far from the first person to say this of course, but I am prompted now to say my own thoughts and recommendations.

There are really good lists out there already full of great book/art/music/etc recommendations. Try Whatever’s annual lists of traditional books, non-traditional books, art, and charities. Try terribleminds recommend a book list.

My Book Recommendations

I Am Princess X

by Cherie Priest. This is fun, fast, engaging and beautiful. It is a great book for anyone who doesn’t like to read. Lots of really beautiful comics interwoven with the book. It is a mystery that reaches the heart of its main character, a 16 year old girl who is lonely and friendless. She’s an active hero, reaching into the world and grasping and unweaving the mystery of her best friend’s death. Get this for the teenager or adult in your life who is like pff books. Tell them it’s a comic (it is!) and read it with them.

Written in Red

by Anne Bishop. I actually recommend all of them. This is an urban fantasy that creates an incredibly rich and complex world. This is the world that when I think about books I’ve read recently always comes to mind. Always led by Meg who is a great protagonist. She tries so damn hard. She fails so damn often. And she still gets up and tries again. The world though is really what sets this book apart. It isn’t at all our world but with magic. It is stripping the Earth back to the beginning  of life and starting magic, then building up from there. Political balance (which has a disturbingly familiar feel), technology, populations, everything is impacted, and well thought out. I highly recommend this series.

Cinder

by Marissa Meyer. Again, I recommend the entire series. This YA Sci-Fi series leans heavily on but still manages to really transport and reimagine them. I’m a secret, not so secret, huge Cinderella fan (hell I even watch when Disney makes a new version every 3 or 4 years) and this is a really good retelling. It holds all the good bits and tosses plenty of the not so important ones. There are also some really fantastic but subtle nods to the fairy tales throughout the books. The final book in the series just came out in November so I’m hoping to get my hands on it soon.

Shards of Honour

by Lois McMaster Bujold. Anything. The odd thing about this series was I started way, WAY out of place. Liked the writing, liked the characters, decided to pick something else up. Looked at the first book, saw it was written when I was very little, grimaced. I’ve found that lots of books that were written quite a long time ago are just books that aren’t for me. But I decided to try. Nothing about this book feels absurdly out of date. It doesn’t feel heavy with language that is laughable, it doesn’t make me constantly roll my eyes out of my skull with frustration. It feels current and engaging. It has characters that really matter, these books float through my brain on the incredible strength of the characters.

These are some I’d recommend. I’m burning through books at a good clip right now as a break for my brain from writing. I’m also just cracking into the novels I agreed to be a beta reader for as well which is exciting.

Go forth and find new books to add to your To Read lists! Have soup! Ski if you have snow! Wear a lovely, soft sweater!

I also really like All Thing Urban Fantasy when I’m looking for a new series, good reviews, thoughtful and considered. Easy to figure out when it isn’t for the reviewer but might be for me, or vice versa.