News, Links, Neat Stuff, and Funny Stuff

Hey! It's time for some links, because the internet never ceases to be interesting and entertaining (thank heavens!).

First: housekeeping! I'm going on vacation next week with my family, and while the mayhem and hilarity will continue at its usual buttery pace, I'm going to be posting deals 3 times next week instead of daily.

I'll be around so don't go breaking things! (I really, really love this site and our community so I can't stay away, for reals). I also may be on Twitter attempting to speak like a snowboarder while keeping a straight face. 

Gnar the freshy pow pow!

Nope. Still can't do it. 

Second, Awesome News! The Book Smugglers' Ana and Thea are the editors of the 2013 edition of Speculative Fiction: The Best Online Reviews, Essays and Commentary, and they've unveiled the cover and the contributors. This is “a collection that celebrates the best in online Science Fiction and Fantasy non-fiction.”

Word. Check out the cover of most excellentness: 

The Speculative Fiction 2013 cover - a giant robot with an at symbol - like in email - on his belly

 

Along with Ana and Thea, Jim C. Hines, NK Jemisin, and other smarty folks, Carrie Sessarego is among the contributors, too – woo hoo! (And I have it on good authority by virtue of the squee in my inbox that Carrie is very excited). The collection will be released in April 2014. Way to go, y'all! 

I'm over at Kirkus this week, talking about my current reading slump, which is getting me a bit down. I haven't been able to really get into any of the books I've tried (I hate that!) and have resorted to a multi-step slump-busting regimen.

Reading slumps are also—for me, anyway—self-fulfilling prophecies. I approach most books with the intention to enjoy them. I want to like what I'm reading, and I'm predisposed towards feeling positive about any book I pick up. So my feelings of discouragement diminish my high expectations and I become hesitant about picking up anything, worrying that if I haven't enjoyed the last 4 or 5 books, I won't enjoy the next one, either. And, since reading romance is my most-favoritest thing, I start to worry even more that the magic has worn off and I won't be able to enjoy it again.

Yes, clearly I overthink this—just a bit. I think my inner melodramatic 12-year-old-self is in charge of my reading worries sometimes. Sheesh. 

What do you do when you're in a slump? Any cookbooks or travel books you like to read? 

Via Jonathan Allen: learn literary terms using Taylor Swift lyrics. Given that I used to teach how to cite sources by handing college freshment tabloids and having them write articles wherein they had to cite the quoted material properly, I am ALL FOR THIS. 

My favorite part? “This article was written by teen reporters from The Mash, a weekly publication distributed to Chicagoland high schools.” Hell, yeah it was. 

1. Color Imagery

Definition: Imagery is a word or group of words in a literary work which appeal to one or more of the senses: sight, taste, touch, hearing, and smell, used to intensify the impact of the work. And so color imagery is — you guessed it — appealing to the senses using color.

Taylor’s use: “Losing him was blue, like I’d never known missing him was dark gray, all alone forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you never met but loving him was red,” from “Red.”

Also: you've never lived until you've graded 20+ papers all quoting Britney Spears.

What links online are making you happy today? 

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The Link-O-Lator

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  1. 1
    roserita says:

    When I’m in a reading slump, I find that the trick is to just keep reading…cereal boxes, recipes, magazines, newspapers.  Usually I’ll find something there to either tide me over until one of my fav authors publishes something again, or I’ll read something that interests me enough to send me to the library/bookstore.  For example, I read a book called The four queens, about the four daughters of the Count of Provence, ca12th c., who all became queens.  That sent me back to the Roselynde Chronicles, which I hadn’t re-read in years, and that sent me out to look for more historical fiction.  Just keep reading!
      (Since it’s almost March, we should all be positioning ourselves, reading-wise, for a deep run in the Tournament—there is going to be a Tournament this year, right?)

  2. 2
    Vicki says:

    Reading slumps, for me, can be associated with stress, over-work, or depression (couldn’t read for almost half a year after we lost a child) so I try to treat myself well for a bit. I also start googling people that I run across online or that friends mention. I wander through wiki biographies and,eventually, someone sounds interesting. Then I look to see if they’ve written something or if something has been written about them. Fact based or fiction or poetry. I check it out and have picked up some interesting books that way.

  3. 3
    azteclady says:

    I tend to re-read old favorites when I’m in a slump. I know I’ll love them, so there’s less anxiety on that front.

  4. 4
    Lindsay says:

    I re-read old favourites when I’m in a slump too! I find they usually break me out of it pretty quickly, right now Nalini Singh and Julia Quinn are two of my favourite slump-busters.

    I also like to look at why I might be in a slump and if it’s oversaturation of a specific genre/trope/etc. I love historical romances, but earlier this month I picked my next one up from my list and just couldn’t start it. Overdosed on historicals! The answer for that kind of slump is to read wildly off-genre for a while, really hardcore sci-fi/spec fic (China Meiville is great for this), whatever business/economic/polisci book is trending, biographies, and I spent two hours of reading time this week reading a year’s worth of webcomics. Totally busted my slump and I dove back into my list with no problems.

    Reading on a schedule must be difficult, even if they’re books you usually enjoy!

  5. 5
    Sarina Bowen says:

    When I’m in a slump, I read something that’s totally outside my usual choices.

    It works, say, 1/2 the time.

    Anywho, have fun snowboarding! A couple of weeks ago I was walking around at the base of a ski hill, and a guy coasted right past me on his snowboard with a case of Mountain Dew tucked against his hip. And I wanted to shout: “cliche much?” But I didn’t because that would be rude. And I’m chicken.

    Toodles!

  6. 6
    KellyM says:

    I’m also in a reading slump lately, and my inner 12 year old is getting super melodramatic about it.  I’m glad I’m not alone in that. 

    I almost never re-read books, so I can’t really fall back on old favorites to break a slump.  To try to break this slump, I’m trying to move away from what I *think* I want to read (angsty historical, preferably with a Beauty & The Beast theme), and run towards something that’s well-reviewed but for which I’m not exactly in the mood.  Right now, I’m trying Jill Shalvis’ Instant Attraction – who wants to read about winter right now, right?  But it seems to be working so far.  The slump *might* be over, fingers crossed. 

    Have fun on vacation!  :-)

  7. 7
    SB Sarah says:

    @Sarina:

    I don’t actually know what to say about a snowboarder with a case of Mountain Dew under his arm. Dear heavens, that’s… that’s a powerful cliche vortex right there.

    @roserita:

    There will absolutely be a DABWAHA tournament this year, never fear!

  8. 8
    Cordy says:

    My mini-slump is about me having read too many historical romances. But then I have the same problem I always have, which is that I don’t really like contemporary romances that much. Or at least, for my apparently weird tastes, the awful:good ratio is much less rewarding for me than it is in historicals.

    I think my fundamental problem is that I want to read engrossing contemporary romances about compelling characters who have lots of chemistry with each other. I want to like them and wish them well. I want the plot to make sense. And I don’t want them to have sex right away, because really, I think I am into romance novels for the sexual tension, but there are not that many good, non-preposterous reasons for modern people who are very interested in each other not to have sex, so then you wind up with things like “She wants him… but they’re commercial airline pilots who are never in the same town!”

    (Actually, I would probably read that. What am I doing?)

  9. 9
    Karin says:

    I’m with Cordy, I don’t like all that many contemporaries, so when I get burnt out on historicals it’s a sad thing. But Michelle Diener’s book, “In A Treacherous Court” which takes place in the Tudor era just broke me out of a Regency slump, I love, love, loved it. So usually going to a totally different era, or reading a historical mystery or paranormal does it. Or an old school Regency that stays out of the bedroom. If that fails, I sometimes read a couple of those Harlequin Presents billionaire books, as a palate cleanser. And maybe work on my pile of New Yorker back issues.

  10. 10
    Algae says:

    I find I do best to break away from reading for a while and work on a craft project. I actually could use a reading slump – I have a needlepoint that I really need to complete.

  11. 11
    SB Sarah says:

    You have all the smart suggestions – thank you! I started reading a nonfiction parenting book and it was making my brain SO happy. “Give me instructions! I like instructions. Read more of that.”

    *PHEW*

  12. 12
    CarrieS says:

    What parenting book?  Share!

  13. 13
    Jody says:

    I got myself out of a winter reading slump by reading nonfiction and essays.  Loved Sarah Vowell’s two books—Assassination Vacation, and Unfamiliar Fishes—and a book called Imperfect Harmony about choral singing (can’t remember the author, but it inspired me to go out and join a choir).

  14. 14
    Laurie says:

    I almost always go into a reading slump after reading something that is so good that any book that follows in a similar genre seems completely lacking.  So I need to switch categories completely.  If it was a great romance book, I’ll turn to fantasy series and vice versa since those are my two favourite genres.  But when I really need to switch it up I’ll grab children’s books or fairy tales.  If that’s not working, I’ll reach for my trusty LaRousse Gastronomique, a veritable wealth of information.  It has recipes so it is kind of a cookbook, but it is so much more than that.  There is a lot of history thrown in here and even a recipe for cooking with rats because hey, there was that whole French Revolution thing and all.  How can you go wrong?  Anyway, hope you have a great vacation and maybe a change of locale will cure you of the dreaded slump!

  15. 15
    StarOpal says:

    Jody> I LOVED Assassination Vacation. Funnily enough it was a slump buster for me too. I recommended and lent it out so many times.

    I’ll have to check out Unfamiliar Fishes.

  16. 16
    depo says:

    Jody and StarOpal,

    That’s too crazy. I’m reading Assassination Vacation right now to bust a slump.

  17. 17
    Jody says:

    StarOpal,
    I think you’ll enjoy Unfamiliar Fishes, especially if you’re at all interested in/fascinated by Hawaii.  It has the signature Vowell-ness.

    We were on vacation on the Big Island when I read it (three times in two weeks) and I made my husband crazy by reading snippets aloud, as I’m afraid I’m wont to do. I almost, ALMOST, persuaded him to get up early on a Sunday to attend a church service at the Thurstons’ church.  We’re neither of us churchgoers, so there you go.

  18. 18

    When I’m in a reading slump, I tend to put books aside for a little while and focus on something else.  Right now it is re-watching Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, so cheesy but so fun.

    I know exactly why I’m in this slump: I’ve OD’ed on contemporaries, which I’ve been reading almost non-stop since Thanksgiving (with the exception of The Sum of All Kisses, which I read over New Years.  Once I am in the mood to read again, I think I’m going to start one of Julia Quinn’s backlist.  I’ve only read her Smythe-Smith books and I picked up one of her others just after Christmas.

  19. 19
    Laine says:

    If I’m in a slump I’ll concentrate on audiobooks for a while – and do knitting or embroidery at the same time. It usually helps if I choose something with humour like Georgette Heyer’s The Unknown Ajax, The Reluctant Widow or Faro’s Daughter.

  20. 20

    I also combat reading slumps with reading far a field—usually browsing the shelves or looking for something on my TBR list that looked interesting but wasn’t in my usual reading taste.

    As for good cookbooks out there now—Whole Grain Mornings. Muffins, granola, and a love story, all in a cookbook. I’ve not made anything from the book yet, so I can’t comment on the recipes, but the book itself is lovely.

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