Thursday, April 1, 2010

My day at the Con and reading updates

Posted by Simcha 4:54 PM, under | 1 comment

I just got back from the spring SFF convention, here in Israel, where I have been selling books for the past two days (from my online SFF bookstore). It was actually pretty boring. This was partially because the turnout was rather small so I didn't have a regular flow of customers to keep me occupied, but mostly the problem was that I didn't get into any really good book discussions, which is what I enjoy doing most.

At the last con, during the fall, I had a blast chatting with customers and passersby about books; exchanging heated opinions and friendly recommendations.
This time people generally wanted to browse quietly, without engaging in conversation, which takes all the fun out of book selling. So I mostly sat and watched groups of people sitting around tables and throwing dice around (this is called role paying...I think) and contemplating the baffling popularity at the con of sweatshirts with long rabbit ears hanging from the hood (where would you even wear such a thing? And why?)

I admit to not being in the best mood when I packed up at the end of the day, though my temperament improved slightly when I didn't get lost on my way out of Tel Aviv (which is a first). And I did enjoy getting to know some of the other vendors, most of whom were really nice (though there was one sour lady who wouldn't let me use her push-cart). One of the vendors even made for me a personalized pin with my store's logo on it. So, it wasn't all bad (yes, I made some friends!)

Unfortunately, I didn't get as much reading done as I had hoped to, since I was too distracted to concentrate. And I just realized that it's actually been ages since I've even managed to finish a book. So since I don't have any book reviews to write up, I thought I would talk instead about some of the different books that I am currently in the middle of reading.

Spellwright by Blake Charlton

I had really been enjoying this novel, with it's creative magic system and appealing protagonist, but towards the end it just lost me. I keep trying to finish the book but don't seem to be making any progress. But I'm determined to finish the book tomorrow and without getting distracted, no matter how slowly the story moves.

First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde

Although I love Fforde's Thursday Next books, I admit that they always go slowly for me in the beginning and it takes me a few chapters until I'm really hooked. And so, as usual, I keep picking this book up, reading little and putting it down, waiting until I get to the point where the story submerges me. One problem is, though, that the story takes place sixteen years after the events in the previous book, which puts me off a bit. Thursday's baby is now a surly teenager, plus she has two more daughters. I really don't enjoy when books jump ahead like that. Another problem for me is that the story is currently talking place in the bookworld, which I find rather tedious. I'm really hoping that things pick up soon and Thursday returns to her own world, where I prefer her to be.

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin

I'm embarrassed to admit that I've never read anything by Le Guin before and I recently decided that it was high time that I correct this omission. After reading a very favorable review of The Left Hand of Darkness, I thought this would be a good book to start with. I actually haven't gotten in too far yet, but once again it's slow going until the story hooks me. Someone mentioned to me today that the story starts off slow but the pace quickly picks up, so I'm not too concerned. I hope to concentrate more on this book next week.

The Witches of Eileanan by Kate Forsyth

I picked up this book at a second-hand bookshop recently, after being intrigued by the blurb on the back cover. Although I don't remember hearing anything about this book before, the author's name did sound familiar. I'm enjoying the book so far, though I'm at a point where the story has slowed to a crawl and so I haven't been rushing to get back to it. This is another book that I'll have to concentrate more on next week.

The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson

I've been wanting to read a Neal Stephenson book for a while but I find his books rather intimidating, much more scifi intense then what I'm ready for. But this book seemed like it might be easier reading and the description sounded interesting, so I thought I would give it a try. The beginning is a bit confusing Stephenson throws around all kinds of terms that the reader is not yet familiar with, but the opening scene immediately grabbed me and so I've just been ignoring whatever I don't understand. I'm only a third of the way in so far, and don't really have any idea of where the story is heading but I'm enjoying it and I look forward to finding some time to sit down and make some headway into this book.

I'm not sure why I'm having this trouble lately with finishing books, but I feel like I now really need a truly fantastic book, the kind that completely encompasses me from the very beginning and doesn't let me go until the end, and then has me thinking back to it for days afterwards. Anyone know of such a book?


Did you at least sell a lot of books?

And I thought I was bad, since I'm in the middle of reading 3 novels!

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