Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Armchair BEA Day 2 & 3

Posted by Simcha 4:57 PM, under | 9 comments

Today's Armchair BEA topic is offline networking:

 For Day 3, we want you to share your positive experiences of using your blog to get involved in your community. This can involve partnerships with the local literary scene, attending author events and signings, or getting together with bloggers in your area. We want to hear it all!

Unfortunately this isn't something that I have had much success with due to the fact that there aren't a lot of literary events in Israel for English speakers, at least not anywhere near me. I had made some effort to connect with the SFF community here but that kind of fizzled out when I realized that nearly all their events are in Tel Aviv and many are centered around Buffy, Harry Potter and Star Trek, which don't particularly interest me (well, I do love Harry Potter but I had moved on from that series several years ago).

So since I don't have anything to add to today's topic I'm going to go back to the one introduced yesterday's which I never got around to writing because I had fallen asleep.

Today’s suggested posting topic is “Best of 2012”: Share some of your favorite books so far this year, and/or the the books being promoted at BEA that you hope will end up among your favorites for the year!

I like this topic because I still have several books that I've read this past year and loved but never got around to reviewing. So this my chance to tell you a little bit about these books and hopefully convince you to read them as well.

I tried to think of one particular book that i would consider my favorite for the year, so far, but I really couldn't settle on any one book. I suspect that once I finish The Wise Man's Fear this will change. For now, though, here are a few books that I really enjoyed:


Ready Player One by Ernest Cline:

I really can't believe that I never got around to reviewing this book seeing as how I had enjoyed it so much that I couldn't resist talking about it to everyone that I came across.

Ready Player One is a dystopia that manages to be fun and dark at the same time. The book's protagonist, Wade Watts, spends the majority of the story within a virtual world where he is trying to find the golden egg that will win him a fortune. Wade has been playing this game for years and as the world around him becomes a less pleasant one to inhabit he, along with a majority of the world's population, takes to spending their time within the virtual world of OASIS. There Wade goes to school and hangs out with friends, when he's not searching for the treasure using hints from 80's pop culture. But the game takes a dangerous turn when Wade finds a clue that some people would kill to have and his search for the golden egg becomes a fight for his life.

If you lived through the 80's you are sure to enjoy the frequent references to movies, TV shows and video games that are made throughout this book. They also serve to make the setting somewhat familiar to readers despite that fact that it takes place in the future. I'm not sure, though, how much younger readers will enjoy this story if they don't understand, or care about, the 80's references. But given the popularity of the book I'm assuming this isn't a major issue.


The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvate

I really didn't hold much hope for The Scorpio Races since the one other book by Stiefvate that I had tried, Shiver, was so ridicules that I only managed to read a few chapters of it. So it was a real surprise to me that I enjoyed The Scorpio Races as much as I did.

Both the characters and the story grabbed hold of me from the very beginning and didn't let go for several days after I turned the last page. The characters and the writing had a genuine quality that was missing for me in Shiver, and I was quickly caught up in the dangerous world of water horse racing, and the struggles of the story's protagonists.

In order to keep her brother from leaving the island,Puck Connolly announces that she will be entering the Scorpio Races, a dangerous race that leaves a majority of the participants wounded or dead. The fact that Puck has no water horse of her own nor has she ever ridden one before doesn't stop her from entering the race. Neither does the fact that a woman has never before ridden in the races and many people are not interested in having one enter now. The only way that Puck has a chance of succeeding is with the help of Sean Kendrick, a loner and an expert at handling water horses. Though Sean has his own troubles, including a rivalry that can bring everything that he has ever worked for to an end.

Highly recommended!


The Sevenfold Spell by Tia Nevitt

Tia Nevitt is a blogger-turned-author who has written a very entertaining and imaginative retelling of The Sleeping Beauty from a unique perspective.

When the king decrees that all spinning wheels must be destroyed Talia and her mother are suddenly left with no livlihood. The small sum of gold that they were payed-off with is quickly used up, along with Talia’s modest dowry. And with no dowry Talia’s marriage prospects are gone as well. Devastated at losing out on her one chance for marriage Talia searches for other ways to alleviate her loneliness, and help make ends, at which point the story takes a more "adult" turn (this is not a story for kids!. Although the situation is grim eventually things do look up for our heroine, despite her unattractive features and loss of maidenly modesty, and all ends happily and romantically, just as a good fairy tale should.

Even though The Sevenfold Spell is a novella the story felt complete and the characters fully developed. I don't think anything could have been added to it by making the story a full-length novel, which forces me to evaluate my feelings about novellas in general (which I rarely read).  This book was a delightful surprise and I look forward to reading more of Nevitt's work.


I want to read The Scorpio Races so much! I've heard amazing things of it. It's on my tbr list and all, but well... too many books, too little time (and money)
I'll read it eventually :)

Have a great BEA week!

I loved Maggie book and totally understand that there isn't much in the way of literacy or authors in your area.

I'm just starting Ready Player One... can't wait for it to "get going." :)

Are there other English speaking book lovers in your area? If so, you should start a book club!

I really don't do much outside of the blog either, mainly cause I don't have the time to spare for it. I either have time to write the blog, or network outside, not both.

So far the one book I've read in 2012 that has knocked out impressed me is Quiet by Susan Cain; I've been talking up a storm about it to almost everybody I have a sustained conversation with. I'm probably annoying everyone who comes near me.

I really want to try the last one now :D Sounds good and I wonder how she gets her hea

Suey: There are a few English speaking readers where I live, and even more in Jerusalem, which isn't too far away, but my efforts to start a book club were unsuccessful. And I hope you enjoy RPO as much as I did.

Ryan: I hear you. I think that most of the people that do heavy networking probably don't have young kids at home, or a full-time job, while you have both.

Stephanie: That always happens to me when I read a good non-fiction book. My friends all start avoiding me because they are tired of hearing all the interesting facts I'm eager to share.

Blodeuedd: You should, I think you would like it. And since I can't even remember the rest of the story I think I'm going to give it a reread, as well.

Cayce: It's a great book but it's not going anywhere. It'll be around when you get the chance to read it ;)

Julie: Well there might be a lot going on within the Hebrew speaking literary communities but my Hebrew isn't good enough to be involved with them.

I read both The Sevenfold Spell & Ready Player One last year from NetGalley & loved them :) I bought Ready Player One since then (it was one of the best books I read last year) & I'm planning to read it again this year, I loved it so much. Now I'll have to get The Scorpio Races, too :)

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