I am trying to beat a path through my unread books, which have gotten really out of hand. As in, I have no room for new books. I am setting myself a challenge: to periodically pick up unread books, especially ones on overcrowded shelves that I don’t even know why I own the book in the first place, and read one chapter. On the basis of that, it either goes back on the shelf or to Goodwill. (Or— likely frequent outcome— I finish reading the book on the spot.)

Obviously, these notes are not remotely full reviews, but are merely for entertainment purposes. Feel free to tell me if you think I’m about to discard something I’d enjoy if I persevered.

Voices After Midnight, by Richard Peck. Author was famous in the ‘80s, but I never got into him. Two kids from 1988 time-travel to 1888. I know this because of the back of the book, but the first chapter-and-a-half didn’t get to it. Extremely, extremely dated, packed full of references that were new and hip in 1988. Also, dullsville. Discard.

Sign of the Raven, by Julie Hearn. Another time travel children’s book, this one to the early seventeenth century, which also didn’t get to the time travel by the time I gave up. First chapter consists of a mom with cancer, lots of descriptions of a mysterious stench, and a protagonist I really didn’t like. Likely to be depressing and full of grossness. Discard.

Helen and Troy’s Epic Road Quest, by A. Lee Martinez. A minotaur girl in a Percy Jackson-esque world. The first page was funny enough to grab me, plus one rarely sees a female minotaur. Keep.

Anxiety and its Treatment, by Griest, Jefferson, and Marks. An intro to anxiety for people who’ve just been diagnosed with it, not a treatment manual, as I thought when I nabbed it from library discards. Too old and dated to be useful. Discard.

A Night Without Stars, by James Howe. This grabbed me enough to finish it, though I’m not sure I’d re-read. Italian-American, 11-year-old Maria has to have an operation for a hole in her heart. She’s scared and no one explains things to her clearly. At the hospital, she meets Donald, a boy her age with severe burns, whom the other hospitalized kids mock and ostracize. Donald and Maria bond over admitting their fear and being honest. Dated in many ways, which is too bad since it was obviously written in part for children who are facing surgery and probably wouldn’t be given to them now due to the datedness, but emotionally honest and sweet.
pauraque: bird flying (Default)

From: [personal profile] pauraque

My eyes skipped a line when I was reading the bit about Sign of the Raven, and I was thinking "there's nothing mysterious about a terrible stench in the early seventeenth century!" Then I doubled back and realized the stench was before the time travel, and I was deeply confused.

Now I kind of want to know what the stench was. Or do I?
kore: (Anatomy of Melancholy - 2)

From: [personal profile] kore

DON'T READ DAS PARFUM from the very first page Süskind's like, "How many absolutely disgusting smells can I cram in the reader's nose? This many?"
pauraque: bird flying (Default)

From: [personal profile] pauraque

Ha, wow. Personally I would think knowing what it would smell like when you got there would be a real deterrent to wanting to visit the past, but I guess the protagonist didn't feel that way.
yhlee: soulless (orb) (AtS soulless (credit: mango_icons on LJ))

From: [personal profile] yhlee

You're kinder than I am. These days a book usually only gets the first couple of pages, if that. If the author can't grab me by then, bye!
yhlee: soulless (orb) (AtS soulless (credit: mango_icons on LJ))

From: [personal profile] yhlee

Yeah, that's fair--I personally don't have an attention span anymore, so that informs my reading habits. :]
skygiants: Betty from Ugly Betty on her cell phone in front of a cab (betty on the go)

From: [personal profile] skygiants

For the record, I loved Voices After Midnight as a kid, and still on a reread -- here's my review from a few years back, but I am totally willing to accept the possibility that my enjoyment is 90% nostalgia and 10% vicarious smugness about watching non-New-Yorkers be confused by New York. (Though I also find the super-dated eighties references genuinely hilarious.) I genuinely learned things from it, though! I always remember Consuelo Vanderbilt's existence on account of it.
kore: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kore


BLOSSOM CULP FIC? //drops everything else, goes to read it
dhampyresa: (Default)

From: [personal profile] dhampyresa

Helen and Troy’s Epic Road Quest, by A. Lee Martinez sounds pretty cool.
slashmarks: (Default)

From: [personal profile] slashmarks

This sounds like it might be a good way to weed my shelves -- the amount of unread books I had was reasonable in high school, when I had hours a day where I could do nothing else and ripped through an average of three books a week, but since I got to college and was able to attach my laptop to me at all times, well, I am facing the fact that I may NEVER get to that many print books. Certainly not before I move cross country and have to discard as many as possible.
vass: A sepia-toned line-drawing of a man in naval uniform dancing a hornpipe, his crotch prominent (Default)

From: [personal profile] vass

That sounds like a really good idea.

And I remember A Night Without Stars. I loved that book. I think I still have it.
kore: (lumina book - Bram Stoker's Dracula)

From: [personal profile] kore

I read like ALL of Peck when I was growing up because he was one of the first big YA authors IIRC, and yeah, he's not....great. Are You in the House Alone was one of the first YA rape books with a sympathetic heroine, I think, and she gets family support. I loved Blossom Culp and that was pretty much it. ....actually looking at Wiki he wrote all the stuff I liked in the mid and late-seventies, which is a bit depressing, because he just kept charging along after that. Then his really late stuff is all folksy shit about rural America in the 'teens. :-/

....HEH, I thought the Howe book must date from the eighties too and all those YA Problem Novels, but no, it was from 96! I guess that genre is absolutely evergreen. (Fault in Our Stars, etc. etc.)

From: [personal profile] torrilin

Can't say anything about Richard Peck, since it doesn't appear I've read anything of his. Robert Peck, yes I have, and OH GOD NO.
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

From: [personal profile] kate_nepveu

I should do this with my ebook samples. Delete 'em or buy the book then and read.

From: [identity profile] asakiyume.livejournal.com

This is a great way to thin the ranks of your unread books, and it's entertaining to hear your thoughts. I honestly can't imagine voluntarily reading *any* of these, though I can see how the minotaur one would be fun.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com

If you look at the DW comments, someone really loved the 80s time travel book.

From: [identity profile] ejmam.livejournal.com

I haven't read that one, but I've read several other books by that author and they were engaging, humorous, and played with tropes in a good way.

From: [identity profile] icecreamempress.livejournal.com

I think A. Lee Martinez is far too underrated. And very good with women characters, especially for a male writer.

From: [identity profile] fiveandfour.livejournal.com

I need to do something like this, both with physical books and with my Kindle. Sometimes I can't even remember why I picked something up in the first place when I come back across it, yet I'm so afraid of missing out on something awesome that I let books clutter up my life for YEARS even when I'm relatively certain I won't read them. Then there are the ones I did read, only moderately enjoyed, won't read again, yet still own...

From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_profiterole_/

I tend to read books in the order I buy them (except when there's a new tome in a series I follow, in that case that goes top of the pile), so I don't have that kind of problem. :-)

From: [identity profile] wordsofastory.livejournal.com

I've been facing the same problem, of too many books and too little space, lately. At least ebooks are incorporeal!
sovay: (I Claudius)

From: [personal profile] sovay

Helen and Troy’s Epic Road Quest, by A. Lee Martinez.

I'd love if you actually reviewed this one.

From: [identity profile] laleia.livejournal.com

A. Lee Martinez! I'm glad you're keeping that one, because I really like the author, though I haven't read that book yet. Now I want to go hunt it down ...

From: [identity profile] carbonel.livejournal.com

I've been doing something similar for the past many years. I always have a bathroom book, and sometime in the early 2000s, I started working my way through all the paperbacks I own that I wasn't intimately familiar with. (I bought a lot of books at garage sales and such that got filed away without my ever reading them.) If I don't want to read the book after the first chapter or two, it goes in the "get rid of" pile. If I finish reading it but come to the conclusion I won't ever want to read it again, it also goes in the "get rid of" pile unless it has some value as a reference work, such as the Canterbury Tales (recently finished).

I'm currently slogging through C.J. Cherryh's Faded Sun trilogy, and after I finish the third one (I'm about a third of the way through the last book), all three are going on the "get rid of" pile. The only reason I'm continuing with it is that I know a lot of people who think well of it, and I do rather want to know how it ends up. I'm not impressed with either the world-building or the plotting -- the first 3/4 of the first book is essentially setup, with only the last 75 pages having anything approximating an action plot.

This process is so slow that I expect to die before I get to the end of the alphabet, but it's also brought me some delightful gems. The one that stands out most brightly in my mind is Lloyd Biggle's Monument. I have no idea where I acquired it, but I went into it without any expectations and enjoyed it greatly.

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