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Sunday Salon: Drowning in Reviews

October 26, 2008

The Sunday Salon.comThis week has been a review-fest; mostly playing catch-up from the read-a-thon, and also reviewing the books I finished. I reviewed 3 volumes of Fables by Bill Willingham et al.: Vol. 3: Storybook Love, Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers, and Vol. 5: The Mean Seasons. I have Volumes 7 and 8 sitting on my nightstand, but I swear someone checked out Volume 6 in the ten seconds between me confirming it was available and actually hitting the “place a hold” button. Hrmph.

I also read and reviewed The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell and Paper Towns by John Green. More to the point, I also wrote what felt like eleventy-billion reviews for the books I read during the read-a-thon, so those are coming up this next week. On the one hand, getting that behind in reviews was a pain, since it felt like all I was doing this week was writing review after review for books from which my brain has already moved on. I much prefer reviewing as I go.

On the other hand, having a supply of posts ready to go means I can tackle one of the thousand-page books that have been sitting on my shelves for ages, without fear of blog silence.

So, I dove into A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon. It’s the sixth book in the Outlander series. While for the most part I really enjoy these books – I love the characters and love watching their interactions – the last book I read, The Fiery Cross, meandered around a lot (a thousand pages, a lot) without ever really finding a plot. Hopefully ABoSaA will be better. Thus far, I’m on page 200, and it’s unclear whether the stuff that’s happened has been indicative of a larger plot, or has just been stuff that’s happened, but I’m right at the beginning of a section entitled “Abducted”, so hopefully things will be getting on soon.

I also started The Absolute Sandman, Volume 1 by Neil Gaiman et. al. Sandman comes up a lot whenever people start talking about graphic novels, so I figured I’d give it a try. The problem is, this book’s a monster! Amazon’s got it listed as 12.8 x 8.7 x 1.9 inches, with a shipping weight of 7.4 pounds! It’s a workout just trying to keep this thing propped up so I can read! I’ve been trying to read at least one “issue” a night (it’s a compendium of issues 1-20), but I’ve been doing it right before bed, which is not so much of a good idea – it’s very dark and pretty gory, both in artwork and in content.

Coming up this week is the Blog Tour stop for Douglas Carlton Abrams’s The Lost Diary of Don Juan, plus reviews for Fablehaven by Brandon Mull, Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson, and Austenland by Shannon Hale, and potentially a new giveaway contest or two!

19 Comments leave one →
  1. October 26, 2008 9:56 am

    I think I’m the only person who’s not familiar with the Outlander series. I guess I need to check it out.

  2. October 26, 2008 10:01 am

    Kathy – The first one is about half romance, half historical fiction; the rest are mostly historical fiction with a dose of romance mixed in. If you like either of those genres at all, they’re a lot of fun.

  3. October 26, 2008 10:34 am

    I’m curious to hear what you think about ABoSaA. I haven’t read it yet, but I struggled through the Fiery Cross and don’t want to delve into something just to mush through that many pages!

  4. October 26, 2008 10:48 am

    Nicki, does it feel great to be all caught up?

    I hate being behind on reviews. It makes me really nervous :)

  5. October 26, 2008 11:31 am

    I read my first Sandman for the read-a-thon, Endless Nights. It’s the last one written but I’ve heard it’s an ok introduction. I’d like to try the proper Sandman but boy that does sound unwieldy. I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on it.

  6. October 26, 2008 11:43 am

    I wonder how I would fair during the read-a-thon with my review-after-I-read-but-before-I-move-onto-the-next-book practice. Probably not very well. ;-) I keep seeing Sarah vowell’s name pop up. She must have a new one out. I haven’t read anything by her before, but I might have to remedy that. I need to dive into my stack of graphic novels, now that you mention the ones you’ve been reading.

    I hope you have a great week!

  7. October 26, 2008 1:12 pm

    Good luck with Sandman! It’s one of my very favourite graphic novel series.

  8. October 26, 2008 1:23 pm

    I just need more time to read all the books that are piling up. The reviews are the easy part!

  9. October 26, 2008 1:50 pm

    I like reading comics, especially Fables, but they are so quick to read that it’s easy to fall behind on the reviews (at least for me). I like all of your Fables reviews though; they are concise but informative without giving too much away. I’m a couple of books behind you, so I always read your review before I start mine and then am not sure what else to day :)

  10. October 26, 2008 3:36 pm

    I’m still not done catching up with read-a-thon reviews. I wanted to do it this weekend, but that whole brain moving on thing you mentioned does make it harder. Once I feel I’m done with a book emotionally it’s much more difficult to bring myself to write about it.

    I hope you enjoy Sandman! It is, along with His Dark Materials and Discworld, one of my very favourite fantasy series. Well, make that one of my favourite series ever, period!

    I’m curious about the Diana Gabaldon books, but the fact that not only there are many of them but each one is HUGE makes me hesitate. They are set in Scotland, though, so I bet I’ll eventually cave :P

  11. October 26, 2008 6:21 pm

    I’ve only heard good things about the Sandman series, and I keep hearing about Gabaldon books, so I’m going to have check them all out– of course, after I complete my TBR list. ;)

  12. October 26, 2008 6:21 pm

    My book blog is at

  13. October 26, 2008 8:11 pm

    I’ve always heard great things about the Outlander series – I even own the first book, but have yet had a chance to read it!

  14. October 27, 2008 8:20 am

    Shana – It’s weird – I could, if I wanted, completely ignore my blog for the next week, and no one would be the wiser.

    tanabata – I’ve heard differing opinions on where to start with the Sandman series, but the local library had the giant compendium, so that’s what I’m doing.

    Literary Feline – Yes, The Wordy Shipmates was published fairly recently. I think most people know Sarah Vowell through NPR, and then secondarily through her books. If her style of humor is your cup of tea, she’s a lot of fun to read, but she’s not to everyone’s taste.

    Memory – I’m having a hard time getting a bead on how I feel about it, actually. It’s good, it’s just… different.

    Lenore – Well, yes, that too, of course. ;)

    Kim – For sure! I’ve tried to space them out, so that my blog didn’t become all-Fables-all-the-time, but they’re so darn quick (and good!)

    Nymeth – I did jot down notes for some of the books during the read-a-thon, which helped, but I’d stopped as it got later in the night… which is also when my brain wasn’t working so well to remember them. Ah well.

    unfinishedperson – They’re both well worth checking out, I think, although may be worth checking out from the library before investing too much in either series.

    Stephanie – Outlander is good for when you need something really absorbing. I read the first one while I spent the entire day in an airport, trying to get on an earlier flight, so it kept my attention for at least 11 hours straight. I was on my late flight, but I was still sad when we landed because I wanted to keep reading!

  15. October 27, 2008 7:24 pm

    Wow, you are just blazing through Fables.
    Sandman is an amazing read, no matter where you start. But starting at the beginning (where you are) really introduces you to Morpheus and his evolution as a character through the series.


  16. October 28, 2008 9:45 am

    chainleters – I will be honest, I knew next to nothing about Sandman going in – I just picked the one that said volume 1 and started reading. Not until yesterday did I realize that it’s made up of sub-stories, and that it wasn’t all one continuous story arc.

  17. October 28, 2008 7:38 pm

    I loved the first few Outlander books but by the time I got to Fiery Cross I figured I’d wait for her to finish the series.

    The Wordy Shipmates! That’s the book I meant to buy the other day. I almost went to see Sarah Vowell at a book signing but since it was at night on the other side of the Bay, I skipped it.

  18. October 29, 2008 9:06 am

    Carrie – Normally, I dislike starting series that aren’t finished yet, but for some reason I don’t mind taking a break between Outlander books. I guess they’re written enough like installments, without big cliffhangers at the ends of the books, that I’m okay with just reading one and then waiting a while.

  19. April 26, 2009 5:41 pm

    Hee hee… love the phrase “eleventy-billion reviews“. :P Reminds me of an “I Can Has Cheezeburger” picture I have saved on my computer about a cat playing scrabble… It says, “‘Kitteh’ iz so word…Wurth twelvity-five points”. ;P

    Love it! :P

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