What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund

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What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund has been getting a lot of buzz around the blogosphere, mainly because hey! A book about reading! We like reading! I was actually super excited when this showed in my the fourth BookRiot Quarterly box.

The premise is a good one – what exactly is happening when we read? When a character or scene is described, how are we picturing it? The authors often given incomplete descriptions, so how are we creating these images in our heads? Are we just filling in the blanks? Are we imagining outlines rather than full-colored characters and objects? How is this mental process different from when we consume TV or comics? I definitely found myself sitting there in between chapters kind of mulling things over, thinking about what my mind is doing when I read, what I notice and imagine.

So why am I rating this kind of low? Because I would’ve enjoyed more science. In all fairness, that’s not really the author’s background. Peter Mendelsund is a book cover designer. But the nerd in me would’ve loved more solid data about the actual mental processes and biological happenings that occur when we read. A lot of this book is Mendelsund’s own musings on things that classical authors have already said about how words form mental images. It seemed like there was an abundance of speculation or curiosity without much actual scientific research or insight. Also, this book is VERY visual. The 400 pages or so fly by because there’s probably just as much imagery as there are words. Sometimes the images and graphics added value to what Mendelsund was saying – sometimes it seemed distracting and just kind of inserted for the hell of it.

No matter what, if you love reading then this is probably a book you’ll want to pick-up. It’s a beautiful ode to the act of reading and devouring language, and would make a fantastic gift for any book-lover. I’m happy to have it on my shelf.

Sarah Says: 3.5 stars

#Readathon – The End!

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Here we are! The end of the readathon. I’m sad it’s over :( Since my last update…

  • Started Honor’s Knight by Rachel Bach
  • Finished the second volume of Locke & Key
  • Took another nap…
  • Woke up again at 6 am
  • Read more, showered, started laundry, read some more

End of Event Meme:

Which hour was most daunting for you? Ummm… Whatever hour 3 AM was? Hour 19, I think?
Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? So the Locke & Key comics are AWESOME, and will totally keep you interested. And Horrorstor was a good quick read.
Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Not at all! It was a good time :)
What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? In particular, everything seemed to work really smoothly. I know the Goodreads Group was a new thing this year, but I never got around to checking it out. Oops.
How many books did you read? What were the names of the books you read?

  •  Finished three – Horrorstor, and the first two volumes of Locke & Key
  • Read three single issue comics (Nailbiter # 3, 4, & 5)
  • Got about halfway through volume 1 of Classic Deadpool
  • Read about a hundred pages in Honor’s Knight

Which book did you enjoy most? Hmmm… basically all the comics.
Which did you enjoy least? Horrostor, but I still enjoyed it. It was creepy, but probably not one of those books that will stick with me.
If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? N/A
How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I’ll definitely be a reader during the next readathon… anything other than that, we’ll have to wait and see! I’d love to be more involved if my schedule allows it.

 

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If only I could devour books like this… I’d get SO much more reading done…

 

 

I had a blast! And taking naps was probably smart. I’m watching my nephew today, I have laundry to do, and I still want to do more reading! I’m sad the readathon is over… I had so much fun prepping for it and now it’s already over! Ah well. Till next time.

~Sarah

#Readathon – 16 hours in!

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I can’t believe it’s midnight already! Only 8 more hours left!

  • I read more Classic Deadpool.
  • Was about to start Honor’s Knight earlier, but then the honeyman called and said he was on the way home, so I shredded the chicken in the crockpot for dinner.
  • When said honeyman got home, we chatted and then we ate and watched The Big Bang Theory and hung out for a bit.
  • I read the first volume of Locke & Key. HOLY CRAP you guys. SO GOOD.
  • Made cookies. Well, “made” in that I put the pre-formed cookie dough on a baking sheet and put it in the oven. Yummm.
  • Got partway through the second volume of Locke & Key, but had to break to take another hour-or-so long nap.
  • And here we are!

Also, I missed the mid-event meme earlier so I’m going to do it now:

Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now? Locke & Key, volume 2
2. How many books have you read so far? Finished two.
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? Hmmm… I don’t even know anymore. Maybe Annihilation, on my Kindle?
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? Well, the honeyman came home earlier so that required a bit of a break from readathon-ing.
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? HOW FAST IT’S GOING. Seriously you guys, there’s only 8 hours left and I haven’t even started most of the books that I wanted to start. Ahh!

Looking back on it, I was so warm and cozy while reading I was bound to get drowsy. Shawls are PERFECT for keeping warm while reading, but I guess they also tend to induce naps. Oh well.

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I love my shawls and ponchos. I am basically a 70-year old woman.

 

 

These next hours are going to be sketchy. I am going to do my damnedest to stay awake. I have a new energy drink, and tons of books to go. Knowing that I am going to be baby-sitting my nephew in 8 hours is not exactly encouraging though… so another nap may happen. We’ll see. I’m going to set alarms on my phone for every other 2 hours, just in case.

Who’s still with me? How are you holding up?

~Sarah

#Readathon – 8 hours in!

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Time for another update!

  • Went to the comic book store & picked up my copy of Classic Deadpool, Volume 1!
  • Came home and threw the chicken in the crockpot for the chicken tacos later. Mmmmmm. The honeyman is at his first drill today, and I know he’s going to be happy to come home to chicken tacos.
  • Snacked on jalepeno popps and fresh green peppers.
  • Started reading Classic Deadpool, which is fantastic so far, even if I don’t know who all of the other characters are here and there. I’m piecing them together as I go.
  • I was right, I love Deadpool. I knew I would.
  • Exhaustion from not-great sleep last night and happiness of reading, food, and Gabby cuddles finally overcame me and I took an hour or so nap. Ah well. I’ll take tiny naps here and there from now on to get through the ‘thon. But seriously, Gabby has been SO sweet and cuddle-y today, how could I resist???

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So, back to reading! I’m going to pause in Classic Deadpool soon to read other things from my pile. I’m really excited about Honor’s Knight, and I still have all those Locke & Key volumes from the library to dig in to!

How is everyone else holding up?

~Sarah

#Readathon – 4 hours in!

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My reading helper. She is too cute, I can’t even.

 

Checking in! How is everyone doing?

So let’s see… so far I’ve read Horrostor by Grady Hendrix – only a little more than 200 pages, but still – first book complete. Yes!

Because I didn’t sleep well last night, I’m already feeling drowsy – despite the help of coffee and Dr. Pepper Ten. Already dipped into my little cup of Nutter Butter cookies too. Sooooo I’m going to spend a bit online blog hopping and tweeting, and then I’m running to the comic book store real quick to get my copy of Deadpool that came in. And then… who knows!

How are you guys doing?

 

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Seriously Gabby, this is only making me want to sleep even more.

 

~Sarah

Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon – IT BEGINS

It’s here! It’s here! Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon is here! Also on a cool note – this is my 1000th post on my blog!

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I’ve been waiting for this readathon for aaaaages. I even took a couple days off of work this week to prepare – scheduled some posts for next week (since I know I won’t have time this weekend), bought all the good snacks, cleaned the apartment, did laundry. I AM SO READY.

Let’s do the obvious and look at the books I have ready!

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Yeah… there’s a crap ton here. I am actually going to attempt to stay up the full 24 hours (I don’t even know why, I’m sleepy just thinking about it), so I have a giant pile of goodness here.

ON THE KINDLE

  • Annihilation (Southern Reach trilogy #1) by Jeff VanderMeer – I’m about 25% through this already. It’s flying by.
  • Adulthood Rites (Xenogenesis trilogy #2) by Octavia Butler
  • assorted novellas that have been on here for ages

PHYSICAL BOOKS & COMICS

  • Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
  • Honor’s Knight (Paradox Trilogy #2) by Rachel Bach
  • This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki & Mariko Tamaki
  • Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix
  • The Flash, Vol 1 (Move Forward) by Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato
  • Astonishing X-Men, Vol 1 by Joss Whedon & John Cassaday (50% through it already)
  • East of West, Vol 3 by Jonathan Hickman & Nick Dragotta
  • Hawkeye, Vol 1 (My Life As a Weapon) by Matt Fraction & David Aja
  • Hawkeye, Vol 2 (Little Hits) by Matt Fraction & David Aja
  • Locke & Key, Vols 1 – 5 by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodridguez

I also have some single issue comics around here, and I MIGHT go run to the comic book store at some point today because I think the volume of Deadpool I ordered is finally in and that will definitely be read if so.

I don’t really have much in the way of goals. I don’t care how many books or pages I read. I just want to read as much as I can, attempt to stay awake the whole time, and be relatively social on Twitter/Instagram/blogs. I’ll probably post updates every 4 hours or so.

 

Opening Meme:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Rochester area, NY. I hear it’s supposed to be in the 50’s today – perfect reading weather.
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Oh god. I don’t even know. ALL THE COMICS.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? I think Nutter Butters… and definitely the chicken tacos for dinner.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! Crap, I suck at these. Ummmm… My favorite joke is “Why doesn’t 6 like 7? (pause) Because 7, 8, 9!” I love the worst corny jokes.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? This is definitely not my first readathon. But I’m going to attempt FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER to stay awake for the full 24 hours. Unfortunately, I woke up at like 4 in the morning and it took me forever to get back to sleep, so don’t know how successful this is going to be… but I’ll try!

Off to figure out what to start reading first… Happy Readathoning everybody!!!

~Sarah

 

 

 

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If you are in the Rochester area, my local comic book shop 1st Print Comics is having a MAJOR $1 comic sale on Sunday, November 2nd – and a portion of the proceeds will go to charity! I’ll post about this again before then, but mark it on your calendars now!

1st print comics sale

Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach

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I apologize for the horrible picture here. For some reason one of my local libraries decided it’d be a genius idea to put their sticker right smack dab in the middle of the book. It sucks because this book was AWESOME and the review picture here is not. Maybe when I get my own copy I’ll update it with a better one.

Devi Morrison is a mercenary, and she’s damn good at it. She has ambition to be the best of the best, one of the king’s own Devastators – but to get there, she needs to take a guard job on a tiny ship that’s rumored to be cursed with the worst luck. One year on the Glorious Fool is worth five any where else, so she takes it. No big deal, right? Wrong. There are secrets and people on this ship that even Devi might not be able to handle.

Alright you guys – Devi is one kick-ass character. She’s tough, determined, and intelligent. And the book literally starts with her in bed with a guy after a one-night stand, before running off to get her new job. Hooray for ladies who get theirs. She does approach many situations with caution, but when it comes to action she’s kind of adrenaline junkie. She lives for the fight. Being on a tiny ship like the Glorious Fool kind of forces her to slow down a bit and interact with some REALLY interesting people, including a birdman navigator, a spacey assistant navigator, and a reptile-like doctor whose kind is known for eating humans. Clearly, only fun times are to be had there.

I have to say, I really enjoy books with are set on ships with a crew of people. It doesn’t seem to matter what kind of ship – sea, air, space – just having a crew usually leads to a really diverse cast of characters were are all integral to the story and who usually end up forming a particularly special sort of bond. Fortune’s Pawn does this really well. Plus, there are battles with aliens and that it only ever a good thing. There are some seriously mysterious things happening and Devi is doing her best to reveal them without getting too involved. It’s a fine line to walk.

I don’t know what else to say about this, other than: Tough lady mercenary in space. Come on. You know you want to read that. Personally, I’m going to run out and buy the second book, Honor’s Knight, as soon as I can.

Sarah Says: 4 stars

More comic reviews… Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe, Astonishing X-Men, Black Widow

Honestly, I’m reading books that are not comics too. I’m trying to get caught up reviewing some stuff though so that I’m all kind-of ahead of schedule for the readathon next weekend. (NEXT WEEKEND!)

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This is really just for funsies. Deadpool is one of those characters that I kind of want to read starting at kind of the beginning, but the honeyman offered to buy me things at B&N last week and I went with this. Deadpool kind of comes to the conclusion that existence as fictional character is hopeless, so everyone has to die. He’s doing them a favor, really. He bounces around offing Marvel characters with snark, sass, and gore. It’s interesting, and amusing, but overall doesn’t have a ton of substance to it. I admit though, I’m still looking forward to going on to Deadpool Killustrated, in which he starts killing major characters in classic literature. Watching Deadpool just do what he does best is a good time, even if it’s to other characters I happen to like.

Kayleigh reviewed this Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe recently as well, and as she’s pretty brilliant you should check that out.

 

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The X-Men universe is so mother-effing giant that I literally had no idea where it was even worth attempting to start. Something online somewhere suggested picking up Joss Whedon’s run of Astonishing X-Men, because starting at the beginning of all the X-Men is a ridiculous venture so just dive in and maybe start here. Also, Joss Whedon. The library had the first volume, so I grabbed it and oooooooo it’s so fun! Most of the art is gorgeous (except Beast, he looks like a cat. UGH), and this volume and I’m assuming the next couple volumes revolve around the idea of a “mutant cure”. If you’re thinking of the X-Men movie that uses that plot point – it’s different here, and kind of much better. Emma Frost is a bitch, Wolverine is a hilarious ass, Kitty Pryde is fun and likable. Nick Fury makes an appearance, and he’s kind of a dick. Beast is going through some feels over the so-called cure. It’s all just very engrossing and fantastic and I’m going to get my hands on the big collected volumes of the rest (and obviously will be doing a more coherent, lengthier review then.)

 

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I honestly didn’t have much interest in Black Widow until I heard the ladies on the 3 Chicks Review Comics podcast talk about this series. This is the first volume of the newest Black Widow run, and I have semi-mixed feelings on it. So, Black Widow is undeniably awesome. Natasha is super bad-ass and I’m a fan of ladies being good at killing, able to take down basically any dude, and having some sort of a moral compass. My only hesitation here is the constant reminder that she’s done bad shit without really any detail. And yes, I’m assuming the lack of detail is on purpose because she’s a spy and therefore a kind of unreliable narrator and maybe that’ll be fun, trying to piece together the facts. Also slightly bugging me how much atonement she feels like she needs to do, especially since I don’t know what bad things she actually did. I’m okay with tortured characters, but I’m also the type that believes in letting the past go and trying not to beat yourself up over mistakes. And I don’t know that it’s the writing here that made her sound a little too pious about all that, or if it’s just that in some panels her face looks unnecessarily sad and pouty. In general, the art is pretty beautiful and some clever techniques are employed, but some of the facial expressions were a little too sad-puppy for my style.

ANYWAYS, I’m rambling here and I actually JUST finished this like 20 minutes ago, so maybe I need to re-read and let it sink in a little more. For now, I’m going to continue on with her story and see how it develops.

I’m excited to move on with all three of these series / characters. But good lord, I don’t know if my bank account is going to be able to handle it. My Christmas list is going to be FULL of comics this year.

 

~Sarah

Sarah Sunday!

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Yes, yes – The Honeyman’s hair is gone. His first drill is next weekend – last weekend he shaved off all his facial hair, and yesterday he did the same to his head. He’s still ridiculously handsome and gorgeous :) I also got my hair cut, about shoulder-length or so. It desperately needed it.

Now that that’s out of the way – things! The week went pretty fast, although I did get some bad news at work in that our temp is leaving for something else, so it’ll be back to me and one of other person until we get a new temp. On the down side – more work, ugh. On the plus side – more overtime, so yay. This week I’ll have two and a half days off – Wednesday and Thursday, and then I’m going in for like six hours on Friday because my co-worker has to leave early that day. And then Saturday is the readathon! YESSSS.

I have an absolutely massive pile of books and comics to read (including the ones that I picked up this weekend, above), and I need to weed through it and decide what my official Dewey’s stack will be. Readathon prep is kind of the best.

fast flash

The Flash started on Tuesday! And I watched it on Wednesday, because Hulu exists and that’s awesome. I never really read about The Flash, but he’s one of the very few DC comic characters that I actually have an interest in, so I watched. It was a great first episode! It didn’t waste a whole lot of time on the boring tragic backstory/allies/”team helping me” stuff. It kind of jumped right into things, and there was some humor, and it ended with a gasp-worthy thing. It was very CW so it got sappy here and there, but hopefully that won’t really be a hindrance. I need to read the comics now so that I have some background info.

Speaking of comics, I FINALLY got to go comic shopping this weekend – new issue of Rat Queens, the first lady Thor, the new East of West volume, etc. Oh and I went to the library earlier in the week and grabbed the first few volumes of Locke & Key, and the new Hawkeye series. And I’m reaaallllly tempted to go to B&N in the next couple days and buy Honor’s Knight, the sequel to Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Back. I read Fortune’s Pawn in its entirety in ONE DAY last weekend. I also FINALLY found some corduroys! I got two pairs on sale at JC Penny’s (grey and green), and I’m excited because they’re work appropriate and that’s all I’m wearing to work ever again. Well, that and the clothes I bought on NY&Co’s website this week… I did a lot of shopping, basically.

I kinda sorta started Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer today, as well as What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund. I’m hoping I can finish What We See… by the time we head to my sister’s in a couple hours for the season premiere of The Walking Dead. I REALLY need to catch up with that series, btw. The honeyman has two of the giant compendiums that I can read, and then I’d have to borrow the other big volumes from the library, but it’s just sad that I haven’t read them all yet.

Alright, I know this has been one giant, rambling mess but I’m writing this as I do laundry and keep thinking about how I want to get back to my books, so yeah… off now. How has everyone else’s week been?

~Sarah

Ms. Marvel (#1-8) by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona

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You’ve probably already heard about the awesome new Ms. Marvel series. And honestly, I’ve been putting off writing some sort of review on the issues I’ve read so far because so many people have already said it so many ways. I’ll take the easy approach, and list off the things I’m loving about it.

  • Kamala Kahn is a young Pakistani Muslim girl! While this is awesome in a “YAY DIVERSITY” way, it also makes for some interesting dynamics. Kamala does rely just a bit on her culture and religion for advice in adjusting to having these new cool powers. She also has to face some decisions as her superhero life conflicts with her religion and family life.

  • What are her powers? She’s a polymorph – meaning she can change her body shape/size. She can make her fist as big as a house and just crush someone. Fun times indeed, and not a particular power I can remember seeing often elsewhere.
  • She’s such a geek. Issue #1 opens with her talking about how many upvotes her Avengers fan-fic is getting.
  • The storyline is progressing nicely. I don’t usually finish an issue without feeling like anything happened.
  • Kamala’s storyline is going to tie into the Inhumans comic storyline somehow, and I’m curious to see how that develops. Marvel is apparently planning an Inhumans movie sometime in the next several years, so that’s extra exciting.
  • The art is usually pretty fantastic. Adrian Alphona does a great job. Issues 6 & 7 were my least favorite because even thoughWolverine makes an appearance, there was a different artist for those authors and I was NOT pleased with the change. It seems Alphona is back though, so all is well.
  • G. Willow Wilson. You may remember she wrote a fabulous novel called Alif the Unseen. She does a pretty kick ass job at writing comics as well.
  • Kamala dresses like a normal person. Well, maybe not normal because she DOES where a costume, but it’s pretty cute and true to her character. I’m not one to make a big fuss over female superhero costumes (I just don’t care), but since she’s only a 16-year old girl, it’s great that she’s dressed in a way that’s not super revealing. And hooray for realistic body images.

 

 

Aaaaand I’m sure there’s more, but this is all I’ve got for now. It’s a really great series, and if you haven’t jumped on the comics train yet – this is only a few issues in, really. Grab the trade collection (out this month, I believe) and dive in to kick-ass female superhero goodness.

Sarah Says: JUST DO IT. 5 stars