The Tattered Scroll News, Reviews, & Opinions on Fantasy and Espionage Books

21Jan/14Off

My “Want To Read” List of 2014 Fantasy Books

Earlier this month I mentioned that I had spent about 3 hours browsing Amazon to build a list of 2014 Fantasy releases that I would like to read. I also mentioned that I would get that added to the site. I took some time recently to add that list to the blog. You can find the list at the top of the blog (2014 Fantasy "Want To Read" List), or just click here.

As you can tell from browsing the list, I read primarily high/epic fantasy. There is no way I will get to every book in that list, but I'll get to as many as I can (especially those that are specially marked). I'll have to catch up on many of the series, which means I'll have to read quite a few books that are not on that list (like the first 4 books in Moon's series, and the first 3 in Abraham's series, etc).

As I read books from that last, I'll try to update the list to include links to reviews of the books I've read.

Are there any books in the list that you are highly anticipating? Any epic/heroic fantasy titles coming out this year that fit in with my list, but that you don't see (i.e. that I need to add to me list)?

1Jan/14Off

2014 Reading/Blog Plans

Now that this blog is 6 1/2 years old (crazy!), I thought it was time to come up with a reading plan. Over the years, I've watched other bloggers recap their previous year in reading, and lay out plans for the next year. I've never taken the time to do either of those, but thought I would give it a shot this year. Well, I've come up with a 2014 reading & blog plan...not sure I will bother to recap 2013 (haven't decided yet).

Like all of my plans, this could easily fly out the window tomorrow, but as of now, here is what I plan to read in 2014, along with a few plans for the blog:

  • Read More Fantasy: Over the last 2 years, I've read even amounts of espionage/thrillers and fantasy. Over the last few months, I've been less interested in reading espionage and am feeling a return to reading mostly fantasy.
  • Read Ongoing Fantasy series: Even when I have read fantasy the last couple of years, it has primarily (like 80-90%) been completed series. At least for the first 3 months, I'm going to drop that requirement and resume reading new and ongoing series. I feel like I have missed out on fun discussions since I've been reading something different from everyone else. So I plan to read new books as they are published, as well as catching up on series I haven't read the last 2 years.
  • The 10% Test: Each book I pick up to read, I will read the first 10% (that is easier than the 100 page rule I used to have). Once I hit the 10% read mark, I'll decide to a) continue reading, b) put it down for now with a possible return later c) put it down for good and sell the book at my used book store
  • Read more than 39 books. According to Goodreads, I read 39 books in 2013. Not bad for me, considering I do a lot of technical reading for my career...mostly JavaScript books with the new turn my career has taken.
  • I might throw up some brief reviews of the technical books I read. Not sure yet. This also relates to the next item:
  • I'm still deciding if I want to do some professional blogging. By professional blogging, I don't mean writing for a publisher or making money. I mean occasionally posting about my profession. This would some mean posts about JavaScript, AngularJS, front-end development, etc. I could create a brand new blog for that kinda of thing but a) I don't really want to pay for 2 blogs b) even if I did want to pay, I don't know if I would create enough technical posts to make it worth having a second blog. Since I already have this blog, I might try out the technical posting here. If it goes well, I enjoy it, I post them fairly often, etc...then I might consider moving it to another blog. Still trying to decide if I think I have something worth saying in the technical world.
  • I still plan to post about Kindle book deals when I find them. New Fantasy Releases posts will continue, as well.
  • I would like to post more often about e-book reading...like reviews of reading apps on iOS and Android, what you can do with a jailbroken Kindle Paperwhite 2, stuff like that.

I guess that's it...my first "Reading Plan" post in a LONG time. Last night I spent almost 3 hours going through the list of 2014 fantasy releases on Amazon...creating a list of books I want to read (now that I plan to read new releases again). I'll likely post that list of books sometime in the next week. Most of the books are being published January through August, since the details on books beyond August were a little sketchy.

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24Dec/13Off

Poll Question: What Genres Do You Read?

I haven't figured out an easy way to add a poll to this blog yet, so I thought I would conduct an old-fashioned poll....i.e. you just leave your answer in the comments. I'm just curious about what you guys/gals read. I'm wondering if most of you stick to fantasy, or if (due to the book deals posts), the readership of this blog is more varied.

So, what genres do you read? Fantasy? Sci-Fi? Mystery? Thriller? Something else?

If you have 30 seconds, leave a comment to let me know which genres you read. Of course, if you read in more than one genre, list all of them.

Finally....happy holidays!

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17Dec/13Off

Question: Why Do You Read Unfinished/Incomplete Series?

You've heard me say (and explain why) I mostly read completed series nowadays. I thought I should ask you guys/gals the opposite question.

Why do you prefer to read incomplete (i.e. ongoing, not finished, etc) series when there are so many completed series out there?

-Do you like reading new books as they are published, so you can talk about them with others on forums, blogs, etc?
-Do you find it hard to read 3-10 books in a row in the same series?
-You just prefer reading books as they are published so you can have the excitement of looking forward to the next book in the series?
-Some other reason(s)?

What say you? Maybe you'll convince me to jump to your side (once again) :)

18Nov/13Off

Discussion: School Settings, Coming of Age, & Nostalgia in Fantasy

(Edit: this post started as a discussion point specific to school settings, but as I wrote it, it evolved into something more general about nostalgia and its role in what I read)

As I'm finally trying to finish the Harry Potter books (I'm 84% through book 6 as of this morning), a question occurred to me:

What is so appealing about school-based settings?

For some reason, I've always liked books where school was a prominent part of the setting...like it is in the Harry Potter books. What I'm unsure of is: why? What do these stories appeal to me? Is it because I like coming-of-age tales (I do)? Is there something in particular about schools, because I loved being in school myself? (I wasn't in the popular group in school, so I don't think its a "wishing I was back in school" kinda thing).

I kinda think the biggest reason I like school settings is due to nostalgia. I first started reading fantasy around 8th grade (I think). I believe the first fantasy I read was The Iron Tower Trilogy by Dennis McKiernan (still not on Kindle? Really?). This was soon followed by The Belgariad series, Dragonlance, The Sword of Shannara, etc. So reading books that take place in a school give me memories of when I first discovered fantasy, and this gives me a cozy, warm feeling.

I believe this feeling of nostalgia also explains why I prefer classic fantasy to the darker stuff that is popular now. Back when I first started reading fantasy, I still had a naive, rather innocent view of the world. Things were black and white. As I grew older, I lost those sentiments/feelings. I find that I like my fantasy to still have some of that black and white world view. Where good guys are good, and bad guys are bad. And where there is still a sense of wonder and innocence in the world. The biggest reason I increasingly seem to move away from the darker fantasy is that, for me, it lacks a sense of wonder. Current fantasy is too busy making bad guys into good guys, and good guys into bad guys. Or turning magic into some science-based kinda thing. There was a point in time (maybe a good 6-8 years) where this newer stuff appealed to me. I wanted a "real" basis to magic in fantasy. I wanted more "complex" characters. But slowly over the last 2-3 years, I've gone the other way. I'm tired of the graphic nature of lots of newer fantasy, and I miss the sense of wonder (and yes, innocence) that existed in classic fantasy. Thus, I've tended more toward reading books published prior to 2005, or reading more YA. There are still some current series I like, of course, but I am a lot less tolerant of graphic violence and stories filled with "mean" characters.

What about you? Are there any "tropes" that give you a nostalgic feeling while reading? And if so, do you ever intentionally seek out those types of books? Or does nostalgia play absolutely no role in what you read now?