Media week in review

What I'm currently reading

This has been the worst year so far for books. Not only am I DNF'ing them all, I'm not even reading much. (Those two things might be related...)

Last week I started Infinity Son by Adam Silvera, and I'm not even a quarter of the way into it. I'm really not liking it at all. One of the two main characters is obsessed over Instagram/YouTube followers. It's the one and only thing he cares about in his life, it's the only thing he talks about. It's so unpleasant to read. (It's a YA book, I suspect younger readers might like that aspect of the character.)

I'm going to stick it out a little longer and see if my opinion changes since I'm just getting to the meat of the plot.

I try to read 50 books a year, and at the rate I'm going, I doubt I'll hit half that.

I never mention fanfic in these posts, but I'm doing a hundred times better with fanfic stories than books. There's so so so much good Animorphs fanfic out there. So many good authors, so many interesting takes on things.

What I'm currently watching

Where did my time go this week? I got almost nothing watched this week, too.

I spent most of today watching season two of Lost in Space. It's a really good show, but it took me more than three weeks to rewatch the first season and watch the new second season, I was just ready for it to be over with.

Apparently there's a new season of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina out. I'm going to start that next.

I think I watched maybe two Clone Wars eps. They're only about 20 minutes long each, so not sure why I didn't get more done. (Where did my time go this week?)

What I'm currently playing

Hey look, something actually to go into the Games section! In addition to the usual MMO, Jurassic World Alive, and silly phone games, I actually bought games. I haven't bought a game in six years (since I bought the MMO).

A game I was following, Niche, sent me an email that it was part of a $1 bundle, along with two other games.

Three games for a dollar? Even though I'm being careful with my money, I couldn't pass that up. Once I got to the site, I saw that the suggested amount to pay was $10, but you could pay up to $50... Since the email said outright that it was $1, I paid that.

Niche is a "genetics" game. You breed little animals and try to survive, seeing if you can make a string, successful, wacky animal. I only had time to play it a half-hour in the whole week I owned it.

The other two games it came with were MagiCat and Evergarden. Based on names alone, I thought I'd love both games. Once I saw the details though (both are just puzzle games), I haven't even installed them. Evergarden especially sounds like such a great game, something about making a garden, growing things, watering them...


Is the bold text annoying or does it help you skim and see what you want to read? If it annoys folks, I'll stop doing it.

Media week in review

What I'm currently reading

This was such a bad week for books. I did almost no reading. I went to bed late every night, so I had to pick either phone game or reading, and the phone won every time. I could say it was because I'm not into the book I was reading, but that's probably not the full answer. I'm getting pulled into darned Candy Crush again. Seriously, these games are so addictive... it just feels good to play them. The one I'm playing has this vibration/sound it uses when the app starts, the same sound/vibration when you beat a level, so it's like a Pavlovian training of reward when you start the app. I think I'm going to have to go cold turkey again so I can get my reading time back.

I gave up on the book I had been reading (Forest), and I'm going to move on to the long waited Infinity Son by Adam Silvera. Unfortunately the reviews it's already received make me suspect I might not finish it, but... I love Adam Silvera so I have to try.

What I'm currently watching

Lost in Space is the big (and almost only) thing I'm watching. I finished season one, started season two yesterday. I'm glad I rewatched season one -- I remembered almost nothing about it, including the ending of it.

The only other thing I'm really watching is Clone Wars. It continues to amuse me the holes I have in my Star Wars knowledge. Palpatine is a member of the senate, but I was sure I remembered that he was somehow a bad guy, so I wasn't sure why he was leading the good guy senate. Once I googled and read the details, I had to laugh at myself.

Also, I read why Clone Wars seems so disjointed to me: Apparently you're supposed to be able to watch any ep standalone, or watch the series in any order. That's so odd...

Other than those two things, TV is taking lots of my watching time. I watch an hour of news, and an hour of 'evening TV' (gameshows or reruns), and that's more than half of my watching stuff time per day.
Blinking black cat eyes

2020 book: Forest

I haven't finished one book yet this year. This is getting depressing...

Forest by Sonya Hartnett
Traditional or self-published: Traditional
Rating: Disliked (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)

This book really should have worked for me, but I spent a whole week trying to get into it, and I finally have to just give up on it.

Set in Australia, Kian (a housecat) along with two kittens are dumped into the "forest" (Australian wildlands). It's a talking animal story, the book is published by a major publishing house, and the author won awards for her books. But man, I just didn't like her writing. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't a good match for my tastes. The story moved so slowly. I reached the 20% point, and all that had happened was that the cats were dumped into the forest (which took place in the first pages).

The cats had no personalities, so I felt no connection to them. To say the story moved at a glacial pace would be understating it. I didn't hate the book, I just didn't like it, so finally I'm just giving up on it.

Partial book credits:
Point reached in this book: 20%
Previous abandoned book total: 97%
New total: 117% (one book)

2020 books

Abandoned books. So many abandoned books.

We, The Lucky Few by P.S. Lurie. Self-published. Disliked.

I don't know why dystopian books tend to be so unbelievable. This one had a good setup. Oceans were rising and they weren't stopping. More and more land was vanishing. Most animals were extinct. Not many people were left. If it had stopped right there, it would have been a really great setup for the story. But nope. Instead the rich people, who owned what little left of the dry land, said they would save one person from each remaining 'poor' family. Again, if it had stopped there, that would have been a good setup. But nope. At the same time they announced that they would save one person, they said they would be shooting everyone else. Why? They were safe behind a wall no one could get through. The ocean would do the work for them. And, even if they for some unknown reason wanted to kill all the poor people, why announce it? Too much unreasonableness like that, I stopped reading at 14%.

Irregular Creatures by Chuck Wendig. Traditionally published. Rating: Okay

I read three of the stories in this book. The first one, about winged cats, was okay. Lots of things that didn't make sense logic-wise that you sort of had to just go along with. A few slow spots. The ending was very nice. Next story was horror, which I do not like. Third story was just totally a miss for me.

I think this author is probably just not a good match for my tastes. Abandoned at 50%.

CLAN: Birth of the Chosen One by Roger Kenworthy. Self-published. Rating: Disliked

The writing was just so bad in this one. I had to reread sentences repeatedly to try to figure out what the author meant. Abandoned at 8%, but I really should have stopped sooner.

Partial book credits:
Point reached in these books: 14%, 50%, 8% = 72%
Previous abandoned book total: 25%
New total: 97%

Media week in review... and lots of Star Wars thoughts

What I'm currently reading

I really need to make a book post. I have a few abandoned books built up at this point. I haven't finished one yet this year. I hope that's not a sign of things to come.

I abandoned the one I was reading last night and haven't started a new one yet today.

What I'm currently watching

So many things...

The new Lost in Space season came out, but I realized I remembered nothing of the first season, so I went back and watched it again. I'm on ep 7 of 10, then I can start the new season. It really is such a good show! Like I experienced, I remember almost nothing of season one, so it's basically all new to me.

I finally finished Witcher. I'm not sure if I liked the first half of the season more than the second half, or I was just feeling the pressure of so many things to watch and so I felt like I just needed to finish this series. Either way, I liked it a lot, but I didn't enjoy the last couple eps. I need to rewatch it. One day.

Live TV: Even having just the most basic of cable really cuts into my time for watching other stuff. I spend an hour watching news, an hour on random early evening stuff... that's like half my watching time. I'm not unhappy I have it, but I wish I just had more time in general.

I'm watching two series in "real time" (weekly instead of binging). Good Place and Young Sheldon. Oddly they're both kind of similar. Both feature good-yet-flawed characters, both shows leave you feeling good once you're done with an ep.

No eps watched of: The Man in the High Castle or The First. One day I'll have time to get back to them.

Lastly: Clone Wars. I have no idea what changed, but like I was told, at the end of the first season it really gets good. It went from "I have to get through this" to "I'll stay up for one more ep".

Previous to Clone Wars, The Mandalorian was about the only Star Wars exposure I had. I saw the three original movies, but I was a kid at the time and it was many decades ago. So I've been having lots of Star Wars thoughts...

I'm bothered by Jedi. (Feels odd to capitalize Jedi, but apparently that's the right way even when you're just talking about the people.) I'm bothered by the whole idea of them. The idea of some characters (the stars of the stories) being so so SO much better and stronger than everyone else. Not just that they have light sabers that can block bullets, but the whole Force thing.

See, there was this scene in Clone Wars. Two clones and a Jedi were standing on a bridge. The bridge started collapsing. It was too far from either end for them to make it, so the Jedi used the Force to throw the clones to the cliff's edge so they could grab it. By that time, the bridge had totally collapsed and the Jedi was falling. So he (I assume used the Force) to jump across broken bridge pieces, two enemy ships, some guy's head, and landed on the cliff's edge in time to help the clones up. That's just so... "OP". So over powered. Where is the fun in a story about people who are so much stronger than everyone else around them? It seems beyond even superhero-level characters.

It doesn't help that in Clone Wars Anakin is sort of a jerk. Arrogant, and in the military and yet never listens to orders. His padawan (who is apparently a fan favorite) is just like him, but worse because she doesn't have the experience to back up the arrogance and nonstop disobeying.

I'm sure there are tons of writings about this online, but I wonder if Star Wars is some kind of self-insert kind of story? That people want to be stronger and better than everyone else, so they want to see themselves as a Jedi? (I write this knowing that since I have experience so little of the Star Wars universe, I could be 100% wrong.)

Or maybe it's just me. Maybe the whole Star Wars idea just isn't a good match for me. I usually like "normal" characters better -- the Average Joe standing around while Jedi/superheroes do their thing.

Oh well, I'm going to happily keep watching Clone Wars. I love the clones so much.

Media week in review

What I'm currently reading

I abandoned one book (We, The Lucky Few) for being an unrealistic, silly, unreasonable dystopian story.

I just started Irregular Creatures by Chuck Wendig. I had thought that this was some self-published, first collection of short stories by a no-name author, but apparently Wendig has written a ton of books, mainstream comics, RPG writing, and other stuff. I'm only in the middle of the first story, but I'm enjoying it.

What I'm currently watching

My cable/internet company had a sale: One year of basic cable (like 12 channels total) for $10 a month ($17 after the $7 fee...). So I signed up, so I'm watching a lot more live TV than I have been in years. It's very very satisfying to be able to easily watch the news. Not that I enjoy it, but I like keeping aware of what's going on in the world.

A guy at work keeps suggesting The Kominsky Method to me, so I checked it out. First ep didn't hook me, so I checked the wiki. Apparently it's supposed to be a comedy, but it's not in any way funny or amusing to me. First ep: Woman days from being dead of cancer. Second ep: Dealing with her death. I'm really confused as to how this is a comedy. I might stick with it through the second ep, but I doubt further than that. I'm not enjoying it at all -- the opposite, I'm disliking it a lot.

I finished the one existing season of Aftermath. Though it was highly stupid and illogical, it was oddly fun. I really enjoyed it. End of the world! Dragons! Ghosts! Shapeshifters! Nikola Tesla! I can completely understand why it was canceled, but if there had been a second season, I'd watch it.

The Witcher: I'm so slow with this show. I love it, but this is my third week watching, and I've only gotten through six eps. Two left to go. It's such a good show!

Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams: I think I'm giving up on this one. I have too much to watch, and the first three (of ten) eps of the season were mostly just okay. Maybe I'll come back to it one day.

Man In The High Castle: I haven't watched an ep in two weeks, but not giving up on it. I'll have time to watch eventually.

Clone Wars: People recommended this as having as good of a story as Mandalorian. I just have to get through the first not-so-good season to get to the good stuff. Watched 9 of the 22 eps I have to get through... blah. I sort of like it, it's just not hooking me, though apparently that's not surprising during the first season.
Happier than...

2020 book: Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave...

Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans by John Marzluff Ph.D., Tony Angell
Traditional or self-published: Traditional
Rating: Disliked (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)

Usually when I rate a book dislike or hated, it's because it's a bad book. Poorly written, poorly edited, unrealistic story, etc. But in this case, this book was none of that. It was a very good book, well-written, full of details. I was just not the target audience for it.

Nonfiction (which I so rarely read), it spent the first 10% (about an hour of reading) covering the physical structures of a crow's brain. To be honest, before this book I hadn't even known that this level of detail of a crow's brain exited at all.

The rest of the book continued in that trend. Ultra-dry (to me), it was like reading a text book from college. I do like crows a lot (I have a group I feed every day), but this was just too heavy of a book for me.

This book was a gift from my mother, she spent a lot of time trying to find one I would like. I so appreciate her effort, and I really wanted to finish it, but I have to give up and admit it's not for me.

I got to about the 25% point, but a lot of that was skimming, and I skipped a big part of the brain section.

Partial book credits:
Point reached in this book: 25%
Previous abandoned book total: NA
New total: 25%
Book with cat: rainbow

2019: A Year in Books

Welcome to the look back on my 7th year of reviewing books!

This was, hands down, the year of the Animorphs books. My goal is reading 50 books a year, and I hit 80 books (74 finished + 6 books of credit for unfinished books). It's only because the Animorphs books take 1-2 hours to read each that the total is that high.

For the books I abandoned, I added up the percent I finished. Since all books aren't equal, it's not a perfect system, but I can't think of a better one. Total abandoned books: 666% = 6 books + 66% towards the next, rounding down to 6.

My liked/disliked numbers are odd this year. Since the Animorphs books were so fast to read, I generally finished them even if I didn't like them:

Ratings for Books

Finished Books

Loved: 20
Liked: 20
Okay: 17
Disliked: 11
Hated: 6

Abandoned Books

Loved: 1*
Liked: 0
Okay: 3
Disliked: 23
Hated: 6

*Not really abandoned, it was a reread of a novella, so I didn't want to give myself a book credit for it.

Traditionally Published vs Self-published

Until I clear out the massive backlog of my To Read pile (currently about 350 books), these numbers won't really accurately reflect my current tastes, but you can still see the trend of things: I'm adding fewer and fewer self-published books to my Kindle.

Finished Books

Traditional: 64
Self-published: 10

Abandoned Books

Traditional: 15
Self-published: 14

Only about 20% of the books I read this year were self-published. Hm, looks like I didn't track that stat in previous year in review posts, but I'm sure it's going down.

My overall percent of books abandoned also went down, but again, Animorphs skewed my stats this year.

Have a happy new year of reading everyone!

Media week in review

What I'm currently reading

Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans (what a long title!). I've been feeding some crows for a couple months now, so my mother got this book for me for Christmas. Really, really heavy nonfiction. In the first 10% or so, it's been mostly just about the physical structures of their brains. More than an hour of reading just about the physical structures in a crow's brain. I'm not sure who the target audience of this book is.

What I'm currently watching

Live TV! I haven't had cable in a couple years, but Comcast is giving it away through its app/website for a week, so I'm very much enjoying the nonstop stream of crap on mainstream channels.

Unsurprisingly, I've watched less other stuff, since I'm feasting on live TV.

Aftermath: So very bad, but I'm enjoying it for some reason. It's like they took every idea from end of the world movies and every idea from horror movies and just jampacked them into each ep. Nothing makes sense, everything is so cliche, and the characters are so stupid and unlikable. I have no idea how or why I'm enjoying it.

Mandalorian: I haven't mentioned this one yet in previous posts, even though I've been watching it weekly. I'm not even a Star Wars fan, but I'm loving this show so much! There's just one ep left until season 2 in fall of 2020 *sob*. I'm going to rewatch the whole thing at least once before then.

Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams: I keep thinking I'm going to drop this one. It's sort of like a cross between Black Mirror and Twilight Zone, but the stories have been falling flat for me. That and the British accents are so thick, I wish there were subtitles. I watched three eps of ten so far. Since each ep is a self-contained story, I might keep going I guess...

The Witcher: OH MY GOD this show is so good. I never read the books or played the games, but man I love this show. The acting, the music, the fights! The story! I love ever moment of it. I'm on ep four of eight. The season is way too short... (I'm going to have to read the books for sure.)

The Man in the High Castle: No eps yet this week. Boo.
The First: Same.

What I'm currently playing

No different than any of the previous weeks. Maybe I need a different section here? I play Jurassic World Alive on my phone while I play FFXIV on my computer. I try to avoid playing Candy Crush in bed before I sleep, since that cuts into my reading time.