Misc Monday ~ in which we discuss reading preferences

Let’s talk books today. But not book reviews; let’s go with something more general. Specifically, genre. Do you have a favorite genre? How about a hated genre?

One of the items on my 101 in 1001 Challenge is to read a book in each of six genres (hard sci-fi, western, mystery, biography (non-memior), memoir, and science non-fiction). This is largely because, without any suggestions, reminders, or prompts to do otherwise, I would limit nearly all of my reading to fantasy (including its sub-genres) with the occasional foray into a cozy mystery.

Lately, though, I’ve discovered that I enjoy a well-written memoir. Notable recent memoirs which I have enjoyed include Carrie Fisher’s The Princess Diarist and Wishful Drinking; Neil Patrick Harris’ Choose Your Own Autobiography; Felicia Day’s You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost); and Jenny Lawson’s (aka The Bloggess) Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. It helps that, unlike many biographies, memoirs are written in a more human style. They’re more likely to include humor, and to be something the reader can relate to.

Realizing that I enjoy memoirs has made me wonder what other readings tastes have changed since I was young and developed my default genre preferences. I’ve tried reading “classics” with mixed success, so at least I know that my reading tastes haven’t COMPLETELY changed as I’ve aged. But in the specifics? I tend to think of my sci-fi preferences to be more science-fantasy than hard core science-fiction, but is that still true? And I’ve never read a western. Would I like it? We’ll have to see.

Have you noticed any of your reading preferences which have changed as you grew up? I know that some of my friends and I have discussed how our tolerances (for bad writing, for certain story tropes, etc) have changed, and we now have a hard time reading, much less enjoying, some of our favorite stories from childhood. But is that just that we’ve gotten more discerning as we gained experience, or have our genre preferences changed?

I don’t have any of the answers. But I do know that something is different, in the same way that I now sometimes choose to listen to news radio instead of music (on purpose!!) when I never made that choice as a younger person.

WIP Weds ~ in which I don’t knit

I didn’t knit this week.

I know, that sounds unrealistic. But really, I didn’t.

Last week (after my WIP Weds post of last week) I read on my lunch breaks instead of knitting. (And for once I didn’t do both at the same time.) Then I went to a baseball game with my dad on Saturday for an early Father’s Day, and I didn’t bring my knitting with me. (Not sure why. Maybe because we were sitting about 13 rows back from the field and I didn’t want to split my focus between the knitting and the game? Or maybe because it was REALLY HOT and I couldn’t even think about wool.)

Instead of knitting at the game, I got sunburned.

And then, being sunburned on my thighs and arms, I didn’t want to think about wool for even longer.

The sunburn is pretty well faded by now, though, so there should be knitting again next week. In the meantime, here’s an article that I found (through the Space Cadet newsletter) which talks about knitting spies. Really neat article. I’ve read about knitting being used for secret messages in fiction, but wasn’t really aware that it’s based in fact.

Have a great rest of the week!

Misc Monday ~ in which Seanan McGuire is awesome

I wasn’t going to post anything today, since yesterday was Father’s Day and so I didn’t make the time in yesterday’s schedule to write a Misc Monday post the day before like I usually do. (Holidays and such will throw wrenches in blog posting schedules. You know.)

And then I visited some of my blogroll this morning, and saw that Chris posted this link to an AMAZING Twitter thread by Seanan McGuire. And I HAD to repost it.

(If you would rather see it directly on Twitter, you can do that here.)

Anyway. Any Tweet thread that include mention of a Moana protest sing-along and German (and Japanese) translations is well worth reading in my book.

Happy Monday!

Misc Monday ~ in which I watch a Disney documentary

So I don’t know about you, but I am a fan of the Disney company. (Those of you who have been following along will already know this. Newer readers might not, as I haven’t talked about it much lately.) And one of the things I love is Disney animation. They do, and have done, some amazing things with animated movies and shorts. I love the classics, and I love the newer movies too. (We were late to the party with watching “Moana,” but I LOVED it.) Some of my favorite movies are Disney animated features.

However, there was a period of time when Disney animation almost died.

Well, maybe that’s me being dramatic, but I just watched “Waking Sleeping Beauty,” and that documentary sure made it sound like animated features were an endangered species for Disney back in the 80’s. Do any of you remember the “Black Cauldron” movie that Disney made back then? I vaguely do, because I loved the books. (Still do.) But at the time, it was too dark, and too ambitious, and from what I can tell it nearly spelled the end of animation at the Walt Disney studios.

In any case, if you’re interested in the history behind the Disney Animation Renaissance, then you should watch this movie. It goes into what happened in the Disney company as a whole, and animation specifically, that led to movies like “The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast” being able to breathe new life into the animation department. It goes into the difficult decisions management made (decisions that sometimes don’t sound all that favorable) which either helped or hindered the animators. And it goes into the personalities behind those decisions.

It also mentions things I didn’t know. For instance, I didn’t know that “Beauty and the Beast” was the first animated film to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar (and this was when only 5 movies were nominated per year). And I believe “Beauty” was only the 3rd Best Picture nomination received by a Disney film – the other two being “Mary Poppins” and “Dead Poets Society” (released officially by Touchstone, which I did know was a Disney label).

I also didn’t know that “An American Tail” was made by a former Disney animator who left the company, taking a bunch of his fellow animators with him. I knew there was politics in any company, but it can be rough to hear about the hard times a company you love has gone through in the past. It’s hard to understand why there was a time when people didn’t believe in something that, now, is doing so well. But this documentary does a great job of showing how things happened, and why, and what happened to change them.

If you’re interested in all things Disney (like I am), or in movie history, or in these specific Disney animated films specifically, you owe it to yourself to watch this documentary. They’re enjoyable movies to watch regardless, but knowing the climate in which they were made somehow makes them more powerful, more important.

Misc Monday ~ in which I miss spring

I don’t know about the weather where you are, but it seems we in Northern California have kinda skipped the bulk of spring. Well, our spring, anyway. We got someone else’s spring.

A California spring usually involves sunny-but-not-too-hot days and cool nights. Perfect for evening walks. And very little rain. Some, yes. But our usual spring rain is the shower variety.

This year? This year has been wet and gloomy and not very California-like at all.

I know, I know, we need the rain. (Actually, we can be done for this year. We’ll need more next year, but it can wait until winter, right? Please?) (Oh, okay, I guess a warm summer thunderstorm could be fun. But that can still wait for another couple months.) But this has been way wetter than usual. I don’t know which ones, but I know we broke records.

And I am so ready for my normal California spring. Last week was almost summer. (I am really not ready for summer.) But it looks like hopefully this week will be something approaching a California spring. One can hope, anyway.

Misc Monday ~ in which it’s still Monday some places

It’s still Monday. Barely.

I wanted to write this post earlier, but I REALY wanted to have the giveaway photo for you, so I kept putting it off. Now, with an hour and a half left to go in Monday, I finally have the photo:


This is what you’re entering a giveaway for. A Spiraldex self-inking stamp, a lined journal, two fountain pens (a JinHao and a Noodler’s Ahab), and some ink samples. I may throw in a few other things, too. If so, though, those will be last-minute additions and won’t be in pictures.

One reminder – I did my best cleaning out these two pens after I tried them and decided they weren’t the weight of pen I prefer, so they should be at least mostly clean. However, I can’t guarantee they are completely clean, so I recommend cleaning them out before use.

To enter the giveaway today, leave me a comment with suggestions for how you conquer procrastination… or, if you’re like me and haven’t learned that yet, some sympathy for the lack of sleep sometimes caused by procrastination would be nice.

Friday Reads ~ in which I am easily distracted

I have a bad habit of starting new things before I finish with the old things. This is true of knitting projects, video games, and even books. (It seems to get worse in the spring. It has always been easier to get distracted in the spring, all the way back to when I was in grade school and focusing on homework was so much less appealing than playing outside when it was nice and sunny again.) So it should come as no surprise that I have not finished any books this week, but have instead started a couple of new ones.

WHAT I’M READING:

I’m still reading NPH’s Choose Your Own Autobiography. But I am fickle, so I haven’t gotten very far yet.

I also started reading Murder Past Due by Miranda James, first of the “Cat in the Stacks” series of cozy mysteries. So far so good. I’m about half-way through and enjoying it, especially the fact that the cat in question is a Maine Coon. They’re great and super-personable cats.

I’m still working on Kat Among the Pigeons by Lizette Gifford. Still enjoying it. Still forget that I have ebooks to read, and so it still isn’t getting the attention it deserves.

AND I started listening to Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. The more I look into Verne’s classic adventure novels, the more I think that I read all of ZERO of them growing up. There may have been a very abridged version of one or two of them which I read, but I’m nearly positive that I never read any of the full works before.

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT:

It’s been a while since I’ve read one of my pending Seanan McGuire novels, so I think that’s up next (once I finish the two paper books I’ve got going). Not sure if I will go for the Incryptid or October Daye worlds, though. And I have another Great Courses lecture series (this one on the Medieval world) which I think might be my next audio book. That, or Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology. Not positive, though it’s probably going to be one of those two.

For today’s give-away entry (see my post from Monday the 3rd for details) please leave a comment and let me know something you plan to do this weekend. (Or, if you prefer, let me know what you wish you were doing this weekend.) Have a great weekend!