Friday, February 1, 2008

Why I Love to Read and Opinion Sought

I'm reading three books right now. I'm in the opening chapters of all of them, and I'm not sure which one I'll finish first. I'm furthest along in Sandra McDonald's The Outback Stars, and while I've been reading it, I'm reminded of why I love to read.

Sandra and I -- we've met, so I'll go so far as to claim a bit of familiarity here -- have a shared background; we've both served time in the military. She was an officer, I was enlisted. She was in the Navy, I was in the Air Force. I know, I know; many people think that the Air Force doesn't qualify as "military." Well, if it didn't, then why would so many things that she brings up in her novel bring back such familiar memories? I can almost smell the aircraft lubricant as I read.

When I was in the AF, I was an "aircraft maintenance technician." That means I was a mechanic. Righty-tighty, lefty loosey. Marking up an aircraft component as "AFU" or "FUBAR" in the aircraft records. Signing off a replaced component as "R&R'd," R "squared," or "C/W". Safety wire. Wing-walking. Break-riding. FOD walks. Lost Tool Reports. Refueling. Defueling. LOX servicing. Wingroot inspections. Preflights. Thruflights. Postflights. Signing your name so many times you feel like a movie star. Sending off the pilot with one last thumb's up and a waving salute. And if your jet happens to go down (they were trainers and it happened a few times during my term), Standing Tall Before the Man.

Sandra's rendering of her "really big spaceships" brings all this back, even though I served on a flightline, not a flightdeck. She describes the smell of oil in the air. Oh, yes. Every aircraft hanger has it -- even the open-air ones-- along with the smell of hydraulic fluid and jet fuel. I'm not even fifty pages into it, and I already know why it's a Nebula nominee. But more important to me as a reader, I can intimately identify it because of my background. An author never knows when she will strike a chord.

I'm also reading Lisa Shearin's Magic Lost, Trouble Found. I'm re-reading this one, in preparation for reading the ARC she sent me (thanks Lisa and Ace!) of Armed and Magical. I love re-reading because I always pick up things that I missed the first time around. For example, I just read a part where the main character, Raine, is suddenly overcome by a strange feeling. She brushes it off and continues on. However, because I've read it before, I KNOW what that feeling was and who caused it. It made me break out in a huge grin. Things like this are not possible to pick up the first time around.

And I'm reading Rosemary Jones's The Crypt of the Moaning Diamond. It is hilarious. There's this ate-up military commander who's so straight that his trouser creases can draw blood. However, a bevy of dogs that follow around the main character, the delightfully scruffy Ivy, has him hard-pressed to keep his proud military bearing. I'm only a few pages into this one, but what a hoot it is so far.

I love books that remind me of how much I love reading. And I love that I've found three of them to read at once.

* * *
Over to the left, I've put up a little poll. During Raven's review, someone expressed an opinion that I should just post final reviews, not as-I-read-its. I post as-I-read-its mostly because when I read a book, I just have to share it. I also like to take advantage of blogging technology to give each Featured Debut as much coverage as possible. I have not done as-I-read-it posts of every book I've reviewed, but I have done it for most of them. Now's your chance to anonymously tell me which you prefer, as-I-read-it posts or straight-up reviews. Thanks!


texasboyblue said...

OK, after much thought and careful consideration, here's my opinion about how you should do your reviews:

Any dad-gummed way you'd like!

I oersonally do a final review after I've read the whole book, but as you go reviews have a great deal of merit to them. To wit:

1) It's like being amongst friends that enjoy reading and sit down over a cool adult beverage evry once again and discuss the book they're all reading. Its cozy and comfortable and without the "high and mighty" approach of a final review.

2) If a book really sucks, you can say so early on without having to read the whole thing (although some books take awhile to get going).

3) Its the way your of comfortably discussing a book with your audience, so it makes you more honest with that audience and better able to express your opinion.

So, as-you-go reviews are fine if that's your style, your comfort level and it enables effective communication with your readers. Even those who suggested that you do final reviews are, evidentally. reading the ones you're posting.

And, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"!

Anonymous said...

Pretty cheeky of people to tell you how to do reviews! I think it's wonderful you take the time to share your opinions and, however, you wish to share them is purely up to you!
That said, I like the 'first chapters', and for anyone who doesn't want to read as you go can elect to not read those reviews.

Keep up the good work and thank you!
Crazy 'parent' of 4 kittens and one cat! Woo hoo

Carole McDonnell said...

I like the as-i-read-it reviews. It's a journey. -C

John Ottinger III (Grasping for the Wind) said...

the as-you read-it method is rather unique in the sf/F blogging community so you must continue to do it. It is your unique method that makes you such a popular blog.

Tia Nevitt said...

Thanks, everyone!

Maria said...

Yup, that's my view too. When you have something to say, write it! If that's first chapter or chapter 17, it doesn't matter.

Blog on!