Tag Archives For: discussion

11 Jul, 2017

Is Playster Worth A Listen?

/ posted in: Bookish LifeReading

playster

playster

I’ve been seeing ads on Twitter for Playster. I was interested in the audiobooks that they offer. Would this be a suitable replacement for Audible?

The Hook:

  • Only $9.95 for unlimited audiobooks and ebooks.  I’m paying $14.95 for one audiobook a month from Audible

 
Playster offers music, movies, books, audiobooks, and games. I chose a free trial subscription of just the books and audiobooks. You can’t get audiobooks only. When you go to the audiobook page on Playster you are offered playlists in addition to being able to search for books.

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One of the playlists under Genre and Mood is Hungry. Yes, they have a whole section dedicated to Foodie Books!

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These are the categories under Hungry.  There is a fairly good selection in each one. 

Do they have the books that I’m going to want to listen to?

I checked the books that I’ve gotten from Audible in the last six months.  Playster had all the nonfiction but was missing a few of the urban fantasy books. 

The Listening Experience

The Android app is a bit of a mess.  It is pretty but it is not easy to navigate.  I think on an audiobook listening app there should be a huge button as soon as you open it that says, LISTEN TO YOUR BOOK.  This app has….nothing.  It took me a while to figure out how to play the books. 

I ended up saving any books I downloaded to the My Audiobooks tab.  Then I could open that and select them to play.  There is no place I could find to just access books that you’ve downloaded.  That is my biggest complaint.

Once you find your book on the app, it works well.  It remembers where you left off.  It puts a bar on your homescreen so you can access it without digging through the app until you shut down the app.  It plays well through the bluetooth connection in my car. 

Pros:

  • Less expensive for more audiobooks than Audible.  I haven’t even started exploring the ebooks that it comes with too.

Cons:

  • Slightly annoying audiobook app but the work-around isn’t too cumbersome.
  • You don’t own your books like on Audible.  That doesn’t matter to me but might to other people.
  • Selection might be smaller than Audible.  I could still find a lot of books on here that I would be interested in.

My decision

I am going to keep Playster instead of Audible after my free month because of the cost savings and being able to listen to more than one audiobook a month.

I think this site is what Overdrive could be if my library subscribed to more audiobooks and I didn’t have to wait for other people to be done with them. 

Has anyone else tried Playster?  What did you think?

23 Mar, 2017

Who Gets to Have an Opinion?

/ posted in: General

While I’m on the subject of lines of discussions I think have issues on Book Twitter, let’s talk about who gets to have an opinion on a book.

Here’s the scenario.

Person A reads an ARC and says, “Hey, guys?  This book is pretty messed up.  It is racist (or sexist or whatever).  Here’s some quotes that illustrate my points.”

Then People B through K pick up the argument.  They retweet person A and start talking about how racist the book is whenever anyone else brings it up.

Person M pipes with up, “I don’t know about that.  I read it and I didn’t get that sense from it.”

Oh, now it is on.  People B through K start yelling at Person M.  “You’re such a racist.  Why do you hate Person A so much?  Why can’t you listen to what she has to say?”

Then the side arguments start.  Person J tweets, “I see you people at the end of the alphabet.  I’m remember you weren’t here for Person A.”  At that point I imagine most end of the alphabet people are like, “What are you talking about?  Who’s Person A?  I never heard of her.”

Eventually Person Z says, “Hey, Person B?  Have you even read this book?”

Person B will come back with all kinds of excuses for why she hasn’t read the book.

  • She doesn’t need to read it to know that it is racist because Person A said it was and why can’t you believe people?
  • She isn’t going to read the book because it would be Harmful to her.

Ok, time out.  Here’s way I think it should go.

Person A puts her opinion out there.  That’s fine.  People who find that they tend to agree with Person A’s opinions can then decide that they agree that this sounds like a book that they would find offensive.  They are welcome to pass on it for themselves.  They are welcome to retweet Person A so people know that the book may have problems.  If they see the book brought up in other discussion they can say that they HEARD that it was horrible from Person A.

They can not say that they know for a fact that the book is racist.

Why?

  • Person A may have misquoted the book or taken quotes out of context to make it appear in a bad light.
  • Person A may or may not have misinterpreted the book.
  • (At least Person A in this scenario has read the book.  We all know this happens a lot based just on cover blurbs which are notoriously inaccurate.)

A person who has not read the book can not know if Person A is telling the truth or not because they have not examined the evidence for themselves.   If they want to get involved in the fight, they need to know the facts.  They shouldn’t be relying on hearsay.

A person who has not read the book should be not leading the charge to get the book pulled. (Should anyone?  That’s a discussion post for another time.)

If you don’t have the facts, you don’t get to have an opinion.

This should be common sense like not forwarding news articles that fit in with your political views until you make an attempt to see if they are factual.  I once saw a person beg people on Twitter to explain a book to her that she hadn’t read.  She had heard that it might be offensive but she didn’t know.  She didn’t want to read it because, you guessed it, it would be harmful.  She had many people say that they read it and they didn’t take it that way at all.  Finally she got someone who agreed with her and then she went on a rampage against the book and author armed with nothing but a stranger’s say so on Twitter.  I unfollowed at that point so I don’t know what happened.

I see how it could happen.  One of the biggest books of the last few years is The Vegetarian by Han Kang.  Everyone loves this book.  When I first heard of it I was excited.  Yeah, a book about a vegetarian. Oh, it is about coming out to her family?  That’s boring but whatever.  Wait, this is basically a story about her descent into mental illness and vegetarianism is considered the first warning sign?  #%#$ you, I’m not reading that.  I’d just end up throwing it against a wall.

That’s how I feel every single time someone brings up that book.  This is the first time I wrote that opinion down.  You know why?  I haven’t read the book.  I don’t know if what I imagine the book to be is what it actually is so I don’t get to have an opinion on it because my opinion would not be informed.  I feel very strongly that this book would be offensive to me.  I don’t want to waste my time reading it because I would just be looking for something to piss me off.  For these reasons, I don’t get to discuss this book. If another vegetarian read it and wrote a post that factually backed up my theory,  I’d be retweeting the heck out of it though.

Be informed before you type.  There, I just fixed 90% of the Internet for you. 


I’ve had this post written for a while. It was even scheduled to post but didn’t.  I figured that might be a sign from the universe not to kick a hornet’s nest.  But I’m getting more and more annoyed by this and it turns out that there may be people who agree with me.

Yeah, I watched a whole youtube video so you know it was interesting. She talks about this at about the 12 minute mark.

10 Mar, 2017

Can books be harmful?

/ posted in: General

I read a lot of comments on my twitter feed about the idea of books being harmful.  I don’t get it.  At least, I don’t get it in the context that a lot of people seem to using the term.

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Harmful to a Group

This I understand.  I can see how a book that characterizes a particular race or gender as less intelligent than everyone else, for example, could be harmful if people in other groups thought this was a fact and then acted on that information.  This is why books like Pr@tocols of the Elders of Zi@n are harmful because they have incited hate and violence towards people.

I’m not arguing about that.  But that doesn’t seem to be how the term is being used.

Harmful to an Individual

The idea seems to be that people should not be exposed to books/TV/movies that will offend or misrepresent them because it is permanently damaging to their psyche.

I’ve thought a lot about this and I can think of several books that have deeply offended me. There are those that still anger me when I think of them years later. There are things that I wish I never saw or read. There was one that I was listening to last week that I wish I could warn everyone away from because the representation of something very important to me was so misleading. But, I do not feel personally harmed by any of those books.  I don’t think that I have been damaged by being exposed to ideas I hate or having people write about aspects of my identity in derogatory ways. I’ve cussed out authors in my mind and then walked away from books.  No permanent harm done.

I’m not saying people should read things that they find offensive.  If it isn’t right for you, that’s fine.  Walk away and don’t look back. Whatever works for you.  But are you so malleable that you will let a book change your feelings about yourself? That’s what I think of when I see people using the word “harm” in this context.

I think this might be a generational thing.  I don’t seem to see anyone over 30 using this terminology.

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Am I the only person confused by this?  Are older people just better at looking at BS and not taking personally?  Is this a self esteem thing that we’ll never understand because we weren’t raised in a time when that was considered important?

Readers over 30, have you ever been harmed by a book?

 

17 Feb, 2017

Banned from the Library Recap

/ posted in: Reading

On January 11 I wrote a post about a self-imposed ban from the library in order to focus on reading books I have here.

The rules

  • No requesting more library books until March 1
  • I can go pick up books that I’ve already requested that come in.
  • Also, I can only get new books from Amazon if they are free.  That’s totally cheating but come on, free books!
  • The only exception is if I run out of audiobooks which may happen because I have a road trip this month.

How did it go?  Here’s a hint.  I’m posting the recap a few weeks before March 1.

At first I was great!  I listed a bunch of books that I had started and wanted to finish for #DiverseAThon.

 

I finished those all up. Mission accomplished.

I went on a road trip and listened to a lot of audio books too.

Then the trouble started.  I have so many books here that I haven’t read.  Some of them I was really excited about at the time.  I wandered around not reading any of them.  Here’s what I did instead.

  • I just kept listening to more audiobooks that I had exempted from the ban.
  • I read books that I was receiving in swaps.
  • I started rereading books.  By the way, let’s celebrate Goodreads adding rereading!
  • I read two, yep 2, books that I had here that I hadn’t picked up before.  I liked them.  It is proof that I should read the books I have here.  But, I don’t want to.

By the way, here’s all the books that came into my house while following the rules of the ban precisely.

Sent through swaps

I’ve read 2.5 of these so far.

Free on Amazon

I’m halfway through Ingrid Winter.

Came in from a previous request to the library

Yeah, I gained 10 books while actively not getting new books.

So the moral of the story is that I should rehome a lot of unread books I have here, especially all of those I picked up and read a few chapters and put down.  Here’s the book that broke me.

I was thinking about #ReadtheResistance and thought that I should reread this one.  My current library doesn’t have it.  Why did my rural library have this crazy liberal hippie fantasy?  Anyway, I decided to order it but I totally wouldn’t read it before March 1.  It came in the mail.  I gazed at it.  I put it aside like a good girl.  And then I said to hell with it.

 I’m ending the experiment early and going back on the library request website.  I also got an Amazon gift card in the mail and went wild.

The Hate U Give and River of Teeth are preorders.  I ordered River of Teeth based solely on her Hippo Day tweets and her twitter handle @gaileyfrey that made her my new favorite person in the world.

I’ve started requesting library books too.  I’ve added all kinds of shiny things to my Goodreads TBR lists during my ban – both upcoming releases and deep backlist.

I shouldn’t try to fight my nature.  If I want to read it, I’ll read it right away and I’ll love it.  If I put it aside, let it go no matter how good it might actually be.

 

09 Feb, 2017

Are book bloggers important?

/ posted in: Reading

Ah, the perennial angsty post where we try to convince ourselves that we have purpose in life. Yeah, so I don’t really care about that. I read lots of books and like to talk about them. I don’t need anyone to approve. But, I had a conversation with an editor the other day that got me thinking.

I had reviewed one of her books previously. She had since put out several tweets about needing reviewers for the next book. I ignored it at first because I got a copy of the previous book and didn’t want to be greedy. But after several tweets I responded. Our conversation boiled down to her feeling that I didn’t do enough for the last book to warrant getting a hard copy of the new one. I don’t care about format. I’d rather have an ebook anyway. But I wonder now if people in publishing have any idea what bloggers can do for them.

Obviously the general public isn’t going to be influenced by what bloggers think. That’s easily seen from comparing year-end best of lists from bloggers with what actually sold during the year. I think what we do though, especially for small presses, is help with name recognition.

For the last book I:

  • Reviewed it on the blog (in my view or wrote an article about it, not a review in her view)
  • Reviewed it on Goodreads
  • Reviewed it on Amazon
  • Featured it in several lists since I liked the book
  • Did a giveaway of it and now it is living with another blogger who will do a lot of these things too
  • Put it on instagram in a bookstagram post of just this book and also in at least one group photo
  • Marked it read on Litsy
  • Requested that my library purchase it
  • Tweeted about each of the posts I made that it was in
  • Tweeted each instagram photo
  • Retweeted a few of her tweets about the book

That’s about all I can do except for buy each and every one of you a copy of your very own.  I’m pretty sure that any of my followers would see that book and think, “I’ve heard of that one.”  That’s the limit to what bloggers can do for a book.  We can make people aware that the book exists and that we think they should read it.

I have an ebook of the new book.  I’m going to be doing most of the same things for it.  I’ve already requested that Litsy add it since it wasn’t in their database.  I’ve asked the library to buy it.  I’ve only read the first few pages and I’m already promoting it.

I know that we are mostly talking to ourselves in the book world but we talk A LOT if we like a book.  I don’t think the powers that be recognize it.

 

03 Feb, 2017

When Representation is Oh So Wrong

/ posted in: Reading

Whenever there are discussions about diversity in books there are always people who wonder what the big deal about bad representation is.  They wonder why people from marginalized backgrounds get so angry about authors getting things wrong.  These (usually) white folk say things like, “Calm down, it’s just a story.”

Ok, people, I have an exercise for you to start to get some understanding.

Think of something that you know about.  It could be a hobby or a job or where you live.  Now think about an author writing about it and getting it all wrong.

I have examples of things that have made me a bit stabby while reading.

Location

Once upon a time I opened a book and started reading.  I found out that this book was set in my hometown.  That stopped me in my tracks.  I came from a literal one-stoplight town.  There are no books set there.  But there it was – town name and state.  Then the author started describing the town in detail.  It seems like a nice place but it wasn’t my town.  It was also specifically set about 200 miles east of my town.  It was weird and disorienting.  It didn’t stop me from reading the very long series but it was unsettling every time name was mentioned.

Job

I just read a book that I absolutely loved.  One of the characters was applying to veterinary school.  She didn’t get in.  That didn’t surprise me since she was doing it all wrong.

  • She forgot to go to college first.  You don’t just apply to vet school when you are in high school.
  • She didn’t apply to the right school.  Vet schools are weird.  They are geographically locked.  You are supposed to go to the school in your state or the school that your state contracts with to allow their residents to enter.  There are some exceptions (I was one) but this person never mentioned the name of the vet school in her state in her discussions.
  • Bless her heart, she thought going to a big name vet school mattered more than anything.  Nope, see geographically locked.  Vets don’t consider where you go to be of any importance at all.  Location of internships and residencies if you choose to do that are different but where you went to vet school is irrelevant.
  • She had all kinds of volunteer work and AP classes and extracurricular activities but none of it had anything to do with animals.  She also didn’t appear to have any pets.  Not vet school material.

This was a minor point in the overall story but it bothered me every time it came up.  It bothered me enough to write that all out.  With a little bit of Googling, the author could have figured a lot of that out.

Hobbies

I try not to read fiction with horses in it.  If there are horses in a book I want to read, it will reassure me greatly to see an author photo with a horse in it.  People get horses all wrong in books.  They are constantly jumping off the horse and just letting it wander about.  That’s a sure way to end up walking back home.

The hero is always riding a huge stallion.  Please.  Stallions can be a total pain to work with.  Most people don’t ride them routinely, especially in books where horses are used as a major mode of transportation.

I really hate it when someone shows women being all liberated because she refuses to ride sidesaddle.  You can ride however you want but don’t talk about sidesaddle being unsafe or unstable.  Modern sidesaddles were developed to let women jump fences or work cattle while wearing dresses.  Once I got used to it, I felt more secure sidesaddle than astride.
sidesaddle

Not me but I don’t have any of my sidesaddle photos uploaded. I took this one in Portugal.  The skirt hides a very secure system for staying on a horse.

My most rant filled review ever was for a Danielle Steel book where she totally misunderstood the Olympic ski team.  It made me insane and I don’t even ski.

What are the minor things that irritate you when authors get it wrong?

If these minor things can irritate a reader then imagine how much more problematic it is to constantly hear your race or religion constantly messed up.

 

 

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