Dear bloglings

The Bibliophibian has fledged! Or… some equivalent word more suitable to an amphibian-sounding-thing.

If you still want to follow my blog, you’re going to need to go to the new site on BREATHESBOOKS.COM and resubscribe. There’s a couple of options there including a bloglovin’ button, so I hope you’re willing to follow me there and join me in pastures new! If not, thank you for coming this far with me.

If it helps, I’m running a giveaway on the new site here!

Attention!

With the help of the wonderful Lynn, The Bibliophibian is wriggling free of the WordPress hosted cocoon and going off to seek new lands in the world of self-hosting. For the next few days, things might be a bit weird around here as we get the posts moved over and set things up. If you spy any weirdness, there’s no need to let me know.

The bookworms are hard at work!

December TBR

To reach my ARC-reading goal, I need to read and review nine ARCs before December 31st is over. So this month’s reading list is mostly focused on that! I’ve made it ten, since nine as a number is just annoying to me.

ARCs

  • Armada, Ernest Cline.
  • The Cutting Room, ed. Ellen Datlow.
  • Shadow Memories, Nicholas Erik.
  • A Legend of the Future, Agustin de Rojas.
  • Wolfhound Century, Peter Higgins.
  • Gabriel’s City, Laylah Hunter.
  • Fair Play, Josh Lanyon.
  • The Genome, Sergei Lukyanenko.
  • Unborn, Amber Lynn Natusch.
  • The Palace Job, Patrick Weekes.

Rereads

  • Over Sea, Under Stone, Susan Cooper.
  • The Dark is Rising, Susan Cooper.
  • Greenwitch, Susan Cooper.
  • The Grey King, Susan Cooper.
  • Silver on the Tree, Susan Cooper.
  • The Furthest Shore, Ursula Le Guin.
  • Tehanu, Ursula Le Guin.
  • Tales from Earthsea, Ursula Le Guin.
  • The Other Wind, Ursula Le Guin.
  • Feed, Mira Grant.

Series

  • The Blade Itself, Joe Abercrombie.
  • Before They Are Hanged, Joe Abercrombie.
  • Last Argument of Kings, Joe Abercrombie.
  • Siege and Storm, Leigh Bardugo.
  • Ruin and Rising, Leigh Bardugo.
  • Dragon Coast, Greg van Eekhout.
  • Deadline, Mira Grant.
  • Blackout, Mira Grant.
  • The Boy Who Lost Fairyland, Catherynne M. Valente.
  • The Dark Arts of Blood, Freda Warrington.

Well, the three Abercrombie books are rereads too, but shush. Symmetry and stuff.

What’s anyone else planning to read this December? And trust me, I know I won’t make it to the end of this lot without a miracle.

Top Ten Tuesday

The theme for this week is 2016 debuts we’re looking forward to, but I’m honestly terrible at keeping track of what’s getting released, let alone by debut authors. So instead I’ll go with any books getting released in 2016.

  1. A Court of Mist and Fury, Sarah J. Maas. I expect this is one a lot of people are anticipating!
  2. The Hanging Tree, Ben Aaronovitch. Again, I bet there’s plenty of people waiting on tenterhooks for this one.
  3. A Gathering of Shadows, V.E. Schwab. I wasn’t as excited by the first book as some others were, but I still thought it was fun and I’m looking forward to seeing Kell again.
  4. The Thorn of Emberlain, Scott Lynch. I can only say of course.
  5. Necessity, Jo Walton. It’s by Jo Walton, of course I’ll pick it up. More so because it finishes up the trilogy.
  6. The Devil You Know, K.J. Parker. I loved the previous Tor.com novella by Parker, so I’m interested in this one.
  7. Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire. I still need to actually read Seanan McGuire’s work in general, but I’ve been interested in this one for ages. Gimme already.
  8. Ghost Talkers, Mary Robinette Kowal. I’m loving the cover.
  9. Truthwitch, Susan Dennard. Been hearing good things.
  10. Tell the Wind and Fire, Sarah Rees Brennan. I really need to try reading Brennan again, and I’m intrigued by the sound of this one.

This probably ruins me for a future list about 2016 releases, but shush.

Stacking the Shelves

Just library books this week — my resolution is holding good, so far! Here’s hoping I stick to it (though I have put some books on my Christmas list, of course).

 Cover of Feed by Mira Grant Cover of Deadline by Mira Grant

Cover of The Talisman Ring by Georgette Heyer Cover of Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson

Feed and The Talisman Ring are rereads; the former so I can read the whole series, and the latter for sheer fun. Started Early, Took My Dog was a challenge read and ugh, I have not enjoyed it. It’s already winged its way back to the library.

What’s everyone else been getting their grubby mitts on?

No Book Buying Challenge: Thanks

 

This month’s prompt is a bit of a retrospective already — do you feel thankful for doing the challenge, has it changed your habits? Yes, I think it’s helped. It’s certainly made me keep a close track of it. I’m trying to close out the challenge by not buying any books in December (other than paying for a couple of pre-orders, which I’ve just realised I already placed and don’t really want to cancel, since first day sales are important). Or, rather, from now until the end of December! I’ve already gone a couple of weeks now…

Here’s my general updates on the #ShelfLove challenge and my New Year’s Resolutions.

  • 52/51+ already owned books read from prior to 2015 (last one recorded: Moon-Flash, 25/10)
  • Spent: £21 out of ~£30 budget (budget is 10% of my income) for January
  • Spent: £20 out of ~£25 budget for February
  • Spent: £22 out of ~£25 budget for March
  • Spent: £15 out of ~£16 budget for April
  • Spent: £45 out of ~£30 budget for May
  • Spent: £18 out of ~£40 budget for June, plus stuck within holiday budget
  • Spent: £45 out of ~£50 budget for July
  • Spent £51 out of ~£60 for August
  • Spent £30 out of £40 for September
  • Spent £20 out of £20 for October
  • Spent £36 out of £50 for November

Here’s my more general progress on resolutions:

  • No books impulse-bought 
  • Read every day 
  • Bed before midnight
  • Up before ten every day
  • Only bought one book from a series at a time
  • Posted to the blog every day
  • Commented on at least one other blog every day
  • Tithed 10% in every month so far
  • Done 8o hours volunteering total
  • Reading/reviewing books from NG/etc (76% ratio)

Not bad at all, right? One thing I’m not going to make is my volunteering commitment, unless I go back and count online volunteering. It’s disappointing, but things have come up, unfortunately.

Top Ten Tuesday

This week’s prompt is to do with Thanksgiving, which is always a little weird since, as a British person, I definitely don’t traditionally celebrate Thanksgiving. But it’s a nice opportunity to thank some bookish people.

  1. Mum. For many, many doors into portable universes, both through teaching me to read, sharing books, buying me books, recommending books…
  2. Lisa. For sharing many portable universes with me, over the last ten years!
  3. Robert. For running the SF/F bookclub and becoming a friend over the last year.
  4. Jo Walton. For writing books, providing sage advice, and being a friend.
  5. Lynn O’ Connacht. For many many good conversations about books, including plenty of recommendations and shared books!
  6. Ryan from SpecFic Junkie. For much encourage, chatter about books, and the general takeover of Habitica with things about books.
  7. Cait from Paper Fury. For a disproportionate number of giggles to how long I’ve been following her blog/twitter.
  8. To all the friends who know books are the best way to distract me. And there’s certainly been some tough times where I’ve needed this.
  9. To all of you who comment and like my posts. Otherwise it’d be a bit lonely around here.
  10. To Helen Hippo. For being my constant companion through universes fictional and real, even if I have worn most of her fur off.

’nuff said, I think.

“Guess my privilege must be on the fritz”

Are you familiar with the idea of privilege? If not, there are tons of 101 resources out there to explain it fully, and I’m not going to reiterate what other people have said at any length, especially since no doubt other people have said it better. The gist is: privilege is an advantage you’re born with, which you haven’t earned, due to the weight of history, culture, etc. It can derive from nationality or gender or sexuality or your educational opportunities as a kid. It can be different depending on where you live in the world, who you’re interacting with, etc.

What it is not: a guarantee that your life is going to be easier. That barriers will be removed and doors will be open. It is, as John Scalzi put it, a difficulty setting, which in games never guarantees you won’t have trouble with a particular boss or area or whatever.

So when something bad happens to you, that is not your privilege going “on the fritz”. Nothing about privilege promises that you’re going to be okay. It just says that you’re going to have an easier time if you’re born to a rich family than a poor one, if you have good nutrition growing up rather than starving, if you live in a war-free country rather than one in which a civil war is raging. You know, the obvious.

And just because you’re — for the sake of argument — straight, white and male, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other modifiers that can make things easier or harder. If you have a mental illness, then you might have trouble getting support and your illness can hold you back. If you’re from a poor background, being straight, white and male isn’t going to magically overcome all those hurdles.

You’ll just most likely have an easier time than a straight white trans* person with mental health issues, or a straight brown male from a poor background, because you’re not discriminated against for those additional reasons. And there might be other factors that cause problems for you: privilege is a subtle thing and the categories we’re using are broad. You might also have other advantages. Nobody is disputing that on an individual level, everyone will have some bad luck, denied opportunities, unfortunate interactions, etc.

If you’re honestly using your own misfortunes as some kind of symbol that privilege isn’t real, you’re just putting up a straw man argument against the concept of privilege. Nobody said you personally would have everything handed to you on a silver platter because of an accident of birth. It’s all about likelihood, intersectionality, location location location.

Your privilege isn’t “on the fritz”. When we’re talking about privilege, we’re talking about on average and in general. It’s a background advantage, as shown in studies that display a bias against groups. Having a “black name”, for example, means your CV is discarded more often than that of a white person (in the US). And the thing is, you can say that you’ve “never noticed” any bias toward you, and I’ll believe you — but that’s because you (and the society you grew up in) treat it as normal. It is normal, to you. That doesn’t make it right if, on average, other people are losing out because you retain that privilege.

And even if you don’t know what to do to change this, you can listen. You can be aware. And when someday you find yourself in the position of, say, choosing who to employ, you can be aware of your kneejerk biases.


Note: I wrote about this here because my first experiences of being told I had privilege came from members of the book blogging community, eight years ago now. It’s something being addressed by #WeNeedDiverseBooks and such movements in the bookish community — and I don’t think I’m the only one who first came into this discussion thinking, “But I just love books. Why do we gotta have all these labels? Why should I pay attention to the ethnicity of the authors I read?” And there are people coming into this discussion for the first time all the time.

Ultimately, you have to figure out the answers for yourself; it doesn’t work to just be told, you have to understand, and that can take longer. But here’s my answer: because I love books, I want everyone to be able to find themselves in books, to feel like they are welcome and have a place and that their dreams line the walls of libraries the same as anyone else’s. The labels are there because a lot of people think that way, because it’s a convenient way to get an overview of the industry, because people with shared experiences stick together and that identity becomes a way to more easily communicate. The problem arises because some labels get marked as “special interest only”, while others are considered to be of universal interest because, historically, that group is used to being the default.

It’s a sucky problem. We can get access to a lot more awesome books by making sure we go beyond the default, and showing the market that demand is there. So instead of asking why we should do that — why not?

Stacking the Shelves

Hello, everyone! This week, I have a relatively small haul — I think it might be the first time in a while I’ve really shown any restraint! I’m now trying not to buy any books until Christmas, so it’ll hopefully just be library books from here on out… I have just one new-to-me owned book this week, and that came via Illumicrate (which I need to review).

Cover of Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

I’ve heard a lot about this one, so I’m excited for it!

Library

Cover of The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie Cover of Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie Cover of Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie

Cover of Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey Cover of Arrow's Flight by Mercedes Lackey Cover of Arrow's Fall by Mercedes Lackey

Cover of Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater Cover of Wolfhound Century by Peter Higgins

The Abercrombie books are rereads; I’ve never read Mercedes Lackey and spotted the omnibus of those at the library and thought, eh, why not?; Cait @ Paper Fury demanded I read some Maggie Stiefvater; and finally, I had access to Wolfhound Century on Netgalley… many moons ago. It’s time I actually reviewed it.

How’s everyone been? Interesting hauls? Tell!

Incidentally, I recently passed my 1,000th post and my 1,000th follower, and this is my 100th STS post. Definitely time to celebrate! But, does anyone know of a giveaway widget that works with WordPress-hosted blogs? Rafflecopter does not, as I recall.

Top Ten Tuesday

I’m not a big collector of quotes, so I took this week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt as a challenge to go through Goodreads looking at what quotes other people have liked from books I read recently, and pick my favourites. Let’s see…

  1. “I missed you every hour. And you know what the worst part was? It caught me completely by surprise. I’d catch myself just walking around to find you, not for any reason, just out of habit, because I’d seen something that I wanted to tell you about or because I wanted to hear your voice. And then I’d realize that you weren’t there anymore, and every time, every single time, it was like having the wind knocked out of me. I’ve risked my life for you. I’ve walked half the length of Ravka for you, and I’d do it again and again and again just to be with you, just to starve with you and freeze with you and hear you complain about hard cheese every day. So don’t tell me why we don’t belong together.”
    -Mal to Alina in Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. Because eeeh.
  2. “Nobody’s lives just fit together. Fitting together is something you work at. It’s something you make happen – because you love each other.”
    -From Rainbow Rowell’s Landline. Because it’s true.
  3. “Maybe I’ll post a consumer review. ‘Brought product to surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10.’”
    -Mark Watney in Andy Weir’s The Martian. Because I know some people who would.
  4. “I can’t give you the white picket fence, and if I did, you’d set it on fire.”
    -Curran to Kate in Magic Bleeds, by Ilona Andrews. Because I have a weakness for reading about relationships like that.
  5. “You can’t trust everything that ass Plato wrote,” Sokrates said.
    -From The Just City, by Jo Walton. Hear hear!
  6. “Books… are like lobster shells, we surround ourselves with ’em, then we grow out of ’em and leave ’em behind, as evidence of our earlier stages of development.”
    -From The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, by Dorothy L. Sayers. Quite true!
  7. “ ‘In our inmost and secret heart, which you ask us to bare to you, we wish to banish them as we were banished, to a cold and lonely house, in the charge of a man who hated us. And we wish them trapped there as we were trapped.’
    ‘You consider that unjust, Serenity?’
    ‘We consider it cruel,’ Maia said. ‘And we do not think that cruelty is ever just.’ ”
    -From The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison. Pretty much sums up exactly why I loved the book.
  8. “In everyone’s life there are people who stay and people who go and people who are taken against their will.”
    -From Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. Truth.
  9. “The most important thing is to be true to yourself, however you feel, and not try to feel or behave differently because you think you should, or someone has told you how you must feel. But do think about it. Unexamined feelings lead to all kinds of trouble.”
    -From Clariel, by Garth Nix. Because it’s a good point.
  10. “A book is a door, you know. Always and forever. A book is a door into another place and another heart and another world.”
    -From The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, by Catherynne M. Valente. Just one wise snippet from a book with quite a few wise things to say!

I’ll be interested to see what other people have come up with — and how they came up with them! I just used Goodreads and browsed through quotes which obviously have already been thought significant by previous readers…