I ended up spending a good chunk of yesterday following along with the massive furor over Amazon. Here’s the short of it if you haven’t heard about it yet:
Amazon decided to exclude “adult content” books from sales rankings, and thus from certain searches. I can at least understand the point some people are making that it’s reasonable to want to protect children from sexual material. However, there are a couple of problems with that idea. First, the listings of these books don’t contain explicit material of any kind; someone would have to order them, and that generally requires a credit card, which means an adult is involved at some point. Second, the actual books being deranked belie the assertion that Amazon is deranking “adult” material.
In other words, they’re deranking material that certain segments of the population would consider inappropriate or controversial, such as GLBT parenting and children’s books, while leaving “Girls Gone Wild” and “Playboy” material alone. There’s a very clear double-standard at work here that is forcing one brand of morality onto all of Amazon’s customers. It appears that category metadata is probably being used to filter out GLBT and sex-related materials.
Amazon is now claiming that this is a result of a glitch, despite having told at least one author that it was policy. Hopefully this means they’re back-pedaling and will undo the deranking. However, it would be foolish to simply assume we’ve won. Keep an eye on the ongoing news regarding this. Make it clear to Amazon that you don’t want them determining which categories of books you can and can’t find when you do a search on their site for reading material. Many people are switching wholesale to buying their books from other outlets. You can also contact their customer service department (politely but firmly!) to let them know how you feel and what actions you plan to take. Digg, reddit, stumble, and FARK the good articles you find regarding this subject so more people will find out. If you want to tweet about it, just check out #amazonfail and you’ll find more information than you know what to do with!
RICHARD’S EASTER NECKLACE SPECIAL: Many of our lovely necklaces were made by Richard, a member of the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) and beading fiend. He typically works in glass or natural semi-precious gemstones.
In honor of his lovely work, we’re having a special Easter promotion! From now until Easter day, order any necklace from our etsy shop or our Shop Handmade shop and get 10% of the necklace’s purchase price off of your order—just wait to pay until we send you a revised PayPal invoice! If your order is placed within the continental US we’ll also upgrade your shipping to priority mail for no extra charge.
Order as many necklaces or jewelry sets that include necklaces as you like and we’ll take the discount off of each one!
And, here are reviews 3-5 of the 10 aforementioned books:
After having computer troubles over the last week (turned out to be a trojan) and mostly doing a lot of reading, I now have TEN book reviews to write. Yes, ten. However, because I happened to get shipments of upcoming/just out books by a bunch of my favorite authors at the same time, they’re primarily a set of VERY good books. So stay tuned this week—I’ll have a lot of wonderful reading to recommend to you!
Yesterday I got to chatting with my husband and someone else about some of the hijinks that went on at MIT when I & my husband were there. One that I didn’t think of at the time but that for some reason popped into my head last night was the human chess game.
About 10-15 years ago we noted that the tile squares in lobby 10 at MIT were the perfect size (and came in enough number) that they could hold a human chess match. So we taped off a board, rounded up two ranked chess players to play the kings and give directions and enough people to play the pieces, and held a game. When one piece “killed” another there would be a mock combat, followed by the defeated piece’s “death” and removal from the board. It was great fun, and drew quite the crowd.
I’m a bit behind on listing book reviews. Here are the latest ones for you; there are some truly brilliant entries this time!
There’s plenty more where that came from; I’ve already read three more books that I plan to review this week, and of course it won’t stop there! We also recently received two cookbooks for review, which we’re currently making recipes from, and so far they’re holding up quite well. So if you’re looking for good books to buy, come back often!
1. Which hour was most daunting for you? Hour one. I’m on a new med partially to help me sleep, so I tend to be a little sleepy first thing in the morning. Made it a bit tough to get down to business at first.
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? On the one hand, boy did Fiona Patton’s The Golden Tower keep me engaged! On the other hand, it SO kept me engaged that it drained me dry and I couldn’t read anything else afterward.
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Erm… nope. Can’t think of anything.
4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? Thank you for having someone come around and remind everyone ahead of time! Life is so chaotic that I’m not wholly certain I would have remembered otherwise.
5. How many books did you read? Only two. But in my defense, one of them was incredibly rich in detail.
6. What were the names of the books you read? I read the text portions of The Big Book of Backyard Cooking so I could finally review it, and I read Fiona Patton’s The Golden Tower.
7. Which book did you enjoy most? Patton. Is. Amazing. ‘Nuff said.
8. Which did you enjoy least? It was all good.
9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? N/A
10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? It all depends on whether I’m going to be home on the day it happens on. And I can’t help it—I just have to be a reader.
A while ago I spotted a church named “Christ Our Anchor” and ever since then I’ve found myself pronouncing it with certain… other… punctuation: “Christ! Our anchor!”
What can I say. I enjoy language humor.
New book reviews since the last time I posted them: Dr. Davis Liu’s Stay Healthy, Live Longer, Spend Wisely, on the US healthcare system and navigating it safely. Nalini Singh’s Hostage to Pleasure, which established for me exactly why so many people think so highly of her! And Laurel Anne Hill’s Heroes Arise, a fantasy novel that focuses on world-building. I’ve had a friend visiting all last week so I haven’t gotten as much done as usual, particularly in the realm of reading; it’s fun, though, because we’ve known each other since early college, which means I’ve now known her for literally half of my life.
In awesome news, we now have more than 40 items posted at our etsy store (errantdreams.etsy.com). That includes a great handful of beaded bookmarks—each one unique—as well as jewelry and a few trinket bags. Consider buying a beaded bookmark for a friend this holiday season! This weekend I also made some fun things like a garnet and silver filigree bracelet, so expect to see some of those soon.
We’ve also started posting our level 80 designs at cafepress! More to come soon!
…for, “my cat just tried to ‘help’ me do the step aerobics program, but I successfully completed it AND didn’t step on her.” And it should give you some sort of bonus points on your score. ‘Cause let me tell you, that’s a whole ‘nother level of difficulty!
Speaking of cats, the latest book review is of Jane Seabrook’s Purry Logic, which is just plain cool! I’m sorry that was it for reviews this week; Monday was a holiday, and then I spent most of the rest of the week working on other things. We’re THIS close to opening that Etsy store; I made a bunch more of those cloth bags; and I kind of got hooked on playing with a fractal program and turning the results into pieces of art:
I’ve also spent a lot of time working on our upcoming level 80 designs for Cafepress; speaking of which, all level 70 designs are on sale—and we’ll be phasing most of them out eventually, so get ‘em while you can!
There are at least three upcoming book reviews, though: of a health care book, a cookbook for cancer survivors, and a pricing/business book for crafters, most immediately. In the meantime, here’s a random bit of fun: (more…)
I was over at Shiloh Walker’s blog reminding myself of her URL for the review I’m in the middle of writing (I just read the book she has coming out in November—-WOW!—review tomorrow).
Anyway, she had a little meme there that I felt like doing. So here you go. Open-tag to anyone else who wants to participate.
Name five books you’ve got close by… if you’re at work, then the first five off the top of your head
1. Shiloh Walker, The Missing (ARC)
2. Christine Feehan, Turbulent Sea (today’s review)
3. Davis Liu, M.D., Stay Healthy, Live Longer, Spend Wisely
4. Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb, Holiday in Death
5. Draconomicon (d20 book)
Now name the last five books you bought (or the last five you remember buying)
1. Inspired Wire: Learn to Twist, Jig, Bend, Hammer, and Wrap for the Prettiest Jewelry Ever
2. Easy Beading: The Best Projects from the First Year of BeadStyle magazine
3. The Beader’s Guide to Color
4. Getting Started Stringing Beads
5. Teach Yourself VISUALLY Jewelry Making & Beading
Now name five books you want to buy (there are so many books & series I want to read that I’m going to have to group them here)
1. The first four books of Jean Johnson’s ‘Sons of Destiny’ series
2. Shiloh Walker’s ‘Hunters’ books
3. Val McDermid’s Tony Hill novels
4. Jennifer Estep’s first two ‘Bigtime’ novels
5. Stephanie Meyer, The Host
Name five books you’re debating about buying
1. Terry Taylor, Chain Mail Jewelry: Contemporary Designs from Classic Techniques
2. Irene Petersen, Silver Wire Jewelry: Projects to Coil, Braid & Knit (Lark Jewelry Book)
3. Jim McIntosh, Wire Wrapping: The Basics and Beyond
4. Susan Ray, Wire-Jewelry Workshop: Techniques For Working With Wire & Beads
5. Chandler & Ritchey, Jewelry Studio: Wire Wrapping
I took the last two sets from the ‘highest’ and ‘high’ portions of my Amazon wishlist, but they’re just a small sampling of the books I’d love to read!
Oh yeah, and here’s a jewelry piece I’m really proud of:
One of my favorite resources for fleshing out a character (for both writing & roleplaying) is the vast wealth of portraiture found online. I created a DeviantArt account largely so that I could start collecting DA character portraiture in a convenient place. It occurred to me this morning that I should link to that collection so that anyone who comes across this might use it as well. So here you are: the ever-expanding collection of character images. Here’s one of my favorites:
My collection-so-far includes everything from casual contemporary photos to elegant fantasy art. Enjoy! You’ll also find other handy categories in my faves such as ‘plots’ (for images that I think could inspire fascinating plots).
We have two new book reviews up since the last post. One is of a contemporary adventure/romance: Lora Leigh’s Nauti Dreams, while the other is a fantasy/romance: Jean Johnson’s The Cat.