♦♦♦ I was pretty excited to win this book in a GoodReads contest, not just because I got a free book, but because I really was ready to read the second book. The first book, The Rosie Project, I totally adored. I couldn’t wait to read this one, but for some reason I just kept putting it off for other things. When it was delivered though, I dove right in. I’m not sure exactly what happened or why I just wasn’t thrilled with the sequel. It was still a good book, and there were some poignant moments, but it did’t have quite the same appeal. It seemed more contrived. I wonder if the it was because the first book was so refreshing and surprising in so many ways, and this one was nothing new? What I do love about these books are the characters.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ McKinty does it again. This series is never disappointing! Again and again, I’m drawn right back to the streets of Belfast and sucked into the world in which my husband grew up. I enjoy that we listen to these books via Audible together so I can stop them occasionally and ask questions like, “No way! Did that kind of stuff really happen?” I love the Sean Duffy character who is really a good heart, who went into the police force for all the right reasons, but is so (redeemingly) human. Smart, tough, desperate for the truth… lonely. Real. Flawed. It’s also interesting that this is recent historical fiction and events that happen in the book, are often fictionalized versions of people and places and events that took place during The Troubles. This series is definitely worth a read. Start with The Cold, Cold Ground. Let me know what you think. The Audible versions of these books are great. They’re narrated by Gerard Doyle. Excellent narration with the perfect accents!
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ The latest in the Gray Man series does not disappoint. I haven’t really been reading this year, which I hate, but there are only so many hours in the day. I’ve chosen other things this year. . . bucket list things, so a decent trade. However, my husband and I started this one just before we went on vacation. He loves the action and the gratuitous violence. I enjoy the action (but probably not the violence as much) and the story line. I thoroughly wallow in the depth of imagination and the art of story telling. Greaney’s Gray Man series, about an American (former CIA) assassin is well written. Every time I think that we’ve heard all there is, another awesome book comes out with a new twist and a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat. I say, “Just keep writing them Mark! My family will keep listening!”
Are you an “early adapter” to new technologies? As an aficionado and habitual student and participant of social media, I tend to want to jump at the chance to try new platforms, ideas and mediums. That being said, sometimes I, quite frankly, don’t have the time or energy to figure it all out. Does that stop me? Not always, though sometimes in retrospect I wish I’d listened to that wee voice saying, “Really? You have no idea what you’re doing. Stop. Just stop.” It’s a funny, wise voice actually, but boring as hell.
So, Periscope. I’d heard of it before, but since I’m not a video fan, I shrugged it off. The other night I joined the one Twitter Chat that I’m most consistent with, Blog Elevated. (#blogelevated). The chat happens Tuesday nights from 9-10 PM CST, and we discuss blogging and social media mostly. I really enjoy it in a nerdy sort of way. The topic was Periscope and I thought I’d sit back and log off early. Well, that didn’t happen, I attended the after party and watched a few live streaming chats with people. So, if you’re not familiar with the app, it’s really just another live streaming app. There are several out there including Meerkat that was all the rage during SXSW. The difference is that Periscope is owned by Twitter. (I think I have that right). So, when you use it, you have the option to push a Tweet out there to all your followers that notifies them automatically that you’re using Periscope live.
People laugh when I say I’m a bit shy. I am and I’m not. Face to face, I’m definitely not shy. On camera though, it’s a completely different story. All of the sudden I’m tongue tied, and very self conscious. I don’t know how actors do it! So, I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried it! It’s actually fun if I’m not just sitting there talking as a talking head. A lot of my “friends” on the Blog Elevated chat tend to sit and just stream visuals of themselves sitting at their computers talking about… whatever. Aaack, I’m not comfortable with that. No thank you. For me, it’s actually kind of fun as long as I’ve got the camera facing out. THAT to me is interesting. I want to see wee glimpses of people’s lives. I don’t want to hear folks chat about how to comb the cat so it doesn’t shed buckets on the furniture. I want to see what others see.
My few Periscopes (is that what we’re supposed to call them?) so far have been live streaming parts of my friends’ show (so talented, and sweet). They’re called Beat Root and she’s from Northern Ireland and he’s from Kent, England. They’re an adorable couple with an amazing sound. (Please go check them out because you will thank me.) I’ve streamed a bit of a walk the other morning on an old abandoned golf course and the view of rain and hummingbirds from my back porch swing. My first try was hilarious. I was trying to get the camera to face me and when it did and I appeared on my screen it startled me enough that I jumped. Yep, I’m amazing.
I’ve always been one with a big imagination and penchant for day dreaming. I always imagine what’s going on in people’s houses, what they look like inside (the houses, I mean…) and who lives there. I can hear live music and want to stop and soak up the sights and sounds, and people watch. I love the idea of a window into someone else’s world who I will never meet. It’s kind of a blog (I love it when people post pictures from their runs or walks… I get to see what they see everyday… cool!), live streaming. I can see that this could have HUGE implications when breaking news is happening. It turns all of us into journalists. We tend to complain about the media being biased and I’m not saying people will be, but to see things unfold from the ground… that’s interesting.
It is interactive too. People who are watching your stream can type in a message. You see it pop up and can address it with your live stream. You have to do it verbally, of course, because you’re streaming! If folks like what you’re doing, they can tap the screens on their phones and it produces hearts which you see float up the side of your feed. Hearts are good, and it’s immediate validation. I’ve been told there are trolls, there always are, whose only purpose is to sour your feed with crap remarks. You can tap them as soon as they come up and start posting, you tap and block. Done. Currently, the app is only available for iPhone, I think. You know how quickly things change, it’s just a matter of time. The app on the phone is great, but if you’re using Twitter on your computer, you can watch videos and interact with them from your computer. I just don’t think you can broadcast. Another interesting feature is that you can watch past streams if you follow someone. So, for a limited amount of time, your streams are available. Then, they’re gone. So, you can check some of mine out to see if they’re still up.
If you’re interested in following me (and giving me floating hearts) as I learn this app, please follow me at @adverbcreative on twitter. I try to follow back. I’d like to know if you’re using Periscope. What do you like about it, what do you NOT like about it? Any tips, tricks or hints? And just in the spirit of the window into a life, here’s a photo of the walk this morning. Enjoy.
♦ ♦ ♦ .5 I don’t think I’ve ever read/listened to a book set in Japan. I didn’t know what to expect, but this “Tales of the Otori” series was rated really highly on Audible. Over 6000 people gave it an average of 4 stars. So, we dipped in. It definitely took awhile for me to be fully engaged in the story. The language was lovely, the narration was good, so maybe I was just distracted. Eventually, though, I was pulled in. There’s magic, deception, fighting, special powers, romance and a floor that sings like a nightingale. There are pretty girls, swords, torture and loyalty which all turn into a surprisingly good read. Go get it!
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ So, Adrian McKinty is my new favorite. Wait a week and it could change, but I love these books about “The Troubles.” There’s enough real life history and an interesting cop story too. Sean Duffy, our main man, is quite human, believable, a little quirky and likes his vodka. He tends to be tenacious (good characteristic in a cop) but to the point of self detriment. During a dark time in Northern Ireland, he’s a Catholic cop in service to the Brits. This makes him unpopular with both sides of the conflict. Gerard Doyle is a class narrator and brings the Audible versions to life. I think my Northern Irish hubby, (I trapped him in my car with me and made him listen to the last half of this book) even enjoyed what he heard. I just sent the first book to my brother to read. Yes, I’d recommend this series. Start with The Cold, Cold Ground. You’re welcome!
♦ ♦ ♦.5 I’ll admit it right now, something must be wrong with me. My husband and I listened to The Way Of Kings, the first in the series, it seems like years ago! We loved it! I would give that one 5 stars for sure. The ratings for this second book on Audible are a solid 5 stars (well 4.8), with over 6500 people rating it. Why didn’t I get it? I mean, I got it, I listened to the full 48 hours and 15 minutes of this book! That’s 4 days of my life I gave this book. I found myself getting bored and checking out for a few minutes, then asking my husband what just happened? I definitely didn’t do that in the first book. I felt like too much time was given to description and characters that didn’t interest me that much. That being said, I did, truly, like the story. Maybe it was the narration that let me down? It’s almost a 4 star rating, but not quite. I’d like to know what you think.