Currently Reading

Currently Reading, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman.

I’m happy to report that my re-read of Gods Behaving Badly was a good one. I’d mentioned that I was concerned I wouldn’t enjoy it as much this time around, but I’m happy to say it has mostly held up. It would’ve made a great series, and I’m sorry that the author never pursued that route.

I’m now moving on to Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman. This is one of the rare cases where I’ve seen the movie before reading the book. Since I love the movie, however, I’m really excited to finally be getting to the book.

Have you read Practical Magic and/or watched the movie? What did you think? Share in the comments…

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

(PS: In other news, I got my second covid shot. Who would have thought that something like a vaccine would be cause for celebration in our lifetimes? But then again, who would’ve thought we’d be going into year 2 of a pandemic? We owe a debt of gratitude to all the researchers and scientists– and volunteer test subjects– who worked so hard to get us a vaccine as quickly as they did. And also to everyone stepping up and getting the vaccine. Being vaccinated not only stops the spread and protects those who legitimately can’t get vaccinated, but it also prevents new variants.)

Writers and Cats

Writers and Cats, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. TS Eliot, Jorge Luis Borges, Patricia Highsmith, Stephen King, Ann M. Martin, Ernest Hemingway, Colette, Neil Gaiman. Ursula K Le Guin, Haruki Murakami
Photo by Sam Lion on Pexels.com

Writers are well known to have an affinity for cats (multiple books have been written on the subject)! As a cat lover, I get the appeal. Cats are good company, generally unobtrusive, frequently entertaining, and the perfect distraction when you need a few minutes away from the keyboard. If you’re lucky enough to have a lap cat, they’ll make sure you get work done by helpfully pinning you in place for hours (and they keep you warm too). My home would feel pretty sad and empty without my three kitties.

Cats can also provide literary inspiration, especially to poets. T.S. Eliot wrote an entire book about them (which then inspired a musical and, unfortunately, a movie). Jorge Luis Borges wrote these words:

Mirrors are not more silent
nor the creeping dawn more secretive;
in the moonlight, you are that panther
we catch sight of from afar.
By the inexplicable workings of a divine law,
we look for you in vain;
More remote, even, than the Ganges or the setting sun,
yours is the solitude, yours the secret.
Your haunch allows the lingering
caress of my hand. You have accepted,
since that long forgotten past,
the love of the distrustful hand.
You belong to another time. You are lord
of a place bounded like a dream.

-“To a Cat” by Jorge Luis Borges

It seems that what the ancient Egyptians started, writers are happy to carry on. I know I am.

Writers and Cats, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com, Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr. Ripley
Patricia Highsmith apparently preferred cats to people (relatable)
s king cats
Stephen King
ann m martin cats
Ann M. Martin
hemingway cats
Ernest Hemingway, whose Key West home is now a cat sanctuary.
colette cats
Colette
n gaiman cats
Neil Gaiman
le guin cats
Ursula K. Le Guin
murakani cats
Haruki Murakani

Do you have cats (or other pets)? Tell us in the comments…

Don’t forget to take advantage of the July Summer/Winter E-Book Sale and get Love Lies Bleeding at 25% Off (there are no cats in the story, but there are plenty of fanged predators…)

July Summer/Winter E-Book Sale at Smashwords! Get Love Lies Bleeding by Aspasia S. Bissas for 25% Off...

Further Reading:

Iconic Writers and Their Cats

10 Writers and Their Cats

Famous Writers and Their Cats

16 Famous Writers and Their Cats

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

5 Reasons to Love E-Books

5 Reasons to Love E-Books, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com
Photo by Perfecto Capucine on Pexels.com

E-books seem to bring out strong opinions in readers. Those who don’t like them will say they don’t smell like books do, or aren’t as attractive on a shelf, or that “real books” don’t need batteries. While those may be valid opinions, the truth is that e-books are just as real as hardcovers, paperbacks, and audio books. People have probably been complaining about changes to their reading material since writers switched from scrolls to bound volumes. And while there’s no reason to give up your preferred book format if you don’t want to, consider that there are several reasons to love e-books…

E-Books Are More Comfortable to Use

Comfort might not be something most people consider when thinking about books, but it can be a real issue. For one, books are heavy. It can get tiring, or even painful, to carry a book (or books) around, and if you like to read in bed, some books are simply too heavy to easily lift while you’re lying down. Eyestrain is another issue readers face. If you have an e-reader, the screen is designed to mimic a printed page– and unlike a regular book, font sizes are adjustable. As well, if you have dry skin you may have noticed that paper pages seem to leach every bit of moisture from your hands, which is unpleasant and can harm your skin (I’ve found that lotion doesn’t always help). This (thankfully) isn’t an issue with e-books.

You Can Carry a Library with You

There’s no way I’m the only person who always dreamed of taking their books with them wherever they went. With e-books, the dream is a reality because you can access thousands on your device. Besides the fun of being able to bring all the books with you, there’s a practical side too. Have you ever brought a book to pass the time, but were close to finishing it and had to bring another one “just in case”? Or have you ever had to take up valuable luggage space with books when going on vacation (I would always either take too many or not enough)? Or maybe you’re a student who has to take textbooks to every class. If you’ve ever needed to bring more than one book with you, e-books are the ideal option.

They’re Better for the Environment

As much as I love physical books, I do feel some guilt whenever I buy a new one. Books are made of paper, which means trees are cut down for them. In some cases the trees are farmed, which isn’t as bad. In other cases, forests are being cut down for paper, which isn’t so good. Some post-consumer recycled paper is used to produce books, but not nearly as much as should be. On top of that, books are heavy and bulky– they use a lot of fuel to transport. And they create a significant amount of waste too. Textbooks, for example, get outdated quickly and are replaced with new editions. What happens to all the old books that are no longer wanted? Some might be recycled– a lot end up in landfills. Same goes with unsold books at bookstores– often the cover will be torn off and returned to the distributor for a refund, while the rest of the book ends up in the trash. Although e-readers come with their own set of issues, you don’t actually need an e-reader to read e-books (see below). Overall, e-books have a minimal environmental footprint.

Books with Benefits

Imagine you’re reading a great hardcover and you come across a quote you really love. So you whip out a pen and underline the quote right on the page. Or you want to remember where you left off, but there’s no bookmark handy, so you fold the corner of the page down. Did you just shudder a little? E-books have some great features for readers. You can underline or highlight passages, bookmark a page, leave notes for yourself (or others, if you want), and instantly look up the meaning of a word you’re unfamiliar with. You can also report any errors you notice, which is a feature my editor brain particularly appreciates! Those aren’t the only convenient features, either. If you’re the type of person who really likes to interact with a book, e-books might be perfect for you.

E-Books Are a Great Deal

E-books are generally less expensive than physical books. Although it’s not always the case (especially with traditional publishers), many e-books are priced affordably, and some are even free. E-books usually offer free samples too (for example, you can download the first 20% of Love Lies Bleeding free). Because of this, e- books are a great way to discover new authors or try out a genre you don’t usually read.

Bonus: No E-Reader Is Required

You might not realize that you don’t actually need an e-reader to read e-books. Amazon offers a free Kindle app that you can download to a phone, tablet, or computer (or all three), allowing you to read any Kindle-format e-book (also known as mobi files). Apple, Kobo and others offer their own apps, as well. These apps have most of the same features as you would get with an e-reader. E-books also come in other formats, like PDF files, which generally can be read on any device. E-books are accessible to anyone with a device (and since you’re reading this blog post, that means you).

Can you think of other reasons to love e-books? Share in the comments…

Want to give e-books a try? Take advantage of the Smashwords Summer/Winter sale, on until the end of July (Love Lies Bleeding is 25% off!)

July Summer/Winter E-Book Sale at Smashwords! Get Love Lies Bleeding by Aspasia S. Bissas for 25% Off... Books, book, book sale, ebook, ebooks, ebook sale, dark fantasy, gothic, horror, urban fantasy, vampire, vampires, aspasiasbissas.com

Happy reading!

Aspasía S. Bissas

Summer/Winter Sale!

July Summer/Winter E-Book Sale at Smashwords! Get Love Lies Bleeding by Aspasia S. Bissas for 25% Off...

The Smashwords July Summer/Winter Sale is on now until the end of the month! Whether it’s summer or winter where you live, a good book is the perfect accompaniment every day. Get Love Lies Bleeding now for 25% off! And don’t forget that Blood Magic and Tooth & Claw are always FREE…

Love Lies Bleeding: a novel about delusion, obsession, and blood…

Happy Reading,

Aspasía S. Bissas