What Shall I Read?

I’ve always been a reader, since I was a very small kid, but in recent years I’ve found myself reading less and less. Part of this is because I’m busy writing my own stories rather than reading stories written by others. Part of it is because I like quiet when I’m reading a good story, and it’s hard to get quiet in a house with a 4-year-old present. Part of it is that when I do get free time I’m usually more in the mood for a game or a TV show. However, part of it is just that I fail to force myself to sit down with a book, and that’s sad, because when I actually do sit down with a good book I usually end up engrossed and happier for having read it.

So, although I’m not making it an official goal or anything, I plan to try to read more in 2015. But the question then becomes, what do I start with?

There are a few obvious choices. For instance, I’ve been about halfway through “A Dance With Dragons” by George R.R. Martin for almost a year now. It’s not that it’s a bad book or anything (quite the opposite), but it’s HUGE, and I have this enormous hardcover version that isn’t exactly portable. Also, just a couple of months ago I read the first installment in “The Strain” trilogy, and rather enjoyed it, so it makes sense to continue on with the other two books.

But there’s also a slew of other books I have just waiting to be read. I got Stephen King’s “Revival” for Christmas, plus a couple more volumes of the “Complete Deadpool Collection” which, while actually comics rather than literary fiction, are really fun reads. Then there’s the most recent two additions to the “House of Night” series (which is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine), and I’ve got a number of other horror novels that I never got around to reading when I picked them up at various garage sales and flea markets. Or I could always be a complete goon and choose to curl up with the “How to Survive a Sharknado” guide.

You've got to admit, it looks like pure gold.
You’ve got to admit, it looks like pure gold.

With so many available options, I leave the decision up to you folks. Which book should I start 2015 off with? Should I finish “A Dance With Dragons”, or the “Strain” trilogy? Should I rip open one of the new books? One of the comics? Guilty pleasure? Any other suggestions? Let me know what you think!

Loot Crate Unboxing and Review for October 2014

Of the subscription boxes I’ve been trying (Nerd Block Jr not-withstanding), Loot Crate has definitely been my favorite thus far. Regardless, I expected that this month’s box wouldn’t be all that great for me, because this month’s theme was “Fear”. That said, the box was still half-decent and included two items that I rather enjoy. First, check out the vid:

Now, for a breakdown!

Dead Rising 3 Custom Weapon collectible: This is an exclusive item and, as such, is difficult to put a value to. I didn’t realize it at first, but it’s actually a pen if you pull the saw end off. Personally I don’t think it’s worth a whole lot since it’s just a small plastic thing, but I’m going to give it a value of about $5 since I can imagine a game store charging about that much for it.
“Death by Kitten” t-shirt: At first I was a little taken aback by this shirt, but I quickly decided that it’s actually pretty cool. It’s different, kinda cute, and kinda scary all at the same time. And as an exclusive, I’m assigning it my go-to value of about $15.
“Fear” Collectible Pin: What do I usually assign to these Loot Crate buttons? About $1? I think that’s it.
Toxic Waste candy: Since you only get one piece and you can normally buy a pack of 40 for about $6, the value of this item is pretty much negligible.
Loot Crate Membership Card:
I guess they hand these out after you’ve hung on to your membership for a few months? I dunno. I guess it’s worth about $1
“How to Survive a Sharknado” book: Now this is what I’m talking about. As both a reader and a loser, this book really appeals to me. Two thumbs up, and also it’s worth about $13
“Walking Dead” artwork: It turns out that this is an exclusive “Super Emo Friends” print by JSalvador, which is pretty awesome if you’re into that stuff. Now, I looked into it, and JSalvador charges about $17 for his prints, so that’s what I’m going to assign to this Walking Dead drawing, but I just want it on record that I would never pay that much for a postcard-sized print.
“Slashes and Bites” temporary tattoos: I believe these tattoos are a Loot Crate exclusive as well, so I’m assigning them about $2, since that’s probably what you’d pay for something similar in stores.
“Smite” costume download code: Smite is a free-to-play game, and to be honest, I’m not willing to put in the time into figuring out what these costume downloads are worth. I’m assuming it’s like similar games where you have to pay real money to unlock certain things. That said, I don’t believe in those kinds of games, and I’m giving the code away, so I’m giving it a value of $1 just for the sake of giving it a value.
Loot Crate “Fear” Magazine plus 3D glasses: I usually don’t mention these magazines, but it occurs to me that I probably should because they put a good bit of effort into them. This month’s magazine was printed in 3D and comes with the glasses to view it with, and I’m going to assign the pair a value of about $3.
Walking Dead comic #132: This comic has a variant cover especially for Loot Crate, which is pretty neat. The cover price for the original version of the comic is $3, so I’m going to make it $4 for the fact that it’s a variant cover.

Total approximate value of box: $62
Total cost to me: $30

So as you can see, there was quite a bit in this month’s box (even though a few of those things were really small), and the value is there. The only real comment that I have about the box’s value is that I would never in a million years pay $17 for that little art print. No offense to JSalvador, because his stuff is really cute, but it just seems like a godawful amount of money for something so small. On the other side of things, the t-shirt and the Sharknado book really made the box for me, so everything else is really just fluff. In conclusion, it was a good box, but previous Loot Crates were better, in my opinion.