Posts Tagged ‘meta’

11th February
written by Steph
A Tale for the Time Being

A Tale for the Time Being

Is there anything worse than a book you expected to love but didn’t? Since setting out to travel the world, the frequent discrepancy between reality and one’s lofty expectations is something I’ve become accustomed to, but I still think I am most disappointed when I’m prepared for a book to sweep me off my feet only for it to leave me rather cold instead.

That’s pretty much what happened with this book: I wanted to love it, and by all accounts, I should have loved it, but I didn’t.  It has many of the literary elements and quirks that are like cat nip to me such as discussions of quantum physics and parallel universes (I’ve never met a book that grapples with these ideas that I’ve been able to resist; see: my love affair with Scarlett Thomas, for starters), while also delving into a topic that has become near and dear to my heart over the past few years—meditation and the struggle to live in the present moment. Truthfully, I didn’t even know the book dealt with any of this before I picked it up, so all of these things should have been a delightful surprise. They were, and yet, they still couldn’t tip me over into unabashedly loving this book.


22nd November
written by Steph

Thank you to all of you who stopped by to celebrate our blogiversary with us, whether it was simply to wish us well, suggest a book we should read, or suggest a book you would like us to buy you. This time around, I didn’t avail myself of magic (unless you consider random probability magical), but instead entered all people who commented suggesting a book they’d like to win into a numbered list like so:

And then I went to and this is what happened:

Which means that the winner of our third blogiversary giveaway is Katie B!!! And as a result, a copy of The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters will be making its way to her, while a different copy of it will make its way to me & Tony. I have to say that all of the books that were suggested sounded fantastic (and I even found out about a few new books in the process), so you’ve all given me plenty of food for thought when it comes to picking future reads. And of course, I’m guaranteed to be reading at least one Sarah Waters title come 2012. Thanks so much for stopping by our little corner of the blogging world (we know you’re busy too!), and here’s to another year of fun!

12th November
written by Steph

This photo may have actually been taken months ago during a trip to Arrington Vineyards, but with the addition of party hats, you'd never know!

It seems like Tony and I are making it something of a tradition to forget our actual blogging birthday until about a week after it has past. So while S&TI! turned a whopping three years old on Nov 2nd, we are keeping up our pattern of neglect for this year and just remembered that now.

I know we haven’t been around as much this year as either of us would like (life has been so busy), so we’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you have have stuck with us and continue to make blogging so fun. Whether you’ve been with us from the beginning or just found us a few weeks ago, we really love it when you take time out of your busy days to let us know that you like what we’re doing or even just to say hi. So thank you, thank you, thank you!

To keep with the tradition we started three years ago now, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all with something more than mere words. So, we’re offering one lucky commenter the chance to pick up a new book on our dime. BUT this year there is a TWIST! Normally, we always ask you to go through our archives and pick a book that we’ve read that you would also like to read, and if you win, we will send you said book. To shake things up, here’s what we’re proposing: instead of limiting yourself to books we’ve read, instead we’d like you to pick a book that we HAVE NOT read but that you would also like to read. Leave us a comment telling us why you think we should read this book (or why you would like to read it), and if we pick your comment (via a random number generator OR via magic; I’m open to either option), then we will buy ourselves a copy of the book of your choosing AND send you one as well. We further promise that we will read and review this book on our blog sometime in the 2012 year – if you’d like to do a joint review of some kind, we’re certainly open to that, but if you’d just like us to read it and do our thing while you do yours, that’s cool too. We can sort out those details later.

So to recap:

1) Pick a book that you would like to read that we HAVE NOT already read and reviewed (you can check out our archives here to see if a book’s been covered on the site). You can of course use this as an opportunity to force us to read something you think we will hate for a maximally grumpy review (which you all seem to like), but remember, you’ll be getting a copy of the book too!

2) If you live outside of the United States, check The Book Depository website and make sure that the book you want is available there AND that your home country can be shipped to (and since The Book Depository essentially ships everywhere on the planet, that means this giveaway is open worldwide!). If you live in the U.S., you have the added option of picking a book via Amazon.

3) Comment on this post letting us know what book you are choosing and why. Comments will be accepted until MIDNIGHT on the evening of SUNDAY November 19th, 2011.

So that’s pretty much it. Put on your thinking (or party!) hats, let your imagination go wild and let us buy you a book!

[P.S. Per usual, this post will be sticky until the end of this giveaway, so make sure you scroll down for new content!]

9th March
written by Steph


Apologies for the lack of updates here of late. Alas, expect them to persist for a little while at least, since I am suffering a case of what I am referring to as Reader’s Rage. An extreme form of a reading slump (is it the time of year? Everyone seems to have the bookish doldrums of late), it’s not just that every book I’ve picked up over the past two weeks has failed to excite or interest but rather almost all of them have made me waspish and annoyed. I keep thinking the characters are stupid or that the focus is trivial and while part of me desperately wants to be reading, as soon as I pick up a book, I want to be doing anything else. I’ve probably read the first 20 pages of five or six books in the past week or so but nothing feels right. So I abandon ship and try something else only to find the same issues cropping up. I have to assume it’s not the books’ faults, it’s mine. Normally I’d turn to an old favorite, but given my current mood, I fear I’d find the suck fairy had gotten into them, thus destroying a once beloved book due to my crotchety mood.

And writing hasn’t been any better. I have a handful of books I need to cover on the blog, but whenever I open up a file to start typing, I find I have nothing to say. Which is a shame and just plain wrong because these books are pretty good and deserve having things said about them. Positive things even! But the words, they will not come.

I fear I have lost my groove! I know I’ll get it back, but I’m going to give myself a guilt-free breather until I find my way home again. Let me tell you, feeling like books are your worst enemy rather than your best friends is a terrible feeling. I hope I can shake it soon! Anyone out there experienced the same thing and have any tips?

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23rd February
written by Steph

Just say no?

We all know by now that I fell in love with Deborah Harkness’s magical reading sensation A Discovery of Witches when I read it a few months back. After finishing that book, I was struck with curiosity regarding another series I have long known existed but was never really had any interest in. That series is the Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon. To me these books seemed like big romance novels not really meant for serious readers, but after legitimately enjoying the romance between the two leads in Witches, I got to thinking, what’s so bad about having a little romance in the books that I read? I don’t want to make a steady diet of romance-heavy books, but I have nothing against them in principle.

So you’d think that I’d just dive into Outlander and see what all the fuss is about. I even went so far as to borrow an ebook version of it from my local library. But I’m hesitating and here’s why: from what I’ve read, I know that this book will have scenes involving gratuitous sex. And I’m not a prude, I’ve experience plenty of people getting it on in the pages of books I’ve read, though we all remember that I was less than impressed by the so-called sexiness of the Sookie Stackhouse books whose primary m.o. is to titillate. But reading people rubbing their bits on each other isn’t really what’s holding me back. No, instead I’m worried because I know that these books will involve not just sex, but graphic depictions of rape. And I don’t need to tell you (but I will) that the idea of rape is as far from sexy as I can get.

Again, I’ve read books (and seen movies) that involve rape scenes, but it’s always been clear in those scenes that these are a violation of the body and spirit. I am concerned that the way rape is depicted in Outlander may not be quite so clear-cut, but that perhaps we are meant to find it a bit of a turn on. I know there are some women who have rape fantasies, and I don’t want to judge, but I am clearly not one of them. I don’t think there’s anything sexy or exciting about non-consensual physical relations or mixing sex with abuse or degradation. My understanding is that there may be both male and female rape scenes in the first book, and my concern is largely with the latter, though I admit that the former is certainly troubling in its own right.

So I guess what I’m asking is for those of you have read these books to chime in and let me know what you thought when reading them. I am ok with them being escapist romps, but I truly feel anxious about the idea of getting invested in a story (I mean, Outlander is like 700 pages or something) that goes to a scary psychological place where forced sexual encounters are condoned or even considered arousing. I could of course venture forth myself and make my own proclamations, but I am feeling reluctant and want to gather some more opinions. So, if you have any thoughts on this series at all, please share them!

15th November
written by Steph

Thanks to everyone who helped us celebrate our two-year blogiversary, whether it be through kind comments or by entering our giveaway for a free book. Alas, there can only be one winner, and this year that winner is:

Mee from Bookie Mee!

Mee selected Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami as her choice, so a copy of that will soon be making its way to her!  Congrats Mee, and thanks to everyone else for entering! We look forward to another year of blogging shenanigans!

8th November
written by Steph

This is us celebrating Tony turning 28, but don't worry, our blog doesn't know any better...

So, Steph and Tony Investigate! turned two… on November 2. Oops! Life has been so busy that the day came and went without Tony or I realizing the significance. I mean, now that our blog is in its terrible twos, we should have commemorated the transition by trashing our apartment or getting rip-roaring drunk or BOTH! Certainly anything but letting the day pass in silence!

But really, what would this little site be without you, or loyal readers who have stuck with us as we first began to figure out this crazy thing called blogging, and have watched us take our first few steps out into the world, watching us trash bad books and movies (while also celebrating the good ones!), and eat decadent food along the way? You know, just like toddlers do. So, to celebrate having successfully made it through two whole years of blogging, we want to give you some gifts… because we are both crazy and generous like that. And humble.

To thank you for sticking by us and making us feel like we’re doing something right, we’d like you to investigate our archives. Pick any book there that we’ve reviewed in any capacity (yes, BookPage reviews count!) and tell us which one you would like and why! We’ll use a random number generator (or magic) to pick a winner and will send said person the book of their choosing. Because you can’t spell “Party” without “Free Book”! Have fun reliving our glory days, because it’s all downhill from here… Just kidding! 😉

The deets

  • Contest will run until midnight on the evening of Sunday, November 14
  • To enter, leave a comment on this post letting us know what book we have reviewed that you would like and why
  • Giveaway is open to anywhere The Book Depository ships… I’m not American, and Tony’s not Canadian, so we love all citizens of the world equally well

That’s it! Let us buy you a free book, won’t you?

[P.S. This post will be sticky for the duration of the giveaway, so be sure to scroll down for new content throughout the week!]

14th January
written by Steph

You’ll recall that back during our blogiversary festivites, we solicited feedback from all of you faithful readers about what improvements you’d like to see on the site.  Change has been slow to come as real life has been busy, but we did take note of all your helpful ideas and are slowly getting around to implementing them.

Most pressing was the need for a page listing all of the books we’ve reviewed on the site for easy browsing.  I’m happy to say that after a lot of typing, said page is finally ready to assist you in your Steph & Tony Investigate! perusing needs.  The archive can be found here, or alternatively in the red header at the top of our site under “Books Reviewed” (how’s that for intuitive?).  I’m not sure how some of you manage to be so fancy and have multiple pages that are broken down by Author, Year Reviewed, and Title (SO MUCH TYPING!), but I hope that for now having a page that lists, in alphabetical order, all of the titles reviewed on this site will suffice!

Let us know if any links don’t work or if there’s just any general wonkiness.  Thanks for your patience, and have fun playing in the archives!

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2nd November
written by Steph

[Note: This is a sticky post, so be sure to scroll down for new content!]

One year ago today, Tony and I embarked on this crazy blogging project we titled Steph & Tony Investigate!  We started it as an opportunity to create something together, and to give ourselves the opportunity to be creative, practice our writing, and speak to the things in our lives that got us thinking.  In the past year, tons has happened, and it’s quite nice to have a record of that in terms of words we’ve written and pictures we’ve taken.  So much has taken place, including getting engaged and married!  I can’t say that we had any firm goals or expectations going into this little blog, and I don’t think we’ve even yet fully crystallized what exactly this blog is or what we’d like it to be, but I do know that one of the wonderful things neither of us really anticipated is the wonderful group of people we would encounter through the blog, all of the wonderful discussions we would have, and the way in which we’d come to be part of a great online community.  To be recognized by so many people during the 2009 Book Blogger Appreciation Week was truly lovely and unexpected, and was really just the icing on a fantastic first year of blogging.

To say thank you to all of you who stop by and read the site and who appreciate what we do, we’ve decided we’d like to first thank you in words (check!), and then thank you in gifts, because really, what says “you rock!” better than a gift?  We mulled over the best way to do this, from the very complicated, to the very simple, and we decided this: to celebrate the one-year mark of the site, we’ve decided to give away one book for each week in November.  We’re big fans of celebrating, and I’ve always been of the opinion that it’s a shame birthdays are but a single day of the year rather than entire week or better yet, an entire month, so voila!  A whole month of celebrating!  Rather than picking the books, we thought it might be nice to let you do the picking – after all, our favorite books might not be your favorite books, and our hope is that throughout the past year we’ve covered at least one book on Steph & Tony Investigate! that piqued your interest.  So, any book that we’ve reviewed on the site (including reviews I linked to for books I reviewed for BookPage) is up for grabs!

To be entered in the first of our four giveaways, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post (I’ll make it sticky for the duration of this giveaway), with the following information:

  1. Which book you’d like us to send you
  2. Why you picked the book you did

As I said, you can pick any book we’ve covered and rated on the site (provided we can purchase it through Amazon or some similar online bookseller… and unfortunately we can’t guarantee that you’ll receive the same edition we read if it’s no longer readily available), so peruse those archives and find the gem that’s been missing from your collection!  One entry per person each week, but if you blog about this giveaway on your own site (and then leave a comment with a link to your post, provided this post doesn’t automatically do that whole “pingback” thing on its own, so that we can give you credit for doing so) then we’ll give you an extra entry. And we know that we have readers from all over the globe, so we don’t care where you live, you’re all eligible to enter. After all, our love wasn’t thwarted by nationality, and we’d never discriminate against others on that basis either! 😉 This giveaway closes Sunday, November 8, 2009 at 11:59 pm and the winner will be randomly selected from the comments, so that gives you nearly an entire week to figure out which book you’d like.

Need some suggestions?  Here are some of our favorite reads in 2009 thus far:

Have fun splashing about in the archives, and once again, thanks so much for all the fun and all the support!  Here’s to one fabulous year of blogging, but hopefully many more to come!

19th August
written by Steph

Not to get all Sally Field on you, but we just found out that at least one of you (or maybe more, we don’t know!) nominated us for some lovely Book Blogger Appreciation Week Awards.  If you did nominate us, then you know your reasons, but for those who are curious (and haven’t been reading comments), we’re up for Best Collaborative Blog (don’t lie… it’s because we got married, right? 😉 ), and Best Literary Fiction Blog. [Updated to add that we were also notified today that we’ve also been nominated for Best Writing, which is really so gratifying.  Thank you!]  To say we’re surprised is an understatement!  We definitely didn’t see this one coming, but thank you for the support and the appreciation… in this case being nominated is really an honor in and of itself!

[P.S.  New content coming soon… we just have to finish reading something, and get off our lazy butts and review some of the movies we’ve been watching…]