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Starkess

What Are You Reading: September 2017

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New month! :cheers:

I am still working through my WoT re-read. I am almost finished with The Path of Daggers. This is right in the "slow spot" of the series, so I have been surprised by how much actually happens in this book. It's just surrounded by so much embroidery and skirt-twitching that it becomes hard to realize things are actually moving forward at a decent clip. 

I picked up a copy of Drive by Daniel Pink on the rec of a writer. It's a nonfiction book about motivation, and I'm excited to read it, although I am not sure when I will get the chance. I am moving this month and starting class, and most of my reading time is going towards plowing through WoT. Maybe I'll take a break after TPOD to get to some of my other TBR items.

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6 hours ago, Starkess said:

I am still working through my WoT re-read. I am almost finished with The Path of Daggers. This is right in the "slow spot" of the series, so I have been surprised by how much actually happens in this book. It's just surrounded by so much embroidery and skirt-twitching that it becomes hard to realize things are actually moving forward at a decent clip.

It isn't too bad when you're rereading the series. It was the lack of resolution of the cliffhanger regarding Mat at the end of the previous book which pissed me off when it first came out.

Anyway I haven't posted in these threads for a while. Recently I've read Dead Man's Steel, A Plague of Swords and A Dragon of a Different Colour all of which I enjoyed but they all whip through a lot of plot in one book. At the moment I've just started Kate Elliott's Buried Heart, the very two books were very good so I'm looking forward to it.

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I'm about to start Thornhill by Pam Smy. It's a beautiful chock full of illustrations.

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Just finished King Rat by James Clavell. I didn't like it much at first, but by the end I actually found myself choking up a few times. I have such respect for Clavell as a writer after reading this. He went through Hell in Changi Prison, and he was still able to write so beautifully and respectfully about Japanese culture in Shogun.

Edited by Let's Get Kraken

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I just finished Brilliance by Marcus Sakey, first of a new series apparently.  The underlying premise caught my eye, kind of like an X-Men scenario (I was primed for that after Jemisin) but with more plausible gifts/powers -- all cognitive -- than energy beams shooting out of eyeballs.  The downside is that it's more implausible that "normals" would be so hostile to "gifteds" who only have enhanced cognition that already occurs, albeit less frequently.  Within this background setting the novel itself reads like a fairly standard action thriller, reminiscent of Tom Cruise playing Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible (without masks).  It was reasonably well written but it's a genre I find too formulaic and shallow.  I won't be reading further but it wasn't a bad read at all if you want an action thriller. 

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8 minutes ago, Let's Get Kraken said:

Just finished King Rat by James Clavell. I didn't like it much at first, but by the end I actually found myself choking up a few times. I have such respect for Clavell as a writer after reading this. He went through Hell in Changi Prison, and he was still able to write so beautifully and respectfully about Japanese culture in Shogun.

I really enjoyed that novel.  He portrayed it so well.  I felt hungry and wretched throughout.  But it wasn't just misery porn, the characters felt real and human and I cared intensely for their survival.  

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15 hours ago, ljkeane said:

It isn't too bad when you're rereading the series. It was the lack of resolution of the cliffhanger regarding Mat at the end of the previous book which pissed me off when it first came out.

Ugh yes that is annoying. Everyone constantly just being like "Welp, hope Mat's okay with the Seanchan!" and never once try to actually rescue or help him at all, even though when other characters were held captive by the Seanchan at Falme they went to go rescue them. Poor Mat!

I finished TPOD and decided I'll just get through to get through Winter's Heart before I move.

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I'm about a third of the way through Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. It's been pretty good so far, I'm quite enjoying it.

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I'll be starting the last volume of Jemisin's The Broken Earth Trilogy tonight.

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1 hour ago, Peadar said:

I'll be starting the last volume of Jemisin's The Broken Earth Trilogy tonight.

You are in for a treat!

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The Crucible by Arthur Miller — because I'm required to read it

Edited by 4 Eyed Crow

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Has been some time since I posted in one of those, so here comes:

Finished "The Memoirs of Lady Trent" series by Marie Brennan about a lady  dragon-naturalist from a secondary world  sorta Britain and her struggles and adventures in the pursuit of her obssession. A really enjoyable, fun series with a very appealing protagonist,  though the last 2 volumes (of 5) are markedly weaker than the first 2, IMHO. Fortunately, each book is pretty much a stand-alone adventure. I'll have to look at the author's other stuff.

"The  Burning Page" by Genevieve Cogman, the third installment of her "Invisible Library" series, where said institution and it's killer cleptomanic librarians allegedly maintain the balance between chaos and order in the multiversum containing countless parallel universes. I like this series - it is a cozy adventure with entertaining world-building and nice characters, though nothing mind-blowing.

"Down Among Stick and Bones" by Seanan McGuire - a prequel novella to her Hugo-winning "Every Heart a Doorway", which I loved. Unfortunately, this one was a big let-down for me. It has none of the sense of wonder and charm of the original, but is, instead, pretty didactic.

"Hag-Seed" by Maragaret Atwood, which is basically her ruminations on Shakespear's "Tempest" in the form of a novel. It is very well written and while the framing plot is a bit weak, IMHO, the actual examination and discussion of the play is brilliant. A great alternative to Cliff's notes and made me want to re-read the source material, which, I understand, is exactly what it was meant to do.

"The Delirium Brief" by Charles Stross, another installment in his "Capital Laundry" series about a British secret magical spy/defense organisation that is working to mitigate an inescapable Chtulhu-esque apocalypse that is happening in "our" society. The early installments are pastiches of various authors/genres, but he has moved beyond this shtick. Very enjoyable as always and he is not afraid to deliver on the promise of the premise.

"The Stone Sky" by N.K. Jemisin, the conclusion of her "Broken Earth" trilogy. She stuck the landing, I am glad to say. I don have some quibbles, though, and I think that the book is a bit weaker than the previous 2 volumes, but since they were pretty much brilliant...

"Beren and Luthien" by J.R.R. Tolkien - it was nice to see all the versions in one place and see the evolution of the story. I have read some of "History of Middle Earth" volumes, but, I have to say, it was news to me that the place of Sauron in the story was initially occupied by an evil cat! Anyway, such a pity that he never managed to write a truly complete and definitive version of the tale.

"The Inklings" by Humphfrey Carpenter, about the eponymous group to which Tolkien, Lewis, etc. belonged. Very interesting for me as a life-long Tolkien aficionado.

 

 

 

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I've been finishing books in rapid succession since the start of the month so here's a rundown:

Friday: I finished Daniel and the Revelation by Uriah Smith, a religious book I've been reading on the weekends since the end of June.

Saturday: I finished Christianity by Roland H. Bainton, this was a general survey of Christianity's 2000 year history in a little under 400 pages which after the fall of the Western Roman Empire kept the focus on Western Europe obviously in build up to the Reformation.

Sunday-Monday: I read The Underdogs by Mariano Azuela, a short novel set in the still on-going (at the time of publication) of the Mexican Revolution.  Though only ~160 pages, it perfectly brings out the confusion that conflict was known for.

I'm currently over halfway through A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett as part of my read through of Discworld, I'm enjoying following Tiffany Aching again as well as the chaos that is the Wee Free Men.

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So last month? (I think or maybe the month before) I started reading The Eye of The World by Robert Jordan and I'm really not liking it. I'm only up to chapter 16 (28%) and I'm struggling to pick it up and keep going. Has anyone else had this problem? 
I plan to finish the book but I don't think I will get the next one at this stage. 

I have started reading The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett the other day and I am 15% through that already and I am loving it. I will concentrate on this one over The Eye of the World because it will be quicker to read and I need to get finishing more books for the reading challenge. 

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I'm about 2/3 through Atonement by Ian McEwan which I thought sucked for about 80 pages but has certainly improved.  

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Bought Zoe Quinn's book the other day. Don't know if I'm gonna read it for a little while, but I think supporting the real narrative in that whole shitstorm is important.

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I finally finished Kushiel's Dart. That took me way too long. Partly it's because I haven't been much in the mood to read, but it's also because the book wasn't holding my attention. It took so long for anything remotely interesting to happen that I had no idea who the characters were or why I should particularly care about them when the more important events were occurring. And I felt there was a lot of telling rather than showing too - Phedre has a deep attachment to character X, Y and Z and is emotional to see them again but why? This impression was never really given earlier in the novel. Same with other characters, one in particular that made the ending even more "meh" for me

Spoiler

Melisande is bigged up as this shrewd and masterful political player that everyone should fear because she is so cunning and clever. But...is this actually demonstrated? She just seems to send a handful of letters and walk about being all seductive and beautiful and giving deep meaningful looks to Phedre. So when she is captured and then escapes at the end I just thought - ok? Next? Should I care?

I also got very tired of reading about all of these oh so beautiful perfect human beings in Terrie D'Ange too. I understand it's a plot point and they are supposed to be descended from Angels and all but it's so tiresome to read about flawless beauty all of the time. Can't there just be a nice plain Jane with freckles and an unremarkable face for a change to make things different?

 Anyway, glad that's done, I can move on to more desirable books...namely The Stone Sky!

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On 9/1/2017 at 10:08 PM, Starkess said:

I am still working through my WoT re-read. I am almost finished with The Path of Daggers. This is right in the "slow spot" of the series, so I have been surprised by how much actually happens in this book. It's just surrounded by so much embroidery and skirt-twitching that it becomes hard to realize things are actually moving forward at a decent clip.

Finished that last month! I'd heard it was slow and considered one of the lesser books in the series, but I enjoyed it. Everyone has things and characters they prefer reading about, but once you get that deep into the story I think even the slower political/ideological machinations become interesting.

Anyway, for September I just went to a book festival in Atlanta and bought a ton of stuff. Haha.

Right now I'm reading Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie and thoroughly enjoying the unique narrative approach. Still early in the story, but it seems to have an interesting blend of intellectual, historical nuance and almost Beat-like self aware, stream of consciousness story telling.

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I'm currently zipping though The Obelisk Gate. I have set aside The Weird Tales of Tanith Lee for now as I was finding it too samey to read continuously.

My albatross book at bedtime is Midnight's Children. The plan is to read enough each day to be finished with it by the end of the year.

I'm trying to consciously read more - more often, for longer, in more situations etc - to just push forward with my reading pile really.

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I read the first of the Helliconia trilogy and am now in the second one ("Summer"). For some reason this one does not grasp me, the first one was a considerably more gripping read. Still, very good and the whole thing shows what can be done if one takes "strange seaons" seriously (i.e. NOT like in SoIaF).

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