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What Are You Reading: September 2017

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Also, my wife is reading The Circle by Dave Eggers and has mixed feelings about it but told me I should read it when she's done. Pretty sure they made it into a movie that got terrible reviews. 

Anyone else read that book or seen the movie? Thoughts?

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I am going to try to get back into the Lymond books while waiting for my library holds on Robin Hobb.  I really enjoyed The Game of Kings even if it kicked my ass.  But I never moved on to Queen's Play.  Hopefully I can set my mind to think; I have high hopes.

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11 hours ago, SkynJay said:

I am going to try to get back into the Lymond books while waiting for my library holds on Robin Hobb.  I really enjoyed The Game of Kings even if it kicked my ass.  But I never moved on to Queen's Play.  Hopefully I can set my mind to think; I have high hopes.

Queen's Play is just as good and just as dense as Game of Kings. I wish I had known about the Dorothy Dunnett Companion before tackling her books. It would have been more convenient than googling so often. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/112076.The_Dorothy_Dunnett_Companion

I'm about halfway through Thomas Asbridge's The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land. Very interesting. I really appreciate the nuanced approach Asbridge takes to the subject.

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I just read SLASH OF THE TITANS: The Road to Freddy vs Jason in two days! A record for me, though it was short.

Get all the details of the 10 years of develop hell for FREDDY VS JASON!

Get in depth plot play-by-play of, like, 12 different scripts written and put into development at some point during those ten years. Did you want to see a Freddy cult and its evil cult leader Dominic Necros take some of the screen time in Freddy vs Jason? Then this is the book for you. Read all about it here. Ever wanted to read plot summaries where Jason finally SPEAKS? Get it here as the author giddily recaps the "brilliance" of these lost ideas. Jason Goes to Court then Fights Freddy? It's in there! The author is particularly impressed with Jason's defense attorney "and her savvy legal maneuvers to keep the trial at Crystal Lake!" Ever wanted to hear the maker of Jason Goes to Hell compare himself to Joseph Conrad and complain about how people just don't get how smart his Friday movie is? It's all in this great, in depth, 200 page book: SLASH OF THE TITANS!

And when the writers of these scripts are all asked: "did you watch the final version of the Freddy vs. Jason movie?" Do you want to hear their various for why they HATED THAT MOVIE? Get all the dirt here.

Anyway, it's kind of a fun read if you can get past the annoying author and the pretentiousness of some of these writers. The screenwriter for Cell had a particularly awful adaptation, but man, does he think it's psychological and awesome. Like when Jason kills a drug dealer by shoving drugs down his throat, and then cuts a lady's stomach open and puts her drug baby back in her womb as she dies. But he saves the baby and carries it around the rest of script? Wow.

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Finished The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis, a non-fiction about the work of Kahnemann and Tversky in psychology about cognitive biases and decision making.  I love this topic, and I've really enjoyed the other books I've read by Lewis (even if he falls into the Gladstone trap of writing a good story at the expense of rigor or accuracy), so I was a bit surprised that this fell flat for me.  It wasn't terrible but it was pretty dull and spent all of its focus on their personal biographies and the emotional resonance of their Lennon-McCartney-like collaboration, without ever really capturing something special on the page. 

If you're interested in this topic, just read Kahnemann's book instead. 

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On Thursday night I finished A Hat Full of Sky, I enjoyed the interaction between Tiffany and Granny as well as a young (smart) witch learning the craft.

Friday I started rereading Op-Center (aka Tom Clancy's Op-Center) by Jeff Rovin, from 1995-2003 this was one of the two book series--the other was another "Tom Clancy" series entitled Power Plays--that I bought as soon as the books came out and read as fast as possible.  The original run went until 2005, but the last two books while I did purchase them I just did get into reading.  The series was "rebooted" in 2014 and while I've purchased the books I haven't read them because I still hadn't read those last two books from the original series.  So I'm going to start rereading the series every eight book--if everything goes to plan (it won't)--until I get through the both the original and the reboot.

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I just finished Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone. I then read the blurbs for the other books in that series (Craft Sequence) only to discover that the main characters don't reappear until book 5. Can I jump ahead to book 5 then go back to books 2~4, or do I need to read them in order of publication?

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2 hours ago, Teng Ai Hui said:

I just finished Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone. I then read the blurbs for the other books in that series (Craft Sequence) only to discover that the main characters don't reappear until book 5. Can I jump ahead to book 5 then go back to books 2~4, or do I need to read them in order of publication?

You'll miss a LOT if you skip book 2 and 3. 4 is mostly a prequel to 2, but the point of 5 is it's when all the story lines come together.

Edited by Darth Richard II

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Finished Thomas Asbridge's The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land. Loved how he dispelled the myths surrounding the Crusades and his treatment of some of the major figures involved.

Now onto Robert Harris's An Officer and a Spy and Joseph Conrad's  A Secret Agent.

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I read Max Gladstone's Full Fathom Five. I felt it was a little bit slow to start off with compared to the previous two books, but the second half was much better, and it had a good ending. The Hawaii-inspired setting was also a nice novelty for a fantasy story, and I liked the idea of an offshore worship haven where people can draw power from Gods without having to do any of the inconvenient sacrificing they had to do on the mainland.

Now I'm reading Adrian Tchaikovsky's second book of short stories set in the Shadows of the Apt Universe, A Time For Grief.

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Tuesday I finished my reread of Op-Center by Jeff Rovin, it was a good action-thriller however the characters, especially the women, were meh.  Given that I was a teenager when I first read the book, it isn't surprising that I didn't notice them before.  Hopefully character development improves in other books, but I'm not confident.

I've started reading (TheRepublic by Plato, no specific reason except to have read it as well as other philosophical & political theory works from across the millennia.

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just finished (finally) robin hobb's assassin's quest. now starting october, by mieville. unfortunatley i only have it as a ebook, and no portable e-reader beyond my phone, so i will likely start something else on my way into work tomorrow. maybe altered carbon, probably been putting that off for far too long

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I'm reading The Devil in the Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson. Set in a debtors' prison in London in the early 1700s. OK so far. A bit of a Gary Stu.

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I just read Jack Reacher #7 (I don't track the meaningless titles) as a quick variation after some non-fiction and fantasy.  This series is consistently good, albeit very formulaic and very limited by the genre.  I used to get annoyed by the implausible calls for Reacher's help, always by an attractive woman (always younger than him, always slim, petite, and elegant) and usually within law enforcement (despite him being outside the law and usually racking up a body count with no consequences), but I've made my peace with it because it's basically just a modern telling of the knight errant: the damsel in distress calls for help, the protagonists and antagonists are mostly current or former military or law enforcement (other members of the knighthood), and Reacher joins the good knights to defeat the bad knights and protect the small folk from their predations.  The tension build, the twist and the climactic duel are all predictable and basically no different from a story of Dunk & Egg.  All the variation is in the scenario.

Now starting a non-fiction history of colonial America that was rec'd here recently. 

I also bought the Craft series after so many recs around here.  The description sounds a bit "Harry Potter works at a law firm" but I'll give it a try. 

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It's been a quiet month, but I finished Kay's Children of Earth and Sky.  I quite liked it -- and it was fun spotting the callbacks to the Sarantine Mosaic -- but I thought the last couple of hundred pages were a little bit disappointing.

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I finished Winter's Heart just in time to leave (good thing, since it was a library book). I always think of this as one of my least favorite in the series, but it actually has a lot of stuff that I like. The cleansing is one of the biggest events in the books, and Mat's escape from Ebou Dar makes me tense every time I read it even though I know what is going to happen.

But on the other hand, Elayne (ughhhh) and Faile (uhggjakjga;odjsfadssf). This starts the Faile kidnapping story which is one of my least favorites.

No time for reading lately as I've been moving, but I've basically made it through Drive. It was okay. For me, it was stuff I already knew and indeed considered common sense, so no big revelations or anything. It is nice to have it all presented together to help me think about how I structure my life and career.

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I just finished my reread of Paul Kearney's Monarchies of God series. Great for when you want that WOT/ASOIAF epic fantasy feel but in cliff notes version. Still my favorite of Kearney's works.

Finally Raymond E. Feist & Janny Wurts Empire trilogy is available on Kindle, my paperback copies are all disintegrated and I haven't reread them in over a decade. I bought all three books for my Kindle and have just started on Daughter on the Empire.

Ken Follett's third book in the Kingsbridge series, A Column of Fire, came out last Tuesday, I had preordered it and so that's been downloaded to my Kindle and will probably be read by the end of this month or sometime in October.

Lastly, Berkely Breathed's Bloom County 2015/ (New) Bloom County that he's been releasing strips for only on Facebook have been put into  book collections, ones out and another one is due out in October. I finished the first one, good bathroom reading :P 

I wouldn't say they were that funny for the most part, only that Breathed has recaptured the comfort nostalgia of his 80's strips and they do seem to get better as he shakes off the rust. I'm definitely enjoying these better than the Opus strips and I'm happy he's writing strips in both the daily and Sunday formats again.

The April 1st strips are really, really, really something to look forward to,

This one just makes me feel happy and wistful and "if only..."

http://images.techtimes.com/data/images/full/226252/ch-jpg.jpg?w=570

And this one Breathed nails it so well I wonder if he actually got a certain friend and recluse artist to come out of retirement for a strip or if he's actively trying to egg the writer on to either sue him or start drawing again in earnest, or both.

Anyway, it's so spot on glorious it's enough to bring my to tears:

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/0c/d7/db/0cd7db176c2aea647c5a81d2d5670114--magnum-opus-berkeley.jpg

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About to finish The Iron Hound (The Hallowed War, #2) by Tim Akers.Then, it's on to Son of the Night, the second book in Mark Alder's Banners of Blood series.

I've also ordered an interesting sounding non-fiction titled The Sabres of Paradise: Conquest and Vengeance in the Caucasus by Lesley Blanch.Apparently, this was one of the books that had a huge influence on Dune.

Edited by AncalagonTheBlack

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I finished Adrian Tchaikovsky's second collection of short stories in the Shadows of the Apt World, A Time For Grief. I thought it was a consistently good collection without most of the stories particularly standing out, I think the survival horror of The Price of Salt was probably the best of them.

Now I'm reading Dave Hutchinson's Europe In Autumn, a near future SF story in which Europe has broken up into a multitude of small states, it follows an Estonian chef who gets recruited into a clandestine organisation known as the Les Coureurs who move messages, packages and people across the myriad borders. It's got a bit of the feel of a Cold War espionage thriller (even the protagonist notices this), it's well-written and has some vivid descriptions of a slowly decaying Europe, to begin with the story feels relatively small in scale, but that's starting to change.

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My copy of Royal Assassin has finally arrived so I am continuing on in joining the rest of the fantasy world in reading Hobb.  I am also still working through Queens' Play Dorothy Dunnett.  Her books are great but I struggle at times getting the motivation; it requires my full attention.

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