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What Are You Reading: September 2017

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On 9/26/2017 at 10:26 AM, Astromech said:

Cormac McCarthy's Child of God. Only the second novel of his I've read, after Blood Meridian. McCarthy's novels aren't ones I would necessarily say I enjoy( small sample size I know). However there are passages I love. His prose and tone are wonderful. 

McCarthy has to be counted as on of the best authors in the Western literary canon. If you want to start at a place that is slightly more accessible I would recommend all All the Pretty Horses or No Country for Old Men. That said, some of those pieces from Blood Meridian are ace:

Quote

“They were watching, out there past men’s knowing, where stars are drowning and whales ferry their vast souls through the black and seamless sea.” 

 

Edited by Suttree

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35 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

Pah, McCarthy couldn't write himself out of a wet paper bag.

At the very least you need to admire his work ethic. Dude was tip toeing the line and living in a random motel in Knoxville when he won his MacArthur Genius Award. They didn't even know how to reach him with the news.

Regardless, I tend to agree with Harold Bloom that that the four major American novelists of our time are Don DeLillo, Philip Roth, Thomas Pynchon, and Cormac McCarthy. Who would you add/subtract and why?

Edited by Suttree

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Oh man, I don't even want to get started on Bloom. That guy

well i just censored my first 5 or 6 thoughts.

Edit: Also, I'll be honest, I hate most of what people consider American Literature anyways, so it's kind oi a moot point.

Edited by Darth Richard II

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26 minutes ago, Suttree said:

McCarthy has to be counted as on of the best authors in the Western literary canon. If you want to start at a place that is slightly more accessible I would recommend all All the Pretty Horses or No Country for Old Men. That said, some of those pieces from Blood Meridian are ace:

 

His writing is very good, but I may have to try another one of his novels that perhaps dwells a bit less on human depravity. Blood Meridian was one long vicious slog book-ended by a good intro and fantastic ending. Child of God was a bit too piecemeal of a novel. Again wonderfully written passages, but the overall stories were lacking for me. His biblical prose is my favorite aspect of his writing.

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Just read Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier which I absolutely loved and look forward to reading the rest of the Sevenwaters trilogy 

Edited by Theda Baratheon

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I read Jo Zebedee's Inish Carraig, which I enjoyed reading. It's set in a ruined Belfast six months after Earth has been devastated by an alien invasion. I liked the characterisation showing how a group of fairly ordinary people coped with an extraordinary situation of trying to survive an alien invasion. I liked the setting as well, I thought it did a good job of giving the story a Northern Irish feel which distinguished it from all the other alien invasion stories.

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On Tuesday I finished (TheRepublic by Plato as translated by Robin Waterfield and that it was interesting as philosophy but isn't much of a political theory because well there are a lot of holes if it was.

Yesterday and today, I read Gilgamesh: A New English Version translated by Stephen Mitchell and enjoyed it.

I've started Going Postal as part of my read through of Discworld.

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On 9/27/2017 at 11:10 PM, Suttree said:

At the very least you need to admire his work ethic. Dude was tip toeing the line and living in a random motel in Knoxville when he won his MacArthur Genius Award. They didn't even know how to reach him with the news.

Regardless, I tend to agree with Harold Bloom that that the four major American novelists of our time are Don DeLillo, Philip Roth, Thomas Pynchon, and Cormac McCarthy. Who would you add/subtract and why?

Of our time? I'd much rather read John Irving. 

 

 

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Wrapped up Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes, after getting in the mood for some holiday reads from the discussion in the Autumn Scary Books thread. While not exactly scary, it was still creepy and sent just the sought-after vibe I was seeking. I enjoyed it just as much as my younger self would have. What a fun story.

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(sorry if this one has been talked about in past threads)

This book series was recommended to me by a very good friend. I just started a listen on Audible, but will get the print book soon.

Good stuff so far.

THE STONE SKY
By N.K. Jemisin

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/26/books/review/nk-jemisin-stone-sky-broken-earth-trilogy.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur

A snippet from the linked article:

Like all good stories in this genre — like N. K. Jemisin’s extraordinary Broken Earth trilogy of slavery, revolution, destruction and redemption, for instance, which concludes with her new novel, “The Stone Sky” — the story of how epic fantasy and the adjacent realm of science fiction were transformed is a long one. It has many pioneers and legendary heroes, including (just for starters) such authors as Ursula K. Le Guin, Anne McCaffrey, Samuel R. Delany and Octavia E. Butler, not to omit those white male writers who have sought to broaden the genre’s cultural palette for reasons of their own. Neil Gaiman and George R. R. Martin come to mind, as does Frank Herbert, originator of the Dune series (inevitably, the “Duniverse”), whose apocalyptic blend of science, magic and planetary or ecological consciousness strikes me as an important precursor to the Broken Earth.

None of that is meant to diminish the impact or importance of Jemisin, an African-American woman who was born in Iowa and now lives in Brooklyn (and who writes the Book Review’s Otherworldly column, about science fiction and fantasy). She burst on the epic fantasy scene with her earlier Inheritance trilogy (completed in 2011) and has pretty well conquered it with the Broken Earth. Last year she became the first black writer to win the Hugo Award for best novel, one of the biggest prizes in the fantasy and science fiction realm, for “The Fifth Season,” first volume in the trilogy. This year, she won it again, for the middle volume, “The Obelisk Gate.” (Both books were also nominated for the Nebula, the other major prize in those genres.)

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I read 2017 Booker prize short lister History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund. I enjoyed the back and forth weave of the different timelines, I think that was very well designed and articulated. The protagonist was very well realised, very genuine. But ultimately I didn't find the story as fulfilling as I wanted it to be. It just didn't satisfy me completely. Definitely worth reading but I wanted a bit more. 

I completed a Tanith Lee collection - The Weird Tales of Tanith Lee, i.e. it's all of her shorts which were published in Weird Tales. As I think I mentioned in here previously, whilst I love, love, love her style and choice of subject I find that reading a lot of the shorts together kind of diluted the whole. So it worked better for me to break them up by reading other things in between. 

Whilst bedridden with con crud this week I read a couple of spooky tales - Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill (my first of his books) and Disappearance at Devil's Rock by Paul Tremblay. I thought the latter was fantastic. I think I would read anything by Paul Tremblay, I just find the tone and the protagonists to be very genuine, never a bum note or a stumble - it keeps me right there in the thick of the story.

Finally, realising that I'd sort of accidentally read two of the Booker prize short listed novels I figured I'd have a crack at reading them all before the winner is announced. So the last book I completed was Elmet by Fiona Mozley. HOLY CRAP WHAT A BEAUTIFUL BOOK. Incredible juxtaposition between tenderness and violence, harshness and sentiment. So good, so precious, I wanted to cradle it in my hands like a fledgling bird.

Now I've started Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, kind of bizarre in terms of form... it doesn't seem very long either. No idea how I'm going to feel about it by the end. I'm 15% through it but I'm wondering how it is going to draw me further in because I'm feeling ambivalent about it so far.

I think I'll probably manage this and the Ali Smith but the Paul Auster entry is nearly as long as LOTR! Not sure whether to even try it.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

 Just started Red Sister by Mark Lawrence. Digging it.

That book... Ugh. Good for you, that you enjoy it though.

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3 minutes ago, redeagl said:

That book... Ugh. Good for you, that you enjoy it though.

Well I'm only about 10% of the way through it. I suppose my opinion might change.

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29 minutes ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

Well I'm only about 10% of the way through it. I suppose my opinion might change.

I enjoyed it. I suspect your opinion won't change come its conclusion.

 

Myself, currently reading The Court of Broken Knives. I'm not exactly hooked, and Anna's linguistic repetition can be somewhat annoying-- but over all it's not bad per se. It's just a placeholder anyway, as I'll be dropping it like a hot potato when Elizabeth Bear's new book comes out next week. 

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8 hours ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

 Just started Red Sister by Mark Lawrence. Digging it.

I thought Lawrence really picked it up in his second trilogy, the one that started with Prince of Fools.  I was extremely disappointed in Red Sister.  Seems every other blogger I know loved it though.

 

2 hours ago, JEORDHl said:

Myself, currently reading The Court of Broken Knives. I'm not exactly hooked, and Anna's linguistic repetition can be somewhat annoying-- but over all it's not bad per se. It's just a placeholder anyway, as I'll be dropping it like a hot potato when Elizabeth Bear's new book comes out next week. 

Could not finish it.  Just couldn't figure out if it was me or the book.  Kept my copy just in case I get the itch to see if it was mood.

I am continuing on with Farseer.  Now on Assassin's Quest.  I thought Royal Assassin was absolutely wonderful.  Also working on Name of the Rose in audio; the narrator is pretty impressive and I hate getting out of my car anymore.

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17 hours ago, JEORDHl said:

I enjoyed it. I suspect your opinion won't change come its conclusion.

 

Myself, currently reading The Court of Broken Knives. I'm not exactly hooked, and Anna's linguistic repetition can be somewhat annoying-- but over all it's not bad per se. It's just a placeholder anyway, as I'll be dropping it like a hot potato when Elizabeth Bear's new book comes out next week. 

I finished it and there's some interesting stuff in there once you get into the verbal tics, but I found it oddly formless as a book, even with the clear plot goals laid out for at least one of the storylines (being generically non-spoily here).  This might sound odd, but it gave me a similar impression for why I bounced off Erikson after 1 1/3 books: in my secondary world fantasy leisure reading, I tend to like books that go somewhere strongly, that have some sort of setup/development/resolution structure, and I couldn't find anything strong enough to anchor on to.  Why do I care if these people are doing these things.

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On 10/1/2017 at 8:47 PM, Darth Richard II said:

I think she has a chance to go triple with the Hugo.

I liked the first book, and want to read the rest of the series, but there is no way this series deserves three consecutive Hugo’s for best novel. 

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