Astromech

April 2018 Reads

53 posts in this topic

Finished Bela Zombory-Moldovan's The Burning of the World: A Memoir of 1914. I paired it with my previous read, A Mad Catastrophe: The Outbreak of World War I and the Collapse of the Habsburg Empire. The Burning of the World was a quick read with a Hungarian perspective on the beginning of World War I. Zombory-Moldovan's return home to Budapest and his family and friends was quite insightful as were the glimpses of Pre-War Austria-Hungary and that era compared with the changes the war brought.

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Posted (edited)

About two-thirds through The Troop by Nick Cutter. I've read some horror in my time, but this is some of the most disturbing shit I have ever read. Awesome.

 

Edited by Spockydog

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45 minutes ago, Spockydog said:

About two-thirds through The Troop by Nick Cutter. I've read some horror in my time, but this is some of the most disturbing shit I have ever read. Awesome.

I really enjoyed it when I read it in October.  I'll be interested in hearing what you think when you've finished.  

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Around the middle of The Fifth Season, and I am slightly disappointed. The book is good and quite unique, but I was just expecting more considering the praise it got. Still a decent read to make me interested in the entire trilogy.

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Finished The Fifth Season, the beginning was weird and not really liked it that much, but the second half was very good.

Am I too dim for not understanding that the same character is on the three stories? When the first two stories converged, I was wow, didn't see it coming, and then one hundred pages later, the third story converged with the other two, and it was the same character all along. Either I have become too stupid recently, or this was done in a really good way, cause not even for a single moment I saw it coming.

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Wiley Cash's debut novel A Land More Kind Than Home. Crazy preacher comes to small, rural North Carolina town and a tragedy ensues. Southern Gothic. I was initially skeptical of Cash's use of three povs for the novel, but the three worked very well by the end of the novel by filling in the backstory as the novel progressed.

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Reading The Fool's Quest and am absolutely LOVING it.  It's embarrassing crying on the bus though.  Should finish it while on vacation.

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Just finished Death on the Links.  Going to start Gnomon, I think.  Either that or burn through the rest of the Hugo Novella list.  I'm hoarding the Invasion until I have an uninterrupted period of time to read.

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9 hours ago, TheRevanchist said:

Finished The Fifth Season, the beginning was weird and not really liked it that much, but the second half was very good.

  Hide contents

Am I too dim for not understanding that the same character is on the three stories? When the first two stories converged, I was wow, didn't see it coming, and then one hundred pages later, the third story converged with the other two, and it was the same character all along. Either I have become too stupid recently, or this was done in a really good way, cause not even for a single moment I saw it coming.

 

I think it's not obvious until late in the book that Damiya, Syenite and Essun are the same person. I did consider it as a possibility, since it seemed that Damiya and Syenite's stories were before the start of the Season, but I wasn't sure about that until later on. I think the first thing I wondered about was whether Alabaster was the character in the prologue who caused the Rift.

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Posted (edited)

I finished Elmet by Fiona Mozely. This is a difficult book to describe: part paean on family relationships (especially between father and son), part meditation on gender identity, part violent thriller. I enjoyed it overall and appreciated how much thematic ground it covered in relatively few pages, though I wouldn't rank it as one of my top reads of the year. 

I also got through Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle while on holiday. I didn't really know what to expect from my first Murakami novel, but in the end I was left feeling underwhelmed. Some of the novel's many vignettes (especially the face-to-face confrontations between protagonist and antagonist) were absolutely awesome, while other dream-sequences/episodes were just confusing and didn't seem to add much to the overall story. A case of the whole adding up to less than the sum of its parts. 
 
I'm now working my way through Borges' Ficciones
Edited by Paxter

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7 hours ago, williamjm said:

 

  Reveal hidden contents

I think it's not obvious until late in the book that Damiya, Syenite and Essun are the same person. I did consider it as a possibility, since it seemed that Damiya and Syenite's stories were before the start of the Season, but I wasn't sure about that until later on. I think the first thing I wondered about was whether Alabaster was the character in the prologue who caused the Rift.

 

I spotted it early on but I know others didn’t.  I may have read some other book not long prior with a similar structure that made me see the connection faster.  It wasn’t obvious at the start, but intriguingly possible. 

8 hours ago, Kalbear said:

I'm looking forward to Space Opera like I've not looked forward to a book in ages.

That sounds weirdly, bizarrely awesome.  Please post a review. 

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Just finished Iron Gold, #4 in the Red Rising Saga by Pierce Brown.  Since this took two weeks to read, it wasn’t particularly gripping to hold my attention.  This series is a Roman slave war and civil war set in a space opera.  The first three books felt like a complete trilogy and now the fourth jumps forward a decade to explore whether/how things can end happily ever after.  Considering there were no successful Roman slave wars, this leans on the American Civil war for a model of an imperfect conclusion.  Tangent: that left me interested to learn more about how other societies coped in the aftermath of slavery, e.g. Ireland or Scandinavia in their early Christian periods. 

The new direction means we hear primarily from new POVs and we see a whole slew of new arcs beings formed, but the world-building, gorydamn prose and especially the melodramatic style are all retained.  

Definitely a worthwhile read for fans of space opera and revolution.  I’ll continue reading even if it doesn’t grab me as a page-turner any longer. 

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I agree on Iron Gold not being quite the page turner as Red Rising, but it's still quite good.  The main difference for me being that while Red Rising makes you want to get up and cheer, Iron Gold makes you feel shitty.  But I admire what Pierce Brown is doing with the story.  This is no cheap cash in.

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I finished Snuff yesterday and I thought it was good, especially with the point-of-view virtually all from Vimes.  It was better than Thud! and thus a good book to end the Watch series of Discworld books.

I started rereading The Lost Realms by Zecharia Sitchin, the fourth book of his Earth Chronicles series on his ancient astronaut theory.

Today I started my next weekend read of Sam Campbell's Living Forest series, Loony Coon, the eighth book of the series.

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2 hours ago, End of Disc One said:

I agree on Iron Gold not being quite the page turner as Red Rising, but it's still quite good.  The main difference for me being that while Red Rising makes you want to get up and cheer, Iron Gold makes you feel shitty.  But I admire what Pierce Brown is doing with the story.  This is no cheap cash in.

I agree.  He has taken on an admirable challenge, and it has some relevance when we look at the Arab world after the American invasions and Arab Spring. 

This particular novel was less of a page turner because so many characters had less agency: Lyria and Lysander especially were mainly there as a lens for the reader to observe, and Ephraim’s moody survivor guilt wasn’t much better. Plus explaining realpolitik to readers and showing paragons of honor is often a bit dull. 

I know it’s only ten years later but it would have been nice to see more characters breaking outside of their color norms (Duke of Hands and Rhonna are the only two that jump to mind), and more insight into the culture of other colors: blues, greens, white, silvers, coppers, yellows, browns.  We’ve mainly seen gold and red. #3 showed obsidian, #4 showed some grey and a bit of pink.  I don’t think it was a great choice to have Lyria as another red POV. 

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Larry Watson's Montana 1948. A short, quickly paced novel about a boy and his family's lives being affected by the revelation his war hero, doctor uncle has been molesting his Native American patients. Quite good.

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Ron Rash's The World Made Straight. My first Rash novel. I enjoyed it, but found myself more interested in the 1863 Shelton Laurel Massacre referred to throughout the novel than the main story in 1970s North Carolina. I have Rash's One Foot in Eden added to my TBR.

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On 4/5/2018 at 6:52 PM, Iskaral Pust said:

That sounds weirdly, bizarrely awesome.  Please post a review. 

lol

Quote

 

And life, in all its infinite and tender intergalactic variety, would have gravely disappointed poor gentle-eyed Enrico Fermi had he lived only a little longer, for it is deeply, profoundly, execrably stupid.

Valente, Catherynne M.. Space Opera (Kindle Locations 51-53). Saga Press. Kindle Edition. 

 

 

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