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January 2015 Reading Thread


AncalagonTheBlack

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I have 200 pages left to go in 11/22/63. Quiet and very enjoyable, but since it's so long I've drifted off to another book for the third time. Star Wars: Kenobi this time. I'm liking it a lot, it's mostly a western with a Jedi in the periphery of it. This one is quiet as well, there's not a lot going on yet, but it's still hard to put down. The new characters are fun and there's a lot more humour than I thought. We never actually have scenes from Kenobi's perspective but that works in the novels favor. Glad I bought it.

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Today on my commute I read A Cuban Boxer's Journey, a short book about Guillermo Rigondeaux and his defection from Cuba to turn professional and his struggles therewith. He's a fascinating man surrounded by fascinating people so it's an enjoyable read, though very brief. Hope I can see the documentary by the same person on a similar subject (though apparently more expansive, covering a few other boxers who both left and stayed) at some stage.




Also The Awakened Kingdom, a novella that serves as a sequel/coda of sorts to her Inheritance trilogy. Enjoyable stuff.


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Oh hey Jemisin's The Awakened Kingdom. Thanks for reminding me.



I did it. I fucking did it. I finished Katherine Harber's Thorn Jack. The book was all "I deploy my overenthusiastic celtic gothy imagery against you!", and I was all "yes you have got that all over the floor now but I will keep reading." Then the book was all "bad romance clichés, I choose you!", and I was all "you make me sad, but still I will finish you." I persevered.



Seriously, it's ... pretty bad. Now, I read it, right? I read every page. I do not deny this. Harber's got some good ideas here; she comes up with some compelling mythic / horrific imagery, brings good creepy house, and some of the teen friendship stuff is pretty okay. But I just couldn't get along with how any of this was executed. The book's spirit is willing, but the vessel is weak. The story hemorrhages fae creepiness like it doesn't know when to stop and let the imagery / eeriness sink in; it deploys too much and doesn't seem to have a sense of when less might be more, and the description of these ethereal horrors feels very flat. The book has trouble getting people where they need to be without thudding contrivances that make the characters look dumb [people fall for a thing where someone they know, like know absolutely, does not have their best interests at heart tells them to go somewhere multiple times.] And the bad romantic male lead tropes are strong with this one. I really wish this book had worked out differently for me, since I love celtic fantasy, but honestly I spent most of my time through the last two thirds of the book thinking about how I was going to have to get some Holly Black or Maggie Stiefvater or M. L. Brennan into my reading list posthaste afterward to restore my faith in the subgenre. It's gothy and romantic and creepy enough, and quotes enough poetry, that it might very well rock some fifteen-year-old AP English student's world though.


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Just finished Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody and I was pleasantly surprised. From the cover, it didn't look like much, but as it was recommended to me I decided to give it a read. It was only 245 pages long, so I started reading not expecting much of a storyline from it. Oh how I was wrong.



From page one I was enticed by Carmody's immediate plunge into the setting of the apocolyptic world she had created. Page by page, I continued to be gripped by the fast-pace of the events. There was no dawdling or prattling on like many authors have the habit of doing. It is not often that I am left guessing when reading books, as I find that I can usually guess the ending by the middle of the book. This was an exception; It truly had me mystified. I found that I couldn't read the book bit by bit; I had to carry on reading. I will most definitely be reading the next books in the series.



Next up: Gone girl by Gillian Flynn


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700 pages into Memories of Ice in the Malazan series. This one has taken a lot longer to get through than the first two (especially compared to Deadhouse Gates, which I loved and raced through).



But it feels like things are heating up now.



Still... I might take a break from Malazan after this. A woman once stopped me a train station when I was reading The Book Thief and told me that I absolutely had to read The Cellist of Sarajevo so I might give that a shot next to keep from getting a fantasy overload.


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700 pages into Memories of Ice in the Malazan series. This one has taken a lot longer to get through than the first two (especially compared to Deadhouse Gates, which I loved and raced through).

But it feels like things are heating up now.

Still... I might take a break from Malazan after this. A woman once stopped me a train station when I was reading The Book Thief and told me that I absolutely had to read The Cellist of Sarajevo so I might give that a shot next to keep from getting a fantasy overload.

I'm at 500 pages in and am in the same boat, though I didn't particularly enjoy DG. I'm liking this more, but it's still kinda a slog. I'm taking a break as well after this. I can only handle one of these books every 6 months or so it seems.

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I finished City of Stairs. Thanks to those who rec'd it here in these threads. It uses an Edwardian fantasy setting (telegrams, cars, dreadnoughts, guns, bombs) to tell a story about collapsed empires and especially the fall of a religious-based hegemony. It kind of felt like India had reversed a blend of the Arabian and British conquest. Overall a good read with a female POV (nice change), some ok political intrigue and mystery, some fun world building of the divinities (but with lots of internal inconsistencies in the technology level), and IMO a medititation on the decline of the Arabian culture.



I also read a quick urban fantasy for a break: third installment of Generation V. It's humorous and light. No more than that.



I've just started Gears of the City. Enjoying it so far. Another good rec from these threads.


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Finished Mythology by Edith Hamilton, concise and readable stories of Greek and Roman mythology. Nice way to get a good introduction in Greek and Roman mythology, but I need to go somewhere else for Norse because the little section she included felt like an afterthought.



Starting Guards! Guards! and looking forward to it.


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I finished City of Stairs. Thanks to those who rec'd it here in these threads. It uses an Edwardian fantasy setting (telegrams, cars, dreadnoughts, guns, bombs) to tell a story about collapsed empires and especially the fall of a religious-based hegemony. It kind of felt like India had reversed a blend of the Arabian and British conquest. Overall a good read with a female POV (nice change), some ok political intrigue and mystery, some fun world building of the divinities (but with lots of internal inconsistencies in the technology level), and IMO a medititation on the decline of the Arabian culture.

That sounds like something I'd enjoy *puts on to-read list*

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I'm at 500 pages in and am in the same boat, though I didn't particularly enjoy DG. I'm liking this more, but it's still kinda a slog. I'm taking a break as well after this. I can only handle one of these books every 6 months or so it seems.

The end is pretty good in Memories of Ice. Totally worth the ride to it.

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I just finished Hyperion by Dan Simmons, which I read thanks to some people here mentioning it among their favorite reads in 2014.



The Good


Excellent prose, I can see why it won a Hugo.


Great characterization


Interesting style, with the alteration between 1st person and 3rd person narratives


Vividly painted the universe in which the story takes place, and what a universe it is.


The ending makes me want to jump into the sequel as soon as possible



The Bad


Uneven pacing, made reading some parts of it a real chore. I don't think I read another book where I wanted to give it up 90% in. (But I'm glad I stuck with it).


Also a bit of a heavy read at times, which despite my curiosity for the sequel makes me want to switch to something lighter before I go back to this world.



Science question for anyone who's read it:


There are multiple ways to achieve interstellar travel presented in the book, and there is often talk of time-debt. I can understand this time-debt being applied to ships that travel near the speed of light or ships where the passengers are frozen for the trip. But there are ships that travel at FTL speeds, those Hawking drive ships, and their crews also seem to accumulate time-dept. How? The theories I've heard suggest that if people were ever to build a ship that travels faster than light, there would be no difference in the time passage for its passengers and the people on planets.

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Today on my commute I read A Cuban Boxer's Journey, a short book about Guillermo Rigondeaux and his defection from Cuba to turn professional and his struggles therewith. He's a fascinating man surrounded by fascinating people so it's an enjoyable read, though very brief. Hope I can see the documentary by the same person on a similar subject (though apparently more expansive, covering a few other boxers who both left and stayed) at some stage.

Also The Awakened Kingdom, a novella that serves as a sequel/coda of sorts to her Inheritance trilogy. Enjoyable stuff.

A tremendous boxer and shamefully ducked.

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The end is pretty good in Memories of Ice. Totally worth the ride to it.

It really has picked up pace in the last 100-150 pages. I'm looking forward to the end now, rather than dreading the hundreds of pages I have left before me.

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Science question for anyone who's read it:

There are multiple ways to achieve interstellar travel presented in the book, and there is often talk of time-debt. I can understand this time-debt being applied to ships that travel near the speed of light or ships where the passengers are frozen for the trip. But there are ships that travel at FTL speeds, those Hawking drive ships, and their crews also seem to accumulate time-dept. How? The theories I've heard suggest that if people were ever to build a ship that travels faster than light, there would be no difference in the time passage for its passengers and the people on planets.

FTL can be just over the speed of light. I just assumed it was basically the speed of light and that this is basic theory of relativity stuff. That's how it's used in the series and it works for me.

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FTL can be just over the speed of light. I just assumed it was basically the speed of light and that this is basic theory of relativity stuff. That's how it's used in the series and it works for me.

I'm pretty sure that it was mentioned that those ships travel at faster than light speeds, so not equal to light speed. And whether their speed is just a little above the light speeds, or at Star Trek warp-level speeds, the laws change.

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