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RedEyedGhost

May - Reading 2018 - Have another?

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21 hours ago, Iskaral Pust said:

The scenario proxies 18th century British troops in Persia, with a guttersnipe private getting promoted quickly due to tactical leadership in the field, an enigmatic intellectual leader of the regiment, a brutish bully of a sergeant and an honorable senior officer, plus a wide cast of reprobates and naifs in the ranks.  I always enjoy books with plenty of military tactics.

I'm pretty sure it's a thinly veiled Napoleon in Egypt but, yeah, I'd liked all of Django Wexler's books.

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1 hour ago, ljkeane said:

I'm pretty sure it's a thinly veiled Napoleon in Egypt but, yeah, I'd liked all of Django Wexler's books.

I thought of that too but the culture and tactics of the colonial power feels more British than French: peerage as officers, purchasing commissions, deploying muskets in a line (rather than charging in column).

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I decided to do a re-read of the Long Price Quartet by Daniel Abraham, which I last read as they were being released. Started book 2 (A Betrayal in Winter) today. I knew these books were good, but I forgot just how good they are.

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I've been struggling mightily to get into John Ehle's The Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation. The research seems to be very thorough with a treasure of primary sources, but the writing is choppy with the quoting of too many of these sources, many of which don't seem to add anything to the main history. It also focuses too narrowly on specific individuals, trying to follow the history of the Cherokee through their lives. I'll shelve this book and find another one of this subject.

 

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On 5/16/2018 at 3:08 AM, HelenaExMachina said:

After mistakenly thinking I had only read three books in the series I realised i have read four (but only three this year which is why i confused it). So I downloaded The Spider’s War last night and will be finishing this series off soon. Have loved it so far

There is a thread on this, so you should check it out when you're done.

 

@Mr. X

Long Price is a series I've considered re-reading.  I was always stricken by just how much people on this forum loved it.  My recollection was that it got so much better as it went along with the final book being by far the best.  That was pretty awesome with so many series starting off with promise but fizzling. 

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I finished up The Price of Valor, book 3 in The Shadow Campaigns, by Django Wexler a couple of minutes ago.  My initial impression is that it's my favorite in the series so far which would be extremely rare for the middle book of a series, but after some time to process I could see that shifting back to the first book.  My not-so crackpot theory (I'm 95% sure at this point) is that

Sothe is Marcus' sister.  Really interested to see how everybody's worry about Janus' intentions will play out, and I can't wait to know more about what Feor's, Jaffa's, and Bobby's final roles will be.  Big fan of Abby's growth over the past two books, would have liked to see how her reunion with her father went.  Loved that battle between Winter et. al. and the Penitent Damned at the end, and the battle with Cinder too.  I did like Wren/Twist when we got his POV at the beginning.

  I just bought the next one and the new Bujold novella.  The latter will probably have to wait until I've finished books four and five in this series though.

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I started a WoT reread after reading that other thread.  I'm now about a third of the way through Eye of the World and have started referring to my dog as Mandarb.

Edited by Inkdaub
Italics were lacking

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15 hours ago, Triskele said:

There is a thread on this, so you should check it out when you're done.

 

@Mr. X

Long Price is a series I've considered re-reading.  I was always stricken by just how much people on this forum loved it.  My recollection was that it got so much better as it went along with the final book being by far the best.  That was pretty awesome with so many series starting off with promise but fizzling. 

Do you have a link to the thread? I looked when I was earlier in the series but couldn't find it

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22 hours ago, Triskele said:

 

@Mr. X

Long Price is a series I've considered re-reading.  I was always stricken by just how much people on this forum loved it.  My recollection was that it got so much better as it went along with the final book being by far the best.  That was pretty awesome with so many series starting off with promise but fizzling. 

That's totally how I remember it too. I'm only a little way into book 2 and that "getting better as it goes along" impression still holds.

What I didn't remember is how solid the first book is. I think I had sort of retroactively de-rated it after reading the later books. 

My best memory of the first read was finishing book 3 (An Autumn War) and loving that I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen next. That summer, I met Daniel Abraham at the BWB WorldCon party (in Denver, I think) and told this to him. His response was, "Yes. Isn't that great?"

Totally looking forward to that experience again.

Also sort of know I'm gonna end up crying on the subway again when I finish the fourth book, but so it goes.

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16 hours ago, Inkdaub said:

I started a WoT reread after reading that other thread.  I'm now about a third of the way through Eye of the World and have started referring to my dog as Mandarb.

Ha. I ended up doing the same thing. Finished the first 2 books, but I can't find my hard copy of the third one, and I can't find the charger to my kindle. While waiting for this situation to resolve itself I"m continuing my reread of the Rain Wild Chronicles. Just finished the second book of that as well.

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I just read CRYSTAL LAKE MEMORIES: THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF FRIDAY THE 13TH.

I'm now reading Blackwing by Ed McDonald.

 

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Has been some time since I did one of those -

I have found out that, distressingly, my main library doesn't discard long unchecked  books once a year as I had thought, but culls them continuously, so I have been trying to cram in stuff that I intended to pick up "one day". BTW, does anybody know how it works with Overdrive access from a particular library system? Does checking or not checking out books affect their continuing availability, or is it all up to the contracts between copyright holders and Overdrive? How does one request inclusion of specific books into the catalog?

Anyway:

Volumes 2 and 3 of Tiptree Award Anthologies - some really interesting stuff that gave me some new (to me) authors to track down, though may I  admit that I am lukewarm on the little that I have read of Tiptree as an author so far? I mean, it may be that some of it used to be groundbreaking back in the day, but no longer and I am somewhat iffy on the writing style. Though included snippets of correspondence are still incisive and enjoyable.

"We Are All Completely Besides Ourselves" by Karen Jay Fowler. Not SF despite her involvement with the Tiptree award, but it has to do with a scientific experiment and it's consequences for the participants. I thought that it was brilliant and wholly deserving of it's awards. I am definitely looking for the rest of her work in the future.

"Lincoln in the Bardo" by George Saunders - another mainstream critical darling, which fell almost completely flat for me. I liked historical bits concerning the death of Willie Lincoln and artful arrangement of  citations at least, but almost nothing else.

Volumes 2 and 3 of Karl Schroeder's "Virga" series - "Queen of Candesce" and "Pirate Sun" respectively. Steampunk in space (it is all explained, eventually, to make it somewhat plausible)! With a touch of Gulliver, maybe? And lots of cut-throat intrigue. The first volume was a bit of a tough going for me, but the series becomes better and better, partly due to the change in PoV characters taking the limelight and partly to the fleshing out of the world, scope, etc. Sadly, my library doesn't have the remaining 2 volumes of this somewhat obscure series, but I intend to hunt them down someday.

"Sleeping Giants" and "Waking Gods" by Sylvain Neuvel. Well, they are certainly page-turners and I liked the style, but they were not as great as I was lead to expect. Maybe I am a bit too jaded re: certain genre conventions, which really just don't make sense. I felt that the eventual grand revelation was more than a little iffy too. Description of the upcoming (final?) volume of the series doesn't sound all that exciting, but we'll see.

"The Children of Húrin" by J.R.R. Tolkien. I have always felt mixed feelings about this story, which I have previously read in snippets in Silmarillion and The History of Middle-Earth volumes, because on the one hand, tragic grandeur and somewhat detailed female characters, which are a rarity for Tolkien, but on the other, Elves in it are just so revoltingly dumb, weak and unexplicably almost universally in love with a very short-sighted, arrogant and often unpleasant jerk. Also, it is the "willfulness" of said female characters that brings them to their inglorious dooms, while Turin is glorified despite everything. It is almost comical how we are told that Turin doesn't gain friends easily, when so many characters fall over themselves to gain his affection, are jealous of his friendship to others, etc.  So, yea, mixed feelings became even more mixed.

"The Spirit Thief", "The Spirit Rebellion" and now on to "The Spirit Eater" by Rachel Aaron, all parts of her "Legend of Eli Monpress" series, which I am going to finish. An enjoyable popcorn sword-and sorcery/heist  with, IMHO, somewhat misleading covers, which led me to hesitate to pick it in the past. Happily, it is just what it says on the tin, rather than what I feared it might be and the books are very snappy reads to boot.

"The Tiger and The Wolf" by Adrian Tchaikovsky. I have intended to try Tchaikovsky for some time and since this new series became available on Overdrive from my library I decided to take the jump. It was... fine. I expected more. The setting has promise, but none of the characters have grabbed me so far. I do want to find out what happens next and will keep reading the series, so there is that.

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23 minutes ago, Maia said:

Has been some time since I did one of those -

I have found out that, distressingly, my main library doesn't discard long unchecked  books once a year as I had thought, but culls them continuously, so I have been trying to cram in stuff that I intended to pick up "one day". BTW, does anybody know how it works with Overdrive access from a particular library system? Does checking or not checking out books affect their continuing availability, or is it all up to the contracts between copyright holders and Overdrive? How does one request inclusion of specific books into the catalog?

 

I'm relatively new to Overdrive, but can possibly answer your second question. You have the option of "recommending" a title that isn't "owned" by your library. Overdrive makes no guarantees that your library will purchase the title for its catalog, but if it does, it will place a hold on that title for you. So I'm assuming if enough people recommend a title, the library system will purchase it.

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2 minutes ago, Astromech said:

I'm relatively new to Overdrive, but can possibly answer your second question. You have the option of "recommending" a title that isn't "owned" by your library.

I am looking at the Overdrive interface and not seeing this option. Could you, please, tell me where it is? It is not under feedback or help, nor anywhere else that I can see. TIA.

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On ‎5‎/‎18‎/‎2018 at 1:29 PM, HelenaExMachina said:

Do you have a link to the thread? I looked when I was earlier in the series but couldn't find it

Did you get any links to this?  Mr. Google found a couple; The Dagger and the Coin Spoiler thread.         and The Dagger and the Coin II; Through the Spiders War   both are archived.  I might read them both again as I enjoyed them the first time 'round.

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7 hours ago, Maia said:

I am looking at the Overdrive interface and not seeing this option. Could you, please, tell me where it is? It is not under feedback or help, nor anywhere else that I can see. TIA.

Sure. Search for a title in your library system. If your library doesn't own that title you will see an image of that title's cover with "NOT OWNED" across the top of it with a "Recommend" option below the image. It all depends on your library system's catalog. Overdrive is really only acting as an electronic middleman.

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On 5/20/2018 at 11:46 PM, Astromech said:

 If your library doesn't own that title you will see an image of that title's cover with "NOT OWNED" across the top of it with a "Recommend" option below the image.

Thanks! There must be a regional difference, because when a book is not available to my library system via Overdrive I don't get to see any cover images, just a "match not found" message. I guess that I'll have to see if I can ask for new additions in an old-fashioned way, through the library feedback page.

I have finished a couple of reads over the weekend:

"The Refrigerator Monologues" by Catherynne M. Valente, which turned out to be an angry satire at the superhero comics treatment of female characters. Not being a fan of the genre, I only picked up allusions to a couple of figures I know from the movies, but wow, the stuff is really egregious, when you think about it.

"Beneath the Sugar Sky" by Seanan McGuire, the next novella from her "Wayward Children" series about the kids who are heroes/victims of portal fantasy stories being returned to "Real Life"tm and their resultant difficulties of coping with it . I dunno, there was something that deeply touched me in the first installement "Every Heart a Doorway", which I loved, but the subsequent novellas didn't manage to recapture that feeling. They are fine, but don't fulfill the promise of the first, IMHO.

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Finished Jonathon FairFax Must Be Destroyed by Christopher Shevlin, the second in the eponymous "hero's" series.  Once again the nebbish Jonathon stammers and goggles as he mostly unintentionally thwarts the sociopath plot of jargon-spouting monomaniacal business executives (last time it was politicians).  The humor is still there but the structure of the novel was almost identical to the prior.  Some more variation is needed.

Although set in 2001, it was published only late last year, so presumably there may be more installments in the series yet.  Recommended for the gentle humor and forgiving perspective on the incredibly awkward people that most of us want to throttle sometimes.  Any fans of Arthur Dent would enjoy.

Edited by Iskaral Pust

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I finished reading The Last Defender of Camelot, a collection of some of Roger Zelazny's short stories. I think my favourite in the collection was 24 Views of Mt. Fuji, by Hokusai. I think it could have worked even better as an illustrated edition, although I was able to refer to Wikipedia to find out what pictures the main character was looking at. Like many of Zelazny's stories it packed a lot of ideas into a small number of pages and started off very bizarre but made much more sense as it went along (even if some things were left unexplained). I thought For a Breath I Tarry, Permafrost and the title story were good as well, although some of the other stories were a bit more average. Home is the Hangman has some interesting ideas and isn't as dated as a story about A.I. written in the 70s should be, but I found the plot a bit dull. .

Edited by williamjm

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I've been mostly reading non-fiction histories, but I got myself to read the Kovacs trilogy of novels by Richard Morgan after watching the show. They're not bad, although each one wasn't as good as the one before it. I think I'll take a stab at some of Richard Morgan's other SF books as well, especially Black Man (which I tried to read years ago, but couldn't get into it). 

 

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