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RedEyedGhost

June '18 Reading - Something something witty.

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2 minutes ago, HelenaExMachina said:

I plan to continue the series but haven’t got around to it yet. Low priority 

If I was short of reading material I'm sure I'd read the next book, but there are so many books out there that I want to read that I think I'm probably unlikely to continue with this series.

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I chqtted with Aliette de Bodard before reading The House Of Shattereed wings and learned it was heavily inspired by the anime Full Metal Alchemist. Once you know that, much of the setting, story structure and character development make sense, in different way from linking park (breaking the habit?)


This being said, I wish I had not known, I kept imagining generic anime stereotypes for the characters, especially the edgy leader of that other house, you know... I will not read the sequel either, it fell flat for me.

 

ETA: speaking of that, I've rerread Paradis Perdu from Soleil recently, it's still very good. Couv_14802.jpg&q=0&b=1&p=0&a=1

Edited by Errant Bard

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Recently, I finished Miles Morales: Spider-Man by Jason Reynolds and A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers.  AC&CO was a fun read, and I'm excited about her third book, which is scheduled to be release on July 24.

Now I'm reading Ship of the Dead (Magnus Chase #3) by Rick Riordan.  I've been a fan of his for a while now, but I probably won't read any more of his work after this.  The creativity and fun is just not there anymore.

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On 6/5/2018 at 7:40 PM, Iskaral Pust said:

 I’ve now started Not Tonight Josephine: A Road Trip Through Small Town America by George Mahood. A non-fiction travel memoir, supposedly humorous.  We’ll see.  It’s no Bill Bryson so far. 

I finished this.  It was ok but not much to recommend it.  It’s written with levity but not funny enough to make me actually laugh.  It’s not really about the places visited, rather the author’s impression of them as a naive young Brit. 

I also wasn’t impressed that we’re supposed to condone driving a very unsafe vehicle with no car insurance for ten thousand miles over nine months, while serially breaking lots of minor laws and ordinances about vagrancy and trespass, theft, not to mention working illegally (and untaxed) and overstaying a tourist visa.  It made the author seem entitled and irresponsible.   

It was ok as a change in pace, tone and content of my reading, but not something I’d recommend in itself. 

Edited by Iskaral Pust

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18 hours ago, Errant Bard said:

I chqtted with Aliette de Bodard before reading The House Of Shattereed wings and learned it was heavily inspired by the anime Full Metal Alchemist. Once you know that, much of the setting, story structure and character development make sense, in different way from linking park (breaking the habit?)


This being said, I wish I had not known, I kept imagining generic anime stereotypes for the characters, especially the edgy leader of that other house, you know... I will not read the sequel either, it fell flat for me.

 

ETA: speaking of that, I've rerread Paradis Perdu from Soleil recently, it's still very good. Couv_14802.jpg&q=0&b=1&p=0&a=1

Ugh, that makes a lot of sense actually. And I was BIG into anime at one point, like, a giant giant Otaku, but every anime inspired SFF I've read has been shit. At least this one isn't culturally offensive, so, yay?

Edited by Darth Richard II

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On 6/5/2018 at 5:40 PM, Iskaral Pust said:

...I’ve now started Not Tonight Josephine: A Road Trip Through Small Town America by George Mahood. A non-fiction travel memoir, supposedly humorous.  We’ll see.  It’s no Bill Bryson so far...

This showed up on my Kindle some time last year for free, and I read about half of it.  As you say, it was no Bill Bryson or Paul Theroux, and I gave it up because the stories revolved around dull bouts of either pointless drinking or petty theft.  The author said he planned to visit small town America, but then described mainly visits to places like Reno or New Orleans, if I recall correctly, in between trips to national parks.  Perhaps to an Englishman these are small towns, but to an American they lack appeal.

Some of the tales made me wonder how he managed to avoid being beat up or shot unless the stories were exaggerated or he was pulling some of the stuff on the most profoundly unaware denizens of the cities he visited.  In general, the stories were just not very interesting.  References to the fact that he overstayed his visa or failed to perform necessary maintenance on his van aren't that funny and don't impress me as to his daring.  The author's lack of moral center was unattractive; furthermore there was no counterbalance of cleverness or wit or insight to make the story interesting, so I stopped wasting time reading his book.

In fact, your review made me wonder how books like this get published.  Is there really a market for this sort of dull/unfocused travelog?  It seemed like the sort of thing that Millenials might find interesting, but are they big readers?  Who would pay to read this over something like The Great Railway Bazaar?  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Railway_Bazaar

Edited by Wilbur
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I just got to the end of Good Guys by Steven Brust.

It was like Vlad Taltos in an Urban Fantasy setting, so a bit less crazy on the magical front, and a bit less snarky and more jaded, as M. Brust's disappointment with the way the world caters to, huh, bad guys, shines through.

Plot runs on luck and sherlock logic, but it goes fast and is entertaining enough, so not bad but not that memorable.

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Orwell's "ode to catalunya" is proving an interesting alternative view of my recent trip to the region especially when he mentions stations and streets I visited. I also find it fascinating how people used to go along and fight in other people's wars back then and his descriptions and attitudes to war.

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Received an ARC of Chris Wooding's The Ember Blade, a massive (800 pages in tradeback) "traditional" epic fantasy. Only a couple of chapters in but very promising so far.

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Frank Bill's The Savage. A loose sequel to his Donnybrook. A post-economic collapse, militia-run dystopia set in Southern Indiana with several of the characters from Donnybrook returning. While Donnybrook was an adrenaline and amphetamine-fueled ride through rural Indiana, The Savage was a step down. A bit serious at times with commentary on the current state of affairs: economically, socially, and politically. It had glimpses and flashes of what I really enjoyed in Donnybrook, but felt like two different books. 

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4 hours ago, Werthead said:

Received an ARC of Chris Wooding's The Ember Blade, a massive (800 pages in tradeback) "traditional" epic fantasy. Only a couple of chapters in but very promising so far.

I like Wooding. Are you going to review it, Wert?

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On 6/7/2018 at 1:30 AM, Paxter said:

 Now about a third of the way through Michael Chabon's Moonglow, which I have mixed thoughts on so far. 

 

Really? I loved it, but probably at least in part because the characters and their life-stories strongly reminded me of some older people I have known and even my parents, a bit. I also have enjoyed everything that I have read of Chabon's to greater or lesser degree -  apart from his very pedestrian YA novel "Summerland" that was so boring and formulaic that I couldn't finish it, so I may be biased. But I am genuinely curious what didn't work for you in "Moonglow".

 

On 6/7/2018 at 2:50 AM, 4 Eyed Crow said:

"The patient has urinated in the duck."

"...loss of a large amount of urine past the duck."

But I figured in Russian, "duck" is probably slang for "urinal", and nobody was abusing aquatic birds.

 

"Duck" is a Russian term for  bedpan. I am not sure why. And, frankly, I don't find the poisoning theory all that persuasive - not to begin with, at least, though it is very likely that once incapacitated, Stalin was finished off in some way, rather than died naturally. But he was a 75 years old, who spent his life eating unhealthy foods and drinking alcohol to excess, as well as in constant paranoid fear and suspicion of everybody around him, not to mention the general stress of ruling, so him eventually getting a stroke shouldn't have been either surprising or suspicious, IMHO.

So, that's what I have read since posting in the previous thread:

"Moonglow" by Michael Chabon. Loved it, see above.

"The Spirit Eater" by Rachel Aaron, part 3 of her "Legend of Eli Monpress" series. I don't know, there are interesting developments, but certain subplots and characters feel really repetitive by now. It is also swinging from pure sword and sorcery towards epic and I am not sure that I like that. I'll take a break from the series for now.

"The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" by  Alexander McCall Smith. A charming, optimistic little book that is not so much a mystery novel that it pretends to be, as a collection of "slice of life" vignettes set in Bothswana. 

"The Bear and the Serpent" by Adrian Tchaikovsky, which is the second book of "The Echoes of the Fall" fantasy trilogy, about the largely neolithic - bronze age shapeshifter people living on a continent similar to Americas. I was lukewarm about the previous volume, because the 2 main PoVs and their plots didn't click with me, but I really liked this one.

In fact I liked it so much that while waiting for the third and final volume to become available from the library, I finally tackled his "The Shadows of the Apt" epic fantasy series that has been peripherally on my radar for some years and I am thoroughly enjoying it. It is very original in it's setting - giant arthropodes largely supplanted and replaced the mammals, birds and reptiles,  humans developed magical connections with them in order to survive and came exhibit some of their traits, interesting interplay of magic and technology, conquering empires, solid plots and characters. I have plowed through "Empire in Black and Gold" and "Dragonfly Falling", and I am finishing the third book "Blood of the Mantis", and so far my impression is that the series has been criminally overlooked. I also have so many questions, yet can't find anywhere to discuss them, sigh...

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8 hours ago, Maia said:

"The Bear and the Serpent" by Adrian Tchaikovsky, which is the second book of "The Echoes of the Fall" fantasy trilogy, about the largely neolithic - bronze age shapeshifter people living on a continent similar to Americas. I was lukewarm about the previous volume, because the 2 main PoVs and their plots didn't click with me, but I really liked this one.

In fact I liked it so much that while waiting for the third and final volume to become available from the library, I finally tackled his "The Shadows of the Apt" epic fantasy series that has been peripherally on my radar for some years and I am thoroughly enjoying it. It is very original in it's setting - giant arthropodes largely supplanted and replaced the mammals, birds and reptiles,  humans developed magical connections with them in order to survive and came exhibit some of their traits, interesting interplay of magic and technology, conquering empires, solid plots and characters. I have plowed through "Empire in Black and Gold" and "Dragonfly Falling", and I am finishing the third book "Blood of the Mantis", and so far my impression is that the series has been criminally overlooked. I also have so many questions, yet can't find anywhere to discuss them, sigh...

I do like both series, but I think the world-building of the Apt books does make it the more interesting series. I think there might have been a thread about it on here in the past, but it never got a huge amount of activity.

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20 hours ago, JEORDHl said:

I like Wooding. Are you going to review it, Wert?

This is the plan, although it might take a while. It's huge, 800 pages of fairly small type in tradeback.

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On Friday I finished Typee by Herman Melville and thought it was alright.  It's not something I would reread, but it was a better reading experience than Moby Dick.

Then I read The Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett to complete my read through of Discworld.  Though it was emotional to say goodbye, I enjoyed the story and thought it was the perfect wrap up of the series even though Terry wanted to continue writing it.

I've started Genesis Revisited by Zecharia Sitchin, this is a companion volume written 14 years after the first book of his ancient astronaut theory series began and he's denoting how recent (1976-90 time frame) scientific discoveries show that his interpretation of Sumerian accounts of the beginning of the Solar System are correct.  Luckily Sitchin does not repeat what he wrote in The 12th Planet, which was my biggest fear when I began reading this.

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13 hours ago, Maia said:

Really? I loved it, but probably at least in part because the characters and their life-stories strongly reminded me of some older people I have known and even my parents, a bit. I also have enjoyed everything that I have read of Chabon's to greater or lesser degree -  apart from his very pedestrian YA novel "Summerland" that was so boring and formulaic that I couldn't finish it, so I may be biased. But I am genuinely curious what didn't work for you in "Moonglow".

OK so I've done a bit of a 360 degree turn on this one...enjoying it now with 100 or so pages left! I think I just found it a little jarring initially as I wanted it to be another Kavalier & Clay, but didn't realise it was going to be a sorta-non-fic memoir.

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Picked up the new Jim Butcher Dresden short story collection Brief Cases.  Unlike Side Jobs, where I hadn't read most of the stories, only the new story Zoo Day was actually new to me this time around.  A couple of the stories were 7 or 8 years old.  It was a little disappointing overall to be honest.  At least Jim has his house situation finally resolved and he can get back to work.

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