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July '18 Reading - What We Read in the Shadows

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17 hours ago, Paxter said:

Finished Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets as part of a re-read with some friends. I remember disliking this instalment when I first read it some 20 years ago, but on a re-read I think it's actually stronger than or at least on par with Book 1. Much better villains (Lucius Malfoy, Tom Riddle) certainly made a big difference.

Next is Novik's Uprooted. I was going to read some Robin Hobb but have delayed this as Uprooted has been on the 'to read' list for a little too long. 

I loved Uprooted, I'm a real sucker for reimagined fairytales and folklore and this was right up my street. Planning on reading Spinning Silver next as I was thoroughly impressed

6 hours ago, red snow said:

Uprooted definitely captures that European fable feel quite well and is a bit like a slightly more mature Disney story in the sense it has a lot of charm.

Finished Tim Peake's "how to be an astronaut" and it's a fascinating read lots of little details I was unaware of eg losing the soles of their feet in microgravity and an excellent section on the research they do and how it's leading to groundbreaking new science. I'm also impressed by how meticulously detailed and planned every aspect of a space mission is. While it's cool the private sector are on the cusp of doing space part of me worried that they won't be as thorough as NASA, etc. Hopefully it's not the case as an accident from the private sector would be tragic for those involved and the space program.

Not sure what to read next. Toss up between Cornwell's "Excalibur", bakkers last two books and McCarthy's blood meridian. None of which will be cheery reads.

Excalibur

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10 hours ago, Darth Richard II said:

Yeah Excalibur. No contest.

It's the one I've loaded on my Kindle and the previous two installments are still fresh in my memory.

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On 7/19/2018 at 8:02 AM, red snow said:

Not sure what to read next. Toss up between Cornwell's "Excalibur", bakkers last two books and McCarthy's blood meridian. None of which will be cheery reads.

I’m a big fan of Cornwell and have read most of what he has published, but I wouldn’t pick any of his books over Blood Meridien.  That’s just in a whole separate league for literary quality. 

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4 hours ago, Iskaral Pust said:

I’m a big fan of Cornwell and have read most of what he has published, but I wouldn’t pick any of his books over Blood Meridien.  That’s just in a whole separate league for literary quality. 

It's been on my read list longer than any of the others and I've yet to be disappointed by Cormac. I might be able to juggle the two. That or just read each one quick.

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Posted (edited)

Finished up Caine Black Knife this morning and enjoyed it thoroughly.  More in line with Hero's Die with constant action and plotting.  Starting up Caine's Law next to finish out the series.  Really glad I stuck with it, because I nearly put Blade of Tyshalle down right before ~250 pages of just awesome, and Caine Black Knife followed beautifully from it.  Thinking I'll pick up Revenge of the Sith soon since I hear he knocked that story out of the park compared to the movie.

Edited by aceluby

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53 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

Doesnt Stover have a new one in the works?

A book 5 title showed up on Wikipedia a few years ago, but no one knows where it came from.  It's still there:

Quote

 

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Finally got some time to finish Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds.

It was ok. Lots of Holmes deductions, mind boggling coincidences, and unsympathetic brattish main characters, but the setting is interesting, not because everyone is from African countries, but because it shows an IA managed thought police worldwide government as something positive, yet makes a case for a few (well meaning) elites to be exempt from that thought police scrutiny.

I kinda loath all that subtext, but I suppose it's good food for thought, and no more distasteful than Heinlein's ideas.

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9 hours ago, Errant Bard said:

Finally got some time to finish Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds.

It was ok. Lots of Holmes deductions, mind boggling coincidences, and unsympathetic brattish main characters, but the setting is interesting, not because everyone is from African countries, but because it shows an IA managed thought police worldwide government as something positive, yet makes a case for a few (well meaning) elites to be exempt from that thought police scrutiny.

I kinda loath all that subtext, but I suppose it's good food for thought, and no more distasteful than Heinlein's ideas.

Speaking of the great Alastair Reynolds, I just started Elysium Fire, where he revisits his Revelation Space universe for the first time in 15+(?) years.  Easily my favorite sci-fi setting, very dark and gritty, and home to the full spectrum of moral to immoral characters.

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Finished Sword of Justice by Christian Cameron, another excellent chapter in the tales of Sir William Gold, love the details on life, war, and politics in 14th century Europe.   Need to dive into more of his historical fiction while waiting for the next book in this series.

Next up is Empire of Ashes by Anthony Ryan the final book in the Draconis Memoria trilogy.

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Finished Byron Farwell's The Great War in Africa: 1914-1918. The book covers primarily the fighting in  German East Africa with the German forces under the command  of Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck. Interesting to read about some of these lesser known theatres of WW1.

Not sure what is next. The bookstore had a progressive sale all last week, so I have a few books I'm trying to decide on.

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I finished Max Gladstone's Ruin of Angels. I thought it could be the best book in the Craft Cycle so far. I really liked the concept of the three cities in one location, it's a bit reminiscent in places of both The City and The City and City of Stairs but does some things differently to both. I thought the Iskari made for memorable antagonists, they may not be outright villains because they do mostly seem to believe they're trying to do the right thing but there's something quite Lovecraftian about a society of people who have a psychic connection to a squid God. I also like Gladstone's mix of fantasy elements and the elements reminiscent of our world, such as the start-up culture and the company who seem to be basically SpaceX with a less obnoxious CEO. I thought the story got off to a slightly frustrating start - I don't think I've seen a group of female characters so determined to avoid having a productive conversation with each other since the last time I read a Robert Jordan book - but it got stronger as it went along and I thought it did a good job of bringing all the story strands together at the end. There were also some interesting hints about potential future plots in the series.

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Finished Good Omens by Gaiman and Pratchett on Tuesday.  I really enjoyed it even with some jokes clearly beyond their expiration date.

I've started a reread of Balance of Power by Jeff Rovin, this is the fifth book of Tom Clancy's Op-Center series.

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On 7/14/2018 at 2:21 PM, Triskjavikson said:

I'm about 100 pages into The Three-Body Problem.  I thought the opening chapters were great and am a little more on the fence now but will persist.  

I read this one a few years ago.  Overall I liked it.  I thought the premise was really good.  But there are really almost 3 separate story lines in the book.  

1) Cultural revolution past / flashbacks

2) Virtual reality

3) Present day

The whole virtual reality stuff felt the weakest to me.  The cultural revolution was the best.  Only one or two of the characters feel really fully fleshed-out to me.  (The cop Shi and the scientist Ye).  The rest seem a bit flat.

I haven't gotten around to reading the next book in the series yet.  

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I just finished Alex Marshall's A War in Crimson Embers which was fun in a somewhat unfocused fashion. It's pretty much more of the same as the first two books in the series.

Next up I'm going to read Kemp: The Road to Crecy which I think Isk mentioned in these threads. It seems like my speed and I wouldn't mind finding another historical fiction author I enjoy.

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3 hours ago, mushroomshirt said:

I read this one a few years ago.  Overall I liked it.  I thought the premise was really good.  But there are really almost 3 separate story lines in the book.  

1) Cultural revolution past / flashbacks

2) Virtual reality

3) Present day

The whole virtual reality stuff felt the weakest to me.  The cultural revolution was the best.  Only one or two of the characters feel really fully fleshed-out to me.  (The cop Shi and the scientist Ye).  The rest seem a bit flat.

I'd mostly agree with that, although I thought the VR bits were more interesting than the Present Day plotline - at least it was somewhat excusable there that the characterisation was lacking. It did make me think a bit of many of the 'Golden Age' SF stories where it was all about the ideas rather than the characterisation.

I'm just about to start Becky Chambers' Record of a Spaceborn Few.

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I finally gave up on Holy Romantics. I was about 16% through and it just felt like a chore, despite some interesting things in it. Picked up Snow Crash on sale and have just started that, it's been on my TBR list for a long time so hopefully it turns out. 

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