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Garett Hornwood

First Quarter 2019 Reading

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Finished All The Birds in the Sky last week and loved it. It's blend of modern (perhaps near future) every-day life, magic and science makes it really hard to classify and it feels original and. The central conflict between magic/nature and science was really well done. But the highlight and focus are the two main characters, who have a wonderfully warm, but complicated relationship. The book has a very modern fell to it. I wonder if books where climate change is the big threat, like this one, will become more common. It has a lot of great story-telling potential (apart from being an important social/political topic).

The news and speculations around Amazon's Lord of the Ring series inspired me to reread the books, so currently reading the trilogy. It's my first time reading them in English (read them once in translation ten years ago or so and absolutely adored them) and I'm loving it.

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David Grann's, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. Excellent, riveting account about these forgotten crimes that took place in Oklahoma in the 1920s and 30s.

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I have just started Ian McDonald's latest, Luna: Moon Rising. Already enjoying it. He's one of my favourite authors and I feel very privileged that I get to chat with him at TitanCon every year. 

You can too, by the way. He's very approachable and will be our guest of honour at this year's WorldCon.

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Finished Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. I'd say I like Uprooted more, as it had a tighter pace. The premise of this one hooked me right away, but it really slowed down about a third of the way through, and only picked up much later. Still, another really enjoyable book from Novik. 

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Daniel Abraham has this somewhat well known Long Price Quartet. People may have heard of it. Am currently reading the giant, wrist-shattering omnibus edition that Tor (finally!) released, as I could not find copies of the third and fourth books *anywhere* in Australia. 

This shit is good. @Werthead: as I know you've read this quartet, do you think you could answer a question about one event in A Shadow in Summer that left me a bit confused? 

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Finished Salvation's Fire.

Not as good as Tchaikovsky's (sp?) book, I thought, and I believe it's related a bit to the premise of the series, but still okay. Will probably keep reading these books if people keep writing them, but I'm not fully invested.

On to Tiamath's Wrath.

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Have just finished Goethe's Sorrows of Young Werther. Shakespeare's Hamlet does better in one sodding soliloquy than Werther does in the entire book - Werther strikes me as one of those works that are more interesting in terms of cultural effects than actual content. I also noticed that the translation I was reading (the Boylan one) doesn't actually specify the colour of Werther's famous yellow waistcoat, though it does mention the blue coat. Curious.

Next up is Spengler's Decline of the West. Now that's some meaty reading... 

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14 hours ago, IlyaP said:

Daniel Abraham has this somewhat well known Long Price Quartet. People may have heard of it. Am currently reading the giant, wrist-shattering omnibus edition that Tor (finally!) released, as I could not find copies of the third and fourth books *anywhere* in Australia. 

This shit is good. @Werthead: as I know you've read this quartet, do you think you could answer a question about one event in A Shadow in Summer that left me a bit confused? 

It's been years since I read it, so unknown. I know there's a lot of people here who've read it more recently, so it may be better addressed to the collective.

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3 hours ago, The Marquis de Leech said:

Have just finished Goethe's Sorrows of Young Werther. Shakespeare's Hamlet does better in one sodding soliloquy than Werther does in the entire book - Werther strikes me as one of those works that are more interesting in terms of cultural effects than actual content. I also noticed that the translation I was reading (the Boylan one) doesn't actually specify the colour of Werther's famous yellow waistcoat, though it does mention the blue coat. Curious.

Next up is Spengler's Decline of the West. Now that's some meaty reading... 

I think I got through the first 10th or so of the Spengler. I have it on kindle (although it's maybe only the first volume). It's rather wild, I guess it was already at odds with most academic history around 1900 but it is totally beyond the scope of today's thinking.

Werther was, of course, obligatory reading at my German gymnasium. (Not sure if it is always obligatory but the town I went to school in was about  25 km from the location of the Court where Young Goethe worked as a law clerk and supposedly experienced the romance that inspired Werther... The other great local author of the region was Georg Büchner, a rebellious genius dead before his 25th birthday.)

As far as I recall I was actually positively surprised despite the length and soppiness (most of the class truly hated it, I guess) but I have not touched it again in almost 30 years. The main thing I remember is that Werther's reading reflects his mood, if he is up, he's reading Homer, the sunny Greek, if he is down, he's reading gloomy fake Ossian (of course neither Goethe nor Werther knew it was a fake).

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I finished off March with Vixen 03 by Clive Cussler, the fifth book of the Dirk Pitt series, which turned out to be a nice read especially compared to some of the earlier books in the series.  And the last book I finished was Line of Control by Jeff Rovin, the eighth book of the original Op-Center series, which while it had its faults like all the rest of the books in the series this book is one of the better ones.

I've read 18 books in the first quarter of the year.

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I borrowed the audio-book version of Simon Winchester's The Men Who United the States: America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation Indivisible for a week-long road trip. Very enjoyable listen, especially since it was the author narrating. I appreciate his division of the book into parts based upon the five classical elements: wood, fire, earth, water and metal. It isn't a  chronological history and Winchester throws in some personal anecdotes from his journeys across the US. I felt those anecdotes added to the text rather than detracting  from it. It really is an ode to the US after becoming a citizen and perhaps saccharine at times, but I always find the perspectives of American citizens who weren't born citizens quite interesting. A sort of insider/outsider perspective.

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Posted (edited)

All done with The Leopard. This is essential reading for lovers of historical fiction. Tomasi tells the tale of the House of Salina, whose star is fading with the coming of Garibaldi and Italian Unification. The novel focuses on the Prince of Salina's middle and latter years, as he comes to terms with the end of feudalism and the waning dominance of his noble house. In the face of adversity, the Don falls back on his intellect, courtly manners and influence and, ultimately, the comfort of the cosmos and an eternal, perfect future beyond the grave. I loved the vivid cast of Italian characters, replete with meddling Monsignors, clueless Northerners, the upstart merchant class and mysterious orders of nuns. But best of all were the meditations on the true nature of Sicily: an almost fantastical place of great history, culture and contradictions. 10/10.

Now back to SFF for the first time in a while. I'm going to re-read Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, starting with The Dragonbone Chair

Edited by Paxter

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Read the latest and greatest (imo) Expanse installment over the weekend, Tiamats Wrath is awesome, emotional, intriguing and full of wtf moments, gonna be a long wait till book 9.

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My wife got a Kindle Unlimited subscription, so I checked out Michael McClung's self-published (?) Amra Thetys series. The first two books are perhaps not all that original but fun and very well written. Classic sword and sorcery, fast-paced and a little gory, with likeable characters. I will check out the rest of the series later.

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On 3/19/2019 at 4:29 PM, Mlle. Zabzie said:

Recently finished City of Brass and its sequel Kingdom of Copper, and boy howdy did I love these books.  

I'm about 80% through Julian Barnes' The Sense of an Ending.  I do love an unreliable narrator book.  The main character of this book is so unreliable, and the revelations of the unreliability are so subtly and cleverly done that it keeps you thinking.

I'm also reading Ronnie Spector's ghostwritten autobiography Be My Baby (very entertaining in a depressing kind of way).

Next up Ann Leckie's The Raven Tower.  I've also got The Bird King in my queue. 

Enjoyed The Raven Tower immensely, and as always was swept away by her meticulous world building and careful plotting, though there were several elements that felt LeckieTM but just imported to more of a fantasy realm than a space opera setting.  

Be My Baby was a quintessential rock and roll autobiography, with all the elements of the good ones and the tried and true narrative line, so that was good.  

Currently reading The Bird King, which I like a lot, but I am not getting the gushing hype (meaning I think it is solid, well-written and entertaining, with fun perspectives, but I don't think it is particularly groundbreaking).  Also reading T. Kingfisher's Clocktaur Wars, which is just fun.

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On 3/26/2019 at 8:58 PM, IlyaP said:

Daniel Abraham has this somewhat well known Long Price Quartet. People may have heard of it. Am currently reading the giant, wrist-shattering omnibus edition that Tor (finally!) released, as I could not find copies of the third and fourth books *anywhere* in Australia. 

This shit is good. @Werthead: as I know you've read this quartet, do you think you could answer a question about one event in A Shadow in Summer that left me a bit confused? 

I read it on ebook because it's so tough to get actual LPQ books, was very surprised and stoked to walk into a bookstore a couple weeks ago and snag this!

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2 hours ago, larrytheimp said:

I read it on ebook because it's so tough to get actual LPQ books, was very surprised and stoked to walk into a bookstore a couple weeks ago and snag this!

 

Think you'd be able to answer a question about something that happened in A Shadow in Summer that confused me? There's one scene in particular that I've read and just ... can't make sense of it.

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57 minutes ago, IlyaP said:

Think you'd be able to answer a question about something that happened in A Shadow in Summer that confused me? There's one scene in particular that I've read and just ... can't make sense of it.

Have you read the one surviving thread about the book? 

(Wow is it ever sad to go back to the end of this subforum and see how much has been culled.)

 

I'm also unsure why you haven't just asked your question.  Mark it in spoilers tagging, and it will very likely get answered. 

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1 hour ago, RedEyedGhost said:

Have you read the one surviving thread about the book? 

(Wow is it ever sad to go back to the end of this subforum and see how much has been culled.)

 

I'm also unsure why you haven't just asked your question.  Mark it in spoilers tagging, and it will very likely get answered. 

 

I've not read the rest of the books yet. I'm in the early parts of the second book in the series (I need a short-hand for the version I have; can we call it 'The Single Volume Edition' or something? I don't know what to call the massive wrist-breaker that Tor published late last year). 

As for not having a spoiler tag...it...honestly hadn't occurred to me to use it. I'm also avoiding that other thread as I don't want to accidentally be spoiled, which I think is a fair and reasonable position to take. 

That said: when the andat Seedless "removes" the baby from Maj, the text explained that something just fell onto a plate and then Maj screamed. So Maj was full-belly pregnant, and then suddenly her womb just...shrunk away? And what happened to the baby? What exactly did Seedless turn it into, or do to it, or to Maj? I understand Seedless' job with regards to the city's economy, but the particulars of what happened in that scene confused me. Did he turn her baby into a literal seed? Or into something else? As there's a whole scandal around the translator apparently "mistranslating", I'm left uncertain as to what I read, and would love some clarification around that. 

 

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