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Garett Hornwood

Third Quarter 2019 Reading

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It's the beginning of July, half the year is complete but we still have another half to get in a lot of reading.

I'm starting off this quarter of the year by finishing up The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides.  After that I have no idea what I'll read...

What are you reading?

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Posted (edited)

Knight’s Shadow, by Sebastien de Castell. 

Also reading Programmed to Breathe, by Tanya Reimer on kindle. It’s published by Elsewhen Press who’ve published my novels, and i like to support their other authors when possible. The book is interesting, reminds me a bit of the game Horizon:Zero Dawn.

Edited by Derfel Cadarn

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3 hours ago, Garett Hornwood said:

It's the beginning of July, half the year is complete but we still have another half to get in a lot of reading.

I'm starting off this quarter of the year by finishing up The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides.  After that I have no idea what I'll read...

What are you reading?

Have you ever read any of the Landmark series on the ancient histories, such as The Landmark Thucydides or Herodotus. I've been tempted to pick one up .

 

Currently reading Alan Furst's Night Soldiers. Enjoying it, especially the historical setting. My first Furst novel, but definitely not my last.

 

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22 hours ago, Astromech said:

Have you ever read any of the Landmark series on the ancient histories, such as The Landmark Thucydides or Herodotus. I've been tempted to pick one up .

Not The Landmark, I read the Barnes & Noble Classic editions.

Finished Thucydides yesterday so I decided to start reading Go Down, Moses by William Faulkner.

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I've just started For the Killing of Kings by Howard Andrew Jones. Only a few pages into it, but knowing Howard, it will be a Gemellesque type fantasy :) 

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Finished Snap by Belinda Bauer, an English detective novel.  It was quite good but it spent much more time with the characters around the crime than with the detective, and therefore felt similar in tone, style and structure to the Jackson Brodie novels by Kate Atkinson.  Definitely worth reading.

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I'm traveling over the summer, and this popped up on my feed  - it's essentially a website that recommends a book to you based on where you're going. I picked up Zadie Smith's NW, looking forward to reading that on the flight over. I'm sure someone has come up with this idea before, but I still think it's pretty neat.

 

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Finished up Furst's Night Soldiers. Liked it but didn't love it. The plot was a bit looser than I had hoped it would be. The main character kind of meanders through various locations throughout war-torn Europe without too much happening for stretches. Loved the descriptions of Paris at this time. It's clear Furst knows the city.

Edited by Astromech

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Finished  Disaster Inc. by Caoimh McDonnell, first in a new series that continues on from his Dublin Trilogy.  Unfortunately not very good.  He has chosen a bad path for this.

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Three chapters into Jared Diamond's new one Upheaval.  I'm enjoying the history lesson but feel pretty sure this won't be the hit that Guns, Germs, and Steel was.  

Chapters on Finland and Japan so far.  

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Another audiobook, Stacy Schiff's The Witches: Salem, 1692.  Excessively detailed. Almost too much. The narrative was lost too often for my taste. I love footnotes when I'm reading, but they are frustratingly distracting when listening to an audiobook.

Moving on to James D. Hornfischer's Neptune's Inferno:The US Navy at Guadalcanal for my next audiobook. I loved his The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors.

Currently reading Richard Zacks's Island of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt's Doomed Quest to Clean Up Sin-loving New York.

Edited by Astromech

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I'm currently about a hundred pages into Guy Gavriel Kay's A Brightness Long Ago. It is definitely reminiscent of several of his previous books but I'm enjoying it so far.

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Has been a long time since I posted in one of these threads - despite really appreciating them as a source of recommendations. Shaem, shame, shame!

Anyway, here are some things that I have been reading recently:

The Haunting of Tramcar 015 by P. Djèlí Clark. Egypt became a world power in late 19th century because one mad alchemist pierced the veil to the world of magic and  not only do they have all manner of djinn-powered magi-tech in the alternative early 20-ieth century, but also a Ministry regulating and overseeing all that stuff. We follow the 2 agents investigating the titular haunting. Liked it a lot - it is refreshing to see alternative settings with magic that is based on non-European traditions and the novella is charmingly written. I am looking forward to his upcoming novel in this setting.

The Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively. Picked it on a whim and loved it - a brilliant and irascible old woman is dying and thinking back about her life and how it was interwined with the turbulent history of the 20-ieth century. Beautifully written and made me want to look more into the "Penguin Essentials" line.

Call the Midwife books by Jennifer Worth - I have recently watched the 5 seasons of the series on Netflix and was curious about the source material. As I suspected, they went somewhat overboard with happy endings in the show and meandered quite a bit once they ran out of the source material. Still pretty worthwhile and the books are a vivid testimony of how lucky we are not to live 70 or so years earlier, leave alone farther in the past than that.

The City of Brass and The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty - by pure chance yet another fantasy series which begins in Cairo and features djinn, but this one is set in alternative last years of 18th century. A young woman who makes her way as a confidence trickster and a sometimes midwife/ folk healer learns that magic is real. Despite the fact that the first book features some tropes that I am heartily tired of, but which seem de rigeur for young female protagonists, I enjoyed it. And the second book is the opposite of the middle book slump and I really loved it, even though I have no idea where the things are going to go from there. 

The Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay - yes, there is nothing new there, just the usual, well-written, comfortable Kay, not much happens, but I still enjoyed it.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon - liked it, but preferred the first half to the second, because too many things seem pre-ordained, happen in  convenient nicks of time, etc. I find the setting interesting and although it is a standalone, there definitely are some questions still remaining. But some things are kind of muddled without being hooks for possible sequels, i.e.:

Spoiler

What was Kalyba's deal? She first gave Galian the sword to fight the Nameless One, then joined the NO? Why?! She was very powerful and could have become queen without him. Also, she went without siden fruit for almost a millenium?

 

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Finished Sisters of the Winter Wood. It was...alright i suppose. The writing style was a bit odd, particularly when it was Leda’s pov. The story itself was interesting and all the more poignant after reading the Author’s note at the end. But unfortunately the book as a whole just didnt really grip me at any point. 3/5 i think

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I feel like the last few years have been pretty lacking, in terms of quality epic fantasy. It's been a long time since I read a 10/10. I blame that drought for the death of this sub forum. The mid 2000s was the golden age. 

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Halfway through Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams. Interesting sort of travel/historical book that tells the parallel stories of the author's attempt to re-tread Hiram Bingham's path to and around the lost city and Bingham's own narrative about the "discovery" of the Incan settlement. Also explores the shady circumstances that always surround a wealthy white man claiming to discover anything historically.

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Oh yeah, and I just bought The Black Prism by Brent Weeks. Figured it was about time I read the Lightbringer series.

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I've started on Empire of Ivory because my hold came through on the library's ebook. I'm 2 chapters in and already sad. :crying:

2 hours ago, Joey Crows said:

Oh yeah, and I just bought The Black Prism by Brent Weeks. Figured it was about time I read the Lightbringer series.

I unabashedly love that series even though I can recognize it's not exactly high literature. Hope you enjoy!

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