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Garett Hornwood

Third Quarter 2019 Reading

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I went on a fossil/geology kick.  I read Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier which is a historical fiction account of Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot who made remarkable fossil discoveries along the southern coast of England in the early 19th century.  It was fairly interesting and really shined a light on their lives and discoveries.  The author took some liberties with Anning's personal life which I thought was unnecessary since her life is interesting enough without such embellishments but it was only a minor part of the story so it wasn't dragged out.  I wish there was a solid non-fictional biography of them, however.

Then still in fossil mode I read The Rise and Fall of Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World by Stephen Brusatte.  This was a fairly disjointed book.  Half of it is a pretty solid telling of the rise and fall of the dinosaurs based on pretty current research and findings.  This part of the book was super interesting.  The other half of the book is lots of personal stories about all Brusatte's colleagues (who are like the most amazing and wonderful people EVER and his best friends forever!!!!) and their digs and discoveries.  This could have been interesting because he has been all over the world and had some pretty amazing experiences but it was a slog to get through at times (....and there was tons of wine! and dancing! and a taco bar at 3 in the morning!)  Both parts were interwoven together and the cutting back and forth between the two was not a smooth transition.  The second half of the book flowed better than the beginning.  I might not sound like I am recommending this book but if you are interested in the subject and basically the history of the planet in the Permian through Cretaceous periods, it is worth slogging through.

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2 hours ago, lady narcissa said:

I went on a fossil/geology kick.  I read Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier which is a historical fiction account of Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot who made remarkable fossil discoveries along the southern coast of England in the early 19th century.  It was fairly interesting and really shined a light on their lives and discoveries.  The author took some liberties with Anning's personal life which I thought was unnecessary since her life is interesting enough without such embellishments but it was only a minor part of the story so it wasn't dragged out.  I wish there was a solid non-fictional biography of them, however.

Then still in fossil mode I read The Rise and Fall of Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World by Stephen Brusatte.  This was a fairly disjointed book.  Half of it is a pretty solid telling of the rise and fall of the dinosaurs based on pretty current research and findings.  This part of the book was super interesting.  The other half of the book is lots of personal stories about all Brusatte's colleagues (who are like the most amazing and wonderful people EVER and his best friends forever!!!!) and their digs and discoveries.  This could have been interesting because he has been all over the world and had some pretty amazing experiences but it was a slog to get through at times (....and there was tons of wine! and dancing! and a taco bar at 3 in the morning!)  Both parts were interwoven together and the cutting back and forth between the two was not a smooth transition.  The second half of the book flowed better than the beginning.  I might not sound like I am recommending this book but if you are interested in the subject and basically the history of the planet in the Permian through Cretaceous periods, it is worth slogging through.

Tangentially related but have you read The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (or the others in the series)? 

Obviously fiction of the Sci Fi/Fantasy variety, but a great read and I suspect pretty rad if you're into Geology anyway. ;) 

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I finally finished The Dragonbone Chair. The first third was a real slog but things did improve as the novel went along. I will probably continue with reading the series but I'm not expecting anything really amazing. GRRM certainly seemed to mine this series for a few ideas!

Spoiler

There is even a character called (M)arya who disguises as a boy for a journey north to safety...

Now onto Winton's The Shepherd's Hut

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On 7/18/2019 at 1:20 AM, Joey Crows said:

Tangentially related but have you read The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (or the others in the series)? 

Obviously fiction of the Sci Fi/Fantasy variety, but a great read and I suspect pretty rad if you're into Geology anyway. ;) 

You know, I find it so much easier to read about dinosaurs and other real but long extinct things struggling in extreme weather situations and ultimately dying out in a mass extinction million of years ago than I do fictional characters in fictional situations like in Jemisin's books.  Go figure.  So yes, I've got that book as part of the Hugo readers packet from that year but I have not made it through yet because it just depressed me.

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1 hour ago, Paxter said:

I finally finished The Dragonbone Chair. The first third was a real slog but things did improve as the novel went along. 

It's funny, I'm about 2/3 of the way through and I thought the beginning was the best part.  Everyone talks about how slow it is but I loved it.  After the Hayholt I felt it got less interesting.  I realize I'm in the minority here.

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8 minutes ago, End of Disc One said:

It's funny, I'm about 2/3 of the way through and I thought the beginning was the best part.  Everyone talks about how slow it is but I loved it.  After the Hayholt I felt it got less interesting.  I realize I'm in the minority here.

To each their own!

I didn't mind the world-building with Morgenes, but as starts go, it was no "the things you do for love." And it's not as if the Oldheart bits are particularly interesting either, I just enjoyed Stoning Night a lot more than the Hayholt chapters. 

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About to start Tyrants Throne by de Castell. Then re-reading the last two Rigante novels (by Grmmell), re-reading the Ketty Jay quartet, and then reading (for the first time) Wooding’s Ember Blade. And then the latest Expanse novel.

Then? Probably a Malazan re-read (in chronological order), my first in 6 years. This will be my first reading of Fall of Light, the Dancer trilogy, and the second volume of the necromancer short stories.

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About to read To Kill a Mockingbird for the very first time (I've also never seen the movie or studied the story).

Also, Shawn Inmon's 11th book in the Middle Falls Series (all coming out within the last three years!) came out yesterday and I downloaded it for my once a month free book from Amazon.

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I read Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deirdre Sullivan, an Ireland-set coming of age YA fantasy. Thought it was real good, imagine as if Jaqueline Wilson co-wrote a book with Neil Gaiman or Angela Carter and you've got an inkling. I was engaged in the fantasy but also engaged in the teenage girl stuff, which is a plus point.

@Theda Baratheon One for you I strongly suspect...

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I bought the four Greatcoats books by Sebastien de Castell during Amazon's sale and am currently about halfway through Traitor's Blade. It's pretty good.

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Finished Empire of Ivory, and I think it may be my favorite yet of the Temeraire series. Really enjoyed it! Have to wait for my hold on the next book.

I also decided to start a re-read of Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness series. I loved these books as a kid, and reading through Alanna: The First Adventure today, it still holds up. Also having to wait for a hold on the next book now. Guess I shouldn't complain about getting books for free but always with the waiting!

My trusty Kindle Keyboard (got in December 2010) has finally become basically useless. More of the buttons have been failing, and now after finishing the most recent book I can't manage to get back to the home page at all. It's a shame! Put in an order for a new Kindle, trying to tell myself I'll get used to it quickly.

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I finished Guy Gavriel Kay's A Brightness Long Ago. I think it's fair to say that Kay isn't deviating too far from the types of character and setting that he tends to write about, but I've always enjoyed his previous books and I liked this one a lot as well. One thing it has in common with his recent books is that the narrative is trying to feel like real history in a fantasy setting, so the storylines don't always have neat endings and the plot does meander a bit at times. The highlights are probably the tense opening, and the horse race at Bischio which is an action scene perhaps as compelling as the chariot race in Kay's Lord of Emperors, although the biggest emotional impact comes from an unexpectedly sudden character death later in the story. I thought it also had a number of memorable characters, Adria and the two rival mercenary commanders are the most obvious but I also enjoyed the character development of Antemani Sardi. Although it does stand alone (despite a few character reappearing in the chronologically later Children of Earth of Sky I did like the little references and homages to Kay's other books in the setting.

Overall I'd say it's perhaps not quite among Kay's very best books but not too far off.

Next up I think I'll read Ben Aaronovitch's The October Man. I'll be interested to see how he handles writing a story in a voice other than Peter Grant's.

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On 7/21/2019 at 12:06 AM, polishgenius said:

I read Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deirdre Sullivan, an Ireland-set coming of age YA fantasy. Thought it was real good, imagine as if Jaqueline Wilson co-wrote a book with Neil Gaiman or Angela Carter and you've got an inkling. I was engaged in the fantasy but also engaged in the teenage girl stuff, which is a plus point.

@Theda Baratheon One for you I strongly suspect...

That actually sounds like it’d be perfect for me!! Thanks! Will have to hunt that one down...:D :D 

The last couple months I’ve read the Princess bride, Off the Map: Lost Spaces, Invisible Cities, Forgotten Islands, Feral Places and What They Tell Us About the World by Alistair Bonnet and Jess Philips (MP) Everywoman: One Woman’s Truth About Speaking the Truth 

so not a huge amount but some good stuff and more than usual 

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Then I have Neuromancer to read...or maybe The master and Magerita (?), Rosemary’s baby, and some other books waiting on my shelf. 

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I'm getting ready for this upcoming college football season by currently reading Phil Steele's 2019 College Football Preview

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I read The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter, based on the author's description of it as "a book set in a dragon-having, bronze-age Africa ft. Black John Wick learning how to be John Wick, so he can hunt down & kill 3 super soldiers"


It's good. It's one of the many 'badass training academy' books we've had recently, but it's a good one with its hero and his nation let's say not typical in their place within the worldbuilding, and a vicious magic system. I'll be following this series.

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Read Kings of Paradise (Ash and Sand, Volume 1) by Richard Nell and now reading the second book of the series.  I have really enjoyed both books thus far.  Some things are a little inexplicable for the characters and beyond belief but I am willing to overlook it because the books have been so much fun and the world has been very interesting.

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Just finished Kings Of Ash by Richard Nell, the second in his Ash & Sand trilogy. That was really very good.  The further character development of Ruka and Farahi, and their respective visions for leading their people, worked really well for me. I enjoyed the first book but was very pleased to see this get even better in the second. 

I winced a bit at the plot contrivance to turn two protagonists into mutual antagonists.  That was a stretch, but I’m willing to forgive it.  Unfortunately I have to wait until 2020 for the conclusion of the trilogy, but I would highly recommend this series. 

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Finished up the second and third books in Benedict Jacka's Alex Verus series, Cursed and Taken.  Really enjoying these books.  Loved Cinder's assessment of Alex near the end of book two

that he's a predator and has many more enemies in the ground than above it, and Alex's contemplation on in that book and the next

Now I'm deciding between going on to the next book in the series, or continuing my Abercrombie reread with The Heroes...

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