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First Quarter 2020 Reading

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What are you reading? Get anything good for Christmas? 

I finished the Christmas season with Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens, which was a decent read. I will say I'm not as enamoured of Dickens' propensity for lengthy, abstract openings to each story after this one. I think this will probably bear a re-read at some point just so I can get a better grasp of what he was trying to convey. To be honest, I didn't see the twist coming at all.

I am now reading Terry Pratchett's Equal Rites, which is my first Witches book in the Discworld series. I am at about the half-way point so far, and I am really enjoying it. It is not as laugh-out-loud hilarious as some of his later works, but as with many things he wrote, it is infectiously warm, and I really wish I'd read this while I was studying feminist lit in the past, just so I could bring it up in class.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Leap said:

What are you reading? Get anything good for Christmas? 

I finished the Christmas season with Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens, which was a decent read. I will say I'm not as enamoured of Dickens' propensity for lengthy, abstract openings to each story after this one. I think this will probably bear a re-read at some point just so I can get a better grasp of what he was trying to convey. To be honest, I didn't see the twist coming at all.

I am now reading Terry Pratchett's Equal Rites, which is my first Witches book in the Discworld series. I am at about the half-way point so far, and I am really enjoying it. It is not as laugh-out-loud hilarious as some of his later works, but as with many things he wrote, it is infectiously warm, and I really wish I'd read this while I was studying feminist lit in the past, just so I could bring it up in class.

 

 

The witches is my favourite Discworld arc. I enjoyed Equal Rites but it is early Pratchett (third Discworld book i believe?) and probably the weakest in that series. Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg though, what delights they are!

If you do enjoy the Witches arc you should give his YA Tiffany Aching books a try. They cross heavily with the Witches, the protagonist being a young witch herself (also worth it for the final Discworld book being in that series)

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I am coming to the end of Joseph O'Connor's Shadowplay, his fictionalised account of Bram Stoker's life. It's been an absolute delight. I enjoy lots of books, but it's not often you'll get me to admit to loving one. Well, I'm adding Shadowplay to that exclusive list. It's not for those who like adventure stories, but the characters are lovely and the reflections on the creative process are thrilling to me.

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, HelenaExMachina said:

The witches is my favourite Discworld arc. I enjoyed Equal Rites but it is early Pratchett (third Discworld book i believe?) and probably the weakest in that series. Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg though, what delights they are!

If you do enjoy the Witches arc you should give his YA Tiffany Aching books a try. They cross heavily with the Witches, the protagonist being a young witch herself (also worth it for the final Discworld book being in that series)

I'm really glad to hear you say that Equal Rites is one of the weakest Witches book - I've just finished it and really enjoyed it. I remember doing the same with Mort, but after that and Reaper Man I didn't really feel the series was as strong. 

I am planning on reading every Discworld novel at some point, but next up will definitely be either Sourcery or Wyrd Sisters, since I've made a start with both of those series. Will I miss anything if I just read the Witches books themselves before starting on TA?

 

ETA: I am moving on to Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte). This is probably one of the books I've owned for the most time without reading. 

Edited by Leap

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I finished Erin Morgenstern's The Starless Sea. I enjoyed it, but I didn't feel it entirely lived up to its potential. For a novel that's all about stories and storytelling I thought that it was a bit ironic that it could have benefited from a stronger central narrative. I think the world itself (an ancient underground library that once hosted an entire civilisation) was fascinating, but the world and some of the side stories seemed more compelling than Zachary's quest. He was a likeable character but a bit passive as a protagonist, and he even he doesn't really seem sure about what is motivating him at times or what the stakes are so it can be a bit hard to care too much about whether he succeeds or not. Some of the supporting characters were interesting but again a bit lacking in depth. The book is at its best when exploring the mysteries of the Harbour and in the frequent interludes telling myths from the history of the Starless Sea.

I'm now reading Ann Leckie's The Raven Tower. It's been reasonably good so far, although I'm finding the bits about the history of the God that is narrating the story more interesting than the 'present day' parts of the book. I'm not sure I want stories being told in second-person past tense to catch on.

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I'm still listening to The Curse of Chalion, which is really good. Have the sequel on hold so hopefully will continue to have good material for listening to while running.

I'm reading What is a Googly?, a short book that explains the basics of cricket. This sport is confusing af. The book was a birthday gift from my parents because my boyfriend is Australian--I now understand why I never understood his previous attempts to explain it to me. Just hoping to have the gist of it before I get dragged to a match!

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David Graeber's amazingly thorough and impressively researched book Debt: The First 5,000 Years has me completely. This is an epic scholarly undertaking and wildly interesting. 

Have already run one marker dry from all the highlights I've been making. 

Gods this book is so cool.

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5 hours ago, Starkess said:

I'm still listening to The Curse of Chalion, which is really good. Have the sequel on hold so hopefully will continue to have good material for listening to while running.

The Paladin of Souls is excellent as well, Ista is one of the more memorable heroines in epic fantasy. The Penric and Desdemona stories which are set in the Chalion world although many years earlier are also a lot of fun.

I'm reading 

What is a Googly?, a short book that explains the basics of cricket. This sport is confusing af. The book was a birthday gift from my parents because my boyfriend is Australian--I now understand why I never understood his previous attempts to explain it to me. Just hoping to have the gist of it before I get dragged to a match!

Unfortunately, I'm not sure trying to understand cricket by reading about it is going to be all that helpful. Watching some on TV before trying to watch in person might be more helpful.

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6 hours ago, Starkess said:

I'm reading What is a Googly?, a short book that explains the basics of cricket. This sport is confusing af. The book was a birthday gift from my parents because my boyfriend is Australian--I now understand why I never understood his previous attempts to explain it to me. Just hoping to have the gist of it before I get dragged to a match!

That is so sweet on the part of your parents!

And yeah, cricket can seem pretty confusing at times, but it definitely helps to watch it a bit, ideally with someone who can give you the basics of what's going on. And while I'm certainly no expert, I have watched a fair bit of it over the past 8 years or so (mostly on TV but also in person), so feel free to drop a line if you want a fellow American noob's take on the sport.

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8 hours ago, Starkess said:

I'm reading What is a Googly?, a short book that explains the basics of cricket. This sport is confusing af. The book was a birthday gift from my parents because my boyfriend is Australian--I now understand why I never understood his previous attempts to explain it to me. Just hoping to have the gist of it before I get dragged to a match!

Cricket isn’t particularly complicated, it just has an unusual way of comparing the team scores in the protracted test matches.  Certainly compared to baseball’s simpler scoring system.  But overs, innings, etc are no more complicated than at-bats and innings in baseball.  But innings are different despite using the same word. 
However, cricket is extremely long and dull to watch (even worse than baseball), which should be your primary consideration on whether to attend a match.  If you can sustain an interest in the match for any length of time then you’ll have no problem picking up the rules and scoring. 
I’d suggest taking an interest in rugby or Aussie rules football instead. 

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I finished The Second Deadly Sin by Lawrence Sanders, a detective novel set in NYC in 1978.  At first I enjoyed the switch in genre and style to a detective procedural novel (a bit similar to the Cormoran Stryke novels, but without the forced romance arc), but the setting, culture, attitudes, tone and slang eventually felt a bit too ponderous and unenlightened.  Considering it was published in 2013, I cannot decide how authentically it represents the era, although I feel like I’ve encountered at some point a similar tone from actual old detective novels.  OK but not stellar.

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10 minutes ago, Iskaral Pust said:

I’d suggest taking an interest in rugby or Aussie rules football instead. 

Heh, AFL: Aerial Ping Pong! 

(I'll be over here watching [ice] hockey, the only sport that's ever spoken to me.)

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2 minutes ago, IlyaP said:

Heh, AFL: Aerial Ping Pong! 

(I'll be over here watching [ice] hockey, the only sport that's ever spoken to me.)

But at least no one falls asleep, or gently expires, while watching.  Unlike cricket. 

Aussie rules football is somewhat similar to Irish Gaelic football, although the Aussie version is more violent. 

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16 minutes ago, Iskaral Pust said:

But at least no one falls asleep, or gently expires, while watching.  Unlike cricket. 

My two best friends are giant cricket fans. They worship at the altar of Tendulkar. I just shrug. But some people love the game. I don't know why, but they do. 

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Enough of Cricket! I've been watching NFL myself for the last two years :box:

But I still find time to read. I have just started Tade Thompson's Rosewater. I look forward to seeing what all the fuss is about. 

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On 1/4/2020 at 2:41 PM, williamjm said:

I finished Erin Morgenstern's The Starless Sea. I enjoyed it, but I didn't feel it entirely lived up to its potential. For a novel that's all about stories and storytelling I thought that it was a bit ironic that it could have benefited from a stronger central narrative. I think the world itself (an ancient underground library that once hosted an entire civilisation) was fascinating, but the world and some of the side stories seemed more compelling than Zachary's quest. He was a likeable character but a bit passive as a protagonist, and he even he doesn't really seem sure about what is motivating him at times or what the stakes are so it can be a bit hard to care too much about whether he succeeds or not. Some of the supporting characters were interesting but again a bit lacking in depth. The book is at its best when exploring the mysteries of the Harbour and in the frequent interludes telling myths from the history of the Starless Sea.

I'm now reading Ann Leckie's The Raven Tower. It's been reasonably good so far, although I'm finding the bits about the history of the God that is narrating the story more interesting than the 'present day' parts of the book. I'm not sure I want stories being told in second-person past tense to catch on.

Felt exactly the same about The Starless Sea. I finished it up there was nothing really compelling me to do so. The lack of a compelling central narrative really hurt it.

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I finished GGK's A Brightness Long Ago.  Almost as important as the story Kay tells is how he tells that story. I love his writing and A Brightness Long Ago is Kay in form. The easter eggs for his previous novels were fun. The typical Kay emotional moments. Similarities to other novels, yet I didn't mind. I always find his narrator or main character the least interesting of those in his stories and this latest was no different. 

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On 1/5/2020 at 7:38 PM, IlyaP said:

They worship at the altar of Tendulkar. 

Not, B: Ricky Ponting?  

 

I finally piked up Jemison's The Stone Sky, the final part of the Broken Earth trilogy.  I would say it was my favorite of the three and do think it's a really solid trilogy but think that it's not for it not to be overhyped remarkable Hugo run.  

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27 minutes ago, Triskele said:

Not, B: Ricky Ponting?

*shrug*

If it means anything, both friends are Indian. And they both get very patriotic about cricket, but virtually nothing else, and mention Tendulkar when talking about cricket. (I don't understand the sport, so it's all quite over my head.)

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