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williamjm

Second Quarter 2020 reading

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I read Neil Gaiman's third Sandman volume, Dream Country. I liked the four separate stories in the volume although Facade was my least favourite. Midsummer Night's Dream was good although I suspect I'd probably have gotten more out of it if I'd ever seen or read the play. The inclusion of the original script for Calliope was an interesting insight into Gaiman's writing process.

I'm now most of the way through Martha Wells' Exit Strategy which is as entertaining as the other Murderbot novellas.

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Ironclads was a good quick read if a little lacking in subtlety. It's about time someone had the courage to highlight the Finnish Peril though.

Next up I'm going to read Rachel Aaron's Night Shift Dragons her books are usually good for some lighthearted fun.

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10 hours ago, IlyaP said:

I've been told the [incomplete] Kharkanas trilogy is a very different beast from the main Malazan books. Apparently the tone is decidedly different, more serious, more somber? They're the only Erikson books I've not read. 

Re: Williams' books - the new trilogy he's writing - what's the impetus for doing so?

 

He basically is deconstructing his own Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series with this new one. Very interesting to subvert and mirror his own series. I don't want to spoil it for you but I think it's well rendered, and while long (I don't mid the slower pace), I find it superior to MST thus far. The Norn perspective and the overall mystery of the Gardenborn is played up and fascinating. 

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Just read the eighth and for now the last Penric and Desdemona book. Fun, oddly comforting reading despite all the people dying from plague.

I'll have to plunge headfirst into something else before I go into withdrawal. I feel that reading something more factual would be good for me right now - there are several good examples waiting for me on my bookshelf - but lockdown has left me with an appetite for nothing but adventure stories. Sigh. Well, it's not such an awful cross to bear!

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I've just finished reading the (translated) librettos of Wagner's Ring Cycle. Being familiar with the source material, it was interesting to see how Wagner solved certain plot problems...

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On 5/23/2020 at 3:24 PM, dog-days said:

Just read the eighth and for now the last Penric and Desdemona book. Fun, oddly comforting reading despite all the people dying from plague.

By what format were you able to read this?  The only way I can find to read it is via Amazon and their despicable Kindle Cloud Reader, which I don't want to do.

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3 hours ago, Wilbur said:

By what format were you able to read this?  The only way I can find to read it is via Amazon and their despicable Kindle Cloud Reader, which I don't want to do.

Kindle, I'm afraid. :( I normally prefer paper books by a mile, but the instant and cheap nature of reading on my Kindle Fire has won out during lockdown. 

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9 hours ago, dog-days said:

Kindle, I'm afraid. :( I normally prefer paper books by a mile, but the instant and cheap nature of reading on my Kindle Fire has won out during lockdown. 

OK, thank you.

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14 hours ago, Wilbur said:

By what format were you able to read this?  The only way I can find to read it is via Amazon and their despicable Kindle Cloud Reader, which I don't want to do.

I did read the Kindle version but I think it is available on other e-book formats as well.

If you want a physical book there have usually been (pricey) limited edition hardcovers then eventually there's a paperback collection of several novellas but I think it's taken a couple of years for the collections to come out.

I've started reading Alix Harrow's The Ten Thousand Doors of January. It seems good so far, parts of the premise (specifically the hidden 'doors') are reminding me of another book published last year, Erin Morgenstern's The Starless Sea, but I suspect the plot will be moving in a different direction.

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On 5/23/2020 at 4:44 AM, IlyaP said:

I've been told the [incomplete] Kharkanas trilogy is a very different beast from the main Malazan books. Apparently the tone is decidedly different, more serious, more somber? They're the only Erikson books I've not read. 

Re: Williams' books - the new trilogy he's writing - what's the impetus for doing so?

 

More serious, more sombre, less life. Much more philosophical posturing, at the cost of pace. 

I've read both Kharkanas books, but I am decidedly unsure if I would finish the trilogy if Erikson does. 

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Just finished Malina Lo's Ash, which was a great story but the prose and dialog couldn't pull me in, and it overall felt rushed. Definitely a debut novel, not sure I'll try any of her later books. It did put me in the fairy tale mood so I think I'm going to dive into Naomi Novik's Spinning Silver next.

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The library loan of Light from Other Stars expired and I didn't really care, so I think that's going to be a DNF for me. I was about 25% in and it was just blah. 

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I finished up Christian Cameron's The Great King (2014), the fourth of his Long War historical novels covering the second Greek-Persian war from the point of view of Arimnestos of Plataea.  A recommendation from early in this thread started me on these books, and I have found them to be tremendously enjoyable.  I like historical fiction of the Greek periods, and this is in the top rank of that sort of book.  Probably the only books that are clearly superior at this epoch are things like Mary Renault or Harry Turtledove writing as H.N. Turteltaub and his Hellenic Traders books.

Because of the nature of war, I also find this to be strongly reminiscent of The Hammer and the Cross by Tom Shippey and Harry Harrison.  Strong historical roots supporting an interesting story arc of a protagonist that acts in a manner correct for the period.  Thanks again for pointing me in this direction.  And it the stories are clear and point at specific historical events, the lack of which made Gene Wolfe's Soldier books harder to like than they needed to be.

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Night Shift Dragons as expected was good fun. I also finished up Holly Black's Folk of the Air trilogy with The Queen of Nothing which felt a bit rushed to be honest. Looking it up apparently both of the last two books in the series came out in 2019 so perhaps she did rush it to get two books out in one year for some reason.

At the moment I'm reading Mark Lawrence's Red Sister. I didn't particularly like Prince of Thorns but I did enjoy his Impossible Times series so I'm giving some of his other stuff a try. It's ok so far.

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Currently, I'm 40% into Network Effect by Martha Wells.  It's always fun to experience another Murderbot adventure.  There's also an added bonus in that a great supporting character has finally returned.

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I keep hearing great things about the Murderbot series. I'll have to make time for it before lockdown ends. 

Finished Paladin of Souls and The Hallowed Hunt. Which means I've now read all of the Five Gods books, I think. I enjoyed both - really appreciated having a middle-aged female protagonist in the former. And it was really satisfying to watch Ista go from being so beaten-down and infantilised at the start

Spoiler

to having a career of sorts, being free to choose her own path, and being confident in herself at the end.  

The pacing of The Hallowed Hunt was rather slower, but I found myself really liking a couple of the supporting cast - Oswin and Hallana. And it was interesting to read it as background to the first two Penric and Desdemona stories. 

Both books came to great atmospheric climaxes - I zoomed through the last quarter of each one way too fast. 

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I really liked Red Sister. I've got a bit of a soft spot for learning to be a warrior type stories anyway and throw in some cool world building and badass magic ninja nuns and what's not to like?

Edited by ljkeane

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