What are you reading?

Discussion of fine arts and literature.
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RoseMorninStar
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by RoseMorninStar »

Alan Brennert does similar things with history in his other books (those I've read). While it's easy reading, it goes a long way to pique my interest in historical topics I was previously unaware of.
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Re: What are you reading?

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We got started on The Dresden Files by watching the TV series first. That had us hooked, and the books were so much better than the show that we stuck with them.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by narya »

I just snared all of the 2020 Nebula novel nominees and some novellas nominees with my Libby app. They are now all on my "shelf" or in my hold queue from several library systems in Northern California. The winning novel for 2020, Network Effects, is in the Murderbot series, so instead of holding that book, I held the first two in the Murderbot series.

I'm currently plowing thru "The Buried Giant" by Kazuo Ishiguro and not liking it much. I'll finish it tonight. Yes, the author has a Nobel prize in literature, and he writes eloquently, but the story is about thoroughly confused characters wandering about in Arthurian Britain, subject to a strange selective amnesia. Listening to the audio book, my mind wanders, and is thoroughly confused. :P I had to read the Wikipedia page to understand what has happened so far.

Concurrently, I'm enjoying the space romp "The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet", by Becky Chambers. It definitely doesn't take itself seriously. I have the next book in the series in my hold queue, "A Closed and Common Orbit". Impy recommended this series on the Kindle thread back in September 2021, and Inanna seconded it.

I finished listening to the Expanse series again (8 books) in the past month, because, hey, I admit it, I'm still obsessing over it. I am impatiently awaiting the 9th book, in my hold queue, and the last 3 episodes of the TV series.
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. ~ Albert Camus
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Inanna
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Inanna »

I also tried to read “The Buried Giant”; I gave it up. Written in some weird old folkish style (I think) - they went there, met X and Y happened. And so on, and on.

Looove that series of Becky Chambers’ . Her new series - the Monk and the Psalm Pilot is also a good one. Just one book in it right now.

Any others in that list?

I just finished reading Neal Stephenson’s latest: Termination Shock. Great read! Set a few years into the future, it mentions Covid-19, -23 and -27. One character a Sikh Canadian (it always feels so good to have Indian character; I never realize I miss it), I actually learnt stuff about India’s border with China. And dealing with climate geoengineering.

Not as good as his Snowcrash, cryptomonicon and seveneves. But great book.
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Maria
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Maria »

I've started several crappy books lately, quit them and then went back to an old favorite series in frustration. "Monster Hunters, International" is the old fav.

"Ruins of the Galaxy" "The Pursuit of the Pankera" and "Heroes Die" were the ones I abandoned.
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Re: What are you reading?

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I went back to the Lady Holmes series by Sherri Thomas and listened to A Conspiracy in Belgravia. It was enjoyable, but dragged a bit. I think reading it on page would have been better, as I could skim some parts and go back to others to check which character did what. Still, it fit my current need for a low stakes yet engaging story, and I'm now listening to The Hollow of Fear, next in series.

His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools -- the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans -- and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, 'You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink."

Terry Pratchett, Small Gods
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by narya »

Coincidentally, I just put Termination Shock on my hold list. I'm glad to hear you recommend it, Inanna. Stephenson can be hit or miss. The 9th Expanse book dropped in my feed and I read it in two days. Wow. Anything else would be a spoiler :D. I'm listening to Provenance by Ann Leckie right now, and it is not holding my attention very well.
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. ~ Albert Camus
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Alatar »

Just finished reading The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage. next up Leviathan Falls.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by narya »

The novella FINNA by Nino Cipri is a quick 2 hour read, that is a lot of fun. It's about wormholes and IKEA stores. And if you've ever gotten lost in an IKEA mega furniture store, you would swear there were wormholes. The novella was nominated for a Nebula last year. It's also about relationships and being trans/non-binary, like the author. I borrowed an electronic copy thru Overdrive/Libby. Now on to #2 in the series, DEFEKT.
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. ~ Albert Camus
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Inanna »

Sounds fun. Thank You.

Re-reading Pratchett right now.
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Re: What are you reading?

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Alatar wrote:Just finished reading The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage. next up Leviathan Falls.
And how is it? The first book?
'You just said "your getting shorter": you've obviously been drinking too much ent-draught and not enough Prim's.' - Jude
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Re: What are you reading?

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My recents:
Elantris by Brandis Sanderson - Meh. I give it a 6 out of 10
Masquerade in Lodi by Lois McMaster Bujold - part of the Penric and Desdemona series and I won't be reading any more of them
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro - if you haven't read this, make a point of doing so. Heartbreakingly beautiful.
The Romance of Tristan and Iseult - worthy of a read if only for the influence it has had on modern literature
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott - I couldn't finish it. I tried and tried. I can't. Perhaps if I'd discovered this in my early teens.
The Dreamblood duo by N K Jemisin - another wonderful creation by this extraordinary writer. Loved it as much, and yet differently, as I loved The Broken Earth trilogy
The Inheritance Trilogy by N K Jemisin - Extraordinary! How does this writer do it? Where do these complex concepts come from?
The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson - Puts a mirror up to the ugliness of science denial and motivates the activist spirit. Can't read more than a chapter at a time (if that) before I need to replenish my spirit. Highly recommended.
Tell the Bees that I am Gone by Doama Gabaldon - competently written but I'm wishing that this series would come to a close already.
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson - fascinating historical fiction based on the Blue Fugates of Kentucky, even if the wrap up was a little saccharine.
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir - 10 out of 10! Loved this adventure soooo much and such a page turner!

Responses on recent posts:
I'm so glad the Becky Chambers quartet has found approval in this group! I just loved them and so wish, wish, wish there was scope for further stories in that world. Realistically, I understand it can't happen.

I haven't been able to face the last of The Expanse books even though it was pre-purchased and is sitting on my kindle. I have to confess I didn't finish book 8 either because I couldn't accept the aging of my heroes. I was in a bad way emotionally at the time though, so perhaps I can go back and finish it now.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by RoseMorninStar »

I'm going to have to put a few of those on my list; The Remains of the Day (placed hold), and N K Jemisin, which seems well loved.

I placed a hold on Ministry of the Future but I'm #85 on the list so it may be awhile. :whistle:

I'm glad to see you here Impy and hope you had a lovely New Year.
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Re: What are you reading?

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Impish! :hug:

I finally finished listening to Brandon Sanderson's Final Empire. The book is interminable, the writing simple, and there is not much depth to either the world or the characters. It does hit in the "entertaining but not emotionally taxing" spot I want right now. The plot is interesting enough that it motivates me to do housework, since it's the only time I listen to audio books.

So I borrowed the second book.

I think I would have liked it more when I was younger and less annoyed by a teenage protagonist with special powers whom everyone indulges no matter how often she endangers them with her impulsive actions. And also if people didn't keep listing Sanderson along with Tolkien and Pratchett, because he ain't either.
His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools -- the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans -- and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, 'You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink."

Terry Pratchett, Small Gods
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by narya »

Good to see you Impy! In case you hadn't heard, I retired about 5 months ago, and coincidentally discovered Libby/Overdrive, so I now have the time and the inclination to read voraciously. I've also come to the age of deciding that I can return a book to the library, half unread, if it doesn't snag my interest sufficiently. Too many books out there, too little time to waste on books that aren't doing it for me. And I have library cards for 4 different large library systems, covering most of Northern California, so whenever someone mentions a book or author, I whip out my phone, find a book in electronic print or audio, and download it to my queue. My queue is not infinitely large (unlike my bookshelves, stacked high with unread books) so I have to curate the list to the ones I really want to read the most.

I hear you about not wanting to read the later Expanse novels, but go ahead and read #7, #8, and #9 anyway. When Alex says to Amos, early on in the series, he's afraid they are all going to die, Amos says "Well, everybody dies", meaning death eventually happens to everyone. And it happens to fictional characters, whether you see their death happen on the pages, or you finish the last page of the series and realize you will never see them again. The ending of book #9 is pretty amazing. Of course, if you really can't let go of a character, you can reread the book, as we often do with LOTR.

I saw a recent YouTube video of a conversation between Ann Leckie and the James S.A. Corey duo (Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck), about the Expanse. It was an un-edited zoom meeting at Powell Books, so it is painfully slow moving, but it had lots of good stuff on the craft of writing books and making TV series. For example, the best way to write a series, according to Elmore Leonard, is to outline the whole story, then identify the books that are likely to be the ones the fans like the least, and just don't bother to write them. That's why there's a 20-30 year gap between #6 and #7 - they threw out 3 books from the 12 book outline because nothing particularly noteworthy happened in them. And with regards to the TV series, they said "We are stopping at Season 6, at least for now." (Woohoo! Maybe more coming then?) Daniel Abraham recommends "In the Dream House" by Carmen Maria Machado. Ann Leckie loves the Murderbot series, and recommends "The Goblin Emperor" by Katherine Addison and its sequel.

Here's the link, but please don't watch it until you have finished the TV series (last episode is this Friday, ***whimper***) and until you have finished book #8 - there be spoilers!



My recent reads:
- The 4 Murderbot novellas - very good fun
- Once and Future Witches - meh. I enjoyed Harrow's first book, The 100 Doors of January, but this one just didn't hold my interest.
- Ring Shout by P. Djélí Clark. This was a Nebula nominee, but I'm not into zombies, so I put this one down just a little ways in.
- Provenance by Ann Leckie - I finished it, but not a fav. It takes place in the Ancillary series universe, but with different characters. I know the governments in this series are supposed to be byzantine, but this was a little too byzantine for me to follow.
- The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Chambers - very enjoyable, the next one is in my queue.

Currently reading:
- The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin. As mentioned above in this thread, an amazing author. But instead of building a whole new world, this one reinvents New York City.
- Expanse, book #7. Yeah, I'm reading it again to help me with my withdrawals from the ending TV series :D
- Atomic Habits by James Clear (non fiction)

EDITED to add in the stuff I heard on second viewing of the YouTube video.
Last edited by narya on Wed Jan 12, 2022 3:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. ~ Albert Camus
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Inanna
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Re: What are you reading?

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I’ve been meaning to pick up “The city we became” for a while now. Ever since my sister died. I think I’m ready now.

I tried re-reading expanse 8 to prep for 9. But didn’t get into it. I was remembering bits & pieces, but not in an interesting way. Maybe I’ll just read a synopsis of 8, and move on to 9.

Imp, did you read the latest in the Lady Sherlock series? I did. Fun. Do you think there will be another? It could go either way, right?
'You just said "your getting shorter": you've obviously been drinking too much ent-draught and not enough Prim's.' - Jude
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Impenitent »

Hello hello!

Inanna thanks for reminding me of the Sherry Thomas! I rushed to purchase Miss Moriarty only to find I had already done so back in November but had inadvertently not sent it to my Kindle. It was sitting in my cloud shelf for me and now I have it on my screen and will enjoy the deliciousness.

Narya, I shall put on my big girl panties and face the final two Expanse books. I feel stronger now than I did last year so perhaps I can do it. The City We Became is also on the must-read list. (and Narya, thank you for your lovely card! Really lifted my spirits)

Frelgita, Sanderson is really odd. He's not a gifted writer but his core concepts seem good enough, and were compelling enough for me to persist and I sort of waded through his sea of words. I don't know whether I can get up the energy for any more of them though. I read all the Stormlight Archives, and Elantris (his first book, published 20 years ago and there was a lot of hoo-ha recently about the 20th anniversary milestone and what a literary arrival it was etc etc blah blah...misplaced praise for a shallow world peopled by shallow characters) and I won't be reading any more.

RoseMorninStar, you will not be disappointed by The Remains of the Day.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Inanna »

Squeee. Here she is again. :love:
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Re: What are you reading?

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I like most of Sanderson's work, but I didn't like Elantris.
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Re: What are you reading?

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I'm back to Shery Thomas, too. Finished Hollow of Fear, which I liked, and now on Art of Theft. She's good with her characters, but as a mystery writer, she hides her clues. Not fond of "here's the rest of the conversation from five chapters back, which casts everything in a different light" approach. I prefer Agatha Christie in that regard, who lets you see mostly everything.
His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools -- the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans -- and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, 'You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink."

Terry Pratchett, Small Gods
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