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what are you reading?

Head over to the bookshelf and take your pick. We want to hear your thoughts on any past, present or future novels.
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tokenBG1009
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by tokenBG1009 » 22 Sep 2015, 05:06

I'm almost done with the second book in the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher: Academ's Fury in audiobook format. After that I get to make the fun jump into the absolute glut of new Star Wars books starting with Christie Golden's Dark Disciple. In "not read to me" format I started Brent Weeks' The Broken Eye, but I've had a hard time getting into it as it's a big page count and other books I've been more interested in are/have come out.

Basically my list is:

Listening to: Academ's Fury
On Deck: Dark Disciple

Struggling through: The Broken Eye

Will probably read before it: Archmage by R. A. Salvatore and The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher.
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by EvilMonkeyPope » 25 Sep 2015, 23:27

The Eyre Affair was stupendous!

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by grief » 26 Sep 2015, 20:22

EvilMonkeyPope wrote:The Eyre Affair was stupendous!
It sounds great!

I finished Blood, Sweat, and Beers, the Fast n Loud autobio book. It was both frustrating and inspiring, so I'm trying to focus on the inspiring. I'm switching up gears and reading The Imjin War, a history book about Japan's attempt to conquer Korea, China, and whatever else they could get their hands on. I have a vague knowledge of Japanese history thanks to the Samurai Warrior games and anime, so I'm looking forward to learning something new and real.
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Nu-D » 30 Sep 2015, 21:52

grief wrote:
Wings wrote:I've just finished Orwell's "Animal Farm", which probably shares a lot thematically with "1984". It wasn't uber-engrossing but the real life political parallels were all too easily visible and it certainly doesn't seem as if it's become any less relevant now than when it was published.
I know of Animal Farm's existence and I've had a couple of co-workers suggest it to me. I remember watching the movie version when I was in junior high actually. I intend to read it, but no time soon. I need a bit of a break from that kind of book. I've also had Alda Huxley's Brave New World, I think it is, suggested to me as well.

I purchased the autobio book for Fast & Loud owner Richard Rawlins. As someone who has no aptitude for mechanical workings, car shows fascinate me (I watched most if not all of American Chopper back in the day too) and I kind of picked this up on a whim. I enjoy Richard's personality in the show, so the behind the scenes look at it should be cool.
I also just reread Animal Farm. The first time I read it was back in the late 1980's, when I was about 10-years-old. I knew, at the time, that it was "about communism." The message I naïvely took away was that communism innately breeds dictatorships.

Upon reread, I can see it's a lot more sophisticated than that. I read it right on the heels of reading a history of Socialism and Communism, so the parallels were apparent. Orwell was certainly not making any arguments about the inevitable progress of history. He was, instead, writing an allegorical polemic about Stalinism in particular. He was trying to shed light on how Stalinism came about and what it represented. But nothing in the book presents the corruption of the pig Napoleon as inexorable.

I also reread 1984 about two years ago. I had forgotten how much of it is devoted to polemics, and not to plot or character. It's really a novel about propaganda more than it is about communism. That's something I failed to take away from it when I read it as a teenager.

Of course, all of this is quite clear in light of the fact that Orwell himself was a committed socialist. When he fought in the Spanish Civil War, he joined the Republican forces initially, and affiliated with various factions of socialists throughout. His books were meant to reveal ways that the socialist movement had gone wrong in the Soviet Union in order to strengthen the movement back in Europe.

If you like Orwell, I highly recommend Homage to Catalonia. It's his memoir about fighting in the Spanish Civil War. Orwell was a journalist, first, and a novelist only as a hobby. Homage to Catalonia is a captivating personal story, but also really illuminating about one of the most complex political wars of the 20th century.

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Nu-D » 04 Oct 2015, 22:08

I just reread most of The Past Through Tomorrow, Robert Heinlein's collection of many of his early short stories and the novella Methuselah's Children. His early writing is surprisingly not as libertarian/individualistic as I recalled. For example, in Coventry, the protagonist elects to be exiled to a prison colony rather than go through psychological readjustment because he values his individuality and his right to be ornery. But when he gets to Coventry, he learns that it's a dictatorship, not a utopian anarchy. Over the course of the story he learns to value the compromises of society, and when he volunteers at the end to be readjusted, they tell him he doesn't need it because he's learned not to be anti-social.

A number of other minor amusements. In one story, the pilot of a rocket ship has to recalculate the trajectory after an incident, so he gets out his slide-rule.

For some reason, rolling roads (like giant moving airport walkways) seemed like a good idea in the early 1950's (see, also The Caves of Steel, by Asimov, Isaac).

The first half of Methuselah's Children is fast moving excitement. It gets bogged down in the second half.
Anyhow, it was fun.

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by EvilMonkeyPope » 05 Oct 2015, 04:24

The second Thursday Next novel, Lost In A Good Book, was just as good as the first. Jasper Fforde should write Doctor Who.
I started reading Clive Barker's Everville, but I think I should read The Great & Secret Show first.

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by grief » 07 Oct 2015, 19:29

I just started Chapter 7 of The Imjin War and it's slow going. Most of the book so far was set up, explaining where China, Korea, and Japan were at in terms of political strength, military strength, and a vague outline of their societies in the late 1500s. I'm only just now getting to the part where Hideyoshi Toyotomi invades Korea. I've really found the background for the three nations to be really helpful and I'm glad the author took the time to set everything up for the audience. I won't say that it was all thrilling, but now that I know the players involved, I can really get into this. A lot of Toyotomi's diplomatic attempts to take over the nations near him are a pretty hilarious - literally just sending them a letter saying that they are now part of Japan and they get to help invade China! I love it. The rather dry nature of the book - and a few days vacation - got me to switch over to a new book.

I read The Dolorous Adventures of Brother Banenose over the course of the past four days. I was a a bit skeptical going in - I won't lie, the cover did nothing to attract my attention - but as soon as I started reading I was engrossed. There's a fantastic unpredictability to the book. New characters are introduced and tossed aside quite quickly, while others manage to make to the end of the book when I thought they would have been written out quickly. It has a great sarcastic comedy streak, as well a lot of absurdism, and that reminded me of something. It's got a bit of Patricia C. Wrede in it and I feel like more than a bit of Monty Python, but that certainly isn't a bad thing. It took me a minute to adjust to the old-timey dialogue, but once I did, I was fine. Supremely weird, but otherwise, thoroughly enjoyable.
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by EvilMonkeyPope » 07 Oct 2015, 19:48

YAY! Somebody liked it! If you wouldn't mind could, you please copy your review to Amazon, Goodreads, or B&N? Thank you very much!

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by grief » 07 Oct 2015, 22:48

EvilMonkeyPope wrote:YAY! Somebody liked it! If you wouldn't mind could, you please copy your review to Amazon, Goodreads, or B&N? Thank you very much!
Done and done!
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by tokenBG1009 » 07 Oct 2015, 23:51

Saw the Kindle edition was 5 bucks so picked it up.
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by XtremeOne1 » 08 Oct 2015, 00:04

Same here!!! Can't wait to give it a read.

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by EvilMonkeyPope » 21 Oct 2015, 22:05

I was disappointed by The Well of Lost Plots, but Something Rotten was such a great conclusion. Why doesn't Jasper Fforde write for Doctor Who?

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Cable » 30 Oct 2015, 00:15

This may sound stupid, but does anyone know of any fantasy novels that don't have much fantasy in them? By that I mean I like the medieval setting, the world-building of fantasy with different kingdoms and such, the races like elves and dwarves, the creatures like trolls or dragons, but I don't really like magic. It is often so poorly defined and just too vague and takes me out of the story. So is there anything out there that is similar to for example early Song of Ice and Fire (when he hardly used any supernatural stuff, though there has been more and more as it has gone on).
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by EvilMonkeyPope » 30 Oct 2015, 01:46

So what you really want is a fantasy book without any magic? Have you tried Grendel or the Kushiel series?

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Cable » 30 Oct 2015, 01:58

EvilMonkeyPope wrote:So what you really want is a fantasy book without any magic? Have you tried Grendel or the Kushiel series?
Yeah pretty much. I have not tried those. Kushiel series looks interesting but just looking at a description it appears to have divine beings which is no different from magic to me.
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by EvilMonkeyPope » 30 Oct 2015, 04:16

I don't recall the divine beings actively engaging in the first trilogy. They're just part or the worldbuilding religion. It's been a while since I read them, though I'd remember if they did something more significant.

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Nu-D » 03 Nov 2015, 17:45

Cable wrote:
EvilMonkeyPope wrote:So what you really want is a fantasy book without any magic? Have you tried Grendel or the Kushiel series?
Yeah pretty much. I have not tried those. Kushiel series looks interesting but just looking at a description it appears to have divine beings which is no different from magic to me.
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, most decidedly has no magic in it, but is squarely set in "fantasy."

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by EvilMonkeyPope » 05 Nov 2015, 22:06

There's arguably time travel & suspended animation magic in it.
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Gomurr the Ancient » 07 Nov 2015, 21:53

I just finished Redshirts, by John Scalzi. Holy shit, one of the funniest and cleverest things I've ever read. Seriously, if any of you haven't read this, remedy that asap.
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by EvilMonkeyPope » 09 Nov 2015, 21:31

Albert of Adelaide was okay.
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by RingOtaku » 11 Nov 2015, 01:36

About to start the autobiography of professional wrestler Bob "Hardcore" Holly.
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by EvilMonkeyPope » 06 Dec 2015, 23:20

After picking up The Tea Party by Charles Grant based on the great cover, I found that this may be the only horror novel set in my county. My town is even namedropped twice. The title could even be a double entendre given local politics, had it not been written 30 years ago. Aside from the "antagonist" evoking Peter Cushing, the book isn't that engaging. It takes too long to get to the tea party & the supernatural logistics are murky. Why would magic stones be vulnerable to fire?
The book's least pardonable sin is its complete absence of tea. The townspeople are specifically invited to high tea ... where they drink punch. The cover's teacup & haunted tablecloth aren't present. YOU PROMISED ME A TEA PARTY!

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Polaris » 28 Dec 2015, 22:37

So, I know I'm behind the times (I always am), but someone just got me the Divergent series of books, and I just started reading. Has anyone else read these?
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Nu-D » 29 Dec 2015, 13:54

EvilMonkeyPope wrote:There's arguably time travel & suspended animation magic in it.
My book is on sale through November. If you've read it, a review on Amazon, B&N, or GoodReads would be very helpful: https://mattthecatania.wordpress.com/20 ... y-prefunk/
Sort of. IIRC, the actual act of traveling through time is entirely peripheral, just to accomplish the set-up. The bulk of the book is devoted to showing how science appears to pre-scientific society, and involves lots of non-magic fantasy elements. No magic at all, really, since that was Twain's whole point. Magic is just science that we don't understand yet.

Anyhow, yesterday I read on the airplane "The Narrative of Sojourner Truth," an 80-page biographical pamphlet published in 1850. It's a quick, light read, with captivating prose and interesting characters. The religion is a bit heavy-handed, but on reflection quite revealing about people of that time and place. A nice little slice of history about the northern slave society, and the religious revivals of the first half of the 19th century.
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Wings » 29 Dec 2015, 13:58

@ Polaris: I haven't read them myself but a few of my friends have. They said they enjoyed them, but that the writing wasn't always the best in a technical sense.
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