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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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Polaris
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Polaris » 29 Dec 2015, 21:16

@Wings: Yes, my thoughts exactly. The descriptors are piss, and she so sparingly gives colorful language that when she does, it's awkward and feels like an afterthought. She unnecessarily utilized a thesaurus every third page to use a dead vocabulary word for absolutely no reason (which isn't to say I had to look anything up, but you can't go from using the most simple language, to suddenly forcing a complicated, misplaced sentence in there). She introduces characters in meaningless ways, to the point you can't recognize them when they're in new scenes later, and have to thumb through old chapters to see who they are (if you care that much). I so far hate the main character, but her friend Christina is okay, even if she's treading the cliche, "Magical Negro" territory.

However, I'm enjoying the pacing (aside from the jarring one-liners), and the transition from the start to the adventure is pretty satisfying. The dull to the wild is a perfect tactic to pull a wide ranging audience into a book of adventure and engulf them in the story, however ill-describe and defined it might be. The politics are done interesting enough, and she seems to have a solid grasp on how the world works, but I wish she would've utilized some interesting way of showing how the factions worked, as opposed to just lumping all the information into textbook-equivalent paragraphs.

Blah blah blah. Sorry. As someone who's writing a book, I am super critical of everything I read now. It's hard to enjoy something you might have once loved when you're so accustomed to tearing your own work apart.
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Nu-D » 09 Jan 2016, 16:18

Currently enjoying The Golem and the Jinni. It's quite reminiscent of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay. Not quite as marvellous, but very good so far.

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by grief » 11 Jan 2016, 23:44

I finished Welcome to Night Vale a week or so ago. As a fan of the podcast, I shouldn't be as surprised as I am that I loved it, but here we are. The book not only captures Night Vale perfectly, but we get to see the inside of a library and encounter a Librarian! It was, honestly, one of the most terrifying things I've ever read.

I'm finally reading The Martian. About a third of the way through now.
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Crutey Anth » 12 Jan 2016, 06:40

I'm reading the Martian too, good book but once you've seen the movie it doesn't really do much else (my fault I know for seeing the movie first)

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by grief » 12 Jan 2016, 10:14

I specifically wanted to read it before I saw it, so hopefully that'll work out on my end!
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Crawler » 13 Jan 2016, 03:24

Currently reading an ARC of a book by a friend, but after that I'll finally get around the Career of Evil. I've been finally taken in by J.K. Rowling's detective series, even if it took a good slog through the first book to get into the writing style.

Audiobook-wise, I'm listening to 11/22/63 while grading papers and planning lessons, hoping to have it done before the series debuts on Hulu.

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by EvilMonkeyPope » 06 Feb 2016, 01:22

I just finished Rise: Book One Of The War Witch Saga by Cain S. Latrani: https://mattthecatania.wordpress.com/20 ... hs-review/

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Nu-D » 07 Feb 2016, 17:42

Nu-D wrote:Currently enjoying The Golem and the Jinni. It's quite reminiscent of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay. Not quite as marvellous, but very good so far.
I finished this book last week, and it really was quite excellent. It's a story set in New York City around the year 1899. A Jewish immigrant brings a Golem to New York, and a Jinni is released from his bottle by a Syrian immigrant. The Golem is a creature made of Earth, and the Jinni one of fire, and they have personalities that reflect their natures. It's sort of a love story between the two, but there's action and adventure too. The author writes very well crafted characters; the titular characters are as complex and subtle as any protagonists you'll encounter in Michael Chabon's books. One of the most delightful things about the book is that every once in a while a particular unusual turn of phrase will stop you, and you'll re-read it and realize how well considered and applied it is in context. She has a lovely precision in her language, and manages never to fall back on cliches.

She also has done her research on the setting. I don't know New York City all that well, but you could literally retrace the steps of her characters on a map. And the communities of immigrants are detailed and fleshed out with precise realism.

If you liked Kavalier and Klay or Norrell and Strange, I'd highly recommend this.

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Nu-D » 08 Feb 2016, 15:36

I began reading Austen's Mansfield Park, and I'm about 1/4 through; it's a decidedly inferior novel. Like Pride and Prejudice, the two protagonists are the characters with the most sense of multi-dimensionality; unlike P & P the secondary and tertiary characters are all quite one-dimensional, and that dimension is thoroughly unlikable. While these spoofs of the hoity-toity aristocracy are amusing at first, they are tiresome after pages and pages. Furthermore, there is significantly less of Austen's lovely and witty repartee in this novel. Several years ago I read Emma, which I remember enjoying but also thinking it was inferior to P&P, but this novel I will remember as being a slog, rather than a joy.

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by grief » 09 Feb 2016, 02:16

After The Martian (which I thoroughly enjoyed) I read Ta-Nehisi Coates Between the World and Me. I won't lie, I largely looked at it because Coates is going to be the new writer for Black Panther and everyone was making such a big deal about him. Having read Between, I can see why. It's a supremely powerful book and Coates writes so well. It's a perspective of the world that I simply never had and it was enlightening, frightening, and an amazing read. It's really heavy reading, as it's all about race relations, but I tore through it.

I needed some escapism next, so I read Unusual Concentrations, from Simon Spurrier. It's kind of a murder mystery/spy/detective story with a very odd back-and-forth narrative style. It's very jarring to read. It jumps from the present to ten days from now to three weeks ago, then back to the present in order to end the moment four days later. Super weird. Entertaining though. It's a fun mystery. Spurrier clearly had some fun writing it. I won't lie, I have a hard time suggesting the book, as there is very little that's likeable about the characters. EVERYONE is annoying, frankly, although I think that's what Spurrier was going for. The book's lead character - whose name escapes me - shadow writes books for another author, really pulpy, action-y, Michael Bay movies turned into a book type of stuff. However, he has the attention span of a goldfish, so writing isn't easy for it. While in the coffee shop one day, a woman dies and he happens to take her laptop. When he does, he contacts her employer, hoping perhaps to get a reward for turning it in, and he's dragged into a world of corporate espionage, mysterious figures, and dangerous mysteries.

Next was the second book in Gail Z. Martin's Ascendant Kingdom series, Reign of Ash. Martin's style of prose is very slow and methodical, everything taking place exactly when it should. There's very little that's new about her plots - the book feels very by-the-numbers. But I like her writing, I like her characters, and I like her world building, so I'll be sticking with this series. The idea behind this is that two kingdoms went to war with magic and, basically, broke magic. Doing so caused society to collapse and the only person who can put things right is former convict, former lord-inheritor Blaine McFadden and his friends.

Aaaand now I'm read Illusions: Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, by Richard Bach. I just started Low, by Remender and Toccini, and at the back of the first issue, Remender mentions that reading this book helped his negative outlook on the world and helped him with his depression. I can use all the help I can get, so I figured I look at this one and give it a shot.
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Nu-D » 09 Feb 2016, 13:49

grief wrote:After The Martian (which I thoroughly enjoyed) I read Ta-Nehisi Coates Between the World and Me. I won't lie, I largely looked at it because Coates is going to be the new writer for Black Panther and everyone was making such a big deal about him. Having read Between, I can see why. It's a supremely powerful book and Coates writes so well. It's a perspective of the world that I simply never had and it was enlightening, frightening, and an amazing read. It's really heavy reading, as it's all about race relations, but I tore through it.
I'm glad to read this. I'm an avid reader of Coates' column, but have not read either of his books. My mother read Between the World and Me, and she's bringing it with her to lend to me when she comes to visit this weekend. I'm glad to hear you found it engaging; I've been lightly dreading a slog.

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Polaris » 12 Feb 2016, 17:41

Has anyone read Mistborne? A friend of mine was trying to sell the series to me, but was extremely vague and confusing in order to avoid spoilers. I hear positive reviews about it all the time, but I'm not sure if it's a series I would like.
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by grief » 12 Feb 2016, 19:08

Is that the book by Brandon Sanderson? I haven't read that particular one, but I did read the Stormlight Archives, which he wrote, and they were fantastic. The best piece of fantasy I've read in years.
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Nu-D » 16 Feb 2016, 12:48

Mansfield Park was too tedious, so I gave up halfway through. I started Between the World and Me, and I'll keep going. But last night I wanted something light, so I picked up a volume of the "best of" Isaac Asimov's short stories and read Marooned off Vesta, the Dying Night, and Anniversary.

After all these years I still absolutely adore these stories. I love Asimov's penchant for locked-room mysteries, for stories about smart people sitting around figuring things out. The sci-fi anachronisms are charming. For example, from Anniversary, this proto-internet:
He doubted if ever in his life he would meet any of the handful of technicians who spent most of their working days in a hidden spot in the bowels of the Earth tending a mile-long super-computer that was the repository of all the facts known woman, that guided man's economy, directed his scientific research, helped make his political decisions, and had millions of circuits left over to answer individual questions that did not violate the ethics of privacy.
The computer is called "Multivac," because it still uses vacuum tubes for circuits! It operates by typing questions in on a typewriter, and printing out small slips of paper with the answers on them. Asimov imagined it would be near-enough to an artificial intelligence that it would "guide," "direct," and "help" economy, politics and research. It placed limits on the information released based on an "ethics of privacy!" But it didn't even have television monitors for readouts!

I just love how he anticipated a kind-of proto-internet, and even recognized the privacy concerns that would arise, but couldn't see that (a) miniaturization would make vacuum tubes and giant super computers obsolete, and (b) screens.

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Blackcyclops » 20 Feb 2016, 13:49

I'm looking for an audiobook for a road trip, so I'm looking for book recommendations from you all. Given that some of you have known me for almost a decade (or more), you can almost guess what I like better than my real world friends. I was looking for some good fiction (genre preferably), so any recommendations are welcome...
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Crutey Anth » 20 Feb 2016, 21:36

Sci-Fi or Fantasy?

The Long Earth by Pratchet and Baxter?
something by Neil Gaiman?
The Aeronaut's windlass?

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by EvilMonkeyPope » 20 Feb 2016, 21:54

The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul read by Douglas Adams

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by grief » 20 Feb 2016, 23:49

Brandon Sanderson's the Stormlight Archive for good fantasy! I know for a fact that it's on audible cuz my friend just started listening.
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Cable » 21 Feb 2016, 00:18

You could try the Name of the Wind, the first book in the Kingkiller Chronicles (its a trilogy though its been a five-year wait for the concluding book :x ). It is fantasy but with an interesting mix of high and low elements. The main character supposedly is a legendary figure despite appearing to be a lowly tavern owner and he recounts his past life as an orphan of a minority caste (basically gypsies) that is seeking killers of his family that nobody believes really exists and he has to spend most of his time just scraping money together to live. There is romance involved but it is as complicated and frustrating as any real-life scenario. Like I at times seriously get pissed off at reading it. But in a good way. If that makes any sense. And the magic in the series is very well-thought out (for the most part. There is an event in the second book that I could do without.)
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Blackcyclops » 22 Feb 2016, 03:01

I like fantasy and sci-fi.
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Gomurr the Ancient » 22 Feb 2016, 23:59

BC, a few recommendations, in no particular order as I love them all. First, Redshirts. It's a spectacular sci-fi/satire of sci-Fi and the audiobook is read by Wil Wheaton, which is perfect. Second, American Gods. By Neil Gaiman, it was written during an extended road trip of the US, and the story includes something of a road trip in it too. Third, The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu. A strange but beautiful epic heroic tale that brings an atypical cultural experience to the fantasy genre. Fourth, The Last Wish, by Andre Sapkowski. First in a series of bo oks about The Witcher. A beautiful but bleak fantasy world again bringing an atypical perspective to the genre. Fifth, Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Fantastic and funny theological fantasy that I've been thoroughly enjoying. Last (again, not in significance, just a random order), The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follet. Hard to explain it, it's more historical fiction I guess than fantasy, but my brother, to whom I recently gifted my copy, said, "it's driving me mad, I haven't hated characters this much, or loved other characters this much, in a long, long time." I think the closest comparison in certain ways is Les Miserables, but less rambling and more accessible. A fantastic book which I cannot recommend highly enough.
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Blackcyclops » 23 Feb 2016, 15:01

Thanks everybody!!!!!

If only comics could somehow be turned into audiobooks, read by the voice-actors from cartoons or live-action (I'd love to have the Mutant Massacre read by the cast of the 90s animated series lol)...
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by EvilMonkeyPope » 12 Mar 2016, 01:50

The Kindle version of The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose is on sale for $0.99 through Sunday in case you don't have it already or know some people that like cheap ebooks: http://www.amazon.com/Dolorous-Adventur ... B015TOO8SQ

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by tokenBG1009 » 13 Mar 2016, 09:08

Lords of the Sith by Paul Kemp currently, almost finished with it and I'll be moving onto Book 4 of the Codex Alera series, Captain's Fury by Jim Butcher.

Slowly been working through the new Star Wars canon. I never got into the old EU material except for reading the first book in the Thrawn trilogy. I guess I shouldn't find it surprising that it took almost 40 years for the Star Wars universe to have it's first confirmed LGBT character.
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Wings » 13 Mar 2016, 12:00

I'm currently reading The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. Given their popularity, they've been dissappointing. I'm currently on the scond book which is thankfully a big improvement on the first, although the protagonist Clary remains very unlikeable to me. The villain, Valentine is rather one note and in the first book at least, all the characters feel underdeveloped, even the ones who receive more than their fair share of page time such as Clary and Jace, her main love interest. The other main supporting characters seem interesting (Alec having hidden feelings for Jace was an interesting plot point and was a missed opportunity to delve into the culture of the novel's mystical protectors, the Shadowhunters) but other than that he, his sister Isabelle and Simon aren't really fleshed enough, and they sort of feel like wraiths popping into the narrative whenever Clary needs someone to interact with rather than real characters. It doesn't help that most of the characters don't sound at all like 15/16 year olds, even Clary and Simon who live in the regular "mundane" world. Simon is sidelined far too often for my tastes, despite the fact that Clary is about as much use in a fight as he is regardless of her Shadowhunter blood. The book also feeds into the trope of characters giving long speeches about everlasting connection within the space of a week.

Book 2 has managed to make most of the characters more likeable. (Jace has become marginally tolerable, but I'm still baffled by Clary's appeal to him and Simon). However, given where we left the cast in Book 1, the author seems to be jumping the fun in developing the cast's friendships with each other. And to be honest I'd actually much rather is the story was being told from a perspective other than Clary's. I'm only a hundred pages in so I'll see if it managed to win me over.
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