Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game


Starfinder


Pathfinder Society


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

What books are you currently reading?


Books

8,601 to 8,629 of 8,629 << first < prev | 163 | 164 | 165 | 166 | 167 | 168 | 169 | 170 | 171 | 172 | 173 | next > last >>

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Anyway, to return to the topic of ancient slavery, working on The Economy of Prostitution in the Roman World: Social History and the Brothel by Thomas McGinn.

Also recently read Slaves and Masters in the Roman Empire: A Study in Social Control by Keith Bradley, and finished a reread of Finley's classic Ancient Slavery and Modern Ideology.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules, Tales Subscriber
Readerbreeder wrote:
Kajehase wrote:
Perdido Street Station is a really good book, but yeah, unlike Mièville's later ones it suffers a bit from "look at my great big vocabulary" syndrome.
Have you ever read any of Stephen Donaldson's Thomas Covenant books? Very much the same thing. Which makes me curious about reading Perdido Street Station...

No. I got into fantasy in the late 90:s, and Donaldson never sounded interesting to me.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kajehase wrote:
Readerbreeder wrote:


Have you ever read any of Stephen Donaldson's Thomas Covenant books? Very much the same thing. Which makes me curious about reading Perdido Street Station...
No. I got into fantasy in the late 90:s, and Donaldson never sounded interesting to me.

I haven't tried to reread them lately; I think they've been visited by the Suck Fairy since I first read them.

I just finished The Obelisk Gate, the second volume of Nora Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy. It was very good, though it suffered a bit from middle volume syndrome compared to The Fifth Season.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I just finished "A Vintage from Atlantis", which is I think the third in the complete works of Clark Ashton Smith (CAS), having read the two (?) previous volumes

As mentioned previously these worked, from the very beginning of volume one, are presented in rough order of story completion, although some works took a few years to actually make it into print. It's been providing a really fascinating read. Earlier volumes...were troubled in various ways. First, CAS was generally pretty horrible when he tried his hands at pulp science fiction; most of these works were pretty cliche and formulaic, exposition heavy, and just in general have not aged well. CAS was far more effective when penning horror and fantasy.

It's to my great relief than to report that the 3rd volume is mostly free of pulpy sci-fi tales of adventure. Their IS still quite a decent spread of science fiction, but almost all of these have dark endings. Most interestingly however (IMHO), at least one story "The Plutonium Drug" represents CAS dabbling in a more straightforward science fiction writing, and this story seems like something more from the 50's than the 1930s.

The horror is wide and varied, and we get our first introduction to Zothique, a fantasy setting that would be a major inspiration for The Dying Earth series. We get martian parasites, ghoul-halfbreeds, killer plants, decadent necromancers, and undead colossi. So no shortages of monsters and interesting plots to read about.

I don't know how much of this was improvement in craftmanship or recognition of where his strengths lay, but this was a great volume that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend.


Finished up Reading the Man and I hate Lee a bit more now. Brown didn't have much to tell me that I didn't already know the broad strokes of, but the details reflect even worse on him. I wish she'd spent a bit more time engaging with the historiography, though. She takes the correct swipes at Douglas Southall Freeman (who we know believed he was lying to improve Lee's reputation) and the Marble Man legend in general, but I feel like she could have done more.

Now I'll be starting up Michael Morrison's Slavery and the American West: The Eclipse of Manifest Destiny. I suspect it might also be old news, but it's short and I've mostly dealt with the territorial question from Washington.


Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man. It was one of my favorites when I was maybe 12, but I'm not sure I have the same opinion now. Some of the stories ("The Rocket Man") I'm finding quite moving now that I'm an adult with a kid of my own; others ("The Man") I'm finding overly-preachy to the point of being obnoxiously grating. My favorite as a kid ("The Veldt") just seems not to have stood up very well.

The Exchange

Finished "White Night" (Dresden Files #9) and am going to try to finish "Guns Of Avalon" (Amber #2) over the weekend. Other than that, I may pick up The Forever War, as my current mood is very much anti-military and that book can hum a pretty tune to this kind of vibe, or so I hear. Meanwhile, I continue to drill through Proxima on Audio, which in the past month vexed me by staying just interesting enough to keep me going with it.

White Night Thoughts:
Another great entry in a series that is slowly shaping up to be one of my all time favorites. I may be young in some standards, but already it feels like a monumental achievement for a character or story to climb to the top of my list. You know Harry, though - he never quits.

On many fronts, this is a standard-issue Dresden Files book. The mix of action, investigation, humor and intrigue that are the main attraction to the series are all present. All the quirks of the series are here too - Harry being a shade sexist (his increasing self awareness of the fact does little to deter him), vampires again being he main bad guys, and a crew of the usual characters who fade in and out of events.

In many other ways, White Night is a revolutionary entry into this sequence. It manages to beautifully build upon the mythology and history of the setting to tell a compelling story much greater than the sum of its individual parts. What seemingly starts out as a standard looking murder mystery is woven seamlessly into the larger series narrative, and as the plot moves on the stakes become higher and higher as it becomes clear that Harry is again standing smack in the middle of events that may shape the outcome of the war between the White Council and the Red Court, even as the shadowy Black Council (led by the fearsome Darth Bathrobe, to use Harry's own words) pulls the strings behind the curtain. We even get some long awaited snippets of information about the special nature of Harry's Birth and his role in combating the machinations of... well, whoever the bad guys are.

As I've said before, DF has earned the deep and meaningful relationships between its characters rightfully. There are many touching moments - as Harry interacts with Murphy, Elain, Molly, Thomas, Mouse-hack, even Lasciel and Marcone, you can feel the bonds he has with them, the respect. You can see how much they all matured as they work well with each other and risk themselves for one another's safety. They have quite moments, intimate moments, and a shared past. This book doesn't really push any relationship anywhere new, but it picks up the strands that previous books left and thickens them with moire substance.

I was even sad when Lash died -although I' m about 90% sure that her behaving as if Harry was getting to her and turning her good was all part of her act, her ruthless, calculating patience leading her to believe this is the weakness in his character that she can exploit to make him trust her.

All in all, while I prefer the bigger Dresden Files stories, the kind that shake up the status Quo and move the bigger plot big steps forward, this book was still wonderful. Packed with great action, great humor and great emotional resonance and character development, White Night was a quickread that I enjoyed thoroughly and made me fall in love with the series even more.


After I don't even know how many months (three? four? five?), a dozen or so reader's circle meetings and 300ish or so pages, I finally finished Chapter 10 of Capital.

Shiznit finally got good.

SECTION 6--THE STRUGGLE FOR A NORMAL WORKING-DAY.
COMPULSORY LAWS FOR THE EXTENSION OF THE WORKING-DAY FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE 14TH TO THE END OF THE 17TH CENTURY

All the earlier stuff was fine, but, seriously, up to here I was of the opinion that I'd tell new recruits "Really, all you need to read is Value, Price and Profit and Mandel's An Introduction to Marxist Economics and you'll be good."

This, though, I like.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man. It was one of my favorites when I was maybe 12, but I'm not sure I have the same opinion now. Some of the stories ("The Rocket Man") I'm finding quite moving now that I'm an adult with a kid of my own; others ("The Man") I'm finding overly-preachy to the point of being obnoxiously grating. My favorite as a kid ("The Veldt") just seems not to have stood up very well.

Is The Man the one where Jesus is hopping around the planets and this one guy is trying to catch up and see him? I think it's one of the most anti-religious things I've ever read, though it was clear to me even at age fourteen that Bradbury thought just the opposite.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Samnell wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man. It was one of my favorites when I was maybe 12, but I'm not sure I have the same opinion now. Some of the stories ("The Rocket Man") I'm finding quite moving now that I'm an adult with a kid of my own; others ("The Man") I'm finding overly-preachy to the point of being obnoxiously grating. My favorite as a kid ("The Veldt") just seems not to have stood up very well.
Is The Man the one where Jesus is hopping around the planets and this one guy is trying to catch up and see him? I think it's one of the most anti-religious things I've ever read, though it was clear to me even at age fourteen that Bradbury thought just the opposite.

I thought the point of that one was that Catch-Up Guy was trying to get to a planet before the crucifixion-analog event happened, and when he missed that he moved on to the next planet right away and didn't stick around for the resurrection.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
SmiloDan wrote:

Finally finished The Dark Defiles by Richard K. Morgan. What a weak ending for such a great trilogy! It was maybe 100 pages too long, and instead of finishing strongly, left a bunch of loose threads dangling.

Sorry for the long necro, but I agree completely. Completely awful ending that basically ruined the entire trilogy. Although I should be used to weak endings from Richard K Morgan after Woken Furies, but at least there it was a victory.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Imbicatus wrote:
SmiloDan wrote:

Finally finished The Dark Defiles by Richard K. Morgan. What a weak ending for such a great trilogy! It was maybe 100 pages too long, and instead of finishing strongly, left a bunch of loose threads dangling.

Sorry for the long necro, but I agree completely. Completely awful ending that basically ruined the entire trilogy. Although I should be used to weak endings from Richard K Morgan after Woken Furies, but at least there it was a victory.

Does anyone know if he did that because he plans on writing a sequel trilogy or something?

Although, to be honest, I don't even really remember how it ended. That last 100 pages really were that weak!

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
SmiloDan wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
SmiloDan wrote:

Finally finished The Dark Defiles by Richard K. Morgan. What a weak ending for such a great trilogy! It was maybe 100 pages too long, and instead of finishing strongly, left a bunch of loose threads dangling.

Sorry for the long necro, but I agree completely. Completely awful ending that basically ruined the entire trilogy. Although I should be used to weak endings from Richard K Morgan after Woken Furies, but at least there it was a victory.

Does anyone know if he did that because he plans on writing a sequel trilogy or something?

Although, to be honest, I don't even really remember how it ended. That last 100 pages really were that weak!

Spoiler:
It ended with Gil trapped in the margins with no way home, waiting to be killed by the army of dwenda who are stuck with him. There is an epilogue of the emperor molesting Archeth's lover, which will be the catalyst for her to kill him and become emperess.

The thing I really hated is that the two most likable and well defined characters Egar and Ringil end up dying meaningless deaths just to make way for a drugged out whiny alien to takeover the world.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Spoiler:

Waiting to be killed? I just read something where they also only implied the ending, instead of showing the ending. It's very frustrating!


Samnell wrote:
Is The Man the one where Jesus is hopping around the planets and this one guy is trying to catch up and see him?

That very one.

Samnell wrote:
I think it's one of the most anti-religious things I've ever read, though it was clear to me even at age fourteen that Bradbury thought just the opposite.

Very nicely put.


Most recently:

'Slaves of the Cool Mountains' by Alan Winnington, which was very good

Another biography of Stalin, which was a waste of time

'Enchantress of World's End' by Lin Carter; I liked it, but it did read a lot like a Carter-ised 'Tales of the Dying Earth', as the title suggests, I suppose.

Next, I will re-read 'Situationism: A Reader', ed. Stuart Home. I suspect that it'll be a load of gassy old balls, but we'll see.


Currently 'Crown of Slaves' by David Weber & Eric Flint.

Also 'The Dragonbone Chair' by Tad Williams.

Well, I should say I am reading all the none Simon parts of the book. Simon has got to be the dullest main protagonist I have ever read. So far I am trying to find why he is of any importance, because as a POV character nothing he has done seem to be related to the story.

The scenes with out him are great and hold my interest. So there is a story but I want to know WHEN it really gets going!


Back at Bread and Roses I purchased a little pamphlet from a group called the World Socialist Party. It is a reprint of a 1920s pamphlet by one John Keracher entitled How the Gods Were Made (A Study in Historical Materialism) and it was okay, if pretty simple.

Only glaring mistake that I noticed was that he claimed the ancient Greeks believed they went to Olympus after death, instead of Hades.

The Exchange

Just realized that I actually finished Prince Of Thorns and forgot to let this venerated forum know of it. The shame gnaws at me,yet the best I can do is just post my thoughts now.

Prince Of Thorns thoughts:
This one has been on my radar for a while, as supposedly it is some sort of pinnacle of Grimdark. As always I tried to approach it as neutrally as I could, but I suspect my foreknowledge of the style of the book lessened much of the impact it could have had on me. In the first three pages of the book, the 14 years old protagonist murders, rapes, pillages and puts to the torch pretty much whatever is in front of him. I suppose for someone not knowing what they're in for, this opening is enough to rattle and awe - for me, it was more or less what I was expecting.

Of course, Jorg never really slows down, and I did find myself shaking my head in disbelief at what he does. He might easily be one of the more outlandish characters I've ever encountered - scaring ghosts away, eating the hearts of slain necromancers, killing and ravaging in brutal and unexpected times and ways. Finding out that at least part of his apparent insanity is due to a supernatural cause - the compelling spell of a sorcerer - was an interesting twist on things, as it had the reader doubting with the character about just how much of his behavior was his own free will and how much was the twisted shadow of the influence placed upon him.

So, kodus for a compelling main character.

The setting was also not bad, if a little difficult for me to fully understand. It appears to be some far future dystopia of our own world, one where a lot of our culture and knowledge was preserved, and mixed up with some genuine supernatural forces, and yet somehow the remains of humanity chose to revert back to the technology and way of life of the middle ages. I can't quite wrap my head around the how and why of such a turn of events (if they have 20th century philosophy books in their library, do they not also have some knowledge of physics? Why are these people not engineering more complex technology? Did they so accurately recreate Dark Age Europe on purpose, or was that a conscience choice they made?
If I give the author the benefit of a doubt and assume that somewhere down the line there will be satisfying answers to at least some of those questions, then I'll say the setting is rather fun and intriguing, and utilized really well as part of the story and not just background as Jorg encounters AIs and detonates advanced weapons. The mystery of the death of out modern civilization along with the emergence of genuine magic is deepened as it is revealed that an old military secret base is also the nexus of necromantic power, and that mutations caused by the radiation from superweapons also grants magical powers.

Where the book suffers is in the story and the writing. It is very clearly a first book - the author is struggling a bit with the more technical aspect of the craft, and things such as pacing and tone and setup-payoff structures are all a bit shaky. The story relies on some annoying lucky breaks for Jorg, especially as he wins an absurd battle by having the thickest plot armor at the very apex of the book.

All in all, I will continue reading the series, as I did enjoy Prince Of Thorns, but I had too many quibbles to consider it the transcendent experience that would justify the hype. It was not at all bad, but to me it also failed to be genuinely good.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Prince of Thorns spoilers:

Hey Lord Snow: They do explain a bit more in the later books. The main character is like an evil version of my nephew, who was over 6 feet tall at 13 years, is very athletic, smart in many fields, and has good people skills. So it was kind of weird and creepy for me. But I like it and its sequel series so far.

Silver Crusade

I just started Markus Heinz' "The Dwarves" in the original German in order to practice. Also because I have a deep and abiding love for dwarves.


So ok, Slavery in the American West was...a thing. It's not bad exactly, but there's some grating posturing that gets in the way of the argument. Particularly as Morrison usually couches it in terms of historians being in the tank for the abolitionists which is both not remotely true and calls a bit of attention to how he's very much in the tank for the prewar Democracy. It's really a book about the party and how slavery in the territories wrecks it. There are some valuable insights, but he's basically not interested in the Whigs at all even when the same issue is cooking them. He doesn't go blundering generation, but I smell a bit of subtext and the Michael Holt citations at the back don't help. Sure Morrison wrote in the 90s before Holt really let fly, but I've read Holt calling himself a member of the school back in the Seventies.

Which is a shame because Holt's a badass historian and major figure in the Whig reassessment that's been ongoing for about twenty years. It's not just that he wrote the book on the party, though he did, and thus everyone's got to cite him. I've never heard a bad word about that book, except that Holt's a dry writer and it's really, really, really long. His Civil War causation argument is just s*&& and everybody knows it except him. Frankly, there's a nasty undertone to the whole thing.

Naturally, Holt's been on my list for a while but I've only ever read excerpts. Not looking forward to The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party. More than nine hundred pages of tiny text, before the endnotes.

Anyway, a while back I was complaining that there are no good books about the Caning of Charles Sumner. I'm sure it's treated well in his biographies, but I try to stay away from biography for the most part and the Sumner biography is apparently quite hostile to him. I picked up Stephen Puleo's book and put it right back down because he doesn't even do minimal scholarly due diligence. Ordered up a collection of primary sources that's often cited. I'm sure that's fine, but it's not what I picked up next. I grabbed Williamjames Hoffer's The Caning of Charles Sumner based on the one academic review it had, which was mixed.

It's not bad? There are no citations except for direct quotes, which is tremendously unhelpful. It's also pitched clearly at the APUSH/US History survey supplemental reading market. It engages with scholarship it doesn't cite, which is just annoying. It also leans on some creaky arguments in older scholarship despite being written in the Obama years, though not critically so. But there's not a lot of there there. It might be a good first book on some of the things it touches, particularly honor culture, but I feel like I could have just read the sources and gotten all that.

From there I decided it was time to hit some of the books I see a lot in Early Republic footnotes. First up is Kaminksi's A Necessary Evil? Slavery and the Debate Over the Constitution. It's a collection of source documents with brief editorial introductions. I'm about a third of the way through and I have a few complaints:

1) The documents are incredibly dry. Not his fault, but damn.
2) The selections are frequently repetitive. The introduction summarizes the argument and then the docs state it. Can't help that. But do we need four or five letters making identical points?
3) If the goal of having many letters is to show the extent to which ideas were held, then the selection of documents undermines it. A large section of one chapter is just a series of letters from the Quaker brother of a Rhode Island slave trader. (Moses Brown, of the Brown University Browns.)

But I'll manage. I may demote this to reading five or ten pages a day and pick up another book for my proper reading.

On tap:
Finkelman's Slavery and the Founders: Race and Liberty in the Age of Jefferson. When it came out in the 90s, reviews were very mixed but its star has risen considerably since. To give you an idea, negative reviewers usually included lines to the effect of "At least he didn't bring that Sally Hemings nonsense into it!"

Cooper's Liberty and Slavery: Southern Politics to 1860, which looks heavily concentrated on the beginning of that span but maybe he'll prove me wrong. Cooper is cited a lot, so I wonder what he'll have to offer that Freehling didn't. I suspect I probably want his The South and the Politics of Slavery 1828-1856 more. I'll get there eventually.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I just finished Cold Fire by Kate Elliot.

Meh:
For a book that takes place in the Caribbean, deals with the Wild Hunt and faerie courts, steampunk air pirates, salt zombies, troodon-derived "troll" lawyers, warmongering political intrigue, and at least TWO different magical systems, it was slow going and kind of boring. The POV narrator is less passive than in the prequel, but when the final show down happens, she basically says "Daddy, do some big bad magic for me," and then he goes after the least developed and most boring of the adversaries. There are lots of egregious coincidences, too, most of them dealing with timing and geography (all the major players had to cross the Atlantic somehow, but they all did it separately and they all show up just in the nicks of time.

It ends on a big cliff-hanger, but I'm not sure I care enough to read the third volume. It's not like the characters are boring, it's just that they're all conveniently lucky or unlucky, depending on what the story needs, it leads to lots of weird inconsistencies, like some of the characters are supposed to be extremely poor, but they live in a mansion with servants. And others are supposedly super rich, but are practically slaves and do lots of manual labor.

Also, the magic systems aren't exploited enough. I think I've noticed that non-gamers don't try to game the system enough with their different types of magic, and that can make their magic systems seem too "plot magical" or "author-fiat."

I think there are lots of neat ideas, but the final product is just meh.

I'm about to start Ancillary Justice by Ann Lecke.

The Exchange

Finished listening to Proxima (Proxima #1 by Stephen Baxter), and moved on to The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Inheritance #1 by N.K Jemisin).

Porxima thoughts:
To my slight befuddlement, I can't quite explain what it is that I hate so much in this book.

Sure, I can point out it's various and myriad flaws - the mediocre writing, the flat characters who all seem incredibly unmotivated and bored by the events unfolding around them, the problematic structure of the story that appears to give us small snippets of stories rather than an actual understanding of the lives of the characters... but none of them, nor even their sum, is the primary thing.

Primarily, this book was just flat out boring to me. I was never engaged by what I was hearing. That the narrator had a somewhat obnoxious passive reading voice did little to alleviate the problem, and his ability to act a large number of distinct voices very well was still not enough to compensate for that.

I cannot question Baxter's imagination, as the ecosystem on Per Ardua was cool and unique, and the solar system he imagines is rather intriguing. I just... couldn't get into it.

I honestly can't say much more than that I didn't like this one, that I barely finished it, and have no intention of continuing to the next one and finish the story.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

@Lord Snow--I really enjoyed The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and pretty much everything else I've read by Jemisin.

The Exchange

John Woodford wrote:
@Lord Snow--I really enjoyed The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and pretty much everything else I've read by Jemisin.

The few chapters I've had the time to listen to so far were not bad at all. I previously read The Killing Moon, which was a touching and special book, although it never really reached the greatness that it could have. The Fifth Season sounds very interesting and promising, but second person is a deal breaker for me.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

100K K was pretty good. The sequel didn't grab me, so I only read about 100 pages of it. I'm probably going to wait until her next trilogy is complete before reading it.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
SmiloDan wrote:
100K K was pretty good. The sequel didn't grab me, so I only read about 100 pages of it. I'm probably going to wait until her next trilogy is complete before reading it.

I've read the first two as they came out, and they're IMHO as good as or better than 100K K.

Dark Archive

Just read The Aeronaut's Windlass, by Jim Butcher, and it was kind of awesome.

I've read up to Changes in the Dresden Files books (it definitely gets better, although he's got some serious repetitive issues, Harry gets badly hurt early on and spends the entire book running around wounded and / or distracted in every other book, it seems). I've read the Codex Alera, and still want to stat up that fascinating magic system. But Aeronaut's Windlass takes it to a new level of fun and weird, with a steampunk-y vibe wrapped around a core of 'new strange' in the vein of China Mieville.

8,601 to 8,629 of 8,629 << first < prev | 163 | 164 | 165 | 166 | 167 | 168 | 169 | 170 | 171 | 172 | 173 | next > last >>
Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Community / Gamer Life / Books / What books are you currently reading? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002–2016 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.