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What books are you currently reading?


Books

8,501 to 8,507 of 8,507 << first < prev | 161 | 162 | 163 | 164 | 165 | 166 | 167 | 168 | 169 | 170 | 171 | next > last >>

I've been doing Hugo voting reading:
Ancillary Mercy, which I liked quite a lot. Wrapped the series up nicely, with a cool space battleish bit and some tense personal confrontations.

SevenEves, by Neal Stephenson, which was certainly interesting, but really dragged. Near future, humanity's attempt to ensure some survivors of an apocalyptic storm of meteors resulting from the destruction of the moon. Cool premise, some cool characters and plotlines, but all of it embedded in way too much orbital mechanics and technical detail. At some points running a couple pages of exposition before we get a page of people doing stuff, then back to more exposition. Then 600 pages in, we finish the prelude and jump 5000 years forward. And spend about 100 of the remaining 200 pages describing the new society and the cool things they've built.
It's been awhile since I've been able to enjoy a new Stephenson book. This didn't change that. Shame, because I really liked Diamond Age and Snow Crash.

Also, for the 1941 Retro Hugos:
The Ill-Made Knight (part of the Once and Future King) Far more twee than I remembered it. Too many asides to the reader, somehow both condescending both to the reader and the characters.

Currently in the middle of Slan, one of the classics that I'd never read. Holds up pretty well as an adventure story, if nothing else. I suspect a lot that was new and exciting at the time is now kind of stale, but it still reads well.

The Exchange

SmiloDan wrote:

Good to know. Just as long as it isn't GRRM long. ;-)

(I'm pretty sure the Adversary Cycle is complete, right?)

Yes, it is finished and quite massive, moreover so if you read the extra stuff (there's a whole trilogy of young Repairman Jack stories - like, teenage Jack. I don't think I'll read them). However, you can easily fit three FP Wilson books in one GRRM book, so funnily enough I think A Song Of Ice and Fire would end up being about the same length as the Adversary cycle...

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Yeah, definitely long term goal material.

I'm waiting until SoIaF is finished before I re-read what I have of them. I don't want to be Wheel of Timed. SOOOOO glad I never read those!


thejeff wrote:

I've been doing Hugo voting reading:

Ancillary Mercy, which I liked quite a lot. Wrapped the series up nicely, with a cool space battleish bit and some tense personal confrontations.

SevenEves, by Neal Stephenson, which was certainly interesting, but really dragged. Near future, humanity's attempt to ensure some survivors of an apocalyptic storm of meteors resulting from the destruction of the moon. Cool premise, some cool characters and plotlines, but all of it embedded in way too much orbital mechanics and technical detail. At some points running a couple pages of exposition before we get a page of people doing stuff, then back to more exposition. Then 600 pages in, we finish the prelude and jump 5000 years forward. And spend about 100 of the remaining 200 pages describing the new society and the cool things they've built.
It's been awhile since I've been able to enjoy a new Stephenson book. This didn't change that. Shame, because I really liked Diamond Age and Snow Crash.

Also, for the 1941 Retro Hugos:
The Ill-Made Knight (part of the Once and Future King) Far more twee than I remembered it. Too many asides to the reader, somehow both condescending both to the reader and the characters.

Currently in the middle of Slan, one of the classics that I'd never read. Holds up pretty well as an adventure story, if nothing else. I suspect a lot that was new and exciting at the time is now kind of stale, but it still reads well.

You thought SevenEves dragged? I thought it read like an edge of your seat, worldwide extinction level event techno-thriller. And then the last section got all the more awesome!

I guess I'm just saying I totally appreciated the way Doctor Doob's point-of-view narration personalized the first two sections, and really enjoyed the OSR hex crawl of the third section, but no harm, no foul if you liked a different book more. :)


Hitdice wrote:
thejeff wrote:

I've been doing Hugo voting reading:

SevenEves, by Neal Stephenson, which was certainly interesting, but really dragged. Near future, humanity's attempt to ensure some survivors of an apocalyptic storm of meteors resulting from the destruction of the moon. Cool premise, some cool characters and plotlines, but all of it embedded in way too much orbital mechanics and technical detail. At some points running a couple pages of exposition before we get a page of people doing stuff, then back to more exposition. Then 600 pages in, we finish the prelude and jump 5000 years forward. And spend about 100 of the remaining 200 pages describing the new society and the cool things they've built.
It's been awhile since I've been able to enjoy a new Stephenson book. This didn't change that. Shame, because I really liked Diamond Age and Snow Crash.

You thought SevenEves dragged? I thought it read like an edge of your seat, worldwide extinction level event techno-thriller. And then the last section got all the more awesome!

I guess I'm just saying I totally appreciated the way Doctor Doob's point-of-view narration personalized the first two sections, and really enjoyed the OSR hex crawl of the third section, but no harm, no foul if you liked a different book more. :)

How much of the first two sections (~600 pages) did Dr. Doob actually narrate? I liked bits of it. I kept wanting to like the whole thing, but I wanted more of the pov narration, more actual plot & character development. Every time I started to get into it, we got another section on the new tech toy or orbital mechanics or something.

Maybe too much technothriller and too little science fiction for my taste?


'The Coming Of The Terrans' by Leigh Brackett

'English As She Is Spoke' by Pedro Carolino

An anthology of stuff from the Renaissance, which has made me want to read 'Don Quixote' again

And 'Heroes And Villains' by Angela Carter

A cross between JG Ballard and Jane Gaskell, hence superb.


Gave up on Puleo's book. Dove into footnotes elsewhere and found a total of two books on the caning, one of which is a documentary history. (So it's an anthology of primary sources.) What put me over the top was checking JSTOR and finding out the academy couldn't even be asked to give him a negative review. The books I've got on order now have one review (positive, but complains that the book is short and probably aimed at harried grad students) and citations in actual trustworthy books.

Got Slavery in the South: A State By State History, which isn't quite a pile that steams but also isn't great. Was recommended to me by a blogger and I was eager to get some state-level detail that wasn't South Carolina or Virignia-specific. The focus on technical details of slave law, Reconstruction, and so on had me really into it. Waited almost three weeks to get the damned thing, but I was stoked.

By the end of the introduction I knew I was in trouble. It's a textbook, which is less than ideal and I was not told, but I'll live. Just in there I found repeated incidences of putting things quite badly in the lovely technically correct, deeply misleading sense. It's not necessarily that they were lying, but they clearly did not put thought into some things at all. Slaves are repeatedly called "minions."

And it's just redundant. They've got one chapter up front that lays out the general shape of things. Most of it is rehashed in every state writeup, frequently in as many words. Every chapter was sure to tell you that the slave code insisted that baptism didn't free the slave, which is something they also told you was in every slave code in the opening survey. When new detail is added, there's no indicator of just why it's particular to a state so you're left wondering if it's actually a state particularity or if it's just where they chose to insert something.

Analysis? You'd hope for some, but there's pretty close to jack beyond some bald assertions. They say Floridian enslavers were probably not as brutal as enslavers elsewhere, but nothing backs that up; they don't even tell you the bare bones of why they think so. They organized the damned book to frustrate the reader doing any of their own. It's strictly alphabetical order with minimal cross-referencing between states. So even the distinctions between Upper and Lower South are lost, to say nothing of the more subtle shades between the Atlantic coast and the Gulf. They would have done far better just to order things by statehood or first introduction of slaves.

There are citations, but they're pretty basic. You get an author and then you're pitched to a works cited at the end of a chapter. These are largely works I'm unfamiliar with, but I have a lot of trouble believing that there's not a more recent state history than the early 1900s for most of these places.

Dammit, this could have been so much better. What's there isn't awful, when the authors do their due diligence and think about what they're typing, but it's a waste. I'm going to use it as an occasional reference at best. Glad I didn't pay a lot for it.

A slavery scholar I've recently become acquainted with through reddit's AskHistorians recommended Huston's Calculating the Value of the Union to me. So I'm reading that. It's about how ideas about property rights, specifically the exaltation of the elitist, hierarchical, slaveholding model of property rights, brought along the Civil War. I'm only a chapter in but it's really good. There are plenty of well-deserved swipes at the sort of free market fables usually presented under the rubric of property and a very nuanced treatment of the subject itself.

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