What books are you currently reading?


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The Exchange

Orthos wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Orthos wrote:
Airships and energy gauntlets! This is my kind of story. =D
Not to mention magician who can't deal with doorknobs and talking cats. It's a great book!

"Do you have anything else to add?"

"... Doorknobs are a most finicky technology."

*sneeeeerrrrk*

Yeah I'm really loving this story, and especially the cast of main characters thus far. Really excited to see where Butcher takes this long-term.

Do we know how long the series is planned to be?

Shadow Lodge

Lord Snow wrote:
Orthos wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Orthos wrote:
Airships and energy gauntlets! This is my kind of story. =D
Not to mention magician who can't deal with doorknobs and talking cats. It's a great book!

"Do you have anything else to add?"

"... Doorknobs are a most finicky technology."

*sneeeeerrrrk*

Yeah I'm really loving this story, and especially the cast of main characters thus far. Really excited to see where Butcher takes this long-term.

Do we know how long the series is planned to be?

Wiki says that Butcher is currently signed on for a trilogy, but also lists it as "the first three books of the series". I imagine the opening trilogy will have a mini-arc that's semi-self-contained, but knowing Butcher, unless he wraps it up decisively like he did Codex Alera, he could keep writing in the series/setting for some time.


Lord Snow wrote:


2) This is the actually important question - what should I expect from Sanderson's concluding trilogy? does it feel different from books 5-11 of WoT? Will I still be reading about dozens of indistinguishable Aes Sedai smoothing skirts and readjusting shoals? do the books have more concise and self contained arcs, or are characters still going to be spending thousands of pages doing very little? In short, are Sanderson's books really better than Jordan's? I want to be mentally prepared if they are not...

It didn't feel too different to me. The pace picked up and more happened, but that could be as much because we're reaching the conclusion and plots are wrapping up as because of the different author. Sanderson seemed to be trying to emulate Jordan's style, as least as far as I could tell - I'm not that familiar with Sanderson's work. I think there are less of Jordan's authorial tics, like the hair-tugging and skirt smoothing, but those never bothered me as much as they do some so I may just not have noticed as much.

All three of the final books are credited to both Sanderson and Jordan. Sanderson was working from Jordan's plot, his notes and some already written scenes. Giving both credit in such cases is pretty standard. Also means they get filed where those more casual fans looking for the sequels will find them.


Still enjoying Cija's incestuous relations and Irish fairytales about enchanted puddings, but they weren't hitting my sweet spot, so I started re-reading David McLellan's Karl Marx: His Life and Thought. Mostly wanted to read his early dealings with the Young Hegelians, but the bio's pretty readable. Don't know if I'll re-read the whole thing or not. We'll see.


Reread Lee Child's Gone Tomorrow, and it got me thinking again about railroading in urban D&D adventures, and how often it's not only not needed, but sometimes blots out opportunities for a more fun scenario. There are a number of situations -- highlights of the novel -- that come up precisely because the "PCs" jump the rails and do stuff that doesn't follow the obvious sequence that's been laid out, leaving the reader yelling things like "WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT, YOU MORONS?!" (answer: sometimes they do this based on erroneous conclusions drawn from incomplete information, and sometimes just because Reacher is over-eager to beat someone up -- i.e., for much the same reasons that players jump the rails during a game). The important upshot is that this forces the bad guys to react in totally different ways than they had planned, as we (the readers) learn in retrospect. Granted, an author at a typewriter has a lot more time than a DM at the table does, to re-adjust and think up a new sequence of events -- but doing so is actually one of my favorite parts of being a DM.

Traditional wisdom says something like "If the PCs don't go where you want them to, move the destination to wherever they go." It also says "Provide important clues in at least 3 different places, so that they can't help but find them sooner or later." More and more, I find myself strongly disagreeing with traditional wisdom -- if you've done your job in plotting (or adapting) an adventure, sooner or later events will catch up with the PCs -- even if the setting and sequence of events turn out to be different, and even if at first they totally miss the significance of some clues. If Child's novel were adapted to an RPG adventure, some groups would finish it in two sessions (phenomenal success); others would take a longer time, as in the novel; and still others would find themselves TPKed and or dead-ended with nowhere else to go (failure). I think that, ideally, the DM's job is not to make sure the PC always "just barely" win, but rather to present them with a well-balanced scenario in which they win or lose based on their own cleverness, initiative, skill, and luck -- assuming your players aren't just in it for a hackfest (presumably, if they were, you'd be playing "Against the Giants" rather than "Special Ops vs. NSA" anyway).

The Exchange

thejeff wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:


2) This is the actually important question - what should I expect from Sanderson's concluding trilogy? does it feel different from books 5-11 of WoT? Will I still be reading about dozens of indistinguishable Aes Sedai smoothing skirts and readjusting shoals? do the books have more concise and self contained arcs, or are characters still going to be spending thousands of pages doing very little? In short, are Sanderson's books really better than Jordan's? I want to be mentally prepared if they are not...

It didn't feel too different to me. The pace picked up and more happened, but that could be as much because we're reaching the conclusion and plots are wrapping up as because of the different author. Sanderson seemed to be trying to emulate Jordan's style, as least as far as I could tell - I'm not that familiar with Sanderson's work. I think there are less of Jordan's authorial tics, like the hair-tugging and skirt smoothing, but those never bothered me as much as they do some so I may just not have noticed as much.

All three of the final books are credited to both Sanderson and Jordan. Sanderson was working from Jordan's plot, his notes and some already written scenes. Giving both credit in such cases is pretty standard. Also means they get filed where those more casual fans looking for the sequels will find them.

Interesting. Jordan is a better wordmsith than Sanderson - he's far from great but he can still make fancier descriptions and better turns of phrases than Sanderson who is completely pedestrian in that department. It is unexpected that Sanderson can emulate Jordan's style.


Lord Snow wrote:
2) This is the actually important question - what should I expect from Sanderson's concluding trilogy? does it feel different from books 5-11 of WoT? Will I still be reading about dozens of indistinguishable Aes Sedai smoothing skirts and readjusting shoals? do the books have more concise and self contained arcs, or are characters still going to be spending thousands of pages doing very little? In short, are Sanderson's books really better than Jordan's? I want to be mentally prepared if they are not...

More stuff happens in the last three books. I recall most scenes as consequential, though there are a few which are very much about personal character arcs rather than world-shaking stuff.

There are parts of the trilogy which were clearly written entirely or primarily by Jordan and parts that obviously weren't. Jordan is very consistent with how he uses words in description. Sanderson misses those consistencies sometimes. He's also less subtle about his metaphors, up to including a grating passage where he makes one and then tells you in as many words that it's a metaphor. There's also at least one fairly prominent secondary character that he openly dislikes and she loses a few points of intelligence for it whenever on stage.

On a more amusing front, Sanderson has no idea how to swear. Jordan uses fantasy swearing, but he uses it roughly in the same ways as real world people use profanity. When Sanderson tries to do the same, he ends up with this weird mad libs effect that leaves you thinking if he's ever been in the presence of a living person who swore. Unfortunately, this is most evident with a character that Sanderson turns into a zany comedy act for a fairly involved sequence. Jordan had funny moments, but I never got the sense that he was playing for laughs like I did from Sanderson there.

I still liked the books, and Sanderson gets a bit better at style matching as he goes on, but especially in the first one there's a fair bit of adjustment needed.


'Thornhold' by Elaine Cunningham.

ANOTHER CUNNINGHAM!!!


Ah yes, Limey, that's a neat one. Suggestion to your reading: There will be a trio of macguffins. Keep track of where they are.

Shadow Lodge

Quote:
On a more amusing front, Sanderson has no idea how to swear.

I personally find this a point in Sanderson's favor, and even in his own books the language is very PG, PG-13 at most, and what little swearing there is is extremely mild (nothing worse than the occasional "Damn" or "Curses", or in-setting epithets like "Storms" in the Stormlight Archive series). It's nice knowing that series (plural) I highly enjoy can be recommended to almost anyone without having to worry about age appropriateness and whether they/their family in the case of younger folks will object to the content.

Quote:
When Sanderson tries to do the same, he ends up with this weird mad libs effect that leaves you thinking if he's ever been in the presence of a living person who swore.

And that's probably one of the main reasons I avoid swearing in my own writing.

That and I just don't care for it.

The Exchange

Samnell wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:
2) This is the actually important question - what should I expect from Sanderson's concluding trilogy? does it feel different from books 5-11 of WoT? Will I still be reading about dozens of indistinguishable Aes Sedai smoothing skirts and readjusting shoals? do the books have more concise and self contained arcs, or are characters still going to be spending thousands of pages doing very little? In short, are Sanderson's books really better than Jordan's? I want to be mentally prepared if they are not...

More stuff happens in the last three books. I recall most scenes as consequential, though there are a few which are very much about personal character arcs rather than world-shaking stuff.

There are parts of the trilogy which were clearly written entirely or primarily by Jordan and parts that obviously weren't. Jordan is very consistent with how he uses words in description. Sanderson misses those consistencies sometimes. He's also less subtle about his metaphors, up to including a grating passage where he makes one and then tells you in as many words that it's a metaphor. There's also at least one fairly prominent secondary character that he openly dislikes and she loses a few points of intelligence for it whenever on stage.

On a more amusing front, Sanderson has no idea how to swear. Jordan uses fantasy swearing, but he uses it roughly in the same ways as real world people use profanity. When Sanderson tries to do the same, he ends up with this weird mad libs effect that leaves you thinking if he's ever been in the presence of a living person who swore. Unfortunately, this is most evident with a character that Sanderson turns into a zany comedy act for a fairly involved sequence. Jordan had funny moments, but I never got the sense that he was playing for laughs like I did from Sanderson there.

I still liked the books, and Sanderson gets a bit better at style matching as he goes on, but especially in the first one there's a fair bit of adjustment needed.

This makes more sense to me than what TheJeff said - specifically about metaphors, too. They are actually one of Jordan's strongest points - his metaphors often serve double duty as characterization (for example, Mat might think of someone eager to do something as 'going at it more wildly than a goose after a beetle'). While most of his phrases and descriptions repeated endlessly (If I hear about even one more copper-skinned Domani...) in this area he did keep coming up with new stuff.

About swaering, Sanderson is a Mormon, an upbringing from which I think he mostly shook himself from (at least in his writing), but the "no bad language" thing must have stuck. One could also note that there is very little drinking or smoking in Sanderson's books, and no drug abuse that I can think of. Sex was completely absent to start with - in early Sanderson novels couples who were deeply in love would do nothing more extreme than holding hands - but since getting married he got gradually more free with that.

Armchair author psychoanalysis is fun :)


Lord Snow wrote:
About swaering, Sanderson is a Mormon, an upbringing from which I think he mostly shook himself from (at least in his writing), but the "no bad language" thing must have stuck. One could also note that there is very little drinking or smoking in Sanderson's books, and no drug abuse that I can think of. Sex was completely absent to start with - in early Sanderson novels couples who were deeply in love would do nothing more extreme than holding hands - but since getting married he got gradually more free with that.

Sounds like early Sanderson works would make for good horror reading. All those wholesome people have got to skin children for giggles, minimum. I can buy mad men in blue boxes and steroid cases in spandex punching each other to solve problems, but fantasy can only get so ridiculous before I call it quits.

Shadow Lodge

-_-

Seriously?

Is it really so unbelievable that someone who doesn't swear, drink, smoke, or have sex is also not a secret psychopath?

Because if that's so fantastically unbelievable, I'll need an explanation why I haven't exploded yet. Because that's a pretty accurate description of me.


Orthos wrote:

-_-

Seriously?

Is it really so unbelievable that someone who doesn't swear, drink, smoke, or have sex is also not a secret psychopath?

Because if that's so fantastically unbelievable, I'll need an explanation why I haven't exploded yet. Because that's a pretty accurate description of me.

I neither smoke nor drink and conduct a remarkably uneventful sex life. :) I do swear, make jokes about bodily functions, and other such amusements.

So yes, I meant it almost entirely tongue in cheek. The exception being, obviously, those who put on a great show of being wholesome. I expect more often than not that those sorts are trying far too hard and wouldn't do so if they weren't doing something that didn't fit with their PR.

Whether that's something entirely innocent and they're victims of their own repression, or that of others, or something truly monstrous is a separate issue.

The Exchange

Orthos wrote:

-_-

Seriously?

Is it really so unbelievable that someone who doesn't swear, drink, smoke, or have sex is also not a secret psychopath?

Because if that's so fantastically unbelievable, I'll need an explanation why I haven't exploded yet. Because that's a pretty accurate description of me.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with any of those (I do not smoke nor drink, and for the most part my language is clean though I do not shy away from harmless swearing), it's really just that all of these things are part of reality, and when an author purposfully leaves them out it feels fake. I'm not saying I want to read about every dark urge and ugly habit that people have, merely that it sometimes feels like authors go out of their way ti skirt around such issues, which I find somewhat juvenile. I mean, you're writing about people tearing each other to pieces with supernatural powers but a smoke or the F word are too much for you?

Shadow Lodge

You're fine, I was more responding to Samnell's comment about baby-skinning psychopaths in hiding.

Quote:
I'm not saying I want to read about every dark urge and ugly habit that people have, merely that it sometimes feels like authors go out of their way ti skirt around such issues, which I find somewhat juvenile.

Admittedly it's not a problem for me, but that's likely because I don't notice their absence when they're not there. Probably because I don't encounter a lot of that stuff in my own life or entertainment.

It's also why when it does happen it sticks out a lot more for me, whereas a lot of people here seem to be of the opposite perception - that if it's present they sort of gloss over it as a "normal" part of the story, but lacking something like that makes them feel like something's off.

The Exchange

Orthos wrote:

You're fine, I was more responding to Samnell's comment about baby-skinning psychopaths in hiding.

Quote:
I'm not saying I want to read about every dark urge and ugly habit that people have, merely that it sometimes feels like authors go out of their way ti skirt around such issues, which I find somewhat juvenile.

Admittedly it's not a problem for me, but that's likely because I don't notice their absence when they're not there. Probably because I don't encounter a lot of that stuff in my own life or entertainment.

It's also why when it does happen it sticks out a lot more for me, whereas a lot of people here seem to be of the opposite perception - that if it's present they sort of gloss over it as a "normal" part of the story, but lacking something like that makes them feel like something's off.

I guess it has a lot to do with the tone the author sets up - in an Abercrombie book, I'm going to be weirded out if that gruff mercenary doesn't use profanities. In a sanderson novel, I'd be weirded out by a couple doing anything more than holding hands.

Most of the issue comes in retrospect - "ha, I guess it is kind of weird that adults are addicted to coca cola rather than whisky in this book...". While reading, I don't really notice.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Sometimes it works better when the author makes up their own curse words/oaths - 'Blood of the Horse!' from 'The Phoenix Guard' is a favourite...


Limeylongears wrote:
Sometimes it works better when the author makes up their own curse words/oaths - 'Blood of the Horse!' from 'The Phoenix Guard' is a favourite...

I actually like and occasionally even use "Blood and Ashes" from the Wheel of Time. Or "Blood and Bloody Ashes" for emphasis.

Of course, I also use "Bother", from Pooh. :)

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.
thejeff wrote:
Limeylongears wrote:
Sometimes it works better when the author makes up their own curse words/oaths - 'Blood of the Horse!' from 'The Phoenix Guard' is a favourite...

I actually like and occasionally even use "Blood and Ashes" from the Wheel of Time. Or "Blood and Bloody Ashes" for emphasis.

Somewhere across the multiverse, Nynaeve is scowling and tugging at her braid.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I'm a big fan of Scott Westerfeld's slang in his Leviathan series.

Particularly when Deryn/Dylan calls folks "barking bumrags."

It's really dirty if you think about it....


Not quite the same but, since it's swearing-related:

Perhaps apocryphal, but, reportedly, when Mae West met Norman Mailer, she proclaimed "Oh, you’re the guy who can’t spell 'f**@'!"

Regardless, The Naked and the Dead did provide the filthiest beatnik/hippie rock band with their name.


Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:

Not quite the same but, since it's swearing-related:

Perhaps apocryphal, but, reportedly, when Mae West met Norman Mailer, she proclaimed "Oh, you’re the guy who can’t spell 'f+!*'!"

Regardless, The Naked and the Dead did provide the filthiest beatnik/hippie rock band with their name.

The story is also credited to Tallulah Bankhead and Dorothy Parker, but pretty sure it is apocryphal. There's a remarkable amount of this stuff when it comes to common swear words. I've heard two different variants on what the word Mailer couldn't spell "really" means, both of which are absurd.

In other news: bought a last-generation kindle paperwhite today. It came discounted nicely. The various methods I've used to relocate my nook ebooks over have not, even when I tried stuff that was accurate as of earlier this month. Annoying twice over since I could only even find some of the files and B&N locked my account and wants me to call them now to get it back. Suspect they didn't like it when I had multiple sessions of their reader open at once a few weeks back.

So that happened.

Dark Archive

"The Lord of Chaos", from the Wheel of Time. Started the saga three months ago, i like it quite a lot!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Orthos wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:
Orthos wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Orthos wrote:
Airships and energy gauntlets! This is my kind of story. =D
Not to mention magician who can't deal with doorknobs and talking cats. It's a great book!

"Do you have anything else to add?"

"... Doorknobs are a most finicky technology."

*sneeeeerrrrk*

Yeah I'm really loving this story, and especially the cast of main characters thus far. Really excited to see where Butcher takes this long-term.

Do we know how long the series is planned to be?
Wiki says that Butcher is currently signed on for a trilogy, but also lists it as "the first three books of the series". I imagine the opening trilogy will have a mini-arc that's semi-self-contained, but knowing Butcher, unless he wraps it up decisively like he did Codex Alera, he could keep writing in the series/setting for some time.

He has plans for up to three trilogies in the series, depending on how well the first of those trilogies sells.

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Samnell wrote:
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:

Not quite the same but, since it's swearing-related:

Perhaps apocryphal, but, reportedly, when Mae West met Norman Mailer, she proclaimed "Oh, you’re the guy who can’t spell 'f+!*'!"

Regardless, The Naked and the Dead did provide the filthiest beatnik/hippie rock band with their name.

The story is also credited to Tallulah Bankhead and Dorothy Parker, but pretty sure it is apocryphal. There's a remarkable amount of this stuff when it comes to common swear words. I've heard two different variants on what the word Mailer couldn't spell "really" means, both of which are absurd.

In other news: bought a last-generation kindle paperwhite today. It came discounted nicely. The various methods I've used to relocate my nook ebooks over have not, even when I tried stuff that was accurate as of earlier this month. Annoying twice over since I could only even find some of the files and B&N locked my account and wants me to call them now to get it back. Suspect they didn't like it when I had multiple sessions of their reader open at once a few weeks back.

So that happened.

Try using Calibre, it has a simple interface and allows you to easily manage multiple e-readers and convert the format of any e-book to any other format.

Shadow Lodge

Lord Snow wrote:
Samnell wrote:
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:

Not quite the same but, since it's swearing-related:

Perhaps apocryphal, but, reportedly, when Mae West met Norman Mailer, she proclaimed "Oh, you’re the guy who can’t spell 'f+!*'!"

Regardless, The Naked and the Dead did provide the filthiest beatnik/hippie rock band with their name.

The story is also credited to Tallulah Bankhead and Dorothy Parker, but pretty sure it is apocryphal. There's a remarkable amount of this stuff when it comes to common swear words. I've heard two different variants on what the word Mailer couldn't spell "really" means, both of which are absurd.

In other news: bought a last-generation kindle paperwhite today. It came discounted nicely. The various methods I've used to relocate my nook ebooks over have not, even when I tried stuff that was accurate as of earlier this month. Annoying twice over since I could only even find some of the files and B&N locked my account and wants me to call them now to get it back. Suspect they didn't like it when I had multiple sessions of their reader open at once a few weeks back.

So that happened.

Try using Calibre, it has a simple interface and allows you to easily manage multiple e-readers and convert the format of any e-book to any other format.

+1. Calibre has been invaluable for me for managing my Kindle.


Orthos wrote:


+1. Calibre has been invaluable for me for managing my Kindle.

That's what I have been using, including the plugin that's supposed to facilitate movement of nook books into a Kindle. I resolved my B&N account issues, so I can at least download the books afresh now. That reduces this to an inconvenience, so I'm no longer too worried.


Finished Celia, A Slave. It's very good for what it is, but it feels very much like a journal article padded out. I know that's the nature of the beast with microhistory, but there are many points where not just the title figure but everyone who had anything to do with her recede completely into the background. This occurs even in chapters clearly meant to be about them, which was strange to me. Limited records can't be helped and standard practice with microhistory is to do that, but it still came off weird.

Ended up taking Mother out for supper and was going to drop her at her knitting group and then come pick her up at the end, but ended up sitting in the mall reading What Hath God Wrought on my Kindle instead. I actually got the book in paper before I settled on getting a Kindle, but it's so massive and heavy that I had zero regrets about getting the ebook too.

The Exchange

Finished Gateways (Repairman Jack #7) and already delved into Nemesis Games (The Expanse #5).

Gateways thoughts:
Oh hell yes!
I've enjoyed every single Repairman Jack book so far, though to varying degrees and for differing reasons. Specifically, the last couple (#5 and #6), while being interesting and including some very cool "side jobs" for Jack to do, were somewhat problematic for me. That was because they pitted Jack against threats that he was not really well suited to fight - a germ and a ghost require specialties that are frankly beyond him.

However, with Gateways we are completely back on track, with a hostile group of human enemies. Add them to the main threat in the book being a witch controlling mutant swamp monsters, and you get exactly the kind of pulpy action I'm looking for. Jack bonding with his father at last was fun, Anya was a good character and I enjoyed Jack's trip out of New York. It was actually somewhat amusing - whne the story is set in New York the setting is almost under-described, as familiarity with the Big Apple is sort of assumed. Here, however, we get very long and detailed description of everything, which works nicely to show Jack reacting to a new environment.

The ending was one of the best sequences in the series so far. A combination of awesome lowly Otherness creatures (sort of winged lobstrosities), a guest appearance by the anti christ, and a tornado attack made for a titanic and action packed scene. Also, I was genuinely unsure if Jack's father would survive the story, and Wilson was aware that a reader will be concerned of that, so he tosses in a pile of hints that the father will die. For a few pages the reader is trying to decide what will get Repairman Senior - will it be a swamp monster, a Cthulhu thing? a gun shot? a tornado? a heart attack? they all seem a breath away at various points. Great suspense.

Eager for the next book in the series. I don't care that these are kinda badly written and stuff like that. Great pulp adventure with clever twists is always welcome.


Max Gladstone's Two Serpents Rise. Really good. Very different. Set in kind of a modernish, magitech urban fantasy city based on Mayan legend. Corporate mages have killed or bound the old gods and stopped the sacrifices, but that has consequences. The plot has plenty of twists and Caleb, our protagonist, has ties to all the main factions, none of which really come off as the "good guys".

He's got a couple other books in the same setting, but apparently not the same characters. I may just track them down.


'Hasan' by Piers Anderson. Arabian nights-y fantasy. It was OK.

EDIT: Piers Anthony, rather.

Also started re-reading the Thieves World books.

The Exchange

I finished The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place. I do recommend - it's a quick, funny read and has a happy ending. I guessed who the murderer was quite early, but it is a Juvenile/YA novel so I'm not too proud of myself for my feat of deduction.

Now I'm reading The Death of the Mantis by Michael Stanley. A Botswana-set murder mystery/police detective that is quite far from the "cozy" style of the "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" novels, without being too noire (at least so far). Where I'm at in the novel: a second murder has just been discovered, and the local constable bungled it by not holding the witness who may or may not have faked a gunshot to cover up the crime... which means, I assume, that at some point Detective Kubu will need to track the witnesses/suspects into the Kalahari. At least, I hope that happens because I love cat-and-mouse games between Detective and Killer. But given my track record at guessing whodunnit in full-on grown-up msyteries, I'll probably be proved wrong.

Shadow Lodge

Finished The Aeronaut's Windlass. Just... wow. Those endings. And I mean endings, because I felt two or three times like "okay this is the big climactic ending scene"... only to have it one-upped magnificently by what happened next.

I am VERY MUCH looking forward to see what the rest of Cinder Spires has to offer. Thank you Mister Butcher.

Following that, I've picked up A Red-Rose Chain, the latest book in the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire, as well as the Welcome to Night Vale novel.


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber
thejeff wrote:
Limeylongears wrote:
Sometimes it works better when the author makes up their own curse words/oaths - 'Blood of the Horse!' from 'The Phoenix Guard' is a favourite...

I actually like and occasionally even use "Blood and Ashes" from the Wheel of Time. Or "Blood and Bloody Ashes" for emphasis.

Of course, I also use "Bother", from Pooh. :)

I may have done those things as well...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Currently reading "A History of the Arab Peoples", by Albert Hourani. I picked it up years ago because it looked interesting, then forgot about it. Lots of interesting and timely info in it.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

thejeff wrote:

Max Gladstone's Two Serpents Rise. Really good. Very different. Set in kind of a modernish, magitech urban fantasy city based on Mayan legend. Corporate mages have killed or bound the old gods and stopped the sacrifices, but that has consequences. The plot has plenty of twists and Caleb, our protagonist, has ties to all the main factions, none of which really come off as the "good guys".

He's got a couple other books in the same setting, but apparently not the same characters. I may just track them down.

That sounds so cool, I just ordered the first two of the series from my local library system.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I haven't been doing much reading for enjoyment over the past few months (life, work; at least I have my CEH and got some kudos), but just plowed through Hawk by Steven Brust and The Sword of the South by David Weber last week.

Hawk was a major step for Vlad with the Jhereg, but he made a new enemy to make his life difficult. There were also some additional hints/details on earlier events that create a new perspective for some of the other books; I'm going to have to re-read them to catch all of the changed nuances.

The Sword of the South has a darker, more serious tone than the previous "Bahzell" novels. It also provides some more details about the fall of Kontovar and points toward a massive conflict about to break.


Finished What Hath God Wrought at six days into a projected sixty or so. Must've been good. :) It's the Oxford History of the United States, so you know what you're getting: a work that tries to integrate the best of recent scholarship by a significant figure in the field, written with a lay audience in mind. They hit the high points and generally have very good notes to lead you to more detailed work.

I'm not entirely convinced of Howe's main thesis, which he denies having and then admits to a paragraph later in the bibliographical essay, but I think he's at least half right. There are a few points where he goes crotchety old grandpa and I suspect he leans a little too heavily on religion as an explanation for democratization in the nineteenth century, but one must expect some of that from a guy who specializes in religious history.

I'd have liked to read more about the shortcomings of the evangelical empire of voluntary associations he builds up, and ultimately the Whig party, but Howe spends more time alluding to them than exploring them. One gets the sense that he ultimately sees those shortcomings as unimportant, which is exactly how the partisans for Jacksonian Democracy act when you start bringing up women and slaves. It's not quite symmetry, since the slaves had it far worse than, say, Catholics or Unitarians, but there's a parallel that could probably use more examination.

Howe does a very good job of integrating women into the mainline narrative, when they're usually reduced to tokens, but in a way I think he goes a mite too far. An incautious reading could leave one with the impression that some kind of sexual equality operated behind the scenes in reform movements. That isn't helped by how the women's rights movement really doesn't get off the ground until quite late in the narrative, but once he gets there Howe does walk back things a bit by pointing out just how controversial demanding the vote was.

Next up? Probably the Night Vale novel.


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ericthecleric wrote:
Currently reading "A History of the Arab Peoples", by Albert Hourani. I picked it up years ago because it looked interesting, then forgot about it. Lots of interesting and timely info in it.

It's been ages since I read it, but I think he also wrote a pretty good book on the Crusades from the Arab perspective.


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Luna by Ian MacDonald
Deadly Election by Lindsey Davis
and Tremontaine by Ellen Kushner, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Malinda Lo, Joel Derfner, Racheline Maltese, Patty Bryant, Paul Witcover (it's a serial, with part written by a different author, although since it's 13 parts I guess some of them wrote more than one)

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Goliath, part 3 of Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan trilogy.


Kajehase wrote:


and Tremontaine by Ellen Kushner, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Malinda Lo, Joel Derfner, Racheline Maltese, Patty Bryant, Paul Witcover (it's a serial, with part written by a different author, although since it's 13 parts I guess some of them wrote more than one)

I need to read the rest of those. I think I read Swordpoint a few years ago.


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Yes. Yes you do. ;-)

(And you don't even have to read them in order, though it helps.)


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It's Friday 30th October, and what does that mean? I'll tell you what it means. CONANZA! CONANZA! CONANZA!

After a fashion. I found two new non REH Conan books - 'Conan the Rebel' by Poul Anderson and 'Conan the Bold' by John Maddox Roberts

conanza conanza conanza

as well as 'Brokedown Palace' by Steven Brust, 'The Reavers of Skaith' by Leigh Brackett, 'The Fortunes of Brak' by John Jakes and 'The Emperor of Dreams' by Clark Ashton Smith, all for £13.20.


Finished Welcome to Night Vale. If the dip in podcast quality was from them writing this, then it wasn't worth it. It's not bad, but I don't think the writing style translated very well to novel. Nor do I think they did well to basically have the novel about three people we've never heard of before interacting with one of the cooler and more interesting figures in the canon to his general detriment. The epilogue episode of the podcast is much better than the book.

I suspect that some of that is down to pacing, though. The book feels very padded out, especially in the beginning. The back half is a bit better, but where there should be rising tension there's mostly just idle curiosity.

The Exchange

I finished Death of the Mantis. As I suspected/hoped there was a death-defying cat-and-mouse hunt for the killer in the Kalahari desert, where the remorseless sun beats down and parched tongues swell in bone-dry mouths. A fun read!

Now I'm reading the Pathfinder novel Nightglass. Not a mystery, for once!


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Started Ancillary Mercy last night.


Reading Lolita, because Nabokov.

It creeps me out that some people call it a love story. How could anyone think that? Ew.


'Mortal Consequences' by Clayton Emery, featuring Sunbright Steelshanks, the well-known Donovan song title.

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