What books are you currently reading?


Books

8,851 to 8,900 of 9,746 << first < prev | 173 | 174 | 175 | 176 | 177 | 178 | 179 | 180 | 181 | 182 | 183 | next > last >>

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Zeugma wrote:
I'd like to keep with Lord Snow's "reading year in review" theme, but I haven't taken as detailed notes as he has (and I don't have a Goodreads account).

There's still six days in the year; you can still fit some more books in!

Got to the part in Around the World where Detective Fix gets poor Passepartout stoned on opium and finished up the Hawthorne collection; plenty of times during the latter I thought Natty would have made a great fantasy/comic book writer if he'd lived a little later. For the example, the following story of Italian passion, poison and misogyny would have made a great origin story:

Rappaccini's Daughter


'Stalin: New Biography of a Dictator' by Oleg V. Khlevniuk.

Not too bad.

They had Trotsky's one, too, but it was the size of a telephone directory (remember those?) and was £25, so I left it.

Also read 'The Shamuntani Hills' and 'Khaire: Cityport of Traps' by Steve Jackson.


Ooooh Sorcery! Good times...

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The 32 books I read in 2016:

Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen
The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher
The Girl with the Ghost Eyes by MH Boroson
Liar’s Key by Mark Lawrence
Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding
Nemesis Games by James Corey
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Half a War by Joe Abercrombie
The Mechanical by Ian Tregillis
The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury
Zero World by Jason M. Hough
Visitor by CJ Cherryh
three moments of an explosion by China Mieville
Maplecroft by Cherie Priest
Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger
Chapelwood by Cherie Priest (didn’t finish it)
The Tomb, a Repairman Jack novel, by F. Paul Wilson
I am Princess X by Cherie Priest
Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
Legacies by F. Paul Wilson
Weaponry & Waistcoats by Gail Carriger
Cold Magic by Kate Elliot
Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger
Killing Pretty by Richard Kadrey
Cold Fire by Kate Elliot
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
Ancillary Justice by Ann Lecke
Perdido Street Station (re-read) by China Mieville
The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross
Prudence by Gail Carriger
Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie
Imprudence by Gail Carriger

The Exchange

I finished A Slight Trick of the Mind. It was alright, but I still like the movie better. "Mr. Holmes" has a happier ending.

Books read so far for 2016: 47


Finished up with Phileas Fogg and friends and moved on to Geoffrey Barraclough's An Introduction to Contemporary History written in 1965 so you know it's up to date.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Visiting my parents over the weekend, I found some old Remo Williams "The Destroyer" books and read two of them in short order. If anyone wondered why Gygax included the Monk class, of all things, in 1st ed. AD&D, consider it thoroughly answered. In retrospect, I can't believe Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir didn't end up in Appendix N.

The Exchange

Snuck in Theft Of Swords (Ryira Chronicles #1 by Michael Sullivan) to round out 25 books for 2016. I'm somewhat stumped as to my next book, and considering multiple very promising candidates.

Theft Of Swords thoughts:
I've decided to give this series a try as it promised to be a light and entertaining fantasy read. One of the main attractions, as the reviews went, was the central pair of characters - Hadrian and Royce. As word went around, the two were interesting, different and complimentary, the type of friends who would argue even as they do everything together, up to and including sacrificing themselves for each other if there's a need.

Well, this book is not very well written. Language is simplistic, annoyingly modern ("umm, duh!" said the princess) and lacks any art. Characters are very shallow, and the reader gets no inner dialog whatsoever. This reminded me of The Lies Of Locke Lamora, where the tone and language doesn't change with the PoV, and readers need to guess how characters feel and see the world by outward description -"Hadrian looked angry" and so on). I really dislike this style, and want to feel like I'm getting to know the characters whos' actions I'm following.

Further, the dynamic duo of Royce and Hadrian isn't really all that interesting. They are both noble-hearted and brave, they just happen to have different skill sets.

However, I did enjoy Theft Of Swords. The setting is very layered, the characters start out knowing very little of the world and its history, and they discover knowledge as they traverse a maze of conspiracies and secrets that make it impossible to understand what's true and what isn't, and who is working against who, until those secrets are revealed naturally in the plot. I was able to predict many story bits, but specifically on the matter of the overarching schemes and mysteries, Sullivan has me eager to learn more.

Theft Of Swords is composed of two smaller books - The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha. Of the two, Avempartha is somewhat better, with a more unique story and with it building on the foundations that The Crown Conspiracy set.

I'm likely going to keep on reading the series, because Sullivan has me somewhat hooked on the behind the scenes stuff, but I really do hope his character development improves.

On a final note, like The Killing Moon (a much better novel by N.K Jemisin), this book also has a pet peeve of mine, which is the pointless PoV. there's a character in the second half of the book who has about a fourth of the pages in the book as the PoV... and she does literally nothing to impact the plot. Actual zero. She's just... there. Maybe she becomes important later or something, but I still maintian that she should either not be a PoV, or have more to do in the book if she is.

The Exchange

Thank you for all of your reviews Lord Snow.

thoughts:
PoV is so tricky!I too find the "irrelevant character PoV" very annoying; it feels like the author hasn't worked hard to find a way to provide the information or plot point through an important character. Loren D Estleman wrote a magnificent essay on the topic of PoV in the how-to book Writing Mysteries, edited by Sue Grafton. Third-person objective PoV - where we are entirely outside of the characters and never know their inner thoughts, as you've described, foregoes one of the great pleasures of reading novels: knowing what someone is thinking without being actually psychic. Third-person objective is like reading a movie script. Estleman says there's only a handful of full-length novels that do this well, most notably The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett. By not knowing what Sam Spade is thinking, it helps build suspense because the reader doesn't know what he is going to do next, or what clues he may have picked up about the Maltese Falcon.
Anyway, that's my 2 cp. Happy reading in 2017!


I am just finishing up Command Decision, book 4 in the Vatta Series by Elzabeth Moon.


I'm currently working my way through a collection of essays by one Eric Blair (AKA George Orwell). He's generally considered one of the best essayists of the 20th century, for those who can enjoy essays outside of an educational context. The current volume is narrative essays; another is focused on critical essays. I must say, it is some of the tightest prose I've encountered, and he's understatedly British the whole way. through.

The Exchange

@Readerbreeder: have you read Orwell's Homage to Catalonia? The way he describes being shot in the neck, and later his participation in the street fighting in Barcelona, is crazily "understated British."


Left my reading material at Mr. Comrade's last night so I started reading A Play of Knaves by Margaret Frazer.

I got this book years ago when I was working at the airport and found it in the Lufthansa "Left Behind Books" rack. From what I've been able to glean, this is the third book in a spin-off series about medieval actors and the mysteries they solve. It is a spin-off, apparently, from a much longer series about a Benedictine nun who is cousins with Geoffrey Chaucer and solves mysteries based on The Canterbury Tales. Only read one chapter so far, we'll see how it goes.


Last night I started Larry Niven's Protector. 50 pages in and I'm already pretty certain it'll be one of the best sci-fi novels I've ever read.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Last night I started Larry Niven's Protector. 50 pages in and I'm already pretty certain it'll be one of the best sci-fi novels I've ever read.

Protector's pretty cool. Some very neat ideas in that one.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Last night I started Larry Niven's Protector. 50 pages in and I'm already pretty certain it'll be one of the best sci-fi novels I've ever read.

As long as you don't think too hard about the evolutionary biology, but you can say that about a lot of SF.


Niven's Ringworld and Pak stories in general are quite entertaining.

Just started "Some aspects of pseudo-science in Nineteenth Century American Literature", to be followed by "Poe and Mesmerism", by Francis William Weeks.
It contains a short introduction to the pseudo-sciences - phrenology, hydropathy and homeopathy, mesmerism and spiritualim - their history and how they were received in 19thC American, then looks at a few authors and how they used these things in their writings.


Zeugma wrote:
@Readerbreeder: have you read Orwell's Homage to Catalonia? The way he describes being shot in the neck, and later his participation in the street fighting in Barcelona, is crazily "understated British."

Zeugma, I haven't had the chance to read Homage to Catalonia; however, Orwell does mention his experiences in Spain several times in the section of the book given over to his war time diary entries. I can only imagine how much British understatement (which Orwell identifies as part of the national character, by the way) would be necessary in describing being shot in the neck...


John Woodford wrote:
As long as you don't think too hard about the evolutionary biology, but you can say that about a lot of SF.

Yeah, hit that part last night. "Ummm, Larry, you do realize that humans and chimps diverged about 5 Ma by the fossil record, but according to you, neither one existed on Earth until later than 2.5 Ma?"


Kirth Gersen wrote:
John Woodford wrote:
As long as you don't think too hard about the evolutionary biology, but you can say that about a lot of SF.
Yeah, hit that part last night. "Ummm, Larry, you do realize that humans and chimps diverged about 5 Ma by the fossil record, but according to you, neither one existed on Earth until later than 2.5 Ma?"

I think technically (proto)chimps were around. The Pak were supposedly Homo Habilis. So the timeline isn't necessarily off, it's just that humans (Homo) are aliens and not related to chimps or Australopithecus or anything else on Earth.

Which is also blatantly false, of course.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Yeah, I don't see the point of stories where humans aren't from Earth. That's like French people being from China. It just doesn't make sense.


It's a cool story. Lots of fun, high concept ideas.

Not hard evolutionary science, but so what.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I've read the synopsis, and it seems really neat, but mucking around with evolutionary science is a big pet peeve of mine.

I also hate it when aliens built the pyramids. It's so racist!


Pet peeves aren't entirely rational. I nearly foamed at the mouth at the mixed languages scene in AvP but I mostly ignored the horrible mess it made of physics of all other sorts.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
thejeff wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
John Woodford wrote:
As long as you don't think too hard about the evolutionary biology, but you can say that about a lot of SF.
Yeah, hit that part last night. "Ummm, Larry, you do realize that humans and chimps diverged about 5 Ma by the fossil record, but according to you, neither one existed on Earth until later than 2.5 Ma?"

I think technically (proto)chimps were around. The Pak were supposedly Homo Habilis. So the timeline isn't necessarily off, it's just that humans (Homo) are aliens and not related to chimps or Australopithecus or anything else on Earth.

Which is also blatantly false, of course.

IIRC, Brennan hypothesized that once the Pak Protectors realized that tree-of-life didn't work on Earth they deliberately let the ship reactors blow off so that some of the Pak descendants would mutate into something reasonable, and that led to the proliferation of primates--all of them are actually descended from Pak. I think the clear relationship between primates and other mammals was explained outside of the text as being due to both Pak and Earth species being descended from tnuctip food yeast, or something like that.

As I said, don't think about it too hard.


John Woodford wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
John Woodford wrote:
As long as you don't think too hard about the evolutionary biology, but you can say that about a lot of SF.
Yeah, hit that part last night. "Ummm, Larry, you do realize that humans and chimps diverged about 5 Ma by the fossil record, but according to you, neither one existed on Earth until later than 2.5 Ma?"

I think technically (proto)chimps were around. The Pak were supposedly Homo Habilis. So the timeline isn't necessarily off, it's just that humans (Homo) are aliens and not related to chimps or Australopithecus or anything else on Earth.

Which is also blatantly false, of course.

IIRC, Brennan hypothesized that once the Pak Protectors realized that tree-of-life didn't work on Earth they deliberately let the ship reactors blow off so that some of the Pak descendants would mutate into something reasonable, and that led to the proliferation of primates--all of them are actually descended from Pak. I think the clear relationship between primates and other mammals was explained outside of the text as being due to both Pak and Earth species being descended from tnuctip food yeast, or something like that.

As I said, don't think about it too hard.

Well, it's definitely not all primates - that includes all the monkeys and lemurs and things that go back ~50 million years.

I believe it's stated somewhere that they were Homo Habilis. Which was a fairly new discovery when the original version of the story was written in 1967.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
thejeff wrote:
John Woodford wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
John Woodford wrote:
As long as you don't think too hard about the evolutionary biology, but you can say that about a lot of SF.
Yeah, hit that part last night. "Ummm, Larry, you do realize that humans and chimps diverged about 5 Ma by the fossil record, but according to you, neither one existed on Earth until later than 2.5 Ma?"

I think technically (proto)chimps were around. The Pak were supposedly Homo Habilis. So the timeline isn't necessarily off, it's just that humans (Homo) are aliens and not related to chimps or Australopithecus or anything else on Earth.

Which is also blatantly false, of course.

IIRC, Brennan hypothesized that once the Pak Protectors realized that tree-of-life didn't work on Earth they deliberately let the ship reactors blow off so that some of the Pak descendants would mutate into something reasonable, and that led to the proliferation of primates--all of them are actually descended from Pak. I think the clear relationship between primates and other mammals was explained outside of the text as being due to both Pak and Earth species being descended from tnuctip food yeast, or something like that.

As I said, don't think about it too hard.

Well, it's definitely not all primates - that includes all the monkeys and lemurs and things that go back ~50 million years.

I believe it's stated somewhere that they were Homo Habilis. Which was a fairly new discovery when the original version of the story was written in 1967.

I went and looked. From p. 85 of the Del Rey paperback edition, where Nick Sohl and Lucas Garner have encountered the Brennan-monster:

"'And the piles got hot without the protectors to keep them balanced. They had to be fission piles, given the state of the art. Maybe they exploded. Maybe not. The radiation caused mutations resulting in everything from lemurs to apes and chimpanzees to ancient and modern man.'"

Leakey had named H. habilis three years before "The Adults" was published, so Niven was on the cutting edge of paleontology there. Primate evolution was poorly enough understood at the time that the explanation was superficially plausible, but even then it didn't hold up under close examination.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
Pet peeves aren't entirely rational. I nearly foamed at the mouth at the mixed languages scene in AvP but I mostly ignored the horrible mess it made of physics of all other sorts.

What mixed languages?

Movie physics almost never make sense. :-P


SmiloDan wrote:
Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
Pet peeves aren't entirely rational. I nearly foamed at the mouth at the mixed languages scene in AvP but I mostly ignored the horrible mess it made of physics of all other sorts.

What mixed languages?

Movie physics almost never make sense. :-P

There's a scene where two characters read a mishmash of Nahuatl, classical Coptic and Khmer. Never mind that the dates of when these were used don't match up, the languages and writing systems don't work together at all.


Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
...[A]nd moved on to Geoffrey Barraclough's An Introduction to Contemporary History written in 1965 so you know it's up to date.

I'm actually finding this quite good.

Last chapter on the transition from 19th-century style "liberal democracy" (where only, like, a quarter of the people can vote) to mass democracies and the rise of political parties (factoid that I didn't know: Britishiznoid women didn't get the right to vote until 1928, which isn't surprising, BUT, universal male Britishiznoid suffrage wasn't achieved until 1918; sorry to pick on the Brits, just thought that was fascinating) was interesting.

Current chapter about the revolt against European colonialism promises to be even better.

Most thought-provoking bit, for me anyway, was in the chapter on loss of European precedence in world affairs to, on the one hand, the United States and, on the other, Russia: Barraclough makes the point, in the middle of the nineteen-sixties, that Russia and the United States were at loggerheads over Asia from the moment they both embarked on the global stage (despite earlier American backing to Russia to piss off the Brits and keep Chinese markets open). He goes on to say that, yeah, sure, there's ideological differences between the US and the SU, but mostly, it's about exploitation of and influence in Asia. I, of course, don't agree on the downplaying of the "ideological differences" but it's interesting to note, in the current climate, that the US and Russia have been rivals for a long time, pre-communism, communism and post-communism.

Anyway, much better read than I expected.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
SmiloDan wrote:
Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
Pet peeves aren't entirely rational. I nearly foamed at the mouth at the mixed languages scene in AvP but I mostly ignored the horrible mess it made of physics of all other sorts.

What mixed languages?

Movie physics almost never make sense. :-P

There's a scene where two characters read a mishmash of Nahuatl, classical Coptic and Khmer. Never mind that the dates of when these were used don't match up, the languages and writing systems don't work together at all.

Oh jeez.... That's ridiculous. That's not how language works. That's not how any of this works! ;-)


Finished up Eltis' The Rise of African Slavery in the Americas rather behind schedule. Between this and a slavery studies guy I slightly know, I wonder if the British slavery academy is just obsessed with the economics of slavery. There's little in it but economic analysis, though Eltis is at pains to stress that economics is neither the whole nor the decisive factor in most of what he's writing about. Were that so, Europeans would have enslaved their neighbors and ran the plantations closer to home.

From there I popped over to Frederickson's Racism: A Short History. It was...ok. His definition of racism is much narrower than my own, though he is fairly good about the fuzziness on the boundary and the potential for things he considers non-racist (but which I take as racist by definition) are similarly vicious. I think the problem is more that he's trying to pack far too much into a book under 200 pages. He takes the US, Nazi Germany, and South Africa as his major case studies and that's fine, except that all of them end up shortchanged. Particularly as he understands antisemitism as a fundamentally different kind of racism from white supremacy. That's right, but in practice it means that the US and the Nazis are the main comparatives and South Africa fits awkwardly. Maybe an Africanist, which I am not, would have gotten more from it.

Now looking at much lighter reading: The Myth of the Lost Cause and Civil War History. It's an edited volume on much more familiar turf so I hope to tear through it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Almost done with Protector. Biological idiocy aside, when it gets into anticipating and countering alien technological advancements in preparation for fighting them, it's awesome. (The whole "war has been going on for years before the enemy is even sighted" thing is something that Niven is unmatched at across several genres; he practically defined that trope for fantasy in What Good is a Glass Dagger?)


'One Flew Over The Kesey's Nest', by Ken Cuckoo.

And 'Sorcery! The Seven Serpents', by Steve Jackson


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Discovered I haven' posted what I'm reading since my birthday (October 4)!

Most recently it's been Guns of the Dawn by Adrian Tchaikovsky, which was an excellent bit of war-is-bad-m'kay story with lots of crawling through swamps, and balls with surprise visits from the king.

Next up will be an anthology edited by one Jessica Spotswood, called A Tyranny of Petticoats, and promises some steampunky western fun.

The Exchange

I'm reading Liberty, by Garrison Keillor, for a book club. I did not pick this book. Although I've occasionally enjoyed his "A Prairie Home Companion" radio show, a whole novel of Lake Wobegon is a bit too much.


Finished Protector, breezed through Elmore Leonard's The Hunted, and am now deeply engrossed in Christopher Hitchens' Letters to a Young Contrarian.

Paizo Employee Managing Editor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Read The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin (this is the way the world ends—race politics plus all the natural disasters and planning for multi-year catastrophes!), then raced through Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson (fantasy Africa with queer protagonists). I recommend both, and they make a good pairing! Now reading The Original Dream by Nukila Amal while I wait for my holds on two more Jemisin books, another Wilson novella, and Verne's Lighthouse at the End of the World.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Finished Imprudent by Gail Carriger.

Started the Liberation by Ian Tregillis. Book three of the Alchemy Wars.

The Exchange

Keillor's Liberty was ok; mildly amusing but not laugh-out-loud funny.
Now I'm re-reading Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett. I'd re-read Witches Abroad last week and it seems I'm working my way forward chronologically. I still haven't read The Shepherd's Crown yet.


Barraclough ended well with a chapter about the "ideological challenge" of Marxism and another about 20th century art (although, I noticed that, though he made great pains to not be Eurocentric with the history, I don't think a single non-white person got mentioned in the art chapter).

A Play of Knaves is going well, although I haven't gotten too far.

Decided after APoK I was going to stick with writers named "Margaret" and make my first foray into Atwood and I made that decision before I saw an advert for a televised version of The Handmaid's Tale.

And, speaking, of adaptations, Mr. Comrade insists that we should go to the musical-ized version of The Parable of the Sower coming to Boston in March.

Paizo Employee Managing Editor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
And, speaking, of adaptations, Mr. Comrade insists that we should go to the musical-ized version of The Parable of the Sower coming to Boston in March.

Oooh, passed on to my Boston compatriots! I hope the show travels eventually, would love to see it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Conversation I just had with Mr. Comrade:

"Hey, was it Limey who said this" [waves The Final Programme] "was the best thing he never understood that he ever read?"

"No, it was Thejeff."

"Yeah, well, tell him I know what he's talking about" and then went on a rant about Ms. Brunner, entropy, the Part, needleguns and I don't even know what else.

Scarab Sages

I just started Reaper's Eye last night. It's good to have a book in hand by one of the old-schoolers.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I bought Modelland by Tyra Banks while drunk, and it arrived today!

It's going to be IMMENSE.


Got home from Trivia Night last night, and realized that I actually still had some more pages to go in Barraclough (I could have sworn I finished it, but I guess I just fell asleep) and the first thing he starts taking about is Ocatavio Paz and Latin American authors, so I apologize to the ghost of Professor Barraclough.


I am about halfway through "City of Pearl" by Karen Traviss. It is an interesting take on a First Contact scenario.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I just finished reading The Gods of Pegana by Lord Dunsany, which was published in 1905, and I'm currently reading Time and the Gods by the same author.


Those are some amazing stories.


'Icetowers' by Duncan McGeary.

8,851 to 8,900 of 9,746 << first < prev | 173 | 174 | 175 | 176 | 177 | 178 | 179 | 180 | 181 | 182 | 183 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Gamer Life / Entertainment / Books / What books are you currently reading? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.