April’s Audacious Attempts at Assailing Avenues of Literary Adventure.

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GOLLUM

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Hi all,

Most of you will already be familiar with the routine by now. Let us know what literary gems you've embarked upon this month.

*Repost from end of March thread...'cause I wasn't paying due attention to the calendar...;)

Having finally had some time to myself to complete Susan Hill’s classic homage to the Victorian Gothic novel in the skilfully wrought Woman In Black (8.5 – 9 stars) my attention has more recently been returned to completing my own copy of a collection of short stories by the sadly neglected Polish master of the1920s and 30s in Stefan Grabinski entitled The Dark Domain, which some of you may recall I recently included in the hypothetical Horror Masterworks thread. A slightly more detailed review of this collection along with periodic contributions regarding other works I’ve been reading in 2010 will I hope begin to appear towards the end of the current Easter holidays.

Suffice to say that The Dark Domain for me represents a high watermark in supernatural horror or what I prefer to term psychological horror in Grabinski’s particular case or what the author himself was inclined to term as psychofantasies. Whilst the majority of the stories are IMO quite brilliantly constructed, there are probably a couple at least that whilst still above average are more straightforward in content. Therefore, this collection as a whole represents a near-masterpiece and as such I’ve duly rated it 9.5 stars and it obviously comes highly recommended. Briefly then, Grabinski’s genius or indeed most intriguing aspect, to expand upon China Mieville’s quoted comment, lies in the fact that for this writer, the supernatural horror is manifest in the practical realities and modernity of modern life itself. More than this though, Grabinksi not only uses these physical manifestations such as trains, structures, lighting etc. to great effect but also delves into metaphysical issues and particularly psychological aspects of the enigma we term the human mind, the ‘Dark Domain’, to highlight what he saw as society’s move away from a fundamental sense of self and the natural world as part of his anti-authoritarian and anti-materialistic world view. Indeed, a number of these so-called Grabinski-isms may be seen in another more modern masterpiece I also had the good fortune to stumble across this year in Roland Topor’s The Tenant.

Next up will be my completion of the Nobel laureate Yasunari Kawabata’s Palm Of The Hand (distilled plots) stories before embarking upon the much anticipated Wittgenstein’s Nephew by the now deceased Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard.
 
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Talysia

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Finished Feist's Rise of a Merchant Prince, and now moving on to Rage of a Demon King. I definitely think I'm in need of a little change after this series.
 

GOLLUM

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Finished Feist's Rise of a Merchant Prince, and now moving on to Rage of a Demon King. I definitely think I'm in need of a little change after this series.
Yeh...I read everything by Feist in that series up to about 3 years ago. I can't recall if you would have already passed Daughter Of The Empire trilogy co-authored with Janny Wurts. It's certainly part of the series but IMO amongst the best set in Feist's world and something I would recommend to you. Aside from Magician, those are my 3 favourite 'Midkemia' books.....:)
 

Connavar

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Banner of Souls by Liz Williams.

Only the early pages but still very different,interesting SF.
 

Talysia

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Yeh...I read everything by Feist in that series up to about 3 years ago. I can't recall if you would have already passed Daughter Of The Empire trilogy co-authored with Janny Wurts. It's certainly part of the series but IMO amongst the best set in Feist's world and something I would recommend to you. Aside from Magician, those are my 3 favourite 'Midkemia' books.....:)

I've been intending to read them for a while, but other books kept pushing their way to the top of the TBR pile. I think I'll seek the Empire trilogy out and change that.:)
 

Mouse

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Just finished The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (literally about two mins ago!) which really (although good) was only half a story.

Still reading A Sword from Red Ice by J.V. Jones.

And am now pondering Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman or Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter by somebody Moorat (can't remember the name!) or Tales of Terror from the Black Ship by Chris Priestley. Or I do have a couple of anthologies that I'm in that I haven't read any of the other stories yet and feel guilty about...
 

murphy

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Yeh...I read everything by Feist in that series up to about 3 years ago. I can't recall if you would have already passed Daughter Of The Empire trilogy co-authored with Janny Wurts. It's certainly part of the series but IMO amongst the best set in Feist's world and something I would recommend to you. Aside from Magician, those are my 3 favourite 'Midkemia' books.....:)

Exactly my feelings.
 

thatollie

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Titus Alone - Mervyn Peake; it's even better than I thought it was going to be. But it's such a linguistic feast that I had to put it away for a while, during which time I read the entire Runestaff quartet (two days).

I also blasted through half of Under the Dome on thursday. It might judt be my favourite of King's so far. Maybe I'm just getting used to his voice.
 

Montero

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Just finished Selling Out by Justina Robson - second in the Lila Black series. Lots of very clever invention for the worlds. This time she is in Demonia - and the demons are very different from the elves. She also picks up an imp who adds some funny moments. On the downside Lila Black is having a lot of personal problems - I found parts of the first half of the book not entirely engaging. Kept going and the rest of it was great. Will be reading book 3.

Now on Lindsay Davis Shadows in Bronze, book 2 of the Falco series - informer in Rome at the time of Vespasian. (I found Falco very hard to get into when I first tried it about 6 years ago. Then I borrowed a whole load of book tapes from the library for a major decorating session. One of them was a Falco. It was much better read aloud than reading it cold. After that I've really enjoyed the Falco books - got into the "voice".)
 

Adasunshine

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Just finished Dragon Haven, the second book of The Rainwild Chronicles by Robin Hobb and really enjoyed it.

Not sure what my next one is...

xx
 

The Judge

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Cosmopath by Eric Brown. It's the last of a trilogy set in a future Bengal. I'd not read the other two but he put in plenty of back story about the main character and his family, little of which was necessary to my mind. It has a very fast-paced opening, and some good ideas, but I thought the characterisation only fair-to-middling -- he can't write women, that's for sure -- and the whole thing could have been better edited. And the whole book is predicated on the enormous coincidence of the hero's daughter being diagnosed with a fatal illness, the treatment for which the hero can't afford, just as a billionaire tycoon is about to offer him oodles of dosh to undertake a mission.
 

nj1

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Finished Gladiator by Simon Scarrow and to be honest I didn't enjoy it. Same old story really, Macro and Cato are starting to go a bit stale, theres only so many against the odds situations you can put characters in before the get too predictable and thats what this book was. Also the humours gone for me, Macro's not the same blundering macho-man and Cato's not moved on from the naive romantic. Although I'm REALLY looking forward to SS's final Generals book, i'll probably not read any further in this series (unless one of the main characters gets killed off)

Now reading GILES KRISTIAN'S second book RAVEN: SONS OF THUNDER, a viking romp similar to Robert Low's Oathsworn series but more grittier and violent, really enjoyed the first book and have been looking forward to this one since then.
 

Diggler

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Still going on Australian Science Fiction. I'm also reading Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
 

Devil's Advocate

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Recently finished Brandon Sanderson's Elantris. Pretty good book, but I felt it was a little lopsided. Not much happens in the first 5/6th of the book, and then everything seems to happen in the last bit. Consequently, I felt the end was a little rushed.

Currently about a quarter of the way through Knife of Dreams, Book 11 of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series. Going okay right now. One thing I gotta give WoT - the books take a hell of a long time to go about progressing the story, but for some reason they're a quick read. I don't know why, but I always seem to get through the books in a relatively short time.
 

soulsinging

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I decided to give myself a fresh start for April. I'd been stalled in Gates of Fire for ages. For some reason, I wasn't connecting to the story. I may revisit it later, but it felt like heavy reading which was tough in my work situaiton at the time.

So now I've picked up the Warded Man by Peter Brett. I've heard some good things and it seems pretty thrilling and dark. I'm liking the style already.
 

Dave

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I've been trying to read Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, but it has been hard work and I'm not really enjoying it. So, I'm going to give it up and start reading Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks, just as soon as my wife finishes it.
 

Talysia

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I'm finally finishing my Feist reread with Shards of a Broken Crown. Aside from looking out for the Daughter of the Empire trilogy, I think I'll be changing authors for a while.
 

Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

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I'm still reading my way through two excellent, if lengthy, non-fiction books: After The Ice by Steven Mithen, which is 'a global human history 20,000 to 5,000 BC' and The Lives of the great composers by Harold C. Schonberg, which is informative and well-written, even if Schonberg is completely wrong about Sibelius. In between I found time to re-read Unnatural Death, a good early Peter Wimsey mystery by Dorothy L. Sayers.
 
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