It's September. What are you reading?

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HareBrain

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I've just finished Jan Siegel's Prospero's Children, a more modern and slightly older take on the kind of ideas and themes Susan Cooper used in her The Dark is Rising series. Well-written, and with a great evocation of Atlantis, but a book of very separate halves which made it feel disjointed, and the 16-year-old MC and her 12-year-old brother came across as both being several years older (which might not have been a bad thing).

Before that, I read Warlord of the Air and The Land Leviathan, the first two of Michael Moorcock's Bastable books. A definite steampunk feel -- which, given they were written in the 1970s, makes them very early examples, maybe the first? -- and they were initially enjoyable, and engagingly written. But Moorcock doesn't seem much interested in shaping stories, and I wouldn't say they were very satisfying in the end.
 

martin321

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So far this month I've read:

The Honor of the Queen by David Weber, which I enjoyed a lot. Every bit as good as the first book in the series.
The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas. A fun, if a little lightweight, story about tulip mania.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K.Rowling. Almost as much fun on second reading as it was the first time I read it.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K.Rowling. Second reading for this book too. I'd forgotten how funny it was.

Currently I'm reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and am about a quarter of the way through. I've not read any Tolstoy before, but am enjoying it so far.
 

Juliana

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Been reading Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy; I'm right at the end of the third. Quite enjoying it, he has some wonderful characters and Lyra herself is great.
 

Randy M.

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Finished Glen Hirshberg's Motherless Child, which was a well-written, closely observed and sometimes quite touching view of becoming a vampire within the context of belonging to an ordinary, low income Southern family. Not exactly a combination you might expect, but Hirshberg mixes them neatly and his writing incorporates some Southern story-telling techniques while also occasionally sounding Bradbury-like. This is a solid, accomplished novel.

Now about halfway through Haunted Castles by Ray Russell. Last year's reissue from Penguin prompted me to pull out my older copy and finally read it. These are terrific neo-Gothic stories. I say neo-Gothic because these were written in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, but Russell was writing with a vocabulary and sentence structure more common in previous centuries. Good fun. Would be especially enjoyable paired up with 1960s Hammer Studio or Roger Corman/Vincent Price Poe movies. One of the stories, "Sardonicus" was filmed at around that time; as I recall, a pretty good adaptation at that.


Randy M.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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I've just started The Skies Discrowned. Very, very early Tim Powers. So far, I'm not sure that the setting holds together, but we shall see ...
 

ratsy

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I finished Teresa's Goblin Moon this morning and really enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to the sequel. :)

I will go back to The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks. I paused it around page 70 so back to it.
 

Spade

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I'm on my third (and probably final) book this month. I read 14 by Peter Clines first. It was a good lighthearted adventure with some fun characters and an intriguing mystery. Next, I read Jaws by Peter Benchley. Quite different from the movie, but still entertaining. I'm almost done with The Alien Years by Robert Silverberg. It's been mostly good, but I've seen some terrible reviews.
 

Hex

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I'm just finishing the third Daniel Abraham, The Tyrant's Law, and enjoying it very much. I may have said this elsewhere, but some of his female characters are on a par with Bujold's, I think.

I had a holiday from the Dagger and Coin series to read one of his earlier urban fantasies. Lots of fun but not in the same league.
 

Mouse

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I finished Watership Down last night. I was expecting more rabbits to die. I seem to recall more death in the film.

Not reading anything at the moment.
 

HareBrain

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Finished Wrath of the Lemming Men by Toby Frost yesterday -- good start and end, but a bit muddled in the middle, and not as good as A Game of Battleships. But good enough to make me buy either of the two other Space Captain Smith books I haven't yet read, if I see them.

Also read This is Not a Game by Walter Jon Williams, picked off the library shelves. A pacey, not particularly demanding games-based thriller, perfect for reading when you're not firing on all cylinders.
 

j d worthington

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Before that, I read Warlord of the Air and The Land Leviathan, the first two of Michael Moorcock's Bastable books. A definite steampunk feel -- which, given they were written in the 1970s, makes them very early examples, maybe the first? -- and they were initially enjoyable, and engagingly written. But Moorcock doesn't seem much interested in shaping stories, and I wouldn't say they were very satisfying in the end.
Not entirely sure what you mean by "shaping stories", but what comes to mind is a looseness of structure and the sort of internal connections necessary for consistency. If this is what you're referring to, I'll agree that Moorcock occasionally (particularly in the early 1970s) lapsed into this, but it was a rare phenomenon. On the whole, I'd say his work is very structured, to the point of one being able to graph it out, and the connections are almost always there. The first two Bastable books, to me, are particularly notable for this, as they are modeled so stringently on the Edwardian stories in the field. (The third, The Steel Tsar, is less so, particularly as it ties more closely in with both the Dancers at the End of Time and his Pyat sequences.) He does, however, sometimes give more of a surface appearance of randomness or haphazard quality, though I'd say this is more apparent and used for particular aesthetic effect than genuine.

Because of the way most of this week has gone, I've had almost no reading time at all the past several days; hence, despite it being one of my favorite of his books, I've still not finished Cabell's Cream of the Jest. It's a bit annoying in one sense, as it makes the story itself more attenuated; but at the same time, it has allowed me more time to ponder much of what he's saying, which has enhanced my enjoyment of the book in other ways. Certainly, as it has been some years since I last read this one, I'd forgotten just how beautiful and poignant much of it is....
 

Stephen Palmer

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I finished Watership Down last night. I was expecting more rabbits to die. I seem to recall more death in the film.
I've never understood this urban myth that "Watership Down is a sad film", there's only one major death (Hazel at the end)* which is done with due reverence. Not a sad film at all, still less the book...

* obviously that doesn't include the off-novel destruction of the warren.
 

Toby Frost

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Yes, I think Lemming Men isn't as well-plotted as Battleships. I find plotting the hardest aspect of writing, and had to work hard on it in both Battleships and End of Empires, which I think flows better as a novel. At the moment, I'm trying to write a novel with four plot strands, and have had to use diagrams and spreadsheets to make it all fit together!

Anyway, thread derailment aside, I'm not reading anything at present, which means that I should be reading The Ascent of Man. It was my new year's resolution to read it, and I'm a bit behind schedule.
 

Jo Zebedee

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I've never understood this urban myth that "Watership Down is a sad film", there's only one major death (Hazel at the end)* which is done with due reverence. Not a sad film at all, still less the book...

* obviously that doesn't include the off-novel destruction of the warren.
Ach you've got emotions of steel. I bawl everytime I see it. :D
 

Toby Frost

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I don't so much remember it as sad as incredibly grim: full of corpses, dictators, prisons, devious cats and vast slavering dogs. It's like Stalinist Russia for bunnies.

(I've always wanted to write a cross-over story about rescuing Eyore from the Animals' Republic of Farmia).
 

The Judge

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I should be reading The Ascent of Man. It was my new year's resolution to read it, and I'm a bit behind schedule.
The Jacob Bronowski? A wonderful book. I've not read it from start to finish for donkey's years, but every so often I dip into it and read a chapter or two. It's beautifully written, and I can hear his voice as I'm reading. I don't understand any of the sciencey stuff, of course, but while I'm reading it I think that I do, which is some achievement on his part!
 

HareBrain

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End of Empires, which I think flows better as a novel.
Empires sounds good from the blurb. I've been lazily waiting for it to appear on the shelf of the local Waterstone's, but will probably order it soon.

I really enjoy your aliens, by the way -- and it was lovely to meet Willo the Wisp again after all these years!
 

Rafellin

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Just finished the rather excellent (and occasionally disconcerting due to being in a no-speechmarks-at-all style) future noir novel Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh. There's a second novel coming in 2015, and I'm actually looking forward to it.

So far this year, nothing tops Juggernaut by Adam Baker, which is an action/horror thriller film in written form. Quite extraordinary.
 

Bick

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Yes, I think Lemming Men isn't as well-plotted as Battleships. I find plotting the hardest aspect of writing, and had to work hard on it in both Battleships and End of Empires, which I think flows better as a novel.
Wonderfully honest, Toby!
I really should give your stuff a proper go. Will order the first Cap'n Smith one now I think of it... though it will have to join the long tbr queue. Of course Captain Smith will be excellent at queuing, so no problems there.

EDIT: Okay, ordered it on Bookdepository. A proper paper copy, none of this e-book nonsense.
 
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