March 2018 reading thread

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Hugh

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#41
FWIW, Hugh, I really enjoyed Newby's Slowly Down the Ganges. Like you, I've enjoyed several other books by him, too.
I'm not sure why I found this one tedious, when I really liked others. Maybe I was just in jaded reading mood, or maybe it had something to do with my own travels in India years ago. I'm sure I'll read other books by him in due course.
 

williamjm

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#42
I finished Peader O'Guilin's The Invasion, which I thought was a great follow-up to The Call and brought the story to a satisfying conclusion.

Next up I think I'll go back to N.K. Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy with the concluding book, The Stone Sky.
 

dannymcg

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#43
Dipping into an oldie this morning. Ship of Strangers by Bob Shaw. Thought it was time for a re-read.
A fix up of several short stories, I much prefer the first one "Gray Man"
 

Parson

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#45
I wouldn‘t really call it romance, I reckon. There is too little - uh - romance in it. It‘ll be very interesting to get your take on it. The way I see it, hell has a library with only this one book in it.
shudder! I might be too scared to even make a start!

I'm hoping for better things with Gateway by Frederik Pohl, reissued under the SF masterworks banner, which has already hooked me after only a few pages
I think that you will really like Gateway. In my estimation it is one of the the very few truly CLASSIC S.F. books.

Right now I've finished listening to Nemesis book two the First Colony series by Ken Lozito, liked it well enough and am listening to book 3 Legacy. I am finding that I can listen to books fairly rapidly (listening while I take my walks or driving in the car) but actually sitting down and reading is happening less often. I'm only about a 1/5 done with Gorig Cross by our own Stuart Orford.
 

Paul_C

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#46
I've not updated my progress for a while, so to bring things up to date:

I finished Something Coming Through - Paul McAuley, very good indeed. Followed it with The Enemy Stars - Poul Anderson, which I liked though it showed its age a little.

I'm currently a good way into The Atrocity Archives - Charles Stross and enjoying it very much.
 

kythe

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#47
I just finished re-reading Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quartet:

A Wrinkle in Time
A Wind in the Door
A Swiftly Tilting Planet
Many Waters

I have loved these books since I read the first one in 6th grade. My username here and elsewhere online is based on the concept of "kything" - having a "oneness" with others, or communication without words - from this series. Yet I don't believe I've re-read these books since joining this site.

Each of these books is written in a different style and carries different themes. Even though they are considered a series, each could be a stand-alone book.

Now, I see more inconsistencies between the books than I noticed before. But the world Madeleine L'Engle created has a certain magic which still draws me in. In spite of the strangeness of characters like Mrs. Whatsit, unicorns, cherubim, and seraphim, these stories feel more "real" to me than anything else I've read.

These books remain my favorite series of all time.
 

tobl

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#48
I've finished Crimes Against Magic by Steve McHugh. I can understand why some people might like the series, since the book was fast-paced and full of things -- mostly very violent things -- happening, but it wasn't for me. Minor issues of poor proof-reading and editing for the American market (despite being written by an English author, set mainly in England and populated by English-inhabiting if not English-by-birth characters) set my teeth on edge a little, though I coped, but I found the plot involved but not involving, the characters one-dimensional and mostly unpleasant (even the good guys seem borderline psychopaths)
you know you say that like's a bad thing
 

Parson

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#50
I just finished re-reading Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quartet:

A Wrinkle in Time
A Wind in the Door
A Swiftly Tilting Planet
Many Waters

I have loved these books since I read the first one in 6th grade. My username here and elsewhere online is based on the concept of "kything" - having a "oneness" with others, or communication without words - from this series.


These books remain my favorite series of all time.
This draws me toward reading these. Especially your "Kything" explanation.

But the world Madeleine L'Engle created has a certain magic which still draws me in. In spite of the strangeness of characters like Mrs. Whatsit, unicorns, cherubim, and seraphim, these stories feel more "real" to me than anything else I've read.
This makes me go.... Really do you want to read stuff about strange character. I guess I remain very undecided. "A Wrinkle in Time" is a really great title.
 

The Judge

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#52
The Lindsey Davis Ode to a Banker was an entertaining easy read, with a suitable corpse, a plethora of suspects, some entertaining swipes at writers and publishers and a satisfying denouement, and quickly got polished off.

Frederic Pohl's Gateway took a bit longer to read, but was well worth it, as Parson indicated. Interspersing the chapters with reports, rules, letters and classified ads from Gateway -- an asteroid that is home to hundreds of alien spaceships and far more desperate people -- worked very well, as did the structure whereby chapters with the main character in conversation with his computer-psychiatrist alternate with events on Gateway some years before, which led to a mystery-solving ending, and the issues of fear, love, sacrifice and survivor's guilt were handled with insight and intelligence.

I've now gone back to fantasy with Drakenfield by Mark Charan Newton. I wasn't at all impressed by an earlier novel of his I tried to read a few years back, but this and its sequel were going cheap in a remainder bookshop so I thought I'd give him another chance. This book isn't as bad as that earlier one (he appears now to have realised it's best to check what words mean before using them) but characterisation is thin, so-called educated people have no concept of correct grammar and the amount of padding and irrelevant going-nowhere and/or repetitive dialogue is irritating in the extreme. I'll probably stick with it, if only to find out whodunnit, since it's meant to be a murder mystery, but I shan't be rushing to read the second book.
 

kythe

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#54
This draws me toward reading these. Especially your "Kything" explanation.



This makes me go.... Really do you want to read stuff about strange character. I guess I remain very undecided. "A Wrinkle in Time" is a really great title.
It depends on what bothers you about "strange". "A Wrinkle In Time" is a YA fantasy from the 60's. In certain ways it is very conservative - it portrays a traditional nuclear family. The author is a liberal Christian and works quotes and concepts from the Bible into the story. But many of the characters are cosmic or spirit beings who interact with our world in very fantastic ways. There are very distinct concepts of "good" and "evil" and how each manifests. Characters tend to be either good or evil, there aren't many shades of gray.
 

Parson

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#55
It depends on what bothers you about "strange". "A Wrinkle In Time" is a YA fantasy from the 60's. In certain ways it is very conservative - it portrays a traditional nuclear family. The author is a liberal Christian and works quotes and concepts from the Bible into the story. But many of the characters are cosmic or spirit beings who interact with our world in very fantastic ways. There are very distinct concepts of "good" and "evil" and how each manifests. Characters tend to be either good or evil, there aren't many shades of gray.
Thanks for that. In some ways that sounds like a book I could really like. I'll have to ruminate on it a bit. :)
 

Foxbat

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#57
Finished On Basilisk Station, which I thoroughly enjoyed despite one very major irritation - the almost continuous head-hopping and lack of demarcation between different character's points of view. Luckily, this only happened in the early stages of the book and, as the story coalesced around a main few characters, became much less of a problem. Not enough of a problem to stop me reading more but a problem nonetheless.

Now I'm reading Hood: Anatomy Of The Ship.

Ok. It's a fair cop, guv. You've got me bang to rights. This book is verging on a technical manual but I find the workings of these great ships utterly fascinating. Guess that makes me some kind of nerd:D
 

Stable

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#58
I'm on Fool's Fate by Robin Hobb. Third book in the third series (so 9th book?) set in the same world. I find it riveting reading - it's hard for me to go about my daily life instead of curling up and smashing through the book in one go. I read the previous two books over the last week or so.

It can be a bit exhausting - it's the kind of story where the protagonist may only reach the finish line by crawling - but it's a great world with engaging plot and characters.
 

Brian G Turner

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#60
Finished Lustrum by Robert Harris - sim[ply a masterpiece. :)
Brian G. Turner’s review of Lustrum

I have the last book in the trilogy - Dictator - which came out last year. For a while I regarded it like a precious cake - not wanting to indulge it until the right moment. But... it was there so I've started it. :)

As with the rest of the series so far - Imperium, Lustrum - Dictator is top notch, with a wonderful and fluid easy style that somehow captures a sense of Ancient Rome without drowning the reader in infodumps.

However, I was thrown completely out of the text when Cicero made the narrator a free man, because he already did that (apparently) at the end of Lustrum. Either I've completely misunderstood what was required, or else Harris did and so had to redo it in Dictator, or else Harris completely ballsed up on a continuity issue.
 
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