November 2018 reading thread

Brian G Turner

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#1
last-kingdom.jpg


I'm currently reading Viking Britain: A History by Thomas Williams (only £1.99 on Kindle). I've reached the section covering Alfred the Great that overlaps with Bernard Cornwell's Last Kingdom series, which is pushing me to watch Season 2 of the TV series, so I can then go onto the 2 books I think this will be based on: The Lords of the North and Sword Song.

In the meantime, I have a ton of ebooks I bought on offer last month, but I'm not sure what I'll dip into next. Fiction highlights include Stormrider by David Gemmell, The Key to Rebecca by Ken Follett, and Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose.

Non-fiction I'm looking forward to reading includes Russia: People and Empire by Geoffrey Hosking, History of the Later Roman Empire by JB Bury, Magna Carta by David Starkey, and They Fought Alone by Maurice Buckmaster - about English agents behind German lines in WWII.

However, I'm sure there will be more great ebook offers through November which might knock me off-track. :D
 

Paul_C

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#3
Authority completed. I think I enjoyed it more than the first one, despite the fact that it's something that infuriates me - the middle book of a trilogy that doesn't work without the books either side if it.

I feel in the mood to complete a few of the outstanding trilogies where I've read the first two, so it's The Burning Page - Genevieve Cogman next, followed by Revenant Gun - Yoon Ha Lee and then finish the Southern Reach trilogy with Acceptance.
 

Randy M.

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#6
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This is a collection of stories by Emile Erckmann and Louis Chatrian, French writers popular from the 1840s to the 1890s according to Hugh Lamb's introduction, who lived in territory in dispute between France and Germany, so the names and descriptions of places and things partakes of both countries.

I've read 5 of the 16 stories so far and they are entertaining. The 5 have a concern with the "invisible world" which I take to mean the world of spirits and the creatures of legend, and the stories have a sort of folkloric feel to them. On the cover is a complimentary blurb about their work quoted from M. R. James. I'm finding it good reading for this time of year.


Randy M.
 

Overread

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#7
Inferno Issue 2 by Black Library (various authors) - a collection of short stories set within the worlds of Warhammer - from the fantasy realms all the way to the future where knights dressed in thick armour battle with xenos and mad demons - through to selfless gangers fighting over the dregs of a vast industrial city.

Despite being fan of warhammer for years I've never really dipped into the stories much, regretting it a bit now as I'm really enjoying these stories, so I'm making up for it!
 

Extollager

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#8
Started Grimmelshausen's Adventures of Simplicius Simplicissimus in Underhill's Penguin Classics translation. It's by and about a veteran of the Thirty Years' War.
 

tobl

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#9
new charles stross the labyrinth index. i keep also rereading michael anderle and john conroe. wonder why..
oh and the new joe legder. thank god it's not the last in the series
 

thaddeus6th

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#10
Actually reading fantasy. And not a sample. Or even an e-book. But a real book. I could hit someone in the face with it, if I wanted to, although, obviously, I don't want to damage my book.

Sword of Destiny, by Andrzej Sapkowski, which I think is the 'second' (loose series) Witcher book.

I'm also reading 100 Great Kings, Queens and Rulers of the World. It's from 1988 but the original was a decade or two earlier. Some mildly entertaining lines about Ceylon, formerly known as Lanka [today it's Sri Lanka]. Various historians contribute, and the chap who covered Caesar is rather enamoured with his subject.
 

Cat's Cradle

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#11
Hi @Brian G Turner! I haven't read They Fought Alone, but a similar (perhaps) book that I read recently, and loved, is Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare - The Mavericks Who Plotted Hitler's Defeat by Giles Milton.

It's a thrilling account of a team of (mostly British) tinkerers, spies and government officials who came together to help defeat the Nazis. The book starts a bit slowly, but I was absolutely enthralled by the stories of these remarkably brave, ingenious people, and the very real contributions they made in shortening the war. Highly recommended.

I've just finished American Ulysses, A Life of Ulysses S. Grant, by Ronald C White. A good biography, and it's really opened my eyes to the type of person Grant was. He was more in the Lincoln vein than I could have imagined, and seemed a fine human being (considering the circumstances of making your name, and having your historical persona established, mainly, via war).

Have just started Summer of Nights, a horror novel by Dan SImmons. I've enjoyed the several books of his I've read, and am liking this pretty well after about 100 pages. Has a Stephen King, It kind of vibe so far...group of 12 year old kids, experiencing the wonders of a summer vacation, until things start to go wrong, and dark, in their world.

CC
 

soulsinging

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#14
Finished off East of Eden, which I would say was very worthy of its classic status and was my first foray into John Steinbeck since I deemed The Pearl an excrutiating bore in high school.

Now I'm tackling what so far is one of the more "trippy" books I've read so far, Up the Walls of the World by James Tiptree aka Alice Sheldon. I can feel the 70's coming off it already, but that's not a bad thing!
 

Cat's Cradle

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#15
East of Eden is amazing, and the opening passage - the description of the Salinas Valley - is, to me, a stunningly beautiful piece of writing. The way people such as Steinbeck and Hemingway could describe the natural world seems a display of almost unearthly ability.
 

Al Jackson

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#16
I just finished The Last Man Who Knew Everything
by David N. Schwartz. About Enrico Fermi one of the most fascinating physicist of the 20th century.

fermi.jpg
 

williamjm

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#17
I finished Chris Wooding's The Ember Blade. Overall, I thought it was a good book, it was perhaps a bit slow to begin with but it picked up once they got to Skavenhald and the final section was the highlight of the book. The series has been described as Wooding's homage to the more traditional epic fantasy of the 80s and 90s, and early it on it does feel a lot like that but perhaps less so as the story goes on. I think the early 90s fantasy it most resembles might be Guy Gavriel Kay's Tigana due to the plot following the group of freedom fighters trying to free a country where their countrymen aren't necessarily sure they want to be freed. The ambiguity over whether the characters are really trying to do the correct thing does add some extra depth to the story, particularly with regards to the character of Garrick where even his followers have some misgivings about some of his actions. While the early stages of the book are a bit predictable at times I thought Wooding did manage to throw in a few good twists and surprises at it goes along, and his willingness to abruptly kill off characters adds a bit of unpredictability to the story. In his previous books Wooding's characterisation has been one of the strongest elements, there is some good characterisation here again although I found the secondary characters to be more interesting than Aren and Cade, the initial protagonists of the story. The world-building is perhaps a bit bland, the portrayal of the country of Ossia itself is fine, but the description of the wider world is vague, we're told that there are a lot of races other than humans out there but never actually see any of them in the book, perhaps we'll get a better picture of the world in the later parts of the trilogy.

Compared to Wooding's previous books, I'd rank this similar to The Braided Path, his previous attempt at epic fantasy, and maybe not quite as great as The Tales of the Ketty Jay or The Fade.
 

Foxbat

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#18
Just started Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde. Picked it up in hardback for a tenner (it has other Stevenson stories too):)
 

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