November 2018 reading thread

thaddeus6th

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Just begin Chris Wickham's The Inheritance of Rome: A History of Europe from 400 to 1000.

Been after something covering that period for a while. I'm also toying with a fantasy set in a more Dark Ages type period, so should be useful if I go down that route.

Edited extra bit: I've begun* it too.
 

Rodders

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I finished Maetro 2034 by Dmitry Glukhovsky. Overall, I enjoyed it but I did struggle to follow sometimes as it seemed jumpy. I’ll read a couple of other books before I go to Metro 2035.

Now on to Wool by Hugh Howey.

I’m looking forward to this one. Someone told me about it a while ago. I love the whole post apocalyptic scenario and there appears to be the possibility of comparison to the Amtrak Wars.
 
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Victoria Silverwolf

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I am about to start Uller Uprising (1952) by H. Beam Piper. This novel has an interesting publication history. It first appeared in a hardcover anthology called The Petrified World, which consisted of three long stories all set on a planet created by scientist John D. Clark. (The other two are Daughters of Earth* by Judith Merril and The Long View by Fletcher Pratt.) Then a greatly abridged version appeared as a serial in two issues of the magazine Space Science Fiction in 1953. What I have is the paperback reprint from 1983, one of several volumes by Piper I bought from a garage sale.

*I've read this one in a collection of three novellas by Merril. As I recall, it dealt with several generations of women, from Earth in the near future to many years from now on the planet created by Clark. I have not read the Pratt.

The original anthology (note the small change in the title of Merril's novella):



The serialization of the shorter version (note the small change in the title):





My copy:

 

Paul_C

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Revenant Gun finished. Overall the three books were very enjoyable, and while it didn't end in a mad rush for a change, it did finish with quite a few of the characters stories left without much conclusion. None the worse for that, it does leave openings for further books, I guess.

Next up it's time to finish the Southern Reach trilogy with Acceptance.
 

williamjm

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I finished "Robert Galbraith"'s Lethal White. I enjoyed reading it, I thought the main mystery worked well, although I was less keen on some of the surrounding subplots - Robin's marital problems were tedious. Rowling also seems convinced that every finale has to have her protagonists in mortal danger, even if that requires some contrived plotting.

From a detective story written by an author most famous for writing about wizards, I've now moved on to a story about wizard detectives in the form of Ben Aaronovitch's Lies Sleeping. I've enjoyed the series a lot so far so I'm looking forward to reading this.
 

dask

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Finished this:
Image (261).jpg

Good bunch of stories. Should appeal to anyone who enjoys a good mystery. Two stories, however, do stand out. In his introduction to "The Phantom Of The Subway" by Cornell Woolrich editor Pronzini says, "If there is any writer who can match Woolrich when it comes to a narrative pace and drive that 'holds the reader on the edge of his chair,' I have yet to come across his or her work. Prediction: you won't be able to turn the following pages quickly enough for just that reason." Yeah yeah yeah, heard that before. And for a few pages it was little more than the well-wrought hyperbole we've all seen plastered somewhere on the covers of bestsellers since the beginning of moveable type. But then, after a certain point, the hype became gospel and the story took off like a locomotive without breaks. This was one heck of a ride and I'm still trying to catch my breath.

The other story worth signaling out is "The Man Who Loved The Midnight Lady" by Barry Malzberg, a fascinating bit of SF revealing the secret origin of where the world's second greatest detective really came from. Bravo!
 

tobl

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Finished this:
View attachment 48384
Good bunch of stories. Should appeal to anyone who enjoys a good mystery. Two stories, however, do stand out. In his introduction to "The Phantom Of The Subway" by Cornell Woolrich editor Pronzini says, "If there is any writer who can match Woolrich when it comes to a narrative pace and drive that 'holds the reader on the edge of his chair,' I have yet to come across his or her work. Prediction: you won't be able to turn the following pages quickly enough for just that reason." Yeah yeah yeah, heard that before. And for a few pages it was little more than the well-wrought hyperbole we've all seen plastered somewhere on the covers of bestsellers since the beginning of moveable type. But then, after a certain point, the hype became gospel and the story took off like a locomotive without breaks. This was one heck of a ride and I'm still trying to catch my breath.

The other story worth signaling out is "The Man Who Loved The Midnight Lady" by Barry Malzberg, a fascinating bit of SF revealing the secret origin of where the world's second greatest detective really came from. Bravo!
might i suggest e. phillips oppenheim for your next trip into mystery novels?
 

janeoreilly

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Read the Cruel Prince by Holly Black. It was OK. I think I would have liked it more if faeries were my kryptonite, but they're not, so it didn't do much for me. Then read the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks which was fantastic. I would like to think the medical profession has changed, but experience tells me that it hasn't, not that much anyway. Thought provoking stuff. Now reading Nalo Hopkinson Brown Girl in the Ring.
 

Stephen Palmer

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Finished Stephen Palmer's Tommy Catkins. I enjoyed it very much and I think since Beautiful Intelligence onwards, his writing has become more focussed and precise. However, there were a few bits that left me frowning (and thinking) so must ponder more over this one.
Leave a review somewhere!

I'm still reading Susan Greenfield's Mind Change.
I was saying to a friend last night how scary this internet/brain alteration thing is when thinking of children and young people. Both Susan Greenfield's book and Mary Aiken's clearly show the long-term damage that is being done to the young. One vast, unregulated social experiment, as it has been put... :(
 

biodroid

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I've been mulling over thinking about reading Mortal Engines before the movie comes out, but I'm not sure if I should watch the movie first or read the book first.
 

Randy M.

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Finished this:
View attachment 48384
Good bunch of stories. Should appeal to anyone who enjoys a good mystery. Two stories, however, do stand out. In his introduction to "The Phantom Of The Subway" by Cornell Woolrich editor Pronzini says, "If there is any writer who can match Woolrich when it comes to a narrative pace and drive that 'holds the reader on the edge of his chair,' I have yet to come across his or her work. Prediction: you won't be able to turn the following pages quickly enough for just that reason." Yeah yeah yeah, heard that before. And for a few pages it was little more than the well-wrought hyperbole we've all seen plastered somewhere on the covers of bestsellers since the beginning of moveable type. But then, after a certain point, the hype became gospel and the story took off like a locomotive without breaks. This was one heck of a ride and I'm still trying to catch my breath.

The other story worth signaling out is "The Man Who Loved The Midnight Lady" by Barry Malzberg, a fascinating bit of SF revealing the secret origin of where the world's second greatest detective really came from. Bravo!
That's sitting somewhere on my shelves, one of those pbs that appealed in part because of content and also because the cover kept catching my eye in bookstores.

Anyway, I've never been convinced Woolrich was a great writer -- sometimes clunky prose, with some of his dialog sounding like 1940s radio soap operas -- but when it comes to winding up the plot and then letting the spring go ... hoo, boy! What you say about that short story, Dask, I'd apply to Black Alibi, The Bride Wore Black and especially The Night Has a Thousand Eyes. Terrific thrillers, all, though the first has a shaky ending.

Randy M
 

Hugh

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"Aquarius Revisited" by Peter O. Whitmer with Bruce VanWyngarden (I suspect the latter was taken on to try and put the book in some sort of shape).
Supposedly a book connecting interviews circa 1985 with seven significant Sixties figures: Timothy Leary, Ken Kesey, Tom Robbins, Allen Ginsberg, Norman Mailer, William Burroughs, Hunter S. Thompson. It's a bit of a mess, but I enjoyed reading of Whitmer's face to face meetings with these figures.

More Jack Vance short story collections, as I track down the very few remaining Vance stories that I have not already read:
The Potter of Firsk and Other Stories
The World Thinker and Other Stories
The House of Iszm and Other Stories
All of these were downloaded and read on Kindle which is a first for me. Despite having had a Kindle for almost five years I've never previously seen the need to download anything to it, other than a few pages of interviews when I first got it. I have however used it regularly to check my emails.
 

Parson

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Finished The Lines We Leave Behind by Eliza Graham. The book comes highly recommended but it was a frustration to me. It had a pretty good spy story, which smacked of what real spy work during WWII would have been like, but it was surrounded and eventually overwhelmed by a story about an ill fated romance. The more it went toward romance, especially an ill fated one, the more I moved from liking it. I finally got so frustrated that I skimmed the last 1/3 of the book rather than waste time reading about stupid people doing stupid things. I have thought about it a while and another thing that triggered my anger toward this book was its view of men. Every man was seriousyly flawed and was civilized only to the degree to which he was controlled by a woman. The leading male character is superficially charming and deep down evil. NOT RECOMMENDED!

Have begun reading All Systems Red by Martha Wells. It is a "Kindle Single," understand novella. So far I am pleased only about 10% done with the book.
 

hitmouse

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Read the Cruel Prince by Holly Black. It was OK. I think I would have liked it more if faeries were my kryptonite, but they're not, so it didn't do much for me. Then read the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks which was fantastic. I would like to think the medical profession has changed, but experience tells me that it hasn't, not that much anyway. Thought provoking stuff.
Most of the medical profession has very little to do with cell culture or labs, and most of them no longer hold the values of the society in which Henrietta Lacks lived, thank goodness. Also worth noting that most of the medical profession is not in or of the USA, and in many parts of the world it is notably multicultural and majority female.
Having said that, as an undergraduate in the UK in the 1980s I used HELA cells. Their origin was not completely clear at that stage, and, pre-internet not much was known about Ms Lacks, though she was thought the most likely source. It was a topic of speculation as HELA cells were (and still are) found in pretty much every cell culture lab in the world, probably in greater quantities than were ever present in Henrietta.
 

Av Demeisen

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I finished The Fifth Season a couple of days ago. The first half or so was immersive. I liked the writing, world building, themes, story, etc. For the second half, unfortunately, I was able to guess almost every plot twist well in advance. It somewhat lessened my enjoyment and messed with my concentration. Still, an excellent novel.
 

soulsinging

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I abandoned Sometimes a Great Notion... it felt like the kind of novel that I would have found Very Important in my 20s, but feels meandering and self-indulgent now... 100 pages in and nothing of any substance had happened. I was excited given its comparisons to East of Eden, which I recently enjoyed, but it felt more like On the Road to me (another book I loved at a certain time but now find quite underwhelming)... a lot of "adult" man-children behaving badly while they struggle to establish their manliness.

I then skimmed American Tabloid by James Ellroy over the holiday and have to say it was poor holiday reading. This too, I loved in my 20's when I was very into violent gangster movies featuring legendary badasses (who is Keyser Soze?!), but the violence was so over-the-top and gratuitous and its cynical alternate history not quite as profound as I remember it.

Now I've started 2 books I love... Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson comes highly recommended and has been sitting on my shelf for some time, and Crooked Kingdom, the sequel to Bardugo's Six of Crows is my first foray into reading on a kindle.
 

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