December 2018 reading thread

dwndrgn

Fierce Vowelless One
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Just finished Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and it was terrific. I listened to the audio read by Lin Manuel Miranda and he did a great job.
Currently listening to Red Seas Under Red Skies on audio and reading The Lost Plot on the kindle. I've got a hardcover copy of Voyage of the Dogs that I'm reading when at home too.
 

Parson

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Finished reading Outlander by Diana Gabadon. I'm not sure how to categorize this book. You might call it time travel (some of that), you might call it romance (but of the committed, faithful, sexually passionate variety), you might call it an historical novel (emphasis on novel) but in the end I found it a satisfying read. I might even continue the series because the next novel might just delve into the time conundrums, which I find fascinating. I am well into listening to The Frame Up by Meghan Scott Molin. I'm liking the nerd/hipster vibe while dealing with a pretty good detective novel. And I've started reading My Dear Hamilton an historical novel about Alexander Hamilton's wife's life. She is much more interesting than most would imagine --- knew this through teaching American History --- and finding the book satisfying.

Aside: I am now reading my third consecutive novel in the first person. Is this a strong trend or just the luck of the draw for me? Also --- I'm going to say it again --- I long to find new novels with an admirable male lead. I am sure that in the books I read I must read 65-75% with female main characters. And often the male leads I do read are not admirable in a lot of ways.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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I am about to end my marathon of H. Beam Piper with his posthumous novel First Cycle (1982) "edited and expanded" by Michael Kurland. Apparently this is based on a manuscript and outline found among the author's papers. (He killed himself in 1964.)
 

The Big Peat

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Had a look at Lindsay Davies' Enemies at Home and ended up reading the whole thing in a day. I'd kinda sworn off her books after the last Falco, which I thought had become a bit bloated and overcooked, and the thought of her playing in the playground a second time had little interest me.

Having read it, I feel a bit different. It's a good book. I'm not sure its good enough to have me running for the sequels like vintage Falco did.
 

Hugh

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Eric Frank Russell: “Deep Space”: a collection of nine 1940s/early 1950s short stories featuring that classic SF mix of alien races, distant stars and undiscovered planets.
I really enjoyed them.
 

Hugh

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"The Fall of Arthur" by J.R.R. Tolkien. I loved this. Many thanks for the suggestion @Extollager
 

Bick

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Finished Pratchett's Sourcery (see thread in Pratchett thread for comments) and have now cracked open Starburst, by Frederick Pohl.
 

Rodders

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Finish Hugh Howey’s Wool. It was okay. I will go back to finish the trilogy

Now on to Walter Jon Williams’s The Accidental War.
 

williamjm

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I finished GRRM's Fire and Blood. It's a slightly odd book, there is enough raw material in here to provide plots for several novels and I think a more conventional narrative than the fake history could have made it more compelling. However, that would probably have required a few thousand pages and a couple of decades to write, so that wouldn't really have been an option. I did enjoy this more than I had expected since I had previously read the shorter excerpts that were published in anthologies and found them a bit underwhelming, but I think the stories work a lot better when put in context. I think the book was strongest in its two longest sections. The first was the tale of the reign of Jaeherys and Alysanne which has been briefly mentioned in the main A Song of Ice and Fire series as a period of piece and stability, but here it is made clear that things weren't quite that straightforward, and Alysanne becomes one of the more interesting characters in the story. The second was the civil war known as the Dance of Dragons, this is probably the best paced section of the story as a mixture of bad luck and stubborn pride quickly sees Westeros falling apart. I don't think I'd really recommend this for casual fans of Game of Thrones, but I think people more interested in the background of Martin's world should enjoy this book.

For something a bit smaller in scope I also read Lisa Tuttle's The Witch at Wayside Cross. Like the first book in the series, this is a Victorian detective story with an occult theme and a strong debt to Arthur Conan-Doyle. This time there is a Baskerville-like relocation from London to rural England, in this case investigating some murders in the small Norfolk village of Aylmerton and also investigating the village's mysterious Shrieking Pits (apparently a real thing). It was a reasonable good book to read, although I was a bit disappointed that the plot did rely on two completely unconnected crimes happening to occur almost simultaneously, which felt a bit unlikely.

I've now started Richard Morgan's Thin Air, which so far feels a lot like every other Richard Morgan I've read, except on Mars.
 

Fedos

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I just finished reading Lord Foul's Bane in my quest to read through the entirety of the Thomas Covenant books by Stephen R. Donaldson. It was only my second time reading it--I've read through the original trilogy only once and never got further than that--and I must say, I was impressed. While one can see the influences of Tolkien on the work, it still stands up surprisingly well on its own, as Donaldson's take on an epic quest was an altogether enjoyable experience. Next I'll be reading The Illearth War book two in the series.
 

dask

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Finished this today at Starbucks:
Image (257).jpg

Great collection of stories surprisingly few of which had to do with murder. Mostly they were of the narrow escape variety, which I had no problem with. It was fun watching the world's greatest detective use his unmatched skills solve more mundane problems than ubiquitous murder. Maybe that's why these are all referred to as "Adventures." Whatever, my thumbs still smarts.

Starting this tonight:
Image (262).jpg

It's been on my shelf staring at me for a long time now and with time no longer a plentiful as it once was I've decided I've postponed it long enough.
 

Extollager

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Dask, be sure to let us know what you think of Three X Infinity.

I used to have a copy... couldn't say for sure what happened to it, many years ago.
 

HoopyFrood

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I’ve really fallen out of fiction reading the past couple of years — started some, ran out of steam, but managed to read some non-fiction along the way at least.

Then on a whim I reserved The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho a few weeks back on the Library app and it finally became free the other day. Started last night and I’m sixty pages in and really enjoying it. It’s like there’s a profound life lesson on each page; probably a good book to start a new year with.
 
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