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January 2019 Reading Thread

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Ian Fortytwo

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I just recently re-read this one at the start of my complete re-read of all Banks' works. Assuming this is your first Banks, you should be aware that this was, I think, his first SF book and is far from being his best. The next one he wrote in the Culture books, The Player of Games, is generally considered better. Assuming you do like him and it is your first of his then you have a lot of excellent books to come! :D
Yes, I am planning to read all his books. Thanks for the heads up.
 

Bick

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I've been waffling on what I want to read next, but keep stumbling across mentions of Tad Williams' MS&T trilogy and think I might dive into the Dragonbone Chair to start the new year.
I enjoyed it, and recommend if you're after 'old school' epic fantasy done well. I've heard it said by others that it's slow, but I didn't get that whatsoever, it had good pace for me.
 

Bick

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I just recently re-read this one at the start of my complete re-read of all Banks' works. Assuming this is your first Banks, you should be aware that this was, I think, his first SF book and is far from being his best. The next one he wrote in the Culture books, The Player of Games, is generally considered better. Assuming you do like him and it is your first of his then you have a lot of excellent books to come! :D
I've only read 4 or 5 Banks, but I rated Consider Phlebus better than, say, Use of Weapons or Look to Windward. Horses for courses. In fact, I thought Look to Windward sufficiently weak that I've not gone back to Banks since...
 

Teresa Edgerton

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I finished A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived, and it continued to be fascinating. He has a very readable style and a way of presenting his information in a clear and lively way.

And now for something completely different, next up is The Complete Supernatural Stories of Algernon Blackwood. I've read, and indeed own, several collections of his stories, but in this one I see not only many familiar titles, but also a great many that I don't recognize. (I've found in the past that collections of stories by any author that claim to be complete very often aren't but the number of titles I don't recognize here does look promising. Of course in this case it may partly come down to which stories the editor has decided are "supernatural" and not, for instance, "psychological.") Probably among the unrecognized will be some I've read but found unmemorable, but I'm hoping there are enough that will be new to me that I may discover some new favorites.
 

Perpetual Man

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New year, altered immediate to read pile. I've set myself a challenge of reading 20 books (half of what I set myself last year, and failed to reach). But some of this years books are huge doorsteps, so the page count is what is going to be interesting. The list is here

As always the books are chosen at random and the first one up is:

A Knight of The Seven Kingdoms by George R R Martin

A good start it seems, because I want to keep reading.
 

hitmouse

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I've only read 4 or 5 Banks, but I rated Consider Phlebus better than, say, Use of Weapons or Look to Windward. Horses for courses. In fact, I thought Look to Windward sufficiently weak that I've not gone back to Banks since...
It may not be his best, but it was the first I read, when it first came out, and I thought it was a breath of fresh air. Terrific book, good introduction to The Culture. To an extent Banks is finding his SF feet a bit here: he was already well published in his ideosyncratic and very popular non-SF fiction.
 

saulfan

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Just finished Vernon Loder's 'The Shop Window Murders', first published in 1930.

The novel is one of 'The Detective Club' Series and quite an attractive edition, which I picked up on a recent foray into Foyle's.

This was my first Loder novel and, although it took me a little while to get started, I thoroughly enjoyed.

Well plotted and with a main character, Devenish, with a sharp turn of phrase; I shall certainly seek out more 'Loder'. Even learned a couple of new terms: 'obloquy' and 'to chouse'

Best Wishes,
David
 

Paul_C

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Reading The Quantum Magician by by Derek Künsken. It is very original and I'm liking it more by the day. It is surprisingly accessable for a book with such esoteric ideas and science.
I've jumped on the bandwagon too, not far in but enjoying it so far.
 

Av Demeisen

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I have started Bruce Sterling's Distraction. Published in 1998, this imagines a dysfunctional America in the 2040s. Starts off with a government shutdown due to budget impasse. I imagine the book will turn out to be quite prescient. I bought it after reading how the new cold war is with the Dutch over climate change and fought mostly over the net. Supposedly, the president actually declares war on the Netherlands. Had to read that.
 

Parson

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I've finished The Quantum Magician by Derek Künsken. Quite frankly I didn't like the end of the book so much as the beginning. I found it very difficult to keep all of the different threads of the story together as we head hopped from one character to another. I also had a difficult time figuring out which ships were on which side of the battle (there were 4 sides as I counted them). But the resolution was satisfying. There is room for a sequel, but none is demanded as far as I can see.
 

soulsinging

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I just recently re-read this one at the start of my complete re-read of all Banks' works. Assuming this is your first Banks, you should be aware that this was, I think, his first SF book and is far from being his best. The next one he wrote in the Culture books, The Player of Games, is generally considered better. Assuming you do like him and it is your first of his then you have a lot of excellent books to come! :D
This seems to be a pretty popular opinion... is it a necessary book for the series? I'm tempted to skip it and go right to Player of Games and Use of Weapons, both of which have been recommended to me and are higher rated.
 

soulsinging

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I enjoyed it, and recommend if you're after 'old school' epic fantasy done well. I've heard it said by others that it's slow, but I didn't get that whatsoever, it had good pace for me.
I actually read it 10 years ago and thought it WAS kind of slow, but I never finished the series and something has been drawing me back... likely a yearning for the kind of magic I recall from early LOTR and MS&T. Something I can get swept up in, rather than dragged through the mud by (looking at you GRRM, Abercrombie, Rothufss, etc). But MS&T and Dragonlance are two that consistently get brought up as strong examples (or at least better than contemporaries like Brooks and Eddings) of the kind of hopeful fantasy you don't see as much anymore, before it became bogged down in grimdark and in the uber-profitable never-ending series.
 

Vertigo

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This seems to be a pretty popular opinion... is it a necessary book for the series? I'm tempted to skip it and go right to Player of Games and Use of Weapons, both of which have been recommended to me and are higher rated.
There are actually only a few books in the Culture 'series' for which the reading order is critical and this is certainly not one of them. Except that it is the only one (I think) where the Idiran war is still active and this war is frequently referenced in many other books. But I still do not think it is critical to read first. On my first pass through all the Culture books I did not read them in any particular order; just picking them up as and when I'd see them in a shop. And I certainly don't feel I suffered in any way. I'm pretty sure my first book was The Player of Games.
 

L4lindetta

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It is different for sure. Honestly my least favorite of the Culture series, but a good read nonetheless. There is a bit of gratuitous gore I could have done without though.
 

vanye

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There are actually only a few books in the Culture 'series' for which the reading order is critical and this is certainly not one of them. Except that it is the only one (I think) where the Idiran war is still active and this war is frequently referenced in many other books. But I still do not think it is critical to read first. On my first pass through all the Culture books I did not read them in any particular order; just picking them up as and when I'd see them in a shop. And I certainly don't feel I suffered in any way. I'm pretty sure my first book was The Player of Games.
Same here. I read them in no particular order and enjoyed them all immensely. So don‘t worry - just get those pages turning.

@soulsinging
It‘s probably one of my slower days: What is MS&T?
 

L4lindetta

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There are actually only a few books in the Culture 'series' for which the reading order is critical and this is certainly not one of them. Except that it is the only one (I think) where the Idiran war is still active and this war is frequently referenced in many other books. But I still do not think it is critical to read first. On my first pass through all the Culture books I did not read them in any particular order; just picking them up as and when I'd see them in a shop. And I certainly don't feel I suffered in any way. I'm pretty sure my first book was The Player of Games.
The Player of Games was my first Culture book and I was hooked. I haven’t been reading in any particular order, but just followed The Use of Weapons with Surface Detail. That was a lucky coincidence...
 
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