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February 2019: Reading thread

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HareBrain

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I don't remember another book having that effect on me. Maybe these days it might feel mundane if I re-read it.
I had a similar reaction to Seventh Sword. I bought it just before my 25th birthday, and on the night before my birthday itself, after reading one unnerving chapter, I fell asleep listening for the first time to a cassette tape of Ennio Morricone film music I'd just bought. I woke up near the end of the cassette's first side, with it playing the theme to l'Attentat, which I'd never heard before.


It was about the most creepy music I'd ever heard, a quality magnified by waking in the dark and hearing it for the first time and not knowing what it was, and I became convinced that on the stroke of midnight I would come into my "psychic inheritance" (whatever that meant) and would immediately became vulnerable to astral attack from the sinister organisation mentioned in the book. I've rarely been so scared.

The book no longer has that kind of effect on me, but it does still excite my interest in a way almost nothing else does. I'll be interested to see if it has anything like that effect on you.
 

Hugh

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I had a similar reaction to Seventh Sword. I bought it just before my 25th birthday, and on the night before my birthday itself, after reading one unnerving chapter, I fell asleep listening for the first time to a cassette tape of Ennio Morricone film music I'd just bought. I woke up near the end of the cassette's first side, with it playing the theme to l'Attentat, which I'd never heard before.


It was about the most creepy music I'd ever heard, a quality magnified by waking in the dark and hearing it for the first time and not knowing what it was, and I became convinced that on the stroke of midnight I would come into my "psychic inheritance" (whatever that meant) and would immediately became vulnerable to astral attack from the sinister organisation mentioned in the book. I've rarely been so scared.

The book no longer has that kind of effect on me, but it does still excite my interest in a way almost nothing else does. I'll be interested to see if it has anything like that effect on you.
How very very terrifying!
(And I think I'll put off listening to the music until tomorrow....)
But very interesting.
I think what got to me at the time of The Green Stone was that the book had just come out and gave the impression that these events were continuing to unfold (which was in fact the case), and I thought these people were being incredibly naive and not only getting themselves into dangerous archetypal territory but pulling others in as well, and I wanted no part of it.
But however I choose to rationalise it, it just really scared me at some level.
Nevertheless, you seem to have survived the Seventh Sword, so I'll definitely be giving it a read. After all, many years later I found it very interesting to accidentally come across first "The Princess and the Goblin", and then "Little Grey Rabbit and the Weasels" and realise that these were books that had seriously spooked me years earlier.
 
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williamjm

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I read Josiah Bancroft's The Hod King. The book is structured differently to the previous two Babel books, most of it is split into three sections showing the same events from three different perspectives (Senlin, Voletta and Edith). The pacing did feel a bit slow at the start, and I think Senlin's part of the story is (at least initially) the least interesting of the three. However, I thought the story did get more compelling as it went along and the last 100 pages are as good as anything in the series so far. It does a good job of building up plotlines so that things which initially seem like minor details turn out to be significant plot points. I do like the eccentricity of the setting and it's interesting to see some new parts of the Tower of Babel, although there are occasional bits where it feels like it's getting a bit too silly. It is also nice to finally meet again a character who has been the focus of much of the plot despite not appearing in the series since the first chapter, although I think it could have been more interesting if there had been some chapters told from her perspective.

I've now started Ian Esslemont's Kellanved's Reach. So far most of the characteristic elements of the Malazan series are present with its usual cast of superhumanly good swordsmen, enigmatic mages and the occasional character trying to pretend they're not actually an Elder God.
 

hitmouse

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Halfway through The Dark Stuff by Nick Kent. I confess I was originally attracted by the cover, in a bookshop window, in Crickhowell.
Faber Social have an interesting selection out, with a distinctive cover design.

Anyway, this is some of the best music journalism I have read in a while. It is mainly about the descent into madness, despair, and dissipation of some of the brightest lights of the 60s-70s: Brian Wilson, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Rolling Stones, New York Dolls, Lou Reed etc, by a journalist who was embedded in the scene and who came pretty close himself. Really interesting and not glamorous or romantic in the slightest.
 

Paul_C

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I finished Recursion last night, a book that I really enjoyed. I'm not sure the different strands were joined up at the end particularly well, perhaps they weren't intended to be, but I still found it a very good read.
 

Parson

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Just finished Revenge by our own Nathan Hystad. This is book 2 in "The Resistance" series. --- It is clear that a book 3 Return is soon available, beyond that, I don't know if more are planned or not. Here's my Amazon Review. 4 stars

Revenge is a fine companion to Rift; the first book in "The Resistance" series. It continues telling the story of an alien invasion of earth and it's colonies from multiple view points. Hystad is able to carry this out beautifully. I usually have trouble keeping multiple points of view of the same story apart. In this story I did not have this problem. I think it is because all of the points of view continue the same story line and so there is not the continual questions about who knows what, and when is this happening? Also I think it has to do with the fact that each character is well defined and comes alive. Their name alone was enough for me to pick up the thread this character represents. I also liked the continual sense of mystery that pervades the core questions of the book. Revenge answers some of those from Rift, but opens up a whole set of deeper questions of it's own.

To me the ending of Rift seemed to be a bit abrupt and a bit contrived, but I had none of this feeling with Revenge. It clearly is book 2 in the series, but the ending was satisfying and made sense in the scheme of the story. This is a solid story from a solid author. I will definitely be reading Return to see how this story develops.
 

dannymcg

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This is one I first read about 25 years ago so it's time for a revisit.

Gordon Stevens 'And all the king's men'

The book is a bit reminiscent of SS GB ...

The setting is England, during WW II. Adolf Hitler has invaded Britain and the British are living out the nightmare of Nazi occupation, as America still hesitates to join the war.
 

Parson

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Finished listening to Mustard Seed by Laila Ibrahim. It is the follow up novel to her Yellow Crocus and both are just wonderful historical novels. I'm sure I wrote about Yellow Crocus earlier in this thread (a year ago?) Mustard seed looks at the lives of two families one African American and one white living in Oberlin Ohio. (Which might have had the most racial equality of anywhere in the U.S. at that time due to the presence of Oberlin College which began admitting people of color in the 1830's.) Both families have a history together which is detailed in Yellow Crocus (reading Yellow Crocus, which is about the time just before the Civil War, is not very necessary to read Mustard Seed, which is very much stand alone). They both have family "trapped" in the south at the end radical reconstruction and the beginning of the "Jim Crow" era. The story is about their attempt to "rescue" them.

Both books are highly recommended. Mustard Seed is an historical novel which has few peers. It is extremely well researched. The history is very true. And it is about an era, unlike the civil war, which gets very little attention from historical novels

I think Laila Ibrahim has become my favorite Historical Novel author. I just noticed that Paper Wife, another Historical Novel that I loved is also one of hers. She has one other book. I will give that a look now.

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Started reading The Road to Character by David Brooks. So far very interesting.
 
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