July 2019: Reading Thread

Vertigo

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Hope no one minds me starting this off as I can't find one already started!

The Quarry by Iain M Banks - Others seem to hate this book but I loved it. A poignant goodbye from Iain Banks. More here.
Thin Air by Richard K Morgan - Same world as Thirteen (aka Black Man) but somewhat better in my opinion. More here.
Beyond the Barrier by Damon Knight - A classic time travel novel from the '60s. Sadly I do seem to struggle with these classics. More here.
 

Extollager

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Finished my first, but I don't suppose it will be last, book by Lois McMaster Bujold, Shards of Honor, after reading a lesser book that was still mildly interesting, Grinnell's (Wollheim's) Edge of Time. Today began Tolkien's The Fall of Gondolin. Also under way are Brendon's The Dark Valley: A Panorama of the 1930s and N. T. Wright's How God Became King. For my 17th-century reading project, Sir Thomas Browne's Pseudodoxia Epidemica.
 
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Randy M.

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Finished The Secret Lives of Married Women by Elissa Wald. The cover suggests an erotic mystery, and there's a bit of that; perhaps of more interest, it updates the domestic suspense sub-genre of mystery/crime. The MacGuffin is a soft-core porn movie one sister starred in as a 19-year-old, for which she's recognized by a man who scares her. Now 36, a married mother of one with another on the way, she feels compromised and cornered, and unable to fully escape the man who recognized her. When she tells her husband, then things really get interesting for the reader. The woman has a twin sister who's as repressed as she was once care-free and learning about the MacGuffin -- er -- film has an effect on her and her husband, as well. Wald is a clever, capable writer. I'm not sure this premise would go the way she points it in real life, but it's plausible while you're reading.

Now dipping into In the Dark a collection of ghost stories by E. Nesbit. Her story, "Man-Sized in Marble" is still effective and I look forward to reading more. Also reading Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories by Kelly Barnhill, which I'm enjoying. The cover has a Kirkus review that saying the stories are reminiscent of Bradbury or Angela Carter with "the feeling of fairy tales" which so far seems like a fair description, though it doesn't mention the surreality of some the imagery.

Randy M.
 

hitmouse

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Finished The Wilder Shores of Gastronomy ed Alan Davidson. This is a selection of pieces from the interesting and eccentric journal Petits Propos Culinaires, which focusses on food, food history, food exotica, and food book reviews, with a mixture of eclectic and interesting articles by some very driven and knowledgeable amateur scholars and some of the great food writers (Alan Davidson, Alan McGee, Elizabeth David, Jane Grigson etc.) Stuff I like to read about.
54062
 

HareBrain

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Just devoured Castles in the Air by Judy Corbett, the account of her and her husband's purchase and ongoing restoration of Tudor house Gwydir Castle in north Wales. The fact that I stayed in the house recently obviously gave it added interest for me, but I think many people who haven't would find it a great read, and Corbett is a genuine writer, rather than someone who just decided to document an experience -- I'm going to buy her only novel soon.
 

thaddeus6th

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Nearly finished Robert Graves' The Greek Myths (volumes 1). Chronicles of the Black Gate (1-3) by Phil Tucker is on hiatus because I'm using my Kindle for proofreading, but I'm about halfway through and enjoying it.

I'm also, I'd guess, three-quarters through the second Lone Wolf book, Fire on the Water. So far I've heroically tried to hide in a bush, and killed a priest.
 

KGeo777

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you mean
Gulliver of Mars by
Edwin Lester Arnold

right?
i thought for a moment that it was a continuation of Gulliver´s travels that i didn't knew, but it's a kind of barsoom....
Yes that is what I thought first--a sequel. I remember seeing a comics story with that title assuming it was original to that medium but then read up on its origin and got curious.
I assume ER Burroughs was aware of it?
 

tobl

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Yes that is what I thought first--a sequel. I remember seeing a comics story with that title assuming it was original to that medium but then read up on its origin and got curious.
I assume ER Burroughs was aware of it?
it might have been one of the books that influenced him so i guess so
 

vanye

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Finished book three of Michael McClung's Amra Thetys series: The Thief who knocked on Sorrows's Gate. A very enjoyable continuation of this thief's adventures. Amra is drawn back to the city she grew up in. Lots of old history to be resolved and lots of additional information about our hero. And - how could it be otherwise - lots of witticisms and personal violence. The only quibble I have is that Holgren is absent for most of the story, but we meet some other very interesting characters. Already ordered the fourth book of the series.

On a recommendation of a fellow Chronner I tried a (for me) new author: Aliette de Bodard: The Tea Master and the Detective. More of a novella than a novel, really and bemusing at first. But it did not take long to get into it. The form, however, is too short for my taste. I like my stories more fleshed out so I can enjoy them longer. Otherwise it was a fine read and a good recommendation.

It's been awhile since I read John Scalzi, but now I gave his new one, Head on, a go. A great whodunit in a near-future setting. And also I think a good outlook on future technologies like virtual realities. This was definitely one of his better books, after his Old Men's War series had gotten somewhat weaker after a few books. So definitely one I would recommend.
 

Overread

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Dangerous To Know: The Chronicles of Breed by K.T. Davies - An curious one is this one.

First up there's a few elements I really like in the story, from having a powerful lead female through to having a non-human lead character (something that is sometimes woefully underdone even in fantasy). It throws in some new concepts and thoughts into the mix. In addition the authors use of language is quite advanced by modern standards and they throw in quite a considerable amount of flowery and advanced words. The bonus is that they maintain this style of writing through the whole book so that it becomes part of their writing voice. A good few authors I've seen will thrown in a sanguine or other flowery word here and there, but its a one off use most of the time. So it stands out rather than settles into the style of the narrative.

There's a fast adventure style pace to the story and its a good solid adventure from start to finish and, despite the advanced word use, its actually quite a pleasing quick read as well.


That said there are elements where it feels just a little hollow. Some parts where the story feels like its pushed rather than developing along; others where the descriptive style of the author tends to lack the focus and time to really world build and reinforce it. This can give it an "immature" air to the writing which I think is a bit of a shame now and then in the story. That said I think that its one of those things that newer authors sometimes suffer from and which tends to settle itself out if they keep at it.

I'll be interested in following more of the story and character, there's an energy to the writing that makes one want to join in and follow along, even if its for the (sometimes unspoken, oft spoken) bitter/dark quips of the lead on the world around her.
 

thaddeus6th

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Interesting, Overread, that was one of the best samples I read when I was doing some snapshot reviews. I might well go back to check it out in the future (time/memory permitting).
 

Overread

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Interesting, Overread, that was one of the best samples I read when I was doing some snapshot reviews. I might well go back to check it out in the future (time/memory permitting).
I'd certainly recommend it! I think its flaws are partly just those that a newer writer has coupled to perhaps some issues with grand style visual descriptions and world building. Basically solid material and solid writing with a few niggles that I think will likely iron out very steadily with time. Heck the latter two books in the series might already make good inroads in resolving them.

Also the first book is currently only around £1 on the Kindle store.
 

Ian Fortytwo

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I'm reading Erebus, by Michael Palin. The story of a ship that travelled the furthest south and the furthest north. Finally sinking in the northwest passage and only discovered in 2014. A brilliant true account of a remarkable ship.
 

Vertigo

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I'm reading Erebus, by Michael Palin. The story of a ship that travelled the furthest south and the furthest north. Finally sinking in the northwest passage and only discovered in 2014. A brilliant true account of a remarkable ship.
Ah that will be the one that finished it's days captained by my namesake Sir John Franklin. I don't believe he's any kind of relation though!
 

biodroid

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30 pages left in Christine by Stephen King. Might start The Green Mile next.
 
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