September 2019: Reading Thread

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Hugh

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Soko Morinaga "Novice to Master: an ongoing lesson in my own stupidity".
Very easy read. Autobiographical account of confused young man in post WWII Japan undergoing gruelling zen training. Short, no theorising or technical jargon, just the essence of the experience. I like the subtitle.
 

Brian G Turner

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Still plodding through some hefty textbooks - just in case I ever want to study the subjects later on.

Am now about halfway through Earth Science by Tarbuck et al, but I'm finding the section on mountains dragging a little. Another heavy-goer is Archaeological Theory by Johnson. Have tried to mix things up by picking up Environmental Science by Chiras in the hope that it's light reading by comparison - will see how long that hope lasts. :)

In the meantime, have just finished Prehistoric Britain by Darvill, which got bogged down in site reports rather than a narrative connecting them to people and the social changes they were going through; UnRoman Britain proved a disappointment, as it's mostly a mix of ranting and stating the blinding obvious, with the exception that the chapters on continuing tribal identities from post to pre-Roman occupation was an interesting insight, but otherwise became a tiring read.

Still reading Homer's The Iliad on an evening - I think I enjoyed it more on the first read many years ago, though I'm making note of some more interesting aspects of the mythology described. Otherwise it's proving a bit of a plodder.

Have tried to mix things up a little by starting a couple of novels: God's Hammer by Eric Schumacher, which is basically The Last Kingdom but in reverse (entitled Viking hostage to the Saxons), and Son of Ishtar by Gordon Docherty about the Hittites - both of which are decent enough reads and rich in historical details, but neither story is gripping me as yet - though I'm still in the first chapters.

I abandoned Robert Fisk's The Great War for Civilization: The Conquest of the Middle East as so far it became nothing more than a shopping list of Iraqi politicians who got tortured by Saddam Hussein's regime, but if I skip that chapter it might improve.

I also picked up and started Leviathan's Wake by James S.A. Corey, but having recently watched all three seasons of the The Expanse I've realized the TV series really did hold close to the book to the point that the story is missing any sense of discovery, making it hard to keep to it.

Still not finished Obedient Unto Death by Werner Kindle as it's gone from biography to general overview of each operation he experienced at the Eastern Front (they reach a town, tanks go in, he follows, gets another close combat day award) which has made it drag.

Also started Astrobiology by David C Catling, but it so-closely follows the content of the online course I'm doing at Coursera with Charles Cockell at Edinburgh University that I've put it on hold to use as a refresher later on.

Also started subscriptions to the magazines Current Archaeology, Ancient History, and Ancient Warfare, but with everything above am struggling to keep up with them. Perhaps not a surprise. :)

I think I need to sit down and refresh with a David Gemmell novel. :)
 

Hugh

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On 25th August @Victoria Silverwolf wrote
I am about to start Born to be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey (2018) by Mark Dery, a biography of that creator of weird little books and other strange things.
Any thoughts on that?
My personal favourite is "The Epiplectic Bicycle".
I read Alexander Theroux's "The Strange Case of Edward Gorey" (just 64 pages) some years ago and would be interested in learning more.
 

dannymcg

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Cold War: Alien Invasion by Ken Bebelle and Julian Vee.

Aliens are invading and spreading arctic cold, their only weakness is heat.
Humanity has retreated to the warmer regions and a worldwide battle of attrition is taking place.
 

tobl

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Cold War: Alien Invasion by Ken Bebelle and Julian Vee.

Aliens are invading and spreading arctic cold, their only weakness is heat.
Humanity has retreated to the warmer regions and a worldwide battle of attrition is taking place.
well, that would take care of global warming
 

dannymcg

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Cold War: Alien Invasion by Ken Bebelle and Julian Vee.
Finished this, a standard mil sci fi book, there's more in the series so I might get some.

Now I'm into Going Underground by Michael Leese.
This is the first of the Jonathan Roper books, about an autistic civilian investigator who helps the police crack cases.
 

Toby Frost

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The Naked Civil Servant is about the life and adventures of Quentin Crisp, an eccentric and flamboyantly gay man in London, from 1930 to 1960 or so.

This is the sort of book that Oscar Wilde would have written if he’d be able to get it past the censors. It contains many excellent one-liners. Crisp may be effete, but he is impressively resolute in his determination to be himself, despite being despised, laughed at and, more than once, beaten up by gangs. He comes across as very entertaining but slightly tiring company, but doesn’t overstay his welcome. There’s not really much of a plot, but the anecdotes are very good, and it sheds light on a life that was clearly difficult and rather lonely. Entertaining, thought-provoking stuff.
 

tobl

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read the new jan stryvant balen's legacy series book, nº 16. always a good read,i like the series
 

Brian G Turner

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My books on learning Latin for my second year Open University course have arrived - at last, I've got something I can really focus on academically. :)
 

Vertigo

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Uncompromising Honor by David Weber - the end of a saga that has become ever more of a struggle to read. More here.
Dogs of War by Adrian Tchaikovsky - another book in my top reads of 2019. Just brilliant! More here.
A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe by Alex White - no review on this as I didn't finish but some notes below:

I’m not giving a rating for A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe as it would be unfair as it’s probably my own fault that I only read 25 pages before abandoning this book. Nowhere in any of the back cover summaries that I read for this book was there any mention of magic. None. But it very rapidly became apparent that magic is at the core of this story despite it being ostensibly science fiction. And I don’t just mean sciencey type magic with some logic to it, no, this is arcane glyphs and symbols complete with wizards and waving your finger in the air. Just no! Throw in some handwavium future science but not wizards, please! When I took a closer look at the reviews on Goodreads there were indeed some mentions of the magic (though frequently to complain about it). Why oh why didn’t I take a closer look at those reviews before forking out my cash? I never would have bought it if I’d known. Although from those reviews I probably would have been tearing out my hair (even if there was no magic) over the, apparently, appalling excuse for science that was in there. But I only read 25 pages so I can’t pass judgement on that.

If you like magic on your SF, maybe give it a try, if not, avoid at all costs!
 

Brian G Turner

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riight... like we don't know you are trying to learn magic spells lolo :LOL::p
I've been going nuts trying to find something to study since my first year finished - hence why I've been picking up various textbooks. Luckily, the course in Classical Latin should help keep me busy, and even better, focused, instead of thinking I should be doing a science degree instead: Classical Latin: Language of Ancient Rome | Open University
 

tobl

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I've been going nuts trying to find something to study since my first year finished - hence why I've been picking up various textbooks. Luckily, the course in Classical Latin should help keep me busy, and even better, focused, instead of thinking I should be doing a science degree instead: Classical Latin: Language of Ancient Rome | Open University
why don't you follow them with a course in magic? you can even became an auditor
here you go:


and it's not even april's fool...
 

Parson

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I'm not sure why I'm not posting here more. I read books I don't post here and should so here's the two most recent:

Douglas Richards .... Infinity Born .... Over the years I've read a lot of his stuff. Amped, Wired, Quantum Lens, Mind's Eye etc. I've liked them all well enough, I remember being seriously hooked on Amped and Wired. I suppose that's where my problems with Infinity Born comes in. It has a wonderful set up with a new and terrifying look at A.I. I stated reading with relish, but then something strange happened. I kept thinking "I've read this before." The more I read the more I felt this was true, but I knew it couldn't be. Finally 64% of the way in, it hit me. This book was telling the same story that Richards had told before only with new characters and a new setting. I couldn't read any more so I quit.

English Lessons by Andrea Lucado; probably unknown to most everyone on this forum but her Dad is one of the very best Christian devotional writers Max Lucado. I've probably read and enjoyed a couple of dozen of these. Andrea's book is very different. It is the story of her struggle with her faith during a year working on her Master's Degree from Oxford Brookes University. She is very open about the lessons she learned from the English that she never learned in her Christian cocoon in Texas. She is probably too honest about her lifestyle in England and her struggles to hang on to her faith for the book to be a Christian best seller, and for a person with a Master's in English Literature the writing isn't deathless prose (certainly not as good as her father's) but the book hooked me good and proper. I feel like I journeyed with her down a journey of exploration of faith and life and I am the better for it.

I would recommend it to anyone interested in a non-formulaic view of the Christian life.
 

williamjm

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I finished Lois McMaster Bujold's The Orphans of Raspay, which was another entertaining story in the Penric and Desdemona series.

I'm just about to start Becky Chambers' new novella To Be Taught If Fortunate. I heard her do a reading from it at WorldCon a couple of weeks ago and it did sound like an interesting premise.
 

dannymcg

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This book was telling the same story that Richards had told before only with new characters and a new setting. I couldn't read any more so I quit.
I would say he's done that with at least four of his books, I've read a good few but lost interest in his stuff because they got very 'formula-istic'
 
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