November 2019 reading thread

Randy M.

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Five days into November and we're already on page 3 of this thread? Wow. Apparently a lot of you are reading faster than I am.

Anyway, not quite 3/4s through The Last Seance: Tales of the Supernatural by Agatha Christie. I think of her work as potato chip fiction, very enjoyable in low doses, but not nutritious. This collection is entertaining me but I'm starting to feel like I've overindulged on fast food. Still, so close to finishing I'll probably do so then turn to something a bit more substantial. Haven't a clue what, though.

Randy M.
 

M. S. Ari

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Just finished Permafrost by Alastair Reynolds. it was about time travel from dystopian future to the past but not that kind of enter a chamber and hit a button and now you are there. Lots of details about technical data and mechanism of movement through time. It was a little confusing and I think it worth to read it again.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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After quickly finishing the H. P. Lovecraft novelette "The Shunned House" (written 1924, published posthumously in Weird Tales in 1937), printed as a cheap quickie book, I have started The Absolute at Large (Továrna na absolutno, 1922; translated from Czech in 1927) by Karel Čapek, best known as the author of the play R.U.R. (1920.) It appears to be a satiric novel of a mystical, free source of energy. It opens in the future year of 1943.
 

Parson

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Presently about 60% done with The Last Dance by Martin L. Shoemaker. This is a a S.F. mystery/detective novel set in the relatively near future. (50 years). I find I'm quite liking it so far. The set up is that the captain of an earth to Mars cycle ship (the ships keep making the journey between the two planets by means of gravitational assists from the earth and Mars without ever stopping therefore dramatically decreasing the amount of propellant used and the ships are reached by a shuttle rendezvous in near earth and near Mars orbit - brilliant and old Idea first proposed by Buzz Aldrin. I'd never heard of before) The captain is accused of mutiny because he failed to follow mission orders. I intend to make some kind of review after reading this book.
 

Elckerlyc

"I'll rant as well as thou!" - Hamlet
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Thousand Years Weather, Wind and Water part 1 (753 - 1300) by Jan Buisman. A history of 1000 years of weather, winters, storms, floods, famines and droughts in western Europe (but especially the Low Countries) assembled by studying and cross-referencing all known contemporary records, supported by scientific research from other fields of study.
It's not just a list of bad weather that was bad enough to get recorded in the annals by some monk, along with earthquakes, comets, eclipses and other strange phenomena in the skies. It is a history of the developing of the Low Countries and what the people had to endure, just from nature alone.
From ca. 1100 onward, there is nearly every year some 'news' to report from the past, about people killed by storms, lightning, floods, pestilences and famines, or cities burning (especially during dry summers).
This is an intriguing read. Not because of the list of privations (myself sitting in a warm and draft-free house, with a well-stocked fridge) but of what is known from those gone years.
Started Volume 2 of Thousand Years Weather, Wind and Water (1300 - 1450). Which (obviously) includes the 14th century, also known as the Horror Century, during which the population of Europe drastically dropped from an estimated 70-80 million in 1300 to a mere 50 million at the end of the century. Another 600 pages of history from a refreshingly different angle.

I still have little drive to get into one of the 40 novels on my TBR pile (stored on my Kindle.) It just cannot capture me at the moment. It worries me a little, but perhaps it is just a shift in interest I go through from fantasy to more real-world reading-matter. In particular the history of humankind.
Or, maybe at a certain level, I'm looking for ideas to write my own novel(lette). There is some itching involved.
 

Elckerlyc

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Are Buisman's books only available in Dutch? I just tried to find them on Amazon as they sounded interesting, but I only find what appear to be the Dutch versions. :(
They are only available in Dutch, as far as I know. Translating them (so far 7 volumes, 4K+ pages + notes and references...) would be a huge task. In the Netherlands these books cost ¸€50,00 apiece (thanks to subsidies), translated versions would probably be a lot more expensive.
It's a shame really, because they are very interesting, with lots of data from Italy to Ireland as well.
 

Elckerlyc

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I can't resist. Here's a little gem of history which should be a lesson for all.

In the night before St Bartholomew (that's 24 August) 1334, in the town of Tiel, the house of Nicolas Schout [a local official] near the Lingengate caught fire. As he was hated and the wind was favorable the people of Tiel refused to extinguish the fire. But the wind turned, upon which most of the town went up in flames.

City-fires happened a lot in those days during dry summers. Most of the houses were build of wood and had thatched roofs. Once a fire got started....
Causing a fire could have seriously repercussions, in some cases even capital punishment.
The year 1334 was the fourth summer in a row to be warm and dry. In those 4 years the following towns had to deal with massive or catastrophic fires: Herentals, Ghent (3x in 1330 alone), Kortrijk, Ghent (again 3x in 1331), Aachen, Ghent (again, 4x in 1333. Were they careless?), Namur, Deventer and -as already mentioned- Tiel.

This ends the lesson for today. ;)
 

Extollager

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Even for me, I'm not reading much sf and fantasy lately, but I do expect to revisit Lindsay's A Voyage to Arcturus soon. And I read a story in one of Groff Conklin's sf anthologies a few days ago -- but I'm not remembering much about it. Heinlein's "Water Is for Washing" could have been turned into a great Escape! radio play back in the day. It's not sf or fantasy. It's about an earthquake and a terrible inrushing of the sea in the Salton Sea area of California. It's in The Menace from Earth.

But right now I'm reading things like selections from Hakluyt's Voyages and Foxe's Book of Martyrs, in connection with a new reading project devoted to books from, mostly, or about the 16th century. Also I'm reading Tolkien's Lost Chaucer, which is good but not something I wanted to rush through. But right now I think I will start Eugene Vodolazkin's The Aviator. This is the author who wrote the excellent Laurus.

 

tobl

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rage by Jonathan Maberry... Jonathan is always interesting but frankly his last books in the joe ledger series... someone please give the author a hope pill. he's getting bloody dark in his books. literally.
 

dannymcg

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rage by Jonathan Maberry... Jonathan is always interesting but frankly his last books in the joe ledger series... someone please give the author a hope pill. he's getting bloody dark in his books. literally.
I didn't know about 'Rage' - cheers.
I've read the Joe Ledger stories, from Patient Zero all the way to Dead Silence
 

elvet

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I am continuing my reread of the Malazan books. I finished Gardens of the Moon, and was going to move onto Deadhouse Gates, but I’m not ready yet for that emotional ride. Anyone who has read it knows what I mean. So I picked up Night of Knives instead.
 

tobl

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I didn't know about 'Rage' - cheers.
I've read the Joe Ledger stories, from Patient Zero all the way to Dead Silence
I knew what was going to happen on the end around 1/3 of the book. I think that when he beguin going to much to the supernatural side, that's when the series beguin to devolve. When it was science and guns it was fun
 

Rodders

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Just finished the Teen Jack series. I’ve only got 3 Repairman Jack books left now and then I’ve finished them all. A shame, I’ll miss him. All very entertaining stories.

Now on to Cold City. (Repairman Jack the Early Years. Book 1.)
 
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