December Reading Thread

dannymcg

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This morning I'm having a go at The Child Thief, I was caught by surprise right away because it starts off with child sexual abuse before it moves to fantasy world.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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Finished reading Toby's book, which, although not a cliffhanger, exactly, leaves plenty of room for adventures to come.

And then I read The Raven's Seal, by Andrei Baltakmens, a mystery novels with a Dickensian feel, and influences of Dickens throughout, though original in many ways, too. I quite enjoyed it.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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I have just started Chronicles of a Liquid Society (2016) by Umberto Eco, translated by Richard Dixon. It's a collection of very short essays. The author had a regular column in the Italian magazine L'Espresso from 1985, and many of these have been collected in other books. This one contains essays, only two pages long each, from 2000 to 2015.
 

Parson

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I'm sorely tempted to quit Take Back Plenty by Colin Greenland. I'm nearly 15% into the book and there is nothing resembling a plot. There's been all sorts of people and places mentioned in passing without any attempt to define them. And Mars is pictured like it might have been in the 1890's or so, with a past civilization and true "canals" and the like. I'm going to hang on for a little while. This was a major award winner and some of you think highly of it. But I find myself longing for a book with a true hero, and a quest worthy of the name. I want people who sacrifice for others rather than those who are trying to take advantage of others. I want people who believe in a cause, in other people, and a hope that shines in the darkness. I suppose that kind of book is too much to ask for. After all "those kind of people are uninteresting."
 

M. S. Ari

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I just finished gateway by frederik pohl. I should say I didn't like it really. It was tedious and boring specially first half of it. The story was about a an space station with lots of higher than the speed of light space ships that humans use them to travel to the far points of galaxy. But most of the story revolves around peoples and their relationships. One wired thing was smoking people inside spaceship through their space travels :LOL:. Something I never read about it before.
In the meanwhile I listened to a course about worlds religions by huston smith. It was interesting although I am not a religious person. He tries to mention the positive side of the religions and believes we can use these spiritual capabilities to make world a better place while get rid of the dark side of the faith. Something that was not acceptable for me.
 

The Judge

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If you're reading, tell us about it!

I've got 4 books on the go, all of which I want to finish before the end of the year, though since one has been picked up and put down repeatedly since August, that's perhaps unlikely. One which will definitely be read and enjoyed is The Empyreus Proof by one Bryan Wigmore aka Bunny Features of this parish.
 

vanye

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I find myself longing for a book with a true hero, and a quest worthy of the name. I want people who sacrifice for others rather than those who are trying to take advantage of others. I want people who believe in a cause, in other people, and a hope that shines in the darkness. I suppose that kind of book is too much to ask for. After all "those kind of people are uninteresting."
@Parson
The November thread is closed. So I hope you do not mind if I reply here.

The story you wish for sounds very familiar. And let‘s not forget that it did not really end well for the hero. But I feel I know why you‘d rather read such stories and I am aware that for you the story ends a chapter or so later than for me.

I think the reason why there are not too many stories around with „those kind of people“ is not that they are uninteresting but that they make it hard for the story to be creditable. And light and dark have very little to do with how I view the world. The image makes for a purty contrast, but the stuff my world is made of (and thus good stories) is grey. Reading about people somehow navigating lives full of ambivalence and contradictions - or at least trying to - gives me more hope than a hero in shiny armor on a white horse whose world view is so clear cut that she/he just knows what’s right and what’s wrong. Probably because it’s closer to my own experience.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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I am totally with you, @Parson. There are good people in the world who are willing to struggle and sacrifice to do the right thing, to make the world a better place, if only their small corner of it, and they don't always end up as martyrs. In times of trouble and crisis some people do shrug their shoulders and say "what can we do," some people look for ways to play the situation to their own advantage, but some rise to the occasion and excel themselves. I have known people of all three types, and I always marvel when anyone implies that the third type is any less realistic than the others. Such people do exist, therefore to base one's characters on that sort of person is no less believable than any other.
 

tobl

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so just tried jay allan blood on the stars series and did not take. next scott bartlett
 

Brian G Turner

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Parson said:
I want people who sacrifice for others rather than those who are trying to take advantage of others. I want people who believe in a cause, in other people, and a hope that shines in the darkness. I suppose that kind of book is too much to ask for.
Not too much to ask for at all. I'm with you on this. :)
 

Parson

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Thanks for the thoughtful responses! One of the reasons I love this place is that we can have thoughtful discussion and even disagreements without feeling the need for personal attacks.

I think the reason why there are not too many stories around with „those kind of people“ is not that they are uninteresting but that they make it hard for the story to be creditable. And light and dark have very little to do with how I view the world. The image makes for a purty contrast, but the stuff my world is made of (and thus good stories) is grey. Reading about people somehow navigating lives full of ambivalence and contradictions - or at least trying to - gives me more hope than a hero in shiny armor on a white horse whose world view is so clear cut that she/he just knows what’s right and what’s wrong. Probably because it’s closer to my own experience.
I don't believe that I am hoping to see the world in an untrue light as far as the facts go. Anyone who has spent a lifetime in my profession knows only too well about mixed motives, leaders with clay feet, charletons, and every other kind of less than optimal plan, desire, and result. If I am writing a news story I want to spell those kinds of things out clearly. I am a strong believer in truth telling and the calamity which always results in the end, perhaps a distant end, of trying to purvey a lie as truth.

On the other hand, I believe that people will mostly live up to the reasonable expectations in their life. If you tell a child that she is capable, honorable, and worthy. She will mostly live up to that expectation. However, if you tell a child that he is worthless, a liar, and unworthy, this too will be believed and he will live down to it. I think that one of the reasons that our society is still engaged in space exploration is because Science Fiction has planted a desire to go "out there" in the hearts and minds of untold people. I think that among the reasons that my granddaughters are filled with wonder and anticipation is that they believe that there are forces for good in the world. And they believe that they can both experience it and live into it. So, although I do not think every book should be white washed optimism, a kind of "pollyanna" story if you will. I do believe that without genuine hope and examples of selfless service this world will become measurably worse and that the stories we claim as our's play a role in what we become.

We Parsons, at our best, tell the old, old, story of hope and salvation over and over again in new ways because people forget. They start believing that bad and worse are the only real choices out there. And they need to be reminded that there are better and more worthy choices out there. I know that I need to be reminded of honor, love, and duty over and over again. In fact, I'd say that need is the first reason that I loved the Honor Harrington series of books. Those books are always centered on people of honor and duty who never gave up on their loves and the fight for a better world and life for themselves and others.

I suppose that this is the long way of saying (we parsons are noted for our long speaking as well.) that although I don't think that the kinds of books that I like are the only, or even necessarily the best sometimes, which should be written; they are the kind I long to read. And more than that, the kind that need to be read by most people a lot of the time.
 

vanye

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If thoughtful people for whose judgement I have great respect tell me that they perceive an aspect of our social reality different from me, I will at least consider that my perception might be flawed, though I hope not cynical. So thank you for the vote of confidence in our fellow (wo)man! Food for thought, surely.
 

Vince W

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Thanks for the thoughtful responses! One of the reasons I love this place is that we can have thoughtful discussion and even disagreements without feeling the need for personal attacks.
:( Aww. I'd just gotten my knife good and sharp. Bother.

You mention HH, Parson. Have you read the Seafort Saga by David Feintuch? Nicholas Seafort would be right up your street I think.
 

Parson

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I have indeed read the Seafort Saga, and enjoyed them. I was a bit frustrated that in the end of each book Seafort was always left in unenviable and sometimes despicable circumstances. (At least that's how I remember them.)
 

Vince W

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I was fairly certain you had, Parson, but you never know. I also like recommend the series any chance I can get.
 

Brian G Turner

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yes, i believe that book is call the new testament.... or maybe 1001 arabian nights? :giggle::LOL:
I think it's called epic storytelling, and there's a ton of examples. For people around my age, the original Star Wars would probably have been the first to have a big impact.
 

dannymcg

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Having finished The Child Thief (it got a bit too much YA-ish tbh) I've started a post apocalypse book ...
Lotus Blue by Cat Sparks
(Lotus Blue is actually a monster machine AI with evil plans for humanity)
 

Randy M.

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Been reading mystery short story collections. Just before the Thanksgiving holiday I finished Sleep No More by P. D. James. I never thought of her as a short story writer, but it turns out she was quite good at it. Now reading Margery Allingham's The Allingham Minibus, which so far has featured three stories of her recurring detective, Albert Campion, but have been surprised by about half the stories being ghost stories, and mostly rather good ones.

Randy M.
 
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