March Reading Thread

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Parson

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Thanks @dannymcg ... snagged and anticipating a good read. It's been a while for some good SF.

Right now I'm on a detective/mystery run. I've finished A Gambler's Jury by Victor Methos, not one of his best, but good enough. Cross Her Heart by Melinda Leigh, solid, and now reading A Cold Trail by Robert Dugoni, a Tracy Crosswhite novel. It's early so unsure how this is going to be. Nothing off putting at the moment.
 

dannymcg

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williamjm

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I finished Arkady Martin's A Memory of Empire. I thought this was impressive for a debut novel, it doesn't feel like an author's first book. I think it was maybe a bit different to what I was expecting beforehand, I was expecting more of a space opera story but although the setting is appropriate for space opera (the main character is from a small space station who worry about annexation by a vast interstellar empire), it's more of a mix of murder mystery and political thriller. The plot was intricate and convoluted but although it took a while to see where it was heading it was easy to follow. I though Mahit was an interesting protagonist to follow. She begins the story by arriving for the first time in the imperial capital and this provides a good opportunity to explore the world from the perspective of someone who has read a lot about the place but never been there before. The supporting characters were interesting as well, they all have their own motivations and Mahit doesn't really know whether she can trust any of them. One downside is that while I found Mahit's story to be compelling I found I didn't care as much about the political manoeuvring that forms a large part of the plot since it's often difficult to know what would actually be a good outcome.

I think this would work as a standalone novel since it wraps up the main plot by the end, but there are also a lot of things that could be explored in the planned sequel.

Next up I think I'm going to read Adrian Tchaikovsky's Made Things.
 

Extollager

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Reading H. R. Ellis Davidson's Gods and Myths of Northern Europe, what with the Wagner operas we've had streaming from the Met lately.
 

tobl

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regarding this corona virus situation Tom Clancy must be laughing his head off. or rolling in his grave. maybe someone could lend the book to trump?
 

dannymcg

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regarding this corona virus situation Tom Clancy must be laughing his head off. or rolling in his grave. maybe someone could lend the book to trump?
@tobl Which Tom Clancy book is about the coronavirus?
(I haven't read all his stories)
 

dannymcg

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Now I've went online to see what it's all about, getting very interesting!

I'm almost halfway through this gripping book now, Good Peeps, if you're into SF mil space opera then I highly recommend this yarn.

It's one of those "you don't want it to finish, but you gotta find out what happens" books.
 

Hugh

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"Brother-Souls, John Clellon Holmes, Jack Kerouac, and the Beat Generation" by Ann Charters and Samuel Charters
For me this was really interesting, but then over the years I've read all the major biographies of these characters, to the extent that they seem like people I've known from way back, so it's kind of automatic that I'd get round to this one. It's particularly worthwhile because Ann and Sam Charters knew most of the major figures, including Holmes - Ann even wrote the very first Kerouac biography - and they had full access to Holmes' journals which contain pretty much a day to day record of events and conversations. Holmes and Kerouac were very close @1948 -52 so they give a very good flavour of the times from a slightly different perspective. This was also the time of Ginsberg's visionary/auditory experience of hearing William Blake's voice followed soon after by his agreement to enter a psychiatric hospital in order to avoid a prison sentence.
 

elvet

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I'm almost halfway through this gripping book now, Good Peeps, if you're into SF mil space opera then I highly recommend this yarn.

It's one of those "you don't want it to finish, but you gotta find out what happens" books.
Looks like something I might like. I add it to my Goodreads list.
 

kythe

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I've taken to reading two books at a time - a "daytime" paperback, and my kindle at night. That way I can read in the dark and when I fall asleep reading I don't roll over and destroy a book.

Right now I'm reading Eon by Greg Bear as a paperback. I love world-building stories, and the Stone is a fascinating concept. The characters themselves are not as interesting, so my favorites are the future people, who are new and different to me.

I'm also reading Goblins at the Gates: An Alt-Earth Tale by Ellis Knox. This one is a very unique look at a Roman Legion's encounters with sorcerers and magical creatures. The characters are strong and the story moves along at a good pace, with some twists and turns.
 

pyan

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I've taken to reading two books at a time - a "daytime" paperback, and my kindle at night. That way I can read in the dark and when I fall asleep reading I don't roll over and destroy a book.
Until you wake up suddenly and lever yourself upright without noticing your elbow is in the centre of the screen...

And yes, I do speak from personal experience.:(
 

Paul_C

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Last night I finished The Vorrh, which I really enjoyed. Despite being the first of a trilogy it tidied up the majority of loose ends, so didn't feel as if it was only a part of a longer tale.

I shall definitely get the other two at some point, not decided what to read next though.
 

Extollager

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Rereading Sebald’s Rings of Saturn and looking up references. I see my Penguin translation of Simplicissimus omits the 6th Book, consulted by Borges in The Book of Imaginary Beings and mentioned by Sebald.
 

The Judge

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Not much read this month.

First up was The Ragwitch by Garth Nix, a standalone children’s portal fantasy -- two Australian children are transported to a land of magic and help the goodies defeat the evil Ragwitch of the title. I rarely read YA, let alone books for younger children, but I picked this up on spec from a charity stall since I'd enjoyed a couple of books by Nix, and found it engaging and easy to read.

That was followed by another easy read in the shape of The Knocker on Death’s Door by Ellis Peters, one of a murder mystery/detective novel series written well before she launched the Cadfael books, and very different from them -- set in the then-present day (this one is from 1970), more intricate and involved both in plotting and prose, but without the Cadfael series' engaging characters. A medieval door and its sanctuary knocker newly "returned" to a village church from the local manor house, a dead philandering aristocrat and his now-impoverished family, and some timely murders form the plot, which is well put together. Dated, but not without interest.

I got through those relatively quickly, then spent three weeks inching my way through The Western Wind by Samantha Harvey, which I'd started in 2019, but then couldn't get past the second chapter. A supposedly historical religious thriller-mystery in which the history is abysmal, the religion on show ignores at least two of the most fundamental aspects of Catholic belief and practice, there are no thrills and the mystery is pretty obvious from the start, which is also the end, as the story is told backwards over four days. The author is a tutor in creative writing and by golly is that obvious, and the whole thing rather reinforces my prejudice against literary novels extravagantly praised by the broadsheets where the plot makes no sense and is entirely secondary as to how the MC feels.

Assassin's Quest is still on hold, but I've come back to fantasy with A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham after AndrewT's enthusiastic comments on the series, since I very much enjoyed The Dagger and the Coin series by Abraham last year. Only a couple of chapters in, but very much enjoying it already.
 

pyan

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I finished Arkady Martin's A Memory of Empire. I thought this was impressive for a debut novel, it doesn't feel like an author's first book. I think it was maybe a bit different to what I was expecting beforehand, I was expecting more of a space opera story but although the setting is appropriate for space opera (the main character is from a small space station who worry about annexation by a vast interstellar empire), it's more of a mix of murder mystery and political thriller. The plot was intricate and convoluted but although it took a while to see where it was heading it was easy to follow. I though Mahit was an interesting protagonist to follow. She begins the story by arriving for the first time in the imperial capital and this provides a good opportunity to explore the world from the perspective of someone who has read a lot about the place but never been there before. The supporting characters were interesting as well, they all have their own motivations and Mahit doesn't really know whether she can trust any of them. One downside is that while I found Mahit's story to be compelling I found I didn't care as much about the political manoeuvring that forms a large part of the plot since it's often difficult to know what would actually be a good outcome.

I think this would work as a standalone novel since it wraps up the main plot by the end, but there are also a lot of things that could be explored in the planned sequel.
Just bought this for the Kindle, as it sounds just up my street...
 

Parson

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I got through those relatively quickly, then spent three weeks inching my way through The Western Wind by Samantha Harvey, which I'd started in 2019, but then couldn't get past the second chapter. A supposedly historical religious thriller-mystery in which the history is abysmal, the religion on show ignores at least two of the most fundamental aspects of Catholic belief and practice, there are no thrills and the mystery is pretty obvious from the start, which is also the end, as the story is told backwards over four days. The author is a tutor in creative writing and by golly is that obvious, and the whole thing rather reinforces my prejudice against literary novels extravagantly praised by the broadsheets where the plot makes no sense and is entirely secondary as to how the MC feels.
:p Tell us how you really feel.
 
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