November 2020 Reading Thread

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Danny McG

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Both the title and the author's name are names that are common here. Let me know what you think of it.
@Parson
Have you read it?
I'm approaching maybe halfway through it.

Mentions of the concept of souls and God's plan are beginning to crop up in the dialogue between the main characters.
 

Parson

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@Parson
Have you read it?
I'm approaching maybe halfway through it.

Mentions of the concept of souls and God's plan are beginning to crop up in the dialogue between the main characters.
No, I haven't read it. Or as far as I know, nothing he's written. But the last names in the title and his are of "Dutch" heritage and it surprises me I haven't read something of his (I share the Dutch heritage). I checked him out on Amazon and at least your book and it wasn't available as an ebook. ---- I looked through 6 pages beyond and almost every item I saw was a "sponsored" item and the vast majority of the were items of makeup! and no more books by Kooistra. (GRRRR!)

(I blame my wife for buying so many romance books.)
 

Danny McG

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Ah right, I got it as an ebook about 4/5 years ago according to the download dates, maybe it's been taken offline since then.

Back in those days you could (you still can on some book club sites but I don't anymore) get cheap ebook 'bundles' where you paid full for maybe three selected titles and got another half dozen random SF for pennies.

So this book's been slowly working up my TBR stack, it's a bit hokey on the science but on the other hand it doesn't bore with details. I'm enjoying it, I might do a little review later this week
 

Bick

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Ah right, I got it as an ebook about 4/5 years ago according to the download dates, maybe it's been taken offline since then.

Back in those days you could (you still can on some book club sites but I don't anymore) get cheap ebook 'bundles' where you paid full for maybe three selected titles and got another half dozen random SF for pennies.

So this book's been slowly working up my TBR stack, it's a bit hokey on the science but on the other hand it doesn't bore with details. I'm enjoying it, I might do a little review later this week
Please do review. And Baen do still offer bundles I’m sure, and this is one of theirs.
 

soulsinging

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The Blade itself by Joe Abercrombi I about 140 page in to this book, so far , excellent ! :cool: (y)
I loved the First Law when I first read it 10-12 years ago, and also thought The Heroes (a standalone sequel) was excellent. I've got Red Country on my to-read shelf as well and have been thinking about a re-read of the 6 original books in the series (maybe a good contrast to the Tolkien re-read I stumbled into this year), but I'm a little afraid I won't like it nearly as much as I did in my cynical late-20s.

Finally finished Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler. I might have lifetime nerve damage from reading this series in 2020 amid the pandemic and US election hysteria. The first book was one of the most visceral dystopian novels I ever read and book 2 takes thing in an even darker direction. The section in "camp" is something I might never really get over. Fascinating work that does not take the easy way out. The bad guys are evil but in some ways are just responding to the demands of their time, and the good guys have to face the possibility that their own ambitions render them uncomfortably similar to those bad guys at times. It's a shame that these two books aren't more well known, given the current embrace of dytopia from The Road to Walking Dead to the success of Handmaid's Tale and The Watchmen.

Now I'm turning my focus to Lord of the Rings. I put the Tolkien re-read on pause after Silmarillion to wrap up the above book and give this one my full attention. The Hobbit was slighter than I remembered, The Silmarillion darker and every bit as compelling, so now we see how his one strikes me. Already enjoying the early stages... I had totally forgotten we even meet Farmer Maggot, only recalled his mushrooms!
 

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Five books read and one dumped so far this month.

First up was Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell, the second in the Greatcoats series. Not as good as the first book, and another wholly gratuitous torture scene was unwelcome, especially when compounded with a kind-of-flashback to a terrible violent rape, and the plotting was so complex as to be nearly incomprehensible. And yet it was another page-turner that I read virtually non-stop as I wanted to know what happened, and it hasn't completely put me off reading book three.

That was followed by Dragonquest by Anne McCaffrey, the second in her Dragons of Pern books. I've tried one of these before with no success but I picked up four of them for £1 each at a charity stall and thought I'd give them another chance. A prelude, effectively a recap of the first book, was clear and comprehensible, then came the first chapter which very definitely wasn’t, and I gave up without making it to chapter 2. I glanced at the other three books, decided they were no better, so they've now gone back to the charity.

A better read was Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card but I can't say I actually enjoyed it. I could never suspend disbelief sufficiently over the whole premise, particularly Ender's age and the stated lack of killer instinct in adult soldiers, and I wasn't happy with the means-justifies-the-end excuse for flagrant child abuse and adulation for a child killer.

Then came two re-reads as I was re-organising my SFF shelves and throwing some books out. The first, because I was looking at Arabic-ish stuff and forgotten I had it, was Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed. Set in a kind of medieval Arab city it centres on an old, fat, coarse ghul-hunter who, together with various cardboard cut-out helpers, battle against an Evil which is shown at length (more unedifying torture scenes) but which is never explained -- evidently It Just Is Evil. Poor and repetitive writing, endemic info-dumping, appalling dialogue, flat story with no structure. I'm amazed at the praise it got and that I bothered to keep it after reading it the first time.

Greater success came with Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick, which was also a re-read though I'd forgotten everything about it. Drothe is a Nose in the criminal underworld jargon of the city of Idrecca, someone who makes sense of all the rumours on the street and then passes information on to his boss, an Upright Man. He also does deals on the side, particularly in smuggled religious artefacts, so when he discovers the reliquary he’s contracted for has been disposed of elsewhere he takes steps to track it down (involving yet more torture, though at least there's no revelling in it for once). It’s more than just someone selling the reliquary to the highest bidder, though, and Drothe is soon entrenched in the beginnings of a war between the Upright Men and their shadowy backers. Fast-paced, perhaps a little too much so towards the end when it's hard to keep up with everything that happens, but with a likeable hero who notwithstanding his criminal activities has a moral centre.
 

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After finishing Amanda Cross: The Collected Stories, a collection of mysteries, I'm on to Best Ghost Stories of J. S Le Fanu, an old Dover edition. Since I read the first three stories a couple of years ago, I'm starting with the fourth, a novella, "The Haunted Baronet." This appears to have more dialect than the previous stories, so may present a challenge of sorts, but I've found Le Fanu very entertaining in the past, so onward.

Randy M.
 

Vertigo

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A better read was Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card but I can't say I actually enjoyed it. I could never suspend disbelief sufficiently over the whole premise, particularly Ender's age and the stated lack of killer instinct in adult soldiers, and I wasn't happy with the means-justifies-the-end excuse for flagrant child abuse and adulation for a child killer.
Seems we are in agreement again! I thought it a good book but, for me, it didn't live up to its reputation. I had similar concerns to yourself, in particular the age thing. I got through that but just mentally adding 7-8 years onto all ages!
 

saulfan

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.matthew.

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Greater success came with Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick
Actually one of my favourite books. Unfortunately, the author announced a while back he would not be completing the trilogy due to some mental health issues. Still worth reading I suppose, but don't start if you expect it to have a real ending. Though... it stands well on its own.
 

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I read a pretty good book and did not finish a pretty bad one. The pretty good one was April by Mackey Chandler. This is a Y.A. book about the same way as Hunger Games was Y.A. --- But not as good as Hunger Games. They are similar in that the lead character is in her middle teens and that they are about relatively near future events and they are dystopian. But that's where the similarities end. April is far more hopeful and not as strongly written. April (the main character) is living on a space habitat and those living on the moon and a few other habitats are the last stronghold of personal freedom in a world which has become increasingly totalitarian as it faces climate and other changes. When the United States of North America tries to reign in the habitats armed conflict flares.

The action is mostly believable, but struck me as somewhat excessive. The science is believable but not overly explained. In my opinion the weakest part of the book is the strongly libertarian politics, but some might like them. Overall I would call it an above average S.F. book and have already added the second in the series Down to Earth to my Kindle Library.

The one I did not finish is Brilliant by Rick Lakin. I was conned into reading this because the blurb said that it was for people who loved the El Donsaii series. --- That's me! --- But it seemed written in a way that the author probably thought was "unique" but did not work for me (two guys swapping tales about their life) and an over use of S.F. tropes to bring a far future earth star ship into a near future setting. I just couldn''t do it and I didn't spend much time trying to.
 

pambaddeley

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Read The Natural History of the Vampire by Anthony Masters, another old book in the masses I've been reading through. It will appear on my page under the private sales area before long, but meanwhile I've just put up another 25 books for sale, including Tanith lee, Iain Banks and Thomas Burnett Swann.:D
 

The Judge

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Actually one of my favourite books. Unfortunately, the author announced a while back he would not be completing the trilogy due to some mental health issues. Still worth reading I suppose, but don't start if you expect it to have a real ending. Though... it stands well on its own.
When I'd finished it I went looking for more of the series, and finally searched here on Chrons and I came across a thread that spoke about this. Nonetheless, I've ordered book 2 as I'd like to see what happens next even if I can't know how he intended to end the series.

If anyone who hasn't read it is wondering if it's worth it, to my mind it definitely works well as a standalone so I'd heartily recommend it even though the trilogy won't be finished.
 

dask

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Started this:
8F48D1FD-B46F-485D-AF79-AF53210FCF62.jpeg

Actually edited by two people, Dwight Durling and William Watt. Cover doesn’t seem to be available on the internet that I could find. This generic image from Amazon is the best I could do. Cost 25¢ at Habitat For Humanity.
 
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