April 2021 Reading discussion

Brian G Turner

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Slowly making my way through two books at the moment: Ovid's Metamorphosis and Augustan Rome by Wallace-Hadrill - trying to get some early coursework reading in, with the hope of being able to restart my degree part-time in October.

However, am itching to read a novel, and have the first two books each of Joe Abercrombie's new fantasy series, and Robert Fabbri's new historical fiction based on the Hellenistic world. Hmmm...
 

Garfunkel

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Approaching the end of Later by Stephen King. I've been struggling to get on with reading for a while, so this has taken longer than normal for a short book, but I'm enjoying it. I might try The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward next; there's a considerable amount of buzz around it, so I'm intrigued. Or perhaps something completely different; it's been a while since I read a Discworld novel...
 

williamjm

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I read Becky Chambers' The Galaxy and the Ground Within. Like her other novels this was a science fiction story with more of a focus on characters and world-building rather than plot, although I think it did have a more coherent narrative than the previous book in the series. In some ways it is quite timely since it follows five characters in a lockdown, although in this case they are locking down in a motel for travellers awaiting a slot to go through a wormhole when a satellite accident leads to all flights being grounded. In the grand scheme of things it's not a book with particularly high stakes, but to the characters the disruption to their plans can still seem very important to them. One interesting features is that aside from one brief appearance there are no human characters in this story, instead the protagonists come from four different alien species and as the events force them to spent time together this does allow for some exploration of the differences between their cultures (although they are not necessarily all typical members of their species). There is an amusing scene where they discuss how weird humans can be (and to be fair, we can be pretty weird), although it slightly frustrating to have several mentions of the crew of the Wayfarer from the first book in the series but not to get to see any of them. I think the almost complete lack of action would not be to everyone's tastes but I thought it was enjoyable to spend time with these characters and the book did come to a satisfying conclusion.
 

Ian Fortytwo

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I'm reading two books at the moment, A Kind of Loving, by Stan Barstow. A beautiful read, that I read fifty years ago at school and surprisingly I remember many parts from it.

The second is our current read of my local book group. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami. Very quirky.
 

Paul_C

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I'm 2/3 through Siouca Remembers by James Murdo (and liking it a lot), but I have also made a start on Amatka by Karin Tidbeck, which I shall continue with when the other one is finished.
 

Rodders

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I have to confess that i really struggled with Herbert's later books., AE35Unit.
 

alexvss

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I'm reading the newest Issue of Clarkesworld Magazine, like I always do (gotta enjoy what is given to you for free!). I've said in the last discussion thread that that month's issue was the best in a long time, and the first one that I read all the stories without getting bored to death.
Well, it still is.
I'm finding this new issue's stories to be extremely derivative. For instance, A House Is Not a Home, about a high-tech house with "feelings" is pretty much There Will Come Soft Rains, by Ray Bradbury; or The Sheen of Her Carapace, about an astronaut whose body is changing, thus becoming much alike the aliens he encounters in a new planet (uh, Avatar?). I instantly link the stories with something I have read or watched, so nothing feels new. This doesn't mean the stories are bad per se. I just had the bad luck of having the "source material" fresh in my mind.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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I have finished with Orwelliana, and have started on Exemplary Stories (Novelas ejemplares, 1613; my edition is translated by Lesley Lipson, 1998) by Miguel de Cervantes. Apparently the original contained twelve stories, of which four have been omitted from this translation. (The translator notes "they are stylistically and conceptually less adventurous than the rest" and "less representative of Cervantes as innovator." I'll take her word for it.) This edition, part of the Oxford World's Classics series, also has an introduction that discusses each of the eight stories in detail, so I'll go back to the appropriate section when I finish one of the tales, and asterisks throughout the text, often more than one per page, directing me to explanatory notes at the back of the book. I'll be doing a lot of flipping back and forth. Cervantes' prologue ends with a wish for "patience to bear the starchy and sarcastic comments that are bound to be forthcoming." Take that, critics! I have to allow for changes in attitudes over the centuries. The first story, "The Little Gipsy Girl," begins with the sentence "It seems that all gipsies, both male and female, are born into this world to be thieves."
 

Galactic Bus Driver

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Spring yard work got me through 11 titles since my last update 10 days ago. 52 titles so far this year and now on pace for ~225.

“Odd Thomas,” Odd Thomas book 1 by Dean Koontz.
Hands down, my favorite Dean Koontz character and my Second favorite seires. Somehow I fell a couple books behind so I am re-reading in preparation for the new (to me) titles.

“We are Legion (We are Bob),” book 1 of The Bobiverse by Dennis E. Taylor.
“For We are Many,” book 2 of The Bobiverse by Dennis E. Taylor.
“All These Worlds,” book 3 of The Bobiverse by Dennis E. Taylor.
“Heaven’s River,” book 4 of The Bobiverse by Dennis E. Taylor.
Books 1-3 were a re-read in preperatiojn for book for, which I have postponed out of trepidation. I've seen so many series that run off the rails when they're continued after the initial story arc is completed, whether the authore intended to continue or not. I have to disagree with @"Parson", who said "I did not think that this book rose to the level of the first two in terms of shear entertainment value." I think this one was just as entertaining as the other three, just not in the same ways. I don't know if Mr. Taylor intended to continue the series past original three books, but book 4 was great and if he's planning more, I'll be waiting for them.

“Timeless,” Parasol Protectorate book 5 by Gail Carriger.
The fifth and final(?) book in the series. Published in 2012, it leaves the series easily open to more, with an almost unfinished feeling. Not a series I'll be in any rush to re-read, but also not one I regret. Entertaining, but vanilla, urban fantasy.

“Persepolis Rising,” book 7 of The Expanse bu James S. A. Corey.
“Tiamat’s Wrath,” book 8 of The Expanse bu James S. A. Corey.
I don't need to say much about these titles, there have been many reviews. I've enjoyed the series and am looking forward to the conclusion later this year.

“Slashback,” Cal Leandros book 8 by Rob Thurman.
“Downfall,” Cal Leandros book 9 by Rob Thurman.
Closing in on the end of the series and Rob Thurman has fallen mysteriously silent. There are supposed to be 11 books to the series. 10 are published and the 11th has been canceled. No clue at all what's happening, but I hope she and her publisher can reach an agreement to at least get the final book out there.

“One Second After,” book 1 of the John Matherson series by William R. Forstchen.
The first in a series of three, that after I had acquired them, I was warned off. A friend of mine described them as overly religious political messaging. So far, the religiosity of the characters is right in line with the area and the political messaging seems to be "War bad." :D At least the first book is a much better written "The Day After" and not at all politically heavy handed. It seeks to answer the question "What if our modern society lost all modern technology, all at once, and for the long term. Pretty good book, honestly. Hopefully the rest of the series is as good.
 

dask

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Started this:
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1982 collection of nine stories spanning the years between 1945 and 1974, four of which I have read. Self-deprecating foreword disappointing and disillusioning especially when you consider by 1982 Jack Vance was a leading legend in the field. They aren’t the worst stories he’s ever written he says, ”only almost the worst.” Strange utterances indeed! And absolute nonsense. “The World-Thinker”, his first published story, is so deftly told one can only suppose Vance is trying to deflect attention in a way guaranteed to attract it. Seriously doubt this would fly with a major publisher like Berkeley or Dell but perhaps a “smaller” press like Underwood-Miller thought this a unique innovation. Hardly matters now however. As usually happens, the stories speak for themselves making it immeasurably easier for the reader to separate the huckster from the hoaxer.
 
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Danny McG

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All the wicked girls by Chris Whitaker.

This is an ebook with no blurb so I'm trying to categorise as I read.
It seems to be a hybrid of a crime thriller and a supernatural horror (I might revise this opinion after a few more chapters)
 

Foxbat

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Currently reading Blood And Iron: The Rise And Fall Of The German Empire 1871-1918
 

Danny McG

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All the wicked girls by Chris Whitaker.

This is an ebook with no blurb so I'm trying to categorise as I read.
It seems to be a hybrid of a crime thriller and a supernatural horror (I might revise this opinion after a few more chapters)
I've given up on this one. I really can't get into the way it's written, kind of american southern slang speak
 

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