November 2021 Reading Thread

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therapist

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Last month I finished Robin Hobbs Realm of the Elderlings. A 16 book series. Not perfect, but each book was at least good enough to propel me onto the next. The fantasy elements felt fresh and wonderful although at times I wished she leaned into them a bit more. For example the idea of sentient pirate/trading ships that are made from dragons—what a great premise. But I feel it had more potential. Felt similarly about other magic systems in the series.
But now it's over I am struggling to dig into the next adventure.
This month I read Jade City. —Good but not fantasy enough.
Ted Chiang short story collection—underwhelming.
I DNF'd Powder Mage
Now i'm 20% into N.K Jemisin's Fifth Season. And am agnostic about it.

Maybe I should just jump onto the Wheel of Time train.
 

biodroid

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@Danny McG I heard rumours that Lincoln and the female cop fall in love and become almost romance like books, is it true or not? I always thought the books looked interesting. I really enjoyed The Devil's Teardrop
 

Danny McG

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@Danny McG I heard rumours that Lincoln and the female cop fall in love and become almost romance like books, is it true or not? I always thought the books looked interesting. I really enjoyed The Devil's Teardrop
Yeah, she married him about four books ago - the books are great for police procedure and forensic but any action scenes are over detailed IMO
 

tobl

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@Danny McG I heard rumours that Lincoln and the female cop fall in love and become almost romance like books, is it true or not? I always thought the books looked interesting. I really enjoyed The Devil's Teardrop
what? you didn't see angelinajolie and denzel washigton get married in the movie?:)
 

Toby Frost

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Arr, I be readin' Treasure Island, mateys. It's actually really good. Nice to read about pirates without anyone doing a terrible impersonation of Mick Jagger. It's interesting how small the sides are and how little time they actually spend sailing the ship: most of the action takes place onshore.

When I was little, I had a reading of Treasure Island on two cassettes. It was read by a man called Hugh something, who looked somewhat piratical. His voices were very good, and I've always found the "Fifteen men" song weirdly sinister. It's a very easy book to read and a good adventure story, and it's a shame that a lot of the nouns have changed in meaning: phrases like "He spat his quid" are harder to understand now.
 

elvet

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Off and running with WoT. I enjoyed the first book and started The Great Hunt.
What I like so far is that they are an easy read (compared to Malazan), though not (as many mentioned) even paced. The spurts of action and story momentum are interspersed with some lags, but I'm still enjoying the details and the characters/world interactions. I'm not sure I would reread these books, though time will tell.
 

The Judge

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After finishing City of Illusions by Ursula Le Guin (1967) which I wasn’t wholly taken by, I went on to another Neil Gaiman, Fragile Things, a collection of short stories and slight pieces -- some interesting, most forgettable, and none to my mind with any real emotion or heart.

After that, the antithesis of the Gaiman, the historical fiction novel The Lantern Bearers by Rosemary Sutcliff (1959). The third in her Romano-British series, set some years after The Eagle of the Ninth -- the Romans finally quit Britain, leaving the land to be ravaged by marauding Jutes and Saxons, and the great lighthouse at Richborough is lit for the final time. This was a great read, full of action but also dealing with issues of trust and betrayal, doing what is right, and being a light against the darkness.

Betrayal also cropped up in The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (2019), together with jealousy, hatred, emotional abuse and a wicked stepmother, in a mini-soap saga set in the US and jumping around in time from the 1950s to 1990s, riffing off fairy stories en route, though being lit fic there was a lot of talk but precious little happening. I stuck it to the end, but I can’t say I actually enjoyed it. The same was true for The Eighty-Minute Hour by Brian Aldiss (1974) an SF full of In-jokes, weird names and things un-happening, which I found to be confusing and self-indulgent.

I made a return to fantasy with The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (2017), set very specifically in 1350s Rus’. There are three plot strands -- political machinations in Moscow, creatures from Slavic myth and pre-Christian belief confronted by a poisonous brand of Orthodox Christianity among a boyar’s family in the Steppes, and the mythical Winter King and his brother also haunting the family -- and for me that was a problem as although the strands intersected, there was no real cohesion between them. I found it slow to get going, with too many scenes that went nowhere and could have been cut with no loss, insufficient worldbuilding and scene-setting, and simplistic characterisation. My main gripe, though is with the title, which I thought enchanting and inveigled me to buy the novel, but which has damn all to do with the plot.
 

AE35Unit

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I can’t say I actually enjoyed it. The same was true for The Eighty-Minute Hour by Brian Aldiss (1974) an SF full of In-jokes, weird names and things un-happening, which I found to be confusing and self-indulgent.

Aldiss can be really weird, the weirdest yet is Barefoot in the Head. Just couldn't make head or carrot in a washing machine flying westwards on a Wednesday of it
 

AnRoinnUltra

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"Fifteen men" song weirdly sinister
I reckon it's more in your face head smashingly murderous, great fun though.
Fell off the reading wagon this month, probably bit off more than I can chew with @BAYLOR 's education in SF mission so back to one book a month. Thought I'd have Jo Zebedee's Wildest Hunt read before the month strikes December but will fail (no fault of the book as it's an easy read). Have been beta reading an as yet unnamed historical novel, it's very good but I don't think the beta thing is like normal reading as ya sort of need to watch out for stuff out of place -will stick in the link if it gets published.
 

Danny McG

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I've always found the "Fifteen men" song weirdly sinister.
It took me about fifty years to realise they weren't sitting on the ribs of a corpse.
They were the survivors of a ship sinking, all cramming desperately on top of a floating sea chest that belonged to a drowned shipmate.
 

AE35Unit

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I read Treasure Island many years ago, I believe it was a heavily edited children's edition, so that part about sitting on a corpse would have been excised. I also read Kidnapped which I didn't get on with
 

tachyon

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I notice I'm not very consistent about updating these monthly threads with what I've been reading.

Here's my last chance for November!

In no particular order:

Barbary Station by R. E. Stearns - SF, people trapped on a pirate space station being menaced by an evil AI. Meh so far, I'm about 2/3 through and not really enthralled. I may finish. Heavy on found family and feelings, lighter on worldbuilding.

The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne - viking-inspired second-world fantasy. Mead halls and longboats, axes and shields, weird mythological creatures and dead gods, kidnapped children and political strife. Very good, tore through it, will get the sequel.

The Quantum Magician by Derek Kunsken - far-future scifi heist. Genetically engineered human variants pulling off a scam that will destabilize the balance of power in human space. Good, very interesting ideas, re-read in prep for sequels.

State Tectonics by Malka Older - near-future political scifi - universal translation and AR technology and the end of the nation-state as a unit of governance. Political and infotech skulduggery. Last book in a trilogy that I hadn't manged to finish before. Good stuff.

City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders - human colonists on a tidally locked planet live in the twilight zone between freezing night and the fires of the too-close sun. Two human cities with different governing approaches are both slowly losing the struggle to stay viable on the alien planet. I've read this before but couldn't remember how it turned out so re-read. Satisfactory second read.

The Rosewater Insurrection by Tade Thompson - Near-future SF. A giant alien has established itself in Nigeria, the beginning of a coming alien invasion perhaps. A human city has grown up around it due to its unique effects on the immediate surroundings. Second in the trilogy, I'll be picking up the 3rd sooner or later.

Call of the Bone Ships by R.J. Barker - Second-world fantasy. I raved about the 1st book in this series and the 2nd did not disappoint. The Tide Child, a warship made of sea-dragon bones fights for a better future for both The Hundred Isles and the rival Gaunt Islands. Great stuff, will get the 3rd book.

Currently:

The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad - audiobook through my library app. YA fantasy in the middle eastern city of Noor along the silk road. Told from the perspective of a grown orphan girl living with her adoptive sister. Djinn and majarajas, street life and politics. Seems like some romance is coming as well. I'm just starting this and enjoying it so far.

Mage's Blood by David Hair - Second world epic fantasy. A bridge between continents rises out of the ocean every 12 years and war and invasion ensue. Magic and mayhem. Someone mentioned this in book search recently and I realized I hadn't finished the series. Reading through from book 1.
 
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