May 2022 Reading Thread.

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Elentarri

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A 700 page biography of Caesar by Adrian Goldsworthy. It's been languishing on my bookshelf for years now. It might just take the rest of the month to finish.
 

Hugh

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Theodore Sturgeon "Venus plus X" (1960)
Charlie Johns wakes up in an unfamiliar world of advanced technology and people similar to, but very different from, humans.
Not that great. Someone liked it though, as it was nominated for a 1961 Hugo.
 

hitmouse

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Theodore Sturgeon "Venus plus X" (1960)
Charlie Johns wakes up in an unfamiliar world of advanced technology and people similar to, but very different from, humans.
Not that great. Someone liked it though, as it was nominated for a 1961 Hugo.
It looks like it should be something a bit spicy, and it disappoints on that front too.
 

Stenevor

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A 700 page biography of Caesar by Adrian Goldsworthy. It's been languishing on my bookshelf for years now. It might just take the rest of the month to finish.
This is a great book. Along with Stalin:The Court of the Red Tsar it's probably the best biography i've read. I learned a lot from both and should really give them a re read. Hope you enjoy it.
 

Parson

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Reading Star Shroud by Ken Lozito. This book is frustrating me. It's a pretty good book, but I keep feeling like I've read it before. There's nothing that says that for sure, but the general arc of the book rings a memory bell. --- Right now I feel like I'll finish it and then move further in the series that it is the opening for. We'll see.
 

Danny McG

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I've got Eyes of the void by Adrian Tchaikovsky, book 2 of his Final Architecture trilogy.

However it doesn't seem very familiar so I've started a re-read of the 1st book Shards of Earth
 

hitmouse

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I also have the new Tchaikovski queued to read.
First I need to finish The Complete Adventures of Feluda vol 1 by Satyajit Ray. This is a collection of good-natured detective stories, originally published in Bengali. Interesting to see something that was originally published in a children’s magazine gradually evolve into something more complex and mature (but no sex and no real violence) as the stories became popular with adults.
 

Danny McG

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Interesting to see something that was originally published in a children’s magazine gradually evolve into something more complex and mature (but no sex and no real violence) as the stories became popular with adults
That's what happened on television with Doctor Who!
 

Spade

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I've got Eyes of the void by Adrian Tchaikovsky, book 2 of his Final Architecture trilogy.

However it doesn't seem very familiar so I've started a re-read of the 1st book Shards of Earth
He's relentless with the terms. I needed to look at the glossary immediately because there's no handholding.
 

Danny McG

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He's relentless with the terms. I needed to look at the glossary immediately because there's no handholding.
I've only now, after reading this, realised there is indeed a glossary at the end of the ebook.
I've been inferring by context, tbh I'll continue doing so, I can't be bovved checking all the time :giggle:
 

Elentarri

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I've got in the habit of checking the beginning and end of books to see if there is "extra" stuff, like glossaries, pronunciation guides, maps, family trees, appendices, timelines, footnotes masquerading as endnotes etc. And sticking a sticky note tab where necessary so I can check back.

Just finished: Tales from Russian Folklore: a New Translation by Alexander Afanasyev (Alma Classics). The book is a charming collection of Russian folk and fairy tales that nicely compliments the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen. Some are highly amusing, others meant to teach a lesson. I especially loved the longer tales that involve Baba-Yaga, the Firebird, Finist the Falcon and Koschei the Deathless. There are also some delightful proverbs which feature regularly in these tales: “morning is wiser than evening” and “you cannot pluck a falcon’s feathers before catching it”; also the amusing ending to a fair number of tall tales: “I was there. I drank mead and wine. It flowed down my whiskers, but did not go into my mouth.”
It also makes me want to re-read: The Shining Falcon by Josepha Sherman and Tales of Old Russia (Prince Ivan / Firebird / The Golden Horde) by Peter Morwood.

Last week I finished: The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter, which is not(!!!) a kiddies book.
Angela Carter can write. No doubt about that. She paints wonderful, evocative and compelling images. However, after reading all 200 pages of the Magic Toyshop I'm not sure what the point of the whole thing was. The plot was thin and vague, the toyshop not particularly magical, and the people were flat and not particularly likeable to me, nor apparently to each other. There is a whole lot of symbolism in this novel, some of which I probably missed. But at the end of the day, this book was strange and left me feeling slightly icky.
There is a discussion going on on the site about "literature". Considering my lack of enjoyment of most "literary fiction" and "classics", I am apparently a literary troglodyte!

Before that I finished a popular science book: Life Changing: How Humans are Altering Life on Earth by Helen Pilcher
This is a broad survey with numerous examples of how humans are altering life on earth - specifically focusing on the deliberate and accidental human impact on the genetics and evolution of the flora and fauna around us. Pilcher takes a look at the species that we have deliberately engineered for a specific purpose, such as dogs, domestic animals, spider-goats, GM mosquitos, day-glow tropical fish, and AquaAdvantage salmon (i.e. GM Salmon). She discusses the wide variety of methods used for fiddling with a species genetic makeup, including selective breeding the old-fashioned way, cross-breeding, as well as various biotechnological methods to produce specific results. This is a fairly balanced book that covers a variety of diverse (and often contentious) topics such as domestication, cloning, urban evolution, transgenic species, invasive species, de-extinction, rewilding, and conservation. The examples cited are fascinating, with a decent number that I haven't come across before (e.g the Kakapo* conservation/breeding efforts and the coral breeding efforts). Pilcher has an easy-going writing style that doesn't bog the reader down with too much irrelevant material or information that is too technical. The book is a bit light on the more technical aspects of the science involved, but in terms of a popular science book, this is one of the more interesting and well written ones that provides food for thought.
* Green, flightless parrot that lives in New Zealand

 

svalbard

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Just finished Last of the Wine by Mary Renault

FIrst read this 30 years ago. All I can say is that it did not disappoint. In fact I am now of the opinion that this is one of the finest books of all time. It was tremendous and how it ended. What a scene at the games.



 

Parson

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Last of the Wine by Mary Renault
Oh, the wonders of memory and years of years. I read a book with this title about 50 years ago. I remember the title clearly, with a little bit of what happened. I wondered if this was the same book I read back when or not. So (wonders of internet and Amazon) I went and looked. I read the blurb from the ebook version and thought. "No this wasn't the book." So I just enter "Last of the Wine" to see what other books with this title were published. And down about 10 entries, there was the book!!! The cover was absolutely as I remembered. ---- Written by Mary Renault. Sigh!!!

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Reading Star Shroud by Ken Lozito. This book is frustrating me. It's a pretty good book, but I keep feeling like I've read it before. There's nothing that says that for sure, but the general arc of the book rings a memory bell. --- Right now I feel like I'll finish it and then move further in the series that it is the opening for. We'll see.

I finished Star Shroud by Ken Losito, and I discovered that I had not read the book before. Shortly after I posted the above, the story went completely sideways from what I expected. So it must just be that I've read so many SF books that I am recognizing similarities in different books. Anyway, It's a solid read. It's the beginning of a Space Opera set in 2049. The tech we have in 2049 is pretty solidly above what I'd expect that we'd have in 2049 but the book explains a serious growth in human understanding beyond expected. This is clearly space fantasy. There is a dash of ESP which makes it so, but at least for me ESP still falls within the S.F. purview. I have moved on to book two in this series, Star Divide.
 

svalbard

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A bold claim! I agree it is (at least) superb. I have Renault's The King Must Die lined up for a reread soon.

Yes it is a bold claim. One I am willing to stand over with one caveat. This is based on all the books I have read. I am sure others will have their greatest.

Let us know how The King Must Die holds up. It was my introduction to Renault and the world of Greek Mythology.
 

HareBrain

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I've finished Lavondyss

I'm about 20% through, and I have to say this book astonishes me. It soars so far above anything else I've read by Holdstock, written before or after (including Mythago Wood) that I'm not sure what was going on that allowed him to create it. Every page turned makes me sad that there is less story to come.

Needless to say, I've now jinxed it.
Waah, it's true, I jinxed it! But the jinx didn't reveal itself till 50% in, when a beautiful, wondrous, magical story became a dust-dry fictionalised anthropology thesis with some acid trips sprinkled in. I kept going just to answer the basic question of whether the MC achieved her goal, and by the end I was skimming so much I couldn't work out whether she did or not, and I don't even care.
 

Randy M.

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Held up on Skin Folk by Nalo Hopkinson to read Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor and set Remote Control aside to join a GoodReads group read of As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner.

I hope one day to complete something before moving on to something else.
 
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