July 2022 Reading Thread

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The Judge

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I've recently finished Outlander by Diana Gabaldon -- a bloated adventure story à la Kidnapped with a supposedly intelligent woman thrown back in time falling in lust with a young Jacobite. I bought it because I'd picked up the sequel cheap, but the chances of me reading that sequel have plummetted.

What are you reading now?
 

Extollager

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I'm reading Tim Powers's Declare for the third time, the text of the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision, and have made a tentative start of Iain McGilchrist's The Master and His Emissary, about the brain, consciousness, etc. -- and other things!

Chrons is, of course, not the place for discussion of political topics, but here is a link to the Court's text for people who want to develop an informed opinion. I'm finding it easy to read rather than, as might be feared, comprehensible only to people with legal training.

 

Extollager

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I've recently finished Outlander by Diana Gabaldon -- a bloated adventure story à la Kidnapped with a supposedly intelligent woman thrown back in time falling in lust with a young Jacobite. I bought it because I'd picked up the sequel cheap, but the chances of me reading that sequel have plummetted.

What are you reading now?
I hope no one takes you to be implying that Kidnapped -- a masterpiece of storytelling -- is "bloated."
 

Randy M.

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Recently started The Supernatural Enhancements (a phrase borrowed from Edith Wharton) by Edgar Cantero, which intimates ghosts and maybe something Lovecraftian. So far it's being told in letters, diary extracts, notebook jottings by a mute girl, transcripts of recordings and descriptions of security footage from various places. The first 50 pages have been intriguing.
 

The Judge

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I hope no one takes you to be implying that Kidnapped -- a masterpiece of storytelling -- is "bloated."
Ah, for those who might feel it ambiguous, please read it as

an adventure story à la Kidnapped (but rather bloated)​

(It's been a long time since I tried to read Catriona, but from what I remember, that might be the better analogy on both counts!)
 

Extollager

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Catriona / David Balfour took me more than one try too, as I recall. The impression I take away is that it is good but in a different way from the earlier novel.
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alexvss

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I'm still reading what I started last month: The Collected Fiction of Robert E. Howard and The Wandering Earth by Cixin Liu. I hope to finish all the short-stories I plan to read by the end of July. Howard's Fiction is more than 2500 pages, so I'll just read Conan's stories by now.

I just finished reading a short-story from Clarkesworld's July issue: Termination Stories for the Cyberpunk Dyspotia Protagonist by Isabel J. Kim. Cyberpunk is one of my favorite genres, and I like how she criticized it here. The characters don't actually have names, but are all named after a cyberpunk stereotyped. The protagonist is literally "Cool and Sexy Asian Girl". There's also the "White Boy", who's also called The Hacker and The Tourist. There's a guy named Li (the world's most common surname). I've written a lot of cool and sexy asian girls before, but they all had actual names :p

From the other stories in July's issue, the only name I recognize is Suzanne Palmer. That's rare; most of the times I recognize most authors, as they keep having repeated appearances in the "bigger magazines". I won't read Palmer's 13k-words novelette though. I'll concentrate on the shorter ones.

Another sorrowful editorial by Neil, where he--once again--talks about working on the magazine from his sickbed. The ending is kinda motivating though.
 

Extollager

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Finished Declare and have begun a second reading, after about 35 years, of Phillip Glazebrook’s Journey to Kars, a travel book about the “Ottoman lands.”
 

Danny McG

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After recent discussions in here I'm now doing a re-read of the Conquerors Trilogy by Timothy Zahn
 

TheIntelligencePolice

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I recently found a well-read copy of John Christopher's Sword of the Spirits trilogy on the used book table in Tesco. It's been about 30 years since I last read it, so I'm hoping it's still as good as I remember, after all The Tripods was when I read that a couple of years back.
 

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Started on a re-read of Victoria Goddard's Greenwing and Dart series with "Stargazy Pie".

A complicated world set up with multiple worlds magically linked. Set after "the Fall" when magic went bonkers and a lot of things were damaged, or just stopped working. A roughly 18th century society in a market town, but with extra awareness of technological possibilities (used to have magical water systems in houses, had to replace with technology). Young gentleman has returned home after University. Some years previously his war hero father was declared a traitor, young gentleman is getting at best a mixed reception, not helped by him taking a job as an assistant in a bookshop which is most definitely not the job for a gentleman. Main theme is a mystery novel, trying to work out why strange things are happening in the very staid market town. Other themes are finding yourself and recovering from a seriously awful experience (before the book started). Also very much about friendship (as are many of Goddard's books).
I do like Goddard's work - she interlinks the different series she has written across her worlds and you get more depth to the world from that. I am fond of re-reading and her books work very well on that for me - there are things to be gained on re-reading a book when you have read one of her other books.
 

Rodders

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Only In Death.

Book 11 in the Gaunts Ghosts series by Dan Abnett.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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Catriona / David Balfour took me more than one try too, as I recall. The impression I take away is that it is good but in a different way from the earlier novel.
I read it and adored it as a teenager. Must admit that at that age it was the romance that really drew me in. Reread it many years later and was surprised by all the other characters and events that I hadn't remembered.

Started on a re-read of Victoria Goddard's Greenwing and Dart series with "Stargazy Pie".
It was the 18th century (ish) setting that attracted me at first (there just aren't enough fantasies with 18th century type settings to suit me—I think I imprinted on that period when I was young reading books like Kidnapped and David Balfour, though when I started to research the period before writing my own such books I was quite impressed by how genuinely bizarre the era could be, and somehow that never comes through in historical novels) but I ended up liking the characters etc. enough that I went on to read all the Greenwing and Dart sequels-to-date.
 

Montero

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Have you read the rest of Victoria Goddard's books set on that background?
The recommended reading order on the rest is to start with Hands of the Emperor which is wonderful, though Goddard's website also gives the chronological reading order for those who prefer it.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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I've read a few of those books but they didn't catch my imagination in the same way. I suspect that reading them out of any logical order made a difference.
 

Montero

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There is a bit of complexity going on. She is rather fond of re-covering events from a different viewpoint.
So if you start with the recommended one, "Hands of the Emperor", it is all from the viewpoint of the Emperor's secretary. "Petty Treasons" is a prequel to that using some of the backstory that appears in Hands of the Emperor - but from the Emperor's viewpoint. Thoroughly suspect that Petty Treasons would be really bizarre to read if you didn't already know the plot. It is the different viewpoint that makes that story shine.
Then there is Portrait of a Wide Sea Islander - which is from the viewpoint of a secondary character in Hands and tells his story which is separate for a while and then is his view of a few of the events in Hands. Again, best read after Hands. Same goes with The Return of Fitzroy Angursell - that is a direct sequel to Hand, but not from the viewpoint of the secretary - and she is currently writing a direct sequel to Hand from the viewpoint of the Emperor's secretary.
Anyone fancying reading these is probably best off starting picking a book via the author's website

I started with Hands of the Emperor - by chance but it is the recommended one by the author, but I think you could also start with Stargazy Pie.
 
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