March Reading Thread

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Finished a history book: Agincourt: The King, The Campaign, The Battle by Juliet Barker. Interesting.

I just finished reading Ordinary Monsters.* The book gets progressively more fantastical as it goes along. None of it is called magic, but that's just semantics. It is an extraordinary and original book, but very dark: dark in it's magics, dark in its depiction of human nature (though there are also characters who are courageous and good—a number of whom die, so it's that kind of book). It is Book 1 of a series of undefined length. Could be a duology, a trilogy ... or who knows what. Because it is the first book, many things are left unresolved, and Book 2 is "expected in 2024" whatever that means, so readers could be left hanging for a good long while.

But readers who are looking for something different than the usual, and if you aren't too squeamish (I am pretty squeamish and I made it through, by not reading the book at bedtime), it's definitely worth taking a look.
*For more on this, see my earlier post about it.
I finished Scalzi's Kaiju Preservation Society. It was fun, but the constant pop references could be a little tiresome.

Now on to John Scalzi's Redshirts.

John Scalzi Redshirts.jpg
I finished Scalzi's Kaiju Preservation Society. It was fun, but the constant pop references could be a little tiresome.
I’ve wondered if Scalzi places being cool and current ahead of his undoubted writing talent. I thought his Emperox series was good in many ways, but was also let down by a slavish adherence to the current zeitgeist to make it cool and ‘right-on’, when it might have been better if had been told as a more classical space-opera.
a re-read (possibly first since my teens) of Watership Down by Richard Adams. Wonderful book.
It's strange. I disliked Watership Down intensely. I was a politics student when it first came out, and I thought it just lazily lifted Plato's description of various forms of society and inserted it into rabbit warrens. This may well have been misguided and opinionated, but I still feel a shudder and have never felt able to re-read it.
This may well have been misguided and opinionated
Well, you did say you were a politics student... :giggle:

I first read it as a ten-year-old just getting into nature. So far in this re-read there has been one instance of the authorial voice intruding on a subject other than the natural world or rural life, and I'm hoping there won't be many more of them. If there turn out to be, I can see it might be offputting.
I just finished reading Illuminations, by T. Kingfisher.

Ursula Vernon usually uses the Vernon name for books she writes for children and Kingfisher for books aimed at older readers. But this book struck me as more YA than adult, maybe even Middle Grade. Regardless it's a light amusing read, likely to please anyone who enjoys Kingfisher's particular brand of whimsy (when she isn't writing horror), and not please anyone who shudders at the very thought of whimsy.

After the dark fantasy of the Miro book, I was definitely ready for something light and whimsical.

Magical paintings, a talking crow, and an evil animated mandrake root, called a Scarling--but unlike the humanoid form usual for mandrake/homunculi, this was more like a vengeful carrot with a penchant for graffiti. So, yes, decidedly, whimsical—be warned or intrigued accordingly.
Read Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop. Very nice fantasy series (this is book 2) that have not-so-nice nonhumans (it's better than glow in the dark, sulky, juvenile, hundreds of years old vampires).

Also read (listened to?) As You Like It by William Shakespeare.
I finished The Damnation Game by Clive Barker. First up, Barker is a really good writer. His prose style is a big chunk better than most fiction writers. I was surprised by how much I wanted to read this book, just for his writing. If you want poetic (aka purple) prose done well, he's your man. On the other hand, it's insanely gory. Several characters seem to be reduced to literal pulp by the end. It goes on a bit too long, and the last chunk - where the characters leave the mansion where most of the story happens - feels weaker. Some smaller elements don't quite add up. However, overall this is an excellent grisly horror story, especially since it was Barker's first novel.
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