May Reading Thread

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The Judge

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I'm a little way into a compenium of short stories by Ursula Le Guin in the SF Masterworks series, being a dual anthology of The Wind's Twelve Quarters and The Compass Rose. They're placed in approximate order of writing/publication, but I've already come across one short I've read before (albeit part of a later novel), which surprised me how early it was written.

What are you reading this month?
 

Foxbat

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I’ve just started Royal Navy Versus The Slave Traders: Enforcing Abolition At Sea 1808-1898

In 1807, Great Britain passed the abolition of the slave trade act. It also decided to enforce this abolition beyond its own shores and a squadron of ships, the West Africa Squadron was created for the purpose of enforcement.

Their job was to patrol their respective areas of sea in order to intercept and free any slaves being shipped from Africa. It’s estimated that 150 000 slaves were repatriated during the time of this ‘preventative’ squadron. This book is the story of those ships and the men who crewed them.
 

Hugh

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I’ve just started Royal Navy Versus The Slave Traders: Enforcing Abolition At Sea 1808-1898

In 1807, Great Britain passed the abolition of the slave trade act. It also decided to enforce this abolition beyond its own shores and a squadron of ships, the West Africa Squadron was created for the purpose of enforcement.

Their job was to patrol their respective areas of sea in order to intercept and free any slaves being shipped from Africa. It’s estimated that 150 000 slaves were repatriated during the time of this ‘preventative’ squadron. This book is the story of those ships and the men who crewed them.
I only met my grandfather a few times, and so I didn't hear this story personally. He'd been in the Navy preWWI and at one time his ship was involved in patrolling the 'Persian Gulf' and thereabouts. Apparently he said that when boarding an Arab slave ship you had to be careful not to let them collapse their sails on you as then they'd stab you through the canvas.
 

Elentarri

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Uncharted: A Rediscovered History of Voyages to the Americas Before Columbus by Tim Wallace-Murphy and James Martin

I've come across similar information before, so the contents of the book isn't entirely new to me. If the evidence in this book (and others) is accurate, everyone from the Japanese, Chinese, Celts, Vikings, Venetians, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Phoenicians (and probably a whole bunch more) visited the American continents for trade and exploration before Columbus ever set foot on a ship. "Uncharted" provides food for thought and information that needs to be researched. I did, however, find the writing clunky and uneven, with some topics being given more page time (the Earl St. Clair/Zeno expeditions) and detail than others (i.e. everything else). I would have loved to have learned more about the exchange of plants, animals and microbes, which gets a brief mention. A look at comparative population genetics would also have been interesting. So, interesting contents that provide food for thought and further research, but the book really could have used an editor, not to mention some extra material/ details and photographs/illustrations.
 

Danny McG

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I’ve just started Royal Navy Versus The Slave Traders: Enforcing Abolition At Sea 1808-1898

In 1807, Great Britain passed the abolition of the slave trade act. It also decided to enforce this abolition beyond its own shores and a squadron of ships, the West Africa Squadron was created for the purpose of enforcement.

Their job was to patrol their respective areas of sea in order to intercept and free any slaves being shipped from Africa. It’s estimated that 150 000 slaves were repatriated during the time of this ‘preventative’ squadron. This book is the story of those ships and the men who crewed them.
Hard to credit that the Royal Navy was still using press gangs at the same time - dragging people away from home, flogging, brutal conditions and the ever present threat of death.
 

williamjm

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I finished Shannon Chakraborty's The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi. I liked the unusual historical setting - following a crew of pirates in the 12th Century Indian Ocean. As well as the historical elements there is also the fantasy side of the story, which is taking inspiration from the same myths as Chakraborty's Daevabad trilogy, but taking a somewhat different interpretation of some of them. Amina was an entertaining protagonist to read about and I also liked the other members of her crew. The main villain is largely unseen for most of the book and therefore doesn't really make too much of an impression. The mixture of heist novel and nautical adventure was enjoyable, although there's not a huge amount of depth to any of it - it's perhaps missing the complexity provided by the various different factions in the Daevabad books while this is a much more straightforward tale.

Next up I'm going to read Adrian Tchaikovsky's The Lords of Uncreation, the finale to his space opera trilogy.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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Working my way through the Mary, Queen of Scots book, Embroidering Her Truth, mentioned in the April thread. The author does have a way of inserting herself into the narrative that is little bit disruptive, and of presenting her conjectures in certain areas as though they were undoubted facts, but there is still a lot of very good detail, which could be used to give texture to a novel set in that period (or a fantasy equivalent), or even to figure in the plot, like the use of rings and bracelets to carry secret messages, or the symbolism of sending gloves or other gifts. I know from experience how details like these may spark a story idea. (Years ago I read about poisoned gloves—which was an actual thing at a slightly later date—and that inspired a short story that I wrote. And of course there was the story by Susanna Clarke that originally led to TJ mentioning this book.) So maybe some of the information here will eventually inspire story ideas for me. In the meantime, I do enjoy research of this sort.

There are a couple of samples of recent fantasy novels lined up on my Kindle that I think I want to read, but I wish to finish with Mary Stuart first.
 

Foxbat

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Hard to credit that the Royal Navy was still using press gangs at the same time - dragging people away from home, flogging, brutal conditions and the ever present threat of death.
It is certainly a bit of a contradiction. Impressment played a part in the War Of 1812 when the RN began pressing American sailors into the service. Although still a legal option at the time, the practice pretty much came to an end in 1815. There was still, however, Indentured Servitude, which wasn't abolished until 1917.
 

Danny McG

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As discussed last month I was having a look at Meru by S B.Divya but I really couldn't get into it so DNF.

Instead I'm starting a mil SF by Nicholas Sansbury Smith E-Day
 

Abernovo

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As discussed last month I was having a look at Meru by S B.Divya but I really couldn't get into it so DNF.
I've seen this book a few times being talked about online. Obviously, we may have different tastes (or similar in some ways, who knows?), but what put you off?

Just as an aside, I have a strong belief that, if a book isn't working, then put it down. You can always go back, or not. DNF is a valid choice.

Having read the superb Sixteen Souls, by Rosie Talbot, a couple of months ago, I'm now on something with a similar theme: The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester, by Maya MacGregor. I tried to start the Firefly-esque novel Frontier, by Grace Curtis, but it wasn't working for the mood I was in. I'll go back to that later (see earlier comment).
 

Danny McG

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I've seen this book a few times being talked about online. Obviously, we may have different tastes (or similar in some ways, who knows?), but what put you off?
I can't really put my finger on it, I'd got a few chapters in and I found myself rereading the same page over and over. Then I was skimming ahead because I wasn't enjoying it at all, eventually I gave up on it, I wanted it to be over so I could read a different book!
I've put it (it's an ebook) in my DNF file....as you say I might go back some day and really get into it.
 

Extollager

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Reading Walter de la Mare’s story collection The Connoisseur. This library copy is a June 1926 printing, yet some of the pages had never been cut. There might be some young Chrons folk who don’t know what that means:
B859E4A3-351C-43DF-A71F-B4E6F78A6AAC.jpeg
 
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Extollager

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You literally have to cut such pages in order to read the print.
3D4218C9-6807-4DF8-9BEA-7BB8EAD50A52.jpeg
 
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Elentarri

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Noooooooooo!!!! You are mutilating the book!!!!!! ;)

Personally, I find deckle edged pages a pain to turn.
 
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