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  #1  
Old 11-01-2014, 05:33 AM
DZedNConfused DZedNConfused is offline
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Khadaji's Whatcha Readin' thread - November 2014 Edition

It's November! How many of us are participating in National Novel Month?



I'm two thirds of the way through Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke, it's not mind boggling but I am enjoying it.




Khadaji was one of the earlier members of the SDMB, and he was well known as a kindly person who always had something encouraging to say, particularly in the self-improvement threads. He was also a voracious, omnivorous reader; and he started these monthly book threads. Sadly, he passed away in January 2013, and it was decided that we should rename these monthly threads in his honour.
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  #2  
Old 11-01-2014, 05:36 AM
DZedNConfused DZedNConfused is offline
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Last Month's Thread
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  #3  
Old 11-01-2014, 08:06 AM
bobot bobot is offline
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Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix. I am working my way through my stepdaughter's collection. I had originally dismissed the Harry Potter books as kid's stuff, but these books are pretty good, and I plan to read all of them.
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  #4  
Old 11-01-2014, 12:02 PM
hogarth hogarth is offline
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I finished reading Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence. I thought the story of growing up in a coal-mining family, but I lost interest when the protagonist was dithering between his two girlfriends and his mother.
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  #5  
Old 11-01-2014, 12:28 PM
susan susan is offline
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Finishing up League of Denial, a review of the events leading to the NFL's shifts in policy about concussion.
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  #6  
Old 11-01-2014, 05:19 PM
SpazCat SpazCat is online now
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I'm reading Alastair Cooke's America. I have mixed feelings about it. The introduction talks about his ideas about what the US is like when he was growing up in England, which was interesting and a little comforting--it's nice to know that massive misconceptions cross national borders. But then in the discovery of America chapter he implies that Columbus sailed west to prove the world was round , which diminished my appreciation quite a bit.

Last edited by SpazCat; 11-01-2014 at 05:20 PM.. Reason: Forgot the link
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  #7  
Old 11-01-2014, 08:06 PM
Ulf the Unwashed Ulf the Unwashed is offline
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Just finished The Map Thief by Michael Blanding, about a rare-map dealer named E. Forbes Smiley who systematically stole dozens of, well, rare maps from the NY Public Library, Yale University, and others. Lots of background about maps, and very well researched.
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  #8  
Old 11-01-2014, 10:56 PM
Siam Sam Siam Sam is offline
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Almost a fifth of the way through A House for Mr. Biswas, by VS Naipaul.
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  #9  
Old 11-02-2014, 11:36 AM
plankter plankter is offline
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Currently I am about halfway through Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb. The new characters are interesting and I'm liking the "papa wolf" dynamic.

Next in line is Maplecroft, a supernatural retelling of the Lizzie Borden story. Normally I would shun another "historic figure kills monsters" book because I've been disappointed by this genre (with the notable exception of Pride and Predudice and Zombies). But I trust Cherie Priest on the strength of her previous novel Boneshaker because she mixed Civil War steampunk with yes, zombies, and came up with awesomeness.

From the same library I checked out Foraging California by Christopher Nyerges, subtitled "Finding, Identifying, and Preparing Edible Wild Foods in CaliforniaĒ. It's not super comprehensive but the species it does cover have reasonably detailed entries for a field guide, generously illustrated with color photos. I haven't read every entry yet but already I wish I owned a copy.
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  #10  
Old 11-02-2014, 11:56 AM
Quimby Quimby is offline
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Just finished Jim Gaffigan's Food: A Love Story.

Extremely funny and while some of it was his stand up written down, most of it was new to me. Also a great deal of restaurant recommendations among the jokes.

Last edited by Quimby; 11-02-2014 at 11:56 AM..
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  #11  
Old 11-02-2014, 02:56 PM
WomanofScorn WomanofScorn is offline
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I'm currently reading a few books:

Horns by Joe Hill during my down time.
Gunslinger by Stephen King when I'm at the gym because the boyfriend demands I try the series again.
The Witch With No Name by Kim Harrison somewhere in between.

Yeah my book choices aren't that deep.
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  #12  
Old 11-02-2014, 03:12 PM
Dendarii Dame Dendarii Dame is offline
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Just finished The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne Valente--brilliant.

Just started The Martian by Andy Weir.
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  #13  
Old 11-02-2014, 03:46 PM
koeeoaddi koeeoaddi is offline
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I started Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict -- 21st Century woman from L.A. wakes up in Regency England -- knowing it was a junk read. I must admit that I'm fairly entertained, though. Much more so than I anticipated.

Apparently our heroine dislikes the state of early 19th Century medicine and finds general hygiene wanting. I have a feeling she will begin to grate before the end of the story, but for now it's silly escapist fun.
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  #14  
Old 11-02-2014, 10:31 PM
Buttercup Smith Buttercup Smith is offline
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Just finisher two books by Preston. One was Hot Zone and the other was The Demon in the freezer. I also just finished Virus Hunters: CDC Something or other by Dr. Joseph McCormick. Good read.
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  #15  
Old 11-03-2014, 06:58 AM
Meurglys Meurglys is offline
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I just finished Brian Ruckley's The Free, and enjoyed it a lot. There are several viewpoint characters but the main one is a village youth, Drann, who dreams of glory and the great exploits of the Free, the last great mercenary band. He becomes 'contract bearer' on their final mission and is part insider, part outsider as he both grows closer, and tries to learn more about them.
The war is essentially over, so there are no great battles, only vicious little fights and ambuscades, with great magics being fought over, or transported about the war-shattered countryside. All coming to a bloody, magical conclusion.

And now I'm reading the 5th and final Bright Empires book by Steven Lawhead, The Fatal Tree. It's time travelling fantasy with the fate of the Universe at stake (that only becomes clear in vol 4; it all seems much smaller scale until then) and I hope he manages to pull all the separate timelines and characters together by the end!

Also got diverted by a brief exchange of messages on another message board and ended up re-reading an old Jack Vance book, The Slaves of the Klau. Lightweight pulp stuff, and quite short. The hero is kidnapped by aliens and taken to work on one of their hell-hole industrial planets. He escapes.
It was interesting to see ideas appearing that crop up later in his work, especially the Tschai quartet.
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  #16  
Old 11-03-2014, 10:08 AM
LawMonkey LawMonkey is offline
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Gunslinger by Stephen King when I'm at the gym because the boyfriend demands I try the series again.
Arguably not the best place to start the series. There are entire threads about this, so I'll leave it at that.

Polished off The Last Ringbearer last night, mostly by reading it all day long (other than a bit in the morning when I was watching the Manchester Darby). Seems to be a rather divisive novel among the LoTR fanbase; I quite enjoyed it. From trying to make the geology/geography work to working out economics and actual war aims for the various factions, to ultimately make a "realistic" story out of the War of the Ring. Issues include an awkward-at-times amateur translation, as well as perhaps some dubious authorial language choices (I don't know who decided to throw modern colloquialisms like "guys" and "babe" in there, but who ever did, shouldn't have). Some might not appreciate Yeskov's habit of unceremoniously pausing the narrative to wander off on lengthy historical, economic, or military digressions; for me, they were as much of the appeal as anything, presenting a bit of an alternate history of Middle Earth.

This leaves me w/ McIlvanney on Football and the first volume of Winston Churchill's history of the Great War. I'm not sure if either of these are going to be something I'm going to simply plow through: The McIlvanney is a collection of short pieces from his career as a sports journalist, and Churchill I've been slogging through for months now. It's possible I may decide to take on the next volume of the Expanse series, if for no other reason than that I have a podcast about it that I'm sitting on to avoid spoilers.
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  #17  
Old 11-03-2014, 10:14 AM
Macca26 Macca26 is offline
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I'm reading Pride & Prejudice for the first time now, and I'm baffled at how Austen managed to make a bunch of gossipy tripe as interesting as this book is.
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  #18  
Old 11-03-2014, 10:46 AM
MissTake MissTake is offline
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I'm reading the Hangman's Daughter series, by Oliver Potzch. I finished the second book ([b]The Dark Monk[b]) Saturday, started on the third book (The Beggar King) yesterday. I really like his writing - the books are fairly fast paced.
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  #19  
Old 11-03-2014, 03:22 PM
The wind of my soul The wind of my soul is offline
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About 100 pages into Shadow of Night, the second book in a trilogy (the first was A Discovery of Witches). It takes place in Elizabethan England, but the two main characters are from modern times. In simplest terms, it's about a witch and a vampire traveling back in time.

The other book I'm reading is Plantation. The setting is is a plantation in South Carolina, and in this case, the setting is a character. You see the clash of high-class southern culture with New York culture, redneck culture, and "voodoo" culture.
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  #20  
Old 11-03-2014, 04:36 PM
Misnomer Misnomer is offline
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I'm still reading Lev Grossman's The Magicians. I just started Book II, where Quentin and his cohort have graduated and now must find their places in the world. I'm finding it to be an enjoyable read, and as long as things don't go downhill I'll read the next book in the trilogy.

I also recently discovered that an additional chapter of Wonder is available. I'll probably read that before starting the next Magicians book.

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About 100 pages into Shadow of Night, the second book in a trilogy (the first was A Discovery of Witches). It takes place in Elizabethan England, but the two main characters are from modern times. In simplest terms, it's about a witch and a vampire traveling back in time.
I've had Shadow of Night on my Kindle for ages...since it was released, I think. I enjoyed A Discovery of Witches, but I find that I don't have much taste/tolerance for the historical stuff: I started it once, but didn't even get a whole chapter in before switching to something else and never going back. I still have it on my "to read" list, though. I'll be interested to see what you think of it!
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  #21  
Old 11-03-2014, 07:30 PM
WomanofScorn WomanofScorn is offline
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Arguably not the best place to start the series. There are entire threads about this, so I'll leave it at that.
I've read the series before but I couldn't fifnish the last book. It's been 10 years since I've read these books. Thankfully The Gunslinger is short...I'm almost done with it.
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  #22  
Old 11-04-2014, 09:07 AM
Dung Beetle Dung Beetle is offline
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This morning I finished The One I Left Behind by Jennifer McMahon (about a woman whose mother turns up alive twenty years after having been taken by a serial killer). As I said in last monthís thread, this author is hit or miss. Iíd call this one of the better ones, because I was dying to know what was going to happen throughout the last hundred pages. On the other hand, now that Iíve got my answers, I donít think I believe them. This is not a great book, but decently well written and I did enjoy reading it.

Next up (well maybe) The Mirror, a time-travel novel by Marlys Millhiser. A blurb on the cover compares it to Jack Finneyís Time and Again; another is praise from Phyllis A. Whitney, whose books I loved as a kid. However, twenty pages in, Iím not feeling the confidence in it that Iíd like toÖ
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  #23  
Old 11-04-2014, 12:28 PM
araminty araminty is offline
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I've had Shadow of Night on my Kindle for ages...since it was released, I think. I enjoyed A Discovery of Witches, but I find that I don't have much taste/tolerance for the historical stuff: I started it once, but didn't even get a whole chapter in before switching to something else and never going back. I still have it on my "to read" list, though. I'll be interested to see what you think of it!
I couldn't stand A Discovery of Witches. I think my issues with it involved incorrect word usage for sense of place, something like the American character installed at Oxford kept using the wrong terminology for stuff. It's not like I'm English myself (Australian, living in California) but something about this kind of error drives me batty, just seems to symbolize sloppy sense of place, which is something that's important to me as a reader.

I did, however, love the Grossman Magicians books, I hope you continue to enjoy them! Book 3 was, I think, a bit better than book 2, in terms of pacing and characterization.

There's a new Ann Patchett out! Just stuck it on the Kindle. I found out about it through this funny Jezebel post. I guess I'll finish the book I'm in the middle of before I start it - City of Stairs. It's... OK so far. Not jumping out at me.
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  #24  
Old 11-04-2014, 01:26 PM
Grrlbrarian Grrlbrarian is offline
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Just finished Half a King by Joe Abercrombie. I loved it. Foresaw one of the twists but not the other. Abercrombie uses just the right amount of authorial brushstrokes to paint a world, and then he fills it with compelling characters who have flaws as well as strengths. Adored his First Law trilogy, and though this was in theory written for YA, it was every bit as fascinating and richly peopled.

I'm stuck in Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves. Okay, not IN it precisely: on it? I love the idea of unreliable narrators, layered storylines, and growing menace, but I'm short-circuited on the characters, I think. Not a one that I find interesting enough to draw me into the interwoven stories.

I'm alternating the above with Enemies at Home, the new Flavia Albia by Lindsey Davis. It's decent but not up to the level of her Marcus Didius Falco mysteries. I don't find Albia's personality as colorful, or her struggles as fraught, as her foster father's were.

Dead stopped on Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children. I've had only 100 pages to go for a month, I'll bet, and I can't bring myself to pick it up and finish it. Still don't understand why I haven't been able to get into this. I love magic realism and normally rush to read things set in India, but this hasn't grabbed me at all. I don't care for Saleem Sinai whatsoever for some reason (or his family for that matter)

Last edited by Grrlbrarian; 11-04-2014 at 01:29 PM..
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  #25  
Old 11-04-2014, 01:58 PM
delphica delphica is offline
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Because I saw it mentioned by Grrlbrarian in this thread a few months ago, I picked up The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. I liked it well enough, the setting was interesting (17th century Amsterdam) and I liked the characters. I was a little at the big reveal that
SPOILER:

The miniaturist, who seemed to be a mysterious woman with uncanny insights into the lives of others, turned out to be ... a mysterious woman with uncanny insights into the lives of others. It doesn't even make sense, really. Was this supposed to be supernatural, or what?


I am currently reading The Book Of Strange New Things by Michel Faber (author of The Crimson Petal and the White, which I loved), and so far it's good but I'm not that far in. This is more of a science fiction setting -- relatively near future, when there is a colony getting started on some other planet and a Christian minister is sent to be a pastor of sorts to a community of aliens (well, they are native to the planet in question).
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  #26  
Old 11-04-2014, 02:03 PM
SpazCat SpazCat is online now
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Dead stopped on Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children. I've had only 100 pages to go for a month, I'll bet, and I can't bring myself to pick it up and finish it. Still don't understand why I haven't been able to get into this. I love magic realism and normally rush to read things set in India, but this hasn't grabbed me at all. I don't care for Saleem Sinai whatsoever for some reason (or his family for that matter)
I love Rushdie, but I couldn't get into Midnight's Children either. How that won the Booker of Bookers is beyond me.
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  #27  
Old 11-04-2014, 05:03 PM
TexCat TexCat is offline
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I just finished Tibetan Peach Pie a sort of memoir by Tom Robbins. It was OK, but it did make me want to reread some of his books. I wonder if they have stood up to the test of time.
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  #28  
Old 11-04-2014, 05:28 PM
koeeoaddi koeeoaddi is offline
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I started Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict -- 21st Century woman from L.A. wakes up in Regency England -- knowing it was a junk read. I must admit that I'm fairly entertained, though. Much more so than I anticipated.

Apparently our heroine dislikes the state of early 19th Century medicine and finds general hygiene wanting. I have a feeling she will begin to grate before the end of the story, but for now it's silly escapist fun.
Please ignore my hasty enthusiasm. I'm about half way through now and ready to punch the idiotic heroine in the neck and trade books with Macca26.
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  #29  
Old 11-05-2014, 02:30 PM
The wind of my soul The wind of my soul is offline
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I've had Shadow of Night on my Kindle for ages...since it was released, I think. I enjoyed A Discovery of Witches, but I find that I don't have much taste/tolerance for the historical stuff: I started it once, but didn't even get a whole chapter in before switching to something else and never going back. I still have it on my "to read" list, though. I'll be interested to see what you think of it!
I'm 100 pages in so far. I went into it with a couple expectations:

(1) The reviews I've read by other readers indicate that a lot of the story is more historical fiction and name-dropping than real advancement of the story line.

(2) My enjoyment of the first book was greatly hindered by the relationship between Matthew and Diana. I hated how Diana was described as feisty and free-spirited, but every time she interacted with Matthew she was meek and obedient.

So I went into the book with the intention of enjoying the light-hearted stories of witchcraft, magic, and time-traveling, and expecting Diana to be spineless and Matthew to be creepy.

With those expectations, I am still engaged and enjoying the book 100 pages in. However, I would say that the first chapter is pretty indicative of the tone and pacing of the book as a whole, so if you lost interest in the first chapter, then it's probably a good indication that you won't enjoy the rest of the book, either.
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  #30  
Old 11-05-2014, 03:47 PM
Jack Burden Jack Burden is offline
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Just finisher two books by Preston. One was Hot Zone and the other was The Demon in the freezer. I also just finished Virus Hunters: CDC Something or other by Dr. Joseph McCormick. Good read.
The Hot Zone is a great read, would like to see Preston update it to cover the more recent Ebola outbreaks. You might also enjoy The Coming Plague by Laurie Garrett; it explores the careers of McCormick and other CDC virologists that Preston mentions, and covers lots of other diseases like hantavirus and dengue fever.

Two thirds through The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell and greatly enjoying it, though POV and time shifts are a bit jarring. He did the same sort of thing in Jacob DeZoet, though less frequently and without time jumps. The current chapter seems moving the disparate threads back to conclusion. Also like how all of Mitchell's works loosely inhabit the same universe, so the actions of characters in say Cloud Atlas can be reinterpreted from what we know now about them.

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  #31  
Old 11-05-2014, 04:07 PM
SpazCat SpazCat is online now
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I've given up on Hoka! Hoka! Hoka! Whenever I pick it up I see a vision of Graham Chapman yelling "Stop that! It's silly!"

Last edited by SpazCat; 11-05-2014 at 04:09 PM..
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  #32  
Old 11-05-2014, 04:50 PM
Grrlbrarian Grrlbrarian is offline
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The Hot Zone is a great read, would like to see Preston update it to cover the more recent Ebola outbreaks. You might also enjoy The Coming Plague by Laurie Garrett; it explores the careers of McCormick and other CDC virologists that Preston mentions, and covers lots of other diseases like hantavirus and dengue fever.
I read somewhere - it seems like Carl Zimmer mentioned it - that Preston is doing precisely that, updating The Hot Zone. For plagues and virology, I enjoyed David Quammen's Spillover as well.
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  #33  
Old 11-05-2014, 04:59 PM
Misnomer Misnomer is offline
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However, I would say that the first chapter is pretty indicative of the tone and pacing of the book as a whole, so if you lost interest in the first chapter, then it's probably a good indication that you won't enjoy the rest of the book, either.
Thank you! I hate to "give up" on books (especially ones I barely started), but this one might just stay at the bottom of my To Read list for a while...
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  #34  
Old 11-06-2014, 09:33 PM
SpazCat SpazCat is online now
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And another one goes to the "dump it back in the library's book drop" pile: God Is Red: A Native View of Religion. It was going pretty well until Deloria decided to support the absolutely inane imaginings of Velikovsky* and then brought in the ancient aliens. I couldn't bring myself to finish it after that.

*If you haven't heard of this before, read the link. "Inane" is being generous.

Last edited by SpazCat; 11-06-2014 at 09:35 PM..
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  #35  
Old 11-06-2014, 10:18 PM
LawMonkey LawMonkey is offline
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*If you haven't heard of this before, read the link. "Inane" is being generous.
Wow. I made it through the first sentence.
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  #36  
Old 11-09-2014, 12:40 AM
Erdosain Erdosain is offline
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Despite not being much of a fantasy fan, I really like Patrick Rothfuss's Kingkiller series. I made the mistake of pre-ordering his latest, which I knew going in was just a small side novella: The Slow Regard of Silent Things.

Oy. So bad. Unbearably twee. Revoltingly treacly. I actually feel bad for him because I know from his extensive blog postings that he has an army of beta readers and trusted people surrounding him that he has read his stuff first and apparently no one stepped up and told him, "No. No no." It's telling that he apologizes for the book in both the Foreword and the End Note, so I guess he senses on some level that this book should never have seen the light of day.

I'm still looking forward to the final installment of the series, but I'm concerned that Rothfuss has become such a juggernaut that he's no longer being meaningfully edited.
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  #37  
Old 11-09-2014, 01:19 AM
araminty araminty is offline
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There's a new Ann Patchett out! Just stuck it on the Kindle. I found out about it through this funny Jezebel post. I guess I'll finish the book I'm in the middle of before I start it - City of Stairs. It's... OK so far. Not jumping out at me.
Oh no! It's non-fiction! Worse, it's short format non-fiction - a collection of her essays/article. (I didn't read the amazon link as I bought it to avoid spoilers.)

I'll read it, grudgingly. But it's not the same. NOVEL, PLEASE.
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  #38  
Old 11-10-2014, 09:29 AM
Dung Beetle Dung Beetle is offline
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I finished The Mirror, a time-travel story in which a young woman in 1978 switches bodies and lives with her own grandmother and is transported to the year 1900. The writing and characterization werenít top-caliber, but the situation was just so interesting I didnít care. Whenever I had to put this book down and live my own stupid life, I kept on thinking about it and wondering what was going to happen next.

The decks are now cleared for Stephen Kingís Revival, which is supposed to be here tomorrow.
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  #39  
Old 11-10-2014, 10:43 AM
Busy Scissors Busy Scissors is offline
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I'm about 80% through Bolano's 2666. Had a long haul flight last week so really got into it - Lord have mercy it is an intense book.

Whether I'm feeling it as the masterpiece everyone says it is, I'm not sure yet - I suspect so but need to see how it ends up.
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  #40  
Old 11-10-2014, 12:45 PM
Erdosain Erdosain is offline
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I'm about 80% through Bolano's 2666. Had a long haul flight last week so really got into it - Lord have mercy it is an intense book.

Whether I'm feeling it as the masterpiece everyone says it is, I'm not sure yet - I suspect so but need to see how it ends up.
If you're interested, they are doing a read-along of 2666 here. It's one of those books that's been on my list forever, but I suspect I'll never get to without some external motivation.
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  #41  
Old 11-10-2014, 01:12 PM
DZedNConfused DZedNConfused is offline
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Grrrrr my email delivers all the junk but none of the good stuff!

Anyway, I finished Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke. It was a nice children's book, Could have done with more action and a greater sense of dread, but I still enjoyed it.

I also finished Killing Rain by Barry Eisler. Lots of action and shooting, and some introspection that fortunately didn't carry on overly long. Much of it takes place in Bangkok, with stops in Manila and Hong Kong.

I just startedThe Narrows by Michael Connelly and as it is in anime, my favorite character gets killed *sigh*

Last edited by DZedNConfused; 11-10-2014 at 01:13 PM..
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  #42  
Old 11-10-2014, 01:42 PM
Busy Scissors Busy Scissors is offline
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If you're interested, they are doing a read-along of 2666 here. It's one of those books that's been on my list forever, but I suspect I'll never get to without some external motivation.
Thanks Erdosain, I'll check that out when I've finished it for some insights.

Think it's one of those books that will need some distancing to weigh it up properly - it packs such an emotional wallop that you can lose your bearings a bit on what it's actually saying. Delivered in a brilliantly matter of fact prose style as well (IMHO, guess the translator has a big hand in this).
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  #43  
Old 11-10-2014, 05:23 PM
Sir T-Cups Sir T-Cups is offline
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Just finished The Bat which is the first Harry Hole crime novel. I wasn't really impressed. The characters were pretty stereotypical of this kind of crime novel, and the main character's inner demons (since they all have one) was kinda paltry, and giving into it was only "meh" and the ending was only so-so.

So I'm reading The Squared Circle: Life, Death, and Professional Wrestling it's by a guy who has a wrestling podcast and writes wrestling on Grantland.com and I like him, so I'll support him.

After that it's back to my boy Lars Keplar for his latest Joona Linna novel!
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  #44  
Old 11-10-2014, 06:16 PM
DZedNConfused DZedNConfused is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir T-Cups View Post
Just finished The Bat which is the first Harry Hole crime novel. I wasn't really impressed. The characters were pretty stereotypical of this kind of crime novel, and the main character's inner demons (since they all have one) was kinda paltry, and giving into it was only "meh" and the ending was only so-so.
Sorry about that, at least take consolation that I bought me a copy and read it too.

Everyone I've heard from says Nesbo doesn't get good until his fourth or fifth book.
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  #45  
Old 11-10-2014, 08:28 PM
Ulf the Unwashed Ulf the Unwashed is offline
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Finished reading Daniel Friedman's novel Don't Ever Look Back, about an 88-year-old former police officer in Memphis. The novel takes place mainly in 2009 but has many flashbacks to 1965--a bank robbery, a labor protest, and the narrator's son's bar mitzvah. The narrator is cranky and crotchety and thoroughly unpleasant, partly because of his dwindling physical and cognitive abilities and partly because he's just kind of a jerk, but I found myself liking him anyway.

I thought the book was excellent and worked on a lot of different levels, not just as a crime novel (which is how it's billed). Then I discovered it was a sequel to another book, Don't Ever Grow Old, which I probably should've read first but oh well. I got that one from the library today--will start it soon.
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  #46  
Old 11-11-2014, 10:42 AM
delphica delphica is offline
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I finished The Book Of Strange New Things by Michel Faber, I'm still not sure what I think of it. He's an excellent writer, so the unfolding of the story is certainly high quality. It's about a somewhat bumbling Christian minister who takes an assignment to work with a community of aliens on a distant colony, and it's one of those books where not a lot happens, but you get a lot of back story on the various people. Somewhat spoiler-y, although not overly detailed:
SPOILER:
Throughout the book, the aliens are SO receptive to the message of Christianity that you, the reader, are waiting for the other shoe to drop -- WHAT is going on here? And it's very intentionally crafted - it doesn't occur to the minister that this is somewhat bizarre, because he's seeing this through his evangelical lens, of COURSE a bunch of aliens would sign up for Jesus, it's the work of a universal God!

So finally, when this question is answered, at first I was like "oh, that's all?" But then, thinking about it, I realized it genuinely tied all the themes of the entire book together, and I was really impressed. Wow! But after thinking about it more, I still don't know if it's so subtle that it's really amazing and impressive ... or so subtle that it didn't exactly need an entire long book to deal with it.
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  #47  
Old 11-11-2014, 11:27 AM
Finagle Finagle is offline
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Just finished The Brothers Cabal by Jonathan L. Howard, the fourth in the series started by Johannes Cabal The Necromancer. It was a fun read, but not as good as some of the other entries in this series. The writing in this particular outing turns up the volume on the archness -- Howard is trying so hard to be amusing that it detaches the reader from the story. It's a bit like P.G. Wodehouse writing a horror story (which may be exactly what he's aiming for), but without an editor who could tell him that he's repeating essentially the same joke two or three times on the same page.

While there is a plot arc that is more or less satisfactorily resolved, there's some heavy-handed setting up of a sequel which means that this volume doesn't completely stand on its own.
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  #48  
Old 11-11-2014, 08:55 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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How could I miss this month's book thread for so long? Gah!

Today I finished the Doug Moench, Pat Broderick et al. 1987 graphic novel of George R.R. Martin's great sf/horro novella Sandkings, and was, alas, disappointed. The artwork is garish and the changes to the story were not for the best.

Also zipped through Ohio Statehouse: A Building for the Ages by Cheryl J. Straker and Chris Matheney, a pretty good profile of the Buckeye capitol.

Still enjoying The Children of Men by P.D. James. Very different from the movie but worthwhile, I'd say.

I liked Preston's The Hot Zone very much when I read it a decade or so ago, BTW, and thought of it again recently with the recent Ebola headlines.
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  #49  
Old 11-11-2014, 09:41 PM
LawMonkey LawMonkey is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir T-Cups View Post
So I'm reading The Squared Circle: Life, Death, and Professional Wrestling it's by a guy who has a wrestling podcast and writes wrestling on Grantland.com and I like him, so I'll support him.
This is actually what got me back into following pro wrasslin'--well, the book and the fact that I happened to have the fortunate timing to read it, and then check out a Raw, in the early part of this year, on the road to WM30. Had I read it at some other time during the year, when Raws had become pretty dire, it might not have had the same effect.

Good book, though, and interesting if you're interested in the history of the business and the toll it (used to, especially) takes on the men and women who put their bodies on the line to entertain us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by delphica View Post
I finished The Book Of Strange New Things by Michel Faber...
Bother. I wanted to ask if this was basically a gospel tract disguised as a sci-fi novel and forgot that quoting reveals spoilers. That sort of answered my question, though not entirely. Hey, is this basically a gospel tract disguised as a sci-fi novel?
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  #50  
Old 11-12-2014, 08:29 AM
Dung Beetle Dung Beetle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Finagle View Post
Just finished The Brothers Cabal by Jonathan L. Howard, the fourth in the series started by Johannes Cabal The Necromancer. It was a fun read, but not as good as some of the other entries in this series. The writing in this particular outing turns up the volume on the archness -- Howard is trying so hard to be amusing that it detaches the reader from the story. It's a bit like P.G. Wodehouse writing a horror story (which may be exactly what he's aiming for), but without an editor who could tell him that he's repeating essentially the same joke two or three times on the same page.

While there is a plot arc that is more or less satisfactorily resolved, there's some heavy-handed setting up of a sequel which means that this volume doesn't completely stand on its own.
This is in my pile, I'm looking forward to it. Good to know there's another one coming as well, I've enjoyed them all so far.

Started Stephen King's Revival this morning. I'm around page 70, and it's lovely so far. (Okay, "lovely" probably isn't the best description of events. )
I find it interesting that King believes in God and his daughter is a pastor. From his writing you might think him an atheist.
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