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Old 04-30-2012, 04:05 PM
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Whatcha Readin' May 2012 Edition


Happy May everyone. If you celebrate cinco de mayo, enjoy but be safe!

I've started the last of the Heir of Novron (Riyria Revelations)
and so far I'm really enjoying it. It is more traditional fantasy (as opposed to the urban fantasy that I usually read) - and better than the mind candy that I usually read.

Link to old thread.
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Old 04-30-2012, 04:21 PM
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i have a new author I'm loving - Gregg Sapp - I just finished "Dollarapalooza - or The Day Peace Broke Out in Columbus" and am starting it again. It's WONDERFUL! I seriously was sad when I finished it the first time and just renewed it from the library to read it again.
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Old 04-30-2012, 05:24 PM
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I'm reading Christopher Moore's new book, Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d'Art and am enjoying it greatly. I plan to start reading Tim Powers' Hide Me Among the Graves this month as well.

I'm also considering reading China Miéville's Embassytown or re-reading Jack of Shadows by Roger Zelazny for the Goodreads Beyond Reality group. (I honestly remember nothing about the Zelazny book other than having read it many decades ago. Something about a house?)
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Old 04-30-2012, 05:33 PM
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I just finished Almost President. Very interesting and frequently timely.
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Old 04-30-2012, 05:38 PM
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I've never even peeked in one of these threads. But about 5 months ago I started reading for the first time since high school...anyways.

I'm in the middle of Around The World in 80 days. Jules uses far too many words. It's taking me a while to get through this. I actually find myself saying "Yeah, I got it" and skipping the ends of entire paragraphs.
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:12 PM
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I just started Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut by Mike Mullane, and it's fantastic. I picked it up because Mary Roach mentioned in her book Packing for Mars, that if you're going to read just one astronaut memoir, make it Mike Mullane's. And here I am.
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:24 PM
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I am ashamed to say I'm still on the book I started a month ago, The Cider House Rules, by John Irving. I read some on the plane to the US, then we were so much on the go every single day that I did not pick it up again until the return flight this past weekend. And I may be especially busy these next few days getting things in order on our return. It's actually very good, but I'm only about a third of the way through it.
  #8  
Old 04-30-2012, 07:36 PM
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Since the library started offering books on Kindle, I've been reading more than ever. I always knew I was lazy, but I'd underestimated how much my unwillingness to get out of my pajamas and to the library on weekends was limiting my reading!

I recently finished Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward and The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes and enjoyed both of them greatly. I'm starting Sunrise With Sea Monster by Neil Jordan now, but I haven't gotten far enough in to have much of an opinion yet.
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:43 PM
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I just started Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut by Mike Mullane, and it's fantastic. I picked it up because Mary Roach mentioned in her book Packing for Mars, that if you're going to read just one astronaut memoir, make it Mike Mullane's. And here I am.
I just finished that - I bought it after reading the Mary Roach book, too. It was a really good read, very candid. Mullane flew on three shuttle missions, one before the Challenger disaster and two afterwards. He comes off as a little too proud that he used to be a sexist pig, but the book is enjoyable. Lots of details about the stress of spending hours strapped in at the launch pad only to have the mission scrubbed. Lots of details about going to the bathroom in space.
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:43 PM
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A Thousand Plateus by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari

The Grasshopper by Bernard Suits

The Intentional Stance by Daniel Denett

The Deleuze is heavy going. I'm managing about a page a day.
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:48 PM
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Kind of an odd pairing at the moment...

The poisoner's handbook : murder and the birth of forensic medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum... it's really interesting, I hate having to put it down.

The American way of eating : undercover at Walmart, Applebee's, farm fields and the dinner table by Tracie McMillan -- I haven't gotten as far into this one.

Last edited by slightly askew; 04-30-2012 at 07:49 PM. Reason: forgot to italicize the titles
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Old 05-01-2012, 11:02 AM
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Heh. I read that as "Riding Rocks" and didn't really get why that would apply to an astronaut. "Rockets" makes much more sense.

I'm still stuck on Weir's Henry VIII: The King and His Court. It's good, but I find myself skipping large swaths of it as I just can't be bothered to care about who's spending what at which residence now. The reviewers are correct in that there's a lot of detail about Tudor court life, not so much about Henry or his wives themselves. (To be fair, that detail is in other books, so there is that.) I agree that Margaret George's book An Autobiography of Henry VIII is a better biography. It's been ages since I read it, so I'll have to pick it up again.
  #13  
Old 05-01-2012, 11:34 AM
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i have a new author I'm loving - Gregg Sapp - I just finished "Dollarapalooza - or The Day Peace Broke Out in Columbus" and am starting it again. It's WONDERFUL! I seriously was sad when I finished it the first time and just renewed it from the library to read it again.
Yes, it's fun, isn't it? More so if you're a fan of A Confederacy of Dunces.
I'm starting Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson by Lyndsay Faye, in which Jack meets up with Sherlock Holmes. I loved Faye's Gods of Gotham, and this is her debut.
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Old 05-01-2012, 12:29 PM
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Not reading yet but purchased today: Kinglake-350, about the (Australian) Victorian bushfires of 2009.

Those bushfires were in an area I've been to, I'm from Melbourne; the towns most affected are not all that far away. I well remember the unbelievably oppressive heat of that day and the slowly growing horror as the extent of the disaster became clear.

The book comes highly recommended. I find disasters oddly fascinating, and it's nice to have something Australian to read. So even though it's more expensive than I'd usually accept for an ebook, I think it'll be worth it. I'll finish what I'm currently reading, so it'll be a little while before I report back about it.
I have now read about 80% of the book, and it is amazing. If you have even the least bit of interest in the subject matter, I highly recommend you read this book. As I said earlier, I've read a lot of books about disasters, and this one is right up at the top of the list in every way.

I'm not saying that because it's (for me) a local story. It's about people, and how a disaster can bring out the absolute best in people, and in that sense it's universal. It's also harrowing in its descriptions of what the survivors went through, and in tracing the fates of some who didn't survive. Really an amazing book, in every way. I don't give rave reviews very often; when I do, they're earned. This book earned a rave.
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:16 PM
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I'm about a fifth of the way through Frank Herbert's The White Plague, a 1982 novel about a terrorist attack that
SPOILER:
unleashes a custom-made plague which only kills women.
It's an OK book but not wonderful. Certainly not as good as Dune.

I also picked up Mimi Alford's Once Upon A Secret, a new memoir by a woman who claims she had an affair with JFK which started when she was a 19-year-old White House intern. Too soon to say how good the book is yet.
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:33 PM
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I just started Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut by Mike Mullane, and it's fantastic. I picked it up because Mary Roach mentioned in her book Packing for Mars, that if you're going to read just one astronaut memoir, make it Mike Mullane's. And here I am.
I also picked up Riding Rockets after reading/listening to Packing for Mars and really, really enjoyed it. I'd like to buy him a drink & just listen to his stories.

Am (hopefully) wrapping up the Maze Runner series with The Death Cure ... more out of stubbornness than anything else. While Dashner has some interesting things going on in his post-apocalyptic world, the story arc is unclear, I never really got into the characters, and the pseudo-swears ("klunk" for "shit"? Really?) are a bit grating.

I'm also not quite sure what to think about Julianna Baggott's Pure - I'm having a hard time getting beyond having objects/animals/other people permanently grafted on to the survivors of the apocalypse. That said, the characters are relatively engaging and the plot is serviceable. I'll probably finish the book, but not sure if I'll continue the series.

On the other hand, I'm still really enjoying the Bloody Jack series: am in the middle of In the Belly of the Bloodhound
For once, Jacky's disastrous situation is not of her making, and she must take on the leadership role again - this time of the Lawson Peabody girls - yes, including Clarissa!
Can I say once again that I think the narrator, Katharine Kellgren is awesome?
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Old 05-02-2012, 01:04 PM
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I'm reading The Gods of Gotham, an excellent mystery novel set in 1845 New York City and based around the newly formed NYC police in an Irish ward of the city.

Its absolutely brilliant...I cannot recommend it enough.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Gods-Gotha.../dp/0399158375
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Old 05-02-2012, 01:13 PM
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Just so my other book readers are aware, Amazon is running a deal today (while supplies last) for a certified refurbished Kindle Fire with a 1 year warranty for $139. I decided to suck it up, take the plunge, and replace my Kindle 0 (I don't even know... it was old!)

Disclaimer: I do not work for Amazon although I singlehandedly kept them in business back in '05.
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Old 05-02-2012, 01:32 PM
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Kind of an odd pairing at the moment...

The poisoner's handbook : murder and the birth of forensic medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum... it's really interesting, I hate having to put it down.
I too found it interesting, though she added some elements that were not necessarily based on research (in one chapter, an investigator wipes his feet before he enters a building -- cite?) and, at least in my copy, there was a photo of the Chrysler Building. I like the Chrysler Building, but I could find no meaningful reference to it in the text. I think the editor or publisher just had a nice picture of the Chrysler Building and decided to put it in there. Okay then!

Quote:
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I'm reading The Gods of Gotham, an excellent mystery novel set in 1845 New York City and based around the newly formed NYC police in an Irish ward of the city.

Its absolutely brilliant...I cannot recommend it enough.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Gods-Gotha.../dp/0399158375
As I said in Post #18, I loved this book too and now am reading her first book.
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:31 PM
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I am rereading I Claudius and Claudius the God by Robert Graves, and its still excellent.

When it comes to books the word "Classic" is thrown around to easily, but in this case its a true description.
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:38 PM
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Just finished Starfish by Peter Watts, and am starting Maelstrom, the second in the series. I'm not usually big on novels in series, but this is good hard science fiction with a great suspenseful plot.

Just waiting for Redshirts by John Scalzi and David Brin's Existence to drop next month, as well as Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter's collaberation in The Long Earth.

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Old 05-02-2012, 02:51 PM
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About 600 pages into the first 4000 pages of Songs of Ice and Fire - I will copy/paste this for the next 'what are you reading' threads in the foreseeable future
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:26 PM
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...Just waiting for Redshirts by John Scalzi... to drop next month....
This should be fun. I've liked everything I've ever read of Scalzi's.
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Old 05-02-2012, 04:47 PM
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I eyed up Redshirts, but decided to wait for feedback on it. Let me know how you guys like it.
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Old 05-02-2012, 05:47 PM
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I too found it interesting, though she added some elements that were not necessarily based on research (in one chapter, an investigator wipes his feet before he enters a building -- cite?) and, at least in my copy, there was a photo of the Chrysler Building. I like the Chrysler Building, but I could find no meaningful reference to it in the text. I think the editor or publisher just had a nice picture of the Chrysler Building and decided to put it in there. Okay then!


As I said in Post #18, I loved this book too and now am reading her first book.
Post #18??



ETA: Ah, post #13. How on Earth did I miss that? It is a good book though, isn't it?

Last edited by FoieGrasIsEvil; 05-02-2012 at 05:47 PM.
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:01 PM
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This should be fun. I've liked everything I've ever read of Scalzi's.
I just finished up the audiobook for Scalzi's Fuzzy Nation, which was read by Wil Wheaton. Can't recommend it highly enough - I loved it.
  #27  
Old 05-03-2012, 08:25 AM
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Finished Stephen King’s The Wind Through The Keyhole. It really adds nothing to the Dark Tower story, of course, but it was so nice to revisit Mid-World and hear Roland tell a tale (two, actually). Lovely book; King continues his upward trend!
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Old 05-03-2012, 08:54 AM
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Post #18??



ETA: Ah, post #13. How on Earth did I miss that? It is a good book though, isn't it?
Sorry; need to wear my damn reading glasses. Yes, it's fascinating. The Jazz Age was truly the Poison Age.
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:31 AM
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I just finished up the audiobook for Scalzi's Fuzzy Nation, which was read by Wil Wheaton. Can't recommend it highly enough - I loved it.
So, was Fuzzy Nation good? It's the only thing I haven't read yet by him. Not sure why, but I'm dubious. Maybe it's the re-booting, but something about it just didn't gel with me.

Maybe I'll pick it up next month.
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:33 PM
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So, was Fuzzy Nation good? It's the only thing I haven't read yet by him. Not sure why, but I'm dubious. Maybe it's the re-booting, but something about it just didn't gel with me.

Maybe I'll pick it up next month.
I liked it a lot - I tried the paper book first, and couldn't quite get into it, but I was pretty stressed out and distracted at the time and my attention span was short, so it's probably not the book's fault. I listened to the audiobook on my commute over the course of a week, and on at least two occasions I stayed in my car for a few minutes after pulling into my driveway because I had to keep listening.
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:59 PM
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I'm halfway through A Feast for Crows. Pepper Mill bought it along with Christopher Moore's Sacre Bleu (noted above) which is on the to-read list.

I've also picked up oger Lancelyn Green's [BpThe Uncollected Sherlock Holmes[/B]*, which I've never even heard of before. I've been reading Sherlock Holmes for years, have three editions of the Canon (including both Annotated editions), and have the play credited to Doyle and Gillette and the "Apocrypha", not to mention tons of pastiches. I have Sherlock Holmes encyclopedias and indices, and I never knew these works existed -- they're Sherlock Holmes pieces actually written by Arthur Conan Doyle himself, that are not any of the 56 stories, 4 novels, or the Apocrypha. I did actually know about two of the other plays in this volume, although not the third, and the extremely short stories and other pieces are a complete surprise.

I've also got The Best Stories of Hoffman, which I've been looking for for some time (Hoffman wrote the story The Nutcracker is based on, among others. He also wrote hhis own musical pieces, although that's generally forgotten today), and I've started the last of the Hunhger Games trilogy, Mockingjay.

In addition, I've pur chased my first e-book (at least the first one not written by me), Jules Vernes North and South, which i haven't been able to find.



*Surely the title is a self-denying prophecy, since Greene has collected them.
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Old 05-04-2012, 08:31 AM
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Just for the sheer fun of it, I'm reading "When Everybody Ate At Schrafft's" by Joan Kanel Slomanson. Because I love reading about food and history, and this is a combo. (I can just remember the last Schrafft's in our city when I was verrrry young). And now I wish I could put on my flowered fascinator (mini-hat), mink stole, white gloves,and pointy glasses and take the bus downtown. For a chicken salad sandwich garnished with a queen olive, an extra-dry martini (I didn't know Schrafft's was a bar, too!) and a butterscotch and toasted almond sundae. What fun! Fast food joints, Applebees, the mall food court - yeah, you can fill your stomach, but where's the panache??
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Old 05-04-2012, 02:57 PM
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Just finished The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov. It was decent, but the 2nd part of this 3 part story was almost entirely useless.
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Old 05-05-2012, 03:36 PM
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Finished Heir of Novron (Riyria Revelations) and enjoyed the whole series - even though it didn't hold too many surprises. OK, it did occasionally break some of the tropes, but in general, I knew what was going to happen.

None-the-less, it was better written most of the fantasy I read (my fault that), it had good action and overall I enjoyed it. I will keep reading his work.
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Old 05-07-2012, 01:35 PM
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I read The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch -- this was terrific! It had been recommended to me a number of times, but I had been hesitant to pick it up because the genre seemed like a vaguely fantasy-like thing that I'm not really crazy about. However, it ended up really impressing me. It's marketed as YA, but not so much so that most adults wouldn't enjoy it.

I also FINALLY finished 11/22/63 by Stephen King. In my defense, I got it for Christmas in hardcover, and we had a new baby so my days of staying up all night to read a new release cover to cover are over, at least for now. I liked this a lot, I did go back and read the Cafe Society thread about it, although I feel like I'm too late to the party to post anything new to it.

Now reading The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell, which I first heard about in this thread. It's interesting so far.
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Old 05-07-2012, 02:15 PM
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I read The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch -- this was terrific! It had been recommended to me a number of times, but I had been hesitant to pick it up because the genre seemed like a vaguely fantasy-like thing that I'm not really crazy about. However, it ended up really impressing me. It's marketed as YA, but not so much so that most adults wouldn't enjoy it.
I really liked it, too. The sequel, Red Seas Under Red Skies, is almost as good. Lynch is working on a third book but health issues are slowing him down.

I just finished the latest Matthew Shardlake Tudor mystery, Heartstone. This is a pretty good series - they're set during the last years of Henry VIII's reign, and they focus on a hunchbacked lawyer working in London. This last book climaxes with the Battle of the Solent in 1545 and the sinking of the Mary Rose - and yes, it takes some dedicated contriving to get a London lawyer down to Portsmouth for this.
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Old 05-07-2012, 02:23 PM
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I'm about a fifth of the way through Frank Herbert's The White Plague, a 1982 novel about a terrorist attack....
I'm now more than halfway through this and it just isn't clicking. I guess Herbert wanted it to be semi-mystical post-apocalyptic saga like The Stand, or something like that, but he just didn't have the writing chops for it. Too much happens offstage - Herbert didn't grasp the importance of "show, don't tell." Meh.
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Old 05-07-2012, 02:43 PM
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Finished Nick Harkaway's Angelmaker last week and thought it was excellent. Just as good, if not better, than his first book, The Gone-Away World. The two are very similar in tone and style, but very different in plot and setting; a nice blend of comedy, intrigue and straight-up "WTF."

I also just finished the 6-volume Scott Pilgrim series. I've been a fan of the movie since its release, but had never read the books. It was a pleasant surprise to see how much of my favorite bits from the movie came straight from the comic.
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Old 05-07-2012, 03:13 PM
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I really liked it, too. The sequel, Red Seas Under Red Skies, is almost as good. Lynch is working on a third book but health issues are slowing him down.
Is it health issues? I thought it was a rocky relationship and plain old writer's block.
  #40  
Old 05-07-2012, 03:28 PM
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Polished off Flashman and the Angel of the Lord while I was on jury duty. I took a shot at getting the kindle edition of Flashman and the Mountain of Light from amazon.co.uk, but no dice; it's a touch odd that the electronic edition is available to UKians but not Americans, particularly when most of the other installments are available electronically here.

Needing another read for jury duty, I picked up Naomi Novik's Victory of Eagles with a bit of hesitation. The earlier Temeraire novels I'd "read" by audiobook, and I've become very attached to the narrator's delivery and characterization. It's still how I hear Temeraire in my mind. But I've been enjoying this so far, more or less--it's a bit bleak, with Temeraire stuck in the breeding grounds and Laurence just marking days until they can execute him for treason. I hope things start to look up soon.

An aside regarding technical difficulties: I recently picked up Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus on iBooks, planning to use it as a test of that platform vs. Kindle now that I have an iPad that I use as my primary e-reader. The only trouble is that iBooks won't properly load--I get the bookshelf and a pinwheel that never resolves into any actual books. Anyone else who's had this problem have any ideas on how to resolve, or is there some way I can get my money back from Apple?

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Old 05-07-2012, 03:44 PM
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I'm also considering reading China Miéville's Embassytown or re-reading Jack of Shadows by Roger Zelazny for the Goodreads Beyond Reality group. (I honestly remember nothing about the Zelazny book other than having read it many decades ago. Something about a house?)
Embassytown did nothing at all for me, but others seem to think it's the stuff, so YMMV.
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Old 05-07-2012, 03:49 PM
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Is it health issues? I thought it was a rocky relationship and plain old writer's block.
Crippling depression and anxiety, according to his livejournal. I think he got divorced. He's dating author Elizabeth Bear right now, and seems to be cheerful about it.
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Old 05-07-2012, 03:50 PM
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I'm polishing up American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. Loved the movie, so I figured I'd read the book. And the last book I read was 11/22/63 by Stephen King and all the main characters were just a leeeeetle to PollyAnnish for my liking. I needed a good anti-hero thing working for me.

Here's the thing about American Psycho though -- I know how the movie ends and I'm dying to see how it's accomplished in the book, because so far I'm not getting the irony I'm supposed to feeling when reading two pages worth of tongues hanging by blue veins and bloody-bile-ridden chest cavities and shit like that. It seems overly gratuitous. Reading the sex scenes while sitting in a cafe can make me feel quite uncomfortable, so to speak.

Next up is John Dies at the End by David Wong (Jason Pargin), which I don't know much about, but it sounds like it might be right up my alley.
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:45 PM
Invisible Chimp is offline
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I tried to read Tuxedo Park by Jennet Conant, but I gave up on it halfway through. I'm in the middle of Storm of Swords, Book 3 of Song of Ice and Fire. I'd heard there's a drop-off in quality from the first two books, but I haven't noticed a decline yet.
  #45  
Old 05-08-2012, 08:42 AM
Eleanor of Aquitaine is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Invisible Chimp View Post
I tried to read Tuxedo Park by Jennet Conant, but I gave up on it halfway through. I'm in the middle of Storm of Swords, Book 3 of Song of Ice and Fire. I'd heard there's a drop-off in quality from the first two books, but I haven't noticed a decline yet.
I think most fans begin to complain with book four. The third book is my favorite of the series.
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Old 05-08-2012, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Eleanor of Aquitaine View Post
Crippling depression and anxiety, according to his livejournal. I think he got divorced. He's dating author Elizabeth Bear right now, and seems to be cheerful about it.
Ah yeah, depression. When I see "health issues," I somehow don't immediately think of mental health, which I know is shallow. Anyway, Lynch was at a CON in Detroit a few months ago and I heard he was doing pretty well there and said something about making progress on the next book.
  #47  
Old 05-08-2012, 10:56 AM
Khadaji is offline
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Finished Right Hand Magic: A Novel of Golgotham a mediocre urban fantasy about a woman without magic who takes an apartment in Golgatham, New York's magic neighborhood.

It was OK. Nancy A. Collins - the author - is rather heavy-handed in addressing racial issues. I actually have always liked the idea of authors addressing social issues. Much of my own ethics were shaped from my reading. But I prefer it to be more subtle.

I may read more of her, but only if I'm out of other mind candy.
  #48  
Old 05-08-2012, 02:49 PM
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Am about halfway thru the library's Kindle version of The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson... and I'm still not quite sure how I feel about it. Awful things happen to the characters in the book (the North Korean orphan of the title comes to the attention of his superiors and takes on various roles for the government) and the language is both stark and beautiful. It's compelling, and I will finish it, but I don't know if it's something I will re-read.

I recently re-read Who Censored Roger Rabbit? by Gary K Wolf - the inspiration for the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit? The basic film noir story set in a world of Toons & humans is the same, but the plot changed fairly significantly for the film. (The book has more sex, murder & mayhem than Disney would have allowed!) Am also almost done with the semi-sequel Who P-P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit? A Hare-Raising Mystery also by Wolf. It's mostly a follow-up to the film, but with elements from the original book as well. It's not quite as good as the first book, but the film is still my favorite.
  #49  
Old 05-10-2012, 09:56 AM
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Finished The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror (2010). *shrug* It was an anthology. It had a lot of different stuff, most of it okay to pass the time, some of it crap. No gems.
I am compelled to keep on reading anthologies (in fact, there’s a buttload of them in my TBR pile right now), but I can’t get very excited about them.

Next up, another anthology, Demons: encounters with the devil and his minions, fallen angels, and the possessed, edited by John Skipp. I know for a fact there are some jewels in this collection, because I’ve already read them! Here’s hoping the rest of it measures up.
  #50  
Old 05-11-2012, 09:11 AM
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I just read Jane Eyre for the first time and loved it. I'm trying to catch up on some of the classics I never read in school.

I also finished Aloha From Hell by Richard Kadrey, the third in his Sandman Slim series. If you're a fan of the Dresden File books, but have ever said to yourself, "Man, I really like these books but wish there was more swearing, gore and whiskey!" then Sandman Slim is for you. The books follow Jim Stark, a magician escaped from hell. He lives in Los Angeles and fights demons, zombies and the angel living inside his head.
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