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Old 10-31-2012, 12:20 PM
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Whatcha Readin' Nov 2012 Edition


Happy Halloween all. I hope you all weathered the storm well. Thanksgiving is nearly upon us and soon after that Christmas! Where has the year gone?

I am in the middle of Bleak History by John Shirley and so far really liking it.

Last Months thread.
  #2  
Old 10-31-2012, 05:50 PM
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NaNo starts at midnight as well

Time to dive into The Inventor and the Tycoon tomorrow.
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Old 10-31-2012, 10:28 PM
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Wow, it's not even November over here yet. But I'm about halfway through The Concrete Blonde, the third and final entry in a Michael Connelly anthology of the first three of his Detective Harry Bosch series. Enjoying it like all the others.
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Old 10-31-2012, 10:35 PM
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Wow, it's not even November over here yet.
D'oh! Forgot to flip the calendar. It's November 1 here.

Last edited by Siam Sam; 10-31-2012 at 10:36 PM.
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Old 10-31-2012, 10:42 PM
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Unveiled: The Hidden Lives of Nuns by Cheryl L. Reed. Fascinating, insightful, thoughtful look at members of various orders of American nuns. I am not Catholic but I've enjoyed reading about the lives of some very radical and quite modern women.
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Old 11-01-2012, 02:05 PM
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D'oh! Forgot to flip the calendar. It's November 1 here.
Yeah, but I always start these a day early anyway...
  #7  
Old 11-01-2012, 02:56 PM
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Listening to the audiobook of Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente and oh my, but it is good! It's a retelling of a Russian folk tale (featuring Koschei the Deathless) set in the Stalin-era Soviet Union. The language is gorgeous and the juxtaposition of fairy tale elements with the Glorious Revolution is fascinating; for example a dragon said to dine on bones is now a bureaucrat "dining" on the files of political prisoners.
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Old 11-01-2012, 03:02 PM
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( missed the 5 min editing window)

On a related note, devoured Mark Millar's Superman: Red Son graphic novel. What if Kal-El had landed in the Ukraine in the 1940's, instead of Kansas? What if Lex Luthor becomes the "good guy", at least as far as the US is concerned? For a child of the 80's Cold War - this was a fascinating twist on a semi-familiar story. I loved the way Millar brought in a couple of other DC superheroes and the artwork is very powerful as well.
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Old 11-01-2012, 04:07 PM
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Currently reading a fascinating book by Ernesto Dalgas, a young philosopher and mental patient who killed himself in 1899. Very strange stuff, but pretty sweet so far, kinda like a mix between Dante and Weininger.
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Old 11-01-2012, 04:46 PM
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I just read "Penpal" bay Dathan Auerbach. Very good short book that was perfect for halloween night!!
  #11  
Old 11-02-2012, 11:49 AM
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Moving from one Pulitzer Prize winner to another, after finishing Founding Brothers I'm now starting The Beak of the Finch by Jonathan Weiner.
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Old 11-02-2012, 11:57 AM
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I'm about 1/2 way through What I Found at Hoole by Jeffrey E. Barlough. It's the 7th and probably last of his Western Lights series. it's been great fun reading the series over the past 13 years!
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Old 11-02-2012, 03:34 PM
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I'm about 1/2 way through What I Found at Hoole by Jeffrey E. Barlough. It's the 7th and probably last of his Western Lights series. it's been great fun reading the series over the past 13 years!
I've never heard of it. It's SF, I see, but what's it like?
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Old 11-02-2012, 03:37 PM
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The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver.

Last edited by Gangster Octopus; 11-02-2012 at 03:37 PM.
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Old 11-02-2012, 07:06 PM
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I've never heard of it. It's SF, I see, but what's it like?
It's much more fantasy than sf, despite being arguably an alternate history.
It's set in a Dickensian sort of background, with characters and often language to match. Outside the towns and villages though, strange creatures from the ice age roam, or are harnessed up as draught animals or mastodon freight trains, etc.
There's also various Lovecraftian threats, ghosts, ancient Etruscan mysteries or dreamlands encountered in each of the various books!

They all have a common background but there's little overlap in specifics of setting or characters so they could be read in any order, but I'd suggest starting with any of the first three (published by Ace) or maybe Anchorwick (#5). The pacing is quite slow and the language tends to slow you down as well.
All the covers
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Old 11-02-2012, 07:13 PM
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Thanks, Meurglys! I dig Dickensian anything so I'm there.
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Old 11-03-2012, 06:18 AM
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Expect lots of inns with roaring fires, ales and rich food, sea fog and lawyers! And, because it's set in a version of the Pacific North West, dank forests and wild beasts!
  #18  
Old 11-03-2012, 06:47 AM
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Finished Mongoliad - Book 2 and I must say that I'm throroughly enjoying this series. Followed that up with A wild sheep chase by Haruki Murakami which, for me, is one of his books I enjoyed most reading. Am currently reading Quarantine by Jim Crace
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Old 11-03-2012, 02:15 PM
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I just finished Stephan King's 11/22/63. I gave up on King after Tommyknockers, which I thought was shite, and over the years tried a couple more of his books without much success. I figured the guy was just out of material. But I have to say that this book was pretty much a fine and satisfying yarn. I hope it's an indication of what may come.
  #20  
Old 11-03-2012, 02:19 PM
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I just finished Stephan King's 11/22/63. I gave up on King after Tommyknockers, which I thought was shite, and over the years tried a couple more of his books without much success. I figured the guy was just out of material. But I have to say that this book was pretty much a fine and satisfying yarn. I hope it's an indication of what may come.
That's nice to know, I, too, haven't read anything since Tommyknockers which was utter garbage. *No insult to Shirley Manson*
  #21  
Old 11-03-2012, 02:22 PM
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Finished Bleak History and enjoyed it. Was only disappointed that there is only one.
  #22  
Old 11-03-2012, 03:20 PM
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That's nice to know, I, too, haven't read anything since Tommyknockers which was utter garbage. *No insult to Shirley Manson*
I'm not spoiling anything by saying it involves time travel, but he does it in a way that isn't stupid. The characters are both frightening and endearing, and King always had a real knack for character development when he put his mind to it.

Oh, and it should be "Stephen".

Last edited by Chefguy; 11-03-2012 at 03:21 PM.
  #23  
Old 11-03-2012, 03:31 PM
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King always had a real knack for character development when he put his mind to it.
Yes, he did, one of the reasons I plugged through a couple novels...
  #24  
Old 11-03-2012, 04:49 PM
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Bayou of Pigs: The True Story of an Audacious Plot to Turn a Tropical Island into a Criminal Paradise by Stewart Bell and The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace by H.W. Brands.
  #25  
Old 11-03-2012, 04:53 PM
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That's nice to know, I, too, haven't read anything since Tommyknockers which was utter garbage.
King's admitted he wrote The Tommyknockers when his drug problem was at its worst and he barely remembers writing the book.

Last edited by Little Nemo; 11-03-2012 at 04:54 PM.
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Old 11-03-2012, 09:17 PM
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I ran through four or so Nero Wolfe mysteries during the blackout. It was kinda fun, actually. (ETA: My Nero Wolfe project is convincing me that I've already read most of the early canon. I'm a bit curious as to where exactly I'm going to hit "new" material.)

As I realized I was running through really short books rather too quickly, I picked up Insomnia and have just started into it--as a huge Dark Tower fan and not much of a King reader otherwise, it's the Dark Tower connection that's got me interested. I'm finding my memory a bit fuzzy though, and can't for the life of me remember what Deepneau was doing in DT. Was he a breaker?

Anyway, it's a bit slow to start--wondering if I shouldn't have went with Salem's Lot instead...

Last edited by LawMonkey; 11-03-2012 at 09:18 PM.
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Old 11-03-2012, 10:35 PM
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Currently reading Midst Toil and Tribulation by Davis Weber. Probably not a popular series around here. . waiting for the new Dresden book later this month, and have a couple books in the queue. Thinking of getting the Hornblower series on Audible, to listen to when I travel.
  #28  
Old 11-03-2012, 10:59 PM
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Thinking of getting the Hornblower series on Audible, to listen to when I travel.
I'd recommend it. I very much enjoyed that series.

But you have to decide which order you want to read it in. Forester started the series with Hornblower in mid-career. When the character became popular, he went back and wrote books that covered Hornblower's early years. So you can read the books in the order they were written or in the order they were set.
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Old 11-03-2012, 11:02 PM
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I read them all years ago, but discovered that at least some of them are on unabridged audio on Audible so am thinking of getting them all for my next long trip. What order do you suggest? Was just going to listen to them in the order they are on Audible.
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Old 11-03-2012, 11:19 PM
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I read them all years ago, but discovered that at least some of them are on unabridged audio on Audible so am thinking of getting them all for my next long trip. What order do you suggest? Was just going to listen to them in the order they are on Audible.
I personally read them in chronological order, but it was mostly by happenstance. I don't think there's any major need to read them in publication order - Forester's writing was pretty consistent throughout the period when he wrote the books.
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Old 11-03-2012, 11:41 PM
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I'm now immersed in another classic author I'd managed never to read before: Edith Wharton. I'm about 20% through The Age of Innocence.
  #32  
Old 11-04-2012, 12:02 AM
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I'm now immersed in another classic author I'd managed never to read before: Edith Wharton. I'm about 20% through The Age of Innocence.
On a side note, when the 1993 film version played in Thailand, the Thais translated "innocence" to where it carried a connotation of adolescence, implying that it was a straight lurid tell of teenage love similar to, say, The Blue Lagoon. They change title a lot. There was a good Italian film called The Flight of the Innocent, about a little boy kidnapped from a wealthy family, and the Thai title translated to "Little Boy Running from Hell."
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Old 11-04-2012, 03:04 PM
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I've just started Bangkok Tattoo, the second book in John Burdett's mystery series set largely in Bangkok's red light district. So far it's just as good as the first one: anxious to protect their most productive prostitute, Colonel Vikorn proposes blaming the murder of her American john on Al Qaeda. “They’re practically blaming the weather on Al Qaeda over there.” Unfortunately, they have to admit that “it just doesn’t look like a terrorist castration/murder".


I'm working my way through Barbara Hambly's back catalog, and I have yet to be disappointed by anything. I've just finished The Ladies of Mandrigyn, and I have the next two novels in the trilogy lined up.
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Old 11-04-2012, 04:07 PM
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Ghost Story by Peter Straub. A real good one!
  #35  
Old 11-04-2012, 04:51 PM
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I finished The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco. It's fascinating, and possibly the easiest of Eco's fiction to read, if you don't mind offensive and despicable characters. I found it odd though that he felt the need to explain the historical connections in the appendix, and even provide a table outlining the chronological plot. Surely if you made it that far you've figured most of that out already.

Now reading a few more of H.P. Lovecraft's short stories so I can catch up with H.P. Podcraft. I plan to continue with Ivanhoe after that.
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Old 11-04-2012, 05:21 PM
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I'm in the middle of reading what is almost a WWII spy 'trilogy' by Ben Macintyre.

Last week I finished his Operation Mincemeat, a terrific read about what used to be known as 'The Man Who Never Was'. Today, I have only about thirty pages left in Agent Zigzag. Zigzag was the code name given to an extraordinary double agent who, almost singlehandedly, and with ice in his veins, turned the Nazi spy agency, the Abwehr, inside out. When I've finished it, I plan not to miss a beat and dive right into Macintyre's latest, called Double Cross (about the D-Day spies).

Anyone who's at all interested in espionage/adventure, especially as it occurred during the Second World War, cannot go wrong by looking into any of these marvelous books.
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Old 11-04-2012, 11:07 PM
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Wow, it's not even November over here yet. But I'm about halfway through The Concrete Blonde, the third and final entry in a Michael Connelly anthology of the first three of his Detective Harry Bosch series. Enjoying it like all the others.
Finished The Concrete Blonde and thus the Michael Connelly anthology of the first three Harry Bosch novels. It was very good. Some time back, I said I started the series with the fourth book and that while good, it was not up to snuff with his later Lincoln Lawyer series. Well, I guess that fourth entry is the weakest in the series, because these first three have all been of Lincoln Lawyer quality.

Next up: Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell. I've heard a little about this book and seen the trailers for the film version, which has not come to Bangkok yet. But it's coming soon, and I'd like to read the book before the movie hits town. It sounds like something I will enjoy.
  #38  
Old 11-04-2012, 11:25 PM
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I'm in the middle of reading what is almost a WWII spy 'trilogy' by Ben Macintyre.

Last week I finished his Operation Mincemeat, a terrific read about what used to be known as 'The Man Who Never Was'. Today, I have only about thirty pages left in Agent Zigzag. Zigzag was the code name given to an extraordinary double agent who, almost singlehandedly, and with ice in his veins, turned the Nazi spy agency, the Abwehr, inside out. When I've finished it, I plan not to miss a beat and dive right into Macintyre's latest, called Double Cross (about the D-Day spies).

Anyone who's at all interested in espionage/adventure, especially as it occurred during the Second World War, cannot go wrong by looking into any of these marvellous books.
Yes, I've posted about those books here as I read them in the last year or two. I agree completely that they are great.
  #39  
Old 11-06-2012, 12:06 PM
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I'm working my way through Barbara Hambly's back catalog, and I have yet to be disappointed by anything. I've just finished The Ladies of Mandrigyn, and I have the next two novels in the trilogy lined up.
I love her stuff! Wolf is awesome and I have had the biggest crush on Antryg Windrose since I first read The Silicon Tower back when it came out. Don't forget to read her Abigail Adams mysteries under the pen name of Barbara Hamilton

She also has (or at least had) some short stuff available on her website. http://www.barbarahambly.com/
  #40  
Old 11-06-2012, 12:11 PM
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I had started The Deviners but the newest Eli Monpress will arrive today and I will pick it up and read it when it comes.
  #41  
Old 11-07-2012, 12:22 PM
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Read Jasper Fforde's latest Thursday Next novel: The Woman Who Died A Lot earlier this week - Thursday Next, former Jurisfiction officer is semi-retired (unwillingly) and faces challenges on a familial level - the future of her son, Friday is turned topsy-turvy, while her genius daughter, Tuesday attempts to thwart an angry Deity using technology. And then there's poor Jenny. Goliath and Jack Schitt aren't done with Ms. Next either.

The novel was enjoyable enough, but definitely part of a series; I don't think a new reader would understand very much of what's going on at all. In fact, I found myself wishing I'd re-read at least the last 2-3 TN novels as I was a bit lost at times myself. The plot wasn't as twisty as some of the previous books, and the characters are still well-written; but some of the quirky humor I enjoy from Fforde was missing, IMHO. I'm not in any hurry to acquire this novel, but probably will re-read it if/when I decide to start the series over.
  #42  
Old 11-08-2012, 05:34 PM
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Stopped at the library yesterday and picked up the new Lois McMaster Bujold novel, Captain Vorpatril's Alliance. I recommend it - I think it's Bujold's best novel since A Civil Campaign and The Curse of Chalion.

And now the embarrassing admission. When I was in the library to pick up the Bujold book, I also went back to the movie section to look for some movie books. I picked up a copy of Kim Newman's Nightmare Movies (which I started today) but I also saw Olivia Munn's Suck It, Wonder Woman. And I figured, "Why not? She's good looking and a little light celebrity autobiography could be fun. I liked Bossypants and Jewel Shepard's autobiography was good."

What I found out is Olivia Munn is not Tina Fey or Jewel Shepard. Suck It, Wonder Woman barely qualifies as a book, let alone a biography. It's Munn telling a few stories (the kind of stories she probably tells on her talk show appearances) and filling out the space between them with publicity photos. Reading this book, you get the impression that the writer had never met Olivia Munn and just pasted together this book from some magazine articles.
  #43  
Old 11-10-2012, 10:21 PM
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Right now I'm reading Dan Chaon's short story collection Stay Awake. It's uneven but has some very good bits in it; not nearly as scary as I'd been led to believe. I'm also reading Harlan Ellison's collected scripts of Star Trek's classic episode "The City on the Edge of Forever." It's prefaced by his long but quickly tiresome aren't-I-wonderful-and-aren't-they-terrible screed against Roddenberry and the studio. Interesting to see how much the script changed over time, though (and no, Scotty wasn't dealing drugs in any of them, despite what ol' Gene kept saying over the years).

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On a related note, devoured Mark Millar's Superman: Red Son graphic novel. What if Kal-El had landed in the Ukraine in the 1940's, instead of Kansas?....
I read that a year or so ago and really enjoyed it. A particularly clever ending, I thought.

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The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver.
I saw him half-heartedly flogging that on The Daily Show. What do you think so far?

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...Now reading a few more of H.P. Lovecraft's short stories so I can catch up with H.P. Podcraft....
Have you read Neil Gaiman's "A Study in Emerald"? A wonderful Conan Doyle/Lovecraft mashup, with a twist. The best short story I've read in several years, I'd say (warning: .pdf file): http://www.neilgaiman.com/mediafiles...es/emerald.pdf
  #44  
Old 11-11-2012, 10:18 AM
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I'm about halfway through The Revolution Was Televised by Alan Sepinwall, a fairly deep look at revolutionary TV shows, starting with Twin Peaks. He talks about Oz, The Sopranos, The Wire, Deadwood, Lost, The Shield and others. Even if you followed Sepinwall's weekly reviews of the shows, there will be something new here. But it's chock-full of spoilers, so don't read it if you were planning to someday watch these shows.

Recently finished Sebastian Faulks' new one A Possible Life. Five novellas, featuring five different people in different historical periods (and one in the future) linked in theme (our need for connection). I liked it a lot.
  #45  
Old 11-11-2012, 12:40 PM
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The Celestial Globe by Marie Rutkowski, a sequel to The Cabinet of Wonders. It's a pretty good fantasy, with some terrific monsters, the Gristleki.
  #46  
Old 11-11-2012, 12:40 PM
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Stopped at the library yesterday and picked up the new Lois McMaster Bujold novel, Captain Vorpatril's Alliance. I recommend it - I think it's Bujold's best novel since A Civil Campaign and The Curse of Chalion.
That's good to hear! My copy is on its way.


I'm reading The Life of Andrew Jackson, by Robert V. Remini. Remini was the Historian of the US House of Representatives from 2005-2010, and this book is his abridgement of his three-volume history of Jackson. So far it's pretty good, and plainly written.
  #47  
Old 11-11-2012, 01:16 PM
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Time and Again, Jack Finney
  #48  
Old 11-12-2012, 10:51 AM
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Over the weekend read Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez's latest horror comics, Locke & Key: Clockworks, which had an interesting flashback to Lovecraft, Mass. during the American Revolution. Otherwise not quite as good as the previous books, I'd say.

Also read The Great Molasses Flood by Deborah Kops, about the would-be-pretty-darn-funny-if-21-people-hadn't-died accident in Boston in 1919.
  #49  
Old 11-12-2012, 11:31 AM
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Finally(!!!) finished Insomnia. Dear god, what an unsatisfying slog that was. I feel that I was suckered into 850 pages of sheer drudgery by the promise of 50 pages of Dark Tower related stuff. Plus, it gave me a new King Phrase to Hate: "Exalted and Revered Baby". We'll put that one down right next to "that fabled A-train".

I've moved on to an Amazon recommend, Wicked Plants: The Weed that Killed Lincoln's Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities. It is, if nothing else, mercifully short after Insomnia, and so far interesting.
  #50  
Old 11-12-2012, 11:42 AM
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The imagination of Catherynne M. Valente in her Silently and Very Fast is blowing my mind. I had to come here to recommend it. It's a story about the evolution of a single artificial intelligence through its connection to generations of a human family, recounted as myth might be. It's so odd to see a story with such heart and such almost hallucinatory visual language up against a far-future tech tale, but she's pulled it off wonderfully, and in only 127 pages. This is the best book I've read in a really long time. Available on Kindle, OOP hardcover, and for free in three parts on the Clarkesworld website.
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