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  #51  
Old 05-13-2020, 12:15 PM
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Thanks, added to my list.
  #52  
Old 05-13-2020, 02:20 PM
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Finished The City in the Middle of the Night, by Charlie Jane Anders, which was brilliant. It's definitely the best science fiction I've read so far this year, and possibly the best novel.

Now I'm reading Worlds of Tomorrow: The Amazing Universe of Science Fiction Art, by Forrest J. Ackerman with Brad Linaweaver.
  #53  
Old 05-13-2020, 02:27 PM
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Finished The City in the Middle of the Night, by Charlie Jane Anders, which was brilliant. It's definitely the best science fiction I've read so far this year, and possibly the best novel.
It's good for me to hear this. I really didn't care for it, and having read two of her books and having similar reactions, don't much plan on reading more of her stuff.

In both her books she's got two female friends who go on different paths--one more naturalistic, one more techno/militaristic--and shows irreconcilable differences. Which is a fine setup, especially in the context of some excellent worldbuilding.

But in both books, I felt like her thumb was way too heavily on the scales. She prefers the naturalistic take, and although she tries to portray the other side fairly, she really doesn't. The result seems like a caricature of political beliefs she doesn't like, and it kind of drove me bananas, even though I agree with her politics.
  #54  
Old 05-13-2020, 03:09 PM
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It's good for me to hear this. I really didn't care for it, and having read two of her books and having similar reactions, don't much plan on reading more of her stuff.

In both her books she's got two female friends who go on different paths--one more naturalistic, one more techno/militaristic--and shows irreconcilable differences. Which is a fine setup, especially in the context of some excellent worldbuilding.

But in both books, I felt like her thumb was way too heavily on the scales. She prefers the naturalistic take, and although she tries to portray the other side fairly, she really doesn't. The result seems like a caricature of political beliefs she doesn't like, and it kind of drove me bananas, even though I agree with her politics.
FWIW, I didn't care for All the Birds in the Sky, although for a different reason. In that book, I wasn't interested in the non-fantasy elements of the story, and so I wanted her to focus on the fantasy elements.
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Old 05-13-2020, 09:50 PM
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I read and thoroughly enjoyed Martha Wells’ Murderbot Diaries: Network Effect. She wrote four novellas about Murderbot first - this is the first full-length book. Despite the name, they’re quite fun. The protagonist is a cyborg “security unit” who just wants to watch soap operas.

Not starting something new until I catch up on sleep!
  #56  
Old 05-13-2020, 11:14 PM
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Just this afternoon started The Last Emperox by John Scalzi, the last in his distant-future sf epic trilogy, and in the first 50 pages there are already two major shifts in the storyline. I'm digging it.
Finished it a few days ago - pretty good stuff, and a satisfying, if more than a little bittersweet, end to the trilogy.

Tonight I finished Elmore Leonard's 1995 semicomedic crime novel Riding the Rap, in which Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens takes on Miami's three dumbest kidnappers. Not bad.

I also zipped through Ann Droyd's (a pen name, obviously) Goodnight iPad, a funny parody of the kids' classic Goodnight Moon, in which a family 'way too dependent on smartphones, tablets and other gadgets is rid of them by their loving but insistent grandma. A charming little picture book.

Now returning to The Ask by Sam Lipsyte, a novel about a schlub of a fundraiser for a crappy NYC art school who gets a second chance to save his sputtering career. I'm not thrilled with it, but will keep going.
  #57  
Old 05-14-2020, 10:08 AM
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Finished Worlds of Tomorrow: The Amazing Universe of Science Fiction Art, by Forrest J. Ackerman with Brad Linaweaver. Meh. I would've liked it better if the commentary on each piece of cover art had appeared on the same or opposite page, rather than ten pages before, four pages after, etc.

It also had a funny mistake, in which Eando Binder is described as a "husband and wife team". They were brothers, Earl and Otto.

Now I'm reading Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City, by K. J. Parker, a pen name for Tom Holt.
  #58  
Old 05-15-2020, 09:17 AM
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I tried. I really tried. But I had to give up on The First Mrs. Rothschild with just 50 pages to go when the narrator
SPOILER:
celebrates and is thrilled beyond belief that her son marries her granddaughter. You do the math.


Squicked me right out and I noped on out of there. I'm now curled up with the new Stephen King Book, If it Bleeds.
  #59  
Old 05-16-2020, 09:33 AM
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Finished Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City, by K. J. Parker. I enjoyed this a lot. The problem-solving plot made me think of the Moist Lipwig Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett, the 1632 novels featuring Mike Stearns, and even Mark Watney's struggle to survive in The Martian.

This makes the fourth novel this month I've read with the word "city" in the title, and one of them had that word twice. There's at least one more novel in our house with that word in the title, and I think there may be a fifth somewhere, but enough is enough.

Now I"m reading Upstream, a collection of essays by Mary Oliver.
  #60  
Old 05-17-2020, 12:06 AM
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Finished This Side of Paradise, by F Scott Fitzgerald, his largely autobiographical first novel, published exactly 100 years ago at age 23. It was wildly popular at the time for embracing the thoughts and feelings of the beginning of what would become known as the Jazz Age. Fitzgerald would of course go on to be the embodiment of the 1920s. It was rather uneven, but that was apparently a huge part of its appeal back then. At one point, it even lapsed into the style of a play's script. I found it okay but will always consider The Great Gatsby as my favorite of his.

Next up is The Classical World: An Epic History from Homer to Hadrian, by Robin Lane Fox.
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  #61  
Old 05-17-2020, 11:23 AM
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Finished Upstream, a collection of essays by Mary Oliver. They are mostly about nature, with a few about authors such as Whitman and Emerson. They are very well written.

Now I'm reading The Counterfeit Man and Other Science Fiction Stories by Alan E. Nourse.
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Old 05-17-2020, 12:54 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions from those that did!
I just found the 1984 movie, ‘The Bounty’ on IMDB so took the shortcut but did a lot of follow up online.

“Endurance: Shackleton’s incredible voyage” sounds like a good direction. I do thing I saw a documentary in PBS about it. Was quite fascinating.
  #63  
Old 05-17-2020, 01:25 PM
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After reading this thread I’ve noticed a lot of books with the word CITY in their titles.

I love Vonnegut so I bought a whole bunch at one time but never got around to reading them all. Started “Gala’pagos”. I love his style but not sure if I’ll be able to get through the story. I guess I’m staying for the writing rather than the subject. Matter.

Also gonna do “Mother night”, but i might start to read it only to remember that I’ve probably already have.
  #64  
Old 05-17-2020, 10:25 PM
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After reading this thread I’ve noticed a lot of books with the word CITY in their titles.

I love Vonnegut so I bought a whole bunch at one time but never got around to reading them all. Started “Gala’pagos”. I love his style but not sure if I’ll be able to get through the story. I guess I’m staying for the writing rather than the subject. Matter.

Also gonna do “Mother night”, but i might start to read it only to remember that I’ve probably already have.
I read both of those back in the mid 80s. Mother Night was weird, I remember sitting in my Dr's office reading it and thinking "What the ****?"
  #65  
Old 05-18-2020, 08:50 AM
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My library reopened! At least for curbside pickup. I am delighted to finally receive my loot. This morning I started on Circe.
  #66  
Old 05-18-2020, 12:05 PM
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Finally managed to finish Arthur Phillips's novel The King at the Edge of the World. It's set in Britain in the months and years leading up to the death of Elizabeth I, and the question that concerns many, many people in England is whether her apparent successor, James VI of Scotland, is a Catholic or a Protestant. In order to unravel the riddle superspy Geoffrey Belloc enlists the assistance of a kind and rather guileless man--a Turkish doctor named Mahmoud Ezzedine, who was part of a diplomatic mission from the Ottoman to England and was left behind thanks to intrigue.

I liked the book very much! Many of Phillips's books trade heavily in questions such as "what's the truth" and "who is telling the truth, if indeed anyone," and "does such-and-such a character know that s/he doesn't actually know the truth," and so on...unreliable narrators abound, and no one should be taken as an unimpeachable source. Which makes for fun reading. The setting is interesting, the characters (especially Ezzedine) intriguing, and the writing is excellent. Took me a long time to get through it--time is limited for reading just now--but I'm glad I did.
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Old 05-18-2020, 06:00 PM
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Finished The Counterfeit Man and Other Science Fiction Stories by Alan E. Nourse. Not recommended. He's written some very good stories (I particularly recommend "Psi High"), but his good stuff's not in this collection.

Now I'm reading The Ragged Edge of Science by L. Sprague de Camp, a collection of essays about science and pseudoscience.
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Old 05-18-2020, 07:53 PM
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I finished Reticence by Gail Carriger, the last book, I suspect, of her Custard Proocal series, which in in her Parasolverse. By far the best of the four CP books and very nearly on par with Soulless. the first Parasol book.

And seriously, is there anything MORE Japanese than a Temple train and a hot water conduit shaped like a dragon? No? I didn't think so either.
  #69  
Old 05-20-2020, 06:23 PM
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Finished The Ragged Edge of Science by L. Sprague de Camp, a collection of essays about science and pseudoscience. The best was called "How to Speak Futurian", about how languages change.

Now I'm reading Old Man's War, by John Scalzi.
  #70  
Old 05-20-2020, 10:56 PM
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I started the lastest Rivers of London book, False Value got about 5 pages in and realized that I couldn't remember what had happened in the previous book except that there was a bell....

Fear not, I had the book on my shelf for a quick refresh, but after thumbing through it a bit, I decided that I wasn't recalling anything, so long story short ish, I started reading Lies Sleeping again.

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  #71  
Old 05-20-2020, 11:30 PM
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...Now returning to The Ask by Sam Lipsyte, a novel about a schlub of a fundraiser for a crappy NYC art school who gets a second chance to save his sputtering career. I'm not thrilled with it, but will keep going.
Just finished this. I almost put it down a few times, but stuck with it and am mostly glad I did. It's bleakly funny, with a downbeat take on fatherhood, academia, family secrets and a curdled American Dream; the writing got better towards the end. Best line: "Around here she [a beautiful woman in a tony Manhattan neighborhood] was almost ordinary, but you could still picture small towns where men might bludgeon their friends, their fathers, just to run their sun-cracked lips along her calves."

Next up: Patrick O'Brian's Napoleonic sea adventure The Letter of Marque, next in the Aubrey-Maturin series.

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...“Endurance: Shackleton’s incredible voyage” sounds like a good direction. I do thing I saw a documentary in PBS about it. Was quite fascinating.
You'll appreciate this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endurance_(crater)
https://mars.nasa.gov/resources/5850...azzling-dunes/

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...Now I'm reading Old Man's War, by John Scalzi.
Oh, good! Hope you like it. I'm a big Scalzi fan.
  #72  
Old 05-21-2020, 08:02 AM
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Wow. I just checked to see how many books I've read since I last posted in one of these threads, and it's a lot.

In the fiction category:

- I read The Burning Page by Genevieve Cogman, which is the third book in the Invisible Library series. It's a fantasy series, where the main character has to go into dangerous parallel universes to retrieve rare books, save lives, etc. I usually enjoy stuff that's a little more focused on thoughts and relationships, so while this book provided a change of pace, it wasn't a favorite of mine.

- I read The Night Garden by Lisa Van Allen. The main character has skin that's poisonous to the touch, so she avoids everyone around her and doesn't get close to people. I thought it might be an appropriate read for being in quarantine. And it started out good, and just got worse and worse and worse. By the end, it felt like the story was going nowhere and I was terribly disappointed.

- Then I read The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth. It's about a few women who live in the same neighborhood, and it examines the whole concept of things not being as they appear: the secrets each woman is keeping, her jealousy, stuff like that. It also has a shocking twist that leaves you reading furiously as you get towards the end. It was a good book.

- The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren was a book in a genre I didn't even know existed: romantic comedy. I know romantic comedy is an extremely popular movie genre, but I haven't encountered a whole lot of books in that style. I loved this book. The plot hinged upon some pretty improbable coincidences, but if you could suspend your disbelief, the chemistry between the two main characters was cute and fun, and I enjoyed rooting for the main character. I look forward to reading more books from this author duo.

- The last book I finished was Every Single Secret by Emily Carpenter. It's about a couple hiding secrets from one another, and then going on a couples retreat that seems sinister. This one's kind of hard to describe how I felt about it. Overall, I enjoyed the book. But I had the same reaction to it as I did to the other book I read of hers (Burying the Honeysuckle Girls). Both books were good, but there was something missing that kept it from being great. A lack of emotional depth, maybe? I still recommend it, though -- a book doesn't have to be a five-star read to be worth reading.

- I'm currently halfway through Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. IIRC, I discovered this book when Goodreads had famous authors put together lists of recommended reading during quarantine. This was on someone's list, and it's not at all the type of book I'd normally read. It's classified as science fiction, and I read so little science fiction that I honestly couldn't even tell you any other book I've read in that genre. But this book is GOOD. I just started reading it on Monday, and it's been a pretty busy work week and has also included some long phone conversations and emails to friends. But even so, I'm halfway through it because I stay up past my bedtime reading it. I highly recommend it, unless the ending sucks. The basic plot is that the main character, Jason, is kidnapped and drugged by another Jason from a parallel universe, and is tossed into the other universe so that the two Jasons trade places. But the Jason of the parallel universe is in high demand, since he managed to figure out how to travel through universes, and his workplace will torture and murder and imprison whomever they need to in order to keep Jason around and discover his secrets.
  #73  
Old 05-21-2020, 08:32 AM
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I'm reading A. Merritt's the Face in the Abyss, which I picked up months ago in a used book store (This quarantine is giving me a chance to work through my stack of bought-but-not-yet-read books). It's typical Merritt fare -- intrepid (and not) explorers in the wilderness, a Lost Civilization with weird superscience, a barely-dressed beautiful young woman who falls for the protagonist, and a fix-up book in which the first part doesn't seem to have a lot to do with the second. Interesting, dated, diverting fare.

I finished Alan Steele's Captain Future in Love, in which he shows the titular character in his formative years, and comes up with plausible reasons for that absurd title (and a better container for "The Brain"). Captain Future was created by Mort Weisinger (later editor at DC comics), but written mostly by Edmond Hamilton (who went on to write comics -- mostly Superman -- for Mort). A poster that's a blowup of the cover of Captain Future #1 appears next to the door in Sheldon and Leonard's apartment in Big Bang Theory:
http://www.isfdb.org/wiki/images/7/7...FTRWIN1940.jpg

It is the epitome of 1940 pop Science Fiction. Appearance to the contrary, it shows the Captai with his two companionsm, Otho (an android) and Grag (a robot -- Hamilton championed the distinction between artificial life/organic chemically based "androids" and metal "robots", which has been eroding since the 1960s), each armed with a different type of ray gun. Steele works in an explanation of the Captaion's weird expanding-circles gun in his story.

I hadn't realized it, but Steele had written Captain Future stories before. He won a Best Novella Hugo for one story -- "The Death of Captain Future" -- that was kinda but not really about the character (along with a sequel). But he actually wrote at least two straight stories about Curt.


After this, eve though I've got unread stacks, I'd like to get Christopher Moore's latest, Shakespeare for Squirrels. It's the third book staring Pocket, King Lear's Fool.

https://www.amazon.com/Shakespeare-S.../dp/0062434020


As for audiobooks, I haven't been reading them. I can't get to the library to return my now-finished copy of Oliver Twist, and I haven't started any of the unread ones I have lying about. I've been listening to news or music during my commute.
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:37 AM
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Damned Duplicate Post
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  #75  
Old 05-21-2020, 09:20 AM
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- I'm currently halfway through Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. IIRC, I discovered this book when Goodreads had famous authors put together lists of recommended reading during quarantine. This was on someone's list, and it's not at all the type of book I'd normally read. It's classified as science fiction, and I read so little science fiction that I honestly couldn't even tell you any other book I've read in that genre. But this book is GOOD. I just started reading it on Monday, and it's been a pretty busy work week and has also included some long phone conversations and emails to friends. But even so, I'm halfway through it because I stay up past my bedtime reading it. I highly recommend it, unless the ending sucks.
If you like it so far, I think you'll like the rest of it. It's a fun book, and gets into some interesting effects of the many-worlds theory. It's just complicated enough to keep your interest, but not so much that it gets confusing.
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Old 05-22-2020, 03:52 PM
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Finished Old Man's War, by John Scalzi, which I enjoyed.

Now I'm reading The Vinland Sagas: The Norse Discovery of America, translated and with an introduction by Magnus Magnusson and Hermann Palsson.
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Old 05-23-2020, 04:29 PM
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I read a few of Rudyard Kipling's short stories recently and decided I'd try Captains Courageous, a Kipling novel that I'd read in middle school many many years ago. A sea story, with echoes of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and Moby Dick. Eustace, I mean Harvey, is a spoiled kid (well, he's 15) who falls off an ocean liner in the Grand Banks and is rescued by the crew of a fishing vessel. Though Harvey tries to get them to head for land immediately, using his father's enormous wealth as a cudgel, the captain doesn't believe him and makes him part of the crew. Harvey very quickly adapts to the situation. Most of the rest of the book is a loving description of Life Aboard a New England Fishing Vessel. Not a lot of drama after the first thirty pages, or characterization, but plenty of description, and much Kiplingesque stuff about What It Means to be a Man. No dragons. Meh.

I also reread The Pushcart War. A children's classic, which I read back when I was in fourth grade or so. Guess I'm into nostalgia right about now. The account of the famous Pushcart War between New York City's pushcarts and the trucks that are steadily taking over the city. It's still quite wonderful and holds up surprisingly well. If you haven;t read it in the last fifty years, consider giving it a try.
  #78  
Old 05-24-2020, 01:49 PM
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Finished The Vinland Sagas: The Norse Discovery of America, translated and with an introduction by Magnus Magnusson and Hermann Palsson. Parts of it were very interesting. I especially enjoyed the names (which reminded me of the names in Julian May's Saga of Pliocene Exile), like Thorfinn the Skull-Splitter and Aud the Deep Minded.

Now I'm reading Altered States of the Union, edited by Glenn Hauman. It's an anthology of alternate history stories about how the United States of America could have been different.
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Old 05-25-2020, 06:06 AM
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If you like it so far, I think you'll like the rest of it. It's a fun book, and gets into some interesting effects of the many-worlds theory. It's just complicated enough to keep your interest, but not so much that it gets confusing.
You’re right. I was mind-blown at how good this book was!

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In the fiction category: <snip>
and it's been a pretty busy work week and has also included some long phone conversations and emails to friends. ...
Well, you can consider that last post a testament to how busy the week was, because I meant to do a post after this one with the nonfiction books I’ve read lately, but it’s four days later and I still haven’t gotten around to that post.
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Old 05-25-2020, 07:19 AM
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I finished Reticence by Gail Carriger, the last book, I suspect, of her Custard Proocal series, which in in her Parasolverse. By far the best of the four CP books and very nearly on par with Soulless. the first Parasol book.

And seriously, is there anything MORE Japanese than a Temple train and a hot water conduit shaped like a dragon? No? I didn't think so either.
It's definitely the best of that quartet of books.

I'm pleased her novella came out this month and we finally found out who Dimity married.
  #81  
Old 05-25-2020, 11:12 PM
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It's definitely the best of that quartet of books.

I'm pleased her novella came out this month and we finally found out who Dimity married.
I haven't read it yet, but I have it.
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Old 05-26-2020, 06:43 AM
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I read a few of Rudyard Kipling's short stories recently and decided I'd try Captains Courageous, a Kipling novel that I'd read in middle school many many years ago. A sea story, with echoes of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and Moby Dick. Eustace, I mean Harvey, is a spoiled kid (well, he's 15) who falls off an ocean liner in the Grand Banks and is rescued by the crew of a fishing vessel. Though Harvey tries to get them to head for land immediately, using his father's enormous wealth as a cudgel, the captain doesn't believe him and makes him part of the crew. Harvey very quickly adapts to the situation. Most of the rest of the book is a loving description of Life Aboard a New England Fishing Vessel. Not a lot of drama after the first thirty pages, or characterization, but plenty of description, and much Kiplingesque stuff about What It Means to be a Man. No dragons. Meh.
Like this post ! -- and suspect that Captains Courageous has maybe pleased me a bit more than it did you, UtU. I read the novel quite a few decades ago, and loved it. (If I have things rightly, it's Kipling's only novel with a North American setting -- one speculates that it may have been inspired by his living for a few years in New England in the 1890s.)

I'd feel inclined to re-read it; except that a bit of a blight is cast on it for me by an all-too-vivid memory of my, shortly after reading it, making a total fool of myself in connection with it; vis-a-vis a girl whom I fancied, but who turned out to have very little use for me. I still cringe with embarrassment over the episode, not far off fifty years after it occurred.
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Old 05-26-2020, 07:32 AM
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I finished The Face in the Abyss. It occurred to me that the title reminds me of another book I finally got around to reading a couple of years ago, The Face in the Frost by John Bellairs. That book, according Wikipedia and other sources, is a highly-regarded fantasy, praised by Ursula K. LeGuin, Lin Carter, John Clute, and others. The fault, then, is obviously in me, since I was left completely unmoved by it. We could have a Face-Off, as it were, with The Face in the Abyss vs. The Face in the Frost, and I wouldn't care who won.


A. Merritt's The Face in the Abyss resembles his earlier effort, The Moon Pool. in that the original story involves an expedition to a mysterious ancient city in a faraway place, where the modern explorers meet up with some ancient magic (later explained as super-science) that eventually destroys all but one of them. And in both cases he extended the original short story with a longer one in which the remaining explorer or one insp[ired by him encounters an entire Lost Civilization and gets involved in a revolt there. And there are Frog People. (Nobody lists these works as possibkle inspirations for H. P. Lovecraft's The Shadow over Innsmouth, but I note that both of them were published in magazine form before he wrote that story in late 1931.)

For some reason, whenever anyone writes a book or films a story about Lost Civilizations it almost invariably looks and feels like a cheap serial. This is as true of Big Hollywood Epics like Merian C. Cooper's She or Andrew Stanton's John Carter as it is of serials like Undersea Kingdom or The Phantom Empire. Something about the whole genre seems sophomoric and unconvincing. and I say this as a FAN of the genre.


I started Randall Munroe's What If...?, something I've wanted to do for a while. It's a quick read, and I'm halfway through. What's particularly appropriate now is the Chapter "The Common Cold", in which someone suggested voluntary self-quarantining to eliminate the cold virus(es). "...interrupting all economic activity for a few weeks would cost many trillions of dollars. The shock to the system from the worldwide 'pause' could easily cause a global economic collapse." Indeed.

The kicker is at the end, after he says a couple of weeks in isolation would clear up rhinoviruses from all the people with good immune systems. "Unfortunately, there's one catch, and it's enough to unravel the whole plan: We don't all have healthy immune systems... This small group of immunocompromised people would serve as safe havens for rhinoviruses....In addition to probably causing the collapse of civilization, Sarah's plan wouldn't eradicate rhinoviruses."


I'm also reading Marc Ferris' Star-Spangled Banner -- The Unlikely Story of America's National Anthem, which seemed an appropriate choice for a Memorial Day where I'm pretty much stuck at home. It's a surprisingly well-researched book. I bought the book some time ago as an "extra gift" in case I needed one for an occasion a while back, and it turned out that I didn't need it.
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The makers of the GoPro have to come out with a model called the "Quid"
  #84  
Old 05-26-2020, 07:41 AM
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I finished Circe by Madeline Miller. I really enjoyed it and plan to try Miller's other books as well.


Is everything about the virus right now or is it just where our heads are at? Circe was about a woman in a sort of quarantine situation; now my next book is all about a pandemic. It's Company of Liars by Karen Maitland, about a group of strangers on a journey during the black plague. It's just okay, but I'm compelled to find out what happens in the end.
  #85  
Old 05-26-2020, 11:24 AM
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I just finished Where the Crawdads Sing. Lyrical and quite moving, but I do question
SPOILER:
If it's realistic that a girl, abandoned at age seven and left to bring herself up, can truly be socialized enough to become an accomplished writer and naturalist.
Still, it was well-written and engaging.
  #86  
Old 05-26-2020, 11:46 AM
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I read How Long til Black Future Month, by NK Jemisin, a couple of weeks ago.

The first story was among the most interesting and disconcerting. It's a response to Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" and is called "The Ones Who Stay and Fight." The clear insinuation is that it's not enough simply to refuse to participate in injustice: you have to actively work against it. That said, the story also contains the idea that in a utopia, the "police" will humanely execute people who set up systems to receive dangerous dystopian ideas. I get being sick of all my bullshit, but that's not an idea I can get down with.

Nevertheless, the story has stuck with me, and I appreciate that. And the rest of the stories are pretty great.

I also just finished Rogue Protocol, a Murderbot novella. Not having read the first one (the library delivered it to me by accident), I was a bit lost, and the writing just didn't move me. It wasn't bad, but it left me kind of cold. Maybe if I'd read the first book, I would've liked this second one better.
  #87  
Old 05-26-2020, 01:07 PM
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All right, here are my recent non-fiction picks:

- Hippie Food: How Back-to-the-Landers, Longhairs, and Revolutionaries Changed the Way We Eat by Jonathan Kauffman. It was good enough to finish, but not good enough for me to recommend it. It just felt a little insignificant, like a re-telling of history that's not terribly relevant to my life, and when I read books on food I like to understand a little better how the subject matter relates to me. (I think the gold standard for books on food is Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma.)

- Then I read Strangers Assume My Girlfriend is My Nurse by Shane Burcaw. I discovered this author from his YouTube channel, Squirmy and Grubs (which I discovered through a YouTube channel highlighting people living with various conditions, Special Books for Special Kids). Burcaw lives with spinal muscular atrophy, and he works to spread awareness on his disability through humor. In addition to writing books and having a YouTube channel, he's also a public speaker. Anyways, if this sounds at all interesting, I recommend first checking out his Squirmy and Grubs YouTube channel, and if that entertains you, I suggest you subscribe to his channel and read his books.

- Then I read Range: Why Generalists Triump in a Specialized World by David Epstein. I admire Epstein's ability to take a thesis that is not at all intuitive, and support it so thoroughly that when you're done reading, it seems like the only natural way to think. This book definitely made me re-think my attitude towards specialization -- early specialization in particular. I do think the book felt a little haphazard in its organization -- each chapter felt pretty stand-alone, and certain chapters were much more engaging and convincing than others.

- I'm currently reading A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes by Adam Rutherford. I'm still in the first part of the book, which talks about how the human race formed, and there are things I like about the book and things I don't like. The book is dense, which means I have to read it sparingly in many sittings. Some parts are fascinating, and other parts just go down in the weeds too much to hold my interest. I'm more interested in genetics than history, and this book is a little lighter on genetics and heavier on history than I was hoping it would be. But if the subject matter interests you, and you'd be interested in a very in-depth look at the history of the human race through the use of DNA, then you'd probably enjoy the book.

Last edited by The wind of my soul; 05-26-2020 at 01:07 PM.
  #88  
Old 05-26-2020, 04:18 PM
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Finished Altered States of the Union, edited by Glenn Hauman. It's an anthology of alternate history stories about how the United States of America could have been different. My favorite was "A Brief Explanation of How Budapest Became the Taco Capital of the World", by David Gerrold.

Now I'm reading Saint Martin de Porres: Humble Healer, by Elizabeth DeDomenico.
  #89  
Old 05-26-2020, 04:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dendarii Dame View Post
Finished Altered States of the Union, edited by Glenn Hauman. It's an anthology of alternate history stories about how the United States of America could have been different. My favorite was "A Brief Explanation of How Budapest Became the Taco Capital of the World", by David Gerrold.
Why is Budapest in a book about the alternate history of the United States?
  #90  
Old 05-26-2020, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by The wind of my soul View Post
Why is Budapest in a book about the alternate history of the United States?
Because
SPOILER:
In this surreal version of history, Los Angeles spreads out, physically, until it covers the entire world. Therefore, what used to be Budapest becomes Los Angeles by the end of the story.
  #91  
Old Yesterday, 07:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ivylass View Post
I just finished Where the Crawdads Sing. Lyrical and quite moving, but I do question
SPOILER:
If it's realistic that a girl, abandoned at age seven and left to bring herself up, can truly be socialized enough to become an accomplished writer and naturalist.
Still, it was well-written and engaging.
Yeah, I had the same questions while reading it, it required a lot of suspension of disbelief.
  #92  
Old Yesterday, 10:41 AM
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Finished Saint Martin de Porres: Humble Healer, by Elizabeth DeDomenico, which was all right.

Now I'm reading The Long ARM of Gil Hamilton, by Larry Niven. It's a collection of three SF mystery novelettes.
  #93  
Old Yesterday, 11:11 AM
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For the first time, I finished Dracula, on audiobook.

The readers were great: a man and a woman alternated reading according to the sex of the narrator at that point. Both of them leaned heavily into OUTRAGEOUS Texan, German, and Transylvanian accents as appropriate, as well as a scattering of various British accents I couldn't always place (some Scottish, some Irish, some maybe Cornish or Welsh). I was really pleased with the reading.

I confess I didn't know the book was written as letters and journals; but that format works well. I also knew only the bare bones of the story, so there were plenty of surprises. I wasn't expecting it to be as lurid as it was.

The 19th century gender roles were...definitely 19th century. Yow.

All in all, it 100% deserves its reputation.
  #94  
Old Yesterday, 10:38 PM
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...Next up: Patrick O'Brian's Napoleonic sea adventure The Letter of Marque, next in the Aubrey-Maturin series....
I'm about halfway through and, as with all of his earlier books, I'm really enjoying it. Capt. Aubrey, unfairly forced out of the Royal Navy, has just had a very successful voyage as a privateer captain, and he and his friend Dr. Maturin are about to leave for a diplomacy- and espionage-related trip to Sweden to see, among other people, the latter's beautiful, somewhat scandalous estranged wife.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dendarii Dame View Post
Finished Old Man's War, by John Scalzi, which I enjoyed....
Glad to hear it. Do you think you'll go on to others in the series? Hope so!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulf the Unwashed View Post
I read a few of Rudyard Kipling's short stories recently and decided I'd try Captains Courageous, a Kipling novel that I'd read in middle school many many years ago. A sea story, with echoes of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and Moby Dick....
A few years ago some high school buddies and I stayed in his Vermont home, which is available for rentals. We each chose some Kipling to read one night, and my friend Gary chose Captains Courageous, long a favorite of his. He was very pleased to then learn that Kipling wrote the book in that very house: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naulak...Kipling_House)

Quote:
Originally Posted by The wind of my soul View Post
...I'm currently reading A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes by Adam Rutherford. I'm still in the first part of the book, which talks about how the human race formed, and there are things I like about the book and things I don't like....
I read that a year or so ago and had a similar reaction. Often interesting, but the author doesn't have an especially lively writing style. By the end I was reading more out of a sense of obligation than for pleasure.
  #95  
Old Today, 03:55 PM
Dendarii Dame is offline
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I will probably read more of the Old Man's War series. My husband says we have the other books somewhere in the house, so I'll keep an eye out for them.

Finished The Long ARM of Gil Hamilton, by Larry Niven, which was good.

Now I'm reading The Partly Cloudy Patriot, a collection of essays about the United States by Sarah Vowell.
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