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Old 12-28-2018, 09:42 AM
Dendarii Dame is offline
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Favorite Books You Read This Year

My Top Ten List

1. Sourdough by Robin Sloan
2. Gather Together in My Name by Maya Angelou
3. The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
4. Mandelbrot the Magnificent by Liz Ziemska
5. Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany
6. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
7. Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire
8. Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik
9. Artificial Condition by Martha Wells
10. Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire

All of these are novels. My top nonfiction book this year, which I'd put at number 11, is Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and/or Ruin Everything by Kelly Weinersmith and Zach Weinersmith
Old 12-28-2018, 02:36 PM
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I really enjoyed "Fire and Blood", GRRM's history of the Targaryens from their arrival in Westeros to about the midpoint of their reign. It is aptly described as the "GRRMarillion".

"Salvation" by Peter Hamilton was likewise very entertaining. I rather enjoy that he creates different universes, and doesn't set all his fiction in the same old secondary reality over and over.

Otherwise, 2018 was a year of discovering a few new authors and reading as much of their stuff as I could glom onto: Not just Scalzi's stuff but also Steven Brust's Taltos-related items, Becky Chambers' novels, and Brent Weeks' writings about wetboys.
Old 12-28-2018, 04:06 PM
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Cloud Library, Hoopla and softcover I thank you

Longbourn by Jo Baker - read it twice, I'll read it again.

The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman, women pugilists fighting their way out of the brothel

438 Days by Jonathan Franklin, fourteen months at sea and found alive, the story of Salvador Alvarenga and his mate adrift in an open boat in the Pacific.

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell for about the 45th time

Sea Wolf by Jack London an all time perennial favorite
Real Oldies
Old 12-29-2018, 07:04 PM
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Agree on Sourdough. I enjoyed it so much I read it twice before I returned it to the lubrary.
Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward. Rich, evocative, gorgeous writing but incredibly dark. I found it sgunning.
Robicheaux by James Lee Burke. Maybe not his finest, but still aN intelligent and beautifully written book. Educated types will enjoy identifying the many and varied literary references.
Too Close to Breathe by Olivia Kiernan. Excellent first novel with a sleek and streamlined plot, complex, interesting characters, and a twisty and surprising core myster.
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. This story will ring true with anyone who sent a friend or family member off to Vietnam and found them profoundly changed when they returned. A few points off for the saccharine ending.
American by Day by Derek Miller. Intelligent, witty, deeply humorous, and heartbreaking, this novel manages to discuss nearly every issue in America today through the eyes of a pragmatic, meticulous Norwegian policewoman. This was, hands down, my favorite book of the year.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. Impeccably written with characters so real you will swear you know them in real life.
Beartown by Fredrick Bachman. My 2nd favorite book of the year. If you know anything about small towns and their obsession with local sports teams, this will ring true. With good humor and evocative writing, Bachman critiques small town life in a way that is universally recognizable.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. One can call this a modern fairytale and be right on the nose. The main character is so kind and charming and the cast of characters surrounding him so vivid and interesting that you can forgive the excessive sentimentality that creeps in from time to time.
A Legacy of Spies by John LeCarre. LeCarre gives his loyal fans a gift in this book where many of his classic characters return. The book details the devolution of Cold War spycradt into the iteration existing today.

Tinker to Evers to Chance by David Rapp. Well-written, researched, and informative history of the early years of the Chicago Cubs. A good read for even non-fans for all the information on the early years of baseball.
The Square and the Tower by Niall Ferguson. An interesting and thought-provoking theorization that networks have both led to and underpinned the institutions of humankind throughout history, as well as forming to enact their downfall. This was the most discussion worthy book I read this year.
The Silk Roadsby Peter Frankopan. The author gives us ancient and modern history centered on the Near East, Middle East, and Central Asia, the countries of the famous silk road trade routes from East to West. The POV is unusual and the scholarship is impressive.
Reckless Daughter by David Yaffe. Both a biography of Joni Mitchell and an in-depth discussion of her music, written by a musician. Very well done.

Last edited by stillownedbysetters; 12-29-2018 at 07:05 PM.
Old 12-29-2018, 08:42 PM
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Mine are all non-fiction - none of the fiction I read this year really thrilled me.

First, the one book that I became obsessed with, not so much for the quality of the writing as for the incredible life it depicted:

The Librettist of Venice: The Remarkable Life of Lorenzo Da Ponte -- Mozart's Poet, Casanova's Friend, and Italian Opera's Impresario in America by Rodney Bolt. If I were Lin-Manuel Miranda, this book would be my Hamilton. I really wish someone would put this story on the screen or stage.

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou, about the Theranos fraud and scandal.

White Like Her by Gail Lukasik, who discovered that her mother was passing as white, and writes about the very complex history of racial issues in New Orleans.

The Secret Token by Andrew Lawler, about the lost colony of Roanoke.

The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson, about fly-fishing and the theft of exotic birds.

The Library Book by Susan Orleans, about a fire at the Los Angeles Central Library, and much more about libraries.

A Voyage for Madmen by Peter Nichols, about the 1968 solo sailing race around the world (the story was made into a 2018 film starring Colin Firth that has still not been released in the U.S.)

Thanks for the OP - I have already added Sourdough to my Kindle.
Old 12-29-2018, 09:17 PM
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N. K. Jemisin: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
Ann Leckie: Provenance
China Miéville: Embassytown
Robert Charles Wilson: Last Year

Ursula K. Le Guin: No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters

Kenn Kaufman: Kingbird Highway: The Biggest Year in the Life of an Extreme Birder
Noah Strycker: Birding Without Borders: An Obsession, a Quest, and the Biggest Year in the World
Tara Westover: Educated

Elif Batman: The Idiot
Rebecca Makkai: The Great Believers

Social Science/Medicine:
Paul Farmer et al.: Haiti after the Earthquake

Last edited by susan; 12-29-2018 at 09:18 PM.
Old 12-30-2018, 11:07 AM
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Your Top Ten books of 2018

Doesn't matter when they were published, but you read 'em and loved 'em in 2018. And please tells us a bit about why.

My list will be coming shortly.
Old 12-30-2018, 11:42 AM
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I see from my book journal that I read 64 books this year. In no particular order, my Top Ten are:

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi - A distant-future empire begins to inexplicably lose a natural means of faster-than-light travel in this fun, page-turner sf novel of politics and hardball commerce.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke - Re-read this terrific novel about the return of magic to Regency England. As someone once said, it's almost as if Jane Austen wrote a Harry Potter novel.

Scorpions by Noah Feldman - A joint bio of four FDR appointees to the U.S. Supreme Court (Felix Frankfurter, William O. Douglas, Hugo Black and Robert Jackson), their careers, jurisprudence, alliances and eventual rivalries. A nice mix of law, history and personalities.

The Great Bridge by David McCullough - The engrossing, well-researched story of the design and building, politics and engineering of the Brooklyn Bridge. As much about Gilded Age NYC as it is about a way to get from Brooklyn to Manhattan.

Great Stories of Space Travel ed. by Groff Conklin - Collection of early sf that lives up to its title. "I'll Build Your Dream Castle" by Jack Vance, about personal orbital vacation homes for the ultra-rich, and "Allamagoosa" by Eric Frank Russell, about a military starship which undergoes a surprise inspection, are the best.

The Mauritius Command by Patrick O'Brian - Stirring tale of Napoleonic naval adventure, as Capt. "Lucky Jack" Aubrey of the Royal Navy commands an amphibious operation against the French off the East African coast.

Worlds by Joe Haldeman - The first and best book of his Worlds trilogy, a sf novel about a young female scholar from an orbital colony living and learning during a year in crowded, crime-ridden 2084 NYC.

Misery by Stephen King - Re-read this thriller for the first time since it came out in 1987. A gripping, claustrophobic tale with a lot to say about writers and their obsessions.

The Library Book by Susan Orlean - A fascinating look at the terrible 1986 fire at the Los Angeles Public Library, the later arson investigation, as well as a history of libraries and why they still so vitally matter to society (and should).

Space Odyssey by Michael Benson - Terrific behind-the-scenes account of the making of Kubrick's and Clarke's movie. Fascinating and detailed - I learned a lot.

Honorable mentions:

The American Spirit by David McCullough - An interesting, well-crafted collection of historical, patriotic and political speeches by a great American historian.

The Quartet by Joseph Ellis - A very readable book about the benign elitism of George Washington, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay in laying the groundwork for the writing, and then ratification, of the U.S. Constitution.

Head On by John Scalzi - Near-future crime novel about FBI agents investigating a murder tied to a violent sport played via telepresence. Clever and engaging.

Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 12-30-2018 at 11:45 AM.
Old 12-30-2018, 11:56 AM
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This thread already exists:
Old 12-30-2018, 12:46 PM
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In no particular order:

Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens
Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain
Fear, Bob Woodward
West With the Night, Beryl Markham
The Friends of Eddie Coyle, George Higgins
The Last Voyage of Columbus, Martin Dugard
An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States, Dunbar-Ortiz
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century, Snyder
Old 12-30-2018, 01:21 PM
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In Chronological Order of my reading them:

1. Perspectives on the Ending of Mark: Four Views, edited by David A. Black. Nice summations of the current arguments regarding this highly academic subject.

2. Redshirts by John Scalzi. I was expecting it to end in a very straitforward manner, and was blown away by the literary skill of the endings.

3. Sourdough by Robin Sloane. A very offbeat romantic comedy.

4. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. I read this one after seeing several people post it in past year's lists. And now I know why.

5. Deathless by Catherine Valente. Valente's one of my best finds of the year. This one's a retelling of a classic Russian folktale, but set in early Soviet Russia.

6. The Comedians by Kliph Nesterff. A history of American comedy, with lots and lots of great anecdotes as well as musings on the transformative process that has occurred.

7. & 8.Kings of the Wyld and Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames. An amazingly well written fantasy effort (the second, a sequel, is technically better written than the first) in which an old fantasy warrior, needing help, decides to get the band back together and take it on the road. Much humor, needless to say.

9. Backstage at the Lincoln Assassination by Thomas A. Bogar. A mind-boggling level of detail sets this one apart from the others. It's emphasis isn't on Lincoln or Booth, but on the theater owners, actors and crew who were there at the time.

10. Six-Gun Snow White, also by Catherynne Valente. This one repurposes the Snow White story and sets it in the American Wild West, with Snow White being a half-breed daughter of a chief's daughter and an American multimillionaire.

Honorable Mention:
John, 2 volume commentary from the Anchor Bible series by Father Raymond E. Brown. I just got this for my birthday in October, and I'm reading it slowly and thoroughly to enjoy it. This is the landmark, seminal study on the gospel to which all later commentaries refer. Great stuff.
Old 12-30-2018, 01:49 PM
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I'll rank mine, though this also includes my personal experience with the book, not just the quality of the book.

1. Harry Potter Series - Read again, this time listening to Stephen Fry audiobooks. Honestly, he improves the already great series and I highly recommend you listen to him read them.
Note: I have also read the first 3 out loud to my kids, who are totally unspoiled. Their gasps and laughter and enjoyment made these my top books of the year.

2. Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett - a great and often overlooked Discworld book. One of the best in the series and worth reading.

3. Neverending Story by Michael Ende - read to my kids. It holds up and is well worth it. If you have only seen the 80's movie, this offers a lot more.

4. Night Watch by Terry Pratchett - a great novel, but really better if you have read the City Watch books that come before it. You should, though. They are all a lot of fun.

5. Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve - I read all four in this series, but I only recommend the first one. It is a stand-alone novel the author clearly decided to make a series out of when it sold well. Skip the 3 sequels, but read this one. I heard the movie was not good, but the book is worth your time.

I read many others, but a lot were only OK. I will mention some "avoid" books that were bad:

All the Mortal Engines book after the first. Skip them.

The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson - a great author and one of my favorites. He is wasting his time writing these massive Wheel of Time or Game of Thrones length books that are not good. Skip them and mourn that he is writing TEN of them.

The Tale of Despereaux - read it to my kids and I suffered through it.

The Green Ember - my "worst book" I read this year winner. Read it to my kids and it was terrible. Incompetent to the level where it should not have been published.
Old 12-30-2018, 09:06 PM
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Old 12-30-2018, 09:19 PM
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A re-read: Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before. Tony Horwitz follows in the wake of Cook and has his own set of adventures.
Old 12-31-2018, 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Prof. Pepperwinkle View Post
...Redshirts by John Scalzi. I was expecting it to end in a very [straightforward] manner, and was blown away by the literary skill of the endings....
It's been a few years, but I remember that that was my reaction, too. The book goes from very funny to quite touching by the end.
Old 12-31-2018, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Prof. Pepperwinkle View Post
2. Redshirts by John Scalzi. I was expecting it to end in a very straitforward manner, and was blown away by the literary skill of the endings.
Wow, my reaction was the opposite. I thought it would be great and found it to be a total snooze. I did not find the endings amazing enough to add that much to the book. I expected better.
Old 01-02-2019, 10:26 AM
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Since I gave twelve five-star ratings to books read this year, I'm going to make a Top Twelve list since this is my post and I can do what I want. I do want to mention that I, like many other people, adored Sourdough, but since I gave it four stars it's not making an appearance here. These are in order of when I read them, and separated out into fiction and nonfiction.

1. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion - Main character has Asperger's Syndrome, takes an extremely systematic approach to dating involving filling out applications and spreadsheets and stuff. A woman comes along who doesn't fit his rigid requirements, but they get along well.
2. Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders - Takes the characters from the book Five Children and It and creates a new story about ten(?) years later. It had all the charm of the original and was a cozy, comforting read even as it addressed some very adult issues (it takes place during World War I).
3. The Wishing Thread by Lisa van Allen - A magical realism book where three sisters can knit wishes into clothing, and the community comes to them for help. Another charming comfort read.
4. Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews - It has a reputation as a trashy novel, and I admit the writing isn't stellar, but the woman knows how to tell a great story. This book definitely kept me turning the pages and caring about what happened next.
5. Paper Towns by John Green - This is everything you could ever want in a book: humor, adventure, quirky characters, and heartfelt truths.
6. Watermelon by Marian Keynes - A woman gives birth, and her husband announces he's leaving the marriage while he's still in the delivery room. The author does a stellar job of making this a light-hearted and fun read while still being very true to the emotions of a person going through a confusing, heart-wrenching time. It was fun and comforting at the same time.

1. The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan - An educational book about where our food comes from, but more interesting and less didactic than I would expect from a book with such a premise.
2. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown - A self-help book with a lot of advice that I needed to hear. Reminders about how to discern what's important in life and being supportive of one another.
3. The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It by Kelly McGonigal - Seriously, doesn't the title just suck you in? This book teaches you how to be less terrified of stress and harness its benefits. I seriously think absolutely anyone would benefit from reading this book.
4. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt - Probably the most compelling description I've ever read about why people think differently. It discusses how different people operate off of different value systems without criticizing different people's values or lauding one value system as the best one.
5. Men Chase, Women Choose: The Neuroscience of Meeting, Dating, Losing Your Mind, and Finding True Love by Dawn Maslar - I was highlighting passages all over the place and thinking to myself "Ohh, that explains it!"
6. The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home by Dan Ariely - It's a book on behavioral economics, and I devour books in this genre, but Ariely might be my favorite author of the lot. Some authors seem to trend towards denser material, while others prefer to go with more anecdotes in an attempt to be more accessible, but Ariely hits that sweet spot right in the center. I finish his books feeling so much smarter, but I'm thoroughly entertained throughout the whole book.

These are the top 12 out of a total of 95 books read this year -- I need to get out more.
Old 01-02-2019, 02:20 PM
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In chronological order:
The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold (A good stand-alone fantasy novel, with solid plot and interesting characters)
The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century by Steven Pinker (An interesting, well-written book about the various aspects of good (vs. not-so-good) writing)
Reviving Old Scratch: Demons and the Devil for Doubters and the Disenchanted by Richard Beck
American Dreams: The United States Since 1945 by H. W. Brands (a good short synopsis of recent U.S. History)
The Road to Character by David Brooks
The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman (the mostly satisfying conclusion to one of the most important recent fantasy series. Maybe not everyone's cup of tea, but I really enjoyed the writing and the ideas.)
The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud (the first book in his YA "Lockwood & Co." series was a fun, quick read, entertaining and genuinely spooky at times. I will be reading more in the series, though I may save them for Halloween season)
The Nix by Nathan Hill (the best Big Literary Novel (e.g. the kind of thing John Irving writes, or used to) I've read in recent years)
This Book Is Full of Spiders by David Wong
The Tetradome Run by Spencer Baum (both of these latter two are solid, entertaining, and not entirely mindless thrillers)

If re-reads count, I might bump one of the above for On Stories: And Other Essays on Literature by C.S. Lewis, who always has thoughtful and interesting things to say
Old 01-02-2019, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by The wind of my soul View Post
Since I gave twelve five-star ratings to books read this year, I'm going to make a Top Twelve list since this is my post and I can do what I want.

Yeah, sounds good to me. I'm just gonna post some stuff.
By the way, links to any books I mention in this post can be found here, should you want more information.

So, far and away the best books I read this year were the first two in the Books of Babel series by Josiah Bancroft, Senlin Ascends and Arm of the Sphinx. A steampunk fantasy quest about a man searching the many levels of the Tower of Babel to find his lost wife. So beautifully written and compelling, I just want to run around and beg people to try it. It made me very happy last year.

Another series that hooked me was The Murderbot Diaries, by Martha Wells (All Systems Red, Artificial Condition, Rogue Protocol, & Exit Strategy). They were all very short and similar to each other, but a lot of fun. Murderbot is a security droid that has hacked itself, thereby gaining free will. Despite the name, Murderbot is no Bender Rodriguez.

We Are Legion – We Are Bob, the first of the Bobiverse series, also a joy. Your basic brain-inna-jar becomes space-traveling immortal computer story.

The Oracle Year by Charles Soule. A guy wakes up one day and knows 108 facts about the future. He decides to post his prophecies on the internet. Book that would make a good movie ensues.

Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poole. A man gets reincarnated a whole bunch of times, and he remembers what happened before, and his girlfriend is Death. Okay, she got on my nerves, but I really liked reading about all the different lives he led.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. A man gets reincarnated a whole bunch of times, and he remembers what happened before…Huh, weird. Well, anyway, this guy lives the same life, and he has a nemesis, so it’s way different from the other book.

Driving to Geronimo’s Grave, short story collection by Joe R. Lansdale. Joe writes horror, and westerns, and fantasy, and pretty much anything he wants. I liked all of these.

We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix. Humor-tinged horror story about ROCK and ROLL, dude! I actually went and got an album by The Runaways after reading this, and I’m glad I did. I guess I’ll always miss the eighties.

Honorable mention: After the End of the World (Carter & Lovecraft series) by Jonathan L. Howard; Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield; and Force of Nature by Jane Harper.

Old 01-02-2019, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by susan View Post
Ursula K. Le Guin: No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters
I'm in the middle of this right now. It's uneven (not surprisingly) but has plenty of really good stuff that reminds me why I love both essays and Le Guin.

Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi - A distant-future empire begins to inexplicably lose a natural means of faster-than-light travel in this fun, page-turner sf novel of politics and hardball commerce.
Really enjoyed this, but it definitely felt set-up-y (like the first book in a series, which of course it is).

Originally Posted by Mahaloth View Post
The Green Ember - my "worst book" I read this year winner. Read it to my kids and it was terrible. Incompetent to the level where it should not have been published.
Yeah, this one disappointed me when I read it. It felt amateurish (and like a Redwall wannabe). Judged against self-published novels, it's not bad, but it's not ready for prime time.
Old 01-02-2019, 03:58 PM
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Lots of 5 star books this year...

Pat Murphy The City, Not Long After (1989)
Richard K. Morgan Altered Carbon (2002)
Neil Gaiman The Ocean at the End of the Lane (2013)
Leigh Bardugo Six of Crows (2015)
Ian R. MacLeod Song of Time (2008)
Nnedi Okorafor Who Fears Death (2010)
Natasha Pulley The Watchmaker of Filigree Street (2015)
Daniel José Older Shadowshaper (2015)
Robin Sloan Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (2012)
Connie Willis Crosstalk (2016)
Daniel José Older Half-Resurrection Blues (2015)
Nina Kiriki Hoffman The Thread That Binds the Bones (1993)
Matt Ruff Lovecraft Country (2016)
Max Gladstone Bookburners (2015)
Ruthanna Emrys Winter Tide (2017)
Ian R. MacLeod Wake Up And Dream (2011)
William Hjortsberg Falling Angel (1978)
Anthony Horowitz Magpie Murders (2017)
Neal Stephenson The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.
Fonda Lee Jade City (2017)
Catherynne M. Valente Space Opera (2018)
Ann Leckie Provenance (2017)
T. Kingfisher Summer in Orcus (2017)
Mary Robinette Kowal The Calculating Stars (2018)
Nina Kiriki Hoffman The Silent Strength of Stones (1995)
R. A. MacAvoy Twisting the Rope (1986)
Nnedi Okorafor Binti: Home (2017)
Seanan McGuire Down Among the Sticks and Bones (2017)
Yoon Ha Lee Raven Stratagem (2017)
Margery Allingham Look to the Lady (1931)
Seabury Quinn The Dark Angel: The Complete Tales of Jules de Grandin
Nicholas Blake The Smiler with the Knife (1939)
Louise Penny A Trick of the Light (2011)
Margery Allingham Dancers in Mourning (1937)
Louise Penny How the Light Gets In (2013)
Margery Allingham The Fashion in Shrouds (1938)
Old 01-02-2019, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Dendarii Dame View Post
9. Artificial Condition by Martha Wells
What? You only liked the second book in the 4 book Murderbot Diary series?
Old 01-02-2019, 04:58 PM
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Mort Sahl and the Birth of Stand-up Comedy (Jim Curtis)
Old 01-05-2019, 02:28 AM
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I saw him at the Hungry i back in the 70's some time. Along with Nichols and May he was my all-time favorite. I'll look for that book. Thanks.
Old 01-07-2019, 01:58 AM
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A few I enjoyed, in no special order:

Twice over Lightly, by Helen Hayes and Anita Loos. Mainly by Loos, of course, but I guess she was modest. An exploration of New York City by these two in 1970, '71 or so, visiting many obvious but also many less than obvious sites, including an East River cruise on a garbage barge.

Going Down, by Jennifer Belle. A rarish (for me) novel. But set in the same NYC I remember ( 'I noticed an ad that said "Women Against Pornography", $10/hr, must be willing to yell at passers-by on the street." I always thought those women holding up pictures of naked legs and meat grinders did it for the love of it.'), so that made it easy to get into.

The Village Voice Reader. I realize compilations have it easy, nonetheless there was an awful lot of good stuff in the Voice's first decade (1955-65). Btw, its sort of recent demise was anticlimactic, since it had gone from alternative newspaper to alternative-to-news paper on its 2006 takeover by "New Times Inc", and so remained to the bitter end. On the bright side, the Bitter End on Bleecker Street is still going.

Jack's Book, edited by Barry Gifford and Lawrence Lee Memories of Jack Kerouac. By various, even many. Which helps, of course.

A Freewheelin' Time, by Suze Rotolo. Strikes a good balance between being Bob Dylan's girlfriend for a year or so, Dylan himself during that young emerging period, and just Suze Rotolo, autonomous human being. Among, not between.

No Lifeguard on Duty, Janice Dickinson. Like Beverly Johnson, she describes some creepy behavior by Bill Cosby which she probably wouldn't have bothered to mention were his actual behavior not creepier still. That is just one very small detail from the book, but I'm trying to make it relevant to today's reader.

Is Everyone Hanging out without Me?, Mindy Kaling. I knew her name but wasn't really sure who she was. Anyway, she is funny.

No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs, by Johnny Rotten. "...people are quite boring, and they do like good tunes. That will always confound me. I've always preferred the raw edge, the racket. A good tune is just a good tune; it's neither here nor there". It might have changed by musical life, had I had one.
Old 01-08-2019, 09:47 AM
Elendil's Heir is offline
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: my Herkimer Battle Jitney
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Originally Posted by Dung Beetle View Post
... The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. A man gets reincarnated a whole bunch of times, and he remembers what happened before…Huh, weird. Well, anyway, this guy lives the same life, and he has a nemesis, so it’s way different from the other book....
I enjoyed that book, all in all, but hated it towards the end when
the bad guy told Harry exactly what he intended to do, without having to, and thus gave Harry the chance to stop him. As bad an example of a villain inexplicably, unnecessarily, and self-defeatingly "monologuing" as I've ever seen.

I highly recommend Ken Grimwood's Replay, which has a similar premise but is IMHO a much better book. Likewise Kate Atkinson's Life After Life, come to think of it.
Old 01-08-2019, 11:06 AM
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puddleglum is offline
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: a van down by the river
Posts: 6,316
I really liked The Billion Dollar Spy. It was a really interesting story of how espionage worked in the Cold War and what life was like for a well off Soviet citizen.
For fiction All the light we can not see was very good until the climax.
Old 01-26-2019, 05:46 PM
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DZedNConfused is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Post Apocalyptic U.S
Posts: 1,500
I'm a wee late to the Party this year.....

My Favorite ten books in no apparent order

(several of these are series because they were just that good!) (also disclaimer, most of these are m/m)

1. The Sins of the City series by K. J. Charles. I loved the feeling of Victorian England and the mystery was intriguing, the inclusion of a non binary character was just icing on the cake.

2. The Snow & Winter series by C. S. Poe. The mysteries were exciting and each of them had a literary connection. Her characters were fun to spend time with, interesting and Calvin, in particular, changed a lot from first to third book.

3. The Beacon Hill Necromancer series by S. J Himes. Yeah Anne Rice, vampires CAN do the naughty and be elegant, deadly and remorseful with the need for beating the reader of the head with a Bible. The series has action, world building and dragons on the streets of Boston.

4. Bedside Manner by D J Jamison. An emotional story about an ER doctor finally coming out of the closet at age 40 and falling for a much younger man, and what that means to his life, his career and his friends.

5. The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant by Drew Hayes. So that Death and Taxes thing? Turns out even the undead still need to file and here's Fred, ready to help, as well as help save his graduating class from werewolves, find a missing junkie alchemist, save a group of innocent Larpers from a wizard and more...

6. How to Marry a Werewolf by Gail Carriger. FINALLY Major Channing meets someone strong enough to stand up to him but bendable to charm his heart. Ms. Carriger's women are wonderful (except for Pru, sheesh), damaged and strong with fragile edges.

7. Good Omensby Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaimon. Ridiculous and funny, it was just the thing for break time during a massive home improvement project.

8. Ghostland by Colin Dickey. An interesting look at haunted places in America, from the viewpoint of why they are considered haunted instead of a salacious book about murders and tortured spirits.

9. A Reason to Believe by Diana Copeland. A cynical cop sees a ghost of a murdered child and has to put aside his doubts to team up with a celebrity psychic to solve the mystery.

10. Widdershins by Jordan L Hawk. Lovecraftian horror meets feminism, closeted professors and madcap hijinks in late Victorian Massachusetts. The end was a bit too "whatever" from the characters to be realistic, but the world building and characters totally carried the story.


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