What have you been reading? - Book Discussion Thread

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deactivated-5e6e407163fd7

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I just started reading Jaws a book about a shark named Jaws. I guess I'm just on a kick of reading the books that inspired the film hits of the late 60's and 70's. Its fine so far but it made such a point of making out the main character to be a down to earth, salt of the earth, earth man; it felt a little much. But I get the feeling this was more of a huge paperback/supermarket/airplane book of its time rather than capital-L-literature.

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sparky_buzzsaw

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This isn't so much what I'm reading, but both David Wong and Emily St. John Mandel are coming out with new books this year, and that makes me pretty darned happy.

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MonkeyKing1969

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I just started reading Jaws a book about a shark named Jaws. I guess I'm just on a kick of reading the books that inspired the film hits of the late 60's and 70's. Its fine so far but it made such a point of making out the main character to be a down to earth, salt of the earth, earth man; it felt a little much. But I get the feeling this was more of a huge paperback/supermarket/airplane book of its time rather than capital-L-literature.

From what I know, the book included something about Brody's wife 'having past' with Hooper. That seems to be one of those small town complications Hallmark Channel would love.

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bmccann42

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I got back into the Expanse series of books - I've gotten bad at not keeping up with reading these days.

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BladeOfCreation

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(Both books mentioned were listened to in audio book form.)

I decided to listen to Empire of the Summer Moon, a book about the Comanche tribe. It's fairly popular and showed up in a list of recommended books based on other history books that I've read. I made it just past chapter 3. The author's clear disdain for the Comanches, Apaches, and other Indian tribes made the book unreadable.

If Samuel Huntington and Rudyard Kipling co-wrote a book about a tribe of American Indians, it would read something like this. Part Clash of Civilizations and part White Man's Burden, there was often no clear distinction between the author's own words and the words of the primary sources he quoted. There were times when I had to go back and listen again just to be clear that the author wasn't quoting anyone. This became the first book I ever returned on Audible.

___________________________________

I'm working my way through the Witcher books. So far, I'm not impressed. Geralt is a witcher, a slayer of monsters. He doesn't slay any monsters in this book.

The Time of Contempt is the second novel in the series. An alternate title could've been The Time of Everyone Arguing. About 3/4 of the dialogue in this book is people--even friends--arguing with one another. Ciri argues with Yennefer, Yennefer argues with Geralt, mages #1-5 argue with sorcerers #6-10, Geralt argues with Dandelion, and even throwaway fodder characters argue with other throwaway characters before they get slaughtered. It's just tedious. The Time of Contempt takes what feels like the slow parts of an entire fantasy series and shoves them into a single book.

The only real highlights are the parts that involve Ciri learning about her powers and surviving on her own, which will hopefully have a payoff later in the series.

I hope the next book picks up the pace considerably.

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MonkeyKing1969

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I liesten to books, but I justlistend to a full "audio drama with multiple voices" for a pop-scifi series ahev have been enjying

Homefront: An Expeditionary Force Audio Drama Special
Narrated by: Zachary Quinto , R.C. Bray , Kate Mulgrew , Robert Picardo , Lisa Renee Pitts , P.J. Ochlan , Peter Berkrot , etc.

It is worth hearing if you know the series otherwise not. Its just that unless you know teh story you will be lost and not understand for ongoing themes and story threads. Heaing Quinto, Mulgrew, Picardo and R.C. Bray is fun through.

I think I will post this here since the "human malware" is effect everyone at some level. Your local library likley gives you access to free audiobook and free eBook (Kindel & ePub) from OverDrive, Hoopla, and other companies. If you live near a big library you might have access to free online movies from Kanopi, Overdrive, etc. Online classes from Lynda.com and LinkedIn Learning.

Check to see what your library might have for download if you have a card; and if you DO NOT have a card see if there is an eCard option. Audiobooks, movies, and classes fill time productively.

Or, check out Open Culture.com that has all sorts of stuff free online to enjoy immediately:

48 Hours of Joseph Campbell LecturesFree Online: The Power of Myth & Storytelling
http://www.openculture.com/2015/08/48-hours-of-joseph-campbell-lectures-free-online.html



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MonkeyKing1969

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Empire Rising, Ice Station Nautilus, and Blackmail by Rick Campbell

These comprise books #2, #3 and #4 of Trident Deception series. Its series of "US Navy" mostly submarines based military thriller books. These books center on a 3rd person narration, but mostly centered on Christine O'Connor, a Military advisor for the President. Christine O'Connor is a 'Jack Ryan' type always in the wrong place at the right time to safeguard US interest. It’s a bit more refreshing to see a female dead in this sort of book, but at the end of the day she is a bit of a Mary Sue (i.e. fictional character, usually female, who is seen as too perfect and almost boring for lack of flaws.) O'Connor is a 35 you. attractive busty, blond who is half Irish and half Russian who was a former college gymnast. She can shoot nearly any weapon accurately, can survive multiple assassination attempts getting out of them like Black Widow style with fist fights and has a body count of three or four government officials in various countries. Oh, she often winds up diving with Navy Seals on all her missions either on the mission or being rescued by the SEALs). Yeah, it is all good fun and why should James Bond have more fun than Christine O'Connor, right?

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a_z

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This isn't so much what I'm reading, but both David Wong and Emily St. John Mandel are coming out with new books this year, and that makes me pretty darned happy.

That's nice, to have something to look forward to.

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Humanity

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I’ve been reading Murakamis latest Killing Commendatore and it is classic Murakami. Book is like 700 pages long and 350 pages in it feels like it’s only now really beginning. For these somewhat troubled times it is relaxing to pick up and read a chapter or two.

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I am currently about half way through Robert Jordans fourth/fifth? Book in the Wheel of Time series The Shadow Rising. Also mulling over picking up graphic novel Kill Six Billion Demons.

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BladeOfCreation

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The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter, narrated by Prentice Onayemi. I'm about 3/4 of the way through, and just...wow. A fascinating magic system, a fucked up world, and some fantastic fight scenes turn this coming-of-age/revenge take into an enjoyable read. I'll be posting a full review when I finish it, but so far I'm a big fan.

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splodge

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#569  Edited By splodge

I have an issue in that I just finished the R Scott Bakker AspectEmperor books and now I cant read fantasy anymore. It is all so trite, by the numbers, and fucking boring and predictable. Bakker has to be one of the greatest writers in the genre ever. I cant find anything else that remotely touches his work. I have started and stopped four or five different series since then and they have all been the same terrible bullshit.

I am kind of pissed off about it as I LOVE fantasy but have seen the sun now and cant go back. Any recommendations for fantasy that is not shlocky shite? I understand shlocky shite is sometimes exactly what people want, and it sells, but Jesus I am tired of it. (Note I have read the Malazan books, GOT, wheel of time, Gene wolfe already).

Edit - sorry if this whole thing comes off as a bit elitist, it's just that those books are that fucking good. It has ruined fantasy for me. They are that good.

Help.

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Prince_of_Space

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@splodge: I haven't read them (they're on my to-do list) so I can't really recommend them, but the "Gormenghast" novels are supposed to be fantasy works on par with LotR that never got due recognition in their author's time. Thematically more in line with Gothic fiction than Tolkienesque fantasy, from what I gather.

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splodge

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#571  Edited By splodge

@prince_of_space: I have read them and they are indeed amazing. Mervyn Peake was a masterful writer. The story is somewhat surreal and obtuse but the world he builds within the books is incredible. Absolutely great books.

I would recommend the Bakker books to anyone, but be prepared for some extreme content. The Orc equivalent is a sort of engineered beast that craves sexual climax through violence, and there is a lot of violent sexual imagery in the books. The world it is set in is extremely harsh and life is very, very cheap. If that stuff isnt too much for you, they are honestly I think up there with the best fantasy books ever written.

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stantongrouse

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#572  Edited By stantongrouse

I have also found a lot more reading time, although I have lent towards comics. Worked my way through the Hellboy series, IDW Transformers (selected collections as they can be hit and miss) and Love and Rockets. Not been able to justify this much re-reading in ages, tiny victories where you can get them.

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GhostHouse

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I just finished the third Malazan book (Memories of Ice) which was fantastic but those books are so enormous that I definitely need a break from the series before continuing on. Recently started the first Dresden Files book which is really fun so far as well as being a much easier and faster read.

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BladeOfCreation

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I finished The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter. While most the story beats are pretty standard, the descriptions of fight scenes are brutal and enjoyable and, there's a--not quite a twist, but a turning point--in the story that feels pretty natural. I'm definitely going to be reading the sequel. The narration by Prentice Onayemi is fantastic.

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regmcfly

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#575  Edited By regmcfly

Several things at the moment -

The Gradual by Christopher Priest.

Most people know him as he wrote The Prestige which got Nolan'd, but he's been a master of twisty pseudo sci fi for 20 years prior. This returns to the Dream Archipelago which he set up prior a d is quite a journey.

A World on Fire by Amanda Foreman -

Incredible book that does a blow by blow of the build up to the Civil War. What's incredible is the insidious presence by the UK (hello county) on it, and more importantly, the desire to outdo it. Abolishing slavery was about keeping up with the Joneses. How sad.

Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood - as a Catholic (not practising) it's almost impossible to be a priest and have a family but Lockwood's father managed it. He's completely unhinged and her memoirs show the fractured and hilarious life she has led because of it.

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GerbilsInSpace

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I'm reading Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga. I have been feeling like I'm missing context for Black history in my country, and after the last few weeks it's never felt more vital. It was fascinating to learn that the city I live in was more ethnically diverse during Roman occupation than it is now.

I'm not too far in, but it's been a while since I've found anything so engrossing. I've been finding myself getting annoyed that I can't learn more about specific people as we only get little sketches, but that's kind of the point of the book, it's all we know, their stories have been whitewashed. We've had to learn about the existence of Black Romans from analysing bones, rather than reading about them in our history.

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BaneFireLord

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Just finished Epitaph by Mary Doria Russell. Very melancholy retelling of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral with some of the most evocative "roaring rampage of revenge" language I've ever had the pleasure to read. My next book's probably going to be getting back into Ron Chernow's Grant biography, which I read a chunk of last summer and then put aside when I got back to law school.

Also took inspiration from Vinny and have been trying to read every Marvel comic in order on the Marvel Unlimited app. Half the time the 60s villains end up just being communists and it never ceases to crack me up.

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Shindig

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#578 Shindig  Online

I've started reading Damon Hill's autobiography, "Watching the Wheels." I've only been through the introduction but he touches on a lot of things I'd never really considered. Like how when he retired, he quit motorsport entirely and struggled to cope with the new routine. He talks about how, when you're a famous person who decides not to show their face for a while, the press speculates that something's up.

The first chapter's on his father so I'm eager to find out what Damon's opinion was of him at home. I want to read about his pre-Formula 1 career. I've only heard snippets of his time on bikes.

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BladeOfCreation

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For nonfiction, I am struggling my way through William Dalrymple's The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company. I'm half way through it, and just, wow. Think of any corporate crime you can imagine, and not only was the East India Company probably guilty of it, chances are they were the prototype for it.

The audio narration is fantastic, but I found myself struggling to concentrate with the plethora of unfamiliar words and primary sources cited. You know that thing you did when writing college papers, where your professor would say you were only allowed one block quote, and you'd find the longest damn quote you could get away with? Dalrymple does that here. A lot. Some times for an entire page.

So, I decided to buy the ebook and follow along with the narration while reading. It requires more active listening/reading, but I highly recommend it for this book. It is fascinating, and infuriating, and it's clear that Dalrymple, feels a deep empathy for the Indian people who were fucked over by the company.

I'm slowly but surely making my way through this and I can't recommend it enough.

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nophilip

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I just finished the third Malazan book (Memories of Ice) which was fantastic but those books are so enormous that I definitely need a break from the series before continuing on. Recently started the first Dresden Files book which is really fun so far as well as being a much easier and faster read.

Yeah they are not easy reads, for sure. I read through the main series several years ago (I think I have posts in this thread about it, actually). Earlier this year I have started a re-read of the main series along with all the other books in the series that I have not read. I think including the novellas there's something like 27 total books. Reading them all in chronological order cause I'm a crazy person.

I will definitely taking a break this fall when Stormlight #4 drops.

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Humanity

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#581  Edited By Humanity

Recently I blazed through William Gibsons excellent Peripheral in order to refresh myself for the sequel Agency and I must say it's not nearly as good. Gibson is one of my favorite authors of all time and one of the unique things about him is that he rarely does by the number sequels. His most recent trilogy is the first of it's kind that had recurring characters from book to book, while all past trilogies shared the same world but told completely different stories. In a way that worked really well because there was a through line via the amazing world building and his innate ability to predict future trends, but you also got a completely different experience with every subsequent entry.

Peripheral also happened to be Gibsons return to his roots in that it was a very sci-fi/cyber-punk styled setting, while all his recent books have been moving steadily towards the here and now. The action simultaneously took place in the far-far future as well as our near future, and in his signature style riffed on how current technology would possible evolve in the next couple of decades - such as the relative ease of "printing" counterfeit tech like phones or the use of VR/AR to remotely operate machinery. There was a wonderful juxtaposition of the completely alien far flung future where nano assemblers were a commonplace item and this look into where our current tech could end up in 30-50 years.

I mention all this because Agency seems to lack a lot of those elements. It is an uncharacteristically direct sequel with plenty of characters making a return to the point where it really feels more like a continuation of the same story rather than a brand new novel. The key difference is that the second timeline is now basically of our current era with some slight political differences. 2017 was not all that interesting 3 years ago and it's not all that exciting to read about here either, and the far future timeline no longer holds the same sort of mystique as it did the first time you had to wrap your head around it.

Overall it's a decent read if you're a Gibson fan and I'm nearing the end so I'm curious where it is headed, but after such a breath of fresh air in his previous book, Agency feels very stale in comparison.

---

I've also finished Murakamis Killing Commendatore and that was a very long and mediocre read. Maybe he is losing steam or maybe I've outgrown his very specific style, but I've not really enjoyed any of Murakamis novels since 1Q84.

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thefizz

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@nophilip: Ahh, Stormlight is so good. Can't wait!

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Kitamuramiike

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Just finished two old 40k books DRACO: Inquisitor and Death World. Currently rereading Neuromancer for the...10th time? After that, probably Summer of the Ubume.

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Fobwashed

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Been re-reading the short story compilation Exhalation by Ted Chiang and it's just as good the second time as it was the first.