What have you been reading? - Book Discussion Thread

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#201 Posted by Markus1395 (76 posts) -

I'm just about done with Brent Weeks' Night Angel Trilogy again. Not sure how many times I've read it now. I seem to have a problem making the commitment to start new books and instead re-read something I know I like. Which, when I think about it, also applies to video games for me, as well.

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#202 Posted by LawGamer (1481 posts) -

Been reading A World Undone, which is a history of WWI. It's pretty fascinating and depressing at the same time.

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#203 Posted by Rorie (5880 posts) -

I just read the Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee. Pretty good space opera stuff, although it suffered a bit from never quite explaining how the religion/tech in the book really worked. I pieced enough together over time to make some sense of it, though. Apart from that the action was all pretty good! Looking forward to the sequel next month.

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#204 Posted by clagnaught (2140 posts) -

I just started reading Countdown to Zero Day by Kim Zetter. I've been wanting to read it for a while, but I started reading it now because I have an upcoming project on Stuxnet. I think it's pretty good so far.

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#205 Posted by kopcik (98 posts) -

I just read "knight of the seven kingdom" by R.R. Martin. Great stories from game of thrones universe.Cannot recommend more really entertaining book. One of those you read in one sitting.

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#206 Edited by kopcik (98 posts) -

@humanity: @humanity: you must read "the invincible" by Lem. Read all of his work and I trully have to recommend it to you. You won't be disappointed!

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#207 Posted by Relkin (1214 posts) -

I've been going back to some of the books from my childhood, but in audio-book form. I'm currently on Dragonflight, the first of the Dragons of Pern franchise. I remember really enjoying this series as a kid, but boy this book is kind of messed up. The two main characters are truly despicable human beings.

Oh, I also read the first Witcher(Last Wish?) book not that long ago. I enjoyed it.

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#208 Posted by PaddyDodger (45 posts) -

Have recently started AJ Lee's book.

Man, the stories from her childhood are depressing as fuck.

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#209 Posted by Humanity (18948 posts) -

@kopcik: Why that novel in particular?

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#210 Posted by SSully (5635 posts) -

I finished Norse Mythology, The Handmaid's Tale, and Collapsing Empire in the last month and a half (thank you travel). Norse Mythology is basically a short story collection - interesting stories to read for 15 mins at a time. I enjoyed it.

Absolutely loved Handmaid's Tale and Collapsing Empire. Both were incredibly hard to put down, but also very different books. Collapsing Empire was my first Scalzi book and it was good fun. Very light and entertaining sci-fi. I will have to check out more of his stuff. Handmaid's Tale is just a really beautifully written piece of dire fiction. Would love to know if anyone could recommend any of Margaret Atwood's other books.

I am currently reading through Silence and listening to The Cartel on audio book. Silence is wonderful so far. I bought it a few months back - on a whim this week I read the foreword and intro by the translator to kill some time, but then I ended up reading the first three chapters. The Cartel is hard to describe, but I am really enjoying it so far. It jumps between very different character perspectives and each brings a totally different kind of tone. I hate how the narrator narates the women, but besides that it's a good audiobook.

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#211 Posted by kopcik (98 posts) -

@humanity: It's far most cinematic book he ever wrote. I would love to see a movie based on it.Besides it's one of his best books, better than 'Solaris' in my opinion.

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#212 Posted by LookRight (2 posts) -

I have just re-read the whole Song of Ice and Fire in hope of new book release.

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#213 Edited by WezqApe (86 posts) -

I'm currently at book 15 of the Horus Heresy series. It has stayed entertaining for about 14 more books than I expected.

In between space marines and bolters there's occasionally a need to take a break from the grim darkness of the far future, where there is only war and read something a bit less grim and dark.

So I read through Mostly Void, Partially Stars, which is Welcome to Night Vale in a book form. I enjoyed the other Night Vale book and this one doesn't dissapoint. The stories of Night Vale are absurd and funny in a way that I really appreciate.

I also read through Yahtzee Croshaws latest "Will Save The Galaxy For Food". Good, but not great. It had some great moments and I still really enjoy Yahtzees style and wit, but I felt like something was missing. It felt like there was always one more gear to shift to, but the story refused to go there.

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#214 Edited by Humanity (18948 posts) -

@kopcik: Maybe I'll check it out. I've kind of given up on much lauded classic sci-fi as it's just not for me. Both Philip K. Dick and Lem who I've read appear to be philosophy students trying to sneak some "deep thoughts" under the guise of sci-fi. For instance Solaris presents a lot of thought provoking and radical ideas of who we are and more specifically what defines the "self" that we currently are. Memories? Emotions? Experiences? It's truly fascinating when you delve deeper into it as well as the subplot of what happens when humanity, so desperate to find alien life finds it beyond our comprehension when were finally confronted with it.

That said, it's not actually a good book. The story it's telling isn't presented in a particularly interesting or even well put together fashion. It's all structured completely in service of the philosophizing. Another one of his books, Eden, is similarly interesting as a metaphor for socialist governments and all that particular eastern european jazz, but is a very lackluster story.


In other news I've completed Harrisons Nova Swing, which proved to be a better book than Light. Still too much wordplay and too little storytelling but at least it was contained - maybe an editor put their foot down? Since I'm on a roll I've started up Empty Space and it's a good thing too since Empty Space appears to be literally a direct continuation of Nova Swing (if you connected the two books you would hardly miss a step) as well as tying in one of the stories from the first book Light. I've heard this is the most incomprehensible one of the three, which considering the last two entries will be a challenge. If it exceeds the fever dream weirdness of A Storm of Wings then I'll truly be impressed.

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#215 Posted by Sinusoidal (3608 posts) -

Finished The Bohr Maker and had a good time. Nagata writes very well. Interesting characters, great world building, fun and far-reaching science. My only complaint is that her villain was a bit mustache-twirling, over-the-top Machiavellian. It holds up very well for being 22 years old. I'm adding more Linda Nagata to the ever-growing to-read list.

I'm three-quarters of the way through Peter Watts' Blindsight and it's awesome. I'm a big fan of Watts' Rifter's Trilogy, though I thought the quality of those suffered a bit in the later two books. Well, Watts' writing grew phenomenally between those books and this one. Dark, hard, sci-fi horror with ideas out the wazoo and deep characters. My favorite thing I've read in quite some time so far. I have a hard time putting it down.

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#217 Posted by Captain_Insano (3532 posts) -

I pretty much exclusively read non-fiction history books now. At the moment I'm reading Persian Fire by Tom Holland.

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#218 Posted by pyromagnestir (4505 posts) -

Oh I finished American Gods and it was quite good, now I'm watching the tv adaptation and it seems pretty good too.

After that I kinda slowed down on my pace for books for a week or two, but now I've started The Two Towers, as I've never actually read through Lord of the Rings and been meaning to get to that for some time now.

Also I'm going through a book called Muhammad by Karen Armstrong, it's the second book she wrote on the prophet Muhammad I believe. It's going through his life and what he actually preached and did. It's interesting.

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#220 Posted by LostOddity (102 posts) -

Read the red rising trilogy. The first one has a pretty good Team based Battle Royal in it. Every book felt like it was about 100 pages shorter than it should be. That's what i get for being too lazy to read full books recently. Still, pretty good for what it was tho.

Also The Ascendance Trilogy - Woof - i knew it was bad after the first one - still read the other 2?!?

@pyromagnestir: If you liked American gods you should check out the graveyard it's my favorite Gaiman book. It has the same problems as all his books but the world and characters are really fun and charming.

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#221 Posted by lamanhxx (1 posts) -

I've recently read Rich Dad Poor Dad. Those books are really good for anyone who wanna starts his own business.

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#222 Posted by manqy (62 posts) -

I've been reading the Dark Tower series. I'm currently on the fourth book (Wizard and Glass), and I'm really liking the series so far. I've read a lot of Stephen King books already, so it's a bit strange that it's taken me this long to get to the Dark Tower books. I was not a huge fan of the first book (The Gunslinger), but I'm really glad that I kept going with the series because everything since then has been great.

I'm a pretty slow reader so there's no way I'll be able to finish the books before the movie leaves theatres, but that's okay. I've been trying pretty hard not to keep away from any spoilers about the movie too in case it spoils the books at all (even though I know it's not a direct adaptation).

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#223 Edited by ThomasVivaldi (36 posts) -
@manqy said:

I was not a huge fan of the first book (The Gunslinger),

I felt the same, then decided to pick up the series again if I ever found Drawing of the Three in a secondhand bookstore. That was over a year ago. Went into a Barnes and noble and saw they had a movie reprinting of the series. Looked all over the store for a copy, none. No older copies. It's like some sinister force is trying to keep me from reading the book.

Anyway, I saw Daniel Handler's new book We Are Pirates and thought I'd give it a shot.

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#224 Posted by pyromagnestir (4505 posts) -

Had a bit of a slow period where I wasn't reading as consistently for a bit but right now I'm in the middle of:

A Country of Vast Designs, about the presidency of James K. Polk, who was president during a very active point of early U.S. history, when Texas was annexed, war broke out with Mexico, and negotiations were heating up with Britain over Oregon territory. Polk's the main focus of the book but I don't really have much of a read on him, as there are a lot of other much more colorful figures around him who stand out much more, while he's rather ambitious and a bit full of himself, but generally a politician's politician who keeps his real thoughts and aims close to the vest. Also at this point in history slavery is a big problem, and becoming a very heated point of contention in U.S. politics, but he doesn't seem to care about that at all.

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, I'm a guy who loved the movies but only recently have been getting around to reading through the books. Turns out they're quite good.

And I'm near the end of:

Black Powder War, book 3 of a series about the Napoleonic wars, only if everybody also had dragons, and the dragons could talk and were quite fun. It's rather enjoyable.

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#225 Posted by nicolenomicon (852 posts) -

Haven't had the time to read much lately, but I devoured My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness recently and really loved it. Felt maybe a little called out hahaha.

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#226 Posted by theanticitizen (418 posts) -

The Secret History of Twin Peaks - super cool dossier style novel about the inner workings of the black lodge and the events leading up to the show.

Console Wars - really enjoying the personal accounts of the Sega vs Nintendo years of the early 90s. It's fun to see Nintendo painted as the villain too. That's not something you see very often and it's really refreshing. Also: they were one cutthroat company

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#227 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1405 posts) -

I finished The Blood of Elves last month and I really enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to continuing the Witcher series in the near future.

For nonfiction, I listened to the audiobook of Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance. It's a fascinating and honest look into hillbilly culture and some issues that working-class white folks deal with, and it manages to be informative and sincere, although the author does slide into some new-money elitism every so often.

I've read bits and pieces of the first six Dune novels (and I saw both the movie and the Sci-Fi Channel miniseries) but I've never actually sat down and gotten through one of the books, so I'm listening to the audiobook of Dune. The version I'm listening to has a large cast of voice actors, so it's pretty interesting.

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#228 Posted by jkz (4286 posts) -

Just finished The Pendragon Legend by Antal Szerb. He wrote one of my favorite books ever in Journey by Moonlight, but I hadn't read the rest of his oeuvre (which is much lighter and breezier comparatively.) Really enjoyed it, does a great job parodying Gothic, mystery, and romance literature of the time, and is filled with really fun characters (especially the MC, who I bounced between wanting to slap across the face to wanting to sit down and have a nice coffee with like a metronome) and a ton of Szerb's dry, piercing humor.

It's basically a romance novel without an actual romance, a mystery novel wherein the mystery's been solved before the MC even comes into contact with it. Really clever and enjoyable, and the pace is quick and never really bogs down in any one aspect of the story; it bounces between the romance, mystery, and historical mysticism sides of itself without ever feeling schizophrenic or unfocused. A really fun read if you're into period literature that's fun and breezy, while still having a layer of philosophical inquiry and piercing satire layered over the top.

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#229 Posted by mordukai (8516 posts) -

I have been catching up on R.A. Salvatore Dark Elf storyline which I have been out of for the past decade or so.

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#230 Edited by SloppyDetective (1618 posts) -

So I've been mostly reading comics as of late. Some Old Man Logan, which I liked enough. The story beats in the first run felt cheesy or cliche, but I liked the post-apocalypse western vibe.

Superior Foes of Spiderman has been a fun jaunt. Someone compared it to Fraction's Hawkeye, which I can see the comparisons, but it really doesn't hold a candle to it in my eyes.

Been loosing some steam on the New 52 Batman story arc. But I just got through their telling of the origin story and hope it picks back up again.

As far as pros go: I started American Gods a while back, but haven't touched it in about a month. I think I may just give up on this read and hopefully re start it at some point in the future.

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#231 Posted by AstaLav1sta (15 posts) -

Loren Oliver - Before I fall

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#232 Edited by Orexis97 (100 posts) -

I'm sure @vinny will be happy/horrified to hear that I've been diving into the Warhammer 40k hole and have been reading the Eisenhorn novels. Finished Xenos a few months ago and super dug it and I'm going through Malleus right now. After finishing Xenos, I'm reeeeally curious how that super janky looking video game adaptation that Austin and Vinny quick looked handles some of the later parts of that novel.

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#233 Posted by gaminghooligan (1831 posts) -

Secret History of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost is a really good read for anyone interested in the weird lore of the show.

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#234 Edited by sparky_buzzsaw (8931 posts) -

Finally finished up City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin, the last in his Passage series. It's really pretty good, despite some early problems I had with a deluge of characters. The series as a whole is terrific horror-adventure stuff, so if you're after something meaty and fun, give it a read.

I do have an issue with the third book in that (massive spoilers here) the entire world seems to have forgotten about the vampires that wiped out humanity. Cronin uses this to create a seriously tense "second fall of man" situation that could have been achieved without the universal dumbing down of its characters.

Apart from that, it's fantastic and leaves me excited for whatever he writes next.

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#235 Posted by eddiephlash (327 posts) -

Just picked up Red Legacy:


Interesting sci-fi / alternate history story.

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#236 Posted by RetroMetal (871 posts) -

A.R. Wise's trilogy called 314 (Widowsfield Trilogy).

It's pretty great, very dark... dude is twisted.

It would make a pretty cool TV series or miniseries. I wont give anything away here as you almost need a freaking flowchart to keep track of everything going on.

If you like horror and you like your horror with a bit of gore and a whole lotta "wtf is going on", you might like it.

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#237 Posted by jeffrud (717 posts) -

I'm actually taking all of July off of video games to focus on reading, traveling, and getting out into nature while the weather is alright. It's given me a chance to jam through Confessions of an English Opium Eater by Thomas de Quincey. Turns out the book is about 75% biographical, focusing primarily on the life of "lower-upper class" Englishman at the turn of the 19th century as he crashes out of polite society and becomes what we'd recognize now as a drug addict. The other quarter of the book is a mix of polemic and extollation on the pros and cons of opium abuse, with some space reserved to descriptions of opium dreams. There's also some "surprise, he's a racist!" mixed in for good measure.

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#238 Posted by LostOddity (102 posts) -

I finally got around to reading to reading the last Fitz and Fool book by Robin Hobb.

Easily one of my top 5 book series ever. After so many books covering so much of his life Fitz feels like one of the most complete characters in Fantasy.

Ending left me kinda cold, but it wouldn't feel like a Hobb Trilogy if it didn't I guess.

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#239 Posted by jadegl (1414 posts) -

Right now I am reading The Collector by John Fowles. I needed something a bit more weighty after finishing Armada by Ernest Cline, which was straight garbage.

I also finished The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, which was amazing. I never really got into Plath's poetry, but her prose is wonderful.

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#240 Posted by stryker1121 (2171 posts) -

I've been working on Stephen King's The Dark Tower series. I'm currently on book 7/7 and hoping to finish this month.

After Herbert's Dune series, this has to be one of the toughest set of novels I've ever attempted to push through. That's not to say the series is bad, but there are definite slow spots (particularly book 4, Wizard and Glass) and it is exceedingly long with lots of detours. The series is absolutely loaded with pop culture references and the themes of fate/destiny are almost overbearing. That being said, King's signature style is present and at least keeps things interesting. The fourth wall gets broken in a way I've never experienced before, with mostly positive results. Considering the tale starts as western, you'll be very surprised at what it eventually becomes.

I probably would only recommend this series if you have a lot of free time (I've been deployed, so there's not much else to do) or if you're extremely excited for the upcoming movie.

I could go on all day about DT but I'll spare you the intimate details :) The series is very erratic in terms of quality, and I hated the reason for the world existing that King added in what I'd deem his post-accident books (5,6,7). He seemed to be exorcising some demons there, but it killed the magic for me. That said, I do hold the series in high esteem for the ambition of it, as well as a wonderful set of characters.

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#241 Posted by pyromagnestir (4505 posts) -

My thoughts get a bit long so I'll just stick them in spoiler blocks if anyone wants to read them.

Well I finished Country of Vast Designs a week or so ago, it was a very interesting look at the presidency of James Polk who seems to have been a fairly accomplished president in a couple ways, though I do not think much of him as a person.

After that I finished Stolen Legacy by George G.M. James, who proposes that Greek philosophy that has been attributed to various still well known names such as Pythagoras, Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato was in fact mostly if not entirely actually Egyptian philosophy which these people either plagiarized intentionally or have just been given undue credit for.

I listened to it as an audiobook but the format of the book was such that I think that hurt my experience a bit. It is an academic book and was broken up into heading and subheadings and various arguments and pieces of evidence and there's lots of repetition and the narrator read it at kind of a fast pace (and at times it was just poorly edited as there were times where they'd repeat the sentence or say a word wrong and then just start reading over again which were left in somehow) so all these things in conjunction made it so I feel like a lot of it just didn't sink in as much as I woulda liked.

As for the arguments themselves I'm partial to believe that the Greek philosophers probably were at the very least building off of ideas previously established by people who had come up with them before and that as the Egyptians were the longest lasting and most advanced society of the Mediterranean they likely would be the ones to have come up with much of it, but this book was written in 1954 so some of his evidence seemed perhaps odd or maybe out of date and he was quick to dismiss the possibility that the Greeks contributed anything at all which, I dunno, seems a bit much and is equally as impossible a claim to verify as the claim they did in fact come up with all their ideas themselves from scratch.

Now I'm starting John Quincy Adams by Harlow Unger. He's staunchly anti slavery so I already like him much better than Polk.

And for fiction:

I finished Warrior's Apprentice, another fun book in Lois McMaster Bujold's sci fi series.

This particular book was about a kid from a planet that is reminiscent of ancient Sparta as on this planet being a soldier is all that matters, and his dad is the second most powerful person on the planet to only the emperor, only this kid was born with some serious physical defects so he relies on his cleverness and wit as he gets into various sticky situations that his cleverness and wit get him into in the first place. This kid is the main character of most of the books in this series, though the ones I read before were about his parents.

I also finished LOTR Two Towers and hey guess what that book's alright.

Now I'm on to Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu and I'm digging it thus far.

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#242 Edited by TrulyAlive (1178 posts) -

@alphasquid: Did you ever finish Human Acts? I just burned through it this week and that might be my favourite book of the past decade.

I've always loved reading but I've never had a book actually inspire genuine emotion and from the first page of that book I felt a sort of gutteral heartbreak that I'm very unaccustomed to.

Hell, for the impact it had on me that might even be a contender for my favourite book of all time (sorry Philip K. Dick!)

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#243 Posted by Rorie (5880 posts) -

I have been checking out Iain Banks' Culture novels recently, about halfway through the cycle. I like that they're mostly unrelated! I also like that he knows big words and doesn't solely rest on Big Ideas. They're weird, though; the first novel feels like it could be an episode of a Culture TV show, whereas the one I'm currently on (Excession) feels a lot more grand and big. Seem good so far!

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#244 Posted by Sinusoidal (3608 posts) -

Now I'm on to Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu and I'm digging it thus far.

It's a great trilogy, but the first half of the second book nearly killed it for me. If you get stuck there like I did, know that it gets much better.

Last time I posted I'd started Blindsight. Well, it's some of the most thought provoking and bleak science fiction I've ever read. Watts completely knocks it out of the park. If you're prone to existential angst or depression, you might way to avoid it since some of the themes on the nature of consciousness (the point of the entire book really) are disturbing. Since then, I've also read:

  • Robert Reed - Marrow - This one was a bit of strange read. It features some very flowery prose for a book about an intergalactic "Great Ship" and its human crew who are hundreds of thousands of years old. It also doesn't really earn a lot of its massiveness. Reed will write "5000 years later" and then almost nothing will have changed. Still, it's got some good action and a cool mystery going on that is at least somewhat solved by the end. The sequels might cover more ground, but I didn't like it enough to dive into those immediately.
  • Alastair Reynolds - Pushing Ice - I like Reynolds a lot and this one often gets recommended as one of his best. I disagree. It's a mess of a book featuring some really wild ideas hampered by obnoxiously flawed characters and a copious amount of massive, gaping plot holes. He'll put something forward that seems really important and then completely forget about it for the rest of the book or have characters or entire races of characters act completely inconsistently in order to serve the "plot". As much as it's flawed, it's still a fun read for the sheer scope of the ideas themselves. Just try not to think too hard about what's happening and you should enjoy yourself.
  • Peter F. Hamilton - Chronicle of the Fallers duology -I unabashedly love Peter F. Hamilton. He writes tightly plotted, massive-idea science fiction doorstops featuring stock characters doing fun things. He'll describe his characters' breakfasts in painstaking detail and somehow make it fun to read. He'll make up terms like "enzyme bonded concrete" and "macrocellular clusters" and just assume we know what he is talking about. I've read all his novels, and these two are a mixed bag. The first, Abyss Beyond Dreams, is the closest I've ever come to being disappointed by him. Lame characters and a setting we've seen before that's been dumbed down. It's only a cool mystery and some fun antics by a series mainstay that save it from complete mediocrity. The second book, Night Without Stars, is a massive improvement. This book features vicious giant alien aquatic bear-elephants wielding pump-action bazookas, and that's just the tip of the craziness iceberg. Recommended for fans. If you haven't read him before, start elsewhere. Fallen Dragon or the first Commonwealth duology: Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained are great introductions.
  • Neal Asher - Gridlinked - This is the first in a whole bunch of books Asher wrote in his "Polity" universe. It's secret agent, horror-ish, high tech action adventure featuring ancient aliens, incomprehensible technology and some fantastic characters. There are a couple new trilogies and some stand alones I never got around to the first time I read them, so I've gone back and started over before I get to the new stuff. Imminently readable. Asher deserves more credit than he gets. I'd say he's as good if not a better writer than Hamilton and Reynolds and they're both huge, multi-million best sellers.

I'm on the second Asher novel now: The Line of Polity, and they just get better.

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#245 Posted by sparky_buzzsaw (8931 posts) -

Amazon's been recommending Brotherhood of the Wheel and Mongrels to me, and I think I'm gonna bite the bullet on one of those when I'm done with some editing. Anyone read both and have a strong opinion on which one to start with? Leaning towards Brotherhood.

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#246 Posted by pyromagnestir (4505 posts) -

@sinusoidal: Blindsight is so good. There's a follow up called Echopraxia that's alright, but as complex as some of the concepts present are in Blindsight it has a sort of simplicity to the set up and overall plot that I think really works for it but from what I recall I felt the sequel is a bit more convoluted. Has some cool ideas though.

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#247 Edited by dudeglove (13779 posts) -

I'm currently reading Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes. Normally wouldn't read such a thing, but this is the world we live in now and people like to try to make sense of things, and the authors have done a lot of work, parsing together accounts from top to bottom. Even though this book characterizes Clinton somewhat favorably, holy shit does her entire campaign seem like a damn nightmare filled with egos jockeying for attention and access into the Clintons' "inner circle" (neatly summed by one line that goes something like "Do you want to win this, or is this highschool?"). I know politics ain't easy, and this book demonstrates that the HRC campaign's wounds were largely self inflicted.

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#248 Posted by Sinusoidal (3608 posts) -

@sinusoidal: Blindsight is so good. There's a follow up called Echopraxia that's alright, but as complex as some of the concepts present are in Blindsight it has a sort of simplicity to the set up and overall plot that I think really works for it but from what I recall I felt the sequel is a bit more convoluted. Has some cool ideas though.

Blindsight really didn't need a sequel. I got burned on the sequels to Starfish which were, if not disappointing, not what I wanted or expected at all in a follow up to that one. I don't trust Watts' sequels anymore. I might read Echopraxia out of morbid curiosity sometime.

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#249 Posted by Blu3V3nom07 (4499 posts) -

I'm listening to Ready Player One.

It's very cool and nerdy.

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#250 Posted by alphasquid (135 posts) -

@trulyalive: I'd like to talk about it but i only finished the first chapter. I was in a not great mental state when I started it and I couldn't take how profoundly depressing it was from the first page, so I moved to something else. I really need to get back to it.