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What are you reading? (September 2017)

Dec

Member
I was gonna say there has to be cause that's how I read it but then I remembered I had a first edition hard copy because it was chock full of breathtakingly racist content that got removed in revised editions.

EDIT: Btw, I noticed in most Stephen King books (especially if the protagonist is on the run/traveling) someone gets a 'sack of burgers'. Has anyone ever done that before? Just ordered a bag full of burgers? Undetermined number and no fries or anything. It always struck me as weird.

I actually did do that once when I was in the USA and driving a long distance. Single burgers were like $1 or something and for lunch we just got like 12 for the road. Though of course I just asked for 12 burgers and they were in a bag, not a "sack of burgers".
 

pa22word

Member
So I'm about 300 pages through Seveneves by Neal Stephenson, and while it's a fun book this guy would make Lem frustrated by how much he gets bogged down in scientific minutiae. I swear that thus far if I broke it all down I've probably read about 40 pages of plot and the rest has been pure science masturbation xD

I think this guy missed his calling writing for Natgeo or something. I mean I don't really mind because I find this stuff super facinating--same reason I didn't mind it in Solaris--but it's a hard book to recommend to people because of it. I also love that the author even concedes that he's went too far and tries to win over people who are intimidated by the sheer amount of crap he throws at you over the course of the book by throwing in a character that's essentially Neil Degrasse Tyson in all but name to help people along so they don't get too lost by what's going on.
 

duckroll

Member
Blood, Sweat, and Pixels (Press Sneak Fuck)


Very good read on the development cycles of a bunch of relatively recent big titles. Each game gets a chapter. It's not all depressing everything goes wrong stories either. There's a good mix of totally different types of situations and outcomes. Basically a book written for places like NeoGAF and Reddit. Lol.

--------------

Gundam the Origin (Yoshikazu Yasuhiko aka ART GAWD) - Volumes 1-4


This is the most expensive manga investment I have made and it is worth every single cent. Paying $20+ per volume for a 12 volume collection might seem kinda crazy for a bunch of comics which aren't even full color, but Good Lord Almighty this Vertical Inc release is fucking amazing. There's so much to talk about in terms of the print quality, the presentation, the paper stock, the binding, etc. Each volume is a thick hardcover book with 400-500 pages, the paper quality is excellent, there are a bunch of color pages for major scenes at the start and sometimes the end/middle of each chapter. Translation's great, everything feels super high quality.

But what really sets this series apart from regular manga is the format itself. These aren't designed like regular manga volumes which compile a bunch of ongoing chapters in a story. The entire manga is designed to re-tell the story of the original One Year War in a way where everything is laid out like a series of books. Each volume is designed to be a complete story arc like a good novel, with a beginning, middle, and end. It's obviously still an ongoing story, but the structure is more akin to a novel series and that makes finishing each individual volume really satisfying.

For Gundam fans looking at a definitive take on the One Year War, there are tons of extra world building, lots of little and large details that the anime never bothered with, and a lot of thought put into restructuring the story and characterizations to give depth to the geography, science, politics, and history of the setting. There's proper lineage in mobile suit development, an actual logical route for the White Base on Earth that takes into account where places are and how things might have changed on Earth due to the war and how that affects the people. There's a ton more depth in the politics of Zeon, etc.

In the end, as a manga, the most important thing is the visual storytelling and art. Here Yas has no equal. He is a god among men. The panel layouts, the camera framing, the details on characters, mecha, and landscapes alike. Everything is beautiful, cinematic, and just pops. There's a ton of detail, and he handles action, drama, comedy, and atmosphere all equally well, with a consistent and recognizable style. I honestly don't think there is a single mediocre panel in the entire first four volumes.

Now Amazon just needs to hurry up and ship me 5-12. Drooooooooooooooooool.
 

Osahi

Member
Progressing well in A Column of Fire. As usual, Ken Follets swift writing style and knack for plotting turns it into quite a page turner. Not that far in (two of the big chapters), but pretty sure I'll finish it quick for a 700+ pages book. As with all his historical novels it's stuffed with good research too, without it getting in the way of the story or characters.

The only thing that starts bothering me more and more is how Follet treats his audience as morons. Every bit if subtext is explained in the following sentence. Characters motivations are constantly spelled out in stead of implied, even when it's obvious as fuck.

Two examples that really stood out. There is a scene where two women talk about arranged marriages and the status of women in society. The older one at one point says something like 'But what do we know, we're to stupid to decide for ourselves and we should just do what our men say'. The next sentence is: "she was being sarcastic'. Yeah, no shit dude.

Another one is a scene in a bookshop where they clandestinly sell forbidden protestant books. Previously it is made clear a customer will come to buy one of those, and one of the two storekeepers know what he looks like. When he comes in, there is a clergyman there too, so it's impossiblie for the two storekeepers to say out loud: hey, that's him! So Follet describes the one who knows him giving her collegue a certain look. And the he follows it up with: to tell her this was the customer she talked about.

These things annoyed me in the last two tomes of the Century Trilogy too. And it's as apparant here as it was then; I can't remember Pillar's of the Earth or World without End having the same stuff, but it's been a while since I read them so I might've forgotten or just not have been bothered by it so much.
 
Progressing well in A Column of Fire. As usual, Ken Follets swift writing style and knack for plotting turns it into quite a page turner. Not that far in (two of the big chapters), but pretty sure I'll finish it quick for a 700+ pages book. As with all his historical novels it's stuffed with good research too, without it getting in the way of the story or characters.

The only thing that starts bothering me more and more is how Follet treats his audience as morons. Every bit if subtext is explained in the following sentence. Characters motivations are constantly spelled out in stead of implied, even when it's obvious as fuck.

Two examples that really stood out. There is a scene where two women talk about arranged marriages and the status of women in society. The older one at one point says something like 'But what do we know, we're to stupid to decide for ourselves and we should just do what our men say'. The next sentence is: "she was being sarcastic'. Yeah, no shit dude.

Another one is a scene in a bookshop where they clandestinly sell forbidden protestant books. Previously it is made clear a customer will come to buy one of those, and one of the two storekeepers know what he looks like. When he comes in, there is a clergyman there too, so it's impossiblie for the two storekeepers to say out loud: hey, that's him! So Follet describes the one who knows him giving her collegue a certain look. And the he follows it up with: to tell her this was the customer she talked about.

These things annoyed me in the last two tomes of the Century Trilogy too. And it's as apparant here as it was then; I can't remember Pillar's of the Earth or World without End having the same stuff, but it's been a while since I read them so I might've forgotten or just not have been bothered by it so much.

Would you recommend reading through his series if I enjoyed Pillars of the Earth?
I kind of like it as a standalone novel though.
 

Osahi

Member
Would you recommend reading through his series if I enjoyed Pillars of the Earth?
I kind of like it as a standalone novel though.

I really liked World without End, allthough my first thoughts were: this is going to be practically beat by beat the same as Pillars. But then it twists into something else. Not to far into Column to actually have a recommendation or not.

You should also now that between the books there usually over a century has passed, so they take place in Kingsbridge and the previous stories and characters are sometimes mentioned (or there are decendants from main characters beging the new protagonists), but all books are practically stand alone. If you liked Pillars, you'll probably like these too.
 

takriel

Member
I am currently contemplating reading the second trilogy of Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn saga. Has anyone read books 4-6? How are they compared to the first three?
 
Stephen King's IT. Read it as a kid and after seeing the movie felt like reading it again.

Also, Small Favor from the Jim Butcher Dresden files and The Perdition Score a Sandman slim novel from Richard Kadry on my kindle app.
 

Ratrat

Member
Is the book just scifi space action stuff or is there some actual depth in it? I uh, voiced my concerns over Scalzi's work earlier in the thread and with his name on the cover that doesn't really do a lot to sell me on the book.
Same. I'm in the mood for SF but I thought Old Mans War was awful.
 
Is the book just scifi space action stuff or is there some actual depth in it? I uh, voiced my concerns over Scalzi's work earlier in the thread and with his name on the cover that doesn't really do a lot to sell me on the book.

It's pretty light on action. It's a very introspective book, mostly concerned with the internal disconnects and disagreements in the mind, made literal by the fact that the protagonist is an AI with multiple bodies she exists in at once. It's fantastic. I've been meaning to get around to the sequels for a while now.
 

Jag

Member
Same. I'm in the mood for SF but I thought Old Mans War was awful.

Read The Expanse. I didn't like Old Mans War either.



Finished the Red Rising trilogy. The best thing I can say about it is that it was very entertaining and didn't have many slow moments, so it really kept my attention. The bad is that the writing wasn't great (although I think it is YA), the plot borrowed liberally and heavily from Hunger Game and the protagonist was the most Gary Stu character i've ever seen in fiction.

The series made me think of an old 80s series by Piers Anthony called Bio of a Space Tyrant. I liked it when I was fairly young, but that was also before I realized what a creep he was.
 

kswiston

Member
Is the book just scifi space action stuff or is there some actual depth in it? I uh, voiced my concerns over Scalzi's work earlier in the thread and with his name on the cover that doesn't really do a lot to sell me on the book.

It is not like Old Man's War at all.

It's largely a mystery book. The lead character is a human body controlled by a starship AI. However, her ship was destroyed, leaving her an orphaned vestige of AI consciousness. She was once a starship controlling hundreds of bodies, but is now stuck in a single human form. The story jumps back and forth between the lead up to that event and its present day aftermath.

Ancillary Justice won the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C Clarke award for best sci fi Novel of the year (among other awards).

If you like interesting worldbuilding, and stories involving AI, you will probably like the novel.
 

DeathoftheEndless

Crashing this plane... with no survivors!
I've been reading the complete tales and poems of Edgar Allan Poe. Its a fun read because I'm never sure what to expect. It could be one of his famous horror stories, a brochure-like description of a river, a locked-room mystery, or a comedy about a man marrying his great great grandmother. I had a lot of difficulty parsing his poetry, but his short stories have kept me engaged.
 

aidan

Hugo Award Winning Author and Editor
It's pretty light on action. It's a very introspective book, mostly concerned with the internal disconnects and disagreements in the mind, made literal by the fact that the protagonist is an AI with multiple bodies she exists in at once. It's fantastic. I've been meaning to get around to the sequels for a while now.

The sequels are very different, but so, so good. Even less action and more introspective, but Leckie feels more comfortable in the universe, less inclined towards complexity, and really uses that as an opportunity for her characters to shine.

And, yeah, Leckie's stuff is nothing like Old Man's War--which is basically a wish fulillment-fueled screenplay version of Heinlein's Starship Troopers disguised as a novel. (And I say that as a fan of the book.)

I have a copy of Leckie's next book, Provenance, and really should get around to it.
 

ilikeme

Member


To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

Really like it so far. I absolutely adored The Waves though.. read that during a summer break though, might have influenced my opinion.

But I like it more the more I read it, getting to know the characters.. love the stream-of-consciousness writing. It's very organic.
 

pa22word

Member
Thanks guys, pulled the trigger on Ancillary Justice. Sounds like it's something right up my alley, and the price makes it an auto buy.
 

aidan

Hugo Award Winning Author and Editor


I'm currently 25% of the way through The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear. It's a new trilogy set in the world of the Eternal Sky trilogy (which is probably my favourite epic fantasy trilogy of the past decade). It's absolutely terrific. Bear writes with such a lush voice, but never seems to trip up on the details too much. Her fantasy worlds, while obviously inspired by real world cultures and societies, feel genuinely fantastical, yet well-grounded. And, as always, her characters are rich, and all of them are filled with complications and believable desires.

Huh. Could I read these without finishing the original trilogy? Dropped the second book halfway through, but I'm interested in the second trilogy.

You *can* read them without having read the original trilogy—they're set hundreds of years later, and feature a plot that doesn't rely on intimate knowledge of what's come before. However, you'll miss out on a lot of subtext and small details that really enrich the experience.

Like you, I didn't love the second book in the original trilogy (and thought the third was only a small step up from there). The next book, The Alloy of Law, is also only okay—fun, but sort of limp. The fifth book, Shadows of Self, is *excellent*, however, and the best Mistborn book after the first one.

Thanks guys, pulled the trigger on Ancillary Justice. Sounds like it's something right up my alley, and the price makes it an auto buy.

Right on! Enjoy. It won the Hugo Award for good reason. :)

Also, regardless of what you think of the novel's opening, I'd urge you to push on to at least the 100 page mark. It takes a while to get going, and some people struggle with some of Leckie's storytelling/worldbuilding decisions, but it's absolutely worth finishing. I struggled with the first 1/3 of the book, but blew through the final 2/3 in record time.
 


I’m a new convert to the wonderful works of Stanislaw Lem. I’m currently switching between the audiobooks of The Cyberiad and The Star Diaries, and have the books of Eden, Solaris, and The Invincible lined up as my subsequent reads

The Cyberiad has been an absolute joy to read. Take the whimsical nature of fables and fairy tales, place them in the endless possibilities of science fiction, and then use the stories to explore human nature and technology and society. The clever prose is wonderful even outside of the concepts and tales.

The Star Diaries is fun in a similar way, less fairy tale but no less whimsy in its humor and satire, some wonderfully scatching satire. The first story might be one of most fun time travel tales I’ve read, in the increasingly chaotic and crazy way it presents time loop
 
Huh. Could I read these without finishing the original trilogy? Dropped the second book halfway through, but I'm interested in the second trilogy.
Sure, the slate is pretty much wiped clean. There are characters and references of events from the first trilogy, but nothing a few wiki entries won't fix.
 

MedicUnderFire

Neo Member
enjoyed his book about the battle of verdun and this is just as well written and a part of the second world war i'm the most hazy on.



and of course, just slowly working my way through berzerk.

 

aidan

Hugo Award Winning Author and Editor
Got a copy of this yesterday:



Anybody heard of this Brenden Sundstrom guy before? He any good?
 

Egida

Neo Member
Hi, this is my first time posting in this thread, but I've been picking books from here for a long time, so thanks! :D

Anyway, I just finished reading this


Good Me, Bad Me by Ari Land.

You could say I drank this book, so intriguing. The story follows Milly, a 15 yo girl who turns in her mother, a serial killer, to the police, and her life in the months prior to the trial, where she'll be the star witness.


So now I'm in the mood for some scary stuff, I would appreciate some recommendations. Something really scary, not thriller-ish and not the obvious choices.
Something akin to The Graveyard Apartment. Damn, was that spooky.
 

kevin1025

Banned
Hi, this is my first time posting in this thread, but I've been picking books from here for a long time, so thanks! :D

Anyway, I just finished reading this


Good Me, Bad Me by Ari Land.

You could say I drank this book, so intriguing. The story follows Milly, a 15 yo girl who turns in her mother, a serial killer, to the police, and her life in the months prior to the trial, where she'll be the star witness.


So now I'm in the mood for some scary stuff, I would appreciate some recommendations. Something really scary, not thriller-ish and not the obvious choices.
Something akin to The Graveyard Apartment. Damn, was that spooky.

Wow, Good Me, Bad Me sounds fantastic. I'm definitely adding that one to my reading list!
 
Hi, this is my first time posting in this thread, but I've been picking books from here for a long time, so thanks! :D

Anyway, I just finished reading this


Good Me, Bad Me by Ari Land.

You could say I drank this book, so intriguing. The story follows Milly, a 15 yo girl who turns in her mother, a serial killer, to the police, and her life in the months prior to the trial, where she'll be the star witness.


So now I'm in the mood for some scary stuff, I would appreciate some recommendations. Something really scary, not thriller-ish and not the obvious choices.
Something akin to The Graveyard Apartment. Damn, was that spooky.
Might like this, although it’s more fever dream unsettling than straight horror
 

wandering

Banned
Borrowed Haruki Murakami's Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973 as well as Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow from the library. Haven't dived into them yet. Kind of apprehensive starting Pynchon, since it's been a while since I've been reading and I feel kind of rusty.
 
I'm at the half way mark in Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane. I like it so far (I'm a huge fan of his Kenzie & Gennaro series), but it's tonally a huge departure from his previous books. It kind of feels like he's trying to get in on the "Girl who/is/on the/in X" psychological thriller trend.
 

pastrami

Member
I read Ancillary Justice, Lovecraft Country, Neuromancer and I started A Thousand Splendid Suns. Thinking of doubling back to finish the Imperial Radch trilogy after that. Which leads me to a question:

How does everyone prefer reading a book series? In one go (back to back), or do you spread them out?
 
I read Ancillary Justice, Lovecraft Country, Neuromancer and I started A Thousand Splendid Suns. Thinking of doubling back to finish the Imperial Radch trilogy after that. Which leads me to a question:

How does everyone prefer reading a book series? In one go (back to back), or do you spread them out?

If It's a huge series, like 3+ books, I'll typically spread it out. I find I get burned out if I read the same sort of book over and over. The only exception I can think of is years ago, when I was in my second year of university, I bought all of Terry Pratchett's Discworld in paperback during a BOGO sale and read through all 20+ books in a row over a couple months.
 

Davey Cakes

Member
Like duckroll, I am also reading Blood, Sweat, and Pixels.


Very easy to read, and very enlightening. It comes off as a "starter book" for understanding the rewarding, yet difficult pursuit of game development.

The story of Star Was 1313 is heartbreaking. Such passionate developers with a lot of confidence in their product ended up being victims of circumstance with that inevitable cancellation after the Disney buyout.
 
Animal farm was a fun read. I like how dark it gets. Its lays it thick with the allegories, but I guess that's why its often used for school reading.

Next up is The Farthest Shore:


I love the world of Earthsea. I get this deep sense that it has a rich history and want to learn more. Plus Its kind of amazing seeing Ged develop as a person.
 

FlowersisBritish

fleurs n'est pas britannique


Finished up J D Salinger's Nine Stories and I'm really glad I took my time to read this. All the stories were great! I was absolutely floored with his prose and maybe it's cause I've made a habit of analyzing prose, but there were a lot of tricks I picked up that I think really made me a better writer, and stuff I still want to use. If you're a fan of literary stories, definitely at least try and read a few stories here.



I also recently read Final Girls by Mira Grant which ranged from terrible to mediocre It's a fun premise: A Doctor is using super advanced VR to put her patients through an intense form of therapy using horror movies scenarios as bonding exercises, which here is my first gripe. This therapy makes waaaaaaaay more sense as extreme exposure therapy seeing as the plot revolves around a journalist trying to prove it's a bad therapy. Which you can totally make that argument, except the character tries to make the dumbest possible argument against it! "But aren't you just lying to them?" Who cares lady!? The risk of creating crippling phobia and anxieties is much more worrisome! And this kind of lack of thought is fucking everywhere If you know anything about psychology, tech journalism, or even basic assassinry, these characters fall the fuck apart when you realize none of them are good at their jobs. Also, the horror movie scenario they end up using really sucks. Especially considering the MC has a legit more terrifying backstory, but whatever. This all wouldn't bother me nearly as much if there weren't so many good reviews for this fucking trash of a novella. I try not to let the difference in opinions bother me, but I have too much of an investment in the horror genre and psychology to not let people's praise for a thing that misses the mark on both accounts bother me a bunch.

Up next, I'm thinking about trying out A Brief History of Thought by Luc Ferry because 1) I've been meaning to try and read more nonfiction and expand my knowledge of the world 2) Nier Automata got me on kind of a philosophy itch. In terms of fiction, I might finally start Murakami's Wind-Up Bird Chronicles or I might move onto something more spooky considering October is coming up.
 
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