[Book] Thread Soon Will Be Making Another Run

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  • BogartBogart Streetwise Hercules Fighting The Rising Odds Registered User, Moderator mod
    The King In Yellow. Only the first few stories are linked to the most famous bit of Chambers' work, so we'll see how the others hold up. Only started the first story so far, and there's already a bit of casual anti-Semitism that I'm not sure isn't just sincere rather than part of his dystopian future America.

    I guess I know now where the suicide chambers in Alan Moore's Providence come from. They were a chilling detail, but I had no idea what their connection to Lovecraft's mythos was.

    Eddy
  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    Just finished Ball Lightning. It was definitely an interesting novel. I feel like I have similar complaints about it as I do about Three Body Problem and sequels, it's just very character agnostic. Like, they set up the whole end of story reveal, and ignore other characters that I would think he would have been really close to.

    About to start Gideon the Ninth, which will be followed by The Water Dancer.

    "I will write your name in the ruin of them. I will paint you across history in the color of their blood."

    The Monster Baru Cormorant - Seth Dickinson
    DevoutlyApatheticOneAngryPossum
  • msmyamsmya Being Fabulous Registered User regular
    What's everyone's reading goals for 2020? My goal was 100 for 2019 but I was only able to achieve 61. In the middle of three books right now. I also joined a second book club (fully committed) and was interested in joining a third but haven't physically made it to the meetings yet , but the book picks have been good so I've been following their page. I also joined "Book of the Month" since people from my book club have already picked books from there already. Does anyone else subscribe to BOTM?

  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    I hit about 30 this last year. I don't know that I'm going to set a goal, because I'm beholden to our library for material, and being kind of picky on books makes it hard to rack up big numbers.

    "I will write your name in the ruin of them. I will paint you across history in the color of their blood."

    The Monster Baru Cormorant - Seth Dickinson
  • A Dabble Of TheloniusA Dabble Of Thelonius It has been a doozy of a dayRegistered User regular
    Mine was 50. I'll end at about 59.

    I'll probably stick with 50 next year.

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  • N1tSt4lkerN1tSt4lker Registered User regular
    I’m usually a bit better and I’ve only read 18 of my 25 book goal. I have two that I’ll probably finish while traveling next week, but bleh. I didn’t get as much reading done over the summer as I’d hoped.

  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    Reading Dead Astronauts by Jeff Vandeermeer

    It’s out there even by Vandermeer standards

    A Dabble Of TheloniusBrody
  • jakobaggerjakobagger LO THY DREAD EMPIRE CHAOS IS RESTORED Registered User regular
    Think I'll just hit my goal of 52 this year, but that is with a lot of SF and fantasy, some of it a bit popcorn-y. Not bad books, but not like, Literature (oc possible to be both, but these weren't).

    Next year I'm deciding between repeating this model, or keeping the number lower but resolving to read more of the challenging stuff. Leaning towards just doing 50 or 52 again though.

  • The Zombie PenguinThe Zombie Penguin Eternal Hungry Corpse Registered User regular
    Just finished the first three alpennia books by Heather Rose Jones and holy shit they were good.

    Short pitch would be Jane Austen but queer, with an intriguing magic system that compliments rather than dominates the plot.

    Also did I mention queer? Which is fucking fantastic. The books genuinely moved me to tears several times, and its been a while since any media has done that.

    Onto the fourth one now, and then I'll start them all over from the beginning while jonesing for more.

    Ideas hate it when you anthropomorphize them
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  • The Zombie PenguinThe Zombie Penguin Eternal Hungry Corpse Registered User regular
    And finished the fourth alpennia book, which only just came out. Seriously, read this series. It's so, so good. Not to mention the way it goes from examining social issues, to race, to class is just amazing.

    The romances are pure joy, even if you do end up wanting to shake some of the characters sometimes - but only because they're so believably human, so believably flawed.

    The series always feels realistic, always feels believable in the dance the characters have to go through in society where their queerness is not accepted, but it never feels cynical or cruel about it. There's no 'and then one of them dies because drama~~~~' - it's happy endings, but ones you can believe, that are earned.

    It also earns wonderful points for not limiting its queerness to chanters just being sapphic. There's a gay couple who are not front and center, but still lovely and meaningful to the story. A recognizably trans* character, not to mention another who's demisexual (and given some of her issues with noise and a few other details, I'd not be shocked if she's what we'd call high functioning autistic these days).

    Just a gorgeous series, and it's deeply unfair I've no idea how long we'll have to wait till there's another book in it

    Ideas hate it when you anthropomorphize them
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  • BogartBogart Streetwise Hercules Fighting The Rising Odds Registered User, Moderator mod
    Reading Migration, by Helen Marshall, which so far is a slightly creepy, well written and very low key vision of encroaching apocalypse in a leafy, extreme weather beset suburban UK.

    Mahnmut
  • Mojo_JojoMojo_Jojo Like a bad lobster in a dark cellar Registered User regular
    Bogart wrote: »
    Reading Migration, by Helen Marshall, which so far is a slightly creepy, well written and very low key vision of encroaching apocalypse in a leafy, extreme weather beset suburban UK.

    Ooh. This sounds right up my alley

    Homogeneous distribution of your varieties of amuse-gueule
  • JazzJazz Fuck cancer. Un-UKRegistered User regular
    Bogart wrote: »
    Reading Migration, by Helen Marshall, which so far is a slightly creepy, well written and very low key vision of encroaching apocalypse in a leafy, extreme weather beset suburban UK.

    So it's non-fiction, then.

  • BogartBogart Streetwise Hercules Fighting The Rising Odds Registered User, Moderator mod
    Also lots of kids are dying and their bodies are showing odd post-mortem activity.

  • PailryderPailryder Registered User regular
    Finished up Sanderson's latest release Starsight, the sequel to Skyward.

    I really enjoy Sanderson's world building but while the second story is better than the first, the cliffhanger endings are just getting to me*. I felt the book could have wrapped up nicely and left things open without needing a 'FIND OUT NEXT TIME' ending.

    4/5 for the story 1/5 for the very ending.

    *Not sure if this was a planned trilogy or more but i guess that's what i get for continuing to invest time into Sanderson.

  • TheBigEasyTheBigEasy Registered User regular
    I recently read Lost Connections by Johann Hari - a book about depression and anxiety.

    And "The 7 Habits of highly effective people" by Stephen Covey. And that book actually helped me a lot with perspective shift and (at least for now I believe so) gave me a way forward and out of this recent funk. I didn't take it as gospel, but it really gave me something to think about.

    I really want to try and dig into my "to read" pile or the percentage of books I own, but haven't read yet - but sometimes its hard to resist shiny new purchases.

  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    I didn't know Starsight was out, I'm going to have to do some hunting...

    "I will write your name in the ruin of them. I will paint you across history in the color of their blood."

    The Monster Baru Cormorant - Seth Dickinson
    Quid
  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    edited December 2019
    I finished Dead Astronauts,

    It's something. VanderMeer's narratives are always puzzleboxes but this one is even more fractured. There's very little plot but a series bizarre narrators with very different stories that interconnect. It borders on prose poetry for entire sections.

    It'll take me some time and maybe a rereading to fully digest. But I'd highly recommend it if you like his other work or weird fiction in general.

    Also it's not a central part of the book but it's setting is connected to the world of Borne. You don't need to have read it but lots of the themes are close and there's more than a few references(this I guess happens before the events of Borne).

    nexuscrawler on
  • lwt1973lwt1973 King of Thieves SyndicationRegistered User regular
    I finished the new Thrawn trilogy. I enjoyed all the pieces he put into play and how it all worked out. Would be good to see Thrawn show up in the movies but I won't hold my breath.

    "He's sulking in his tent like Achilles! It's the Iliad?...from Homer?! READ A BOOK!!" -Handy
  • shadowaneshadowane Registered User regular
    TheBigEasy wrote: »
    I recently read Lost Connections by Johann Hari - a book about depression and anxiety.

    And "The 7 Habits of highly effective people" by Stephen Covey. And that book actually helped me a lot with perspective shift and (at least for now I believe so) gave me a way forward and out of this recent funk. I didn't take it as gospel, but it really gave me something to think about.

    I really want to try and dig into my "to read" pile or the percentage of books I own, but haven't read yet - but sometimes its hard to resist shiny new purchases.

    It was planned as a trilogy from the start. Doesn't stop that ending from being obnoxious though.

    Rich on Beer - I talk about drinking beer. You read about it.
  • OremLKOremLK Registered User regular
    Just finished books 1 & 2 of Mary Robinette Kowal's Lady Astronaut series, the first of which, The Calculating Stars, won the trifecta of Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards for Best Novel last year.

    They're pretty great! It's an alternate history set in the 1950s and 1960s, in which an extinction-level asteroid strikes just off the coast near Washington DC and wipes out the entire eastern seaboard, causing runaway climate change in the process. Humanity reacts by forming an international space agency and there is a hyper-accelerated space race to colonize other worlds. I don't know how sound the science is or how much I buy into that being the plan, but I also don't really care, because it's not that hard of science fiction and that's not the point.

    The point is, it's a first-person narrative told from the perspective of Elma York, a Jewish WASP pilot who flew thousands of hours during World War II. The first book takes on a decidedly feminist tinge, following her efforts to become an astronaut in the even-more-sexist, even-more-male-dominated setting of the late 50s--with a good alternative history reason why it could happen sooner than it did in real history. The second book, set in the early 60s, is more focused on race issues. They're a couple of pretty emotionally relatable books which focus hard on interpersonal relationships and social justice, while still exhibiting a childlike enthusiasm for space. As such, they read a lot like a deconstructive paean to the Golden Age of science fiction.

    There's a lot of period flare, a bit of wish fulfillment, adventure, sadness, joy, interesting characters with interesting arcs, the works. It may be a little corny at times, but I still recommend it. Despite the dark, post-apocalyptic premise, it's a fundamentally sincere and optimistic story, and stuff like this is balm for my world-weary soul.

    Maguano
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Two notes:

    She isn't a WASP because of the Jewish bit. She also is culturally southern which cuts a little bit against the WASP stereotype but has similar results.

    The first book does deal with race but not in a big huge way like the second. Emma continually has to deal with sexism (and a little antisemitism) but slams into her own privilege a couple times. The book does a nice job of illustrating "So you were wrong, what now?"

    OremLK
  • OremLKOremLK Registered User regular
    I was actually referring to Women Airforce Service Pilots, haha. Sorry, was probably confusing, I just got done reading the book and she literally says "WASP pilot" a bunch of times in the narrative/dialogue.

  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Oh shit, I totally forgot that they used that acronym too. Should have read it as Jewish, WASP pilot but I read it as Jewish WASP, pilot. That was my bad.

  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    I just finished the Killing Moon, by NK Jemisin

    Minor spoilers, more about emotional content than plot content, in the review below:
    I really, really liked this book. Well-written, intriguing, political fantasy with a cool Egypt setting and dream magic. I liked all the characters, and I think the religious dream moon assassins are cool as shit and the author does a great job of making them cool as shit and also pointing out that it is megafucked to be an assassin, actually! There are many touching mentor-student relationships, and the fact that the love story is between Nijiri and Ehiru instead of Sunandi and either of them is just so refreshing and reads so true. And! There’s amazing vampire aesthetic, just my favorite sort of moment where the vampire is like ‘I have a physical need to kill you However with my noble emotional restraint I will refrain from doing so but I am literally having visions and other withdrawal symptoms from lack of blood’ and the other person is like ‘oh but you can have me because I love you’ and oh my godddd I just love it, the angst, it’s everything a vampire story should be (although this book has no vampires, but, blood, dreamblood, same diff).

    The Jemisin orogeny books are objectively better, with a much bolder, unique style, amazing characterization, such strong, intense horror, and some narrative trickery that really astonished me—but I like the Dreamblood book better! And I started the second one and like it better as well. Is it because Essun and others are not likable and everyone in the Dreamblood book is likable? (Ok in the second one, one of the perspective characters definitely is not, but everyone else is.) Is it because rocks are boring and dream assassins are awesome? Is it because Egypt fantasy is neat and post apocalyptic fantasy is not interesting? Is it because city-scale plots are more to my taste than Fate Of The World plots? It’s weird, to recognize that the Stone Sky etc are just definitely better but these books I definitely like more.

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  • cB557cB557 voOOP Registered User regular
    Finished Pyramids.
    Man, Dios is pretty high up there as far as "the villain did not deserve to get it that bad" goes.

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    DevoutlyApathetic
  • chrono_travellerchrono_traveller Registered User regular
    Just finishedTo be taught, if fortunate by Becky Chambers, the newest novella in the Wayfarer universe. It is a neat little story of some human astronauts. It is a standalone novel, so it's a nice short introduction to the universe and her writing style. I was hoping for some tie-in to the larger universe, but I still liked it a good bit.

    The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it. ~ Terry Pratchett

    George R. R. Martin is not your bitch. ~ Neil Gaiman
  • Knight_Knight_ Dead Dead Dead Registered User regular
    I haven’t read it yet but I’m pretty sure to be taught if fortunate isn’t in the wayfarer universe?

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    DevoutlyApatheticMahnmutThe Zombie Penguin
  • OneAngryPossumOneAngryPossum Registered User regular
    I’m slowly working my way through George Saunders’ short story collection Tenth of December. I love this guy so much. I read Pastoralia years and years ago, and he’s just got this perfect, Vonnegut like ability to sketch out grounded but slightly askew worlds and fill them with amazing characters. Also genuinely hilarious in the way Vonnegut could be.

    I think you can find some of these online, and I’d recommend hunting down the story Spiderhead. Basic framework is some truly weird drug trials, but it’s the storytelling and writing that really elevate.

  • ContentContextContentContext Registered User regular
    Just finished Red Sister. Pretty solid start to the trilogy. The setting is interesting, as is the magic, and most of the characters are well done. Also, battle nuns. There were a few gripes, the worst being a twist that could be seen from space, but it was an overall enjoyable experience and I'm eager to see where the series goes. Already started on Grey Sister.

    Powerpuppies
  • chrono_travellerchrono_traveller Registered User regular
    Knight_ wrote: »
    I haven’t read it yet but I’m pretty sure to be taught if fortunate isn’t in the wayfarer universe?

    Oh, well I guess that makes sense then. I'm a bit fuzzy on the timeline but ( minor spoilers for Long Way and bigger ones for To be taught)
    Since the Astronauts in To be taught, were put into torpor for 14 years and then lost contact with Earth soon after arriving. I thought it could be in the same universe where the fleet left Earth sometime after the Astronauts last transmission with Earth.

    The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it. ~ Terry Pratchett

    George R. R. Martin is not your bitch. ~ Neil Gaiman
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Knight_ wrote: »
    I haven’t read it yet but I’m pretty sure to be taught if fortunate isn’t in the wayfarer universe?

    Oh, well I guess that makes sense then. I'm a bit fuzzy on the timeline but ( minor spoilers for Long Way and bigger ones for To be taught)
    Since the Astronauts in To be taught, were put into torpor for 14 years and then lost contact with Earth soon after arriving. I thought it could be in the same universe where the fleet left Earth sometime after the Astronauts last transmission with Earth.
    That'd be a heck of a lot of change in the 70-ish years. It isn't impossible that they are in the same timeline but with To Be Taught as a super early prequel but I don't really think there was much overlap at all.

    chrono_traveller
  • AntoshkaAntoshka Miauen Oil Change LazarusRegistered User regular
    Bogart wrote: »
    Reading Migration, by Helen Marshall, which so far is a slightly creepy, well written and very low key vision of encroaching apocalypse in a leafy, extreme weather beset suburban UK.

    Just finished this, based on this synopsis. It pretty much sums it up. I certainly enjoyed the writing, so thank you for mentioning it.

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    Eddy
  • durandal4532durandal4532 Registered User regular
    I just finished Roadside Picnic in a relatively new edition with an intro by Ursula K. Le Guin and an afterword by I think Boris Strugatsky and dang if that whole package is just great. Le Guin contextualizes it for you in terms of how it felt as a contemporary SF reader, to get this interesting work out of the Soviet Union, the book itself is just wonderfully effective in a short time at building a person, their poor relationship with the world, a town on the decline, a sense of existential despair at an unsatisfying first contact mixed with the hope that comes from finding pearls in all the scrap of former lives... it's so good! And the last few pages are just perfect. Then the afterword gives you this look back about how it came to be, the struggle to get it out, the unsatisfying conclusion of the mangled censored version, and finally this coming out and being complete at such a late date that it doesn't even feel satisfying to dunk on the censorious assholes who tried to keep it from existing.

    I highly recommend it to everyone, a classic for a reason.

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  • BogartBogart Streetwise Hercules Fighting The Rising Odds Registered User, Moderator mod
    The Migration was very good. Feverish, odd and original.

    Antoshka
  • ContentContextContentContext Registered User regular
    Finished both Grey Sister and Holy Sister. I was worried that Holy being 100 pages shorter than the previous books wouldn't leave enough room to deal with all the loose threads, but it wrapped up fairly well. Not perfectly, but there were some amazing moments in the climax and the ending was quite emotional.

    I think Grey was my favorite of the 3. It was a nice step up in intensity from Red, without having to deal with the problems that many fantasy endings face. Not to mention the addition of some wonderful perspectives.

  • EddyEddy Gengar the Bittersweet Registered User regular
    Anyone pick up V.E. Schwab's A Darker Shade of Magic? I bought it on a whim and the worldbuilding is alright so far (about 50 pages in) although it kind of feels vaguely fanfiction-y of like, Fallen London?

    Anyway I wanted to send up a flag before I get into what is apparently a trilogy, because I've been hurt before....

    “Even as a gengar she was lovely.” ― Ovid, Metamorphoses
  • Mojo_JojoMojo_Jojo Like a bad lobster in a dark cellar Registered User regular
    Eddy wrote: »
    Anyone pick up V.E. Schwab's A Darker Shade of Magic? I bought it on a whim and the worldbuilding is alright so far (about 50 pages in) although it kind of feels vaguely fanfiction-y of like, Fallen London?

    Anyway I wanted to send up a flag before I get into what is apparently a trilogy, because I've been hurt before....

    Yeah I've read that. It was fine. I felt no urge to read the rest of the series

    Homogeneous distribution of your varieties of amuse-gueule
    Mahnmut
  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    Strong recommendation for How Much is a Girl Worth? by Rachael Denhollander. Her account of the entire Nassar debacle and how it felt to be the public face of the survivors. Especially what it cost her to do the right thing.

    Herbert Hoover got 40% of the vote in 1932. Friendly reminder.
    Warren 2020
    Eddy
  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    Eddy wrote: »
    Anyone pick up V.E. Schwab's A Darker Shade of Magic? I bought it on a whim and the worldbuilding is alright so far (about 50 pages in) although it kind of feels vaguely fanfiction-y of like, Fallen London?

    Anyway I wanted to send up a flag before I get into what is apparently a trilogy, because I've been hurt before....

    I did the whole trilogy via audiobook. I can't imagine the person to whom I'd recommend reading them but if someone, like you, here, were saying, "Hey, I want to read these books" I wouldn't tell them to not read them.

    Fallen London fanfiction probably would have been more interesting. The worldbuilding gets thinner the more of it you see, in my opinion. The writing is competent. The characters are fairly flat but not unbelievable or annoying. The author is clearly infatuated with a few ideas and gives them far more attention than they're worth.

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    Mahnmut
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