Book Club + What Are You Reading? (December 2018)

Jan 13, 2018
163
Los Angeles
I know there's some backlash against Heart of Darkness, but I loved it. It was one of the few books that I read twice in a row. Absolutely loved the prose, the descent into madness, the recognition of inhumanity. Just a very powerful book.

Chinua Achebe called the book racist. I see this reading of it as well, but still think it's worth going through for its prose and narrative.
Thank you for that link, Rivenblade. I don't really know anything about Joseph Conrad, or any of his other works, so I found it an interesting perspective on the book.
 
OP
OP
MilkBeard
Oct 25, 2017
2,556
Read about 48 pages of Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, and it's pretty interesting so far. Curious to see what's going to happen. My head is already spinning gears...
 
Finished The Night Gardener just now. It was a entertaining read for sure, but I feel like it was missing something that would make it great instead of good. It felt like an extended episode of Law and Order.

I do love the dialogues George Pelecanos writes, which book is seen as his best?

Ordered The Seven Deaths of... from the OP and Lush Life by Richard Price already, but next up is Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi.
 
Oct 31, 2017
3,083
I just finished The Seven Deaths...

Very unique and imaginative, great atmosphere. There really isnt a great deal out there like it. Thoroughly enjoyed it!
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,772
USA
I am reading An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green. I am enjoying it. It is differently different than anything his brother has written (John Green).
Finished this. I thought the book was pretty good. The ending is really a setup for a sequel which wasn't planned but is apparently happening, so that's interesting.
 
Feb 14, 2018
440


Just finished this. Dear lord what an emotional rollercoaster. The book is so incredibly sad, but there are many moments/jokes that had me cracking up. I guess the tragic death of a young comedian will make for that kind of story. I never really laugh out loud or cry when I read books but this one had me doing both, a lot.

I'm going to read that big Earthsea anthology now. It's a gorgeous book and would make a good Christmas gift if you know someone who likes that series. This will be my first time reading them.
 

TheBeardedOne

Banned
Member
Oct 27, 2017
17,513
Northern Ontario
Now that it's basically winter, the sun is coming in from a different direction and is getting on my books. I don't know where else to move them, but have moved them temporarily for now. Just the King ones in storage containers (that are unfortunately clear). I don't care as much about the cheap used books I picked up.

I was going to move them downstairs but it's probably too damp even if they're in plastic containers.

Piss off, sun.
 
Oct 27, 2017
5,339
Sunderland
Is The Lord of the Rings worth the read if you've already watched the movies? It is on sale on the Kindle store today for $2.99.

https://www.amazon.com/Lord-Rings-O...?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1544293695&sr=1-2
I asked for the old three volume hardback with the maps and the appendices, for a Christmas present back in the early seventies before the Silmarillion was completed and published.

To be honest Tolkien isn't a great stylist, and he's far too fond of long and tedious battles for my taste, but as a world builder he's superb. At that price it would be silly to miss it.
 
Oct 27, 2017
232
I asked for the old three volume hardback with the maps and the appendices, for a Christmas present back in the early seventies before the Silmarillion was completed and published.

To be honest Tolkien isn't a great stylist, and he's far too fond of long and tedious battles for my taste, but as a world builder he's superb. At that price it would be silly to miss it.
Thanks for the opinion! I am sold! I always enjoy adding a long book to my backlog anyways. Purchased!

Now if the Expanse series ebooks would just go on sale... Nearing the end of Leviathan Wakes and I'm hooked.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,483
Finished the first book or part or whatever of 1Q84 and thoroughly enjoyed it. It had some odd repetition here and there, and the occasional not-that-interesting part, but for the most part it was just so... Oddly enthralling.

It didn't really conclude anything, but I'm still probably gonna take a short break to read something else before I continue with book 2. Since GR just released the winners of the 2018 votes, maybe I'll grab something from the scifi or mystery-thriller categories.
 
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Nov 1, 2017
1,690
George R. R. Martin is the king of tedium with ASOIAF
I have the first book on my shelf but still haven’t started it. I’ll likely only read the first book to start and wait until the series is finished to decide if I’m going to continue with it or not. (yes, I know the jokes about the series ever getting finished)
 

TheBeardedOne

Banned
Member
Oct 27, 2017
17,513
Northern Ontario
I have the first book on my shelf but still haven’t started it. I’ll likely only read the first book to start and wait until the series is finished to decide if I’m going to continue with it or not. (yes, I know the jokes about the series ever getting finished)
Maybe you'll like it more than me.

I asked for the box set when the first season was announced, and got it for Christmas. Wanted to read the books before watching the show, which set me back and is why I've only seen the first season. But after reading the first book and liking it enough, but not loving it, I couldn't get into the second at all. I re-read the first chunk of the book twice but didn't enjoy it, found it was tedious and had too much to get through and remember. It was tedious, but overwhelming at the same time.
 

ara

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,483
So I (sort of) did what I talked about a few posts up and started a new book:



Vicious! Its sequel won something in the GR choice awards, which brought me to this one. Look at that cover!

It's definitely a page-turner. I'm already almost halfway through. The main character is a bit of a sociopathic loser (
even before the change, which clearly turns people into assholes in addition to giving them powers
), a character 15-year old edgelords would probably consider cool, but for the most part it feels like the book recognizes this and doesn't idolize him, so reading about him being an ass has been fun so far.

I really like the way it's told. Lots of jumping around in time, with helpful chapter names like "last night" or "10 years ago" or "three weeks ago" and so on, so it's still easy to follow. Many events and character backstory turning points are first only hinted at, so you can let your imagination run free before you're explicitly told what happened.

e: how do you do the inline spoiler tags again?
 
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TheBeardedOne

Banned
Member
Oct 27, 2017
17,513
Northern Ontario
So I (sort of) did what I talked about a few posts up and started a new book:



Vicious! Its sequel won something in the GR choice awards, which brought me to this one. Look at that cover!

It's definitely a page-turner. I'm already almost halfway through. The main character is a bit of a sociopathic loser (
even before the change
), a character 15-year old edgelords would probably consider cool, but for the most part it feels like the book recognizes this and doesn't idolize him, so reading about him being an ass has been fun so far.

I really like the way it's told. Lots of jumping around in time, with helpful chapter names like "last night" or "10 years ago" or "three weeks ago" and so on, so it's still easy to follow. Many events and character backstory turning points are first only hinted at, so you can let your imagination run free before you're explicitly told what happened.
Sounds interesting

Thanks for another book to add to the to-read pile (well two or three, really, if I like it). :P
 
Oct 27, 2017
830
So I (sort of) did what I talked about a few posts up and started a new book:



Vicious! Its sequel won something in the GR choice awards, which brought me to this one. Look at that cover!

It's definitely a page-turner. I'm already almost halfway through. The main character is a bit of a sociopathic loser, a character 15-year old edgelords would probably consider cool, but for the most part it feels like the book recognizes this and doesn't idolize him, so reading about him being an ass has been fun so far.

I really like the way it's told. Lots of jumping around in time, with helpful chapter names like "last night" or "10 years ago" or "three weeks ago" and so on, so it's still easy to follow. Many events and character backstory turning points are first only hinted at, so you can let your imagination run free before you're explicitly told what happened.
I'm going through this as well. The cover is beautiful. I'm also half-way through. It's a page turner and reads very easily, but the story is doing nothing really original thus far, at least for someone who is at least somewhat familiar with super-hero and anti-hero stories. I hope it does something new in the next chapters/towards the end.
 
Oct 27, 2017
3,296
So I (sort of) did what I talked about a few posts up and started a new book:



Vicious! Its sequel won something in the GR choice awards, which brought me to this one. Look at that cover!

It's definitely a page-turner. I'm already almost halfway through. The main character is a bit of a sociopathic loser (
even before the change, which clearly turns people into assholes in addition to giving them powers
), a character 15-year old edgelords would probably consider cool, but for the most part it feels like the book recognizes this and doesn't idolize him, so reading about him being an ass has been fun so far.

I really like the way it's told. Lots of jumping around in time, with helpful chapter names like "last night" or "10 years ago" or "three weeks ago" and so on, so it's still easy to follow. Many events and character backstory turning points are first only hinted at, so you can let your imagination run free before you're explicitly told what happened.

e: how do you do the inline spoiler tags again?
I should really add this to my TBR pile. I've been hearing a lot of good things about her lately.
 
Oct 27, 2017
4
Reading a couple of books right now:

Ubo by Steve Rasnic Tem
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Console Wars by Blake J. Harris
Parish Priest by Douglas Brinkley & Julie M. Fenster
 
Oct 27, 2017
272
Philadelphia
In progress:

The Man in the High Castle
The Girl on the Train'
Darkly Dreaming Dexter

I need to kill some of these because I bought "Embracing Defeat" by John W. Dower, which looks at post-war Japan, the Allied occupation, etc.
 
Oct 26, 2017
3,483
Interesting, I didn't realize this guy had released a new book recently! I absolutely LOVED City of Stairs and sort of hated City of Blades (and never read the last book because of it), so I'm cautiously excited, but I'm definitely checking this out asap. Probably after I finish Vicious.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,646
Picked up a few books in an amazon sale today:

Revenger - Alastair reynolds
Elantris - Brendon Sanderson
Prince of Fools - Mark Lawrence

I have experience with Sanderson through the Mistborn series which I mostly liked but had some absolute slog moments. I have no experience with the other authors though.
 
Nov 1, 2017
1,690
Picked up a few books in an amazon sale today:

Revenger - Alastair reynolds
Elantris - Brendon Sanderson
Prince of Fools - Mark Lawrence

I have experience with Sanderson through the Mistborn series which I mostly liked but had some absolute slog moments. I have no experience with the other authors though.
Let me know your thoughts on Elantris. That's another Sanderson book I've been curious about. I've only read Warbreaker (was pretty good) and The Emperor's Soul (really liked it) by him, but I haven't found anything that I've loved or that shows me why he's as popular as he is. I like his Writing Excuses podcast, but he doesn't seem to follow his own advice when it comes to showing and not telling.
 
Nov 1, 2017
1,690
Maybe you'll like it more than me.

I asked for the box set when the first season was announced, and got it for Christmas. Wanted to read the books before watching the show, which set me back and is why I've only seen the first season. But after reading the first book and liking it enough, but not loving it, I couldn't get into the second at all. I re-read the first chunk of the book twice but didn't enjoy it, found it was tedious and had too much to get through and remember. It was tedious, but overwhelming at the same time.
Yikes. That's a big commitment! I've decided to always just start with book 1 and see if it hooks me, and decide from there if I want to keep going. It's been working pretty well for me. I like book 1s that work as stand-alone stories.
 
Picked up a few books in an amazon sale today:

Revenger - Alastair reynolds
Elantris - Brendon Sanderson
Prince of Fools - Mark Lawrence

I have experience with Sanderson through the Mistborn series which I mostly liked but had some absolute slog moments. I have no experience with the other authors though.
I can't speak for Prince of Fools, but I've really liked Lawrence's most recent series so far, Book of the Ancestor.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,646
I can't speak for Prince of Fools, but I've really liked Lawrence's most recent series so far, Book of the Ancestor.
Good to know, it's been on wishlist a while but I took a punt on it due to the price.

Let me know your thoughts on Elantris. That's another Sanderson book I've been curious about. I've only read Warbreaker (was pretty good) and The Emperor's Soul (really liked it) by him, but I haven't found anything that I've loved or that shows me why he's as popular as he is. I like his Writing Excuses podcast, but he doesn't seem to follow his own advice when it comes to showing and not telling.
Will do! I'll get to it pretty soon after I finish Children of Time.
 
Nov 1, 2017
1,690
I'm currently listening to this with Audible:



Every time I read Gaiman, I end up asking myself why I don't read more of him. He's been consistently engaging, surprising, and poetic in everything I've read by him. (Stardust, The Dream Hunters, Norse Mythology) The performance on this audio book is quite good too. It's a different speaker for every character.

I also started this...



This is a book I bought IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. It's a young adult novel that I've been holding on to for around 25 years, and I'm finally going to read it and then likely donate it to Value Village or something. It's okay so far. About a murder in a rural town, but it's also about bears and swamps. There are a couple of different narrative tricks that my 13-year-old brain probably wasn't ready for, which is why I just never got around to it until now.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,428
I enjoy the ASOIAF books (I've read all of the main books) but I definitely don't love them in the way that so many other people seem to. I think personally I'm hindered by SO many horrible characters (that you have to wait a LONG time to see some kind of redemption) that I don't want to read on - I need someone to root for dammit!

I started watching the TV show and hated Tyrion even more than I did in the books so didn't get past the first few episodes. :/
 
Nov 6, 2017
108
Finished Bad Move by Linwood Barclay. Thoughts from goodreads below:

One of the author's earliest published works and my first experience of them. It definitely shows. The first half of the book is a slog. There are all sorts of digressions before it becomes clear where the author is taking us. The trouble is the digressions aren't always interesting and are redundant in terms of character building. Although to the author's credit they do tie into the story eventually so aren't irrelevant (and for that reason for some not even redundant).

I think it's also a case of crossed wires somewhere along the line because for whatever reason I thought this was a mystery book featuring a PI or an amateur sleuth, but it reads more like a thriller. The mystery aspect takes time to get going and isn't that strong if I'm honest. I'd be surprised if any readers were flummoxed by it. Especially the main mystery. One of the side mysteries is stronger in that regard. It's definitely one of those middle of the road books not great but not awful enough to turn me off future installments and books by the author.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,428
So I finished up:



Which I enjoyed, although I still maintain that I don't have much enthusiasm for all of the technical world building that comes with science fiction and I think that lessens my enjoyment somewhat.

Also: WTF?

Now to:

 
Oct 27, 2017
2,951


Finished The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu. Ended up really enjoying it. The first half I was really struggling to get interested in it but once it more followed Miao, and got more into filling the holes of the past it grabbed me a lot more and I really enjoyed it. Most of the Yi Wenjie parts just sort of seemed sterile and lifeless almost like it was a story being retold. I guess that's a bit intended but it made the story really hard to get into at first.

Now reading:



Earthsea A wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin.

Already blew through about 40% of it and so far I'm really enjoying it.
 
Oct 26, 2017
3,483
Finished Vicious! It was a solid fun book, nothing more, nothing less. Easy, fast-paced read that was fun to pick up and surprisingly hard to put down. Very corny, and like Paquete_PT mentioned earlier, not very original. I read it for the story, but I was still a bit disappointed by the simplistic, super in-your-face themes and how straightforward everything was. I'm skimming through some of the reviews on Goodreads, seeing people praise its originality and I'm just like... What? Also has a way higher rating than I expected, but I guess that's just a GR thing.

(Definitely not surprised to see some people idolizing Victor there, though...)

Still, it was practically fluff-free, very distilled and nicely told and paced, so pretty much exactly what I wanted after finishing the first part of 1Q84. Ending was a bit too neat and convenient for me, so I doubt I'll ever read the sequel, however.

--

Next up:

(Man, that's one hell of an ugly cover compared to Vicious lol)

I've only read the first two Divine Cities books from Bennett, and like I mentioned earlier, I absolutely loved City of Stairs... And kinda really hated the sequel. Former is on my GOAT list on GR, the latter is one of the FOUR books I've given two stars to.

So I'm curious to see where Foundryside ends up, to say the least. What made City of Stairs so good to me was the immense layered mystery of the world and everything that's going on in it, so I'm probably gonna be a bit harsh with Foundryside and drop it early on if mystery isn't a big part of this new world of Bennett's. I guess we'll see.
 
Oct 30, 2017
2,273
San Diego
Finished my audio book. It was a doozy, about 20 hours. There is no way I’m retained everything, but it was definitely worth listening to. The only issue is some of the info is outdated now, but other than that it was insightful.

 
Halfway into Otherland book 1 now. Really enjoying it at this point. It's been a long time since I've read anything at this scale, aside from The Dark Tower. But with the Tower it's apparent that King made up most of it on the go, while this feels all meticulously planned. Slow start with a lot of disparate storylines, but it's a joy to see them inching closer together or narrowly avoiding each other. And every once in a while Williams throws a set piece at you that's just mindblowing.
 
Oct 27, 2017
498
Read recently:

King of Thorns - Mark Lawrence
Emperor of Thorns - Mark Lawrence
Republic of Thieves - Scott Lynch

I very much enjoyed the 2 concluding novels of the Broken Empire trilogy, although the ending was a bit weird. Jorg is probably the most repulsive MC I've ever read about - he's basically a psychopath - which makes it all the more impressive how captivating Lawrence manages to write him. I very much recommend these books, although the nature of the protagonist and a few very brutal scenes might not be to everyone's taste.

Republic of Thieves was a nice surprise. I liked it quite a bit more than the previous installment (Red Seas over Red Skies). It might have something to do with my expectations going in: for red seas I was coming off the high of Lies of Locke Lamora (that title remains brilliant) and as a result was quite disappointed in the drop of quality. Before reading Republic, I had heard it was the weakest in the series so my expectations weren't high. I ended up really liking it. It of course can't match Lies' perfection, but it was very enjoyable.
There are some obvious flaws: the pacing is a bit off, the stakes of the main plot were never high and I'm really not a fan of either of the twists at the end (Locke's and the epilogue). On the other hand, the flashback storyline was easily the book's best and I seem to have enjoyed Sabetha more than most readers.

Looking forward to Thorn of Emberlain, whenever that's coming (big race between Lynch, Martin and Rothfuss here).

In the meantime, I've bought:

Best Served Cold - Joe Abercrombie
Prince of Fools - Mark Lawrence
Kings of the Wyld - Nicholas Dames (lot of buzz around this one last year)
The 7 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle - Stuart Turton (lots of buzz these past months on here)
 
Nov 6, 2017
181
50 pages into Horus Rising, the first novel in the Horus Heresy series. Seems pretty good so far and not too dense considering the only 40k lore I've picked up so far is from Dawn of War 2 and Space Marine. Any other good starters for 40k books?
 
Nov 1, 2017
1,690


Loving this series so far
I'll return to this series at some point. Enjoyed Blood of Elves quite a bit despite it feeling a bit disjointed.

I've just started T Kingfisher (aka Ursula Vernon)'s Swordheart

If you're looking for a spiritual successor to Terry Pratchett, this is it.
Ooohhh, I've never heard of this. Thanks for putting it on my radar.

Halfway into Otherland book 1 now. Really enjoying it at this point. It's been a long time since I've read anything at this scale, aside from The Dark Tower. But with the Tower it's apparent that King made up most of it on the go, while this feels all meticulously planned. Slow start with a lot of disparate storylines, but it's a joy to see them inching closer together or narrowly avoiding each other. And every once in a while Williams throws a set piece at you that's just mindblowing.
Good to hear! I may return to Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn at some point, so it's good to know that Williams' current output is also as enthralling as it sounds here.