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

Oct 25, 2017
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I'm a few chapters into The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Harcastle (still on day one). I don't know what I expected*, but it wasn't this.

To be fair I literally bought the book because it had been mentioned here and was cheap on Amazon, didn't even read a blurb. I guess I was expectting some kind of supernatural shenanigans (I know I'm still really early).
 
Oct 27, 2017
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I swear this isn't meant to be as pretentious as it sounds...

I feel like Franzen's Freedom has somewhat ruined reading for me at the moment. It's not that like nothing compares or some dumb shit like that, but everything I've read since then just feels bare bones and kind of lifeless. I don't know if it's just been the choice of books afterward, but both Three-Body Problem and Earthsea have just sort of felt brief in a way.

I'm still enjoying reading them, I just can't get the thought out of my head that I'm wanting more from the characters and stories I'm reading and they're just giving me plot plot plot.
 
OP
OP
MilkBeard
Oct 25, 2017
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I'm a few chapters into The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Harcastle (still on day one). I don't know what I expected*, but it wasn't this.

To be fair I literally bought the book because it had been mentioned here and was cheap on Amazon, didn't even read a blurb. I guess I was expectting some kind of supernatural shenanigans (I know I'm still really early).
Keep reading, Number45.

I swear this isn't meant to be as pretentious as it sounds...

I feel like Franzen's Freedom has somewhat ruined reading for me at the moment. It's not that like nothing compares or some dumb shit like that, but everything I've read since then just feels bare bones and kind of lifeless. I don't know if it's just been the choice of books afterward, but both Three-Body Problem and Earthsea have just sort of felt brief in a way.

I'm still enjoying reading them, I just can't get the thought out of my head that I'm wanting more from the characters and stories I'm reading and they're just giving me plot plot plot.
Earthsea is written in a more detached, plot and worldbuilding style, but still with a pretty good pace. I would say maybe put it away for a while and come back after you satisfy this need for character. Wizard of Earthsea, though it is a bit light on character, is lovingly written and tight for a fantasy book. To me, the descriptions are amazing--almost perfect--and the world feels fully realized. The downside is that, with how brief the book is, the characters can feel a bit thinner than bigger, more detailed works. It didn't really bother me much, because even with their simplicity they are still pretty good characters.
 
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Oct 25, 2017
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Fret not, I'm stubborn as hell with books. Once I start the chances of me not finishing are super slim - only two I can think of are Infinite Jest (I'm definitely going to read this in full some day, but each time I pick it up seems to be the wrong time) and, amazingly, I picked up a book of short sci-fi series that included Who Goes There (because The Thing is awesome) and I hated that story so much that I didn't finish it AND refused to read any more of the stories. Completely irrational I know.
 
Nov 1, 2017
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I swear this isn't meant to be as pretentious as it sounds...

I feel like Franzen's Freedom has somewhat ruined reading for me at the moment. It's not that like nothing compares or some dumb shit like that, but everything I've read since then just feels bare bones and kind of lifeless. I don't know if it's just been the choice of books afterward, but both Three-Body Problem and Earthsea have just sort of felt brief in a way.

I'm still enjoying reading them, I just can't get the thought out of my head that I'm wanting more from the characters and stories I'm reading and they're just giving me plot plot plot.
Hmm, I'll see if I can speak to this. For Three-Body Problem, sci-fi is a genre of ideas and thought experiments, so characters don't often get the exploration that you'd see in something like a Jane Austen novel.

Fantasy can be a little more complex when it comes to characters, but it's also pretty plot-driven.
 
Oct 27, 2017
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Hmm, I'll see if I can speak to this. For Three-Body Problem, sci-fi is a genre of ideas and thought experiments, so characters don't often get the exploration that you'd see in something like a Jane Austen novel.

Fantasy can be a little more complex when it comes to characters, but it's also pretty plot-driven.
This is honestly what I'm mostly thinking, especially with Three-Body. It was just weird going back to back on books and having the same feelings.

My next book I think I am just going to go into picking it a little more conscious of what I pick.
 
Nov 1, 2017
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This is honestly what I'm mostly thinking, especially with Three-Body. It was just weird going back to back on books and having the same feelings.

My next book I think I am just going to go into picking it a little more conscious of what I pick.
Good call. After I go through my current backlog of 65-ish books, I'm going to be quite careful with what I choose to read. I'll be 38 by the time I get through them, and I figure I'm getting short on time to spend it on reading things I know I either won't enjoy or that is "okay." It's why I almost gave up on The Dragonbone Chair, and why I did give up on A Tale of Two Cities.
 
Oct 26, 2017
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I add books to my to-read list all willy-nilly, which essentially works as my backlog, but they're all just books that happened to sound interesting at some point, something I might check out. I never planned to finish the backlog or anything like that.

I do have a "downloaded" list on Goodreads too, though, for books that I have already purchased and downloaded to my iPad, but haven't read yet. They're the books that I'll for sure at least give a try soon.

And yeah, if you're not enjoying a book at all after, say, 50 to 100 pages, just drop it. There's incredible amounts of stuff to read, why waste it reading something you're not enjoying?
 
Oct 28, 2017
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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.
I hope it stays this way! The story is teasing this super secret VR world that the characters will probably enter at some point. Right now the real-world plot keeps everything grounded, but without that the whole thing might lose its focus. If it becomes just a sequence of crazy simulations it might get tiring.

Right know Williams is actually writing a sequel trilogy two Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. I kind of want to read that, too, but I'd probably have to reread the first Ostean Ard books, and that's a huge undertaking
 
Oct 27, 2017
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I add books to my to-read list all willy-nilly, which essentially works as my backlog, but they're all just books that happened to sound interesting at some point, something I might check out. I never planned to finish the backlog or anything like that.

I do have a "downloaded" list on Goodreads too, though, for books that I have already purchased and downloaded to my iPad, but haven't read yet. They're the books that I'll for sure at least give a try soon.

And yeah, if you're not enjoying a book at all after, say, 50 to 100 pages, just drop it. There's incredible amounts of stuff to read, why waste it reading something you're not enjoying?
I'm the same way. When I'm looking for my next book to read I'll go through the list and literally not remember or know half the books.

I usually have to be in the right mood for a specific type of book otherwise I won't be all that interested.
 
Nov 1, 2017
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I add books to my to-read list all willy-nilly, which essentially works as my backlog, but they're all just books that happened to sound interesting at some point, something I might check out. I never planned to finish the backlog or anything like that.

I do have a "downloaded" list on Goodreads too, though, for books that I have already purchased and downloaded to my iPad, but haven't read yet. They're the books that I'll for sure at least give a try soon.

And yeah, if you're not enjoying a book at all after, say, 50 to 100 pages, just drop it. There's incredible amounts of stuff to read, why waste it reading something you're not enjoying?
I don't consider my Goodreads "to read" list as a backlog - only books that I've actually purchased that are on a bookshelf somewhere in my house, and soon, on my Kindle. THIS backlog I actually want to get through, so I can get rid of the stuff that I know I won't be reading again, and keep the stuff that I can see myself picking up again in 10 years or something like that.
 

Completed The North Water today. Read the first half in one sitting, and I'd have repeated that for the 2nd half if I had more spare time.
Apparently they're turning it in a TV series that'll air in 2019. Thinking about re-reading Howl's Moving Castle next.





Loving this series so far
I loved the short stories from The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny, but I really struggled to get through Blood of Elves.
Really hoping ToC will sit better with me, because I want to read the books before playing the game.
 
I loved the short stories from The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny, but I really struggled to get through Blood of Elves.
Really hoping ToC will sit better with me, because I want to read the books before playing the game.

there is a STARK difference between the Witcher short stories and the Witcher novels. The shorts stories felt like they were ripped out of the games- Geralt walking into town and meeting, talking to, doing battle with a monster. a little political talk here and there, but not much since nothing was really brewing at that point in the timeline war wise.

Plus you spend plenty of time with Geralt in the short stories. A lot of these novels so far are a LOT of time with Ciri and whomever she is with (which I dig- not a complaint). I think I spent 40 pages or so with just Citi and Yennifer training with just rumors of a Witcher doing his work in the periphery.
 
Oct 27, 2017
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Finally finished The Luminaries. In short, I would agree with a review I saw on Goodreads that the book should have ended somewhere around 70% of the pages. The start is a bit slow, which is kind of a bad impression for this 830 pages book that deals with about 15 characters. The story picks up soon and it becomes easier to follow the characters. Im not sure what the astrology aspect throughout the chapters added to the book, though. But I don't know (not am I interested in) the first thing about astrology and not sure if it provided the reader with hints on the whole mystery. And I dunno if I missed this part but
is it ever explained where Emery ended up missing? The crate on Godspeed? Tbh I thought it would've been perfect if the book ended on the flashback of Anna meeting Emery on the ship
Overall, it's a 3.5/5 for me.

Next up, back to Murakami with Kafka on the Shore.
 
How are you liking it? I read it for the first time this year and it's now one of the foundation texts of my personal approach to life. :) And which translation are you reading? The Modern Library version by Gregory Hayes is the one I read because it was recommended to me, and it was infinitely readable and practical.
That's the same version I'm reading! I love how it drives logos to be the one of main foundations for us people to run on, instead of anything external. It's for sure making me enthusiastic for philosophy, not just for Stoicism. What were your main takeaways?
 
I'd planned on starting an Andre Norton scifi novel on my audiobook livestream tonight but got out-voted by the stream regulars, so we'll be giving Mary Shelley's unabridged Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus a shot.



I've added that 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle to my Libby queue, for personal reading. Too many recommendations to ignore.
 
Oct 28, 2017
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Just finished Assassin's Quest by Robin Hobb yesterday. That one took longer than the previous two. It was slow going at first, but then picked up and I couldn't put it down until I had finished it. I love the characters and world so much that I will definitely return for her other books.

But, first, Morning Star by Pierce Brown. I waited a whole year for it to go on sale. It finally did during Black Friday. Now to see how the story wraps up...

This reminded me I really need to go back and finish the last book of this series, hate leaving stuff unfinished.
Whatever do you mean by "wraps up" and "last book"?

 
Nov 1, 2017
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That's the same version I'm reading! I love how it drives logos to be the one of main foundations for us people to run on, instead of anything external. It's for sure making me enthusiastic for philosophy, not just for Stoicism. What were your main takeaways?
So many takeaways...

-life is short, so you should get a move on

-concern yourself with what matters and free yourself from distractions; maintain your focus on practicing universal virtues such as patience, love, justice, and charity

-humans were made for each other, so we should treat each other with kindness and tolerance. We were made for others

-your mind is yours to shape. The quality of your thoughts will shape the quality of your mind and character

-your pain, anger, and the pursuit of pleasure can all be controlled through a disciplined mind

-if someone’s actions upset you, don’t respond with anger, but with tolerance and gentle correction

-humility, not arrogance, pride, or greed

-self-reliance, not dependence

-but don’t be afraid to ask for help

-don’t become obsessed with the minds of other people; only focus on what you can control, which is your own mind

-do good for the sake of good; don’t hunger for recognition and awards

-right thoughts, right words, right actions

-perseverance

-be open to correction if you make a mistake

-focus on the present

-shut up and do what nature demands of you (work, move, unselfish action after unselfish action)

-separate yourself from your ego - you already know what you have to do, so do it

I'd planned on starting an Andre Norton scifi novel on my audiobook livestream tonight but got out-voted by the stream regulars, so we'll be giving Mary Shelley's unabridged Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus a shot.



I've added that 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle to my Libby queue, for personal reading. Too many recommendations to ignore.
That’s the version of Frankenstein I own. Always happy to see that cover. :)

more people should read this tbh
Agreed. It’s life-changing. I’m going to gift it to people who I think would like it or benefit from it. It provides solid moral guidelines and is an answer to people who say “but how can you teach right from wrong without the Bible/a religious text?” Mind you, Marcus was clearly a believer in god/the gods.
 
Nov 1, 2017
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Finished The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Here is my Goodreads review:

Every time I read a book by Neil Gaiman, I wonder why I don’t read more books by Neil Gaiman.

The Graveyard Book is a chilling coming-of-age story of a mortal boy who is raised by ghosts after the murder of his family. It’s episodic in nature, as each chapter jumps a couple of years in the boy’s life. Each story is unique and either reveals more of the world of the book or shows how the boy is changing, all the while drawing a long narrative thread that keeps everything focused and connected.

I listened to he full-cast audio performance of the book, and while the performances were all top notch, I feel like I would have gotten even more out of this book had I read it in its physical form. Some of the prose are just so sumptuous and I feel I’d be able to savour them more on the page.

Hearing the book all at once also left me with some questions, the most prominent of which was how the boy was even allowed to enter a school, and where exactly he was going to go at the end of the novel with a couple of bucks to his name and not a lot of outside-of-the-graveyard experience. The story and history around Jack’s organization also felt a little incomplete, but again, I feel all of this might have come off differently if I had read the book rather than listened to it.

If Goodreads allowed for half-star reviews, this would be a 4.5/5 for me. I might even bump this up to five stars at some point if I get a chance to read the physical copy. As is, I still very much enjoyed my trip through the graveyard and getting to take in Gaiman’s singular prose.

On a random note, I’d love to see this get made into a Netflix or Amazon Prime series. I’ll also probably check out the graphic novel version of the book at some point.
After writing this, I read that there’s supposed to be a movie based on this. Last news was from 2013 with Ron Howard attached to direct. Hrm.
 
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Oct 26, 2017
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I finished Hardcastle. I liked it a lot, I especially liked how it didn't devolve into confusing mush. Everything made sense, even when I doubted it would.

It's still perhaps too complicated, but I think it's to be expected given the ambitious nature.

I will be very interested to see what this author does next, even if I'm not sure what I personally want from him.
 

Tenrius

For the Snark was a Boojum, you see
Member
Oct 25, 2017
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What are everyone's thoughts on The Yiddish Policemen's Union? I thought the premise was fascinating, but I couldn't really get into it because the language was too flowery and not in an enjoyable way. That was a while back and I'm now thinking about giving it another try
 
Hardcastle is available for pick-up at the library, so I'll get it one of these days. I don't know if I should start it right away, or maybe wait until January depending on how many people have holds on it. I have two other books that I have yet to get to which are due back right after Christmas.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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Hardcastle is available for pick-up at the library, so I'll get it one of these days. I don't know if I should start it right away, or maybe wait until January depending on how many people have holds on it. I have two other books that I have yet to get to which are due back right after Christmas.
If it's any help it doesn't seem like it should take long to get through. I've been at it for less than a couple of hours (I do most of my reading during lunch at work) and the Kindle is showing me at nearly 20% and I'm not a particularly speedy reader.
 
Oct 27, 2017
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Northern Ontario
I just finished this book moments ago. It was quite an interesting read given how big a Leafs fan I am, and how I grew up watching Curtis Joseph play both for the Leafs and other teams. He was one of my favourite players, and this offered a lot of insight into his career and the behind-the-scenes lifestyles of some of my favourite players.

I *think* this might just be my 50th finished book this year. I could be wrong, because I didn't keep as much record earlier this year as I do now, and am not sure if I finished one or two at the end of 2017 instead of early 2018. I wish I knew for sure, but I guess it doesn't really matter. It'd probably still technically be 50 books in a year, because, well, 2018 hasn't ended yet.

That's a major milestone for me, and far more than I ever expected or got to before.