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Author Topic: Reading log  (Read 150609 times)
Vlad!
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« Reply #520 on: May 30, 2016, 09:46:50 PM »

The Glassblower - Petra Durst-Benning (translated by Samuel Wilcocks)

A Kindle First book. At no point could I tell that this novel was not originally written in English. Props to Samuel Wilcocks for his very natural-sounding translation.

This book tells the story of three sisters in a small steam-age German village. It's endearing historical fiction with plucky protagonists who refuse to let life get them down. Much like Andy Weir's Mark Watney, Petra Durst-Benning seems to have it in for her characters and never stops throwing misfortune in their paths. While some of this misfortune does come about as a result of the girls' own actions or their naivete, some too just seems thrust upon them out of the blue to satisfy the exigencies of the plot.

The Glassblower is, overall, a charming tale with likeable characters.
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Humans...have a fundamental need to create and maintain a narrative for their lives in which the universe is not implacable and heartless, that terrible things do not happen at random, and that catastrophe can be avoided if you are vigilant and responsible.... We are vulnerable, but we don’t want to be reminded of that. We want to believe that the world is understandable and controllable and unthreatening, that if we follow the rules, we’ll be okay.
-Ed Hickling
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« Reply #521 on: June 03, 2016, 03:50:59 AM »

The Eagle Tree - Ned Hayes

A Kindle First book.

Much like Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Ned Hayes' The Eagle Tree features a protagonist on the autism spectrum. Narrated by March, a teenage high-functioning autistic boy who loves trees, The Eagle Tree opens up the intricate inner workings of a mind that some might call disabled or broken and shows how rich his thoughts and desires and emotions really are.

But the narrator is not a gimmick. The Eagle Tree is not a good book just because its narrator is autistic, and March Wong is not a narrative device. The book is not about autism, it's about a young man who cares deeply about something and has to overcome adversity to protect it.

Which is why there's one thing in this story that annoys me. At one point, it becomes blindingly obvious exactly how March could solve all his problems. And there's this dramatic tension because the reader knows this bit of information and the narrator knows, but the narrator can't see what the reader can; i.e. that by revealing this bit of information, the narrator could cut through all the difficulties in his path. And this feels a little contrived. More importantly, it feels like Hayes is at this point exploiting his protagonist's autism for the sake of the plot, because the tension is brought about entirely because March doesn't see the world the way others do. At this point, I did feel as though Hayes was using March's autism as a literary device.

Overall, though I found The Eagle Tree to be a most excellent read, and I do recommend it.
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Humans...have a fundamental need to create and maintain a narrative for their lives in which the universe is not implacable and heartless, that terrible things do not happen at random, and that catastrophe can be avoided if you are vigilant and responsible.... We are vulnerable, but we don’t want to be reminded of that. We want to believe that the world is understandable and controllable and unthreatening, that if we follow the rules, we’ll be okay.
-Ed Hickling
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« Reply #522 on: June 05, 2016, 01:38:27 PM »

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins. Each year, one boy and one girl from each district of Panem (formerly North America) are chosen to be thrown into an arena and fight to the death while the rest of the nation watches on live TV.  The main character is Katniss Everdeen, a 16 year-old who is no stranger to survival and volunteers to take her sister's place. Unfortunately, I did not care for this book.  I think the book would have been better if it was darker and more grisly.  Also, something about Katniss' constantly going through scenarios in her head and then sharing them with me, was irritating.  I didn't really feel connected to her or any of the other characters.  It was a quick read, though.
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« Reply #523 on: June 06, 2016, 04:32:18 PM »

Wizard and Glass
Wolves of the Calla
Song of Susannah

Books four, five and six of The Dark Tower series by Stephen King.  This is a bizarre, fascinating series, and while none of these volumes quite reached the heights of book three I am still really enjoying these.  The sixth book was mostly a table setter for book seven, which I will be starting shortly.  It looks like quite the bug-killer, but I already read Stephen King's The Stand so I think I can handle this. 

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« Reply #524 on: June 08, 2016, 10:00:07 AM »

Falling Free - Lois Bujold

Another entry in the Vorkosigan Saga, but this one without any Vorkosigans as it's set outside of Barrayar space and before the Vorkosigan clan thrust itself on the galactic scene.

Falling Free is really an anomaly in Bujold's universe because it doesn't include any of her usual stock of characters and fits only very loosely into the world she's created. Taking a peek at some of the reviews, it seems to be fairly polarizing among series fans because it's a lot more straight sci-fi than her usual offerings.

Personally, I think it's great. I'm not (yet?) so enthralled by the Vorkosigans that I can't enjoy a story set outside their purview, and the book holds up quite well on its own without relying on any world-building superstructure. It actually reminds me a bit of "Delilah and the Space Rigger", Robert Heinlein's 1949 short story (which deals with gender equality rather than genetic modification, but the times they're a'changin'), and it proves to me at least that Bujold can write solid sci-fi just as well as she can do space opera.

I would honestly love to read more about her unassuming blue-collar hero from Falling Free, but I suspect the rest of the series will be Miles Vorkosigan or bust. Pity, that. Well, I say this now, not having read any stories starring Miles as anything other than a small child, so perhaps I too will find that I enjoy the adventures of the little scamp. Time will no doubt tell, since 2016 is definitely a sci-fi year for me.

Anyway, if you want to check out some Bujold without committing yourself to 16 books' worth of world building, interplanetary politics, and general shenanigans, Falling Free is your ticket.
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Humans...have a fundamental need to create and maintain a narrative for their lives in which the universe is not implacable and heartless, that terrible things do not happen at random, and that catastrophe can be avoided if you are vigilant and responsible.... We are vulnerable, but we don’t want to be reminded of that. We want to believe that the world is understandable and controllable and unthreatening, that if we follow the rules, we’ll be okay.
-Ed Hickling
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« Reply #525 on: June 17, 2016, 01:34:47 AM »

The Light of the Fireflies - Paul Pen, translated by Simon Bruni

An Amazon First book. Again, this one was translated so well I had no clue it wasn't originally written in English until most of the way through. Good show.

The Light of the Fireflies is a mystery novel, in a way. The mystery is to figure out what happened in the past to cause the characters to be in their current situation. Of course, the author tries to throw you off at every turn.

Make no mistake: this is a very dark book. It becomes clear fairly quickly that whatever happened, it was not a happy event. I will warn you now that it doesn't get better. There is very little reward in unrolling the tragedies of the past, because the intellectual satisfaction of understanding what happened pales beside the emotional impact of the events that unfolded and the decisions which the family made.

This is not a book that I recommend, per se, but for those who enjoy fiction as literature it does have some qualities to recommend it. It is very well-written, the concept is interesting, and the idea of a reliable narrator that is being deceived by everyone around him is pretty cool, even if the coolness is once again eclipsed by the darkness of the deceit.
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Humans...have a fundamental need to create and maintain a narrative for their lives in which the universe is not implacable and heartless, that terrible things do not happen at random, and that catastrophe can be avoided if you are vigilant and responsible.... We are vulnerable, but we don’t want to be reminded of that. We want to believe that the world is understandable and controllable and unthreatening, that if we follow the rules, we’ll be okay.
-Ed Hickling
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« Reply #526 on: June 26, 2016, 09:08:22 PM »

The Lost Gate - Orson Scott Card

I was gifted this book a while back, and I didn't really expect too much out of it. But I decided to give it a go, and it wound up being surprisingly good!

The setting (similar to Neil Gaiman's American Gods universe) is that the old gods of myth are real, but rather than being divine they're actually just mages from another planet. It was once possible to move between the two planets -- gaining immense power in the process -- but due to vague events in the past that is no longer possible. The Families -- one family per mythological tradition -- have withdrawn into seclusion and wield only a fraction of their former power.

Enter Danny. Although he's the son of two of the most powerful mages in his Family, he seems to have no aptitude for magic himself. Those of you who are familiar with fiction and fantasy tropes no doubt can predict what happens next, but in any case I'll leave it there.

The world that Card builds is interesting, and nobody doubts his ability to write troubled young protagonists well. There is a significant fish out of water component to the book, which when done well can be interesting and amusing.

The book is the start of a multi-book series -- currently a trilogy, though I don't know if Card plans on expanding the universe further. The third book just came out at the end of last year.

Altogether entirely acceptable modern fantasy.
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Humans...have a fundamental need to create and maintain a narrative for their lives in which the universe is not implacable and heartless, that terrible things do not happen at random, and that catastrophe can be avoided if you are vigilant and responsible.... We are vulnerable, but we don’t want to be reminded of that. We want to believe that the world is understandable and controllable and unthreatening, that if we follow the rules, we’ll be okay.
-Ed Hickling
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« Reply #527 on: July 05, 2016, 03:21:49 PM »

The Dark Tower - Stephen King

The seventh and final book in King's Dark Tower series.  In a lot of ways this (very long) book was a good microcosm of the series as a whole.  Highly readable, great characters, some brilliant moments, and quite a few moments where I thought the plot got away from King and led to some disappointing developments.  All in all, I am definitely glad I read this series, and would recommend it for anyone who enjoys fantasy.  It has its ups and downs - often many within a single book - but overall the ups win and out and make it worthwhile to journey into this world. 
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« Reply #528 on: July 15, 2016, 02:31:09 AM »

Midair - Kodi Scheer

An Amazon First book

The story of some teenage girls' ill-fated trip to Paris. The story is told jumping back and forth between the events leading up to The Incident and a character's life many years later. Some bits, especially the chapters told ex post facto, are kept intentionally vague, so much so that it becomes obvious that there's a twist coming up. But -- shock and surprise! -- there's actually a double twist, sort of, although by the time the narrative wends its torturous way there it's not really that much of a twist.

This book could probably be a really solid long short story, or perhaps a novella. As a short novel, it feels like a gimmick.

It was nice to come up for a breath of modern fiction after delving through the depths of genre fiction for so long, but this one could have just as well stayed on the shelf.
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Humans...have a fundamental need to create and maintain a narrative for their lives in which the universe is not implacable and heartless, that terrible things do not happen at random, and that catastrophe can be avoided if you are vigilant and responsible.... We are vulnerable, but we don’t want to be reminded of that. We want to believe that the world is understandable and controllable and unthreatening, that if we follow the rules, we’ll be okay.
-Ed Hickling
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« Reply #529 on: July 22, 2016, 08:27:30 AM »

Over the past few months I have read seventeen books in Lois Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga. I don't want to write individual reviews for each, but I do want to provide a bit of an overall review for the series and call out individual standouts.

I should note that I've been reading the series in internal-chronological order, which I find to be an excellent way to consume the books. I do recommend it, though it's certainly not necessary. At the end of each book is a lengthy codicil explaining reading orders for the books, and it does a good job of telling you what to do. Let me add my additional recommendation that internal-chronological is the way to go.

That said, Bujold writes her books by building a skeleton and then fleshing it out. The "flesh" books can really be read in any order so long as the skeleton remains intact.

The series as a whole follows the life of one Miles Naismith Vorkosigan. Miles is hampered by physical deformity due to events that transpired while he was still in the womb (read Barrayar if you want the details). He compensates for this disability with an extraordinarily keen mind and a hyperactive obsession with plowing through all obstacles, sometimes backed by nothing but sheer chutzpah (a technique he calls "forward momentum"). Mostly just by blasting ahead at full thrust, Miles managed to become one of the most influential people in the galaxy, sort of like if Forrest Gump were a genius, which now that I think about it would kind of defeat the whole point of Forrest Gump, so let's move on.

What differentiates these books from the standard "the hero gets himself into improbable situations and then everything works out for him" fare is that the people in Miles' life feel...genuine. He has little luck with romance because women see through his exterior to his self-centered thoughtless core. His family love him but think he's insane. His superiors aren't sure whether to promote him or strangle him. And as this overcaffeinated psychopathic midget tries to figure out his place not just in the universe but in life, love, and home, we see him not as a superhero but as a man.

One of my favorite parts of Miles' story is the novella "The Mountains of Mourning", included in the Borders of Infinity anthology. Miles (in his duties as the heir of Count Vorkosigan) journeys on horseback to a remote village in his family lands to act as judge in a case where a woman's baby has been killed. I love it because he can't solve this problem with forward momentum. He just has to be in the moment, learn, and grow.

Bujold tells galactic epics and makes the characters in them human. She is a fantastic writer, and I wish there were seventeen more of these books I could devour. If there were, I would do (and I wish her a long life so she can write those seventeen more; perhaps the most selfish reason to wish another person a long life I've heard).

They're seriously good. Read 'em.
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Humans...have a fundamental need to create and maintain a narrative for their lives in which the universe is not implacable and heartless, that terrible things do not happen at random, and that catastrophe can be avoided if you are vigilant and responsible.... We are vulnerable, but we don’t want to be reminded of that. We want to believe that the world is understandable and controllable and unthreatening, that if we follow the rules, we’ll be okay.
-Ed Hickling
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« Reply #530 on: July 27, 2016, 02:47:01 AM »

Neil Gaiman's American Gods. Didn't much care for this one... It was okay. A big chunk of the story moved entirely too slow, and I couldn't connect as much with the characters as I would have liked. There were a few characters I liked.

Lois Lowry's Gathering Blue. I liked it. Hope to read the next book in the series by the end of the year. Struggling to describe the book without spoilers to those who haven't read it.
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« Reply #531 on: July 27, 2016, 01:48:24 PM »

Neil Gaiman's American Gods. Didn't much care for this one... It was okay. A big chunk of the story moved entirely too slow, and I couldn't connect as much with the characters as I would have liked. There were a few characters I liked.
Apparently (and I didn't know this until yesterday) American Gods is being adapted into a TV miniseries. Watching the trailer made me want to read the book again.

American Gods was the first Gaiman book I read, which I did in 2008. Re-reading those old reviews is funny, because I don't remember loving it as much as I apparently did given my gushing praise (I also don't remember the content being as graphic as I described. Perhaps it was a more innocent time for young Vlad! back then?). Looking forward to rereading it with today's perspective as well!

Lois Lowry's Gathering Blue. I liked it. Hope to read the next book in the series by the end of the year. Struggling to describe the book without spoilers to those who haven't read it.

My parents got me the 4-book set of The Giver, Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son two Christmases ago. Unfortunately, I left them in the US (as I did with nearly all my physical books) and haven't read Son yet. I plan on starting with the first one and reading through all of them whenever I manage to find my way back to the States.
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Humans...have a fundamental need to create and maintain a narrative for their lives in which the universe is not implacable and heartless, that terrible things do not happen at random, and that catastrophe can be avoided if you are vigilant and responsible.... We are vulnerable, but we don’t want to be reminded of that. We want to believe that the world is understandable and controllable and unthreatening, that if we follow the rules, we’ll be okay.
-Ed Hickling
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« Reply #532 on: August 06, 2016, 01:06:04 AM »

So I looked up the cast for American Gods and most of them don't match the way the characters looked in my head. Will have to watch the trailer on another device when I can to see if it looks interesting or not. 

There were definitely a few graphic scenes in the book. 

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« Reply #533 on: August 13, 2016, 12:29:15 AM »

Off the Mangrove Coast, a collection of short stories from Louis L'Amour. I enjoyed every story but the last one (Time of Terror).  The rest were all very good, and packed with adventure.  There was only one western in the bunch.  Other stories involved boxers, seamen, and jungle tribes.
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« Reply #534 on: August 20, 2016, 05:08:50 AM »

Brain Wave - Poul Anderson

An interesting what-if sci-fi story that's fairly light on the hard science and heavier on the social implications. Feels like latter-day Arthur C. Clarke, which is high praise.

My one complaint is that the story spends so much time messing around with exploring the scenario it forgets to have an actual plot. While the start is memorable, the climax is, well, not so climactic, the denouement nonexistent, and the resolution forgettable -- and I mean that in the most literal sense, for I find that even though I read the book barely a month ago, I have already forgotten how it ends.

If you enjoyed Jammer or The Light of Other Days, you'll definitely enjoy Brain Wave. If you're looking for serious, hardcore SF or space opera like the stuff I've reviewed previously this year, this book will likely not be your jam.
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Humans...have a fundamental need to create and maintain a narrative for their lives in which the universe is not implacable and heartless, that terrible things do not happen at random, and that catastrophe can be avoided if you are vigilant and responsible.... We are vulnerable, but we don’t want to be reminded of that. We want to believe that the world is understandable and controllable and unthreatening, that if we follow the rules, we’ll be okay.
-Ed Hickling
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« Reply #535 on: August 21, 2016, 09:38:56 PM »

Shiloh: A Novel - Shelby Foote.  This fictional book takes place during the Civil War with each chapter/section alternating between accounts by Rebel and Union soldiers of varying ranks.  I enjoyed reading it and thought it tied together pretty well.
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« Reply #536 on: August 21, 2016, 11:19:04 PM »

In an odd coincidence, there were two books entitled Shiloh published in 1991; that one, by Foote, and a children's novel by Phyllis Naylor.

I remember reading one of them, presumably the children's book, and thinking it was sad, but I remember literally nothing else about it. I was probably too young to really understand it (I turned 8 in '91). When I saw your post and saw the year it was published, I thought "man, did my parents really give me a novel about the Civil War to read?" But no, it was the other one.
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Humans...have a fundamental need to create and maintain a narrative for their lives in which the universe is not implacable and heartless, that terrible things do not happen at random, and that catastrophe can be avoided if you are vigilant and responsible.... We are vulnerable, but we don’t want to be reminded of that. We want to believe that the world is understandable and controllable and unthreatening, that if we follow the rules, we’ll be okay.
-Ed Hickling
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« Reply #537 on: August 23, 2016, 01:20:28 AM »

 laugh

I read the other Shiloh too, back when.  I remember there was a dog, and I think I remember seeing a movie of it later on.  The only other thing I remember about it is that I also read Sounder, which also involved a dog, and I would almost get the titles confused.  Which is weird, because it is clear in my mind now which is which. 
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« Reply #538 on: August 25, 2016, 01:49:11 AM »

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon - Stephen King.  Quick to read and well-written, this is the story of a 9-year old girl that wanders off the Appalachian Trail and gets lost in the woods.  The book is neither frightening nor superb, as the review quotes on the cover suggest.  I can see how one might get bored with the story, but I found it to be a decent read due to the writing.
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« Reply #539 on: November 06, 2016, 02:37:06 PM »

The Waste Lands (Dark Tower #3) - Stephen King. Finally got back to the series.  Might have to stop it right there, though.  I really struggled through this book and didn't enjoy reading it.  What a chore!
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« Reply #540 on: November 07, 2016, 04:49:59 AM »

^Blaine is a pain. 
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« Reply #541 on: December 04, 2016, 01:26:36 AM »

^Blaine is a pain. 
Indeed.
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« Reply #542 on: December 21, 2016, 06:44:45 PM »

Augh, I've been so delinquent at posting reading logs. I'm going to try to get back closer to the top of the list by posting briefer summaries. I'm sure you're all heartbroken that you don't get as much of my usual rambling.

The Bassoon King - Rainn Wilson

If you are fascinated by the lives of celebrities, actors, comedians, or just all around interesting people, you might want to read this -- Wilson ticks all those boxes. He's funny and has had some fairly interesting life experiences over the course of his existence. I posted some fairly amusing quotes here about a thousand years ago, indicating just how behind I am on these reviews.

I imagine by this point you know whether or not you are the sort of person who might enjoy reading musings of an aging hippie actor and comedian on life, faith, and the TV and film industries. If you don't know this, you might want to pick up either this book or Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling and find out.

A House for Happy Mothers - Amulya Malladi

An Amazon First book.

A really cool novel about surrogacy in India. Alternates perspective between the biological mother, an Indian-American, and the surrogate mother, an Indian. I don't know how accurate the portrayal is or to what degree the opinions expressed by the characters match the opinions of anyone involved in real life, but as a story it's very compelling. The characters feel very real, as do the situations. This is properly good modern literature, and one that I think is a truly excellent novel.

Consider Phlebas - Iain M. Banks

The first (by publication) of the Culture novels. Fairly interesting post-singularity space action / drama. Slow pacing but still kept me reading for the whole book.

The Player of Games - Iain M. Banks

I really liked this one. A bored games-master in a hyper-advanced post-singularity post-scarcity spacefaring society known as the Culture takes a trip to a backwater planet where they play a traditional and very complicated game for very high stakes. Hijinks ensue.

The Use of Weapons - Iain M. Banks

The third published Culture book. This one jumps around chronologically in a bit that makes it a little difficult to follow but which facilitates the lead-up to the dramatic conclusion. The slow pacing which seems Banks' hallmark style nearly did me in on this one, so I haven't read any more of them yet.

Love Marriage: A Novel - V. V. Ganeshananthan

A novel following several generations and branches of a particular Sri Lankan family, both in their home country and in the US. Explores the themes of "proper" and "improper" relationships and how the boundary between the two is fuzzy and very culturally defined. The one word that summarizes what this book is about is "family".
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Humans...have a fundamental need to create and maintain a narrative for their lives in which the universe is not implacable and heartless, that terrible things do not happen at random, and that catastrophe can be avoided if you are vigilant and responsible.... We are vulnerable, but we don’t want to be reminded of that. We want to believe that the world is understandable and controllable and unthreatening, that if we follow the rules, we’ll be okay.
-Ed Hickling
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« Reply #543 on: December 30, 2016, 11:35:47 PM »

Continuing the 2016 theme of reading previously neglected sci-fi series, I read the first three novels in John Scalzi's excellent Old Man's War series, Old Man's War, The Ghost Brigade, and The Last Colony.

They're quite good. Solid character-driven sci-fi with great pacing and a really well thought out plot. I recommend them to any genre fans.
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Humans...have a fundamental need to create and maintain a narrative for their lives in which the universe is not implacable and heartless, that terrible things do not happen at random, and that catastrophe can be avoided if you are vigilant and responsible.... We are vulnerable, but we don’t want to be reminded of that. We want to believe that the world is understandable and controllable and unthreatening, that if we follow the rules, we’ll be okay.
-Ed Hickling
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« Reply #544 on: January 08, 2017, 05:44:32 PM »

^ On my "to check out... one day" list.

It has taken me almost an entire year to read Robert B. Parker's Virgil Cole & Everett Hitch series, only to find out another book is on the way.  Only the first four books of the series were written by Parker, as he died after writing them.  Robert Knott was chosen by the estate to continue the series, which follows lawmen Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch as they clean up towns from gunhands and other riffraff. The first book, Appaloosa, was okay.  It sounded almost familiar and I found out later that was because I had seen the movie years before.  I also found out after reading the book that it was the first in a series.  I read the second one to see how the author went from the ending of the first book to having a series and I found I enjoyed the characters.  So here I am after having read the eighth book, Blackjack.  Knott has done a decent job in keeping the story going but I feel especially with this last book that he has strayed from the essence of who Cole and Hitch are.  Not to mention, the dialogue has changed, taking away from the bit of traditional western atmosphere, and at times is distracting to the story.  All in all, an enjoyable series comprised mostly of quick reads. 
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« Reply #545 on: January 12, 2017, 03:58:36 AM »

Sacred Search - Gary Thomas

This is a book about relationships for people who are in one, who want to be in one, or are contemplating being in one (it is not for people who are married, for you he has written other books).

It's OK. Not that I'm any expert at relationships (except for maybe having some direct experience regarding what not to do), of course. The book's main thesis is that emotions will lead you to make foolish decisions, so don't base one of the biggest decisions of your life on just your emotions. If you get married, you will be the most successful if both of you have a common, uniting mission rather than just sitting around focusing on one another (which seems great, except that once the feelings start to wear off you find that you mostly focus on one anothers' flaws). As Christians, the mission is the same mission common to all followers of God: reaching the world for Christ.

All this is dandy, and is actually some fairly solid relationship advice. Unfortunately, Thomas spends quite a bit of time beating the reader around the head with this thesis. On one hand, the man has counseled married and dating couples for about as many years as I've been alive, so he probably knows a bit about what he's talking about and whom he's talking to. But for those of us who generally agree with his thesis, it gets a little wearying and stressful.

He also suffers from inconsistent messaging in places, as it seems he wavers between trying to convince people who are rushing into marriage that they need to slow down and truly take stock of their partner and their situation on the one hand and trying to convince people who are hesitant to even dip a toe in the water to stop waiting around and commit already on the other. A good book on dating should possibly address both situations, but since he goes all out basically yelling (in literary form) about whatever his current topic is, the shifts become quite jarring.

Out of the many pages, I managed to extract a few useful points for myself that will hopefully make me first a better Christian and second a better boyfriend. But I also spent a lot of time annoyed, bored, confused, or just wishing he'd get on with it and stop trying to beat me up with his point. So your mileage may vary. If you (like me) feel that you know many ways to screw up a relationship but no good ways to stay in one, or if (unlike me) you're at the point where you're seriously considering getting married and you're not sure what it means to be ready, or if you just don't really have any experience at all and feel like you would like advice from someone who's seen it all, sure, you might want to give this book a shot. But it's definitely not the be-all, end-all relationship guide, and it's absolutely not required reading.
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Humans...have a fundamental need to create and maintain a narrative for their lives in which the universe is not implacable and heartless, that terrible things do not happen at random, and that catastrophe can be avoided if you are vigilant and responsible.... We are vulnerable, but we don’t want to be reminded of that. We want to believe that the world is understandable and controllable and unthreatening, that if we follow the rules, we’ll be okay.
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« Reply #546 on: February 04, 2017, 01:50:44 PM »

Gold Coast - Elmore Leonard. A fun, fast read!  A recently widowed mob wife is being controlled by her husband even after his death.  Anything else seems spoilerish to me.  Two thumbs up.
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« Reply #547 on: February 04, 2017, 04:50:55 PM »

My goal for 2017 is 25 books read. I haven't read enough over the past few years so I'm trying to do more reading and use entertainment mediums of other kinds.

so far:

Nick Offerman - Good Clean Fun: Misadventures in Sawdust at Offerman Woodshop

A very enjoyable, humorous look at Offerman, his passion for woodworking, and his crew of people at the woodshop.  I am not talented in the craftsman way but have always been fascinated with woodworking, carving, etc. 


Laura Vanderkam - 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think

The author writes from a limited perspective and her advice is only applicable to those with high incomes and enough expendable $ to afford to have others do basic tasks for them.  I could only get through half the book as I was so bothered by the lack of awareness by Vanderkam.  I took to Amazon and Goodreads to see other reviews; glad I was not the only one who felt this way (majority were average to poor reviews)
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« Reply #548 on: February 05, 2017, 12:28:49 AM »

My goal for 2017 is 25 books read. I haven't read enough over the past few years so I'm trying to do more reading and use entertainment mediums of other kinds.
A commendable goal. Perhaps one of the 25 books you read will teach you that the plural of medium is media Wink

The author writes from a limited perspective and her advice is only applicable to those with high incomes and enough expendable $ to afford to have others do basic tasks for them.  I could only get through half the book as I was so bothered by the lack of awareness by Vanderkam.  I took to Amazon and Goodreads to see other reviews; glad I was not the only one who felt this way (majority were average to poor reviews)

I think the idea behind personal outsourcing is that you use the time you gain to do more high-yield activities, so of course it's aimed at entrepreneurs who earn money based on time investment. Salaried workers or hourly workers whose schedules are set by someone else (such as you or I) will not find much of value. Perhaps rather than a lack of awareness, the author just didn't specify clearly whom her target audience was. Still a valid criticism, but I think a distinction worth making.
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Humans...have a fundamental need to create and maintain a narrative for their lives in which the universe is not implacable and heartless, that terrible things do not happen at random, and that catastrophe can be avoided if you are vigilant and responsible.... We are vulnerable, but we don’t want to be reminded of that. We want to believe that the world is understandable and controllable and unthreatening, that if we follow the rules, we’ll be okay.
-Ed Hickling
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« Reply #549 on: March 05, 2017, 12:02:13 AM »

The Red Pyramid - Rick Riordan. Siblings Sadie and Carter have been raised on different continents since their mother's death six years ago.  As such, they have become strangers and lead very different lives.  In this book, the first of The Kane Chronicles, the siblings learn a lot about themselves, their family, and Egyptian gods as they race to save the world. 

The book was not amazing but it was pretty good. 
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« Reply #550 on: July 07, 2017, 08:56:50 PM »

Over the past couple of years I've read a bazillion books, but this year so far it's been not very many. The ones I have read I generally haven't posted about here.

Here's the attempt to make that up:

The School for Good and Evil - Soman Chainani: Of all the cute and well-written send-ups of classic fairy tails over the past several years, this is definitely one of them.
The School for Good and Evil #2: A World Without Princes - Soman Chainani: The drama cranks up a notch. This one's alright, not quite as good as its predecessor.
My Man Jeeves and Other Early Jeeves Stories - P.G. Wodehouse: I've been meaning to get into Wodehouse forever. My flight to New Zealand was the time I chose to do so. Man did I enjoy these stories. I almost paid for WiFi on the flight so I could get the next volume, but I had enough other stuff on my Kindle I needed to read first that I didn't.
The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland - Rebekah Crane: A Kindle First book. A cute story about some teens at Summer camp. I liked this one.
Agent of Vega and Other Stories - James H. Schmitz: I read The Witches of Karres (which is, despite the title, more sci-fi than fantasy) when I was a kid (I think my first exposure to the book was my mom reading it to me, actually; I was that young) but it wasn't until this year that I realized Schmitz wrote a lot more than just that one book (there are also sequels to that book written by others, but I view them the same way I view the Derleth continuations to Lovecraft's work: little more than fan fiction). This collection is quite good.
Observations of a Straight White Male with No Interesting Fetishes - Peter Welsh: I don't remember why I bought this book (probably Amazon recommended it to me). It's a memoir by a somewhat disaffected playboy computer jockey whose life has been only mildly more interesting than average. That said, he's a skilled writer so I made it all the way through.

I'm the laziest of bums these days so who knows when I'll do more reading of books interesting to pholks here. I'll try to be better about posting when I do though.
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Humans...have a fundamental need to create and maintain a narrative for their lives in which the universe is not implacable and heartless, that terrible things do not happen at random, and that catastrophe can be avoided if you are vigilant and responsible.... We are vulnerable, but we don’t want to be reminded of that. We want to believe that the world is understandable and controllable and unthreatening, that if we follow the rules, we’ll be okay.
-Ed Hickling
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« Reply #551 on: September 23, 2017, 10:57:58 PM »

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry - Fredrik Backman.  Well-written and well-paced, this enjoyable story follows seven year old Elsa as she delivers letters of apology from her eccentric and recently deceased grandmother to people she feels she has wronged in life.  If you are at all into adventures, fairy tales, or good books in general, this book may be for you!
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