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OTHER THINGS IN THE WORLD THAN MUSIC => Art and Literature, Movies and TV => Topic started by: mgriffin on October 01, 2011, 09:38:08 AM

Title: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on October 01, 2011, 09:38:08 AM
As I said, this kind of topic is one I'd really love to see more active on the forum. I've received some really good recommendations for authors and books from people here.

At the very least, I'll start cross-posting here the mini-reviews I post to Amazon or Goodreads.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on October 01, 2011, 09:41:29 AM
Review: Engines of Desire by Livia Llewellyn

If not for a recommendation on the blog of author Laird Barron, I might never have picked up this excellent collection (to which Barron provided a foreword). Prior to the release of this collection, all I'd seen from Livia Llewellyn was "Brimstone Orange," too short a piece to give much of a sense of this writer's capabilities. I'm very glad I didn't miss what turned out to be one of the best single author short story collections I've come across in recent years.

(http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1298570681l/9147711.jpg)

Llewellyn's prose style is strongly visual and evocative. Readers who prefer their prose simple and declarative may find this a too rich, but those enjoy a writer with a vibrant, poetic approach to putting words together will love it. Especially as a debut collection, Engines of Desire is noteworthy for the strength and richness of its language.

That's not to say these stories are for everyone. The mood is uniformly dark, at times bitterly so. These stories cover a wide ground from post-apocalyptic science fiction to erotica, from psychological horror to dark fantasy. At first I thought the book might be too scattered genre-wise, but further along I realized the stories here were held together not by genre conventions, but by thematic commonalities and a consistency to the personal concerns of the characters, apart from place, time or the existence of monsters or magic. Whatever the trappings of one story or another, all clearly arise out of a strong, unified creative impetus. In terms of cumulative effect, these stories hold together quite well, both individually and as a collection.

The collection opens with "Horses," a bleak and psychologically extreme piece of post-apocalyptic SF. It effectively lets the reader know what they're in for. This is followed by a dramatic shift to what is effectively (despite the insertion of a few elements that feel vaguely "fantastic" but which are not really part of the story's core) a realistic story of a sexually obsessed and self-destructive college student. Llewellyn depicts the college girl obsessed with the wrong guy with the same raw desperation with which she draws characters beset by a disintegrating.

Among the rest of the collection, the best include "The Four-Hundred," the title story "The Engines of Desire," and "Her Deepness." This last, an ambitious novella, is a really impressive example of fantasy world building. Truly dark, deeply weird and at times surreal.

While a few of these stories were less effective on the level of compelling plot or characters than they were in terms of language and mood, I found none of them less than satisfying overall. If we can extrapolate from an author's debut collection to guess what they may be capable of, I really can't wait to see what Livia Llewellyn does next.

(rated 5 out of 5 stars on Amazon and Goodreads)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on October 01, 2011, 09:43:58 AM
I won't go back and re-post all my Goodreads and Amazon reviews, but just one more, since it's only a week old.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on October 01, 2011, 09:46:31 AM
Review: Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman

I love short stories. I love Neil Gaiman's writing. Does it follow, then, that I love Neil Gaiman short stories?

Some of them, yes.

Smoke and Mirrors covers a lot of ground: humor, erotica, whimsy and horror. Included are several poems, some flash fiction pieces, and a number of conventional short stories. The tone, regardless of what mood or emotion a given story is going for, tends toward the straightforward. Unadorned, no-nonsense, but clear and effective.

(http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1166759020l/16790.jpg)

Gaiman's favorite trick is to flip a well-known fable or fairy tale upside down -- to reveal events seen from a different character's perspective, or to modernize a traditional character or scenario.

"Murder Mysteries," a long story retelling interactions between angels going back to the very formation of the universe and the human sphere, may be the most ambitious and interesting thing here. "Snow, Glass, Apples" is likewise richly told and well written.

"Shoggoth's Old Peculiar," which visits a variation on Lovecraft's fictional town of Innsmouth, and "We Can Get Them for You Wholesale," about a guy who turns to an assassination service to help him deal with his frustrations, are particularly funny.

Many of other pieces were comparatively slight, though. In my recent review of Joe Hill's collection Twentieth Century Ghosts, I said the book might have been improved by eliminating the weakest 1/3 of the material, and I'd say the same thing here. A shorter book, but a much stronger one, would result. I give the collection as a whole 4 stars, but there's quite a bit of 5-star material here, as well as some individual stories I'd give 3 or even 2 stars.

Overall a hit-and-miss collection, yet it contains some very worthwhile stories fans of Gaiman won't want to miss.

Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on October 01, 2011, 12:16:14 PM
Now reading:

Hiding Man: A Biography of Donald Barthelme
by Tracy Daugherty


(http://i43.tower.com/images/mm113711687/hiding-man-biography-donald-barthelme-tracy-daugherty-paperback-cover-art.jpg)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Dave Michuda on October 01, 2011, 03:43:30 PM
Blackout by Connie Willis

The first of two book story of historians from 2060 traveling back to WWII London to do firsthand research.  I've read another of Willis' time traveling historians books, "The Doomsday Book", and liked it a lot.  So far "Blackout" has been a good read with a ton of detail about London during the evacuation of Dunkirk, the blitz & the evacuation of London children to the countryside.  I believe "Blackout" along with "All Clear" won the 2011 Hugo award.
(http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS6KZwkgfZozauOPfD52la1xeDNHc_c3eYQ8N61l1TIKSDWwgzuUw)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Seren on October 02, 2011, 01:15:16 AM
(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_XhAzekAG0tg/TG5g552V4mI/AAAAAAAAEZs/bCWV2mW1Woo/s320/2001.jpg)
and
(http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSPSa2Lm-EJdvSmTUJtHYJK03aMErmtge5Ukirpx_IutCensZYg)

Found these in a friends house - same editions as the ones I had 35 years ago, prices 60p and 40p respectively.

There is a point in the Lost Worlds book, towards the end, which reminded me of one of the reasons why I was so interested in science fiction as a youngster.

I still find it easy to believe, looking up at the stars, that there is life out there that is not only 'intelligent' but also 'civilised'   (' ' marks used to denote we may not know what those words might entail in a universal context) - that has no interest in travelling the vast distances between stars just to stick probes up our backsides. Civilisations that might just know how to exist in a positive sense and from whom we could learn wonders.

I think that sense is still strong in me and sort of expresses itself in many areas of my life - not that I am waiting for something bigger than us (whether god or aliens) to make things better - but just knowing we can do better than we are and maybe one day we'll be lucky to meet those that already have.....

(http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1179185211l/886070.jpg)
And just read this again for the same sort of reason.

may well dig out my copy of
(http://img64.imageshack.us/img64/8480/macroscope.jpg)

and see if I still have
(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_XsVALQtGIZM/SQ2VgPYPbZI/AAAAAAAAJOc/7QbFJo17S-Q/s320/Niven-Mote+in+Gods+Eye+%28Orbit,+1976%29.jpg)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on October 03, 2011, 03:38:52 PM
Blackout by Connie Willis

The first of two book story of historians from 2060 traveling back to WWII London to do firsthand research.  I've read another of Willis' time traveling historians books, "The Doomsday Book", and liked it a lot.  So far "Blackout" has been a good read with a ton of detail about London during the evacuation of Dunkirk, the blitz & the evacuation of London children to the countryside.  I believe "Blackout" along with "All Clear" won the 2011 Hugo award.
(http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS6KZwkgfZozauOPfD52la1xeDNHc_c3eYQ8N61l1TIKSDWwgzuUw)




I think Connie Willis is a pretty entertaining writer, from what I've seen. Generally I find myself less interested in alternate history or "visitors from the future check out the past" stories.

I thought it was interesting, all the debate about whether to consider "Blackout" and "All Clear" as one book or separate books for award nomination purposes. Interesting to hear Jonathan Strahan and Gary Wolfe discuss it on their excellent Notes From Coode Street podcast earlier this year.


(Also should mention... I first posted my response by hitting the "modify" link instead of "quote," and added my remarks to the end of your post, hence the "edited by..." note at the end of your post. Sorry 'bout that!)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Jeff Sampson on October 05, 2011, 08:46:42 PM
I really appreciate the reviews and recommendations I read of books I'm not familiar with, despite the slight feeling of depression they induce. "So many books, so little time".
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: hjalmer on October 11, 2011, 09:53:39 AM
the stones of summer

saw mark moskowitz excellent 2002 homage to reading (the stone reader)
and the mysterious one time novelist dow mossman
and his vanishing into the literary aether

bought a signed copy because of the movie long ago
and finally read the novel

similar to kerouacs town and the city
and saul bellows the adventures of augie march
a bildiungsroman and deep internal american journey

great novel
great movie


h


Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: headonist on October 11, 2011, 12:56:38 PM
Martinus - Logik (Swedish for "Logic")

Danish author/philosopher with an unique cosmology.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on October 28, 2011, 01:40:45 PM
Just received a lush, beautiful new edition of Thomas Ligotti vignettes.

This may display a little better on my blog post about it (see here:
http://griffinwords.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/thomas-ligottis-the-agonizing-resurrection-of-victor-frankenstein/ (http://griffinwords.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/thomas-ligottis-the-agonizing-resurrection-of-victor-frankenstein/) ) but I'll try to paste the pictures and comments below.

My copy of the new Centipede Press edition of The Agonizing Resurrection of Victor Frankenstein by Thomas Ligotti just arrived. Haven't started reading yet, but the book is so beautiful it inspired me to take pictures.

Centipede often throws in extra stuff with your order. Last time it was some large art prints on loose sheets, plus a National Geographic map of Mexico. This time it was a book (not a Centipede edition) along with a note explaining that they thought this would appeal to fans of Thomas Ligotti.

(http://www.hypnos.com/forumpix/tl-f1.jpg)



This photo makes the book look tiny but it's actually quite tall.

(http://www.hypnos.com/forumpix/tl-f2.jpg)



Front cover view on top of slipcase.

(http://www.hypnos.com/forumpix/tl-f3.jpg)



Hypnotic endpapers.

(http://www.hypnos.com/forumpix/tl-f4.jpg)


The illustration opposite the title page gives a sense of the quality of the artwork inserts.

(http://www.hypnos.com/forumpix/tl-f5.jpg)

Many beautiful color illustrations. What a luscious edition!

(http://www.hypnos.com/forumpix/tl-f6.jpg)

By the way, this book is already sold out at the publisher, though there are reportedly a few copies available at dealers here & there.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on November 03, 2011, 04:37:22 PM
Just finished Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.

Sometimes I finish a book and I want to spend a lot of time thinking about it, and maybe write a discursive and possibly self-indulgent response to it.

Other times I finish a book and smile and say, "Damn, that was fun! More like this, please."  Ready Player One by Ernest Cline was like that.

(http://www.hypnos.com/forumpix/readyplayerone.jpg)

It's a dirty, disturbing vision of a year 2044 when just about everyone has given up living in the real world in favor of a virtual realm called the OASIS. People are so caught up in this game-like way of life they scarcely notice what's going on outside. OASIS creator James Halliday has just died, and though he is the world's wealthiest man, he's also a hermit who left behind no heirs. He left behind an elaborate contest within the OASIS in which anyone and everyone can search for a hidden easter egg, and whoever finds it will inherit his vast fortune as well as control of his company. Millions set off in search of the egg, and when the novel begins the search has been underway for about five years, and nobody has yet found even the first of three keys, which will open the three gates (also hidden) which are necessary to obtain the egg.

The above may sound like spoilers but this is basically the setup within the first few pages, and the story proceeds from there. We meet Wade Watts, a young "egg hunter," and follow his interactions with others on the same quest.

The quest itself is entertaining, but the real thing going on here is that James Halliday, a child of the 1980s, has sprinkled throughout the message he left behind announcing the contest a large number of hints and red herrings all taken from 80s pop culture -- dialog from John Hughes movies, lyrics from an Oingo Boingo song and more. There are a few cultural tidbits on focus here which are outside my own historical interest -- never much of a Black Tiger player here -- but far more elements I recognize from my own trip through the decade of my adolescence. Arcade games like Tempest, Pac Man, Joust and Battlezone, movies like Blade Runner and Monty Python's Holy Grail... the music, the Dungeons and Dragons. Such a lot of fun here! This is one of those books I want to recommend to anybody and everybody within five years of my age (those born in the 60s), and it might even be fun for people outside that range.

All Ernest Cline seems to have done before this book was to write the screenplay for the film Fanboys, a sort of trial run for the sort of geek obsessions on display here. I can't wait to see what he does next, and fully expect to read this book again. Highly recommended, unless the kind of cultural references listed above are totally uninteresting to you.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: hjalmer on November 04, 2011, 09:40:27 AM
the last werewolf
glen duncan

deep and rapacious
a tortured metaphysical journey

sublime, sexy and provocative         h
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on November 04, 2011, 10:02:29 AM
I loved The Last Werewolf! Probably my favorite novel of the year. Here's the review I posted on goodreads.com:

When I first heard The Last Werewolf mentioned, I guessed it was some cynical attempt to glamorize werewolves, maybe make them "hot" or contemporary. We've all seen what's recently been done with vampires and zombies.

I saw enough recommendations from people I respect to convince me to give it a try, and I'm so glad I did. The mythical aspect of werewolves is right up front from the beginning, and Duncan handles that aspect with seriousness and intelligence -- more like Anne Rice's vampires than those of Stephanie Meyer. Where the novel most stands apart, though, is in its literary qualities, the language itself. I'd read nothing by Glen Duncan before, but found myself immediately impressed by his style, attitude and wit.

I mentioned Anne Rice's vampires. This reminds me more of Rice's Mayfair Witches series, actually. Better than that, though. It's a story of long stretches of time, colorful characters, exotic locations, liquor, books, money and mythology. The Last Werewolf goes from celebrating raunch and gore, to more serious philosophical considerations of love and life and death.

This is certainly among the best few books I've read in the past five years, and I'm very pleased to hear Duncan's working on a sequel or two. I love this novel, and give it my highest recommendation.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Dave Michuda on November 04, 2011, 08:08:00 PM
Mike,

So glad to see you enjoyed Ready Player One.  That one is next up for me as soon as I finish Connie Willis All Clear.  Can't wait.

I didn't know anything about The Last Werewolf until just now reading the last two posts.  I guess I'll have to give it a shot.

So many books, so little time.  Too bad I read slower than molasses in January!
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Antdude on November 05, 2011, 12:18:41 PM
I'm intrigued by Ready Player One. I'll have to check that out, Mike.

Currently reading Salvation's Reach by Dan Abnett. It's the latest in his Gaunt's Ghosts series. If you're a fan of military SF, this is some of the best work out there. His previous books in the series are all available in omnibus editions, which is how I discovered them. Highly recommended.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: hdibrell on November 05, 2011, 03:15:53 PM

I didn't know anything about The Last Werewolf until just now reading the last two posts.  I guess I'll have to give it a shot.


Me, too. That sounds interesting. I never would have thought of reading it until I read Mike's review. I need to go find it Monday.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: hjalmer on November 10, 2011, 10:56:46 AM
h

vj books has signed copies

http://www.vjbooks.com/SearchResults.asp?Search=glen+duncan+&author=glen+duncan&title= (http://www.vjbooks.com/SearchResults.asp?Search=glen+duncan+&author=glen+duncan&title=)

if you like that as an option
i figure it will have literary legs for collectors


enjoy the lupine shivers      h
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Dave Michuda on December 02, 2011, 02:57:45 PM
Mike,

Totally agree with you on Ready Player One, "Damn that was fun!"

Next up is Capacity by Tony Ballantyne.  Personality constructs in processor space "live on after physical death as sentient digital beings should have been a good thing. Instead, as Helen and Justinian are about to discover, it just means there are more ways to die."
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51qWtgR9MZL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on December 05, 2011, 11:51:17 AM
Blood and Other Cravings, Edited by Ellen Datlow

There are all kinds of reasons I might read a short fiction anthology. Maybe it’s the only place to find new work by some of my favorite writers. Some anthologies serve to introduce readers to unfamiliar writers, either total unknowns, or familiar names I’ve somehow not yet gotten around to reading. Many readers are motivated by an anthology’s theme — “Oh, I love zombies, and here’s another zombie anthology so of course I’ll buy it” — but I usually don’t. I didn’t buy this because it had to do with vampirism. In fact, I imagine any reader who purchased this hoping for a bunch of straightforward vampire stories would be disappointed. There’s not so much “blood” here as there are “other cravings.”

(http://www.hypnos.com/forumpix/blood.jpg)

I’ve given some consideration to the overall shape of multi-author anthologies, a subject which interests me to the extent it’s similar to the way I’ve put together various-artists CD collections in the past. Generally it seems editors load the best stories end up at the beginning and the end, and this is no exception. Among the middle stories, the only one I found noteworthy was Melanie Tem’s very odd “Keeping Corky,” about an enigmatic female character, notable for her mental abnormalities including both strengths and deficiencies, misses the child she was forced to give up for adoption.

Of the early stories, Kaaron Warren’s lead-off “All You Can Do is Breathe” is wonderfully creepy and understated. Elizabeth Bear’s “Needles” is not so much a story as a well-drawn and entertaining “day in the (undead) life,” vividly written but maybe in need of fleshing-out. And Reggie Oliver’s amusing yet dark story of a theatrical hotel overrun by very small tenants convinced me to check out more of this writer’s work.

The best of this collection comes later. “First Breath” by a new-ish writer, Nicole J. LeBoeuf, is an interesting exploration of a sort of transference of life through breath. And I always love Kathe Koja and Carol Emshwiller, whose contributions here (Emshwiller’s is one of only two reprints) are good.

The final four stories alone justify the price of the anthology.

Michael Cisco’s “Bread and Water” tells of a captive vampire trying to cope with his appetites, as well as an incapacity to consume what he desires. The creature’s gradual transformation, told in Cisco’s uniquely intense prose, evokes in the reader an effect like delirium. More than anything else in the book, “Bread and Water” inspired me to seek out more by this writer. That’s not to say it was the best story overall, but the best by an author I’ve previously overlooked.

Margo Lanagan’s “The Mulberry Boys” is told like a fable or second-world fantasy more than a horror story, but what’s actually happening here has quite a nasty edge. Through some bizarre process of surgery and altered diet, humans or human-like creatures are transformed into passive silk factories. I love the way this story is told. Very effective.

“The Third Always Beside You” by John Langan reminds me a little of Peter Straub’s recent novel A Dark Matter in its exploration of a male character trying to piece together disturbing past events. Here a brother and sister discuss their long-held perception that their father might have been unfaithful to their mother, and whether any truth might lie behind this. The fantastic elements along the way are of the subtle “thought I heard a sound, and looked, but nobody was there” variety, yet the story conveys a mysterious and even dreadful sense of secrecy. I own two of Langan’s books which I haven’t read yet, but this story convinced me to nudge these upward in my “must read soon” list.

The last contribution is by Laird Barron, recently the most consistently excellent writer of horror and dark fantasy novellas and novelettes. “The Siphon” includes elements which may seem familiar to readers of Barron’s earlier stories, but this comes across not as repetition, but a fleshing-out of a fictional world which increasingly cross-connects between one story and another. None of the characters, so far as I can determine, appear in prior Barron tales, yet the template of bored, wealthy decadents tantalized by forbidden or occult knowledge is reminiscent of such stories as “Strappado” and “The Forest.” Such is Barron’s skill that even when he’s not trying something entirely new for him (as I believe he did in “The Men From Porlock” and “Blackwood’s Baby” which appear in other recent anthologies), the work nonetheless functions at such a high level as to stand clearly apart.

By the end of a relatively mixed collection, it’s tempting to think mostly of the more satisfying later stories, but the quality dropped off enough in places that I’d give the collection four rather than five stars. At the same time, I’d recommend the book as worthy of purchase for the better stories at the beginning and especially the end.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: jkn on December 05, 2011, 02:43:32 PM
ok - so I had an old barnes and noble gift card that I realized i'd never used and went on a little spending spree over the weekend on ebooks...  I'd lost the card once...  time to spend it...

I'm a fantasy junky - it's my escape and I love those books so that's what I buy. 

Catching up with the unwieldy and far too long Wheel of Time series.  Started a brilliantly standard boy's gonna save the world tale and then spread it's wings a bit - and then became the world building empire of 11 long, long books that were sometimes brilliant and sometimes just drudgery to read.   Jordan sadly passed away before finishing - and the final trilogy is in process being penned by Brandon Sanderson.

The Gathering Storm (Wheel of Time Series #12)
by Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan

Towers of Midnight (Wheel of Time Series #13)
by Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan

Anne McCaffrey's passing reminded me I hadn't read any of the Pern books since I'd checked them out of the library back in maybe grade school?  I figured it was time to dust these off and have another go.


Dragonflight (Dragonriders of Pern Series #1)
by Anne McCaffrey

Dragonquest (Dragonriders of Pern Series #2)
by Anne McCaffrey

The White Dragon (Dragonriders of Pern Series #3)
by Anne McCaffrey

Modesitt is one of my favorite modern authors... and I decided to pick up the first in the Recluce series and reread it.  It's been a while.  It is not my favorite of the series - but it certainly is the place to begin on a reread of his books.  :-)

The Magic of Recluce (Recluce Series #1)
by L. E. Modesitt Jr.



Oh!  I picked up the first Terry Pratchett book - it was on sale at bn.com - so hey - why not?  An author I've been told to read for 2 decades... finally going to have a go at his work.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: hdibrell on December 05, 2011, 03:32:44 PM
I've been reading Thoreau's Walden on and off for a couple of months now. I can only seem to read it for a short time before I have to put it down. It is somewhat difficult for me due to the archaic language and his preachy tone at times but, oddly, I do enjoy it in small doses. As stated in another thread, I have an interest in alternative architecture, living simply, greener, etc. and I had never read this.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My wife pulled out Genesis Of A Music by Harry Partch from a dusty bookshelf in the house yesterday and asked me about it. I had bought it years ago and started reading it only to discover that it was too deep for what I was wanting to read at the moment. I put it away and forgot about it. Today on the rM list , Greg M (Eyes Cast Down) mentioned he was rereading it. I figured with two mentions of it in two days that maybe it is time to try again. Interesting person and interesting ideas about just intonation. Hopefully I can finish it this time. Then I'm going to read something light.  ;)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on December 05, 2011, 04:29:27 PM
Anne McCaffrey's passing reminded me I hadn't read any of the Pern books since I'd checked them out of the library back in maybe grade school?  I figured it was time to dust these off and have another go.

Dragonflight (Dragonriders of Pern Series #1)
by Anne McCaffrey

Dragonquest (Dragonriders of Pern Series #2)
by Anne McCaffrey

The White Dragon (Dragonriders of Pern Series #3)
by Anne McCaffrey


Like you, I've decided to take another visit to Pern, inspired by McCaffrey's passing. I think I only read the first of these when they came out, and I remember being less impressed than all my fantasy & science fiction buddies were. I'm not sure how this will have aged, but I'm about to give Dragonflight another try.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: jkn on January 16, 2012, 08:36:00 AM
I started rereading Dragonflight and set it aside for now after only a few pages.  it wasn't "grabbing me".

I'm totally engrossed in Book 12 of the Wheel of Time ... the first of the final trilogy written by Brandon Sanderson using Robert Jordan's extensive notes.   

It is utterly excellent.   The series had been dragging for me in maybe the 7th through 10th books with Jordan renewing himself a bit in book 11 before he passed away.

 

Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: jkn on January 25, 2012, 10:25:29 AM
Finished books 12 and 13 of Wheel of Time... with the final volume - book 14 finished and undergoing what's predicted to be about 5 more months of rewrites with a fall release...  I've decided to start buying them up on ebook and reread the series (or most of them at least.)

Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Dave Michuda on January 25, 2012, 09:01:52 PM
Just finished a trilogy by Tony Ballantyne...1)Recursion, 2)Capacity & 3)Divergence  - meh.


(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5158EPQCBKL._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_.jpg)About half way through "Speed of Dark" by Elizabeth Moon about high-functioning autistics set in the near future.  Science has developed a "cure" for adult autism but the main character, Lou, isn't sure he "wants the treatment.  What would it mean for him to be "normal"?  What is "normal"?  So far the book has completely sucked me into Lou's world.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Dave Michuda on March 12, 2012, 07:45:16 PM
Based on a recommendation over at Boingboing, I picked up the Kindle version of Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 - 5) (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0071XO8RA/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=happyexposure-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0071XO8RA).  It's a great deal for a 550 page book at only $4.99.  Out of 176 reviews, 166 of them are five stars.

Originally begun as a short story(Wool 1), the book tells of a dystopian future where humankind lives in underground silos, where the outside is toxic & where even discussing the outside will get you sent to die outside.  You can buy the individual stories that make up the series separately or save a buck or two & buy the omnibus edition.

Before I was even halfway through with this book, I ordered a few more of author, Hugh Howey's books.  It helps that the Kindle editions are only $2.99 so there's not much risk in discovering a new author.

So far I am loving Wool and am looking forward to more of Howey's works.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Seren on March 13, 2012, 01:24:23 AM
Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions.

great book, had it before and managed to get a new copy off amazon for £0.42.


yes that's 42 british pennies


(plus postage)

Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: headonist on May 26, 2012, 08:05:35 PM
I read a few books at the moment. Most of them has some kind of root in cosmology.
 
Jonathan Safran Foer - Äta Djur (Eating Animals): A critical view into the meat industry.
http://www.adlibris....isbn=9113029894 (http://"http://www.adlibris.com/se/product.aspx?isbn=9113029894")
(http://www.adlibris.com/se/covers/M/9/11/9113029894.jpg)
 
Leif Pettersson - Physics, Martinus Cosmolgy and The Theory about Everything: This guy claims to have the answer to the theory about everything which combines all four known natural laws.
http://www.varldsbil...px?ProdNo=81410 (http://"http://www.varldsbild.se/Product.aspx?ProdNo=81410")
(http://www.varldsbild.se/images/prod/81410_m.jpg)
 
Sören Grind - Livet - Din Spegel (Life - Your Mirror): A new take on psychology with roots in cosmology.
http://www.varldsbil...px?ProdNo=75744 (http://"http://www.varldsbild.se/Product.aspx?ProdNo=75744")
(http://www.varldsbild.se/images/prod/75744_m.jpg)
 
Per Bruus-Jensen - Livet och det slutna rummet (Life and the closed room): Per has described the cosmology after 10 years as student with Martinus.
http://www.varldsbil...px?ProdNo=75991 (http://"http://www.varldsbild.se/Product.aspx?ProdNo=75991")
(http://www.varldsbild.se/images/prod/75991_m.jpg)
 
Ole Therkelsen - Martinus, Darwin and Intelligent Design: This book brings up three evolutionary teachings.
http://www.varldsbil...px?ProdNo=75935 (http://"http://www.varldsbild.se/Product.aspx?ProdNo=75935")
(http://www.varldsbild.se/images/prod/75935_m.jpg)
 
different authors: The Pole Transformation in Everyday Life
http://www.varldsbil...px?ProdNo=75772 (http://"http://www.varldsbild.se/Product.aspx?ProdNo=75772")
(http://www.varldsbild.se/images/prod/75772_m.jpg)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Dave Michuda on July 06, 2012, 08:27:25 AM
Just bought three new books for my kindle.  Can't decide which one to read first.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51u3ZnT004L._AA160_.jpg)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51W5FhHOYKL._AA160_.jpg)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51fH9EdHfIL._AA160_.jpg)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Dave Michuda on October 07, 2012, 07:09:49 AM
Just finished Caliban's War.  It's the second of a planned trilogy.  The first was Leviathan's Wake.  Both are excellent examples of good old fashioned science fiction.  I hesitate to say "old fashioned" because I don't want to give the impression that the books feel old or out of date.  They are old school in the sense that they take place in space, have lots of shooting & fighting, have some monsters, but above all have good characters.

Two fast paced books with a lot of action that have me excited for the third in the series.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51W5FhHOYKL._AA160_.jpg)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: jkn on October 08, 2012, 05:58:50 AM
I've been reading Peter James book - Dead Simple - crime/mystery - enjoying it.   Starts off with a bachelor party where the groom - famous for his intense practical jokes...  gets it back good from his friends...  and the story takes off from there.    I heard about this author on NPR's Crime in the City series...  I liked how James talked about his characters and the city of Brighton, England.

http://www.peterjames.com/book/dead-simple (http://www.peterjames.com/book/dead-simple)

(http://www.peterjames.com/img/books/dead-simple-view.png)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: headonist on December 10, 2012, 12:57:11 AM
I'll be listening this audio-book when it arrives...

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talkingby Susan H. Cain


The idea of HSP (highly sensitive person) seems like an interesting state and something I can relate to.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on December 10, 2012, 09:22:14 PM
Just read The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver. This is an excellent book on forecasting by the guy behind the fivethirtyeight blog at the NYT. He draws on examples from weather, election, earthquake, and financial forecasting to discuss some of the conceptual and computational challenges involved in predicting and modeling events in a complex world. Great read.

Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on January 06, 2013, 12:24:05 PM
Just finished Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell.  A fantastic book on many levels. I won't say much about it since it got plenty of press via the film. (I haven't seen the movie, but I hope to see it on DVD in Feb.)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Dave Michuda on January 12, 2013, 10:06:09 AM
(http://thelastpoliceman.com/images/books/tlp_cover_slim.jpg)

Just finished the one.  The earth is about to be hit by a large asteroid in six months, industry is grinding to a halt, suicides are up, everyone is going to die.  So if you're police detective, why do you keep investigating a murder?  The lead character is this book just can't let it go despite everyone else not giving a shit about anything anymore.  Excellent, engaging book.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: hjalmer on February 01, 2013, 10:38:17 AM
the dog stars | peter heller

some of the best prose i have read in some time
i can usually tell how much i enjoy a book
by how many book darts i mark passages with

37 darts!

apocalyptic themes
with lyric musings of existence       
recommended

h

Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on February 02, 2013, 06:43:26 AM
Recently read two Lee Child (the Jack Reacher author) books after being prompted repeatedly by my mother-in-law: Killing Floor and The Affair. The first was a decent mystery/thriller; the second one was a bit trashy (characters making out at midnight so they could capitalize on the vibrations of the midnight train).

Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. This was fantastic. The story focuses on a young web designer who is out of work and ends up taking a non-tech, night job at a 24-hour bookstore. Lots of quirky characters, an intriguing mystery, and a few thought-provoking insights about the interface of analog and digital cultures.

Now reading: The Postmoral by Drew Magary. So far, so good. In the future a "cure" for aging has been invented. It is still possible, of course, for people to die, but not via growing old. This is a work of fiction, but I love the way the author explores the implications of this for the way society functions, how it impacts marriages, and the impact it may have on religion.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Dave Michuda on February 02, 2013, 09:01:43 AM
Chris,

I just recently read Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore as well & loved it.  And I have The Postmortal in my Kindle queue.  I think I found both books through Boingboing.  Is that where you found them as well?  I've discovered a lot excellent books through the good folks at Boingboing.

I'm about to start 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on February 02, 2013, 10:28:48 AM
Dave: I'm not familiar with Boingboing. I'll take a look at that later today; thanks for the suggestion. I typically explore things that friends recommend or, in the case of The Postmortal, things that Amazon recommends based on other books I've ordered.

A friend of mine is encouraging me to explore the Wheel of Time series, but, honestly, the sheer bulk of that series looks overwhelming!
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on February 13, 2013, 04:34:06 PM
World War Z by Max Brooks (Audible Version; abridged)
This was pretty interesting. It is designed to be an oral history of the zombie invasion and how humanity confronted the invasion. The oral history twist gives things a nice twist. And what is particularly compelling is the way in which the author weaves in the political, economic, and social elements of the war--which is emphasized much more than action, horror, and suspense that is often used in "zombie apocalypse" style stories. The Audiobook version of this is particularly good due to the use of multiple voice actors in the telling of the stories.

The Shadow Scholar: How I Made a Living Helping College Kids Cheat by Dave Tomar
Nonfiction. The fascinating story of a student, Dave Tomar, who earned his living for over a decade by writing papers for college students. He makes many interesting observations about the sense of entitlement that many young people have, the ways in which many colleges have exploited Pell grants to increase revenues, and how each of these factors plays into the general problems facing the economy, the labor market, and America's stance toward education more generally. As a university professor, I found this an incredible read. I haven't fully digested it yet; I'll probably be pondering some of the issues for weeks to come--if not longer.


Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Seren on February 14, 2013, 05:27:07 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51FRGX8JS2L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)


Rereading this again

Not a 'new age' book - an academic examination of the political co-opting by English Kings of the Welsh stories to legtimise their own rule by expanding geographical locations from Wales to England - allowing the hijacking of the religious/spiritual traditions as a process of subjugation.

Sounds very dry but is fascinating - explores many of the stories in 'The Mabinogion' and uses the old welsh language to locate them in real geography rather than myth or wish fulfillment.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Antdude on February 14, 2013, 02:55:20 PM
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

I know this will be old news to a lot of folks, but I've never read this book before. I'm about 2/3 through it and really enjoying it. Wishing I had read it while I was still in the Navy. I now see why this book is used as a training aid in military leadership classes.

Are the other books in this series worth reading, as well(Like I need to start another multi-volume book series  ??? )?
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Dave Michuda on February 15, 2013, 05:16:19 PM
I love Ender's Game.  I think they are just finishing up the movie version, with Harrison Ford as Colonel Graf.

(http://img2.timeinc.net//ew/i/2012/12/03/fl-enders-game_810x543.jpg)

I think I read the first three books in the series and all are worthwhile, just not as special as Ender's Game.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on March 05, 2013, 03:10:47 PM
I think I'll check out Ender's Game next. I've heard so many good things about it over the years.

Just finished:

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
This is the kind of book that some people hate and others love. I'm one of the people who loves it, but not ravenously so. This novel is a celebration of human innovation, creativity, and intellect. But it also contains a critical and thoughtful analysis of the way in which society and its various institutions function to suppress human potential. This is my second read of the book and it was just as enjoyable the second time around. I do wish, however, that the "love story" part of the novel wasn't so god awful.

14 by Peter Clines
This was incredible. If you were a fan of Lost--and if you have an appreciation for some of the strangeness of HP Lovecraft--you will absolutely love this novel. This narrative is so well constructed that is is absolutely impossible to know where the story is going next and, better yet, there is no sense that the author is bs'ing his way around to pull it all together by the end. Suspenseful, imaginative, and unsettling. Highly recommended.

Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: hdibrell on March 31, 2013, 02:08:56 PM
I've been hearing quite a bit about H.P.Lovecraft in the past year or so. I know Mike and Lena are big fans and are attending a festival where Mike is an invited guest. I have never read any Lovecraft. I was never a big horror genre reader although I did read some Poe in my youth and some Stephen King and Anne Rice in the '80's. I have been thinking about reading some recently , but never got around to it. Last week while driving home on a back road to my house I spotted a book lying in the middle of the road. Since I was all alone on the road I decided to stop and pick it up. It turns out it is a paperback copy of "The Best Of H.P.Lovecraft". I don't know if this was an omen or sign or what, but I guess it's time for me to try some. Any suggestions on what to read first? Mike? Anyone?
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mystified on March 31, 2013, 03:22:59 PM
"The Dreams In The Witch House" is a favorite of mine, as well as "Herbert West: Reanimator".
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on March 31, 2013, 09:15:31 PM
 I've only read a handful of his stories, but liked them a lot. "The Call of Cthulhu" and "Reanimator" stand out as highlights.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: hdibrell on April 01, 2013, 08:26:53 AM
Thanks for the recommendations Thomas and Chris. I'll probably start one this coming weekend.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on April 01, 2013, 04:37:43 PM
Sorry, I missed this until just now, Harry.

I'd say At the Mountains of Madness might be my favorite Lovecraft overall, but it's on the longer side, so you might want to start with something shorter to see if his style and subject matter interest you. He's a pulp writer with a style that's sometimes overwrought, and hard for some people to read.

I think of Lovecraft as a writer like Philip K. Dick, who is more about the concepts than the execution. In other words, Dick and Lovecraft are top-notch "idea" writers but not such great prose craftsmen much of the time. Actually both were extremely smart, and capable of writing a nice sentence, but often wrote in a hurry for need of money.

Probably for this reason, many of the stories of  Lovecraft and Dick have been made into movies, and many of the people who consider themselves fans of these authors don't actually read them a lot! This includes some of the "Lovecraftian" authors I know. I'm as much a fan of films like From Beyond and The Reanimator as I am Lovecraft's stories (though I really adored the stories when I was younger). You can ask twenty people for Lovecraft story recommendations and get twenty different stories suggested.

The HP Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon you mentioned, where I'll be a guest in about a month, is a great example of this crossover appeal. Lovecraft was a prose writer, but this event is about movies, books, video games, board games, comics, art, t-shirts and all kinds of associated stuff.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on April 01, 2013, 04:49:43 PM
I find myself with a hankerin' to re-read Dreams in the Witch House and also Shadow Out of Time.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on April 01, 2013, 05:34:49 PM
Sorry, I missed this until just now, Harry.

I'd say At the Mountains of Madness might be my favorite Lovecraft overall, but it's on the longer side, so you might want to start with something shorter to see if his style and subject matter interest you. He's a pulp writer with a style that's sometimes overwrought, and hard for some people to read.

I think of Lovecraft as a writer like Philip K. Dick, who is more about the concepts than the execution. In other words, Dick and Lovecraft are top-notch "idea" writers but not such great prose craftsmen much of the time. Actually both were extremely smart, and capable of writing a nice sentence, but often wrote in a hurry for need of money.

Probably for this reason, many of the stories of  Lovecraft and Dick have been made into movies, and many of the people who consider themselves fans of these authors don't actually read them a lot! This includes some of the "Lovecraftian" authors I know. I'm as much a fan of films like From Beyond and The Reanimator as I am Lovecraft's stories (though I really adored the stories when I was younger). You can ask twenty people for Lovecraft story recommendations and get twenty different stories suggested.

The HP Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon you mentioned, where I'll be a guest in about a month, is a great example of this crossover appeal. Lovecraft was a prose writer, but this event is about movies, books, video games, board games, comics, art, t-shirts and all kinds of associated stuff.

Great points. What I like about Lovecraft is he pushes the boundaries of my imagination. Moreover, I find myself preoccupied by the images and ideas he writes about for days after reading some of his stories. The prose, however, isn't particularly noteworthy on its own.

I would describe myself as someone who was Late to Lovecraft. I only started reading some of his work in the last few years. Part of what I enjoy about reading it, however, is seeing the way in which his ideas have permeated popular culture. I used to be an avid World of Warcraft player, for example, and, in hindsight, I now have a better appreciation for some of the ideas that inspired the monsters, concepts, and architecture of that game.

 
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: hdibrell on April 01, 2013, 08:54:10 PM
Thanks for the info Mike and Chris. I'm looking forward to staring to read this. It sounds like I'm in for some interesting reading.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on April 02, 2013, 07:58:58 PM
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
I finally got around to reading this. What an amazing story! I absolutely loved this book and feel somewhat ashamed for not having read it until 20 years after its original publication.

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
I'm not sure how I feel about this book. On the one hand, there are some big ideas here. For example, a significant portion of the story is concerned with the parallels between viruses, human cultures, language, and religion in man and machines. Stephenson explores brilliantly the ways in which principles we might use to understand language at one level of analysis (e.g., binary code in machines) might be relevant at another level of analysis (e.g., universal grammar in human languages). On the other hand, a large part of the narrative is simply cheesy and reminds me of the worst of Hollywood. I can't tell if this aspect of the narrative is supposed to be gimmicky or not. But it detracts from the quality of the whole, in my opinion.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: SunDummy on April 03, 2013, 02:43:29 PM
I'm a huge Lovecraft fan; his early works are kinda cheesy, but he has written some true classics.  "At the Mountains of Madness" is a real standout for me. HIGHLY recommended.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on April 16, 2013, 08:49:39 PM
Fight for your Long Day by Alex Kudera
A sad day in the life of an adjunct college professor. Although it is a work of fiction, Kudera does an excellent job at documenting the challenges faced by adjunct instructors in N. American universities.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on April 17, 2013, 01:01:33 PM
Recently saw this "Rookie's Guide to Lovecraft" which I consider a pretty good overview and starting point for anyone interested in learning about H.P. Lovecraft:

http://www.sundriesshack.com/2013/04/02/the-rookies-guide-to-h-p-lovecraft-in-1500-words-or-less/ (http://www.sundriesshack.com/2013/04/02/the-rookies-guide-to-h-p-lovecraft-in-1500-words-or-less/)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Antdude on April 17, 2013, 01:50:38 PM
Recently saw this "Rookie's Guide to Lovecraft" which I consider a pretty good overview and starting point for anyone interested in learning about H.P. Lovecraft:

http://www.sundriesshack.com/2013/04/02/the-rookies-guide-to-h-p-lovecraft-in-1500-words-or-less/ (http://www.sundriesshack.com/2013/04/02/the-rookies-guide-to-h-p-lovecraft-in-1500-words-or-less/)

I second this site, as the linked e-book of Lovecraft stories is very well edited, as well as free.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: hdibrell on April 18, 2013, 01:36:37 PM
Recently saw this "Rookie's Guide to Lovecraft" which I consider a pretty good overview and starting point for anyone interested in learning about H.P. Lovecraft:

http://www.sundriesshack.com/2013/04/02/the-rookies-guide-to-h-p-lovecraft-in-1500-words-or-less/ (http://www.sundriesshack.com/2013/04/02/the-rookies-guide-to-h-p-lovecraft-in-1500-words-or-less/)
Interesting site. Lot's of good info.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on April 27, 2013, 01:13:15 PM
The Human Stain by Phillip Roth
Fiction. Coleman Silk, an eminent professor and dean at a small NE college, resigns after being accused of using racial slurs in the classroom.  The novel documents the way in which Coleman's life unravels after the incident. But the true heart of the story concerns what the reader learns about Coleman's past along the way. A well told novel with great character development.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on April 29, 2013, 04:15:28 PM
I've neglected Philip Roth, and need to read more of him.  The Human Stain is one of the books I'd like to check out. All I've read is Goodbye Columbus, which is some of his earliest writing.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on April 29, 2013, 07:07:58 PM
The Human Stain is the first book of his that I've read. I enjoyed it and I might check out some of his other books sometime in the future.

On a different note: I just (re)read this utterly disturbing, but fascinating, story:

THE VOICE IN THE NIGHT by William Hope Hodgson
http://gaslight.mtroyal.ca/voicenig.htm (http://gaslight.mtroyal.ca/voicenig.htm)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Dave Michuda on May 04, 2013, 06:50:53 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41KHk4WD-eL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-62,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg)

Just finished "The Martian" a fun read about an astronaut that get left behind on Mars & has to try and survive on his own until a possible rescue.  The book gets very technical about things like trying to grow crops, making water, scrubbing CO2, power consumption, etc.  All the tech talk makes it feel very real, very suspenseful.  The timeframe is the near future so all the engineering & tech is current.

The main character is and engineer & a botanist and those skills come in handy as he tears apart equipment, creates new tools, seals & re-seals habitats, rovers & tents.  You really root for him throughout the ordeal.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on May 21, 2013, 06:47:50 PM
Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
It took me much longer to get through this than Ender's Game, but it was great nonetheless.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on May 30, 2013, 01:10:42 PM
Inferno by Dan Brown
This story stays pretty close to the Dan Brown mold: The main character, a Harvard professor, uses his vast knowledge of art history to save humanity from extinction. There is a young, pretty woman; codes to be broken; apocalyptic scares; many chase scenes; and plenty of plot twists. The book is getting slammed pretty hard by the critics. But, I don't need everything to hang together perfectly or be highly original when I'm reading for entertainment.

Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on May 30, 2013, 01:16:08 PM
Thanks for the review of Inferno. I'm surprised at some of the Inferno reviews... "It's not high literature!!" Well, of course it's not. It's not meant to be. All MOST people want to know about Inferno is whether it's a reasonably satisfying for readers who enjoyed DaVinci Code or  Angels and Demons.

Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on May 30, 2013, 02:38:08 PM
Good point.   ;)

I prefer Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code to Inferno largely because those stories touch on conspiratorial themes at the intersection of faith and science. They raise issues that are fun to consider independently of the plot itself.

The current novel is similar, but, instead of dealing with themes that are overtly relevant to the Catholic church, it deals with a moral dilemma that can be challenging for secularists and the devout alike: If you had the power to save humanity, but, to do so, you would have to sacrifice 1/3 of the Earth's population, would you do it?

Bottom line: It is a fun and quick read. It isn't meant to be classic literature, even if it pays homage to classic literature.  And, if you're willing to think outside of the main plot line a bit, you'll find some troublesome moral questions to consider that are likely to generate lively discussions among fellow readers.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on June 08, 2013, 06:57:19 AM
Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking by Daniel C. Dennett
Excellent non-fiction. Daniel Dennett is a philosopher who has devoted most of his career to challenging and probing our scientific and intuitive understandings of consciousness, meaning, and free will. This book brings together a lot of the points he's made over the decades, with a specific emphasis on "intuition pumps"--basic thought experiments that can be used to better probe your intuitions on these challenging topics. Dennett introduces several systematic ways to turn the knobs on these intuition pumps to better reveal what the critical ingredients might be in making them succeed or fail.

If you appreciate good clear thinkers who are tackling complex issues, you'll enjoy this book. Sometimes philosophy can be a bit too tedious for my tastes. Dennett knows how to get to the heart of the problems without losing touch with the reasons they are compelling problems in the first place.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: einstein36 on June 08, 2013, 08:40:17 AM
I just recently finished this book too and I thought it was good to read for action, suspense, etc.....definitely up there with his other Robert Langdon novels, but this one at the end, let's just say the game has now changed for this series of Robert Langdon books:)


Inferno by Dan Brown
This story stays pretty close to the Dan Brown mold: The main character, a Harvard professor, uses his vast knowledge of art history to save humanity from extinction. There is a young, pretty woman; codes to be broken; apocalyptic scares; many chase scenes; and plenty of plot twists. The book is getting slammed pretty hard by the critics. But, I don't need everything to hang together perfectly or be highly original when I'm reading for entertainment.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on June 14, 2013, 06:53:45 PM
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
OMG. So much fun! If you grew up in the 1980's and have a nostalgic fondness for Zork, Atari 2600, early Apple computers, Rush, and the movie Wargames, you absolutely MUST read this book. The story is set in a future world in which the majority of people escape their miserable realities by logging into a massively multiplayer world, called the O.A.S.I.S., that serves a variety of functions that are currently served by our MMOs, social networks, online stores, etc. The dying designer of the world has hidden an "Easter egg" somewhere in the world and, whoever is the first to find it, inherits it all. A great adventure that will leave your inner Geek screaming for more.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on June 21, 2013, 09:41:40 AM
I absolutely LOVED Ready Player One and wholeheartedly recommend it to anybody who thinks fondly of 80s culture, especially video games.

Here's my full review from... gosh, over a year and a half ago:

http://griffinwords.wordpress.com/2011/11/02/words-in-ready-player-one-by-ernest-cline/ (http://griffinwords.wordpress.com/2011/11/02/words-in-ready-player-one-by-ernest-cline/)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on June 23, 2013, 06:32:33 PM
Good review! It really was a fun read. I'm sure I'll revisit it sometime in the near future.

Recently finished: The Faculty Club by Danny Tobey
A thriller about a young law student, Jeremy Davis, who is eager to fit in and be successful at a top-ranked U.S. law program. There are rumors of a secret society, the V&D, to which only the most ambitious and select students are initiated. After realizing that he has not been selected to join the club, he charges himself with learning more about the society's secrets. And, as you might expect, those SECRETS MIGHT POSE A GREAT DANGER TO HIM AND THOSE HE LOVES. A fun read; I'm a sucker for this kind of stuff.


Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on June 28, 2013, 08:20:26 PM
Based on a recommendation over at Boingboing, I picked up the Kindle version of Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 - 5) (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0071XO8RA/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=happyexposure-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0071XO8RA).  It's a great deal for a 550 page book at only $4.99.  Out of 176 reviews, 166 of them are five stars.

Originally begun as a short story(Wool 1), the book tells of a dystopian future where humankind lives in underground silos, where the outside is toxic & where even discussing the outside will get you sent to die outside.  You can buy the individual stories that make up the series separately or save a buck or two & buy the omnibus edition.

Before I was even halfway through with this book, I ordered a few more of author, Hugh Howey's books.  It helps that the Kindle editions are only $2.99 so there's not much risk in discovering a new author.

So far I am loving Wool and am looking forward to more of Howey's works.

Just finished Wool--the omnibus edition. Fantastic stuff. Part of the fun is the journey you take with the protagonists in trying to learn exactly what their world is all about, why certain things are taboo (e.g., speaking of the outside), and why certain things they've taken for granted might carry a different meaning if the world doesn't work the way they've been taught (e.g., the price of cables/texts vs. the use of porters). The final segment seemed a bit unfocused and ad hoc to me. But, overall, great storytelling.
   
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: SunDummy on June 29, 2013, 12:27:33 PM
Recently saw this "Rookie's Guide to Lovecraft" which I consider a pretty good overview and starting point for anyone interested in learning about H.P. Lovecraft:

http://www.sundriesshack.com/2013/04/02/the-rookies-guide-to-h-p-lovecraft-in-1500-words-or-less/ (http://www.sundriesshack.com/2013/04/02/the-rookies-guide-to-h-p-lovecraft-in-1500-words-or-less/)
Interesting site. Lot's of good info.

If anyone's interested, I'll sell you "The Road to Madness", "Dreams of Terror and Death", and "The Best of HP Lovecraft:  Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre" anthologies.  All are paperbacks, in good shape.  $20.00 gets you all three shipped.

I'll also sell my copy of Peter Clines' "14", $10 shipped.

I'm moving and have waaaaay too many books!
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Dave Michuda on June 29, 2013, 07:36:48 PM

Just finished Wool--the omnibus edition. Fantastic stuff. Part of the fun is the journey you take with the protagonists in trying to learn exactly what their world is all about, why certain things are taboo (e.g., speaking of the outside), and why certain things they've taken for granted might carry a different meaning if the world doesn't work the way they've been taught (e.g., the price of cables/texts vs. the use of porters). The final segment seemed a bit unfocused and ad hoc to me. But, overall, great storytelling.
   

Glad you enjoyed Wool!  I have the next three books in the silo series, 1st, 2nd & 3rd shift, but I haven't gotten around to reading them yet.  And now I see there is a new silo book, called Dust, due in August.  Also, I just noticed a bunch of Kindle singles by different authors written in the silo universe.  I have a lot of catching up to do.

Just finished the third in the Expanse series, Abaddon's Gate by James S.A. Corey.  An excellent trilogy that takes place(mostly) in the outer solar system.  Lots of great characters & action.  Good old fashioned space opera sci fi.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on July 04, 2013, 05:55:13 PM
I might explore the Shift set in August. I don't want to be hooked and then have to wait for resolution.

Is everyone hanging out without me? (and other concerns) by Mindy Kaling
A funny mini-memoir by one of the writers and actors from The Office.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on July 08, 2013, 05:07:03 PM
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
This novel is explores the tension between the needs for autonomy and connectedness in the context of a dark and twisted ghost story.  The distribution of reviews on Amazon is completely flat--averaging at 3.0 stars. I think this novel is frigging brilliant, however. Strongly recommended--especially if you like a bit of strangeness and also appreciate stories that take the relationships between characters seriously.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on July 12, 2013, 06:48:44 AM
I, Lucifer by Glen Duncan
The end of the world is nigh. Lucifer has been offered an extraordinary proposition: If he can live as a mortal for a month without sin, God will allow him to enter the kingdom of heaven rather than banishing him for eternity. Lucifer, thinking "Why the hell not?!", enters the body of a washed up writer, Declan Gunn, and, in the process, shares his own story about God, creation, and various events described in the bible. He never has any intention of seeking redemption, but, in the process of living as man, gains some new insights into the ways in which temptation, evil, and good function in social relationships.

I'm on the fence with this novel. On the one hand, I enjoyed the angle of telling biblical events from another point of view. (It turns out, for example, that Lucifer was trying to thwart rather than facilitate the crucifixion because he knew the implications of the event for God's plan. Lucifer's insight into Pontius Pilate's struggles and the power of the mob are quite keen.)  On the other hand, Lucifer, when placed in human form, turns out to remind me of a drunken, rude bloke at the pub who doesn't know when to go home. I'm not a big fan of exploring the concept of evil as if it has its roots in the carnal. I'd rather consider it as something deliberate; something motivated by choice and reason. I'm agnostic, but I guess I've always imagined that, if something like Lucifer were to exist in human form, he would be charismatic, patient, and subtle in his ways.
 
 
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on July 12, 2013, 10:10:02 AM
I've been reading more crime and thriller novels lately.

Recently finished The Guards and The Killing of the Tinkers, the first two books in Ken Bruen's Jack Taylor series. Jack Taylor is an alcoholic and self-destructive ex-cop in Galway, Ireland, who has drifted into private investigation. I really love Bruen's style, and all the characters here. The books aren't really traditional detective stories at all, and are more about Jack's lifestyle and the messes he gets himself into. I think there are 9 books in this series, and I plan to read them all. Just found out there's a series of Jack Taylor films on Netflix and I think I've got Lena convinced to check them out. I'd really recommend these books, and Ken Bruen in general, to anyone interested in crime fiction with a lot of Galway in it.

Also just read the first two books in another series, Blindsighted and Kisscut by Karin Slaughter. I had been fishing around for more crime novels a month or so ago, and happened to overhear my mom and my aunt talking about the latest Karin Slaughter (a different series) so picked these up. The books are part of the "Grant County" series, named for where it takes place, a rural county in Georgia. There's a strong Southern flavor here, which kind of bothers me. The main characters are Sara Linton, a pediatrician and part-time coroner, her ex-husband Jeffrey, the chief of police, and one of Jeffrey's cops, Lena Adams. I'd say this series starts off pretty well in the first book. It's a pretty compelling plot, about a blind woman Sara finds murdered in the local diner's bathroom. The second book's story, concerned with a child pornography ring, is less interesting and sort of "by the numbers." Also, I find the writing a bit flat in places. They're a bit more harsh and "edgy" than many pop-fiction thrillers, and there's been a bit of controversy about some of the sexual and rape-related content. I think these books are OK, but wouldn't recommend them unless a reader is specifically interested in crime fiction in a Southern setting, and doesn't mind a transgressive edge.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on July 12, 2013, 10:11:02 AM
Chris, thanks for your review of I, Lucifer. I really loved Duncan's The Last Werewolf, and wondered about his earlier books.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on July 16, 2013, 04:47:24 PM
I read the Amazon summary of The Last Werewolf and it sounds similar in spirit to I, Lucifer. You might enjoy it.

How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti
This is an unusual novel. It reminds me a bit of a modern day The Catcher in the Rye, written from a woman's perspective. Sheila, the author and main character, is a young writer living in Toronto. She lacks direction and is on a quest to understand how a person should be--how should we measure a person's life, to what ideals a person should strive, and how to find meaning in one's pursuits. In many ways, the novel reads like a memoir (it is written in the first-person and, as far as I can discern, the characters are her real friends). I'm not sure if I would recommend it to a broad audience; this novel won't appeal to someone who is seeking a story with a well constructed and thoughtful plot. But this novel is likely to appeal to people who have struggled at some point to find meaning in their art, who like the idea of seeking the heroic in the mundane, or who have struggled with the fine line between passion and friendship.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Seren on July 17, 2013, 12:27:16 AM
The Android's Dream - John Scalzi.

Sci Fi with an interesting level of humour and insight as well as a good number of twists and turns in the story.

I liked the refernce to the 'Nugentians', the cult that follows the teachings of Ted Nugent, 'The Bowhunter', in a world where most people eat 'lab grown meat'.....
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Seren on July 22, 2013, 01:02:18 AM
currently reading both Behold the Man and Dancers at the End of Time by Michael Moorcock.

Not read these in years and forgotten how surreal Moorcock's writing can be.
(http://thebooksmugglers.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Behold-the-Man1.jpg)
Behold the Man - guy travels back in time to witness the crucifixion, discovers Christ is unable to do the things written in the bible so the guy acts out his memory of the stories so they can be written.
   I'd forgotten how unlikeable the main character is - not nasty, just unlikeable - it puts a strange edge on the story (if the story was not strange enough)....

(http://www.ebooks-bar.com/thumbs_big/128326.jpg)
Dancers at the End of Time Even stranger story of the last surviving group of human beings way, way, way into the future. Unlimited energy available so they spend their time recreating reality to suit their whims (changing sex, landscapes, morning to night etc etc). Somehow Moorcock writes it so that they are both decadent and innocent. It is hard to tell where 'morality' lies if ethics are irrelevant. Full of human emotion and experience, but not like we have them.....
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: El culto on July 27, 2013, 04:21:50 PM
Peter Stramm - Seven Years

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/may/04/seven-years-peter-stamm-review (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/may/04/seven-years-peter-stamm-review)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Antdude on August 02, 2013, 02:20:43 AM
This will be old news to many, I'm sure, but I have recently discovered the Shock Totem series of horror and macabre tales on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Shock-Totem-Curious-Macabre-Twisted/dp/1448621747/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1375433960&sr=8-2&keywords=shock+totem (http://www.amazon.com/Shock-Totem-Curious-Macabre-Twisted/dp/1448621747/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1375433960&sr=8-2&keywords=shock+totem)

They are available as paperbacks or e-books(my preferred format) and are a perfectly twisted and evil series of short story collections by some well-known authors as well as lots of lesser-known and sick new voices in horror. There are also interviews with various authors in each issue as well.

If you're looking for a break from the 500-page opus, or something to fill the time on the throne, I have found this to be a great series of fun, bizarre stories with something for everyone. From "The Music Box" to "The Dead March" to "Thirty-Two Scenes from a Dead Hooker's Mouth", there is everything from whimsical to seriously creepy to unmentionably horrific. And there's even a Holiday Issue.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: petekelly on August 02, 2013, 03:33:14 AM
'Walden' by Henry Thoreau. Pretty heavy going but the content is worth it.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on August 02, 2013, 11:36:07 AM
This will be old news to many, I'm sure, but I have recently discovered the Shock Totem series of horror and macabre tales on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Shock-Totem-Curious-Macabre-Twisted/dp/1448621747/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1375433960&sr=8-2&keywords=shock+totem (http://www.amazon.com/Shock-Totem-Curious-Macabre-Twisted/dp/1448621747/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1375433960&sr=8-2&keywords=shock+totem)

They are available as paperbacks or e-books(my preferred format) and are a perfectly twisted and evil series of short story collections by some well-known authors as well as lots of lesser-known and sick new voices in horror. There are also interviews with various authors in each issue as well.

If you're looking for a break from the 500-page opus, or something to fill the time on the throne, I have found this to be a great series of fun, bizarre stories with something for everyone. From "The Music Box" to "The Dead March" to "Thirty-Two Scenes from a Dead Hooker's Mouth", there is everything from whimsical to seriously creepy to unmentionably horrific. And there's even a Holiday Issue.


I really like Shock Totem too. I've purchased every issue so far. My friend Damien has a story in the 7th issue, which comes out this week.

It's nice to hear about people still reading and enjoying short fiction!
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Antdude on August 02, 2013, 05:26:05 PM
I really like Shock Totem too. I've purchased every issue so far. My friend Damien has a story in the 7th issue, which comes out this week.

It's nice to hear about people still reading and enjoying short fiction!

I've read the first three already and loved every one of them. It's kind of re-vitalizing my enjoyment of reading, taking a break from all the giant, multi-volume tomes I've been plowing through. I think I'll just read through all of these and enjoy the brief glimpses into the bizarre that these writers are giving us.

From the Issue 7 Blurb:

The legendary William F. Nolan offers up “The Horror That Et My Pap—and Other Swamp Stuff,” a tale the likes of which you have never read before. S. Clayton Rhodes delivers “The Gates of Emile Plimpkin: The Gravedigger’s Legacy,” a novelette that veritably oozes horror borne of the 1800s. Damien Angelica Grintalis (formerly Damien Walters Grintalis) gives us the heartbreaking “Shall I Whisper to You of Moonlight, of Sorrow, of Pieces of Us?” And M. Bennardo supplies this issue’s creature-feature with “Thing In a Bag.”

Enjoy the creepshow.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Dave Michuda on August 13, 2013, 08:02:41 PM
I'm in the middle of two good books at once.

(http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1351914778l/15783514.jpg)

One is the audio version of Neil Gaiman's "the Ocean at the End of the Lane."  This is the first Gaiman novel I've read/listened to and I like it a lot.  A thoughtful fairytale about a seven year old boy who discovers some supernatural secrets about his neighbors down the lane.  One review put it perfectly describing the book as "poignant and heartbreaking, eloquent and frightening."  As I said I'm l;istenign to the audio version which is read by Gaiman himself which is excellent because I love his voice.



(http://img1.imagesbn.com/p/9780345537126_p0_v3_s600.JPG)

The other book is "The Darwin Elevator" by Jason M. Hough.  Set about 200 hundred years in the future it has lots of action, mysterious aliens, a virus that turns humans into subhumans(zombie-like) and of course a space elevator.  This is the first of a three part series & so far so good.  I found the book via John Scalzi's blog.  Here's a link to the post... http://whatever.scalzi.com/2013/08/01/the-big-idea-jason-m-hough/ (http://whatever.scalzi.com/2013/08/01/the-big-idea-jason-m-hough/)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on August 14, 2013, 07:52:41 AM
I found a signed copy of the new Gaiman book in a tiny shop on the Oregon coast, so picked up a copy of that. It seems weird to imagine Neil Gaiman going through Lincoln City, so I just had to grab it. Anyway, I've heard nothing but good things about this one.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on August 15, 2013, 03:14:49 PM
Salt, Sugar, Fat - Michael Moss
Nonfiction. This book presents a history of the processed food industry, with an in-depth look at how foods are made, how the industry has evolved over time, how regulation and public pressure has affected it, and the science of processed food. I thought that this book would be one of those books that is designed to scare you away from eating processed food. But, it isn't (at least not on the surface). It is a quite thoughtful and balanced and has as much to say about consumer psychology as it does the food industry itself. The coolest part of it, in my opinion, is the discussion of how food scientists go about determining what they call the "bliss point" of a product--the threshold at which the amount of sugar maximizes people's positive impressions of a product.

My wife is reading the new Gaiman book. I'm eager to hear what she thinks of it.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on August 26, 2013, 05:29:16 PM
The Innocent: A Novel - David Baldacci
Finished this one recently. Baldacci has a talent for writing fast-paced thrillers that don't make you want to roll your eyes. This one tells the story of Will Robie, an assassin working with the U.S. government, who is being hunted for reasons he has yet to uncover. What stands out about this novel is that the set of events that set everything in motion are really quite simple. But, when you don't have the benefit of seeing how it happens, sorting through the resulting complexities is quite difficult. I appreciate it when the premise of a novel is actually simple because I think authors sometimes assume that complex outcomes must derive from complex causes. 

I'm currently reading the next in the series, The Hit. Also a good Will Robie story (so far). He is charged with assassinating another assassin.  That's a whole lot of scopes and rifles!
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Dave Michuda on September 04, 2013, 06:15:47 AM
(http://www.maxbarry.com/images/covers/jg_usa_hb_big.jpg)

Just Finished "Jennifer Government" by Max Barry.  A fast-moving, creative book that was definitely a quick, fun read.  American corporations rule the world and People take names of the corps they work for such as John Nike, Halley McDonald's, Billy NRA.  Jennifer Government works for the government and wants to go after Nike for some crimes but can't do it without outside funding.

I just started another Max Barry book - "Lexicon."  So far so good.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Seren on September 04, 2013, 08:41:11 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/419O18PK7JL.jpg)

Loooong time since I read this. is 220,000 words longer than previous pressings as publishers wanted a lot of contentious content cut.

It was fun reading it with older eyes, perhaps learning more about how much I have changed (I was only 15 or so at the time) and the mind of the author than anything else.

Apparently he was writing it from about 1949 to 1960 - not sure it would be such an'influential' book if published now, seems very nieve in many ways.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on September 04, 2013, 04:39:24 PM

I just started another Max Barry book - "Lexicon."  So far so good.

Just started this too! Eager to hear your thoughts when you're done.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on September 18, 2013, 06:10:24 PM
Finished Lexicon, by Max Barry. Excellent novel. The basic premise is that there is a secret organization of linguists (or modern "wizards") who have uncovered ways of manipulating language in order to bypass people's normal psychological defenses and, thereby, control their behavior.  The story is focused on one girl, Emily, who is recruited into the organization and, depending on which characters you identify with, either loses her way or transcends the organization. The narrative structure is quite clever (I wont' reveal the details). The only downside for me was that the "magic" of the world requires too many sky-hooks (just take the author's word for it kind-of-stuff). In addition, many of the themes reminded me of Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash--maybe too much so. Recommended, nonetheless.

Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Dave Michuda on September 19, 2013, 05:31:21 PM
Literally just finished "Lexicon" this morning.  I really enjoyed it.  I agree on the structure, definitely kept me on my toes.

Having read two Max Barry novel's, and liking both, I will definitely check out some of his other work.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on September 28, 2013, 06:42:04 PM
Recent reads:

Agatha Christie - And Then There Were None
A classic in the mystery genre. One of my favorites as a kid and one that I revisit every once in a while. Ten individuals from different walks of life are invited by a mysterious host to an island. One by one, each of the ten is murdered. No one other than the ten were present on the island. Clever, suspenseful, and quite terrifying at times.

Daniel Quinn - Ishmael
This was a gift from a friend. Pretty interesting philosophical novel in which Ishmael, a wise gorilla who can communicate telepathically with people, explains to a human student the mythologies that people construct about the world, their place in it, and the inevitable conclusion to the myth that that many civilized societies live by. This novel feels a bit preachy in places, but there are some profound passages that make it worth a careful read.   
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on October 15, 2013, 06:38:50 PM
Dave Eggers - The Circle
Fiction. The Circle is a Bay Area tech firm modeled after Google and Facebook--a company that is increasingly focused on making the private public as a way of enhancing social relationships, reducing crime, and facilitating transparency. The novel focuses on a young woman, Mae, who lands a job at The Circle and slowly becomes involved in its ethos. Mae eventually becomes an Internet celebrity and the "face" of the company, but at the expense of her relationships with parents and friends.

This is a pretty good read. In many respects it feels like an Orwellian 1984 for the Social Media Age, but one in which we are Big Brother. This particular story hit me pretty hard because I'm someone who can see the benefits of social media, but am reluctant to auction off my privacy. The book does a nice job at capturing that tension without being overly preachy. Eggers clearly has an opinion on these matters, but actually reserves his most sophisticated writing for the monologues of the anti-privacy advocates.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on October 16, 2013, 02:05:02 PM
Thanks for the info about The Circle -- that's one I'm interested in checking out.

I've read so much great stuff lately. I need to write up a few brief reviews and recommendations.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on November 06, 2013, 08:01:35 PM
Margaret Atwood - Oryx and Crake
Fiction. Oryx and Crake is a story about Snowman--one of the last surviving humans in a post-apocalyptic age. The story opens with him going on an adventure in which we learn about, through Snowman's recollections, the series of events that led to the sudden demise of humanity. I was hoping to enjoy this more, having liked The Handmaid's Tale a lot when I read it in college. The book has some truly great moments, but the motivations behind the characters are not well developed.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on December 05, 2013, 09:10:12 PM
David Baldacci - Absolute Power
A solid, fast-paced thriller. My wife told me there was a movie for this one; I'll have to check it out now. The basic gist is that, while robbing a house, a thief becomes an unintentional witnesses a murder. Like a lot of Baldacci's work, what makes this clever is that there is no "mystery" or "who done it" per se. The story begins with an extraordinary situation and the "thrill" is how that situation unfolds.

Philip K. Dick - Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Yup, I'm over 40 years old and hadn't read this until recently. I don't know if this would be considered heresy around here with the on-going Vangelis ‎discussion, but I liked the book better than the Blade Runner movie.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on December 24, 2013, 07:25:55 AM
Jonathan Safran Foer - Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
A story about a young boy, Oskar Schell, who is coping with the loss of his father. He discovers a key in his father's belongings, along with the simple word "Black", and undertakes a quest to visit every Black in the NYC phone book to see if they know anything about the key or what it might unlock. This book has super interesting characters, some great one-liners, and is charming in all the right ways.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on December 24, 2013, 10:44:11 AM
I recently finished The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, and I'm most of the way through the second book in the series, A Wise Man's Fear. These are part of the Kingkiller Chronicles, a fantasy trilogy you've probably heard of if you're interested in the genre. Rothfuss has been referred to as a young George R.R. Martin. I'm not sure that comparison is apt, in that Rothfuss's writing has a very different tone than Martin's, but it makes sense in that Rothfuss's stories, like Martin's, stand apart from the cookie-cutter similarity of so much epic fantasy.

These follow the story of the multi-talented Kvothe, who would seem capable of succeeding at anything he attempted, except that his own ego and stubbornness often cause him trouble, from childhood to the university and into the world. At the beginning of the story, Kvothe has been discovered living in hiding under a different name by a scribe who wishes to write down his true story. Kvothe tells the tale in his own voice, and this comprises most of the novels, with brief interludes back in the tavern where Kvothe is posing as proprietor. It's interesting to keep revisiting the present, getting perspective on what Kvothe has been through and how it ended up for him in the present.

I'd recommend these books for anyone interested in sensitive and well-written fantasy with more emphasis on academia, books and storytelling than combat and war. Five years passed between the first book and the second, so we're not likely to see the third book until 2015 or 2016.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on January 07, 2014, 05:28:52 PM
Here's a link to my 10 favorite books of 2013.

http://griffinwords.com/2013/12/30/10-notable-reads-of-2013/ (http://griffinwords.com/2013/12/30/10-notable-reads-of-2013/)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: thirdsystem on January 20, 2014, 03:20:31 PM
(http://terrypratchett.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/longearth_review-198x300.jpg)

Half way through this...........Terry Pratchet/Stephen Baxter - The Long Earth.

Interesting tale about parallel Earths.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Dave Michuda on January 20, 2014, 07:32:42 PM
Mike,

I just re-started "A Wise Man's Fear."  I can't remember why I put it down, maybe something new came out that caught my interest.  But I'm back into it now & am looking forward to finishing it off.  I really enjoyed the first in the series.  I'm not usually a fan of the fantasy genre but these books are excellent.

Other recent books...

"Something More Than Night" by Ian Tregillis  -  I absolutely loved Tregillis' "Milkweed Triptych" about Nazi supermen & British warlocks.  Yes, I know that sound ridiculous, but it works.  Definitely one of my favorite set of books in the ten years.  His new one is "Something More Than Night" & it's a bit hard to describe.  According to the Amazon description it's "a Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler inspired murder mystery set in Thomas Aquinas’s vision of Heaven. It’s a noir detective story starring fallen angels, the heavenly choir, nightclub stigmatics, a priest with a dirty secret, a femme fatale, and the Voice of God."  Very bizarre premise and setting that actually works.

"The Human Division (Old Man's War)" by John Scalzi  -  I'm very happy to have new stories set in the universe of Old Man's War even if this book is a bit unfocused.  It started out as a 13 part online serial then was put together with a new coda as this book.  I still enjoyed it even though the stories jump around a bit.  Scalzi's writing is very readable & you can crank through the material quickly and it's a lot of fun along the way.

The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu  -  A normal, everyday programmer wakes up with a voice in his head.  That voice is actually an alien life form that resides in human hosts.  The programmer gets drawn into a war being fought by factions of the alien race here on earth.  I liked this well enough & enjoyed the concept but I'm not sure yet whether I'll continue with the next books that are sure to come.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on January 21, 2014, 02:34:09 PM
Mike,

I just re-started "A Wise Man's Fear."  I can't remember why I put it down, maybe something new came out that caught my interest.  But I'm back into it now & am looking forward to finishing it off.  I really enjoyed the first in the series.  I'm not usually a fan of the fantasy genre but these books are excellent.


I'm just finishing Wise Man's Fear this morning. I liked parts of it very much, at least as much as Name of the Wind. Other parts seem aimless. There are huge digressions into settings where what happens there has nothing to do with what came before, and has no lasting impact after. One long section (maybe 100 pages) reads like a too-long adolescent sexual fantasy.

This lowers my opinion of Rothfuss as a craftsman quite a bit. It's unfortunate when a writer becomes so successful that their editors let them get away with anything they want, and their books get published with long dead spots or pointless digressions that a writer with less clout never would've gotten past the editor. This reminds me of a problem Stephen King and Anne Rice both suffer from at times.

Oh, and Denna may be the most annoying character in all of fiction. ;)

Having said all that, I don't regret having read it, and I'm sure I'll read the 3rd book. It's a good, ambitious tale, if a bit sloppy and loose in places. I definitely want to know what happens with Kvothe. Many of my friends respect these books quite a bit. I think followers of the fantasy genre are more interested in "the tale" and less about tight storytelling. It's possible some of the things I consider flaws here will not bother others as much.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Dave Michuda on January 21, 2014, 07:05:33 PM
Mike,

Your critique is spot on.  I'm thinking the same way, I'll read the third book because I want to see how it turns out for Kvothe.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on January 21, 2014, 08:05:55 PM
It's very hard to imagine how the Kingkiller Chronicles get wrapped up in just one more book. All the stuff Kvothe boasted to Chronicler he would tell about from the beginning, so much of it hasn't happened yet.

I understand Rothfuss intends to write more stories in the same world after this trilogy, presumably with different characters.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on January 22, 2014, 05:45:04 PM
Finished a few things recently:

Veronica Roth - Divergent (Vol 1) and Insurgent (Vol 2)
This series is concerned with a society in the near future that is organized with respect to people's core character traits--whether they value bravery, truth, compassion, etc. There is a conflict among the factions, however, and the way the conflict plays out drives the meta-story.  I'm a bit embarrassed to say I read the first two books of this series since they are billed as teen lit and, God knows, I haven't been a teenager in several decades. I saw a preview for the upcoming Divergent film, however, and thought it looked interesting and decided to give the books a shot. The basic ideas motivating the book work well as a sound bite, but things seem oversimplified, there is too much kissing, etc.

H. P. Lovecraft - At the Mountains of Madness
Excellent tale of an expedition to Antarctica in which the explorers uncover unspeakable horrors.  ;) This was wonderful; I hadn't read this before and it is now one of my favorites.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Dave Michuda on February 12, 2014, 08:25:10 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51fngGptnLL._SY445_.jpg)

Just finished "Sand" by Hugh Howley.  Similarly to how he released "Wool", "Sand" was published as a serial with all the books being collected in the omnibus edition. 

Howley is very good at creating unique worlds and in this tale old world America has been buried under shifting dunes of sand.  We never find out why the world is the way it is but that doesn't matter.  I got totally sucked in by this at once familiar and alien world. 

Some of the characters are "sand divers," they somehow literally dive deep into the sand to forage for relics from the old world.  Special suits allow them to move through the sand almost like divers in water.  The tech is never explained but, again, it didn't matter.  I totally bought every part of this story.  Highly recommended, as is his Wool Omnibus.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on February 13, 2014, 09:37:47 AM
H. P. Lovecraft - At the Mountains of Madness
Excellent tale of an expedition to Antarctica in which the explorers uncover unspeakable horrors.  ;) This was wonderful; I hadn't read this before and it is now one of my favorites.


This is a classic, and a lot of fun. It's the one Lovecraft I re-read most often.

I still hope Del Toro ends up making a film version.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on February 13, 2014, 09:39:08 AM
Just finished "Sand" by Hugh Howley.  Similarly to how he released "Wool", "Sand" was published as a serial with all the books being collected in the omnibus edition. 
...
 Highly recommended, as is his Wool Omnibus.


Thanks for this, Dave. I've heard good things about Wool, and though Howley is a polarizing figure in the publishing world at times, I've heard Wool is a good read. Sand sounds even more interesting to me, based on your review.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: thirdsystem on February 14, 2014, 01:24:24 PM
Just finished "Sand" by Hugh Howley.  Similarly to how he released "Wool", "Sand" was published as a serial with all the books being collected in the omnibus edition. 
...
 Highly recommended, as is his Wool Omnibus.


Thanks for this, Dave. I've heard good things about Wool, and though Howley is a polarizing figure in the publishing world at times, I've heard Wool is a good read. Sand sounds even more interesting to me, based on your review.

Read the first two Wool and Shift, excellent writing and story. The third one Dust is about to be released in paperback here so can't wait to read how this all ends !!!

That "Sand" sounds great, will check that out also, cheers.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on February 19, 2014, 07:27:35 PM
Sand looks really interesting. I'll have to check that out.

Just re-read Ready Player One. Couldn't help myself.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Dave Michuda on April 20, 2014, 02:03:31 PM
The Plague Forge: The Dire Earth Cycle: Three by Jason M. Hough

I'm just finishing the third book in this series.  What started out as a promising story has come to a grinding halt, buried under repetitive scenes in an effort to make a trilogy out of a single book.  There are only so many battle scenes I can handle over the course of 450 pages before I just start skipping some all together.  There are some interesting characters & ideas in this series but it should have been one book not three.

This has become a common problem with a lot of science fiction - can't anybody just write a stand alone book anymore?  What's the point of having an editor if every idea balloons into an unwieldy monster?  I know money is the reason for this behavior but, c'mon man!  Knock it off!

Well, I guess I'll go back & try to finish this book.  I can see the finish line, but my legs are dead and my will is gone.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on April 21, 2014, 06:53:57 PM
Re-read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. That took forever. But worth it. I love that book, despite not resonating with her philosophy fully.

Ransom Riggs - Hollow City
A follow up to Miss Perregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, which I liked a lot. Hollow City wasn't that great. Not much of a story and all the character development points and quirks got spent in the first novel.

Gabrielle Zevin - The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
This was excellent. A.J. Fikry owns a bookstore on Alice Island--a small island resort that essentially thrives on summer visitors. Three important things happen early in the novel: A.J. is awfully rude to a book representative, his ultra-rare copy fo E.A. Poe's first book is stolen, and a woman abandons her baby in his book store with a note that says that she wants the girl to grow up among books and people who love books. The way in which the implications of these three events are woven together is excellent. Plus, each chapter opens with A.J.'s brief review of of classic and popular books, which start in a normal fashion, but, as the novel progresses, become notes to his daughter. Super cool story.

Just picked up Sand. Looking forward to starting it.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Seren on April 22, 2014, 04:52:10 AM
The Black Jewels trilogy by Anne Bishop.

Rereading this  - demons with ethics and humans without.......interesting switch.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: thirdsystem on April 23, 2014, 09:42:04 AM
(http://torbooks.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/The-Neutronium-Alchemist-199x300.jpeg)

The Neutronium Alchemist - Peter F Hamilton

Half way through this rather large, epic, book 2 of the Nights Dawn trilogy. Intergalactic, mind bending, space Sci Fi of gargantuan proportions.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on May 03, 2014, 08:29:54 AM
Just finished Hugh Howley's, Sand, which was a lot of fun (thanks Dave). I enjoyed it a lot, but, like the Silo series, I felt that it lost its fizzle about 3/4 of the way in. A great premise, but then a less than stellar story evolves from it.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: APK on May 03, 2014, 08:52:11 AM
Reading the final Ian Banks novel :: The Hydrogen Sonata
Great stuff.
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/ed/HydrogenSonata.jpg)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: jkn on May 07, 2014, 10:19:35 AM
Been reading this one...

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/d/dd/Selected_stories_of_philip_k_dick.jpg/200px-Selected_stories_of_philip_k_dick.jpg)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Seren on May 08, 2014, 12:42:15 AM
Reading the final Ian Banks novel :: The Hydrogen Sonata
Great stuff.
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/ed/HydrogenSonata.jpg)

How does it compare to 'The Algabraist'?
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Seren on May 11, 2014, 09:32:58 AM
(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-dbQ1vAneClc/TkBjRFrynTI/AAAAAAAAJO0/m94KdojW_C4/s1600/The%2BNight%2BCircus%2BUK.jpg)

Not yet finished this yet but really enjoying the imagination and story telling
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: APK on May 12, 2014, 06:33:00 AM
Reading the final Ian Banks novel :: The Hydrogen Sonata
Great stuff.
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/ed/HydrogenSonata.jpg)
How does it compare to 'The Algabraist'?
Too long since I read the Algebraist, though I remember that being a good one too.
The Hydrogen Sonata is in the Culture series, so helps if you have read some of them before. It's very good, but as with other Banks sci fi it is complex and curious.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on May 13, 2014, 03:14:56 PM
I love Iain M. Banks. We lost him too early... at least he still has lots of books I haven't read yet.

Also, Erin Morgenstern's THE NIGHT CIRCUS was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed that.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on May 13, 2014, 03:20:21 PM
I just finished reading a book I really enjoyed. I wouldn't normally mention it, because it's the first story collection by a friend of mine, but it's receiving such unanimous praise and acclaim, I'm reassured that my appreciation for this book is not influenced by my friendship with the writer.

It's ANA KAI TANGATA by Scott Nicolay.

(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-7cxw-vXNQ9k/U0GhS-8fFbI/AAAAAAAAAoU/oKAIRSPy_aU/s1600/Ana+kai+tangata.jpg)
 

It's very dark and weird, cosmic horror along the lines of Laird Barron or the like. Here's what I wrote about it on Goodreads.com:

Quote
Scott Nicolay is a friend of mine, so I already knew the man could really write. But seeing several familiar stories together like this, along with others I hadn't read previously, I come from ANA KAI TANGATA away very, very impressed with his skill and talent. These stories overflow with invention and intelligence, and comprise what might well end up being the book of the year. Certainly it's one of the best debut collections I've ever read, and promises great things to come. Anyone interested in horror or weird fiction, or just dark and disturbing stories of troubled and broken people, will want to check this out.

I'll write a more comprehensive review later, but for now I'll just say this book is the "can't miss" collection of the year.

Here's a link to the book on Amazon in case anyone's interested:
http://www.amazon.com/Ana-Kai-Tangata-Scott-Nicolay/dp/1878252089 (http://www.amazon.com/Ana-Kai-Tangata-Scott-Nicolay/dp/1878252089)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on May 13, 2014, 03:31:57 PM
One last thing... Some of you know I also do some fiction writing. I don't normally want to push that on this forum, which is mostly an ambient music message board, but since we're talking about stories, I thought it wouldn't hurt to mention a few things. Some of my recent and coming-soon stories are as follows.

"No Mask to Conceal Her Voice" appeared in the special King in Yellow themed issue of Lovecraft eZine. You can read that story free online here: http://lovecraftzine.com/magazine/issues/2014-2/issue-30-april-2014/ (http://lovecraftzine.com/magazine/issues/2014-2/issue-30-april-2014/)

I have a short piece "May Dawn Redeem What Night Destroys" in the Current 93 tribute anthology MIGHTY IN SORROW, available here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00J8MWE2S (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00J8MWE2S)

My limited edition novella "Far From Streets" is very nearly sold out, here: http://dynatox.storenvy.com/collections/240632-all-products/products/7045832-far-from-streets-by-michael-griffin (http://dynatox.storenvy.com/collections/240632-all-products/products/7045832-far-from-streets-by-michael-griffin)

I also have a story "Firedancing" in the upcoming Laird Barron tribute anthology THE CHILDREN OF OLD LEECH, which can be preordered here: http://wordhorde.com/now-available-for-pre-order-the-children-of-old-leech/ (http://wordhorde.com/now-available-for-pre-order-the-children-of-old-leech/)

Lastly, a story I wrote last year, "Diamond Dust" in the Thomas Ligotti tribute anthology THE GRIMSCRIBE'S PUPPETS, made the short list for the 2013 BEST WEIRD FICTION OF THE YEAR. Here's that list: http://lairdbarron.wordpress.com/2014/05/05/honorable-mentions-for-the-years-best-weird-fiction/ (http://lairdbarron.wordpress.com/2014/05/05/honorable-mentions-for-the-years-best-weird-fiction/) Also, that book THE GRIMSCRIBE'S PUPPETS has been nominated for Best Anthology for the two major horror genre awards this year, the Bram Stoker Award and the Shirley Jackson Award. 
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on May 16, 2014, 04:37:27 PM
Blake Crouch - Pines
Pretty neat book about a secret service agent who visits a small, mountain town to track down two agents who are missing. Shortly after his arrival, he gets in a car accident and has a profound bout of amnesia. The remainder of the novel is about him re-discovering who he is, why he is in Wayward Pines, and why he can't leave. This book is part thriller, part horror, and part sci-fi--a mix of all my favorite genres.

Mike: I pre-ordered Far From Streets and am looking forward to reading it!
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on May 16, 2014, 04:44:34 PM
Thanks, I appreciate the support!

I've heard of Black Crouch but haven't read him. Pines sounds kind of cool.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on May 16, 2014, 04:49:06 PM
I just finished reading Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer, the first book in his Southern Reach Trilogy.

(http://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/e4e2b564acc23f7a71db57fe6429d9cf1351237c/c=0-56-333-500&r=537&c=0-0-534-712/local/-/media/USATODAY/USATODAY/2014/02/28//1393615047000-51H2WZitH0L-SL500.jpg)

VanderMeer's publisher is putting out the entire trilogy within a year, which I think is kind of a cool idea. I hate waiting years between installments in a series.

Anyway,  Annihilation  was really good, slightly weird but also very accessible and straightforward.

Here's the link on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Annihilation-Novel-Southern-Reach-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00EGJ32A6 (http://www.amazon.com/Annihilation-Novel-Southern-Reach-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00EGJ32A6)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Matthew Florianz on May 18, 2014, 06:54:25 AM
About halfway through The Stand which also happens to be my first Stephen King read.

I cannot believe how crappy films and series in the 80's and his own public disliking of The Shining have casted me against this author. My (stupid) reasoning being that if he speaks out against The Shining, a better film than most others in my opinion, he's probably not a man of taste. A misguided fan boy-ism if ever there was one!

Such an amazing read, such great characters.. so good to be wrong : - )
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Dave Michuda on May 18, 2014, 08:57:04 AM
Mike,

Thanks for the heads up on Annihilation, I just bought it & am looking forward to reading it right after I finish Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on May 18, 2014, 09:20:18 AM
Matthew:

I can't really blame you for thinking you wouldn't enjoy King based on the MANY bad TV shows and films of his work. I believe his dislike for the film of The Shining was not so much because he judged it a poor film, but because it changed several central aspects of the story and especially the main character, whom King has since admitted includes many aspects or elements of himself.

The Stand is a great read, and if you want to pursue more of King's work after that, you'll find no shortage of great books. Some of the mid-period work is of mixed quality, like The Tommyknockers and that kind of thing, but his early work is all great up through Christine or Cujo, and his later work improved a lot after he cleaned up his substance abuse problems. Later books like Bag of Bones and Lisey's Story and 11/22/63 are very worthwhile. Also, there's the massive Dark Tower series!

Dave:

Hope you'll enjoy Annihilation.. let me know what you think. I'm curious about Ancillary Justice, too. It just won the Nebula award for "best novel" yesterday. I've heard very good things about it and I love the idea of a writer tackling a big, traditional space opera with their first novel.
 
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on May 27, 2014, 02:28:20 PM
One last time, I'll mention my novella 'Far From Streets,' as it's about to go out of print  in pre-order. Just three copies left at the publisher.

(http://d111vui60acwyt.cloudfront.net/product_photos/16213817/image_400w.jpg)

Far From Streets

Modern life constricts. The swarming city, homogenous suburbs. Overscheduled lives accumulate layers of obligation. We add more, more of what we think life should contain, until we can't stand any more. The clutter starts grinding us away. We dream of escape, a simplier life among open spaces. Forests and rivers. Mountain wilderness.

Reverence for nature balances against the terror of isolation. Mutual dependency leads to resentment. Our fondest dreams drag us toward places that threaten our very survival. When the last remaining tether is cut, time spins away. We no longer recognize ourselves in the mirror. Our surroundings become strange. The end comes rushing.

Far From Streets combines influences such as Von Trier's "Antichrist" and Blackwood's "The Willows" into a confrontational psychodrama of craving and repulsion, emotional drift and dislocation, set deep in the Cascade Mountain forests of Oregon.

It's $7 plus shipping here:
http://dynatox.storenvy.com/collections/240632-all-products/products/7045832-far-from-streets-by-michael-griffin (http://dynatox.storenvy.com/collections/240632-all-products/products/7045832-far-from-streets-by-michael-griffin)

--
Edited to add... the book is now sold out.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Altus on June 12, 2014, 03:58:30 AM
Congratulations on selling out . . . no, wait. That's not what I meant.  ;D

Seriously though, that's great news.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on June 12, 2014, 08:51:35 AM
Thanks, Mike.

I should end up having some copies of my own before too long, so if anybody encounters this thread later and is dying for a copy of this book, I'll probably have some available.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: hjalmer on June 12, 2014, 10:18:49 AM
m

i collect first editions signed
for many years–big collection

possible to get a signed first when you get more copies?


h
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on June 12, 2014, 10:41:39 AM
I'd be glad to sign one for you, but you should be aware this is a small paperback, just 102 pages or something like that, and not a "fancy" collectible edition. There were only 50 copies printed which is why it sold out so fast.

Not trying to say it's not kind of a cool thing, or that you should not want it... but it might not stack up against some of your finer editions.

I love to hear about people who still value and prize fine books! My own book collection is just as important to me as my CD collection.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on June 12, 2014, 07:59:48 PM
I love to hear about people who still value and prize fine books! My own book collection is just as important to me as my CD collection.

My wife and I have an entire room in our house lined, from floor to ceiling, with bookshelves. I love books, but, frankly, don't read as much as I did pre-kids. But I value our book collection as much as my CD collection.

Just finished: Austin Grossman - You. This book seemed to have a lot of potential, but never really went anywhere that seemed compelling. The book is about Russell--a D&D kind of guy in the 1980's who, along with a few friends, developed an important engine for an early RPG computer game. After trying to fit into the mainstream by pursuing a law degree, he bows out and returns to the game studio, Black Arts Games, that his high school friends founded based on the success they experienced with their early titles. The book is largely a "coming of age" story--for someone in his 40's--and many of the issues he struggles with are narrated in the Infocom-style third person format ("You are standing in front of a white house...") as he plays through the games and projects his issues onto the characters.

This might have some nostalgic value for people who have fond memories of the early home computer days or who like old-school RPGs. Without that hook, however, the rest of it falls pretty flat. It is still fun, however, if you like to think about computer games.



Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: hjalmer on June 13, 2014, 10:47:49 AM
m

my book collection is very eclectic and robust
literature, poetry, photography etc.
myriad of writers late 19th century
and current writers too

just enjoy the reading and the idea
that the writer touched his art by signing

cool example:
bought "the goldfinch"
by donna tartt first signed
for list price when it first came out
now it is the 2014 pulitzer prize winner
value now insane
and a great read too

and i so appreciate your music and forum
it would be a great honor to add to my library your bon mots
and to read how your wordsmithing mimics your music or not

let me know when you can mail and i will arrange payment


h







Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Dave Michuda on June 22, 2014, 08:53:46 AM
(http://www.annleckie.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Leckie_AncillaryJustice_TP-220x325.jpg)


I finished Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie a few weeks ago but forgot to post anything here.

I enjoyed it very much, one of my favorites this year(along with the Sand Omnibus by Hugh Howey.)  It's a bit confusing at first, there's no initial explanation about what an ancillary is, the main character uses the pronoun "she" to describe everyone, the story shifts perspectives and time periods and it unfolds slowly.  But struggling to figure exactly what is happening is what makes the book so rewarding.

About halfway through the book I heard that there will be a second book, Ancillary Sword, so I was worried that Justice would not be satisfying.  But it was and that is just one of the reasons it's an excellent read.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: thirdsystem on July 19, 2014, 04:04:03 AM
Just finished the following....

Poul Anderson - Tau Zero A space ship malfunctions and continues to accelerate indefinitely. Hard SiFi but good human aspects within.

Phillip Mann - The Disestablishment of Paradise

(https://p.gr-assets.com/540x540/fit/hostedimages/1404873888/10291167.jpg)

Very interesting concepts and stories on an alien world that is being abandoned by human colonists after things start to go wrong. There was a bit in the middle of the book that lost me for a while as it was just a bit too long winded. However overall this is an excellent read with an interesting writing style and I will read it again.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: jkn on July 21, 2014, 05:51:22 AM
I just finished "Cocaine Blues" - Kerry Greenwood.  Liked the "Miss Fisher Mysteries" tv show so much thought I'd try the first book ( 99 cents on barnes and noble to get you hooked... seems like the title come to think of it.... here - have a taste ) - so now reading the 2nd.

http://www.phrynefisher.com/books.html (http://www.phrynefisher.com/books.html)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on July 21, 2014, 04:00:23 PM
Ancillary Justice seems to be taking the SF world by storm this year. I just returned from ReaderCon, a big science fiction, fantasy and horror convention in Boston, and lots of people were talking about it. I expect I'll read it soon.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on August 01, 2014, 09:35:38 AM
Speaking of Ancillary Justice, though I still haven't read it yet, I just enjoyed a recent episode of the Coode Street Podcast on which Ann Leckie was a guest. It's freely downloadable here:

http://jonathanstrahan.podbean.com/e/episode-192-anne-leckie-gender-and-ancillary-justice/ (http://jonathanstrahan.podbean.com/e/episode-192-anne-leckie-gender-and-ancillary-justice/)

I listen to this podcast just about every week, and always enjoy Jonathan Strahan and Gary Wolfe's discussions about Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror fiction and publishing.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Dave Michuda on August 01, 2014, 03:58:00 PM
Thanks Mike!  Downloading now.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on August 04, 2014, 08:46:23 AM
Maybe it's just because I'm a fiction writer myself, but I always find it interesting to hear a writer talk about where their story came from, how it developed, and all that kind of "behind the scenes" stuff.

If you're into SF/F at all, the Coode Street Podcast is a wonderful resource to explore. They do a new one every week.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on August 07, 2014, 08:10:54 PM
Oh snap. Far From Streets arrived yesterday. Looking forward to reading it.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on August 11, 2014, 11:20:29 AM
Didn't see this over the weekend, as Lena and I were traveling for our anniversary -- but I'm glad your copy has arrived. Hope you'll enjoy!
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: El culto on August 18, 2014, 11:25:54 AM
Recently started reading  "The Circle" by Dave Eggers and it´s very promising so far. Probably not a second "1984", but I do like the topic especially in regard to today´s critical issues of collecting personal data.

Greetings,
Tomas
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Ein Sophistry on August 28, 2014, 12:32:32 PM
Just finished Cormac McCarthy's Suttree. Funny, sad, and written in stupefyingly beautiful prose (it might not be evident from later, more tersely written works like No Country for Old Men, but this guy is an absolute master of imagery). Currently about 150 pages into Gravity's Rainbow. Thus far, it's proving a tougher swallow. Though Pynchon's talent is undeniable, there's always been something about that cheeky-yet-politically-heavy-handed American species of historiographic metafiction that sticks in my craw a little (not for especially political reasons, mind). We'll see, though; there's still a lot of the book left to explore.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on August 28, 2014, 12:53:42 PM
I recently read Suttree for the first time, and loved it. It was great to see McCarthy working in a different mode - funnier and more personal. Still very harsh, though.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on August 28, 2014, 06:19:36 PM
Recent reads:

Stieg Larsson - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire
I'm a bit late to the Dragon Tattoo Party, but my wife read these when they came out and really enjoyed them. After re-watching the David Fincher movie, I was inspired to read the series. Will read the third book next.

George Orwell - Animal Farm
Some books are more equal than others. A classic and a good re-read, but it always makes me pessimistic about the nature of human and pig affairs.

Christopher Hadnagy - Social Engineering: The Art of Human Hacking
Non-fiction. A book about the kinds of tricks or hacks that people use to obtain personal information (e.g., bank accounts, passwords). The emphasis is on the social or human side of security rather than the tech side of it. Really interesting.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: thirdsystem on September 03, 2014, 12:48:05 PM
Got the kindle app for my ipod touch and iphone. Very useful indeed for emergency reading when out and about. So had to get some SciFi downloaded thereon. Gave this series a try.......

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51KsZkY4DSL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_.jpg)               (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51TQtMqdxqL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_.jpg)

Jeffrey A Carver - The Chaos Chronicles.

A human mining operative working on Triton is possessed by an alien being. Said alien wants him to save Earth from a catastrophic event. There is some quite humorous interaction between the two lifeforms.

Book 1 very good indeed, the second Strange Attractors - mmmhh not as engaging. Had to get the third book though to find out what happens ( the usual quandary ). It is excellent so far.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on September 05, 2014, 06:12:47 PM
Just finished Far from Streets. Nice work, Mike! The story is about a couple, Dane and Carolyn, who inherit several acres of property in the wilderness of Oregon, far from civilization. Dane uses this as an opportunity to break free of what he construes as the constraints of modern living, and, over a period of time, builds a cabin on the property where he and Carolyn can escape to on weekends. There is a sense in which they are living off the land,  but, on Mondays, they return to their normal life--a life that Carolyn seems to value more than Dane. As the story progresses, however, the new life that Dane has forged becomes increasingly disjointed: it is unclear whether he and Carolyn are alone in the woods, they often feel they are trapped "inside" the wilderness like a bird inside a house, and time itself seems to move in unexpected ways. This is a solid story and a nice debut novella for M. Griffin.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on September 08, 2014, 09:32:32 AM
Chris23, thanks very much for the feedback. I'm glad you enjoyed the story!
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: ajeroth on September 08, 2014, 02:33:13 PM
Am reading my way through the Hyperion cycle by Dan Simmons.  Currently about 100 pages into Endymion.  I don't know why it's taken me so long to read this series.  It deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Dune and Foundation.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Ein Sophistry on September 16, 2014, 05:27:12 PM
I've been meaning to check those out. The only thing I've read by Simmons is Song of Kali, many, many years ago. It wasn't quite what I was expecting, but parts of it have definitely stayed with me.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on September 23, 2014, 05:35:39 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41KHk4WD-eL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-62,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg)

Just finished "The Martian" a fun read about an astronaut that get left behind on Mars & has to try and survive on his own until a possible rescue.  The book gets very technical about things like trying to grow crops, making water, scrubbing CO2, power consumption, etc.  All the tech talk makes it feel very real, very suspenseful.  The timeframe is the near future so all the engineering & tech is current.

The main character is and engineer & a botanist and those skills come in handy as he tears apart equipment, creates new tools, seals & re-seals habitats, rovers & tents.  You really root for him throughout the ordeal.

I just finished this, Dave. It was a good read. A bit too much tech stuff, but a nice story overall. MacGyver in deep space!

Also just finished the Dragon Tattoo series recently. The first book was the best in this trio. After that point, there are too many characters, too many nonsense sidelines, and not enough editing.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on September 23, 2014, 06:01:06 PM
I'm reading Moby-Dick, which somehow I managed to avoid reading despite graduating with a degree in English literature.

It's quite enjoyable, more quirky and strange than I expected, though I'm not far along yet.

Just recently finished No Country for Old Men by Cormack McCarthy. That one was very good, but I consider it a lesser work by McCarthy.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Seren on September 24, 2014, 12:30:21 AM
Also just finished the Dragon Tattoo series recently. The first book was the best in this trio. After that point, there are too many characters, too many nonsense sidelines, and not enough editing.

That is one of the few instances where I think the films (the Scandinavian ones, not the Hollywood crap) were better than the books - Too much detail of industrial espionage and his writing on relationships is just abysmal - why on earth would Lisbeth, given her history with men, fall for a womanising guy like Mikael????

The Hollywood version also takes out all of her complex intelligence, raw anger and steely revenge.....
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on September 24, 2014, 02:48:30 PM
Good points. I must confess, however, that I loved the Hollywood/Fincher version of the first book. I had seen the Swedish version first, so it is hard to not feel disposed toward that one, but the Fincher version gave the story an artistic touch that, in hindsight, was missing the original film. The gray colors, the vast, cold landscapes, and the Renzor ambiance were just plain excellent. There are many ways to muck up an adaptation, and I think Fincher did a great job.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on October 01, 2014, 03:31:02 PM
Just finished Lock In, by John Scalzi. I listened to the audio version, which was narrated by Wil Wheaton (who is awesome, btw). The story is set in the near future: The world is recovering from the spread of a virus that has killed millions of people and left others as "lock ins"--individuals who are conscious, but have no volitional control of their bodies. After the initial containment, the government and industry develop ways for lock ins to interact in the word via remote-controlled robots or to interact in virtual communities. That is the context around which Scalzi develops a clever murder mystery. This is an excellent story--it is suspenseful, the characters are interesting, there are a few twists, and the the way the science fiction is worked out is at exactly the right depth (i.e., one step ahead of the reader and in ways that open up the possibilities in creative ways).   
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Dave Michuda on October 02, 2014, 06:16:46 AM
Great to see your review of Lock In.  I'm about to start it myself.  I'm reading Unlocked right now, Scalzi's novella which is an oral history of Haden's Syndrome, the disease that causes lock in.  It gives a nice background and setup for Lock in.

http://www.tor.com/stories/2014/05/unlocked-an-oral-history-of-hadens-syndrome-john-scalzi (http://www.tor.com/stories/2014/05/unlocked-an-oral-history-of-hadens-syndrome-john-scalzi)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: thirdsystem on October 02, 2014, 02:37:57 PM
Funnily enough, without seeing either of these on here, I have just finished.....

The Martian - Andy Weir. Had seen it on amazon, where a review had given away the ending  ::) or so I thought. Book sounded interesting though and when I saw it in the book shop in paperback I was going to buy it, until I saw the size of the print within..... very wee..... thus I bought it on Kindle. Thoroughly enjoyed it, very tense and addictive tale.

Also today in Waterstones noticed John Scalzi - Lock in for the first time. Sounds very interesting indeed. Good to see it recommended on here. Imminent purchase then,  :)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on October 09, 2014, 02:54:12 PM
Gillian Flynn - Gone Girl
This is an excellent novel. I'll try not to give too much away, but the story begins with Nick Dunne discovering that his house has been ransacked and that his wife is missing. As the days pass by, it becomes more apparent to the investigative team that Nick may have been involved in his wife's disappearance. Chapters that explain the events from Nick's point of view are interwoven with entry's from his wife's diary in the months leading up to the disappearance. The story is outstanding, but Flynn deserves some real kudos for the super clever way in which the story is told.

A film based on the novel was released earlier this week or last. My wife and I are going to see it tomorrow (she recommended the book to me) and I'm eager to see where the two converge and diverge.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Dave Michuda on October 17, 2014, 06:01:26 AM
Just finished Lock In by John Scalzi.  It was a fast paced, enjoyable read.  I don't think I've ever read a book with so much dialog in it.  Because of that style it's easy to just breeze through the book very quickly.  Like Chris said earlier, it's well done & exciting.  Apparently Scalzi has three different TV series in the works, all based on his books, including Lock In.  The other two series are based on Old Man's War and Redshirts.  I hope at least one of the three will be good.

Next up is Exo by Steven Gould, the next book in the Jumper series.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on October 17, 2014, 08:23:02 AM
Scalzi is pretty entertaining for sure. And I figure any writing can be considered to have "made it" if he has a New York Times bestselling book, and 3 TV/movie deals happening, all in the same year. Kudos to him. Also, his blog is a very entertaining daily read: http://whatever.scalzi.com/ (http://whatever.scalzi.com/)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Dave Michuda on November 09, 2014, 08:03:11 AM
(http://images.macmillan.com/folio-assets/macmillan_us_frontbookcovers_186W/9780765336545.jpg)

Just finished Exo, the fourth book in the Jumper series.  I have enjoyed every book in this universe and this one is no different.  The lead character, Cent, is a teenage girl.  She and her parents, can teleport.  Which in past novels has lead to all sorts of action & intrigue.  In this one it leads to space.  Cent figures out how to teleport herself to orbit and begins her own little space program.  There is an awful lot of technical detail is this story about her spacesuit, orbital mechanics, etc.  At times the technical stuff can get to be a bit much, I just skipped through some if it got boring.

Over I had a good time with this book.  Definitely one of my favorite series.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on November 11, 2014, 06:25:58 PM
Gillian Flynn - Dark Places
Such an awesome and disturbing book about Libby Day--a woman whose mother and sisters were murdered when Libby was a little girl. A local club of people who research crimes and collect murder-related items (the "kill club") hire Libby to share some information about her family's murder. Some of them are convinced that her older brother, Ben, who was arrested for the crime, is innocent, and they offer her money to visit people from her past and to learn more about what really took place that night. The narrative goes back and forth from the present to the past, culminating in the night of the murder when all is revealed. Great story writing. Super suspenseful and creepy.

Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning - Brown, Roediger, and McDaniel
Nonfiction. A nice book on learning and memory full of summaries of cool research. What makes this a particularly fascinating read is the discussion of discrepancies between the intuitions many of us have about learning and practice and the kinds of strategies that actually maximize long-term learning. For example, we often encourage people to practice a skill (e.g., 3 pt shots, performing a piece of music, learning a poem) repeatedly until they perfect it. But, holding study/practice time constant, intermixing that with other activities--activities that disrupt the practice--actually leads to better performance in the long-term.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Embers Below Zero on April 23, 2015, 06:58:21 AM
"Annihilation", Jeff Vandermeer's first part of Southern Reach trilogy. Wow, it's so different than his Ambergris related works, it's more like a sci-fi influenced by Lem, Strugacki brothers... perhaps even "Lost" series a bit :), yet from time to time I can feel the similar atmospheres like in some parts of "City of Saints and Madmen". Today I'm going to start the second part, hopefully as good as "Annihilation".
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on April 23, 2015, 11:13:31 AM
I really loved Annihilation too, and also felt some similarities with Lost.


Looking forward to the next 2 books.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Seren on April 27, 2015, 12:52:39 PM
I have ben reading and re-reading the first few culture novels by Iain M Banks - also got the Hydrogen Sonata.

I really like these - curious and complex, interesting twists and concepts.....
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Antdude on April 28, 2015, 12:51:04 AM
Just picked up The Thicket by Joe R. Lansdale. I've never read any of his works, although I'm sure some of you are familiar with his horror novels.  It's an Old Western story of kidnap and revenge, and written in quite a raw and funny style, featuring lots of motley characters. I was interested after hearing that it is being developed as a feature film to star Peter Dinklage.

Any other Lansdale recommendations?
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on April 28, 2015, 09:12:39 AM
I just picked up a new one from Joe R. Lansdale, Prisoner 489, but I haven't read it yet.


I also have his earlier story collection, By Bizarre Hands, which was recommended to me by a bunch of Lansdale enthusiasts.


Others I see recommended a lot are The Bottoms (which won a bunch of mystery/suspense awards) and the "Hap & Leonard" series (about to become a movie) -- the first Hap and Leonard book is Savage Season.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on April 28, 2015, 09:20:22 AM

I just started reading Vermilion by Molly Tanzer. It's very fun and engagingly strange... here's the way the main character is described by the publisher:


"Gunslinging, chain smoking, Stetson-wearing Taoist psychopomp, Elouise “Lou” Merriwether might not be a normal 19-year-old, but she’s too busy keeping San Francisco safe from ghosts, shades, and geung si to care much about that. It’s an important job, though most folks consider it downright spooky. Some have even accused Lou of being more comfortable with the dead than the living, and, well… they’re not wrong."

(https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1425512326l/24485148.jpg)


I'm seeing the book get a lot of great reviews everywhere from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal to NPR, and I keep thinking "this book needs to be a movie!" I'd really recommend it.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Dave Michuda on April 28, 2015, 07:06:23 PM
Mike, thanks for the heads up on Vermilion, I just ordered it.

I just finished one of the best books I've read in awhile, "The Mechanical" by Ian Tregillis.  I first came to Tregillis' work in his Milkweed Triptych, a trilogy about British warlocks versus Nazi super-soldiers in an alternate history of World War II.  It sounds ridiculous but it was excellent.  Next up was "Something More Than Night," a noir detective story about angels.  Again it sounds sort of ridiculous but it worked.

This new book is the start of a new series called The Alchemy Wars.  Sometimes I wish people would stop writing series and just a write a stand alone novel for once.  But with Tregillis I don't mind because this is setting up to be a great series.

Tregillis goes back to alt history with The Mechanical.  It's the early 20th century and the Dutch rule the world, mostly through their use of sentient mechanical beings. The mechanicals, or Clakkers, are programmed through alchemy, magic & clockwork.  These automatons are capable of intelligent thought but are basically slaves to their masters through a series of geasa which require them to fulfill the orders of their masters or suffer pain. The Dutch consider them objects without free will.

In this first book we follow three main characters - Jax, a Clakker, and a French spy & a member of the French court.  France has be relegated to "New France" in Canada and still tries to oppose the Dutch.

It's an engaging story that has me very excited for the next book.  Highly recommended.

(http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1408923929l/20980667.jpg)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on April 29, 2015, 09:01:38 AM
That sounds great!


Just what I need, more books to add to my towering "to be read" pile.  ;)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: thirdsystem on June 01, 2015, 11:37:08 AM
(https://forwinternights.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/the-naked-god-by-peter-f-hamilton.jpg)

Peter F Hamilton - The Naked God
I have just finished the final book in this trilogy. An epic tale if inter galactic worlds, wars, lifeforms and technology. This series is one of the most amazing things I have ever read. It seems I have been living and travelling in these worlds for over a year as I ploughed my way through the astounding, mind boggling existence in these three massive books.

Now onto Red Rising - Pierce Brown which is reminiscent of the Wool trilogy. Possibly even better. Loving it.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on June 22, 2015, 08:32:20 PM
Joan Didion - The Year of Magical Thinking
An insightful memoir concerning loss.

Peter Clines - The Fold
Super cool sci-fi/wierd-fi story about a group of researchers who build a portal. Won't say more. Between this and his book, 14, Peter Clines might be one of my new favorites. I need to check out his ex-heroes series.

Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Dave Michuda on June 27, 2015, 09:23:30 AM
Chris, thanks for the heads up on the Peter Clines books. I just bought them & added them to my Kindle queue.  It might be awhile before I get to them because of a bunch of new stuff coming out all at the same time.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on July 16, 2015, 02:40:11 PM
I'm eager to hear what you think about the Peter Clines books, Dave. I just re-read (or re-listened on Audible) 14 again and loved it.

Just started the new book from Ernest Cline, Armada. Loving it so far.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41XEmZrsJvL._AA160_.jpg)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: hjalmer on August 13, 2015, 10:17:45 AM
for sci-fi readers

http://flavorwire.com/532509/the-10-best-sci-fi-and-fantasy-novels-of-2015-so-far?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Copy%20of%20New%20Campaign&utm_term=2EDITORIAL%20-%20FLAVORWIRE%20-%20DAILY


h
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Dave Michuda on September 06, 2015, 07:24:44 PM
Finally getting around to The Fold by Peter Clines.  Very good so far.

Just finished The Affinities by Robert Charles Wilson.  I really like everything RCW has done before but this one didn't do much for me.  A few interesting ideas but nothing that really connected with me.

Also finished The End Of All Things by John Scalzi.  It was okay, just too much dialogue. In fact it was almost all dialogue. I listened to the audio book version so I suppose it's possible it was slightly different than the printed version but not that different.  There is some action but just not enough to make up for the tons of exposition.  I know Scalzi's books are easy reads and most do have a lot of dialogue but this took that to an extreme.

Other recent books...
The Annihilation Score by Charles Stross - good new twist in his Laundry series.
Seveneves by Neal Stephenson  -  enjoyed this one pretty well, just too long.

In the queue...
Nemesis Games by James S.A. Corey
Beacon 23 by Hugh Howley
Time Salvager by Wesley Chu
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: thirdsystem on September 08, 2015, 11:40:10 AM
Been ploughing my way through Metro 2033. A post apocalyptic tale set in the Moscow Underground. Hard work, maybe something lost in the translation but finding it repetitive and fairly boring. Some good bits though. 3/4 of the way through and it is getting a bit better.

Also reading this..
(http://shinynewbooks.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/60-degrees-north.jpg)

A lad gets itchy feet whilst living on the 60th parallel on Shetland and decides to go round the world along the 60th parallel. Greenland, Northern Canada, Alaska,Siberia, St Petersbug, Scandanavia and returning to his home island. Excellent read. Itchy feet inducing.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Ein Sophistry on September 20, 2015, 07:42:34 PM
Between the World and Me (http://www.amazon.com/Between-World-Me-Ta-Nehisi-Coates/dp/0812993543/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1442803303&sr=8-1&keywords=between+the+world+and+me), by Ta-Nehisi Coates

A poignant little work of astounding, besieged humanity. Every American should read it. Every lover of language too.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: jkn on December 01, 2015, 01:18:29 PM
I've gotten bitten by the reading bug again (finally).

* The Sign of Four - Arthur Conan Doyle
  ... my mini review:   https://ello.co/johnkochnorthrup/post/wXHdk9uBqfSAnsRp9w2TdQ

* King Solomon's Mines - H. Rider Haggard
  ... my mini review:   https://ello.co/johnkochnorthrup/post/ei0v9kAjLwrIF5Pe4Vny5A

I finished the 2nd Edgar Rice Borroughs Mars book and am half way through the 3rd. Mini reviews later but... in a nutshell.

Book 1 - Excellent fun. Had me wanting to keep reading all the way through.
Book 2 - also Excellent. Exploring parts of Mars hinted at in Book 1.
Book 3 - ...and... ok this is getting old. Unless the back half saves the book - this one was phoned in. (or telegraphed more likely).
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Ein Sophistry on January 28, 2016, 06:28:37 PM
Just finished Cormac McCarthy's Outer Dark.

This was McCarthy's second novel, but the trademarks of his Blood Meridian-era style are already in full swing here. This dude knows imagery, cadence, metaphor, and general sensory immersion like no one else writing today. Every page is a harrowing language-gasm. It's a shorter novel, also, and thematically tighter than the works that follow it. In some ways this makes it a more satisfying read than those books (though it's still not as a good, all in all, as Blood Meridian). In general, I was pleasantly surprised. I'd been under the impression that McCarthy only really came into his own with Suttree. This book disabused me of that.

Also, it's grim as all hell, of course, so...you know...caveat lector.

Next up:
Americanah - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Seren on January 29, 2016, 01:41:12 AM
I've not long finished the 'Mistborn' trilogy by Brandon Anderson.

Based in a fantasy world that may or may not have been earth at some point in the past - but very different now.

I found books 1 and 2 very well written, there were a lot of twists and turns in the whole series, most of which had clues laid out, almost hidden in plain sight. After a few of them I found myself trying to work it all out and still not getting them.....

Book 3 was still well written and full of the twists, but trying to pull so many threads together was always going to be a difficult job to do.

anyone else read them?
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: chris23 on April 19, 2016, 04:56:59 PM
Nice. Nice. Nice. Congrats, Mike.

(http://yourpersonality.net/images/lure.JPG)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: mgriffin on April 22, 2016, 11:28:07 AM
Oh, wow... thanks! I mean, thanks for buying a copy, and for the congratulations.


I had been wondering if I should mention the book here. Not push it, but let people know. This has been keeping me very busy for a while, and now it's starting to appear in the world. Pretty exciting!


Anyway, thanks again and I hope you'll find some enjoyment among the pages.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Scott M2 on April 22, 2016, 07:37:54 PM
Probably belongs in "Forum Members' Projects" Mike.  ;)   8)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Seren on April 24, 2016, 06:12:46 AM
 8) yes, forum members projects should be fine  8)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: jkn on June 08, 2016, 09:52:13 AM
I was reading this at a fast clip a couple months back and then took a break from reading.  Awesome.  I love all the period drama chinese movies set in the Three Kingdoms era - thought I should read a translation of the book.  Only the abridged version was available for my Nook - so... stuck with abridged... http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520282162

(http://images.ucpress.edu/covers/isbn13/9780520282162.jpg)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: stargazer on March 17, 2017, 06:26:23 PM
The Labyrinth of Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

(https://weltbild.scene7.com/asset/vgwwb/vgw/das-labyrinth-der-lichter-164745139.jpg?$h500st$)

...the fourth and final book in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: APK on March 18, 2017, 11:50:47 AM
The Labyrinth of Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

(https://weltbild.scene7.com/asset/vgwwb/vgw/das-labyrinth-der-lichter-164745139.jpg?$h500st$)

...the fourth and final book in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series.

Looks like a very fine series, I'm off to fine the first volume.  Thanks!
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: stargazer on March 18, 2017, 04:22:27 PM
The Labyrinth of Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

...the fourth and final book in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series.

Looks like a very fine series, I'm off to fine the first volume.  Thanks!

Anthony, you will love the labyrinthine story. Zafon is my favorite writer of the new times. I have every book of him.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: APK on March 18, 2017, 05:04:39 PM
Jana. Bought "The Shadow of the Wind" today.  I know I am going to enjoy this.  :)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Seren on March 27, 2017, 12:29:09 AM
A number of Terry Pratchett discworld books found in a charity shop:
Soul Music
Mort
Thief of Time
Interesting Times
The Colour of Magic
Lords and ladies
Small Gods
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: CausticReverie on July 19, 2017, 02:54:46 AM
I'm partway through a horror anthology called Lost Signals (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28591784-lost-signals) that has an overarching theme about mysterious radio transmissions. Several of the authors have given me Laird Barron vibes.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: marga.stine on October 18, 2017, 08:48:52 PM
Always and Forever, Lara Jean

I really love Jenny Han, and now I want my own Peter Kavinsky.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: stargazer on April 24, 2018, 09:31:14 PM
I now start reading a new book: "Das Buch der Unruhe" (The Book of Disquiet) by Fernando Pessoa. From the first reading yesterday I will love it.
It plays in Lisbon like another favorite book of mine "Nachtzug nach Lissabon" (Night Train to Lisbon) by Pascal Mercier.

(https://images.lovelybooks.de/img/265x0/cover.allsize.lovelybooks.de/9783596903092_1495802230000_xxl.jpg) (http://www.kriminetz.de/sites/kriminetz.de/files/styles/bigger/public/cover/3442734363-9783442734368-pascal-mercier-nachtzug-nach-lissabon-071985158.jpg?itok=S7VxH26n)

Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: APK on April 25, 2018, 09:36:23 AM
The Book of Disquiet     8)
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: APK on April 25, 2018, 09:40:50 AM
Night Train to Lisbon  --  Not read the book, but the movie was excellent.

I've taken the night train from Paris to Lisbon.
That was one long train ride.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: stargazer on April 26, 2018, 03:49:10 AM
Night Train to Lisbon  --  Not read the book, but the movie was excellent.

I've taken the night train from Paris to Lisbon.
That was one long train ride.

Anthony:  I can recommend the book, it has a very poetic depth and a very own imagination from the words.
Lisbon is a mystic, old and in parts very abandoned city. I guess you loved the city when your arrived there.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: APK on April 26, 2018, 06:30:58 PM
Yes, Lisbon is a wonderful city. Both charming and intriguing. The people too.

Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: DillonGo on May 18, 2018, 06:32:53 AM
Any Brandon Sanderson fans in here? I'm currently reading the second book of the Mistborn series. I love it! It's a pretty chunky book too, which is awesome.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: stargazer on May 20, 2018, 03:32:49 AM
(http://payload144.cargocollective.com/1/11/354910/5182158/00_800.jpg)

Robert Hunter - The new ghost
(from the 17x23 series by Nobrow press)

Excellent illustration book!
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: Seren on May 21, 2018, 06:23:52 AM
Any Brandon Sanderson fans in here? I'm currently reading the second book of the Mistborn series. I love it! It's a pretty chunky book too, which is awesome.

They are a great series - enjoy them all.
Title: Re: Now Reading, pt 2
Post by: stargazer on September 17, 2018, 10:43:58 AM
Still reading Fernando Pessoa in these late summer and early autumn days. I ordered two more english books for I love to read Pessoa in english language too.

(https://www.penguin.co.uk/content/dam/catalogue/pim/editions/305/9780143039556/cover.jpg)