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So What Have you Read Lately? And other favorite books!

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Just finished this fantastic bit of if-only-it-were-fiction. I mean, it's fiction... But if silent robots of external origin suddenly DID appear, I could see it playing out exactly like this. Not that we need the robots to make it happen. 


I really love wanting to strangle the main character. She's awesome, and cool, and infuriating. 


The whole thing is a pretty no-punches-pulled examination of Fame in the internet age, and it manages to somehow glamorize and brutalize the social media celebrity phenomenon. I dig it wholeheartedly.

The beer is an IPA, so if you like those you'll like it, and the can matches the cover and the name matches the themes.

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On 10/16/2019 at 11:59 PM, Doug Sundseth said:

Just finished Into the Storm*, the first book of the Malcontents, by Larry Correia. It's a fantasy steampunk war novel in an interesting world. Strong characterization, interesting story, well-handled setting, a bit grimdark (as might be expected in a Correia book). Recommended, highly recommended if you like Correia's other stuff.


* Not to be confused with the Taylor Anderson book in the Destroyermen series, or any of about a dozen other books by the same name.

I despise Correia as a person.


Look up Sad Puppies.


He is on my Will Never Read Ever list.


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19 hours ago, Chaoswolf said:

Um.....what are you all fighting about?


13 hours ago, TheAuldGrump said:

Politics. <_<


Then it belongs in Beekeepers, not here.


I was trying to subtly shift the conversation back on topic without ruffling anyone's feathers.

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6 hours ago, Chaoswolf said:


Then it belongs in Beekeepers, not here.


I was trying to subtly shift the conversation back on topic without ruffling anyone's feathers.

I think the way to do that is not to ask a question - since you didn't really want to further the argument - but rather... try bringing up a book?


So, in that regard -


I have started reading the Conway Report series by Nick Svolos  of super hero novels - about a mild mannered reporter working for a major metropolitan newspaper (The Los Angeles Beacon), covering the Hero Beat. Clark Kent, not Superman, is the focus of the series.


I enjoyed the first three books a good deal, and am now waiting for the fourth.


The series plays close to the standard super hero tropes - heroes have secret identities, and those secret identities are what pay the bills. The villains are villainous - and prone to what is called Blofeld Syndrome.


And the US government are not always the good guys.


The author splurged on a good cover artist, and it shows, he hired a good editor, and it shows. He even, gasp! went and got opinions from actual reporters, rather than having an editor that shouts Great Caesar's Ghost! In short, he did a professional job on the book - and it shows.


4.5 out of 5 stars, I think - but I may have a bias in favor of super hero fiction.


The Auld Grump - and I just picked up the latest book in the Wearing the Cape series... for mind candy, I like super hero fiction.

Edited by TheAuldGrump
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48 minutes ago, TheAuldGrump said:

And the US government are not always the good guys.



As soon as I finish up the CPA exam Thursday, my next book is going to be the third book in Myke Cole's The Sacred Throne trilogy, The Killing Light. 

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Just finished this:


It wants desperately to be a Joe Abercrombie grimdark tale of horrible but engaging characters forced to do horrible but entertaining things. Mostly it's just horrible.

The author, says the back flap, whites for video games. And this book reads like one: dialogue chosen from a series of bad dialogue options that hint at character just enough to suggest a quest, quests predicated entirely on the idea that plot (or "that NPC over there") dictates it, character death because grimdark (as opposed to grimdark because character death)... It's not great.


Normally I'd post a drink pairing recommendation, but I don't currently own any LaCroix, which is the only appropriate drink for a collection of bound pages that happened to be in the room when someone whispered, "epic fantasy."





Also: publisher art director fail: the cover shows a handsome (well: smooth, oiled and muscular, anyway) Kevin Sorbo type with two axes. The only character in the book that wields two axes is a "nebulous life-debt" sidekick, and is definitely not a handsome Kevin Sorbo type. This isn't the authors problem, but I do always wonder about this kind of thing. Did the publisher just have this art lying around? Or maybe there's a book about a dual-wielding Sorbonaut out there with this book's cover art, because someone accidentally switched the assets before going to print.

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On 11/9/2019 at 2:59 PM, Crowley said:


As soon as I finish up the CPA exam Thursday, my next book is going to be the third book in Myke Cole's The Sacred Throne trilogy, The Killing Light. 

It was good!! A very satisfying conclusion to the story.


Its very much a Joan of Arc style story, but set in a Warhammer like world. 

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I should post in this thread, though I read a lot of non-fiction. Like 99% nonfic! Around when I turned 40 or so, I just lost interest in fiction almost entirely. Too much amazing info on real stuff.

Right now I'm digging The Bloody Mohawk, a historical nonfic about the area I live in. Unfortunately, the period I'm most interested in (formation of the Iroquois Confederacy) has the least amount of historical information. Still, a great read without a lot of the bias of historical writing of the time (it's an older book). I've got a couple other local history books I've been using as cross-reference, but the aforementioned is the best overall read out of them.


I'm also reading Mastery, a book on learning; I dip into Marcus Aurelius' Meditations; my current art book is the new Marvel "painting" book. It's not actually about painting, but it's still an interesting read with tons of good art.

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IMG_20191127_230032441.thumb.jpg.a6293a223606a43d1cd8244352cdf03e.jpgRobert Jackson Bennett's "Foundryside" looks like a steampunk adventure, smells like high fantasy, but is a literal Shadowrun firmly rooted in the cyberpunk genre. It's a series of rollicking heists punctuated by massive explosions and nasty brawls. The main characters have very different objectives that pull them in similar directions, and the reluctant dynamic of them working together is really well put together. A lot of the plot is tropey, but it's so engaging I didn't care that I knew how it would all turn out in the end. Nestled into a grand adventure are questions of consciousness vs. personhood that compare favorably (and without the squick) to Heinlein's "I Will Fear No Evil," and the city-as-character elements put this on a level with Mieville's "Perdido Street Station." I cannot wait for next January, when the second book in the series drops.


If you don't already know Laphroaig, it's smoky and layered, and it should be enjoyed over time. It smells like one of "Foundryside's" campos.

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I've just finished Jasper Ffordes' latest book; "Early Riser". Just as good as his other works.


Set in a parallel world where the majority of the population hibernate through severe winters which are getting harsher through the onset of global cooling. Hibernation is a risky process and not everyone gets through alive. For the rich, there is a drug Morphenox, produced by the slightly sinister Hibertech Corporation which increases the chances of survival but carries the risk in a few cases of turning the sleeper into a cannibalistic zombie.

From that description, anyone familiar with Ffordes work will recognise that this is a typical work of fantastical invention coupled with deadpan humour and elaborate verbal gags. That said, this doesn't quite reach the same level of riotous comic invention as the Thursday Next or Nursery Crime books. This is slightly darker, more akin in tone to Shades of Grey (the Jasper Fforde version, not the dubious soft porn). This is more of a fantastical thriller with a comic overtone than an out and out comedy.


 There has been quite a long wait since the authors last book, so I was worrying he had run out of ideas. I'm glad to say this is a strong return to form.

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Im reading the last book of a trilogy by David Wong.  His second book is my favorite title ever: 

This book is full of spiders,  SERIOUSLY DUDE, don't touch it.

comedy cosmic horror?   

by book 3 his premise is wearing thin, but still funny bits. 

I love the fact that he won't give the name of the "Midwestern small city" it is set in but that the Iroquois slaughtered every man woman and child of the orginal inhabitants then named it " Seriously F*** this place"  .. and that it hasnt really improved since then.  





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I just finished "How To"  by Randall Munroe.  It was pretty funny and educational, which is always kind of nice.  I'm finishing up "The Toll" by Neal Shusterman, which is (at the moment) a reasonably solid third (and presumably final) installment in the Scythe series.   After that, it's a quick reread of "War of the Wolf" by Cornwell, so that I can read "Sword of Kings".  I have a couple others that I plan to read over the holiday season - I generally get some good reading time in, and I try to take advantage of it.

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I've just finished an excellent book called "The Roar of the Lion" by Richard Toye, an analysis of the wartime speeches of Winston Churchill.


The popular image is that Churchill made magnificent speeches that we British hung onto every word and were galvanised to greater efforts on every occasion.


The author points out several fallacies here. For a start his best speeches were made to the House of Commons and speaking before a live audience brought out the best in him. When he then had to repeat the performance to a microphone he was not nearly so impressive.


There were no opinion polls or market research in Britain in the 1940's, so Mr Toye bases his material on a number of diaries and these show that quite a lot of his audience were often less than impressed. He is sometimes thought to be acting like a dictator, and quite a few people thought he was drunk.


 Another interesting point is that Churchills speeches were variously aimed at different audiences: Sometimes the British, sometimes the Americans and quite often he just tried to annoy Hitler.


 I thought I knew a lot about Churchill and World War 2, but this book cuts through quite a few myths. 

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