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


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On ‎11‎/‎14‎/‎2020 at 12:58 PM, Russell said:

I'm currently reading _Into the Forge_ by Dennis L. McKiernan.  The basic setting is reminiscent of Tolkein with elves and halflings.  The major plot driver is a journey through hostile lands during wartime.  I've got the duology.  The sequel is _Into the Fire_.  Anyone want them?  I'd be happy to send them to a good home.  As a former English teacher I have a hard time getting rid of books but I love giving books as gifts.  This just hasn't captured my attention sufficiently.  If you think you might like them, read some reviews online to decide.  If it's a go, send me a PM with your address and I'll have them to you by Christmas.

I have these hanging out from one sale or another in my Kindle account.  If they are of the old Tolkein vein I will have to give them a read. 

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It's been a long time since I read any of them but I liked a lot of  Dennis L. McKiernan's books. Went from a Tolkien clone (which is understandable when he was originally hired to expand on JRRT's works) and developed his own very interesting world.

 

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Oh! McKiernan. He's pretty widely acknowledged to be, by which I mean critizised for being, ah, heavily influenced by Tolkien, to say the least. I remember reading I think those but especially the Iron Tower series twenty years ago and being knocked right over by it. For better or worse.

 

I was really into some of his other books in that same world tho. Dragonstone, I think it was, and Silver Wolf, Black Falcon. Those characters really had me hooked.

 

ETA: Not The Dragonstone but The Eye of the Hunter.

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I start reading Ulysses by Irish writer James Joyce. It is an incredibly complex modernist novel that was written at the beginning of the last century in Ireland by the famous James Joyce. The novel consists of 18 chapters and tells about the events of just one day. I also started reading simultaneously with Ulysses Post-Apocalyptic Novel "Station Eleven" By Emily St. John Mandel. You can learn more about this novel at https://samplius.com/free-essay-examples/station-eleven/ The novel unexpectedly begins at the end of the world as people know it. Onstage, Arthur Leander, who plays King Arthur, collapses from a heart attack. And then incredibly interesting things happen. I highly recommend reading this novel.

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On 4/15/2020 at 9:13 PM, Kangaroorex said:

I have not read that one.  I will have to take a look!

 

I find it difficult not to think that Adrian Tchaikovsky MUST be a made up name, but I like his books.

 

Just finished the first 2 volumes of his "Shadows of the Apt" series, which were rather good: A world of varied humanoid races that all have varied insect-like abilities: Industrious beetles, warrior mantids etc. There is steam-punk technology and limited magic-like powers. And a big war going on. A large cast of characters to keep track of, but quite an exciting read.

 

I see there are 8 more volumes to go, so I shall be busy.

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8 hours ago, paintybeard said:

 

I find it difficult not to think that Adrian Tchaikovsky MUST be a made up name, but I like his books.

 

Just finished the first 2 volumes of his "Shadows of the Apt" series, which were rather good: A world of varied humanoid races that all have varied insect-like abilities: Industrious beetles, warrior mantids etc. There is steam-punk technology and limited magic-like powers. And a big war going on. A large cast of characters to keep track of, but quite an exciting read.

 

I see there are 8 more volumes to go, so I shall be busy.

That's cool!  Any similarity to Stand on Zanzibar? Crucible of Time!

[Edit, not zanzibar, it's something else and now I have to go figure it out.   It's gonna bug me until I do]  [second edit... found it!]

That one had an amazing perspective from the alien race.  I just started children of time and I'm enjoying it so far, though it's not near as light hearted as Mirabile... ah well beauty is meant to be savored not scarfed whloesale.  Looking forward to a new author.

 

Speaking of new author's:  one of my favorites l, Dennis Taylor has a ne book out in his Bobiverse series:  River of Time.  It's a little deeper than the others but it's memorable and a good addition to the series!

 

 

 

Edited by Kangaroorex
Found the actual book: crucible of time
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Some of my favorite authors are made up:  Ilona Andrews, Lee Miller, there are a lot of them.  Usually they are a pair of authors who don't want two listing on the book or a cross genre author wh doesn't want to confuse their main audience.  Anne McCaffrey wrote for decades under a pseudonym (Jody Lynn) for a number of years turning out romance novels, for example 

Edited by Kangaroorex
Remembered Anne McCaffrey pseudonym
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4 hours ago, paintybeard said:

 

I find it difficult not to think that Adrian Tchaikovsky MUST be a made up name, but I like his books.

 

Just finished the first 2 volumes of his "Shadows of the Apt" series, which were rather good: A world of varied humanoid races that all have varied insect-like abilities: Industrious beetles, warrior mantids etc. There is steam-punk technology and limited magic-like powers. And a big war going on. A large cast of characters to keep track of, but quite an exciting read.

 

I see there are 8 more volumes to go, so I shall be busy.

 

I finished the first volume recently.  It was recommend to me by my older son, who’s up to book 4 or 5.  I’m not sure if I’d reread them, so my intention is to get them from the library, which is unfortunately going to involve the use of Interlibrary Loans, since they don’t have them locally.

 

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Oh, wow, I really fell down on the job w/r/t foisting my broccolity reading updates on y'all. Massive catchup inbound.

 

 

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Fantastic collection. Kind of amazed how many times while reading this I started a story thinking I wasn't going to like it, he wouldn't pull it off, and then he had me charmed within a couple paragraphs and blow away by the end.


 

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Stories written with the utmost competence but lacking something at the heart. One gets the feeling Moshfegh never allows herself to love her cold, distant narrators, and a focus on the gross and unsettling too often seems to try to serve as a stand-in for emotional resonance.


 

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Detached, rambling stories long on verbosity but short on plot. Austere but empty-feeling. Struggled to read.

 

 

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Passable fare in the world of Eberron as a war-veteran holy man seeks out the killers of an old comrade. Kind of sloppily put together--too much convenience and happenstance--but entertaining enough.


 

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There was a better story hidden away in the possibilities of this book, following a veteran monk on a chase to recover an ancient artifact of immense and deadly power, but we didn't quite get it.


 

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A bit more scattered and needlessly long, perhaps, than Cunningham's earlier entries in the Harpers series, Arilyn Moonblade's mission to defuse the tension between reclusive wood elves and the humans of Tethyr is nonetheless entertaining while further exploring the lore of the Realms.


 

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The adventures of an Oliver Twist-esque orphan turned con artist and criminal mastermind in the fantasy city of Camorr. Not a great book, but a really, really good one. Totally engaging and fun.

 

 

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I read half this book, laid it down, and was six months coming back to finish it. I guess I'm not much of a cyberpunk. Erratic and a bit silly, cool ideas but so-so story at best.

 

 

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A brief collection of erasure poems gleaned from Verne's work. I'm no connoisseur of the form but found these quite interesting.

 

 

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Nice collection of stories. Flick is perhaps a bit overlooked in the current flash-fiction scene.

 

 

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Hit and miss, too clever for me by far, no doubt; but I've learned over the years to take what I love and leave the rest behind from Powell's work. Very much an all-thrown-at-the-wall sort of collection.

 

 

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Much heralded but perhaps a bit overrated; it's not so great as a novel, as it's been billed, but it's a very nice collection of interlinked stories surrounding a group of fictional music-industry figures over a number of decades.

 

 

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A solid collection of fiction centered mostly around (what feels like) upper-middle class women.

 

 

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A somewhat up-and-down collection of stories that can feel a bit prolonged and perhaps trifling or stick with you for months afterward, as with the story of a pianist who loses his ability to play in “Petrouchka [with Omissions].”

 

 

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Her third collection and a bit disappointing for me; these stories often feel like they're covering old ground without quite the energy they need to lift off.

 

 

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A late collection from an old master. Doesn't rise to his greatest heights but much improves upon more recent efforts.

 

 

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A collection of essays drawn from Saunders's years teaching selected stories by some of the Russian masters of the form. As close as you'll get to the MFA experience without going into generational debt for it.

 

 

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An Eberron novel. Often hailed as the pinnacle of this series, it's quite entertaining--excellent for a first novel, in fact--if a bit scattered and loose with the plot.

 

 

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A masterpiece. Holds up twenty-five or so years since first reading and perhaps more enjoyable with the benefit of age and (slightly) more wisdom beneath my belt.

 

 

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Interdimenional princes, like, vie for a throne or something. Not sure what to think of this series yet, honestly.

 

 

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The second installment of Witcher short stories. Quite entertaining, if you're into the character and the terse world Sapkowski draws around him.

 

 

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Great collection of stories running from Stalinist Russia and modern war-torn Chechnya, interlinked by a painting, and a censor and his family and the people of a Siberian mining city whose paths it crossed.

 

 

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My first encounter with Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, a collection of three tales detailing their early years and first meeting. Loved it.

 

 

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Wild to the point of being barely coherent at times, these books are nonetheless an interesting as an influence to D&D. Aside from the magic system, they way these stories jump one thing to the next, shifting quickly in tone and theme, is very much in the vein of what early adventures in the game often felt like. Not terribly captivating reading, but still.

 

 

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A collection of the first Corum trilogy, chronicling this incarnation of the eternal champion's quest to save his world from the powers of Chaos and its human agents. A bit long on tell and short on show at times and a bit superficial in terms of its prose, it's nonetheless an interesting read. I read the first set of Hawkmoon books twenty years ago and decided to read more Moorcock and should've got to Elric first, obviously, but grabbed this while waiting for new editions of the albino hero to drop this fall.

 

 

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Stories and a novella centered around black women's lives. Very good when it filters the world through the experiences of its characters; less compelling when it shifts the other direction and seems to use its characters to reinforce broader cultural narratives.

 

 

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A fictionalization of Wyatt Earp and his Tombstone years focused on examining the shame and shortcoming located in the American experience. Wallows a bit, killer ending. If I lived in an alternate reality where Tombstone was never filmed this would be my favorite book ever prolly.

 

 

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Middling collection of stories that suffer much from a sameness; too many are about detailing the wacky magical peculiarities of a given town. Aside from the excellent title story, too little focus on its characters.

 

 

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Solid collection of poems from a heralded master of the form. Much like Ford's aforementioned collection of stories, not her best but a climb back toward it.

 

 

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There would be a Le Guin short story in every single anthology I'd be assigned throughout my college career, but I never could bring myself to read it, having so recently been scared away from genre fiction. Anyway, this is at least my first time reading her, and it was really good. Harry Potter before Harry Potter, in a way, and a much more interesting wizard's journey story, to me, anyway.

Edited by Marvin
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I recently read the first Junction World book by Bear Ross (some who've been around since the early CAV days might recognize that name).  I started on the second one but took a break as ...

 

I'm currently reading the latest book in The Muderbot Dairies: Fugitive Telemetry.  I really really enjoy this series a lot.

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With a few books in the series that I hadn't read and a while since I'd worked through the first chunk of them, I've started working through the "Nemesis Saga" with all of the tie ins the series has to Jeremy Robinson's other stuff

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On 5/6/2021 at 10:17 PM, Marvin said:

There would be a Le Guin short story in every single anthology I'd be assigned throughout my college career, but I never could bring myself to read it, having so recently been scared away from genre fiction. Anyway, this is at least my first time reading her, and it was really good.

Le Guin is one of my favorite authors, hands down. Her prose is gorgeous.

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22 hours ago, redambrosia said:

Le Guin is one of my favorite authors, hands down. Her prose is gorgeous.

Agreed! She's a pleasure to read.

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