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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Discussing Published Hooks & Books » What I'm Reading Now Thread (Page 1)

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Author Topic: What I'm Reading Now Thread
InarticulateBabbler
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The idea of this is to keep a log of what you're reading, and how well you like it. When each book is finished, give it a rating: Recommended (reserve for ones you loved), Good (these are good reads, but not necessarily on your favorites list), Not Impressed (for books you didn't feel were special, but you wouldn't condemn) or Bad (you wonder how someone could've published such garbage).

This should save all of the What's your favorite book? or What books did you hate? threads,

As for me, I just finished Conn Iggulden's Emperor: Death of Kings--the second in the series. I'd give it a rating of Good. Though I liked Genghis: Birth of an Empire much better (and would give that a Recommend), you have to take into account that his Julius Caesar books (The four Emperor books), were his first ever.

I just cracked open Bernard Cornwell's Azincourt (which will be Agincourt when it's released in the US), and am already comfortably satisfied. The First sentence (as I mentioned in another thread) is a hook: On a winter's day in 1413,just before Christmas, Nicholas Hook decided to commit murder.


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TheOnceandFutureMe
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Storm Front and Fool Moon by Jim Butcher - Good.
Pretty awful writing, but really fun stories.

It's Superman by Tom De Haven - Recommended..
Really interesting view of Clark Kent in the time period he was originally written.

House of Leaves - Recommended
I read this a while ago, but any time I talk about great books I bring this up. It was bizarre, horrifying, and I had nightmares every night that I read it - no exaggeration.


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arriki
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I read really recently THE MAGICIANS AND MRS QUENT by Galen Beckett. An excellent fantasy and I say that who doesn't normally like fantasy. Slow moving but worth the wait. If Jane Austen wrote a fantasy, it would be this.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Reading WRAPPED IN RAIN by Charles Martin right now.

Recently read ILL WIND by Rachel Caine. Interesting magic look at current natural disasters.

Also recently read THE ALCHEMIST by Paul Coelho (in English). Any chance anyone knows how I could get a copy of an original Portuguese edition? Does Amazon have a Brazilian website like the UK one, or might there be somewhere in the US (say, in the Ironbound section of Newark, NJ) where I could locate a Portuguese bookstore that could sell me a copy?


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InarticulateBabbler
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Kathleen, I take it the you're recommending The Alchemist by Paul Coelho?

Are you recommending the others?


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Sorry, IB. Neglected to do that explicitly.

Haven't finished WRAPPED IN RAIN, but I'm liking it.

The other two I would recommend, yes. (I probably won't post anything here that I wouldn' recommend, though.)


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InarticulateBabbler
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quote:

(I probably won't post anything here that I wouldn't recommend, though.)

So...you want us to waste our money/time when we don't have to? (Just illustrating a point.) Though not everyone is going to agree, we should learn who has tastes similar to ours, and that could help in recommendations and warnings.


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annepin
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Currently reading:
Ilium by Dan Simmons. Good. I really liked Hyperion which I read a looooong time ago. This isn't as good, or maybe it's because I started writing and thus noticing writerly things. An epic sci fi.

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. Meh. It might be worth reading as a look into what's popular. Make sure you have a high tolerance for entering the mind of a hormonal teenage girl obsessed with a guy.

Son of a Witch by Gregory MacGuire. Meh. Read Wicked or Mirror Mirror first. This one feels self-indulgent.

Recently completed:
Fatherland by Robert Harris. Good.Chilling, well written mystery, if a bit cliched. It's a good subtle alternative future, however. Recommended for mystery lovers. I enjoyed his other book, Imperium much more, and recommend that without reservation.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. In my opinion, she's written the definitive love story. Highly recommended.

[This message has been edited by annepin (edited October 07, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by annepin (edited October 07, 2008).]


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satate
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Currently readding,

Book 3 of Robin Hobb's Tawny man trilogy. It takes her characters from her assassin trilogy which you should read first to fully enjoy the Tawny man trilogy. I'm enjoying it alot. I would recommend it.

I almost finished Kate Elliot's Crown of Stars series. I got to book 6 and finally gave up. I enjoyed the first two books but from there it went down hill for me. The plot began to inch along and I stopped caring about most of the characters. I tried to finish it in the hopes that it would get better but I quit. I do like the world she built, but if the series is going to be longer than 7 books I need something more than that to sustain me. I give it an allright with a shrug.


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Crystal Stevens
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The Once and Future Me; You say Jim Butcher's Dresden Files books are terrible writing? Could this be because Harry Dresden is telling the story and is in first person? I'll be the first to admit that I've never read anything else that Butcher has written, but the Dresden Files are some of my favorite books. The excitement and action never lets up, you're never bored, and I'd love to be able to write plots like that with all the twists and turns and have everything turn out right in the end .
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Unwritten
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I just finished An Assembly Such as This by Pamela Aiden and I was Not Impressed. I'm going to read the next one though, just because I am such a huge Mr. Darcy fan.

I found it when I was looking for another book by Joan Aiken, because I thought her book Jane Fairfax was at least very good. It's the story of Emma written from Jane's PoV. Perhaps there is some obscure law that your last name must start with A if you are going to write Jane Austen fan-fic?

Anne, you and I must have been reading Northanger Abbey at the same time. I just finished it, and loved it, as always.

[This message has been edited by Unwritten (edited October 08, 2008).]


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marchpane
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quote:
I just cracked open Bernard Cornwell's Azincourt

Jealous! I'm hoping to get my hands on a copy this weekend. Cannot wait!

Annepin and Unwritten - I've been considering reading Northanger Abbey, think I will after such words of praise...

Currently:

Ashling - Isobelle Carmody, book 3 of the Obernewtyn Chronicles. I adored these books when I was about 14/15, but it's been ages since I read them. This particular one isn't a favourite of mine, but overall I would still recommend the series, especially to anyone intrigued by a post-apocalyptic dystopian fantasy. The books are notoriously difficult to get hold of outside the author's native Australia, though.

The Other Queen - Philippa Gregory. I will withhold my judgement on this one as I've barely started it, but the opening hasn't impressed me. I think she's a decent writer of historical fiction, but out of the books of hers I've read only The Other Boleyn Girl really sparkles (though sadly the recent film was awful). I kinda know what happens to Mary Queen of Scots already, which might be the problem!

[This message has been edited by marchpane (edited October 08, 2008).]


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Antinomy
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I would say Anne Perry’s “At Some Disputed Barricade” was a good read especially for anyone interested in WWI trench warfare. A fictional story based on a historical event, it loses credibility somewhat when the MC, a chaplain, tracks down deserters by bazaar methods like flying into an air battle where he shoots and nicks the Red Baron’s plane, and with the fortunate ability to speak fluent German, he travels unarmed and undetected far behind German lines.
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Robert Nowall
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I picked up a pile of books on vacation, of which I've read some and have a few to go. I may comment on some others later.

But I was much taken by one book, The Ruin of the Roman Empire: A New History by James J. O'Donnell...it made a fascinating case that the so-called "barbarians" were trying to preserve the Roman Empire while the Emperors and others were essentially the ones who wrecked it.

It fit in with thoughts I've had about that particular era...I think my thinking was influenced strongly by L. Sprague de Camp's legendary alternate history novel Lest Darkness Fall, which in part promulgated this same theory...O'Donnell does it better and in much greater depth...


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TheOnceandFutureMe
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Crystal Stevens - Don't get me wrong, I love the Dresden Files. I also twitch every few paragraphs when he does something amateurish like in the middle of a fight scene say: "I could see the bad guy coming toward me."

I guess "terrible writing" was overkill, but I think he needs a better editor.


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InarticulateBabbler
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I would definitely recommend Azincourt (which will be Agincourt when it is sold in the States).

C. S. Forester's Lieutenant Hornblower is next.


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philocinemas
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Currently reading:

Dune: The Machine Crusade by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. Jury's still out - the first couple of chapters have felt like a big info dump. Hopeful - it's prequel got better later in the novel.

The Science of Science-Fiction Writing (NF) by James Gunn. Good - interesting mainly for historical insights into SF writing, including biographical info on Wells, Heinlein, Asimov, and the Kuttner/Moore team. Noncomprehensive - nothing on OSC or even Arthur C. Clarke.


Recently completed:

Dune: The Butlerian Jihad by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. Good + - The beginning starts kind of slow. I had just finished reading the first four books of the original Dune series and it was difficult for me to adjust to the new style. I felt like they had used a thesaurus to find adjectives, hoping that would make it sound like Frank Herbert. I felt like it tried to juggle too many stories. All that said, I felt that there were some stand-out characters. Two of the most interesting were robots. It got better about half-way through, but it left some of the story lines hanging.

[This message has been edited by philocinemas (edited October 16, 2008).]


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aspirit
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Read Since October 6, 2008 (listed in alphabetical order)

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones - Fantasy (or YA Fantasy)
Rating: Recommend
The book is more comedic, less romantic, yet as delightful as the Miyazaki movie.

Kitty and The Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn - Fantasy
I've read this novel before, and I Recommend it to those who don't mind vampires and werewolves as characters. The story contains an interesting mix of female empowerment, canine psychology, and theoretical sociology.

Of Two Minds by Carol Matas and Perry Nodelman - Young Adult Fantasy
Rating: Good

Just Finished

Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones - Fantasy (or YA Fantasy)
Rating: Good
A quick and charming book that kept me guessing, like Moving Castle. Unfortunately, I did not relate to Abdullah as much as I did Sophie in Moving Castle.

----------

Reading Now

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman - Fantasy

How to Write Like an Expert About Anything by Hank Nuwer - Non-fiction
I'm forcing myself to read this book, because I've already checked it out from the library. I don't feel like I'm learning anything new that I can apply to my writing.

Pen on Fire by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett - Non-fiction
I think I would enjoy this book more if I were in a local writer's group.

Reagan's Game by R. Safley - Horror

[This message has been edited by aspirit (edited October 21, 2008).]


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MrsBrown
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Alcatraz versus the Librarians, by Brandon Sanderson - YA Fantasy - So far, so Good.
It is extrememely clever and humorous, while telling an interesting story. I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

[This message has been edited by MrsBrown (edited October 23, 2008).]


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Crystal Stevens
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I'm currently reading an older Orson Scott Card novel called Treasure Box. I came across it at my favorite used book store and don't know if I would've picked it up if not for who wrote it. At first, I thought I'd made a mistake in picking it up at all. The first hundred pages or so read like it was just documenting the MC's life like a modern day fiction novel instead of a fantasy or science fiction tale, and then BAM! everything came together all at once. Now, I can barely put it down since the pace has picked up and the real conflict has been revealed. I'm a little over halfway through it. So if anyone else has read it, don't let me know what happens yet. It's really gotten exciting.

One thing about this book, though, sticks out like a sore thumb. I read the first three books of the Ender series before giving it up. It was just too deep for my tastes, but the main premise of the first book, Ender's Game, was the closeness of Ender and his sister. It also brought out that he wasn't very close to his parents. After all, they bustled him off the Battle School when he was(I think) about six years old or so. It's been quite awhile since I've read it. My point is that in Treasure Box the MC also has a very close relationship with his sister who dies at the beginning of the book. His father unplugged her life support because she's brain dead and in a coma, and the MC accuses his father of murdering his sister. He hated both his parents for this.

So, Mr. Card has used this sort of plot foundation for two different books. Both work quite well and are not even remotely related to each other. BUT because Mr. Card has used this more than once makes me wonder if it has something to do with something that happen in his own life... some tragedy he might have had that's cropped up in what he writes. It does make me wonder.


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InarticulateBabbler
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Lieutenant Hornblower was good. I found a PoV slip or two, but it really din't stop me. It's likely more people have than haven't read C. S. Forester, but I'd recommend it to those who haven't.

On to Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian. It's very odd switching from Forester's quick-paced 3PL to O'Brian's very detailed Full Omniscient. It's taking some acclimatizing--but there is a quality of knowledge to the prose that makes it feel period-accurate.


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Just finished BITTERWOOD by one-time Hatracker, James Maxey. Interesting book with a lot of imagination and some exciting twists and turns in the plot. It's about a world where dragons rule over humans, and it seems to have little anachronisms every so often, but there's a reason for them. I'd recommend it.
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Unwritten
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I just finished Nick of Time, a YA fantasy by Ted Bell. I thought it was good. I probably wouldn't have even mentioned it, except that IB brought up Horatio Hornblower. This book reminded me of Hornblower in some ways--part of the story was set in the time of Nelson and the Napoleonic Wars. It is the story of a boy named Nick who lives on a small island in the English Channel right before WWII. A distant ancestor sends him a Leonardo Da Vinci's time machine, and he travels back in time. It was a cute story with a lot of real history thrown in (there's a WWII subplot) BUT the tricks the author played with POV drove me crazy. Instead of breaks in between POV characters, he faded back and forth between characters during the same scene, but it wasn't really omniscient or limited, it was just aggravating.
Melanie

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JamieFord
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I'm reading Stephen King's Everything's Eventual--something creepy for Halloween. And I'm listening to Brandon Sanderson's Elantris on the iPod when I'm in the car.
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KStar
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I'm reading "The Witch of Portobello Road" by Paulo Coelho. I'm a huge fan of his.

Also halfway through "Les Miserable" but finding it to be slow going. I enjoy the story but the book is too thick to carry around in my purse so I don't get to read it unless I'm doing laundry or something.


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Broda
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I'm not reading any fiction at the moment but I did just finish reading Immediate Fiction by Jerry Cleaver. I definitely Recommend it.

I'm starting on Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne & King next - bought it on the recommendation of someone on this board (don't remember who at the moment).


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InarticulateBabbler
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I'm reading Scott Oden's Men of Bronze. It was nominated for a Quill. Funny, a couple of years ago, I might have devoured this, but now, I find myself having to make the transition from 3pl to Omniscient, and have discovered hum much characterization and penetration it loses to do so.

The verdict is still out on this one.


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Just finished Guy Gavriel Kay's YSABEL which won the World Fantasy Award for best novel a few weeks ago. I really liked it and feel it deserved to win.
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Reagansgame
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Just finished reading Joe Hill's works. Heart-Shaped Box and 20th Century Ghosts I cycle through authors. Once I find one I like, I try to read everything they have in print. Before Joe Hill, OSC was the last author I went through and that was in June. So you see, its been a while since I've had a steady and for those of you who like the twisted or the "just plain wrong": JOE HILL. The best part is the man has a great sense of humor. (I won't tell you who his papa is, don't wanna be the spoiler, but he gets extra credit for not writing under Daddy's name)
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Robert Nowall
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"I think I saw Joe Hill last night..."

*****

Since enough time has passed, I'll post another book I'm reading.

In between other books, I've been reading and rereading Chaplin: A Life, by Stephen Weissman, M. D....not so much a conventional biography as a psycho-biography, dealing with how Charlie Chaplin's early years shaped his life and his work. Makes for fascinating reading.

Along the way, I dug out an older Chaplin bio, as well as the movie "Chaplin" (which I bought a couple of months ago on DVD but hadn't watched before now---I'd seen it before, on laserdisc (remember them?) years ago.) Then I dug out some old tapes of the real Chaplin ("The Gold Rush" and a few shorts). (I've got nothing on DVD of his.)


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Crystal Stevens
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I finished ENDER'S SHADOW by Orson Scott Card just last week. What a read! I highly recommend it and can't wait to read the next one in this series.

I'm now reading ELDEST by Christopher Paolini. It's an interesting story, but I'm still seeing basic paralels to STAR WARS. In many ways, the story is uniquely its own, but the basic formats between the two are still there. My cousin pressured this book on me and loaned it to me. If anything, it makes good research.


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arriki
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Picked up a bit of mind candy at the library. DATING DEAD MEN. It's well-written and funny. A thriller in genre. Not sf of fantasy. Sigh.
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InarticulateBabbler
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Arriki:
quote:

Picked up a bit of mind candy at the library. DATING DEAD MEN. It's well-written and funny. A thriller in genre. Not sf of fantasy. Sigh.

Sci-Fi and Fantasy are not prerequisites. Good or bad, speculative genre or not, this thread's about what you are reading, and if you'd recommend it.

Crystal Stevens:

quote:
I'm now reading ELDEST by Christopher Paolini. It's an interesting story...

Early on I saw a redeeming possibility (in the Roran, townsfolk, history theme) but, he totally ignored the opportunity--and made Roran and Eragon blend in to whining, crying (literally snot-snosed crying) licking their n*ts duplicates--there soon was no longer a distinction.


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BenM
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Recently finished Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.

Enjoyably arty, I'd recommend it if you'd like another angle on Bradbury's style. (As an aside, I was mortified when the bookshop attendant saw the book and said, "Ray Bradbury, is he new?")

Currently 60% through reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

I know I'm jumping the gun, but I'd already say I'd not recommend this edition (author's preferred - read, extended - text) as it tends to meander a little too much at times, and sentences that extend for 10 to 12 lines cause my eyes to bleed. I suspect the original edition might be a little more to the point. Yet to decide if I'd recommend the book as a whole.

I'm still finishing my SF NaNoWriMo project so have been avoiding the same genre this month :)


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InarticulateBabbler
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I'm into Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield now. Not far enough to make a judgement though.
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KayTi
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Can't believe I've missed this thread!

I've been on a mid-grade fiction kick lately. My Nano project was mid-grade (that 8-12 yr old range, MC was 11. I did it on purpose after many long conversations with my kids' school librarian who laments the lack of good new fiction in that category, and virtually no genre fiction.)

So I just finished
The Mysterious Benedict Society - Recommend
Story about a group of gifted kids and how they are recruited (by the good guys) to help foil a plot to take over the world by controlling people's minds.

I'm reading
Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon - Recommend
I haven't read any Elizabeth Moon before, but this is a great story.

Something I've learned from both stories is about pacing and about what scenes to dramatize. In both cases I've found myself wondering "why did the author bother to detail out that bit?" and then later realized that either the bit that seemed inconsequential turns out to have a role later in the story, or that bit helped you get some aspect of the MC's character or some piece of the setting in mind so that later when it comes up again you have a good visual to go back to.

My son and I are also reading City of Ember but we're not far enough along to recommend it yet.

I've got to keep a better personal reading log because I know I've read another 6-8 books in recent weeks but I can't for the life of me remember what they are!


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BenM
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You know, the problem with this thread is that if were were honest and posted every time we finished a book it would get very long, very fast.

ie, since my last post (and I'm not even a remotely voracious reader),
Finished: American Gods, by Neil Gaiman (Author's Preferred Text edition). I enjoyed it, but not as much as I'd hoped. While some of the more tangential scenes did have some relation to the plot I found them to be inconsequential and laborious. I also didn't quite feel fulfilled with the ending. I'd not recommend this to newcomers to Gaiman, but others may disagree. The standard text may be somewhat abridged and an easier read, however that's not the one I had. Not Impressed.

Finished: Ender's Game (Novel), by Orson Scott Card. I originally read this a long time ago, but I'm not 100% which version I read - it may have been the novelette version then, as I remember no reference to Speaker for the Dead or Valentine & Peter's story. I bought my own copy in November as it's something I'd like on my own bookshelf. I got far more out of it this time, I'm sure. I found the characters well developed, believable (on their own terms) and the technology sufficiently well presented (and ambiguous where necessary) to not appear dated. The YA-ish writing style makes for a quick and enjoyable read. Recommend.

Finished: Speaker for the Dead, by Orson Scott Card. I bought this with Ender's Game, having not read it before. I will try to be vague here to avoid spoilers: In general I found the book very enjoyable, however I had guessed the biology 'secret' by about the third chapter and so found it frustrating when most of the characters still didn't get it; I found the speaking of one character's life/death felt a little short and underdeveloped, while the promised speaking of others life/death was absent entirely, leaving me scratching my head wondering if I missed it. In general however, I found the book as a whole refreshing and enjoyable, its alien biology and societies interesting and well developed. Good.

Currently Reading: The Forgotten Children, by David Hill. The story of children enticed to immigrate from the UK to Australia in the early/mid 20th century under the Fairbridge Farms programme. Contrasts the difficulties and abuse that faced these children against the hollow promises and lack of acknowledgement of their situation by the authorities in both countries. The jury is still out on this one.

[This message has been edited by BenM (edited December 10, 2008).]


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satate
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Finished - The Highwayman by R.A. Salvatore - I wasn't impressed. I felt that the story started to early and the first half felt like backstory. The prologue introduced an interesting character with a nice hook and then the the story starts before that character was born. I barely made it through the first half and only finished it because there was nothing else around to read at the moment. The second half was better but still lots of information about characters that I didn't care about. Despite all that, I still found it entertaining.
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missjack
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The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

Recommended.

I picked it up and didn't set it down until I'd finished. It's a YA fantasy (despite somewhat gruesome deaths more suited to adults), so it isn't long. It's the first in an unwritten trilogy (blast you Suzanne Collins), and it's about a futuristic Earth, and a set of games where the contestants fight until only one is left alive. It'll suck you in. A few things, like the characters name (Katniss...eugh) and the ever-convenient silver parachutes handily providing answers, might put a few people off, but not enough to not enjoy the book.


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Crystal Stevens
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Satate; I read THE HIGHWAYMAN several years ago and was not impressed in the least. It was so predictable with no surprises at all. Big bummer as far as I'm concerned. It was one of the worst books I've ever read.

[This message has been edited by Crystal Stevens (edited December 14, 2008).]


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satate
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Wow, the worst book? I've read worse. I was marginally entertained so it didn't make the bottom of my list.
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KayTi
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I finished Marque and Reprisal also by Elisabeth Moon, featuring the same MC as Trading in Danger. I recommend it, though it wasn't quite as good as the first. Still worthwhile. I haven't researched to find out if there are more stories with this MC, as the second book left a lot of openings/loose ends I thought.

I also recently read Deerskin by Robin McKinley, based on a recommendation of a friend who liked the other Robin McKinley books (Hero and the Crown/Blue Sword - two of my all-time favorites) I had recommended to her. Well, Deerskin was good, but it was a hard read. First, without going into spoilery details but because I wished I had known as it may have affected my willingness to read this book, or at least read it late at night, you need to know that it's a survivor story (sexual.) It's done well, in fact I think Robin McKinley has done the best job of painting the dissociative state I hear can happen after such an event that I've ever seen. Then again I tend to avoid this concept in my reading so...maybe I haven't seen much. But I felt the ending was a little rushed, and that there were a lot of cases of telling/explaining in the story. Not in a bad way, but in a way that is different than how books are written today (this one was published in 1993.) It was an interesting story and worth the read, but just a little farther out there than the other two books of Robin McKinley's that I've read. I do certainly like that she portrays strong female leads in a positive way. And there's much about Deerskin that I'm still thinking about here several days after I finished reading it. That's a sign of a good book to me.

I'm now reading In the Garden of Iden by Kage Baker. Just started. Really weird concept, we'll see where it goes.


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Kage Baker takes that idea some pretty crazy places, KayTi (in my opinion), but I have enjoyed those books enough to consider reading them all again.
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Crystal Stevens
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I said ONE of the worst books I've ever read... not the worst. It was just that I knew pretty much what would happen before it did. Way too predictable for my tastes. I like a book that throws me for a complete loop and keeps me guessing with an ending that makes me want to stand up and cheer.

I'm now reading MEMORIES OF EARTH by Orson Scott Card. I'm just starting it, but so far it hasn't thrilled me. BUT TREASURE BOX was like that, too, and then it just took off and flew! We'll see how this one goes.


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KayTi
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So I'm done with In the Garden of Iden - I give it a so-so recommend. It's a well told story, but I was surprised that the majority of the story takes place in 1500s England, complete with the ye oldes and that business in the dialogue. I found that a bit of a pain in the rear, not to my liking. I'll probably skim through other novels in the Company series to see if they go to eras that I find more compelling. It is a good book, but not exactly my cup of tea.

One possible reason is I'm not a big first-person fan and it's a first-person story (except for a weird interlude in third person near the end of the story, which bugged me because it seemed like the author couldn't figure out a way around a point-of-view conflict, so she just jumped into third person limited for a section and then jumped back to the first-person narrator.)

I just picked up Pattern Recognition by William Gibson (Neuromancer was checked out from the library and the librarian recommended this instead.) It is taking me a while to get into - the storytelling style is a little different, the content is dense, it's taking me a while to sink into his world. Enjoyable concept, though (a woman is a marketing psychic, basically - can sense what will be trendy/successful, without knowing why.) Tentative Good, maybe even Recommend.


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Yufae
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MOON CALLED by Patricia Briggs (and the two sequels) -- Fantasy novels about a shape-shifter coyote and her werewolf pack. Writing isn't great. She doesn't foreshadow very well, and the first 1/3 of each book has some fluidity issues. That said, awesome story, the kind that you smuggle to work and read when no one's watching. I couldn't stop reading until I finished the whole series. Overall: GOOD

[This message has been edited by Yufae (edited December 29, 2008).]


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snapper
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I enjoy Alternate history. Although, I am discovering it is a very hard genre to master. My evry first story I ever sold is a flash AH piece. Let me give you two authors and the latest books I read.

In At The Dying by Harry Turtledove strongly recommended

Last book of a long series about a future where Robert E Lee's battle plans aren't found by the federals before the battle of Antietam. The last book is the eventual defeat of a Confederacy led by a Hitler like character. Mr Turtledove really knows his history and writes such rich characters. Every book of his is a pleasure to read.

1901 by Robert Conroy Not Recommended

The idea is really cool based on old battle plans found in Germany. The Germans invaded Long Island and take New York in 1901. They intend to force the Americans to relequinish recently conquer Spanish Territory.
However, the strategic aspects are seriously flawed and the love story is just plain silly.
In Mr. Conroy's defense a friend of mine loved it.


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KayTi
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Finished Pattern Recognition by Gibson. Recommend. Great book. Odd storytelling style. Lots of non-sentence sentence structures. But compelling. I really respect the way Gibson seemed able to capture the essence of foreign travel for the MC, he has the character go through such accurate and vivid sensory descriptions of places that I'm convinced he's done a lot of travel himself, and was shocked in the acknowledgments at the end to discover that he apparently hadn't been to one of the locations but used a resource who helped provide him those details.

The book is also the first post-9/11 aware book I've read, and that was fascinating. It wasn't an immensely big part of the book, but there were a few themes and concepts touched on at times during the story that again felt really authentic and accurate to me.

One point of note - there's no real speculative element to the story. Nothing that happened in the story is outside the boundaries of things that could happen today, IMHO. Didn't detract from my enjoyment, and it's notable that it took me a good 100+ pages to figure that out.

I'm onto Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi. I really enjoy his writing style, thought Old Man's War was excellent, so I'm already really enjoying this. And it's a much quicker read, LOL.


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BenM
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Just finished The Code of the Woosters by PG Wodehouse. Loved every minute of it, even putting up with sitting in a puddle of perspiration during our 39C summer days down here to finish it off (air conditioning's kaput). Fun book with which to broaden one's horizons (I hadn't read Wodehouse before). Recommended.

Now to find something else in my 'to read' pile that might do the same job.


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Ben Trovato
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Currently reading: Animorphs #11 "The Forgotten." RECOMMENDED.
Solid characters, more than decent writing and credible sf plots. It's not high literature but it's quite good stuff.

Also currently reading Tad Williams "The Dragonbone Chair."
I'm not finished with it yet, but so far it's been straddling the line between Okay and Unimpressive. On the good side, the transmuted-Christianity is handled well; on the bad side, the teenage boy protagonist is boring and sulky.

Just finished: Twilight. NOT RECOMMENDED.
...I don't want to talk about it.


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