I finished the two books I was reading and I have continued to read CONVERGENCE, a nice little YA book by someone we know and love.
I stated it that way because I read the first couple of chapters when I got the book and now I'm reading on.
Not badly done, definite YA but I wonder why Captain Kirk would come back in time to teach an orientation. I also wonder if something is happening behind the scenes, with the occupations some of the citizens have and how everyone stares at the MC when she does something with the computer. That includes other computer geeks. Are they just being impolite or do they suspect she might discover something? We shall see.
I still want to give a copy as a gift, if I can find anyone who reads e-books. That isn't as easy as expected.
[This message has been edited by LDWriter2 (edited September 04, 2011).]
Robert. You're not the first one to say something like that.
I found some E-books on Barnes and Noble made up of short story sets written way back when, I've thought seriously about buying. Fifty stories for two or three dollars, all written by the original Masters. E.E. Doc Smith, Wells, Burroughs etc.. One of these days I will get around to it.
[This message has been edited by LDWriter2 (edited September 04, 2011).]
The one "classic SF" text I downloaded to my Nook Color---selected public-domain works of H. Beam Piper---proved a problematic file, difficult to navigate or locate individual works in. (I've got a file of a Jules Verne work---in French, yet---but haven't tried much with it other than the first few pages.)
I will problably do others, maybe with better luck. The e-reader doesn't really replace the book-as-artifact in my reading habits, but it sure does have its uses.
You have a point. I still buy paper books- my next note will probably mention the paper book I am currently reading- but I think it would be hard to find those anthologies that I referenced. Maybe via the internet but that could still take time. On top of that it sounded like some of the sets were put together for B&N or e-publishing in general, so they don't exist in paper.
I like the idea because I don't recall hearing that most of those old Masters did any short stories so reading them would be cool.
Along with the previous book I mentioned, Convergence, I started "Phoenix Rising" A ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novel. A streampunk story that takes place in the later years of the 1800s. I'm not sure which year exactly, in a couple of places there a lot of dates flying around.
And that first sentence is something else. I've warned people away from first sentences like that. But it is a different book.
Still over all it is enjoyable. Kinda a Urban Fantasy- paranormal meets James Bond or the Avengers. For those old enough to have watched either of the two Avengers series. The female MC is kinda of a contradiction though. When handling the bad guys she is brave, resourceful, thinks quickly, out of the box, etc. but when it comes to her boss and new emotional situations-not just affairs of the heart- she is shy and unsure.
If you like something quirky or just something different... pick it up.
Here is a trailer for the book. They did a great job except for perhaps her outfit. You have to read the book to understand that,
Well, now I can say that I'm reading Wotf 27. Since I had to order it anyway I decided to download it to my Nook. Cheaper that way too. Started the first story not bad at all even though melancholy so far. And the illustration that goes with it shows melancholy also.
But the opening line of the first story blows my usual comment for Firsts out of the water. The thing is long and a bit on the complicated side. I need to see how the others begin but usually short stories open with short and to the point sentences. And that was a long author's blurb.
The descriptions of the stories make some of them sound very interesting. I think I will enjoy most of them.
Have just finished A CLOCKWORK ORANGE by Anthony Burgess. Wow, it's a crazy (scary and frightening) kind of awesome. Highly Recommended
Other books I have recently read and would also Recommend:
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHTTIME by Mark Haddon. Told from the perspective of an autistic teenager. Pretty well done.
ROOM by Emma Donoghue. Told from the perspective of a five year old. Very well done - you definitely hear it in the voice of a child - even though he doesn't understand some of the stuff he sees, the reader does.
WOTF XXVI - Amazing short stories. Am definitely in awe of those who can think up awesome original ideas and write as well as this.
THAT LEVIATHAN, WHOM THOU HAST MADE by Eric James Stone. Great little novella. Original and compelling.
ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell. Pretty cool little novel from the perspective of farm animals - leaves me not liking pigs very much Very well written - as expected.
LIFE EXPECTANCY by Dean Koontz. I would class this as Good. Quite a light read - easy to breeze through. Not super thought provoking but a nice read nonetheless.
Oh man, I've read more books than I thought I had in the last while.
BATTLEFIELD EARTH: A SAGA OF THE YEAR 3000 by L. Ron Hubbard Not Recommended. I've put not recommended over not impressed for the reason that I wouldn't recommend this to anyone based purely on the length. I have only made it half way through before giving up I'm sorry to say. That is not to say I didn't enjoy the first half - it just got too long and I got a bit bored with it and wanted to move on to something else.
NEVER LET ME GO by Kazuo Ishiguro. I'm wavering between Good andNot Impressed on this one. Nice idea but the story just seemed to drag a bit.
CONTAINMENT by Chris Cantrell. Good. A light read. Nothing really thought provoking but it was ok. However, computer programming and code is not really my thing.
WATER FOR ELEPHANTS by Sara Gruen Recommend
THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak and LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel Highly Recommended. Loved both of these stories.
DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? by Philip K Dick Highly Recommended Loved it.
STORM FRONT by Jim Butcher, BLUE by Lou Aronica and SWITCHED by Amanda Hocking Good
PATHFINDER by Orson Scott Card Recommended
WISE MANS FEAR by Patrick Rothfuss Highly Recommended
Delli, you were aware, I hope, that Orwell's ANIMAL FARM is about the Russian Revolution and that the pigs represented the communists who created the Soviet Union?
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Yes, I was aware of that Don't worry - I didn't think it was "just" a story about farm animal politics (though I did find it interesting the personalities and mannerisms he assigned to each animal species) not liking pigs was supposed to just be a funny quip Have just started reading 1984.
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Boy, a long list and with variety there. Neither of which is bad.
But you have older political novels there, again which isn't bad.
Battlefield though I liked. One reason was the length. I was going through books much faster back when I read it and I was happy it would last a while. The story wasn't bad either even though it seemed to be almost two or three stories in one. Like it should have been a trilogy.
WATER FOR ELEPHANTS I've seen all over the place. What is it about?
And with STORM FRONT. All I will say is that you are in for a wild ride with that series. Good tales and the writing isn't bad --- it's gets even better. I'm frustrated that the next paperback Dresden book won't be out 'til Dec. That publisher doesn't realize he's suppose to cut the time between hardback and paperback not make it longer.
Perhaps I will have another crack at the second half of Battlefield another time. As I said - it wasn't a bad story, just that I needed a break from it. And like you, I used to breeze through books - but nowadays, I don't get much chance for uninterrupted reading with two under two! So shall I save Battlefield for once they have both left home?
Water for Elephants is a historical novel, a love story (but not a romance) from the POV of a man who runs away to join the circus. Quite well done, I thought. Interestingly, Sara Gruen wrote it during NaNoWriMo - however, I believe she had done years of research before doing so.
I haven't actually started on the next Dredsen book but when I get time I will! Am focussing on Sci Fi classics at the moment. All books I should have read but haven't!
All these books I have read since getting my Kindle - it has been so awesome! So convenient. Imagine going back in time and telling people that you could wish for a book and it would appear instantly in your hands. They would think it was magic
quote: THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHTTIME by Mark Haddon. Told from the perspective of an autistic teenager. Pretty well done.
I came back here to comment on this because today I recalled a book I read years ago that was from the POV of an autistic adult. Not the same book however. The one I read took place in the future when things fall apart. No real government and new societies and groups had formed.
Just read Noah Lukeman's HOW OT WRITE A GREAT QUERY LETTER.
Not sure how I feel about it. It was sharp and concise. I guess its the 3 paragraph approach that has me concerned. Even more than that but the 3 sentences only for the plot paragraph. Also mentioned comparing your book to another published book or film.
quote:Does he say you absolutely have to do it that way or is that more of a model?
I got the impression he felt that you had to. Of course there are exceptions but this was the first book I read where it seemed so concrete. Its a different approach then what I have been trying so I think I will give it a try. The entire query letter will come out to about 1/2 a page which is what he feels is ideal.
I tried pitching a novel to a science fiction editor friend using the "comparing your book to another published book or film" approach, and he gently told me that my pitch made the novel sound derivative (and regardless of the impression we get as writers that publishers want "more of the same, only different," derivative is not so good).
So, that approach may work for mainstream novel queries, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it for science fiction and fantasy novel queries.
It may also work for movie pitches, by the way. As I understand it, "high concept" means saying your movie script is "THIS GREAT MOVIE plus THAT GREAT MOVIE" and derivative is not so bad.
As Meredith says, some things work for some genres, and some don't work as well.
I always heard that worked in Hollywood---"every new thing has to be expressed in terms of things that came before," and so on. But I don't know how the print publishers feel about it. A lot of what we read (or see on the stands) is derivative---can anybody really say anything new about vampires?---whatever the editors might claim.
Something in passing---way back in 2008 on the first page of this, snapper gives a "Not Recommended" to Robert Conroy's 1901---which I really liked. Not to go into too much detail, but I gather the story is based on actual battle plans made by Imperial Germany.
I've enjoyed Conroy's other alternate history books, and, curiously, so did my father, who saw them lying around my house one day and took 'em home to read.
Just finished MATCHED by Ally Condie. It was excellent, recommend. It's a YA dystopia. What I found interesting was how the author manipulated the limited point of view of the main character to have us, the readers, brought along on the journey to see how the existing Society was oppressing the main character and all of those she holds dear. The fundamental conflict is a love story conflict, but the book was recommended to me by a friend's 16 year old son, so I believe there's plenty in it that would appeal to males and females.
Matched opens with the main character getting ready for her Match banquet, where she'll learn who her Match will be with all the other 17 year olds from her borough. Unlike the other kids, though, her match is someone she already knows, a boy she grew up with who is already dear to her. Later she looks at her microcard with her match's info, which she doesn't need since she already knows him, and for a brief moment a different boy's face pops up as her match. Problem is, she ALSO knows him.
So the main conflict begins with Cassia's curiosity about the other boy, Ky, growing, all while she's starting to notice the oppressive aspects of her Society, such as the three pills they're all required to carry at all times (red "for emergencies", blue that can provide nutrition for three days, and green to calm down) or the fact that at 80, you die. Everyone does.
The pace is quick and I found myself enjoying the way the author unveiled the story so much that I slowed down in reading it, which is something I do sometimes when I want a book to last. I felt the characters were very believable, and even though it's a love story, really it's a rebellion story, and that made it very very interesting.
Just finished: HEARTLESS by Gail Carriger, the fourth Parasol Protectorate book -- Victorian paranormal steampunk. I enjoyed it but not as much as the previous books in the series.
Reading now: THE MAGICIANS by Lev Grossman, who recently won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. The ideas aren't new, but I very much like his writing style. I've found myself reading whole passages aloud to my husband because I liked the imagery.
Ooh Jennifer - tell us more when you finish the book, MAGICIANS is on my short list. So is THE NIGHT CIRCUS, which I have heard raving reviews of in several places, including a bookstore owner who has literally read everything.
Kathleen - I just wanted to thank you for recommending "Those Who Hunt At Night" by Barbara Hambly. I just finished it and it was great to read a book about vampires that kept the myth of these monsters dark and creepy. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Yeah, I remember Hambly's early writings, though somewhere along the line I dropped the ball and stopped reading...as I recall, some of her fantasies had kind of "framing stories," something put in place around the Quest at the center, and I remember the frame better than the picture...
On the other hand, my all-time favorite Star Trek novel, which I've read and re-read, is her Ishmael...
Don't think I have, but I'm not sure...I stopped buying 'em awhile back---and had little-to-no interest in anything that wasn't The Original Series---and some of them bitterly displeased me in the reading, especially some multi-part ones that involved multiple series casts. (I heard once that a pro writer---no names, 'cause I never got any---wouldn't write any more because of the restrictions that the publisher and / or the studio put on the plotting and writing and characterizations thereof.)
A couple years back, I did pick up a book that was a "guide" to the books...it was pleasing enough.
As for Hambly and Star Trek...I believe she wrote at least three others that I read...I didn't like one Original Series novel and one Next Generation novel, but I did like one other Original Series novel whose name escapes me.
I just finished THE MAGICIANS by Lev Grossman. I love the premise: What if the fantasy world you fell in love with as a kid was real and you could go there? I very much like Grossman's writing style. But the protagonist is miserable and self-destructive, as are most of his friends. If you can't stomach a non-sympathetic protagonist, this book is not for you. For everyone else, RECOMMENDED.
Now I'm reading THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST by Stieg Larsson.
GOLIATH by Scott Westerfeld. Love this series. I'll be sorry to see it go, since GOLIATH is the third of the trilogy--LEVIATHAN, BEHEMOTH, and GOLIATH.
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Jennifer is that Hornet nest book in the same series as the girl with the dragon tattoo?
Oh, I saw a book listed in my local paper. I think it's by a local writing but I'm not sure about that. Anyway the title is "The Dragon With A Girl Tattoo".
But I 'm reading "Uncertain Allies" by Mark del Franco. Fifth in a UF series with a bit of a twist. About a hundred years ago most everyone in Fairye was transported to earth. They have no idea how or why and they couldn't get back. So now all Fey are part of human culture even though they have their own laws and lands etc.. And of course there are rich snobs, poor crooks etc just like in human culture. Some are addicted to drugs and such. There is one main skid row for the low life fey. That is where our hero works.
Mark has another series set in the same universe but with different characters and in a different city. I haven't been able to figure out if it's the same time frame or not. So far there's been no references about what happened in the other city even though some events would have made the News.
The book I was most taken with this month: Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem, Carol Delaney. It takes two unusual directions: (1) Columbus's motives for sailing west to try to find the Indies weren't what we usually think, and (2) Columbus himself has been charged with numerous crimes against humanity---long after he died---but an examination of the record shows he didn't commit them and tried to stop others from committing them.
I'm in the middle of a new biography of John Lennon---it claims to be "definitive," but I don't think so. Some of the statements about music (Lennon's, the Beatles's, and others) are questionable. But there are a number of points where the writer takes what someone said about something and puts it next to what someone else said about the same thing, trying to iron out the contradictions.
"The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" is the third book in the Millennium trilogy, which started with "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." Each book picks up exactly where the previous one left off. I read the second book months ago, so I'm having some difficulty remembering what happened.
[This message has been edited by JenniferHicks (edited October 01, 2011).]
Well, strictly speaking, I heard the trilogy is, in effect, unfinished. The writer is deceased; he died before the English translations began to appear. The third volume is, I gather, rougher than the first two. There are notes for more volumes, but they're held up by a dispute over the estate.
(Haven't read them; heard nothing but good about the series.)
Hornet's Nest does feel rougher than the previous two books so far, but even Larsson's unpolished work is better than what a lot of writers can do. I haven't seen the movies. I am interested in watching the American versions. In my reading, I keep seeing Daniel Craig as Blomkvist.
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I just finished an ARC of APOTHECARY, a new MG/YA book set in 1950s England against the backdrop of the cold war. A girl meets a boy who is the son of an Apothecary, and has no desire to follow in his father's footsteps. That is, until his father goes missing and he and the girl find a book that gives recipes for all kinds of crazy potions (like the avian one that turns them into birds...)
They get ensnared in a plot to prevent the Soviets from testing a nuclear bomb (sort of, it's more involved than that.) It's written with a quick pace, nice story, fun and interesting. I think it'll be a hit with kids in the 9-14 yr old range, but is plenty interesting to history buffs who are interested in that post-WWII era.
The book is out sometime this month. (I'm friends with the school librarian and we do a big book fair each fall, so particularly in the fall, but all year long she gets ARCs from the major indie bookstore nearby and I get to read some some of the time, yay me!) It carries many illustrations and the page treatments are interesting, which adds to the appeal for that age range.
ARC of APOTHECARY sounds interesting. It would have been the type of story I would have read at that age. In fact I did read a couple along the same lines without the magic.
The illustrations would be interesting too, depending on how they were done.
I wouldn't mind an app that would add illustrations. I say that because there is one that gives details about the book's history and if it is historical some info that goes along with real history at that time. So I thought why not drawings? Of course there could be copyrights to deal with and they would have to choose which books to do. But some classics originally had illustrations.
Anyway, back to reading. If I see that book I may even read it now. I have read some YA and younger books as an adult.
LD - ARC = Advanced Reader Copy, meaning the book isn't quite for sale yet (it is slated to go on sale this month but I don't know what date, the book I have says only "October 2011." Sometimes an ARC or an advanced reader galley - but ARG doesn't have the same ring to it - will specify the exact date but usually they seem to be a bit vague about it, I'm sure this sort of thing shifts in publishing.)
So anyway, the book is called simply APOTHECARY. It is a nice book, enjoy!
Have just finished THE MAGICIANS and THE MAGICIAN KING by Lev Grossman. Definitely recommended - these are great books. I wonder if there will be more of them? I hope so, although Lev Grossman does call THE MAGICIAN KING a sequel rather than part of a series or trilogy or the like. Highly Recommended.
Have also read recently MATCHED by Ally Condie. It was ok - great ideas but kinda left me hanging a bit too much at the end. I don't mind there being loose ends to tie up in further books but it felt as if this book didn't have much of an ending at all. I'd still rate it Good though.
Also BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP by S J Watson. Not a super read I think I'm going to go with Not Impressed. A darker version of the movie 50 FIRST DATES. You can get to end alright though and it's not bad as such. Just kinda one of those books you read when you have nothing else to read. It was so forgettable that I saw the title on my Kindle and had no recollection of reading the book - it was only when I went into the file and started reading the first chapters that I clicked.
THE FOREVER WAR by Joe Haldeman. Highly recommended. Classic Sci Fi and very interesting.
Reading "Dead Waters" by Anton Strout again. I say again because I started reading it a while back before it's time. I let it cut in line but finally decided to put it down and wait until I got to it's space in line.
Charlaine Harris says reading Strout's stuff is like being caught in a wild pinball game.
This series started as a light hearted story that was a bit satire-ish but it's kinda left most of that behind. Not totally just mostly.
Just finished LEGEND, another ARC (actually an "Advanced Uncorrected Galley" in this case) for a book that is being released in early November, 2011.
This book is phenomenal. I predict great things for it. It's the side-by-side story of Day and June, two teens in a future bleak dystopian police state around LA. It's a solid YA read, but kids who were comfortable reading Hunger Games (at least book 1) would be fine with this book (in my opinion that's 7th-8th grade and up, but I know many 5th graders who have read Hunger Games.) There is quite a lot of brutality/violence, but it's done without glorification, without a lot of gore. It's still an intense read, like HG, the future society seems really unbalanced, really unfair for one of the protags. It's interesting to watch the perspective of the other shift as she learns more about the dark side of the ruling class.
It's a page-turner, lots of action and excitement and tension as the characters meet under false pretenses and begin to trust each other.
Just finished Maggie Stiefvater's LINGER. Good, but not as good as the original. Four point of view characters, all written in first person, gets just a wee tad confusing. That's aside from the )$%^* green ink the thing is printed in.
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Just returned from vacation, where I picked up a number of books---about half of which I haven't gotten around to reading. They were of varying quality, all the way down to one I read the first two pages and would read no more. Even wandered into a used bookstore and bought some old SF / fantasy titles.
But there was one gem among them all, one that stood out from all the others. Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest, by Wade Davis. This covers the attempts to climb Mount Everest in the early 1920s---but it's much more than that. We get good biographies of a bunch of interesting people, courses on mountaineering and the difficulty of operating where the air gets thing, the political and cultural history of Tibet and India, experiences in World War I---even down to where and when and why George Mallory delivered his famous line, "Because it's there." It's meticulously researched, all the way.
The ending is unhappy, in a way...but the journey is worthwhile, interesting and, at times, moving. I can't recall what else I've recommended this year---my computer is acting up and it's difficult to navigate around the web, so I can't check easy---but I think I'll put this above any other book I've read this year.
Am reading Ian Douglas' Star Carrier, book two, Center of Gravity.
It's a space opera series dealing with a race that seems to control all of space. They like up lift different races but only to a certain point. Humans have reached that point so even though they haven't uplifted humans they want mankind to stay where they are technology. If humans won't submit they will be wiped out which is where we are in the series.
I think Ian is having fun coming up with different types of aliens. None are human like and are as different from humans as they can be. But mankind is still trying to communicate with them for various reasons.
And humans have developed a society and almost world government that is what I think Ian thinks will develop from what we have now. Of course from his point of view it could be more a "what if" scenario than his personal belief.
Oh yes if you like space opera with a lot of personal angst, unique aliens and battles I recommend this series.
[This message has been edited by LDWriter2 (edited October 23, 2011).]
Went to the library book sale. Left with 3 boxes full. 1 for the kids, 1 for the wife and 1 for me. I started reading "Peter and the Starcatchers", nearly done, so far so good. Interesting twist on the tale, although its not really twist, but a prequel Peter and the Pan.
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