Hatrack River
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Discussing Published Hooks & Books » What I'm Reading Now Thread (Page 4)

  This topic comprises 22 pages: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  ...  20  21  22   
Author Topic: What I'm Reading Now Thread
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I just finished The Mammoth Book of the Beatles, one of a series of "Mammoth Books." It reprinted some interesting stuff, but was mainly a bunch of essay on this-or-that in the Beatles' career by the editor---who falls into the fatal trap of assuming his opinions are not only absolute, but worthy of any notice. (A lot of Beatle books fall into that trap.)
Posts: 8717 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MAP
Member
Member # 8631

 - posted      Profile for MAP           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I just finished THE DEMON'S LEXICON by Sarah Rees Brennan. I really enjoyed it. It was nice to read a young adult novel with a male protagonist. Those seem to be hard to find these days. I definately recommend it.

[This message has been edited by MAP (edited July 05, 2009).]


Posts: 1102 | Registered: May 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MrsBrown
Member
Member # 5195

 - posted      Profile for MrsBrown   Email MrsBrown         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I Highly Recommend Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker.
It's unfair that I must wait for the sequel. He's done it again!

Edited: SPOILER ALERT: Just finished it, and now I can't tell if it will have a sequel; it can stand alone. I didn't expect him to have time to tie up all the threads. Oh, but there's room for so much more. This book has many surprises.

[This message has been edited by MrsBrown (edited July 07, 2009).]


Posts: 780 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BenM
Member
Member # 8329

 - posted      Profile for BenM   Email BenM         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I just finished The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. I enjoyed this, though in different parts for different reasons: A rough half was for its emotive story telling, structure and the way in which the story builds on itself; the other 'half' - its socratic discourse on morality and society - being both interesting in itself and also a type of historical glimpse into 19th century Russian and European thinking. At around 350k words I found it to take a while though. Recommended
Posts: 920 | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
DWD
Member
Member # 8649

 - posted      Profile for DWD   Email DWD         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I just finished One Second After by William Forstchen. I'd rate it good. It seemed to be well-researched, and when Forstchen is in his element--anything that enables him to leverage his deep knowledge of military history--he is excellent. In some other areas, though, the writing felt uneven, with stilted dialogue and some caricaturish depictions of southern characters. Still, the implications of the scenario taken up by Forstchen are frightening, and there is much to make one contemplate the thin veil modern civilization places over some of the baser elements of our nature, so I do recommend it.
Posts: 88 | Registered: Jun 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
KayTi
Member
Member # 5137

 - posted      Profile for KayTi           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I've read a bunch since I last posted. Does anyone use Shelfari or GoodReads or iRead or any of those other online book-sharing programs? I use Shelfari (same handle) and would be happy to connect with anyone there. It works with that same kind of "mutually agree to connect" type of thing that facebook/linked in/etc. use.

I have read:

PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS series (starting with the Lightning Thief) by Rick Riordan. highly recommend not just for kids. It's a great series (5 books, complete) quick pace, lots of humor, neat contemporary fantasy concept (greek gods are alive and living among us, having children with mortals, and those children go to a half-blood aka demigod camp for the summer on Long Island.) My 7 year old gobbled them up, but I read them first and kept reading long into the night. They are quick to read (2-3 days each for me) and just a lot of fun.

THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY AND THE PERILOUS JOURNEY by Trenton Lee Stewart. Meh. I read the first book (MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY) last year and really enjoyed it, but this book I noticed (we did it on audio, didn't care for the voice talent which was definitely part of the problem) a lot of telling and retelling, as if the kids who would be reading the story wouldn't get the point the first time. There was a lot of "then somebody figured out this thing" kind of plot turns, where someone would remember something right at the right moment but you wouldn't necessarily know *what* was remembered until a debrief later. It's a midgrade fiction book and I think there are some aspects about it that are fun and interesting, and I think kids who enjoyed the first book would enjoy this one, but I found it a bit irritating. Be warned - both books feature some dark themes, bad guys who are really bad.

THE WRIGHT THREE - by Blue Baillet. Meh. Similar problem with above - felt like the writer was telling the story in a slower than normal pace, dragging out dramatic tension by telling and retelling what was going on, or by switching POV to then have us be worried with another character while wondering if the first got out of the scrape, etc. This is the author who wrote CHASING VERMEER, which I liked a little better. I do think it's an element of certain author's styles when writing for this mid-grade audience, but I'm finding I prefer authors who don't talk down in this way (or make me feel as though they are talking down. Others may not notice this at all.)

THE UGLIES - by Westerfeld. I just finished PRETTIES, and am starting on SPECIALS right now. This is a YA sci-fi near(ish) future story. I had previously skipped these books on the shelf because I didn't think they were sci-fi, I thought they were Gossip-Girls, Clique-ish girly books. I was very wrong and I hope that others won't make the mistake. I Highly Recommend this series. Fascinating view of the future, awesome ideas about how things might work, good plotting, believable characters, just really good stories. Premise is that in this future world, long after a decline of civilization, on your 16th bday you get to undergo surgery and become "pretty." Perfect skin, teeth, big doe eyes, etc. etc. People tend to look similar, because a Pretty Committee determines standards of beauty. Problem is, being pretty comes with risks/limitations, which the Uglies are only just starting to figure out. Very cool sci-fi YA story with female protags.


Posts: 1911 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BenM
Member
Member # 8329

 - posted      Profile for BenM   Email BenM         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I just completed The Prometheus Deception by Robert Ludlum. I enjoyed the Bourne books when I was in school, but that was twenty years ago and I can only assume my tastes have changed. A lot. Not Impressed.
Posts: 920 | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
InarticulateBabbler
Member
Member # 4849

 - posted      Profile for InarticulateBabbler   Email InarticulateBabbler         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I liked The Janson Directive, The Tristan Betrayal, The Scorpio Illusion and The Materese Circle more. His last book, The Ambler Warning was pretty good, too. Of course, Ludlum's one of my "guilty pleasures".
Posts: 3682 | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BenM
Member
Member # 8329

 - posted      Profile for BenM   Email BenM         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Just completed Ishmael Beah's A Long Way Gone. It had been a while since I'd read a decent biography, but this was something else altogether. (If you've never heard of it, have a peek at this interview). Highly Recommended.

(and IB: Four of those five books were published posthumously and finished by Eric Van Lustbader, while the Matarese Circle was an earlier book and an example of Ludlum in his prime. It's possible The Prometheus Deception, the last book published while he was alive, may have simply suffered from poor editing, but redundancies like "Every morning, at exactly seven o'clock in the morning...", or a situation where the characters had "only seconds" to evacuate before the military stormed in, then spent two pages discussing the deception at length and reaffirming their relationship, and only then ran, got more than a few groans from this reader)


Posts: 920 | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
InarticulateBabbler
Member
Member # 4849

 - posted      Profile for InarticulateBabbler   Email InarticulateBabbler         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think you'll find The Scorpio Illusion and The Matarese Circle were both written before The Prometheus Deception. The last Ludlum novel written solely by him was The Sigma Protocol--of the Covert One series.

Anyway, the reason he is a "guilty pleasure", is because he was a largely flawed writer who spun a great yarn. I remember how ticked off I got with the redundancy of "rapidly" in all of the Bourne books, but, overlooking that, the stories were great, and the plotting was convoluted.


Posts: 3682 | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BenM
Member
Member # 8329

 - posted      Profile for BenM   Email BenM         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ah, my bad, I didn't realise I'd gotten The Scorpio Illusion mixed up there. And thanks for the suggestion as well - I'll have to read one of those books sometime for comparison as I really didn't think this was his best work.
Posts: 920 | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
micmcd
Member
Member # 7977

 - posted      Profile for micmcd   Email micmcd         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Neal Stephenson's ANATHEM - Recommended*

I give it an asterisk b/c the first few chapters weren't that exciting, but the rest of the book ranks it among my all time favorites. The pace does pick up..

Patrick Rothfuss's THE NAME OF THE WIND - Recommended

- currently, The Name of the Wind is my favorite book.

Both of these are fantastic examples of first-person POV done well.


Posts: 500 | Registered: May 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BenM
Member
Member # 8329

 - posted      Profile for BenM   Email BenM         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hm, maybe I'll have to get Anathem another try. I got about a fifth into it and decided to pass, the effort of reading and interpreting the made-up part of the language being too much pain for (at that stage in the book) too little gain.

Just finished The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. A great yarn, an interesting example of first person, and a fun - if skewed - look at the subcontinent. Recommended.


Posts: 920 | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JenniferHicks
Member
Member # 8201

 - posted      Profile for JenniferHicks   Email JenniferHicks         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I also tried to read Anathem, got through Part 1 and put it down. I figure any book in which the author spends several pages describing a clock tower is not going to hold my interest. But if the pace picks up, I might give it another try.

I'm reading a WOTF anthology, mostly to see what kind of stories win the contest. I don't remember which anthology it is, but it includes stories by Ken Scholes and Cat Sparks (neither of whom won their quarters, BTW). As with any collection of stories, some are great, some not so much.

[This message has been edited by JenniferHicks (edited July 24, 2009).]


Posts: 968 | Registered: Sep 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Antinomy
Member
Member # 5136

 - posted      Profile for Antinomy   Email Antinomy         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Dean Koontz’ “Life Expectancy,” a great story out of stuff you would never imagine could be so intensely interesting. Koontz is a master wordsmith and a genius at character building, he does not waste words or plot twist potential to make this novel a gripping page turner
Posts: 147 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JasonHall
New Member
Member # 8723

 - posted      Profile for JasonHall   Email JasonHall         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Finished "The Tower at Stony Wood" (Fantasy) about a week ago. Feels kind of like a fairy tale for grown-ups. "Good"
In the process of reading Guy Gavriel Kay, Tigana, and so far it's very good and would recommend it.

Posts: 6 | Registered: Jul 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Meredith
Member
Member # 8368

 - posted      Profile for Meredith   Email Meredith         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Just finishing Karavans, by Jennifer Roberson. Good +

I'm really enjoying this story. One caveat, like a lot of fantasy these days, it doesn't end at the end of the first book. So I'll be starting Deepwood later today.

The story has several interwoven story lines, so it takes a little while at the beginning to sort out who the main characters are, but some really interesting concepts. At least to me.


Posts: 4381 | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
KayTi
Member
Member # 5137

 - posted      Profile for KayTi           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
JasonHall - I read Tigana recently, really enjoyed it once I got into it (found the first few chapters a little dense. I don't read a lot of straight fantasy, so it always takes me a while to put the place names into my head and figure out the author's way of making up character names and all that.) I like that it stands alone.

I'm getting frustrated at the library on the "New" shelf for Fantasy and SF all I seem to be able to find are books in a series - book 2 of this series, book 4 of that one. Almost all are fantasy. Disappointing. One of many reasons I read down in the YA/Juvy section more. Even when there are series (see my previous posts about Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, for example) the books read so quickly that you don't feel like you're making a 3 month long commitment by picking up the first book in a series. Or, that is, if you're compulsive like me and must read a series through to the end/whatever the last completed book is once you start it.

I'm currently reading the Prophet of Yonwood which is the third book in the City of Ember book series. I'm not loving the book, it's just okay. I'm finding a similar problem with this book as I have with a few other recent mid-grade fiction books (grades 5-8 is the general age range for these - they're the ones just under the YA classification in the library, the first few Harry Potter books generally fall into this classification) I feel like the author is intentionally withholding some major twist or piece of information. To be fair, the characters don't know the info either, but it feels like once the info is known, the whole plot will be laid bare and be obvious/understandable. I'm not sure these books will stand up to second and third and subsequent readings, which is frustrating, as the books I like I *really* like and typically re-read at least once every few years, if not more often.

The kids and I recently re-read via audio book my two favorite fantasy books by Robin McKinley, speaking of re-reading, The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword If I haven't before, I HIGHLY recommend both, and I recommend you read them in that order (although if I recall correctly, they were written in the reverse order, but the Hero and the Crown features the stuff that is legend in The Blue Sword, and I always found it more satisfying to read them Hero first, Blue Sword second.

I also don't remember posting about this, but I read Inkdeath recently, by Cornelia Funke. The book is the third (and last) in the Inkheart series. I have a love/hate relationship with this series. The books are interesting, compelling, fascinating concept (a man can read characters out of a story into present-day, and vice-versa.)

But the author is a sadist, she creates some of the worst bad guys, and many of them. At one point in reading I realized that she had just introduced the fifth really bad horrible bad guy antagonist. Fifth! The main character had enough going wrong in her life, five bad guys? A bit much. This is another mid-grade fiction book, written for that 5th-8th grade range and I found it really too dark. Might just be me.

(edited to fix tags)

[This message has been edited by KayTi (edited July 27, 2009).]


Posts: 1911 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Just yesterday I picked up the new Leonard Maltin guide to the movies---and found myself irritated 'cause he gave a bad review to "WALL-E."

Not the only example, I'm afraid...and with the new policy of ommiting movies and dumping them into his so-called "Classic" guide, his volume grows less useful to me as a reference work with each passing year.


Posts: 8717 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BenM
Member
Member # 8329

 - posted      Profile for BenM   Email BenM         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I just finished reading Young's The Shack. Due to the subject matter I'm not going to rate it - there's enough reviews out there to make up one's own mind. Like Twilight, while I don't consider myself really the target demographic I can certainly understand why it's so popular.
Posts: 920 | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BenM
Member
Member # 8329

 - posted      Profile for BenM   Email BenM         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Finished Jeff Abbot's Panic. I don't know where I'd place it on our ranking - maybe Good. I think I enjoyed his Fear more, but disclaimers follow...

I'm currently on a thrillers bender of sorts*, and I find that thrillers I've read recently are leaving me feeling a little unfulfilled. I'm wondering if it's me (does it reflect a less transient personality trait) or if it's simply the result of rapidly shifting between genres (Dosteovsky->Ludlum, then The Shack->Panic).

Since the next 4 books in my to-be-read sttack are thrillers, hopefully I'll be able to answer that question soon

* to get a better grasp on pacing etc for my own WIP...


Posts: 920 | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
InarticulateBabbler
Member
Member # 4849

 - posted      Profile for InarticulateBabbler   Email InarticulateBabbler         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm reading Brent Weeks's The Way of the Shadow. Few writing flaws abound, but they can be found if sought. IMHO: The story is good enough to overlook the flaws for.
Posts: 3682 | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BenM
Member
Member # 8329

 - posted      Profile for BenM   Email BenM         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Just finished Michael Crichton's Sphere - I generally enjoyed this. I was interested in getting the video out from the library to compare (having heard that it did poorly) but none of the local video libraries carry it. Recommended.

Also Dale Brown's Act of War - I found the mid-scene head-hopping distracting, as was what may be a less than subtle commentary on the concept of a War on Terror. I'd still rate this Good, but it's no Silver Tower or Flight of the Old Dog.


Posts: 920 | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Meredith
Member
Member # 8368

 - posted      Profile for Meredith   Email Meredith         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Just finished Michael Crichton's Sphere - I generally enjoyed this. I was interested in getting the video out from the library to compare (having heard that it did poorly) but none of the local video libraries carry it. Recommended.

Skip the video. They completely messed up the ending in such a way as to take all of the meaning out of the story.


Posts: 4381 | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
Administrator
Member # 59

 - posted      Profile for Kathleen Dalton Woodbury   Email Kathleen Dalton Woodbury         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Just finished Markus Zusak's THE BOOK THIEF. One of the most interesting things about it from a writerly perspective was the tone--it seemed almost playful most of the time--quite ironic considering the content.

Edited to add that it's very well written, and I recommend it.

[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited August 19, 2009).]


Posts: 8523 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jaz
Member
Member # 2880

 - posted      Profile for Jaz   Email Jaz         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I just finished A Lion Among Men, and have to say that the world building of Maguire is unbelievably big (sometimes too big because he moves around so much trying to show it all). The Wicked Years books are a good read, but this one reminds me of Matrix Reloaded because it is more of a bridge to the next book than the first two were. The ending was unsatisfying and seemed hurried.
Posts: 36 | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Antinomy
Member
Member # 5136

 - posted      Profile for Antinomy   Email Antinomy         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
“Dark Places” by Gillian Flynn, so popular that I was on the library wait list for two months before getting it. Now I wonder if it was worth the wait.

Flynn does an admirable job with transition shifts between the present and the past as she builds a suspenseful novel. However, the well described characters are deep, dark, gloomy and worthless. Even the MC is a ne’er-do-well and compulsive petty thief leaving the reader groping for something of value in an otherwise interesting story.

Not recommended.

Posts: 147 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
KayTi
Member
Member # 5137

 - posted      Profile for KayTi           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
kdw - I have the Book Thief on my shelf, recommended to me by my teenage babysitter and finally in from the library after placing a hold on it a good 8 weeks ago. I'm going to read it next, after I finish SO YESTERDAY, by Scott Westerfeld, the YA author I have previously gushed about. This is another highly recommend - reminds me a lot of/explores very similar themes to (but is easier to read) William Gibson's PATTERN RECOGNITION, which I read earlier this year.

I also just finished THE HOST, by Stephenie Meyer, her non-YA sci-fi book. Good book, interesting stuff, but I was glad when I was finished. Fodder for it's own entire topic, but I was finding by the end that I don't care for (or, to be more precise - I can't keep up for too long reading about) the way the author portrays female protagonists. They appear strong, seem decisive, but in reality a lot just *happens* to them and they react to the action. There's more than just that, but don't let my comments dissuade you - it's a good book and worth the read.


Posts: 1911 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I was rereading Leonard Wibberley's The Mouse That Roared---the movie version was on the other day, and I got to thinking about it, and I exhumed my extremely old paperback edition and reread it.

Very funny book---I recommend it to anybody who can find a copy---but I was most bemused to find, in a book first published in 1954 / 1955, the phrase "weapons of mass destruction." (Online, I could trace it to a paper first published in 1947.)


Posts: 8717 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Andrew_McGown
Member
Member # 8732

 - posted      Profile for Andrew_McGown   Email Andrew_McGown         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I am reading Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book.

Posts: 185 | Registered: Jul 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
KayTi
Member
Member # 5137

 - posted      Profile for KayTi           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well THE BOOK THIEF was as good as advertised (it's won a lot of awards.) Excellent book, in spite of the depressing subject matter. The edition I had included a discussion guide at the end and I found myself disappointed that I didn't have a book group with whom I could discuss the book. In particular one question from the discussion guide stuck out to me - the narrator's use of foreshadowing. The author in this book used foreshadowing extensively, having the narrator basically tell you what was going to happen, and then say "wait a minute, before I tell you the rest, though, let me take you back to where it began..." Very interested, violated a lot of "the rules" of writing but as Kathleen pointed out, done in such an engaging voice (narrator's) that it was easy to go along with it. My biggest astonishment as a writer in reading this book was the use of descriptions and visual imagery that was exception, surprising, and beautiful. I don't read much literary fiction, so some of this may just be me being novice in the genre, but some of the images have stuck with me starkly.

Meanwhile, after that book, which was dense and thick and took me a while to read, I needed a little bit lighter/shorter fare, so I've read THE GIVER, by Lois Lowry, which I recommend - I found myself a little disappointed in the end/resolution, but it was a good book and a very quick read. It's more-or-less a future utopia/wait it's actually a dystopia story, but written long enough ago that some of the future ideas are neat that the author predicted well enough.

I am currently reading BEAUTY by Robin McKinley, which is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I don't read a lot of fantasy, but I do like the way she writes fantasy. It's also a YA novel, probably only 50k words, so it's going quickly. So far so good, but I have a feeling the real challenge for the protag lays just around the next corner.


Posts: 1911 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ben Trovato
Member
Member # 7804

 - posted      Profile for Ben Trovato   Email Ben Trovato         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Prospero Lost, by L. Jagi Lamplighter.
Not sure whether to recommend it or not. For good, it's based on a solid idea and in an interesting setting. For bad, the heroine is only about two notches above Bella Swan in passivity/needing rescue. But who knows; I'm only on chapter 11.

Posts: 71 | Registered: Feb 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MrsBrown
Member
Member # 5195

 - posted      Profile for MrsBrown   Email MrsBrown         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
A while ago I read Feast of Souls by C.S. Friedman, the first in the Magister trilogy. I would highly recommend it. Hoping book two (Wings of Wrath) will be as good.
Posts: 780 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
jezzahardin
Member
Member # 8782

 - posted      Profile for jezzahardin   Email jezzahardin         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Currently reading...

The Dark Tower Volume III: The Waste Lands - Stephen King
The Great Hunt - Robert Jordan (Book Two in the Wheel of Time)
Foundation - Isaac Asimov
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J. K. Rowling

In the middle of, but don't know if I will finish...

Under Enemy Colours - Sean Thomas Russell
Against a Dark Background - Ian M. Banks


Posts: 39 | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
lbdavid98
Member
Member # 8789

 - posted      Profile for lbdavid98   Email lbdavid98         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
I am reading Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book.

I just finished that book on Audible and liked it a lot. The ending was bittersweet, but good! This months downloads include:

2666 (Robert Bolano)
Dance Dance Dance (Haruki Murakami)

In print, I'm mostly reading back issues of F&SF magazine while trying to work myself into a short fiction frenzy.


Posts: 29 | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BenM
Member
Member # 8329

 - posted      Profile for BenM   Email BenM         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I just finished a number of decent books - Geoffrey Archer's Eagle Trap, Dean Koontz's Winter Moon, Frank Herbert's Dune. Of these, I found Dune to be exceptional and very thought provoking. I'm really glad I finally got around to reading it.


Posts: 920 | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
jezzahardin
Member
Member # 8782

 - posted      Profile for jezzahardin   Email jezzahardin         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Just finished...
The Dark Tower Volume III: The Waste Lands - Stephen King
Chasing Down the Dawn - Jewel
The Fall of the House of Usher - Edgar Allen Poe (Short Story)

Currently reading...
The Great Hunt - Robert Jordan (Book Two in the Wheel of Time)
Foundation - Isaac Asimov
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J. K. Rowling
Chaos - James Gleick (Nonfiction)


Posts: 39 | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MrsBrown
Member
Member # 5195

 - posted      Profile for MrsBrown   Email MrsBrown         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Jezz--what is your opinion? One point of this exercise is to screen books for each other so we don't waste time reading trash
And more importantly, so we don't miss out on any jewels.

[This message has been edited by MrsBrown (edited September 18, 2009).]


Posts: 780 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
jezzahardin
Member
Member # 8782

 - posted      Profile for jezzahardin   Email jezzahardin         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
One point of this exercise is to screen books for each other so we don't waste time reading trash.

Forgive me, MrsBrown. I clearly missed that.

  • Chasing Down the Dawn - Jewel:
    This book is a mix of journal, stream of consciousness, memoir, and a little bit of poetry.
    I found it short, but moving. Her story is unique and inspirational, and her mastery of language is impressive. The same care you find in her song-writing occurs here. Not only are the words conveying meaning, but the sounds, coming together to convey emotions beautifully while still retaining a meaning.
    Very enjoyable, this one.
  • The Dark Tower Volume III: The Waste Lands - Stephen King:
    This series deviates from canonical King in many stylistic and story ways, but it has enough of his prosaic and narrative talent to keep me, and his characters are alive inside my mind. This particular volume of the series is the best yet.
  • The Fall of the House of Usher - Edgar Allen Poe (Short Story):
    I think that review of this is probably unnecessary. So I will just say that, while I read this many years ago, I still left this story wondering exactly what happened, and why events transpired as they did. Though I'm inclined to blame this on my iPhone e-reading experience. It hasn't hindered other free titles (1984, Little Brother, The Art of War, and In the Mountains of Madness), but I still blame myself and my reading method more than I do the actual writing.

I shall comment on the others when they pass to completion.


Posts: 39 | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
dee_boncci
Member
Member # 2733

 - posted      Profile for dee_boncci   Email dee_boncci         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well, I just finished the first of Dean Koontz's Frankenstein series. Sorry, the title of the volume escapes me right now. I can't really comment on the story yet as it's only beginning (the novel is somewhat self-contained). I do RECOMMEND reading at least one of Koontz's more recent books as a stylistic study. His efficient style and penchant for brief paragraphs make them extremely readable.
Posts: 612 | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
InarticulateBabbler
Member
Member # 4849

 - posted      Profile for InarticulateBabbler   Email InarticulateBabbler         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
dee_boncci, the first Dean Koontz's Frankenstein is called Prodigal Son and is co-written by Kevin J. Anderson (who claims Koontz as a mentor). The second is City of Night, co-written by Ed Gorman. He had four planned to come out every four months, but decided he didn't like collaborating much. Also, if you didn't know, you can rent the video. It was originally a script for a miniseries, but Koontz was dissatisfied with the first volume.

(I just read Cold Fire to my nine-year-old daughter at bedtime, for the last couple of weeks. Of course, I sensored a couple of parts. We're reading John Saul's Cry For the Strangers now.)

jezzahardin, have you read Robert R. McCammon's Usher's Passing, based on the Poe's story?

Wow. I just noticed I haven't updated. I'm reading Brandon Sanderson's The Well of Ascension. There's enough people here who have read it that I'd be preaching to the choir to recommend it.

[This message has been edited by InarticulateBabbler (edited September 19, 2009).]


Posts: 3682 | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
KayTi
Member
Member # 5137

 - posted      Profile for KayTi           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I finished BEAUTY by Robin McKinley, and give it a recommend but I'm also just a big fan of McKinley, so bear that in mind. It was a good YA/even younger title, so it would be a great entry-level fantasy for kids who have read Harry Potter and are wondering what else the realm of fantasy included. My only critique is I thought the final character transformation and ending happened rather abruptly. I wouldn't have minded more falling action and/or character introspection on the final change.

I also just finished reading BRAIN WAVE by Poul Anderson. I haven't read any of his work before but I'm a big Golden Age sci-fi fan. I do Recommend this one, particularly for anyone who is a golden age fan like me. It's a book from the 50s, so there are some rather amusing anachronisms. I was describing the book to one of my middle school writer's workshop students and told her how the MC's wife was just a wife. She didn't work now that she was married - she ends up being a somewhat major character over time. We got a good laugh about that. "Really? She's just a wife? No kids?" - it was actually an interesting view into 60 years ago, though, because that element wasn't in any way a big part of the story, but it stood out so starkly for me (a working mom, with all the baggage therein.)

But honestly, excellent book. Primary idea: the earth has, for millions of years, been in some kind of "dampening field" that has limited our intelligence. All the sudden we move free of the field. And then what happens when IQs of 300-500 become the norm? It was not a very long book, I would have liked the author to have done more, explored more, gone deeper on some things, but overall it was just a great thought experiment. What would life be like? Would the change be positive?

I just started THE DIAMOND OF DARKHOLD, the last book in the City of Ember series by Jeanne DuPrau. I'm reading it because I want to know more of the backstory that she laid out in the first book (4 book series,) but I do find the storytelling to be a bit frustrating. The author alludes to intentionally withheld information at the beginning, then frustrates you and the main characters by having us not have access to this information for most of the book. But the ideas are pretty interesting. It's a mid-grade book, so it'll probably only take a day or two to read it (40-50k words.)


Posts: 1911 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If you're looking for more Poul Anderson, I'd recommend "Tau Zero," "The Corridors of Time," "Operation Chaos," and "Three Hearts and Three Lions," off the top of my head---there's a lot.

Back in the Golden Age---which, as I recall, was just a little before "Brain Wave" was published---and up maybe through the sixties, SF books were fifty thousand to seventy thousand words long, with few exceptions. (The bodybuilder books, too heavy to lift without a forklift, much less read, didn't start coming in until "Stranger in a Strange Land" and "Dune.")


Posts: 8717 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
Administrator
Member # 59

 - posted      Profile for Kathleen Dalton Woodbury   Email Kathleen Dalton Woodbury         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Just finished a knitting-plus-magic book (I'm a knitter, and just won a blue ribbon at the state fair for a shawl I knitted--first time I've ever entered anything at the state fair) called CASTING SPELLS, and I'm reading the sequel, LACED WITH MAGIC.

The writing is okay and the story-telling is interesting, but I have one major problem with the books. The story is told from more than one first-person point of view, and every single first person sounds exactly like every other first person.


If the author didn't have the name of the person whose point of view she was using at the beginning of each section, I would not be able to tell (except a bit from context) who was speaking.

It is driving me a little crazy.


Posts: 8523 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ScardeyDog
Member
Member # 8707

 - posted      Profile for ScardeyDog   Email ScardeyDog         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Just finished reading Nation by Terry Pratchet (it's a YA novel) and I would recommend it.

Edited because I can't get the UBB code to work.

[This message has been edited by ScardeyDog (edited September 24, 2009).]


Posts: 238 | Registered: Jul 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LlessurNire
Member
Member # 8781

 - posted      Profile for LlessurNire   Email LlessurNire         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Im reading Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson - just started it.

I was working on a near future mars colonization short story and realized that its probably been tackled already by a better author than me - I was right, found this book. Now I'm trying to think of a different angle to take, put my story on hold until I'm done with this...

Anybody else read it? how would you rate it? It won the nebula award in 93, so should be good.


Posts: 85 | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BenM
Member
Member # 8329

 - posted      Profile for BenM   Email BenM         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Just finished Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. And I'm glad I didn't pay for it. As well as a distinct feeling like he'd lifted the plot from his previous novels and just changed a few words here and there, some very transparent tricks to keep the tension going (blatant withholding, stupid characters not asking questions) got very tiresome, very fast.

Not that I didn't appreciate my mother buying it for me - it's the thought that counts.

what follows is the kind of withholding that had me crying a little inside (names changed so it's not in any way a spoiler, but otherwise a quote):

quote:

..."I need to ask you a favor, Jim... as a friend"
"Of course. Anything."
Barry made his request... firmly.
Jim nodded, knowing he was right. "I will."



Posts: 920 | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
KayTi
Member
Member # 5137

 - posted      Profile for KayTi           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I've come across a *lot* of that kind of withholding in fiction recently, BenM. It would be a good topic for further discussion. I see it a lot in YA and mid-grade novels that I read. It annoys me to no end. The MC figures something out, we're told that he/she has figured something out, but then we have to wait sometimes several scenes until the big "reveal" to learn *what* exactly they figured out.

Why do authors do this?

A corollary I found in Angels and Demons, an earlier Dan Brown novel, was when the MC would conveniently remember some trick or skill (specifically something about holding breath/how to play possum when someone is trying to drown you) at a key point that would help him get out of the scrape he was in. Seemed kind of like a cheat to me. (FWIW, I still think Dan Brown books are fun reads, I'm next in line for Lost Symbol in my house, but I read them with a much more critical eye now.)


Posts: 1911 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
Administrator
Member # 59

 - posted      Profile for Kathleen Dalton Woodbury   Email Kathleen Dalton Woodbury         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If your character is going to use some trick or device to survive in a story, it's better to do some set-up early on in the story.

I haven't read any James Bond novels, so I don't know if this is something done only in the movies, or if they got the idea from the books. (I know they do this in the Modesty Blaise books, though.)

What makes the presentation of "cool gadgets" or "secret information" work, for me, at least, is that the presentation is interesting (and character developing) all by itself, but also, when the hero uses the gadget or information, he or she does it in an unexpected and clever way.

If he or she just used it in the way it was intended, that would be boring, right? (Not to mention predictable.)


Posts: 8523 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
Administrator
Member # 59

 - posted      Profile for Kathleen Dalton Woodbury   Email Kathleen Dalton Woodbury         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
On the not telling the reader what the character has figured out until much later in the story problem, I quit reading Poul Anderson's Dominic Flandry books because that happened one too many times.

Even Sherlock Holmes doesn't do that. If he figures something out in the middle of the story, he lets Watson (or Lestrade) or someone know that he's made a connection, and he waits to see if they've seen it, too, and then he shrugs it off when they don't and goes on with solving things.

That kind of approach seems much more believable and natural than the one KayTi has just described. Why do authors do it the irritating way? Laziness? They think it hooks the reader? They don't realize how contrived and "playing games with the reader" it appears to be.


Posts: 8523 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
  This topic comprises 22 pages: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  ...  20  21  22   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2