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 What are you reading Thread (What did you read in 2017?)

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Drunkalilly
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PostSubject: Re: What are you reading Thread (What did you read in 2017?)   Sun 28 Jan 2018 - 15:04

I'm halfway through the second one now, and yeah I'm really glad to hear I'm not the only person who really likes Steris. After the first one I felt like she was just there as a plot device and I was meant to like her sister more. Now though I just want to give her a big hug!
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PostSubject: Re: What are you reading Thread (What did you read in 2017?)   Sat 10 Feb 2018 - 11:59

The King's Blood, book two of The Dagger and the Coin series by Daniel Abraham was wrapped up last night (or this morning, I ain't nicknamed a vampire for nothing!)

What an ending!  What started as a slow affair slowly built up intrigue after intrigue until the final act.  The characters continue to be fascinating and perfectly grey in morality.  Special shout-out to Cithrin for being a remarkably fresh take on a female protagonist.  This series is a brilliant character-driven epic and at this point I'm going to dive straight through from here (sorry Discworld, I know I was supposed to go back to you in the interim).  

And for those wondering at the lack of a billion textwalls despite my apparent glowing praise, this isn't the sort of thing you can really do justice through that.  A breakdown and analysis of the novel would simply spoil the joys of the read for those interested.   Besides, the further you get in a serial the less you can actually say without spoiling both the novel and previous entries.  

---------------------

And yep, that sums up Steris in a nutshell.  She gets even better as the series progresses too!
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PostSubject: Re: What are you reading Thread (What did you read in 2017?)   Sat 10 Feb 2018 - 15:31

Oh yeah, I FINISHED BANDS OF MOURNING

it meh, like ooh masked oeoplr from the sda anf a magic maguffin, but the character stuff was great. Here'sn hoping the finale gets the bqlanece between human and fantasy juuuuuust right
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ZeroJones
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PostSubject: Re: What are you reading Thread (What did you read in 2017?)   Sat 10 Feb 2018 - 18:04

I hope so too, DrunkDrunka!

I've finished Mindset, which is about changing how you think about things to help improve your skills. Growth mindset is a big thing at work at the moment, so I got hold of the original work on it by Professor Carol S. Dweck.

DIGRESSION ALERT: 'Dweck' sounds like a Pokémon.

It was quite persuasive and I'm going to try and take on board some of the elements in it.
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PostSubject: Re: What are you reading Thread (What did you read in 2017?)   Sun 11 Feb 2018 - 11:20

Ah, but what about Shadows of Self and that twist?  

Spoiler:
 

By the time I read Bands of Mourning I'd read everything else in the Cosmere out at the time, so I was basically internally going "oh my god, connections!  Connections everywhere!!"    Laughing  I wasn't too upset about the way the masked people or the Bands were handled myself, Wax and Wayne were always pulp-fiction-y so I felt the nature of those things went hand in hand with the type of novel it was.  Felt almost Indiana Jones-ish, but with really good character arcs.  

Doesn't hurt that I'd gone publication order and already seen him seed one of the masked folks in another novel though, or someone I suspected as soon as the masked people were introduced had a relation anyway.    As for the bands, well, tons could be said about their existence and what it implies.  At first they appear a macguffin, but then the hints start to crop up and it becomes clear they're part of something far larger.  As a wise conman once said there's always another secret.  

------------------------

But anyway, where to next in the Cosmere Drunka?  By my count there's only four main books (and the short story/novella collection) left, the standalone Warbreaker and the three Stormlight Archive novels tomes.

------------------------

Dwecklett and Dweckle would make smashing Pokemon names!
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PostSubject: Re: What are you reading Thread (What did you read in 2017?)   Sun 11 Feb 2018 - 23:25

Athrun888 wrote:
Ah, but what about Shadows of Self and that twist?  

Oh god yeah, that book was phenomenal, start to finish. At first you think a universe with an actual, tangible benevolent god is going to be impossible to have tension in, bu the way it makes him fallible and borderline villainous, then teases that there are other, worse gods and he's scared about them and slipping up . . .
All of this while still having excellent character work and fun magic cowboy action!

Athro Samurai wrote:
But anyway, where to next in the Cosmere Drunka?  By my count there's only four main books (and the short story/novella collection) left, the standalone Warbreaker and the three Stormlight Archive novels tomes.

Definitely want to read all four of those, and Ars Arcanum. Will probably have to wait until I'm done travelling and I've settled somewhere. Might even be longer than that, as I'd rather work on my Japanese than read some big ol' novels in English. We'll see though . . .
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ZeroJones
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PostSubject: Re: What are you reading Thread (What did you read in 2017?)   Mon 12 Feb 2018 - 20:07

My bookmark has now switched to a tome I'm sure you'll all pick up: How I Wish I'd Taught Maths by UK maths teaching guru Craig Barton. It's dense - which it should be, at £19 for a paperback - but there is going to be a boatload of tips that I'm going to make use of to improve my own teaching. Thumbs Up! Also stashed American Gods in the bathroom for occasional light reading.
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PostSubject: Re: What are you reading Thread (What did you read in 2017?)   Fri 16 Feb 2018 - 16:41

I'm one of those weirdos that can never do anything in the throne room besides his number 1's and 2's.  The germaphobe in me just screams in agony at the thought.  Laughing

Drunkalilly wrote:
Athrun888 wrote:
Ah, but what about Shadows of Self and that twist?  

Oh god yeah, that book was phenomenal, start to finish. At first you think a universe with an actual, tangible benevolent god is going to be impossible to have tension in, bu the way it makes him fallible and borderline villainous, then teases that there are other, worse gods and he's scared about them and slipping up . . .
All of this while still having excellent character work and fun magic cowboy action!

It's easy to forget the perspective you have early on in the Cosmere, Stormlight really changes ones view of the Cosmere (all while never directly addressing the things going on).  Elantris' two gods were dead too, so something's definitely up!  

Drunkalilly wrote:
Athro Samurai wrote:
But anyway, where to next in the Cosmere Drunka?  By my count there's only four main books (and the short story/novella collection) left, the standalone Warbreaker and the three Stormlight Archive novels tomes.

Definitely want to read all four of those, and Ars Arcanum. Will probably have to wait until I'm done travelling and I've settled somewhere. Might even be longer than that, as I'd rather work on my Japanese than read some big ol' novels in English. We'll see though . . .

They'll be worth the wait.  By that point we'll probably have the conclusion to Wax and Wayne to pull you back in too!
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PostSubject: Re: What are you reading Thread (What did you read in 2017?)   Wed 21 Feb 2018 - 9:45

Book three down.  The Tyrant's Law, another fascinating instalment in what is quickly becoming one of my favourite series.  It started off a fair bit slower than the previous two novels, both of which had excellent pacing where every chapter felt like it accomplished movement of the main story without sacrificing characterisation or rushing things.  Happily it picked up around the halfway mark (around the time of the big twist of the book), and from there settled back into that pacing that made the first two novels so compelling to read.  Even with the slow pacing however the cast remained as fascinating as ever.  

It's safe to say that, after the ripping cliffhanger of the book, I'm well and truly on this train to the end now.  Up next: The Widow's House.
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PostSubject: Re: What are you reading Thread (What did you read in 2017?)   Sat 24 Feb 2018 - 13:02

I have finished American Gods as the second of my Books To Read In The Loo. It’s a very hefty tome, both in terms of its appearance and its themes. I got to enjoying it by the end. Next up: no idea. Wink
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PostSubject: Re: What are you reading Thread (What did you read in 2017?)   Sat 24 Feb 2018 - 19:55

I really enjoyed American Gods! It had a dreamlike, fairytale feel that never fully translated to the television.

As for me, I'm currently reading the last of the big stack of books about Japan and its history which I picked up with the intention of reading before I got here (oops), a book about the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. I've always been vehemently anti-nuclear weapons and I don't think this book or this trip are likely to change my mind.

I'm also perusing some big gorgeous Splatoon and Splatoon 2 art books I finally caved and bought.
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PostSubject: Re: What are you reading Thread (What did you read in 2017?)   Sat 24 Feb 2018 - 22:31

It's definitely very dream-like: harsh and disturbing whilst also somehow floaty and meandering, with layers of meaning I'm not sure that I'm equipped to figure out. Eh? I've not seen the TV adaptation; would you recommend it, sirrah?

In other news, I've decided the next Book To Read In The Loo will be Her Fearful Symmetry, by Audrey Niffenegger. Thumbs Up!
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PostSubject: Re: What are you reading Thread (What did you read in 2017?)   Sun 25 Feb 2018 - 18:28

I remember American Gods not quite holding together, and having slightly odd pacing. Good but not great sort of thing.

I'm about to start on Six Stories for my book club. More once I've started it, maybe?
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PostSubject: Re: What are you reading Thread (What did you read in 2017?)   Mon 26 Feb 2018 - 10:17

I only ever watched the first episode or two Zero. I did enjoy it somewhat, but decided to read the book first. After that, I didn't really feel the need to watch the show. I don't know if that answers your question or not?

Balladeer wrote:
I remember American Gods not quite holding together, and having slightly odd pacing.  Good but not great sort of thing.

The book or the show? I was gripped start to finish by the book, and although it was weird in places, I always felt that worked for it more than against it. I'd definitely call it great.
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PostSubject: Re: What are you reading Thread (What did you read in 2017?)   Mon 26 Feb 2018 - 12:31

It does - thanks. Thumbs Up! I’ll not be bothering with the TV show.
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PostSubject: Re: What are you reading Thread (What did you read in 2017?)   Sat 3 Mar 2018 - 15:20

The Widow's House, book four of The Dagger and the Coin series. Lots happened this time, where the third novel at times felt a bit too slow this one near the very end felt a tad too fast. There were a few more fun subversions of genre tropes in this one, and as usual the cast remains riveting. Things are headed towards their logical and fascinating conclusion, and I'll obviously be plowing straight on to the final volume The Spider's War now.
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PostSubject: Re: What are you reading Thread (What did you read in 2017?)   Mon 12 Mar 2018 - 20:12

Earlier today I finished reading Her Fearful Symmetry, a meandering ghost story by Audrey Niffenegger, who wrote The Time Traveller’s Wife. I didn’t particularly like it and the ending was not satisfying. The next Toilet Tome is Salmon Fishing In The Yemen, the film of which Jo and I saw on our fourth date.
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PostSubject: Re: What are you reading Thread (What did you read in 2017?)   Thu 29 Mar 2018 - 14:34

It sometimes feels like I do nothing but rave on about fantasy novels.  What can I say, I went from not reading much to suddenly finding dozens of authors with numerous works under their name.  It takes time to work ones way through such a vast backlog, especially when one remembers that the Fantasy genre especially is prone to larger novels and epic series.

The Dagger and the Coin by Daniel Abraham.  Truth be told I finished this two weeks ago, but rather than make a redundant "I liked it" post with zero details due to the nature of serials I'll put down some spoiler-free thoughts on the series as a whole.  What a masterwork this turned out to be, and a shame that literally nobody seems to know of it.  A series that strikes the right balance between political shenanigans with a morally grey cast without the darkness some other series have as a result.  

There's a lot to love about this series.  Its story is one not about heroes and villains trying to run each other through with sharp pointy things, but instead about a more grounded but just as devastating conflict.  Often money and trade is something that goes ignored in the genre.  Or if not ignored then used as flavour for world building rather than for anything shaping the story.  Here instead of that trade and currency is explored as a theme, how it can be used to fight against martial forces, and how it permeates and affects the world.  It's a refreshing take on the sort of world we're rather familiar with at this point.  

The cast are equally refreshing and genius.  The main "villain" is sharp, fascinating, and original as all get-out.  We're used to all sorts of villains in fiction, but how many can claim to be like Geder Palliako?  Very few I imagine.  One could very easily see the villains of real life looking much more like Geder than anything else.  

The heroes are just as fascinating.  Both female protagonists, ward of the bank Cithrin and Lady of the Kalliam house Clara are not what one expects in a fantasy novel.  Cithrin goes through an extremely unique coming-of-age story that takes a sharp left turn away from going anywhere near the sorts of things one sees in the genre (you know the tropes I refer to if you've ever touched a fantasy story), and Clara proves that a character whose main screentime is about life in court can work wonderfully, both are utterly riveting to follow.  

I imagine that this post will be unread given the lack of responses when I don't read books others have read, but if you're in the market for a unique, fascinating, easily read and exceptionally clever fantasy series give The Dagger and the Coin a look.  

Up Next: Since tough acts are hard to follow I won't be trying to (immediately anyway), instead I'll be diving back into Discworld with Men at Arms.
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PostSubject: Re: What are you reading Thread (What did you read in 2017?)   Thu 29 Mar 2018 - 17:52

I’m afraid to say that I don’t really read fantasy novels, sir - but I did want to say that Men At Arms is my favourite Discworld book.
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PostSubject: Re: What are you reading Thread (What did you read in 2017?)   Fri 30 Mar 2018 - 1:42

ZeroJones wrote:
Salmon Fishing In The Yemen, the film of which Jo and I saw on our fourth date.

I am very aware of this film but only because the trailer is at the start of my Hunger Games DVD, which I've watched many times.
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PostSubject: Re: What are you reading Thread (What did you read in 2017?)   Fri 30 Mar 2018 - 11:11

ZeroJones wrote:
I’m afraid to say that I don’t really read fantasy novels, sir - but I did want to say that Men At Arms is my favourite Discworld book.

That's fair enough. I still think Guards! Guards! pips it to the post (really loved the Elucidated Brethren of the Ebon Night) for me, but then again I am only about 120 pages in.
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PostSubject: Re: What are you reading Thread (What did you read in 2017?)   Fri 30 Mar 2018 - 17:34

The joy is having both. I don't think I'd be able to choose between many of the Guards novels, they're all so wonderful.
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PostSubject: Re: What are you reading Thread (What did you read in 2017?)   Thu 5 Apr 2018 - 16:33

Finished Salmon Fishing In The Yemen a few days ago. The ending was, like the last novel I read, curiously unsatisfactory. Still, it was funny and clever in places, which is something I’m unlikely to be able to say about its replacement: Crusader Gold by David Gibbins, very much a post-Da Vinci Code novel.
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PostSubject: Re: What are you reading Thread (What did you read in 2017?)   Thu 5 Apr 2018 - 20:43

Speaking of the curiously unsatisfactory, I just read my first real piece of HP Lovecraft... It's about how he's a terrible racist. It can be found here.

My book club is gearing up to do a subversion of the same book. I'm not just reading it for racist laughs.
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PostSubject: Re: What are you reading Thread (What did you read in 2017?)   Fri 6 Apr 2018 - 0:12

I must admit I had no idea about Lovecraft's racism, but after reading that (he would hate modern America's melting pot of cultures judging by his description of that pocket of New York) and having a cursory Google search about some of his other works, I'm disappointed to see how much of an out and out racist he was.

I do like his bigger works - the Cthulu mythos stuff - as I've not read anything else that's instilled so much dread in me as his eldritch horrors but I guess I can't say I respect the man anymore, only some of his writing.
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