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  #11431  
Old 01-06-2017, 04:52 PM
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Mason & Dixon is long and dense and I don't spend a lot of time reading anyway so even after a few months I'm only like a third? of the way through it. I enjoy it well enough, I suppose, but I kind of wish I were done with it so I could read something else. But if I take a break I know I'll basically never come back to it. :|
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  #11432  
Old 01-07-2017, 09:43 AM
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Uprooted by Naomi Novik
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  #11433  
Old 01-07-2017, 10:43 AM
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Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. Between this and Sharp Objects (and Gone Girl, but I've only seen the movie), Flynn's stock in trade seems to be misery porn mysteries, but she's a good enough writer that I'm engrossed anyway.
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  #11434  
Old 01-10-2017, 03:47 AM
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Finished Dark Side of the Sun and... its kind of hard to peg down. I knew Pterrys earlier works don't hold a candle to his later stuff, but even still it felt kind of disjointed and all over the place, like his imagination was running overdrive and not stopping long enough for you to figure out what was going on, or who the new characters introduced in dang near every chapter were or why anyone was doing anything.

Well, the very nature of the basic story meant that every single thing that happened served to move the story ahead, whether you understood it or not, but still.

Book felt like a mash up between Hitchikers Guide and Out of the Silent Planet, and stuffed to the gills with enough proto-Discworld and Long Earth elements that Pratchett could have been mining it for ideas right up until the end.
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  #11435  
Old 01-10-2017, 09:21 AM
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I read Desmond Sewards The Demon's Brood: A History of the Plantagenet Dynasty. It is an overview of a dozen or so English kings and it does its job reasonably well. It was fine, though the author kind of revels in his biases. He ends each chapter with his take on the King it covered and he greatly values military prowess. So Richard the Lionheart was a great king, despite not doing much kinging because he won some battle in a Crusade. Women get short shrift. Somehow he covers Kings Henry II, Richard and John I while barely mentioning Eleanor of Aquitaine. The book does cover all the lurid details, some of questionable veracity, of these king's lives. It is all made clear in the conclusion, though, where the author makes the case for the Plantagenets to replace the Tudors for dramatic interpretations and he was attempting to put out details to help make that possible.
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  #11436  
Old 01-10-2017, 10:09 AM
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Started Brandon Sandersons short-story collection Arcanum Unbound.

Not totally sure yet, but I think the first story is Fantasy-Weekend At Bernies.

So first impressions alone mean this thing was worth picking up.
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  #11437  
Old 01-11-2017, 12:35 PM
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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
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  #11438  
Old 01-13-2017, 06:18 PM
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I saw the first movie before reading the book, then I proceeded to read the rest of the series, but I still hadn't read the first book. I am rectifying that. I'm sort of a completest that way
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  #11439  
Old 01-13-2017, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rascally Badger View Post
I read Desmond Sewards The Demon's Brood: A History of the Plantagenet Dynasty. It is an overview of a dozen or so English kings and it does its job reasonably well. It was fine, though the author kind of revels in his biases. He ends each chapter with his take on the King it covered and he greatly values military prowess. So Richard the Lionheart was a great king, despite not doing much kinging because he won some battle in a Crusade. Women get short shrift. Somehow he covers Kings Henry II, Richard and John I while barely mentioning Eleanor of Aquitaine. The book does cover all the lurid details, some of questionable veracity, of these king's lives. It is all made clear in the conclusion, though, where the author makes the case for the Plantagenets to replace the Tudors for dramatic interpretations and he was attempting to put out details to help make that possible.
Along those same lines, I would recommend The Plantagenets and The Wars of the Roses by Dan Jones. I wouldn't say he's unbiased, but it sounds like he's less biased than Sewards.
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  #11440  
Old 01-15-2017, 12:14 PM
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So, now I can finally say I have read the entire Harry Potter series, so here's how I would rank them:
1. Azkaban
2. Deathly Hallows
3. Prince
4. Phoenix
5. Goblet
6. Stone
7. Chamber

And now, time to take a break from YA and now reading Phantom by Susan Kay
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  #11441  
Old 01-15-2017, 02:28 PM
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Finished up The Wizard Knight series by Gene Wolfe, then read Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett. I'm going to try to stick to a book a week again this year, so I gotta get to the library more often.
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  #11442  
Old 01-15-2017, 03:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masterthes View Post
So, now I can finally say I have read the entire Harry Potter series, so here's how I would rank them:
1. Azkaban
2. Deathly Hallows
3. Prince
4. Phoenix
5. Goblet
6. Stone
7. Chamber
Interestingly, Azkaban is also the best of the movies.
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  #11443  
Old 01-15-2017, 07:58 PM
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without a doubt
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  #11444  
Old 01-15-2017, 08:26 PM
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I finished Nick Offerman's Paddle Your Own Canoe and loved it. I started Gumption right after and I'm not crazy about it. I'll probably finish it but it's a much slower read.
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  #11445  
Old 01-15-2017, 08:27 PM
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Finished The Ghost Brigades. Another heck of a military sci-fi yarn. I have a few reservations about it as a piece of speculative fiction, since several of the alien species display surprisingly human cognition. The novel seems to be constructing a metaphor for the United State's belligerent foreign policy and Operation Phoenix-style spooky shit, so I suppose making everyone else too much of an other would get in the way of that. Some absolutely brilliant passages and concepts otherwise. I really want to read a short story about the Gamerans.


Doing a brief sidebar with David Forbes' The Old Iron Dream, an essay on far-right politics in science fiction. Forbes has had two great interviews on The War Nerd Podcast, one about the subject of this book, and another about North Carolina's political terrain in the Civil War and its subsequent political order. The latter is something I bet a lot of the NC and Southern denizens of this forum would be interested in.
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  #11446  
Old 01-16-2017, 06:09 AM
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The Winds of Winter by George RR Martin
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  #11447  
Old 01-16-2017, 06:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emanuel View Post
The Winds of Winter by George RR Martin
Uh oh everyone, it looks like Emanuel has come unstuck in time.
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  #11448  
Old 01-16-2017, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masterthes View Post
So, now I can finally say I have read the entire Harry Potter series, so here's how I would rank them:
1. Azkaban
2. Deathly Hallows
3. Prince
4. Phoenix
5. Goblet
6. Stone
7. Chamber
Hallows is my favourite and I'd switch Prince and Goblet, but otherwise this is a pretty good order.
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  #11449  
Old 01-16-2017, 11:34 AM
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People really like Deathly Hallows? I'd put that one near the bottom. It seemed to dump most of the things I liked about the series and focus on the stuff that didn't work as well.
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  #11450  
Old 01-16-2017, 01:06 PM
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Quote:
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The Winds of Winter by George RR Martin
Wait.....WHAT?!
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  #11451  
Old 01-18-2017, 02:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masterthes View Post
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I saw the first movie before reading the book, then I proceeded to read the rest of the series, but I still hadn't read the first book. I am rectifying that. I'm sort of a completest that way
Fun thing I noticed, seeing the Japanese version of this in some public schools: Apparently Harry Potter is looking for the item typically called the Sage's Stone in DQ games, because that's how they translated Sorcerer's Stone. It isn't even wrong, it's just kind of a funny translation quirk to me.

It could also be read as the Philosopher's Stone, which might even be what was intended in DQ originally (and changed in Harry Potter to make it different from real-life mystic lost relics).
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  #11452  
Old 01-18-2017, 05:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rascally Badger View Post
People really like Deathly Hallows? I'd put that one near the bottom. It seemed to dump most of the things I liked about the series and focus on the stuff that didn't work as well.
Having just re-read the series, yeah, it's really good. It has a ton of cool magic shit (which is my favourite thing about HP), really good dynamics between Harry, Ron and Hermione, a good background plot of Harry's disillusionment with Dumbledore and tons of great action scenes. Seriously, there are about seven sequences that could have been the climax of any other Harry Potter book. It's just incredibly exciting and dramatic throughout and the stakes are so high.
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  #11453  
Old 01-18-2017, 06:48 AM
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Finishing up Bernard Cornwell's Arthur trilogy, and as novelizations of the Matter of Britain go it ain't bad. Has tons of bloody lurid pagan magic and curses and sacrifices and so on.

In a lot of ways it feels like a prototype for his later Saxon yarns (The Last Kingdom and so on), which I liked a lot more, although the law of diminishing returns sets in there after three or four books. The big difference is that the main characters in the Arthur stories, Derfel and Arthur, are so one-note they could be JRPG heroes, whereas Cornwell livens up the Saxon stories with a rich vein of black humor on account of the two heroes there, Uhtred and Alfred, are both incredible rotten assholes.
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  #11454  
Old 01-18-2017, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunk Moreland View Post
Fun thing I noticed, seeing the Japanese version of this in some public schools: Apparently Harry Potter is looking for the item typically called the Sage's Stone in DQ games, because that's how they translated Sorcerer's Stone. It isn't even wrong, it's just kind of a funny translation quirk to me.

It could also be read as the Philosopher's Stone, which might even be what was intended in DQ originally (and changed in Harry Potter to make it different from real-life mystic lost relics).
The first book is actually Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in the UK, which of course came first. It was changed because the US publisher thought children wouldn't want to read a book with "Philosopher" in the title. So I think whatever the DQ term is and Harry Potter are both referencing the same ancient concept.
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  #11455  
Old 01-19-2017, 03:04 AM
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I'm sure in DQ's case, it's really about space limits, particularly since it was introduced way back in 3 on the NES. Sage's Stone fits into a text box a lot easier than Philosopher's Stone, but the operative JP word is 賢者 and that can be sage or philosopher.
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  #11456  
Old 01-19-2017, 01:47 PM
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Now reading Dumas' The Red Sphinx
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  #11457  
Old 01-21-2017, 03:49 PM
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Finished Arcanum Unbound, Brandon Sandersons collection of short-stories and novellas based on... his other books. Liked it pretty well! Don't think there was a bad one in the bunch, though some seemed less significant than others (that being said, my favourite was the story that was fictional even within the context of the story it was spun-off from). Also, Edgedancer is pretty much Unsounded. There's at least one story in there I was super excited to read more about only to learn it was a one-off.
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  #11458  
Old 01-21-2017, 06:02 PM
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Re-read Daniel Pennac's Au Bonheur des ogres last week. I remember reading this in a literature class, in 1997 (I think?) and loving it.

Well, it turns out that 20 years later, it's still kind of amazing! Benjamin Malaussène is still the crazy character he was, he still loves to listening to himself talk, and the way he narrates the story of bombs going off in a big department store in Paris is still as funny as ever. Also he has the weirdest and most amazing family ever. I definitely look forward to re-reading the rest of the series (and to read the new one that just came out).

Also the cover art by Jacques Tardi is amazing.

I think it has been translated into English as 'The Scapegoat'? Which is a fairly accurate title, but completely erases the Émile Zola reference of the French title. I suspect it loses a lot more than that in the translation.
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  #11459  
Old 01-22-2017, 08:16 AM
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Leviathan Wakes
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I liked the book more.

A million percent more.
Opposite. I'm enjoying it, but I definitely feel they smoothed over some rough edges adapting this for TV. Also, Miller was my least fav viewpoint character in the show, but I had no idea book Holden was Space Snowden, but what if he kept starting actual hot wars like all the time. His actions seem much more defensible in the show at this point. I'm not finished yet, perhaps he'll get better. Chrisjen isn't in this, which explains why she didn't actually affect much in the show. I pray she still owns in later books.
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  #11460  
Old 01-22-2017, 10:02 AM
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She's one of the viewpoint characters in the second book, and is mentioned manipulating things behind the scenes a bunch in the following.

I think the main reason I liked the books more is because Holden and co actually seem to be likeable people who like one another, as opposed to a bunch of suspicious jerks who don't trust one another.

Oh, and also because none of the characters matched my mental picture of them, except Naomi, who was bang-on identical.
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