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  #10141  
Old 06-27-2015, 11:46 AM
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Read through Friends With Boys - pretty nice little comic about growing up and stuff.

On to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
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  #10142  
Old 06-27-2015, 10:14 PM
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The Sixth Extinction

There's a great passage that I think sums up how clueless we have been, and often still are about the effect we have on this planet. It's in the chapter about the extinction of the great auk, at the point where sailors noticed how easy it was to pick the birds off in droves for delicious meat.

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A 1622 account by a captain named Richard Whitbourne describes great auks being driven onto boats "by hundreds at a time as if God had made the innocency of so poor a creature to become such an admirable instrument for the sustenation of Man."
Now, I like to imagine one lone voice of reason on the boat saying, "But sir, shall not the birds disappear from this earth forever if we herd so many scores of them to our bottomless maws?"

To which the captain did reply, "Ye be a wet blanket always, Waterston, and the fowle are delicious. Yolo."
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  #10143  
Old 06-28-2015, 06:33 AM
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I thought Dune was more a rip off of Beetlejuice? lol
Now you're just being silly.

But in all seriousness, Dune was a great read. Before that I read Stranger in a Strange Land. I might have to check out another sci-fi novel or two before school starts again.
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  #10144  
Old 06-28-2015, 08:27 PM
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Finished off Curious Incident. It dragged a little in the late-mid sections, particularly during the train segments (where the chapters going off into tangents about math got a little more frequent and longer, and a little painful), but overall it was a really good read.
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  #10145  
Old 06-29-2015, 09:41 AM
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Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
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  #10146  
Old 06-30-2015, 08:49 PM
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A friend of mine has been working on a book series for years and while he's a good writer I don't really like the fantasy genre so I hadn't read his stuff.

But NPR just gave the series glowing review on their website and makes it clear he doesn't follow a lot of the major fantasy tropes. I just put a hold on it at the library and plan on starting it this weekend.

Also I kind of feel like a bad friend for not getting around reading these for so long.
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  #10147  
Old 06-30-2015, 08:54 PM
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Started on Paladin of Souls , which I never realized was a sequel to Curse of Chalion until the opening chapters were a bit too Where Are They Now. (looks like it stands alone okay and fills you in a lot, and I searched out a synopsis online.)

I'm struggling to get past some of the genre tropes but it's okay so far.
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  #10148  
Old 07-02-2015, 01:52 PM
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A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters by Julian Barnes
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  #10149  
Old 07-02-2015, 08:12 PM
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A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters by Julian Barnes
That slim volume is one hell of a kick in the pants. Let me know what you think when you finish it.
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  #10150  
Old 07-02-2015, 08:23 PM
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I gotta read some more Barnes. Love The Sense of an Ending but I haven't checked out any of his other stuff.
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  #10151  
Old 07-02-2015, 11:55 PM
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I'm 15 pages into Toms River and I already know I'm going to be filled with rage by the time I finish it.
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  #10152  
Old 07-03-2015, 12:35 PM
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I gotta read some more Barnes. Love The Sense of an Ending but I haven't checked out any of his other stuff.
Arthur & George is a novel about Arthur Conan Doyle and George Edalji, a half-Indian Englishman wrongly accused of cattle mutilation. Based on a True Story and very good.

Levels of Life is a strange combination of a history of ballooning and a memoir of the author's wife's death. It's very powerful and works well, though it's been a few years since I read it, so I don't remember just how the various thematic threads connect.

Flaubert's Parrot was (I think) his first big hit, but it didn't make too much of an impression on me. Postmodern novel about a middled-aged widower's attempt to find the stuffed parrot that inspired the ending of Flaubert's "Un Coeur Simple." No need to have read the Flaubert beforehand, though you might enjoy the Barnes more if you have.

Have not read the aforementioned A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters, but am told, by reliable sources, it is one of his best.
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  #10153  
Old 07-03-2015, 02:23 PM
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I changed my mind. I enjoyed the first story about Noah's Ark, but a few pages into the second chapter got me snoring

Instead, I'm finally picking back up Joseph and His Brothers by Thomas Mann. I managed to read the first 600 pages with very little difficulty, but I ended up hitting a wall. You see, Mann likes to go into tangents, and a whole lot of them, so I decided I would put it on hold for a while and read something else. Almost a year has passed, but now I'm determined to finish it. Got 800 pages left to go
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  #10154  
Old 07-03-2015, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Violentvixen View Post
A friend of mine has been working on a book series for years and while he's a good writer I don't really like the fantasy genre so I hadn't read his stuff.

But NPR just gave the series glowing review on their website and makes it clear he doesn't follow a lot of the major fantasy tropes. I just put a hold on it at the library and plan on starting it this weekend.

Also I kind of feel like a bad friend for not getting around reading these for so long.
I started with the first book in the series that was published, Three Parts Dead, and I'm liking it so far. So don't feel like a bad friend, you got him at least one sale here.
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  #10155  
Old 07-04-2015, 03:14 PM
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Reading Red Seas Under Red Skies is like watching the aftermath of a horrible traffic accident, the sort where you can't tell where one car starts and the other ends. Except that, in this case, both halves are super-exciting on their own and the end result, if weirdly paced, is all the stronger for it.

So it's like if the two cars were actually Constructicons, and they didn't destroy one another, they combined into one super robot who commited crimes.

"This book is like Devastator, from Transformers" should definitely be on the back-cover blurb, is what I'm saying.
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  #10156  
Old 07-04-2015, 04:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul le Fou View Post
Started on Paladin of Souls , which I never realized was a sequel to Curse of Chalion until the opening chapters were a bit too Where Are They Now. (looks like it stands alone okay and fills you in a lot, and I searched out a synopsis online.)

I'm struggling to get past some of the genre tropes but it's okay so far.
It was Okay. It dragged a lot in the middle with too much and too slow exposition, and the setup for the climax was too convenient. It was also Very Fantasy. But I did like the plot and most of the characters. My curiosity sated, I get to go back to ignoring genre fantasy for a while.
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  #10157  
Old 07-04-2015, 04:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Octopus Prime View Post
Reading Red Seas Under Red Skies is like watching the aftermath of a horrible traffic accident, the sort where you can't tell where one car starts and the other ends. Except that, in this case, both halves are super-exciting on their own and the end result, if weirdly paced, is all the stronger for it.

So it's like if the two cars were actually Constructicons, and they didn't destroy one another, they combined into one super robot who commited crimes.

"This book is like Devastator, from Transformers" should definitely be on the back-cover blurb, is what I'm saying.
Okay, so now we've got Ocean's Eleven, pirates, and Transformers all in the same book, and people keep saying it's the weakest in the series?
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  #10158  
Old 07-04-2015, 09:11 PM
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It was a hella disjointed book, and had lots of pacing issues compared to the first. Plus, honestly, the pirate stuff was just boring.
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  #10159  
Old 07-04-2015, 10:57 PM
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Okay, so now we've got Ocean's Eleven, pirates, and Transformers all in the same book, and people keep saying it's the weakest in the series?
Honestly its sequel (Republic of Thieves) was weaker in my opinion, but it's a mixture of the first book being really good, and Red Seas Under Red Skies somehow being less than the sum of its parts. It's still an enjoyable book, but Lies of Locke Lamora was just surprisingly well written, especially as someone's debut in genre fantasy.
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  #10160  
Old 07-05-2015, 01:23 AM
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It was a hella disjointed book, and had lots of pacing issues compared to the first. Plus, honestly, the pirate stuff was just boring.
But we got to learn all about craplines!
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  #10161  
Old 07-05-2015, 01:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul le Fou View Post
It was Okay. It dragged a lot in the middle with too much and too slow exposition, and the setup for the climax was too convenient. It was also Very Fantasy. But I did like the plot and most of the characters. My curiosity sated, I get to go back to ignoring genre fantasy for a while.
Man, I'm sorry you found it wanting. It's some p good fantasy IMO. Character focused, slow and contemplative, but doesn't get bogged down in Orcs. If this Very Fantasy I don't even know how you would classify most of the genre.
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  #10162  
Old 07-05-2015, 08:30 AM
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Well, let me go into more detail. I gave an overly negative impression, I think.

I did like the characters. A character like Ista runs a risk of becoming repetitive, but she never did; she brought wry humor and intelligence, anguish without angst. I especially liked Liss, though I was a little peeved that the end of her story was that she gets to become a Proper Lady; I was kind of hoping she'd get to be Master of Horse.. Illvin and Arhys were both really good characters - heck, I'd say there weren't really any bad or bothersome characters in the whole thing.

The middle of the book got a little bogged down. Once Ista arrived at Porifors, the next few hundred pages were spent kinda just hanging around, talking. Not much really happened, it was all sit-down-and-let's-have-some-exposition. And some of the things that did happen - like Catti trying to run and them trying to get back to the castle - felt a little forced, like Bujold realized "oh shit I need some action, uh - okay let's try this." I was kind of hoping that the story would expand beyond that castle, but I guess I can see the reason for it.

Although speaking of which; I know the idea is that Gods Work in Mysterious Ways and such, and Ista was brought to the castle in its time of need in answer to prayers, but the whole conflict centering right on Porifors still felt all a little too Convenient - Especially when Joen and Sordso showed up at the gates. It kind of felt like "okay we'll just do this the easy way and bring everything here!" On the other hand, it was justified pretty well within the text, so I can't say it was nonsensical or a cop-out... I just can't shake a feeling of slight dissatisfaction with it.

Since I'm focusing on negatives again; I did actually like the whole Theology Magic aspect*, the gods as characters and Ista's reaction to them, and the driving conflict. It just felt a little longer and less graceful than it needed to be or could have been, especially in the middle.


*Although demons=magic is interesting the magic itself felt kinda formless, with a lot of it tending towards Magic Missile or Go Ahead, Do Anything. I didn't really have a good idea how the magic worked, which could have fit the theological theme except that within the book it seemed to be pretty simple. Foix figures it out on his own in just a few days.
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  #10163  
Old 07-05-2015, 09:15 AM
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Demons are Entropy, and using demon magic is basically just manipulating the odds of things decaying or falling apart or relevant things. I would've told you to read the Curse of Chalion, which is in the same setting (and won a Hugo) first though.
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  #10164  
Old 07-05-2015, 11:48 AM
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That makes a lot of sense, actually. ...Mostly.

And yeah, I picked it off a used book shelf and the cover made no indication that it was even in the same series, much less a sequel. ("From the author of") A few pages in I got a little reference overload but I wiki'd up a quick plot summary and honestly the book did pretty well at filling in anything you'd need to know.
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  #10165  
Old 07-05-2015, 06:27 PM
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The Martian was really enjoyable! You should be reading it with the rest of us!
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  #10166  
Old 07-06-2015, 02:05 PM
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Started reading The Way of Kings, which, in the opening few chapters, is perfectly enjoyable, but also represents Brandon Sanderson operating at Maximum Sanderson.

Also, Amazon delivered The League of Regrettable Superheroes by Jon Morris (the guy from the Gone and Forgotten blog), it's a book that covers all the forgotten and pitiful comic characters of yesteryear, like Fatman the Human Flying Saucer, Bozo the Iron Man and Dr. Hormones.

I am turbo excited to start reading it.
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  #10167  
Old 07-06-2015, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Octopus Prime View Post
Started reading The Way of Kings, which, in the opening few chapters, is perfectly enjoyable, but also represents Brandon Sanderson operating at Maximum Sanderson.

Also, Amazon delivered The League of Regrettable Superheroes by Jon Morris (the guy from the Gone and Forgotten blog), it's a book that covers all the forgotten and pitiful comic characters of yesteryear, like Fatman the Human Flying Saucer, Bozo the Iron Man and Dr. Hormones.

I am turbo excited to start reading it.
Octo, we're reading The Martian not any of that stuff you mentioned up above. Get with the program!
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  #10168  
Old 07-06-2015, 02:24 PM
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Are we? That thread looks dead.
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  #10169  
Old 07-06-2015, 02:34 PM
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Are we? That thread looks dead.
Everyone but you Nodal.
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  #10170  
Old 07-06-2015, 05:21 PM
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Are we? That thread looks dead.
The thread's only been there four days! Seems like most of the books threads start getting posts a week or two in.

My copy is now "in transit", hooray!
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