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What'cha Reading?

Paul le Fou

Pickle Bus Owns Tulip Town
(He)
The Bradbury didn't really work for me, so instead I'm getting a bit ambitious and reading Shadow and Claw by Gene Wolfe
Oh yes

I'm overdue to reread botns... I've been saying that for years and years though
 
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For some reason in the last month multiple people have brought up the fact that 1) there is a sequel to 101 Dalmatians 2) that shit cray so I checked if the library had it and I am so glad I could read this, but especially glad I did not pay money to. I've made a point in the past year of having a dumb, light book around to read right before bed and this delivers.

But that's what you must do, Father. You must imagine yourself swooshing and then you will swoosh.
 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)
For some reason in the last month multiple people have brought up the fact that 1) there is a sequel to 101 Dalmatians 2) that shit cray
That "some reason" is the Cruella movie, where we learn Cruella is set on a path on vengeance by her mom being killed by dalmatians who by the way happen to be Pongo and Perdita's parents. I honestly think that's almost as crazy as the book sequel.
 

muteKi

Hashtag give it to gilly
I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Life and Times of Warren Zevon is frequently an unpleasant read but it's never an uninteresting one.

My new joke is that the dude was so fucked up in the 80s that he fell in with a group of literary writers and it significantly improved his life.
One of the better parts of the book is revealing to me that this exists:
 
Well, I finally finished the Gene Wolfe. it was okay (gave it 4 stars, but a soft 4. More like 3.75), but when I take almost a full week to read 400 pages, that's not an entirely positive thing. I'll still read the rest of it, just not right away.

Excited to be reading Day Zero by C. Robert Cargill. Hopefully, it's as good as Sea of Rust
 

Bulgakov

Yes, that Russian author.
(He/Him)
When I take almost a full week to read 400 pages, that's not an entirely positive thing.
Personally, I feel like Gene Wolfe gets better the more you slow down. He is often writing for his audience to savor a moment or investigate an idea. That can take time for a reader to do.
 
The Walking Dead: Compendium One by Robert Kirkman. Now that the series is done, I'm going to work my way through the whole series, like I did with Invincible earlier this year
 
Back to fiction with Covenant with the Vampire by Jeanne Kalogridis. It looks to be the start of a series set 50 years before Dracula. Already a quarter of the way done and really enjoying myself
 
Read The Picture of Dorian Gray for my classics book club. I thought I'd read it in high school, but in retrospect I think we just read a bunch of passages from this and The Importance of Being Earnest. There was a lot of this book that was unfamiliar and a lot of things I thought were in it but are actually in Earnest and vice versa.

Which is a really weird thing as they are very different! Yikes, I hadn't realized how dark this was. Very good though and we had one of the best book club discussions we've had in a long time. I'm glad we kept up with the virtual meetings.
 
Years ago, I fell in love with Let the Right One In and always wanted to read something else from the author, so I'm giving Little Star by John Ajvide Lindqvist a shot
 
That was a swing and a miss. Let's try Horror Films of the 1970s by John Kenneth Muir. I read his book on the SFF films of the 70s last year and quite enjoyed it, so hopefully I'll enjoy this
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
I read through Taran Wanderer, the fourth book of the Chronicles of Prydain. Short review: It was excellent. Thanks, Loki, for bringing it to my attention.

I knew about this series, a bit from that Disney movie I never saw, but probably more from people here talking about it, from time to time. At one point, let's say eight years ago, I read the first book. It was ok. Years later, I tried to read the series, and gave up in the middle of the second book. Too much standard fantasy, I felt.

Luckily, this was enough to read Taran Wanderer. I think it is necessary to read the first one, so you know the basics of the story and the characters. But that's enough. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the part of Taran Wanderer where you spend time with his earlier companions is the weakest part of the book. It is mainly the part, that reads like a mini version of a classcial fantasy story - character in need of help, evil sorcerer that threatens to take over the world (seriously, this story appears out of nowhere, and suddenly there is this guy who is super-powerful, and then gets defeated, and the world is saved). Honestly, I found it not really fitting for this book, which deals with way more interesting questions than the defeat of an evil overlord.

With the boring out of the way, the rest is excellent. I don't know how much the other books talk about how the lands of Prydain are in bad shape, and how it was better earlier, before horrible things happened (I vaguely remember stuff like that being mentioned in the other books), but here, we see it. The place where Taran grew up is basically an island of joy, where you have to work, but everything is fine (or maybe I misremember, you don't spend much time there). But we soon meet other people, and learn about stupid, local lords and their petty bullshit, which threatens the life of regular farmers. That alone has to be special, I imagine, with that focus. I assume most books of the time were strongly inspired by Lord of the Rings, and standard Fantasy stories.

But even that part is mainly ok, compared to the last third or so. The interesting part starts later, when Taran meets a guy who claims to be his father. Where the boy comes to terms with the fact, that he is not born a noble, and where he offers his life to this old man, who he hates, but is also inspired by. I feel like he learns here, already, about the actual, true important stuff in life - not adventure, but family (related or adopted) and real work.

Then, he travels on, and loses all his stuff. But this doesn't matter - he meets lovely people, who teach him that your blood doesn't matter. You become the person you shape yourself to be. It's all in your work. At first, I found it silly that he tries to trades, and he excelles at both. But then, he finds the thing he really wants and loves to do - only to find out, that he is bad at it. That was probably my favourite moment in the whole book, because it felt so true to real life, and had not a bit of fantastical enchantment in it. Sometimes, you just don't have to talent for something, and you can put your work into it, but still won't reach true mastery.


So, yeah, read it, if you get a chance. It's a good one. Just read the first book before it, so you understand the world and know the characters. But you can easily skip the second and third one.
 
Let's try Horror Films of the 1970s by John Kenneth Muir. I read his book on the SFF films of the 70s last year and quite enjoyed it, so hopefully I'll enjoy this
Boy, did I ever. Favorite book of the month so far, but let's see what Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff has to say about that. His Nevernight trilogy was a big win for me, so I'm expecting good things here
 

Octopus Prime

Jingle Device
(He/Him)
Finished Alien: Phalanx, an Alien tie-in novel about Xenomorphs attacking a medieval kingdom.

It was a really fun read! Really enjoyed it.
 
Starting The Brothers Karamazov for my Classics book club which meets in December. The leader of the club made it very clear that this is a large book which was amusing. Definitely one that's been on my to-read list for quite a while.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I'm 100-odd pages into Richard Powers' new one, Bewilderment. It's definitely good, definitely a Richard Powers book (characters with big hearts, big reverence for the natural world around them, and big difficulty fitting into the rest of society). Should be wrapping this one up in the next few days.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a weird book. Even with the knowledge that Aslan is supposed to be Jesus, and the sexism (negative Lilith interpretation, "women fighting in war is an awful thing" or something like that, the antagonist being a woman while the savior is a man) being explained through the Christian lens. But even structurally it's strange. The kids don't really do anything. The boys get to lead the defense against the attack of the witch (the girls, of course, aren't allowed there), but elsewise, they just reach Narnia, learn about the witch, learn about Aslan, meet Aslan (who the witch is immediately powerless against, at least except for this loophole of the rules), watch him dying and then getting rebearthed and seeing him killing the witch. Even the betrayal of the younger boy doesn't really matter, the witch never stands a chance, and the kids never do much of anything. And then, just because they are human, they are allowed to rule this land. Really weird.

Aside from that, the way the power works in this book reminds me of Dragonball Z. The witch is way more powerful than anyone else (like, for example, Freeza was), until Aslan arrives, who is way more powerful than her (like the Supersayajin form of Goku). There is never any doubt of anything, except for the one moment where Aslan is dead. Elsewise, it's clear that no one can do anything about the witch, which isn't necessary, because the savior will come anyway.

Just a strange book. I mean, I did enjoy reading it, the writing style was nice. And I will read more of the series, but I hope it gets more interesting than everyone just watching Lion Jesus solve all their problems.
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
I just finished The Wisdom of Crowds by Joe Abercrombie. It is the final book of the Age of Madness trilogy, if you're one of those people who wait for a finished series to start reading. It's a sequel to the First Law trilogy and lightly touches on the standalone books set in the same world as well. I liked it a lot. It's less of a "fantasy" story than the first trilogy, but those elements are still there. It's very Abercrombie, with a lot of violence and betrayal and flawed characters having to choose from a short list of bad options.
 

jpfriction

A most radical pontiff
I read through Taran Wanderer, the fourth book of the Chronicles of Prydain. Short review: It was excellent. Thanks, Loki, for bringing it to my attention.

I knew about this series, a bit from that Disney movie I never saw, but probably more from people here talking about it, from time to time. At one point, let's say eight years ago, I read the first book. It was ok. Years later, I tried to read the series, and gave up in the middle of the second book. Too much standard fantasy,

Man I think I read all of these in middle school, knew academically that there was a disney movie called the black cauldron (that I’m sure I saw at some point), but never put two and two together that one was based on the other until reading this right now. Shows how much of an impact that movie had I suppose.

I think I liked them enough to at least read the first couple twice, I should revisit them.
 
Finished Empire of the Vampire yesterday. I liked it, but nowhere near as much as Nevernight. It dragged on a tad, and I wasn't a fan of the back and forth narration. For the most part, I think Kristoff could have kept it in a linear fashion. I will still continue on with the series. I also ended up reading The Ballad of Black Tom, which I was not that big a fan of. Lovecraftian pastiche is very hit and miss for me. Now, I'm currently reading Pandemonium by Daryl Gregory, which I am enjoying
 
Starting The Radium Girls for our work book club, about all the female workers when radioactive products were the fashion and the health and labor rights issues they faced.
Finished this and I think it could have been half as long. It's important to share the stories of these women but they didn't come off as unique individuals, just repetitive and depressing. Glad I read it but not sure if I recommend it? But feel like I should? A difficult one.

I also wrapped up Today a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket by Hilma Wolitzer. I'd never read any of her stuff before but heard this story collection was great. "Everybody said that there was a sex maniac loose in the complex and I thought -- it's about time. It had been a long asexual winter." is a hell of an opening line.

The stories span from the 1960s until 2020, but it wasn't until the final story when the husband of a recurring couple in the stories died of COVID (spoiled because it's sad and the final story of the book) that I realized just how based in reality some of these were. Going to have to check more of her stuff out.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I also wrapped up Today a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket by Hilma Wolitzer. I'd never read any of her stuff before but heard this story collection was great.
I hadn't heard of this book either, but I just looked it up and it sounds fantastic. Gonna have to place a hold at the library, thanks for the recommendation.
 
During the month, I'm most likely going to flip flop between fiction and non, so it's back to fiction with Between Two Fires by Christopher Buehlman
 
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