Literary New To You July 2017 => Books you read this month
Andy Howell
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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100 Years of Coast Guard Aviation!
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Bookish types love nothing more than a bibliography, especially book lists generated by like-minded (or not so like-minded) readers.

Please share what you've been reading with your fellow gamers!
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1. Board Game: Jetpack Unicorn [Average Rating:5.34 Overall Rank:13005]
Andy Howell
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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Blue Adept by Piers Anthony



Keep expecting these nostalgia trips to be nostalgiacide, but I keep coming across plenty to like in this series. Piers Anthony just lets whatever's on his head/heart bleed all over the page and man he had an active mind for sure. It was like anything/everything he saw on a given day made it into a book.

The cyborg football game in this one is so corny, but dang! It's well-written. There's something like that in every chapter. Fun stuff.
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2. Board Game: H.G. Wells' Little Orc Wars [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Justin
United States
Kentucky
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A couple years ago i got bit by the comics bug and that's pretty much all I've read since.

I have finally decided to read some of the novels that have been stacking up on my shelf over that time.



The Wrath Bearing Tree by James Enge is the second book of an origin story trilogy for his character Morlock the Maker.

Its Sword and Sorcery mixed with weird fantasy. He has written 6 novels and somewhere around 8 short stories about this character.

One of the things i love is that each story or novel is showing you a section of Morlock's life and they jump around to different time periods. The character has been alive for several centuries at least.

I love this series. What really shines is Enge's writing style. It just flows in a way I've never seen before. The series as a whole stays fairly PG-13 but parts of it can get dark. But I have a low tolerance for things like that.

Also weird is that only in his 5th novel there are a few graphic sex scenes. I've read almost everything James Enge has published up to this point and none of it has been like that until parts of this book. Just an FYI.

I also reread most of his Morlock short stories this past month. He has several that don't deal with his fantasy world. One of them is about Odysseus just before the Iliad.

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3. Board Game: Corsairs [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:4323]
Ivan
Russia
Ekaterinburg
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I have a holiday for 2 weeks with my family. So, I have more time for reading cool


Alexander Nasibov - Starfish Atoll

Military adventures: Soviet intelligence agents against Nazis in the 1960th, from Western Europe to the island in the Caribbean Sea. Inventive plot, but heroes (both positive, and negative; bpoth elder and young) almost constantly smoke - it isn't pleasant to me.


A.G.Riddle - The Atlantis Gene: A Thriller (The Origin Mystery, Book 1)



I have taken this book in library, having decided to give chance to a modern sci-fi, and again I was disappointed. The novel with a claim for scientific character. Actually, the author has taken several hypotheses connected with evolution of human and has inserted them into the novel, having added Atlases, competing global organizations (ve-e-ery powerful), almost impregnable protagonists, lots of non-significant characters corpses, angry and cruel antagonists. It is a lot of actions, places, characters, and in general - nonsense.


G.A.Akerlof, R.J.Shiller - Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception



Authors sing odes to "the free market", at the same giving examples that there is no "free market" (regulation, deception, etc. all around). Crisis in the USA in 1980-1991 which managed to be "filled in" with the money extorted from Russia and the former republics of the USSR during Bill Clinton' presidency. Also authors mention absence at most that most economists didn't have instruments to predict financial troubles of 2008-2009.


Yuri Nagibin - The Blue Young Frog Story

Souls of married couple after their deaths move into animals of different types - frog (man) and roe (woman). The frog speaks about it life with very bright description of nature from animal's point of view. It was pleasant reading.


The Lord Byron - Poems, The Corsair, Mazeppa



The chosen verses, poems "Mazeppa" (almost nothing historical, but all about the hetman's youth) and "The Corsair" (romantic). Verses were pleasant to read, poems - not.



in Russian

Насибов Александр "Атолл Морская звезда"



Военные приключения: советские разведчики против нацистов в 1960-е гг., от Западной Европы до острова в Карибском море. Хорошо закручено, но герои (и положительные, и отрицательные; пожилые и молодые) постоянно курят - это мне не нравится.


Риддл А.Дж. "Ген Атлантиды"



Взял в библиотеке, решив дать шанс современной фантастике, и снова разочаровался. Роман с претензией на научность. На самом деле, автор взял несколько гипотез, связанных с эволюцией человека, и вставил в роман, добавив атлантов, конкурирующие глобальные организации (о-о-очень могущественные), почти неуязвимых протагонистов, трупы массовки, злых и жестоких антагонистов. Много действий, мест, персонажей, а в целом - чушь.


Акерлоф Дж., Шиллер Р. "Охота на простака: экономика манипуляций и обмана"



Авторы поют оды "свободному рынку", приводя примеры, что никакого "свободного рынка" нет (кругом регулирование, обман и т.д.). Кризис в СГА в 1980-1991 гг., который удалось "залить" деньгами, выкачанными из России и бывших республик СССР при Билле Клинтоне. Ещё авторы упоминают об отсутствии у большинства экономистов инструментов предсказания финансовых катастроф 2008-2009 гг.


Нагибин Юрий "Рассказ синего лягушонка"



Души семейной пары после смерти переселяются в животных разных видов. Повествование от лица мужчины. Очень красочное описание природы от лица животного. Понравилось.


Байрон Джордж Гордон "Стихи и поэмы"



Избранные стихи, поэмы "Мазепа" (почти ничего исторического, всё про молодость гетмана) и "Корсар" (романтическая). Стихи понравились, поэмы - нет.
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4. Board Game: The Stupid Game [Average Rating:1.50 Unranked]
Jason Cookingham
United States
Poughkeepsie
New York
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With the Steam Summer Sale and it being theater season, my reading slowed down. I did read some good stuff.

Great:



The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby
A history of anti-intellectualism and anti-rationalism in America.
This book introduced me to some new ideas, and I am still thinking about it quite a bit. Published in 2008, the author missed out on how bad it was going to get.

This is the kind of book I wish I read years ago.

Very Good:

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante
The third in the series started by My Brilliant Friend.
The writing is very good. She captures the inconsistencies and ignorances of people so well, and it is filled with many moments of tension as characters make decisions... for better and worse.

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson
It is smart and clever... a great combination. The cleverness is wielded like a hammer at times. The reader is not going to miss it. While it does drag a bit in the first act, the ending leaves me with that type of excitement of witnessing the beginning of something exciting. Not the promise of sequels (not needed, and I am not sure I would want one..), but the promise of what could come next. Similar to the feeling I have when watching the end of the first Matrix movie.

Good:

Death Times Three by Rex Stout
This was a bit of a sad read, as I finished the last of the Nero Wolfe books. It is a silly thing to be sad about as I intend to reread them all.

Nemesis Games by James Corey
I have mixed feelings about this book. I nearly quit during the first quarter, and I am glad I stuck it out... the second half is very good.
I also don't like how one of the characters ended up in very similar circumstances as in the last book. It is a poor trope of genre fiction, and for it to happen repeatedly.

One Secret Thing by Sharon Olds
A good poetry collection.

The Reluctant Queen by Sarah Durst
A good followed up to the Queen of Blood. The author defied expectations, and I was gripped throughout.

Okay
Walkaway by Cory Doctorow
Some interesting ideas, but I would not have picked up if I had known it is pretty much a prequel to Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. It is more thought experiment than story--- as though there are a lot of characters, they are all boring... and I had trouble telling who was saying what to whom.

All System's Red by Martha Wells
A security robot (calling itself Murderbot) hacks its own programming so it doesn't have to follow human orders. The novella is fine, but I was just hoping for more quality and quantity of action scenes. He calls himself Murderbot.

Bad:
Nearly Nero by Loren Estleman
A collection of short stories parodying Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe.
It was just boring.

All Star Batman Volume 1 by Scott Snyder
This was the biggest disappointment of the month.
A great concept (Batman and Two Face on a road trip!) muddle by the problem that drove me from regularly reading comic books--- the stories are stretched out (almost wrote "drawn out) and rushed at the same time. It took five issues to tell this one simple story? And, at the same time, almost nothing happens. Villains are shown in one or two frames, and then forgotten. Action scenes are so abrupt that there is no tension or cool moments. It is the cost of the books being largely splash scenes.

Maybe I should just stop reading the funny books.

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5. Board Game: Dune [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:215]
Anne Skelding
United States
Connecticut
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Brace yourselves, nerds. I really hated this book.

Firstly, it is poorly written. Books like this are the reason that English teachers forbid their students to use the passive voice. I am a staunch defender of the passive voice, but I was horrified by its misuse here. "They have tried to take the life of my son," no, bitch, they tried to kill your son, jfc. Over and over again, especially in the first third. It also drove me to distraction with the way it switched pov so many times, sometimes between three or more different characters in the same scene.

The first third of the book really dragged, but it picks up in the second act. I was enjoying it by the end, but not enough to raise my rating. I know this book was written in ye olde '60s, but the level of sexism (especially Jessica being completely dependent on her fifteen year old son to take care of her in the desert) is pretty gross. Also gross is the way the book associates homosexuality with pedophilia.

Moreover, I just didn't care about most of the characters. I liked some of the Fremen, but was completely indifferent about anyone else, including the main characters.

Interesting world building, though.




The last book in this series. I wasn't so sure about it at first, due to a twist that I won't reveal because of spoilers, but it really grew on me and I liked it just as much as the others in the series by the end. A very satisfying conclusion.





The internet tells me that this is considered one of the weaker books in the series, and I can understand why. But that ending. Damn, that ending. I really loved it and might have teared up a little.




Peter S. Beagle is notable for being one of the only authors who can write ghosts that don't scare me. I have a phobia, but he writes them exactly as if they're people (who happen to be dead) and so it's not a problem. Beagle's writing is gorgeous, usually at least a little sorrowful, and positively enchanting, but there's nothing enchanting about this. Just sort of hopeless.

I don't like Michael. I do like Mr. Rebeck, Laura, and the Raven, but I don't agree with the things they say. Mrs. Klapper is the only "normal" one in the story, which makes sense since she's the only one who doesn't spend all her time in a graveyard.

What plot is there is enjoyable. The way the characters meet, the interjection of Michael's wife's trial, the way everything comes together is very nice. It's also very sparse. There really isn't much plot, just a lot of ruminating on how life, love, and happiness are ephemeral, we're all going to die eventually, and nothing will matter anymore. Meh.




my entire Goodreads review for this book wrote:
*gross sobbing*


(I adore this series so much.)
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