Recommend
20 
 Thumb up
 Hide
77 Posts
1 , 2 , 3 , 4  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Everything Else » Chit Chat

Subject: What did you read in July 2015? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: What_did_you_read [+] [View All]
United States
Loveland
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I won't have time to post this tomorrow or Saturday, so I'm a bit early.

Verkisto asked me to take up the mantle of these threads. Please post books you read in the last month, and perhaps a sentence or 10 telling us what you thought about them.


Slow Bullets, by Alastair Reynolds




Alastair Reynolds is my favorite science fiction author, so I was eager to read this novella. But also a bit hesitant, because the novella is a tricky piece of writing--one where you're trying to balance character, plot, and world-building in a small package. You need all three, and you need all three to be completely efficient. And Slow Bullets is.

At the end of a long war, a soldier is captured and tortured. She wakes up to find she's on a sort of generation starship with soldiers from both sides, along with some civilians--and the man who tortured her... The war is over, but there are still terrible secrets that are revealed over the course of the story.

The titular slow bullets are memories embedded in people. Are those memories real? Can you change someone's memories? This is no Philip Dick novel. The answers are much less philosophical, but no less interesting.

Reynolds does an excellent job building this world. The war, the aftermath, and The Book at the heart of it all feel so real and compelling. I hope he visits this universe again. I won't spoil anything, other than to say this turns into much more than a revenge story.

If you've never read any Reynolds, this is an excellent place to begin.



Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected Fiction, by Hannu Rajaniemi




I didn't know anything about Rajaniemi coming into this--other than knowing his The Quantum Thief has been on my To-Read list. This collection of short stories is on the cutting edge of science fiction.

Most of the stories deal with transhumanism, which is an area of science fiction I'm not much interested in. But that's my fault, and not Rajaniemi's. Despite that, I can't deny he's a talented writer, and some of these stories were very good and affecting--"The Haunting of Apollo A7LB" springs to mind. So it's 2 and 1/2 stars, rounded up.

If you have any interest in biotechnology and transhumanism, check out this collection.


Redshirts, by John Scalzi




I LOVED the general idea, but I just didn’t like what Scalzi did with it.

The writing wasn’t very good at all (IMO). Most of the characters had the same voice. I know thousands of people, and very few of them are as quick-witted, “funny,” and gregarious as almost all of those characters were. It just wasn’t believable. And the writing lacked punch.

And why did so many characters have similar last names? I suspect this is subtle evidence that
Spoiler (click to reveal)
they’re all being written by a lazy writer—one so lazy that he has characters named Dahl and Duvall, Hestor and Hanson, Keen and…King, I think? Anyway, a bunch of them, and I think it’s Scalzi being meta, and if that’s true, it’s kinda cool.


But then there were the Codas. I felt that it was the first time in the book where he really shined as a writer. But they were all agenda pieces. “Don’t waste your life.” “Love your spouse because life is too damn short.” Were those the points he really wanted to make, but the only way he felt he could make them was by writing the story around them so he could tack them on?

I doubt it, but their presence made the rest of the book’s mediocre writing even more glaring. So beautifully written but completely unnecessary. But at the same time, they were the one redeeming quality in the book, as far as emotional impact. So I’m conflicted.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
If he was trying to still be meta, so wrote most of the novel “badly” to reflect the way the show they were on was written badly, how is that fun for me the reader? I have to slog through you being meta and “smart” just to get to the Codas, which had more heart and good writing in them than the larger novel combined?

Overall, it was fine, but I’m not sure how this won the Hugo.


The Lost Fleet: Dauntless, by Jack Campbell




I haven't read much military science fiction, so I'm not even sure why I picked this up. Still, it's an okay space adventure, with some annoying things that make me unsure if I'll keep reading the series.

The Alliance has been fighting (and losing) a war with the Syndics for over a century. But their fortunes may be turning as they've revived John "Black Jack" Geary, a hero who was injured early on in the conflict and put into cryo sleep. He awakes to find he's become an idealized and idolized figure in the century he's been asleep. Now, as he takes over the fleet and seeks to get them safely home, he has to live up to the legend, and deal with those who think he's just a man who lost a battle 100 years ago.

The premise is interesting, but Campbell is constantly beating you over the head with Geary's circumstance of dealing with the fact that he's a legend to some and hated by others. Okay, I get it! And everything--from inner thoughts to tactics to...well, everything, is explained to death. Just mention it once, maaaaybe twice, and then assume your reader can remember.

Maybe my biggest disappointment was the early realization that the Syndic aren't some cool alien species we're fighting. They're just humans, with a culture that feels like a ruthless corporation. Oh, and British accents in the audiobook, for some reason. Are we in the Star Wars universe? It makes the whole premise significantly less interesting.

My second-biggest disappointment was that the book doesn't really wrap up. It just sort of ends after a battle, and with the oft-repeated phrase that Geary's going to "get us home." So it's an episode of Battlestar Galactica, without any of the interesting characters or philosophical underpinnings.


Sundiver, by David Brin




I read Startide Rising and The Uplift War--the second and third books in the Uplift Trilogy--about 20 years ago. I'm not sure why I never read the first book in the series, but having done so now, I wonder if I had some premonition that it was a lesser novel. Because it is.

(This isn't a spoiler--we're told this in the description.) Every race in the galaxy has been Uplifted by some other race--raised up and helped with technology, genetics, and spaceflight. Until someone discovers the humans, who have seemingly Uplifted themselves. Then they had the audacity to Uplift other creatures on Earth--most notably the chimpanzees and dolphins, though whales and dogs, as well.

This is a terrific notion, and a strong basis for a series. Except Brin just sort of lets that go and the book quickly turns into a sort of murder mystery on a ship heading into the sun. But the mystery just isn't interesting. And the characters are mostly one-dimensional and flat.

So my advice to anyone considering reading this series is to just skip Sundiver and move on to the Hugo- and Nebula-winning Startide Rising. You'll have missed nothing.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
CHAPEL
United States
Round Rock
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
"that's a smith and wesson, and you've had your six"
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Believe it or not, I read this:



I would have swore I read it before, as I have read just about everything major Heinlein wrote. But I was reading an article about it, and thought. I've not read this. So rectified it.

And I must say, out of ALL of Heinleins work, I found this to be the most anachronistic of them. The rampant and blatant sexism was almost hard to read. So weird having a female antagonist written in such a way where every male character was trying to get into her dress. And I understand this was a product of the time, but it surprised me that a novel that was pretty much put together by Heinleins wife would be just so 50's cheeseball...
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Billy McBoatface
United States
Lexington
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
KGS is the #1 web site for playing go over the internet. Visit now!
badge
Yes, I really am that awesome.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Vanity Fair by Thackeray - Trying to save some money I downloaded this long-out-of-copyright book and read it on my commute. It is long, and sometimes on the slow going side, but often it's funny (and hilarious at its best moments) as well. The main characters are two girls at the start of the novel, one very kind and sensitive, the other essentially a psychopath with no morals or empathy. The story follows these two girls as they go through life, with a recurring theme being that they live in "vanity fair" where everybody only cares about money while providing the thinnest of pretense that they have higher ideals. The humor carries very well because it is mostly centered around human weaknesses, which apparently haven't changed much in the past 200 years.


The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins - Recommended by a coworker. It reads very much like a Gillian Flynn novel set in England: Badly damaged female lead character, heavy drinking, murder, dangerous men and women everywhere. The mystery is fairly easy to guess early on by process of elimination, and it has the silly "now the criminal tells all about his crimes when he could just kill his audience and run off" trope at the end, but it still had nice tension and moved along quickly. Happy to read it.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt
United States
Central Coast
California
flag msg tools
0110100110010110
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


I couldn't put this down. It swings nicely between tragedy and comedy, and the stories are fascinating.

Towards the end you definitely get a strong sense of the big issues rattling around inside Apatow's head, and that part can be a bit repetitive (although I don't see how he could have avoided that, since he's having a conversation with a different person in each chapter), but the quality of his interviewees more than makes up for that.

For me, the introduction alone was worth the price of the book, but chapter after chapter was just excellent, with only a few partial duds. (They are not all hysterically funny, and I expected that, but only one or two seemed a little flat.)
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
maf man
United States
Waunakee (madison area)
WI
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm taking a long break from classics (meaning old classics and big named sci-fi and fantasy of which most of my library hold list consist of) and enjoying it.

The eye of heaven by clive cussler. Saw it on the shelf and recognized the author being one of the more popular authors I'vs seen my dad like. It was a fun read but adventure books like this need more depth (or better tricks) for me to really get into. Found out after picking it up that this is a reoccurring character so I'll probably look to pick up the first one and see how that goes.

soon I will be invincible by austin grossman. Again not that deep but defiantly what I wanted/expected. Don't remember where/why I saw this but I had it on hold and finally got it, I'm not quite done but should be tonight. A fun read following two characters in a superhero filled world. It scratched the itch that "how to succeed in evil" left me wanting many many years ago.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Wiles
United States
Macon
Georgia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


Hard sci-fi.

Feels like a short story. A quick read.




If you like Hellblazer, you'll either like this because it feels like Hellblazer, or you'll hate it because it feels like Hellblazer.

Either way, it needed a better editor.




Because Verkisto.


Wow! THREE books in a month! These new glasses must be doing the trick.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff
United States
Linden
New Jersey
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Social Justice Wargamer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I've been extra-busy at work, so I finished a fair number of audiobooks. Right now, I'm working on To Kill a Mockingbird, as part of my personal "Things I was supposed to read in high school, but didn't because I was reading RPG sourcebooks" book club project. Last month, I did The Great Gatsby.

As far as finished books, the balance of the month was spent on The Wise Man's Fear, which is probably the longest book I've ever read or listened to. I enjoyed it well enough, although the fae bits seemed kind of abrupt and shoehorned in (and I usually like fairy stuff). It wasn't as good as The Name of the Wind, but it's still worthwhile.

Speaking of Really Long, I decided for no particular reason to read through the entirety of Hellblazer. I'm only a few issues in, but I hear the first 20 are much more dense than the rest. On a very similar note, I've also been reading Neil Gaiman's Books of Magic mini-series, also prominently featuring John Constantine.

I also made my way through Marc Maron's Attempting Normal. My fiancee and I saw him live a few weeks ago, so it covered some of the same ground, but it was still a fast and fun few hours. Maron's funny, although his reading is a bit off.

I'm slowly reading through Ayoade on Ayoade, which is one of the weirdest books I've ever read.

Did some RPG reading. I made it through the Night Witches rulebook, adding to the long list of Jason Morningstar games I desperately want to play but probably never will. I paged through the New World of Darkness Urban Legends book. I enjoyed the Jersey Devil adventure set in the town where my grandparents lived, but was otherwise fairly unimpressed. And I read the core rules for Adventure!; I like the setting material, and there are some pretty cool storygame elements for a game from 2001, but it's still fairly crunchy. If I were going to play a Trinity Continuum game, it'd definitely be Aberrant.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Peter Augerot
United States
Brooklyn
New York
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I finished Seveneves by Neil Stephenson and Vermilion by Molly Tanzer.

I can't say enough good things about Seveneves. It's one of Stephenson's best. It's totally heartbreaking and beautiful. He's never written a book that's as emotionally involving. I was completely blown away.

Vermilion was a fantastic romp. The protagonist is totally magnetic. Such a fun book.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rudy
United States
No too far from Philly
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
...but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind,
badge
...and reaching forth unto those things which are before,...
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
I read Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll about a dozen times (no joke) to a special Finnish lady while she was falling asleep.

I wasn't really all that excited to read it based of my limited memory of the Disney film, but during the first chapter I found myself getting into it. The book starts off well enough, up until about the second half where it feels like it just starts wandering for no reason, and just sort of loses its steam and then stops.

Overall I liked the book but I wish it kept the magic of the beginning all the way through.

18 
 Thumb up
1.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Tannhauser
United States
San Diego
California
flag msg tools
YOU ARE LIKELY TO BE EATEN BY A
badge
ɥɔʇıןƃ ʎʇıןɐǝɹ
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker

Having greatly enjoyed Barker's Mister B. Gone—essentially The Monster at the End of This Book (Starring Lovable, Furry Old Grover) for grownups—I dove into this one with relish. Pinhead the Cenobite and Harry D'Amour, supernatural private eye, in the same book? Hell yeah!

Unfortunately, it's pretty much paint-by-numbers, with the color blotches all slapped on in hasty strokes. We get the requisite people-shredding and Bible-peeing, and an in-depth tour of Hell proper, all the while struggling with the growing unease that we're reading the ghost-written novelization of the movie that's not out yet. The characters were flat and much of the dialog in the second half was made up of "clever" one-liners that might populate an '80s Schwarzenegger film. This was another one of those books where it's clear that both the author and editor were tired of it by the end, as the typos and grammatical errors stacked up in the last chapters, including, even, a head-snappingly misattributed speech tag.

I'm not sorry I read it, but only just.


Wicked River: The Mississippi When It Last Ran Wild by Lee Sandlin

A crazed tour of the Mississippi Valley from the early 1800s through the Civil War, an era of unbridled frontier shenanigans that was already mere nostalgia by the time Mark Twain started writing about it. Here we have the 19th Century in all its naked glory, where population density and out-of-bounds technology conspire with lawlessness to produce the stomach-turning ménage à trois that is the hallmark of the time. The 1700s didn't have enough people with the right kind of machines to effectively magnify the crazy, and by the time you get to the 1900s most of that shit is illegal and we have a professional constabulary class to enforce the lessons learned. But this, this is where all those fabulous mistakes were made, and unabashedly so.

The book is very well written, compelling and filled with things that just can't be true—it had enough "read aloud" moments that my entire family felt like they'd read the book, too. My absolute favorite moment (among so, so many) comes from a journal entry:

I rode out to see the man put up the hot air balloon. When I arrived he made no effort to put it up. He said he would not put it up today, but perhaps he would tomorrow. So we rioted and tore the balloon to pieces.

I've paraphrased here, but not by much. It's those kinds of "monkey in a cravat" leaps that make this book pure tragicomedy gold.


Hyperspace by Michio Kaku

Not only did this book give me a great many things to be enormously wrong about at the next cocktail party, but it also proved that Michio Kaku is a far more effective horror writer than Clive Barker. Here we see the most brilliant mathematical minds blown apart for the Kaiser's glory; or suffering from consumption as they struggle against the ticking cough of that bloody clock to finish their work before the end; or withering away in obscure penury, bitter and alone, never knowing that their formulae will change the world in a century's time. But even more terrifying are the kinds of mic-drops that only a theoretical physicist can provide, tales of things that might go wrong at the most fundamental levels, rendering life in this universe impossible in the blink of an eye—in his own words, "We'd never know what hit us." And then into the next chapter with a cheery anecdote about Einstein's perpetual whimsy.

Kaku's genius intersects the mundane in the best way possible—he takes crazy-making mathematical constructs and renders them in ways that entertain and enlighten. I feel—perhaps wrongly so—that I understand what hyperspace represents, and what it means for us here in our prison of three dimensions. A whole bunch of science fiction and cosmic horror stories suddenly made a new kind of sense. My mind was constantly blown, a state-change that most probably manifested in hyperspace as a beacon for demons.

Most affecting, though, was the explanation of how the symmetry of a snowflake is the physical echo of crumpled hyperspace, and how the concept of a fourth physical dimension altered thought, art and society—how the seed of an as-yet unproven idea grew into the world we know today.

Recommended for those who never want to sleep well again.
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Wesley
United States
Ball
Louisiana
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


I read Uprooted by Naomi Novik. I wasn't sure what to think of this one going in. It was really great though and I do recommend it. It's sort of a fairy tale. Also, if you haven't read her Temmeraire series, I highly recommend that. It's sort of alternate history, the Napoleonic war with dragons.

I also reread the first four Harry Potter books.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Holder
United States
Centennial
Colorado
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Scott Firestone IV wrote:

The Lost Fleet: Dauntless, by Jack Campbell
...
I haven't read much military science fiction, so I'm not even sure why I picked this up. Still, it's an okay space adventure, with some annoying things that make me unsure if I'll keep reading the series.


The whole "Series" is really one story. Honestly, it is kind of old-school pulp, but I still had fun with it.

The second series, "Lost Fleet beyond the frontier" gives a couple of interesting alien cultures, and is a better series, so far, but it is still pulp.


MWChapel wrote:
...out of ALL of Heinleins work, I found this to be the most anachronistic of them. The rampant and blatant sexism was almost hard to read. So weird having a female antagonist written in such a way where every male character was trying to get into her dress. And I understand this was a product of the time, but it surprised me that a novel that was pretty much put together by Heinleins wife would be just so 50's cheeseball...


With the exception of perhaps Starship Troopers, whenever I re-read Heinlein I am amazed at how cheeball sexist his stuff was. If this one is high on the list, I'll skip it -- Friday and Number of the Beast were over the top for me.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Arias
United States
Sanford
FLORIDA
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Chromosome 6 by Robin Cook. Decent and interestingly complex plot for setup, but a bit implausible later and rushed ending. Mafia, corrupt docs, biotech companies and some morgue workers.

Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer is also so far a very entertaining series. If you can get past the occasional teenage girl eewww it's a cool sci-fi take on classic fairy tales.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Billy McBoatface
United States
Lexington
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
KGS is the #1 web site for playing go over the internet. Visit now!
badge
Yes, I really am that awesome.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
MWChapel wrote:
And I must say, out of ALL of Heinleins work, I found this to be the most anachronistic of them. The rampant and blatant sexism was almost hard to read. So weird having a female antagonist written in such a way where every male character was trying to get into her dress. And I understand this was a product of the time, but it surprised me that a novel that was pretty much put together by Heinleins wife would be just so 50's cheeseball...

This is IMHO the most overrated Heinlein I've read. I'm not a huge fan of his, but most of his works (e.g., Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and his many pulpy books) are at least entertaining. This, to me, read like somebody of limited intellect trying to write something deep and meaningful. "It's so deep! He's like Jesus, but from Mars, get it? Get it?" Ugh.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mystery McMysteryface
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
MWChapel wrote:
Believe it or not, I read this:



I would have swore I read it before, as I have read just about everything major Heinlein wrote. But I was reading an article about it, and thought. I've not read this. So rectified it.

And I must say, out of ALL of Heinleins work, I found this to be the most anachronistic of them. The rampant and blatant sexism was almost hard to read. So weird having a female antagonist written in such a way where every male character was trying to get into her dress. And I understand this was a product of the time, but it surprised me that a novel that was pretty much put together by Heinleins wife would be just so 50's cheeseball...


Thank goodness!! I almost picked this up recently. Now I WON'T read it!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
¡dn ʇǝƃ ʇ,uɐɔ ı puɐ uǝllɐɟ ǝʌ,ı
Canada
Chestermere
Alberta
flag msg tools
Life lesson: Hamsters are NOT diswasher safe.
badge
There are 10 types of people-- those who understand binary, and those who don't.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


Light "mystery". Part of a series; I've read the first and third previously.

I like books set in India.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mystery McMysteryface
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
July, where have you gone?

A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord. This is the 4th novel I've read of hers and although none has surpassed her debut Rules I really enjoyed this middle grades book. It is the story of a girl who befriends another child who lives at a migrant camp. Very interesting and well-written and true to its subject matter. I recommend all her books to children 10 years and up (and adults). HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.


Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert. I read Dune in June and picked this one up while it was still fresh in my mind. According to its criticism, it is a bridge book--setting you up for the 3rd book, Children of Dune. I honestly did not love this book and only read it to see if it improved because I adored the first. I didn't even feel that the same author had written this one at all. It felt disconnected, arbitrary, strange, and ambiguous. I didn't care about the characters or what happened to them; I just wanted the book to end. Let's see how the 3rd one holds up before I pronounce my take on the series. For this title.....meh.


Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. How have I never read this book before?? Wonderful story, wonderful book, and a fascinating peek at Denmark and their reaction to Jewish persecution during WWII. I am now trying to read everything I can about the subject as I am a bit obsessed. Great story.....a child's book, but definitely worth reading, especially if you are interested in WWII and the Holocaust. I need to finally read The Giver by this author which I also have never read...sigh. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Dixon
United States
Mauldin
South Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
EgorjLileli wrote:
Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert. I read Dune in June and picked this one up while it was still fresh in my mind. According to its criticism, it is a bridge book--setting you up for the 3rd book, Children of Dune. I honestly did not love this book and only read it to see if it improved because I adored the first. I didn't even feel that the same author had written this one at all. It felt disconnected, arbitrary, strange, and ambiguous. I didn't care about the characters or what happened to them; I just wanted the book to end. Let's see how the 3rd one holds up before I pronounce my take on the series. For this title.....meh.


Stop while you're ahead. In fact, just forget the rest of the series exists and enjoy Dune for what it is. It's better that way, trust me.

As far as my reading goes, I finally finished Thomas Mann's Magic Mountain. Once upon a time I would have read it and thought that perhaps there was just something I didn't get, but those days are over. I've read enough VERY IMPORTANT literature in all caps to just call this one for what it is--a work whose time has past, and which is not worth slogging through 700 pages of early 20th Century malaise to get to a thought provoking statement or decent philosophical point every hundred pages or so. Oh, also, it has perhaps my least favorite protagonist of a novel ever. Not because he's wicked, or even particularly unlikeable, just that he's so phenomenally lazy and weak willed. I wanted to strangle him practically the entire novel. I'm glad he dies in WWI in the end. (Uh, spoiler alert, I guess [but not really, since the plot isn't really the point of the novel anyway], but if me spoiling it saves you reading it, good).

I also read Gods of Pegana by Lord Dunsay, which is an interesting small cosmology of gods in the ancient style (think Greek or Norse, perhaps). It's written in a combination of Elizabethan English and Yeats-like poetry and is a series of sly tales of the gods that make up the world of Pegana that, in addition to being interesting if you're into mythological archetypes, also occasionally veers into subtle critiques of religion in general. A quick read and definitely worth it if you're intersted in mythology or fantasy in general.

Next up was Salman Rushdie's excellent Shame about relationships, women, and politics in a "country that is not quite Pakistan" to use his words. I find Rushdie's meandering tales and confused narrators very interesting, and I liked it a lot better than his far-more-famous Satanic Verses but not as good as his debut Midnight's Children.

I also read a very earnest but unpublished (and unpublishable) manuscript from someone in my writing group that you will never see on your local bookshelves, but is probably for the best. The novel is not the place to start if you admittedly "don't know much about writing."

Diis
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mystery McMysteryface
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Diis wrote:

Stop while you're ahead. In fact, just forget the rest of the series exists and enjoy Dune for what it is. It's better that way, trust me.


Diis


Oh, no!! How disappointing!! soblue
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
CHAPEL
United States
Round Rock
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
"that's a smith and wesson, and you've had your six"
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
EgorjLileli wrote:
Diis wrote:

Stop while you're ahead. In fact, just forget the rest of the series exists and enjoy Dune for what it is. It's better that way, trust me.


Diis


Oh, no!! How disappointing!! soblue


Dune(The Series) is a love it or hate it kind of relationship. I've read the entire series of 6 novels four separate times. I loved the entire series, and I loved each book. I didn't find any of the books a "lull" or a "bridge". They we all genius in their own way, almost to a philosophical level. It's the ONLY series I've read more than once(Well, I did re-read some of the Foundation series)

But, I would completely understand if it's not your cup of tea. I think if you are having a hard time after the second book, it's probably not your thing.
5 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Edward Gilhead
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. Finally managed to get to the end! This was my third attempt at this book. It is just so long and in parts rather slow. However now I have finished it I am glad to have read it. Often held up as a literary classic it certainly does a great job at transporting one back 200 years to Napoleonic Europe. At times I did feel the book has not aged very well. The characters are, unsurprisingly, very much of their time. Still it is nice to have cleared this weighty tome from my to read list.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Morris
United States
Raytown
Missouri
flag msg tools
2nd, 6th and 7th Wisconsin, 19th Indiana, 24th Michigan
badge
24th Michigan Monument Gettysburg Pa
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Scott Firestone IV wrote:

Redshirts, by John Scalzi




I LOVED the general idea, but I just didn’t like what Scalzi did with it.

The writing wasn’t very good at all (IMO). Most of the characters had the same voice. I know thousands of people, and very few of them are as quick-witted, “funny,” and gregarious as almost all of those characters were. It just wasn’t believable. And the writing lacked punch.


I felt the same way. The writer had a good idea but didn't deliver the goods in the end. It wasn't a bad book but I felt it should have been better.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul - the
Sweden
Lund
flag msg tools
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
badge
You spin me right round, baby - Right round like a record, baby - Right round round round - You spin me right round, baby…
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb




I must be the wrong target audience here. I found it extremely boring and dare I say implausible. Perhaps reading it in secular Sweden I can't really get the religious overtones here and everything just feels stupid. Or do you have to be female to get it? Often compared to "1984" which I just read. Not great book any of them but "1984" was at least thought provoking which this book can't claim, at least not for me.





Great book with very original ideas in how the galaxy is divided into different zones of speed, though and technology. I can't recommend this enough. The description of alien races alone makes this book worth reading.





Not that many of you will ever encounter this book written by a Swedish actor and writer and that you should mostly be grateful for. Her books are very quick reads and are usually good for a laugh or two but this one is very weak. Super predictable and then some.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andy Parsons
United Kingdom
CHELMSFORD
Essex
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Phillip Kerr - A Man Without Breath




This is one of a series of novels featuring Bernie Gunther. The early novels were set in pre-war Berlin, with Bernie an ex-cop turned private investigator in the Marlowe mould. A Man Without Breath takes place in early 1943, with Bernie now an investigator for the German War Crimes Commission and well aware of the irony of Nazi Germany investigating war crimes. Most of the action takes place in and around Smolensk, with Bernie organizing the investigation of Soviet executions of thousands of Polish officers in the Katyn Forest. As ever, the story is populated with historical characters, including Goebbels (the book's title is a quotation from his only published novel), Field Marshal von Kluge, who commanded Army Group Centre, and the conspirators behind the Valkyrie plot to assassinate Hitler.

A Man Without Breath is very readable and was most interesting to me for the very well researched historical setting and events that Kerr puts his protagonist into. It has prompted me to read about Kursk, the SD, German morale after Stalingrad and the multitude of plots to assassinate Hitler. I found the whodunnit element - there is a series of murders of characters peripheral to the Katyn investigation - less satisfying. It seemed to me that Kerr's real interest in writing this novel lay elsewhere.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eagle-Eyed Superhawk
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
flag msg tools
Oh, America, what have you done.
Avatar
mbmbmb
EgorjLileli wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
Believe it or not, I read this:



I would have swore I read it before, as I have read just about everything major Heinlein wrote. But I was reading an article about it, and thought. I've not read this. So rectified it.

And I must say, out of ALL of Heinleins work, I found this to be the most anachronistic of them. The rampant and blatant sexism was almost hard to read. So weird having a female antagonist written in such a way where every male character was trying to get into her dress. And I understand this was a product of the time, but it surprised me that a novel that was pretty much put together by Heinleins wife would be just so 50's cheeseball...


Thank goodness!! I almost picked this up recently. Now I WON'T read it!


The gender politics were...interesting. A weird mix of ahead-of-its-time feminism and throwback chauvinism.

On one hand, the female characters are capable and independent. On the other they're always looking to get married and are routinely called by infantilizing pet names like "sweetfeet" and "cherub". One hand: the utopia that the protagonist tries to build provides flawless birth control and STD prevention to women, who have the ability (thanks to Martian psychic discipline) to make rapists and other purveyors of violence just disappear forever; it's a sexual egalitarian paradise. Other hand: one of the three chief protagonists remarks offhandedly that most of the time when a woman is raped she's at least a little bit at fault (I don't think that was stated sarcastically or ironically).

I realize that Stranger was published in '61 but the feminist schizophrenia was still jarring.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3 , 4  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.