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Subject: What did you read in March?! rss

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Andy Andersen
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The entire series of Gabriel Allon books by Daniel Silva. Allon is a Jewish art restorer/Israeli spy. Excellent books, tight plots and great characterization.
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Michael Edwards
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I discovered that the 6th book in that series I've been sucked into got published.


On the down side, that pretty much means that the 7th book will be a while…
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Billy McBoatface
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"The Amber Spyglass". This series really did nosedive in quality. Too bad, the first book was so great, and the series itself was headed in a very interesting direction, but apparently by the end the whole concept of buildup-and-payoff was too much for the author to handle.

"The Hunger Games." I read it in a day. It isn't a great book, but it is exciting and hard to put down.
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Dan Cristelli
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Grave Peril by Jim Butcher: I really like the Dresden novels, and they seem to improve as the series progresses.



Goldfinger by Ian Fleming: The old Bond novels are a real treat, and I recommend them to any Bond fan. Be warned that these were written in a time when things were a bit more...different than we are used to. Some of the language is far from accepted nowadays.



Florida Roadkill by Tim Dorsey: Crap. Worst 99 cents I've ever spent. AVOID.



Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins: Very Empire Strikes Back-like. Not bad, but the whole series is starting to show that it really is made for young adults, at least in my opinion.
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David K.
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Finally completing the 5 books of "A Song of Ice and Fire" I started in July, I wrapped up with this at the beginning of March.

I heard a lot of people say that the series has drifted off and seems to meander around. I, however, am easy to please and am not as harsh a critic than those. I enjoyed the first five books and I eagerly await the penultimate and final books as they are published. Hopefully in the next 2-4 years.

Yes, there are a lot of charatcters to keep track of. Yes, he describes food and clothing a lot. Yes some characters disappear and re-appear (or not).

I have faith in George R.R. Martin, I beleive that he will bring the series to the finish that it deserves.

I am also watching the HBO adaptation, it's very VERY good.

For now, I have some Terry Brooks and Tom Clancy to catch up on. Then I plan to re-read The Hobbit in time for the Christmas movie release.

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Matt B
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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - I decided to read this since just about everybody else has. I didn't like it much at all. Should have been titled the "Deus Ex Machina Games". There was too much "we needed more medicine so we did some kissing"... oh well, I know most people like it, so to each his (or her) own.

Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C. Clarke - I thought it was good, but not excellent. Not too strong plot or characters, but it was a fun read considering its length, and had some neat ideas in it. I like first contact books.

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick - this one was excellent! It wasn't exactly what I was expecting. Really interesting themes of yin & yang, authenticity, what is real/fake. Can't wait to read some more PKDs (and I will certainly re-read this one at some point).

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman - three Hugo winners in a row! (I didn't even do that on purpose ) This one was great as well. I didn't really have much in the way of expectations for this, as I've never read any military sci-fi. It had me gripped. Haunting and very lonely.

side note - I was working on Miéville / Perdido Street Station last month. I put it down. I hate doing this, but the first half had taken a month, and I have too much on my to-read list right now to take another month barrelling through the second half of a book I'm not really enjoying. I'll come back to it.
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George Kinney
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The Wishsong of Shannara - Terry Brooks. OK, I didn't read it. I tried to...but I just couldn't do it. World in peril, grumpy old mystical dude appears and causes teenager(s) to go on epic quest...blah blah blah...guess that mood has passed.

Anathema - Neil Stephenson. Wow. It's like a cross between 'Eon' and 'Foucault's Pendulum'. Definitely looking forward to more of Stephenson's stuff in the future.

A Fire upon the Deep - Vernor Vinge. Again, wow. I just about put it down as soon as the 'medieval talking dogs' appeared. Novel aliens? Not my bag. But I didn't put it down, and before long, I couldn't.

Night Watch - Sergei Lukyanenko. Just started this one. I've seen the movie, it was interesting, and so far, the book is interesting as well. Makes more sense being able to get into the character's head...always missing from film adaptations.
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Matt B
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Gecko23 wrote:
Anathema - Neil Stephenson. Wow. It's like a cross between 'Eon' and 'Foucault's Pendulum'. Definitely looking forward to more of Stephenson's stuff in the future.


This is probably my favorite book. I really want to read some more Stephenson too, when I can make the time commitment. btw- you added an 'a'.
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Jesse Hickle
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I finally got around to reading Ready Player One. Great book.
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Calavera Despierta
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This beast of a book (over 900 pages) was one of the best and strangest reads I've experienced in at least five years. Imagine if Philip Roth and David Foster Wallace had a love child who decided to rewrite Catcher In the Rye from the perspective of a half-black Jewish kid living in post 9/11 Chicago. There are passages here that made me shiver, passages that made me cringe, and characters that are so human, so well-developed, and so damaged and strange that I found it impossible to put down as I gunned my way through it. The whole thing is this post-modern meditation on kabbalah, the Jewish messiah, story-telling and self-reference, jewsih identity, adolescence, love, and the social responsibility we have to stand up to tyrants. It is a monster of a book, and even now I am reeling from what it all means, and how it all fits together, and if I am happy and ok with the ending or just furiously angry (not at the author or the story, but at humanity, for making the ending inevitable and bittersweet.) It's just a seriously bad-ass mensch of a book, but not for mamzers and crybabies and the casual reader. If you have the time, energy, and attention, and if you love stuff like Infinite Jest or anything by Philip Roth, this book is your new holy scripture. If not, well... you can go over there with the dentists and desormiate.

Otherwise, it was all vintage crime for me, by Jim Thompson, to get me inspired for an upcoming game of Fiasco. Basically this is your standard boilerplate ultra-pulpy, vicious crime noir--so gritty I had sand in my teeth for a week after finishing them. I am not sure I would recommend these, since Thompson's writing is mostly hackery, and his stories are almost formulaic, but if you like noir, you can't go wrong with these:



and

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Calavera Despierta
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mbauer8286 wrote:

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick - this one was excellent! It wasn't exactly what I was expecting. Really interesting themes of yin & yang, authenticity, what is real/fake. Can't wait to read some more PKDs (and I will certainly re-read this one at some point).


There are internet rumors floating around that Ridley Scott is talking about adopting this one into a tv mini-series for the BBC. Could be quite interesting.

My other favorite PKD's that I would recommend:
A Scanner Darkly
Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said
Maze of Death
Confessions of a Crap Artist
Ubik

and of course his short stories from which we derive all the hollywood movies (Total Recall, Scanners, Minority Report, etc etc.)
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Tiny Epic Trickster
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Iron Council by China Miéville
My first Mieville. I was fascinated, but I'm not going to run out right away for the other New Crobuzon books. 4/5

Five of a Kind -The Third Nero Wolfe Omnibus by Rex Stout
I'm not a big mystery reader (I also like Carl Hiaasen, what a talent), but I'll read all the Nero and Archie (and Fritz) I can find. 4/5



Betrayer of Worlds by Larry Niven, Edward M. Lerner
These are good, with this last one in the series nicely leading into Ringworld. 4/5
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Marc P
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Not much for me this month.

Mort by Terry Pratchett. It was my first Pratchett, and I did enjoy it. Had a great pacing, appropriately spaced bits of slapstick, a very dry and funny narration, and some fun characters. I'll be reading more Discworld, to be sure.

I picked up my first chapter book to read to my daughter. Since they're doing Ramona the Pest in preschool, I bought Ribsy, figuring that she'd be familiar with the characters. Seven chapters in about 10 days, and she's ready for more. Beverly Cleary is a decent writer of kids' books. She crafts pretty good comedic scenes, and often had me smiling. However, she failed on the emotional front: I'm a total sucker for these kinds of stories, and the question was not "Will daddy cry?" at the end of the book, but "How MUCH will daddy cry?". If you consider Monsters, Inc, and set 1/100 the emotional impact of the end of Monsters, Inc equal to 1 MI unit, then I would give the ending to Ribsy 0.01 MI. In other words, not even really registering on the scale.

This is a book where a dog (a really, really good dog who loves his boy) gets separated from his family (with the really good boy who never stops believing in his dog), has lots of adventures, and then gets reunited with the boy in the last chapter. And I felt nothing. That is an achievement of some kind. I think I'm done with Cleary.
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Matt B
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Drew1365 wrote:
mbauer8286 wrote:
Should have been titled the "Deus Ex Machina Games". There was too much "we needed more medicine so we did some kissing"...


Heh. Just when I was about to give in, . . . thank you!


You're welcome!

MScrivner wrote:
mbauer8286 wrote:

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick - this one was excellent! It wasn't exactly what I was expecting. Really interesting themes of yin & yang, authenticity, what is real/fake. Can't wait to read some more PKDs (and I will certainly re-read this one at some point).


There are internet rumors floating around that Ridley Scott is talking about adopting this one into a tv mini-series for the BBC. Could be quite interesting.

My other favorite PKD's that I would recommend:
A Scanner Darkly
Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said
Maze of Death
Confessions of a Crap Artist
Ubik

and of course his short stories from which we derive all the hollywood movies (Total Recall, Scanners, Minority Report, etc etc.)


I've read Ubik and a few others of his already (didn't mean to imply that the Man in the High Castle was my first). Thanks for the recs! A Scanner Darkly is on my Kindle so that will probably be the next one I read.
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Mike Adams
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Still not feeling like anything too serious overall.

The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan - The 4th of the Percy Jackson series. An entertaining read with clever mythology, just like the others in the series. I liked it. Some of the sadder issues from previous books in the series were a bit more cheerful in this one, so I was happy about that.

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan - The 1st of the Kane Chronicles series. It's interesting how he maintains much of what makes the Percy Jackson series good - old world mythology in the new, close relationships between characters - but changes it just enough to be different - Egyptian mythology rather than Greek, brother and sister rather than close friends. I liked it as much as the Percy Jackson books.

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow - Really, the premise of a future where you can back yourself up and be restored in a new clone body when you die makes things really interesting. Some of the other aspects of this future are interesting as well, but that one really makes it work. There are things about Doctorow's style that bother me just as they did in Little Brother which I read previously, but he can definitely put together and interesting world. I can sympathize with his characters but none of them ever draw me in as much as I'd like - a complaint I have with Orson Scott Card's works as well.
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Mir
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1. At Home by Bill Bryson

2. Collected Ghost Stories of M.R James

Began Millennium by Tom Holland
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Tim Thorp
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Spin, and Axis by Robert Charles Wilson. Had to reread these so I can get started on the 3rd in the series: Vortex.

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Paul - the
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Read the Old Man's War trilogy by John Scalzi



I rate it:

Beer & pretzels style sci-fi but good pacing and some interesting twists. Quick read too.

Also read the first two books in the Hunger games trilogy (and halfway through #3)



Really can't understand the popularity here. I'd rate the first one and after that it goes downhill. The first 100 pages of book two is a severe snoozefest. Decided to read book three anyway but it's so bad at times you just want to scream

Avoided unless forced is my verdict here.
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I'm on the last pages of "Explicação dos Pássaros", by António Lobo Antunes, an author that some say would be a more deserving nobel than Saramago. This one is pretty good, I'll read his "masterpiece" one of these days.


http://www.amazon.com/Explanation-Birds-Antunes-Antonio-Lobo...
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Billy the Hut
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A good read, although sometimes if felt like she was posing when she really didn't need to.
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The Hunger Games series - The 1st book is a quick read but by the third, I just wanted to smack everybody...especially Katniss.

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Pedro Silva
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Asur wrote:
I'm on the last pages of "Explicação dos Pássaros", by António Lobo Antunes, an author that some say would be a more deserving nobel than Saramago.


Including himself.

I tried to read one of his books once. Bored the hell out of me in ten pages...

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matthew.marquand wrote:
The Hunger Games series - The 1st book is a quick read but by the third, I just wanted to smack everybody...especially Katniss.


I wanted to smack Suzanne Collins.
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Pedro Silva
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I'm reading Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. I'm having some trouble with it. SO much so that I'm taking way too long to read it. Acquiring a tablet and reading some comics series on it hasn't helped either.

It's fun and satirical and good. Still, it's a bit too surreal for my taste... I just can't attach to any of the characters and many of the episodes that happen don't seem to have any bearing to the plot. Maybe I'll have a different opinion when I finish it.
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Rob
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Doomfarer wrote:
matthew.marquand wrote:
The Hunger Games series - The 1st book is a quick read but by the third, I just wanted to smack everybody...especially Katniss.


I wanted to smack Suzanne Collins.


My 11yo daughter was devastated. She finished the series, but she was crying through the last half of the final book.
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