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    • CommentTimeMar 26th 2012 edited
    It's been a while since I hit this thread, so will just stick to some high and low points -

    I said earlier that the Strain trilogy seemed to be going downhill badly. I misspoke. It accelerated downhill at full throttle, crashing into a steaming heap of crap. Not Recommended.

    Erin Morgenstern's first book The Night Circus is the best piece of fiction I've read this year, and maybe better than anything read last year. It has flaws, and there are things I could carp about, but . . . wow. Gripping, moving, smart, beautifully written. If her next novel is as good as her first, this woman could be the next Neil Gaiman. Plot synopsis? Can't do it justice, and really, the plot is the stage on which a gorgeously entertaining circus occurs. A feast for the head and the heart.

    The best non-fiction read so far this year goes to 1491 by Charles Mann. I loved, loved, loved this book, and how often do you say that about a work of non-fiction?. It's a survey of the latest thinking about what the Americas were like just before the arrival of Columbus. The author is neither afraid of controversy nor does he paper over things where there are still large disputes. After the first few chapters, it was almost compulsively readable - and how often do you say that about a non-fiction work? It also dovetailed quite interestingly with Jarod Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse.

    If I'd know that Glen Cook had returned to his 'Dread Empire' series with an aim of concluding it, A Path To Coldness of Heart would have been on my most-anticipated list. For most part, it lives up to Cook's intent. I enjoyed it quite a bit. If Cook wanted to tell more stories in this milieu he could, but it's not required. That's unlike the previous book, which pretty much left everything unresolved.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeMar 26th 2012
    Just finished Grossman's The Magicians, which I enjoyed a lot, but wasn't sure if it lived up to the hype.

    Just started A Princess of Mars.
  1.  (10422.203)
    On a whim I bought a copy of The Vesuvius Club by Mark Gatiss (yes that one!)

    Brilliant :-) Difficult to review without a spoiler... lets just say that its a bit victorian thriller, crossed with the undead element and a little chunk of theatre of the absurd thrown in for good measure.
    • CommentAuthorGordon
    • CommentTimeMar 29th 2012
    Everyone's Just so So Special - Robert Sherman

    A disturbingly brilliant collection of short stories, most of them about love in all its sometimes beautiful, sometimes ugly, sometimes twisted forms.
    • CommentTimeApr 1st 2012

    If you enjoyed the Vesuvius club, the other Lucifer Box novels are well worth checking out too. If you can find them, go for the hardback versions for some bonus period verisimilitude!
    • CommentAuthorMercer Finn
    • CommentTimeApr 1st 2012 edited
    @StefanJ, nigredo, allana – thanks guys

    Read quite a bit over the past two weeks as I've been away from work. Child of God by Cormac McCarthy was quick and sharp, but shallower than Blood Meridian. Spent a long time being absorbed / frustrated by Hilary Mantel's Beyond Black. Some thoughts here. Stevenson's Jekyll and Hyde is only interesting when it comes to the reasons behind the doctor's investigations – I was thinking maybe the story is a comment on 'deviant' sexuality and repressive Victorian social mores, rather than mental illness or schizophrenia.

    Now 40% thru Bleak House (I'm reading on Kindle). You can deffo tell Dickens was being paid by the chapter. I'm finding the length and the detail a bit trying, some elements are more interesting than others. The innovation of having two narrators (first person and third person omniscient) eroded since nowadays novels do these kinds of crazy things all the time. And I'm not the sort that finds the satirical stuff particularly funny. Sticking with it b/c of Esther, Charley, Caddy and the mystery of Lady Dedlock.
    • CommentTimeApr 2nd 2012
    Coincidentally, I recently read Mantel's THE GIANT, O'BRIEN, which was pretty damn good on the whole.

    Also finished John Fante's ASK THE DUST and Andrew Crumey's incredible D'ALEMBERT'S PRINCIPLE. Anyone looking for thought-provoking, Borgesian, ludic fiction should definitely check out any of Crumey's novels (with the possible exception of SPUTNIK CALEDONIA). Amazing stuff.

    Now thinking of diving into David Mitchell's number9dream.
    • CommentTimeApr 4th 2012
    Never made it through Bleak House. I remember trading it in for ... actually, I can't remember. It was one of those I-am-only-carrying-one-book-in-my-backpack type scenarios, though, and I still couldn't finish it.

    Currently on a hiatus from study, so I've dipped back to Cities of the Plain to finish up The Border Trilogy. The comic book I've been reading off and on is called Epileptic, which is one of those congruences.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeApr 4th 2012
    Reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo since I saw the movie and liked it, and it happens to be on Edgar's amazon kindle, which means I can read it from his hand-me-down ipad. My sister actually let me borrow a physical copy of the book but it had words underlined in ink from the previous owner and it's making it annoying as hell to read.
    • CommentAuthorDC
    • CommentTimeApr 4th 2012
    Finished the Hunger Games trilogy. Vol.2 and 3 weren't as good as the first but overall it was a good surprise.
    With a Little Help-Cory Doctorow. Anthology dealing with several tech themes (AI, cryptography, data mining, etc.). Some felt like he was repeating himself because he uses the same examples and explanations in many different stories.
    Odd and the Frost Giants-Gaiman. Cool version of the tale but not a surprise when one reads some Marvel Thor comics:)
    Now I'm into M is for Magic audiobook. Gaiman is a great reader. I don't have much experience with audiobooks (just started a few months ago) but from what I experienced, he's one of the best readers out there.
  2.  (10422.211)
    Reading The Queen's Conjurer by Benjamin Woolley, a freaking excellent biography of Dr John Dee.

    Skimmed 50 Prosperity Classics, which does seem a better idea than reading all the books in question.

    Working through the inimitable Ramsey Dukes' latest, How To See Fairies.

    Have been pecking at The Exegesis of Philip K Dick, which is absolute grade-A hardcore mindcrack.
    • CommentTimeApr 5th 2012
    @undulatingungulate Your reading lists are the best.
    • CommentTimeApr 5th 2012
    We had a short but frustrating library strike in Toronto, so I haven't read anything since Blood. Now I have two books just started: Eating Dirt, a misleadingly poetic account of Canadian treeplanting life, and Against Art, a stark dreary Norwegian novel I'm really looking forward to continuing.
  3.  (10422.214)

    Ahhhhhh! I didn't know the Exegesis was out. Now to decide if I can afford it and/or should finish my traveling to-read pile first.
  4.  (10422.215)

    The Exegesis isn't really something you can read like a normal book, but it is certainly worth having around the place; sort of like smelling salts for the lazy mind.
  5.  (10422.216)
    Finally finished off The Sound and the Fury. I just got bogged down in Jason's section. he's such a dick that I found it very hard to read.

    Moving onto to something lighter, I think.
    • CommentAuthorScottS
    • CommentTimeApr 6th 2012
    @DC - if you like Neil Gaiman's audio books, you need to give Anansi Boys a try. It's read by Lenny Henry and it's just perfect.
  6.  (10422.218)

    Well, Valis is one of my favourite novels, and totally changed the way I looked at my beliefs/belief systems in general when I read it soon after leaving the church (for good), so the Exegesis is definitely something I need on my shelf. The main issue is I'm living in the UK temporarily, so if I'm not going to devour it while I'm here then I might as well wait until I'm back home before buying it.
  7.  (10422.219)
    70% through Bleak House, and you have to admire the intricate interweaving of plot lines and character arcs. Also the very moving illustrations of poverty in certain chapters. Still find some of the satire quite shallow, and the repeated catchphrases are getting on my nerves. I think I'll pull through, tho.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeApr 8th 2012
    Bleak House was an unbelievable slog, but I managed to get through it.

    The BBC adaptation was just plain wonderful. It shed a lot of the sub plots, making for a cleaner and more straight-forward story.