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    • CommentAuthorMercer Finn
    • CommentTimeJan 8th 2013 edited
    Haven't been back here in a while. Did a round-up over Christmas of the best books I read last year, a lot of which I talked about on last year's thread. Also set up a goodreads account. Any one else on that?

    Right now I've parked H.P. Lovecraft and Henry Miller to read some comics. Just finished the first Bendis/Maleev Moon Knight. Not sure what the fuss was about (I recall it generated a lot of "wow, how unexpected!" talk when it first appeared). For me it just reads like the two guys on autopilot. But they are both absolute masters of the craft, so not really a bad thing. Was superbly plotted, and had a couple of lol moments.

    Also finished Lost at Sea by Bryan Lee O'Malley, which he wrote before Scott Pilgrim. Quite a bit more meditative, and with some great (looong in comics terms) inner monologues where the book almost becomes a first-person narrative with pictures.

    Finally, the first Fear Itself trade, which is very quirky tonally (exemplified for me by the reveal of Kid Loki dealing with internet trolls on a smartphone). Lots of stuff happening in lots of cool places, so great reading, tho I really need to get the rest of the series, because not a lot gets resolved in the first trade.

    Now probably gonna go on to tackle this massive Martha Washington book. Never read it before, but looking forward to reading some Frank Miller before he got REALLY crazy.
    • CommentTimeJan 9th 2013
    So I'm hooked on the Harry Dresden books. They're fun to breeze through.

    Made use of a Christmas gift card and ordered the sixth in that series "Blood Rites" and a book of poetry by Tanya Davis titled "At First Lonely". Many would know her through this video:

  1.  (10945.3)
    Finished Janet Hobhouse's autobiographical novel "The Furies" with amazement. It's an incredible example of someone who turned the traumas of her life into art. Yet at the same time, its lyrical skill never trivializes her character's tragedies by making things "uplifting."

    Currently on the reading pile:

    Ian Mc Donald's "River of Gods," an amazingly picturesque ensemble drama set on India's centenary.

    George R.R. Martin's "A Game of Thrones," which the HBO series has finally spurred me to read after years of procrastination.

    Charlie Brooker's "I Can Make You Hate," a collection of essays and scripts from a man who turns vituperation into an art form. A piece on Mariah Carey's appearing to open a London Westfield shopping mall had me laughing with his description of the spectacularly tight jeans the singer wore.

    "Gun Machine" by some writer whose name escapes me. I think he wrote comic books.
  2.  (10945.4)
    Er. Last year, I complained loudly and at length about "Anathem", and proclaimed that "Cryptonomicon" just stopped with no denouement.

    And I just re-read "Cryptonomicon" and discovered that I had somehow completely forgotten the two final chapters of the book. Which means that:

    (1) I have no idea what the fuck I'm talking about, and
    (2) for perhaps five years now, I've been complaining about a problem that did not exist in the first place.

    So: sorry about that.

    I'd be interested to know whether the Game of Thrones books are worth reading, if I'm finding the HBO series to be satisfying enough. I don't mind picking up a stack of horse-choker novels if they're especially good, but I read "Armageddon Rag" recently, and it didn't really spur me on towards reading anything else Martin's done.
  3.  (10945.5)

    Game of thrones is definitely worth reading, there's quite a lot - obviously - that didn't fit on-screen. They've got really good last chapters as well ;)
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2013
    @Yaboo: I'm not a huge fan of ASoIaF--granted, I've only read the first three books, and I'm waiting for him to finish the series, but it's compelling.

    In that vein of deconstructed European Medieval Fantasy, Joe Abercrombie has hicked my ass from hell to breakfast. Very gritty, excellent characters, and he has fun messing with the setting (The Heroes, for instance, feels like a WWII novel with Renaissance tech, and Red Country is a straight-up Unforgiven-style Western with swords instead of pistols), whereas I think GRRM has more fun trying to manipulate the reader via terrible, unexpected deaths.
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2013
    Just started reading Johannes Cabal, the Necromancer, and it's so much fun. Has a very Pratchetty vibe to it, and DegenerateBoy is right in telling me that Cabal is like the role I was born to play. Either him or his brother, really. I could see me doing both. :)
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2013
    The Necromancer and its sequel, Johannes Cabal, The Detective, are both wonderful; I hear the third book is out in the US now as well.
  4.  (10945.9)
    Just finished reading Jo Nesbø's The Bat. Nesbø is a Norwegian that writes a really good detective story. This is the first one that he wrote featuring his popular character "Harry Hole" (pronounced "who-leh") and was just recently translated into English. Which seems odd to me because, like I said, it's the first one he wrote that features his main character. (There are 9 Harry Hole novels, all but the second one have been translated to English now.)
    One of the guys I work with has been hyping these books up to me for nearly 2 years now. I'm glad I finally listened to him. I really like his writing style... It's a detective story that has more to it than the main guy running around trying to solve the case. It takes its time to show you other things he does in his life and really develops the character. It's written as first person passive so, unlike Ellis' Gun Machine, you don't know who the killer is / anything about them until either you or the character figures out who it is.
    Having read both books so close together I can really appreciate both styles. With Ellis you're engaged because you want to see how The Hunter gets caught whereas with Nesbø you're trying to figure out whodunnit. I'm going to be picking up more of his books very soon.

    Semi-related question: Anyone living outside of the States have a Kindle? Have you ever noticed that the prices are different (higher) for Kindle books for you compared to if you were to be logged off? (I'm in Canada and was looking on my phone at the Amazon site, most of the other Harry Hole books were $3.99 but when I checked on my home computer and was logged in, they're $8 - $12.)
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2013
    First night in my new house. Trying to unwind after a lot of frantic last minute crap-moving.

    If I'm not totally wasted by bed time, I'm going to start Gun Machine.
    • CommentAuthorSteve Toase
    • CommentTimeJan 13th 2013 edited
    OK I'm about 150 pages into Kraken and enjoying it, but one thing is grating slightly. Well two;

    Goss and Subby. Two for hire, almost indestructible assassins, one who is extremely talkative in an anachronistic way, and is highly sadistic just seems a bit too close to Croup and Vandermaar. Now im only so far in so it may be Meiville's intention to draw on this as part of a London mythology, but if not it feels slightly lazy? I'm not sure, but I'm convinced that there must be an alternative way to write a relentless assassin.
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    Just finished Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides.

    Pretty good, though I found the narrator's function to be a bit inconsistent as well as adding a layer of difficulty the book simply didn't need.

    The parts where Cal is a young teen girl made me disgusted with both men and women however.
    • CommentAuthor256
    • CommentTimeJan 14th 2013
    @Invincible - I'm always surprised by how few people have read Middlesex, bearing in mind how popular The Virgin Suicides is in certain circles. I really enjoyed it, even though the generational saga-aspect would usually discourage me from reading.

    My favourite line in it is the bit that runs something like (I never get this right) "So it was that the first time I saw a naked man was in the middle of a national emergency. Worse still, he was holding a loaded gun. Worse still, he was my father."
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    @256 The more I'm letting it stew, the more I appreciate it. The part your mention was pretty great. I loved the "Sometimes a cigar is not a cigar." punchline after that.
  7.  (10945.15)
    I read Kill Your Boyfriend for the first time this month, let it stew for a couple days and then realized I was too old for it. Bummer. If I was ten years younger, that volume would have changed my life.

    The Dresden Files is delightful. Heads up: past book 7, the thing goes full on war wizard, but it remains delightful throughout.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeJan 19th 2013 edited
    Reading Gun Machine.

    Comment, not criticism: It is odd reading a story set in New York via British English. Not disconcerting. Mildy uncanny, maybe?
    • CommentAuthorflecky
    • CommentTimeJan 28th 2013
    Stuff I've been reading:
    Lost Echoes by Joe r. Lansdale. It wasn't as crazy as some of the things I've read by him, but it was an OK, pulpy read.

    I finally finished Vol. Two of Stephen Donaldson's Gap Series, and I've just started the third one - A Dark and Hungry God Arises.

    Comics don't really exist in Stroud, apart from 2000AD, but I got a few graphic novels from the library - some Hellblazer, Sandman Presents Dead Boy Detectives, Pride of Baghdad, and The Authority - Revolution Vol 1.
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    I've read A very private gentleman by Martin Booth, which grew on me as I read it and The Four Fingers of Death by Rick Moody in the past few weeks.

    The Four Fingers of Death was so excellent for the first half and then just sort of...gets stupid in the second half. The entire talking chimpanzee plot line was fairly dumb.

    I've started Stranger in a Strange land for the first time. I'm excited.
    • CommentAuthorOda
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2013
    I just finished reading The Weed that Strings the Handman's Bag by Alan Bradley. It's ok in many ways, but seeing it all through the eyes of annoying and very unlikely character Flavia de Luce can sometimes be annoying. Now I'm over to reading The Crusades Triology by Jan Guillou for perhaps the 13th time or so. Can't help myself. Love it so much.

    Anyone on Goodreads? Add me!
    • CommentAuthorKradlum
    • CommentTimeFeb 7th 2013
    @Steve Toase - Yes, Goss and Subby did seem a bit lazy.

    I'm just finishing Greg Egan's Zendegi, which seems a bit lightweight for Egan. I was tempted by Egan's The Clockwork Rocket, but the blurb and reviews make it seem a little too heavyweight, so I went for Lauren Beukes' Moxyland instead. Awaiting The Mongoliad book 3 to hit my kindle.