Community Book club - What are you reading and what have you read recently

Kyougar

No reviews, no Buy
Nov 2, 2018
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Currently reading the Stormlight Archive First Book.

Very promising premise and worldbuilding. Only thing I dislike is the narrative structure. I am ok with different POV, but I despise Cliffhanger chapter endings when the next chapter is a different POV. It will just make me not pay attention to the current chapter.
 

Swenhir

Spaceships!
Apr 18, 2019
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Currently reading the Stormlight Archive First Book.

Very promising premise and worldbuilding. Only thing I dislike is the narrative structure. I am ok with different POV, but I despise Cliffhanger chapter endings when the next chapter is a different POV. It will just make me not pay attention to the current chapter.
Yep. That's the reason I haven't gotten into them - and their length - as much as the Mistborn series, which kicks butt.
 

Li Kao

It’s a strange world. Let’s keep it that way.
Jan 28, 2019
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The writing was on the wall with my last post but yeah, dropped 'Something wicked this way comes'. To my great shame and annoyance because as already mentioned, I wanted and still want to love this book.

Yesterday, I felt the desire to read Lovecraft again, so I resumed my reading of the ginormous book I have. Unfortunately I'm in the middle of the 'friends of Lovecraft' part and yeah. No. Pastiche level stories, that doesn't do it.

'The Fire of Asshurbanipal' by Robert E. Howard
Was very much geared toward my tastes. Pulp as fuck (more than a little racially dubious though, another proof that Lovecraft gets all the heat where other writers have their share of shit). Adventurers, lost city, treasure, doom. But I have read this story. It was better when Howard wrote it for Conan. Or when Lovecraft wrote it. Or when... get the picture ? It wasn't bad, just been there, done that.

I'm in a bad spot. I don't have the stomach and regularity in life to read a 'real' book, but I'm tired of short stories. And I'm in my comfort zone with Lovecraft, but too much good things become bad shit. See diabete, if you have nothing against daring comparisons.


Toying with the idea of reading Ted Chiang, but I fear he will not be as approachable as Ken Liu. That's the extent of my 'what the fuck will I read next' interrogation.
 
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Linkark07

IDKFA
Apr 18, 2019
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Right now I'm reading again Dune. Tried it some years ago, but dropped it; didn't like it. Right now, I still can't find what is so interesting about it, but at least it isn't boring me to death like the first time. It helps that it is this month's book of my literature club.

Just started the second part, btw.
 
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Kyougar

No reviews, no Buy
Nov 2, 2018
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I am on book 2 of Stormlight Archive and halfway through with it. It's a love-hate relationship that's shifting more and more to hate.

Bullshit "revenge is wrong" narrative is getting on my nerves. "You are better than this" and "show the other cheek" are just propaganda from bullies and people in power to continue doing what they are doing without consequences.
Especially in a book that has so much bad shit flung at one of the main characters (Kaladin).

Shallan's story arc wasn't that interesting to me in the first place and she is the focus in book 2. I nearly dropped the book while reading the caravan arc, that last chapter saved it, barely.

And my main sticking point: Character stupidity and nativity to serve the plot. The "good guys" are a bunch of idiots who are trusting to the bad guys and uncommunicative and distrusting to each other, just to serve the plot.
Dalinar and his son Adolin are trusting idiots and trying the political game without any ounce of political sense.
Kaladin is supposed to be this powerful "god of revenge" with distrust and hate of the people in power who wronged him in so many ways but is strangled by his magical minigirl who tells him revenge is wrong. He isn't even playing the people in power, no he immediately bounf himself to the next guy in power who was a little better than the other guy and plays the lapdog. There is no sign of any subterfuge or plans to get revenge on the people who killed his brother, his comrades, enslaved him, and tried to kill him. The more the story progresses, the more he falls into a loyal lapdog persona.
Shallan... If it was a book completely dedicated to her POV and story, all the shit she does would be cool. As it stands, she is the non-communicative asshole who only pays lipservice to getting the other POV up to date and does her own thing.
 

Kyougar

No reviews, no Buy
Nov 2, 2018
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End of part 3 Book 2 and I am 5% away from dropping the series. Fucking whipped dog Kaladin and fucking idiot "good guys"
 

Kyougar

No reviews, no Buy
Nov 2, 2018
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No Spoilers, unless you count the information that the books leave you blueballed and unsatisfied regarding their storyarc. (and that the characters are idiots serving the story)
 

Swenhir

Spaceships!
Apr 18, 2019
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No Spoilers, unless you count the information that the books leave you blueballed and unsatisfied regarding their storyarc. (and that the characters are idiots serving the story)
Sorry, those are spoilers. You talk about themes of the story and what comes or not to pass. It isn't that hard to be careful and just add a tag either way.
 

Kyougar

No reviews, no Buy
Nov 2, 2018
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Sorry, those are spoilers. You talk about themes of the story and what comes or not to pass. It isn't that hard to be careful and just add a tag either way.
I don't agree. Saying a book doesn't have satisfying themes or delivers on the premise is not a spoiler, it is a review.
 

Li Kao

It’s a strange world. Let’s keep it that way.
Jan 28, 2019
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I impulse started a book yesterday. Wasn't much do to while recovering from a banging liquor induced headache.
At first I was looking at The Expanse 1, but opened it on my reader and saw it clocking 700+ pages. I mean, fam, think about my reading ocd and lack of regular reading habits :sweaty-blob:

So I started a lean 245 pages book I mentioned some weeks ago...



The Organization by Maria Galina

On my radar because I can't help but being attracted to weird fiction or at least unusual reads. And this was compared to a 'Russian Ghostbusters' somewhere I don't remember.
Christmas miracle, I don't feel like dropping it, I even feel a little bit of interest in what will unfold in my next reading session. That's sadly fucking rare.

It's heavily bonkers, and something I didn't expect, it's full of humor. Nothing laugh out loud, no Pratchett, just constantly... funny. One of the key elements is that the heroine, who works at some shady harbor administrative service, is easily annoyed, and God Lord, she only meets people that seem to want nothing more in life than dunking on her.
There is a would be high ranked official that must put up with an eccentric professor to finish his thesis, but really would rather flee the madman. A colleague that reads the future in playing cards, a drunk operative, some SCP-like shit going on in boats, and mutilated cadavers.

Ok. Interest piqued. Hook, line, and sinker.
 

Li Kao

It’s a strange world. Let’s keep it that way.
Jan 28, 2019
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The Organization by Maria Galina - finished.

In principle, I like several elements from the book and I will have good memories of it overall. But I can see people disliking it and they wouldn't be automatically wrong.
It is small at 240+ pages, but slow, relatively nothing happens. Then turns out the heroine is not really the heroine and just make cameos from time to time. And I'm pretty certain it's 'literary' genre fiction, so the weird is there but it's pretty clearly more about the personal lives of the characters than whetever is happening. Ending is a little abrupt, too.

I'm not arguing against literary genre fictions, in fact I'm in theory more inclined to it. I realized several years ago that the human part is extremely important, even in genre fiction. That being said, and maybe my biggest issue with the book, the characters lives and psyche are NOT THAT interesting. Which is a little problematic if you want to sell my your book on the human element.
Some, very few let's be honest, really good weird vibes though. It's like the subtle man urban fantasy, as in not choke full of fantasy tropes at every fucking page like what passes for urban fantasy. The Russia in the 80's setting is refreshing too.

I liked it, I loved some elements from it, but let's be honest it was boring and it's a very acquired taste.


Note : Turns out it is partly inspired by a contemporary of Lovecraft, Algernon Blackwood (read 'THE WILLOWS' people !). I swear, even when I'm not looking for it, I end up in Weird Tales era.
 
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Li Kao

It’s a strange world. Let’s keep it that way.
Jan 28, 2019
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This year my dearest wish book wise would be to finally be able to read 'big' books again, like in my teens, when nothing was too big.
Being able to read The Expanse would be huge.

Not my most attainable goals but you never know.
 

Li Kao

It’s a strange world. Let’s keep it that way.
Jan 28, 2019
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I’m kinda in the mood to read a book ! Really, it’s there. Cool.
Now to choose between the hundreds that interest me and not drop it because of irregular reading habit or reading ocd.
What could go wrong ? :anguished-face:

But hey, it’s there.

Am I the only one reading things these days, people ? You know you could post about it, right ? :grimacing-face:
 
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Mivey

MeatMember
Sep 20, 2018
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Am I the only one reading things these days, people ? You know you could post about it, right ?
Well, ok, if you insist. :weary-face:

I'm currently reading Axiom's End from Lindsay Ellis.


It's a sci-fi story about first contact, and a nice read so far. It's pretty clear that it's the debut work of a young author, so don't expect it to be on the level of say Urusula K. Le Guin. The references to real life characters are a bit on the nose. I'm about halfway through the book, and looking forward to how it ends. From what I gather, Ellis wants to make this into a larger series, so I really hope this doesn't just end on a cliffhanger.
 

Li Kao

It’s a strange world. Let’s keep it that way.
Jan 28, 2019
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Ughh, I don’t know what to read. I so fear losing interest after a couple pages.

The Expanse . James S.A. Corey
Vita Nostra . Marina & Sergei Diatchenko
‘French Title’ . Anna Starobinets
Dune . Frank Herbert
Too Like the Lightning . Ada Palmer
The Hobbit . J.R.R. Tolkien
Tomorrow Factory . Rich Larson
‘French Collection’ . Ted Chiang
‘French Collection’ . Ken Liu
Shining . Stephen King
The Thing . John W. Campbell
Annihilation . Jeff VanderMeer
Secret Show . Clive Barker
Mythago Wood . Robert Holdstock
Vorrh . Brian Catling
Escape from Baghdad !. Saad Z. Hossein
 

Li Kao

It’s a strange world. Let’s keep it that way.
Jan 28, 2019
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I have read a book ! Well, a little book. A babybook ?



The Thing Who Goes There by John W. Campbell

Preamble
John W. Campbell is very famous for his SF work AND for how batshit crazy he was / became in his later life. A passage by his Wikipedia page should easily explain why the people in charge renamed the Prize that went by his name.


Same premise as At the Mountains of Madness + Paranoia in a closed space + Bad writing style + Nothing else unfortunately.

So yeah the writing is pretty mediocre, full of unecessary flowery shit. A Goodread user highlighted that sentence :
"The huge blowtorch McReady had brought coughed solemnly. Abruptly it rumbled disapproval throatily. Then it laughed gurglingly. . ."

Maybe I'm dumb but the logic from some deductions eluded me, too. The characters often determining things with certainty while I was all, 'well, if you say so'.

Other than that, yeah, it doesn't aim for the existential dread of Lovecraft, more SF/Horror, but it doesn't really go anywhere with it's plot. The characters are multiple and so paper thin as being interchangeable, just excuses to carry the intrigue to its conclusion. It has moments, mainly during the first half, where the horror mood gives the change, but then it concludes and you realize it didn't have much to offer. I said that it doesn't go anywhere, but maybe it's not like there was much to develop. It strikes me as a great concept that lose steam pretty quickly.
Maybe a case where the age of the text hurts it, as it inspired many since then. Maybe.

For historical and curiosity's sake, this wasn't a bad read. Otherwise, pretty bad.
2/5
 
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Stevey

Gromlintroid
Dec 8, 2018
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Still chipping away at the Horus Heresy, nearly finished book 24, Betrayer.

 

Li Kao

It’s a strange world. Let’s keep it that way.
Jan 28, 2019
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Very interested to read The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin. Also very frustrated, because the core idea looks very much like something I wanted to write for years.

Still more interested in discovering Anna Starobinets, though. Maria Galina left me wanting more of that Russian genre litterature. Or not Russian, just not the usual anglo-saxon thing.
 

toxicitizen

Wake the fuck up, Samurai
Oct 24, 2018
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I'm just a little over halfway through Hyperion by Dan Simmons. I can see why this is considered a classic, it's pretty damn good so far. I was a little wary of the multiple tales thing being too episodic for me but that turned out to be unfounded. I'm completely hooked!

Also, I think I might have mentioned this in the Steam thread before but ever since I stopped playing/buying as many games, I started buying a shit ton of books instead. Well, I just went through all my purchases and put them all in a spreadsheet for shits and giggles to see what percentage of it all I actually read and it turns out I bought over twice as many books as I read last year lmao. What is wrong with me?

I need to slow down for a while... It's a wonder I haven't been brought to financial ruin by some shitty gacha game. :anguished-face:
 

Li Kao

It’s a strange world. Let’s keep it that way.
Jan 28, 2019
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I'm just a little over halfway through Hyperion by Dan Simmons. I can see why this is considered a classic, it's pretty damn good so far. I was a little wary of the multiple tales thing being too episodic for me but that turned out to be unfounded. I'm completely hooked!

Also, I think I might have mentioned this in the Steam thread before but ever since I stopped playing/buying as many games, I started buying a shit ton of books instead. Well, I just went through all my purchases and put them all in a spreadsheet for shits and giggles to see what percentage of it all I actually read and it turns out I bought over twice as many books as I read last year lmao. What is wrong with me?

I need to slow down for a while... It's a wonder I haven't been brought to financial ruin by some shitty gacha game. :anguished-face:
Is Hyperion accessible to non sf readers and uncultured swines ? It always seemed demanding.
 

Kyougar

No reviews, no Buy
Nov 2, 2018
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I'm just a little over halfway through Hyperion by Dan Simmons. I can see why this is considered a classic, it's pretty damn good so far. I was a little wary of the multiple tales thing being too episodic for me but that turned out to be unfounded. I'm completely hooked!

Also, I think I might have mentioned this in the Steam thread before but ever since I stopped playing/buying as many games, I started buying a shit ton of books instead. Well, I just went through all my purchases and put them all in a spreadsheet for shits and giggles to see what percentage of it all I actually read and it turns out I bought over twice as many books as I read last year lmao. What is wrong with me?

I need to slow down for a while... It's a wonder I haven't been brought to financial ruin by some shitty gacha game. :anguished-face:
Later alligator!
Always has me crying :( Sol's story is so heartwrenching.

As for reading especially:
I was an avid reader in my youth, only held back by a teenager's budget. I was reading the classic books like Dune, other scifi tales like Nights Dawn trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton, or his Commonwealth saga, Pulp scifi/fanatsy series like Battletech, Shadowrun, Perry Rhodan, etc.
Then came the internet and MMO phase.
I got back HARD into books while reading amateur/web fiction some 5 or 6 years ago and am not slowing down. Depending on mood, free time, and readability, I am reading 400k to a million words every month for the last 6 years.
I am probably reading 95%amateur to 5% paid books.

Is Hyperion accessible to non sf readers and uncultured swines ? It always seemed demanding.
Hyperion is accessible.
The following books? Are a drug-fueled trip.
 
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toxicitizen

Wake the fuck up, Samurai
Oct 24, 2018
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Is Hyperion accessible to non sf readers and uncultured swines ? It always seemed demanding.
Yeah, I'm not exactly a seasoned SF reader either. I've only been getting into SFF seriously for the past year or so. It's one of those things I'd been meaning to do for years but never actually took the time to do. Hyperion doesn't hold your hand with the worldbuilding but that's fairly common for the genre, I think. After 50 pages or so you get used to it and start putting things together from context.

Later alligator!
Always has me crying :( Sol's story is so heartwrenching.
Ha, yeah. I'm actually in the middle of this one right one. Gonna try finishing it before I go to bed.
 
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Li Kao

It’s a strange world. Let’s keep it that way.
Jan 28, 2019
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Because a certain someone piqued my pride by observing that with my English fluency he thought I read more books in English, I resumed my reading of 'The Weird', an anthology of weird short stories selected from famous (or not writers) in the genre.
Three shorts reads, and it was unfortunately mostly bad. But hey, I discovered wonderful authors with this anthology so no big deal.



Genius Loci by Clark Ashton Smith (1933)
A painter confides in his friend how he has found a very peculiar place. A meadow that reeks of evil. He feels the imperious need to go back and paint it. Hilarity ensues.
Good, solid. Ashton Smith has been one of my good surprises while reading this book and my Lovecraft anthology. He is definitely great at setting a mood. The story won't revolutionize anything though, nature horror, think The Willow and other comparable stories. But it can't compare. Still a very enjoyable read.

Town of Cats by Hagiwara Sakutarō (1935)
A man with no sense of directions travels to a strange village, situated... somewhere else.
Meh. I will surely sell it short, but it's just a fairly mundane 'did I hallucinate or was the hallucination another reality'.

The Tarn by Hugh Walpole (1936)
A bitter and angry writer, retired from life in the city, receives the visit of the person he takes responsible of his career failure.
Maybe the worst of the lot. Typical story ending with the mundane hesitation between vengeful ghost or extreme guilt.
 

Mivey

MeatMember
Sep 20, 2018
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Well, ok, if you insist. :weary-face:

I'm currently reading Axiom's End from Lindsay Ellis.


It's a sci-fi story about first contact, and a nice read so far. It's pretty clear that it's the debut work of a young author, so don't expect it to be on the level of say Urusula K. Le Guin. The references to real life characters are a bit on the nose. I'm about halfway through the book, and looking forward to how it ends. From what I gather, Ellis wants to make this into a larger series, so I really hope this doesn't just end on a cliffhanger.
So, as a follow up, I finished the book recently. Gotta say the second half of the book is really well written and you do get hooked to what's going on. I also dig the alternate history elements to it, with the book talking place in the early 2000s. Considering this is someone's debut novel, it's pretty impressive.

I liked where the story was going and it had a nice twist to it that I didn't really see coming. Really curious how the next book will continue this particular plot point. According to a recent Q&A by Ellis, the next book in the series "Truth of the Divine" should come out sometime late this year, if everything works out.