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Doomy77
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@Rymdkejsaren. Some fine recommendations there. Sad to say that my book consumption has diminished greatly since early 2020. Before the virus times audiobooks were very much my jam and I did the vast majority of my “reading” while driving, which of course has been greatly curtailed due to the pandemic.

 

I hope to get the opportunity to return to that pattern before long.

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Speaking of greek myths reimagined, I really enjoyed Illium by Dan Simmons, and it's conclusion Olympos.  It's mostly sci fi thousands of years in the future, but the trojan war is ongoing on Mars, while the few humans remaining on earth present an interesting culture.  Then there's the sentient robots coming to this side of the solar system to explore the strange emissions coming from the area.  I found it quite compelling.  Simmons is one of those authors who has some books I love and others I don't feel are particular well written or interesting.  I enjoyed these ones as much as Hyperion though.

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6 hours ago, Rymdkejsaren said:

At some point I may have to pick up something by Sanderson again, but I read The Final Empire and thought it was meh: 2/5.

 

 

I would say The Final Empire was possibly the least interesting of the Mistborn novels, it has so much world building to do.  While I did enjoy the first Mistborn trilogy, I liked the Wax and Wayne novels a lot more; which are a trilogy of books in the same world but many years in the future.

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  • 1 month later...

Just finished Shadow of the Conqueror by YouTuber Shad M. Brooks. I liked the premise of the most evil dictator in history getting a chance to redeem himself via rejuvenation and magic powers, but some of the writing and characters didn’t sit right with me.

 

I saw a thread on Reddit where it got an absolute savaging but I think that’s a bit much, though I was listening to the audiobook which has some top tier narrators. Perhaps it’s harder to get through in print.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I finished Bleak House and it was excellent.  The only other novel I read by Dickens was A Tale of Two Cities and I thought it was okay.  But Bleak House I thought was great.  And while the house wasn't bleak at all, he would hit me with some scenes of how the poor lived that were just really sad, getting me choked up a few times, and then there was one scene that had me actually crying some manly tears because of how devastatingly sad it was. 

 

Nabokov's lecture on it was also great and while he praised Dickens for the work he also pointed out where Dickens was weak with his storytelling. 

 

I then read Madame Bovary and that was also great.  I went into it knowing nothing about it other than when it came out it was controversial and I can understand why as some of the scenes were kinda racy, but nothing that one could consider obscene.  I think it was more the subject matter itself that the people objected to.  

 

And again, Nabokov's lecture on it that I read following the book was awesome.  He pointed out some themes that I didn't pick up when I had first read it.  He also inserted into the piece Flaubert's own thoughts on his own process, which was fascinating, for example he talks about how it took him several days to write a few pages.  It also was interesting to read about how he pretty much innovated this bit where multiple conversations are going on at the same time but overlap, I've come across this in another book, Some Other Place.The Right Place, and I'm convinced that this is where Harington got the idea from.  I'm sure Harington had also read Nabokov's lectures because of how much influence Nabokov had on Harington's own writing.

 

And I'm currently reading The Hot Rock by Westlake, and it's just a hoot.  It's a crime/mystery and the first in a series about a crook named Dortmunder.  I've always liked Westlake but I haven't read him since I was in college and I picked up a few of these Dortmunder books when they were on sale for the Kindle and so far this is great, nice and fast reading with a few guffaws here and there, just reminds me of New York from when I was a kid, just a magical place full of criminals, lol.  The book is basically about a jewel heist that goes wrong and then when they try to fix it, it just keeps going wrong, real fun stuff.

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  • 2 weeks later...
2 hours ago, Doomy77 said:

Any Blinkist users round here? It sounds interesting but I pay too many subscriptions already.

I've never heard of Blinkist so I looked them up quickly and came across this article about the service:

 

https://bookriot.com/blinkist-review/

 

The review is pretty negative and it seems that Blinkist is more helpful to discover if you want to read the book rather than doing a good job of letting you know the information in the book.  I don't read enough nonfiction personally, usually just some history books here and there and the occasional memoir or collection of essays that I'll come across.

 

On my own reading I finished The Hot Rock by Westlake, it was a real fun book, nice and fast and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.  Then I moved onto the next book in Nabokov's lectures, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  And I really didn't like it.  The best thing I can say about it is that it was a quick read.  It really rubbed me the wrong way, then reading Nabokov's lecture on it, I'm still at a loss as to what he loved about it so much as compared to any of the other books covered earlier, I didn't find the prose to be that good, nor does it really say anything about the human condition that's new or interesting.  

 

The next book in his lecture series is one that I'm actually familer with, Swann's Way by Proust.  I actually read In Search of Lost Time last year, I started at the start of the pandemic when the 'pause' happened and most of our country was 'shut down,' and I figured if I was going to tackle it this seemed like the perfect opportunity.  I will say that it was the best book that I've ever read.  My only lament is that I have literally nobody to talk to about this book, my wife and one point told me point blank that she's really not interested in hearing about it anymore, lol, but that's because she developed a loathing for Marcel (as the character not the writer, but I don't think she was too keen on his style either) at that point after I was explaining some of the plot points to her.  But rereading Swann's Way is just a treat, now that I know who everyone already is I find myself just enjoying the ride instead of trying to remember who all these people are or what the heck is going on or what it's all about and it's just a beautifully written book.  It's also pants on head crazy at points, not so much the early volumes, but after volume 3 it's truly just bonkers, I'm excited to read what Nabokov has to say about Proust when I finish this and move onto his lecture.   

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've been reading less lately because of my general state of mind (which is a bit jumbled for... eh.. reasons). But I'm still keeping up with at least one book per week, though I doubt I'll get close to the 90 books I read (or listened to) last year.

 

Recently, I've been going through the entire Murderbot series, which is a bunch of novelettes and a novel, starting with All Systems Red, by Martha Wells. It's about a rogue security android, part machine, part cultured human stem cells, who breaks its "governor module" (i.e. slave driver circuit) and becomes rogue. These stories are absolutely brilliant, seen through the eyes of someone who struggles with the need for social connection while simultaneously despising humans and contact with them. (I definitely identify with that.) It manages to be cold-hearted and heart-warming and heart-wrenching all at once. Highly, highly recommended, even for readers who might not usually like SF.

 

I'm currently going through some more sci-fi classics as well, so I'm now reading Solaris, and I have The Ship Who Sang and Flowers for Algernon queued up after that.

 

My biggest non-fiction recommendation from recently is Range by David Epstein, which weighs the value of general versus specific knowledge, with a lot of really fascinating examples.

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  • 9 months later...

I finally started using Audible due to longer commute times. I went through the latest Abercrombie trilogy, the Age of Madness. The style is as enjoyable as ever and it's a thrill to meet the characters, now older, from the first series. The scenario has some weaknesses but overall very enjoyable. The narration by Steven Pacey is top-notched, cannot recommend the man enough. 

I had to listen to The First Law again after that, turns out I read it 7 years ago and had forgotten quite a lot.

In-between I listened to We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, probably a must for anyone who likes A Brave New World and 1984 since it inspired them quite a lot.

Now started 16 Ways to defend a walled city on the recommendation of @Rymdkejsaren, liking it so far.

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I'm reading the Age of Magness trilogy as well, halfway through book three. They are good, so far I think the second book was the strongest. I re-read the First Law a while back as well, still enjoyed them greatly. Have you read the stand-alone books that followed? I can recommend them all, but in particular The Heroes and Far Country.

 

I've fully swapped from SF to Fantasy, so I'm also listening to Adrian Tchaikovsky's Empire of Black and Gold, which is interesting so far, though I was a bit put off to find out it's the first 600-page tome in a series of ten(!).

 

I've also read the two standalone sequels to Sixteen Ways, and if you like the first book @Doomy77, you will probably like those too. They are How to Rule An Empire and Get Away With It and A Practical Guide to Conquering the World.

 

Edited by Rymdkejsaren
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46 minutes ago, Rymdkejsaren said:

I'm reading the Age of Magness trilogy as well, halfway through book three. They are good, so far I think the second book was the strongest. I re-read the First Law a while back as well, still enjoyed them greatly. Have you read the stand-alone books that followed? I can recommend them all, but in particular The Heroes and Far Country.

 

I've fully swapped from SF to Fantasy, so I'm also listening to Adrian Tchaikovsky's Empire of Black and Gold, which is interesting so far, though I was a bit put off to find out it's the first 600-page tome in a series of ten(!).

 

I've also read the two standalone sequels to Sixteen Ways, and if you like the first book @Doomy77, you will probably like those too. They are How to Rule An Empire and Get Away With It and A Practical Guide to Conquering the World.

 

That was @Barristan, not me. But on Audible I’ve just started What If?, which is a radio series looking at what might have happened if historical events played out differently. The first few episodes look at Nazi conquest of the Soviet Union, if JFK’s assassination had failed, and if Scotland had voted for devolution in 1979 rather than 1998.

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11 hours ago, Rymdkejsaren said:

Oops. My excuse is that you're both old grumps who read books?

 

I turned 40 yesterday, I feel that deeply :D

I'd be curious to read your feedback on the end of the trilogy when you're done. I did read the three standalones last summer (or maybe two years ago, I'm lost). All great, with probably The Heroes as my favourite because I love the Northmen. I think I wrote a blurb about them a few pages ago in this thread. Red Country was great, if only because of the character making a comeback (trying to avoid spoilers), but I was slightly annoyed at how he created his Far-West derivation in a corner of his world. I mean it works, just feels... unimaginative? I'm considering trying his series targeted at young adults, got anything on that?

@Doomy77: that sounds like a mish-mash of the plots from video games I played in recent times, notably the Wolfenstein series and Prey :p I'll pencil that down.

Edited by Barristan
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It’s a bit more scholarly, unlike a lot of the panel shows I listen to on Audible the guests are almost exclusively academics rather than a mix of academics and entertainers as featured on the likes of The Museum of Curiosity or The Infinite Monkey Cage.

 

If you’re after infotainment I’d recommend those before this one. Curiosity is a spinoff of TV show Qi so focuses more on general trivia whereas Monkey Cage places the emphasis on popular science.

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@Barristan I've read the Shattered Sea series (Half a King, etc.). I definitely enjoyed them, but not as much as the First Law books. There were some characters I really liked, and as I recall I thought the first book was ok, second was good, and third was a bit disappointing.

 

If you want more general grimdark and morally questionable characters, you should probably go to Mark Lawrence's Prince of Thorns, if you haven't already.

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I did read that a while ago, really enjoyed it. Forgot most of it but it was quite original and very grimdark for sure.

Around the same time, I read Heroes Die by Matthew Stover. I can recommend that one.

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7 minutes ago, Barristan said:

I did read that a while ago, really enjoyed it. Forgot most of it but it was quite original and very grimdark for sure.

Around the same time, I read Heroes Die by Matthew Stover. I can recommend that one.

 

I think I DNFd that ages ago after reading it on your recommendation in this thread. Might give it another try...

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  • 2 months later...

So I finished 16 Ways... and the next one, nearing the end of the third one. I was slightly taken aback by the ending of the first, but then we got some answers in the second so that was OK. It's got a very different style from the usual fantasy and it works for me. The second one is probably the best so far in my opinion. @Rymdkejsarendid you read anything else from him? Consensus seems to be that it's also good but very grim and depressing. Not much seems available on Audible anyway.

I've also Rhythm of War ongoing in paper for months now, need to get back into it.

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9 hours ago, Barristan said:

So I finished 16 Ways... and the next one, nearing the end of the third one. I was slightly taken aback by the ending of the first, but then we got some answers in the second so that was OK. It's got a very different style from the usual fantasy and it works for me. The second one is probably the best so far in my opinion. @Rymdkejsarendid you read anything else from him? Consensus seems to be that it's also good but very grim and depressing. Not much seems available on Audible anyway.

I've also Rhythm of War ongoing in paper for months now, need to get back into it.

 

Yeah the ending of the first book is a bit too abrupt, but otherwise I think it remains my favourite.

 

I haven't read any of his other books, but it's definitely on my list. From what I understand, they don't have the same dark humour/satire type narration, but are still good. I'll give one a go some time. I read e-books as well as listen to audiobooks, so not an issue for me.

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  • 2 weeks later...
8 minutes ago, Barristan said:

I've started Gideon the Ninth, also on recommendation from @Rymdkejsaren. I think I'm in love, it's got everything I enjoy in a book. I owe you a pint if we ever meet :)

 

Well that shows up as a "read for free" on my amazon kindle account, so I'll give it a go!

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On 2/4/2018 at 11:52 AM, Suido said:

Just discovered Jay Kristoff and his Nevernight Chronicle. Midway through second book now, would recommend.

 

Fantasy in a Roman Empire style setting, with all the sex, guts, personal and political complexity included, but much more enjoyable reading than, say, GRRM. Has footnotes by a snide author-character (a Pratchett influence, I think), some meh, but mostly they work.

Re-bumping this as Kristoff has become one of my favourite authors. 

 

The Nevernight Chronicle books are top notch, and his other series are well worth a look too.

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9 hours ago, Barristan said:

I've started Gideon the Ninth, also on recommendation from @Rymdkejsaren. I think I'm in love, it's got everything I enjoy in a book. I owe you a pint if we ever meet :)

 

I absolutely loved that book (particularly as narrated by Moira Quirk). The sequel is out and I believe the third is coming soon. However, the sequel is a much tougher read, for reasons that I can't really get into without spoiling. It's just set up to be strange, and it has mystery but in a different way from the first. Just so you're ready for a mindbender. I still recommend it, but it doesn't quite have the, how shall I say it -- panache? -- of the first book.

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