• January 19, 2017
January 19, 2017, 5:18:33 pm *
Welcome, Guest. Please Log In to participate in forums.
News: Talk about how to cope with chronic illness, disability, and other health issues in the academic workplace.
 
Pages: 1 ... 417 418 [419]
  Print  
Author Topic: So what have you read lately  (Read 1374882 times)
hmaria1609
Senior member
****
Posts: 421


« Reply #6270 on: January 11, 2017, 6:57:47 pm »

Been awhile since I posted my reads.  Here's a selection of what I've read:

Fiction
Victoria by Daisy Goodwin
A Season of Spells by Sylvia Izzo Hunter  (Noctis Magicae #3)
A Want of Kindness by Joanne Limburg
A Grave Celebration by Christine Trent (Lady of Ashes #6)
The Death of Dulgath by Michael Sullivan (Riyria Chronicles #3)

Non-fiction
The One True Barbecue by Rien Fertel
The Lost Tudor Princess by Alison Weir
The Sisters Who Would Be Queen by Leanda De Lisle

Teen
Manga Classics: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, edited by Stacy King
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
The Black Key by Amy Ewing (Jewel #3)
Emma: A Victorian Romance by Kaoru Mori (omnibus edition Vol. 5)
Logged
conjugate
Compulsive punster and insatiable reader, and
Member-Moderator
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 19,379

Tends to have warped sense of humor


« Reply #6271 on: January 13, 2017, 9:04:03 pm »

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.  I liked it greatly, and now I'm a little way into the first book.

Pros:  Nice writing, good plot, reasonable "stand-alone-ness" even though it follows a trilogy of novels set in the same universe.  Roughly, six people from the bad part of town want to pull off a great heist; a sort of fantasy Ocean's Eleven, I suppose (though I'm not familiar with Ocean's).  The characters work together nicely, and a light humor holds the thing together.

Cons: Very few.  I thought in one case it wasn't well-thought-out.  This is the obligatory scene where the villain explains his plot and tells Our Heroes that they all have to die now.  Granted, if the villain had done the sensible thing and killed all of them right off the bat, the book would have been shorter but more depressing.  Then there was a bit of dissatisfaction where a major plot line was left unresolved, to make room for the sequel.  Apart from that, excellent.

The system of magic appears to work like this: There are three classes of people (called Grisha who can display magical talents.  The Corporalki can either heal or kill by directly affecting a person's body (stopping heart, increasing blood flow, etc.) and are divided into two subclasses.  These are the "Heartrenders" who specialize in doing damage and the Healers who, well,....

The Etherealki come in three subclasses; the Squallers, who can raise storms, the Inferni, who can create fire, and the Tidemakers, who can do a lot of things with all sorts of flows (but handle tides a lot, hence the name).

Finally, the Materialki or Fabrikators, who come in Durasts or Alkemi, and I'm not sure what the distinction is; one of the characters can, for instance, pull the iron out of a piece of metal that is alloyed with iron, making it somewhat weaker and providing them with iron if they want something made of iron.  He can also shape it.

All these people come from one place on the map, a sort of Eastern-Europe place.  The book starts in the metropolis of Ketterdam, capital of Kerch, an island principality in a sea between two large continents.  It strongly resembles Amsterdam.  The Grisha come from Ravka, in the center of the Eastern continent; south of them is Shu Han, a sort of generic China; to the north is Fjerda, a kind of Germany, but rife with arrogant intolerant nationalism.

The plot entails rescuing a Shu scientist from a prison in Fjerda.  I won't describe more, because the plot is intricate and I don't want to provide spoilers.

We've begun reading the sequel; I can't recall the title offhand, or I'd warn you not to try to read it without reading Six of Crows first, as events in the sequel are incomprehensible without an understanding of the first book.  The author has also written a trilogy, the Grisha Trilogy, which I have not read, but which presumably takes place in the same world.
Logged

Unfortunately, I think conjugate gives good advice.
∀ε>0∃δ>0∋|xa|<δ⇒|(x)-(a)|<ε
neutralname
A person without qualities, except for being a
Member-Moderator
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 7,105


« Reply #6272 on: January 16, 2017, 9:23:16 am »

I blame Wally Lamb for this trend of ridiculously long novels covering many characters over decades.  Although I note that Lamb himself has cut himself down to writing less than 300 pages for his latest book.

I'm listening to Nathan Hill's The Nix, which is a tedious 22 hours. I didn't realize what I was letting myself into when I started, and I am over half way through now. The hardcover is 640 pages. It gets high praise from John Irving, and People magazine compares it to Franzen, although that's not necessarily a compliment and Hill isn't as smart as Franzen.  Even the NYT Book Review slobbered over it. I wonder whether these reviewers actually read the whole thing, and enjoyed it.

It does have some good moments, and could be a couple of entertaining shorter novels. It starts out with a satire of academic life with a professor who has stopped caring and a student who never cared.  There's nothing particularly smart about it, but it's sorta funny.


I'm thinking that I've though I've downloaded Annie Proulx's Barkskins, it would be insanity for me to try it, since it is 26 hours long.


Logged

"My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music." Vladimir Nabokov
ergative
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,402


« Reply #6273 on: January 16, 2017, 10:59:24 am »

I read all of the The Nix--on the recommendation of NYT and John Irving, in fact---and found it quite good. If you're not loving it yet then perhaps it's not for you, but I really enjoyed it.
Logged
yellowtractor
Vice-Provost of the University of the South-East Corner of Donkeyshire (formerly Donkeyshire Polytechnic) (a Post-1992 University) and also a
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 21,794


« Reply #6274 on: January 17, 2017, 8:08:43 am »

OK, so I'm tired of being harassed by well-read friends for not having read Alice Munro.  I am reading Alice Munro.

And wow.
Logged

It is, of course, possible that what I remember as terror was only a love too great to bear.
dr_alcott
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 12,204


« Reply #6275 on: January 17, 2017, 2:37:00 pm »

OK, so I'm tired of being harassed by well-read friends for not having read Alice Munro.  I am reading Alice Munro.

And wow.

Which Munro?
Logged

You must be your own snow, Dr_Alcott.  You must lift, and sparkle, and then melt away.

I love everyone here!
magnemite
no one of consequence, and a
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 2,667


« Reply #6276 on: January 17, 2017, 2:49:23 pm »

Conclave, Robert Harris. Pretty good.
Logged

may you ride eternal, shiny and chrome
magnemite
no one of consequence, and a
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 2,667


« Reply #6277 on: January 17, 2017, 2:53:13 pm »

I am contemplating reading The plot against America, P. Roth, again, because. I fear depression may result, though.
Logged

may you ride eternal, shiny and chrome
ergative
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,402


« Reply #6278 on: January 17, 2017, 3:32:21 pm »

The Atrocity Archives, by Charles Stross. Lots of fun--especially because a character in the John Scalzi series I've been going through in bits and bobs is named after Stross--but nothing really special yet. I'd read more, but they get classified with Jim Butcher's Dresden FIles in my mind: I'll get them from the library, and go so far as to request them, but I won't spend money on them.
Logged
yellowtractor
Vice-Provost of the University of the South-East Corner of Donkeyshire (formerly Donkeyshire Polytechnic) (a Post-1992 University) and also a
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 21,794


« Reply #6279 on: January 17, 2017, 4:20:23 pm »

OK, so I'm tired of being harassed by well-read friends for not having read Alice Munro.  I am reading Alice Munro.

And wow.

Which Munro?

At my friends' behest I am about halfway through Family Furnishings.  I finally get the comparisons with Faulkner--had Faulkner been female, from rural Ontario, and not so perpetually full of himself (don't get me wrong, I love Faulkner), perhaps these are the sorts of stories he would have written?  Such complexity of character, and such quietly dazzling shifts in time and point of view.  I thought I did not want to read short story after short story about small-town Ontario.  I was wrong.
Logged

It is, of course, possible that what I remember as terror was only a love too great to bear.
itried
Senior member
****
Posts: 552


« Reply #6280 on: Yesterday at 04:57:27 pm »

I tried The Nix and found I wasn't the least interested in the plot or characters. Since there's not much else to a book, I promptly returned it to the library. Maybe I'll try again in a few years.

I'm almost through Rebecca Solnit's A Field Guide to Getting Lost. I love reading her mind... she's so observant, and every now and again she writes a beautiful gem of a sentence.

Next on the list: The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York. Apparently Americans were offing each other like crazy then as now, only then they used chemicals and now we use guns.
Logged
Pages: 1 ... 417 418 [419]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.9 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
  • 1255 Twenty-Third St., N.W.
  • Washington, D.C. 20037
subscribe today

Get the insight you need for success in academe.