What are you reading in 2022?

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Recently finished up Ada Palmer's "Perhaps the Stars", the fourth and last book in her Terra Ignota series.

It was a slow but worthwhile read.

First, a slight warning. It is very much written as the fourth part of a larger work expected to be read as one. It does not spend time explaining the various factions and characters and intrigues and who is important to whom and why that have been established in the earlier books. For me I read the third, The Will to Battle, not long after it came out and had a few year gap. Knowing now, I would have gone back and reread the first books again.

But that doesn't take away from the story. The story is written on multiple layers, and having knowledge of both various historic philosophers as well as a working knowledge of the Odyssey are helpful in navigating those layers.

This books is more philosophical than the preceding three, and some of the big conflicts from the earlier books dwindle in scope and therefore import in what goes on in this one.

For those looking at the series as a whole, it has a fresh take on human cultural evolution that I enjoyed. The main character is absolutely a Mary Sue, but that's almost the point - except for a few paragraphs in ~2000 pages, it really espouses the Great Man concept of history that a few movers and shakers guide everything. And the (majority) PoV character needs to be able to interact with all of them.

I'll put it around a 7 or 8 out of 10. It's weighty in thoughts and at times the exposition is a bit much. But if you're going to enjoy the series, I think you'd really enjoy the series.
 

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Richards

Legend
One thing I'm just now noticing about the book I'm reading: by putting the author's name at the top and the title of the book below it, the book's front cover notes, "LISA JACKSON Deserves to Die."

Kind of harsh, no?

Johnathan
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Recently finished up Ada Palmer's "Perhaps the Stars", the fourth and last book in her Terra Ignota series.
I have studiously NOT read your review. I just wanted to comment. My library did not have this novel. So I ordered on ABE books. It showed up and is a TOME. It's 800 pages long, sheesh. I look forward to reading it all - maybe while I'm camping next week and traveling the week after. But wow what a doorstop.

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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I have studiously NOT read your review. I just wanted to comment. My library did not have this novel. So I ordered on ABE books. It showed up and is a TOME. It's 800 pages long, sheesh. I look forward to reading it all - maybe while I'm camping next week and traveling the week after. But wow what a doorstop.
Spoiler free

It is long. The one point I need to make is: read the other three first. This doesn't reintroduce everyone.
 

Richards

Legend
I'm now 91 pages into a new book (thanks to a lengthy stay in a hospital waiting room while my wife was at an appointment): No Time Like the Past by Greg Cox - a Star Trek Original Series novel wherein Seven of Nine ends up shunted through space and time and ends up on a planet with Captain James Kirk and crew. They're now working together to get her back to her own place and time before she corrupts the timeline with her knowledge of "the future." Kind of contrived, but the author does a good job making the characters speak with authenticity - as I read the book I can easily picture the characters saying the lines they're given (which is sadly not always the case and really bugs me when they get it wrong).

Johnathan
 


Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Finished reading all 8 of Josephine Tey's mysteries. Tey is one of Elizabeth MacKintosh's pseudonyms. She used Gordon Daviot for her plays, the non-mystery novels, short stories and poetry (and originally for the first mystery now commonly listed under Tey).

Tey is sometimes listed as one of the four Queens of Crime with Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, and Margery Allingham - in place of Ngaio Marsh, and some of her books make some "greatest ever lists". (Daughter of Time was #1 on the 1990 list by the British Crime Writers' Association for top crime novel of all time, and The Franchise Affair was number 11. The Franchise Affair also made the top 101 list for Parade Magazine. Those two (#4 and #81) and Brat Farrar (#90) show up on the top 100 by the Mystery Writers of America).

I don't know if I've ever read someone who is this much of a wordsmith. I can't tell you if they are the best plots (although they seemed fine) or best characters (although I found myself liking many of them), but the words themselves pulled me along and made me want to read.

The first two Inspector Grant novels (The Man in the Queue and A Shilling for Candles) would have been super, but there were a couple parts in each where it felt like there was a scene jump, or something odd, or something I missed. They were still good reads, and those problems didn't happen for the later six.

The next three didn't really have Inspector Grant in them - Miss Pym Disposes and Brat Farrar (not at all) and The Franchise Affair (a cameo or two). The final three all featured him at the center To Love and Be Wise, The Daughter of Time, and The Singing Sands.

Miss Pym Disposes was a spectacular book set in an English girl's college. My big reason for not listing the rest on the same level is that the endings didn't quite live up to the previous parts of the books (they were fine, but I really, really liked what came before). I guess from those others that The Franchise Affair is my second favorite. I also wonder if the Daughter of Time reads better if one has some passing knowledge of the history English monarchy (it's the only one that might have drug for me at a point or two). The Daughter of Time and the Singing Sand stand out for not having the usual mystery set-up.

Edit: As an aside, I would say don't read the reviews, summaries, or cover blurbs of any of them before jumping in. Some of them definitely would have changed the natural feel of the books to me for a first read.

Now on to Dasheill Hammet.
 
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Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government's Secret Plan to Save Itself - While the Rest of Us Die by Garrett M. Graff
A fresh window on American history: the eye-opening truth about the government's secret plans to survive a catastrophic attack on US soil, even if the rest of us die - a road map that spans from the dawn of the nuclear age to today.

Every day in Washington, DC, the blue-and-gold 1st Helicopter Squadron, codenamed MUSSEL, flies over the Potomac River. As obvious as the presidential motorcade, most people assume the squadron is a travel perk for VIPs. They're only half right: While the helicopters do provide transport, the unit exists to evacuate high-ranking officials in the event of a terrorist or nuclear attack on the capital. In the event of an attack, select officials would be whisked by helicopters to a ring of secret bunkers around Washington, even as ordinary citizens were left to fend for themselves.

For 60 years the US government has been developing secret doomsday plans to protect itself, and the multibillion-dollar Continuity of Government (COG) program takes numerous forms - from its plans to evacuate the Liberty Bell from Philadelphia to the plans to launch nuclear missiles from a Boeing-747 jet flying high over Nebraska. In Raven Rock, Garrett M. Graff sheds light on the inner workings of the 650-acre compound (called Raven Rock) just miles from Camp David as well as dozens of other bunkers the government built for its top leaders during the Cold War, from the White House lawn to Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado to Palm Beach, Florida, and the secret plans that would have kicked in after a Cold War nuclear attack to round up foreigners and dissidents and nationalize industries. Equal parts presidential, military, and cultural history, Raven Rock tracks the evolution of the government plan and the threats of global war from the dawn of the nuclear era through the War on Terror.
Finished that one up, some really interesting stuff if you're into that.

Also finished up:
Bone Deep: Untangling the Betsy Faria Murder Case
THE TRUE STORY BEHIND NBC’S MARQUEE MINI-SERIES "THE THING ABOUT PAM" STARRING RENEE ZELLWEGER AS PAM HUPP AND JOSH DUHAMEL AS JOEL SCHWARTZ, PREMIERING FEBRUARY 2022. The explosive, first-ever insider’s account of the case that’s captivated millions – the murder of Betsy Faria and the wrongful conviction of her husband – told by Joel J. Schwartz, the defense attorney who fought for justice on behalf of Russel Faria, and New York Times bestselling author Charles Bosworth Jr.

On December 27th, 2011, Russell Faria returned to his Troy, Missouri, home after his weekly game night with friends to an unthinkable, grisly scene: His wife, Betsy, lay dead, a knife still lodged in her neck. She’d been stabbed fifty-five times. First responders concluded that Betsy was dead for hours when Russ discovered her. No blood was found implicating Russ, and surveillance video, receipts, and friends’ testimony all supported his alibi. Yet incredibly, police and the prosecuting attorney ignored the evidence. In their minds, Russ was guilty. But prominent defense attorney Joel J. Schwartz quickly recognized the real killer. The motive was clear. Days before her murder, the terminally ill Betsy replaced her husband with her friend, Pamela Hupp, as her life insurance beneficiary. Still, despite the prosecution’s flimsy case and Hupp’s transparent lies, Russ was convicted—leaving Hupp free to kill again. Bone Deep takes readers through the perfect storm of miscalculations and missteps that led to an innocent man’s conviction—and recounts Schwartz’s successful battle to have that conviction overturned. Written with Russ Faria’s cooperation, and filled with chilling new revelations and previously undisclosed evidence, this is the story of what can happen when police, prosecutor, judge, and jury all fail in their duty to protect the innocent—and let a killer get away with murder.
a lot of WTF moments

and finished up
Hollywood Victory: The Movies, Stars, and Stories of World War II (Turner Classic Movies)

From the Turner Classic Movies Library: Film and history buffs alike will enjoy this engrossing story of Hollywood's involvement in World War II, as it's never before been told.

Remember a time when all of Hollywood—with the expressed encouragement and investment of the government—joined forces to defend the American way of life? It was World War II and the gravest threat faced the nation, and the world at large. Hollywood answered the call to action.

This is the riveting tale of how the film industry enlisted in the Allied effort during the second World War—a story that started with staunch isolationism as studios sought to maintain the European market and eventually erupted into impassioned support in countless ways. Industry output included war films depicting battles and reminding moviegoers what they were fighting for, "home-front" stories designed to boost the morale of troops overseas, and even musicals and comedies that did their bit by promoting the Good Neighbor Policy with American allies to the south. Stars like Carole Lombard—who lost her life returning from a war bond-selling tour—Bob Hope, and Marlene Dietrich enthusiastically joined USO performances and risked their own health and safety by entertaining troops near battlefronts; others like James Stewart and Clark Gable joined the fight themselves in uniform; Bette Davis and John Garfield created a starry haven for soldiers in their founding of the Hollywood Canteen. Filmmakers Orson Welles, Walt Disney, Alfred Hitchcock, and others took breaks from thriving careers to make films aiming to shore up alliances, boost recruitment, and let the folks back home know what beloved family members were facing overseas. Through it all, a story of once-in-a-century unity—of a collective need to stand up for humanity, even if it means risking everything—comes to life in this engrossing, photo-filled tale of Hollywood Victory.

Goes over a lot of interesting history in Hollywood during WWII, including a whole section about Casablanca (did you know all of the extras were real refugees?) and even has a few paragraphs about Hedy Lemar's work with the Navy (they said no and then classified what she offered them)
 

Ulfgeir

Hero
Just finished Rivers of London (or Midnight Riot as it is also called as far as I gather. No idea why two names) by Ben Aaronovitch. Book on in the series Rivers of London.

It is urban fantasy. A much lighter read than Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, or Charles Stross' Laundry Files. It is quintessentially a typical Britsh feelgood police series, like the Midsomer murders TV-series. Just that this involves supernatural stuff. Harry Potter meets CSI.

The main character, probationary constable Peter Grant, is "voluntered" to guard the scene of a murder, during the cold and rainy night. A strange witness to the murder appears. Turns out that the witness is a ghost. Thus the main character learns that ghosts are real, as is magic and other supernatural things, and this will affect his future career as he is dragged into strange things.

As it is the first book ín a series (yes, there are novellas that take place prior to this as far as I gather), it does have a lot of world-building to do. Not quite sure the author succeeds though. As the main chartacter was unaware of the existance of the supernatural, he and the reader gets to discover it at the same time. Will I read more in this series, probably yes. It was a couple of enjoyable hours.

If nothing else, it is worth reading to get a feel for Chaosiums upcoming game based on the series. It has after all been one of the top 10 most anticipated games for 3 years now if I recall correctly.
 

Nellisir

Adventurer
Just finished Rivers of London (or Midnight Riot as it is also called as far as I gather. No idea why two names) by Ben Aaronovitch. Book on in the series Rivers of London.

It is urban fantasy. A much lighter read than Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, or Charles Stross' Laundry Files. It is quintessentially a typical Britsh feelgood police series, like the Midsomer murders TV-series. Just that this involves supernatural stuff. Harry Potter meets CSI.

The main character, probationary constable Peter Grant, is "voluntered" to guard the scene of a murder, during the cold and rainy night. A strange witness to the murder appears. Turns out that the witness is a ghost. Thus the main character learns that ghosts are real, as is magic and other supernatural things, and this will affect his future career as he is dragged into strange things.

As it is the first book ín a series (yes, there are novellas that take place prior to this as far as I gather), it does have a lot of world-building to do. Not quite sure the author succeeds though. As the main chartacter was unaware of the existance of the supernatural, he and the reader gets to discover it at the same time. Will I read more in this series, probably yes. It was a couple of enjoyable hours.

If nothing else, it is worth reading to get a feel for Chaosiums upcoming game based on the series. It has after all been one of the top 10 most anticipated games for 3 years now if I recall correctly.
I read the series and enjoyed it quite a lot. Be aware there are also (several?) short story collections & a graphic novel series, all of which seem to have (msotly) independent stories (not adapted from another format). Somewhere around book 7 they overlap a little, which seems to be him being gleeful about his expanding universe and is mildly annoying (like, ok, you've got an evil car in your garage. I didn't read that yet; I didn't even know WHERE to read about it at the time; so ugh)

Really enjoyed it, though.
 


Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
@Ulfgeir 's recent post put a question in my mind. What Urban Fantasy would you recommend that isn't "I'm a Mary Sue who fights things that go bump in the night". There's a lot of good stuff I've read, but I've also seen a decent amount of schlock.

So what should I read next in Urban Fantasy?
 

Ulfgeir

Hero
@Ulfgeir 's recent post put a question in my mind. What Urban Fantasy would you recommend that isn't "I'm a Mary Sue who fights things that go bump in the night". There's a lot of good stuff I've read, but I've also seen a decent amount of schlock.

So what should I read next in Urban Fantasy?
I really liked the Gallow and Ragged-trilogy by Lilith Sainthcrow, But yes, the main characters are more powerful than mere mortal humans. Of course their opposition are more powerful, as in the Queen of Summer and Lord Unwinter...
 

Mallus

Legend
Well I tried to read Nabokov's Ada, or Ardor. I bounced off of it hard, which surprised me a little because when I read Lolita and Pale Fire I didn't find them difficult. Oh wait, I was decades younger! Never mind. I'll try again someday. I had no idea it technically qualifies as sci-fi (by being an alternate history).

Then to reassure myself that I could read at least some books quickly, I got Adrian Tchaikovsky's Eyes of the Void from the library and finished it in three days. Apparently it's the second book in a planned trilogy, but I had no problem starting there. Rip-roaring space opera that I highly recommend.
 

Nellisir

Adventurer
@Ulfgeir 's recent post put a question in my mind. What Urban Fantasy would you recommend that isn't "I'm a Mary Sue who fights things that go bump in the night". There's a lot of good stuff I've read, but I've also seen a decent amount of schlock.

So what should I read next in Urban Fantasy?
Mike Carey's little series. I forget the name.
 



Read the first two series a while ago, and am currently working through the Count Brass follow-up. Great stuff, but really, it's hard to go wrong with Moorcock.

Just finished Michael Moorcocks Corum trilogies and Hawkmoon Quartet. Here comes Count Brass…

I finished Akers' Transit to Scorpio. While very derivative of ESB's Barsoom stories, it was at least a rollicking bit of light entertainment. When I was a kid, my parents moved to a house that still had a bunch of stuff from the previous residents in it. In a room that also featured a life-size Mark Spitz poster, there were a bunch of books that I was curious about, but didn't touch because they weren't mine (even if the previous owner had left them behind). Years later, I got to thinking about those books again. I didn't know the title or author; all I remembered were the covers, that they would've been published before 1985, and that they were published by DAW Books. Armed with that information, I finally was able to track down the first in the series.

Now I'm reading Ernest Cline's Ready Player Two.
 

Scottius

Explorer
Read the first two series a while ago, and am currently working through the Count Brass follow-up. Great stuff, but really, it's hard to go wrong with Moorcock.



I finished Akers' Transit to Scorpio. While very derivative of ESB's Barsoom stories, it was at least a rollicking bit of light entertainment. When I was a kid, my parents moved to a house that still had a bunch of stuff from the previous residents in it. In a room that also featured a life-size Mark Spitz poster, there were a bunch of books that I was curious about, but didn't touch because they weren't mine (even if the previous owner had left them behind). Years later, I got to thinking about those books again. I didn't know the title or author; all I remembered were the covers, that they would've been published before 1985, and that they were published by DAW Books. Armed with that information, I finally was able to track down the first in the series.

Now I'm reading Ernest Cline's Ready Player Two.
I picked up quite a few of Akers books from that series not that long ago from half price books. It's on my reading list.

As for my current reading, I just completed a reread of Designers & Dragons the 90s. It's my third time reading the series now and I love revisiting the history of the RPG industry just as much as ever. I really can't wait for Appelcline to finish putting together the 2010s.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Whatever I'm reading probably won't come from the non-text book section of our campus bookstore. This is all that's left after the last 20+ years of gradual shrinking and the recent remodel. :-(

Makes me think back to the big wall of sci-fi and fantasy books when I was an undergrad in the midwest. I wonder if they have much of a selection left either.

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