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What are you reading this year 2020?

I finished book two and have started book three of Deborah Blake's "Baba Yaga" series, Wickedly Powerful. Thus time it focuses on the third (of three) Baba Yagas currently assigned to the US, Bella, whose powers are more fire-based. (The previous two were earth-based and water-based, respectively.) And I discovered something I had not noticed before: on the spines of the paperbacks, in small print, is the legend, "Paranormal Romance." Well, that certainly explains why each of the two previous books has a hunky (human) love interest then, doesn't it? Oh well, they've been interesting reads nonetheless, but as this is the last book of hers in this series I own (although she's written more than these three), I think I'll take a little Star Trek novel break or something after this one, as I have another "supernatural woman dealing with a hunky vampire guy" book waiting in the wings.

Johnathan
 

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Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
I finished book two and have started book three of Deborah Blake's "Baba Yaga" series, Wickedly Powerful. Thus time it focuses on the third (of three) Baba Yagas currently assigned to the US, Bella, whose powers are more fire-based. (The previous two were earth-based and water-based, respectively.) And I discovered something I had not noticed before: on the spines of the paperbacks, in small print, is the legend, "Paranormal Romance." Well, that certainly explains why each of the two previous books has a hunky (human) love interest then, doesn't it? Oh well, they've been interesting reads nonetheless, but as this is the last book of hers in this series I own (although she's written more than these three), I think I'll take a little Star Trek novel break or something after this one, as I have another "supernatural woman dealing with a hunky vampire guy" book waiting in the wings.

Johnathan
The library ordered the paperback for me from Amazon - for free! All I have to do is return it to the library when I am done. Something called "zip books" or something.

Either way, it's behind a couple of other books, but I will get to it!

I just finished An Unkindness of Ghosts.

Really good book, hard though. Here's my Goodreads review:

This book was tough.

But I have never felt in the skin of someone oppressed like I did while reading this book. The protagonist Aster is POC, queer, and neuro-atypical. And she is incredibly smart, capable, and beautiful - while also being vulnerable, scared, and loved.

The story itself takes place on a generation ship that has been traveling for 325 years. As expected, the social order has frayed, and the bullies are now on top. It is no coincidence that the elites are white, and hetero; and that “traditional” gender roles in the upper decks are maintained. Meanwhile on the lower decks gender is more fluid, and the people of color are relegated there.

This tale is an allegory that punches you in the face.

But that it is not subtle does not in any way detract from its power. And Solomon’s lyrical prose carries the reader along for the ride.
Part of the benefit of telling the story from Aster’s point of view (mostly) is that she is infinitely curious, and her autism causes her to question the norms around her, just as we try to understand this new world.

The only criticism I might raise is that like Aster being a bit detached as a defense mechanism, I found myself becoming a bit dulled by the continuous scenes of violence, abuse, and degradation.

I reminded myself that due to aspects of my identity that are due solely to my birth, I am privileged to be able to put this book down when I am done and walk away from oppression. Others in real life in this real world are not so lucky. This book brings that oppression home.


CW lots of sexual assault, violence, totalitarianism, some torture.
 


WayneLigon

Adventurer
Last two things:
Bonds of Brass: Book One of The Bloodright Trilogy -- Skrutskie, Emily
First book in a trilogy that is not yet finished.

Ettian and Gal are fighter pilots on the cusp of graduation in the Umber Imperial Academy on the planet Rana. Seven years ago, Rana was the heart of the Archon Empire, before Umber decided it needed Archon resources and invaded. Ettian was a native of Rana. For years he's been Gal Veres best friend.

Then a plot by Archon separatists reveals Gal as a the sole heir to the Umber Empire. The Rana planetary governor plans to use Gal in his own power play. Then Ettian and Gal escape to an even more uncertain future.

Almost YA space adventure, (You could put it there because all the protags are older teens and there is no sex), good sharp characterization of even secondary people. I liked it a lot. Eagerly awaiting the next books.

One Man: A City of Fallen Gods Novel by Harry Connolly

Kyrioc was once the scion of a powerful noble family in Koh-Salash, a city built on the bones of two three-mile-tall gods who were murdered while In flagrante delicto; Returning scarred and traumatized from his failed rite of passage, he lurks among the drunks, addicts,and gangs until he sees a chance for redemption, of a sort.

Great book, hugely long book, stand-along fantasy. Lots of great characters, situations, subplots, and some definite derring-do.


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Nytmare

David Jose
"Finished" the last of the first three Black Company books. All told it probably took me about six months start to finish. I blew through the first one in about a week, went maybe five pages into the second book, and then put them down till about 4 weeks ago. The last 100 pages of the third book were probably the most painful for me, and I found myself trapped in a kind of Zeno's paradox where I'd read half the remaining pages every night. I finally called it quits with just three pages left, and put it back on the shelf.

I started reading them because they had been inspiration for Band of Blades, and that inspiration was the only thing about the books I enjoyed. Skirting nervously past the weird rape passages, I found it lacking description, depth, character growth, narrative, and suspense.

Sort of overlapped with those, I read King's latest collection of short stories "If It Bleeds" without realizing it was a collection till the end of the first story. I enjoyed all of them, particularly the continuation of the Holly Gibney series. I think it's funny that the TV Holly Gibney has 100% supplanted the book version in my mind, I'm really looking forward to another season/continuation of that TV show.

Next up is McNally's Gamble, a gift I received 20+ years ago and I don't think I ever got around to reading. The pandemic has me unpacking the last of the boxes from my move almost 4 years ago, and I realized that my "to read" stack takes up a little too much of my library.
 


Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
"Finished" the last of the first three Black Company books. All told it probably took me about six months start to finish. I blew through the first one in about a week, went maybe five pages into the second book, and then put them down till about 4 weeks ago. The last 100 pages of the third book were probably the most painful for me, and I found myself trapped in a kind of Zeno's paradox where I'd read half the remaining pages every night. I finally called it quits with just three pages left, and put it back on the shelf.

I started reading them because they had been inspiration for Band of Blades, and that inspiration was the only thing about the books I enjoyed. Skirting nervously past the weird rape passages, I found it lacking description, depth, character growth, narrative, and suspense.

I won't ever read another one of those Black Company books. Someone loaned me the first one (I think it was the first?), so I read it more as a favor. Everything you said applies. Life is too short to read books I won't enjoy.

(I recently calculated that until age 73, I have about 110,000 waking hours left. Why I picked 73? Because why not?)
 
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I am usually reading multiple books at a time, my genres of choice being fantasy or male/male romances (with the subgenre either being fantasy or historical fiction), and I also enjoy reading nonfiction books on Japan.

I just finished Rage of Dragons by Evan Winters this morning, and am currently reading The Assassin's Dragon by WM Fawkes, Dance in the Storm by Megan Derr, and Queerqueen: Linguistic Excess in Japanese Media by Claire Maree.
 

Nellisir

Adventurer
I won't ever read another one of those Black Company books. Someone loaned me the first one (I think it was the first?), so I read it more as a favor. Everything you said applies. Life is too short to read books I won't enjoy.
I like the Black Company, but Glen Cook is a weird writer and definitely not for everyone. That's cool. There are critically acclaimed and best-selling authors (Rarely the same!) that put me to sleep. Read what you like, it's the best way!
 

Nellisir

Adventurer
I finished Century Rain (good but not great for A. Reynolds, which is still very good; 7/10) a few days ago and started Endymion. I've put off reading this for years because I got sucked into Hyperion so hard, but I probably waited too long - I really can't remember what happened. Oh, well.

Also reading the normal comics (X-Men-related series) now that those are on again. And picking my way through the Warlords of the Accordlands World Atlas, a 3e setting book from way back when that I picked up cheap. Nothing super stands out yet, except I'm actually reading "ye big history chronicle" all these things have and not hating it. So that's weird.

Im definitely jonesing for some kind of game related material, but nothing is catching my eye. :/
 



I just started on House of Leaves, after hearing a lot of weird and positive things from friends. House of Leaves is a maze of a book. It is bizarre, surreal and puzzle-like. Everything is odd about this book. From the weird title, and the cover that is slightly shorter than the pages. From the opening pages, where the word 'house' is always written in blue (which is consistent throughout the whole book), and starts off with the words 'this is not for you'. Heck, even the chapter list is bizarre, running from roman numerals to normal numbers. Many chapters in the book also have footnotes, which may be references to other books, but occasionally they are entire side stories of their own. Fonts can also differ from character to character, and the lay out on some of the pages reflects the weirdness of the story. The book encourages the reader to unravel the mystery of the story and judging by the reviews, this may deserve more than one reading.

The book revolves around a fascinating concept: A house that is larger on the inside than on the outside. Lets see how deep the rabbithole goes.
 

KahlessNestor

Adventurer
Reading Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett.

Still reading Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow.

Still reading The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe by Heather MacDonald.

Finished Star Wars Edge of the Empire: Far Horizons source book.

Started reading where I left off in the Star Wars Adventures core rule book.

Started rereading Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson.
 

dragoner

Dying in Chargen
Finished Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson, it was ok, I felt the ending wasn't so great. I had picked up three of the Forerunner series books by Andre Norton, except realized there were more, I read Storm Over Warlock on my kindle from Project Gutenberg, now I am reading Ordeal in Otherwhere. I also bought Night of Masks, which is related to Catseye, and Forerunner, plus other related books Judgement on Janus, and Victory of Janus; then two more in the Moon Magic, or Free Traders, or Moon Singer series: Flight in Yiktor and Dare to Go A-Hunting. Her writing is somewhat pulp, good however, and filled with the sci-fi tropes of free traders, aliens, colonies gone wrong, and more; easy to use in making an SF setting material from.
 


Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Finished Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson, it was ok, I felt the ending wasn't so great. I had picked up three of the Forerunner series books by Andre Norton, except realized there were more, I read Storm Over Warlock on my kindle from Project Gutenberg, now I am reading Ordeal in Otherwhere. I also bought Night of Masks, which is related to Catseye, and Forerunner, plus other related books Judgement on Janus, and Victory of Janus; then two more in the Moon Magic, or Free Traders, or Moon Singer series: Flight in Yiktor and Dare to Go A-Hunting. Her writing is somewhat pulp, good however, and filled with the sci-fi tropes of free traders, aliens, colonies gone wrong, and more; easy to use in making an SF setting material from.
Andre Norton is a linchpin of SF Tropes - especially those types found in Traveller. I really loved her work as a youth. I tried reading one of her books recently, and it didn't hold up. Maybe I should revisit the BeastMaster series or start off with either the Forerunner books or the Solar Queen...
 

dragoner

Dying in Chargen
Andre Norton is a linchpin of SF Tropes - especially those types found in Traveller. I really loved her work as a youth. I tried reading one of her books recently, and it didn't hold up. Maybe I should revisit the BeastMaster series or start off with either the Forerunner books or the Solar Queen...

I wound up reading her again by finding Moon of Three Rings in a box of stuff, and realizing I hadn't read it. Now I'm sitting here with ten Andre Norton books I haven't read before. haha

I'm always looking for new stuff, I have read up through Shadow Captain by Reynolds, Banks has died, and others I read, aren't always that good, or not filled with the modern tropes, in particular the future being a dystopia, which in turn just feels like grim-dark teen angst. At least some of the older authors didn't automatically go in that direction, not to say they are perfect, because they are not at all, just more varied.
 

WayneLigon

Adventurer
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Gamerchanger by L.X. Beckett

First there was the Setback. Then the Clawback. Rubi Whiting is a member of the Bounceback generation, the first free from the trials and troubles of the late 21st century. She works as a freelance solicitor (all work is freelance, contracted for short terms to supplement your basic income) and so she comes across Luciano Pox. Pox is being persecuted by an unknown and unidentifiable entity that has driven his global social score into the toilet, something that is very hard to climb back out of. Because the entity might be an emergent Strong AI, an investigator attached to the UN AI monitoring agency also gets involved.

Good mystery, great characters, twisty-turny plot and - best of all - a bright and hopeful future.
 

Wishbone

Paladin Radmaster
I like the Black Company, but Glen Cook is a weird writer and definitely not for everyone. That's cool. There are critically acclaimed and best-selling authors (Rarely the same!) that put me to sleep. Read what you like, it's the best way!

I remember reading the first book in The Black Company on a scifi fantasy kick my senior year of high school and enjoying the book for what it was but not picking up the series. My favorite fantasy series from that era was The Culai Heritage three-parter (Magician's Law, Demon's Law, Death's Law).

I finished Century Rain (good but not great for A. Reynolds, which is still very good; 7/10) a few days ago and started Endymion. I've put off reading this for years because I got sucked into Hyperion so hard, but I probably waited too long - I really can't remember what happened. Oh, well.

Wow, I've had the Hyperion audiobook for something like 5 years and never finished it after giving up on it a few chapters in. Might be a good thing to put on for walking the dog.
 

I finished the Baba Yaga trilogy I'd been reading; very enjoyable, and the third novel leads into a new trilogy that sounded intriguing enough for me to poke my nose into Amazon.com to see if they were available...unfortunately, at least one of them is out of print. So on to other things (at least for now). I picked up a science fiction short story collection edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg, entitled Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories: 20. This one has a dozen short stories that were all originally published in 1958. Some of them I've read before, but it had been long enough ago that they were still a good read. I'm about halfway through despite only starting the book yesterday, but I was on a plane most of the day and that provides for a lot of reading time.

Johnathan
 

Nellisir

Adventurer
Wow, I've had the Hyperion audiobook for something like 5 years and never finished it after giving up on it a few chapters in. Might be a good thing to put on for walking the dog.
Reading Endymion, I'm remembering what it was like reading Hyperion. I don't know how it translates to audiobook, The writing isn't convoluted; the characters are understandable; the story moves along well, with little mysteries popping up and being solved fast enough to keep things moving, and the big mysteries are regularly brought up and examined so they're familiar when we do finally confront them.
 

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