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What are you reading this year 2020?

Wishbone

Paladin Radmaster
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.

The hardest thing was honestly keeping characters straight while listening on audiobook and trying to do other things. I've listened to way more podcasts since so I hope I'm better trained to listen and absorb spoken content now.
 

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WayneLigon

Adventurer
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...

It's not a surprise that some of her older work does not hold up. An interesting thing to take a look at is the Andre Norton Reread which is going through all her books, great and small.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
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.
I liked Hyperion a lot; but bounced hard off the first couple of chapters of Endymion. Maybe I need to re-attempt. But so many books, so little time. Especially since my RPG playing has increased in this pandemic via online tools. So am I complaining? No. But still - so many books so little time.
 

Pawndream

Explorer
Finished The Stone Sky by Jemisin, and not going to lie, it was a bear to get through and there were many times I almost threw up my arms and gave up on it. But stuck with it and the final two chapters kind of made up for it.

Overall, I enjoyed the Broken Earth trilogy, but I also found the books incredibly frustrating. Knowing what I know now, I might not have read the series, but I don't regret reading it...just have mixed feelings about it.

Now I am reading something way lighter, Book1 Cleric Quintet by R.A. Salvatore... a popcorn book that's easy to pick up and put down and doesn't require a lot of thought.
 

KahlessNestor

Adventurer
Reading Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett.

Still reading Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow.

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

Started reading How to Destroy America in Three Easy Steps by Ben Shapiro.

Still reading the Star Wars Adventures core rule book.

Still reading Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson.
 

I finished Muir's Harrow the Ninth. I loved it, though perhaps not as much as Gideon the Ninth. It asks a lot of the reader, positively attacking them with its mysteries. It was such a relief to finally have them answered, but then it went and piled some more on for good measure.

After the last two reads, I need something much lighter, so it's an Appendix N read next with Philip Jose Farmer's The Gates of Creation.
 

I'm giving a Star Trek book a cautious try. I say cautious because it's called A Time for Love and I've read a few in the "A Time for _______" series (there are something like eight of them, I think - I've read two others) that were...let's say sub-optimal. Which is why it's been sitting on my ever-decreasing "books to be read" pile. I only picked it up now because I'm eagerly awaiting Scott Lynch's Thorn of Emberlain, which should be out next month, and I have another, more promising science fiction novel on my "to be read" stack but it clocks in at over 500 pages and I don't think I'll have time to finish it before Lynch's new book hits. (And I'm not one of those people who can read multiple books at the same time, with the possible exception of a fiction book and a non-fiction book).

Anyway, I'm only in the first chapter but it doesn't suck so far, so that's good. It's a Next Generation novel that looks like it'll be involving Riker's father, set in the time right before Riker and Troi left the Enterprise so Riker could Captain his own vessel, the USS Titan. All I'm really hoping for is a decent novel of higher entertainment value than the other ones I've read in this mini-series thus far.

Johnathan
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Recently finished the Last Emperox, final book in the trilogy by John Scalzi. I like his blog, but this book I'll give 3 stars. I'm mildly amused by his literary shtick - light and snappy dialog, light and fizzy science, light and likeable characters (even the villains). I would think in the 2020 dumpster fire, I'd want light - but somehow overall it felt lacking.

Another trilogy capper I read was The Hand on the Wall, a straight-up YA mystery series, with the trilogy called "Truly Devious". A good finale and the author is really good at mysteries. However, the ending felt a bit too pat; especially when everything coalesced for the detective. I would have liked her to dig a bit more. Also, 95% of the mystery was solved (the main part); but the author left some danglers for a future volume...

Speaking of mysteries, I think I"ve mentioned the series here before, but the Armand Gamache and the Surete de Quebec series by Louise Penny is incredibly excellent. The humanity of the main characters is so deftly drawn; and the way they solve crimes so empathic; they are really good. There's a reason Penny continues to win awards in the mystery genre.

Not sure if I commented on Peace Talks the newest Dresden Files book by Jim Butcher. I'm waiting for the second half; as it definitely ended right in the middle. Supposed to come out in a couple of weeks. I thought it was ok, and I think it's the beginning of the final 2 trilogies that will finish of the series. I'll be along for the ride for sure.

Another urban fantasy series I'm reading is the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire. Like Dresden, she's a private investigator, at least at the beginning. Unlike Dresden, there are no vampires, werewolves, ghosts, etc etc. In addition, the main character, October (Toby) Daye spends most of her time involved with the non-human world. Solid stuff, and thankfully I believe she's also gearing up for the roll down to series completion.

Final book on my stack is recent Hugo award winner A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine. I know nothing about this book, but am excited to give it a read. (And if people talk about it here, I'll be the guy with his fingers in his ears saying "la la la la la").
 


Finished Farmer's The Gates of Creation. It's essentially a fun extraplanar romp (albeit at times pretty brutal for the characters!). Definitely digging this series and its clear influences on D&D.

Now I'm onto Justina Ireland's Dread Nation.
 

Dread Nation was darn good. Frightfully topical, too.

Now I'm re-reading Zelazny's Jack of Shadows. I got it from the library four years and I finally got around to picking up my own copy.
 


ART!

Adventurer
I've been actively seeking out fantasy and science fiction from non-white-dude authors, with a focus on fantasy that doesn't use European history as it's touchstone.

I started on a few that didn't grab me. Sisters of the Deep Black by Lina Rather wasn't rivetting, but was really interesting, and a quick read. I just started on Children of Blood and Bone by Toni Adayemi. I like the way it's written and it seem promising.

Next on the to-try pile is The Dragon Republic, by R.F. Kuang

Oh, and I read the pretty massive graphic novel Grass by Keum-Suk Gendry-Kim and it was very, very good.

Also: am assortment of Bronze Age comics that I find in my collection, and semi-random comics on Hoopla.
 


trappedslider

Adventurer
I've been actively seeking out fantasy and science fiction from non-white-dude authors, with a focus on fantasy that doesn't use European history as it's touchstone.

Aftermath by LeVar Burton (yes THAT Levar Burton) is okay and it's moved into Alternate History since it's setting is 2019, but it's still sci-fi due to a number of elements.
 

Nellisir

Adventurer
I finished Endymion and just...hit a slump. (Endymion is good, btw.) The only thing I've finished in the past few weeks has been The Nowhere Hunt, by Jo Clayton. I'm still sorting out how I feel about this book.

On one hand, it's a bog-standard mid-series (The Diadem series) little book that assumes you know the protagonist and her abilities (has magic sci-fi energy crown thing) that plots like Writing 101. Protagonist, impetus for action, complication, etc, etc. There are developments, but they only make sense or have meaning in the greater scope of the series. It's a bit dull, and character development is largely either non-existent or actually going in reverse.

On the other hand, there's a second story and second protagonist woven in that exist largely outside the ken of the first protagonist. It's hard to say more without spoilers, but imagine a heroic action-adventure tale of Christopher Colombus discovering the New World...except interwoven into it is the story of a Native American woman and her tribe who bear the very real consequences of said "discovery".

I can't tell if it's a scathing take-down of the blithe optimism in (functionally) first contact SF; a writer trying to dress up a dry interlude story with a "simultaneously playing in the background" story that eclipses the main story; some kind of authorial conceit; or something else entirely.
 

carrot

Explorer
Recently finished the latest Ben Aaronovitch: Tales from the Folly. It was good, but it's just a few short stories. Looking forward to the next "proper" story.

I'm gradually working my way through The Wounded Kingdom trilogy by RJ Baker. Its got a nice premise (most of the gods are dead, and magic use is based on draining life force - a bit "dark sun" - so all mages are persecuted) and the story was interesting even though the narrative feels a little clunky at times. It was engaging enough for me to continue with the second book. The story is still good, but main character has started to get a little bit too whiney now though and seems to make some very strange choices at times. I'll push on through and see if it gets any better.
 




Presents for Goblins

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