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Current reading - Page 116

post #5751 of 5829

Yeah, I keep them separate (despite the presence of novellas in his short story collections).

 

If we're talking strictly novella collections then:

 

1) Different Seasons

2) Four Past Midnight

3) Full Dark, No Stars

4) Hearts in Atlantis

 

 

I need to give Hearts in Atlantis another shot but I couldn't get into that one at all when I initially tried to read it.

 

And I want an adaptation of The Breathing Method, dammit!

post #5752 of 5829

I really loved Hearts in Atlantis. I'm in the tank for him generally but I thought that should have been on a lot more "best of the year" shortlists for 1999. 

 

"Full Dark, No Stars," is among his best recent work, I think. I don't really like 1922 but those last three are some of the best stuff he's ever written. "Fair Extension" is a nasty piece of work and I am here for all of it. 

post #5753 of 5829
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boone Daniels View Post
 

I really loved Hearts in Atlantis. I'm in the tank for him generally but I thought that should have been on a lot more "best of the year" shortlists for 1999. 

 

"Full Dark, No Stars," is among his best recent work, I think. I don't really like 1922 but those last three are some of the best stuff he's ever written. "Fair Extension" is a nasty piece of work and I am here for all of it. 

I didn't like 1922 but I hate the unreliable narrator plot device as a general rule. It mostly feels lazy to me. A Good Marriage and Big Driver are solid reads but Fair Extension really elevates that collection for me.

post #5754 of 5829
Just After Sunset is indeed kinda weak. It's got his all time worst story in it, Stationary Bike.
post #5755 of 5829
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arjen Rudd View Post

Just After Sunset is indeed kinda weak. It's got his all time worst story in it, Stationary Bike.

Yeah, I didn't really care for that one. I'm also not a big fan of The Things They Left Behind but the aforementioned Gingerbread Girl, A Very Tight Place, and N are classic King.

post #5756 of 5829
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boone Daniels View Post
 

I found a used copy of TED Klein's The Ceremonies on Amazon for under twenty bucks and snapped it up. I really want to start reading more of that 70s/80s horror with an American folklore/cult-y bent, so I'm excited to read it. 

 

 

T.E.D Klein is a great author who apparently had the worst case of Writer's Block. He's published The Ceremonies and Dark Gods, a collection of 4 Novellas. 

 

His work has a great "contemporary Lovecraft" vibe. 

 

If you've never read Fritz Leiber's Our Lady of Darkness, that's another really good "Urban Lovecraft" novel.

post #5757 of 5829

Just finishing a re-read of a book I bought way back when I was in college: I.F. Stone's Trial of Socrates. 

 

I.F. Stone was a muck raking journalist who decided to learn ancient Greek and investigate the trial of, yes, Socrates. 

 

It's a pretty amazing work, and very relevant to the issues of Free Speech vs. Political Correctness and Law vs. higher social values. 

 

Stone holds ancient philosophers to the same critical standards that he held to his contemporary politicos and the result is fascinating. 

 

Also re-read Last Call by Tim Powers. Actually had nightmares and one night hallucinated the Mandlebrot Man in my bedroom while reading it. I think Powers achieved a real literary breakthrough with this novel, but like King, he's forever condemned with the label Genre Author.


Edited by Cylon Baby - 7/13/17 at 6:41am
post #5758 of 5829
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cylon Baby View Post

 

If you've never read Fritz Leiber's Our Lady of Darkness, that's another really good "Urban Lovecraft" novel.

 

Hey, thanks! 

post #5759 of 5829

Hey, turns out The Dead Zone is everything you guys, and everyone, say it was. I loved it, it's such a tiny, literary novel. It's got one of King's best heroes, and it's his first real stab at chronicling a specific time in history in that way. It's interesting, reading it for the first time after decades of knowing his stuff. It feels a lot more like his latter day books, at their absolute best. Feels very of a piece with 11/22/63, in fact. They almost feel like bookends. Really glad I held off on it too, I think now was the perfect time to appreciate it.

 

I mean that mostly because it's such a mature story, but I also mean holy shit, the Donald Trump stuff in this is just uncanny. This probably wouldn't have ranked as such a frightening book two years ago, but it sure does now. If this book came out today, the Trump stuff would feel obnoxiously on-the-nose. Too bad Greg Stillson won in our timeline. Way to drop the ball in obscurity, real-world-Johnny-analogue!

post #5760 of 5829

I've been meaning to give The Dead Zone a shot again, particularly to see how well it lines up with my idea of King as chronicler of working/middle class American life in the late 20th century, rather than King, horror guru. 

 

In the meantime, though, I've been devouring Riley Sager's Final Girls, which is one of the big books of the summer - and lives up to the hype. It's got the "edgy, perhaps slightly deranged female narrator" that has become a trope, but the execution is great, and putting that character in the context of some of our slasher movie/serial killer tropes really works. Additionally, the prose is clean, smooth, and very evocative - I'm always impressed when a book sold on its story and characters has great writing, too. 

post #5761 of 5829

Reading Neal Stephenson's collaboration, "The Rise And Fall Of D.O.D.O." Never heard of the author he wrote this with (Nicole Galland) and it isn't grabbing me the way Reamde or Seveneves did, but I still appreciate some of the subtlety that is one of his hallmarks. As with most collaborations, it's easy to tell his influences and I find myself skimming until I get to one of his parts.

post #5762 of 5829

I'm reading Eddie Izzard's new book

 

post #5763 of 5829

The Rifter trilogy was good.  The sci-fi was good, the apocalyptic nature was great BUT it dwelt a little bit too much on some sadism/rapey stuff, I got the feeling the author enjoyed writing that stuff, and it put me off quite a bit.  Might give another one of his a go, but if the same themes are there, and the same sense of relish that I get, then that'll be that.

 

Back to River of Stars now I've got the more fast paced stuff out of my system.

 

As an aside anyone read any Kealan Patrick Burke?  His latest book came up on the twitter feed of an author I like, but there are none of his books in the library so it would need to be a spend.

 

Thoughts from this well read bunch always appreciated :)

 

https://www.amazon.com/Kealan-Patrick-Burke/e/B002BLW1IU/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1  

post #5764 of 5829

I'm trying out the Viriconium series by M. John Harrison. I'm still on the fence a bit of the ways into the first book, but the descriptions of the 2nd and 3rd books sound really intriguing, so I should push through. It has the potential to scratch that Gene Wolfe/Jack Vance itch.

post #5765 of 5829
Read through Nick Carver's The Troop based on you guys' recommendation. So I'm on to another one of his books:The acolyte. Considering the very first chapter details the main character witnessing a lynching of a mentally challenged Muslim....


I'm sure this will be a "fun" read.
post #5766 of 5829
Rivar of Stars was great. Absolutely love Kay's prose.

Library selection this week:

Christopher Buehlman: Suicide Motor Club
Dave Hutchinson: Europe at Midnight (following a recommendation by Warren Ellis)
Guy Gavriel Kay: The Summer Tree

Edit: One chapter in and Europe at Midnight is shaping up to be an absolute belter. John Le Carre via Philip K Dick.
Edited by Andy Bain - 8/12/17 at 9:53pm
post #5767 of 5829
Is that new Buehlman?
post #5768 of 5829
2016, the newest one I'm aware of at the moment. Certainly new to the Welly library smile.gif
post #5769 of 5829

Good news. I thought his zombie-vampire book was his newest. I'll be sure to seek it out.

post #5770 of 5829

I have Buehlman's THOSE ACROSS THE RIVER sitting on my shelf to be read. I should get on that. 

post #5771 of 5829
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boone Daniels View Post
 

I have Buehlman's THOSE ACROSS THE RIVER sitting on my shelf to be read. I should get on that. 

 

IMNSHO, it's his weakest effort. THE NECROMANCER'S HOUSE is thoroughly excellent, and BETWEEN TWO FIRES is almost as good.

post #5772 of 5829
Agreed. Although I'd put Between Two Fires above Necromancers House,.
post #5773 of 5829
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Bain View Post

Agreed. Although I'd put Between Two Fires above Necromancers House,.

 

See, I'd point people to TNH first as I think it's a bit more accessible. Probably doesn't matter for Boone (and I meant that in a good way, Boone) but I see BTT as a bit harder to get into for your average reader. I would agree that BTT packs a bigger emotional wallop, though.

post #5774 of 5829

I'm reading Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman for the first time. It's solid but it also reminds me of Clive Barker's Weaveworld.

post #5775 of 5829

I'm reading a lengthy travelogue by Paul Theroux, called Dark Star Safari. It's about his cross continent trek down the east coast of Africa, in the early 00s, and I'm kind of loving it. What's most interesting to me is that Theroux, as he presents himself, I don't much like at all. He's kind of a pretentious snob, and comes saddled with a lot of elitist condescension, towards aide workers, government employees, pretty much everyone. But that doesn't matter, because Theroux the writer is tremendous. It's very transporting work, and unlike most travelogues I've read, it's documenting a part of the world I have no desire to visit and the book is not making me change my mind. But I do feel, just in reading it, I understand the world better, and the people on the other side of it too, whose experience of life couldn't be more different than my own. I might have to check out some of his other stuff.

post #5776 of 5829
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arjen Rudd View Post
 

I'm reading a lengthy travelogue by Paul Theroux, called Dark Star Safari. It's about his cross continent trek down the east coast of Africa, in the early 00s, and I'm kind of loving it. What's most interesting to me is that Theroux, as he presents himself, I don't much like at all. He's kind of a pretentious snob, and comes saddled with a lot of elitist condescension, towards aide workers, government employees, pretty much everyone. But that doesn't matter, because Theroux the writer is tremendous. It's very transporting work, and unlike most travelogues I've read, it's documenting a part of the world I have no desire to visit and the book is not making me change my mind. But I do feel, just in reading it, I understand the world better, and the people on the other side of it too, whose experience of life couldn't be more different than my own. I might have to check out some of his other stuff.

 

Yes Theroux is a real piece of work. If you enjoy this book, try The Great Railway Bazaar next. He takes trains from London to Singapore via Pre-Revolution Iran then up through Japan to Siberia, then west across Russia. It's a really cool snapshot of the world as it was in the 1970's.

post #5777 of 5829

Recently read a really interesting novel: ...And the Rain My Drink by Han Suyin. She was a Chinese Communist (or commie sympathizer) writing in the 1950's. 

 

This novel is set in Malaya and Singapore during The Emergency from 1950-1953. After the Japanese got ousted the British Empire came back to take "their" Colony, and the rebels that had fought the vicious Japanese invaders pivoted on the Brits. 

 

The Brits used the same "Hearts and Minds" strategy that the US tried in Vietnam (and wanted to do in our various Middle East wars): Round up the "good" population intro camps ringed with barbed wire and guards, then go out and basically kill or arrest anyone not in those "good" areas. 

 

Obviously there is a strong bias at work here, but it rings true. The fact that many Chinese living in the area chose to migrate to China to find economic opportunity and relative freedom is heartbreaking when you know what came the next decade in the Cultural Revolution. 

post #5778 of 5829
Europe After Midnight was fantastic. More than a little Mieville about it. Apparently there are two more "fractured Europe" books. Years in the future post pandemic flu, cilate change, and economic collapse Europe has fractured into 100s of states, principalities and seceded cities. Bolt on som spycraft onto that with a dry witty style and its a winner. So definately looking out for the other books.

Burned through 205 pages of Suicide Motor Club in one sitting. So that's a page turner smile.gif
post #5779 of 5829

Really enjoyed Dark Star Safari. May well come back to Theroux sooner or later.

 

Reading Final Girls now, a novel getting a bit of press lately. I'm afraid I dislike it intensely. It's just a grab bag of clichés and shallow characters that I don't care about, in large part because they're obviously all secretly evil. I've read predictable stories before, but these twists are marking their arrival from miles down the road. I've been tempted to quit, but I already bought it, and now I'm pushing through out of spite. The Horror movie lexicon stuff (the titular final girl thing) isn't engaged with remotely beyond the basics of its premise, and the book as a whole is way more Gone Girl but done badly trash. At least in Dan Brown I learn something about medieval art.

post #5780 of 5829

Just finished The Haunting of Hill House. I'd only read Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" before, but that's one of my favorite short stories and I've always been intrigued how much Stephen King is influenced by her. I wasn't disappointed.

 

It's a short read, and leaves the actual haunting mostly ambiguous, but I appreciated the character study of Eleanor. Was also pleasantly surprised that Theodora is quite obviously a lesbian. 

 

Other than that, Jackson has beautiful, dread-inducing prose. This book maybe has my new favorite opening and closing paragraphs. 

post #5781 of 5829

Summer Tree was good, but having read Lions of Al Rassan and other later works first, damn it's rough (for Kay).

 

Got the other two books in the trilogy out of the library, and you can already see his style smoothing out in the second book.

 

Also got out Europe in Autumn, part of Hutchinson's Fractured Europe series.

 

The library is doing well at the moment

post #5782 of 5829
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Bain View Post
 

Summer Tree was good, but having read Lions of Al Rassan and other later works first, damn it's rough (for Kay).

 

Got the other two books in the trilogy out of the library, and you can already see his style smoothing out in the second book.

 

 

Glad to hear it. I was planning on plowing through the trilogy over the three-day weekend and the first few chapters of the first book are pretty cringe-inducing.

post #5783 of 5829
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartleby_Scriven View Post
 

Just finished The Haunting of Hill House. I'd only read Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" before, but that's one of my favorite short stories and I've always been intrigued how much Stephen King is influenced by her. I wasn't disappointed.

 

It's a short read, and leaves the actual haunting mostly ambiguous, but I appreciated the character study of Eleanor. Was also pleasantly surprised that Theodora is quite obviously a lesbian. 

 

Other than that, Jackson has beautiful, dread-inducing prose. This book maybe has my new favorite opening and closing paragraphs. 

 

She has another novel out called We Have Always Lived In The Castle. 


Check it out now!

post #5784 of 5829

So I recently did a "Smash and Grab" raid on a local used bookstore. Meaning I grabbed a bunch of books and they smashed my credit rating. 

 

My haul included:


A new Complete Works of HP Lovecraft. Squee!

 

A beautiful paperback of The Demolished Man, published by TimeScape Books  from the early 1980's. (If you see a book with the Timescape imprint on the cover, just get it. It will be good).

 

Pirate Freedom, a Gene Wolfe novel I somehow never heard of before even though it was published in 2007!

 

This Time is Different, a history of Financial Bubbles (because it's not enough to be depressed about politics, why not also be depressed about economics?)

 

Luciano's Luck, a blind buy that I assumed was a historical account of the Mob's counter Nazi efforts in NYC in WWII, but it's not. 

 

What it is is, a novel that postulates Eisenhower agreeing to spring Luciano from the hoosegow to parachute into Sicily to convince the America hating Mob Capo di Capo to support the Allied Invasion. It's by Jack Higgins, one of those bestselling authors I'd see on the books shelved for years but never read until now. 

 

It's a good read, lots of Nazi killing (although amusingly they contrast a "Good German" against an SS guy who has Ukrainians/Russians (they make no distinction) who torture rape and murder all over the place. Until they get what's coming. The novel doesn't play out as one would expect, and the twists are pretty good. Worth a dollar at the used bookstore or renting from the library. 

 

I'll review the rest as I go through 'em!

post #5785 of 5829

Reading The Ritual by Adam Nevill. The first half was great, almost claustrophobic, but it's taken a weird turn in the middle.

post #5786 of 5829

Yeah, that's an odd one. I think I said above that I almost liked it. There are some weird things that it does though that don't quite work.

post #5787 of 5829
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cylon Baby View Post

 

A beautiful paperback of The Demolished Man, published by TimeScape Books  from the early 1980's. (If you see a book with the Timescape imprint on the cover, just get it. It will be good).

 

Pirate Freedom, a Gene Wolfe novel I somehow never heard of before even though it was published in 2007!

 

I need to bump Demolished Man up my list.

 

Always good to see more Gene Wolfe love. Haven't read that one.

 

I'm still on the first Viriconium book, it's ended up being really good. Satisfyingly Jack Vance-esque without being derivative.

post #5788 of 5829

I need to start studying for my PMP exam, but I'm trying to finish "Sherlock Holmes vs. Cthulu" right now.

post #5789 of 5829

Is it any good?  I hugely enjoyed Carter and Lovecraft by Jonathan L Howard which took a noir detective approach twist to the mythos.  And it had a fantastically ballsy ending that makes me giddy that the follow up is out in a few weeks time

post #5790 of 5829
Geesh, it was so long ago when Prala recommended The Demolished Man. Such a great book.

From time to time I peck away at City of Thieves on the kindle.

Read through Ready Player One, didn't really impress me. Coworker let me go through Armada, jesus it's fucking terrible. I should get back to The Cartel and wrap that up.
post #5791 of 5829
Just finished The Snowman by Nesbo. Jesus Christ what a dumb book. It's pretty obvious who the killer is from the first quarter of the book. You would think Scooby would solve this quicker. And the finale was a mess of dumb. On to my first re-read of Good Omens since like '95.
post #5792 of 5829
My big Stephen King year continues with Roadwork, a weird Bachman novel that just exudes post Vietnam malaise (all the early Bachmans kinda do that). It's pretty grim, but not in an especially fun way. Still, it's a typically quick read and I'm filling the holes in my King literacy.
post #5793 of 5829
Just picked up Harriet the Spy again for the first time in probably fifteen years. One of my very favorite books growing up; I've always had a great love for stories that embrace the weird and unpretty and normally abnormal in life, and I think this was the book that first kindled that. Louise Fitzhugh's descriptions of the characters that populate her world and her renditions of Harriet's own take on them make the kind of everyday weirdoes that populate any given big-city neighborhood or small town sound like players in a Tennessee Williams-caliber bizarro gothic. I suspect there's a strong correlation between my affection for this book and the fact that Twin Peaks clicked with me right off the bat.
post #5794 of 5829
I'm about to deep dive into an author named Tom Bissell, who it turns out I went to HS with. I make no pretense to having any recall of him, it's just mind-blowing that I was in proximity to someone who'd become a notable, possibly great, writer, for 3-4 yrs (my school has 1 public have, and 1 public jr HS with a small private jr HS, and he was a yr behind me so we were in HS for 3 yrs together and probably a yr of jr high)and had no inkling.

It turns out he co-wrote The Disaster Artist, which doesn't particularly interest me but most of his other books do.


https://www.pw.org/content/all_things_he_did_not_know_profile_tom_bissell
post #5795 of 5829

Finally finished Fionavar tapestry.  OK, but incredibly beholden to Tolkein (no surprise given what Kay had been up to before), and nowhere near as fluid a prose style or compelling as his later stuff.

 

For completists only really as I found it a slog.

 

As an example it took me 15 days to get through The Wandering Fire.  I then took a break and ready Europe in Autumn by Dave Hutchinson.  Finished on a day and a half.


And what a fantastic book that is.  Part Spy thriller, part dystopian sci fi.  Absolutely cannot wait to read the final part (Europe at Midnight).

 

Currently on Michael Marshall Smith's Hannah Green and Her Unfeasibly Mundane Existence.  Ripping through this as once again it's a great read.  Hannah's parents are going through a break up, so she goes to live with her Grandad, who happens to be friends with the Devil who is undergoing a crisis of his own.

 

MMS' first out an out fantasy since One of Us and What You Make it (short stories - cannot recommend it enough, like a literary Black Mirror but 20 years earlier - the story Hell Hath Enlarged Herself still haunts me).  Great return to the genre.

 

Nothing tee'd up after that although I am considering Cassandra Khaw or Keanan Patrick Burke for some Lovecraftian cosmic terror.

post #5796 of 5829

Fionavar Tapestry feels too soap opera-y for me, among other things. It doesn't help that I find the Arthurian mythos boring AF and way overdone in fantasy. Back in the 90s every other series seemed to be some kind of retread of Arthur, one way or another.

post #5797 of 5829

Finished FLEX by Ferret Steinmetz, a fun little Urban Fantasy with a great take on magic. Give it a try.

post #5798 of 5829
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anakin's Dad View Post
 

Finished FLEX by Ferret Steinmetz, a fun little Urban Fantasy with a great take on magic. Give it a try.

 

Looks good.  The idea of magic as drug is covered really well in the Peter Grant series (Rivers of London is the first book) by Ben Aaranovitch.  Well worth a look.

post #5799 of 5829
I’m on The Longest Road right now, and I can’t help but feel the series would be better served without the college kids at all. Or the Arthur stuff. The world itself is more compelling without bland, barely distinguishable cyphers from our world reacting to it.

And the rape scene does not sit well with me. Nor does its reapparance in the third book. Just ick.
post #5800 of 5829
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anakin's Dad View Post
 

Finished FLEX by Ferret Steinmetz, a fun little Urban Fantasy with a great take on magic. Give it a try.


Agreed. Second book ramps up the steaks a little bit, and I'm about a third of the way through the third book now. I'm fine with it staying a trilogy, it's turning into a Dresden Files sort of "how powerful can you get?" escalation that I'm not sure would work in the world he's built here.

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