naath: (Default)
Read: I finished the Corey whilst away in the 16th century. This one turned out to have less gross in it and more politics. Which is fine, I like both. I do like this series, and if you like unfinished series and SF/noir-detective/horror genre-bending ... things... then I think you might too, but start at the start. This one ends in rather a cliff hanger, which possibly means that if you start now you'll have ages sitting on the edge of your seat (I keep saying "no more starting unfinished serieses, but haha no)

Reading: Long Utopia. Pratchett and Baxter. Not far into it yet, seems more-of-the-same. The series begins with the Long Earth, probably start there. It's interesting, although it isn't funny. Also Pratchett is now regrettably dead so I don't know if there will be more or not (I haven't got to the end to find out if it is an actual *end* yet)

Next: Probably Station 11. I hear good things.
naath: (Default)
Read:
Busy week!

I finished
*Exotic England, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. I like this, as a speedy summary of non-white people in England/under English control and the effects England had on them and that they had on England. Alibhai-Brown is mostly positive, although doesn't ignore the awful racism, and if the book has a point I guess it is mostly that English culture has a long history of reaching out and learning from others as well as of going out and stomping all over them and that the first part is good.

*What I have of Buffy season 9 (I read 2-4 recently, 1 previously)
I'm a bit "meh". But I have a dreadful I WANNA KNOW about it, which is daft, because clearly there is going to be an endless succession of Problems To Solve until Whedon (et. al) get bored

*Uprooted, Naomi Novik.
I like the dragons, so I picked up this.
OMG IT IS AMAZING. I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. I have no idea how to describe the "can not put it down" nature of it though, I don't know anything about writing technique. It's a fantasy novel more like a fairy-tale. It has people who do bad things because they have been corrupted by bad things, but it doesn't actually have any 'evil' people, which I rather like. Also I like that it has female magic-users who don't have their magic go away/wrong if they stop being virgins, at least one has children; which is rather an annoyance in a lot of this sort of story.
[caution - one scene of attempted rape; quite a lot of violence; contagious magical evil that makes people do bad things/changes their nature]

Reading:
Nemesis Games, James S. A. Corey (which is a pseudonym for two people writing together). Volume many of the Expanse. I like the series. Sort of noir-detective meets horr-ish SF (by which I mean the aliens are right out of a horror story, but the rest of the trapping are SF). At this point I'm mostly thinking "ah yes, more of the same", which is nice, I like that :) I wouldn't recommend starting the series here, the first is Leviathan Wakes, I like it and I don't like things that are mostly/entirely horror but also I'm not put off by being scared or reading about gross things (and if you are you probably won't like it). There is (already? going to be?) a TV show (which might make it to the UK at some point I guess) which I expect to have much more graphical disgusting things. I particularly like the just-casually-mentioned non heterosexual, monogamous relationships.

Next:
Probably Station 11. About which I hear Good Things.
naath: (Default)
Read:
nothing, Wow I'm being slow

Reading:
Exotic England. Still.
Rouges. Still.
Lovelace&Babage. Still.
Buffy 9. Still.
EFAILTOREAD. Spent spare time asleep instead. zonk. stupid snot disease

Next:
well, I've got the new Novik and the latest Expanse book (James S. A. Corey; although that's a pseudonym); the crusades book; oh, and the bloody puppy shorts.
naath: (Default)
Finished:

The Day The World Turned Upside Down. Thomas Olde Heuvelt. The only non-puppy piece of short fiction on the Hugo ballot. It's quite fun, and an amusing idea. But I'm still not a huge fan of short fiction that isn't a cute logic puzzle or a silly pun which means I'm mostly "meh" about it.

Current:
Rogues. Still a set of short bits, still largely "meh" because see above, but tolerably entertaining.

Exotic England: Them Making of a Curious Nation; Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. The author describes herself as Ugandan Asian, and the book is a summary of English interactions with non-white people both positive and negative throughout history. Lots of interesting facts about things I'd sort of vaguely heard of.

Buffy season 9: I've read 8, it was OK, Richard got 9 so I'll read it

Next:

I am bouncing off the notion of reading dreadful puppy crap something rotten. I do think that horrible people can write good books sometimes (I have read and enjoyed quite a bit of it), but I'm not a huge fan of short work in general and I read all the puppy stuff last year and it's not that it's *enraging* but just... dull. Anyway, it's all on my Kobo in case I develop a sudden case of wanting to read it.

I've got Novik's Uprooted which I am looking forward to, and have fixed my copy of Crusades Through Arab Eyes so I can read it, so one of those.
naath: (Default)
I'm still reading Rogues, it's long, and bitty.

Next up - Hugo nominated short fiction. I expect a lot of this to be shit, but I shall give it a go...
naath: (Default)
Finished:
"Rolling in the Deep". A Mira Grant novella about mermaids. I continue to mostly dislike the novella as a form, but I quite liked this one. Just the right amount of suspense horror. It was a limited edition sub. press run, and there is not UK ebook; I have the physical edition, if anyone would like to borrow it.

Altered Perceptions. I read all the author bios and essay, and about half the story snippets, as a lot were from works I haven't read; I particularly like Brandon Sanderson's early draft from Way of Kings.



Current:

I have started on Rogues, which is an anthology of LOTS of short stories. I'm chewing through them quite fast, although I read anthologies slower than novels, on account of having to change what I'm thinking about so often. I'm expecting there to be some Hugo nominated short work available at some point and this is easy to put down.

Next:

I'm still trying to fix the formatting issues with Crusades Through Arab Eyes. Also, Hugo nominated short work, eventually.
naath: (Default)
Finished:

Three-Body Problem; Liu Cixin. I felt it was great all the way through, interesting ideas about physics and about psychology. A cultural perspective that I wasn't used to - the translation seems to handle this well, with just enough notes so I wasn't lost but not too heavy handed. I think right now I like this one best of all the nominees for Best Novel.


Flex; Ferrett. I sorta LJ know the author, and have read a lot of his essays, so I knew I liked his style enough to try it. Really page-turn-y, interesting magic system.

Perfect State; Sanderson. I like Sanderson's writing enough to try his novellas, which is a length I don't really get on with very well. This one seemed a bit "meh" tbh. Brains in jars. No Hoid.


Current: Altered Perceptions - this is a set of short... bits published to raise money for the editors mental health care bills. The bits are mostly "from the cutting room floor", I've enjoyed the ones by authors whose work I have generally enjoyed, and not got on with this as a way to meet new authors. Also essays by the authors on their experiences with mental ill health, which so far are all really interesting. Contains bits by authors whose work I love (eg - Seanan McGuire, Mary Robinette Kowal) and authors notsomuch (eg - Correia) and shows a lovely spirit of friendly co-operation to raise money for a fellow author suffering from the terrible US health care system

I want to read "Crusades through Arab Eyes" but my Kobo hates the character set used; my computer thinks the epub looks just fine. Not sure how to fix this.

Next:
Have acquired Rogues (short story collection, ed. GRRM).

I've got a book called "Exotic England: The making of a curious nation" which looked interesting. Or a bunch of stuff that's been hanging around forever.
naath: (Default)
Finished:
The how not to die book. Good reminder of things I already know, and also of the existence of things I don't know... but not a good way to learn how to do new things (helpful advice on calling for help, and what emergency supplies to take, etc. though).

Current:
Three Body Problem - continues amazing. Rather more realistic physics concerning the titular problem than Nightfall managed.

Lovelace and Babbage - couldn't resist. See. Want. Have. Start Reading. Easy to read in bits.


Next:
Well, there's still the Seanan novella, and the Sanderson novellas, and Flex. Haven't picked yet.
naath: (Default)
Finished
Goblin Emperor (Addison, Katherine)
I was distracted from the climbing book... this is really good, very hard to put down! The very first scene reminds me strongly of the last scene in a different book (naming it is now a spoiler, please rot13 in comments, because others may not have read both) except that Maia (the protagonist of this book) is caught rather less prepared.


Current
Rock Climbing, Essential Skills and Techniques (Peter, Libby)

This is a combination of the bloody obvious and the terrifyingly confusing. Hopefully I will figure it out.

Three-Body Problem (Liu, Cixin; trans. by Liu, Ken from Chinese)

So far this is very interesting. I don't often read works in translation, so I have no idea if this is typical of Chinese SF, if it is I should clearly read more. It is volume 1 of 3, the other two presumably to be translated and publish in English in due course (Tor have announced the cover for #2)


Next
probably the Seanan McGuire novella sitting on my table at home. (I rather hate the way that it is possible to import physical books but not ebooks; stupid lack of free trade, stupid publishing industry, etc.)
naath: (Default)
Finished:
Lagoon (Okorafor,Nnedi). Which is awesome. It's got aliens, but also magic. It's set in Lagos, Nigeria (and the author is Nigerian American), which is a nice change.

Current:
Literally just finished Lagoon.
I'm still working on the Other Half of the Sky; which is still a diverse collection of short stories, which makes it hard to get really stuck into for hours.

Next:
Well, I've got a Seanan McGuire novella to read (imported at great expense from Subteranean Press because the publishing industry thinks it's amusing to region-lock things, so ebooks are only available to people with US billing addresses, but of course you can actually IMPORT paper books). Because it's on paper it's not with me on my ereader... it's also very pretty, and I don't want to bash it up. Mermaids! I am excited.

Also I just bought Goblin Emperor. It's up for a Hugo, so I should probably read it soon.

I still have Flex, and also some Sanderson novellas...

And I've found the Locus best of 2014 list... which might keep me going a while.

But I think the next thing to read is the how-not-to-die climbing book, before I go on a climbing trip and need to know how not to die doing it (I mostly know that already). Borrowing the book from Emperor.
naath: (Default)
Do I need tags? maybe I need tags? question deferred to another day when I'm less busy.

Finished:
What makes this book so great.
Nice series of essays about books, not really lit-crit so much as 'squeee'. Fun. Some of the books sound great, some sound like I would only have liked them had I read them when 15... might read some of them (certainly should get around to some Delany).

The Seams Between the Stars. Kameron Hurley. a Bel Dame Apocrypha short story. A different perspective. I liked it.

Current:
I picked up The Other Half of the Sky again (I've had it on the go for a while). It is a collection of short stories. I am bad at reading collections of short stories by different authors. Too bitty (have I maybe mentioned that I really like really long form fantasy? like Wheel of Time? maybe? I do like short stories too, but I hate changing context all the time). The stories are nice though, I expect to keep reading a few at a time until I get through it.

Lagoon; Nnedi Okorafo. I have read about 10 pages, I have no opinion yet.

To Read:
Unsure? I bought Flex (by ferrett) because I read his blog. I hope it is good. I also bought some Sanderson novellas, because I sort of compulsively by everything he writes. I think I should probably get ahold of Nova (Delany) and some Cherryh (I'll probably start at the beginning in publication order) at some point.

Sad Puppies, to read or not to read?

Er, am I really going to read everything by John C Wright? I think probably not. I will give the shorts a go. But really, judging from last year I'm going to be less OMG THIS IS EVIL and more "uh, this is kinda dull". I'll certainly read the Goblin Emperor at some point and expect to have an opinion on whether it was better than Ancillary Sword or not; other than that my Hugo Voting might best be summed up with "fuck puppies" because right now I'm just mostly REALLY CROSS.
naath: (Default)
Finished:
Mrs Bradshaws' Handbook to the Ankh Morpork and Sto Plains Hygienic Railway. Terry Pratchett. This is an amusing addition to the Discworld books, spun-off from Raising Steam in which the Disc gets a railway. It's basically a guide book to the railway and the places it goes through.

Reading:
What Makes This Book So Great. Still. It's a long book.

Next:
uhhhhhh dunno.
naath: (Default)
Finished:
Alif the Unseen (Wilson, G Willow)
This has djinn and computer programming and an excellent plot. Sort of Urban Fantasy maybe? (in that it's set sort-of-now and has djinn) but the setting is not like most of the other urban fantasy I have read. Very enjoyable read. Wilson mostly writes for comics, maybe there will be more novels?

Girl in the Dark (Lyndsey,Anna)
I read this because Women's Hour recommended it to me. It is a memoir by a woman with extreme photosensitivity who has to spend much of her life living in complete darkness to avoid painful skin issues. She writes engagingly, and I found it an interetsing read.

Reading:
Mrs Bradshaw's Handbook (PTerry). Still reading. It's on my desk at work for the spare moment. I love how Discworld went from a comedy set to somewhere that I can actually imagine real people living ordinary lives.

What Makes This Book So Great (Walton,Jo). This is a collection of blog posts originally published on Tor.com remarking about the greatness (or, sometimes, otherwise) or book when re-read. I am building a long list of books to read! Very bitty of course (each post is only a few pages).


To-read:
Not sure. I've got Americanah, and that book about Crusades and one about the North Sea and a bunch of Diamond and a huge list from WMTBSG... so, we'll see.
naath: (Default)
Finished:
Rapture (Kameron Hurley) and Dance Til Dawn (Genevive Griffin). Both of these were very good reads. Rapture is the 3rd and final installment of the Bel Damme Apocrypha trilogy, I wouldn't recommend you start with it, but I have enjoyed the whole trilogy - a very interesting setting, and lots of adventuring. Dance Til Dawn is rather shorter (less than 100 pages) and is a retelling of the fairytale with the 12 dancing princesses, but told from the perspective of a palace seamstress.


Current:
Alif the Unseen (G Willow Wilson). Borrowed in physical form from Richard. Not really got into it yet. The author is a female American convert to Islam, about whom I had not previously heard, but apparently this is only because I don't follow comics at all as she has made quite a stir with the new Ms Marvel (which is probably great, but I don't follow comics so have no personal opinion).

Mrs Bradshaw's Handbook to traveling upon the Ankh-Morpork and Sto Plains Hygienic Railway (Terry Pratchett, presumably with some help). I don't think Sir Terry really counts towards "read diverse authors" although for the last few years he has been progressively disabled by Alzheimer's, but I hadn't read this one yet, and was all sad about his being dead. Also in physical form since it is illustrated.

(Oh that reminds me I read the Complet Ankh-Morpork just after Christmas, and maybe that was in the New Year. I had it in physical form as a gift, so it wasn't on my "have read" list on the ereader).


Next:
Not sure. I've got "Girl in the Dark" which was recommended by Women's Hour and the Crusades Through Arab Eyes which has been recommended by several people.
naath: (Default)
Finished:
Walton, Jo The Just City. Borrowed from fivemack (thank you fivemack) because it isn't e-published in the UK (yet? at all?). 1-of-3 (rest unpublished, wah). Absolutely brilliant. When I really want to *be reading* a book I read it so fast, when I'm reading something I want *to have read* it's a bit slower...

A brief summary is that Athene decides to instantiate Plato's Republic; the book is basically a discussion of the merits and otherwise of the Republic. I have to confess to not having managed to read the Republic (I started it in translation many years ago, but found it very hard going; I don't read Greek at all) so I have to assume that Walton truthfully reports its contents. Plato (it seems) was keen to suppose that humans could be brought up to ignore all the more messy bits of humanity, like romantic and familial bonding, in some ways I wish Plato was right (it's all *messy* and *unequal* and rubbish), that it is unrealistic would seem to be the main de-merit explored in the novel; teaching men and women equally and banging on about Equal Significance and Value the main merit. Walton's writing is as ever engaging and hard to put down.

Current
Hurley, Kameron Rapture. Couldn't resist the NEW SHINY in favour of the rest of the to-read. Anyway it is 3-of-3 and reading it before I forget what happened in the other two seemed like one of those good plans. The further adventures of Nyxnissa, more people to kill, more plots and intrigue, more places to explore...

Next
Er, dunno. Probably Dance Til Dawn.
naath: (Default)
Finished:
Sardar, Ziauddin - Mecca: The Sacred City

This is a history of Mecca (perhaps obviously...). I previous knew nothing about Mecca other than "Mohammed was born there" and "Muslims go on pilgrimage to there" (so I have nothing to compare this book to); the book was an interesting read. Mainly I learned that Meccans have fewer names than famous people, and are divided by ethnicity and faith into groups that not infrequently come to war; so... that's a lot like Europe then. Sardar concludes with talking about Mecca today; to his dismay the Saudis have redeveloped it completely - bulldozing many centuries old buildings in favour of expensive new sky scrappers.

Current:
Walton, Jo - the Just City

I've borrowed this from fivemack, which obviously means it gets promoted to the top of the "to read" pile, so I can give it back. Also because Jo Walton writes excellent books and I really really want to read it. But I've only just started it so have nothing to say about it other than "yay"

Next:
Probably Hurley,Kameron Rapture: Bel Dame Apocrypha. Because I had it on pre-order and it just showed up. Squeeee. This is volume three (of three, I think) and I read and very much enjoyed the first two.

A lot of people are talking about avoiding reading straight white men for the year, I think this is a noble aim because reading books by a greater diversity of authors is a great way to find more awesome books. I'm not going to do it though, mostly because I fully intend to read all of the Hugo nominees (pretty much guaranteed at least some of them will be straight white men), but if I'm looking for new authors to read I shall try to be on the look out for more non-white writers.

Read so far this year:
Mecca; Sardar, Ziauddin - born in Pakistan, lives in London
Bending; Christina, Greta - woman
Gulp; Roach, Mary - woman
Small Change Trilogy; Walton, Jo - woman
(I think that's it, my eReader remembers the order I read things in but not the date; blasted object).

I think the last thing I read by a white man was Diamond's the World until Yesterday.
naath: (Default)
Still reading Mecca, not finished anything new. Changed "next book" plan to the Just City since fivemack has offered the loan of a copy.
naath: (Default)
Maybe I'll try this thing...

The thing I am reading at the moment is a Mecca by Ziauddin Sardar. I think I am reading this because the Economist said it was good, it is a history of Mecca... it's quite interesting, and it's certainly a different perspective on history than I am used to. Many Meccans have very similar names, which is quite confusing, but of course many Brits have very similar names too (which is only less confusing when I know who they are anyway)

The thing I most recently finished is Bending by Greta Christina, a collection of erotic stories. This was actually a)hot and b)readable, yay. Also Gulp by Mary Roach (I read these two at much the same time) which is a tour of the alimentary canal from mouth to arse, and which I read on the recommendation of Women's Hour; it was really interesting, but perhaps more chatty than I like my pop-sci.

Next. Er, not sure. Maybe Dance 'til Dawn by Genevievie Griffin, which was mentioned on Mary Robinette Kowal's blog; or maybe a History of Crusade through Arab Eyes, which rjk recommended (but maybe I'll leave off the history books for a bit). or maybe the Just City by Jo Walton if I can actually get ahold of it (doesn't currently seem to be published in the UK, grrr)

also this meme (nicked off liv)
book meme )

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