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Re: What Are You Reading?

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:13 pm
by Major Rawne
Eye of Ezekiel is finished and it really quite surprised me. Although the ending was a little flat, and arguably a little convoluted, it was on the whole a really enjoyable story of Dark Angels getting to be space marines and not bogged down in their secrets and mysteries.

Upon finishing that I hoped right to making a good start on Magos after finishing the Eisenhorn short stories earlier in the year. Early thoughts are good.

Alongside that I have dived right into Inferno 2 (skipping Inferno 1 for the moment) and just finished the Peter Fehevari. Bloody bonkers if you ask me. But good, very good. Then there is the obligatory BL Advent that I am now several days behind on, but so far so good.

Other things on the go are a whole host of Audios which kicked off with Dark Imperium. I thought it was quite similar in tone to Spear of the Emperor in that it's an excellent piece of world building that feels like a great setup for what is to come than necessarily being a great story in its own right. The audios are going very nice on my drive to and from work.

In summary everything is good.

Re: What Are You Reading?

PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 10:35 am
by Xisor
I'm on a really slow stretch at the moment, no great impulse to read.

Which is annoying, as I have lots of things I very much want to be racing through, and that when I actually read them are very enjoyable.

For example: Jeanette Ng's "Under the Pendulum Sun".

I'm very much enjoying it. Hugely. It's Gothic and fae, precisely as described, and utterly wonderful.

I just kinda hate approaching it at a plodding pace.

Maybe I should stop reading for a week or so.

Forcibly reignite an appetite...!

Re: What Are You Reading?

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 7:24 pm
by Chun the Unavoidable
At around this time last year I indulged in a rereading of William Hope Hodgson's Great, The Night Land. Hoping -and fully expecting- to rekindle the magic this year (TNL turned out to fit the season perfectly), I'm now about another reread of his work, the equally Great -and much more accessible- The House on the Borderland.

(And, Xisor, not feeling inclined to read has never been a problem for me. I cannot BUT read. I just wish I was affected the same way where writing is concerned!)

Re: What Are You Reading?

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 7:34 pm
by Rob P
Xisor - i know what you mean. I'm struggling to get into reading with a kindle full of books.

I've got a bunch of Joe Abercrombie novels and Brandon Sanderson's mistborn series, but i think the volume of them is putting me off.

The book most likely to pull my attention is Circe.

Re: What Are You Reading?

PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:35 pm
by Rob P
Back to back posts, but decided to read The Chalk Man. A good way in (about 75%) and it's a good quick read. It's not clear whether it's a supernatural story yet, but that's the impression from the blurb and a Stephen King endorsement.

Re: What Are You Reading?

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 7:05 pm
by Lord of the Night
Rob P wrote:I've got a bunch of Joe Abercrombie novels and Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series, but i think the volume of them is putting me off.

Can't recommend Brandon Sanderson enough, Mistborn is one of the best fantasy series I've had the pleasure to read. Don't be put off by the volume, they are extremely worth the read.


Re: What Are You Reading?

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 10:05 pm
by Athelassan
Almost finished with Aubrey/Maturin; working my way through The Hundred Days which leaves me with just one to go thereafter, I believe. That takes me up to about 19 books for the year for starters, and I've read a few others too. Among the fiction I remember:

Mark Lawrence's Prince of Thorns - ok, but nothing special.
Kim Newman's Drearcliff Grange - One of Newman's more approachable recent (re)releases. Boarding-school theme, with all the obvious thematic inspiration, and presented very well, with a low, dark fantasy edge. Some of the messing about with alternate dimensions became a bit esoteric but overall, very enjoyable.
Ben Aaronovitch's Lies Sleeping. The latest (and last?) of the Peter Grant novels. I was initially not that impressed with Rivers of London but the series has grown on me and reading it I felt almost a little nostalgic for having left London.
Bernard Cornwell's War of the Wolf. I must admit that I have lost track of half the characters in this who aren't historical ones, and the story has felt for a while as though it's being spread pretty thin in order to reach the point we all know it's aiming for (the Battle of Brunanburh). He developed a couple of weird tics in this one too, although maybe they were existing ones I'd just forgotten about. Those aside though this was actually one of the more enjoyable ones in the Uhtred series.
Graham Greene's The Ministry of Fear. I don't think even Greene thought this was one of his better ones, but I did enjoy it all the same.
Some of PG Wodehouse's Blandings stories (those collected as The World of Blandings. Fantastic stuff. Unfortunately Wodehouse seems to be one of those "classic" authors whose work is only available relatively expensively, otherwise I would read a lot more.

Some non-fiction too:

The Darkening Age by Catherine Nixey. Definitely a "popular" history this one but I thoroughly enjoyed it all the same. The parallels between the pointless destruction of life and art in late antiquity, and the same things now happening in, in some cases, exactly the same places, are striking.
White King by Leanda de Lisle. An approach to Charles I that doesn't take the straightforward "King bad, Parliament good" narrative of many contemporary commentators for granted. I didn't really learn much new but the angle was refreshing.
The Murder of King James I: A scholarly and comprehensive look at a conspiracy theory which contributed in its way to the Civil War, one that has been largely ignored in mainstream scholarship. Interesting but weighty.
Fire and Fury - or maybe this one should be under "fiction"? Yeah, anyway. Hilarious and terrifying in equal measure.
This Is Going to Hurt, memoirs of a junior doctor which a colleague lent me out of the blue. See above.
Mystery Spinner: a biography of Jack Iverson by Gideon Haigh. Just about the only book this year I took the conscious decision not to finish: not because it was bad, but because I just couldn't face reading about the subject's mental decline and suicide. It seems like Haigh himself struggled to write about it.
Feeling is the Thing That Happens in 1000th of a Second by Christian Ryan. Another cricket book, this time a study of photographs from a season in the 70s - but it's not really about cricket, rather, photography, art, obsession. While it does stray into pretentiousness at times it's still thoroughly enjoyable.

I'm working on A Time Traveller's Guide to Restoration Britain and I may read Hogfather over Christmas.


Re: What Are You Reading?

PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2018 11:46 am
by Chun the Unavoidable
Theodore Sturgeon's collection, Caviar - geddit?

Re: What Are You Reading?

PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 1:56 pm
by Xisor
Took an age, but I've also managed to finished the utterly excellent Under the Pendulum Sun.

I'm somewhat annoyed at myself taking so bloody long with it, but at the same time, it's an utterly great read (& Jeannette a cracking writer, v deliberately gothic and v suited to my tastes, but also v unlike what I normally read so *confused but pleased expression*) so I don't really mind! 8-)

Being a little bit abroad from home this last week, I found time to dip into an Leman Russ' Primarchs entry.

God damn my forgetfulness, but Chris Wraight is a very good writer. I'm shocked to be so surprised, but he's very very enjoyable.

Re: What Are You Reading?

PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 8:40 pm
by Chun the Unavoidable
Time for real Horror now: My Work Is Not Yet Done, Thomas Ligotti.

Re: What Are You Reading?

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 12:53 pm
by Xisor
A much faster read under my belt to close the year and open the new: "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd."

Grand, as usual - and both lovely to read Poirot, and an insight into how Agatha came to dislike the character. She's a cracking author, I always forget and come away from her stuff amazed.

I'm not even too interested in the puzzle/mystery side of it (though is obv v gripping), but the little obersevations and details of humanity itself she captures.

Very neat.

Re: What Are You Reading?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:04 pm
by Chun the Unavoidable
Black Wings of Cthulhu, Twenty-One Tales of Lovecraftian Horror, edited by S T Joshi.

Re: What Are You Reading?

PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:41 am
by Chun the Unavoidable
Infinity Engine, Neal Asher. If you love reading 40k, there's a lot to also love in Asher's work.

Re: What Are You Reading?

PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:53 am
by Therion
Therion wrote:Started reading Incest: from "A Journal of Love" : The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin. Oh God, what a trainwreck. Also, reading the expunged diary along to see the differences.
Ugh the toxicity levels are just off the charts. It's, like, a Chernobyl reactor of literature XD . Probably should stop reading and sell all her diaries because they just increase my levels of despair.
On the other hand she's a Great Writer and these are hard to come by. On the other hand her pathological thought processes and ideas and pathological lying are just too disturbing.

Yeah, so I have sold all of that stuff except Henry And June and A Spy in the House of Love and the old edition of Little Birds and Delta Venus.
The book market is kinda crazy with all the discount book stores around nowadays so I got 1/8 of the cover prices of the books back in used book store. Freed my shelf-space which is becoming extremely sparse, though.

Finished Shuzo Oshimi The Flowers of Evil COMPLETE 4. It was a Great manga series.

Just finished Yoshitaka Amano Illustrations. The illustrations are unfortunately low res which completely ruined my enjoyment of them. There are few interesting interviews with him, though. I bought it mainly because I'm interested in his drawing process.
He's pretty much an oddity among illustrators - he often draws very simple and messy things on ridiculously huge formats. I could swear he's dysgraphic or something. Also, his working concentration period is, like 15 minutes, gets tired after 30 minutes. Will have to pay attention to times. Maybe I'll be able to draw more.
Inspired me to try to draw on larger formats, with a marker.

To Fight or Not to Fight?: Organizational and Doctrinal Trends in Mounted Maneuver Reconnaissance from the Interwar Years to Operation Iraqi Freedom by Robert S. Cameron, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center Staff. Very interesting book.

This is What I Do by Lynsey Addario. Returned to reading it. Not sure why I abandoned it, because it's a page-turner.

TOTAL SELL OUT by Brian Michael Bendis. Bought it to see how he draws. Quite interesting. I enjoy stories that centre creators.

I have a weird thing nowadays where I barely read any books, especially novels. I just find reading them exhausting or I find it difficult to focus. Like, when it comes to novels, since my last post (or rather post before it on 1st october), I only finished Imperator: Wrath of Omnissiah. Besides that I've finished only manga and a few books with sparse text.
Damn, I have so many nice books on my shelves. I have, like, 90 unread books ranging from novels, through art albums to military history/science books but having problems actually reading them.

Xisor wrote:Finished off King's "Daemonslayer" - it's rather good! Who knew!?

Fairly simple plot, with the culmination being fairly swifter than I expected, but it pretty neatly gets me 'up to speed' with Gotrek and Felix, as I started at "Dragonslayer". Not exactly full-circle, but part of the loop is closed now, so I'm chuffed and feel unduly accomplished for it.

How do you compare Gotrex and Felix books by newer authors to those of William King?

Re: What Are You Reading?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 7:40 pm
by Therion
Got Age of Darkness. So far I've read the The Last Remembrencer by John French and The Face of Treachery by Gav Thorpe.

Enjoyed The Face of Treachery a lot. Gav Thorpe is one of the very few BL writers that can write void warfare (the only other I can think of is Gordon Rennie) - he even wrote ranges in thousands of kilometres! I wish he'd write some naval warfare novels. And in general, if he'd be appointed to oversee other writer's void warfare writing or something. Also, nice story.

Re: What Are You Reading?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:10 pm
by Xisor
Therion wrote:
How do you compare Gotrex and Felix books by newer authors to those of William King?

Favourably. Very favourably.

I think each author lends their own style.

Bill King is obviously very... All rounder. Easy reading fascinating topics, intimate and easy knowledge of the 'feel' of the world, meaning the tone of his actual stories and characters can be a bit rowdy/lively/implausible but still very much appropriate for the setting. (In contrast, I found Josh Reynold's Nehekarans in his second G&F novel just a bit... Not quite right. Not bad, but distinctly off kilter for my taste.)

Nathan Long I didn't hugely enjoy 1 - but I think my tastes and patience have changed a bit, and I think it was more thatI was aware of the difference that was the issue, rather than his writing. I'm keen to get back to that.

Josh managed an astonishing turn in 'Road of Skulls' - one of the sincerest and finest G&F stories going.

David Guymer, however, knocked it out the park in Kinslayer and Slayer. Very emotional books, and doubly difficult given that it was also also (surely!) an excruciating project to work on (The End Times).

I'd note that CL Werner's Thanquol books are utterly ace too.

And whilst I'm at it on tangents, I can hugely recommend "Skarsnik" and "Thorgrim", and have heard extraordinarily good things about "Headtaker" too.

(I can also strongly & positively attest to the contents of the War of Vengeance and Masters of Steel and Stone omnibus editions too, just to round out the excellent Dwarf/Skaven/Greenskin stories.)

If you're particularly attuned to any given author's writing, the shifts may well be very jarring indeed - but if you contrast the somewhat repetitive romp of Trollslayer and Skavenslayer against the emotional sobriety of Kinslayer or Road of Skulls, then you get a stark and impressive change indeed!

I think Nathan Long got the shirt straw - expect to carry the banner, but also burdened with very high expectations (which given how 'far out' Giantslayer got, those were strangely high!).

Still, it's almost all good stuff.

I'm continuing with Dragonslayer!


I also read and finished Ann Cleeve's "Raven Black" which is a lovely big crime novel. Murder/thriller, but also set on Shetland too, so is very culturally distinct and specific within modern UK stuff. (Very specific within Scotland too. It's almost explicitly Scandi-Noir, but British by virtue of being English speaking and technically set on Scottish Islands. But Shetland's Shetland. And fascinating and lovely too!)

Re: What Are You Reading?

PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:13 pm
by Chun the Unavoidable
Michael Palin's Erebus, The Story of a Ship. A subject I've long found fascinating written about by my favourite Python!

Re: What Are You Reading?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:29 pm
by Therion
Finished reading Organization and Equipment of the Infantry Rifle Squad: From Valley Forge to Road. Very interesting paper about how technology drove evolution of US infantry rifle squad. Starting with squad as purely administratory/social unit in XVIIIth century and end ending with squads with two fire teams centred around automatic rifles in 1964.

Re: What Are You Reading?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:50 pm
by Athelassan
Xisor wrote:
Therion wrote:
How do you compare Gotrex and Felix books by newer authors to those of William King?

Favourably. Very favourably.

I would second most of this.

I think Nathan Long's stuff suffers from a number of factors, not all of which are his fault. Giantslayer was indeed pretty weird, but it nevertheless felt like it was going somewhere - and then the next book was unable to follow up on that, also unable to fill in what had happened in the meantime, and start a new story we were supposed to care about with the same characters... It was always going to be hard for it to be anything other than an anticlimax. I thought Orcslayer was actually ok, if a bit mundane considering what had gone before (weird Lovecraft beast from before the dawn of time notwithstanding).

From that point onwards, though... Manslayer suffered from roping in the Ulrika story, which never really convinced on its own merits, and had to be tied in to the Storm of Chaos, and was also cursed with cover art which was simultaneously entirely inaccurate in terms of depicting events of the novel while nevertheless spoiling the ending. So good job there.

Then any momentum built up with that was lost in turn with Elfslayer anyway, by which time the "maybe next time Gotrek will meet his doom!" angle was already starting to get tired.

Of the David Guymer novels I've read only City of the Damned (didn't really do it for me, but that was partly because I never found the premise convincing) and the Lost Tales contribution, which was good. For Kinslayer and Slayer I was in full on End-Times-denial/rage and therefore refusing to engage, so those passed me by. I've liked his other stuff (and if I remember he made a valuable contribution to the omnibus). Road of Skulls was also great, as were the Thanquol novels, though.


Re: What Are You Reading?

PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 2:29 pm
by Xisor
Just delving into "Vampireslayer" at the minute.

I've noticed something that didn't click with me until way forward in "Giantslayer" - that the 'paths of the Old Ones' element was forecast from as early as "Dragonslayer".

Also, I'd always taken Makaisson for comic relief, but on re-reading, that was in a large part pure Scottish cringe.

His dialogue is merely Scots. And in hindsight its rarely even used for giggles. (Snorri and Bjorni has much more of that.)

It's pleasantly compelling.

And I rather wonder what King's own take on the End Times would actually have been.

(I'm doubly irritated by the end times. Not simply the vandalism - no, the shitey kid on a beach kicking others' sandcastles - of it. But doubly because the actual end times didn't even involve the in-setting kicks that were all lined up, foreshadowed and heralded. I'm not averse to seeing new things added, in a sort of general fashion, but it still gets my goat that the already prepared work for end-timesing was thrown away too. See: the Paths of the Old Ones etc.)

It's all further foolishness, given thta the Paths of the Old Ones are a bloody seamless and incontestible avenue from which one could move from the Warhammer World into the Age of Myth preceeding the Age of Sigmar.

Own goals all over the place.