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What are you Reading Now?

Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by Mythopoet, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    Last night I finished reading the novel of Pan's Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke. I've never actually watched the movie but I'd heard it was very good so when I saw the book on Amazon I had to try it out. (I'm generally more of a book person than a movie person.) So while I can't compare it to the original version, I truly enjoyed the book. I imagine Funke was the perfect author to collaborate with on this as her prose is excellent at walking the line between the cruel real world and the magical imaginary world. I would highly recommend it to fans of fairy tales and magical realism.
     
  2. neodoering

    neodoering Minstrel

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    One of the aspects of this series is that the author writes a new trilogy from time to time, with the same characters. So they age and go through trials and tribulations, and by The Days of Anna Madrigal (last book in the series) the characters are mostly in their 60's - 90's and have significant health concerns. I really enjoyed this series. Some characters are straight, some gay. The one I liked best was Mary Ann Singleton, who has ambition to burn. Most of the characters are satisfied with little, but she wants to go to the top, and hell yes go for it!
     
  3. neodoering

    neodoering Minstrel

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    For non-fiction I am currently reading Islamic Empires, which is an examination of Islam over 15 centuries. The author, Justin Marozzi, picks one city per century and shows how it is a powerhouse of Islam leadership and military might. The chapter on Jerusalem is to depressing that I could hardly read it through; the Christians and the Muslims go back and forth in bloody massacres. Overall, though, I am refreshed at learning about these different cities and the development of Islam through the ages.
     
  4. AMObst

    AMObst Dreamer

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    I'm in the middle of NK Jemisin's The City We Became. All I can say so far is - WOW!
     
  5. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    I felt the need to come here and gush about a book. This is such a rare thing for me.

    Jo Walton has been on my list of authors to read. Mostly for Among Others, which was the only one of her books I had actually heard of. But while looking through her works on Amazon I saw that The Just City was on sale. (Not anymore, unfortunately.) The description hooked me immediately.

    Basically, 300 individuals from across 2000+ years of history have all prayed to Athena that they might be able to live in the city described in Plato's Republic. This includes people like Plotinus and Cicero and Marsilio Ficino and many others either real or made up. Athena gathers these people and proposes to help them set up the city as an experiment. She chooses the island that will one day be called Thera and then later on Santorini. They gather 10,000+ slave children from throughout history around the Mediterranean to bring there to conduct the experiment on. They try to follow Plato's instructions as much as possible, but they also have divine help and also robots that Athena has brought from the future. Also, Apollo gets wind of the experiment and decides to incarnate and experience it all from beginning to end as a human because there are things he wants to learn that he thinks he can learn there. After the city had got up and running Athena also brings Socrates there, against his will, and he's not going to just sit around and take it.

    The beauty of this book is that 99% of the conflict is entirely philosophical. There is debate over how to set up the city, but it is all discussed and solved logically. There is a boy who refuses to accept the fact that he was brought and kept there against his will, even if the life he leads there is very good, but it is only explored through socratic dialogue. Apollo struggles to learn about volition and equal significance between men and women and between gods and humans. But he is open to learning and does so through philosophical debate. And finally, Socrates is determined to question everything about the City, why it was made, should it have been made, is it a good thing, and also do the "Worker" robots have the potential for free will and intelligence? The big climax is a public debate between Athena and Socrates and it is glorious.

    If you have any interest at all in Ancient Greek philosophy then I can't recommend this highly enough. I'm reading the second book now of the trilogy and I am so happy to have found it. It's the smartest fantasy I've read in so long I could weep.
     
    Gurkhal and Steerpike like this.
  6. Harry Potter And The Order Of The Pheonix
     
  7. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    I finally started reading the Dresden books, with Storm Front.

    About to begin chapter eight, and...is it me, or would you advise beginning to write a new fantasy mega-series about a wizard and waiting until chapter six, book one, to even show him doing magic?

    I've been told/read that the first couple Dresden books are slow/boring compared to others. I think this might be true? It feels like it only started picking up about chapter 6 (wonder why) through chapter 7.
     
    Dark Lord Thomas Pie likes this.
  8. Vermivorax

    Vermivorax New Member

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    I just finished reading (well, listening to) Rosanne A. Brown's A Song of Wraiths and Ruin. It was very good and I'd been looking forward to it ever since I read the blurb. The characters have all kinds of secret motivations that put them into conflict with one another and the West African setting is pretty neat.
     
  9. Eduardo Letavia

    Eduardo Letavia Acolyte

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    Currently reading a non-fiction historical book about the Visigoths. It tells their story from their migration from what is now Scandinavia, through their relationship with the Roman empire, their power struggles, and the last kingdom they founded in Spain before falling prey to the islamic invasion of the Iberian peninsula in the VIII century CE. Truly a time of wars and murder of kings!

    And just before that, I finished a "The Hainish novels and stories" anthology by Ursula K. Le Guin. Interesting stuff, anthropological scifi with some fantasy brushes (in the first stories at least).
     
  10. neodoering

    neodoering Minstrel

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    And just before that, I finished a "The Hainish novels and stories" anthology by Ursula K. Le Guin. Interesting stuff, anthropological scifi with some fantasy brushes (in the first stories at least).[/QUOTE]

    You might try Ursula LeGuin's work, Always Coming Home. It too is an anthropological work, set in the near future when our society has collapsed and small communities struggle to survive on the Pacific coast.
     
  11. Eduardo Letavia

    Eduardo Letavia Acolyte

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    Good to know, thanks for the reference!
     
  12. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    Woah, thanks for mentioning this. I've ready "Semley's Necklace" in a short story collection and really enjoyed it. Didn't know there was more! I have to read these now.
     
  13. Eduardo Letavia

    Eduardo Letavia Acolyte

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    Yes, there's MUCH more. For starters, Semley's Necklace is just a part of a longer novella called Rocannon's World, which is the first story of them all. The anthology I've read is this one by The Library of America, complete with some introductions, articles and notes (even maps) by Le Guin herself. Be aware that she wrote all these stories in a wide time interval, starting in 1966 up till 2000, so you'll notice an evolution in the style, themes and some lack of internal coherence among them.
     
  14. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I have fond memories of Rocannon's World. It was in an Ace paperback, in the day when they would publish two novellas in a single volume, reversed. One cover on the front, the other on the back. You can see the format here
    [​IMG]

    The other story is The Kar-Chee Reign by Avram Davidson, part of another classic series.

    I haven't seen this cover in a long time. It looks terrible cheesy now, and the blurb at the top isn't much better. Gee, thanks, publisher, you sure earned your percentage there!
     
  15. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Auror

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    Life is a most curious thing. I used to hate e-books and now I am reading more e-books than normal books.

    Anyway, finished "Lessons Learned from the Use of the Machine Gun during the Russo-Japanese War" and "Russian soldier vs Japanese soldier: Manchuria 1904-05".

    I think that for my own sake its better to not try to predict what I will read but instead just, read whatever I feel like and is interested in at the moment. I wish I could plan better but apparently I can't.
     
  16. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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  17. Hir i-Chorvath

    Hir i-Chorvath Inkling

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    I've recently finished Sunbolt and Memories of Ash. I thought they were pretty good, they were different. Both were written using first-person PoV and in present tense.
    Also the Phoenix Host, it was an interesting read but not one of my favorites.

    Still, waiting for the seventh book in the City Between Series, due to come out in September-October. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. Also, Rhythm of War is coming out in November and I can't wait to read it! Again, I highly recommend it.
     
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