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What are you Reading Now?

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

  1. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    Going on a bit of a WW2 history binge at the moment.
    Kursk 1943 The tide turns in the East. It's about the Battle of Kursk [July - August 1943]. It was the last big offensive by the Germans on the Eastern front. To put it oversimply... Both side made guesses on what the other side was doing. The German guesses were mainly wrong, The Soviet side was right more of the time. In hindsight [always 20/20] the Germans were doomed to fail and might have tried something else somewhere else, but the war machine is hard to steer.
    I've just started Normandy '44 by James Holland. It covers the first 2-3 months of the battle for France. It is 650 pages long so may take a while. The bit I'm looking forward to is the story of the battle for Tilly-sur-Seulles, It was and is a small town [village really] that because of it's location was fought over for nearly 3 weeks with hundreds of dead on both sides. I've been there and it is a beautiful sleepy place that was really friendly to a weary tourist.
     
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  2. Stevie

    Stevie Minstrel

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    I read Max hastings' book 'Overlord' a while back. Though long and very detailed, what it did hammer home, and what I never knew before, was the staggeringly high casualty rates on the allied side. Not on the beaches but in the breakout from them.

    If you haven't read it yet, Antony Beevor's 'Berlin; The Downfall' is a good, if not particularly cheery account of the final days of the Third Reich.
     
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  3. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    It seemed to be a deliberate tactic. Not the actual deaths, but the attrition. The allies could replace their losses the Germans could not.
    Hürtgen Forest was much the same. A meat grinder for both sides.
    There was a good [and again not cheery] documentary series on the fall of Berlin. It took accounts from personal diaries and public records to build up the narrative. Some of that was truly harrowing.
     
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  4. Ned Marcus

    Ned Marcus Sage

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    I recently finished Viktor Frankl's book Mans Search For Meaning about his time in WW2 concentration camps. He quoted Nietzsche, which summed up much of what he found. "He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how."
     
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  5. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Currently reading A Gun for Sale by Graham Greene. There's brilliant writing throughout, but get a load of this opener:

    "Murder didn't mean much to Raven. It was just a new job. You had to be careful. You had to use your brains. It was not a question of hatred. He had only seen the Minister once: he had been pointed out to Raven as he walked down the new housing estate between the small lit Christmas trees, an old grubby man without friends, who was said to love humanity."

    Those last two clauses were the real hook. That first paragraph was followed immediately by this:

    "The cold wind cut Raven's face in the wide Continental street. It was a good excuse for turning the collar of his coat well above his mouth. A hare-lip was a serious handicap in his profession; it had been badly sewn in infancy, so that now the upper lip was twisted and scarred. When you carried about so easy an identification you couldn't help becoming ruthless in your methods. It had always, from the first, been necessary for Raven to eliminate a witness."

    In two paragraphs Greene gives us the main character, the setup for the plot, the setting, and even the oncoming entanglements. The writing is so compact, the sentences so well-paced, I hit the buy button before I even finished the sample.
     
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  6. Nighty_Knight

    Nighty_Knight Minstrel

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    Started reading the Berserk manga not long ago. About a 3rd of the way through overall. Love it, I love the very dark and brutal fantasy, but still very tied with the lighter pretty side. The artwork is fantastic too.
     
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  7. LCatala

    LCatala Minstrel

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    I finished The Buried Giant (Kazuo Ishiguro, 2015)

    A story taking place in England in the decades following the death of King Arthur, it is initially told in extremely classical prose with an omniscient, self-aware POV that adresses the modern reader directly, but this is not overbearing, and as the story progresses the narrative does get into more modern techniques (like the occasional switch to 1st person POV, and occasional bits on non-linear storytelling).

    Overall it feels very much like a subtle mixture of authentic medieval literature, with a lot of scenes and symbols that feel weirdly unfamiliar and never get explained (but still draw a consistent story in the end), and of modern sensibilities and considerations about the impact of war, memory, grief, vengeance.

    This is not a sprawling epic; the stakes are somewhat high but are told mainly from the point of view of an elderly couple on a journey to meet back with their son. It has very much a mood of weariness, of an age coming to an end. As such it can feel a bit lacking in liveliness. There are occasional action scenes, but they do not invoke much thrill or emotion, as if seen through a clouded mind (but this fits well with the themes of the story).

    The overall atmosphere reminded of the movie Excalibur with very much a strong sense of mystery and even dread associated with the supernatural. I liked it enough, but not sure I would re-read it. 7/10

    Next up I'll probably read Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky.
     
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  8. LCatala

    LCatala Minstrel

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    Finished Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky
    Overall I found it just ok. There are some very clever twists to the "classic D&D adventure" that this is riffing on, but that means in the process of getting there we still have to go through a number of scenes that I found rather dull and tired. The bits written from Enth's perspective are really good but I'd have wanted a lot more of those. The prose is fine, serviceable but on the good side of the "average" line. Not mad at all I read this but that's not something I see myself ever going back to. 6/10
     
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  9. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    Stargazer by Anne Hillerman
    A detective/mystery tale set on and around the Navajo Tribal Lands in the south west of the USA.
    A taut sparse tale that lets you imagine the details.
    Anne Hillerman has taken the world her father described in his Leaphorn and Chee tales and made them her own without loosing what was loved [at least by me] about the originals.
     
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  10. S.T. Ockenner

    S.T. Ockenner Auror

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    Clash Of Kings by George R.R. Martin
     
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  11. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    I felt more or less the same way about it. On the other hand, Children of Time is excellent--highly recommend it.
     
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  12. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Currently reading The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen Flynn. Only 50 odd pages into it. So far, it's not bad.
     
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  13. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Maester

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    I'm on a Jules Verne kick at the moment, reading stuff I hadn't since I was a teen. One can see most of the things people have complained about in science fiction (especially hard SF) for the past century and a half already in his novels, digressions into science and world building at the expense of plot. Fun, none the less, thanks to plenty of imagination. Right now on 'Around the World in 80 Days' which actually does have a good and interesting story—maybe his best effort in that sense.
     
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  14. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Last year (or two years ago?) I re-read Journey to the Center of the Earth as part of my research for my book Into the Second World. I was surprised to be so disappointed. I noticed the same things. In addition, I was surprised that once they got to the center, nothing much actually happens. No monsters, no lost civilization. Just here we are, and back we go. It really was all about the science-babble along the way.
     
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  15. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Currently reading William Morris, The Well at the End of the World. It reads about as I expected it to. Once fun aspect has been all the antiquated words (e.g., tipstaff). I'm looking these up and bookmarking them against possible future use in my own stories. When a 19thc himself reaches for antiquated words, it's a real trove for us 21st century types.
     
  16. HokuRyu

    HokuRyu Dreamer

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    The Dark Tower 1: The Gunslinger but also The Book of Judges from the Bible as I was reminded of it whilst reading the latter. Gunslinger certainly starts out as a humble beginning for being King's magnum opus.
     
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  17. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Maester

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    I just finished Tom Jones—a novel I've somehow missed opening till now, though I'm a pretty big fan of comic/satirical British novels in general (Thackerary, Trollope, etc). It proved to be very much my sort of book and I'll probably have to watch that I don't start emulating Fielding for a while. The intrusive narrator, par excellence.
     
  18. Reaver

    Reaver Kwisatz Haderach Moderator

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    Currently reading “The Legend of Drizzt” (25th Anniversary Edition) by R.A. Salvatore. It’s a classic epic fantasy and in my opinion, Drizzt Do’Urden is a fantasy icon.
     
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  19. PianoFire

    PianoFire Acolyte

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    I’m right in the middle of the Leviathan trilogy. It was my favorite series in middle school, and my cousins gifted them to me recently, so it’s a nice throwback, if slightly obscure.
     
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  20. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Currently reading Tanith Lee, Night's Master. I am reminded of Robert E. Howard, even though their stories are wildly different. Lush prose, violet if not actually purple. Reminds me, too, of Thomas Burnett Swann.
     
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