Books completed

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duskvstweak
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Re: Books completed

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Alex79uk wrote: June 5th, 2021, 7:04 am Was Norse Mythology any good? I've had it a while and not read it yet. I usually love Gaiman, but just haven't fancied it so far. I've even bought the graphic novel adaption and not looked at that either.
It was good! I mean, it's just Gaiman retelling/restructuring existing stories. It sort of feels like the definitive collection of Norse myth. Sometimes, I felt, it could have used more juice, but I had a good time with it.

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Minowese
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Re: Books completed

Post by Minowese »

I've just finished "All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages" edited by Saundra Mitchell. Each one of the stories felt it could have been it's own novel. The Robin Hood adaptation really left on a cliffhanger. Malinda Lo's new book "Last Night at the Telegraph Club" seems like it could be a follow up to her short story, "New Year". I haven't looked too far into but that would be really exciting.

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duskvstweak
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Re: Books completed

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Spoiler: show
Star Wars: The High Republic: Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule
The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson
Dinosaurs Without Bones by Anthony Martin
Tehanu by Ursula K. Le Guin
Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark by Claudia Gray
The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History by John M. Barry
Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
Acid for the Children by Flea
Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany
Circe by Madeline Miller
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder
Spin by Robert Charles Wilson
The Future of Humanity by Michio Kaku
Outcast United by Warren St. John
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
Count Zero by William Gibson
Press Reset by Jason Schreier
June Reading
Yearbook by Seth Rogen
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
The Hierarchies by Ros Anderson

Basically, Project Hail Mary took me longer to read than I had hoped, and it wasn't totally worth it in the end, at least not for me. Much better than Artemis but I don't know if I'll be reading Weir's next book.

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Feirsteax
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Re: Books completed

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Just finished reading Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian. It's a long, violent story of the american wild west, following a gang of mercenaries across different parts of mexico and texas. Someone in the movies thread recommended "Hostiles" as a good "Revisionist Western". I had no idea what that genre was until today, and turns out Blood Meridian is a notable example of the genre in literature.

That was an experience all right. At times it felt extremely long and a slog, and at times the plot seemed like it was going nowhere. But all the way through it were flashes of something deep and mystical that kept me going. It actually took me over two years to finish reading it, since I took breaks and read other things along the way, and just couldn't get the motivation to read it at times too.

The prose is fairly dense at times. Sometimes McCarthy can turn a phrase that seems colloquial into something deeply profound and beautiful. Other times, it feels like wading through a jungle of adjectives and half-finished sentence clauses. It can be a bit disorientating.

But towards the latter third of the book I became a lot more engrossed and flew through it. All the themes and characters and situations that had transpired throughout the book came to take on a different light as I tried to contemplate what was trying to be conveyed through this gruesome, brutal story of seemingly senseless violence on the american frontier.

One of the creepier characters, Judge Holden, has stuck in my mind since I read it. He seems to represent a kind of dark philosophy that haunts the characters in the book and drives the brutal actions going on at that time. I'm not really sure how to word it but it's really interesting. And his relationship to "The Kid", the main character, is also very interesting too. There's something going on there that I haven't quite worked out, but they seem to share a connection or a dark link of some kind.

It was only after I'd finished it that I found it was loosely inspired by a real life gang of scouts called Glanton's Gang that was hired by the state of Mexico to hunt down native americans. At one point they decided to start killing and scalping Mexican citizens as well because the hue of their skin was close enough for them to pass off. Eventually though their gruesome acts caught up with them and they began to gain a reputation. To say any more would probably verge into spoiler territory so I will leave it there.

It really was a story that stuck with me. It led me to think about the circumstances and events of that time, and how they resonate through to today. The book was written in 1985 and the American war in Vietnam had ended in 1975, and one of the American squadrons called "Tiger Force" in Vietnam were known for their savagery and carrying out of multiple war crimes. They even collected scalps of killed Vietnamese and collected their ears on a necklace, clearly inspired by the kinds of atrocities committed during the time of American expansionism into the "Wild West".


It's a really weird one. It's not a pleasant read at all, but I'm really glad I read it. It definitely has been swimming around my head since I finished it, and in a strange way finishing the book made me retroactively appreciate even the more boring, painstaking and confusing parts of it.

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Feirsteax
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Re: Books completed

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duskvstweak wrote: July 12th, 2021, 3:34 pm Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Basically, Project Hail Mary took me longer to read than I had hoped, and it wasn't totally worth it in the end, at least not for me. Much better than Artemis but I don't know if I'll be reading Weir's next book.
A few people recommended this heavily to me and I picked it up the other day. I've only read the first chapter and while I am enjoying it, I also feel as if it may have been slightly overhyped... It's got a few too many snappy one-liners for my liking as of right now, but I'm trying to keep an open mind.
I'll see how it goes. But your comment has only heightened my skepticism :D


I'm reading two other books ... sort of at the same time as this one. I'm kind of hopping between them depending on which one I'm in the mood for. I'll probably magnetise to just one of the three eventually but right now I'm book-hopping between:

One Billion Years to the End of the World by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky (Also known as "Definitely Maybe" in America, I think)
Oh this is so cool. And also really strange. A theoretical physicist called Malianov finds himself constantly interrupted from his work, just as he finds himself on the verge of a scientific breakthrough. Strange visitors, a mysterious box full of vodka, and various other distractions seem to keep popping up out of nowhere.

It's written by two Soviet scientist brothers, and I wasn't sure what to expect from it. I thought it might've been a bit boring, but it's actually really funny. It's very light-hearted, but has an intriguing backdrop of conspiracy which is keeping me turning the pages.
It is a lot less sci-fi than I expected at first, seems more of a mystery novel than anything. But so far I'm loving it and I would probably reccomend it if you want something short, sweet and very curious.

The Algebraist by Iain M. Banks
For the most part, I'm really enjoying this. I had actually read it already, a few years ago, but I'm reading it again because I remembered the concept being pretty cool.

It's not a Culture novel, so it's slightly different to his other books in that it doesn't have a shared universe with them. But it still has that characteristic vibe of Banks's sci-fi books. Grand, sweeping space opera, with weird inventions and weapons and things influencing the politics and inter-relations of the civilisations at play, all with more personal dramas unfolding in the foreground.

I'm really liking it, the concept of the Dweller civilisation is super cool, being a alien speicies that seems to experience time on a much slower scale, so a casual conversation with could last a few weeks, and a war between them could last millennia. Due to this, they kind of operate on a completely detached level from the rest of galactic civilisation, they barely pay the "Quick" species any heed at all and only interact when absolutely necessary.

It's very cool, the world building is always great I find with Banks's stuff. Though there are sometimes I find his characters a bit childish or silly. The "bad guy" who gets introduced in the second chapter is just eye-rollingly bad in my opinion, and the whole chapter was spent describing his sadistic torture methods on his captors. It just felt tasteless and boring, I didn't really get it. Maybe I'm missing something but I remember having this same problem the first time I read the book as well some years ago.
On the plus side it does make me hate the character, maybe that's all it needed to do :twisted:

P.S. Do we have a "Whatcha Been Reading?" type thread, or am I okay to continue rambling in this one?

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