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What's a cool book you've read in the past month?



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Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:10 pm
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Evander says...



Have you read an interesting book in the past month? Was it good? Was it bad? Did it make you weep or want to tear your hair out? Have you wanted a place to talk about it? Then here's the thread for you!

Also, if you want to write an entire review for a book you've read, then just hop on over to Media Reviews!

-

Now I'll talk about a book that I read in the past month. ;)

Personally, I read Artemis by Andy Weir. I was convinced that the book was fantastic, but I was unable to really explain what I liked about it other than because of the snarky main character and the worldbuilding. Well, I chatted with one of my sisters about the book for an hour and... wow, I really didn't like the book at all. My critical thinking skills were absolutely, positively obscured by the fact that The Martian was a really good book.

The worldbuilding of Artemis was incredibly great, but the book lacked emotional payoff. A lot of things were set up that never came to fruition or didn't necessarily have satisfaction paired with the fruition. In the end, the main character was in a similar position to where she started; the journey she took was huge, but the ending wasn't substantial enough. I had originally given it 4/5 stars, but I'm going to bump that rating down to 3/5 stars. I appreciate the hard work that the author put into research and I didn't even mind the technical science-y sections, however the book itself doesn't really stand up to scrutiny.
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Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:33 pm
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BlueAfrica says...



I love The Martian it is my only sci-fi love

I'm reading A Darker Shade of Magic, by V.E. Schwab (a birthday present from a friend who loves V.E. Schwab) and I'm loving it so far! There are three Londons plus a dead London that was corrupted by magic, and each one uses magic differently (or not at all, in the case of Grey London). I'm really enjoying all the characters I've been introduced to so far, plus my friend says there are some bi characters in the book (I think I already know who one of them is) and that they end up together and are super-cute, so I'm looking forward to that as well. The book is more adult fantasy but definitely more of a YA style, which is basically the kind of fantasy I've been looking for in the adult section my entire teen-to-adult life.
  





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Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:36 pm
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StellaThomas says...



I've read two this month that I'd love to talk about!

1. Warcross by Marie Lu

YA-sci fi book where everybody is addicted to a VR game called Warcross. The MC Emika Chen is 19 and broke, working as a hacker and bounty hunter when she accidentally glitches into the opening of the Warcross annual tournament. This is the catalyst to her being whisked off to Tokyo to meet the creator of Warcross and entered into the tournament herself with a secret secondary goal: to find someone trying to destroy the game.

It's fun, her writing is lovely and easy to get into, the world building is solid, the cast is very interesting and shows just how easily you can write a diverse cast (Emika's team are her - half-Chinese, a Frenchman, a white American in a wheelchair, a Latina girl and a gay British-Indian and at no point does it feel forced, diversity in writing goals to be honest). Emika, kicking the trend of YA heroines, is not annoying. I think it's probably quite like Ready Player One, which is sitting on my table waiting to be read right now.

The only annoying thing is I thought it was a standalone but it's a trilogy and now I'll have to wait.

2. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

I devoured this book in one night! I bought it because the cover is pretty and I follow the author on instagram and she seems like a laugh. Those are sensible reasons, right?

Anyway. The setting of this book is Out. Of. This. World. Think the Wild West in an Arab desert. Think djinni and magical horses made of fire and sand, but also pistols and train heists.

It was just fun.

The characterisation could have been better - there's a specific part of Amani's character that they keep talking about to show that she's developing - but she just doesn't really develop. There were some predictable plot twists. But now they're out of the way - and I did know this one was a trilogy and I can read the next two instalments happily.
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Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:10 pm
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alliyah says...



About Grace by Anthony Doerr (author of "All the Light we Cannot See"). I started listening to this book on audio book this summer but the tapes were scratchy so I only got a few chapters in - those chapters had me absolutely hooked though and I had to finish the story. So I searched out the book and read it all basically in two days because it was that good. I don't think I can say much about the plot without spoiling the details but there's a lot of reflection on memory, family, and fate in it - and the protagonist's inner thoughts are just so deeply rich and interesting. I definitely recommend. The plot itself isn't that terribly interesting but the overall premise and the characterization of the protagonist are super engaging.

Also based on what everyone else has been reading and sharing, I think I have a few books I need to add to my reading list.
but i don't think i can ever love someone
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Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:30 pm
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BlueAfrica says...



OKAY now that @alliyah reminded me, I read this just about exactly a month ago so Imma go with it.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry, by Fredrick Backman.

Oh. My. God. This book was so good. I read a lot and enjoy many books, but I feel like it's been a long time since I've felt exactly about a book the way I felt reading this book for the first time. I devoured it in a weekend on my silence retreat.

I adore the writing style, I laughed often (which was a bit of a problem, really, given the whole, you know, silence thing), I cried a little bit even though I don't usually cry while reading books at all. There was a lovely blend of fairytale and realism, and every character was more than they appeared. I love love love this book and impulse-bought two more by the same author at Barnes & Noble the other day because I needed them.
  





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Wed Mar 28, 2018 7:27 pm
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StellaThomas says...



alliyah wrote:About Grace by Anthony Doerr (author of "All the Light we Cannot See"). I started listening to this book on audio book this summer but the tapes were scratchy so I only got a few chapters in - those chapters had me absolutely hooked though and I had to finish the story. So I searched out the book and read it all basically in two days because it was that good. I don't think I can say much about the plot without spoiling the details but there's a lot of reflection on memory, family, and fate in it - and the protagonist's inner thoughts are just so deeply rich and interesting. I definitely recommend. The plot itself isn't that terribly interesting but the overall premise and the characterization of the protagonist are super engaging.

Also based on what everyone else has been reading and sharing, I think I have a few books I need to add to my reading list.


Oh boy, adding this to my TBR. I loved All The Light We Cannot See so much.
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Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:06 pm
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Elinor says...



Currently reading Ordinary People by Judith Guest, the source material for the Oscar-winning movie.

The movie is one of the best I've seen in a long time, but the book is so interesting and well written because we get into Conrad's psyche the way we don't in the movie and the prose is so beautiful, almost poetic. I'm looking forward to finishing. Definitely worth checking out!

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Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:23 pm
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Magestorrow says...



Though it's been several years since I read Ordinary People, I do remember it being quite good! out of all of the books I've been forced to read in high school, that one is a definite favorite of mine. So I can second @Elinor's thoughts on it!

This month I read It Devours by Jeffrey Cranor and Josephy Fink, which I binged in about a day and will probably reread over the summer when I'm craving some new Welcome to Night Vale content. It was really good. WTNV is a podcast series that I also highly recommend, but this isn't the place to talk about it. You supposedly don't need to know the series to understand the book. As I read the book because I'm a devout fan of the series, I don't think I'm the best judge of that.

Speaking of being a devout follower, the conflict stems from an interesting divide that seems more and more prevalent in the modern day - science vs. religion. It was incredibly thought provoking with its insight onto how to make the two coexist, and how people from vastly different backgrounds could still become friends. There was the usual aspects of a WTNV story. A strange monster. Wacky town shenanigans. Quirky yet entertaining humor. But I felt like this novel really stood out from the other installments; something about the writing itself and the lesson it imparted were more meaningful to me.
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Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:24 pm
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alliyah says...



@BlueAfrica - I read "My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell you I'm Sorry" this summer with my sister & mom (we did a little family book club where we read a different book each month) - at the beginning I wasn't sure how I felt about it, because there were so many characters to keep track of. But the main ones were fantastic [Especially the grandma! Oh gosh she was hilarious!].

Fredrik Backman is great though! "A Man Called Ove" & "Britt-Marie was Here" are just great blends of silliness and gravity and passionate protagonists.
but i don't think i can ever love someone
who doesn't understand that teal
is a different color than
dark cyan.

  





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Wed Mar 28, 2018 10:13 pm
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occymay says...



I recently re-read The Mortal Instruments, and I was slightly disappointed by it after holding it such esteem for the past four years. I noticed things that didn't add up like apparently, Simon is Jewish but the first time it's mentioned is the second book in a joke "It would have to be Kosher", and I was like "Eh?". It subsequently becomes a massive thing in the rest of the books. I felt the character's personalities were just told to me like, Clary is a daydreamer, but I didn't get that until Simon said it. It's also a tough book series to read because you have to read the different series in the right order. Infernal devices is first, then the mortal instruments, then the Bane Chronicles, the tales of the shadow hunter academy, then the dark artifices. If you read these out of order you'll find yourself very confused. Unfortunately, because they are different series it difficult to know the order in which you should read them.

Also, this is giving me so many books I want to read but I already have a massive list!
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Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:46 am
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DougalOfBiscuits says...



My recent reading:

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury.
My flatmate got me this for my birthday because he weighed up all the possible options and decided this one suited me best. If you've read it, you're probably as unsure as me if this is a compliment. While it's a brilliant read that draws you in and makes you question everything about humanity, it's frequently creepy and constantly has you on edge. Does this say anything about me? Whooooo knows. I am however very glad my flatmate knows me well enough to know I would enjoy this book. Would like more female characters if you're going to imagine a far future, especially since it did a bit of work on race representation, but it was written in the fifties, so you take what you can get. Also there was occasionally a story where the message was pressed home in dialogue (it's a set of stories set in the same universe with an overarching narrative but with largely separate sets of characters and several months and miles in between each story), but for the most part events were left hanging for you to put the pieces together.

Worlds of Exile and Illusion by Ursula K. Le Guin. This is actually the first three books in a series in one volume, so even though I haven't finished the volume yet, I have finished two novels. In the first of these, I saw an outsider come to terms with his new home in a sensitive, scary and fair way. In the second I saw what was an admittedly sudden relationship develop between a young girl and a guy who if not a bit older is clearly way more knowledgeable than her. Regardless, they make a good team in an unfortunate war for survival that nobody really wants to be fighting. I'll comment on the other one when I finish it.

The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan. I started reading this book as prep for a writing fantasy workshop Logan was running in my city. I wanted to know what kind of stuff she wrote so I'd know if it came up. So I stopped with the Ursula Le Guin novel and started reading this. I'm about halfway through now and in love with the aesthetic. There's a bear, and a circus at sea. And also! There's a wlw relationship that doesn't have a plot revolving around the fact that it's two women. They haven't actually become together yet, but I bet they're going to!

p.s. everyone should read lots of Ursula Le Guin books. She was absolutely amazing.

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Thu Mar 29, 2018 2:10 am
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Nobunaga says...



Sadly, my reading month has been crap :(
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Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:26 pm
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Mea says...



@Nobunaga - SAME.

Seriously, though, I'm really wishing for a book to fall in love with at the moment. I seem to either have grown a lot more picky over the past few months, or have just been picking bad books to read. I'm enjoying my re-reads and books by authors I already love, but haven't found anything new to love. (Last one was I think the Martian, which was SO GOOD @BlueAfrica lets geek out about it together, but that was months ago.)

@StellaThomas - I really liked Marie Lu's Legend series when I was younger, though I kind of grew out of it. But that sounds really cool, and so I actually just went and placed a hold on Warcross based on that recommendation! Maybe mostly to see how she portrays Tokyo.

What I just finished reading that was interesting was the original Foundation and Foundation and Empire, classics by Isaac Asimov.

I liked them, but it's sort of lukewarm praise. They were a disappointment after the other Asimov stuff I've read, honestly (I really like I, Robot and the Caves of Steel series, plus The End of Eternity.)

I think that, while his vision of these massive trends of history and empires spanning thousands of years is super cool on this huge, unprecedented (especially at the time) scope, I just couldn't get past how... unimaginative/blind it feels in some places. Mostly things like the complete absence of digital technology (book-films are just funny, honestly), the focus on nuclear power as still the be-all and end-all of technology hundreds of thousands of years into the future, and, to some extent, the 1950s gender roles.

Okay, it is super unfair to criticize him for not knowing about all the new technology we'd invent. And the gender roles don't bother me much in his other works. I think just here on the massive scale of Foundation, where the premise is exploring these great future trends, his limitations in these aspects really stand out, because it seems so glaringly obvious now that with millions of planets over thousands of years, of course everything is going to be changing way more than he portrays.

Still, his stuff definitely worth a read if you love sci-fi and thought experiments, just to see where it all began. And keep recommending books people, cause I could use some new ones!
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Fri Mar 30, 2018 2:36 pm
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BlueAfrica says...



@Mea SUCH SCIENCE OMFG plus everyone who complained about how much he knew to do in the movie needs to read the book because it's explained.
  





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Fri Mar 30, 2018 2:51 pm
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LordWolf says...



I haven't read like any novels or shorts lately (for fun), outside of re-reading some Spiderwick chronicles one night? Mainly I've been reading this little book of poetry.
(I read Rebecca 3 times for school and oh my god just kill me already.)
It's a bit odd and I actually took this week's Poem of the Week from it.
Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle...
And Other Modern Verse
The original edition was from 1966, so it's mainly poems from mid 1800s through 1966.
And this is one of my favorite poems
Poets Hitchhiking on the Highway
  








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