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Book-Related Discussion > Monthly book discussion: 03/13

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message 1: by John L, Mod (new)

John L (philipblake) | 103 comments Mod
I know we are more than half way through the month, but I figure it is important for a book group to have a place where people can discuss what they've been reading for the month.

Just discuss what books you've read this month and kind of give a tl;dr version of your review. Links to your full review are also fine. And feel free to strike up conversations any time about books you see others have read. This is a discussion group, after all.

This month, I've read the last two parts of the Riyria Revelations, Rise of Empire, and Heir of Novron. This is a series that I've enjoyed a lot and was well written. I wasn't sure if the end would come together a few times, but it was a very satisfying conclusion and the books kept upping the ante and getting better and better the whole way through of these.

Next was For Crew and Country: The Inspirational True Story of Bravery and Sacrifice Aboard the USS Samuel B. Roberts. Early on in reading this book I was worried that I was going to be able to write this book off as just another war story. I knew there would be a brotherhood between the soldiers, fear, courage, bravery, and battle (You don't see many true stories of the soldiers that hate each other and don't see combat). Towards the end, however, I realized just how wrong I was. This book really surprised me with the emotional impact. I was proud of the soldiers, and felt sorrow at the end.

Lastly, I finished a book I've been looking at for a while now: Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do. Now, I especially liked this one as a collection of studies about a topic, because when one normally picks up a book about a highly contested topic, you find it picking a side. This book, however, does not. Credible research (Unless you think adolescents blowing a horn a few seconds longer proves aggression) is just not present to say violent video games make children violent. That may seem easy, but there is more interesting info in the rest of the book.

Now you all! Go!


message 2: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (icecheeseplease) I have read none of those! What I have been reading is comics. I have a problem, don't judge me!

So far this month I've read the Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind series of seven. I'm a huge fan of Studio Ghibli and the creator, Hayao Miyazaki. It's actually kind of odd that I've waited until just now to read them. Anyhow, they're amazing. The world that Mr. Miyazaki has created is so complex. Apparently this story has inspired others such as Dune.

I have also read Peter & Max: A Fables Novel. I'm a nerd for Bill Willingham so anything he writes is gold to me. If you love the original Fables comic you'll love the novel written by him. It's a super easy read too, it only took me two days to read at a leisurely pace.

Next up, Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love. A shoot-off of the original Fables series, although not written by Willingham. It's not as good as the main series but still worth a read.

The last comic I've read this month is Adventure Time Vol 1. So much love for this. It's one of the few show-to-comics that truly captures the feels of the show.

As far as actual novels, I'm working on the last book of The Bitterbynde Trilogy, The Battle of Evernight, by Cecilia Dart-Thornton. I adore this series but it's definitely not for everyone. Very high fantasy, much like LOTR, lots of walking of huge distances on foot. Magic, Faery, the whole lot. It's an amazing read if you're into that kind of thing.


message 3: by John L, Mod (new)

John L (philipblake) | 103 comments Mod
Ah, see, I should be reading comics too. My friend gave me his Sandman collection and I'm on to #8. I know that once I read 8 I'll want to read 9, but I just procrastinate!


message 4: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (icecheeseplease) Philip Blake wrote: "Ah, see, I should be reading comics too. My friend gave me his Sandman collection and I'm on to #8. I know that once I read 8 I'll want to read 9, but I just procrastinate!"

Sandman is on my list. I think I'll go for that one after I've caught up with everything else. Same with The Unwritten and Lock & Key.


message 5: by John L, Mod (new)

John L (philipblake) | 103 comments Mod
Its pretty amazing how much they can vary in quality. Some I loved, some not so much. It makes it a strange series to strongly recommend, but it is interesting.


message 6: by Rose, Mod (new)

Rose (rtrinh) | 153 comments Mod
So far this month, I've completed reading Ender's Game. I remember reading it a few years back and enjoying it, but I may have been too young to really appreciate the themes the author had conveyed. If you haven't read this yet, put it on your list! I'm usually not a big science fiction reader but this one is fantastic! :)

Other than that, I'm currently reading The Song of Achilles. I'm sure you all know the Iliad whether or not you've read it. This novel is basically a retelling but from the perspective of Patroclus and dives more into his relationship with Achilles. It's interesting to read if you're interested in seeing a new perspective on a set of characters that you think you know. Admittedly, there are some liberties the author took with the characters as they are not quite the same as they are from the Iliad. I'm almost finished with this one so the next one up is going to be...

House of Leaves... I've heard some things and I'm both excited and terrified to read these. Books have a bigger impact on my imagination than television does. I don't get very scared watching scary movies... my own head is a different story, I suppose. Perhaps it's because I'm an artist and I'm very imaginative? I don't know.


message 7: by Prajwalit (new)

Prajwalit | 16 comments I just started Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch. I finished The Lies of Locke Lamora (the first book in Gentlemen Bastards sequence) this month. It's a bit slow at start but picks up the pace afterwards. I liked it because it has a different plot than usual war/warriors/magicians combo of fantasy genre.


message 8: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte | 10 comments I have recently finished Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, and not being much of a Sci fi or speculative fiction kinda gal, this book roped me in. I have read a few of her books in the past so the style was familiar, but the ending, oh man that just has me hanging for her sequel in August ( I believe she is doing an AMA closer to the time).
At the moment I am reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. It's colossal, but thoroughly readable, even with all the johns, toms and Mary's. Set in Tudor times, it (quite accurately) follows the life of Thomas Cromwell, a man who has often been painted as somewhat cunning and dark in the history books. However, Mantel spins this around and writes it from his perspective, resulting in what is becoming a very addictive read. I may or may not be going to bed earlier as a result ...


message 9: by Darren (new)

Darren Lee (slappa_da_bass) | 12 comments This month I have so far managed to finish The Book Thief by Markus Zusak which I thought was unique in the telling of the story from Deaths perspective. I thought the way the narrator kept hinting towards negative impacts in the main characters life kept me hooked in that I wanted to know exactly what the narrator was hiding. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who is wanting something a little bit different in terms of storyline and a somewhat quirky narrator.

Currently I am half way through the incredibly controversial book The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie. So far the book has been slightly difficult to crack due to the vivid descriptions and jumps through time periods and characters perspectives. However, the last chapter I read really opened the book up and has started to really capture my interest possibly resulting into some cuts of my revision schedule.


message 10: by Jonas (new)

Jonas (jvandermaesen) | 5 comments I've had a pretty slow reading month. Not a lot of free time in general, and most of that free time went something else.

However, I just finished Deadhouse Gates, and I must say there are some gutwrenching moments in it that will resonate with me for quite a while. It's by no means an easy read. It's a great read though, with a massive story, lots of interesting characters, lots of moments that put a spotlight on the uglier sides of war and luckily a few comical notes inbetween.

If you like Fantasy with a darker tone, huge worldbuilding, bittersweet moments and at times a philosophical undertone, this book (and probably series) is one for you. It's definitely not for everybody though.

I just started book 3 (Memories of Ice), and I can't wait too see what's going to happen. Book 3 is basically the other half of Deadhouse Gates. Think Feast for Crows, and Dance with Dragons. Except Deadhouse Gates felt more complete than those. I expect the same for Memories of Ice.


message 11: by Darliza (new)

Darliza (parentheticals) | 92 comments Darren wrote: "This month I have so far managed to finish The Book Thief by Markus Zusak which I thought was unique in the telling of the story from Deaths perspective. I thought the way the narrator kept hinting..."

The Book Thief was one of my favorite reads last year, and is one of the impetus of my current Holocaust literature phase. It's such a wonderful book!


message 12: by Chris (new)

Chris Slowe (keysersosa) | 2 comments This has definitely been a slow month for me. So far I've finished Connie Willis Blackout, which was kind of meh both from a scifi and character development standpoint (I know. I know. I realize a lot of scifi sadly is not renowned for awesome character development... A guy can hope.)

For my real-life book group coming up next week we read Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, which was a good read but necessarily kind of a downer. With that behind me, I've switched up to lighter fare: A Fire Upon the Deep, which I can aptly nibble at between putting fires out at work.

I'm also trying really hard to find time for A Feast for Crows (I know. I know. I figure as long as I'm ahead of the TV series I'm doing just fine).


message 13: by Ricardo (last edited Mar 20, 2013 11:48PM) (new)

Ricardo (ricardob) | 15 comments I finished the second volume in "The kingslayer chronicle" series("A wise man's fear"), and while well written and more interesting than the first, the narrative threads are still all over the place, flailing at the wind, half of them lost or forgotten. It's a strange series. Great writer, but it goes nowhere. And it takes its time to get there.

"The picture of Dorian Gray": a wonderful story about self love, and youth obsession, with Oscar Wilde's legendary wit fully sharped for his one novel. Very enjoyable.

"The Return of the King": first time reading the whole of lord of the rings, and this is the most exciting one, that surprised me by how quickly the pieces on the board move, and the wonderfully told battle of the Shire, sadly missing from the otherwise great film adaptations.

1984 by George Orwell: well known dystopian novel, second time read. This time it was the description of the balance of powers, and need for an enemy that struck me the most. Ever relevant, it's amazing how Orwell shines the warning beacon to the future without overlooking the aesthetics of the writing. I only wish more political writers would be so attentive to form.

Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr Hyde: gothic novel by robert louis stevenson, that still communicates its ideas better than all the endless adaptations. Also by Stevenson, I read Ollala and The Body Snatcher, written before "Strange Case...", similar in tone, and also without much flourish in the prose but very moody and effective.

Currently in the middle of Anna Karenina.


message 14: by Stephanie, Super Mod (new)

Stephanie (lastnightsbook) | 346 comments Mod
I'm reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and it started out as something very simple, like I thought it would be one of those in depth novels about couples and the saving of their marriage (I try not to read reviews of books that I'm about to read except for the it's good factor, because I find many reviews to be summaries or spoilers for my taste) and the book has turn a little bit macabre, looming almost, like a distasteful day.

Browsing through some of what everyone is reading, I know that I don't read as many books as some, although some months I do. I think it depends on the book, because some, the atmosphere of the book, just demand a slow loving read, while other books I feel are just a quick read, like a snack. Anyone else feel like that with some books?

I also read Gregory McGuire's Mirror, Mirror, and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, I like Confessions better because the narrator grabbed at me more.

@Charlotte, I've read a Oryx and Crake as well. Have you read Year of the Flood yet? I didn't know she had an instalment plan for the series? That's exciting :)


message 15: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (icecheeseplease) Annie wrote: "Browsing through some of what everyone is reading, I know that I don't read as many books as some, although some months I do. I think it depends on the book, because some, the atmosphere of the book, just demand a slow loving read, while other books I feel are just a quick read, like a snack. Anyone else feel like that with some books?"

I totally get this, there are some stories that just take longer to get through. I'm usually a fast reader but The Bitterbynde Trilogy that I'm STILL reading has taken so long to get through. I'm in the last hundred pages of the last book now, finally, and it has been a very long process. I think it's partly the author's writing style and partly the high fantasy aspect of the book. There are many concepts in this series that don't exist in our world so I find myself re-reading paragraphs to make sure that I understand correctly.


message 16: by John L, Mod (new)

John L (philipblake) | 103 comments Mod
I didn't see what all the hype was about with the first book in the king killer chronicles, The Name of The Wind. It was alright, but surely not the best bit of fantasy I've read. I guess everyone just likes a boy going to magic school.


message 17: by Brooks (new)

Brooks Chris wrote: "This has definitely been a slow month for me. So far I've finished Connie Willis Blackout, which was kind of meh both from a scifi and character development standpoint."

Connie Willis always takes her time setting up all her pieces, then having everything fall into place at the end. Blackout and All Clear were essentially one book, so then Blackout became the setup and the second half of All Clear paid the whole thing off.

I liked both, but I did get a little frustrated with the pace of things at some points. Still, All Clear is worth a read, just to pay off all the events of Blackout.


message 18: by Danielle (last edited Mar 21, 2013 05:56PM) (new)

Danielle | 60 comments I think the best book I read so far this month was North and South. I don't know why I hadn't heard of it before, it was really good. I also finished up the fantasy/young adult Bartimaeus series. The first three books were pretty good, but man the last book just fell on it's face.

Other than that, I've been on a physics kick this month. I read The Fabric of the Cosmos, From Eternity to Here, and Physics of the Impossible. I really liked the first two, but the third wasn't as good - a little too much pop science for me.

Tomorrow I'm starting The Killer of Little Shepherds.
This makes it look like I read all the time, but really it's because I like to listen to audio books all day while I work.


message 19: by Ricardo (new)

Ricardo (ricardob) | 15 comments Philip Blake wrote: "I didn't see what all the hype was about with the first book in the king killer chronicles, The Name of The Wind. It was alright, but surely not the best bit of fantasy I've read. I guess everyone ..."

Oh, I agree with you here. He sets up Kvothe as this legendary character, and we instead get the disappointing story of an orphan. But Rothfuss is a good writer. If he only choses a direction and stick with it, it could be great.


message 20: by John L, Mod (new)

John L (philipblake) | 103 comments Mod
Ricardo wrote: "Philip Blake wrote: "I didn't see what all the hype was about with the first book in the king killer chronicles, The Name of The Wind. It was alright, but surely not the best bit of fantasy I've re..."

The writing was undeniably good, but it was much slower than I expected. I don't keep up with the author, so I'm not sure of his plans, and I still have the second book sitting in my library for me to listen to, but this series seems like its going to take a while based on how much Kvothe still needs to progress at the end of the first of the series. We shall see, though.


message 21: by Stephanie, Super Mod (new)

Stephanie (lastnightsbook) | 346 comments Mod
@Danielle, The Killer of Little Shepherds sounds, well killer! Definitively let me know what you think of it, I added it to my reading list!


message 22: by John L, Mod (new)

John L (philipblake) | 103 comments Mod
I can add The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined to my read list. Now, I got it on an audible sale, but I definitely would have preferred a text version. It was an interesting listen, but I'll be actually reading it later on.


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