Israel SciFi and Fantasy Book Club discussion

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Book Discussions > What are you reading in 2015?

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message 1: by Simcha (new)

Simcha Lazarus (sclazarus) | 258 comments Mod
It's been a while since I last had a chance to check in here and it looks like the group has been pretty dead for the past year, but I'd love to try to revive it.

So tell me, what are you currently reading and what's the best book that you've read so far this year?


message 2: by Esther (last edited Aug 22, 2015 10:37PM) (new)

Esther (eshchory) | 218 comments Mod
I have been reading Old Man's War.
John Scalzi was one of the first of the more modern scifi authors recommended to me by just about everybody. I started with Redshirts last year and this year I thoroughly enjoyed the first 4 books in the Old Man's War series.

I also read The Sparrow and Cloud Atlas both were good but neither were as great as the hype made out.
I tried some oldies Pawn of Prophecy (fun) and Brain Wave (dated).
And on the Jewish angle I read The Golem and the Djinni which was interesting but a bit plodding.


message 3: by Havva (last edited Aug 22, 2015 11:47PM) (new)

Havva I just finished Half the Blood of Brooklyn and The Voyage of the Basilisk (Memoir by Lady Trent #3).

I don't know if it's the best book I read this year, but I quite liked The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness.


message 4: by Simcha (new)

Simcha Lazarus (sclazarus) | 258 comments Mod
I loved Old Man's War and Redshirts! Actually, I think I've enjoyed everything that I've read by Scalzi. This year I read Lock In, which was also really good. Now I'm waiting for the sequel.
Haven't read The Sparrow but it's on my list of books to read.


message 5: by Simcha (new)

Simcha Lazarus (sclazarus) | 258 comments Mod
Havva wrote: "I just finished Half the Blood of Brooklyn and The Voyage of the Basilisk (Memoir by Lady Trent #3).

I don't know if it's the best book I read this year, but I quite liked The Soul of an Octopus:..."


Hm, that octopus book certainly sounds interesting. It's not a book I would think to pick up but now I'm curious.


message 6: by Genia (new)

Genia Lukin | 42 comments The Sparrow is absolutely one of the best sci-fi books I have read ever. And I've read a lot of sci-fi.

I've been reading a good amount of sci-fi this year: I've gone through the Temeraire series lowly, it was okay, I guess. I've read some oldies like Bring the Jubilee and The Demolished Man, and I've read the new Scalzis in the Old Man's War universe.


message 7: by Angel (new)

Angel Serrano | 5 comments I read Isaac Asimov's series about Robots. An old classic, but still pretty readable.


message 8: by Evelyn (new)

Evelyn gesua (evelyng) | 1 comments I'm reading "The wrath and the dawn" by Renee Ahdie.


message 9: by Lorelei (new)

Lorelei | 37 comments This summer I read a lot of John Scalzi, Isaac Asimov (the entire foundation series, among others), Terry Pratchett, Christopher Moore, I can't remember them all. None of the books except for Redshirts stands out, sadly. I'm ready for some truly excellent science fiction (or fantasy) that I haven't read before. Maybe the problem is that I read too much? ;-)


message 10: by Simcha (new)

Simcha Lazarus (sclazarus) | 258 comments Mod
I also haven't read anything amazing in a while. I've been asking around for recommendations but most of the books recommended to me are ones that I already know about.

I did just come across a series that I'm curious about, Raven’s Shadow, the first of which is Blood Song. Has anybody read this?

I did enjoyThe Cage, a YA scifi novel, and the space opera/romance series, Paradox by Rachel Bach.


message 11: by Simcha (new)

Simcha Lazarus (sclazarus) | 258 comments Mod
Genia wrote: "The Sparrow is absolutely one of the best sci-fi books I have read ever. And I've read a lot of sci-fi.

I've been reading a good amount of sci-fi this year: I've gone through the Temeraire series ..."


I wasn't so into the Temeraire series. I thought the main character was kind of boring, and I wasn't particularly interested in all of the detailed battles. I filed this series under Books The Everyone But Me Loves, along with the Jim Butcher books.


message 12: by Genia (new)

Genia Lukin | 42 comments I'm not a huge fan of it, myself, to be honest, but since I began I tend to be inclined to finish.

Alas, I really like the Butcher books :) Well, let me qualify - I really like Dresden, I didn't really find Codex Alera all that amazing.


message 13: by Zivan (new)

Zivan (zkrisher) | 22 comments I enjoyed The Golem and the Ginnie thought it's more of a romance than a fantasy book.

My favorite Scalzi book is The Android's Dream, it's funny and has some great satire.

Esther wrote: "I have been reading Old Man's War.
John Scalzi was one of the first of the more modern scifi authors recommended to me by just about everybody. I started with [book:Redsh..."



message 14: by Zivan (new)

Zivan (zkrisher) | 22 comments Have any of you tried A. Lee Martinez?

Monster is a good place to start.
I reread it this simmer.

Martinez writes funny fantasy and Sci-Fi. He doesn't do series. Every book is set in a different universe.


message 15: by Simcha (new)

Simcha Lazarus (sclazarus) | 258 comments Mod
Zivan wrote: "I enjoyed The Golem and the Ginnie thought it's more of a romance than a fantasy book.

My favorite Scalzi book is The Android's Dream, it's funny and has some great satire.

Esther wro..."


I didn't even know about this book but it's definitely on my wishlist list now.


message 16: by Esther (last edited Aug 30, 2015 11:18PM) (new)

Esther (eshchory) | 218 comments Mod
Zivan wrote: "I enjoyed The Golem and the Ginnie thought it's more of a romance than a fantasy book."

That is probably why it didn't light my fire - Romance isn't one of my favourite genres.

Simcha, I wil check if I still have my copy - if so I can lend it to you.


message 17: by Simcha (new)

Simcha Lazarus (sclazarus) | 258 comments Mod
Thanks Esther, though I was actually commenting about Scalzi's The Android's Dream. I see now how unclear that was...

I do enjoy the occasional romance but The Golem and the Jinni doesn't really sound like my kind of book.


message 18: by Vladimir (last edited Sep 05, 2015 02:46AM) (new)

Vladimir | 5 comments I've actually read quite a bit this year, compared to the one before.

I've been binging on Charles Stross' Laundry series. I've read the first three some time in the past, and I heard there was a new one a couple of weeks back. So I got it, only to find out it was #6. So I got 4 and 5 and read them. They were pretty good. As usual, Stross has great concepts and plot, unfortunately his storytelling style always gets in the way of perfection. All these superfluous one-liners and geek cultural references... I mean, ok, I get it, Bob is a former IT person. I got it in book one. Why do you have to keep pushing the point? It adds nothing to the following books. Anyway... still, pretty damn good books, regardless. I started making my way through book 6, The Annihilation Score. Liking it so far, but I've put it on hold in favour of William Gibson's The Peripheral. This one seems pretty cool, more Neuromancer than the other Gibson books.

Another book I've read was Neal Stephenson's Seveneves. It wasn't as mind-blowing as other Stephenson books (e.g. Anathem, Snowcrash) but it was very good, especially if you're into the nuts and bolts of space exploration.

I've also read the first 24 editions of the Saga comic book series. It's pretty fun and the drawings are great. Not particularly deep, unless you really overthink it (like the guys here do: http://www.overthinkingit.com/2015/06...

Also - Anne Leckie's Ancillary Justice. I enjoyed it as a bitter-sweet tale of revenge. The aspect the book is most famous for - that the narrator only uses female pronouns - really does nothing for me. It doesn't affect the story in any way, and it doesn't do much for the world building, which is pretty weak.

The book I most enjoyed this year is the borderline science-fiction, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. It's a highly speculative yet fascinating theory of the evolution of human consciousness. I find it's insights into what consciousness actually is are valid even if you don't accept the author's wider thesis.


message 19: by Leilla (new)

Leilla (leillaf) | 4 comments I'm actually really proud of myself, I've finally gotten around to reading The Blind Assassin, which was awesome, and 1984. Both of them have been on my to-read list forever, and both were as good as promised.
I was, however, a bit disappointed by Brandon Sanderson, he started off fun, but after the first Mistborn book, it just wasn't exciting anymore...


message 20: by Simcha (new)

Simcha Lazarus (sclazarus) | 258 comments Mod
Leilla wrote: "I'm actually really proud of myself, I've finally gotten around to reading The Blind Assassin, which was awesome, and 1984. Both of them have been on my to-read list foreve..."

I hear you about Mistborn. I loved book one but got bored reading the sequel, and never finished it. With my favorite character no longer there (hope this doesn't count as a spoiler)it just wasn't as interesting to me. But I have been told that the rest of the books are better so I might try reading it again sometimes.
You should definitely read Warbreaker and the Stormlght Archives, though. Those are fantastic.

1984 I had to read for school and I hated it the entire time (probably because I had to read it for school) and for years I refused to read any other dystopian book because of it. Thankfully I've gotten past that.


message 21: by Simcha (new)

Simcha Lazarus (sclazarus) | 258 comments Mod
Vladimir wrote: "I've actually read quite a bit this year, compared to the one before.

I've been binging on Charles Stross' Laundry series. I've read the first three some time in the past, and I heard there was a..."


I haven' read any of these books though it sounds like you go for the more hard core scif than I do. I once tried reading something by Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age, I think, and didn't get too far.


message 22: by Kayla (new)

Kayla Simon | 2 comments Leilla wrote: "I'm actually really proud of myself, I've finally gotten around to reading The Blind Assassin, which was awesome, and 1984. Both of them have been on my to-read list foreve..."
The ending of mistborn is awesome! I personally advise sticking through the second book to hit the third.
Does anyone have any good books for Rosh HaShanah? I have nothing to read.


message 23: by Leilla (new)

Leilla (leillaf) | 4 comments Kayla wrote: "Does anyone have any good books for Rosh HaShanah? I have nothing to read."
Hmm... Have you read Dan Simmons Hyperion books? Or, have you read everything Robin Hobb has to offer?
My plan is to finish Endymion and maybe start Gardens of the Moon.


message 24: by Simcha (new)

Simcha Lazarus (sclazarus) | 258 comments Mod
Yeah, I'm also without anything to read. Books have gotten so expensive lately that I haven't bought anything new in ages, though my too-read list is certainly growing.
Maybe if there are enough of us in the same area we can do a book exchange, either to lend or to keep.


message 25: by Kayla (new)

Kayla Simon | 2 comments Leilla wrote: "Kayla wrote: "Does anyone have any good books for Rosh HaShanah? I have nothing to read."
Hmm... Have you read Dan Simmons Hyperion books? Or, have you read everything [author:Robin ..."


I tried Robin Hobb. Didn't love it.
My library doesn't have Dan Simmons, but I really prefer fantasy anyway. I'll probably end up rereading the elenium and the tamuli.


message 26: by Angel (new)

Angel Serrano | 5 comments Book crossing is a good idea, Simcha. Anyone in London or surroundings?


message 27: by Esther (new)

Esther (eshchory) | 218 comments Mod
Angel wrote: "Book crossing is a good idea, Simcha. Anyone in London or surroundings?"
I was always worried with BookCrossing in Israel that my 'abandoned' book might be misinterpreted as a suspicious object. I use bookmooch to get rid of books I don't want to keep but I keep miles too many.


message 28: by Angel (new)

Angel Serrano | 5 comments Ha ha ha, no weapon as powerful as a book!


message 29: by Esther (last edited Sep 16, 2015 10:29PM) (new)

Esther (eshchory) | 218 comments Mod
I have just finished Bel Canto which should probably be considered Fantasy as the terrorists were all so nice!


message 30: by Sara (new)

Sara Laya | 2 comments I've been reading Tamora Pierce's Alanna series and just loving it. I have friends who have been telling me to her read her for years and for some reason just never got around to it... so glad I started now


message 31: by Ya'aqov (new)

Ya'aqov (benyehudah) | 2 comments Has anyone read The Name of the Wind?

I was looking for another fantasy series to read, and this was recommended to me.


message 32: by Maya (new)

Maya | 1 comments I've read both The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear. It's an excellent series and very gripping, IMO. I'm a big Patrick Rothfuss fan in general.

Be aware that it's not finished, though. He's working on the third one right now.


message 33: by A.C. (new)

A.C. Schneider (acschneider) | 1 comments Just started John Crowley, Little, Big. Really only at the beginning but loving the man's prose.


message 34: by Esther (new)

Esther (eshchory) | 218 comments Mod
After enjoying the film I decided to get over my allergy to hype and read The Martian. It is really good so far.


message 35: by Genia (new)

Genia Lukin | 42 comments I actually thought it was better as a film - the story is good, but the writing is a bit lackluster. The film does a much better job of conveying a certain level of emotional involvement.

I think that the Watney parts in the book provide more interesting detail and humour, though.


message 36: by Esther (new)

Esther (eshchory) | 218 comments Mod
Genia wrote: "I actually thought it was better as a film - the story is good, but the writing is a bit lackluster. The film does a much better job of conveying a certain level of emotional involvement.

I think ..."

I am enjoying it and laughing a lot.
I do find the technical details difficult to visualise, so having seen the film is helpful, but these are also my favourite bits. I love it when people 'science the sh*t' out of a problem.


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