CoN 20th Anniversary: 1997-2017
What book(s) are you currently reading?

Posted: 14th December 2019 22:06

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The Hunger Games. I'm about two thirds of the way through it. Liking it so far.

This post has been edited by Cefca on 14th December 2019 22:06
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Posted: 2nd February 2020 17:47

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Quote (Elena99 @ 11th December 2019 16:25)
Has anyone read The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern? I finished it recently and it's really good!

I took a break from Discworld because my hold on the ebook finally came good, and I spent the last week cruising through it and finished it last night. Having read Night Circus when it first released and not again since, my first impression of Starless Sea was that it was trying a bit hard to feel relevant, with too much hipster influence in the characters, relative to the more fairy-tale feel of Night Circus. Once the setting shifted more thoroughly, though, it got far better and actually ended up being a better fairy tale, in my opinion. The intertwining stories and how they all factored in to the denouement made it a much more impressive book than I originally expected, even though it still at times felt like she was playing a game of how much metaphor she could stuff into a single book.

A while back, I requested that my library get a copy of You Look Like a Thing and I Love You and, when we happened to be talking about it in Discord again the other day, I took a look and realized that they'd gotten it. So I just checked that out to my (kid's) Kindle and will start it up soon.

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Posted: 2nd February 2020 23:18

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One of my goals this year is to read more. See, when I was a kid, I wanted to be a novelist. That dream has never really left me, but to be a writer, you have to be a reader. And for years I just wasn't reading books. Oh, I still felt like I was getting my necessary intake of story, but it was all coming from video games, not books.

I am pleased to say that so far I've read two books this year!

The Heiress Effect by Courtney Milan is a historical romance set in England. The heroine is quite purposely ridiculous, and I absolutely loved her. The hero is interesting in that he's got flaws that he must overcome. There's also a brilliant set of side characters, including a second romance storyline. I quite liked this book more than The Duchess War which is the first book in the series. And the Duchess War wasn't bad at all (I mean, it couldn't have been bad if I picked up the second book, right?) It just lost me once or twice because it felt like the characters knew more than the reader did at times. I've already checked out the third book in the series and will be reading that next.

The second book I read was Lucy Parker's Act Like It, a contemporary romance set in London's West End featuring stage actors. The premise is that the hero has been getting quite bad publicity; to soften his image, his publicist and the play's director insists he pretends to date the heroine, who has an "England's swetheart" vibe. Problem: they rather detest each other. The subtitle of this series is "A Slow Burn Romance", and it's fun to watch them slowly fall for one another. There's also a delightful subversion of a common trope at the climax of the book. I'm looking forward to reading the rest in this series!

I'vs also been working through Code This Game! by Meg Ray with art by Keith Zoo. It's a Python book for kids (hey, I wanted to learn Python but this is all the library had!) It does a fantastic job of introducing programming concepts using fun analogies. Like, to introduce nested loops they used an example of a person making three pizzas with the same toppings that had to be cut into eight pieces each. This is my first intro to Python, and there's some things I don't like about the language (I prefer to have "end" at the end of programming blocks) but that's not the book's fault. I'm amazed at just how fast I was able to get a working game. I've only been working on it for a week, and already I have moving sprites that respond to clicks on the screen.

(Rangers, feel free to edit this to add AmaCoN links if you'd like!)
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Posted: 3rd February 2020 18:33

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I finished reading The Hunger Games books and have moved onto the Moontide Quartet series. I've not got very far into it yet but I'll keep you updated!
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Posted: 3rd February 2020 21:25

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Quote (Rangers51 @ 2nd February 2020 14:47)
Having read Night Circus when it first released and not again since, my first impression of Starless Sea was that it was trying a bit hard to feel relevant, with too much hipster influence in the characters, relative to the more fairy-tale feel of Night Circus. Once the setting shifted more thoroughly, though, it got far better and actually ended up being a better fairy tale, in my opinion. The intertwining stories and how they all factored in to the denouement made it a much more impressive book than I originally expected, even though it still at times felt like she was playing a game of how much metaphor she could stuff into a single book.

A while back, I requested that my library get a copy of You Look Like a Thing and I Love You and, when we happened to be talking about it in Discord again the other day, I took a look and realized that they'd gotten it. So I just checked that out to my (kid's) Kindle and will start it up soon.

I also read Night Circus. I thought it was really good, but the plot didn't make a lot of sense to me in the end.

You Look Like a Thing and I Love You
is on my to-read list! I hope you like it, it sounds interesting.

I'm currently reading a really long book called A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I'm only a third of the way in, but I'm enjoying it. I only have 7 more days until the loan expires, so I need to hurry.

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Posted: 3rd February 2020 21:47

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If manga/graphic novels count, I just learned Snowpiercer is a French comic. It's actually pretty cool.

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Posted: 6th February 2020 20:30

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Quote (AltheaValara @ 2nd February 2020 17:18)

I'vs also been working through Code This Game! by Meg Ray with art by Keith Zoo. It's a Python book for kids (hey, I wanted to learn Python but this is all the library had!)

I've finished Code This Game! it was a lot of fun and I learned a lot. The first part of the book has you build a simple tower defense game; at the end of that section, you have a working game, but it's trivial to win it. The second section encourages you to hack your game to balance it, and add levels of difficulty. Finally, the book suggests three other games you can now build on your own. I am probably going to take one of their suggestions and build a Space Invaders clone.

Yesterday I read through another Python book, also from the kid's section of the library: Coding Projects in Python, DK Publishing (various authors). This is another zero-to-code book that assumes you have no experience, so was rather below my level. It's got lots of fun projects in it, but.. Well, I can't get too excited about Turtle graphics (which s lot of the programs used) as they are dead simple. I did learn how dictionaries work in Python, and how to display a dialog box. While it would be a good intro for the beginning programmer, I felt Code This Game! was more suited to my needs.
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Posted: 19th February 2020 09:44

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Currently reading Neuromancer by William Gibson. Seems like it's the first cyber-punk book or something. I decided to read it before playing Cyberpunk 2077 smile.gif
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Posted: 19th February 2020 14:31

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Quote (Elena99 @ 3rd February 2020 15:25)
You Look Like a Thing and I Love You is on my to-read list! I hope you like it, it sounds interesting.

I don't know how much of it you couldn't get by reading her blog, to be honest, but the book was well-organized and well-presented for a layman's introduction into machine learning. It doesn't dive too much into the nuts and bolts, which, as someone who has recently both watched a local presentation and started a class on machine learning, I'm glad that it didn't go any deeper than it did. It also made me laugh out loud a number of times, which says to me that she included a lot that she hadn't blogged about in the past or I'd just forgotten - either way was good enough for me. smile.gif

I've shifted back into Discworld right now, and I'd say I'm probably approaching the halfway point of the entire series.

This post has been edited by Rangers51 on 19th February 2020 14:31

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Posted: 8th April 2020 15:12

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My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
It's quaint, a little dated in parts but still very enjoyable
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Posted: 9th April 2020 19:42

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I'm continuing my way through Courtney Milan's bibliography. I recently finished The Countess Conspiracy. Folks, if you like romance novels, I highly recommend this one. It is utterly brilliant, and perfect, and all kinds of wonderful.

I've been reading romances since I was a teenager. Back then they were highly predictable: heroine and hero meet and fall in lust with each other, but dance around each other with lots of witty dialogue before finally coming together. But they deny their feelings for each other, until the damsel gets in distress and shoot, the hero realizes he does love her after all, so he rescues her and they live happily ever after, the end.

Yawn.

The problem with these old romances is that there was nothing to convince the reader that the couple was in love, other than the author saying so. And then you have The Countess Conspiracy, which is entirely about love. Halfway through the book, I was convinced they loved each other given how they acted towards one another. It's wonderful.

Couple that with a heroine who has complete agency - rare for a historical romance - and you have a fantastic book.

About that "historical romance" bit - it actually teeters on being an alternative history. The book opens with a bombshell of a revelation, which I won't spoil. All I can say is that the characters showed up in the previous two books (The Duchess War and The Heiress Effect) and I did not see this plot twist coming. My jaw literally dropped as I read it.

Five stars, A+++, would definitely read again
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Posted: 25th April 2020 05:08

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I read sporadic passages in Don Quixote. It's listed as one of the greatest stories of all time. I agree with my cousin it's not that good imo.

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Posted: 30th April 2020 02:23

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Before my city--and the library--went into lockdown mode, I'd been devouring The Long Price Quartet by Daniel Abraham. I'm halfway through and am even more desperate than normal for physical distancing to end so that I can get to the last two books.

(I should probably just buy them all at this point, but I'm quite poor these days.)

The books are slow character-driven affairs, set in a world where certain people--poets--can bind abstract ideas into physical form to control them. They're quite compelling, so I highly recommend them if you're interested in fantasy.
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Posted: 22nd June 2020 22:11

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After waiting for an interlibrary loan - and of course, for both libraries to be open long enough for the loan to take place - I finally got The Last Hero, an illustrated Discworld novella from late in the series' run. Having completed it, I now have finished the entire main Discworld series.

I also read Good Omens while I was waiting for the loan to go through. smile.gif

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Posted: 25th June 2020 03:00

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Your libraries are open during this time of COVID-19? Ours are still closed.

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Posted: 29th June 2020 16:42

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I recently finished The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and I'm hoping to read the second book, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, soon. Although I'm not currently reading it, I also highly suggest the His Dark Materials to anybody who hasn't read it. It's amazing.

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Posted: 1st July 2020 15:45

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Quote (Glenn Magus Harvey @ 24th June 2020 21:00)
Your libraries are open during this time of COVID-19? Ours are still closed.

Ours were closed for a month or so, then open for curbside for a few weeks, and now fully open in my parish with limited capacity and no-contact checkouts.

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Posted: 1st July 2020 19:04

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Quote (Rangers51 @ 1st July 2020 07:45)
Quote (Glenn Magus Harvey @ 24th June 2020 21:00)
Your libraries are open during this time of COVID-19?  Ours are still closed.

Ours were closed for a month or so, then open for curbside for a few weeks, and now fully open in my parish with limited capacity and no-contact checkouts.

Around here, our libraries were closed to the public (as in, only the staff was there, still answering questions and the like), but they've started to reopen with limited runs. So, you can call ahead to put a hold on the books you want, and they'll bring it out to you curbside.

It's not as good as being able to wander through the stacks, but it's still great. I've been waiting months to read the next book in The Long Price Quartet, but I finally got book 3: An Autumn War.
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Posted: 2nd July 2020 10:29

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I'm reading The Ten Thousand Doors of January by by Alix E. Harrow. I like it so far, it's similar in some ways to The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern.

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Posted: 2nd July 2020 13:15

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Quote (Kane @ 1st July 2020 14:04)
Quote (Rangers51 @ 1st July 2020 07:45)
Quote (Glenn Magus Harvey @ 24th June 2020 21:00)
Your libraries are open during this time of COVID-19? Ours are still closed.

Ours were closed for a month or so, then open for curbside for a few weeks, and now fully open in my parish with limited capacity and no-contact checkouts.

Around here, our libraries were closed to the public (as in, only the staff was there, still answering questions and the like), but they've started to reopen with limited runs. So, you can call ahead to put a hold on the books you want, and they'll bring it out to you curbside.

It's not as good as being able to wander through the stacks, but it's still great. I've been waiting months to read the next book in The Long Price Quartet, but I finally got book 3: An Autumn War.

Thanks for prompting me to check; apparently library staff here do now offer a walk-up/drive-up service where library staff will hand items over on a table or through a car window, and items can be returned through book drops.

I dunno when they started, but it's better than just being closed.

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Posted: 9th September 2020 02:39

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I borrowed Final Fantasy VII Remake from our library last week, and while there I also picked up a book to read. I finished the book yesterday, which pleases me because I bounced off the two previous books I had tried reading when I was halfway through with them. But I'm not surprised I finished this latest book as it's from an author I have a good track record with.

That book: Head On by John Scalzi, which he describes as being a stand-alone novel in the Lock In universe, but it sure felt like a direct sequel to me.

For those who never read Lock In: it takes place in the near future, when a pandemic (yes, really) causes a considerable portion of the population to develop Lock In syndrome, where the mind is still active but the body can't move. The disease is named Haden's, after the first lady who was afflicted with it. Because the disease affected someone so well known, the government spent a lot of money on ways to manage the disease. Hadens get a neural net installed in their brains, which allow them to pilot robots (nicknamed threeps) and live pretty normal lives.

The two books follow the story of Chris Shane, the former poster child for Hadens, who now is working for the FBI. Both books are basically a science fiction mystery story, as Chris needs to solve cases. Head On opens with an unexplained death at a Hilketa league game, which is a sport played by Hadens in which the goal is to decapitate the opposing team's threep.

Both books are expertly written with plenty of...well, not exactly twists and turns, but new information coming to light page by page. There's touches of humor to keep the books fun, and as usual with Scalzi, plenty of ethical questions (I seem to recall this more in the first book, but it's been several years since I've read it). It was an engaging read that i really enjoyed, and I look forward to future books in this series.
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