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It's the first reading thread of 2013!
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Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Jan 1 2013, 2:55pm

Post #1 of 29 (260 views)
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It's the first reading thread of 2013! Can't Post

Happy New Year to all TORnsibs---may the new year be very good to us all!

I've reading a fiction and a non-fiction book and finished them both. Fiction was Scottish Ghost Stories, edited by Giles Gordon, an anthology. All the stories are beautifully written but are often grim---although what else would you expect, with Scotland and the supernatural. Gave me a cold grue, some of them did. Unimpressed

My favorite was "The Haunted Chimley" by Clifford Hanley, the lightest of the group, written in just enough Glaswegian dialect to have a strong voice without being unintelligible.

The non-fiction book was The Anthropology of Turquoise by Ellen Meloy, a collection of her essays on nature (particularly that of the American Southwest) and society loosely bound together by her musings on color. She has an amazing way with words---speaking of flying into Los Angeles, "From the air the palms look like toothpicks with dreadlocks."---and can turn a sentence on a dime. Although the lush prose does occasionally get to be just a bit too much.

Have you had time to read anything over the holidays? Were you given any new books? Do tell!




Alcarcalime
Tol Eressea


Jan 1 2013, 4:09pm

Post #2 of 29 (186 views)
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2013! Wow, [In reply to] Can't Post

I have my usual lots of books going. I am still reading The Source by James Mitchner (my in-bed-before-sleep book), I am reading Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold and I just finished Elizabeth The Queen by Sally Bedell Smith (Christmas gift), The Hobbit AUJ Chronicles, and on my Kindle: The Wives of Henry the Eighth and the Parts They Played in History -- one of the free books.

The Wives of Henry VIII book is very interesting. It goes into all the political manuevering that accompanied Henry's marriages. It started before Katharine of Aragon was born, so it is detailed!

Elizabeth The Queen was very interesting. I love biographies and have read ones about lots of previous monarchs, so I thought I would read one about the current monarch. Actually, I don't think I would like being a royal -- too much work to appear perfect. I doubt I would do much better than they do at being perfect. Of course, my problems wouldn't be QUITE like her children's. But, I have a tendancy to speak my mind!

I don't know what to say about Barrayar -- I love the Vorkosigan books! Cordelia Vorkosigan is a great role model.

Both OhioHobbit and I loved the Hobbit Chronicles! He made a discovery that I wonder if everyone who has the book has found. The map in the front actually has *moon* letters. You need to open the map either to the sun or a table lamp for several hours and then look at the map in a DARK room. It is so cool! We had to use a lamp. We have been getting snow, not sun! We probably have close to a foot on the ground.

Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year, everyone! Read lots!!




Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jan 1 2013, 6:35pm

Post #3 of 29 (159 views)
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Cold Days by Jim Butcher. [In reply to] Can't Post

I finally got this after Christmas - two weeks late thanks to a backlog being discovered at Auckland Airport - and I've deliberately not rushed it so that I didn't finish it too quickly.

I love Butcher for his intricate plotwork, for his care of all the characters (particularly the minor ones) so that they all feel real with motivations and their own (mostly unseen) story arcs, and his humour. The reunion of Harry and his brother Thomas was heart-wrenching and funny in a thoroughly blokey way. (Also, Thomas - fwoar!)

I utterly did not see coming the plot development at the end of this one, and it sets up a very intriguing dynamic for the next few books. Can't wait to read them!

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Jan 1 2013, 7:16pm

Post #4 of 29 (155 views)
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You have a good selection going there [In reply to] Can't Post

Did you know that The Vorkosigan Companion is now available on Kindle? I just found out last week. Assuming you really want lists of characters, etc. Smile

I thought at first you mean a biography of the first Elizabeth, to tie in with the Henry VIII book. The second one hasn't had quite such a dramatic life, which is just as well. I always love the stories of her working in the motor pool during WWII, though.

Moon letters! Cool! How on Middle-earth did you discover those? By accident? Or did an elf tip you off? Tongue




Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Jan 1 2013, 7:17pm

Post #5 of 29 (152 views)
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I never thought... [In reply to] Can't Post

...of the difficulty of getting books to New Zealand. The ebook must be a real boon for you!

You have high praise for Butcher---he must really be doing things right. Happy reading Smile




Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jan 1 2013, 7:25pm

Post #6 of 29 (149 views)
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It's not usually this difficult. [In reply to] Can't Post

About two weeks before Christmas there was a news story that 12,000 books ordered via The Book Depository had been discovered at Auckland Airport: Cue finger-pointing between the delivery company and the airport about who stuffed up. NZ Post then tried to get the books out to their owners before Christmas, but didn't quite make it.

Plus side: It's great to see evidence of so many avid readers in NZ. :)

And yes, I bet ebook readers *love* the instant downloads.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Jan 1 2013, 7:47pm

Post #7 of 29 (151 views)
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Oooh, Book Depository [In reply to] Can't Post

They're very reliable about filling orders. I bet they hated being caught in the middle like that. But 12,000 books just from them? You're right, that's a lot of good reading going on! (Hm, sure it wasn't a plot by Amazon Tongue ?)




Alcarcalime
Tol Eressea


Jan 1 2013, 8:34pm

Post #8 of 29 (170 views)
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Moon Letters: [In reply to] Can't Post

Actually, OhioHobbit read it in the text of the book. I am not sure exactly where. I missed it!

No, I have a biography of Elizabeth I by Alison Weir, and now I have one of Elizabeth II. I have two biographies of Henry VIII, also. I really like biographies. We have lots from people in all walks of life -- science, politics, royalty, etc.




Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Jan 1 2013, 9:47pm

Post #9 of 29 (165 views)
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Reading 'Bye Bye, Baby' by Max Allan Collins [In reply to] Can't Post

Collin's new Nate Heller mystery is centered around the death of Marilyn Monroe. The former Norma Jeane is still alive at the point that I've reached in the book.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Jan 1 2013, 10:30pm

Post #10 of 29 (148 views)
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I like biographies too [In reply to] Can't Post

It's fascinating to see how people's choices will shape their lives.




Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Jan 1 2013, 10:32pm

Post #11 of 29 (159 views)
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There are a lot of conspiracy theories around her death [In reply to] Can't Post

I just saw something the other day about the files the FBI was keeping on her. What an intriguing woman she was.




Annael
Half-elven


Jan 2 2013, 12:59am

Post #12 of 29 (123 views)
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"Boneshaker" by Cherie Priest [In reply to] Can't Post

Steampunk zombie novel set in 1880s Seattle, given to me as a Christmas present. Very dark - literally; most of the action takes place in a dense dark fog of "Blight," a gas released into downtown Seattle in a drilling accident that has turned most of the citizens into zombies, or "rotters," and caused the rest to enclose the area with a 200-foot-high wall. People still manage to survive inside and there's trade, of a sort, with airships. Not the most cheerful of books, but well-written, and since I know the city well, I could visualize the locales where the action takes place as they are all current landmarks.

The way we imagine our lives is the way we are going to go on living our lives.

- James Hillman, Healing Fiction

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


sevilodorf
Gondor


Jan 2 2013, 3:02am

Post #13 of 29 (118 views)
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I read a followup to that one [In reply to] Can't Post

The Inexplicables

a few weeks ago. It's an intriquing 'verse Priest has created. I wasn't able to find the previous volumes in the series in my particular branch... at least not yet... they're out there just not on the shelf at the moment.

The Inexplicables held up well as a stand alone though. I'll keep an eye out for Boneshaker.

Fourth Age Adventures at the Inn of the Burping Troll http://burpingtroll.com





sevilodorf
Gondor


Jan 2 2013, 3:03am

Post #14 of 29 (128 views)
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Thanks for the tip on the map// [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Fourth Age Adventures at the Inn of the Burping Troll http://burpingtroll.com





Finding Frodo
Tol Eressea


Jan 2 2013, 4:50am

Post #15 of 29 (113 views)
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The Round House [In reply to] Can't Post

The new book by Louise Erdrich was on my Christmas list, along with several others, and I didn't receive ANY of them. Not that I'm complaining -- I got some other very nice gifts, including a mandolinSmile. Anyway, I used a 50% off coupon to buy The Round House for myself after Christmas. So far, it's on par for Erdrich: engrossing story, references to characters in previous Erdrich books, an education in American Indian history/U.S. history, and frequent left turns into mysticism. I've reached the point where I've slowed down reading because I don't want it to end. That being said, The Last Account of the Miracle at Little No Horse is still my favorite book of hers.

Where's Frodo?


Nienna
Rohan


Jan 2 2013, 6:20am

Post #16 of 29 (111 views)
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Killed at the Whim of a Hat (ColinCotterill) [In reply to] Can't Post

It took me a while to get into this one, but by the time I was about a third of the way into it, I was hooked. The author, Colin Cotterill, previously wrote the bestseller, The Coroner's Lunch.

The Coroner's Lunch was set in Laos and this one is set in Thailand. Both books are the first in a series - most enjoyable reads. Not only will you have a good whodunnit, but learn more about the countries involved.


zarabia
Tol Eressea


Jan 2 2013, 6:44am

Post #17 of 29 (225 views)
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100 Things You Never Knew About the Brain [In reply to] Can't Post

This special National Geographic edition was an impulse buy. I am fascinated by the brain, and thinking that, though this isn't Nat Geo's bailiwick, it would probably still be well researched, I snatched it from the magazine rack and popped it on the check out counter. Big disappoinment. I haven't finished it, but I have been through about 3/4's and haven't found anything that I didn't know already. You don't have to be a neurobiology expert to be familiar with most everything in this magazine. It's pretty superficial. Unsure My fault though; I should have flipped through a bit first. If only the check out line at the store had been longer, I might have done so and been spared the waste of money. Tongue Oh well, lesson learned.

"The question isn't where, Constable, but when." - Inspector Spacetime


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Jan 2 2013, 3:44pm

Post #18 of 29 (104 views)
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I must confess... [In reply to] Can't Post

...I don't understand the current attraction for zombies. But many very talented authors have done some interesting things with the idea.

I sat on a panel with Priest about a year ago and she certainly came across as intelligent and good-humored, although I'm not sure how much of that humor has made it into her books.




Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Jan 2 2013, 3:45pm

Post #19 of 29 (99 views)
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Well done, then... [In reply to] Can't Post

...the way the publishing industry works, it's a good idea to make each book in a series capable of standing alone!




Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Jan 2 2013, 3:46pm

Post #20 of 29 (97 views)
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I've read a couple of Erdrich's essays [In reply to] Can't Post

She certainly does some intriguing work, it sounds like. There's no higher praise than to say you didn't want the book to end!




Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Jan 2 2013, 3:47pm

Post #21 of 29 (102 views)
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Colin Cotterill! [In reply to] Can't Post

I believe he lives in SE Asia, so knows the local scene very well. I, too, enjoy novels where you have a good story and a good travelog, both at once.




Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Jan 2 2013, 3:50pm

Post #22 of 29 (103 views)
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Oh dear [In reply to] Can't Post

I know what you mean. I recorded a TV documentary the other night thinking, wow, this is right up my alley---and it turned out to be superficial at most, with a slant I found redundant. Although there was a startling moment when I recognized someone I very briefly worked for many years ago among the experts interviewed!

But then, I didn't pay anything except time for the disappointed TV show, whereas you're out the price of the magazine. Better luck next time!




NottaSackville
Tol Eressea

Jan 2 2013, 6:53pm

Post #23 of 29 (85 views)
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Agreed - it was an excellent book - up to Butcher standards. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Happiness: money matters, but less than we think and not in the way that we think. Family is important and so are friends, while envy is toxic -- and so is excessive thinking. Beaches are optional. Trust is not. Neither is gratitude. - The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner as summarized by Lily Fairbairn. And a bit of the Hobbit reading thrown in never hurts. - NottaSackville


Annael
Half-elven


Jan 3 2013, 2:08am

Post #24 of 29 (91 views)
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Boneshaker is the first [In reply to] Can't Post

followed by Inexplicables, then Clementine, Ganymede, and Dreadnaught.

I'm not sure I'll read Inexplicables, as it returns to the same place Boneshaker took place in, and I wasn't much enamoured of that place. But the blurbs for the following books sound fascinating. It's the same era and some of the same characters, but the action takes place in 1. an airship, 2. a ship, and 3. a train, respectively, and they sound like they might be more fun than people running from zombies in a deadly fog.

The way we imagine our lives is the way we are going to go on living our lives.

- James Hillman, Healing Fiction

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


Aunt Dora Baggins
Half-elven


Jan 3 2013, 3:00pm

Post #25 of 29 (112 views)
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"Runa" by J. Alison James [In reply to] Can't Post

Alison is a childhood friend of mine. (The J. stands for Jane, and I still think of her as Janie. But when she got married, she decided "Jane James" just sounded too silly. And "Alison" does fit her ethereal personality better.) She's best known for her work as a translator (Swedish to English) of books like "The Rainbow Fish", but she's also written some young-adult novels. I first read "Runa' when it came out years ago, because it was by my friend. It was my first introduction to divination by runes, something that I don't really believe works, but which I find interesting in a fantasy way.

Here's the review from "School Library Journal": "Grade 6-9-- A fantasy novel that incorporates mythology and legend. The setting is emphasized by spare, clean sentences, and readers will feel the light and sunny atmosphere of a summer in Sweden. Runa visits her grandfather and learns much about her family that she would rather not know. In an old family Bible, she discovers that all female ancestors born on Midsummer's Day died on their 13th birthday. Runa's 13th birthday is the following Saturday, Midsummer's Day. When she and a childhood friend make a rubbing of a stone embedded in a church wall, Runa has a vision that graphically shows her the first ancestral sacrifice. She enlists the help of two friends, a friend's mother, and her grandfather, who seems sadly resigned to the ancient chain of events. Through the reading of her Rune stones, they piece the puzzle together. Up to this point, readers will be enthralled and anxious to learn the solution, but the ending comes in a short burst of unexplained phenomena, and the story concludes with a confusing cloud of events. However, James's strong characterization, beautiful writing, and inclusion of Viking mythology will intrigue YAs. --Julie Halverstadt, Douglas Public Library District, Castle Rock, CO
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc."

I'm just starting a re-read. Unfortunately the book is out of print, though there are some used copies available. Alison thinks part of the problem was that when the book was first published, it was considered too dark for middle-school readers, though now there are much darker books out there.

Like most of you, I'm sure, my introduction to runes was through 'The Hobbit". This book told me more about them.

I'm also still reading "Anna Karenina" by Tolstoy and "The Poison Gamble" by our own Dreamdeer. That's why it takes me so long to finish a book; I'm often reading several at once.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



(This post was edited by Aunt Dora Baggins on Jan 3 2013, 3:02pm)

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