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It's the Groundhog Day reading thread!
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Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Feb 5 2013, 3:27pm

Post #1 of 26 (324 views)
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It's the Groundhog Day reading thread! Can't Post

I hear the official groundhog decreed that it would be an early spring. I don't know about the rest of the US, but here in Texas, it's spring already, or pretty close, anyway.

I was strolling around the neighborhood a couple of days ago, enjoying the warmth and sunshine, and passed a couple of neighbors walking the other way. One of them said, "If it's like this now, what's it going to be in August? 115?" He has a point about that. Shocked

Anyway, after hearing about the joys of Georgette Heyer from many friends, including several here on TORn, I picked up a couple of reprints of her books.

So far I've finished The Unfinished Clue, a mystery originally published in the 1930s. I assume it was a contemporary novel when it was written. It's an Agatha Christie-style country house murder, very smoothly and wittily written, with a vivid cast of characters and even a quiet little romance between two of the most appealing ones. The plot moves right along, and I was only a few pages ahead of the detective, which is always a recommendation. I enjoyed it, although I understand why this particular title isn't on the "best of Heyer" lists that several people have kindly put together for me.

Now I'm reading Cousin Kate, a Regency-era gothic published in the 60's and written with a completely different voice. I'll report on it next week.

I'm also reading a book examining various UFO stories from Texas, which counts as non-fiction in that the author is duly skeptical about the stories he's reporting.

What have you been reading? (Hmm, let me guess---a fair number of you are reading George Martin and Jim Butcher books, right?)




Annael
Half-elven


Feb 5 2013, 4:21pm

Post #2 of 26 (161 views)
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Amsterdam by Ian McEwan [In reply to] Can't Post

He won the Booker prize for this short novel before he wrote Atonement.

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


BoromirOfWinterfell
Rohan


Feb 5 2013, 5:46pm

Post #3 of 26 (159 views)
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Orson Scott Card [In reply to] Can't Post

Children of the Mind. Brilliant book. So far I think it's going to be a very good conclusion to the Ender series.

s ofereode, isses swa mg - that has passed, so may this.


Ciars
Rohan


Feb 5 2013, 6:10pm

Post #4 of 26 (179 views)
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A memory of light*possible spoilers within* [In reply to] Can't Post

Just finished the last book of the wheel of time and I'm disappointed by the ending! Don't get me wrong, I loved the majority of the book it was the last third and in particular the ending(which was not an ending in reality) that made me go hmmmpff!

Possible spoilers below!!


I thought that the final battle became rushed, surely the "light" side should have expected interference from the "dark"? The generals tampering was too obvious I can't believe that it would have gone so far without someone noticing, the return of M(trying not to give too much away) was contrived, M really didn't do much after! The deaths of much loved main characters especially S and the general and E and G, were laughable in how rushed the end was but the real sticking point was the switch in identity, really, please, give the readers some credit that was so contrived and the dragging out of the reveal insulted the reader as did the new A. S. leader. Not to mention the obvious black tower plot, the overuse of the mask of mirrors the seanchan and mat, the pregnancy.... Too rushed as though to tie up loose ends, disappointing and predictable.


(This post was edited by Rosie-with-the-ribbons on Feb 5 2013, 8:55pm)


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Feb 5 2013, 6:34pm

Post #5 of 26 (155 views)
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It's always interesting... [In reply to] Can't Post

...to go back to an author's earlier works. Sometimes you see the genius developing, other times you think, "Well, that was a worthwhile practice session, wasn't it?" Tongue




Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Feb 5 2013, 6:34pm

Post #6 of 26 (161 views)
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That series has been going on for years, hasn't it? [In reply to] Can't Post

Card obviously found themes and characters that resonate with readers.




Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Feb 5 2013, 6:36pm

Post #7 of 26 (159 views)
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Oh dear! [In reply to] Can't Post

You have to wonder if something was going on behind the scenes with the writing of this book. I know Jordan died awhile back, but I don't know if he wrote this entire book or whether it was, say completed by someone else who wasn't quite up to the task.




Ciars
Rohan


Feb 5 2013, 6:48pm

Post #8 of 26 (167 views)
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I agree [In reply to] Can't Post

Brandon Sanderson was the "co" writer, using notes left by Jordan,the previous book( co wrote as well) was ok but to be honest I wonder how many notes were "left" for the last book. Once it passed the halfway point and it is a large book it somehow just didn't ring true, the characters were disposed of too easily and without much thought. It seems more of a get the series finished book than a real conclusion to the lives of the characters and the world in which it was set in. The title is at least honest the book is a memory, a shadow of what could have been.


NottaSackville
Tol Eressea

Feb 5 2013, 7:09pm

Post #9 of 26 (152 views)
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Feels like I should be re-reading a book for this thread [In reply to] Can't Post

(That's a reference to the funny Bill Murray movie "Ground Hog Day" where he has to live the same day over and over again)

I finished Pearls Blows Up by Stephan Pastis, a collection of Pearls Before Swine cartoons. It was dark, fluffy and entertaining as expected.

Now I've moved on to Phule's Company by
Robert Asprin. It's a new (to me, 20+ years old in actuality) book by one of my all-time favorite comedy fantasy authors (the author of the Myth series). I've only just started it, but I'm almost giddy with the idea that I've got a new series of books by Robert to read. Instead of a fantasy setting, this series is sci-fi. I've no doubt his humor will translate, however.

And shockingly, no Martin or Butcher for me this week! :)

Notta


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


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Feb 5 2013, 8:11pm

Post #10 of 26 (146 views)
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That makes sense [In reply to] Can't Post

The publisher wanted to squeeze every last penny out of the franchise so hired Sanderson to work with---who knows what sort of disjointed notes, if that much? Sanderson's a good writer, but I'll bet he was under a lot of pressure to get this one done quickly. As you say, a shadow of what could have been.




Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Feb 5 2013, 8:16pm

Post #11 of 26 (159 views)
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Ah, Robert Asprin [In reply to] Can't Post

Another f/sf writer who kind to me, way back when. (While I'm giving thanks for personal kindness, I should also name-drop Orson Scott Card from higher in this thread.) I've always liked the Thieve's World anthologies, but Asprin's comedies are also great fun. A shame he's no longer with us, creating more enjoyment.




Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Feb 6 2013, 2:07am

Post #12 of 26 (140 views)
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Unfortunately... [In reply to] Can't Post

I find that I cannot read Orson Scott Card any longer without recalling his anti-gay stance. While heterosexual myself, my wife and I both have gay friends and relatives and we support gay marriage. Card's hate-speech has ruined him for me.

I was sad when Bob Asprin passed away and still occasionally heft a tumbler of Tullamore Dew in his memory.

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


sevilodorf
Gondor


Feb 6 2013, 3:13am

Post #13 of 26 (133 views)
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Asprin's Phule's books are a treat [In reply to] Can't Post

It's been a while since I read any but I have enjoyed them. My problem with them was that I wanted to read more of them and the library never seemed to have them available.

Is Phule's Company where he joins the "army" and is given the "reject" bunch and they blast through the training course?

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





sevilodorf
Gondor


Feb 6 2013, 3:20am

Post #14 of 26 (130 views)
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Quarantined The Loners by Lex Thomas [In reply to] Can't Post

A young adult novel written by a team. Teenagers with a mutated virus that causes death to adults sealed inside a high school. Think Lord of the Flies with Varsity jackets, Nerds and Skater dudes.

It was a fast read, but a bit heavy on the head hopping. I have no problem with shifting viewpoints but I don't think you should end the book in the end of a character the read has not been "inside" until the last few pages. The sequel is due out in July, hopefully the library will get it.

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





(This post was edited by sevilodorf on Feb 6 2013, 3:21am)


NottaSackville
Tol Eressea

Feb 6 2013, 12:41pm

Post #15 of 26 (125 views)
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Yep - that's the one [In reply to] Can't Post

At least, so far he's in the Legion and has been given command of a group of rejects.

Notta

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


NottaSackville
Tol Eressea

Feb 6 2013, 12:42pm

Post #16 of 26 (155 views)
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Do you hear the author's voice in your head when you read their books? [In reply to] Can't Post

Not having contact with authors, I'm curious - for those authors you know well Lily, do you hear their voice "narrating" when you read their books?

Notta

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


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Feb 6 2013, 3:19pm

Post #17 of 26 (119 views)
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Very unfortunate, yes [In reply to] Can't Post

Card was kind to me and supportive of my work many, many years ago. It was much more recently that I heard of his stance and was shocked and disappointed, to say the least.




Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Feb 6 2013, 3:22pm

Post #18 of 26 (113 views)
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I agree [In reply to] Can't Post

I personally feel the denouement should come from someone the reader is already acquainted with. I wonder if the head-hopping stemmed from the book being team-written?

Coincidentally, right now there's a discussion on a mystery thread I frequent about how it seems like cheating to have the criminal in a mystery be someone you've never met during the course of the novel.




Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Feb 6 2013, 3:27pm

Post #19 of 26 (117 views)
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No, not really [In reply to] Can't Post

Although it amuses me when someone I know refers to an incident I shared or a place I visited with him/her. I can see through the fiction to the creative process Cool

By "voice" in my review above, though, I don't mean the voice of the author coming through into the book but the voice of the viewpoint character in the book, something which can vary greatly according to that character's background, etc. If, for example, the author sets up a character from Texas who's uneducated and street-smart, he/she shouldn't have the same narrative (let alone dialog) voice as a character who's a university professor of literature from Boston.

Or am I misunderstanding why you're asking the question?




NottaSackville
Tol Eressea

Feb 6 2013, 3:30pm

Post #20 of 26 (133 views)
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No, I think you got it. [In reply to] Can't Post

I meant voice literally - in much the same way that I now tend to hear Ian McKellen's voice saying Gandalf's dialog when I read LOTR.

It would be fun to recognize some minor bits of "real life" behind the fictional stories!

Notta

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


macfalk
Valinor


Feb 6 2013, 4:51pm

Post #21 of 26 (121 views)
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Still SOS... [In reply to] Can't Post

About 480-something pages in out of 1216. Yeah... this will take a while Tongue

And then I'll pick up A Feast for Crows next. The question is though if I will even bother finish reading it or save it for later since I've heard it is remarkably slower and not as good as the previous three.



The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.


arithmancer
Grey Havens

Feb 6 2013, 4:56pm

Post #22 of 26 (111 views)
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That's where I stopped... [In reply to] Can't Post

But then again I started the series when "Game of Thrones" came out in hardback, and it was supposed to be a trilogy.

I decided after Book 4 that I would wait for the series to end before investing more time. Wink


macfalk
Valinor


Feb 6 2013, 4:58pm

Post #23 of 26 (123 views)
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And the big question is: when will it end? [In reply to] Can't Post

Fans are concerned that GRRM is taking his sweet time wrapping up the series. In the last 12 years, he has only produced 2 books...and now he has landed some work at HBO which will surely take even more of his time. Most people think the show will catch up with the books eventually and I am inclined to agree, because with his writing pace there is no other outcome in sight.



The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Feb 6 2013, 9:00pm

Post #24 of 26 (106 views)
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You won't be lacking reading material soon! [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, Martin has really slowed down writing the later books. I beileve he originally intended a trilogy but was sabotaged by his own succcess. When the publisher wanted more, he simply didn't have more.

Rumor has it that for a while he was strolling around science fiction/fantasy conventions wearing a badge reading "Don't Ask".




One Ringer
Tol Eressea


Feb 7 2013, 1:03pm

Post #25 of 26 (120 views)
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The Body-Snatcher... [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been working through some unfinished books in my collection (Musketeers, On Writing, Holmes), but last night I picked up my copy of Jekyll and Hyde that also includes several short stories by Stevenson. The first of them is called The Body Snatcher. I wasn't expecting to read it, to be honest, thought I'd save it for today since I had an early morning to anticipate, but as soon as I read the first few lines (as a teaser) I found myself fall back against my pillow and reading the whole thing.

Certainly some of the best-written dialogue I've read in a while, in fact, one of the best things I've read recently altogether. It accomplished so much with so little time, and it was all so lucid, too. It also left me with a chill; quite the ending - but I won't tell. As the old Goosebumps phrase goes - "Reader beware, you're in for a scare." Wink

Stigmata Script, a bastion for aspiring writers - http://stigmatascript.com/

"You do not let your eyes see nor your ears hear, and that which is outside your daily life is not of account to you. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain."

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