Book Recommendations?

Jonman wrote:

Where should I go next in Jemesin's work?

The others I've read weren't quite as good as the Broken Earth, but I very much enjoyed the Dreamblood books (The Killing Moon and The Shadowed Sun). The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms books are a little closer to regular fantasy.

Jonman wrote:

Where should I go next in Jemesin's work?

I've only read The Broken Earth trilogy, but I recently discovered an episode of the Ezra Klein show where he interviews her and goes through her "world-building workshop" with her. Ezra's world building itself isn't great, but it's a nice way to draw her into interesting conversations about her own process and writing and general philosophy on all of it.

It made me enjoy her work even more. She's really brilliant.

Anyone have any horror novels to recommend? My book club is considering horror for next month, and I'd love to bring an idea or two. You get extra bonus points for a female and/or POC author.

Katy wrote:

Anyone have any horror novels to recommend? My book club is considering horror for next month, and I'd love to bring an idea or two. You get extra bonus points for a female and/or POC author.

I know I've already mentioned Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant - how about these:

Shirley Jackson (Hill House): We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Octavia Butler: Fledgeling
Matt Ruff: Lovecraft Country

Hangdog wrote:
Jonman wrote:

Where should I go next in Jemesin's work?

I've only read The Broken Earth trilogy, but I recently discovered an episode of the Ezra Klein show where he interviews her and goes through her "world-building workshop" with her. Ezra's world building itself isn't great, but it's a nice way to draw her into interesting conversations about her own process and writing and general philosophy on all of it.

It made me enjoy her work even more. She's really brilliant.

Yup, I listened to that one while mid-way through the second book.

Tanglebones wrote:

Matt Ruff: Lovecraft Country

Can't go wrong here. Fantastic read!

Tanglebones wrote:

I know I've already mentioned Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant - how about these:

Shirley Jackson (Hill House): We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Octavia Butler: Fledgeling
Matt Ruff: Lovecraft Country

I will add those to the list I bring to the book club meeting. Thanks!

Omg, Lovecraft Country. Soooo good.

Katy wrote:

Anyone have any horror novels to recommend? My book club is considering horror for next month, and I'd love to bring an idea or two. You get extra bonus points for a female and/or POC author.

Try The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes (serial killer that's traveling through time stalking women until a survivor starts hunting him) or Feed by Mira Grant (political campaign following a zombie apocalypse). Both are excellent.

Katy wrote:

Anyone have any horror novels to recommend? My book club is considering horror for next month, and I'd love to bring an idea or two. You get extra bonus points for a female and/or POC author.

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage would make a good book club discussion (psychological horror)

My book club did Bird Box last month and had a good discussion (plus it was a quick read which ups attendance at my book club )

I wouldn't really say Feed is horror, it wasn't particularly scary or creepy. But then I read a lot of post-apocalyptic and zombie fiction so maybe my perspective is skewed.

Finished Drowning Deep a few days ago. It was pretty good, sort of a thriller/horror cross. I got a bit frustrated with some of the plot elements, because characters were acting in stupid ways to advance the story, rather than being sensible. The in-universe explanations for why they were making their choices were a bit rubbish, to be honest.

Worth reading, and it's got some good characters and good story elements, but as a whole it felt flawed.

I gotta say, Ms. McGuire is astonishingly prolific, maybe even more so than Brandon Sanderson. Between the two noms de plume we know about, she's writing about three books a year. I'm impressed she hasn't burned out yet.

I don't even know why these came to mind, but I ended up going back to a favorite from many years ago, All Creatures Great and Small, by James Herriot. These books were immensely popular in the 70s and 80s, and remain highly readable. They're just a series of little vignettes about his life as a veterinarian, starting in the mid 1930s. He really understood how to tell a yarn, and they're frequently very funny, poking fun at all sorts of people, but never in a mean way. I think the only time he's merciless is when he's talking about his own foulups; he's very gentle when talking about others.

They're really nice books, and good bedtime reading, because the chapters are rarely more than five or ten pages. You can settle in, read about a case or two, and drift off to sleep. Despite being almost fifty years old, and talking about a time thirty years before that, the language doesn't feel all that dated. It's maybe a touch precise by modern standards, but really, you'll barely notice after the first two pages.

He had a really amazing eye for people. His books are organized around the animals he was seeing, but with a few exceptions, the actual stories are usually about their owners. They're just as relevant to life in the 2020s as life in the 1970s, I think.

Malor wrote:

All Creatures Great and Small, by James Herriot.

Absolutely wonderful books. These, along with anything by P.G. Wodehouse are when I read when the world feels a little bit overwhelming. Their gentle humour and wry observations regarding the small triumphs, defeats, and absurdities of people and society are a delight. Reading these with a nice cup of tea feels like an oasis in the howling maelstrom of violence, hate, spite, and narcissism that pervades so much of modern media and news.

Latest update for my book backlog clearing project.

Spoiler:

Poetry Adventure and Love by Ed Elgar
Tick (Book 1) by Allison Rose
Indecent Proposal by Jack Engelhard
Proximity: A Novel of the Navy's Elite Bomb Squad by Stephen Phillips
Progeny by Shawn Hopkins
Secrets in the Shadows by T.L. Haddix
Trapped on the Titanic by Tammy Knox
Rowena Through the Wall by Melodie Campbell
Pandora's Genes by Kathryn Lance
Tomfoolery by Lou Harper

Making progress on this group of ten...halfway through!

Silver Lake by Peter Gadol
Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke
A Scarlet Bride: A Southern Historical Romance by Sylvia McDaniel
Sleeping Tigers by Holly Robinson
Redemption Day by Steve O'Brien
Jaguar Sun (Book 1) by Martha Bourke
Ordained Irreverence (Book 1) by McMillian Moody
A Time to Love: Quilts of Lancaster County (Book 1) by Barbara Cameron
The Blasphemer by John Ling (Book 2) - Will have to look up Book 1 as I may need to read it first
Race Traitor by Elisa Hategan

I also completed Dostoevsky's "The Idiot" since my last update. Amazon had a new translation of Don Quixote on sale for Kindle yesterday and so I decided that it was a good time to finally read it, especially since Dumas' "The Three Musketeers" referenced it. So far, I've skipped all the introductory stuff and read the first chapter. I may go back to the introductory stuff after completing the book, but I tend to find introductions too "spoilerish" for a first read-through.

trichy wrote:
Katy wrote:

Anyone have any horror novels to recommend? My book club is considering horror for next month, and I'd love to bring an idea or two. You get extra bonus points for a female and/or POC author.

Try The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes (serial killer that's traveling through time stalking women until a survivor starts hunting him) or Feed by Mira Grant (political campaign following a zombie apocalypse). Both are excellent.

We read Feed DURING ELECTION SEASON in 2016. The book was good, but is still all tied up with 2016 in my head.

We decided on Into The Drowning Deep for this month.

And I'm going to sneak in American War first, which is being promoted as the "If all the city reads the same book" selection, complete with author visits.

Thanks everyone else for the suggestions!

bekkilyn wrote:

Amazon had a new translation of Don Quixote on sale for Kindle yesterday and so I decided that it was a good time to finally read it, especially since Dumas' "The Three Musketeers" referenced it. So far, I've skipped all the introductory stuff and read the first chapter. I may go back to the introductory stuff after completing the book, but I tend to find introductions too "spoilerish" for a first read-through.

I've read it a couple of times. Incredibly original and modern for its time. I'll be curious to hear what you think of this classic!

Mario_Alba wrote:
bekkilyn wrote:

Amazon had a new translation of Don Quixote on sale for Kindle yesterday and so I decided that it was a good time to finally read it, especially since Dumas' "The Three Musketeers" referenced it. So far, I've skipped all the introductory stuff and read the first chapter. I may go back to the introductory stuff after completing the book, but I tend to find introductions too "spoilerish" for a first read-through.

I've read it a couple of times. Incredibly original and modern for its time. I'll be curious to hear what you think of this classic!

Already in the first chapter where it describes him "fixing" his helmet reminds me of the time when as a child, I tried to use a paper plate to make a Darth Vader helm for Halloween.

That is so funny! I don't remember ever emulating him when I was little, but I did use to watch the cartoon based on the book. Wow, that was forever ago...

Finished the Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy. Oh my goodness. So great! Wasn’t really sure what to read after it...going to go with something non-fiction and completely different I think.

Reading "Nimona", Noelle Stevenson's graphic novel based on her webcomic. Really enjoying both the story and the art style.

In the past two days I managed to read two novellas that I enjoyed tremendously: "A Dead Djinn in Cairo" by P. Djeli Clark, and "Your Favorite Band Cannot Save You" by Scotto Moore. I highly recommend both of them!

I also read a third one, "The Test" by Sylvain Neuvel, which I also liked, but not nearly as much as the previous two. Don't you love it when you're on a streak of awesome books?

Finished Reamde over the weekend. It was good-ish, but it didn't grab me like some of Stephenson's other work.

Started Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore thanks to this thread. Maybe 1/3 of the way through and it's awesome so far!

Has anyone checked out Ann Leckie's fantasy book, The Raven Tower? It came out on 2/26.

NPR Review:
https://www.npr.org/2019/02/26/69603...

NathanialG wrote:

Has anyone checked out Ann Leckie's fantasy book, The Raven Tower? It came out on 2/26.

NPR Review:
https://www.npr.org/2019/02/26/69603...

I just finished that. It's excellent. It's not groundbreaking like the Ancillary series, not as unusual as those books were, but it's very well put together.

The Raven Tower is two stories, one about a man, and one about a god. Gods exist in this world, and can inhabit many things. They can be large or small, have many attributes or few, and can interact with people or not, as they wish. The thing that seems to be true of all gods, the thing that makes them gods, is that anything they speak is true. If it's not true at the time the god says it, then the god's power makes it true. If it's a very difficult thing to accomplish, then the god can be injured, badly weakened. If it's impossible (a definite statement about the past that is untrue, for instance), or somehow pits the god against itself, then it can just outright die. This means gods are very careful about what they say.

It has the usual interwoven-story structure that authors use to split attention between two tales, and like most in this format, they tie together well by the end. Things starts out pretty confusing, because Leckie uses both first and second-person tenses. With patience, though, all is made clear. The prose is carefully crafted, almost delicate in a way. It reminded me a bit of both Jemisin's Broken Earth (the use of second-person, mostly), and Novik's Spinning Silver for the quality of the language.

There are definitely some parallels with the Ancillary books, as a god does end up sounding a bit like an AI ship, but it's not so straightforward as all that. There's a resonance there, but this is a very different tale.

Totally standalone, too. This isn't part of a series, it's just a book. I don't think a sequel is at all likely, as it's perfectly self-contained, and precisely as long as it should be. I would have enjoyed reading more, but it ends in the right spot. It gets steadily better as the twin tales unfold, and the ending is outstanding, just exactly right.

Very pleased with this one.

The new Will Wight book in the Cradle series is out, Underlord. I read it last week and it continues the story well. It is book 6 so if you liked the others check it out. The whole series is free on kindle unlimited.

Finally finished Into the Drowning Deep. I know several people around here really liked it. I...I did not. Not really. I mean I finished it, but I wanted it to be done at about the half way point.

Someone around here noted that it didn't go where they expected it to. I guess I felt it went everywhere at once, much of it expected, but a few things here and there unique. It sort of felt like the author put a little of everything into the book without much focus on how she wanted to structure things. The siren point of view bits came out of nowhere and just seemed unnecessary.

Spoiler:

And all the different ways the sirens could kill you...between their physical attacks, the siren-blood coated bullet, the spiked shrimps. Anytime you got a perspective from a non-main character was a sign they were going to die in some non-necessary way.

At any rate, I suppose I'm glad I read it, even though I didn't really enjoy myself? Moving on...

I liked it, didn't love it. Felt a bit schlocky and more like a Kindle Unlimited book than a full release. It was fine.

Finished New York 2140 last night. Basically modern economic spin on what New York would look like if sea levels rose more than 50 feet and capitalism still prevails. It becomes an extreme interventionist economics story at the expense of its characters however. But the scary part is that the global warming stuff isn't so farfetched. Probably the weakest part in the novel is that it doesn't go far enough in exploring just how bad those projections will look like.

Malor wrote:
NathanialG wrote:

Has anyone checked out Ann Leckie's fantasy book, The Raven Tower? It came out on 2/26.

NPR Review:
https://www.npr.org/2019/02/26/69603...

...

Totally standalone, too. This isn't part of a series, it's just a book. I don't think a sequel is at all likely, as it's perfectly self-contained, and precisely as long as it should be. I would have enjoyed reading more, but it ends in the right spot. It gets steadily better as the twin tales unfold, and the ending is outstanding, just exactly right.

Very pleased with this one.

Just finished it myself. I can totally endorse everything Malor said. Truly excellent, and I can only wonder what Leckie is going to astonish us with next.

Finished The Crossing by McCarthy.
Definitely a lesser cousin in some ways to All the Pretty Horses, but still an interesting, melancholic look at life that I enjoyed.

I'm maybe a third of the way through Caliban and the Witch by Fedeirici. Great mix of history and theory that I'm enjoying, but the amount of information and footnotes makes this one deserving of a mid read fiction break.

Just started Killing Commendatore by Murakami and I'm already seeing this as a middle aged 1Q84 with an artist instead of a writer. Gimme that weird baby.