Qt3 2019 Reading Challenge


Progress: 4 / 52
Which finishes January, but is not as impressive as it sounds since I read two at the end of December when I had the time available. I will use the extra time to re-read some of the Robotech books preceding the ones I’ve got lined up for February.

I enjoyed this one, and will certainly read the other two books in the trilogy at some point. (Maybe a future month will feature “finish out a series” prompts?) The mystery aspect was fine, but what really made this one for me was the exploration of “what happens to people and society when hope for the future disappears.”


The latter two books of that series are totally worth your time. They carry on the theme of this guy trying to be a detective, but against the growing despair/collapse of civilization as the asteroid approaches.


Progress: 3 / 52

  • 1A - Main: Recipient of a major award in one of your favorite genres

This one lived up to the high expectations for it. Beautiful writing, disturbing vision of society, fresh take on scientific magic, and several haunting moments.

One thing I didn’t realize going in is that this is not even close to self-contained. It’s a masterful prologue, but resolves almost nothing. 4.5/5


Good to know. This one is on my read list. I’ll have to wait to start it until I can run through the series.


All righty then, I’ve completed my first book of the 2019 reading challenge, Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee. This is a recommendation by @malkav11, and it sounded intriguing enough to try, not to mention it cost about a buck. And it was worth my time (and money). It’s the kind of buck that drops you in the deep end of the pool and expects you to start swimming. It gives you enough information to get an idea of who the players are and, eventually, what the stakes are, though how it all comes together into a coherent story isn’t really apparent until basically the end of the book. But there are two more in the trilogy that I also bought, and will also read, at some point. I’ll probably zig toward something else next month.

Side note, I’m pleased that I managed to read my first month’s book within the first two weeks of that month. I wasn’t sure how things would work out, trying to keep to a regimented schedule. At one point in my life, a book a week wouldn’t be a serious challenge, but I’ve got a lot more going on in my life than I did in those days. One a month is at least a pace I’m (pretty) certain I can maintain. See you again in February.


For January, I pretty much half-assed it. I read The Labyrinth Index by Charles Stross… a book that I was going to read anyway. It vaguely fits the prompt of “Recommended by a friend of Qt3 poster” because a couple folks in the book thread said they enjoyed it.

For Feb, I think I’ll jump on the bus with everyone else and read The Hate U Give. It’s been on my wishlist for a while but I never pulled the trigger.


You say that like it’s a bad thing :)

I seem to remember you’ve read the rest of the Laundry books, am I right? Too lazy to go back in the other threads and look. If not, it’s worth going back and hitting the rest of the series.

Also, it’s worth mentioning for any other Stross fans that he’s expanding the Merchant Princes series. Alternate-universe-hopping stuff, though the first book or two read more like fantasy than sci-fi (if you care about such distinctions, which I increasingly find irrelevant the more widely I read). Dark State came out last year and he has another one in the works.

One of the rare occasions when I rode the bus early! Glad to see that book making the rounds.


I got the first book in that series last month, but bounced off of it after a couple hours of the audiobook. It was a weird time of the year, so I’m hoping I will get back to it… but it just seemed very “meh”.

Actually, your review was what convinced me to give it a go.


That’s a pretty common criticism, deservedly so in my opinion. The first two books are OK, but nothing spectacular…it’s mostly about setting up how the world(s) work and slowly discovering who all is involved. The third and fourth books are where it really picks up. For me, that’s not a big deal - I read quickly enough that it’s not a big deal to wade through a novel or two of setup before the payoff, plus I kinda like the big sprawling multi-book epic genre. But I realize that’s not for everyone!


I’m a week early for February, I know, but the library hold came through and due dates wait for no reader!

Progress: 5/52

TL;DR - Great book, well written, engrossing story. Did not want to put it down. Somewhat depressing in terms of both setting and character flaws…lots of humans being real jerks to one another. But that’s what made it such a good story. Recommended.


Progress: 4/52

I’ve loved everything I’ve read so far this year, and the streak keeps right on going with this one, a retelling of the events of the Iliad from the perspective of Patroclus.

Despite my advance knowledge of all the major plot points, this hooked me right away with its lush and evocative descriptive prose full of phrases that feel like they could have come right out of Homer. And the author plucks the strings of love, fate, pride, and glory as masterfully as those of Achilles’s lyre. 4.5/5.


Did you know Miller did an episode of the Imaginary Worlds podcast talking about her re-imagining of the classic stories?


Good interview, and the rest of the podcast is worth checking out for anyone who likes fiction in all its popular forms.


No I didn’t. I’ll check that out, thanks.


Gnomon might be a two month book for me, as I’m about halfway through. I love books that don’t fully explain themselves and this fits right in - there are multiple levels of reality going on and hinted at fourth wall codes in the text itself, although I have not tried hard to find them yet. At the least it’s a very interesting exploration of privacy and the modern world, and only sometimes too taken by its own mystique for its own good.


One more day left in January – hope you’re all having fun and your year of reading is off to a good start!

March is our first 5-prompt month for those shooting for the full 52. The theme this time around will be Qt3 subforums. As always, find the connections however you want – you can pick books with subject matter that would belong in those subforums, that are relevant to some thread in those subforums, that were mentioned there, or whatever other connection feels right to you.

March 2019 Prompts

  • 3A - Main : Games
  • 3B - Bonus: Movies
  • 3C - Bonus: Books, Comics, TV, & Music
  • 3D - Bonus: Politics & Religion
  • 3E - Bonus: Hardware & Technical Stuff, or Everything Else


Want me to update your goal, or are you just planning to be done for the year by March?


Hah, I’d totally forgotten that I said just one per month. Yeah, I guess having started out well, I may as well go for the whole enchilada!


Progress: 7/52

For these two, I read 21 books.

OK, that’s overstating things a bit, but it sounds impressive! The 21 books in question are the Robotech novelization series, and many of them are fairly short. Enough that many were combined into 3-in-1 versions that look more like a normal book. Plus I’d read 18 of the 21 before as a teenager, though I remembered almost none of the details, just the wide story arcs. As I said above, they fit the prompt since two authors combined to write the series under a pseudonym.

TL;DR - Even with short books, it’s a lot of reading. Worth it if you’re into epic fantastic adventure, futuristic mecha battles, and romantic underdog victories. Not so much if you want hard sci-fi or have trouble suspending disbelief when logic seems to go out the window. And of course if you were into Robotech at all back in the 80s, the nostalgia factor is a strong bonus.

My rating: 4/5, but keep in mind that nostalgia factor is at play so that may be overrating it a bit

Marvel's Runaways - Hulu, superhero kids

Progress 5/52

@ineffablebob pretty much said it all, more eloquently than I can, but this was well worth reading. It manages to thread the needle of being highly topical while remaining grounded with its characters and their lives. 4/5


I’m catching up on this thread, and honestly, it has been a bit of a hectic year to begin with for me.

  • 2A - Main : A book by a minority author

This was actually a really good prompt. When I sat thinking about the number of books I’ve read by minority authors in recent times, the number came out to a depressing zero. A lot of my reading in the previous year was fantasy, so I thought I’d go down the path of seeing what was out there in the fantasy genre from a minority author. Enter Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.

It received a lot of praise. I’m sure it is well deserved, but I’ve struggled with it simply because the start doesn’t have a hook that I’m looking for. I put it to the side and moved on. One small aspect that I do appreciate is the change in setting, and importantly, the change in culture.

  • 2D - Bonus: A book with a translator as well as an author

Keeping the fantasy theme for the month, I was also reading The Elven by Bernhard Hennen.

The Elven I guess was comfort food. It fulfilled that need I have of a colourful adventure. It had the early hook and kept going. And it annoys me that I found this book much more engaging than my first prompt. There were certainly moments where I struggled to put it down. It also had moments where I was lost with the narrative. I’m not completely sure how much was due to translation and how much was a result of the plot line, but I did feel like there were gaps present that were poorly explained, or relying on future narrative to fill in. I finished reading the book feeling particularly sombre knowing that the adventure came to an end. The characters in this book meant something.

So far, I’m 1/12 for the challenge.