The Book Thread - December

Finished Alloy of Law, the new Mistborn novel and…no.

Edit: I like Sanderson alright. He’s an earnest writer who doesn’t have characters with much depth, but he has fun settings and magic systems that feel straight out of a video game. But Alloy of Law was like he said “Hey, let’s take Mistborn…and make it steampunk”. The setting is effectively a combination of steampunk and Western, but in the Mistborn universe, and even worse is that there are the exact same affectations of Westerns, down to cowboy hats, dusters, revolvers, shotguns, everything. He also attempted to write a comedic wisecracking sidekick and that was just very awkward and unnatural. His writing style is much better when he’s doing earnest melodrama that I can roll my eyes at instead of bad humor that makes me flinch.

The Chekov’s gun was telegraphed pretty obviously and repeatedly.

That said, it was fine for killing some time.

Started Catch-22 because I never read it and it’s apparently some cultural milestone. So far the author is trying too hard with his witticisms but it could be that he was one of the original progenitors of this particular style.

I’m currently working my way through a few series at once right now (reading book one of each, and then book 2, etc.) I am about to start book 2 of the Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire.

I also just finished Blamemess, by Gail Carriger. It’s a newish Steampunk series/urban fantasy, and it’s starting to hit it’s stride. Sometimes the author gets a little too clever with herself, but overall a fun series. Combining Steampunk with the whole vampires and werewolves schtick makes it refreshing.

halfway through Black Wings Has My Angel. I dunno how I feel about it. It’s pretty standard sociopath boy meets sociopath girl plan sociopath armored car robbery, but the robbery has just happened, so perhaps the final half will start to pick up.

After this, i think I’m going to read Here Comes a Candle by Fredric Brown.

I thought the same thing when I started it. At some point, though, the novel gels better, and by the end it’s much darker. I almost gave up on it near the beginning, but I’m glad I stuck it out for a while.

I’m not sure what I want to read next. I have Children of the Sky, and The Heroes, along with some random free books already on my Kindle but I’m thinking of getting the 2nd book in the Monstrumologist series and reading that as I really enjoyed the first book, and if you folks are to be believed the second is even better.

I finished Game of Thrones and am on to Clash of Kings. I did enjoy the book but knowing it goes on forever does kind of take the edge off it.

Man. I thought Catch 22 was one of the most hilarious things I’ve ever read. And I’ve had pretty much the same reaction the subsequent times I’ve read it. Though it also goes some pretty depressing places. It’s a weird, wonderful tonal mix.

Finally reading Side Jobs the collection of Dresden Files short stories. Also picked up Holiday of the Dead for my Kindle, 38 holiday themed zombie short stories.

I need to pick Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy back up and finish it.

Finished Castle (J. Robert Lennon), which was excellent. Looking quizzically at my book pile, but I’ll probably read Gun, With Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem next.

I’m about a quarter of the way through K.J. Bishop’s (not K.J. Parker!) Etched City and there are no indications of a plot whatsoever. We’ve got the broody, sexy gunman and the slightly twisted doctor, but absolutely nothing going on.

I hope it picks up a bit, it’s quite boring.

I’m about halfway through Terry Pratchett’s “Equal Rites”. LORD am I loving Granny Weatherwax. Esk is pretty cool too though.

I just finished Dirty White Boys by Stephen Hunter and really liked it. Just a great fun, action romp. Loved the cat and mouse and the opposing viewpoints.

What’s something similar along these lines? I thought about Point of Impact, but that sounds like it has a different sort of focus than this one. Any recommendations?

Went to the way back machine on my backlog and started Team of Rivals.

Finished Catching Fire, it felt like a retred of Hunger Games, except with less emotional impact. Kinda disappointed, but then again, this is YA fiction.

If you are getting into Hunter you need to read Point of Impact next.

Pretty much all the Bob and Earl Swagger books revolve around it, even though the author shifts at will thru the timeline…

Just finished Peter K Hamilton’s Pandora’s Star tonight. Of course, despite being the most comically oversized paperback I own there is a second book in the series I have to read now to see how the story ends. I thought it had a lot of great stuff, cool ideas and interesting action in it, but it also felt pretty padded out at times. One chapter early in the book has a character flying a glider on a distant planet and it goes on for like 40 pages. For no real reason. I think I was supposed to be impressed by the prosecraft, but in the end she flies around for a while and then lands safely and none of the vistas she saw play in to the plot at all. So, a bit more of a chore than it needed to be, but still a good read in the end.

I think I’m gonna read Consider Phlebas next.

It took me 280 days to finish Moby Dick. I was surprised at how weird and funny it could be – I think its intimidating reputation as a Great Book is a shame.

It’s something of a Checkov’s Gun. The glider and the extreme weather she flies in are relevant in the second book.

One of the coolest things about those books is that what seems like padding actually pays off in the end. Seemingly minor characters who are on the periphery at the beginning move front and center and become major characters by the end, and stupid details end up being crucial.

I have just finished my third reading of A Song of Ice and Fire, which is why I haven’t posted in these threads since October. I’m a little sad to leave Westeros again, especially knowing that it’ll probably be 5+ years until the next book and I’ll have to reread the series again to really enjoy it.

Along the way I listened to a little book called Crime of the Century, which was purportedly about one of the biggest murders in NY in the 1890’s and how the Hearst and Pulitzer papers treated it. In the end it was just a tawdry murder that was blown out of proportion by yellow journalism and the whole book just seemed like a guy sat down and read every newspaper story about this thing and then summarized. Bleh.

Not sure what’s next. I think something short. Maybe Hunger Games?