The Book Thread - September 2009

Pesthouse by Jim Crace - Starting out with a definite The Road feel…but with capital letters.

On Deck: I finally got some $6 hardback copies of the second two books of The Prince of Nothing series by R. Scott Bakker. Was waiting for paperback at the B&M store,but those never materialized. I know the series has met with mixed, Qt3 reviews, but I really liked the first and will weather any issues in the second to see where it goes. Althoough, it has been a hell of a long time since I read the first one, so I am sure I will be clueless for the first 100 pages if not the whole book. Basically, like with the Malazan series.

Coming into the final 150 pages of Empire in Black and Gold, by Adrian Tchaikovsky and it’s still great. I know some folks complained that it started strong and then fizzled but I think it’s been terrific from the first page. Maybe it falters in the final stages but it hasn’t yet for me.

Next on deck is probably Dust of Dreams, by Steven Erikson, or possibly Best Served Cold, by Joe Abercrombie (if Sula is finished with it).

Poor Ghengis Khan has gotten put on hold because of Dust of Dreams by Erikson. So far only 100 pages in and it’s as compelling as ever.

Also made my way through Harry Potter and his Chamber of Secrets last month. I’m using a Sony Reader to read the series and it’s been a new experience for me. I like it a lot better than I thought I would, but it doesn’t have the same satisfaction of completing a paper book. Just not that same completion feeling!

Since the tidal wave is building, I figured I’d ask…

Who’s going to be picking up The Lost Symbol?

I’m just finishing up Vacuum Diagrams - my first foray into Stephen Baxter’s writing. I’ve enjoyed it quite a bit and am looking forward to reading more of his stuff, but I have other series to get back to and finish first.

Finished Junot Diaz’s The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which was fantastic, and highly recommended to this crowd, as the book is loaded with one dorky D&D/Dune/Jack Kirby/Akira reference after another, while actually being about something far more serious (the lives of Dominicans in the pre-/post Trujillo era.)

Now debating between the three books on my nightstand:
The Blade Itself, The Girl Who Played With Fire, or The White Tiger.

I’m slowly reading “The Ice Storm.” It’s not doing much for me, but maybe that’s partly because I only read it when I’m exhausted and 15 minutes away from going to sleep. Maybe I’m just not in the mood to read about a bunch of deeply dissatisfied upper-middle-class suburbanites at the moment.

Next up will probably be “Blood Meridian” or another crack at “Day of the Locust,” which I petered out on during the first attempt.

I’m also dabbling in Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America” on Project Gutenberg. I need to get a Kindle or something so I can read ebooks in bed. I guess I could just use my laptop in a pinch.

Is this the same as the movie?

— Alan

Sounds like it. Is that the one with the “Key” Party?

@ Jeff Green —> Abercrombie :)

I just finished reading Infinite Jest. I was tempted to take part in the Infinite Summer event, but I just don’t read books in that way. I’d previously read Consider the Lobster and Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, which really whetted my appetite for the big book.

To warm down, I reread The Hunter, by Richard Stark, which is the first novel in my absolute favourite crime series. Keeping with the Westlake theme, I’m currently reading What’s The Worst That Could Happen?, which I should finish tonight. After that it’s either going to be the new A L Kennedy collection or Kim Stanley Robinson’s Galileo’s Dream.

Yes, it’s the novel the film was based on.


Recently finished Anathem by Neal Stephenson and greatly enjoyed it.

I’ve checked out The Caryatids by Bruce Sterling and Mind over Ship by David Marusek but I’m not sure if I will get around to them or not.

Has anyone read Kay Kenyon’s Bright of the Sky or Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind? I’m thinking of picking them up (not available in the local library) but I’ve heard some mixed reviews.

I just wrapped Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival by Bernd Heinrich.

I don’t think I’d read anything by Heinrich before, but I definitely will track some of it down now. His enthusiasm for nature is obvious, and infectious. He also does a good job of mixing scientific fact with descriptions of field observation (essentially nature writing). He tells some really charming stories, too. It’s also fantastic because it isn’t simply a regurgitation of well known facts.

A lot of the material in this book is pretty cutting edge research (or was when it was written - he’s a professor and does active field research), and often when he asks the reader “why does an animal do this?” it isn’t just rhetorical, nobody knows, but research is currently being conducted to figure it out. As for the material itself, it is pretty fascinating stuff. Suffice to say, the grade school understanding of “animals hibernate in winter by getting fat and sleeping” is not only an gross over-simplification, but is far less interesting than the truth.

I’ve read The Name of the Wind and loved it! Rothfuss has a very lean prose style and his worldbuilding is good. I can’t wait to see where the series goes. I recommend this book highly. If you have it in your hands in a store, read just the three page prologue - it’s breathtaking - then decide :)

Ditto. Word of warning, this was a book I wish I had not heard of here at Qt3 for another 2 years or so. Then I would have been able to read the series all together like I did Abercrombie’s First Law Series. Kidding, don’t wait. :)

Can’t wait to see what happens next.

Read it about 12 years ago when it came out and was rather disappointed.

Name of the Wind is great. If you search past reading threads you’ll find a lot here have read it and I believe the consensus was overwhelmingly positive.

I’ve heard nothing but fantastic things about Bright of the Sky. I’m hoping to read it by the end of the year.

Marusek’s two books are very weak. Not sure why they got such good reviews or for that matter even got published. Bad dialog, bad characters, bad plot, implausible all around. Some cute technological and social development ideas, but not fully fleshed out.

I’m still plowing through my acquisition of Warcraft-related books. Currently on one of the shorter, yet most well written ones, Of Blood And Honor, by Chris Metzen. I only have a couple more to go before I am on to something else. I am not sure which I should go for next, The Southern Vampire books by Charlaine Harris, or Katherarine Kerr’s Deverry Cycle.