Rate the last book you read Page 69

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  • Metalfish 29 May 2016 11:13:41 9,170 posts
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    Yeah, they're great. The standalones are also very good, of which The Heroes is the best thing he's written.
  • PazJohnMitch 29 May 2016 11:29:45 12,900 posts
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    @AwesomeWells

    Glokta is certainly my "favourite" of the characters.
  • drhickman1983 29 May 2016 11:52:28 4,906 posts
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    Joe Abercrombie is my favourite contemporary fantasy author. He doesn't write the most complex stories and you can accuse him sometimes reusing the same character archetypes, but that doesn't bother me as he does it so well. The Heroes is genuinely one of my favourite books of all time. I just really like his authorial voice, and there are moments of almost Pratchett-esque humour (particularily in the Heroes, the description of the mortar / cannon's as "fire engines" was very Pratchett-esque).

    The Blade Itself is the weakest of the initial trilogy too. Will be interested to hear what you think of the later books.

    He's doing another trilogy set in that world, think he's planning on wrapping up the overarching story. Unlike some authors he seems quite prolific, so we might see the new trilogy done sometime in the next ten years...

    I just get excited thinking about his novels.
  • PazJohnMitch 29 May 2016 14:10:58 12,900 posts
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    Bought the next 2 books. They had Heroes too but I thought it was too much to buy all 3.
  • cov 29 May 2016 14:59:03 1,695 posts
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    heh best one tho love red country.... you are better off reading them as he wrote them tho
  • RichDC 1 Jun 2016 19:24:29 7,490 posts
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    Modern Romance - Aziz Ansari

    A study of how technology, changes in culture and increase of choice has improved all of our dating lives and relationships. Or not as the case may. A humorous, interesting and insightful read into the modern world of dating. Its isn't focused solely on dating and also looks at how even well established relationships are changing. So you loved up types should also give it a read to and join us singles in our misery. ;)

    An enjoyable distraction from the Match.com thread /10
  • Metalfish 7 Jun 2016 23:25:59 9,170 posts
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    drhickman1983 wrote:
    I just get excited thinking about his novels.
    You might be interested in:
    Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie
    A collection of short stories in the first law world set before, after and during the various books, although you'd not have any measure of about half the returning characters if you haven't read all 6 books in this particular universe.

    The good: the writing is never less than good. Every bit is that easy-reading, wry, medium-rare darkness that is probably one of my favourite writing styles. The action's punchy, the dialogue is honed to a point and nothing ever gets more than 3 clauses of description. No one ever composes an epic poem waxing lyrical about trenchers of meat or nuthin'. I have trouble with this thread because I say a longer list of negatives about things than positives and it makes people think I hate things I love. It's just that Abercrombie is such a confident writer and produces such solid work, that's kinda expected to be high quality by this point.

    The less good: none of the stories are especially worth reading if you're looking for insight into this world, or, in indeed: the characters. (So, just read it 'cause it's well-written, I guess).

    World-wise, I might baulk at other writers' inability to write worth a damn about the incredible universes they've conjured, but there's something to be said for not being introduced to a new location and immediately thinking "oh, so we're done with [fantasy]Venice*, now we're in [fantasy]wild-west** etc. The First law is at risk of being turned into alternative-history fiction at this point.

    The characters have always been a little archetypal, but in his longer stories he had time to develop and subvert them -not so when there's only a dozen or so pages to work with. If you've forgotten who any of the cast are, expect limited reminders (not that it matters hugely, as most of the stories are self-contained). Although there are a pair of recurring new characters across several of the stories which, whilst definitely well-rounded enough to be examples of Joe's intent to prove he can write women better... ...are undermined by a "well, yeah: she's pretty much a female Whirrun of Bligh, which is cool" admission. And yeah, it is pretty cool actually, even if she feels like a DnD character, along with several others.

    The only truly low-point, for me, was an entire section which can be boiled down to "aren't you glad I don't write like this?" To which the obvious answer is to stop about 15 paragraphs earlier than he did.

    Should you buy it? Have you read literally everything else he's published? If not: god no. If yes: maybe, probably yes, in softback. It's got a few parts worthy of The Heroes... ...but diminishing returns are here for me. No good deed goes unpunished, if things can go bad: they will and it'll all turn out bittersweet and faintly shit-stained in the end. Which is a bit predictable, something Joe's longer books mostly aren't.

    *He muscles in on Scott Lynch's turf at one point and probably comes off worse in the comparison, if I'm honest.

    **Red Country was pretty weak in parts due to it's thin-sketched Western theme, I reckon.
  • Deleted user 11 June 2016 13:17:17
    Neil Gaiman - American Gods
    An easy 9/10

    Gripped me from start to finish, I'd become so immediately involved in Shadow's character that I even said something along the lines of "holy fucking fuck!" after a handful of pages. Shadow getting released early due to Laura's death
    It only really lost a point for the occasional dips into dreams/fantasy, which were a little too heavy on description compared to the rest of it, and I guess my imagination just wasn't in the right gear. Everything felt nicely wrapped up throughout part 4 and the epilogue.
    Essential!


    Jeff Vandermeer - Annihilation
    6/10

    For such a short book it really seemed to drag in places. Recommended it to my missus when I was a short way in, but after finishing it I wouldn't be so quick to recommend it... Don't think I'll bother with the rest of the trilogy, and can't picture the film being any good (Natalie Portman is a fairly shit bit of casting)

    Edited by dfunked at 13:24:11 11-06-2016
  • Metalfish 12 Jun 2016 10:35:18 9,170 posts
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    I don't know how far I agree about American gods. It reads like a travelogue with some incidental story in several places. Some fantastically well realised ideas otherwise mind. I just found it rather, I dunno, lumpy?
  • JoelStinty 22 Jun 2016 22:18:17 5,610 posts
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    The Buried Giant - Kazuo Ishiguro

    Not sure how i feel about this. I really enjoyed the opening, and the ending, but i felt the middle sagged a little bit. I am not sure if that is because i left the book for a couple of weeks as i went away or not. Think it has a few pacing issues.

    It is a really simple read but it a vivid one at that with an interesting concept. Axl and his wife beatrice live in a land where memory fades, and go in search of their son who they think lives in a nearby village.

    It is an interesting novel that throws up a lot of questions as it ends ( not ambiguous, but more motive orientated). Been thinking about it on an off since i finished it.

    Personally think it will make a great Ghibli film, as those nuances that ghibli do so well.

    3/5

    Edited by JoelStinty at 22:18:53 22-06-2016
  • onestepfromlost 27 Jun 2016 14:56:20 2,571 posts
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    Ok looking for some suggestions. I recently decided to give audible a go. Got american gods first and its enjoyable. Im looking for a horror book next, something creepy. The problem i see is everyone has different tastes and the conversion from book to audiobook might not work or might even work better.

    I dont find stephen kings stuff to be particularly scary if thats any help :/
  • rice_sandwich 27 Jun 2016 15:18:16 2,648 posts
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    @JoelStinty

    I'd recommend Ishiguro's The Unconsoled. It's a long book and there's a good chance you might find it infuriating but I really liked it.
  • mrcrumley 27 Jun 2016 15:35:22 558 posts
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    @onestepfromlost the girl with all the gifts is a good audiobook but maybe not strict horror. Read by Judi Denchs daughter.
  • onestepfromlost 27 Jun 2016 17:14:34 2,571 posts
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    looks interesting. I think I'll give it a bash. Ta.
  • RyanDS 27 Jun 2016 17:38:07 11,614 posts
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    mrcrumley wrote:
    @onestepfromlost the girl with all the gifts is a good audiobook but maybe not strict horror. Read by Judi Denchs daughter.
    I was just about to suggest this as well. Great book well read.

    Also 14 by Peter Clines. (But very very important, go in blind.)
  • Tonka 1 Jul 2016 20:26:17 26,053 posts
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    @onestepfromlost of they've got Lovecraft Country then give that a go. Brilliant book.
  • JoelStinty 2 Jul 2016 09:12:59 5,610 posts
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    Hear the Wind Sing - Murakami.

    His first novel. And i enjoyed it. It is pretty short book, more novella than novel detailing a student's summer vacation back at home.

    It is typical Murakami, it is pretty stoic, and it's main themes revolve around acceptance, struggling to move on and fitting in. Some of the existentialist musings are some of the best i think he has written. They are kind of raw and less refined in later works.

    It has flashes of his trademark whims of fantasy, a 9 fingered girl, and an otherworldly conservation with a radio dj, but overall it is a pretty straight up account of a passage of time.

    There are a couple of bum notes, the early pages try have a few sarcastic jokes/observations that don't really work, but overall it is short sweet Murakami fitted into 150 odd pages.

    4/5

    Edited by JoelStinty at 09:15:52 02-07-2016
  • rice_sandwich 2 Jul 2016 09:55:45 2,648 posts
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    @JoelStinty

    I found Hear the Wind Sing to be well below the standard of Murakami's later novels as many of his usual themes are fairly roughly hewn. That said it's interesting to see the beginnings of his work. One for fans, I guess.

    Lately I've read:

    Latest Readings - Clive James
    Now that he's dying (and has been for a while, he jokes) he decided to focus on getting the most out of his remaining time by reading his favourite books and discovering new ones. He's a knowledgeable and insightful reader, able to discover the main themes and nuances of novels. He looks at lots of genres and gives some recommendations as to his favourites. A good book to read if you'd like to read more intently or with more insight. 8/10

    The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden - Jonas Jonasson
    A comedic, farcical story about a South African girl who gets mixed up in various international plots. There are many unlikely twists and turns. The book is far too long for what it is - 200 rather than 400 pages would have been far better. Basically more of the same as his previous book 'The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared'. 5/10

    Fall of the Roman Republic - Plutarch
    Various biographies of famous historical persons such as Cicero and Julius Caesar. Interesting stuff to be taken with a large dose of salt given Plutarch's want to describe things in terms of people being saintly or absolute villains. Worth reading for the stirring narratives and descriptions of ancient battles rather than for its historical accuracy. 8/10

    The Namesake - Jhumpa Lahiri
    A novel about Bengali immigrants in the USA (the usual theme of JL). It details the life of a young man called Gogol (named after his father's favourite author) his struggles to find belonging in a foreign culture, the problems of knowing ones parents as human beings and not just family members, and the search for meaning in life that many people struggle with. 8/10
  • LittleSparra 2 Jul 2016 10:09:42 6,609 posts
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    The Noise of Time - Julian Barnes. Pretty good.
  • PazJohnMitch 2 Jul 2016 13:24:42 12,900 posts
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    Finished Before they are Hanged a few days ago. Brilliant. Looking forward to finishing off the trilogy.
  • AceGrace 2 Jul 2016 13:30:32 3,080 posts
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    I partridge. Probably about 3 or 4 years ago
  • Mola_Ram 2 Jul 2016 13:57:09 15,967 posts
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    The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

    A Japanese crime thriller, not really a whodunit (because you find out who the killer is right at the start) - more of a howhedoneit. The police are at a loss until they consult a genius professor, who happens to be an old classmate of one of the suspects. And so on.

    It does sound kind of generic in a general description, but there were some twists and turns that were genuinely interesting (though a couple did feel a bit like cheating). And I rather enjoyed it! Apparently it's been made into a movie, with a possible (probably dreadful) Hollywood remake on the cards.

    Recommended!
  • rice_sandwich 4 Jul 2016 15:14:13 2,648 posts
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    How To Make A Home - Edward Hollis

    Another book from the School of Life, an imprint aimed at doling out advice and insight to help the idle middle classes cope with their existential troubles. There's a whole series of titles; How to Think About Exercise is a standout example.

    A good, short read with a lot of food for thought about the various ways in which we inhabit our homes, what they mean to us personally and socially and how we can feel more emotionally comfortable in times where home ownership is diminishing.

    8/10
  • RichDC 7 Jul 2016 18:48:48 7,490 posts
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    Leviathan Wakes -James Corey

    After half watching the TV series The Expanse and not really following it (probably had something to do with the 'half watching' it part) I decided to give the book ago as it seemed interesting. Its bloody brilliant. A magnificent space opera that races along at full speed. It seems to cram a tonne of different genres together and enough events in the one book that most authors wouldn't try to fit into an entire series, and it works.

    I look forward to the rest of the books now and hope they're just as good. (I don't want to know if this is not the case)
  • Derblington 7 Jul 2016 19:34:35 29,052 posts
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    I set myself a goal of reading 12 books this year (up from 0 last year). I did 3 in January and then started Metro 2033 in early Feb...

    I'm only about half way through now. It's such an awkward read. It's a good book and I do enjoy it on reflection but the translation from Russian to English is overly descriptive and not perfect and it's a chore when you're actually flipping the pages.

    As much as I want to finish it I think I may have to just scrap it or I think it'll last me the rest of the year.

    Edited by Derblington at 19:35:14 07-07-2016
  • Deleted user 7 July 2016 21:35:45
    Digging up Mother: A Love Story

    Doug Stanhope's sort-of autobiography which revolves around his relationship with his mom (who was 'a character').

    It really IS a love story, so much so Stanhope helped her end her life when her illness became too much to bear, and it has made me laugh and cry (not least as I'm reading it as my own mom is sick).

    It's overall pretty easy to discount Stanhope as a miserable misanthrope until you 'know' him. His comedy is dark stuff, but albeit in a weird fashion, his moral compass is something to be admired.
  • Mola_Ram 7 Jul 2016 23:50:00 15,967 posts
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    @Derblington it does pick up approximately two thirds of the way through, but yeah... it's a strange book. It feels a bit like Dante's Inferno, in that the main character is more of a passive tourist, than someone with any real agency. He just goes from place to place, listening to various Russian people natter on and on about mostly inconsequential things. There is a bit of action, but mostly it's very slow.

    Maybe that's just a feature of Russian literature?
  • Robertboy 12 Jul 2016 12:51:55 16 posts
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    I prefer fiction.
    Two days ago I started The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. The novel cathes my imagination. I rate in high.
    Previous I red Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham and find it realistic. I understand the main character because I had the same situation 5 years ago. 9/10
  • RichDC 3 Aug 2016 17:26:53 7,490 posts
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    Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking - Susan Cain

    A really interesting book on the difference between extroverts and introverts, the ways they both compliment and clash with each other, and the practices across the world can unintentionally advantage and disadvantage both groups.

    Edited by RichDC at 17:27:24 03-08-2016
  • Malek86 6 Oct 2016 07:01:53 5,912 posts
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    I just took a dip and read through the first Harry Potter book.

    It's a light and decently fun read, but also some of the most cookie-cutter stuff I've ever seen. Does it get better later on? Do these characters get any less mono-dimensional? And why does everyone like the Slytherin bully?
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