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Author Topic: What did you read in December 2017  (Read 1277 times)

Offline eclipse

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What did you read in December 2017
« on: December 29, 2017, 03:53:32 PM »
Here it is: The what did you read this past month thread.

Come share your list and what you thought of the books you read last month. We're not looking for full out reviews, just a brief couple of sentences that sum up your impressions.

This is also not a contest for who read the most books, I know some of us struggle to find time to read one book a month, and others manage a dozen. That doesn't matter, so don't feel reluctant to post if you have read less books (or way more books) than others. This is all for sharing, and if you read anything, come let us know what it was and what you thought of it.
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

Jonathan Stroud:Ptolmy's Gate

Offline eclipse

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Re: What did you read in December 2017
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2017, 03:54:05 PM »
Flesh and Spirit (Lighthouse #1) by Carol Berg 4/5

I enjoyed this epic fantasy

Space Captain Smith (Chronicles of Isambard Smith #1) by Toby Frost 2/5

Disappointing the humour was just not for me , I'm going to stick to red dwarf

A Nightmare in Pink (Travis McGee #2) by John D. MacDonald  3/5

I didn’t particularly like how Travis got out of a fix towards the end it was more luck then skill, Travis is still cool with me through and he kicks Jack Reacher arse

In the Garden of Iden (The Company #1) by Kage Baker 1/5

Couldn't get into this sci-fi time travelling series

The Jupiter Myth: (Marcus Didius Falco #14) by Lindsey Davis  4/5

Roman historial mystery

The Spirit Lens (Collegia Magica #1) by Carol Berg 5/5

Fantasy mystery, fun book

According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

Jonathan Stroud:Ptolmy's Gate

Offline cupiscent

Re: What did you read in December 2017
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2017, 02:52:09 AM »
I aten't done yet! But yeah, basically I am. I read:

The Tiger's Daughter by K Arsenault Rivera - which was magnificent. I'd heard so much hype, and it had so many things that made me excited, that I uncharacteristically bought it (partly because it wasn't available in my libraries, though now I'm going to request they buy it too because it's so great). It did not disappoint me even slightly. It's beautifully written, in a second-and-first person (letter from one character to another) style that really makes the telling intimate and emotional. But it's still big damn fantasy, with two heroes destined from birth to Do Epic Shit together. As a bonus, for me, they're both princesses, in a north-east Asian setting.

I recognise this one won't be everyone's cup of tea, so I recommend sampling the first four chapters via Tor.com.

Also really good this month:
- The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, being a retelling of the Iliad via Patroclus, full of thoughtful consideration of what actually makes a great man.
- Skullsworn by Brian Staveley, being the book about Pyrre the great lady assassin that I desperately wanted after reading The Emperor's Blades. Not sure its delivery quite lives up to its ambitions, but it was great fun.
- Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal, about employing spiritualism for battlefield intelligence in the first world war. As deft, clever, considered and ladylike as all her work.
- And I'm just nearing the end of Who Killed Sherlock Holmes? by Paul Cornell, third of his Shadow Police novels, just as grim and wry and canny as the rest of the series, but this time with a lot of bonus Lofthouse getting serious, yay.

I also read Ursula Le Guin's Steering the Craft, some solid writing advice for crafting elegant prose.

Offline DrNefario

Re: What did you read in December 2017
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2017, 05:07:41 PM »
Quite a big month for me, thanks to all the time off work:

The Year of Our War - Steph Swainston - Oddball fantasy about a world under attack from insects, and the immortals who defend it. Not bad.

Pashazade - Jon Courtenay Grimwood - SF in a world where the Ottoman Empire never fell. Basically a techno-thriller, and quite enjoyable.

Assassin's Charge - Claire Frank - SPFBO 2 finalist, about an assassin sent to kill a child.

By Hook or By Crook (anth) - Ed Gorman & Martin H Greenberg (eds) - Year's Best short crime fiction, for, uh, 2009? Mostly pretty good.

The Five Red Herrings - Dorothy L Sayers - So-so Lord Wimsey mystery, set among artists in Scotland.

The Dream Curator and Other Stories (col) - Alex Irvine - I didn't really get on with Irvine's fragmented style, and only liked a couple of these.

Jurassic Park - Michael Crichton - Mainly only interesting as a comparison to the movie. This was for 1990 in my chronological SF challenge.

Spellwright - Blake Charlton - A Morningstar nominee some years ago. Quite entertaining magic school story about a young mage struggling with dangerous magical dyslexia.

Demons Hide Their Faces (col) - A A Attanasio - Another collection I mostly didn't like. I'm giving up my daily short stories at the end of the year, and it's mainly because I've read everything I wanted to read, and I'm now down to random freebies.

Pandemonium Stocking Stuffer 2014 (anth) - Jared Shurin (ed) - A micro-anthology of very short space stories. Fine, I guess. The shortest work I've read all year. Seemed an appropriate time to read it.

To Honor You Call Us - H Paul Honsinger - Mildly disappointing military SF, about a problem ship being turned around a bit too easily.

Sparkling Cyanide - Agatha Christie - An Agatha Christie mystery.

The Story of the Stone - Barry Hughart - The second Master Li and Number Ten Ox tale. Good fun.

I'm probably not going to finish anything else by the end of tomorrow, so that will be 111 works read in total. I expect that to be well down next year, without the anthologies and collections from my daily short stories.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2017, 05:11:07 PM by DrNefario »

Online ScarletBea

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Re: What did you read in December 2017
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2017, 09:46:20 AM »

The house of Binding Thorns, Aliette de Bodard
A great book, number 2 in the series, and I loved it - more than book 1. "First came the war. Now comes the battle for peace."
A different Paris, where fallen angels fight amongst themselves, there's an underground Dragon realm, what is culture, where you're born or where you live? The character and plot development was very good, the variety of settings, of 'races', of people...

Gardens of the Moon, Steven Erikson
Malazan book 1, what a great book - epic, in every sense of the word.
Yes, in the beginning you're thrown in the deep end, not of the pool but a really big ocean, and you either sink or swim or float... I decided to float, soon I was learning to swim and by the end it was racing ;D

And half of Mark Lawrence's Road brothers. Some of the stories are really beautiful, and remind me why I like his style so much - not only how he writes but also the issues he touches.
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Offline Elfy

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Re: What did you read in December 2017
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2018, 01:14:45 AM »
This was what my December 2017 in fantasy/sf looked like:

Barbary Station - R. L Stearns
I'd read some favourable reviews of this and it was pirates in space. What could possibly go wrong? Quite a bit as it turned out. It had a fair bit of technospeak and I have an extremely limited tolerance for that, possibly why SF and I often don't play that well together. The characters were very shallow and not all that likeable. The biggest sin and the thing that bugged me the most was the repetition. I knew that a central part of the story was a mad and murderous AI, that's explained very early on, but it is regularly reiterated. I finished it out of sheer bloodymindedness.

My Best Friend's Exorcism - Grady Hendrix
From a disappointment to a highlight, not just the highlight of the month. but one of my highlights of the year in terms of reading. I enjoyed Grady's first book (Horrorstor, about a haunted IKEA store), so I figured this one would be fun, too. Was it ever! I read the whole thing in a day. I just couldn't stop reading. It's essentially a parody of an 80's teen horror video, and it is so well done. It's funny and moving, it didn't hurt that I'm an 80's child and the chapter titles were all 80's songs, so it tugged strongly at my nostalgia bone. Highly recommended. Grady needs more people to read his stuff.

The Book of Swords - edited by Gardner Dozois
This is another of the collections that Gardner has been doing for a while now. His good friend George R.R Martin didn't co edit this, but he did contribute a story. Being able to put 'Includes an all new A Game of Thrones novella by George R.R Martin' on the cover certainly drives sales up. The stories are the usual mixed grab bag of good and not so good. I quite liked the K.J Parker and the Ellen Kushner contribution. The Scott Lynch was possibly the least impressive thing I've seen of his and the George R.R Martin wasn't really a story at all, but a history of Westeros, it read like some of his background material that he'd pulled out of a draw and dusted off so that his friend could put it in the collection and use his name to sell a few extra copies.

Canto Bight - Various
This was 4 novella length stories that were all set on the new Star Wars setting of Canto Bight (a planet sized version of Las Vegas). It seems to have been written and published so that fans developed some sort of connection with the place, because it's used in the new film, although you don't need any knowledge of that and it doesn't contain any spoilers. Saladin Ahmed's opener is easily the standout story, although I did also enjoy what Rae Carson did.

The Turn - Kim Harrison
I read a few of Kim Harrison's The Hollows series years ago. I think I dropped out when Jenks the pixie decided to stop working with central character Rachel Morgan (Jenks was favourite character). I was always intrigued by how Harrison arrived in her near future with elves, pixies, etc... out in the open. It was explained as being the result of a disaster caused by an infected genetically modified tomato. The Turn is the story of how that happened. It was a highly entertaining prequel, it read a little like a cross between a zombie apocalypse story and The Stand (I suspect it was heavily influenced by The Stand) with elves, pixies, vampires, werewolves and witches thrown in for fun.

Dusk or Dawn or Dark or Day - Seanan McGuire
This is a standalone novella about ghosts in Manhattan present day. The central character never got over her sisters death, not even when she died herself. When ghosts start going missing in Manhattan, she teams up with a corn witch to find out what happened to them and who did it. She gives her unlife some meaning while doing it.

Offline ArcaneArtsVelho

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Re: What did you read in December 2017
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2018, 09:46:36 AM »
Finished my book of 2017 yesterday with three and a half hours of the year to spare.  ;D

Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett. 3/5
Well, it's Discworld and it's Pratchett, so it was a lot of fun. But then again, it's Discworld and it's Pratchett, so it was kind of all over the place with its events and references.  ::)
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Offline Lanko

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Re: What did you read in December 2017
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2018, 08:09:46 PM »
Hope you all had a great new year's party!

Here's what I managed to read in December:

The End of Sparta: A Novel by Victor Davis Hanson. 4/5
I thought this was an History book, but it's actually historical fiction.

Ghost Story by Peter Straub. 2/5
I got halfway through it, and even though it had some interesting moments, for such a large book it wasn't going anywhere.

The Merchant Of Venice by William Shakespeare. 2/5
I didn't find the story interesting... maybe it was the play format. What made me go through the end is that in Shakespeare there's always that moment when he suddenly drops those awesome, immortal passages. But I have more fun and inspiration with him with isolated quotes rather than full works so far...

The Art of Worldly Wisdom by Baltasar Gracían. 5/5
I reread this little book on the last day to think on a lot of things I did (or could have done) last year.

Fullmetal Alchemist Vols 19 to 27, and finished the manga. First manga I finished. It was quite good though I did feel things started to go a bit too fast near the end.
Slow and steady wins the race.

Lanko's Year in Books 2019