Currently Reading / Just Read (Books/stories/whatever)

Talk about anything under the sun or stars - but keep it civil. This is where we really get to know each other. Everyone is welcome, and invited!
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Postby Luet » Sat Dec 20, 2008 10:05 am

I just read Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson and enjoyed it a lot. I'm now reading the second of the trilogy, Green Mars. I had heard about these books for years but it took stumbling upon the first one at a library book sale to actually get me to read them. Part of me avoided the whole "mars" thing because I didn't really enjoy the Bradbury martian stories and I wrongly assumed this would be more of the same. It's not at all.
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Postby Hector.Victorious » Sat Dec 20, 2008 10:50 am

My Dad has those books on the shelf upstairs. When I get the time, I'm going to read them.
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Postby locke » Tue Dec 23, 2008 2:08 am

I got Walker Percy's The Moviegoer for christmas, a book I've been interested in coming across for a couple years now. so far it's quite excellent, the only drawback is it's a yet another self aware vaguely depressed narrator with an acerbic wit and total disdain for everyone around him. but hey, that can work, Catcher in the Rye is a good book, Fight club is a great movie, so we'll see how it goes, the writing is excellent and I'm already drawn in with just a chapter. I was surprised to see it won the national book award in 1971, apparently I'm reading a famous book. :p
So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

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Postby Gravity Defier » Sat Dec 27, 2008 3:24 am

I've been slowly (very slowly) making my way through Twilight part 4. It's been laughable at best so far but if I finish it, it's just one more book to help my yearly total.
Se paciente y duro; algún día este dolor te será útil.

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Postby lyons24000 » Sat Dec 27, 2008 12:30 pm

Red, Green, and Blue Mars is my favorite book series after the Ender series. I loved them and started reading Red Mars again in hopes that I will read the entire trilogy but Green Mars (with the exception of the Sax Russell story line) isn't as good.

I implore you to finish Green Mars, though, because Blue Mars is wonderful! The entire Mars trilogy gets a 9.9/10, just below the Ender series.

As for me, I just read "Prey" by Crichton. It went at a good pace, was suspenseful throughout the story but there was just something missing. I cannot quite place it. If I had to rate it, I'd give it a 5/10.
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Postby Rei » Sat Dec 27, 2008 8:00 pm

I just started reading Sabriel, by Garth Nix. I'm also reading a collection of Asimov's short stories, which I am quite enjoying. So far from that I've read Nightfall and Green Patches.
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Postby locke » Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:00 am

I have several going concerns on the reading front
but I'm really feeling a powerful itch to reread Dune. :)
And Night Watch, come to think of it.
And Speaker for the Dead

Three of my favorite books. :)
So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

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Postby starlooker » Tue Jan 13, 2009 8:39 am

The Greatest Circus Stories Ever Told. Me and my short story anthology love. So far, it's been fun and kind of Mark Twain-esque.
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Postby Mich » Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:54 pm

Twilight. As expected, it was precocious and, hmm, presumptuous? I dare you to find a better word for a narrator that describes themselves as "alabaster skinned." It wasn't exactly poorly written, and some of the characters were actually interesting, but I never found the narrator to be an interesting person, and she was amazingly self-absorbed and damsel-in-distress-y. I was disappointed when she continued to hint that something was horribly wrong with her and I eventually figured out that all she meant was that she had surprisingly bad luck and is very klutzy. This is her big secret that she hints at. This is all.

Finally, the climax. It comes from nowhere. Literally. The climax walks up, says "hello," and then decides it is an extreme danger that every other character wants to stop (although, I have to admit, their reasons for stopping it are pretty sound). But there is no foreshadowing, no build for it, and no reason for it. I'm assuming the dangers hinted at, you know, in the rest of the book, come into play in the rest of the trilogy, but I don't really want to be let down. Not that it was far of a drop.

But, overall, she is a reasonably okay writer, and it at least kept me entertained enough to finish it in time to return it to my friend prior to driving back up to the 'scow, something I can't say for The Divine Comedy. Not that the Comedy isn't interesting, I just don't find it light reading. Like Tolstoy. Or the Bible. Maybe I'll finish it before Spring Break, if more fun books don't stop coming my way.
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Postby zeroguy » Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:29 pm

It wasn't exactly poorly written, and some of the characters were actually interesting
I think this is the most glowing review I've seen for Twilight. Just get it over with already and get out your sparkly makeup and tomato juice, Mich.
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Postby lyons24000 » Tue Jan 13, 2009 11:53 pm

I just got through reading "The Coming" by Joe Haldeman. While he is the great writer of "The Forever War" that I keep hearing about, this is actually the first book I've read by him. It is a nice introduction to this author. I was not happy with the beginning but the last fifty or so pages made up for it. It really kept me on the edge of my seat there at the end.

Rating: 8/10 (surprisingly)

I am now reading the book, "The Dreaming Void", part 1 in a spin-off trilogy of the "Commonwealth Saga", which is my third favorite book series (that Commonwealth Saga, that is) of all time after the Ender Books and the Mars Trilogy.
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Postby locke » Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:21 am

I finished Tales of Beedle the Bard. One book off my pile now. :)

for the most part I liked the commentary better than the stories, excepting the Fountain of Fair Fortune and The Warlock's Hairy Heart. The latter in particular hit me especially. Jo is utterly brilliant, this book is absolutely wonderful. :)

currently reading:
Postwar Hollywood
A Mind of its Own
Anghus Thongs and Perfect Snogging
the Omnivores delimma
The moviegoer
The Shadow of the Wind
What it Takes
Partners in Command
How the States Got their Shapes
Jonathan STrange and Mr. Norrel
The Graveyard Book

I think I need to finish some of these before I start any new books. :-p I suppose it says something that I read Ender in Exile in one sitting and finished it Right away
So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

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Postby Eaquae Legit » Thu Jan 15, 2009 10:13 am

Just read: Nightfall, by Isaac Asimov. Good little anthology, I especially loved the stories at the beginning. He did such a good job of changing the world in a little way and seeing what would happen. Eerie.

Also just read: Mental Affliction and Church Law, by Colin Pickett. It's rare that I find pre-1990 books on mental disability charming, but I did honestly enjoy this one.
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Postby locke » Thu Jan 15, 2009 6:55 pm

Strike off How the States got their Shapes from the above list (I bought and started it in August!) Next up probably The Moviegoer. :-P
So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

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Postby locke » Fri Jan 16, 2009 8:07 pm

Strike off PostWar Hollywood. I've now read a textbook for light reading. I'm officially a complete nerd. ;)

That said it was a completely disappointing book, Casper is a good lecturer but his skills are not at writing. His paragraph structure is abysmal and he's not terribly good at communicating his ideas, had I not had four of his classes at school, I don't think I'd know what he was talking about half the time. He's also got a penchant to use fancy words when he can and to coin new words when he can't. but contextually this is often a strained effort rather than a natural extension of needed vocabularly. In otherwords the whole book is written sort of like an undergrad trying to show off. :-P I've been reading it for more than a year, glad to finally finish it (the book I've been reading for the longest period of time is Partners in Command. :-P). Much of the book actually reads like a transcription rather than prose and he's got a bizarre and inconsistent footnoting system as well as a bizarre and inconsistent "Daily Variety" style of using abbreviations within his prose. he'll also make bizarre and unmotivated untransitioned leaps from one subject (like a studio or director) to another without clarifying that he's changed subjects until the end of his next sentance (or two!). And sometimes he'll make some sort of bizarre introduction, when briefly summarizing director Michael Curtiz's biography he doesn't introduce him with his full name, nope the sentence starts, "Hungarian Jew Curtiz emigrated..." which is just bizarre, any writer should know when you're introducing a person for the first time in a chapter you don't do it in that manner, it's just rude, and bad form. Likewise, his descriptions of film plot are labyrinthine puzzles to work out. If you've not seen the film the breathless paragraph afforded it will be meaningless as Casper assumes a complete familiarity with cast, crew, characters and plot on every film, and his attempts to describe a film are often incomprehensible even if you've seen the film and then he doesn't really illustrate a point by choosing to even describe that particular film instead of one of the other of hundreds that he invokes but doesn't describe in detail.

The exception to this is his chapter on melodrama and the suspense thriller. in particular his section on Hitchcock is absolutely superb, a concise and useful encapsulation of an entire semester's worth of lectures on Hitch's work. The section on musicals is also very good. this is no suprise as melodrama, musicals and Hitchcock are casper's three favorite things in film.

Most embarassing of all though, is his coverage of the film technology of the fifties, for the most part it is accurate but often poorly accurate but there are also sections where I was just baffled because what he writes isn't right. He also does SciFi a disservice which is no great surprise.
So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

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Postby locke » Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:41 pm

Strike off The Moviegoer, by Walker Percy

this book won the National Book Award when it was first published and it's a compelling read, the only fault I really find with it is the sort of cliche voice/writing style/first person perspective that is used. that said, it's quite well done and an interesting meandering journey. Movies are relatively incidental in the book though, he'll occasionally reference movies or they'll attend a show, but it's more about dealing with his disaffected/disassociated outlook on life while slowly building up the romance between him and his first cousin Kate who is equally disaffected/disassociated. It reminded me quite a lot of Revolutionary Road and the Catcher in the Rye, but I liked these characters quite a bit more, and by the end I was quite cross with how his overbearing aunt tears into him (it's also very like Suddenly, Last Summer or Long Day's Journey into Night) even though it's no different from how she did it at the beginning. Like revolutionary Road, or Long Days Journey you really wish these characters could escape the stifling situation they live in (and profess to want to escape) though you know the more things change the more they stay the same. Still, the ending is a bittersweet one and melancholic, but there is a glimmer of hope to it, and it felt very nicely done and appropriate. Not a great book but a very interesting one and a pretty compelling short read.

Angus Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging was breezy and light and a cute entertaining read after finishing off the moviegoer. yeah it's fluffy and angsty but in a funny non-threatening way that's actually fairly adorable. More in the aged book club thread. :D
So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

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Postby Gravity Defier » Tue Jan 20, 2009 4:11 am

I finished Twilight part 4 and I'm now going to provide the most honest review of the series I can.

It wasn't the worst thing I've ever read. In fact, I might say I liked books 3 and 4, in part. Books 1 and 2 probably should be considered necessary to the series, but I'm not altogether sure a person would be lost if they skipped right past them. The reason I enjoyed any of the last two books was because Meyer presented some halfway decent challenges (though ask me to recall what they were and I'll be at a loss for words...). The reason they were utterly forgettable? She would spend so much time trying to convince you on how imminent these threats were and they'd be built up and up for hundreds of pages, and yeah, I was reading on to find out what was going to happen...and then it'd be resolved by something entirely too simple in a page/paragraph. Worst possible cases of anti-climax ever that would leave me wondering why the characters didn't act on this a chapter in and save me the time.

Also, I'll admit to both being drawn to and repulsed by Mr. Edward Cullen. Meyer never says much about him physically, so my imagination filled that in with the actor from the movie. Personality-wise, my god. He had a serious bout of PMS and/or manic-depression coupled with a tendency to be over-protective and stalker-ish, practically to the point of being abusive. Don't like who Bella's going to spend time with? Dismantle her truck's engine. Nothing to do at night? Watch her sleep for months and then tell her after the fact. Don't like her decisions? Order her around. Sad thing is, he'd probably brush it off as a combo of his preference for being old-fashioned (he was turned in the early 1900s) and by golly, just loving Bella too much and wanting to keep her safe.

Bella: Ugh. Sweetheart, grow a personality and a brain. She was so devoid of either that Jacob was able to tell her she was in love with him, just less than she was in love with Edward. Really? Denial is not the issue here; she's just an idiot. Also, yes, I'm sure the 'damsel in distress, I'm clumsier than hell' thing is a real turn on for guys...okay, maybe that one is, but it annoyed me for reasons I can't sort out. And the most annoying? The fact that she did nothing for months when Edward disappeared in book two. I know how tempting it is to just want to give up and mope around and I'm guilty of doing it a little...but to literally do nothing for 3-4 months but go to school, eat, and sleep? Maybe I'm being too harsh on her, I don't know. She just wasn't someone I could look up to.


I then read Faerie Lord (The Faerie Wars Chronicles, Book 4), a YA series I started in late 2006, early 2007. I read part three back in January or February of 2007, so I was struggling through this one, trying to remember what was happening and who the characters were. I'm generally pretty forgiving with books (despite what the above rant on Twilight might suggest) but even after I was able to recall what happened before this one, I was less than impressed and just reading it to finish the series and call it a day.

After that, I picked up The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream by Paulo Coelho. One of my big brothers practically shoved this into my hands in a book exchange we did in December (I lent him Fahrenheit 451 and although he finished that one faster than I finished this one, he won't give it back, bugger). I liked it well enough to copy some quotes out of it and to mentally chew on it some, and it was an easy read in terms of the writing style, but, as I told my brother, it wasn't the easiest thing -downright frustrating, actually- to read a book about following your dreams, to live out your Personal Legend, when you have no clue what they are.

Now I'm making my way through Apocalypse How, by Rob Kutner, and World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, by Max Brooks. They're two very different books, the former a more humorous, gag book and the latter, more serious in its telling of different perspectives from throughout the world during the titular Zombie War. I am more interested in WWZ but need Apocalypse How to lighten my mood. It makes me want to read Matheson's I Am Legend, just to compare but I also don't want to stay in zombie/infected/semi-vampiric books because the good ones (not looking at you Twilight) make me feel uneasy.

As for what else I'm considering sinking my teeth into, I have Terry Brooks' Genesis of Shannara but the last trilogy I read, set in the same universe, also made me uneasy because it dealt with the potential for the end of times from a more religious, angels/demons standpoint.

I have A Mind of Its Own on the way, thanks to Adam reminding me I should read it. That should lighten things up a bit.

We also have a stack, and growing, of galley proofs to be read, so I might check out what's there and give them a go. Really, I don't want for books, it's just being in the mood for what I have lying around that seems to be my problem.


ETA: Wednesday, 7:20ish

Finished WWZ and Apocalypse How. I greatly appreciated the first, was glad to be done with the second (the jokes got old and predictable after a bit).

I need some happy/fun so I'll read The Tales of Beedle the Bard while waiting for AMoIO to come in.

ETA2: Thursday

And I finished The Tales of Beedle the Bard very early this morning. It was cute and light.
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Postby locke » Mon Jan 26, 2009 12:50 pm

http://www.amazon.com/Angels-Game-Carlo ... 99&sr=8-13

The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is finally coming out in an English translation in June! I am very excited, Shadow of the Wind was one of the best recent books I've read. :)
So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

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Postby elfprince13 » Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:16 pm

As for what else I'm considering sinking my teeth into, I have Terry Brooks' Genesis of Shannara but the last trilogy I read, set in the same universe, also made me uneasy because it dealt with the potential for the end of times from a more religious, angels/demons standpoint.
if you've read all the Shannara books, and the Word/Void trilogy, you definitely have to read Genesis of Shannara. It's definitely a disturbing read though, because I can already see our world headed in that direction. I don't want to give too much away, but the final cataclysm is caused not by any direct demonic triumph, but through the psychosis of a single man.



Has anybody read the newer Todd McCaffrey Pern novels? I really enjoyed the originals, but I'm kind of worried that his writing won't live up to the same standards as his mother's.
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Postby lyons24000 » Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:31 am

Just got through reading "The Dreaming Void" by Peter F. Hamilton. Wonderful book. Part One in a spinoff series (Part Three of the same series in my mind) and so far my second favorite out of the three I've read.

"Pandora's Star", which is part one, is my favorite book in the series so far, rating with a 10/10, "Judas Unchained", part two, is third with an 8/10, and this book is given a 9/10. Part Four, "The Temporal Void", is coming out March 24, 2009. I am a little surprised that I know that seeing as I don't really follow the release of books that much. The only two I've ever followed are "Ender in Exile" and this next book in the Commonwealth/Void Series.

I've been raving about this series for about a year now, just hoping that someone will read it. Has anyone had the honors of reading these?
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Postby Gravity Defier » Wed Jan 28, 2009 12:38 am

I just finished Flight: Volume Three, a set of comics edited by Kazu Kibuishi.

Some things that I really liked:
* The cover art; beautiful coloring and I've always had a soft spot for little worlds created in nature (David the Gnome, Disney fairies, etc).

* I can't decide which story I liked the best, but it's a tie between "Beneath the Leaves: Lemming City" by Rad Sechrist and "The Cloud" by Bill Plympton. They're two very different stories, but great in their own rights.

* The very first image/panel in "Earl D." by Yoko Tanaka is impressive (at least I think so); it's a drawing of the L.A. street grids at night. I wasn't too impressed by the story itself.

* Other notables include "Message in a Bottle" by Rodolphe Guenoden, "Polaris" by Azad Injejikian and "Tea" by Reagan Lodge.


Quite a few of the comics had a way of not turning out how they hinted they might, which was cool for the most part. M. Night Shyamalan-ish in a sense, I guess, because you know there's probably going to be a twist. Some ended up darker than I expected, others ended up lighter than I expected. If only I could easily get my hands on the other volumes, as I rather enjoyed reading this one.
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Postby Rei » Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:56 pm

Last night I finished reading Garth Nix's Abhorsen trilogy. I have to say, I was very impressed. I definitely found the latter two books told a stronger story than Sabriel, although all three were very well written and very enjoyable.

Today I am embarking upon my first Russian novel, The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov.
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Postby elfprince13 » Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:30 pm

Today I am embarking upon my first Russian novel, The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov.
This wasn't a recent read, but I have an excellent collection of Soviet short sci-fi stories. It was fun to read something that came out of a not-American/European culture.

[edit]

yay!! 100th post club!
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Postby Gravity Defier » Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:18 am

I picked up some short stories by Philip K. Dick and made it through a couple so far; all decent-good. I have Dune sitting on my bed, as well, so I should get to that here soon. And I'm very, very slowly making my way through Tales of MU; my eyes are not fans of blocks of text on computer screens or I'd be farther along there.

I have a $35 B&N gift certificate heading my way, so I'll have one book for sure and possibly a little paperback of something else. *excited*

(I finished 6 books in January and none so far this month...I'll be okay so long as I finish 3-5 before March. I just got so caught up in my yard and trying not to kill various family members that my reading has been neglected.)
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Postby Mich » Wed Feb 04, 2009 3:14 am

Speaking of Dune, here's my guilty confession: I've never read it. I've always meant to. I tried to, freshman year of high school. The problem was, strangely enough, Morrowind. There was just something about the constant talk of wastelands and glass daggers and (correct me if I'm wrong) house conflicts that just made me want to go back to Vaardenfell. Even now I'm scared to start reading it again, because it might make me go on another binge, not ending until I've reached the top of the Thieve's Guild and House Telvanni and become the Neraverine and killed Almalexia and completed Bloodmoon.

Oh, no, I've awoken the hunger. The hunger!
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Postby locke » Wed Feb 04, 2009 3:53 am

morrowwind was probably heavily influenced by Dune. :)
So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

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Postby buckshot » Wed Feb 04, 2009 12:03 pm

When you finish those 3 texts you would be welcomed at my feed plant to help formulate livestock feeds! 8)

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Postby locke » Thu Feb 05, 2009 1:09 am

When you finish those 3 texts you would be welcomed at my feed plant to help formulate livestock feeds! 8)
I have no clue what this means or even who it was directed to. :-P :confused:
So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

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Postby buckshot » Thu Feb 05, 2009 12:08 pm

That was wierd , I aimed that post at Powerfull cheese in reference to their reading several livestock or maybe Vet related text books.

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Postby locke » Thu Feb 05, 2009 12:43 pm

ahh, Kimmie's (aka cheese) post was at the bottom of page 1 (and back in march, so she's probably finished those books by now ;))
So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

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Postby buckshot » Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:06 pm

Sorry , Just a dumb newby thing.

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Postby locke » Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:00 am

I had been reading The Darkness that Comes Before, (see sig, lol) but then I bought Judging Eye last saturday, figuring I didn't have time to complete a reread of the first trilogy. . Goddammit this book is absorbing. I dunno that it's brilliant but it waxes the floor with the previous three books. Bakker's writing has improved tremendously and he's evolved his characters a great deal beyond where they were before and introduced intriguing new characters. Unfortunately no Kellhus POV, and I doubt there will be, a shame to see that happen as he's the most fascinating and divisive protagonist/antagonist created in the last ten years or so. :-p

I don't love these books but they sort of compel a reread, and TDTCB, at least, becomes much more satisfying a second time around.
So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

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Postby buckshot » Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:11 pm

I am now re reading the Helmsman series by Bill Baldwin . I have the helmsman thru the defenders and am still looking for a copy of the `Defiance'.I like Baldwins style of (old school) scifi a lot :)

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Postby Gravity Defier » Sat Mar 14, 2009 9:45 pm

It was a quiet time for about 3.5 weeks, book-wise for me, but I just read Flight: Volume Four, edited by Kazu Kibuishi.

My absolute favorite is "The Window Makers," a story about an older man, doing what he loves for a living and his young assistant, who is deciding between two futures: go on to a more 'noble' profession (medicine) or stay where he is, working in the rare art of making 'windows.' The relationship between the two is touching, the story is something a decent number of people might relate to, and the colors are beautiful. It's full of blue and green hues for the most part, with some reds and oranges thrown in for contrast but all are soft and soothing, nothing jarring about them.

There were many others I really liked or even loved but I am not up to praising them all.
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Postby Bryan Christopher Sawyer » Sun Mar 15, 2009 1:01 pm

I just finished Ender in Exile and War of Gifts. Now I'm working on Dune, which I previously read half of. But I'm starting it over, listening to the book on CD and reading along. I read the first half a year ago, then got into ender's game, and well......... that was the end of my interest in Dune. But now with only Shadow of the Giant left to read, I decided to take a break from Ender's Universe and save SOTG for later. I don't want to read it yet because after that, I won't have any more Ender's Game books to read. :(

I'm also going to start Ann Coulter's new book "Guilty".

I'm also half way through Empire by OSC.


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