Current Reads

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Re: Current Reads

Post  Raksha on Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:02 pm

Today I finished The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe and liked it quite a bit. It was a more quiet, personal kind of fantasy story than I've been reading lately. No huge, world changing stakes. Just some intimate family drama in a small mountain town in the American south, focusing on a community called the Tufa, who are eventually revealed to be
Spoiler:
the descendents of the Tuatha de Danann
. It had really great world building (or, rather, town building). It was a really quick read!
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Re: Current Reads

Post  Raksha on Sun Oct 27, 2013 11:30 pm

And today I finished The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom by Candida Moss.  In spite of the provocative title (books need to stand out on the shelves, I guess), she doesn't actually argue that martyrdom didn't exist.  The book is actually a very thoroughly researched and well reasoned exploration of the ways in which stories of martyrdom from the first 3 centuries of Christianity were exaggerated, edited, and sometimes made up entirely for various purposes, like shoring up arguments against certain heretical beliefs, unifying the church, or encouraging tourism to martyrs' shrines in many places.  She goes through and demonstrates that while the stories of martyrs as we have access to them today may be entertaining, inspirational or otherwise emotionally or spiritually meaningful, we can't use them as historical reports because they are entirely unverifiable or, in many cases, obviously inaccurate in that respect.  She also shows that rather than enduring vast, sustained campaigns of persecution, early Christians actually only faced about a dozen years of such danger spread over three centuries (and several of those periods just had the singling out of Christians as an unintended side effect of edicts issued for other goals).  Plus, the harshness of those periods of persecution varied widely from region to region. She also explores why, if that's the case, do we have the narrative of continued, vast persecution of Christianity and the unfortunate present day consequences of such a mindset.  

My mom freaked the hell out when she saw I was reading this book and I just don't understand why she's so attached to that belief, which when you look at the actual sources from the time is pretty obviously a massive exaggeration.  I mean, yes, some Christians were indeed martyred (though the whys and wherefores are sometimes more complicated than we're told).  But shouldn't any empathetic person be relieved that the problem wasn't nearly as big as we thought?  That many more thousands of people didn't actually live in constant fear and weren't horribly tortured and murdered should be a good thing!  I don't understand why some people want the world to be a worse place than it already is.
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Re: Current Reads

Post  choubetcha on Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:09 pm

Even taking the big spoiler out of the equation, the third Bridget Jones was awful. So much of it was repetitive of the first book! And
Spoiler:
the book spends 80% of its pagecount on Bridget's romance with a guy who is not even the one she ends up with and then shoves the One at her at the last minute. And the dynamic between them is basically just the same one she and Darcy had from the first book, except not even mildly convincing.
So pointless.

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Re: Current Reads

Post  punzy on Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:00 pm

Thank you for taking one for the team. Now I don't even feel the mild desire to read it.

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Re: Current Reads

Post  Carrie Ann on Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:29 pm

Sorry, you guys must be confused. There are no sequels to Bridget Jones' Diary.
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Re: Current Reads

Post  stargirl on Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:37 am

ITA on previous posters' Allegiant reviews...what a way to end the story. Even setting the plot aside, the writing was just so clunky and boring and the narrators' voices seemed so flat. Much worse than Mockingjay, imo--that was at least a readable book, if a bit slow moving.

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Re: Current Reads

Post  choubetcha on Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:18 pm

Heads up to anyone else interested in Fangirl: the eBook is only $1.40 at amazon today. Some others at that price too, including Bring Up the Bodies.

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Re: Current Reads

Post  whatthedeuce on Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:43 pm

I didn't enjoy The Dream Thieves as much as I did The Raven Boys, but I think that's mostly because I'm not as interested in Ronan as I am in the other characters, and this book was focused mostly on him. It was still a great book that ramped up the stakes and left me wanting more though! Noah felt like an afterthought in this one quite frankly though there was obviously a reason for that stemming from the central crisis in the plot. I wanted more Gansey because he's my favorite, but I understood that it was paramount to unravel Ronan's life and secrets to keep the story moving forward.

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Re: Current Reads

Post  inversed on Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:09 pm

I just finished City of Women, which started slow but then picked up. I ended up enjoying it pretty well. Though I was reading it aloud to my 7-week-old, and I felt really weird talking about the Gestapo and smuggling Jews in a sing-song voice.

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Re: Current Reads

Post  Raksha on Wed Oct 30, 2013 11:52 pm

Today I finished Welcome to Bordertown edited by Holly Black and Ellen Kushner. SO GOOD! Bordertown was a shared world (a city on the border between the human world and the faery relm where strays and runaways from both places live together) that was featured in two collections of short stories by many different authors in the late 80s which make me wonder how the hell I missed them. This collection is the newest addition to that shared world. In this collection, Bordertown had been cut off from the human world for 13 days as far as they knew, but it turned out to be 13 years on the human side. Now that the way is open again, they residents are being flooded with all the new tech and culture.

There is not a single story in this collection that I didn't love. It's such an interesting world to play in and there is so much to write stories about. And when I finished reading it, I was thinking to myself how exciting it was to have such a diverse range of characters in all those stories, and it hit me that this was because those characters were really diverse. I mean, they weren't just different in personality, but there were all kinds of people of color, queers of various stripes, and disabled characters. And I mean main characters, not just side characters (though there's plenty of diversity there, too).

So fun! What a great collection.
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Re: Current Reads

Post  katesti on Thu Oct 31, 2013 12:29 am

Well, I'm about thirty pages from the end of Fangirl and am loving it. I understand the nitpicks, but good Lord, I just love Rowell's writing. She captures so many of the tiny details of life, and I'm just happy to be in the company of the characters she writes, even when they're not perfect and a bit annoying. Plus, there just aren't many books about Actual College, and this one took me back to some feelings and memories I'd completely forgotten.

I've gotten to read all three of her books in the last six months, and yes, Eleanor & Park is the winner, but they've all been the kind of book that I alternately just wanted to read all day long and then didn't want to ever end. Books like that are thrilling and also problematic, no?

AND I have Just One Year waiting for me when I finish this AND I just finished the last Heather Wells book. New books from great female writers FTW.

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Re: Current Reads

Post  mokey75 on Thu Oct 31, 2013 10:44 am

katesti wrote: AND I have Just One Year waiting for me when I finish this AND I just finished the last Heather Wells book. New books from great female writers FTW.
I can't wait to hear what you think about Just One Year. I read it immediately when it came out, and I liked it a lot, but I know some people have had issues with it. (I am trying to be super vague, lest I give even a piece of it away, heh.)
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Re: Current Reads

Post  choubetcha on Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:04 pm

I know this should go in the UO thread (another one!), but I finally got around to Code Name Verity and was seriously underwhelmed.
Spoiler:
The first half was just so long and boring to me. I cared so little about Maddie. Once the book switched narrators and the reversals started coming, it was much better and I could see why there were so many raves but I think I would have liked it much more if the first half had been tightened up. I did think the death scene was great though.

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Re: Current Reads

Post  Carrie Ann on Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:29 pm

I agree with you. I liked it, but it took so long to get into it, that in the end I'm not sure it was worth the time. It was so much longer than it needed to be (especially that first half), and it just didn't grab me the way it did others. I could imagine it being made into a really cool movie, but reading it was a slog at times.
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Re: Current Reads

Post  whatthedeuce on Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:50 pm

All the stuff about airplanes bored the hell outta me in the first half, but the second half was much faster and more tightly paced and plotted.

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Re: Current Reads

Post  RubyTuesday on Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:02 pm

Picked up The Last Winter of Dani Lancing from the library.  I'm only about 80 pages in but it jumps around so much that it's turning into a chore to read it. It has some decent reviews on Amazon so hopefully it gets better.

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Re: Current Reads

Post  QueenSix on Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:10 pm

There's a load of YA books that I haven't read because of my book buying embargo but I've been trying to get them from the library, which is a very slow process because the books are always out and there seems to be a waiting list. Anyway, I got Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr and I didn't last past the third chapter. I just didn't like it, couldn't get into it, didn't care about the characters. So I brought it back and got Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgewick. It's a different kind of book, no traditional narrative but it intrigued me so much that I read it in two days. I will admit to feeling a bit unsettled and missing the everything sewn up nicely ending but that's because it's what I'm used to and I won't diss a book for trying something different because it was well done and a good read.

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Re: Current Reads

Post  Raksha on Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:35 pm

I got my copy of Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh in the mail today and I tore through it! So hilarious! It had some reprints (occasionally with updated art) of a few classic stories from the blog, but most of it was new content. SO GOOD! Every word was gold, including the acknowledgements and About The Author page.
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Re: Current Reads

Post  MaddyCat on Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:34 pm

Just finished Tell the Wolves I'm Home and thought it was pretty great. Not a lot happens--it's very internal--but as a coming of age story I thought it worked well, especially in establishing June as this awkward teen who just doesn't fit in and isn't sophisticated enough to pick up on all the shit going on around her. Good read.

Onto Lexicon by Max Barry which starts on page one with someone getting a needle to the eyeball. So there's that.

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Re: Current Reads

Post  whatthedeuce on Sat Nov 02, 2013 2:59 pm

Overall, I liked Lexicon and thought it moved along very quickly, but the made up words used to break through people's defenses were so stupid and ridiculous that they kept naking me roll my eyes, and in the end, the story felt more cliched than I expected. I'm interested to see what you'll think of it, MaddyCat.

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Re: Current Reads

Post  VodouDoll on Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:53 am

Yesterday I finished The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. Even though it's long, it didn't seem that way; I tore through all 800 pages in about three days. I enjoyed all of the characters, and I loved the murder mystery because she gives the reader all the clues but I couldn't figure out how they all fit together until almost the end. I'm so happy when a plot keeps me guessing like that, without cheating and springing some vital clue at the very end.

The one thing that threw me off (and I was pretty shocked that it wasn't mentioned in any reviews I read) was

Spoiler:
that for the first three quarters of book the story is a Wild West murder mystery and then all of a sudden on page 600 it turns out that two characters have magical powers and all this supernatural stuff starts coming to light, weird events from earlier in the book are revealed to have been magic, things like that. I hadn't thought it was that kind of story until all of a sudden it was. But it was definitely the best 800 page murder mystery with 200 pages of psychic powers I've ever read.

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Re: Current Reads

Post  mokey75 on Fri Nov 08, 2013 11:22 am

MaddyCat wrote:Just finished Tell the Wolves I'm Home and thought it was pretty great. Not a lot happens--it's very internal--but as a coming of age story I thought it worked well, especially in establishing June as this awkward teen who just doesn't fit in and isn't sophisticated enough to pick up on all the shit going on around her. Good read.
That was one of my favorite books... ever. I was going to say in the last year, but nope. It's just wonderful. Even if it made me sob buckets o'tears.
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Re: Current Reads

Post  whatthedeuce on Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:43 pm

I tore through Night Film and still can't tell whether or not I was satisfied with the ending. I feel like the book could have been shorter without losing anything vital, but it was a very detail-oriented book and I liked te inclusion of the multimedia bits. Plus, the paper itself was so smooth to the touch. I actually wanted to caress the pages, which sounds weird, but if you've run your fingers over the paper, you'd know what I mean.

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Re: Current Reads

Post  inversed on Fri Nov 08, 2013 6:36 pm

My MIL loaned me Burial Rites because it takes place in Iceland. I'm enjoying it quite a bit, but I wonder if I'd like it as much if it were set someplace else (I am obsessed with Iceland).

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Re: Current Reads

Post  Raksha on Fri Nov 08, 2013 11:49 pm

Ooh, is that one by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir? I've read Ashes to Dust and My Soul to Take by her, but I think there are more in the series featuring Thora. Is that one of them?
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Re: Current Reads

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