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Post  naughty zoot on Sat Sep 20, 2014 8:50 pm

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, loosely based on Silas Marner, is turning out to be an absolute delight. Widowed book store owner has a toddler left in his store and his life is changed. I have laughed out loud more than with any book in quite some time.
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Post  MaddyCat on Sat Sep 20, 2014 11:29 pm

whatthedeuce wrote:
MaddyCat wrote:Midway through Annihilation, the first book of the Southern Reach trilogy and it is sufficiently creepy. I have had to stop reading it before bed at night because it's given me weird dreams. Not nightmares, but weird enough that I had to shift it to a daytime book. And it's not that it's super-graphic or violent. It's just...creepy. And I mean that in a good way.

I tried that book but got bored so quickly. I wanted to be creeped out, but I didn't make it through the first 20 pages.

Ha! This clearly illustrates that I am a total wuss (which I embrace).
And I did finish, and the payoff for the creep-factor wasn't that big. I doubt I'll finish the series.

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Post  Instant Monkeys on Sun Sep 21, 2014 12:48 am

MaddyCat wrote:Midway through Annihilation, the first book of the Southern Reach trilogy and it is sufficiently creepy. I have had to stop reading it before bed at night because it's given me weird dreams. Not nightmares, but weird enough that I had to shift it to a daytime book. And it's not that it's super-graphic or violent. It's just...creepy. And I mean that in a good way.

Oooh, I was JUST reading a review of this and was thinking of picking it up. Sounds like my kind of thing.

EDIT: Whoops, I missed the last page of this thread. Well, I'll probably still check it out (hoping to get it from the library).
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Post  MaddyCat on Tue Sep 23, 2014 1:08 am

Just finished The Infinite Sea which is the sequel to Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave, which I adored. The sequel wasn't quite as good, and sometimes the characters had me rolling my eyes (a lot), but there were enough twists and tense moments to keep me invested. I mean, I read it in two days, so it had to have been pretty good, right? I await the third and final book.

Now onto Broken Monsters by the author of Shining Girls, another book I adored. So I have very high hopes for her new one.

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Post  Raksha on Tue Sep 23, 2014 7:01 am

Ooh, let us know what you think of that one, MaddyCat. I loved The Shining Girls too, so I'd be interested to know if her new one is as good. I'm about to start on one of her old ones, Moxyland, myself!
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Post  Coneycat on Tue Sep 23, 2014 8:59 am

First Light by Geoffrey Wellum, the memoir of a WWII Spitfire pilot. Wellum was seventeen when he applied to the RAF and was operational on Spitfires at eighteen. The book was apparently written from scrap notes and memory so I wouldn't call it strict history, but the sense of being inside the head of this kid (and he feels like a kid, at least at first) is really striking. Also, he writes well about flying--his description of his first trip in a Spitfire, with the sense of being run away with by the airplane, if worth the trouble of tracking down the book. I'm enjoying it tremendously.

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Post  stargirl on Tue Sep 23, 2014 6:34 pm

Finished The Secret Place, Tana French's latest book last week. It was different than her others in that it was narrated by several different viewpoints so you didn't get as deeply into the background of the main detective. But she's still got great chemistry (not romantic type, which makes it better) between the two main detectives which I really loved in this book. It's not hard to figure out who the murderer is, but finding that out is sort of a side point to the plot, almost. It's really hard to describe, I guess. But overall I liked it very much.

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Post  punzy on Wed Sep 24, 2014 1:47 am

RiverThames wrote:
punzy wrote:
RiverThames wrote:

Quick question to you, punzy, that's spoilery:

Spoiler:
Did you read Chris as being male or female?   I waffled a bit back and forth, mostly leaning towards female, but what really occurred to me is since Chris was 'locked in' so early in life, maybe Chris never really developed a strong sense of being whatever gender their body is.

Hmmm,
Spoiler:
I read Chris as being male. The dad refers to Chris as his son (I think) and Chris mentions dating a girl (not that that is an indicator of sex). Thinking back on it, it is interesting that Chris' gender is fairly inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.

Spoiler:
Actually, Scalzi is very careful not to use any gendered terms for Chris.  The dad refers to Chris as "my child", which jumped out at me as a bit odd to refer to your adult son or daughter as... unless it was something you were deliberately trying to not use a gendered term. Plus you have your choice with the audiobook version: read by Wil Wheaton or by Amber Benson.  So Scalzi was definitely making a choice there.

But, yeah, since Chris was locked in at the age of two, their entire interaction with the world has been through a threep, so... that's probably how Chris would primarily identify.

Scalzi was playing with a variation of that idea with Cassandra Bell, who was locked-in in utero, so she never identified with having a working body... and thus never made use of a threep or integrator in her life.

You were right! That is pretty cool and interesting.

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Post  emrie on Wed Sep 24, 2014 2:07 am

Loooked back a bunch of pages and didn't see anything: has anyone else read Big Little Lies? It's the newest book by Liane Moriarty and I really loved it. I was expecting full on satire (and there was plenty with the dark suburban underbelly, Blonde Bobs, and Kindy Mums) but I was surprised by how real and relatable all three of the main characters were. I was really rooting for Celeste, Jane, and Madeline, and invested in their individual journeys.
Spoiler:
And, I somehow assumed (and maybe the author intended me to) that the murdered parent was a woman, and so by the end I was cringing at the thought of any of them dying. It all seemed so unfair! So I was so so happy by the twist of who died.
The plot really came together nicely in the end.

Also (I feel like I say this about a lot of books, but maybe that's what I enjoy these days) I feel like it would make a really great movie. I especially think Madeline would be really fun to play.

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Post  stargirl on Wed Sep 24, 2014 5:25 pm

I just discovered Liane Moriarty this summer! So far, I've read Big Little Lies, What Alice Forgot, and The Hypnotist's Love Story--loved all of them, especially the first two. The first one I read was Alice--I was expecting it to be a fluffy chick-lit type of book, and it did start out that way but it ended up being so much more than that.

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Post  Kiran on Wed Sep 24, 2014 8:46 pm

emrie, I read it and loved it! Its already been optioned btw. Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon co optioned it. I think they'd be a good Celeste and Madeline, respectively.
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Post  whatthedeuce on Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:58 am

Jasper Fforde's released a new book, The Eye of Zoltar, according to my Goodreads newsletter, and I'm so psyched!

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Post  salamandersam on Thu Sep 25, 2014 10:28 pm

mayram wrote:
Jude wrote:I just finished reading One Plus One by Jojo Moyes, and absolutely loved it. This is the second book I've read by this author (Me Before You being the first, which I also loved), and I've just begun The Last Letter from Your Lover, so I'm hoping the winning streak continues.

One Plus One involves a single young woman in England raising a 10-year-old math genius daughter and a misfit, bullied teenage stepson, working multiple jobs and struggling to make ends meet. Her daughter has a chance to go to a private school for kids like her, and the only way the family can hope to make the full tuition is for the daughter to win a math competition in Scotland. Through a series of circumstances, the family (plus their huge slobbering dog) is given a ride to the competition by a software designer who's about to be convicted for insider trading. So the story is about their road trip, of course, but also about moral dilemmas, honesty, pride, and accepting help when you really need it.

This novel reminded me a lot of the movie Little Miss Sunshine, what with the road trip, the little girl, and the sullen teenage boy. And like that film, it's touching and funny, and it got me to cry. Whenever that happens in a book, I figure it's done its job.

Just finished this one, it was great. The premise didn't even sound interesting to me, but it sucked me right in. I loved the kids and how awkwardly sweet they were.  

I read The Last Letter to Your Lover previously and that was great too. I've liked all of her books so far, except for
The Girl You Left Behind, which I've taken out from the library a bunch of times but just could never get past the first few pages. Did anyone else read it and does it pick up quickly?

I read two Jojo Moyes books last week, The Last Letter From Your Lover, which I adored, and One Plus One which I liked quite a bit. I've checked out another of her books even though I can't remember the title off hand. But currently I've started on the "The Burglar IN" series.

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Post  snorf on Mon Sep 29, 2014 7:24 pm

I just finished reading Edge of Eternity, the last book in Ken Follet's trilogy about the 20th century. Didn't enjoy it as much as he other two, felt that too much time was spent in 1960s US. That said he managed to
Spoiler:
skip the moon landing
which I would have thought was a key point in the evolution of humanity in the 20th century.

I did enjoy it, but I felt that the last 3rd was rushed and he tried to fit too much in not enough book.

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Post  RiverThames on Tue Sep 30, 2014 3:31 pm

inversed wrote:Ready Player One was just OK. The writing was really meh, by the end I was just kind of skimming it.

I just got around to reading it, and it annoyed me.

The first four chapters or so are literally nothing but infodump, but was a quick, engaging read. I'll admit I kept turning pages despite being annoyed. But, man... the "puzzles" that stumped the ENTIRE "gunter" population for YEARS are, like, barely a notch above Riddler-on-the-Superfriends level.

Spoiler:
I mean, really, given that the "you're going to have to go through a recreation of Tomb of Horrors" is just right there in the text of the first puzzle, it's simply a matter of finding the recreation. But you're telling me that in five years, when "you still have a lot to learn" or such is right there, no one other than Wade or Art3mis said, "Oh, let's check the PLANET THAT IS NOTHING BUT SCHOOLS"? And with the second puzzle, "long abandoned house" and "trophy case" I said "Oh, they're gonna do Zork I" in about four seconds.

Given the way most gamers/online people are RIGHT NOW about puzzles/easter eggs/secret rooms, I can't believe that the whole thing wasn't cracked within 72 hours of Halliday's death.
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Post  whatthedeuce on Tue Sep 30, 2014 6:19 pm

I'm getting sad knowing people will discuss amazing books here that I won't read for years because grad school is murdering my leisure time. I was in the middle of Apple Tree Yard, which involves a British woman on trial with her mysterious lover, and I haven't picked it up in a week because my required reading takes up so much time. And the book was getting good, too!


Last edited by whatthedeuce on Fri Oct 03, 2014 6:08 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post  MaddyCat on Fri Oct 03, 2014 4:44 pm

I feel you whatthedeuce. I often lamented the irony of how going to grad school for literature suffocated my ability to read for pleasure. It came back eventually, but it took a looooong time. Good luck!

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Post  whatthedeuce on Fri Oct 03, 2014 6:12 pm

MaddyCat, that is some sadly delicious irony right there. What's to become of my annual 50-book goal? It makes me itchy to think of not reaching it every year. And the sequel to The Bone Season is coming out, too! Darn you, higher education! *shakes fist*

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Post  Raksha on Fri Oct 03, 2014 10:56 pm

Today I finished My Body Is a Book of Rules by Elissa Washuta and it was very, very good. The blurb on the back of the book is actually a very accurate description of what you find inside:
As Elissa Washuta makes the transition from college kid to independent adult, she finds herself overwhelmed by the calamities piling up in her brain. When her mood-stabilizing medications aren’t threatening her life, they’re shoving her from depression to mania and back in the space of an hour. Her crisis of American Indian identity bleeds into other areas of self-doubt; mental illness, sexual trauma, ethnic identity, and independence become intertwined. Sifting through the scraps of her past in fifteen formally inventive chapters, Washuta aligns the strictures of her Catholic school education with Cosmopolitan’s mandates for womanhood, views memories through the distorting lens of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and contrasts her bipolar highs and lows with those of Britney Spears and Kurt Cobain. Built on the bones of fundamental identity questions as contorted by a distressed brain, My Body Is a Book of Rules pulls no punches in its self-deprecating and ferocious look at human fallibility.

She's had to deal with some serious issues and it can be hard to read at times, but it's worth it.
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Post  Putli Bai on Sat Oct 04, 2014 12:57 pm

RiverThames wrote:
inversed wrote:Ready Player One was just OK. The writing was really meh, by the end I was just kind of skimming it.

I just got around to reading it, and it annoyed me.  

The first four chapters or so are literally nothing but infodump, but was a quick, engaging read. I'll admit I kept turning pages despite being annoyed. But, man... the "puzzles" that stumped the ENTIRE "gunter" population for YEARS are, like, barely a notch above Riddler-on-the-Superfriends level.

Spoiler:
I mean, really, given that the "you're going to have to go through a recreation of Tomb of Horrors" is just right there in the text of the first puzzle, it's simply a matter of finding the recreation. But you're telling me that in five years, when "you still have a lot to learn" or such is right there, no one other than Wade or Art3mis said, "Oh, let's check the PLANET THAT IS NOTHING BUT SCHOOLS"? And with the second puzzle, "long abandoned house" and "trophy case" I said "Oh, they're gonna do Zork I" in about four seconds.

Given the way most gamers/online people are RIGHT NOW about puzzles/easter eggs/secret rooms, I can't believe that the whole thing wasn't cracked within 72 hours of Halliday's death.

I really, really liked Ready Player One, but I'm a former gamer who grew up in the eighties and spent a summer working in a video arcade, so the author pitched it right into my wheelhouse. That said, I really can't argue with any of the criticism, because as much as I liked it, I could still see the flaws. What made me call shenanigans was that Wade, who is 17/18 when the book starts, cannot possibly have read all those books, watched all those movies and television shows, and mastered all of those video games, as he claims to have done. There simply aren't enough hours in the day/week/month/year. I mean, Tempest was my jam, back in the day, and I couldn't have come close to doing what he did.
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Post  eventide82 on Sun Oct 05, 2014 1:17 am

stargirl wrote:I just discovered Liane Moriarty this summer! So far, I've read Big Little Lies, What Alice Forgot, and The Hypnotist's Love Story--loved all of them, especially the first two. The first one I read was Alice--I was expecting it to be a fluffy chick-lit type of book, and it did start out that way but it ended up being so much more than that.

I've been looking for some books for our holiday next week and thanks to this thread I just downloaded a Lian Moriarty book - it sounds like a perfect beach read.
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Post  RiverThames on Sun Oct 05, 2014 10:37 pm

Putli Bai wrote:
RiverThames wrote:
inversed wrote:Ready Player One was just OK. The writing was really meh, by the end I was just kind of skimming it.

I just got around to reading it, and it annoyed me.  

The first four chapters or so are literally nothing but infodump, but was a quick, engaging read. I'll admit I kept turning pages despite being annoyed. But, man... the "puzzles" that stumped the ENTIRE "gunter" population for YEARS are, like, barely a notch above Riddler-on-the-Superfriends level.

Spoiler:
I mean, really, given that the "you're going to have to go through a recreation of Tomb of Horrors" is just right there in the text of the first puzzle, it's simply a matter of finding the recreation. But you're telling me that in five years, when "you still have a lot to learn" or such is right there, no one other than Wade or Art3mis said, "Oh, let's check the PLANET THAT IS NOTHING BUT SCHOOLS"? And with the second puzzle, "long abandoned house" and "trophy case" I said "Oh, they're gonna do Zork I" in about four seconds.

Given the way most gamers/online people are RIGHT NOW about puzzles/easter eggs/secret rooms, I can't believe that the whole thing wasn't cracked within 72 hours of Halliday's death.

I really, really liked Ready Player One, but I'm a former gamer who grew up in the eighties and spent a summer working in a video arcade, so the author pitched it right into my wheelhouse.  That said, I really can't argue with any of the criticism, because as much as I liked it, I could still see the flaws.  What made me call shenanigans was that Wade, who is 17/18 when the book starts, cannot possibly have read all those books, watched all those movies and television shows, and mastered all of those video games, as he claims to have done.  There simply aren't enough hours in the day/week/month/year.    I mean, Tempest was my jam, back in the day, and I couldn't have come close to doing what he did.  

Yeah, there is that as well.

I mean, yeah, I am exactly the person who can speak the Shiboleth that Cline was putting out there, so wheelhouse isn't an issue. But you've got a good point-- even as an 80s teenager legitimately into most of that stuff, I wouldn't have been able to do all that. Especially line-for-line "Wargames", because... who would have done that? Ghostbusters, sure, but Wargames?

And maybe it was because it was right in my wheelhouse that the puzzles were too easy for me.
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Post  Bad Username on Mon Oct 06, 2014 1:06 am

I recently read The Long Mars by Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett - Red Wolf mentioned it upthread - and loved it. I thought it was a good conclusion to the series, although it leaves some questions unanswered, and I would love to see further explorations of the Long Earth.

I also read The Panic Virus: Fear, Myth, and the Vaccination Debate by Seth Mnookin. Pretty much as the title suggests, it examines the vaccination "debate" (although IMO the anti-vaxxers don't bring enough evidence to the table to call it a debate), and the way that democratised information, even presented without context, has led to an increasing disregard of scientific and medical findings and an increasing reliance of 'gut feelings' among some parts of the population.

Now I'm reading Lock In, and enjoying it so much! I'm halfway through, and there hasn't been a boring page so far.

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Post  Red Wolf on Mon Oct 06, 2014 7:07 am

I recently read The Long Mars by Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett - Red Wolf mentioned it upthread - and loved it. I thought it was a good conclusion to the series, although it leaves some questions unanswered, and I would love to see further explorations of the Long Earth.
Apparently there are two more books to come. I really like the series, I'm glad there's more on the way.

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Post  Bad Username on Tue Oct 07, 2014 6:00 am

That's great news, thanks.

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