Author Topic: What books are we reading at the moment ?  (Read 378328 times)

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5550 on: January 24, 2019, 08:43:02 am »
One of the largely interchangeable 'Rivers of London' potboilers.  Witty enough not to be boring but hardly memorable.

Glad it's not just me that finds them, well, mostly just OKish.
!nataS pihsroW

Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5551 on: January 24, 2019, 10:51:04 am »
"Scrublands" by one Chris Hammer.  As the blurb says, if you enjoyed Jane Harpers "The Dry", then you'll probably like this.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5552 on: January 24, 2019, 01:50:22 pm »
I like the Rivers of London books a lot, though as light entertainment rather than anything else. I think they do a couple of things very well: giving a sense of London as place*; portraying both the complexity and the bureaucratic nature of a modern police investigation; and keeping up a nice line in wisecracks.

On the downside, the characterisation is sometimes a bit thin, and the plotting has some of the common flaws of the saving-the-world urban fantasy series - mainly that as the series goes on and the stakes get bigger and bigger, it becomes more and more difficult to handwave why the wider world remains oblivious of all this magic going on (to be fair, Aaronovitch does try to address this, but as with most of these explanations they start to strain the suspension of disbelief).

*Though as a Londoner-in-exile I'm perhaps more susceptible a target.

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5553 on: January 24, 2019, 03:54:22 pm »
I don't dislike and originally it was a nice conceit, but it's been around the block a few times without really moving forward, which gets a bit frustrating.
!nataS pihsroW

Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5554 on: February 06, 2019, 08:53:52 am »
I've just finished James Lee Burke's latest, New Iberia Blues.  It was ok, if you're a fan, and better than his previous.  It seems that it is also likely to be his final offering, but at 83 that's not so surprising.

On to the unknown-to-me Mark Greavey and his "The Gray Man".
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5555 on: February 08, 2019, 11:50:38 am »
As I Lay Dying - William Faulkner

One of those classics that regularly crops up in must-read listicles. It's not really doing it for me though. I'm normally a fan of High Modernism but this feels like a pastiche of Joyce with the action transposed from Dublin to Mississippi.

I went online looking for articles about Faulkner to see if I could get to the bottom of my failure to get on with him and found an interesting piece that mentioned his spat with Hemingway, which reminded me of Will Self's piece on Orwell. Except that I love Will Self's brand of modernism. Maybe it's an inability to relate to the setting - I have to admit to not having much in common with poor white cotton farmers in the Deep South in the 1920s.

This I love:
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/aug/03/will-self-modernism-and-me

Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5556 on: February 08, 2019, 12:20:17 pm »
That's one of fairly short list of books I have failed to finish reading (having started!).

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5557 on: February 08, 2019, 12:30:52 pm »
That's one of fairly short list of books I have failed to finish reading (having started!).

I'm sticking with it - it's short enough that the prospect isn't too depressing - but I'm glad to know I'm not alone.

Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5558 on: February 08, 2019, 12:53:50 pm »
I just found it 'hard'. I was trying to get in a southern US mood through literature before visiting New Orleans, and Jo Wood recommended A Confederacy of Dunces as I was struggling with it, and I was enticed away, never to return.

Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5559 on: February 08, 2019, 06:32:54 pm »
I've just started Flying Dutch.
After Steph's comments I couldn't resist it.

Mrs Pingu

  • Who ate all the pies? Me
    • Twitter
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5560 on: February 08, 2019, 07:12:46 pm »
Just finished "Europe in Winter" the latest in Dave Hutchinson's Fractured Europe series of novels. There will be a fourth and final book in the series apparently but no release date as yet.
The whole series is brilliant. Fantastic writing. Set in a near future Europe where the EU has broken up into micro states. No SF gizmos really but more of a feel of John le Carrie novel with some weird stuff about topology and maps. Oh and lots about restaurants and food. Highly recommended.

I'm reading the first one of these and having read nothing but crime fiction for the last 6 months am really enjoying it!
It reminds me of Andrey Kurkov's penguin novels.
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5561 on: February 08, 2019, 07:41:31 pm »
Mrs Legs has just begun the fourth of the Fractured Europe books, having read the other three in less than the time it's taken me to get halfway through the yoghurt-selling book.  I just wish I could stay awake for more than a couple of pages each night!

T42

  • Gaulois réfractaire
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5562 on: February 09, 2019, 08:19:08 am »
I just found it 'hard'. I was trying to get in a southern US mood through literature before visiting New Orleans, and Jo Wood recommended A Confederacy of Dunces as I was struggling with it, and I was enticed away, never to return.

Paul Prudhomme provides everything you need.
I dare eat all that may become a man.

But hold the oysters.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5563 on: February 10, 2019, 01:49:16 am »
David's been at Astrofest and returned with a signed copy of Mission Moon 3-D by David Eicher and Brian May, complete with its own OWL viewer for 3-D splendour.

T42

  • Gaulois réfractaire
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5564 on: February 10, 2019, 08:31:33 am »
Chain it to the book.  We have a book called Stereo Star Maps and the viewer for that was last seen around 25 years ago.

Jeez: just checked publication date and found that some arrant wanker has pinched the title for a pop crap-o-rama. Suspend by nuts until properly respectful/dead.
I dare eat all that may become a man.

But hold the oysters.

T42

  • Gaulois réfractaire
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5565 on: February 13, 2019, 03:52:51 pm »
I'm revising my opinion of Rivers of London as I work through the series again: there's lots of lovely stuff in there, e.g.

Through the streets our wheels slowly move;
The toll of the death bell dismays us.
With nosegays and gloves we are deck’d,
So trim and so gay they array us.
The passage all crowded we see
With maidens that move us with pity;
Our air all, admiring agree
Such lads are not left in the city.
Oh! Then to the tree I must go;
The judge he has ordered the sentence.
And then comes a gownsman you know,
And tells a dull tale of repentance.
By the gullet we’re ty’d very tight;
We beg all spectators, pray for us.
Our peepers are hid from the light,
The tumbril shoves off, and we morrice.

 - Tyburn ballad, as transcribed by Francis Place

Mr. Aaronovitch is an erudite fellow.
I dare eat all that may become a man.

But hold the oysters.

Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5566 on: February 13, 2019, 06:17:16 pm »
I like the Rivers of London series. Erudite, yes, and also witty and well written. It helps when a writer can make the reader care what happens to the characters.

I'm waiting for the next one... But i could read The Furthest Sation while I wait.

I haven't looked at the graphic novels in the series yet.

Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5567 on: February 14, 2019, 02:33:06 am »
I just finished Volume 1 of The Years of Lyndon Johnson, The Path To Power, which is excellent. As well as being an incredibly well researched biography of Lyndon Johnson, the book provides an eye-opening picture of the Great Depression as it affected the US, and a fascinating picture of the sheer corruption of US politics. As I said in my last post, Johnson seemed to possess the egotism, mendacity and greed of Donald Trump, combined with a capacity for hard work and a gift for political maneuvering. He was also better at making money for himself than Trump.

All this is to say that I am now working on Volume 2 of The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Means of Ascent.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5568 on: February 14, 2019, 09:40:36 am »
Will Self - Great Apes

Thought I'd already read this one a long time ago but it's not at all familiar. It's entertaining, though, in a very Selfish way. Also very interesting to read this in light of his piece on Modernism that I read recently - this is very much an 'early work' and feels a bit try-hard and immature in places. Compare and contrast to the more developed, mature style of Umbrella.

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5569 on: February 14, 2019, 01:56:29 pm »
Re-reading the Revelation Space series from Alistair Reynolds. They're real books that I found on the shelves. The downside is that I now have weak and spindly arms from holding a Kindle which makes them hard to read in the bath.

I confess I remember them (blimey, are they that old) being a little stodgy, like an overfilled suitcase, some good stuff but you didn't need it all for your trip. You're not going to wear those shoes. Enjoying them more the second time around. There still that tendency towards occasional over-exposition that plagues all SF* but it seems to move along a fair, suitably relativistic, pace. If I recall though, I was annoyed by the very ending of the main story arc. Maybe I'll be less annoyed this time. Maybe that was some other SF series. I'll know when I get there.

*did I ever mention my theory about what happens to all the letters and words you type when a window is out of focus?
!nataS pihsroW

Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5570 on: February 14, 2019, 09:12:28 pm »
I found the 3 main books of the Revelation Space trilogy to be very dense & chewy,  also quite confusing until I worked out who the various factions of uplifted humans were.   The Inhibitors still give me a chill though.  I didn't think much of the ending either.


I recommend his "Prefect" books , set in the same universe but a few centuries earlier.  A little lighter, and his writing's improved a bit


Edit. The Revelation Space books also include Pigs In Space....  :D
Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5571 on: February 14, 2019, 10:44:38 pm »
Actually, I went back after I read the most recent one (the sequel to The Prefect, I forget the name, no wait Elysium Fire, for some reason – and I'm sure it wasn't just to confuse me – they changed all the titles). I've quite enjoyed the books in general, though recently they got a bit dull with the elephant obsession series (and I gave up on that).

But anyway, I'm quite enjoying the re-read, it's a splendidly gothic universe. That said, I need to do some more bookshelf trawling to find the rest of the series.
!nataS pihsroW

Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5572 on: Yesterday at 08:32:45 am »
I found the elephant series a bit slow, but got into them a bit more as I went on. The steampunk space opera one (I think the sequel may now be out?) was awesomely silly and entertaining though - unsurprisingly his gothic imagination works quite well for dread pirates in spaaaaaaace.

Steph

  • Fast. Fast and bulbous. But fluffy.
Re: What books are we reading at the moment ?
« Reply #5573 on: Yesterday at 06:55:00 pm »
I've just started Flying Dutch.
After Steph's comments I couldn't resist it.

I thank you!
It is patchy, as with all Holt, but there are moments in it that are sublime. Be careful the MMB aren't watching you...
Mae angen arnaf i byw, a fe fydda'i