What I finished: (in no particular order)
Perfect state by Brandon Sanderson
Slow bullets by Alistair Reynolds
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
I have thoughts about all three of these that I'll pull together at some point. I know that's not quite the point of the meme to just list things, but I want to finish all of the short story category first.

The builders by Daniel Polansky -- put aside at 10%. It just didn't grab me, and my time is limited.

What I'm reading now: Penric's demon by Lois McMaster Bujold. Much denser than the others, and slower going for it, but interesting and engaging and has made me laugh, and wonder where it's going. A+ so far.

What's next: Either back up the Hugo finalists list to the novels and The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin, or down to the novelettes and “Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang, trans. Ken Liu, or “Obits” by Stephen King. Probably The fifth season.
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Missed last week, la la.

What I finished: Seveneves, which was flawed in several large and small ways, but I'm ultimately really glad I read it, and Binti, which I'm going to reread a little of to try and sort my feelings about.

Also read The water tower by Gary Crew for the first time, and holy SHIT, that was a legit scary picture book. (Intentionally so, but hot damn. Well done, Crew). Like, I was so unsettled about it hours later that I slept badly. *impressed*

What I'm reading now: Perfect State by Brendan Sanderson. Half way through and rather liking it but so far am having that invariable written-by-a-man effect of "...that woman who is not the POV character, why are we not following her?" (I mean I know why, even narratively, but *whines*)

What's next: Probably The Builders by Daniel Polansky.
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Hugo ramblings below!
long )
“Asymmetrical Warfare” by S. R. Algernon (Nature, Mar 2015) - This was competently written alien-POV. Nice ending, but I was never gripped. Currently 2.
 
 
“Cat Pictures Please” by Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld, January 2015) - Competently written AI-pov, made me smile. Currently 1

“If You Were an Award, My Love” by Juan Tabo and S. Harris (voxday.blogspot.com, Jun 2015) - Life is too short, and he is too gross.

“Seven Kill Tiger” by Charles Shao (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House) - Life is too short, and he is too gross.

Space Raptor Butt Invasion by Chuck Tingle (Amazon Digital Services) - to read. Looking forward with great interest/trepidation. Great respect for Tingle’s response to the whole mess
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What I finished/What I'm reading now: Still going on Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. That said, I'm only 140 pages from the end, and I've been averaging 100 pages a day every day for the last week. That's freaking huge for me. It's been a really good read -- it's been so long since I've been itching to get back to a book when I'm doing something else. I've missed this feeling. I've even been willing to keep reading after it takes a sharp left/long time jump forward, which is saying something.

What's next It turns out The fifth kingdom... doesn't exist in the library system in my state? I'm kinda thrown. That'll have to wait until I buy my MidAmeriConII membership sometime next week, and therefore can get my hands on the reading packet. I've downloaded the free-to-read shorter pieces from the ballot to tide me over. Well, the not-obviously rabid puppy ones, anyway.
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I've not only been reading, I've been reading almost enough to justify the meme posting. Score!

What I finished:
Guards, Guards! by Terry Pratchett, which I'd not read before. I wasn't emotionally engaged as such, but it was an absolute pleasure reading this, and watching it unfold and then all come together. Pratchett had really started to hit his stride here, and it shows, glowingly, compared to, say, Mort, where the seeds were there, but not quite cohesive.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik. One of the three Hugo-nominated novels that made it through my Amazon-sample-chapter sample reading. I'll probably put all of those in a separate Hugo-reading post at some point.

What I'm reading now:
Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. Second of the three Hugo novels. 70 pages in and so far, wheeeee.

What's next:
Seveneves is going to keep me busy well into next week, if not all of next week (800+ pages, oof. I'm budgeting for at least a week of reading/350 pages, then reconsidering). But The fifth season by N. K. Jemisin when I do get there.
maharetr: Comic and movie images of Aisha's eyebrow ring (The Losers) (Default)
( May. 15th, 2016 10:35 pm)
Vaguely keeping track of my reading, as I remember to do it. I'll try and remember to keep spoilers vague, and/or under a cut.

Book reviews

Paperweight by Meg Haston. An apparently run-of-the-mill story of a girl coming to terms with her eating disorder and the death of her brother, and yet near the end of it I wanted her story to just roll on forever. I would have read chapters/years more of so many of these characters, and felt a pang leaving them. I liked many of these characters, or were at least very interested in their stories, and what made them tick, and the glimpses we got of their lives. The main character, Stevie, is unlikeable and bitchy for much of the first half of the novel, but in ways that were, to me, clearly presented as unreliable narrator/defensive measures, and realistic ones at that. (I also give her kudos for the complexity of the relationships she writes about, and for no one blinking about making out with boys or girls, just ‘what was that like for you? what was the impacts surrounding that? what was that relationship like for you?’ etc) This was actually a really impressive piece of work, in retrospect. I’d totally look up more by this author.

Sandstorm by James Rollins. Was recced to me as ‘like Dan Brown, but good’, and the 50 or so pages I read backed that up: mysterious artifacts wreaking havoc! Ancient mysteries! Rollins gets bonus points for having several main female characters doing multiple things and having differing agendas. It wasn’t quite enough to keep me reading, but if you’re after a Dan Brown, but good, this looks like it would solidly, solidly fill that bill.

Mort by Terry Practchett. This was his third, and it shows -- I finished it, but I was only ever charmed, and not emotionally invested in Mort, or in the princess he was trying to save. The plot seemed to take a relatively long time to appear, and it all seemed sliiightly noticeably self-conscious as a piece of writing. I’m currently reading Guards, Guards, which is noticeably stronger all round, and I’m enjoying much more.

Shipwrecks, Sailors, and 60,000 years by Jackie French. Early Australian history with a children’s audience in mind. THIS is what I want out of my Australian history. It finishes with Captain Cook, but it starts with all the Indigenous history available and easily digested, and literally spends almost half of the 170 page book focusing on how the original settlers lives, and their nations, and their ways of life and their rich cultural histories. And then it talks about the known-in-detail discoveries of the continent, never once assuming the “and Captain Cook settled the land, of course!”. I appreciated this book so much. Would absolutely read more of her Fair Dinkum Histories series. Highly recced.
maharetr: Comic and movie images of Aisha's eyebrow ring (The Losers) (Default)
( Feb. 15th, 2016 09:30 pm)
I read enough books over the last couple of months that I feel the urge to keep track. So!

Have-reads (start date: mid-Dec 2015):

Carry on by Rainbow Rowell: A full novel treatment of the fan-fic world Rowell created for her book Fangirl. Wonderful, loving critique of Harry Potter, basically. Excellent construction of magic and the laws and rules therein. It’s wonderful to read what’s set up to be the seventh and final book of a series ... where the ‘getting you up to speed on the previous six books’ is actually describing things that are unwritten and don’t exist. Delightful! Dragged a little in the second half, but mostly inventive, clever, and charming. Strong enemies-to-lovers work, and yay for main character queerness. Minor grumble over the fact that they go “oh. we must be gay now, then? okay.” Bisexuality is a thing, okay?

When Audrey met Alice by Rebecca Behrens: What it’s like to be the First Kid, and learning from the diary of a historical First Kid along the way. Also charming. The author goes out of her way to make the First Family Very White, and then casually breaks the mold in other ways -- it’s her dad who gets the research funding at John Hopkins, and its her mother who’s the President of the United States. There’s also strong, strong message of pro-same-sex marriage, and trying to get that on the political agenda, which was a thing that was actually passed in the US the same year the book was published. The main character drove me nuts when she did various selfish things that were not actually acknowledged as such, but general concept and execution: charming.

Shards of honor by Louis McMaster Bujold: Really remarkably good. Affecting, for all its distanced writing, and wonderfully timed and wry in places. Looking forward to sequel.

Story of your life by Ted Chiang (Short story, 39p, available here): A linguist attempts to communicate with an alien race whose communication style is structured around knowing how things end before you start them. Beautifully and assuredly written. I didn’t quite ‘get’ it, but I felt achingly for this woman and her daughter.

The gunslinger by Stephen King: I was embarrassing levels of gripped by the first half, found the second half almost impossible with its dragging, and not wanting spoilers ) Willing to read more, though. Strong potential.

Not if I see you first by Eric Lindstrom: An exploration of a teenage girl and her relationships. Gutting to read right now. Really excellent exploration of friendships and romantic relationships, setting boundaries, and the impacts we have on each other’s lives, and how we grieve. Oh, and also being blind. Bugged by the stretches of unattributed dialogue, but that’s a minor quibble.

Next up: Barrayar (Vorkosigan ; 2) or The drawing of the three (Dark Tower ; 2) Barrayar, probably, because shorter, and alternating feels like a good way to go, somehow. Although between the main write up of this post and the actual posting now, I’ve found that my brain is not quite up to the effort it requires, and I’ll probably divert to The drawing of the three.

(DNFs: Cinder by Melissa Meyer: I’d heard good things, so I was keen, but it never quite hooked me, and it turns out that the ‘reader is strongly hinted to’ about X, and character finding out about X was waaayy too big a gap for me.)
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What I've read this year:
Arclight by Josin Mcquein: A solid enough post-apoca YA novel. Strong opening pacing. I finished it thinking that I would be interested in reading the second one, once she needed a plot, and where she'd take that plot.

Gifts by Ursula Le Guin: A bequilingly simple story. It does facinating, tiny things; setting us up with an expectation of Horrifying, Inevitable things to be revealed. This expectation kept me reading for a good half of the novel, even though there wasn't much in the way of plot. And then Le Guin introduces a gutting emotional component that kept me transfixed for the next quarter... and then she deftly subverts that initial expectation, does the reveal, and it's nothing like what we expected, and so much more horrfying than I ever expected, and I'm even now faintly shivery about it, thinking it through. Also interested in reading the sequel and where she starts/takes her plot.

Attempted to read:
A Thousand Kingdoms by N K Jeminsin: I gave it 50 pages, and then stopped because of consistencies and holes in worldbuilding. People are welcome to assure me it firms up, and I'll wade through the lengthy dream sequence that was the dealbreaker at page 50ish.

What I'm currently reading:
Monstrous regiment by Terry Pratchett
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