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Old 12-16-2011, 01:02 PM
 
Location: Canada
6,759 posts, read 8,290,403 times
Reputation: 9433

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I read a few books recently, including The Postman by David Brin, which I've seen referenced in various threads here. It was a struggle to get through the first half of the book - I didn't think the quality of the writing was that high. But I did think that the book might be an eye-opener for some of the extreme survivalist types eagerly awaiting the end of the world. They don't come off so well.

And I finished The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman. I wasn't sure what to make of it at first - it is a dystopian vision but it isn't clear that this is our world or some alternative reality world. The back of the book says it draws it's influence from steampunk - a term I had never heard of but which Wikipedia describes as a "sub-genre of science fiction, fantasy, alternate history and speculative fiction."

That would about cover it. Imagine the west being settled/conquered by people who are on four sides - one side is possessed by the spirit of progress, as defined by the railroads. The other side is the side of the Gun, with its own peculiar form of possession. Then there are the ordinary people caught in the middle and forced to choose between one side or the other, and the natives in the world - who literally come out of the ground.

I thought there was something of the Australian aboriginal Dreamtime in the book's premise - the idea that the world is created by people moving across it, and where people have not yet settled, the world is half-made.

The quality of the writing is very good - reviews describe it as a cross between The Road by Cormac McCarthy and King's Dark Tower series.

Now I'm reading Midsummer Night by Freda Warrington. It is fantasy - I picked up Elfland from a pile of my unread books last winter when I had trouble finding something to engage me, and to my surprise, I just loved it. Midsummer Night is the sequel.
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Old 12-16-2011, 01:04 PM
 
Location: Montreal -> CT -> MA -> Montreal -> Ottawa
17,330 posts, read 31,429,253 times
Reputation: 28850
Am I the only one who has found Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow to be a chore? It just doesn't have any sort of flow. I'm on page 35 and it's just so choppy and there's no one cohesive story going on. This isn't going well.
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Old 12-16-2011, 01:16 PM
 
Location: USA
1,818 posts, read 2,567,458 times
Reputation: 4167
Currently reading The Girls by Lori Lansens about conjoined twin girls and their life in a small town in America
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Old 12-16-2011, 01:28 PM
 
1,833 posts, read 3,153,448 times
Reputation: 1794
Quote:
Originally Posted by Red On The Noodle View Post
Currently reading The Girls by Lori Lansens about conjoined twin girls and their life in a small town in America
I really enjoyed that one.
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Old 12-17-2011, 06:07 AM
 
Location: Montreal -> CT -> MA -> Montreal -> Ottawa
17,330 posts, read 31,429,253 times
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I tried reading an advance reader's edition of In One Person by John Irving. I don't know if it's just because I don't like how he writes (I know I read and enjoyed at least one book of his, though I don't remember which one), or if I'm not interested in the story itself, or what... but I wanted to rip my hair out. And I only got 10 pages in. Feh!

I'm going to read some stories in The New Yorker Stories by Ann Beattie.
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Old 12-17-2011, 07:49 AM
 
Location: New York City
74 posts, read 64,412 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DandJ View Post
Am I the only one who has found Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow to be a chore? It just doesn't have any sort of flow. I'm on page 35 and it's just so choppy and there's no one cohesive story going on. This isn't going well.
I say skip it and see the musical if you ever get a chance. A local theater company put it on here in Queens a couple of years ago and it was outstanding! (sorry, I know that doesn't help you right now )
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Old 12-17-2011, 07:55 AM
 
Location: Montreal -> CT -> MA -> Montreal -> Ottawa
17,330 posts, read 31,429,253 times
Reputation: 28850
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Time Baroness View Post
I say skip it and see the musical if you ever get a chance. A local theater company put it on here in Queens a couple of years ago and it was outstanding! (sorry, I know that doesn't help you right now )
LOL! Thanks!

I will try the other Doctorow book I got -- World's Fair -- as that feels more promising. At least I hope so. I'll get to it at some point in the next couple of months.
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Old 12-17-2011, 09:58 PM
 
Location: Bellingham, WA
9,746 posts, read 16,079,755 times
Reputation: 14881
Still reading Anna Karenina. I'm pretty sure this book never ends.
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Old 12-18-2011, 12:04 AM
 
1,370 posts, read 2,070,497 times
Reputation: 2696
Since the last time I posted, I have re-read "The Island of the Blue Dolphins" by Scott O'Dell and "The Incredible Journey" by Sheila Burnford, both beloved books from my childhood, and they have held up well - I thoroughly enjoyed re-reading both. I also finished "Bag of Bones" by Stephen King which was a good read as well, and quite spooky.

I also read "The Year of Wonders: a Novel of the Plague" by Geraldine Brooks, which completely immersed me in 1600s England. She is such a wonderful writer, and her stories are so well-researched - I have really liked all of her books to date. It is a pretty grim, depressing story, but then it is about the plague.

After that, I read "The Chrysalids" by John Wyndham, another post-apocalyptic novel I had not heard of before. It was a good premise, told well, but towards the end it was again another example of "telling" rather than "showing" - just too much dialogue and not enough action. It was still a good read though.

I have now started two books, "The Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss, and "The Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon, both of which I found through this thread. I've started Outlander first and am already enjoying it.
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Old 12-18-2011, 03:05 AM
 
Location: Somewhere.
10,470 posts, read 24,314,122 times
Reputation: 9038
I just started "Silver Bells" by Luanne Rice. I thought I should try to get in the Christmas spirit with a Christmas book. I like her writing style. It's interesting from page one and keeps flowing along nicely.
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