Rate the last book you just read

Started by Drunken Idaho, October 12, 2011, 12:55:25 AM

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arthwollipot

#1395
Oh, I forgot to post here. I read Slaughterhouse 5. And though I can see why it is considered a classic and highly recommended reading, I can't say that I enjoyed it.

I think I understood it - as a third person self-portrait of someone with schizophrenia and PTSD. Vonnegut described Billy's psychotic episodes very evocatively, and even included a scene of a PTSD trigger, when he was upset by the barbershop quartet at his anniversary party and couldn't work out why. It's described as an "anti-war" novel, and it is, but I think it's more notable for its depiction of mental illness than for its anti-war theme. And I don't think that was what I was expecting.

So, my assessment was that it is very much worth reading, and I'm glad I did, but it wasn't a fun read. 8 out of 10.

I'm now reading Mythos by Stephen Fry - his retelling of the Greek mythological cycle. He has a very fun narrator's voice. I intend to complete the trilogy by going on to Heroes and Troy, and then maybe I'll do my bucket list marathon of the Discworld novels. But Neil Gaiman's Norse mythos is also on my list.
We are living in weird times
dominated by weird people
who talk about weird shit

- Seth Meyers

Guillermo

Quote from: arthwollipot on August 29, 2023, 09:08:54 PM... and then maybe I'll do my bucket list marathon of the Discworld novels. But Neil Gaiman's Norse mythos is also on my list.
I am currently finished book 17. This is a hell of a ride, but I'm doing it slowly.

As for Vonnegut, I think I will not enjoy his writing. No proof it's just my feeling.

arthwollipot

Quote from: Guillermo on August 30, 2023, 10:07:42 AMAs for Vonnegut, I think I will not enjoy his writing. No proof it's just my feeling.

It's an interesting style of writing. In Slaughterhouse 5 (I still haven't read any others, so I don't know whether this is a quirk of the narrator) he uses a lot of short, declarative sentences. It almost feels staccato, if you get that musical reference. That can be a bit disconcerting.

Anyway, I'm glad I read it.
We are living in weird times
dominated by weird people
who talk about weird shit

- Seth Meyers

Guillermo

Paradise - Craig Alanson (9.5/10): I thought I wasn't going to like this book as much as the others, due to its POV changing, but I am pleasantly surprised. I can now be comfortable in knowing that I will enjoy the entire series.

The Unkindness of Ghost - Rivers Solomon (7/10): The book didn't grab me as I would have liked. The characters are incredibly well-written and profound. I couldn't connect with the characters and the plot. I think that the plot took a back seat to the development of the characters. The plot is just a carrier for the characters and their turmoil. There were some POV changes that had me confused, first person then third person, past present tense.

bachfiend

Quote from: arthwollipot on August 29, 2023, 09:08:54 PMOh, I forgot to post here. I read Slaughterhouse 5. And though I can see why it is considered a classic and highly recommended reading, I can't say that I enjoyed it.

I think I understood it - as a third person self-portrait of someone with schizophrenia and PTSD. Vonnegut described Billy's psychotic episodes very evocatively, and even included a scene of a PTSD trigger, when he was upset by the barbershop quartet at his anniversary party and couldn't work out why. It's described as an "anti-war" novel, and it is, but I think it's more notable for its depiction of mental illness than for its anti-war theme. And I don't think that was what I was expecting.

So, my assessment was that it is very much worth reading, and I'm glad I did, but it wasn't a fun read. 8 out of 10.

I'm now reading Mythos by Stephen Fry - his retelling of the Greek mythological cycle. He has a very fun narrator's voice. I intend to complete the trilogy by going on to Heroes and Troy, and then maybe I'll do my bucket list marathon of the Discworld novels. But Neil Gaiman's Norse mythos is also on my list.

It's quite a while since I read 'Slaughterhouse Five.'  I agree that it's a strange book.  The most fascinating thing I found about the book is that it's minimally autobiographical; Vonnegut was captured by the the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, and then experienced the British/American bombing of Dresden in February 1945.  From memory, the Slaughterhouse Five was in Dresden.

The most recent books that made an impression on me were the Cicero trilogy by Robert Harris dealing with the last years of the Roman Republic and the coming of Julius Caesar and Augustus.
Gebt ihr ihr ihr Buch zurück

Guillermo

Enders Game - Orson Scott Card (10/10) - This is one of my favorite books. I reread it every so often. I had wanted to read it after reading Armada and wanting something better. Although I feared something. Every time I read Ender's Game, I have to read the entire series. And I didn't want to commit. But I had consumed my Audible budget and I already owned this book. So I read it. And...

Ender's Shadow - Orson Scott Card (9/10) - I couldn't resist. I skipped the Ender saga, but I will get to it later. Shadow is one of my favorite characters and the Shadow saga is what I wanted to read the most. I still haven't read The Last Shadow or the Formic Wars Saga, and this time around is a good time as any to get to them.

Do short stories count:
A Change of Planes - Dennis E Taylor (9/10) - This is such a great story, I very much recommend it, it's free with Audible premium. This is one of my favorite current authors. I really like how he writes, and curiously, this story doesn't sound like his other novels. pretty good quick read.

The Egg and Other Stories - Andy Weir (10/10) - Weir is an amazing SCI FI writer. He can science the shit out of a story and make any traditional mumbo jumbo sound plausible. I did not like Artemis as much as the other two novels, but this collection of stories is right up my alley. Also, I saw Kurzgesagt version of The Egg, and I always liked it. When I read this collection, I didn't connect the dots until I got to the story.

The Egg and Other Stories is also free on audible premium. Highly recommended.

bachfiend

Everyone's favorite author JK Rowling has a new book out 'the Running Grave' which is the 7th in the wildly successful Cormoran Strike series.  It's about a cult in Norfolk.  It's very long at 951 pages, but very readable.
Gebt ihr ihr ihr Buch zurück

Guillermo

Shadow of the Puppet - Orson Scott Card (7/10) - As much as I like this book, I am noticing many flaws I didn't see the last time I read it and mostly having to do with the villain. OSC does retconning very well, and it is satisfying to read.

Shadow of the Giant - Orson Scott Card (9/10) - At least this ending pickup in quality and emotion. I am noticing many parallels between this book and the current War between Hamas and Israel. OCS knew people and wars. Especially wars fought behind ethnic ideologies. 

Guillermo

Am I the only one here reading?

Girlfriend on Mars - Deborah Willis (7/10) - I have no idea why I bought this. This is completely not the type of book that I am interested in. It was a daily deal on audible and it appealed to me. It's marketed as a SciFi Rom Com and I wanted something light. Oh boy. I was wrong. I really liked this book. I was not expecting that. But I cannot recommend it because you have to be in a very specific mindset. It is an interesting read though. It is a satirical rom-com based on the Mars Now Reality TV Show. The characters are interesting and their relationship is adorably toxic. Trigger Warning for everything, but I can't be more specific so as to not ruin the experience. (Ask me if you'd like to know). Suffice it to say it goes really dark in unexpected ways. If your mind is sturdy, and you have no triggers, and you like Rom-coms that aren't really rom-coms, or like books that take you to unexpected emotional places, then this is probably a good read for you.

Summer Knight - Jim Butcher (9/10) - I swear, I am not going to reread the series. I've gone through it three times. I'll only reread it when the next book comes out. However, I like the premise of this book, so I read it. I also wanted a bit of inspiration for something that I am writing. Basically, if you like the Dresden series, you already know. I highly recommend this series to anybody who likes Urban Fantasy. The books get better written as they progress.

Sawyer

I have a giant backlog of reviews but I think I'll just wait until December and post all my favorites from the year.

I'm on currently round 3 of my book tour of Reconstruction.  Totally recommend it for everyone, tons of fun, zero risk you'll experience an unending emotional onslaught of rage and despair.   :patriot: 

arthwollipot

Quote from: Guillermo on November 07, 2023, 10:44:05 AMAm I the only one here reading?

No, I'm reading - slowly, but steadily. I've been making my way through Stephen Fry's trilogy of Greek mythology - Mythos, Heroes, and Troy. He's an excellent writer, has a comprehensive knowledge of the source material, and tells what may be the greatest story every told in a manner that is very accessible and engaging. The way Fry frames it, it seems like the entirety of the Greek mythological cycle is a prelude to the Trojan war. Highly recommended.

When I've finished this, I've got Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology queued up, and then I might try to do my bucket-list marathon of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels.
We are living in weird times
dominated by weird people
who talk about weird shit

- Seth Meyers

Guillermo

Trouble in Paradise - Craig Alanson (7/10) - This is book 3.5 of Expeditionary Force. It's about as good military sci-fi as the first half of the first book. But that book had something happen in the middle that changed everything about it. It went from good to excellent. This book doesn't have that, as it follows a different set of characters. It is short and well worth the read, but I can't wait to get back to the main character group.

Under the Whispering Door - TJ Klune (10/10) - This one took me by surprise. I guess every so often I need to veer off my comfort zone of Sci-Fi and Fantasy to read Gems like this. This is a beautiful story of Life and death, a bit of Scrooge, and a great Queer story. I loved it from the beginning, and it kept me engaged all the way through, with a very satisfying ending. I highly, highly recommend you pick this up!!

Guillermo

I just bought 11 audiobooks on Audible. Pretty good deals if anybody is interested.

Sawyer

Plate Tectonics by (editor) Naomi Oreskes - 5/10

It has reigned for several years but The Golden Holocaust (an incredibly detailed history of tobacco research) has finally been dethroned from its position as the best bad science book I've ever read.  Or worst great science book?  That's a better description. 

If you want to appreciate one of the most amazing revolutions in the history of human knowledge, you'd be hard pressed to find a better example than the acceptance of plate tectonic theory.  And if you want details from actual experts, instead of some glossed up version by a pop science writer, this book certainly delivers, with essays written by probably half of the preeminent scientists from 1960s geology and geophysics.  The only issue is unless you are dedicated to becoming an actual expert, most of the details are mind-numbingly boring.  As soon as you lose track of why the thickness of the crust has to be some specific number or why a slip-strike fault won't accommodate paleomagnetic data in the Pacific, everything just turns into word salad.  There would be individual paragraphs with the most insightful descriptions of how science is supposed to work and how it *does* work in practice, followed by ten pages of info-dump.

The number one reason to read this book though is the "crank" chapter.  Gordon Macdonald, who was a highly respected geophysicist lays out a very simple model of the Earth's crust and mantle that make it seem impossible that the continents possess the mobility required by plate tectonic theory.  He's almost certainly incorrect - there's just no way that the hundreds of other experts, with dozens of independent lines of evidence, have so thoroughly botched their work - but if you've taken introductory solid mechanics classes you can easily get sucked in to his way of thinking.  And somehow the guy later became a climate scientist who WASN'T a contrarian asshole global warming denier?


Glad I read it.  Won't force anyone else to.  If you can't make it through a John McPhee book, you won't make it through this one.

Sawyer

Doppleganger is very, very good.  It will come as no surprise to many here that the best way to dissect conspiracy culture, anti-vaxxers, and the crippling loneliness of modern society is not from some ivory tower of apolitical skepticism, but from an emotionally charged critique of capitalism and a deep desire to create new political movements based on solidarity and equality.  Klein has written a book that both tears to shreds the most vile aspects of far right nutjob culture while acknowledging the aspects of it that are imbedded within all of us.  I thought there was no way she'd pull this off with such a thin premise to the book - literally just "some folks think I'm Naomi Wolf" - but it works extremely well.  Be warned that if you're like me, your to-read list is going to drastically expand from all the topics Klein explores.

There is one specific passage in this book (regarding Wolf's political vision of the world and the draw of 'diagonalism') that I'd like to make required reading for two or three people on this forum, but the window of opportunity for serious learning is years past. 


And yes I absolutely picked up this book after reading a Naomi Oreskes book for an extra dose irony.