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Jamie John

What books did you read in 2019?

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Just finished A Storm of Swords PT 1: Steel and Snow - George R R Martin

 

It's definetly my least favourite of the Game of Thrones books I've read so far. I know it was originally released with pt 2 as one whole book and I'm glad it's since been split into two as I think I'd have struggled with it being twice as long, though it definetly feels like it's a book that's been cut in half.

 

Anyway, I need to add links from my blog for the books I've written about

 



The Tattooist of Auschwitz - Heather Morris

The Mechanics Tale - Steve Matchett

Norse Mythology - Neil Hainan

The Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham

The Psychology of Zelda - Anthony M Bean

Georges Marvelous Medicine - Roald Dahl

Malaterre part 1 - Pierre- Henry Forming

Fantastic Mr Fox - Roald Dahl

Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman

Red Earth and Pouring Rain - Vikram Chandra

The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson

Han Solo - Marjorie M Liu, Jason Aaron, Mark Brooks

Captain Marvel vol 1 - Kelly Sue DeConnick, David Lopez

Leviathan Wakes - James S. A. Corey

Matilda - Roald Dahl

Captain Marvel vol 2 - Kelly Sue DeConnick, Mario Tamara, David Lopez

Captain Marvel vol 3 - Kelly Sue DeConnick,  David Lopez

A Game of Thrones - George R R Martin

The Sandman: Overture - Neil Gaiman, JH Williams III

Neuromancer - Williams Gibson

Showa 1926-1939 (A History of Japan) - Shigeru Mizuki

Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing - Bob Mortimer, Paul Whitehouse

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

Immortal Hulk vol 1 - Al Ewing, John Bennett

Immortal Hulk vol 2 - Al Ewing, John Bennett

A Clash of Kings - George R R Martin

Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy - Sernii Plokhy

The Witches - Roald Dahl

Record of a Spaceborn Few - Becky Chambers

The Lies of Locke Lamora - Scott Lynch

V For Vendetta - Alan Moore & David Lloyd

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16. The Dark Forest - Cixin Liu

 

On 30/09/2019 at 12:45, Darren said:

I'm starting to wonder whether life's too short to be wasting any of it reading stuff as bland as this [the novelisation of Star Wars: Solo]. Oh well. I'm on to the second book of the Three Body trilogy next so that should be a vast improvement.

 

Narrator: It was!

 

This is a really weird book in lots of ways, partly because it's built around an absolutely mind-blowing concept of the nature of "cosmic civilisation" (the dark forest of the title), partly because it features very little in the way of characterisation and so if you're like me you'll spend a lot of time skipping back to the handily-included (it's as if they knew it would be needed) Dramatis Personae pages to remind yourself who each person is, partly because the few characters sketched in anything more than the very broadest strokes all seem to be unredeemable arseholes, and partly because despite being the middle part of a trilogy it's nothing at all like the book it follows. But mainly because the first third is almost excruciatingly slow, dull and unengaging, but once it gets going it never lets up, and then it magically recontextualises that first third so you no longer feel like you wasted your time reading it: on the contrary, you were laying the mental foundations for the revelations to come. And then the penultimate chapter deliberately reminds you of the prologue, so you go back and re-read it, and realise that the key to the whole thing was laid out in those opening pages, you just didn't understand what it was telling you at the time. And then the very last chapter says, "Oh, you thought that was good, did you? Well you ain't seen nothing yet."

 

Roll on part three!

 

Spoiler

1. The Long Walk - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)
2. The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury 
3. Interview with the Vampire - Anne Rice  
4. Neurotribes - Steve Silberman
5. Star Wars: Thrawn Alliances - Timothy Zahn
6. The Dead Zone - Stephen King
7. The Dragon Queen - William Andrews
8. Firestarter - Stephen King
9. The Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
10. God Emperor of Dune - Frank Herbert
11. The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller

12. Roadwork - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

13. The Three Body Problem - Cixin Liu

14. Cujo - Stephen King

15. Solo: a Star Wars Story - Mur Lafferty

16. The Dark Forest - Cixin Liu

 

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1 hour ago, Darren said:

 

 

Roll on part three!

 

  Reveal hidden contents

1. The Long Walk - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)
2. The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury 
3. Interview with the Vampire - Anne Rice  
4. Neurotribes - Steve Silberman
5. Star Wars: Thrawn Alliances - Timothy Zahn
6. The Dead Zone - Stephen King
7. The Dragon Queen - William Andrews
8. Firestarter - Stephen King
9. The Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
10. God Emperor of Dune - Frank Herbert
11. The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller

12. Roadwork - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

13. The Three Body Problem - Cixin Liu

14. Cujo - Stephen King

15. Solo: a Star Wars Story - Mur Lafferty

16. The Dark Forest - Cixin Liu

 

 

I’m envious of you going into this for the first time. I absolutely LOVED this trilogy when I read it last year, and already looking forward to reading it again in a few years when I’ve forgotten chunks of it. 

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44. The Lies of Locke Lamora. I did enjoy this, but clearly not as much as most on this forum, given the number of times I've seen it recommended. 

 

Previously: 

 

Spoiler

1. The Body Library by Jeff Noon

2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

3. Enlightenment Now

4. The book of Humans

5. Little Fires Everywhere

6. Everything Under

7. The Stand

8. Roadside Picnic

9. The Retreat of Western Liberalism

10. Things Fall Apart

11. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

12. Hello World

13. All the Pretty Horses

14. The Tatooist of Auschwitz

15. Normal People

16. The Undoing Project

17. The Fifteenth Life of Harry August

18. The Hobbit

19. Six Days of War

20. The Expert System's Brother

21. All the President's Men

22. Station Eleven

23. In Order to Live

24. The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read

 25. Senlin Ascends

26. Daughters of the Dragon

27. The Crossing

28. Chernobyl - History of a Catastrophe

29. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

30. The Sellout

31. The Underground Railroad

32. All the light we cannot see

33. The Railway Man

34. The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas

35. The Penelopiad

36. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

37. Rosewater

38. Feed the Beast

39. Fahrenheit 451

40. The Blind Assassin

41. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

42. Arm of the Sphinx

43. The Door into Summer

44. The Lies of Locke Lamora

 

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Spoiler

 

1. Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

2. Sea of Thieves: Athena's Fortune by Chris Allcock

3. How To Be Right in a World Gone Wrong by James O'Brien

4. Old Too Soon, Smart Too Late by Kieron Dyer with Oliver Holt

5. Our Story by Ron and Reg Kray with Fred Dineage

6. Step By Step - The Life in My Journeys by Simon Reeve

7. How Not To Be A Boy by Robert Webb

8. Cheer Up Peter Reid by Peter Reid

9. The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

10. Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View by various authors

11. Survivor – Auschwitz, The Death March and My Fight for Freedom by Sam Pivnik

12. Daughters of the Dragon by William Andrews

13. The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz by Denis Avey

14. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

15. Vespasian - Tribune of Rome by Robert Fabbri

16. Indianapolis by Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic

17. Vespasian - Rome's Executioner by Robert Fabbri

18. This Is Going To Hurt - The Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay

19. Vespasian - False God of Rome by Robert Fabbri

20. How to Be a Footballer by Peter Crouch

21. Star Wars - Master and Apprentice by Claudia Gray

22. Vespasian - Rome's Fallen Eagle by Robert Fabbri

23. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

 

 

24. Vespasian - Masters of Rome by Robert Fabbri

 

Book 5 of Robert Fabbri's superb series sees the conclusion of Vespasian's campaign in Britannia, followed by the conclusion of the story of the Emperor Claudius' manipulative wife, Messalina. 

 

I thought this was a step up from Rome's Fallen Eagle - the political intrigue of the 2nd half of this volume is tricky to follow at times, but cleverly written.  The protagonist grows in confidence, cunning and nous as the books go on and it's an awesome way to develop a character.  His relationships with those closest to him - as well as introducing new, important individuals - is also very good.

 

I also like the vast difference in the semi-fictitious depiction of the Emperor Claudius in this series compared to Robert Graves' classic I, Claudius.  In the latter, he's seen as a competent, just and wise man who is mocked due to his physical maladies.  However, Fabbri's series sees Claudius as nothing more than a drooling, incompetent fool - very much how everyone in I, Claudius sees him, but without the hidden depths to his character.  It wouldn't work in this series - but I like how 1 character can be depicted in such completely different ways despite both authors relying on the same classical sources.

 

I thought this was amongst the best of the series - book 6 is coming soon, when we (I assume) see the madness of the reign of Nero.

 

4/5

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On 04/11/2019 at 17:27, Darren said:

Roll on part three!

 


 All of that is true, but part 3 is different again and likewise took me quite some time to come to terms with and enjoy it. Keep it in mind if it’s heavy going! 
 

I think I liked part 2 best of the trilogy. 

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On 30/10/2019 at 10:40, Miner Willy said:

I'll report back once I've read the Hod King! I think I read that the (final) 4th book is due out next year?

 

Correct

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45. The Feast of the Goat. I've had this on my Kindle for ages - I seem to recall because it was recommended on here. It's definitely a very good book, but I found the sustained bleakness made it a difficult read at times. 

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. The Body Library by Jeff Noon

2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

3. Enlightenment Now

4. The book of Humans

5. Little Fires Everywhere

6. Everything Under

7. The Stand

8. Roadside Picnic

9. The Retreat of Western Liberalism

10. Things Fall Apart

11. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

12. Hello World

13. All the Pretty Horses

14. The Tatooist of Auschwitz

15. Normal People

16. The Undoing Project

17. The Fifteenth Life of Harry August

18. The Hobbit

19. Six Days of War

20. The Expert System's Brother

21. All the President's Men

22. Station Eleven

23. In Order to Live

24. The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read

 25. Senlin Ascends

26. Daughters of the Dragon

27. The Crossing

28. Chernobyl - History of a Catastrophe

29. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

30. The Sellout

31. The Underground Railroad

32. All the light we cannot see

33. The Railway Man

34. The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas

35. The Penelopiad

36. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

37. Rosewater

38. Feed the Beast

39. Fahrenheit 451

40. The Blind Assassin

41. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

42. Arm of the Sphinx

43. The Door into Summer

44. The Lies of Locke Lamora

 

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Flowers for Algernon.

 

A mentally disabled man becomes as least as smart as a mouse.

 

Flippancy aside, one of the most touching , moving books I've read.

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46. Rebel Ideas by Matthew Syed. His previous book, Black Box Thinking, was one of my favourite non-fiction titles of recent years. This treads similar ground and is perhaps slightly less revelatory for that reason, but I still found it fascinating. I love books that look at studies to understand how our brains work and why people behave in the ways we do. 

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. The Body Library by Jeff Noon

2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

3. Enlightenment Now

4. The book of Humans

5. Little Fires Everywhere

6. Everything Under

7. The Stand

8. Roadside Picnic

9. The Retreat of Western Liberalism

10. Things Fall Apart

11. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

12. Hello World

13. All the Pretty Horses

14. The Tatooist of Auschwitz

15. Normal People

16. The Undoing Project

17. The Fifteenth Life of Harry August

18. The Hobbit

19. Six Days of War

20. The Expert System's Brother

21. All the President's Men

22. Station Eleven

23. In Order to Live

24. The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read

 25. Senlin Ascends

26. Daughters of the Dragon

27. The Crossing

28. Chernobyl - History of a Catastrophe

29. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

30. The Sellout

31. The Underground Railroad

32. All the light we cannot see

33. The Railway Man

34. The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas

35. The Penelopiad

36. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

37. Rosewater

38. Feed the Beast

39. Fahrenheit 451

40. The Blind Assassin

41. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

42. Arm of the Sphinx

43. The Door into Summer

44. The Lies of Locke Lamora

45. The Feast of the Goat

46. Rebel Ideas

 

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11 hours ago, lolly said:

Flowers for Algernon.

 

A mentally disabled man becomes as least as smart as a mouse.

 

Flippancy aside, one of the most touching , moving books I've read.

 

It’s amazing. The film is a decent watch too, although wildly different in tone.

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17: Star Wars: Resistance Reborn - Rebecca Roanhorse

 

I've gushed about this in the Star Wars new canon thread, so I won't warble on here. Suffice to say, this is essential reading for any fans of any of the recent Star Wars spin-off books or comics. It pulls together threads from so many of them, it's like the last piece of a jigsaw slotting perfectly into place with a very satisfying click. And it sets up the new film brilliantly, so job done. Rebecca Roanhorse is a new author on the Star Wars series but I hope she writes many more as she did a fantastic job with this one. I rattled through this in about three days whereas I've averaged a couple of weeks per book so far this year, so it definitely had me hooked from the very start.

 

Spoiler

1. The Long Walk - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)
2. The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury 
3. Interview with the Vampire - Anne Rice  
4. Neurotribes - Steve Silberman
5. Star Wars: Thrawn Alliances - Timothy Zahn
6. The Dead Zone - Stephen King
7. The Dragon Queen - William Andrews
8. Firestarter - Stephen King
9. The Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
10. God Emperor of Dune - Frank Herbert
11. The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller

12. Roadwork - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

13. The Three Body Problem - Cixin Liu

14. Cujo - Stephen King

15. Solo: a Star Wars Story - Mur Lafferty

16. The Dark Forest - Cixin Liu

17: Star Wars: Resistance Reborn - Rebecca Roanhorse

 

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Akira volume 1 - Katsuhito Otomo

 

I've read and re-read this maybe a dozen times since discovering it when I was 18 back in 2002, absolutely love it.

 

The Tattooist of Auschwitz - Heather Morris



The Mechanics Tale - Steve Matchett

Norse Mythology - Neil Hainan

The Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham

The Psychology of Zelda - Anthony M Bean

Georges Marvelous Medicine - Roald Dahl

Malaterre part 1 - Pierre- Henry Forming

Fantastic Mr Fox - Roald Dahl

Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman

Red Earth and Pouring Rain - Vikram Chandra

The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson

Han Solo - Marjorie M Liu, Jason Aaron, Mark Brooks

Captain Marvel vol 1 - Kelly Sue DeConnick, David Lopez

Leviathan Wakes - James S. A. Corey

Matilda - Roald Dahl

Captain Marvel vol 2 - Kelly Sue DeConnick, Mario Tamara, David Lopez

Captain Marvel vol 3 - Kelly Sue DeConnick,  David Lopez

A Game of Thrones - George R R Martin

The Sandman: Overture - Neil Gaiman, JH Williams III

Neuromancer - Williams Gibson

Showa 1926-1939 (A History of Japan) - Shigeru Mizuki

Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing - Bob Mortimer, Paul Whitehouse

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

Immortal Hulk vol 1 - Al Ewing, John Bennett

Immortal Hulk vol 2 - Al Ewing, John Bennett

A Clash of Kings - George R R Martin

Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy - Sernii Plokhy

The Witches - Roald Dahl

Record of a Spaceborn Few - Becky Chambers

The Lies of Locke Lamora - Scott Lynch

V For Vendetta - Alan Moore & David Lloyd

 

A Storm of Swords part 1: Steel and Snow - George R R Martin

 

 

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These Savage Shores - Ram V, Submit Kumar and Vittorio Astone

 

A wonderful bit of fantasy work set to the backdrop of 18th Century India that takes a look at how war is never ending.

 



The Tattooist of Auschwitz - Heather Morris



The Mechanics Tale - Steve Matchett

Norse Mythology - Neil Hainan

The Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham

The Psychology of Zelda - Anthony M Bean

Georges Marvelous Medicine - Roald Dahl

Malaterre part 1 - Pierre- Henry Forming

Fantastic Mr Fox - Roald Dahl

Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman

Red Earth and Pouring Rain - Vikram Chandra

The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson

Han Solo - Marjorie M Liu, Jason Aaron, Mark Brooks

Captain Marvel vol 1 - Kelly Sue DeConnick, David Lopez

Leviathan Wakes - James S. A. Corey


Matilda - Roald Dahl


Captain Marvel vol 2 - Kelly Sue DeConnick, Mario Tamara, David Lopez


Captain Marvel vol 3 - Kelly Sue DeConnick,  David Lopez


A Game of Thrones - George R R Martin


The Sandman: Overture - Neil Gaiman, JH Williams III


Neuromancer - Williams Gibson


Showa 1926-1939 (A History of Japan) - Shigeru Mizuki


Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing - Bob Mortimer, Paul Whitehouse


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl


Immortal Hulk vol 1 - Al Ewing, John Bennett


Immortal Hulk vol 2 - Al Ewing, John Bennett


A Clash of Kings - George R R Martin


Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy - Sernii Plokhy


The Witches - Roald Dahl


Record of a Spaceborn Few - Becky Chambers


The Lies of Locke Lamora - Scott Lynch


V For Vendetta - Alan Moore & David Lloyd


A Storm of Swords part 1: Steel and Snow - George R R Martin

 

Akira volume 1 - Katsuhiro Otomo

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38. Death's End - Cixin Liu

 

On 04/11/2019 at 17:27, Darren said:

Roll on part three!

 

How right the me of two weeks ago was to look forward to this concluding part of the Three Body Problem trilogy. Little did I know back then, in those heady days of the first week of November, quite how comprehensively my mind was about to be blown, reassembled, and blown again, time after time until time itself lost all meaning and life became a blur of shattering revelations, passing by at light speed, stretching from the bright blue future to the dim red past. I read this book in a week, despite being busy much of that time, because I was so desperate to keep reading that I eked out spare moments whenever I could, just to spend a bit more of that meaningless time exploring this universe, only to find that "universe" is too small a word to describe what this book contains.

 

Taken as a whole, I can safely say that this trilogy is the best thing I have ever read, and this last part is the best book of the trilogy. It repeats to first book's trick of starting small and continually increasing in scope, but this time the growth is exponential or logarithmic such that by the end it encompasses literally everything. All of time, all of space, and everything else. It's stunning. And all while keeping focus on a small and well developed cast of characters. I don't want to talk about anything specific I loved about this book, because it would seem trivial compared to the magnificent whole. It's one of those things that's so good I can't quite believe it's possible for it to have been written by a human being (and then translated by another!) - it's just so mathematically, geometrically perfect it feels more like a glimpse into the intrinsic workings of the universe. Which, of course, is precisely what it sets out to be.

 

Can you tell I liked it?

 

Spoiler

1. The Long Walk - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

2. Darth Vader: Legacy's End

3. Lando: Double or Nothing

4. Star Wars: Mutiny at Mon Cala

5. Poe Dameron: The Spark and the Fire

6. Darth Vader: The Burning Seas

7. Star Wars: Hope Dies
8. The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury 
9. Interview with the Vampire - Anne Rice  
10. Neurotribes - Steve Silberman

11. Immortal Hulk: Hulk in Hell
12. Star Wars: Thrawn Alliances - Timothy Zahn
13. The Dead Zone - Stephen King
14. The Dragon Queen - William Andrews

15. Star Wars: The Escape

16. Darth Vader: Fortress Vader

17. Doctor Aphra: The Catastrophe Con
18. Firestarter - Stephen King
19. The Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
20. God Emperor of Dune - Frank Herbert

21. Star Wars: Age of Republic - Villains
22. The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller

23. Roadwork - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

24. The Three Body Problem - Cixin Liu

25. Han Solo: Imperial Cadet

26. Cujo - Stephen King

27. Star Wars: Age of Republic - Heroes

28. Doctor Aphra: Worst Among Equals

29. Solo: a Star Wars Story - Mur Lafferty

30. Star Wars: The Scourging of Shu-Torun

31. Star Wars: Age of Rebellion - Heroes

32. Star Wars: Age of Rebellion - Villains

33. Vader: Dark Visions

34. Tie Fighter

35. Immortal Hulk: Abomination

36. The Dark Forest - Cixin Liu

37: Star Wars: Resistance Reborn - Rebecca Roanhorse

38. Death's End - Cixin Liu

 

(I noticed others were including comics/graphic novels in their lists so I decided to do the same in a shameless attempt to improve my stats. They're in italics.)

 

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47. Ancillary Justice. I've had this on my Audible account for years, but only just got round to listening to it. I really liked the start and overall premise, but overall I don't think I loved the story as much as I expected, or as others have based on what I've read about it. 

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. The Body Library by Jeff Noon

2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

3. Enlightenment Now

4. The book of Humans

5. Little Fires Everywhere

6. Everything Under

7. The Stand

8. Roadside Picnic

9. The Retreat of Western Liberalism

10. Things Fall Apart

11. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

12. Hello World

13. All the Pretty Horses

14. The Tatooist of Auschwitz

15. Normal People

16. The Undoing Project

17. The Fifteenth Life of Harry August

18. The Hobbit

19. Six Days of War

20. The Expert System's Brother

21. All the President's Men

22. Station Eleven

23. In Order to Live

24. The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read

 25. Senlin Ascends

26. Daughters of the Dragon

27. The Crossing

28. Chernobyl - History of a Catastrophe

29. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

30. The Sellout

31. The Underground Railroad

32. All the light we cannot see

33. The Railway Man

34. The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas

35. The Penelopiad

36. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

37. Rosewater

38. Feed the Beast

39. Fahrenheit 451

40. The Blind Assassin

41. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

42. Arm of the Sphinx

43. The Door into Summer

44. The Lies of Locke Lamora

45. The Feast of the Goat

46. Rebel Ideas

47. Ancillary Justice

 

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39. Everyday Sexism - Laura Bates

 

I've been reading this slowly over the last few months, a chapter at a time in between other books, mainly because reading more in one go was just relentlessly depressing. It's a book arising from the Everyday Sexism Twitter account which was set up to collect and publicise the experiences of women and girls to show just how pervasive and universal sexism is. As a middle aged white man I don't think of myself as part of the problem, but this was a real eye opener on the minefield women are forced to walk daily, that is simply invisible to those of us who it doesn't affect. It was written in 2013 and ends on a positive note that the power of social media has allowed women and men from all over the world to stand together and support one another in solidarity, and that on that basis it seems the tide is finally turning. I'd be interested to read an updated version with an extra chapter written more recently, in the light of Gamergate, Trump and the toxification of social media in general, and wonder whether the conclusion would be quite so hopeful. It feels like things have got worse rather than better. But that's no reflection on this book, which is a good if at times harrowing read.

 

Spoiler

1. The Long Walk - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

2. Darth Vader: Legacy's End

3. Lando: Double or Nothing

4. Star Wars: Mutiny at Mon Cala

5. Poe Dameron: The Spark and the Fire

6. Darth Vader: The Burning Seas

7. Star Wars: Hope Dies
8. The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury 
9. Interview with the Vampire - Anne Rice  
10. Neurotribes - Steve Silberman

11. Immortal Hulk: Hulk in Hell
12. Star Wars: Thrawn Alliances - Timothy Zahn
13. The Dead Zone - Stephen King
14. The Dragon Queen - William Andrews

15. Star Wars: The Escape

16. Darth Vader: Fortress Vader

17. Doctor Aphra: The Catastrophe Con
18. Firestarter - Stephen King
19. The Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
20. God Emperor of Dune - Frank Herbert

21. Star Wars: Age of Republic - Villains
22. The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller

23. Roadwork - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

24. The Three Body Problem - Cixin Liu

25. Han Solo: Imperial Cadet

26. Cujo - Stephen King

27. Star Wars: Age of Republic - Heroes

28. Doctor Aphra: Worst Among Equals

29. Solo: a Star Wars Story - Mur Lafferty

30. Star Wars: The Scourging of Shu-Torun

31. Star Wars: Age of Rebellion - Heroes

32. Star Wars: Age of Rebellion - Villains

33. Vader: Dark Visions

34. Tie Fighter

35. Immortal Hulk: Abomination

36. The Dark Forest - Cixin Liu

37: Star Wars: Resistance Reborn - Rebecca Roanhorse

38. Death's End - Cixin Liu

39. Everyday Sexism - Laura Bates

 

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On 19/11/2019 at 16:11, Darren said:

38. Death's End - Cixin Liu

 

 

How right the me of two weeks ago was to look forward to this concluding part of the Three Body Problem trilogy. Little did I know back then, in those heady days of the first week of November, quite how comprehensively my mind was about to be blown, reassembled, and blown again, time after time until time itself lost all meaning and life became a blur of shattering revelations, passing by at light speed, stretching from the bright blue future to the dim red past. I read this book in a week, despite being busy much of that time, because I was so desperate to keep reading that I eked out spare moments whenever I could, just to spend a bit more of that meaningless time exploring this universe, only to find that "universe" is too small a word to describe what this book contains.

 

Taken as a whole, I can safely say that this trilogy is the best thing I have ever read, and this last part is the best book of the trilogy.


It’s great reading about someone else who loved this trilogy as much as I did :)

 

Definitely up there as one of the best books/series I’ve ever read for sure. 
 

It really lives up to the description which I think was from the collected edition: “Not only a remembrance of Earth's past but also reflection on humanity's future, the trilogy weaves a complex web of physics, philosophy and history, taking the reader from the Cultural Revolution to the heat death of universe”!

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Uprooted - Naomi Novik

 

Thought it started well and had me thinking it was avoiding a lot of clichés, but then the middle part got very formulaic and then it totally embraced all the clichés. It had some really nice ideas, but in the end it felt very generic. I did like the feel of the language though - as the writer is from Polish descent the names, places, spells etc all have a very Slavic sound to them and it gave the book a very definite and strong sense of place.

 

Holy shit at @Darrens review of the 3 Body Problem Trilogy! Because of that I've been forced to buy it this morning on the way to work and bump it straight to the top of my pile of shame. Thanks!

 

 

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On 20/11/2019 at 12:59, Darren said:

I'd be interested to read an updated version with an extra chapter written more recently, in the light of Gamergate, Trump and the toxification of social media in general, and wonder whether the conclusion would be quite so hopeful. It feels like things have got worse rather than better. But that's no reflection on this book, which is a good if at times harrowing read.

 

I thought it was a great read as well, although I think that in light of Weinstein, #MeToo and so on, people are certainly more aware of everyday sexist practices, even if we can't say things are improving.

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My reading has been pitiful this year. I blame children and reading Edge every four weeks.

 

Anyway:

 

15. The Last Argument of Kings, Joe Abercrombie

 

I enjoyed this, though perhaps not to the extent of the first two novels. It felt like it wasn't quite epic enough to earn its ending, if that makes sense, as if it started off as the third in a series of four before rushing the conclusion somewhat. Still a complete page-turner, however, and I love the characters.

 

16. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, John Le Carré

 

 

I was inspired to read this after watching the fantastic film version from 2011. It's only taken me 8 years! I enjoyed the intrigue and the double-crossing, but I have to say that I felt the need to re-watch the film after reading the first few chapters so that I could figure out what was actually going on. There is a lot which is deliberately left unsaid that could be missed, as well as a lot of jargon that I had to look up. The book is also very much part of the George Smiley series of Le Carré's novels and makes reference to previous events from the earlier books.


Still, a good read. Some of the ruminations on the mind and motivations of a spy are especially engaging. Recommended!

 

Anyone know if the Alec Guinness TV series can be streamed anywhere?

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40. The Running Man - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

 

Next up in my Stephen King chronological-a-thon is the Running Man. Amazingly I've never seen the film so only had a vague idea what this was going to be about. It shares with the other two "Bachman books" in the collection a central character driven to extremes, but this is more explicitly dystopian sci-fi than the others. It's the usual King page-turner though, and despite one or two contrived coincidences it all rattles along very nicely to a conclusion that (a) I somehow didn't see coming, (b) isn't a trademark King anti-climax and (c) must surely have got some stick in more recent decades in light of certain real-life events.

 

Spoiler

1. The Long Walk - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

2. Darth Vader: Legacy's End

3. Lando: Double or Nothing

4. Star Wars: Mutiny at Mon Cala

5. Poe Dameron: The Spark and the Fire

6. Darth Vader: The Burning Seas

7. Star Wars: Hope Dies
8. The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury 
9. Interview with the Vampire - Anne Rice  
10. Neurotribes - Steve Silberman

11. Immortal Hulk: Hulk in Hell
12. Star Wars: Thrawn Alliances - Timothy Zahn
13. The Dead Zone - Stephen King
14. The Dragon Queen - William Andrews

15. Star Wars: The Escape

16. Darth Vader: Fortress Vader

17. Doctor Aphra: The Catastrophe Con
18. Firestarter - Stephen King
19. The Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
20. God Emperor of Dune - Frank Herbert

21. Star Wars: Age of Republic - Villains
22. The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller

23. Roadwork - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

24. The Three Body Problem - Cixin Liu

25. Han Solo: Imperial Cadet

26. Cujo - Stephen King

27. Star Wars: Age of Republic - Heroes

28. Doctor Aphra: Worst Among Equals

29. Solo: a Star Wars Story - Mur Lafferty

30. Star Wars: The Scourging of Shu-Torun

31. Star Wars: Age of Rebellion - Heroes

32. Star Wars: Age of Rebellion - Villains

33. Vader: Dark Visions

34. Tie Fighter

35. Immortal Hulk: Abomination

36. The Dark Forest - Cixin Liu

37: Star Wars: Resistance Reborn - Rebecca Roanhorse

38. Death's End - Cixin Liu

39. Everyday Sexism - Laura Bates

40. The Running Man - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

 

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41. The Little Book of Lykke - Meik Wiking

 

This really is a little book as I whizzed through it in one evening. Then again it's one I picked up for 99p in a Kindle sale as it looked interesting, so I don't feel ripped off and I wasn't wrong. It's a look into what makes people happy around the world. Nothing in here is an earth shattering revelation but it's always good to reflect on this sort of thing, and it was interesting to learn about (for example) the places where homes are built around a communal area including kitchen, dining room and garden so people can choose to go and live in a ready made, sharing community. It's written in an easy, witty style and it made me happier just reading it.

 

Spoiler

1. The Long Walk - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

2. Darth Vader: Legacy's End

3. Lando: Double or Nothing

4. Star Wars: Mutiny at Mon Cala

5. Poe Dameron: The Spark and the Fire

6. Darth Vader: The Burning Seas

7. Star Wars: Hope Dies
8. The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury 
9. Interview with the Vampire - Anne Rice  
10. Neurotribes - Steve Silberman

11. Immortal Hulk: Hulk in Hell
12. Star Wars: Thrawn Alliances - Timothy Zahn
13. The Dead Zone - Stephen King
14. The Dragon Queen - William Andrews

15. Star Wars: The Escape

16. Darth Vader: Fortress Vader

17. Doctor Aphra: The Catastrophe Con
18. Firestarter - Stephen King
19. The Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
20. God Emperor of Dune - Frank Herbert

21. Star Wars: Age of Republic - Villains
22. The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller

23. Roadwork - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

24. The Three Body Problem - Cixin Liu

25. Han Solo: Imperial Cadet

26. Cujo - Stephen King

27. Star Wars: Age of Republic - Heroes

28. Doctor Aphra: Worst Among Equals

29. Solo: a Star Wars Story - Mur Lafferty

30. Star Wars: The Scourging of Shu-Torun

31. Star Wars: Age of Rebellion - Heroes

32. Star Wars: Age of Rebellion - Villains

33. Vader: Dark Visions

34. Tie Fighter

35. Immortal Hulk: Abomination

36. The Dark Forest - Cixin Liu

37: Star Wars: Resistance Reborn - Rebecca Roanhorse

38. Death's End - Cixin Liu

39. Everyday Sexism - Laura Bates

40. The Running Man - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

41. The Little Book of Lykke - Meik Wiking

42. Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

 

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The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold. This was an Audible deal of the day I think. I didn't know anything about it, but the reviews were good so I gave it a try. In reality it's pointedly not about Jack the Ripper, but instead charts the lives of five victims, casting light on the pretty miserable existence suffered by working class women of this time. In many ways it feels a particularly apt tale today, with themes including class divide, homelessness and sexual exploitation of women.

 

Previously:

 

Spoiler

1. The Body Library by Jeff Noon

2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

3. Enlightenment Now

4. The book of Humans

5. Little Fires Everywhere

6. Everything Under

7. The Stand

8. Roadside Picnic

9. The Retreat of Western Liberalism

10. Things Fall Apart

11. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

12. Hello World

13. All the Pretty Horses

14. The Tatooist of Auschwitz

15. Normal People

16. The Undoing Project

17. The Fifteenth Life of Harry August

18. The Hobbit

19. Six Days of War

20. The Expert System's Brother

21. All the President's Men

22. Station Eleven

23. In Order to Live

24. The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read

 25. Senlin Ascends

26. Daughters of the Dragon

27. The Crossing

28. Chernobyl - History of a Catastrophe

29. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

30. The Sellout

31. The Underground Railroad

32. All the light we cannot see

33. The Railway Man

34. The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas

35. The Penelopiad

36. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

37. Rosewater

38. Feed the Beast

39. Fahrenheit 451

40. The Blind Assassin

41. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

42. Arm of the Sphinx

43. The Door into Summer

44. The Lies of Locke Lamora

45. The Feast of the Goat

46. Rebel Ideas

47. Ancillary Justice

48. The Five

 

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43. The Martian - Andy Weir

 

Another Kindle bargain and one I wasn't that bothered about as I've already seen the film. But one mark of a good book (that's been made into a film you've already seen) is if it grips you despite the fact that you already know what's going to happen. And this absolutely did. It's brilliantly written with an engaging mix of real science and humour. Most of the book is in the form of diary entries from the titular character, who's quite the cheeky chappie, but all the supporting characters are properly fleshed out too, and it all gallops along very nicely indeed.

 

Spoiler

1. The Long Walk - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

2. Darth Vader: Legacy's End

3. Lando: Double or Nothing

4. Star Wars: Mutiny at Mon Cala

5. Poe Dameron: The Spark and the Fire

6. Darth Vader: The Burning Seas

7. Star Wars: Hope Dies
8. The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury 
9. Interview with the Vampire - Anne Rice  
10. Neurotribes - Steve Silberman

11. Immortal Hulk: Hulk in Hell
12. Star Wars: Thrawn Alliances - Timothy Zahn
13. The Dead Zone - Stephen King
14. The Dragon Queen - William Andrews

15. Star Wars: The Escape

16. Darth Vader: Fortress Vader

17. Doctor Aphra: The Catastrophe Con
18. Firestarter - Stephen King
19. The Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
20. God Emperor of Dune - Frank Herbert

21. Star Wars: Age of Republic - Villains
22. The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller

23. Roadwork - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

24. The Three Body Problem - Cixin Liu

25. Han Solo: Imperial Cadet

26. Cujo - Stephen King

27. Star Wars: Age of Republic - Heroes

28. Doctor Aphra: Worst Among Equals

29. Solo: a Star Wars Story - Mur Lafferty

30. Star Wars: The Scourging of Shu-Torun

31. Star Wars: Age of Rebellion - Heroes

32. Star Wars: Age of Rebellion - Villains

33. Vader: Dark Visions

34. Tie Fighter

35. Immortal Hulk: Abomination

36. The Dark Forest - Cixin Liu

37: Star Wars: Resistance Reborn - Rebecca Roanhorse

38. Death's End - Cixin Liu

39. Everyday Sexism - Laura Bates

40. The Running Man - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

41. The Little Book of Lykke - Meik Wiking

42. Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

43. The Martian - Andy Weir

 

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44. Galatea - Madeline Miller

 

This is a very short story (20 pages) from the author of The Song of Achilles which I read and enjoyed earlier in the year. It's decent enough and with some very nice evocative language at times, but it's just too short to be of consequence. I suspect I might have got more out of it if I was already familiar with the myth on which it's based (Pygmalion), but I'm not, so I didn't. But it only took half an hour to read and it added one to my stats for the year, and isn't that what really counts?

 

Spoiler

1. The Long Walk - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

2. Darth Vader: Legacy's End

3. Lando: Double or Nothing

4. Star Wars: Mutiny at Mon Cala

5. Poe Dameron: The Spark and the Fire

6. Darth Vader: The Burning Seas

7. Star Wars: Hope Dies
8. The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury 
9. Interview with the Vampire - Anne Rice  
10. Neurotribes - Steve Silberman

11. Immortal Hulk: Hulk in Hell
12. Star Wars: Thrawn Alliances - Timothy Zahn
13. The Dead Zone - Stephen King
14. The Dragon Queen - William Andrews

15. Star Wars: The Escape

16. Darth Vader: Fortress Vader

17. Doctor Aphra: The Catastrophe Con
18. Firestarter - Stephen King
19. The Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
20. God Emperor of Dune - Frank Herbert

21. Star Wars: Age of Republic - Villains
22. The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller

23. Roadwork - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

24. The Three Body Problem - Cixin Liu

25. Han Solo: Imperial Cadet

26. Cujo - Stephen King

27. Star Wars: Age of Republic - Heroes

28. Doctor Aphra: Worst Among Equals

29. Solo: a Star Wars Story - Mur Lafferty

30. Star Wars: The Scourging of Shu-Torun

31. Star Wars: Age of Rebellion - Heroes

32. Star Wars: Age of Rebellion - Villains

33. Vader: Dark Visions

34. Tie Fighter

35. Immortal Hulk: Abomination

36. The Dark Forest - Cixin Liu

37: Star Wars: Resistance Reborn - Rebecca Roanhorse

38. Death's End - Cixin Liu

39. Everyday Sexism - Laura Bates

40. The Running Man - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

41. The Little Book of Lykke - Meik Wiking

42. Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

43. The Martian - Andy Weir

44. Galatea - Madeline Miller

 

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On 04/12/2019 at 16:36, Darren said:

43. The Martian - Andy Weir

 

Another Kindle bargain and one I wasn't that bothered about as I've already seen the film. But one mark of a good book (that's been made into a film you've already seen) is if it grips you despite the fact that you already know what's going to happen. And this absolutely did. It's brilliantly written with an engaging mix of real science and humour. Most of the book is in the form of diary entries from the titular character, who's quite the cheeky chappie, but all the supporting characters are properly fleshed out too, and it all gallops along very nicely indeed.

 

  Reveal hidden contents

1. The Long Walk - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

2. Darth Vader: Legacy's End

3. Lando: Double or Nothing

4. Star Wars: Mutiny at Mon Cala

5. Poe Dameron: The Spark and the Fire

6. Darth Vader: The Burning Seas

7. Star Wars: Hope Dies
8. The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury 
9. Interview with the Vampire - Anne Rice  
10. Neurotribes - Steve Silberman

11. Immortal Hulk: Hulk in Hell
12. Star Wars: Thrawn Alliances - Timothy Zahn
13. The Dead Zone - Stephen King
14. The Dragon Queen - William Andrews

15. Star Wars: The Escape

16. Darth Vader: Fortress Vader

17. Doctor Aphra: The Catastrophe Con
18. Firestarter - Stephen King
19. The Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
20. God Emperor of Dune - Frank Herbert

21. Star Wars: Age of Republic - Villains
22. The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller

23. Roadwork - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

24. The Three Body Problem - Cixin Liu

25. Han Solo: Imperial Cadet

26. Cujo - Stephen King

27. Star Wars: Age of Republic - Heroes

28. Doctor Aphra: Worst Among Equals

29. Solo: a Star Wars Story - Mur Lafferty

30. Star Wars: The Scourging of Shu-Torun

31. Star Wars: Age of Rebellion - Heroes

32. Star Wars: Age of Rebellion - Villains

33. Vader: Dark Visions

34. Tie Fighter

35. Immortal Hulk: Abomination

36. The Dark Forest - Cixin Liu

37: Star Wars: Resistance Reborn - Rebecca Roanhorse

38. Death's End - Cixin Liu

39. Everyday Sexism - Laura Bates

40. The Running Man - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

41. The Little Book of Lykke - Meik Wiking

42. Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

43. The Martian - Andy Weir

 

 

I enjoyed The Martian a lot but I absolutely detested the glibness of the narrator. He just sounded like a complete dick and I wanted him to stay stuck on Mars.

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