What book are you reading now/have finished?

If I get really curious I’ll read the wiki pages on the books.

Going to start re-reading Gideon the Ninth in preparation for Harrow the Ninth next Tuesday. The amount of hype I have for this book is monumental.

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I finished Brent Weeks’ The Coming of Shadows.

It was okay, it definitely got better as it went along, and I want to see where the characters end up from where they are.

Just before that I read China Meiville’s Kraken, which was, weird? it sort of falls into the same sort of book Hitchhikker’s and Space Opera do for me.Just weird and fantastic and at times it felt like ti was fantastic just for the sake of it.

somewhat of a tangent to the book thread, but I was looking up Iain M. Banks’ Use of Weapons and apparently there are a few covers for that book, including this gem:

More on topic, I was recently reading the tie in novels for Avatar by F.C. Yee. Not exactly a must read, but they’re pretty solid romps, and if you’re looking for another adventure in A:TLA land, I’d recommend it. B+
(Edit for basic drafting mistakes)

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That’s an amazing cover. I’d read it again if I could find one where this is the cover:

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I’m 50% of the way through Harrow the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir.

The terrible secrets of space are being uncovered… in this case, terrible secrets of actual space.

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I’m starting Harrow the Ninth as soon as the audiobook download is done.

Those cover designs were the ones in the UK when I first read Iain M Banks novels.

I’m just about to start Gideon the Ninth, I hear it’s really good. I assume you have read it, was it ok?

It’s funny! Some bits are too… contemporary -lines that won’t make sense in five years, but it’s a good story overall. I borrowed it, and liked it so much I bought my own copy through kindle.

I have burned through Sufficiently Advanced Magic by Andrew Rowe.

It’s a solid B for me, I feels a lot like he’s working towards something like what Brandon Sanderson did with his Mistborn books, he doesn’t have the craft that Brandon has, but it was a fun, exciting romp. I’m probably going to burn through the 2nd book this week.

Gideon the Ninth is a weird one. So much of it seemed really good fun, but there are major pacing issues and language choices that don’t always work. As time goes on I only remember the good bits, but I’ve got to remember the whole reading experience wasn’t as good as just the good bits.

Full review:

http://www.sfbrp.com/archives/1701

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Harrow the Ninth was a trip, from it’s non-linear timeline to its constantly changing point of view from Second to Third person and then to First. I know some people really didn’t like some of the joke choices she used in regards to a certain character, but I do understand why she chose them. It’s a pretty dense book. In the end the Terrible Secrets of Space are not so much uncovered but partially illuminated, revealing a story much different than the one you started with. I think as a whole this book is a very different beast than Gideon the Ninth, though as with Gideon Tasmyn Muir loves screaming the twists of her stories in the beginning knowing full well that you’ll only realize what they meant once you have full context.

Gideon the Ninth Spoilers

Like you knowing that Ianthe was the necromancer only after you find out necromancy athropies the body, which is why she’s a lot less luminous than Coronabeth, or the entirety of Harrows desperate attempt at bringing Gideon as her cavalier in the beginning of the book. Or every single fucking scene with Dulcinea.

I’ll probably revisit both of the books in time for Alecto the Ninth, as I noticed that a lot of offhand comments in both Gideon and Harrow were actually ironic foreshadowing.

I also feel like part of this book and it’s weight relies on you having at least a small grasp on fanfiction culture and which illuminates a lot of things, as the book deals a lot with fictional mechanisms of coping that are very often used in fanfiction. This is something that’s actually been on my mind a lot lately, with my increasing realization that almost all of the new and upcoming authors nowadays cut and sharpened their teeth on fanfiction and in return bring back the fruits of that culture into the wider medium, but never so in text as Muir did in Harrow

Harrow the Ninth Spoilers

I also have to commend and cringe a bit at the balls it took to have her use the fucking God of this canon to make the most ironic Banality of Evil statement I’ve ever seen. By making the Necrolord Prime, Emperor of the Nine Houses, Man that Became God a fucking Millennial shitlord named John Guy is absolutely hilarious.

I don’t think I’ll forgive Muir for putting a none pizza with left beef joke in her serious goth kid sff book lol.

Some of my friends had a hard time with this book as Harrows mental breakdown murked the waters too much for them, especially since it was being narrated by Gideon most of the time. I did a quick skim of choice parts of the book again after all of the shoes dropped though and it should’ve been obvious from the beginning, but alas.

The MVP of this entire book is my main man Ortus, whose used the power of pure fanfiction to kick Gideon’s mom in the ass. Also for his speech with Harrow, where he apologize for taking part of the sick way the house was treating Harrow and Gideon, and harrows’ reaction. After building her up as such a (tiny) pillar of darkness and competency this book made abundantly clear that at the end of the day she’s just a grief stricken traumatized 18 year old girl/demigod.

I did notice that despite the crazy explosions from the last part of the book, it seems that Muir is gearing up for a more lighthearted ending to the trilogy, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see her putting a crazy painful twists in Alecto. But at the same time something like that would break the themes of healing that the books having been propping up this entire time.

Maybe it’s just me wishfully hoping for that. ¯\(ツ)

I guess that it should go without saying that I fucking love this series, considering this is one of my longest post in the 15+ years I’ve been in this forum. It just ticks all my boxes. From the gothic settings and really dark magic to the frankly absurd use of humor.

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After a two other books that are not worth bringing up I started reading Baru Cormorant. I know and I see how good people say it is, but I’m really not having a good time with it, maybe once I am in a better headspace I’ll try again.

I played Netrunner with the author of Baru Cormorant back in the earliest days. The he left to be a writer at Bungie. This was right before/after Bungie had some drama in the writing dept. I don’t know what they are up to these days.

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
Two of Baldwin’s best essays in one book. His works are must-reads if you care at all about racial justice in the US.

The Tearling Trilogy:
An uneven romp with compelling characters, interesting world building, and an unsatisfying ending. It’s worth a read if you are jonesing for some fantasy with a well written female lead, a bit of timey-wimey magic, a whole lot of fighting fascists, and some anti-capitalist themes.

The Broken Earth Trilogy:
If you haven’t read it, do. I haven’t been this in love with a fantasy series since PoN, and I enjoyed this series far more than PoN. N.K. Jemisin writes complex characters so, so well. If you haven’t read it, you should. It is not a joyful flit, though. Be prepared.

The Last Wish (The Witcher Series):
Far better than the show. While the writing is uneven and it falls into some cliches, it was a satisfying read. The weaving in of classic folktales and fairy stories was quite fun.

13 Things Mentally Stong Parents Don’t Do by Amy Moran
Most of this should be common sense, but that doesn’t mean that it is common knowledge The book could have been an essay, but these are important principles of parenting so going indepth into explaining each point is not necessarily a bad thing. Some useful insights and an overall worthwhile read.

Over The Top by Jonathan Van Ness
A strong, if somewhat brief memoir packed with heart and seemingly unvarnished trials. It offers a strong point of view, some genuinely funny moments, and unique insights.

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I am nearing the end of Piketty’s Capital and Ideology. I didn’t realize what I was getting into necessarily with a 1200 page book. I’ve read Capital in the 21st Century before this, so I was caught off guard when it broke away from basically raw descriptive material and into the prescriptive.

Capital and Ideology being so massive, and every part of it being seemingly significant, and most of it building upon itself makes it basically impossible to TLDR. It helps to have read the prior book, but they are also entirely different reads. I’ve went out looking at reviews of the book from five months ago, and I genuinely don’t think most people read it. And the comments on reviews and on Reddit are all pithy one-liners like you would expect… because when we talk about economics and politics everyone wants small bit sized quips or simple mental heuristics.

I really highly would recommend it, but I also kinda don’t expect anyone to read it. I could talk it up to all my friends, but I can barely think of anyone that would actually go into it.

It starts pretty far off from where I was expecting, with basically a history lesson that for me as a public school educated Missourian felt almost all like new content. The shortest I can summarize it, because it’s not short, is that it goes across several cultures, regions, concepts and tries to boil down certain similarities into “tri-functional societies”. Basically where you have the wealthy and powerful “military” and “religious” classes, and then the working class in whatever form they are. This is so oversimplifying it though. As an approximation of something so complicated, it sort of makes sense, but it also gets into what it leaves out, like the frequent existence of people outside of that like a merchant class, etc. And as you follow through the book, building on these concepts, he gets into how these societies changed when slavery or serfdom was abolished or changed. And so on. Layers of building blocks, and a lot of facts I should know but don’t about recent history around the world.

I feel like someone like Luke or Churba would figuratively hit me upside the head for my lack of knowledge about Haiti and its slave rebellion. I feel like most Americans don’t know the specific details of the reparations the French extracted from the nation to basically pay their slave owners. There was just a lot of world history that was not covered in any of my world history classes, though I never took more than a required American History course in college myself.

As it builds up to the modern era, and I feel like I’m doing a disservice to try to find the punch lines for the other concepts he arrives at. Another interesting term he uses is “Brahmin Left” which I’ve seen a reviewer try call another name for the “Liberal Elite” but that doesn’t really capture it across all cultures for which there are records. He also captures with the data that there are across almost all countries for which he had data roughly equal quartiles of people when divided by two axis on voting records for internationalist/nativist and authoritarian/anti-authoritarian. I found a pdf with a lot of that content here: http://piketty.pse.ens.fr/files/Piketty2018.pdf graphs at the end are interesting if anyone cares to look.

Then about two-thirds through the book he starts to get prescriptive instead of descriptive. I think a lot of his thoughts here are possibly unattainable in reality, but that doesn’t seem to perturb him. In an interview on the book someone tries to rake him with a line like “would you willingly give up 90%” of your income?" That misses the forest for the trees though. He does at one point discuss a very progressive wealth tax for fortunes over 9 billion dollars of 90% net of debt, but that’s an entirely different beast. It seems like they want to paint him as a huge marxist or something, but a lot of his ideas sound at least worth reading as presented. And the short one sentence gotcha rebuttals that miss all the detail that went into… are what they are…

There’s talk of specific constitutional reforms, and I think they are likely pipe dreams, but I like them quite a bit as at least starting points to have a discussion on some things. There’s a lot of them to list, but it at least seems like he has thought about this a fair amount for several governments.

I’m not quite done yet, some of the reviews talk rather hostile about the ending section. If they’re so angry about what I’ve read so far I don’t get it. It’s a lot of data, and then some conjecture about what we could do about massive inequality. If I do get to the end and this is all they were mad about… they are crazy. And well… since most of the reviews seem to be from far right people afraid of what it says… so it goes.

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Just finished The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, it was like freebasing every single Mass Effect companion quest all at once. Strong found family themes and themes of self discovery and acceptance. I like how distinct each character was in voice and personality, which is good because this is an entirely character driven book. There’s a plot, but it’s more a base to explore the cast and their setting than anything else. It’s not an ambitious read or some transcendental work, but it’s a sweet, fluffy snack to have in between heavier meals.

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I bailed on Harrow the Ninth. It has the same massive pacing issues as Gideon the Ninth, but without any of the fun commentary by Gideon. I was stuck looping and falling asleep during chapter eight for five days. If it takes me five days to finish one chapter, and I’m only quarter of the way through the book, I know it’s not for me. Life is short, so I’m not going to spend another 15 hours on it.

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I finished Anathem by Neil Stephenson.

The more I read his books the more I feel like while they’re enjoyable they’re not quite for me.

Over all it was fun listening to 30 hours of characters engage in philosophical and scientific Dialogs. But I already am familiar with all of the arguments and all of the science that was brought up. I’m sure it would have been way better if I was being exposed to most of these ideas for the first time.

What kept me really going was trying to puzzle out the social structure and personally musing about it. If it would even work, what sort of benefits could you really gain from such a thing, etc.

Unfortunately, for me,the book didn’t really say anything new. Which is how I felt about Snow Crash. A lot of cool stuff that probably been way better if I didn’t know about, or considered previously, everything that was being expounded on.

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