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Mike Jasper
Posted on Monday, October 27, 2003 - 01:14 am:   

This is the continuation of the Currently Reading thread, which was getting WAY too long.

I'm about halfway through Stephen King's BAG OF BONES, and enjoying it immensely. I'm sucked in by the premise -- bestselling writer is unable to write after his wife's sudden death, but once he begins to be haunted by what might be her ghost, he can write again -- and the characters. It's not so much a page-turner as a slowly building sense of dread kind of novel. Good stuff.
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Laura Anne
Posted on Monday, October 27, 2003 - 04:26 am:   

I'm actually reading a bunch of already-published stuff, for a change:

THE POISON MASTER by Liz, um, wossername *grin* and THE WIZARD HUNTERS by Martha Wells. Oh, and re-reading BUSMAN'S HONEYMOON by Dorothy Sayers, just for the scene with Bunter and the port.

On the unpublished side, just finished METAL SKIES by wossisname Caselberg, and BIO RESCUE by S.L. Viehl. Next up, the new Wen Spencer, DOG WARRIORS.

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Liz
Posted on Monday, October 27, 2003 - 05:49 am:   

Oh bloody hell.

Not that I'm worried or anything.

Re Sayers: the scene with the port is a classic. Have you caught up with the new sequels yet? I've just finished the second one, set during WW2, which I thought was good. My mother, who is of an age to have issues with anachronisms...had issues.
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Laura Anne
Posted on Monday, October 27, 2003 - 06:55 am:   

Liz,

I adore that scene -- especially now that we have our own collection of bottles awaiting a proper aging. Oh, the joy of that first settling of dust!

I read the first sequel and found it acceptable, and in places quite enjoyable. I've been strongly warned off the second one, however, whcih is apparently a severe dud in which Harriet has been given a lobotomy. Bother. I'll just have to go re-read the story collection again.

And don't worry re: TPM. I just read something that terribly disappointed me, so you're bound to catch the "anything good, please god" rebound. *grin*

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Liz
Posted on Monday, October 27, 2003 - 07:40 am:   

>I adore that scene -- especially now that we have our own collection of bottles awaiting a proper aging. Oh, the joy of that first settling of dust!

Just don't transport them across the country at speed...as if you would.

>I read the first sequel and found it acceptable, and in places quite enjoyable. I've been strongly warned off the second one, however, whcih is apparently a severe dud in which Harriet has been given a lobotomy. Bother. I'll just have to go re-read the story >collection again.

I didn't think it was too bad, but Harriet is not the sharpest tool in the box in this one, it must be said.

>And don't worry re: TPM. I just read something that terribly disappointed me, so you're bound to catch the "anything good, >please god" rebound. *grin*

*whew*

Disappointing books are just the pits.
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mark siegel
Posted on Monday, October 27, 2003 - 04:25 pm:   

just tried both of king's recent books, Buick 88 and the dark house thing with straub, and couldn't get into either one. i love the way king develops realistic characters, though it takes time, but it took just too goddamn much time in buick, and i found the narrative voice in the straub novel really annoying (we are the camera), although i loved the idea of the hegelian scum.
just finished the new larry mcmurty (wandering hill), which is a sort of dark-comedy-of-cowboy-manners, and lethem's motherless brooklyn, which was pretty good. paul martens was telling me about just meeting lethem at a reading in albany.
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Mary Madewell
Posted on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 09:30 am:   

I couldn't help it, had to buy the next Artemis Fowl, The Arctic Incident. It's shaping up to be better than the first, since there isn't all the background rot that was there in the original to lay the foundations of the story.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Tuesday, November 04, 2003 - 11:38 am:   

Finished BAG OF BONES, and really liked it, though I skimmed the last 20 pages or so of explanatory exposition. Nice climactic scene with the ghost that was haunting him.

After picking up half a dozen books at World Fantasy, including the smashing new ARGOSY, I've been reading the most recent YEAR'S BEST FANTASY AND HORROR and Jeffrey Ford's WFC-award-winning collection THE FANTASY WRITER'S ASSISTANT. Ford is so damn good it's not even funny.

So much good stuff to read, so little time...
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Mary Madewell
Posted on Wednesday, November 05, 2003 - 10:08 am:   

Right now I'm in Mike Nelson's Movie Megacheese, and it's quite possibly the funniest thing I've ever read. Every other line makes me laugh out loud, and every page or so I find myself forced to read a line to whoever's in the room. Highly recommended, even if you're like me and don't give a fig about books about movies.
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Wednesday, November 05, 2003 - 10:26 am:   

Moby-Dick. Lord help me.
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John Klima
Posted on Wednesday, November 05, 2003 - 01:46 pm:   

Just finished QUIN'S SHANGHAI CIRCUS. Very cool, funny, disturbing, complicated, everything. Just read it. Old Earth Books just released a nice edition.

Gonna start Mr. Caselberg's WYRMHOLE next.

JK
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 04:26 pm:   

I've got to get me a copy of WYRMHOLE. Even if I do have a To-Read pile bigger than me...

Meanwhile, I finished up the two parts of the first issue of ARGOSY.

Well, most of it -- I skimmed the last half of the Moorcock novella, "The Mystery of the Texas Twister," which I thought was a bit disappointing. I think Moorcock was going for a pulpy feel, but it just didn't work for me -- stilted dialog, way too many characters, too much talking and not enough action. Some nice alternate history/world-building, just not enough story.

On the story side of things, Jeffrey Ford's "A Night in the Tropics" was my favorite, and I've raved about this one elsewhere, but the best part was the story-within-a-story and how that paralleled the mural on the wall. Beautiful ending.

Ben Rosenbaum's "The Valley of Giants" was my second favorite, with its mix of the painfully real details of a war-torn city with the giants in the land of its title. Weird ending, but it worked for me.

"Pyromanic" by Ann Cummins took a bit to get going (again, too many characters and too much unnecessary action, like the Hangman game), but it really picked up a couple pages in, and had a great ending (notice a pattern here?).

I really wanted to like "Riding the White Bull" by Caitlin Kiernan, but it frustrated me -- I felt like the narrator and author were withholding information from me unnecessarily. I don't like feeling toyed with as a reader. But what's actually on the page is quite good, and I liked the shifting through time and memory. So the frustration I was feelig may have been intention on Kiernan's part.

"Rum and the Flesh" by Emily Raboteau and "Launch Pad" by Chris Nakashima-Brown were nice exercises in language, but both felt like prose poems to me. Nice imagery, hilarious in the case of "Launch Pad," but not a lot of story to hang your hat on.

"VE Knights" by Barry Baldwin was a good story, but nothing really earth-shaking. The ending sort of came from nowhere, and I'm not sure it was really needed (that final twist, that is).

And the Samuel Delaney interview really really made me feel simple. And made me glad I'm not in grad school taking theory classes any longer. (shudder)

I've been reading this magazine very closely (and just subscribed for a year), because I think it's going to be one of the good ones, for a long time to come. And I want to place a story in its pages.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 04:27 pm:   

Next up -- on my friend Jason Lundberg's suggestion from his journal and entries here, I'll be reading EVA MOVES THE FURNITURE. The author, Margot Livesey, will be reading at NC State next week, and I'd like to finish it before then.

Though I did just get a new LADY CHURCHILL's today. Sigh...
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John Klima
Posted on Tuesday, November 11, 2003 - 06:44 am:   

Finished WYRMHOLE and enjoyed it quite much. Of course, I'm a sucker for detective SF, but this was well plotted all the same. Really engaging, too. I read it on 3 train rides (a ride being one trip into or out of the city). Thankfully my stop is the last one for the train going in or leaving the city so I didn't miss my stop due to reading. Next up: VENISS UNDERGROUND. Then I think I'll finally finish THE STAR FRACTION and maybe get THE ALIENIST read. Of course, I have 8 billion small press chapbooks and zines to read, too. Grrr.

JK
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Tuesday, November 11, 2003 - 01:26 pm:   

Finished Moby-Dick last night, reading the whole thing in less than a week. My brain feels deflated. I'm on to White Noise by Don DeLillo next, and like Klima, have about 8 billion small press chapbooks and zines to read.
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - 08:18 am:   

And Mike, I'm glad you're taking my suggestion. EVA is a great novel.
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Mary Madewell
Posted on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - 11:27 am:   

Wolves of the Calla.

Brain candy, do ya, I beg, thankee sai and all that jazz. Needless to say, housework has been abandoned, the kitties are being ignored, C is feeling neglected, and if I could call in sick to work without being fired, I would. This book is more than good, it's mesmerizing.
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Liz
Posted on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - 04:11 pm:   

I enjoyed THE ALIENIST, John, and the sequel.

WYRMHOLE: eez good, senor. Eez very good.

Just about to start a couple of things: Neal Asher's LINE OF POLITY and a first novel by Steph Swainston (proof copy) THE YEAR OF OUR WAR.

Also recommend James Lovegrove's UNTIED BRITAIN if you're into Ballardian bleak. There is also a hysterical and sinister description of a writing group in it.

Liz
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Alan
Posted on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 01:36 pm:   

Reading Scott Westerfeld's The Risen Empire. Smart, sharp space opera, with a cool sentient house.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 05:43 am:   

Currently rocking on with Jenn Reese's kung-fu romance novel-in-progress, THE JADE TIGER. It's has a literally kick-ass female protag, and a surprisingly non-standard male lead. She's doing some great things with the story and plot, and I'm having a ball reading it.
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 10:08 am:   

In between grad school assignments, I'm reading JeffV's City of Saints and Madmen, which I've been looking forward to for some months now.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Saturday, November 22, 2003 - 08:21 am:   

Getting ready to head to the beach on North Carolina's Outer Banks for a week, and I'm packing books, but no laptop! Yow.

I'll be reading some Nora Roberts, Nicholas Sparks, and Kris Grayson (one each) as research for the paranormal romance/Blackbeard novel, and for fun -- I like learning about new genres.

I'm also packing CONJUNCTIONS and 2003 BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES edited by Walter Mosley -- it's been a couple years since I've read one of the "mainstream" year's best, so I thought I'd see what' going on in the rest of the lit world.

And I'll be re-reading bits of Donald Maass' WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL in advance of my next novel, which I don't know exactly what will be yet...
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Mastadge
Posted on Saturday, November 22, 2003 - 07:00 pm:   

Currently read THE LAIS OF MARIE DE FRANCE, Tim Power's ON STRANGER TIDES, and Arturo Perez-Reverte's THE CLUB DUMAS.
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 05:46 am:   

Finished JeffV's City of Saints and Madmen the other night, and could just have slapped myself silly for not buying it sooner. Everyone here needs to buy a copy, and you have no excuse now that it's in trade paperback.

Just started Thoreau's Walden, and am suprised at the accessibility of his writing here. In "Resistance to Civil Government" (what is commonly called "Civil Disobedience"), the language was more formal, more like Emerson (of whom I'm not a fan). I have a week and a half to read Walden, which is plenty of time.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Wednesday, December 03, 2003 - 02:14 am:   

Burning through Holly Black's TITHE, which is quite good so far, and getting better. Anyone else read it? It was highly spoken of at World Fantasy.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Wednesday, December 03, 2003 - 04:13 am:   

Oh, and last week I read about half the stories in the most recent Best American Short Stories (yeah, the mainstream one). I was surprised that I liked so many of them, and my favorites were "Kavita Through Glass" by Emily Raboteau and "Rationing" by Mary Waters and "Johnny Hamburger" by Rand Cooper. Some of them were so-so, like Dan Chaon's "The Bees" (ending fell flat for me) and "Ghost Knife" by Sharon Pomerantz (uninteresting protagonist, but a great ending) and the over-rated Mona Simpson, whose "Coins" was as plot-less and lame as it gets.

Looks like Tin House, which had three stories in the antho, would be a good magazine/journal to track down (they even had an SF story in the antho!).

Overall, I wasn't all that excited by the stories in the anthology. Almost all of them were relationship stories, not really deep in scope, and many of them covered a long period of time for their characters, like a novel in miniature, and didn't have fully-realized scenes. It was odd -- very distancing.

And many stories ended on a moment of hope coming from a small gesture, which was interesting (and in some cases, that moment wasn't wholly deserved). But I saw some techniques that I'd like to try, so it was definitely time well-spent.

Anyone read this antho? I'm curious to hear what others think of it.
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Thursday, December 04, 2003 - 10:52 am:   

Haven't read that antho, but I have been seeing more and more of the Best [insert category here] Short Stories anthologies popping up lately. Barnes & Noble even has a dump display with five or six different titles.

I just finished Walden a couple nights ago, and I finished ZZ's The Book this afternoon. I'll read his very short novel without chapters The Writer next, then I have a pantload of zines to read over the semester break.
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Paul Tremblay
Posted on Thursday, December 04, 2003 - 07:05 pm:   

I am currently reading CITY OF SAINTS...and concur with your review, Jason.

Mary, I just finished WOLVES OF THE CALLA and it was such great fun.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Friday, December 05, 2003 - 08:38 am:   

Just finished Black's TITHE, and liked it pretty much all right. Her style wasn't really to my liking -- she sometimes glossed over important details, and didn't give sufficiant emphasis to key moments, which was disconcerting.

But overall, I liked her treatment of fairies, and how she made them like the old-fashioned fairies -- full of mischief and troublemakers. And at the heart of the story is a nice romance. A nice mix of ideas. And it has a fairy hill. Cool.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Saturday, December 06, 2003 - 07:17 am:   

I finally did it -- started reading Stephen King's GUNSLINGER. I've read the first 4 in the Dark Tower series, but wanted to refresh my memory after so much time had passed between books. Plus I had to get the revised first book, and so far the changes and additions have all been good.
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Saturday, December 06, 2003 - 01:34 pm:   

I hate that they've come up with new editions of the Dark Tower books every time a new volume comes out. I might wait until the last book is out before buying the previous ones first, just to make sure.

Read Zivkovic's THE WRITER, Ben Rosenbaum's OTHER CITIES, and Chris Rowe's BITTERSWEET CREEK. Finished an issue of Third Alternative that's taken me nearly two months. Gonna read RABID TRANSIT next.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Sunday, December 07, 2003 - 02:06 pm:   

Jason -- the first book has been revised and expanded, but the other three haven't been revised. You'll see new COVERS on all of 'em, but that's just to fool consumers into buying more.

King said he had to fix the first book after finishing the last book in the series, so it all made sense in the end. And the changes he made were good ones, in my opinion. Just finished GUNSLINGER, and looking forward to DRAWING OF THE THREE, which has been my favorite so far...
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Mike J
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2003 - 06:41 am:   

Man, finally finished Stephen King's WOLVES OF THE CALLA, book 5 of the 7-part Dark Tower series. Really good stuff, though it's really talky in a lot of places, and not as tightly written as I would've liked. But still a rollickin' good yarn, a nicely done western, and the gang adds a new member with a character from SALEM'S LOT, an old Stephen King novel, which was a cool twist.

I still liked DRAWING OF THE THREE best, but THE WASTE LANDS was a close second -- it felt the most like a quest, and the plot really worked well (even if it ends on a cliffhanger). And the revised GUNSLINGER was effective, and brought back nostalgic memories for me (I first read it in '92, while I was teaching junior high, and we'd all read a novel of our own choosing on Fridays for the English class). WIZARD AND GLASS still feels like a small misstep, and I didn't even bother re-reading the 400-page flashback that never really accomplished anything.

Now I'm ready for books 6 and 7. Bring 'em on!
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2003 - 12:12 pm:   

I got through a whole pile of books and zines over the holidays, and after reading Milan Kundera's The Art of the Novel, decided to also pick up The Unbearable Lightness of Being, which I'm reading right now and is bloody brilliant. It makes me want to write about nothing but infidelities in Prague. Wow.
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Jamie Rosen
Posted on Monday, December 29, 2003 - 03:32 pm:   

Long time no see.

I read Bag of Bones, which I enjoyed tremendously for the first several hundred pages and slightly less for the last couple of hundred.

I'm now reading Lawrence Block's Small Town, apparently continuing an inadvertant theme of dark fiction about writers. It's good, but having read two of Block's non-fiction books about writing, I keep finding him either a) doing things he advised against doing, or b) reusing anecdotes and quotations from his nonfiction. Still, I'm enjoying it, just not as much as I'd have liked.
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Mike J
Posted on Tuesday, December 30, 2003 - 03:01 am:   

Yeah, I had a friend who highly recommended LIGHTNESS to me a few years back. May have to check it out, along with the Barnhardt novel other journalers are raving about...

Jamie -- BAG OF BONES does lose steam toward the end, as most of King's fatter books always seem to do lately. Still a good read. There's always something you can learn from reading King.
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Jamie
Posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2003 - 08:43 am:   

Yep, Bag... is still good, and I'd recommend it (which reminds me, I should write up a "Recommended by" card for the store...) I was just disappointed that it fell off a bit near the end, because the first part was so good.

Conversely, Small Town seems to be picking up in quality as it goes along. Up next, possibly Bentley Little's The Policy, or else Kilter, the collection of short-shorts that was up for the Giller Prize (by John Gould, I think?)
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Jamie
Posted on Monday, January 05, 2004 - 12:56 pm:   

As predicted, I'm now reading John Gould's Kilter: 55 Fictions. It's interesting to read an anthology of nothing but short-shorts (the longest is about five, maybe six pages), especially as it's from a mainstream/lit'ry author. Some of the stories work, some don't, but as an author of (proportionally) too many short-shorts myself, I'm glad to see it getting some mainstream and awards-related recognition.

This is the second collection of short-shorts Gould has released, apparently. I think the first one's out of print.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 10:38 am:   

I'm trying to finish up my sequel-reading before I head back to the world of Day Jobs, so I've been enjoying the hell out of the third Harry Potter book, and hoping I have time to read the (massive) next 2 in the series.

Damn, by Rowling uses lots of said bookisms and adverbs! :-) But her plot never lets up, and reading about Ron, Hermione, and Harry are like visiting with old friends from far away.
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Mike
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 10:39 am:   

Um, make that "is like visiting with old friends from far away." ;)
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Deborah
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 11:57 am:   

Mike, try reading them aloud. That's how I read all five -- one chapter a night, aloud, to my son. Talk about tongue-twisters! But, it was a nice way to read them nonetheless.

:-)

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Mike
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 01:26 pm:   

Hey, just finished HARRY POTTER 3, and liked it a lot. Lots of fun plot twists, and even though occasionally Rowling's writing gets in the way, it's was an excellent read. Kinda looking forward to the movie this summer, especially with Gary Oldman as Sirius Black.

Deborah -- I think reading them out loud would be fun. Your son has a cool mom!
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Jay Caselberg
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 01:44 pm:   

And me, just finished LAST CAR TO ELYSIAN FIELDS by the wonderful James Lee Burke. Man that guy can write. Currently immersed in Paul Auster's NEW YORK TRILOGY...hmmm...opinion pending. Oh and also recently finished EMPIRE OF BONES by the inimitable Dr. Williams of these parts. Classy, as usual.
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Jamie
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 02:24 pm:   

I quite enjoyed the New York Trilogy. I don't think any of them worked 100%, but they were all enjoyable, with the third one being my favourite, if I recall.

Reading some selections from Borges' Selected Nonfictions today.
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John Klima
Posted on Thursday, January 08, 2004 - 07:14 am:   

Finishing THE STAR FRACTION. Man, Ken MacLeod (at least for me) is just amazing. Both he and Lucius really pull in politics in a way that I find interesting and engaging. I wish I was more politically inclined, but it mostly makes me mad, so I can't think straight about it and form any sound judgments. MacLeod has a way of writing about where politics may go in the future that I find totally realistic. I think once I finish this book, I'll have to dive right into the ENGINE CITY set of novels from MacLeod.

JK
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Liz
Posted on Thursday, January 08, 2004 - 01:12 pm:   

Thank you, Jay. Most kind and much appreciated.

LAST CAR is excellent, BTW, folks.
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Andreas Black
Posted on Thursday, January 08, 2004 - 10:58 pm:   

Currently reading Sudden Fiction (Continued), edited by Robert Shapard and James Thomas. I've just started it, so I don't really have an opinion on it just yet. But it's a collection of stories with a 2k word cap and includes ppl like Margaret Atwood, Charles Baxter, and Alice Walker. Looks to be about 60 stories total.
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Michael Jasper
Posted on Wednesday, January 28, 2004 - 10:22 am:   

I'm doing my best to keep my promise/vow to myself not to buy any more books until I read all I've got on my To-Read pile, and I made it through a recent near-miss at the local Barnes and Noble, where I was sorely tempted by SINGULARITY SKY by Charles Stross, WYRMHOLE by Jay Caselberg, and Liz Williams' latest.

In a fit of weakness, I did use some PayPal credit to order Nick Mamatas' story-and-essay collection, 3000 MILES PER HOUR IN EVERY DIRECTION as well as the antho he edited, THE URBAN BIZARRE. But I didn't mean to, honest!

So I'm slowly working my way through the backlog, now that I've read my buddy Tim's novel-in-manuscript BLOOD ENGINES (a great read). I'm hoping to tear through the last 2 Harry Potter books, but as I wait for my wife to finish #4, I've been reading short stories by Charles de Lint, from his 2nd collection THE IVORY AND THE HORN.

Good stuff so far, and it makes me really want to read more stories set in Newford. I've read two of his novels set there, SOMEPLACE TO BE FLYING, which had one of the most fascinating beginnings of a book that ultimately fizzled out into a drawn-out ending, and MEMORY AND DREAM, which was a great, fun read, nothing too taxing, but a book that really made me want to move to Newford!

After Harry Potter, I've got a couple romances I want to read as "research" for the Blackbeard novel (Nora Roberts and Kris Grayson novels), and then it's on to the wild and crazy novels -- KJ Bishop, Karen Joy Fowler, Jeffrey Ford, Tim Powers, Maureen McHugh, and more!

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Andreas Black
Posted on Wednesday, January 28, 2004 - 07:20 pm:   

Hey, Mike, what will you be reading by Maureen McHugh?
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John Klima
Posted on Thursday, January 29, 2004 - 08:11 am:   

Mike, if you get a chance, TRADER by de Lint is a great piece set in his fictional city.

JK
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Friday, January 30, 2004 - 06:55 am:   

John -- thanks for the tip! I was looking for one of his earlier Newford books -- there's too many. I've got ONION GIRL and FORESTS OF THE HEART, so I'll track TRADER down.

Andreas -- I've already read CHINA MOUNTAIN ZHANG (a great read) and MISSION CHILD (an okay read), and I've had a copy of NECROPOLIS on my To-Read shelf for almost a year now. So NECROPOLIS it is. Side note -- Maureen was a Clarion teacher of mine, and she let me read about 100 pages of her new novel, which is shaping up to be something quite cool!
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Andreas Black
Posted on Friday, January 30, 2004 - 07:15 am:   

Ah, okay. I read Necropolis a while back, thought i did have a few problems with the ending. Then again, perhaps I missed something.

I haven't had a chance to read the others yet.

Maureen can sure create a world though, and her characters are amazing.
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John Klima
Posted on Friday, January 30, 2004 - 12:54 pm:   

Glad to help add to people's to-read lists. With rare exceptions, I only keep out books that I want to read, so I have four bookshelves of books with no end in sight! I'm finishing up THE BOOK/THE WRITER, and then I think I'm either going to attack DON QUIXOTE or THE SPOON RIVER ANTHOLOGY. There are a bunch of older texts that I have that I might read before I come back to genre stuff again.

JK
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Friday, January 30, 2004 - 01:55 pm:   

Ooh, DON QUIXOTE. You're a brave man, John. I'd like to read this one too someday. Especially after seeing the disasters that befell the crew that tried to film a movie version of it -- "Lost in La Mancha."
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John Klima
Posted on Friday, January 30, 2004 - 07:02 pm:   

Yeah, my wife and I just watched that the other night. Amazing stuff. She read it in Spanish for an advanced level course in college, but never read it in English. We went out and bought it last weekend.

JK
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John Klima
Posted on Thursday, February 05, 2004 - 07:11 am:   

Took me a few weeks to finish THE BOOK/THE WRITER; it's very dense and thought-provoking. The beginning I felt dragged on a little long, but it really captivated me once we moved past the types of books. I wonder if my own closeness to the publishing world made this novel more difficult to read for me. I have to say that I enjoyed THE LIBRARY and THE FOURTH CIRCLE more than this.

Then I grabbed LESS THAN ZERO off my shelf. I bought it for the cover (http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0679781498/ref=sib_rdr_fc/002-7894700-2908800?%5 Fencoding=UTF8&p=S001#reader-link and I liked the movie) when I was trying to find a concept for SCATTERING OF JADES. I finished that in one day (not so dense, very thought-provoking, and intense). If you've seen the movie version of LESS THAN ZERO, it's much happier and more mundane than the novel. Many of the blurbs were calling it a CATCHER IN THE RYE for the MTV generation...if Holden Caulfield was one of Alex's droogs, maybe. I can't say that I liked LESS THAN ZERO, but ti did keep me engaged in a rubber-necking a car accident type way.

Now I'm reading a book called HOUSE OF WHACKS [http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1582340242/qid=1075993943/sr=1-1/r ef=sr_1_1/002-7894700-2908800?v=glance&s=books] that has a nude Betty Page on the cover. From the description on the back of the book, it could be really clever, or total crap. I'll let you know.

JK
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Thursday, February 05, 2004 - 04:38 pm:   

In addition to the voluminous reading for classes this semester, I'm currently making my way through Jonathan Lethem's Fortress of Solitude. It's really good so far, but man, if something positive and happy doesn't happen soon, I may go jump off a building.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Thursday, February 05, 2004 - 05:34 pm:   

Just finished reading the opening to fellow writer Sarah Prineas' excellent novel-in-manuscript, ELEMENTAL MAGIC, about a young man in 1756 England who is able to channel magic from storms in his body, and wizards want to use his skills for their magic. Cool, cool stuff!

I was also reading Nora Roberts' romance set in rural Ireland, JEWELS OF THE SUN, to get me in the proper mindset to revise my paranormal romance featuring Blackbeard, but I got distracted by Sarah's novel.

And I got distracted by Charles de Lint -- I found his novel WHISPER TO A SCREAM at Fictionwise and started reading that on my Palm Pilot. It's a good tale so far -- grittier than his other stuff, and set in Newford as a bonus.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Wednesday, February 11, 2004 - 02:57 am:   

Finished WHISPER TO A SCREAM yesterday, by Charles de Lint, writing as Samuel Key. It's a Newford novel, but one with a grittier edge, and I liked that. This book had some nice surprises in it, like when a pair of main characters get killed, as well as a nicely done climactic scene in which one of the heroes eschews forgiveness and sticks it to the incredibly evil bad guy. Nicely done.

As usual, de Lint over-explains things, making sure NO reader misses a plot twist, which deflates a lot of the tension, but the book was quite readable. In fact, I think it was because of his repetition and over-explanation that allowed me to fly through the book in just a couple days.

The book definitely served its purposes -- not only was it a good read, but it also shed some light on how to write a good mystery, which is what my next novel may be. A mystery, and a whole bunch of other stuff...
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Laura Anne
Posted on Wednesday, February 11, 2004 - 04:06 pm:   

I was actually quite fond of that book, felt the original cover didn't do it justice. and was glad to see it reissued.

DeLint does do a lot of minutia explanation, doesn't he? Most of the time I just let it slip by, but if you read too much of his stuff in a row.. *shudder*

(and no, I'm not back on-board. I don't have time to be back on-board. This is me going away again now...)
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Liz
Posted on Thursday, February 12, 2004 - 01:38 am:   

I read one of his Newford books at Xmas and really enjoyed it (but can I remember the title? Can I hell. This says - as usual - more about the state of my memory than DeLint's book). Some interesting ideas and creatures.

My mum, however, felt that it sagged in the middle and she's probably right, but it carried me along. Must look out for more of his.
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John Klima
Posted on Thursday, February 12, 2004 - 06:18 am:   

Finished THE HOUSE OF WHACKS and started COMPLICITY by Iain Banks (putting off starting DON QUIXOTE). I didn't care for the way that HOUSE OF WHACKS ended, or didn't end, since none of the storylines felt completed when I turned the last page. It was one of those experiences where you know there's more to be told, but you have only one sheet of paper between your fingers and you don't believe a plausible conclusion can be drawn in the only paragraph you have yet to read. <sigh> COMPLICITY's starting really slowly. I've had the book highly recommended to me by many people, so I'm trying to let the book go and not expect too much from it (many not setting too high of expectations). If it doesn't pan out, then I'm reading John Gardner's GRENDEL.

I just bought a book called NINE LAYERS OF SKY that sounds really interesting though....

JK
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Thursday, February 12, 2004 - 10:43 am:   

Laura Anne -- come back! :-)

I'm reading some de Lint stories from his latest collection, TAPPING THE DREAM TREE, and having a nice time seeing familiar people and settings pop up.

I also started reading Cory Doctorow's DOWN AND OUT IN THE MAGIC KINGDOM on my Palm Pilot, which is probably the most fitting way to read that book.

Liz -- I've found a lot of de Lint's book sag a bit in the middle, but I keep coming back to his stuff. I like it. Sort of like comfort food, almost.

Good luck with the reading, John!
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Tuesday, March 02, 2004 - 12:24 pm:   

Okay, I gave up on the Doctorow book -- felt a bit silly and inconsequential in a way, taking place at a future Disney. I hate Disney.

I've been really enjoying CARTER BEATS THE DEVIL, which I picked up a few weeks ago. Great historical fiction, with a speculative feel to it. The opening scene with Warren Harding at a magic show is wonderful.

I also grabbed Gene Wolfe's THE KNIGHT at the library to take for a test-drive, and I'm afraid I'm gonna have to buy it (I've been trying not to buy more books!). It has a gret opening chapter as well, and it's rare in that it's told in 1st person, which is what I want to use for my next novel, also a fantasy tale. I need to read more of Mean Gene's work. Amazon.com, here I come...
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 02:16 am:   

Okay, I gave up on CARTER BEATS THE DEVIL (notice a pattern here???) at least for now. The story sort of stalled on me halfway through, and I have some fantasy to read as "research" for my next novel.

So... I just started rereading Tolkien's THE HOBBIT again. Loving it.

One thing I realized is that FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING is really a love song about The Shire. In THE HOBBIT, Bilbo is barely there long enough to host a party for the dwarves, and the next morning he's off on an adventure. Interesting to compare the pacing of the two books. Right now I'm at the troll scene.

Of course, I know that HOBBIT was meant as more of a kid's book, so there's got to be a faster pace, with more crazy creatures and the like. And it reads a lot more like a fairy tale. I can see where Gaiman got a lot of ideas for his book STARDUST.

It's nice being back in Middle Earth. Call me an escapist, I don't care.
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Laura Anne
Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 05:40 am:   

recently finished:

Laurie King's THE GAME and James Lee Burke's LAST CAR TO ELYSIAN FIELDS. I have this monster of an Asian American women's fiction novel to edit, so I may not have much pleasure reading time for a while. But on-deck is Tamora Pierce's TRICKSTER'S CHOICE and Joe Wambaugh's FIRE LOVER. And, looking at that combo, I really do wonder about my reading habits...

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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 09:22 am:   

Presently reading Riding the Iron Rooster by Paul Theroux. It is a narrative of his travels by rail through China in the mid eighties. Interesting stuff.

Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, though this is not a book you can poke at once a week. I'm going to have to clear off my other reading and focus on this one. Still, the prose is accessible without being simplistic (you'd be amazed how many writers go out of their way to make their prose as complicated and dense as possible, Jared spares the reader that pain).

Both books are good for story ideas.

Masterpieces of the 20th Century edited by Orson Scott Card. My creative writing teacher gae me a free copy. It is pretty good. I've read Harry Turtledove's The Road Not Taken and Robert Heinlein's "All You Zombies. . . !", both of which are good.

Finally, I'm holding off on finishing Ursula K. LeGuin's The Dispossessed until i purchase a personal copy.

Not much for fantasy I'm afraid. I tend more toward science fiction and history.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 06:44 pm:   

Okay, Steven and Laura Anne -- I feel officially slack for re-reading Tolkien when y'all are tearing through all these books. Seems like by the time I get home from work and finish all the various running-around chores, I read 2-3 pages of a book and I'm asleep.
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Laura Anne
Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 05:02 am:   

Hah. You didn't ask me how long it's taken me to read those two books...

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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 06:57 am:   

I must admit, both books have been going mighty slow for me. Though I can see the light at the end of the tunnel with Riding the Iron Rooster.

I've not been reading as much. The writing has kept me pretty busy.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 03:58 pm:   

Just finished THE HOBBIT. Good stuff in there. I always come away from these re-readings (I think I've read THE HOBBIT and LORD OF THE RINGS 6 or 7 times now!) having learned something new. This time I was a reading with an eye toward the world-building and the history, which of course was very well-done. Lots of cool stuff was hinted at, like the battle for the mines of Moria and the goblins gathering from all corners of the world, not to mention the dwarves on a forced march from the Iron Hills...

Now I'm looking forward to actually reading all the preliminary material for LORD OF THE RINGS. And I may even read the appendices first. :-)

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