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Books Read 2020

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freelunch
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Books Read 2020

Post by freelunch »

Set myself a goal of 80 books for 2020, which shouldn't be hard to hit. Subsequently bumped up to 100 books. Subsequently knocked back down to 75.

I'll be following this thread but my reviews are kind of crap so they're probably not worth reproducing (they're available on LibraryThing, Goodreads and Amazon.com.au if anyone is really interested)

Last year I finished 94 books, down from 111 in 2018, 36 in 2017 and 15 in 2016.

Books Finished in 2020

01. Text, Don't Call by Aaron Caycedo-Kimura
02. Submissive Lies by Shane Starrett
03. Not Pounded By Romance Wranglers Of America Because Their New Leadership Is From The Depths Of The Endless Cosmic Void by Chuck Tingle
04. Family Jewels by Scarlett Parrish
05. The Silent Ones by K.L. Slater
06. Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan
07. Witching Moon by Poppy Woods
08. Other Minds: The Octopus and the Evolution of Intelligent Life by Peter Godfrey-Smith
09. Percy Gloom by Cathy Malkasian
10. Today's Cerberus, Vol. 1 by Ato Sakurai
11. Star Wars Episode One Vol. 1 by Kia Asamiya
12. After Hours, Vol. 1 by Yuhta Nishio
13. After Hours, Vol. 2 by Yuhta Nishio
14. After Hours, Vol. 3 by Yuhta Nishio
15. Valentine: The Duology by Sorcha Black
16. My Time in the Affair by Stylo Fantome
17. Fruits Basket Collector's Edition, Vol. 1 by Natsuki Takaya
18. Rabbit by Max Ellendale
19. Peace, Love, & Macarons by Jessica Gadziala
20. Gullivera by Milo Manara
21. Fruits Basket Collector's Edition, Vol. 2 by Natsuki Takaya
22. Rocked by Livia Grant
23. Fruits Basket Collector's Edition, Vol. 3 by Natsuki Takaya
24. Tenacity by Auryn Hadley
25. Harleen by Stjepan Šejić
26. The X Ingredient by Roslyn Sinclair
27. Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade by Diana Gabaldon
28. The Sharp Edge Of Bliss by Sorcha Black
29. Tortured Whispers by Danielle James
30. Gentrified by Kirsten McCurran
31. Exposed by Jennifer Bene
32. The Lucky One by R. Byrne
33. Dirty Blvd.: The Life and Music of Lou Reed by Aidan Levy
34. Rule Breaker by Phoebe Alexander
35. The Boss by Abigail Barnette
36. The Surrogate by Jordan Silver
37. Devils' Day Party by C.M. Stunich
38. Scooby-Doo Team-Up, Vol. 1 by Sholly Fisch
39. Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san Vol. 1 by Honda
40. Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san Vol. 2 by Honda
41. One Too Many by Jade West
42. Marriage Training by Golden Angel
43. Clockwork Stalker by Cari Silverwood
44. 44 Hours by Donna Jay
45. Deep Screw by Scarlett Parrish
46. Gallows Pole by Eris Adderly
47. Succumb by Sorcha Black
48. Lord John and the Haunted Soldier by Diana Gabaldon
49. Breaking Ashley by Shay Sands
50. In the Arms of a Woman by Harper Bliss
51. Lake House Taboo by Belle Hart
52. Soccer Mom by Amber Skye
53. Step Mom by Jeremy Forsyth
54. Resilience by Auryn Hadley
55. The Husband Sitter by Jessa Kane
56. Valentine Roulette by Livia Grant, Jennifer Bene, Renee Rose, Maren Smith, Addison Cain, Lee Savino, Sophie Kisker, Measha Stone
57. Against All Odds by Kris Bryant, Maggie Cummings & M. Ullrich
Last edited by freelunch on Sun Aug 09, 2020 3:58 am, edited 57 times in total.
Books I finished in: 2020 | 2019 | 2018

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Holman
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Holman »

(Not listing reading for teaching this time.)

James S.A. Corey, Caliban's War. Second book of The Expanse.
William Dalrymple, The Anarchy. Vivid political history of history's most successful global/national corporate predator.
Myke Cole, Sixteenth Watch. Military SF from a Coast Guard search-and-rescue perspective.
Myke Cole, Legion versus Phalanx. Lively study of ancient-world infantry tactics in transition.
Hilary Mantel, The Mirror & the Light. Trilogy-completing sequel to Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.

James S.A. Corey, Abaddon's Gate. Third book of The Expanse.
Louis Menand, The Metaphysical Club. Striking philosophical and social history of 19th-century American Pragmatism.
R. Crumb, The Book of Genesis. Comprehensive comics treatment of Genesis in all its genuine glory and genuine strangeness.
Michael Swanwick, Chasing the Phoenix, in which postUtopian conmen Darger & Surplus (a talking dog) accidentally conquer China.
Gene Wolfe, The Shadow of the Torturer. Re-re-rereading along with the ReReading Wolfe podcast.

Gene Wolfe, The Claw of the Conciliator. Re-re-rereading along with the ReReading Wolfe podcast.
Sarah Vowell, The Wordy Shipmates. Hilarious, wry, intelligent history of America's Puritans as early founders and modern fallout.
Last edited by Holman on Sun Aug 09, 2020 6:07 pm, edited 11 times in total.
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Smoove_B
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Smoove_B »

Currently reading

Humans: A Brief History of How We F*cked It All Up by Tom Phillips

Finished

100 Deadly Skills by Clint Emerson
100 Deadly Skills - Survival Edition by Clint Emerson
The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout
Boy's Life by Robert McCammon
Paddle Your Own Canoe by Nick Offerman
I'll be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
The Boys Omnibus Vol. 1 TBP by Garth Ennis

10 books read in 2019
Last edited by Smoove_B on Fri Jul 24, 2020 7:42 am, edited 14 times in total.

Jeff V
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Jeff V »

Goal is going to be 100 - I'll need to work harder at to reach it.

Read
Origins - Song of the King's Heart by Nicole Sallak Anderson (K) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
The Institute by Stephen King (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
Dieties by Stuart Clarke (K) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
Ishtar's Legacy by Rachel Sullivan (K) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
Deep Work by Cal Newport (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
Connecting the Dots by John Chambers (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
Waters of Destiny by Ian Watson and Andy West (K) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
Consider the Feat by Carmit Delman (K) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer (A) :binky: :binky:
Authority by Jeff VanderMeer (A) :binky:
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer (A) :binky:
Last Breath by Karin Slaughter (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
Peripheral by Dan Mayer (K) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
Hamilton - The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
The American Plate - A Culinary History in 100 Bites by Libby H. O'Connell (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
Talon (A) by Julie Kagawa :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
Pop Goes the Weasel (A) by James Patterson :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
The Man from the Train by Bill James (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
Cursed by Furies by Diedre Drake (K) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
Lightning Men by Thomas Mullen (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
Apocalypse How? by Galen Surlak-Ramsey (K) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
Girls I Know by Robert Hoxie (K) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
Final Option by Clive Cussler (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
The Book of the Moon by Maggie Aderin-Pocock (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

Cross the Line by James Patterson (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
A Trace of Death by Blake Pierce (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
The Oracle by Clive Cussler (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Meija (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson (K) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
Every Anxious Wave by Mo Daviau (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
Extinction Horizon by Nicholas Sansbury-Smith (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
Extinction Edge by Nicholas Sansbury-Smith (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

Extinction Age by Nicholas Sansbury-Smith (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
Mistress of Dragons by Margaret Weis (A) :binky: :binky: :binky:
Journey of the Pharaohs by Clive Cussler (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
Wrath of Poseidon by Clive Cussler (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
We Have No Idea by Jorge Cham (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
Lost by James Patterson (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (A) :binky: :binky:
The Warning by James Patterson (A) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:


Reading

We Have No Idea by Jorge Cham (A)
Beast Heart by Kyle Richardson (K)



2020 totals: Books Read: 48 Pages Read: 18,390 Pages per Day: 87
2019 Totals - Books read: 85 Pages Read: 31,678 Pages per day: 87
2018 totals - Books read: 104 Pages Read: 32,646 Pages per day: 89
Last edited by Jeff V on Sat Aug 01, 2020 9:31 am, edited 22 times in total.

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Archinerd
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Archinerd »

reticulating splines...

Read:
APR - Dungeoneers: Mazerynth
APR - The Handmaid's Tale
APR - The First 15 lives of Harry August
Last edited by Archinerd on Sat Apr 25, 2020 10:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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El Guapo
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Re: Books Read 2020

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Last edited by El Guapo on Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:05 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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Isgrimnur
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Re: Books Read 2020

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null

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ImLawBoy
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by ImLawBoy »

Read:
Good Omens - Neil Gaiman &Terry Pratchett (Kindle)
Growing Things and Other Stories - Paul Tremblay (Kindle)
Lost Hills - Lee Goldberg (Kindle)
How To Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe - Charles Yu (Kindle)
In the Dark - Loreth Anne White (Kindle)
The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco (Kindle)
The Institute - Stephen King (Paper)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman (Kindle)
Zero K - Don DeLillo (Paper)
Bleeding Edge - Thomas Pynchon (Paper)
Destination: Morgue! - James Ellroy (Paper)
Point B (A Teleportation Love Story) - Drew Magary (Kindle)

Currently Reading
A Brief History of Seven Killings - Marlon James (Kindle)
This Storm - James Ellroy (Paper)

2019 - 21 books
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xenocide
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by xenocide »

Read Audible:

Beautiful by Juliet Marillier - Well the year is off to a good start. I liked this quite a bit. It's audible only. It's inspired by the Nordic fairy tale "East of the Sun and West of the Moon", but you don't need any knowledge of that story, I had none. It does have a bit of a YA feel. It tells the tale of a mountain princess and her coming of age and adventures. I know it's the first book I have read all year but I think this will stay near the top of my 2020 favorites.

The Secret of the Dark Forest: The Way of the Shaman 3 by Vasily Mahanenko
Spaceside: Planetside Book 2 by Michael Mammay
The Dark Monk: Hangman's Daughter Book 2 by Oliver Pötzsch
Reset by Brian Andrews
No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy


Read Kindle/Paper

Limitless Lands Book 2: Conquest by Dean Henegar
Last edited by xenocide on Sat Feb 01, 2020 2:21 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Jolor
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Jolor »

Read
:clap: Brilliant. Recommended for fans of any genre
:coffee: A Library borrow (support your local ...)

Vengeful - Schwab :clap:
The Winter of the Witch (Winternight # 3) - Arden
The New Voices of Science Fiction - Rajaniemi/Weisman (ed) :coffee:
The Alchemist's Daughter - Goss :coffee:
The Monster of Elendhaven - Giesbrecht :coffee:
A Little Hatred - Abercrombie :coffee:
The Guinevere Deception - White :coffee:
Foresight - Hamilton

The Queen of Swords - Belcher
The Walking Dead Compendium 4
The Dragon Republic - Kuang
Last Song Before Night - Myer (reread)
The Secret Chapter - Cogman
Fire Dance - Myer (reread)
The Shadow Lamp - Lawhead (reread)
The Fatal Tree - Lawhead

The Poet King - Myer
The Executioner's Heart (A Newbury & Hobbs Investigation) - Mann (reread)
The Revenant Express (A Newbury & Hobbs Investigation) - Mann
Homo Deus - Harari
Black Leopard, Red Wolf - James
Information Wars - Stengel
A Plague of Giants - Hearne
The Diamond Queen of Singapore - Hamilton

A Blight of Blackwings - Hearne
Little Brother - Doctorow
Homeland - Doctorow

Reading
Sailing to Sarantium (The Sarantine Mosaic, Book 1) - Kay
Last edited by Jolor on Sun Aug 09, 2020 7:11 pm, edited 35 times in total.
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Kasey Chang
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Kasey Chang »

Finished "Talking to Strangers" by Malcolm Gladwell

What does the Brock Turner case (the campus rapist), CIA intelligence disaster in Cuba, Hitler and Chamberlain, Amanda Knox case (accused of murder in Italy), and Sandra Bland case (arrested for improper signaling, committed suicide), all have in common?

Misreading people, in often the most difficult or stressful of circumstances.

Brock Turner insists he had permission all the way, but both he and his victim are heavily inebriated. The victim claimed she had no memory of going to a party, or leaving with Brock, muchless being assaulted. And it is likely Brock did not either, as evident in his initial police interview. The "I had permission all along" was likely fiction concocted with his defense attorney. But Men-Women relationship is already difficult enough with the mixed signals and hard to read by barely-adults. Add alcohol and party, is it a wonder that why don't even MORE sexual assaults get reported?

CIA had a defector who basically told them that EVERY agent they recruited in Cuba is in fact a double agent. In fact, Cuba even infiltrated the CIA. So what happened to the counter-intel division? Why didn't they catch the double agents or the traitor in their midst?

Chamberlain believed he had gained Hitler's trust and Hitler will not start a war or annex more territory. He was obviously wrong in hindsight, but at the time, many believe he was right in at least trying. How was he fooled by Hitler? Did he just saw what he wanted to see?

Amanda Knox is a pretty traditional American girl in Italy with a local boyfriend. When her roommate was killed, Italian police arrested her and her boyfriend along with the kiler and constructed an elaborate sex-game-gone-wrong scenario. She was eventually acquitted. But why did they zero in on her anyway? Was it just her non-traditional reaction to her roommate's death?

Sandra Bland's case may have been an overeager police officer, but what brought on the overeagerness? Is this the failure of one man (and one woman's) failure to communicate (he's looking for trouble, she's had bad experience with cops), or indicative of police chiefs getting the wrong lesson from an experiment in pinpoint enforcement to drive down crime rates?

Very interesting questions asked, and dug deep behind the initial impressions and news coverage into the issues behind the issues.
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Kasey Chang
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Kasey Chang »

Finished You Have the Right to Remain Innocent by James Duane

Law professor James Duane gave al lecture in 2008 explaining why you should NEVER agree to answer questions from the police, esp. if you are innocent. This book is the expansion upon that lecture, using real examples of wrongful convictions, explaining why police are your enemy looking for evidence of guilt, and EVERY word you said can be misconstrued and used against you, esp. if you are innocent.

Unless you unequivocally declare clearly that you wanted a lawyer, and repeat that any time a police ask you more questions, police can continue to question you, and if you eventually broke down and started to confess, what you said will be admissible. You cannot be polite and phrase it in the form of a question.

Remaining silent will NOT work. Silence was not accepted by the court as refusal to be interrogated.

Prosecutors have even used the fact that the suspect pled the fifth, to make the poor guy look guilty (i.e. if he wasn't guilty he wouldn't have pled the fifth).

Police is also allowed to lie about anything and everything in order to pressure the suspect into a confession. They are allowed to lie to father of missing child because they suspected him (wrongfully) had a part in the disappearance, as they have already found the body, but they told him they're still looking, hoping he'd slip up.

Police will also take the most innocent of statements and turn it into circumstantial evidence. One of the easiest lies is "Your photo was picked out by a witness from a lineup". The suspect replied "she's mistaken". Police zero'ed in on that: how would you have known our witness is female? Huh? Well, it's a 50/50 chance of being right, huh? But to police, it's a confession.

In fact, police and prosecutors tell their own children to SAY NOTHING to police. Not a joke.

Here's him talking about the book
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by ImLawBoy »

Finished Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. As most of you probably already know, this is a heartwarming tale of the pending apocalypse and the young antichrist who may or may not bring it to occur. An angel (Aziraphale) and a demon (Crowley) who've been on earth since Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden know that the antichrist has been born, which means Armageddon will happen soon. The problem is that they both kind of like living on Earth with humans, so they try to figure out a way to prevent it from happening without upsetting their superiors. Meanwhile the antichrist is growing up blissfully unaware of his destiny as a normal 11 year old boy in England. This was pretty much what I expected - funny, exciting, thoughtful, and bizarre. I may make an effort to watch the Amazon Prime series of this if I see the reviews were good.

Up next is Growing Things and Other Stories by Paul Tremblay. It's a recently released collection of short horror stories that I've heard good things about, so I'm looking forward to it.
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Jeff V
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Jeff V »

Origins - Song of the King's Heart by Nicole Sallak Anderson (K) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

Nicole Anderson interjects a lot of historical flavor into this introductory novel about an Egyptian insurrection that occurred late in the reign of Ptolemy IV. A king from Upper Egypt, Hugronophor, begins a civil war, with his three sons playing varying roles. The book is mostly about the sons (one of which succeeds Hugronophor, but the actual history of these two seem poorly documented). There is a fair amount of mysticism thrown in, but thematically so; I didn't have a problem with it being too much of a distraction in the narrative. Otherwise, the novel seems like a plausible tale set during this period.. I look forward to the next book.

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Scuzz
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Scuzz »

A World Lit Only by Fire by William Manchester

I grabbed this book at a library used book sale. I have read a couple of Manchester's other books and thought I would give it a try. Interesting book. It is sub-titled "The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance: Portrait of an Age", and I found it very well written and full of little facts I didn't know. Manchester spends most of the book discussing the Catholic Church, the Papacy and the reformation and how they ended the renaissance. The book also deals with the voyage of Magellan and how the church dealt with that. In between he writes about the great painters and thinkers of the day, and how they walked the fine line between originality and heresy with the church.

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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Jeff V »

Dieties by Stuart Clarke (K) :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky: :binky:

Old gods never die, they just continue doing what they do in spite of what goes on in the mortal world. That is, until they find themselves in the mortal world, and discover they are no longer immortal.

The premise is all pantheons that ever existed are alive and well in their various godly domains. Gods of good are locked into a thousands-year struggle with gods of dark to obtain a gate that allows transit to the earth. They Egyptian god Horus turns the tables on both sides though, and grabs this device for the Egyptians only. Meanwhile, beginning with Apollo, gods are to earth, some to die.

The earthly part feels more like American Gods where things play out in the San Francisco area. Gods do not retain their powers, but still have their talents - Apollo is an incredible musician, Freyja a skilled warrior, Bacchus a party animal, etc. Artemis takes on her Roman analog's name Diana and becomes a homicide cop. A native American god Coyote creates all sorts of havoc (a trickster god akin to Loki).

Several gods do not survive the drama playing out on Earth. In the heavens, gods and their minions are constantly resurrected, but death on Earth is permanent. Among the plot lines is the unexplained absence of Zeus, unresolved this book and left as a cliff-hanger to entice one to read the next. And I think I shall, this was pretty fun in a brain candy sort of way.

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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Rumpy »

The Dog Master by W. Bruce Cameron. After reading A Dog's Purpose, I took quite a liking to his writing and ended up reading the other novels. Thanks, Dae, for turning me on to him. This one is speculative fiction and set during the Upper Paleolithic and in the novel, he speculates how the wolf would have become domesticated into the dog. The novel plays out as two tribes with completely different customs trying to survive out in the harsh wilderness in the dawn of the ice age and how the wolf comes into the equation. It was a fun read and I'd be up for reading a sequel as it seems left open for one.
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Blackhawk »

I am trying to read The Black Company by Glen Cook. I really want to like this, and it gets such universal praise that I really want to give it a chance, but I'm halfway through the first book, and I'm just not enjoying it.

~Nothing at all is described. He simply states the name of place, person, or thing and that's it.
~Nothing at all is explained. He refers to nations (or are they cities? Factions? I have no idea), events, roles, major people, but doesn't say what any of them are. It's like he's writing for people who live in this world who already know these things from grade school. The Lady, The Ten Who Were Taken, etc. None of it is described or explained, so I have no inkling of what the events and the characters' decisions actually represent. And the Company - am I riding along with a group of 20 men, or 5,000?
~There is no real dialog. The characters don't talk, save for a word here or there. We don't get to know any of them, save for the one whose eyes we're looking through.

All the book really gives us is brief summaries of events after they've taken place (for example, battles are two sentence summaries after the fact), followed by brief interludes where things happen without context.
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Bad Demographic
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Bad Demographic »

I forgot to list several books I read in 2019 and now don't recall what they were. I'll try to do better this year.
Meanwhile, the best book I read last year was Matt Ruff's Lovecraft Country which takes place largely in the Chicago area during the Jim Crow era.

ReadIng:


Read:
Nothing But Blue Sky by Tom Holt
Only Human by Tom Holt
Sword of Destiny (audio book) by Andrezj Sapkowski
The Last Wish (audio book) by Andrezj Sapkowski
Bryant & May: the Lonely Hour by Christopher Fowler
Blood of Elves (audio book) by Andrezj Sapkowski
Blue Moon by Lee Child
The Time of Contempt (audio book) by Andrezj Sapkowski
False Value by Ben Aaronovitch
Baptism of Fire (audio book) by Andrezj Sapkowski

Tower of Swallows by Andrezj Sapkowski
Lady of the Lake by Andrezj Sapkowski
Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
A Very Scalzi Christmas by John Scalzi
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Bad Demographic »

Blackhawk wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:12 am
I am trying to read The Black Company by Glen Cook. I really want to like this, and it gets such universal praise that I really want to give it a chance, but I'm halfway through the first book, and I'm just not enjoying it.
The Black Company books are annals kept by various members of the Black Company, so there won't be much of the exposition you would normally get from a novel. The important thing, though, is that if you're not enjoying it, just move on. I never cared for either Game of Thrones or the Jim Butcher books - tried multiple times with both but still don't like them. There are so many other books to try - I moved on.
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by ImLawBoy »

Bad Demographic wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 12:28 pm
Meanwhile, the best book I read last year was Matt Ruff's Lovecraft Country which takes place largely in the Chicago area during the Jim Crow era.
I loved that book. It's being turned into an HBO series executive produced by Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams.
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Scuzz »

Bad Demographic wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 12:31 pm
Blackhawk wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:12 am
I am trying to read The Black Company by Glen Cook. I really want to like this, and it gets such universal praise that I really want to give it a chance, but I'm halfway through the first book, and I'm just not enjoying it.
The Black Company books are annals kept by various members of the Black Company, so there won't be much of the exposition you would normally get from a novel. The important thing, though, is that if you're not enjoying it, just move on. I never cared for either Game of Thrones or the Jim Butcher books - tried multiple times with both but still don't like them. There are so many other books to try - I moved on.
I think the first books in the series work because of the characters involved and the story, but the following books, not so much.

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Re: Books Read 2020

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Finished "Socrates and the Councillor" by Thomas Fay 4.5/5

In the year 2044, Iona Corporation has successfully taken over what used to be Sydney, Australia, and declared itself an independent city-state. And they are on the verge of getting a seat on the UN, mainly due to its revolutionary clean-energy known as the "flux cell". With the UN Security Council Summit soon to be held in Iona things are about to get dicey. VERY dicey. // John Tesh was a relatively new Sentinel, the top law enforcement agents of Iona, answerable only to "The Chief" (no names), and the Iona Councillors themselves. John just got a new partner, Socrates, who has his own secrets, and some hidden powers. And they will need all of their powers and expertise to face down the nameless and faceless adversaries who has managed to smuggle a military grade anti-air missile into the country, but also hacked traffic control system and even the Sentinel and the Iona surveillance systems themselves. When all signs point toward the UN meeting being the target, and some of the enemies claimed to be UN security agents and diplomatic immunity, Tesh found himself in a power struggle chasing after enemies after things he doesn't know yet...

Good detective novel with mystery and scifi action.
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Re: Books Read 2020

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The Wheel of Time, Book 2: The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan (audiobook). I enjoyed the heist-like situations (the run-in with the fireworks people particularly amused me), and the incredibly intense climax. (Seriously, where the heck is this 14-book series headed after book 2 ends like that?) I was also intrigued by the politics and structure of the Aes Sedai and the Seanchan's brutal and grim form of magical slavery. But most of the book was about people traveling from point A to point B, either chasing after something or running away from something, complaining all the way about how tired they are. Well I'm tired, too. 5 out of 8 cuendillars.

The Wheel of Time, Book 3: The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan (audiobook). I like this more than the boring book 2 and maybe even more than book 1. We have the first meaningful interaction with the fascinating Aiel, some neat sci-fi touches with parallel universes and chaos theory, mindbending layers of suspicion at the White Tower, and a touching scene in which one of the adventurers reacquaints himself with his former profession. Even the audio narrator sounds more into it this time. The one thing I don't like is the new tagalong Faile, who has yet to justify her annoying existence. 6 out of 8 lucky dice.

Nora Simeon Investigations Book 1: The Demons of Wall Street by Laurence Raphael Brothers (ebook, LibraryThing Early Review). This is the first book I received in the LTER program. And I'm the first LT user to review the book, I'm proud to say. At first, I enjoyed this story about a hot-tempered detective and the demonic underworld she has to infiltrate. The demons are incredibly cool and quite distinct from any other type of beast (so much so that, as the book admits, the term "demon" is a misnomer). The detective's fiery attitude is exactly what's needed to get these freaks to cooperate. But the second act of the story is taken up by an uncharacteristic romance with a Marty Stu. The third act wraps things up through dissatisfying exposition. This could have been a sassy, supernatural potboiler had it maintained the spark and moxie of its first act. 2 of out 8 Japanese take-out meals shared with the person who, just a minute ago, made love to you or pointed a gun at you.

The Vision: The Complete Collection by Tom King (trade paperback): I'm not much into comics or superheroes, but I bought this on a friend's recommendation and enjoyed it. Vision, a Marvel Avenger android superhero and his android wife and kids try to live normal lives in suburban Washington, D.C. The 12 comics in the collection raise a lot of intriguing psychological and philosophical questions. Things get disturbing when characters have to choose between serving their family and serving society. I was a little confused by the interaction with other Avenger superheroes since I don't follow their stories, but I got the gist. 6 out of 8 homemade cookies.

The Cooperating Witness by Mike Avery (ebook, LibraryThing Early Review). This legal thriller/mystery is about the defense of a murder suspect, in a case that both the FBI and the mob have a lot of interest in. I liked and identified with both the mediocre, burned out defense attorney Bobby Coughlin and his ambitious, empathetic young intern Susan Sorella. Despite smooth prose and a few vivacious scenes of food and cooking, the writing is a bit dry. When Susan befriends another woman, their first conversation is just an exchange of curricula vitae, lacking real rapport. And a chapter from the POV of FBI agents is all bluster and procedure, like a bad cop show. But the story ends in an exciting trial that honors the rules of evidence without getting bogged down in them. 5 out of 8 sips of grappa.

Unplugged by Joe Barrett (ebook, LibraryThing Early Review). This novel, which is about a tech tycoon who decides to ditch his smartphone and unplug from the world, begins with some of the funniest writing I've ever read. I laughed so hard it hurt, no exaggeration. Though this book isn't sci-fi, it reminded me of the droll farce of Douglas Adams's novels. I was really interested in how the unplugged lifestyle would work, and how the protagonist would manage all the idiots and manipulators in his life. The book dials the humor down a bit when the protagonist, finally liberated from distraction, looks inward and figures out who he wants to be. He gets involved in a social cause, a romance, and an identity mix-up that he doesn't want to resolve just yet. The climax has the nuttiness of a John Hughes movie until it crosses a line, and crosses it hard. Though I didn't enjoy the ending as much as the beginning, it makes its point well: attention is everything. 5 out of 8 defenestrated iPhones.

Winning the Game of Work: Career Happiness and Success on Your Own Terms by Terry Boyle McDougall (ebook, LibraryThing Member Giveaweay): This is the first book I've received through the LT Giveaway program. The author, a career coach, gives advice on finding your own path, listening to your internal cues while managing the "gremlin" on your shoulder, breaking away from your ingrained beliefs and others' expectations, avoiding perfectionism, dealing with toxicity, gaining recognition, delegating, and getting stuff done. I've heard a lot of this advice before from other sources such as the Jocko Podcast, though the material on delegating is new to me and I think it will help. There is a lot of biographical fluff which can be skipped or skimmed as it's not vital for understanding the main points. Each chapter ends with a list of brainstorming questions; I didn't bother answering them, though others may find them useful. In general, this book can be helpful to those who feel stuck in their jobs or simply want to do better. 5 out of 8 pomodoro timers.

Pursuing Fedhisss: An Outer Space Odyssey by William A. Glasser (ebook, LibraryThing Member Giveaweay): Two alien scientists named Urr and Fedhisss land in small town America. Fedhisss has destructive plans and Urr wants to stop him. This brief, breezy book feels like the extraterrestrial movies that were popular in the 1980s. It also takes time to raise questions on physics, metaphysics, and philosophy. It's fun, but the climax is not as exciting as I hoped it would be. 4 out of 8 slices of the best damn apple pie in the county.

The Wheel of Time, Book 4: The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan (audiobook): There is a lot of great stuff here. The history of the Aiel, told in reverse chronology, is one of the most poignant chapters in the series so far. We meet the Atha'an Miere who live their entire lives at sea. We return to Two Rivers for the first time since Book 1 and witness much character growth there. We finally enjoy some romance and even a bit of humor, with hijinks in Tanchico and a Warder telling a dad joke. But so much of the book is boring. People stand around and bitterly gripe about prophecies and visions. The Aiel wise women are just as tiresome and catty as the Aes Sedai. The unnecessary details are suffocating; do we have to know the name of every innkeeper and stableboy? And I haven't even reached the dreaded "slog" in the series yet. 5 out of 8 Taraboners.

The Burning, Book 1: The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter (ebook + audiobook): This is the rare fantasy novel to be inspired by African culture. Its hero, Tau Solarin, is short in stature and not a fighter by nature. But cruel circumstances drive him to become the best warrior he can be. His people, the militaristic Omehi, have a fascinating caste system, history, and magic system. Even their units of measurement for time and formation size are cool little details.

The first half of the book is about Tau's development as a soldier, often with blow-by-blow descriptions of fights. I generally don't find martial minutae very interesting, but the author writes it well, taking into account the force and angle of impact, as well as the combatants' fatigue, speed, agility, and sense of balance. It's the second half of the book, full of secrets that dramatically alter and enrich the story, that really blew me away.

I read the ebook while listening to the audiobook. Although this is a slow way to read, it helped me stay focused on the story and learn its vernacular. The narrator, Prentice Onayemi, has a soft intensity and is great at giving characters distinct personalities and accents.

I look forward to the sequel that's expected to come out in November. 6 out of 8 cups of masmas.

Murder the March Hare by H. Lyall (ebook, LibraryThing Early Review): Teenagers in a psychiatric hospital launch their own investigation when one of them is found dead. They have to struggle with the hospital staff and their own delusions to find answers. It's like The Breakfast Club meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. It's a decent story overall with compassion for mental illness sufferers and observations on how trauma can shatter the mind. But the book feels a bit too long and some of the POV characters (particularly Tia and Kelly) aren't as fleshed out as the others. The ending is not completely satisfying, but that fits one of the book's themes: you have to move on even when you can't get all the answers you want. 4 out of 8 imaginary cartoon squirrels.

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Dark Harvest by Cat Sparks (ebook, LibraryThing Early Review): a collection of the author's postapocalyptic short stories. She has neat ideas and an eye for culture. Also, her characters are often middle-aged or elderly women, who typically don't get the spotlight in other tales. But she rarely ends her stories properly, preferring to just leave an impression or even a postscript explaining her intended message. The occasional non-ending can be cool, but most stories shouldn't leave the reader asking "that's it?"

Overall rating: 3 guns out of 8. Below are my thoughts on each story.
  1. Hot Rods: I like the Elvis-impersonating preacher who, if you pay him enough, will fly a crop duster and persuade God to make it rain. But Ms. Sparks describes the action too haphazardly. Her sentences often lack clear subjects and are overloaded with strained analogies. It's hard to follow what's going on. One of my favorite authors, William Gibson, sometimes writes like this. But he always puts something grounded in every sentence, something I can latch onto even when things seem alien. With Mr. Gibson, I always have the gist of what's going on. Not so with Sparks.
  2. Cassini Falling: An assassin on a cruise ship looks forward to retirement after this one last job. Has a good ending, but the same unclear writing problem as the first story.
  3. Hacking Santorini: An 88-minute war fragmented the world's electronic records, making all written records, even postcards, ultra-valuable. That's a cool lore detail for an otherwise flabbergasting story.
  4. Dragon Girl: the first story that I could understand, and which has strong characters. But this tale about a girl who falls in with a desert-wandering tribe doesn't have an ending. It turns out to be a side story for the author's novel, Lotus Blue. I might actually check that out someday.
  5. You Will Remember Who You Were: I really liked the main character: an elderly self-centered art snob who lives in an arcology and is obsessed with finding out whether the graffiti attack that ruined her performance was a posthumous prank by Bansky. She's preciously annoying and ignorant, but also curious about the artistic implications of everything around her. No ending except for the author's explanation that it's a message about climate change.
  6. Fate Morgana: an elderly woman rides the desert in a talking mech. I found it fascinating that sufficiently sophisticated AIs would learn to be just as passive-aggressive as humans. It's an alright story, though I'm puzzled and dissatisfied by the ending. And I don't like being asked to believe that a mech twice the height of a human can transform into something the size and shape of a human.
  7. Before Dominica: finally, a story with a reasonable ending. A decent, if not memorable, tale about an impoverished middle-aged waitress who pines for her friend who had disappeared while trying to move up in the oppressive new government.
  8. The Seventh Relic: I had to re-read the first part as the writing style had the same problem as the first three stories. But one re-read made the premise clear, and it's a good one despite being horror instead of postapocalyptic. A Buddhist monk has, for 1,300 years, kept the soul of her lover alive by feeding spiritual energy to a monster. But she sees a chance to break the curse when a vapid white American girl visits the monastery. Unfortunately, the story ends just when things are getting really good.
  9. And the Ship Sails On: the longest and best story, full of adventure and terror. A luxury cruise ship has roamed the plastic-filled seas for years in search of habitable land. The rich people on board try to maintain their privilege and exclusivity, even though a good part of the ship is so overgrown with weeds that you can have a legitimate safari in it. The author includes some interesting details on how the ship can stay in operation for so long and what society is like on board. The ending, though ... I guess it's meant to be allegorical instead of literal. Like the ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Speaking of movies, I'd like to see the Fellini film that inspired the title.
  10. Jericho Blush: scavengers loot a hastily abandoned town and get more than they bargained for. A decent story with a proper ending.
  11. No Fat Chicks: fat-shaming douchebros cope in a world where a viral infection has made most women obese. Good dialogue, introspective look into the stunted psychology of many men. Ends abruptly and ambiguously when things are getting good.
  12. Veterans Day: street urchin finds out firsthand the truth about the city's virgin sacrifice ritual. Too brief and insubstantial.
  13. Dark Harvest: mercenaries try to evacuate a planet they plundered, contending with the mysterious natives. Pretty cool revelation at the end.
  14. Prayers to Broken Stone: a series of loosely connected stories about tradecraft. I like the first and last ones.

5 books read in 2019.
Last edited by Hipolito on Tue Aug 04, 2020 1:49 am, edited 9 times in total.
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Re: Books Read 2020

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No Country for Old Men, Cormac McCarthy Listened and read this. Highly recommended even if you have seen the movie.

The movie has Anton Shigur not saying a whole lot which was interesting but left a lot of questions. The book has a lot more dialog for Shigur, still equally creepy and lots of unanswered questions still. Have a better understanding of the Sheriff and Llewellyn Moss. If you listen to it the reader is very very good.

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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by xenocide »

Jaddison wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 9:59 am
No Country for Old Men, Cormac McCarthy Listened and read this. Highly recommended even if you have seen the movie.

The movie has Anton Shigur not saying a whole lot which was interesting but left a lot of questions. The book has a lot more dialog for Shigur, still equally creepy and lots of unanswered questions still. Have a better understanding of the Sheriff and Llewellyn Moss. If you listen to it the reader is very very good.
Nice. I picked this up a while back in an audible sale but haven't gotten to it yet. I think I'll make it my next listen.

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Re: Books Read 2020

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Finished Growing Things and Other Stories by Paul Tremblay. This is a satisfying collection of (mostly) horror stories. Tremblay understands that for short horror you don't need to have an explanation for whatever the oddity is - the short form gives the author space to explore without having it tied down in logic or plausibility. Not every story worked (there was one about dog walkers that didn't do much for me), but for the most part these were really solid.

Up next is Lost Hills by Lee Goldberg. This is an Amazon freebie about a Los Angeles County Sheriff's detective on her first big murder case. I'm not expecting much out of it, but I've been surprised by these freebies before.
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Re: Books Read 2020

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Finished Lost Hills by Lee Goldberg. While this wasn't exactly great, it was probably a bit better than I expected. Eve Ronin (good Lord are thriller names obvious and stupid) is a new homicide detective for the LA Sheriff's Department. The other officers resent her because she's young and a woman and probably got her job for PR reasons. She picks up her first case, which is the triple homicide slaughter of a mother and her two kids in their home, and the family reminds her so much of her family growing up. Detective Ronin is going to have to be smarter and more dogged than anyone else to fight upstream to solve this case. The plot is pretty standard for this kind of book - lots of blood, late hours, puzzles that don't come together to the end. It's saving grace is that it's well written. Even though the ending was pretty obvious, it was still tense getting there. Lee Goldberg has a long line of book and TV credits to his name (including both the TV show and books for Monk), so he knows what he's doing. This promises to be the first in the Eve Ronin series, but I wasn't really interested enough in any of the characters to bother with a second version (unless it were free, maybe).

Up next is How To Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu. I heard about this recently and it sounds good - sci fi, but not dystopian and with a good sense of humor. Yu apparently has some work on the first season of Westworld on his resume, plus this fits with my occasional efforts to expand my boundaries beyond white male authors.
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Isgrimnur »

Isgrimnur wrote:
Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:19 am
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu

Meh. I honestly wouldn't recommend it to anyone as a good book. It's an interesting setting let down with a mediocre story.

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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Jeff V »

Jeff V wrote:Re: Need Book Reccomendation - Sci Fi/Fantasy
Post by Isgrimnur » Wed May 21, 2014 12:18 pm

Jeff V wrote:
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu

It's first person and humor. I didn't like it (largely because it was first person), so I can't really give it a recommendation, but it seems to be the sort of thing you are looking for.

I didn't care for it either. It took what should have been a comedic setting and turned it rather dark.

I'd recommend Man in the Empty Suit by Sean Farrell.
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Re: Books Read 2020

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Isgrimnur wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:30 pm
Isgrimnur wrote:
Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:19 am
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu

Meh. I honestly wouldn't recommend it to anyone as a good book. It's an interesting setting let down with a mediocre story.
At first I thought you posted that in this thread and i was wondering how I missed it. Then I followed the link and saw it was in the 2011 thread, so I don't feel too bad about it. Anyway I'm already into it, so we'll see how it goes to me and we can compare notes!
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Re: Books Read 2020

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January
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Re: Books Read 2020

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I have to cut down on my book reading and reviewing as I have to concentrate on my online courses.
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Re: Books Read 2020

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Finished 9 books in January at a rate of 110 pages per day. Completed my 2 business-related books per year goal for work at the same time. Ahead of the goals I guess, except for the one where I beat out Freelunch.

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Re: Books Read 2020

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I don't consider page count to be a valid metric, but you do have me beat there - my daily page average for January is 104.
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by xenocide »

freelunch wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 10:40 pm
I don't consider page count to be a valid metric
Care to elaborate? Seems like a good metric to me.

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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by xenocide »

Spaceside: Planetside Book 2 by Michael Mammay - Military SciFi thriller. Good continuation of the series. A little more corporate intrigue then the first book. Not quite as good as the first but still quite good. Looking forward to more in the series.

The Dark Monk: Hangman's Daughter Book 2 by Oliver Pötzsch - Another good sequel, but this one I think I liked even more than the first in the series. A historical thriller/mystery set in medieval Bavaria. Interesting historical setting set in an area I have not read much about so it feels fresh to me. Also some really good characters.

Reset by Brian Andrews - a modern day scifi thriller. I found this book middle of the road for the most part. But it did have a good ending that I did not see coming.

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy - I agree with Jaddison's review, especially what he had to say about Shigur. Very good book and very good narration.

Limitless Lands Book 2: Conquest by Dean Henegar - a good litrpg with a different take on the main character. Main character is a Commander who focuses on commanding troops as opposed to having a bunch of powerful skills himself. Think if you dropped a Roman Legion into a D&D campaign.

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Re: Books Read 2020

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xenocide wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 1:55 am
freelunch wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 10:40 pm
I don't consider page count to be a valid metric
Care to elaborate? Seems like a good metric to me.
- Page count in a given work can vary greatly between editions
- Page count in eBooks is highly suspect, I've seen cases of books with the same word count being 200 pages different in length according to Amazon
- Jeff V listens to audiobooks which technically have zero pages :p

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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by raydude »

I didn’t think of this thread as a competition. More like a recommendations list. To that end, thank you to all who read and posted impressions. I have found several great books here.

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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Jaddison »

xenocide wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 2:20 am
Spaceside: Planetside Book 2 by Michael Mammay - Military SciFi thriller. Good continuation of the series. A little more corporate intrigue then the first book. Not quite as good as the first but still quite good. Looking forward to more in the series.

The Dark Monk: Hangman's Daughter Book 2 by Oliver Pötzsch - Another good sequel, but this one I think I liked even more than the first in the series. A historical thriller/mystery set in medieval Bavaria. Interesting historical setting set in an area I have not read much about so it feels fresh to me. Also some really good characters.

Reset by Brian Andrews - a modern day scifi thriller. I found this book middle of the road for the most part. But it did have a good ending that I did not see coming.

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy - I agree with Jaddison's review, especially what he had to say about Shigur. Very good book and very good narration.

Limitless Lands Book 2: Conquest by Dean Henegar - a good litrpg with a different take on the main character. Main character is a Commander who focuses on commanding troops as opposed to having a bunch of powerful skills himself. Think if you dropped a Roman Legion into a D&D campaign.
About No Country for Old Men. Once I fully took in the journey of the Sheriff Bell this has become a book I will re-read and probably multiple times. How i wish they had given Tommie Lee Jones all that extra material to work with. Bell's story both present and past, Moss's dialog as he makes his decisions and then Shigur make me wish I had read this much earlier as by now I would have re-read it several times.

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