Books Read 2024

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Hipolito
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Re: Books Read 2024

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Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (audiobook): For the first half of this book, I was completely hooked. It had an amazing story with a huge wow moment in practically every chapter. It went further than the author's more well-known book The Martian by using science to not only solve problems but also reveal mysteries, and managed to be even more funny and endearing in the process.

For the second half, the wow moments were as impactful but fewer in number and the explanation of math and engineering was excessive. For example, there's an entire paragraph about sealing a puncture with epoxy. It describes how hot the epoxy was and how long it had to be held in place to allow it to seal. It could have just said "I epoxied the hole" and moved on. I know many readers love these details, but I mentally checked out and waited for the next plot development.

An advantage The Martian has over this book is that it requires much less suspension of disbelief. A big part of The Martian's appeal, I think, is that we could actually accomplish what was done in it today. Project Hail Mary is far more speculative, but asks really cool questions and answers them plausibly.

While I don't think this book deserves classic status as much as The Martian does, it's a worthwhile read. I'm glad I went into it knowing nothing about the story and that I went for the excellent audiobook version. 6 out of 8 burritos.
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Re: Books Read 2024

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I concur with your Mexican food analysis.
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Re: Books Read 2024

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I loved that book. Really quite an imaginative setup and the alien was really well thought out. It actually reminded me of the classic sci-fi from the golden age, where a lot of it was big ideas. I've heard there's a movie on the way with Ryan Reynolds as the main character. Though, I worry about how much of it will be depicted since most of the development throughout the story is via the language.
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Re: Books Read 2024

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Rumpy wrote:I've heard there's a movie on the way with Ryan Reynolds as the main character. Though, I worry about how much of it will be depicted since most of the development throughout the story is via the language.
Actually, the movie will star Ryan Gosling (not Reynolds) and it's being directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller...the two guys responsible for writing Lego Movie 1 & 2 and Spiderman: Across the Spider verse. The script was written by Drew Goddard who directed Cabin In the Woods. I have really high hopes as long as they can pull off a good depiction of Rocky...
Last edited by disarm on Fri May 24, 2024 12:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Rumpy
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Re: Books Read 2024

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disarm wrote: Fri May 24, 2024 12:07 am
Rumpy wrote:I've heard there's a movie on the way with Ryan Reynolds as the main character. Though, I worry about how much of it will be depicted since most of the development throughout the story is via the language.
Actually, the movie will star Ryan Gosling (not Reynolds) and it's being directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller...the two guys responsible for writing Lego Movie 1 & 2 and Spiderman: Across the Spider verse. The script was written by Drew Goddard who directed Cabin In the Woods[/]. I have really high hopes as long as they can pull off a good depiction of Rocky...


Heh, I knew at least it was one of the Ryans. For whatever reason, I get both of them mixed up. And they're both Canadian, go figure. Ok, so yeah, that does fill me with a bit more hope. And +1 on Rocky. He was an awesome character. The key to the movie will definitely be in how they depict that character.
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Re: Books Read 2024

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Decision at Thunder Rift by William H. Keith Jr. - BattleTech: The Saga of the Gray Death Legion Part 1
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Hipolito
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Re: Books Read 2024

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Teixcalaan, Book 1: A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (audiobook): this space opera novel follows Mahit, a young woman who lives on a space station that is a sovereign entity. She is appointed to replace Yskander, the station's ambassador to the massive Teixcalaan space empire.

She has a brain implant that is supposed to contain Yskander's memories, which would allow her to not only access Yskander's knowledge but also have conversations with his personality. However, because Yskander has not returned to the station for a long time, she is missing the last 15 years of Yskander's memories. So she's operating at a disadvantage while trying to integrate into Teixcalaan society, convince the empire not to annex her space station, and find Yskander.

This book has won the Hugo Award and just about every sci-fi BookTuber says it's a must-read. I do like some aspects of it. Teixcalaan's fascinating culture reveres poetry (even its emergency broadcast announcements are in verse) and gives its children names like Five Agate and Six Direction. (What's your Teixcalaan name? Mine is Forty-Two Towel.) The book thoughtfully explores linguistics, relationships, and society through Mahit's eyes and ears. Mahit has an interesting inner conflict as someone who adores Teixcalaan even while knowing it doesn't have her people's best interests in mind. I particularly liked the cheerful, dry wit of Three Seagrass, Mahit's liaison to the empire.

But I didn't much enjoy the reading experience. Mahit's extensive internal dialogue makes for a slow read and the plot is ultimately not that interesting. The highfalutin prose, which uses words like "synecdoche," doesn't do well in audiobook format. Comparing this book to other stories of space diplomacy, I like The Left Hand of Darkness more and the interactive fiction game Floatpoint much more.

I think A Memory Called Empire would have worked better as a short story or novella. I doubt I'll be reading the sequel, A Desolation Called Peace, which also won the Hugo! 3 out of 8 infofiche sticks sealed with wax.
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Re: Books Read 2024

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After finishing Wheel of Time... early this year (I think), I took a couple of months during which reading was relegated to an occasional moment, then decided that I needed something light as a palate cleanser. I went with The Belgariad, something I hadn't read since I was young. It's a very well-known fantasy series, hugely influential and still regularly recommended. I was hesitant given what I've learned about the author ( :shock: ), but I gave it a shot anyway. It was... ok. I found the dialogue awkward and the characterizations 100% trope-based.

In any case, I'm done with that.

Next up, and not certain which to go with:

The Witcher (I read the first two books probably 15 years ago)
Cosmere (Mistborn, specifically)
Discworld (I have bounced off of it three times, but have since found that 'chronological' is a terrible approach to reading - I'm going with a recommendation to start with the City Watch books.)

Others are in the 'unfinished business' category:

I have been wanting to go back and reread/finish the Vlad Taltos series by Steven Brust (a favorite that I'm years behind on), but just found out that its two novels from being complete. I'll wait until then.

I've been wanting to go back to Alan Dean Foster's Humanx novels (which includes Pip & Flinx) for years now, but keep holding off for the same reason - he keeps putting out more.

A third series I've been considering revisiting is Robert Asprin's Myth series (taken up by Jody Lynn Nye after his death.) Again, I read them decades ago, but I'm way behind. It hasn't officially ended, but it's not really the type of series where continuity is vital.
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Re: Books Read 2024

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If you like Alan Dean Foster, consider Split Infinity by Piers Anthony. One of my all time favorites.
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Re: Books Read 2024

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Jaymann wrote: Sun Jun 09, 2024 10:05 pm If you like Alan Dean Foster, consider Split Infinity by Piers Anthony. One of my all time favorites.

The Apprentice Adept series, you mean. ;) I read that in high school, and again a few years later, right alongside the Incarnations of Immortality. Both were great - I've actually got Apprentice Adept on my Kindle for when the mood strikes. But even in high school I couldn't get through more than four or five of the Xanth novels.
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Re: Books Read 2024

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The Light Fantastic (Discworld #2) by Terry Pratchett (ebook): This is the only direct sequel in the Discworld series. I found book 1 flawed but likeable. This one, though, was a mess. The below has what may be considered spoilers in that it implies who survives.

Book 2 starts out by resolving book 1's cliffhanger with a deus ex machina. Although there is much less perspective shifting this time, the story still feels too random. I felt as uncomfortable as Rincewind himself. And I don't think the new characters Cohen and Bethan are as interesting as their similar book 1 counterparts Hrun and Liessa. It was a real slog to read.

I did like:
  • The passage on page 11 about the law against inaccuracies in writing. This was a nice way to lampshade the author's annoying style of prose.
  • What we learn about the spell in Rincewind's head.
  • The troll encounter.
  • The climax and denouement.
I do look forward to more adventures of Rincewind 'n' pals. And now that I'm done with the books most fans say not to start with, I'm excited to continue to book 3. 3 out of 8 horse d'oeuvres.
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Re: Books Read 2024

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Another batch finished:

The Pallbearers Club - Paul Tremblay - I have such a weird relationship with Paul Tremblay books. On one hand, he occasionally comes up with scenes or sentences that chill me to the bone in a way few horror authors have been able to get to me. On the other hand, I also occasionally find his plots a bit obtuse. This was a case of the latter - a strange tale about a guy's memoir of a friend he knew in high school who may or may not have been some sort of supernatural being (along with her notes as to where his memories were wrong). Liked it, not sure I loved it.

The Searchers - Alan Le May - I'd put this in the category of "the movie was better than the book." Even though it's a classic Western novel, I found it rather dry and pedestrian. I love a good Western novel, but I've read many others that aren't considered classics that I enjoyed much more than this one.

The Spine of the World - R.A. Salvatore - The Drizzt novels continue to get more mature and dark with this entry. I've really enjoyed getting out of the sort of "middle school" phase of Drizzt and into some meatier content that isn't just about "Drizzt went here and killed this monster, then he went here and he killed this monster." This trilogy has been very entertaining.

Mort (Discworld #4) - Terry Pratchett - The first of the "Death" novels. I enjoyed this one quite a bit, as Death was one of my favorite characters from the earlier books. Had a lot of fun with this one.
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Re: Books Read 2024

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Rumpy wrote: Wed May 22, 2024 6:39 pm Just started The Defector, the followup up The Apollo Murders by Chris Hadfield. In this one he uses his experience as both a test pilot and fighter pilot to write a top-gun like story set during an alternate history Earth.

So, I finished this, and while I can say I liked it, I didn't love it like I did with The Apollo Murders, and I really wanted to like it more than I did. I think it's because it kind of feels rushed. There's a shell of a good idea there in its concept, but I don't feel it's fully explored. Thus the turnabout about midway through feels like it comes out of nowhere, as the readers have no probable cause. And then there are plot points that feel like seeds for a future novel, that are mentioned here and there but never elaborated on before being dropped altogether. I hate to say it, but I felt disappointed in the end-result. This one didn't resonate with me the same way The Apollo Murders did.
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Re: Books Read 2024

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YellowKing wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 8:23 am

The Searchers - Alan Le May - I'd put this in the category of "the movie was better than the book." Even though it's a classic Western novel, I found it rather dry and pedestrian. I love a good Western novel, but I've read many others that aren't considered classics that I enjoyed much more than this one.

i made sure some years ago to read the three 'classic 'essential' westerns:

Shane - Jack Schaefer : this was actually a good, dare is say, 'fun', read. it's a great old YA book.

Riders of the Purple Sage - Zane Grey : more like _Writers of the Purple Prose_, amirite ... it was definitely flowery in its environmental descriptions

The Virginian - Owen Wister : this was fine, but i don't remember much about it
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Re: Books Read 2024

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No Hank the Cowdog?
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Re: Books Read 2024

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The Lonesome Dove books by Larry McMurtry are probably my favorite westerns I've ever read, followed closely by the Titus Bass series by Terry C. Johnston.
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Re: Books Read 2024

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Jaymann wrote: Sun Jun 09, 2024 10:05 pm consider Split Infinity by Piers Anthony. One of my all time favorites.
I enjoyed the whole series, the premise was quite creative and he didn't flog it to death like he did the Xanth series (his space opera series was also very good).
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