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Reading, Not Watching

So much of last year I watched TV. Perhaps it was the fact that my books were always in storage, and we were constantly moving, and one thing and another. But I didn't have the focussed attention to read more than one or two books a month.

That's changed lately. I'm really not watching TV at all, but I'm reading voraciously. The stack that I'm reading concurrently, with Amazon links:

Privilege of the Sword Ellen Kushner: Sleek urban fantasy without magic, and probably better than the original, Swordspoint. A bit like Brust without the wacky social structure, or like Austen with the addition of swordplay and better treachery.
Forest of Forgetting, Theodora Goss: Suffers from a certain amount of literariness (oddball structures, lack of closure in some stories, weak plotting), but so evocative. And one of her characters is my namesake, which I rarely see in fiction. Anyway, wonderful Central European flavor to these short stories, but wish there were more meat on the stringy literary bones.
Woken Furies, Richard Morgan: Noir in space, third in the Takeshi Kovacs series, dark, bitter, and very good post-cyberpunk.
Four and Twenty Blackbirds, Cherie Priest: Started well, but I got derailed by Kushner and Morgan. I'm a little worried that it's one of those "what's real and what's not" premises, but I find I keep reading... I suspect it's not the novel I *want* it to be, but it keeps digging at me.

Yet to be cracked:

Shadow of the Bear, Brian Payton. Nonfiction about bears.
Snake Agent, Liz Williams. Buddhist detective novel. I'm hoping for an updated Judge Dee.
Vellum, Hal Duncan. Bibliophile horror? Not sure, but I picked it up based on Internet babble.

What are you reading, and would you recommend it?

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( 10 sutras — Your wisdom )
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ironymaiden
Aug. 28th, 2006 03:26 pm (UTC)
i just finished reading Market Forces last night. not recommended. the only non-spoilery complaint i can make is that the ruthless antagonist's only motivation through most of the book is "i don't like your attitude."
kistha
Aug. 28th, 2006 05:32 am (UTC)
Just finished (in under a day) "Sky Burial - An Epic Love Story of Tibet" by Xinran.

Apparently the author is a big hit in China, and this is a story of an old woman (Wen) she met in 1994. Xinran was doing a nightly radio program, and someone told her about his woman, and that she should meet her. For two days Wen told her tale. Then disappeared. It was enough to get me hooked.

The book was interesting, wonderful, and at the end stunningly poignant. The author has a plea to Wen at the end of the book - hoping that she will see the book and get back in contact. I hope she does.
open_design
Aug. 29th, 2006 04:49 am (UTC)
Thanks, sounds interesting. I'll check it out.
storytellersjem
Aug. 28th, 2006 06:19 am (UTC)
Did you see my top fantasy novel list from a few weeks back?

SJEM
lilac_wine
Aug. 28th, 2006 03:00 pm (UTC)
I love Richard Morgan. I think the first thirty pages of Alternate Carbon are some of the best I've ever read.
ironymaiden
Aug. 28th, 2006 03:32 pm (UTC)
i recently finished The Chains That You Refuse, a collection of Elizabeth Bear short stories. good characters, neat ideas. it's a great selection of SF and fantasy.

(she's one of those that's a little hung up on famous people fanfic, but that's a rant i need to write...)
brainstormfront
Aug. 28th, 2006 04:14 pm (UTC)
Lemme know what you think of Vellum; sounds interesting....

I'm forging my way in dribs and drabs through Rosemary Edghill's PAYING THE PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN; I'm also enjoying URBAN SHAMAN by C.E. Murphy--it's not literature but fun pulpy reading.
varianor
Aug. 29th, 2006 01:45 am (UTC)
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell, by Susanna Clark, which is excellent pre-Victorian style fiction with a great deal of Dickensian influence but magic and murder and mystery. Quite a significant dash of faery story (and not the nice kind either) thrown in. Ironically, I happened across a short story of hers in Black Hearts, Ivory Bones, which was a 2000 collection of fantasy stories. Said story title I forgot, but it echoed JS&Mr. N's themes. Both were quite good. The book lasted all the way to Gen Con and a bit of the way back.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1582344167/sr=1-1/qid=1156815842/ref=pd_bbs_1/104-6524626-5438308?ie=UTF8&s=books

I'm am about to dip into Iron Council, by China Mieville. I highly recommend his Perdido Street Station and The Scar, if you're into fantasy with a SF touch and mucho cool weirdness.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0345444388/sr=1-1/qid=1156815875/ref=pd_bbs_1/104-6524626-5438308?ie=UTF8&s=books

Finally, for non-fiction, how about The Map That Changed the World, by Simon Winchester?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060193611/104-6524626-5438308?v=glance&n=283155
open_design
Aug. 29th, 2006 04:54 am (UTC)
These are great recommendations, but I have my signed copy of JS&MN and enjoyed it, and can't wait 6 to 9 years for her to write the next one.

I have read all the Mieville with a great deal of delight. The villain Flycatcher, from the "Age of Worms" adventure path in Dungeon, is a nod to the Weaver from Perdido St. In fact, I'm very, very familiar with his work. Love it a lot.

Which is why I will certainly follow up on "Map that Changed the World." Thanks for the tip!
( 10 sutras — Your wisdom )

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