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Old 01-16-2022, 07:37 PM   #30481
issybird
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I’m reading Troubles by J.G. Farrell, set during the eponymous era in Ireland. It won the Lost Man Booker Prize. A lot of black humor if you like that sort of thing, which I do.

Also, Roman Britain: A New History by Guy de la Bédoyère; new as of 2006, the year it was published. On the dry side but illuminating about what conclusions can be drawn from the archeological evidence.
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Old 01-16-2022, 09:05 PM   #30482
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Finished Cytonic by Brandon Sanderson and found myself in a small reading slump.

Picked up The Great Gatsby as a quick pick me up read and enjoying it so far. Will finish it today for sure. Need another short book to read next to motivate me even more...
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Old 01-17-2022, 03:21 AM   #30483
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My reading so far this year...

The Forest Kingdom by Jamie Thomas, second book of the Asperfell Trilogy. A YA fantasy with some romance (or is that a tautology?). The first half felt somewhat drawn out and pointless, but later it begins to make more sense. Not that the turn of events is that much of a surprise, but the way it comes out is neatly done in a way that makes the first half feel more necessary. Something like 3.5/5.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James. YA Sci-Fi. At times it was rather frustrating watching this teenager fall in slow, slow motion for a trap the reader could see coming almost from the beginning, but it did not seem unbelievable for such an isolated teenager to be this naïve. The various mysteries were neatly exposed as the climax was reached, so despite stretching credibility in places it was a satisfying read. 3/5.

A Wizard's Guide To Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher. A humorous but also darkish sort of children's tale. I thoroughly enjoyed this. A wonderful array of characters. The medieval setting feels real, and despite the inherent humour to aspects of the story it never falls into farce. Fun but not trivial. 4.5/5.

The Strange Adventures of H by Sarah Burton. This was an interesting and fairly convincing historical fiction, dark at times but never really maudlin. It starts slow but the pace picks up and I did end up enjoying the ride ... although the ending seemed a little out of place - an almost comedic farce. It was pleasing to have some a tidy wrap up, it just didn't feel that convincing from a historical perspective. Something like 3.5/5.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. Parts of it are excellent, other parts feel more like a synopsis or writing plan - written in a dry omniscient voice that sees all the way back and all the way forward. There are some well drawn characters and there was enough intrigue to keep me reading. The thing that attracted me most strongly was the portrayal of the artist Mia and her art, this seemed particularly well done. 3/5.

Death's Avenger by Charlotte E. English. A second collection of four novellas in the series Malykant Mysteries. I've only read the first two novellas from this collection so far and think I'll probably stop there. I enjoyed the first collection enough to get these, but there has been very little progression since and these feel like the same stories over again.
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Old 01-17-2022, 10:58 PM   #30484
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Finished The Great Gatsby and boy was it a ride. Nice to revisit it as an adult, considering I only read the cliffnotes version in 10th grade.

Currently reading The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray, and Gossamer by Lois Lowry.
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Old 01-19-2022, 06:38 AM   #30485
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Finished Gossamer by Lois Lowry and it was extremely cute and easy to read. Lowry is definitely one of my favorite authors. I will have to continue to read more of her catalog during any reading slumps.

Continuing with The Personal Librarian, and started Fahrenheit 451 today. Already blazed though a 3rd of it - it's hard to put down. This is a reread as it was one of the few books I read in high school that I actually liked.
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Old 01-19-2022, 08:38 AM   #30486
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I finished listening to Helen Macdonald's Vesper Flights on my post-court commute yesterday. While it was not as strong overall as H is for Hawk, some of the essays were absolutely stellar. Almost all were influenced in some way by brexit/refugees/post-brexit racism, etc., and you can tell how heavily it weighed on them.

This book also met one of my goals of reading more female and nonbinary authors as Macdonald identifies as nonbinary.
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Old 01-20-2022, 07:33 PM   #30487
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After a string of DNFs and near-DNFs, back on to a winner with a return to nonfiction: In the Land of Invented Languages by Arika Okrent. I love her warm, personal approach, and literally laughed out loud at this little piece describing one of the people she interviewed.
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Old 01-21-2022, 06:09 AM   #30488
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Finally finished off most of the reads stopping me from getting very far on Godstalk by P.C. Hodgell and getting a few chapters in. I had forgotten how amazingly well written it is! I hope the sequels are as good because I have the full series sitting on my reading table with intent.
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Old 01-21-2022, 06:17 AM   #30489
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4.25/5 for In the Land of Invented Languages, now on to a book that's been sitting on my TBR for ages, Mordecai's Ashes by Arlana Crane
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Old 01-21-2022, 03:03 PM   #30490
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First Song, Book One by Blaise Corvin and Outspan Foster

Free LitRPG. What a shame. Began very interestingly then the main character uses a cheat code or another life and he plays again starting in utero. The rest was mostly filler, introspection and angst. Skipped pages. Writing choppy. Corny. Rated D [1 star].
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Old 01-22-2022, 10:58 AM   #30491
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Recently finished Leviathan Falls, the last installment in The Expanse trilogy (by the James S.A. Corey entity). A little lackluster as far as scifi grand finales go, in my opinion, but it wasn't unenjoyable by any means. They probably should have stayed with the original plan of seven books instead of dragging out to nine, but that's par, I guess.

Also finished Claire North's (Catherine Webb) Notes from the Burning Age: a (not overly IMO) cautionary tale of environmental disaster. I'm always left a little confused (but not disappointed) by this author's endings. This enjoyably quirky story was no different in that regard.

My favorite of this last batch of books was Andy Weir's Hail Mary Project. After the disappointing Artemis, this was a welcome comeback. A wry, foot-on-the-gas first-person scifi narrative with laugh-out-loud moments. Much of this praise may be due to the excellent narration of the audiobook by Ray Porter.
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Old 01-22-2022, 04:07 PM   #30492
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Next up: Diamonds in the Sky edited by Mike Brotherton. A freebie collection of astronomy SF, available here: https://www.mikebrotherton.com/diamonds/
Which was OK. Several of the stories had too large an astronomy:story ratio. One or two of the stories were very good.

Next up: Life, the Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams. This third part of his five-volume Hitch-Hikers' Guide 'trilogy'.
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Old 01-22-2022, 04:18 PM   #30493
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An OK to good collection of short stories.

Next up: Diamonds in the Sky edited by Mike Brotherton. A freebie collection of astronomy SF, available here: https://www.mikebrotherton.com/diamonds/
I wanted to check that out but it throws a warning about non-secure connection when clicking download.
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Old 01-22-2022, 05:12 PM   #30494
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I wanted to check that out but it throws a warning about non-secure connection when clicking download.
I just checked, and the certificate used for HTTPS connections was just issued Jan 16th (a few days ago). (Note: issue date does not always equal installation date) So I imagine you must have hit the website when the old certificate had recently expired, so you would have gotten an error message about an expired cert. The cert is now up to date, and I'll bet things will be good if you go back to that website now. Sometimes webmasters forget, or put off renewing their certs, and errors are thrown at clients as a result of expired certs.

The cert is issued by LetsEncrypt - a fine issuer - but generally it is individuals and small operations that use LetsEncrypt (because it is free). Larger commercial operations tend to use paid cert issuers (why, well that's a mystery). And it's the smaller operation webmasters that are occasionally prone to not getting their certs renewed in a timely manner.

Try again and see if it works now.

(I have no affiliation with this website, I just recognized the error that you were reporting)
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Old 01-22-2022, 07:51 PM   #30495
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I just checked, and the certificate used for HTTPS connections was just issued Jan 16th (a few days ago). (Note: issue date does not always equal installation date) So I imagine you must have hit the website when the old certificate had recently expired, so you would have gotten an error message about an expired cert. The cert is now up to date, and I'll bet things will be good if you go back to that website now. Sometimes webmasters forget, or put off renewing their certs, and errors are thrown at clients as a result of expired certs.

The cert is issued by LetsEncrypt - a fine issuer - but generally it is individuals and small operations that use LetsEncrypt (because it is free). Larger commercial operations tend to use paid cert issuers (why, well that's a mystery). And it's the smaller operation webmasters that are occasionally prone to not getting their certs renewed in a timely manner.

Try again and see if it works now.

(I have no affiliation with this website, I just recognized the error that you were reporting)
It was about 15:15 today and the same now although I figured it wouldn't be updated this soon on the weekend. I'll try again next week.
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