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Old 01-18-2019, 06:30 AM   #27946
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Next I'm reading Hotel Silence by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir, an Icelandic writer. It appeared as one of the "people also read..." next to Convenience Store Woman and then later I saw it was available at my library.
You know you have a pun problem when you see this and think "the author's name is Authur?"
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Old 01-18-2019, 08:26 AM   #27947
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It's the best book I've read this year! Sadly that's mostly because I've read a couple of duds and a so-so mystery.
I started the year with duds, too. It's going to take a while before I can get my Goodreads average rating back up to the baseline of three stars, much less get it to the 3.2 to 3.3 range that seems like a reasonably successful reading year to me. Even Trollope has failed me; the last Palliser novel which I shall wrap up today is going to come in at only three stars.
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Old 01-18-2019, 08:57 AM   #27948
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So, since I last reported in a couple of weeks ago I've read some short stories plus...

Looking for Alaska by John Green. His first published book, this one about young adults trying to deal with loss and guilt. It was good, but too self-conscious I think. Something like a 3.5/5, certainly I preferred Turtles All the Way Down and The Fault in Our Stars.

Sacré Bleu by Christopher Moore. A mix of real 19th century artists, real art and colour history, with a fantasy tale woven through it. It is undoubtedly very very clever, but I found it quite hard work and lacking in the humour that Moore usually provides. (It wasn't totally without humour, just significantly less than usual.) It was okay, but a bit disappointing because I've come to expect better from Moore. I can only give this a 3/5.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. It's really hard to describe this, or to rate it. The alternative history is generally light and humorous in nature (villains enjoying their villainy, puns and poking fun at current standards), but at other times is quite dark and serious (war and loss). Our protagonist, Thursday Next, is a literature detective, and it seems they take their literature very seriously in this alternative world. There is time manipulation, weird physics, characters falling in and out of stories. It is all such an a strange and apparently conflicting mix of things that it should be a mess, and at times it comes close to that, but somehow Fforde manages to push it all into a coherent and enjoyable story. I ended up giving it 4/5.
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Old 01-18-2019, 09:51 AM   #27949
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The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. It's really hard to describe this, or to rate it. The alternative history is generally light and humorous in nature (villains enjoying their villainy, puns and poking fun at current standards), but at other times is quite dark and serious (war and loss). Our protagonist, Thursday Next, is a literature detective, and it seems they take their literature very seriously in this alternative world. There is time manipulation, weird physics, characters falling in and out of stories. It is all such an a strange and apparently conflicting mix of things that it should be a mess, and at times it comes close to that, but somehow Fforde manages to push it all into a coherent and enjoyable story. I ended up giving it 4/5.
I admit to being a big fan. Mostly because of the fun, but as you mentioned, there are some dark and serious motifs as well. I will say that the FootNoterPhone in later installments can stretch the limits of what's convenient to partake of in an ebook (depending on your reading device's/app's capabilities), but it's all been great fun for me. That fun started to wear a little thin for me around the fourth book, but that's pretty typical for me with any series these days.
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Old 01-18-2019, 10:12 AM   #27950
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I admit to being a big fan. Mostly because of the fun, but as you mentioned, there are some dark and serious motifs as well. I will say that the FootNoterPhone in later installments can stretch the limits of what's convenient to partake of in an ebook (depending on your reading device's/app's capabilities), but it's all been great fun for me. That fun started to wear a little thin for me around the fourth book, but that's pretty typical for me with any series these days.
I had enjoyed The Last Dragonslayer, and on the strength of that I purchased an omnibus of the first three Thursday Next books. I'm not sure if the alternative history of The Last Dragonslayer is supposed to be the same as the Thursday Next stories; I didn't expect them to be, and they don't seem precisely the same but there is something similar about how they are imagined. I'm looking forward to reading more of both series, but I do think they will be best spaced out a bit.
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Old 01-18-2019, 10:25 AM   #27951
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That fun started to wear a little thin for me around the fourth book, but that's pretty typical for me with any series these days.
I've come to the conclusion that it's the very rare series that can be sustained beyond three books.
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Old 01-18-2019, 11:12 AM   #27952
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I've come to the conclusion that it's the very rare series that can be sustained beyond three books.
That's been my experience, as well. I tend to blame myself as much as the author for that. Even if the author hasn't gotten complacent, I may have. I've become too familiar with the author's style and the characters' habits/mindsets to be as "wowed" as I might once have been. I'd much rather the author left me wanting more, than going too far, and then have me wishing they'd ended it a book-or-so ago and saved me the slog. It's a fine line for me--and I'm sure for the authors as well (at least the ones that aren't simply committed to milking a series for all the book sales they can get out it, anyway).
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Old 01-18-2019, 12:47 PM   #27953
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That's been my experience, as well.
Agreed, for most series. But for my favorite series (I've mentioned it many times before) - Sigma Force by James Rollins - I am well past book 3 and still fully enjoying the series. So much so, that I am "rationing" the remaining books so I won't run out too soon.
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Old 01-18-2019, 01:06 PM   #27954
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So much so, that I am "rationing" the remaining books so I won't run out too soon.
That's wise. Enjoy the pleasant anomaly!
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Old 01-18-2019, 03:03 PM   #27955
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Finished listening to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. I realized early on that i'd pretty much forgotten the entire novel since I read it last...
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Old 01-18-2019, 03:22 PM   #27956
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That's been my experience, as well. I tend to blame myself as much as the author for that. Even if the author hasn't gotten complacent, I may have. I've become too familiar with the author's style and the characters' habits/mindsets to be as "wowed" as I might once have been. I'd much rather the author left me wanting more, than going too far, and then have me wishing they'd ended it a book-or-so ago and saved me the slog. It's a fine line for me--and I'm sure for the authors as well (at least the ones that aren't simply committed to milking a series for all the book sales they can get out it, anyway).
I think it's both of these factors, plus a third factor in series with an over-arcing story line, namely that in the middle books the author's engaged in too much wheel-spinning at the expense of plot advancement. One book (i.e. the second) is generally sufficient for buildup and bringing things to a crisis.
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Old 01-19-2019, 07:28 PM   #27957
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Decided to read an old purchase, Spin by Robert Charles Wilson.

I couldn't wait for this to end. Too many switching from past to present. At times very slow going because of flashbacks and apparently the character's feelings needed more development. I did enjoy some of the fake science, its explanations and ensuing reactions. The book is basically another author sharing his version of a non-zombie Apocalypse. However, I think other authors did it better. Rated C- [2 stars].

Next, a more recent purchase, Clockwork Boys by T. Kingfisher/Ursula Vernon. Vernon won the Hugo award for Best Graphic Story in 2012. Clockwork Boys is her steampunk novel for adults.
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Old 01-19-2019, 08:12 PM   #27958
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Just finished Aaronovitch's Lies Sleeping; the latest Peter Grant novel. I thought it was one of the better installments right up until the ending which left me very underwhelmed. In fact, I caught myself at least three times thinking I still needed to finish the book after I already had! That can't be good. The good thing I'm taking away from the experience is that I think I finally taught myself to tune out the architectural/design ramblings and all the procedural acronyms.

Now starting The Fall of Io by Wes Chu.

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Old 01-20-2019, 10:38 AM   #27959
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Next up: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I enjoyed the film. Let's see how good the book is.
I greatly enjoyed Ready Player One. A fun romp, and better than the film, but I can understand why they changed things for the film.

Next up: The Third Nero by Lindsey Davis. The fifth in her Flavia Albia series.
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Old 01-20-2019, 04:57 PM   #27960
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Finally finished Siege of Stone by Terry Goodkind. Gheesh that took a long time. Just not much into the big fantasy books anymore.

Next up is The Exes Revenge by Jo Jakeman. Looks like a good suspense novel.
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