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What Else Are You Reading? > What Else Are You Reading - January 2019

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message 1: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
New Year. New Books!

What's first on your list for 2019?


message 2: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) | 992 comments Starting Jade City. I know, I know, I'm late.


message 3: by Paul (new)

Paul  Perry (Pezski) | 446 comments I'm about halfway through The Gospel of Loki then on to Provenance with a buddy read and The Inverted World. One of my groups is reading Rebecca and The Cider House Rules this month, so I am very tempted to give those two fine books a re-read.


Happy 2019, everyone!


message 4: by Joanna (new)

Joanna (Spriggana) | 17 comments Third attempt at The Prestige – already tried both original and polish translation, bounced off (well, more like snoozed off) at the same point. This time it’s in audio, and I’m already past the critical part.
And in (e)print it’s Woda na sicie by a Polish author which sadly had not been translated, and if it ever happened it would demand a very good translator.
One of these will be my first challenge book this year, even if I would have to think hard if The Prestige is Laser or Sword ;-)


message 5: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
I'm running behind on my reviews for December, but I just wrote up my review for Skyward - ★★★★½ - (My Review)

As well as my year as a whole: 2018 on Goodreads - ★★★★☆ - (My Review)


message 6: by Stephen (last edited Jan 01, 2019 08:08PM) (new)

Stephen Richter (StephenofLongBeach) | 923 comments Oathbringer which I have started but may bleed into Feb, The Darkness That Comes Before from my "To Be Read" bookcase that needs to go away this year.


message 7: by Rick (new)

Rick | 2193 comments Under the Pendulum Sun is on the iPad right now.


message 8: by Trike (new)

Trike | 4913 comments Day one of 2019 and I’ve already finished both Norse Mythology and Nimona, the latter which I thoroughly enjoyed and counts toward my S&L graphic novel challenge.


message 9: by HeyT (new)

HeyT | 22 comments Right now I'm in the process of reading Lord of Chaos, Jade City, and Catseye.


message 10: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
Trike wrote: "Day one of 2019 and I’ve already finished both Norse Mythology and Nimona, the latter which I thoroughly enjoyed and counts toward my S&L graphic novel challenge."

I read Nimona last year and enjoyed it as well. Have you read Lumbeejanes? Same author. At least initially.


message 11: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 2338 comments Mod
Finished Ninefox Gambit Ok, if a tad confusing.

Started The Armored Saint by Myke Cole. So far it's more to my liking.


message 12: by Trike (new)

Trike | 4913 comments Rob wrote: "I read Nimona last year and enjoyed it as well. Have you read Lumbeejanes? Same author. At least initially"

I did read the first one in ‘17. I liked it but it was a bit too middle grade for me.


message 13: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm | 18 comments The Three-Body Problem on the Kindle, Red Seas Under Red Skies in my ears, and The Stars Now Unclaimed on dead tree.

Enjoying all of them but looking forward to getting to Head On, The Consuming Fire and Us Against You as I knock them off.


message 14: by Erik (last edited Jan 02, 2019 01:23PM) (new)

Erik Melin | 38 comments Finished Slan and I actually liked it much more than I was expecting. While it wasn't incredible there was a good pace that kept me interested and some unique writing. Might actually read the second one at some point.

Also finished Bedfellow. I apparently wasn't paying attention when I heard about this because I downloaded it thinking it was a novellette or novella and it is not *oops*. It's not long (220~ pages) but I was just looking for something to read on my phone for a few hours. Anyways this was the longest book I've read on my phone and I actually really don't mind reading that way. Downloaded a few more around that length. As far as the story goes it was really weird and I generally liked a lot of it but the cultural references really seemed forced and awkward. I get the point of them but for whatever reason it just seemed off every time "Marv" would elicit them. Solid 3.5 or so and enjoyed the ending.

Started reading Song of Solomon as a historically banned book pick.


message 15: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Rader | 27 comments Listening to Lirael and still reading Wrath of Empire. It takes me a while to read books because I have six kids :). Life is very busy sometimes. I tend to read far more audiobooks.


message 16: by Tamahome (last edited Jan 02, 2019 04:37PM) (new)

Tamahome | 5101 comments Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality (fan fiction with logic science): http://www.hpmorpodcast.com/?page_id=56 Full cast free audiobook, but it's long, 67 hours. You can play the m4b files in the Books iPhone app. Harry is kind of a d*** in it, lol.


message 17: by Colin (new)

Colin Forbes (colinforbes) | 264 comments Just sneaked in before year end to complete The Labyrinth Index. Charles Stross must be one of the most consistent authors I read regularly. Never regret a purchase!

New year, new book - started on Whispers Underground today - 3rd in the Rivers of London / Peter Grant series. Plan to get through a few more of these this year, having picked them up as Kindle special offers recently. Managed to convince my wife to give this series a try too, and she seems to be enjoying the first book.

Already read this month's bookclub pick, but going to give the audiobook a listen to refresh my memory.


message 18: by Jessica (last edited Jan 02, 2019 05:25PM) (new)

Jessica (J-Boo) | 207 comments I'm currently reading The Traitor Baru Cormorant

I tried out OwlCrate for a few months last year, and will need to catch up on those books at some point. Those include Shadow of The Fox, Pride, and Mirage.

Others I have out from the library include Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress and These Truths: A History of the United States

Oh, and I'm reading Into the Wild at my son's request.


message 19: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (JohnTaloni) | 2618 comments Had quite a lot of reading time between some enforced medical rest in mid December plus the holidays. Read about half a dozen books. Going in no particular order, the latest one was Peter Hamilton's "Salvation." (Will talk about the rest over the next day or so.)

Salvation is capable space opera in pieces, but overall a disjointed mess of a novel. Hamilton regularly does lengthy, complex tomes so I'm convinced this will all make a coherent whole by the end of the trilogy. As a first installment this did not hold together particularly well. The segments lurched from one character telling a story to another in a way that felt like a bunch of bar patrons trying to one-up each other. It's told in three time periods which I initially found hard to follow and eventually just found annoying.

Decent exploration of the Fermi Paradox and at least one cool surprise. It's more depressing than his Commonwealth books, which I love partly for his creation of a world I'd really like to live in. This world, not so much.

For those who aren't champing at the bit for the next Hamilton book, maybe wait until the trilogy is finished.


message 20: by Tamahome (last edited Jan 02, 2019 10:27PM) (new)

Tamahome | 5101 comments I read and listened to Hamilton's Salvation at the same time, and that helped, lol. Its structure has been compared to Hyperion. My review: http://gsbyvalentinoschoolwear.co.uk/review/show...


message 21: by Conor Newman (new)

Conor Newman | 4 comments In the middle of Butchers Dresden files at the moment, so first of 2019 is the 5th book, Death Masks.


message 22: by Eric (last edited Jan 02, 2019 10:21PM) (new)

Eric Mesa (djotaku) | 591 comments Just finished Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection and it was AWESOME!

Also finished today What is Obscenity?: The Story of a Good For Nothing Artist and her Pussy and that was a neat read.

Currently reading Riley Parra Season One and enjoying it.

Making my way through a bunch of cookbooks - Steve Raichelen and America's Test kitchen so I read through the intros to understand if it's a recipe I want to add to my To Make list (which is about as long as my To-Read list....hundreds)

Tonight I'll probably start White Sand, Volume 2

I'll also be starting Skipped Parts tomorrow as my lunch-time read. It's one of the books I got for free when B&N was giving them away every Friday. In my quest to not spend infinite money on books I'm making sure that I also read books I got as part of Humble Bundles and other free giveaways instead of just buying new books all the time. Every once in a while I discover a hidden gem.


message 23: by Robert (new)

Robert Collins | 105 comments Yesterday I finished Year Zero. The premise is that aliens have been listening to our music for years and not paying for it. A lawyer is roped into helping solve the matter, and of course there are aliens who don't want Earth to keep producing good music. It wasn't as funny as I thought it might be, but it was an entertaining read.


message 24: by Eric (new)

Eric Mesa (djotaku) | 591 comments Robert wrote: "Yesterday I finished Year Zero. The premise is that aliens have been listening to our music for years and not paying for it. A lawyer is roped into helping solve the matter, and of ..."

Premise sounds neat. Also remind me of this episode of Rick and Morty: http://youtu.be/m1fZ7Ap6ebs


message 25: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (JohnTaloni) | 2618 comments ^ I read Year Zero and loved it. More later.


message 26: by Iain (new)

Iain Bertram (Iain_Bertram) | 605 comments Just finished listening to Doctor Who: Tenth Doctor Tales: 10th Doctor Audio Originals which was a fun listen (complete with cliff hangers). David Tennent could read a shopping list and I would be happy.

Finished reading The Silence of the Girls which is brutally good. If you liked Circe or The Song of Achilles this is one for you.

Now to try and finish my Costa book award challenge and read two books by Tuesday starting with Normal People.


message 27: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (JohnTaloni) | 2618 comments Okay, next one: the latest "Invisible Library" book, The Mortal Word. This series is routinely high quality but this installment was even a step above that.

It's an alternate-history Paris and the Dragons and Fae are working on a peace accord. So of course someone gets murdered. Irene Winters and the Sherlock Holmes of her current world's assignment, Peregrine Vale, are pulled in. Kai finds his way there as well.

There's the usual intricate plotting and layer upon layer of reveal. But what I think I liked the best was that Irene didn't turn into a Mary Sue. She knows the capabilities of her team and draws upon them. She can't solve the issue by herself, but it is only by her abilities that it can be solved.

One of the items I disliked about the otherwise excellent "Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter" was how Sherlock Holmes came around to tell one of the group how clever she was and to give her detective lessons. For me this was both a gagworthy Mary Sue moment and a touch of patronization. The characters can cope just fine without external validation so I found that to be a jarring note.

In "Mortal Word" Vale does not compliment Winters' detective skill, rather he tells her not to dwell on what she never had, while otherwise pointing out her superior organizational skill. That felt more like what a Holmes stand-in would do.

The finale has multiple layers of reveal as well as a smashing action sequence. Nicely done.

I did have some quibbles, though. Dragons vs Fae is wearing thin and I hope Genevieve Cogman can come up with another dramatic device for the remaining books (currently expected to be three more.) There's a tantalizing bit about Western dragons that could fit.

Also, as for Kai, (view spoiler)

Anyhoo, I will gladly show up for the remaining books. Genevieve Cogman is turning out a great series.


message 28: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 298 comments Going for a different approach this year with my reading goals: it’s not about the sheer number, it’s about tackling some ‘difficult’ reads eg classics as well as the modern fantasy/SF which make up the bulk of my reading.

So I’m getting stuck into Les Misérables (as in Victor Hugo, not as in the musical). Wish me luck!
I’m hoping to stay ahead of the BBC adaptation as I did with War and Peace a few years ago. The difference is that then I had a substantial head start!


message 29: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 298 comments Also just finished The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle which is a body-hopping time-travel murder mystery. Not sure how to classify it but it was a fun read which kept me guessing right up to the end.


message 30: by Keith (new)

Keith (KeithATC) | 452 comments Finally getting to Flashman, something I've "been meaning to read next" for like ten years.

Flashman (The Flashman Papers, #1) by George MacDonald Fraser


message 31: by Chris (new)

Chris Bryant | 2 comments Robert wrote: "Yesterday I finished Year Zero. The premise is that aliens have been listening to our music for years and not paying for it. A lawyer is roped into helping solve the matter, and of ..."

I agree with this. I really thought it was going to be funnier than it was. I wasn't overly disappointed with the book, but expected a little more humor.

Personally, I have been working through the Black Ocean series and the EarthCent Ambassador series. Nothing mind blowing, but reasonably quick reads.


message 32: by Eric (new)

Eric Mesa (djotaku) | 591 comments Ruth wrote: "Going for a different approach this year with my reading goals: it’s not about the sheer number, it’s about tackling some ‘difficult’ reads eg classics as well as the modern fantasy/SF which make u..."

Nice. I added some classics ot my list for this year, too. In my case Little Women and The Jungle Book


message 33: by Dara (last edited Jan 03, 2019 08:44PM) (new)

Dara (cmdrdara) | 2253 comments Reading Grant by Ron Chernow. I saw Hamilton last night and am feeling some American history right now.


message 34: by Trike (new)

Trike | 4913 comments Dara wrote: "Reading Grant by Ron Chernow. I saw Hamilton last night and am feeling some American history right now."

I highly recommend Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell as a Hamilton follow-up.

I finally saw Hamilton back in November and loved it. When I first heard the soundtrack three years ago I went through what I call the Stages of Listening to Hamilton for the First Time:

1. What the hell is this?
2. Say, this is pretty interesting.
3. HOLY SHIT THIS IS AWESOME!

I’ve character-developed some of the songs to fit my life, which mostly means they’re about my dogs. My current go-to:

Just like my puppy
I’m young, scrappy and hungry
And I’m not throwin’ away my treat


message 35: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 2338 comments Mod
Trike wrote: "When I first heard the soundtrack three years ago I went through what I call the Stages of Listening to Hamilton for the First Time:

1. What the hell is this?
2. Say, this is pretty interesting.
3. HOLY SHIT THIS IS AWESOME!"


I'm still at 1 ;-)

Then again Hamilton isn't really a well known figure here and the musical hasn't reached our shores yet.

So there's still time.


message 36: by Trike (new)

Trike | 4913 comments Despite being on our $10 bill, Hamilton isn’t a well known figure here, either. The only thing Americans are more ignorant about than world history is American history.

Check out these three songs featuring King George. He drops in every once in a while to comment hilariously on what’s just happened.

http://youtu.be/1NOjkmkanrc

The first song couched as a love song loaded with toxic masculinity is brilliant.


message 37: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 2338 comments Mod
Trike wrote: "The only thing Americans are more ignorant about than world history is American history.."

I know a fair bit about US history, but of the Founding Fathers who didn't become Presidents, I only really know Benjamin Franklin. The rest are just names or slang terms. Like John Hancock for a signature.

I have heard most of the Hamilton soundtrack and it hasn't clicked with me. That may change if I ever get to see the stage show.


message 38: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 298 comments Tassie Dave wrote: "..I have heard most of the Hamilton soundtrack and it hasn't clicked with me. That may change if I ever get to see the stage show"

Me too. Lots of my friends LOVE Hamilton and were super excited about getting tickets for the West End version. Myself... not so much. I expect I’ll see it eventually and enjoy it, but the music on its own simply doesn’t do it for me.


message 39: by Alex (new)

Alex | 72 comments I finally read and finished The Road
So now I'll finally get to The Time Machine


message 40: by Trike (new)

Trike | 4913 comments o.0



Barbarians, one and all.


message 41: by Dara (new)

Dara (cmdrdara) | 2253 comments Trike wrote: "Dara wrote: "Reading Grant by Ron Chernow. I saw Hamilton last night and am feeling some American history right now."

I highly recommend [book:Lafayette in the Somewh..."


Added to my list. Thank you! +5 to Trike.


message 42: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (AndrewCa) | 2184 comments Colin wrote: "New year, new book - started on Whispers Underground today - 3rd in the Rivers of London / Peter Grant series. Plan to get through a few more of these this year, having picked them up as Kindle special offers recently. Managed to convince my wife to give this series a try too, and she seems to be enjoying the first book."

You should really do this series as audiobooks. The narrator is the best thing since chip buttes :)


message 43: by Joseph (new)

Joseph | 1899 comments Finished Fire & Blood, so started Weirdbook 31 to tide me over for a few days as I wait for Alliance Rising: The Hinder Stars I.


message 44: by Colin (new)

Colin Forbes (colinforbes) | 264 comments AndrewP wrote: "Colin wrote: "New year, new book - started on Whispers Underground today - 3rd in the Rivers of London / Peter Grant series. ...

You should really do this series as audiobooks. The narrator is the best thing since chip buttes :)"


I listened to a short story from Audible - and, yes, it was good but I'm not likely to change format part way through the series. Especially as I've got books 4, 5 & 6 on my Kindle already!

In audio I'm slowly working my way through The Expanse and Harry Dresden series, so I won't be short of a next listen for some time.


message 45: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5267 comments Mod
Catching up on my backlog of reviews from the last month or so. I wasn't too compelled the write any while I was traveling and celebrating the holidays

Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr- ★★½☆ - (My Review)

The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution- ★★★★☆ - (My Review)

House of Blades- ★★★☆ - (My Review)

Watership Down- ★★★★☆ - (My Review)

Artificial Condition- ★★★★☆ - (My Review)


message 46: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (JohnTaloni) | 2618 comments During the break I also read two more of the Culture books by Iain Banks, Matter and Surface Detail. My reaction here is much like that of other Culture books: Decent space SF, solid but not great.

Matter is set mostly in a "Shellworld," an artificial construct made of concentric shells. There's a vast being in the middle, a holdover from the previous books, now functioning as the local deity. The shells exist because, well, Banks says so. There's gravity for no reason other than, well, Banks says so. Also a mix of aliens at various technological levels plus a group of humans at about the level of the US during the civil war.

The characters are passably interesting, but when reading Culture books I can't shake the feeling that this is all footnotes to Niven. Speaking of, there's visits to Orbitals - small Ringworlds - along the way.

The actual villain and plot, such as it is, isn't revealed until about the 90% mark. Before then is a lengthy travelogue. The "matter" of the book refers to the idea that the Universe can't be a simulation because no thinking creature would be so cruel as to subject its sims to what happens in reality. An interesting idea, but not enough to carry a book by itself.

There's the sons of a world-unifying dictator dealing with his murder, plus the sister that left ages ago and became a Culture "Special Circumstances" agent. That's the section of the Culture that interferes with the development of younger civilizations, well intentioned and on the whole for good but sometimes they fail and cause problems. All in all it feels like an SF-nal take on the US.

The book meanders so much that the final resolution feels tacked on, as if Banks decided he did have to take the book somewhere after all.


Then Surface Detail. The MC is a woman who is "intagliated" - covered with an elaborate tattoo / carving that is a sign of her being owned by a corporate head as settlement of a family debt.

Then there's the idea of virtual reality "hells" being set up by various species' to punish their worst acting members. The concept is, if a VR "heaven" can be set up why not a hell. Welp, I'm grossed out by the idea, and that's before they get into the specifics. I'm well beyond suspension of disbelief here.

There's the usual interaction with highly-capable AI "Minds" that run ship / habitats. Interesting as space drama. Eventually the two plotlines come together in a way that is modestly satisfying, well, except that the MCs don't solve the issue themselves.

Plus, something that really annoyed me. (view spoiler)

All in all decent reading during forced downtime. I'll get to the last Culture book, Hydrogen Sonata, at some point. Not going to rush though.


message 47: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (JohnTaloni) | 2618 comments I also read Year Zero and loved it start to finish. The setup had me guffawing. Aliens - some large number of billions of races - have never heard music before and are entranced by Earth's production of it. And it's not like they are whole hog for classical, nope, it's the silly pop stuff that predominates.

So of course the highly technological aliens pirate every known song...and then, being a law and order kind of society, belatedly realize that they owe fines adding up to more wealth than the Universe has. Unless, that is, Earth "accidentally" offs itself in its species growing up stage, which happens fairly frequently to new entrants on the galactic stage.

It's possible that a familiarity with the specific music referenced will add to the enjoyment of the book. I snorted with each one, and a few got pretty deep into minutiae. Others were pretty obvious. I cackled mid-book over a Backstreet Boys riff that any non-deaf person alive at the time would remember, it was so widely played.

I expected the book to fall off after a while, thinking no book could hold the high level of humor. For me it didn't, and I found it to be universally funny in its campy silliness all the way through. I see others didn't. My wife read my copy and trailed off halfway through.

There's cultural jokes salted throughout. The end even has a bit with Bill Gates that would answer a lot of questions were it true. Anyhoo, give it a shot, you may love it, and if not, the beginning is worth a read.


message 48: by Sheila Jean (new)

Sheila Jean | 112 comments I currently listening to Wrath of Empire by Brian McClellan. I'm also about halfway through Part 2 of Audible's Sherlock Holmes read by Stephen Fry. I believe this part is essentially the The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, which I've read previously with my eyes. I've found the Sherlock stories are nice breathers for when I'm either not sure what I want to read next, or am waiting for something from the library.

I was reading Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire, which I think I won in last year's Worldbuilder's lottery, but The Left Hand of Darkness came off hold from the library, so I'm going to try to finish that next.


message 49: by Erik (new)

Erik Melin | 38 comments Finished Binti over the weekend while waiting for SG to arrive (this year I am NOT falling behind again, please self) and it was very enjoyable. Loved the metamorphosis of the main character and plan on reading the next one soon.

Also read Intestate as another quick holdover. I loved All the Birds in the Sky and just really enjoy CJA's voice in her work. Realistic and contemporary without beating references over the reader's head. Interesting, quick short story.

Began the manga 5 Centimeters per Second for the manga requirement of my yearly challenge. This was a goal I had no expectations for and genuinely didn't know how I'd feel about whatever I read. My buddy recommended this one and once I got used to how it reads, I actually got decently pulled in by the end of chapter 1. 11 more chapters to go (each chapter takes maybe 20 min so a pretty short one as far as manga goes from my understanding).


message 50: by Matt (last edited Jan 07, 2019 05:43PM) (new)

Matt | 14 comments Read a few things this weekend.
Powered through The City of Brass which was excellent!
Also finished Relic by Preston and Child.
Question on Relic, would you consider this a Sword book? Technically not fantasy in the generic sense of the word since it is more police procedural, but it has fantastical elements with a strange beast stalking a museum. I'm debating shelving it towards my Sword goal.


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