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text 2017-11-26 16:07
Square 10 Task - 5 Favourite Books this Year
The Stars Are Legion - Kameron Hurley
Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman
The Game of Kings - Dorothy Dunnett
On a Red Station, Drifting - Aliette de Bodard
Forest of Memory - Mary Robinette Kowal

Tasks for Pancha Ganapati: Post about your 5 favourite books this year and why you appreciated them so much. 

–OR–

Take a shelfie / stack picture of the above-mentioned 5 favorite books.  (Feel free to combine these tasks into 1!

 

I'm afraid I can't really do the second part because most of my chosen books are ebooks. 

 

It was also pretty tough to figure out what should make the cut. I stuck mostly with my higher-rated books and ones that have stuck with me or led me to try out more of the author's work.

 

1. The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley

This one was a no-brainer. I keep telling everyone I know to read it because it was awesome. It's basically pure escapist fun and it was like a breath of fresh air after Frederik Pohl's Gateway which I was reading at the same time. It was also the first novel that I read by Kameron Hurley and I've been slowly working through her back catalogue. It's basically a story about a bunch of people who live in dying worldships trying to find a way to gather enough resources to keep going. It's a fun adventure romp, basically. And the best part is that there are no whiny males who beat up women in front of little kids and justify it to themselves with a bunch of pathetic psychobabble (see Gateway). Don't get me wrong; these aren't all nice, peaceful people. But it was a nice break from the patriarchal norm.

My review of The Stars are Legion.

 

2. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

This was a reread but I liked it so much I went out a bought my own copy of the author's preferred text. Neil Gaiman doesn't always work for me in the sense that although I usually like his books, I frequently don't love them. This one works for me though. I like the creepiness and the Marquis de Carabas.

My review of Neverwhere.

 

3. The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett

This first book in Dunnett's Lymond series was well-constructed and riveting. Not an easy read, but still pretty awesome. I'm including this because I'm slowly working my way through the series and so far the first has been the best (ok, so I've only read 2 of the 6 books so far). Lymond is a great example of a protagonist who's almost too awful to like but does actually have redeeming depths. I need to get back to this series, actually.

My review of The Game of Kings.

 

4. On a Red Station, Drifting by Aliette de Bodard

This novella was my introduction to Aliette de Bodard's writing and a great atmospheric read. It was a kind of family drama, really, which isn't usually my cup of tea, but this world with its far-future Vietnamese empire was just neat. Plus throw in a faltering AI, politics, and a slow-burn narrative... Aliette de Bodard seems to like to create science fiction and fantasy worlds with unusual settings. Here we have a futuristic Dai Viet Empire, and in one of the other series of hers that I'm reading, the books take place in the Aztec Empire.

My review of On a Red Station, Drifting.

 

5. Forest of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal

This was another read that just clicked for me, and it was also my first introduction to Mary Robinette Kowal's writing. It was a creepy and thought-provoking tale of a woman who drops off the grid in a hyper-connected world when she's kidnapped by a man whom she surprises tranquilizing a deer. A lot of questioning of how much we can take data for granted and did I mention it was really creepy?

 

So...three sci fis, an urban fantasy, and a historical fiction. I guess I really do like science fiction. :)

 

Some honourable mentions:

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries From a Secret World - Peter Wohlleben This popular science book with its descriptions of how trees in a forest communicate and share resources was so close to making the cut but I went with Forest of Memory instead. I do think a society that could actually communicate with its forests and negotiate with them would just be downright cool, and so I still say this should be mandatory reading for science fiction writers.

 

There's also a bunch of stuff about how trees that don't grow up in a mature forest get short-changed in how their wood develops because they aren't forced to grow slowly. The book explains it better. Go read the book.

 

My review for The Hidden Life of Trees.

 

Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong—and the New Research That's Rewriting the Story - Angela Saini This was a great concise overview of the issues that have set back women’s rights, societal expectations, and health. It was an interesting read, and I used it to find more interesting reads via the references it makes. I've even started to go down a bit of a rabbit hole because those books have led to other books which have led to yet other books right down to my current read, Alas, Poor Darwin.

 

I thought it was so good that I bought a copy for my shelf and ended up with two copies because Canada Post was so slow that the first copy took two and a half months to get to me. Still haven't figured out what to do with the extra copy.

 

My review for Inferior.

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review 2017-11-17 14:46
Neverwhere
Neverwhere: Author's Preferred Text - Neil Gaiman

I enjoyed this after a bit. The first 30 to 40 percent I found slow. But the book picks up momentum and I liked how we get to see more of the London Below via other characters when we're not following the main characters of Richard and Door.

 

Richard Mayhew finds himself helping a young woman one night and it changes his life forever. Without realizing it, helping the woman named Door will cost Richard his life as he knows it when he finds himself pushed out of his reality. Being lost about what to do, Richard goes looking for Door and finds out about London Below.

 

I liked Richard though I found him to be a little slow on the uptake sometimes. But I think that Gaiman did a good job of having a readers see things through Richard's eyes.

 

This book is told in the third person, and we get to follow a number of characters around. We have the Lady Door, the Marquis, and a woman called Hunter who's the best hunter in London Below. When Door goes on a quest to figure out who killed her family and why these four characters end up going on a series of mini-quests.

 

I kind of like how Gaiman mixes history in this book along with some cultural significance to people who are from Britain.

 

The writing was good, but as I said above, the flow was off for me for a good portion of the book.

 

The setting was awesome and I found myself interested in finding out more about those who live in London Below.

 

The ending felt a bit anti-climatic to me. But all in all, this was a pretty good story.

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text 2017-11-13 21:13
Reading progress update: I've read 23%.
Neverwhere: Author's Preferred Text - Neil Gaiman

Trying to enjoy this, but honestly this is not grabbing me like most of Gaiman's books. So far there is too much unknown. I don't need things spelled out right away, but I am not even drawn to Richard, Door, or anyone else in this book at this point.

 

Image result for bored now gif

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review 2017-09-05 02:45
First Book Read for Halloween Bingo 2017
Neverwhere: Author's Preferred Text - Neil Gaiman

For my first read I choose the book NeverWhere by Neil Gaiman, as I mentioned before. And I really enjoyed the book even though it was a very strange and confusing book. I really thought the main character of Richard was pretty strange and I liked him well enough, but the character of Door was my favorite between the two. The most interesting character by far and the one that really kept my interest, was the character of Marquis de Carabas. With him I was never sure if he was a good guy, bad guy, or just looking out for himself. So I would have to say he was definitely the character that kept me wondering what he would do next, whenever he was on the pages. 

I really still have something's that confused me about the story but it didn't stop me from giving the book 4 out of 5 stars. The part that made me give the book 4 stars, was I just don't care for the ending at all. I probably would have only given the book 3 stars but I really loved the characters and the storyline. The book was creepy with some stuff that people would eat in the book and some of the individuals were really creepy and scary as well. Especially the characters of Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar. 

I am so glad I read this book and choose it as my first read for the Halloween bingo for 2017.

 

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text 2017-09-03 06:05
Reading progress update: I've read 20%.
Neverwhere: Author's Preferred Text - Neil Gaiman

Finally able to start reading for bingo. Picked this one up for the first one because it has been on my read list for a while and I haven't had a chance to pick this open until now. Due to the fact it goes for this bingo category.

So far while I am not very far along in this story I am really starting to get interested in it. It's pretty weird but kind of funny also. And I really like the main character of Richard, and the character of Door, she's quite the interesting character. 

 

 

I am hoping to be able to finish this in a couple more days. I am going to have to do bingo in between book tours that I am Involved in, that are due at certain times as well.

So I am hoping that I will be able to get at least one bingo before the ending. 

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