Author Topic: Rate the last book you read.  (Read 77950 times)

oldkid

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Re: Rate the last book you read.
« Reply #1810 on: January 23, 2018, 09:53:18 PM »
Do comics/graphic novels count?

Ah.  I see you found the comics/graphic novels thread.  Well done.
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Dave the Necrobumper

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Re: Rate the last book you read.
« Reply #1811 on: January 24, 2018, 02:17:00 PM »
I usually read 2 or 3 books a day.







But they are ones I read to the kids :)

Junior

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Re: Rate the last book you read.
« Reply #1812 on: February 12, 2018, 04:35:17 PM »
Y'all ready for this?

In the Sounds and Seas by Marnie Galloway (comics)

A beautiful, wordless journey about saying and doing, exploration and introspection, creation and destruction. gorgeous drawings highlight a unique tale that doesn't hide its influences. You can "read" it in half an hour or get lost in it for half a day. I recommend the latter.

5 stars


Paper Girls Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughn, Cliff Chiang, and Matthew Wilson (comics)

Everything about this is very fun, but the best part is the colors.

5 stars


Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process by John McPhee (non-fiction)

I got this book because many writers I admire suggested that it was both entertaining and useful to read. Entertaining certainly, even if much of the advice is on how to write, research, and stucture longform nonfiction and I lack any ambition in that direction at this point. There are numerous bits of solid writing advice scattered throughout, some that I'll use for myself and some that I'll adapt for teaching in the future. For this reader, however, the reason to read this short book comes from the feeling I got of spending time in the company of a person who has achieved much in his field and yet still has the inclination to chat with a person eager to learn. The best teachers all conjure this same sensation in their own way. Maybe I won't be a better writer for having read this. I think I'm a better person for it

5 Stars


Paper Girls Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughn, Cliff Chiang, Matthew Wilson, and Jarek K. Fletcher (comics)

The "multiple versions of characters in a time travel story" thing has been done almost to death. Paper Girls shows that there's still a little life in the trope by giving each version some degree of pathos and making the relationship between them strong and unstable at the same time.

4 Stars


Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia E. Butler (short stories)

The best stories in this collection are the longer ones ("Blood Child," "The Evening and the Morning and the Night," and "Amnesty") and detail how humans deal with new situations (symbiosis and disease, basically). Butler can craft one heck of a scary scene, and her characters always feel real enough to make those scenes all the more terrifying. But the last story, "The Book of Martha," is the one I'll probably come back to and hopefully teach sometime soon. In it, God gives a black woman writer complete power to change anything about the world that she can think of to get humans through our "adolescent phase" without destroying ourselves. Her solution is clever, but it's also just a pretty great prompt for students (or anybody, really) to write about. Fun!

4 Stars


Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (fiction)

I read this one in a day, it's that good and compelling. Hamid's lengthy sentences pull you along with an ease and a grace that usually starts you in one place and leaves you with another. In that way, the students matches the substance as the second half of the book explores the implications of a multitude of doors that connect one place to another, seemingly at random. Hamid depicts how nations and cities, couples and individuals deal with this new paradigm positively and negatively, using Nadia and Saeed to ground a tale that skips across the globe. Perhaps most intriguing is how the national boundaries aren't the only ones being broken down. If globalization looks like this, difficult and unpredictable but rewarding, sign me up.

5 Stars


Paper Girls Vol. 3 by Brian K. Vaughn, Cliff Chiang, Matthew Wilson, and Jarek K. Fletcher (comics)

I really enjoy the serialized nature of this series so far. with so much time jumping it could have been overly complicated, but each volume gets a good singular story in a few short pages while also giving some of that larger story its due. This prehistoric entry is good fun.

4 Stars


Moving Pictures by Kathryn Immonen and Stuart Immonen (comics)

Another comic about art, this one is a little too slight for my taste. A Canadian art student studying in Paris as Hitler takes it over also has an affair with a German officer while trying to smuggle art before it can be destroyed. There's an interrogation that frames the whole thing that's kind of cool for its expressionist lighting but outside a few other scenes I wasn't feeling the look of this one so much. When the character details are this lightly sketched, the drawings better be stunning. But they aren't, so this ends up being whatever.

3 Stars


The Sculptor by Scott McCloud (comics)

A book that I should have loved more because it's about all the stuff that I like reading about: art, death, family history. But for me there was too much of the protagonist being a huge idiot and not enough acknowledgement of just how dumb he was. He becomes not-an-idiot, eventually, but it's too little too late. That's part of the point, I guess, but the rest wasn't good enough to make me forget that I kept wanting to shake this guy awake before the 400th page.

4 Stars


Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit (non-fiction)

Solnit's sometimes beautiful, sometimes pointed, always insightful essays about feminism in the first half of this decade still reads somewhat like a book written yesterday. My favorite essay (on uncertainty and walking and Virginia Woolf) is perhaps the least like the others, but even there she manages to expose some alternate ways of thinking about the work of feminism. As I write this, our White House is finding out that their particularly toxic brand of masculinity isn't quite as strong as they hoped it was. As Solnit points out, the work isn't over yet, but there is reason to believe that certain ideas cannot be put back into their boxes.

5 Stars


Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too by Jomny Sun (comics)

Adorable and surprisingly affecting in the end, Sun uses a doofy alien and cute animals to stand in for a bunch of different anxieties. With all of the simplistic dialogue I was afraid this would be putting forward too easy a worldview, but Sun manages to bring some profundity in the end by not shying away from the bleaker aspects of life. That this could work for an 8 year old almost as well as it did for this 30 year old reader is both impressive and delightful. It's a fast read, too, so revisits will be easy and hopefully rewarding.

4 Stars


The Fire This Time edited by Jesmyn Ward (non-fiction/poetry)

This collection of essays, letters, and poems about race in the mid-20-teens is an excellent read for those interested in reading varied perspectives. Themed around James Baldwin's brilliant "The Fire Next Time," many of the pieces here incorporate his words and extend the ideas he brought up half a century ago for the modern problems that these writers of color seek to identify and write against. Split into three sections on the legacy of racism, the current(ish) condition of racism, and a look to the future that might not be as racist, each of the poems and essays left a mark on me. It's not an optimistic book, really, but it is a necessary one.

5 Stars


Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine (comics)

Adrian Tomine's Killing and Dying is a collection of short stories in comics form and it's among the best comics I've ever read. The titular story is about comics, actually, but the stand-up kind. It's also about a marriage, a father-daughter relationship, a death, ambition, identity creation, and aging. It's a little masterpiece. Every story here is, really. Tomine creates these perfect characters, admirable but flawed, and then gets to the point without ever sacrificing emotional resonance or beautiful drawings in the name of efficiency. Though you can read this book in about an hour, it is dense enough to return to several times. This is definitely one of the best comics I've ever read, and it's up there with the best books, too.

5 Stars


And that's the year to date.
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BlueVoid

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Re: Rate the last book you read.
« Reply #1813 on: March 27, 2018, 02:40:27 PM »
The Stand - This one took me a long time to get through (hence why my last post in this thread was in August). It was a great read, but moving house and starting a new job interfered with reading time. The depth of the story and characters is superb. It's in the running for my favorite King that I've read to date, although I think Under the Dome still takes it.
5/5

Fire and Fury
What a mess. I don't know how much of this book is true or exaggerated, but it sounds about right. Especially after the recent turmoil in the White House.

3.5/5

Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World
I couldn't get into this one. It seems like it would be an interesting story, but the way it was told was very dry. It's not a long book, but I had to force myself to keep interest and finish it.

2/5

Iron Gold
The Red Rising trilogy has really grown on me, and every book so far has been very solid. This one takes an approach where it is told from 4 different characters perspectives, Game of Thrones style. It took me awhile to work into this style and the new characters, but eventually it clicked. Looking forward to the next one!
4/5

The Collapsing Empire
I haven't read any other Scalzi books, and I don't remember why I decided to pick this one up. This was another one which took me awhile to get into and really only understood where the book (and the series) was going towards the end. Good enough to look forward to the next book in the series.
3.5/5
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BlueVoid

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Re: Rate the last book you read.
« Reply #1814 on: March 28, 2018, 08:53:30 AM »
Storm Front
Firs time reading a Butcher book. I liked this one and it was very easy to speed through. I'm not entirely sure I love the characterization of Dresden, but it didn't take away from the story either. I think I will give the next book in the series a go at least.
3.5/5
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Teproc

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Re: Rate the last book you read.
« Reply #1815 on: April 04, 2018, 03:29:44 PM »
It's been a while since I've read for pleasure, because I had to read a lot for my studies in the past five years... and I found it hard to pick the habit back up actually. But this really gave me that feeling of getting lost in a book back, and I'm excited to get back into reading because of it.

The Three Body Problem (Liu Cixin)

My sister recommended it to me, but really "Chinese sci-fi" was all I needed to be intrigued. I was very curious to see what it would feel like, and, as one might expect, it's familiar in some ways, but still very distinctively Chinese in other ways. Well obviously it takes place in China, so there's that, and the history of China plays an important role in the story, both the recent (though most of the action is contemporary, the first chapter takes place during the cultural revolution and hangs over an important character) and the ancient, through one of the story's main threads: the VR game which gives the book its title. Funny I should read this as Ready Player One is coming out... somehow I don't think anything in that film will be quite as memorable as what goes on here, and hearing that Amazon is thinking of adapting this into a TV show makes me cackle... because this book gets progressively crazier as it goes on, in ways that I have no idea how you could possibly portray on screen. Maybe it's because, again, it's my first new non-fiction book in a while, but it really reminded me of the tremendous power the written word has over one's imagination.

To get back to it's Chinese-ness, there's a lot there that I don't know how much I should get into, both in fear of spoliing things and because I certainly don't have that firm a grasp on what Liu is doing overall... but one of the main threads going through the film is the concept of ideology: where it comes from, what forms it takes and how it affects societies.

I am a little worried for the next two books in this trilogy (only one of which is out here at this point), because the last hundred pages or so did feel a bit rushed to me. What goes on towards the end is very exciting but I did lose sight of some of the core characters a bit, and founds myself questioning some of the choices Liu made in structuring his story, with certain reveals seeming to come both a little fast and... in the wrong order, somehow ? Hard to discuss without getting spoilery again, but certain flashbacks felt like they would have played better had Liu taken more time to build up some mysteries.

Still, I did find that the basic genre stuff worked alongside the deeper philosophical stuff, which is all I can ask from good sci-fi. To get back to the reason I got interested in it in the first place (well, beside my sister's impeccable taste in such things), the Western author I was reminded of the most was Asimov, partly because of its interest in history and wide view of humanity/the world, but a wilder Asimov, who goes more for mind-blowing setpieces than the clock-work precision of Asimov's narrative. I'm not sure he'll be able to keep it up in the next two, but I'm excited to see him try.

BlueVoid

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Re: Rate the last book you read.
« Reply #1816 on: May 11, 2018, 01:45:01 PM »
Treasure Island
I have vague memories of this being the first chapter book that I read/was read to me. Revisiting it I really enjoyed it and admire its influence on pirate stories that followed. The audiobook with a full cast narration was phenomenal. The voice acting of Long John Silver by Owen Teale is particularly great.
4/5

Artemis
I loved 'The Martian' and I might love Artemis even more. The world building by Weir is phenomenal. This story is about a smuggler on a moonbase who gets herself caught up in some shady business with highstakes. I don't love all the character choices that Weir makes and have issues with how things are wrapped up-- but I had such a great time in the world that he has created that I can overlook them.
4/5

A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership
This says little about Trump and more about Comey and his views on leadership. He comes off a bit holier than thou and a bit like he views himself as an even more boyscout version of captain America. that said, I still enjoyed this and learned about how the head of the FBI interacts with the president. If you had read the book before his memo's were leaked than nothing new was revealed.
3.5/5

How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success
I generally have issues with broad self-help books since they necessarily have to be overly broad. This is doubly true for books that are telling people how to raise their children. This book appears to be mostly geared towards very wealthy heli-copter parents trying to get their kids into Yale. It makes a lot of assertions based on anecdotal examples. The entire premise is based on something that "feels" true. Kids these days are over-parented and don't know how to handle the real world. This may be true, but the reality is probably a lot more murky-- which the book brings up, but doesn't actually explore much. There is definitely a generational bias that taints the entire book. Look-- parenting is hard. Being a kid is hard-- especially in this new world where everyone is connected, has a college degree and is willing to work for free. Lets not pretend that making your kid do chores is going to solve every issue.
2.5/5

The Complete Sherlock Holmes
This was an audiobook of every Holmes short story and novel read by Stephen Fry. At first I had a problem with the character of Holmes being unbearable, but he grew on me like House (from the TV show) did-- not surprisingly that character is based on Holmes. The collection is broken into 6 manageable parts which is needed otherwise it would get too repetitive. I read a different book in between each part. Even at that some of the stories seemed too similar. However, they are still fun reads and easy to get through. Really enjoyed the experience of reading them all.
4/5
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oldkid

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Re: Rate the last book you read.
« Reply #1817 on: May 13, 2018, 12:33:48 PM »
I'm glad you mentioned that Sherlock Holmes collection.  I bought it, and then realized how daunting the project is to listen to all that.  I usually listen to audiobooks at work or driving, and Doyle, like Chesterton's Father Brown series, might prove to be too dense for work.  But I am still looking forward to it.

Wild Seed
I am proud of myself because I actually read a new fictional book all the way through-- not audiobook.  My depression for about a decade has been pretty severe and I stopped reading new fiction. :(  But I think I'm back on track.  And, of course, it is Octavia Butler, one of my favorites.

This is a love story in an alternative seventeenth through nineteenth centuries, with characters having to deal with the odd personality quirks of living eternally.  On the other hand, it has some of the same beats as a romance, apart from the occasional murders.  It is dark and deep and addictive. And I am diving into the next volume now.

4.5/5
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BlueVoid

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Re: Rate the last book you read.
« Reply #1818 on: May 14, 2018, 08:54:42 AM »
The good thing about the Holmes collection is it is very easy to flit in and out of because the stories are pretty short. You can just come back to it whenever you want a little dose.

Congrats on finishing the book! Wild Seed sounds interesting.
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BlueVoid

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Re: Rate the last book you read.
« Reply #1819 on: May 15, 2018, 10:16:36 AM »
Ready Player One
I know that a lot of people despise this book, but I really enjoyed it. I have some major issues and recognize all the faults people have with it. It's not the best written book, but I couldn't put it down. It was a lot of fun. I didn't want it to be over.
4.5/5
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