Karlstar's Reading 2023.3

É uma continuação do tópico Karlstar's Spam-ified reading thread.

Este tópico foi continuado por Karlstar's Reading 2023 The Finale.

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Karlstar's Reading 2023.3

1Karlstar
Editado: Dez 20, 2023, 9:34 am

Older reading in the previous thread.

June reading
Trumps of Doom by Roger Zelazny
100 Places to See After You Die by Ken Jennings
Beyond the Gap by Harry Turtledove
Blood Song by Anthony Ryan
The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher

July reading
Dragons of Deceit by Weis and Hickman
Descent into the Depths of the Earth by Paul Kidd
John Grimes: Survey Captain by Chandler
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Oliver Twist by Dickens
The Giant Airships by Douglas Botting
Iorich by Steven Brust

August reading
Lost Fleet: Outlands: Resolute by Jack Campbell
The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman
The Mystery Knight: A Graphic Novel
The Citadel of Forgotten Myths by M. Moorcock
The Road to Kitty Hawk Time-Life books by Valerie Moolman

September reading
Tsalmoth by Steven Brust
Conan the Invincible by Robert Jordan
Direct Descent by Frank Herbert
The Reluctant King by Sarah Bradford
Earth is Room Enough by Isaac Asimov

October reading
Hellburner by C. J. Cherryh
Citizen of the Galaxy by Heinlein
Knights of the Air (Time-Life books) by Ezra Bowen
The Fires of Heaven by Jordan
Keyhole by George Morrison (ER)

November Reading
The War of 1812: A History From Beginning to End by Henry Freeman (not the Hourly History one)
The RAF at War (Time-Life books) by Ralph Barker
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by McKillip
The Paradox Men by Charles L. Harness
The Long Gray Line: The American Journey of West Point's Class of 1966 by Rick Atkinson
Witch World by Andre Norton
Queen of the Demonweb Pits by Paul Kidd
Web of the Witch World by Andre Norton

2Karlstar
Jul 23, 2023, 3:54 pm

The usual explanation of my rating system.

I use a 1 to 10 rating system because I started rating books on the internet using a 10 point system and because I like the additional granularity. Checking my LT books, the 8 ratings stop right around book 500, so I'm consistent there, but I only have about 70 books rated 9 stars or higher, so either I'm being too tough or there just aren't that many 9 or 10 star books. I would guess my most common rating is 6, I like most of what I read. Here's my rating scale explained.

1 - So bad, I couldn't finish it. DO NOT READ!!!
2 - Could have finished, but didn't. Do not read. This one means I made a conscious choice not to finish, usually about halfway through the book. Something is seriously wrong here.
3 - Finished it, but had to force myself. Not recommended, unless it is part of a series you really need to finish.
4 - Finished it, but really didn't like it. Not recommended unless you really need something to read.
5 - Decent book, recommended if you have spare time and need something to read.
6 - Good book, I enjoyed it, and would recommend it.
7 - Good book, recommended for everyone. I may have read it more than once, and would consider buying the hardcover edition.
8 - Great book, I would put it in the Top 500 of all time. Read more than once, I probably have the hardcover.
9 - Great book, top 100 all time. Read more than once, if I don't have the hardcover edition, I want one!
10 - All-time great book, top 50 material. Read more than twice, I probably have more than one copy/edition.

My ratings also include the Slogging Through The Mud (STTM) rating/index. This goes back to one of Elizabeth Moon's Paksenarrion books where she spends WAY too much time actually describing how the army spent days slogging through the mud. If there is a lot of travel in the book and too much time describing the traveling, the STTM rating will be high.

3Karlstar
Editado: Jul 23, 2023, 9:42 pm

I haven't done any of my July reviews yet, so here's the first one.

Dragons of Deceit by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
STTM: 4 - not a lot of travel
Rating: 5 out of 10

This is a decent fantasy novel, but for fans of their earlier Dragonlance Chronicles, this is clearly an attempt to play on nostalgia. Unfortunately, it doesn't go all that well.

The main character is Destina, daughter of a Solamnic Knight and a tribeswoman from Ergoth. She has been brought up her whole life to be the Lady of Castle Rosethorn, her father's castle. Per the code of the Solamnic Knights, she can't be a knight.

Some of the events of this book occur during the same timeframe as the original Dragonlance Chronicles trilogy, so some of the original characters make an appearance - Tanis, Sturm, Tika, Caramon and unfortunately, Tasselhof. This is where things really started to go off the rails for me, because once Tasselhof and the Device of Time Journeying appear, it kind of feels like we're repeating the plot of the Time of the Twins trilogy. The plot isn't the same, things happen very differently, but it just felt like an easy plot repeat.

This one felt more like an addendum to the original trilogy than a new novel all on it's own. In addition, there was a strong feeling that the main character was little more than a plot device to return to a familiar setting.

4clamairy
Jul 23, 2023, 7:22 pm

Happy new thread!

5Karlstar
Jul 23, 2023, 9:42 pm

>4 clamairy: Thanks!

6fuzzi
Jul 26, 2023, 7:02 am

Found and starred, waiting for more reviews!

7Karlstar
Jul 26, 2023, 1:57 pm

>6 fuzzi: Thanks, I'll try to catch up this weekend.

In the meantime, I finished The Giant Airships, one of the old Time-Life books from the Epic of Flight series. A good, short history of the short and tragic history of dirigibles.

Some facts that I thought were interesting.

The book mentions that two airships that were built in the UK after WWI had gas cells that were lined with goldbeater's skin - from wikipedia: "Goldbeater's skin is the processed outer membrane of the intestine of an animal, typically cattle, which is valued for its strength against tearing. The term derives from its traditional use as durable layers interleaved between sheets of gold stock during the process of making gold leaf by goldbeating, as a batch process producing many "leaves" at the same time. In the early modern production of airships, application of its high strength-to-weight ratio and reliability were crucial for building at least the largest examples. " It was tear-resistant, puncture resistant and fire proof - and it required 50,000 individual skins, stitched together, to make one gas cell (a balloon like structure within the frame of the dirigible). The book does not mention what the US, Germany or Italy used for lining material.

The most successful dirigible, the Graf Zeppelin, flew over 1,000,000 miles, crossed the Atlantic 144 times (many of the trips were to Brazil from Germany) and carried over 13,000 passengers. Unlike so many of its predecessors, it did not break apart, get shot down or burn up, it was retired after the Hindenburg disaster.

At the time, the only supply of helium in the world was in the USA and at first there wasn't enough of it to replace hydrogen. Later, the US refused to sell any to Germany, but all of the smaller zeppelins pre-Hindenburg would have been too heavy and too small to fly with helium anyway. Wikipedia again: " In 1903, large reserves of helium were found in natural gas fields in parts of the United States, by far the largest supplier of the gas today. "

8haydninvienna
Jul 26, 2023, 2:50 pm

>7 Karlstar: You might be interested in Neville Shute's autobiography Slide Rule. "Shute" (real name Neville Shute Norway) worked on the design of the British airship R100, with Barnes Wallis who became more famous for other reasons, and there's certainly mention in that of the use of goldbeater's skin as the material for the gas cells — plus lots more abut the R100 and R101. Be warned that it's suggested that Shute's account may not be entirely reliable about R101.

9Karlstar
Jul 26, 2023, 3:34 pm

>8 haydninvienna: Shute was mentioned in the book as having worked on the R100 and the R100 and R101 were the 2 airships referenced with regard to goldbeater's skin. The R101 was nearly a complete failure.

Thanks for the reference, you were correct, I would be interested.

10BookstoogeLT
Jul 29, 2023, 6:11 am

I hope you like Oliver Twist!

11Karlstar
Editado: Jul 29, 2023, 7:23 am

>10 BookstoogeLT: I did enjoy it. I'd say I liked Little Dorrit more though. Have you read it?

I'm almost done with Frankenstein, probably move on to one of the two Steven Brust Vlad books that I haven't read yet, Iorich next.

12Karlstar
Jul 29, 2023, 7:22 am

Question for you smart folks:

I was recently given an old hardcover edition of Rip Van Winkle, and the shipper sent it in one of those plastic envelopes with no padding at all. It was clearly bashed during shipping and a decent sized chunk 'crumbled' at the top of the front cover. It didn't break off or anything, but you can feel that it is crumbly under the cover material.

The question is: it feels like that part of the cover is now compromised and might get worse. What's the best way to contain the damage?

13BookstoogeLT
Jul 29, 2023, 4:17 pm

>11 Karlstar: I have read both, at least twice. I too like Little Dorrit better but overall find Nicholas Nickleby or Bleak House to be at the top of the Dickens pile.

14Karlstar
Jul 30, 2023, 8:44 am

>13 BookstoogeLT: I haven't gotten to those two yet, or David Copperfield.

15clamairy
Jul 30, 2023, 9:04 am

>12 Karlstar: That kind of damage is way beyond my knowledge and experience. I'm sorry. Perhaps you can check YouTube for book repair videos.

16Karlstar
Jul 30, 2023, 2:58 pm

>15 clamairy: Thanks, I think I will take this over to the Book Care group and see what they say.

17Karlstar
Jul 30, 2023, 4:16 pm

Descent into the Depths of the Earth by Paul Kidd
STTM: 4 - surprisingly little for such a long trip
Rating: 7 out of 10

This is the novelization of the 'famous' series of AD&D adventures with basically the same name. This came out soon after the release of the 3rd edition of the D&D rules in 2001 and the main character, Justicar, quickly became very popular. The books were a way to introduce the new and very different rules to the audience. As mentioned previously, this has nothing to do with our Earth.

The main character, Justicar (which is also his profession, aka ranger); Escalla the pixie wizard and Cinders, his hell-hound cloak 'companion' are fun characters. This book doesn't go into a lot of depth on the characters, this is about the adventure and the quirkiness. I give the author some points for originality for including a pixie as a wizard instead of a more typical human or elf.

The story is basically an expansion of what's in the module series. While Justicar and Escalla are helping the human refugees who have fled from attacks by giants, they discover that many are missing. The missing humans appear to have been abducted by something or someone that is tied in with politics in the Fae Court and Escalla gets involved. They not only have to go far on a trail to find the missing humans, but they also to resolve Escalla's problem. This part of the novel was never in the adventure modules and it's a good way to get them on the path without it being just 'because'.

The action is great, the characters are good, there's good interaction between the pixie and the human and the opponents.

For whatever reason, possibly because they did not print many, these books are hard to find and expensive, typically $25 - $50 for a mass market paperback or higher. Now I need the next one.

18MrsLee
Jul 30, 2023, 6:05 pm

>16 Karlstar: If you get an answer, I would like to hear it. Curious minds and all that.

19Karlstar
Editado: Jul 30, 2023, 6:55 pm

>18 MrsLee: Absolutely, I'll post it here.

John Grimes: Survey Captain by A. Bertram Chandler
STTM: 8 - some long, boring, ridiculously offensive space trips
Rating: 1.5 out of 10 (my LT star rating is 1/2)

The less said about this one, the better. We discussed it briefly in my previous thread. There are 4 short novels in this omnibus edition, of which I read 2, so technically I can't give it a 1, since I finished 2 of them. It was fairly clear to me that the author, writing these in the late 60s, was using the original Star Trek concept of a mostly male officer crew on starships, with 1 female officer and a few female crew. Unfortunately, that was just an excuse to be ridiculously sexist.

In the first novel, 'Breaking the Cycle' (there's a pun at the end, it wasn't worth it) Capt. Grimes is trying to rebuild his reputation and while doing so, is assigned a mission to escort a female police officer to find a derelict space liner that was attacked by pirates and is now floating empty. That didn't seem so bad, until he contrived to have Grimes and the female officer stuck in a lifeboat, potentially forever - naked. After that it was just a really long 'I wouldn't date you if you were the last man in the universe' situation. The plot did improve, but not nearly enough to make up for it.

The second novel, 'The Big Black Mark', was Grimes again trying to make up for the snafu of the previous mission and not really doing any better. At least there was a ship and a whole crew this time and Grimes stayed away from the female crewmen, but that was soon fixed. Overall this second novel was a little better, but not enough for me to continue. At that point I had read too much and gave up on the other 2 novels in the book.

I guess the author's point was to write about a Capt. Bligh type captain who just kept having worse and worse luck and didn't have the sense to fix it - but why do that?

20Karlstar
Ago 2, 2023, 11:47 am

>18 MrsLee: Here's what I have so far from 2WonderY:

"I would use white glue and wrap it in waxed paper in order to mold it back into place. The waxed paper will peal off after the glue sets."

There was a follow-up suggestion to use parchment paper instead of waxed paper.

21MrsLee
Ago 2, 2023, 12:37 pm

>20 Karlstar: I can see that. I have a special glue (non-acidic) that I bought for book repair. That would be my only other suggestion. Although, white glue may be non-acidic, I don't know.

22clamairy
Ago 2, 2023, 4:32 pm

>20 Karlstar: I bought this stuff on Amazon a couple of years ago. I haven't had to use it yet. https://a.co/d/09epx7c

23Karlstar
Ago 2, 2023, 10:32 pm

>22 clamairy: Interesting, think it would work on the cover? I'm guessing that under the cover itself, is cardboard?? Paperboard, something like that?

24Karlstar
Ago 4, 2023, 12:17 am

Done with Iorich, which was good. It is always refreshing to get a good dose of Vlad snark once in a while.

I decided to take a detour back to the Alliance/Syndic universe and read Lost Fleet: Outlands: Resolute before Tsalmoth.

25Karlstar
Editado: Ago 7, 2023, 10:10 pm

Resolute is going well, this may be one of the better books of the series. There's a little more to it than just giant space battles.

Both of my daughters and our grand-daughter were visiting this weekend. For the first time since pre-covid, my sister hosted her big family and friends party yesterday. There were quite a few folks missing, this time, but it was still a good time. We had our grand-daughter with us all day today, which was great, but it has been a long weekend.

As a special favor for my sister, my daughter and I made 'Grandma Browns Beans', which used to be a staple in stores in Central and Western NY until the pandemic. The company, which had been a family operation since 1938, closed up shop. My sister has been talking about them ever since (2020, not 1938, I know you were thinking it), so we had to make some. They are really just baked navy beans with a little salt, brown sugar, onion, a bay leaf and bacon. That's it and the internet recipe says the onion is optional! They aren't great but my sister was happy! For the less nostalgic people I also made a big pot of homemade baked beans.

26clamairy
Ago 7, 2023, 8:11 am

>25 Karlstar: Those sound quite good. Why aren't they great? Are they a little bland compared to the usual baked beans?

27Karlstar
Ago 7, 2023, 12:07 pm

>26 clamairy: I think it depends on how you like your baked beans. They are very, very bland, there's not even any black pepper in them! The amount of seasoning to beans is real low. I prefer my baked beans with at least a little molasses and my recipe has 15 ingredients.

I liked this description from the internet: "Grandma Brown's canned baked beans are available in the northeast USA but not common elsewhere. They are very simple with only 6 ingredients named on the can. This is a process to recreate them faithfully. Note that these beans are not tomato based, they are thick not saucy, and they are only mildly sweet."

28clamairy
Ago 7, 2023, 12:23 pm

>27 Karlstar: Yes, I'm sure I would be adding things that aren't in the recipe. Garlic and ground pepper, to start. I make a recipe from my sister-in-law that is loaded with extras. They have become a family favorite.

29Karlstar
Ago 7, 2023, 7:29 pm

>28 clamairy: Mine too, though I need to come up with another side dish for family events. Variety is good.

30Karlstar
Ago 8, 2023, 3:20 pm

I finished The Lost Fleet: Outlands: Resolute, which was good. Moving on to The Guns of August and likely Tsalmoth for breaks.

31jillmwo
Ago 9, 2023, 10:46 am

I'll be interested in hearing how you do with The Guns of August as it is one of those books I remember being on my parents' bookshelf but which as a teenager, I couldn't really get into. (I don't think I had sufficient context in terms of the various players.)

32ChrisG1
Ago 10, 2023, 9:24 pm

>30 Karlstar: I finally got around to The Guns of August a couple of years ago. Well written & worth reading. WWI gets short shrift in most US history education.

33Karlstar
Editado: Ago 11, 2023, 3:46 pm

>31 jillmwo: >32 ChrisG1: So far, so good. It is certainly well written and engaging.

Ed: when will I stop referencing my own posts? Don't answer, that was rhetorical. Besides, the real answer is probably never, or about the same time I stop writing gibberish.

34mattries37315
Ago 10, 2023, 11:37 pm

>30 Karlstar: Looking forward to your thoughts on The Guns of August. I read it in '14 for the anniversary to the start of the war, very well written and I've gotten other books by Tuchman but have gotten to them on my TBR pile yet.

I agree with >32 ChrisG1: WWI is forgotten even though we're basically still dealing with the fallout of how it ended.

35Karlstar
Ago 12, 2023, 10:01 pm

>34 mattries37315: So far so good, I'm interested in her other titles too but may see if I can get them from the library. I will say that so far, she seems to rely on people remembering/knowing about events that happened that aren't directly related but were factors. That may have worked in 1962, but not as well in 2023. It just gives me things to look up though.

36jillmwo
Ago 13, 2023, 11:08 am

>33 Karlstar: and >35 Karlstar: We all have done it (referencing the wrong post in a response). Also, I like it when a book drives us to check things. (I have a horror of looking stupid, but it does slow down the full process.)

I have Guns of August in my Kindle library; I just haven't worked up the wherewithal to plunge into it. That said, I find your comments to be encouraging.

37Karlstar
Ago 13, 2023, 4:29 pm

>36 jillmwo: It is a book about WWI, how exciting can it be? Yet, the writing keeps it entertaining without it coming off as light or irreverent.

38Karlstar
Editado: Ago 13, 2023, 9:57 pm

Time for a quick review of my back to back 1800's novels.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
STTM: 3 not really any slogging, but there is considerable travel and angst
Rating: 7 out of 10

I would guess that most of you reading this have already read the book, so there's no need to summarize. I'm not sure I'd ever read this before. I thought it was good, not great. I read the Everyman's Library edition with the introduction by Mary Lesser, which I enjoyed too.

Other than this being now over 200 years old, it has aged fairly well. Since the EL edition is my preferred edition, I definitely don't need another one.

I've been leaving off my criteria for great/memorable books lately, partly because some of them didn't need it.

Was it immersive? No, I put it down several times.
Was it memorable? Yes, this is well done.
Would I re-read it? Probably not.
Would I recommend it? Yes, for people who haven't read it and want to experience the original.

39Karlstar
Ago 13, 2023, 9:56 pm

Oliver Twist
STTM: 1 - only two short trips and not a lot of time wasted
Rating: 7 out of 10

Another book I don't think I need to summarize. I almost gave this a 8, since I do have two versions, but I do not own a hardcover and I'm not likely to read this again.

One thing I did find a bit strange with this reading, is how little Oliver Twist actually does in this novel. Almost everything is done to him, or for him, not by him. It also felt very similar to Little Dorrit, but without the romance aspects. I kept waiting for Oliver Twist to become someone and he never actually did. I enjoyed reading it and now I'm thinking about which Dickens to read next.

Was it immersive? Not really, I read both Frankenstein and the Giant Airships at the same time.
Was it memorable? Yes, definitely.
Would I re-read it? Probably not, there's a few other Dickens to get to first.
Would I recommend it? Yes, for people who haven't read it and want to experience the original.

40Sakerfalcon
Ago 14, 2023, 9:06 am

>38 Karlstar: I'm thinking of rereading Frankenstein because I've been making this jigsaw!

41pgmcc
Ago 14, 2023, 9:31 am

>40 Sakerfalcon:
Interesting jigsaw. Enjoy the read. It is a while since I read it.

42MrsLee
Ago 14, 2023, 10:02 am

>38 Karlstar: My thoughts on Frankenstein are in line with yours, although it has been many years since I read it. Good, memorable, not going to read it again.

43fuzzi
Ago 14, 2023, 11:05 am

>42 MrsLee: agreed. I'm glad I read it. I also have read Oliver Twist, and appreciate it, no plans to read it again.

44clamairy
Ago 14, 2023, 11:15 am

>38 Karlstar: I read Frankenstein in grad school, and enjoyed it, but then I did a reread in my 40s for a book group and I found it laughable in some places. There was too much convenient swooning on Victor's part. Still, a memorable story.

>39 Karlstar: I have not read Oliver Twist since high school, but I would be open to listening to it at some point. As you point out there are too many Dickens books that I haven't read that would have to come first.

45clamairy
Ago 14, 2023, 11:16 am

>40 Sakerfalcon: Oh, that's lovely!

46Karlstar
Ago 14, 2023, 1:55 pm

>40 Sakerfalcon: That's a cool puzzle!

47Karlstar
Ago 14, 2023, 2:05 pm

>44 clamairy: I don't think I could listen to Oliver Twist very long. The abuse suffered by too many of the people in the book, particularly the women, would just make me stop listening.

48jillmwo
Ago 14, 2023, 3:25 pm

>38 Karlstar: It seems that the general consensus is that it's good to have read Frankenstein but once is sufficient. On one level, I agree. However, I have read and re-visited it perhaps 3 times over the past 30 years. The first time left me with the sense that the early movie-makers were really rather shallow as they focused on the tech side of things (electricity and lightning) rather than on the book's actual story. The second time (a more immersive reading experience) it struck me that it was really a book about responsible parenting (Dr. Frankenstein flunked that one) and the third time was due to an academic discussion I'd run across about how Frankenstein's Creature went about educating himself. (Way above my comprehension but I bet with an instructor as part of a seminar, it might have been much more interesting.)

Oliver Twist, I must confess, I just never had much use for. Most of the people are not likeable and it's all about abusive behaviors. Dickens and I have never really "clicked".

49Karlstar
Ago 14, 2023, 9:01 pm

>48 jillmwo: I thought the part about the creature educating himself was one of the less believable parts, that whole segment of the book wasn't plausible.

I think the second impression, that of the failure of parenting, is probably what we're actually supposed to take away from the book.

50Karlstar
Editado: Ago 30, 2023, 10:16 pm

Iorich by Steven Brust
STTM: 3 out of 10, not much travel
Rating: 7 out of 10

This is the 12th book in the Vlad Taltos cycle, by publication order. Somehow I'd managed to skip over it and read the next three, so I was glad to read this one and fill in some of the missing gaps in the story.

This is a very typical Vlad novel. For those who don't know, Vlad Taltos is a human living in an elven (Draegeran, in his world) empire. He started his career as a medium-level crime boss and assassin, but after refusing to do his bosses bidding a few times, had to go on the run and is now a wanted man.

He doesn't save the world in this one, like some of the previous books, but he does have to head back to the big city to help a friend. That puts Vlad in the place where he shines the most, in the city, avoiding assassins and helping his friends. Good action and good dialogue and a bit of confusing political intrigue, I enjoyed this one more than I did the following two.

Edited to add:

Was it immersive? Yes, I read this as often as I could.
Was it memorable? To some extent, I suspect in time it will just be Vlad being Vlad.
Would I re-read it? Possibly.
Would I recommend it? Yes, if you like the Vlad books, if you haven't, start at the beginning!

51BookstoogeLT
Ago 17, 2023, 5:02 pm

Glad to see some good books you read, ie, Dickens ;-)

Do you have an easy to view list of all the Dickens you've read? I wouldn't want to suggest something you've already partaken of...

52Karlstar
Ago 17, 2023, 9:57 pm

>51 BookstoogeLT: Not impressed by the Paul Kidd? :)

I think the list here in LT is almost accurate.

Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities, Little Dorrit and A Christmas Carol (not listed here in LT yet). That's all I can recall ever reading. I have a vague notion I've read something else, but can't definitely say which one.

In general my reading of 'classic' literature is very lacking and I'm slowly trying to correct that.

53BookstoogeLT
Ago 18, 2023, 5:36 am

>52 Karlstar: Is there any indication of how many books the Lost Fleet Outlands series is going to be? I've still to read the Genesis fleet trilogy but have to admit that I'm getting tired of "Black Jack" and am not sure I can put up with another 5+ books of him...

54Sakerfalcon
Ago 18, 2023, 7:13 am

>50 Karlstar: I need to get back into this series. I read the omnibus of the first 3 books, and I've collected some of the others over the years but they've been shelved where I can't see them which greatly lowers their chances of me remembering I have them!

55pgmcc
Ago 18, 2023, 7:31 am

>54 Sakerfalcon:
...I've collected some of the others over the years but they've been shelved where I can't see them which greatly lowers their chances of me remembering I have them!

This is also an attribute of my book storage. I will not refer to it as a problem because when I am organising my bookshelves I take great delight in discovering unread books I had forgotten I had. LibraryThing has meant I avoid buying books I already have (mostly), but it does not actively keep books I have at the forefront of my mind.

Now that I am retired, of course, I will be giving loads of time to organising my library and will know exactly what books I have and exactly where they are shelved. :-)

On that note, I have been planning to organise my bookcases but have opted to read books instead. I think that is a fair priority, especially as I appear to be on a roll with great books at the moment.

56Karlstar
Ago 18, 2023, 12:30 pm

>53 BookstoogeLT: There's one more book coming in the Outlands series, The Lost Fleet: Outlands: Implacable, which is out in hardcover. Amazon says it is book 3 of 3, so maybe that's it. LT doesn't have it listed yet as part of the series, even though the touchstone works.

>54 Sakerfalcon: I think there's one more book coming before the cycle is complete! I had no idea when I started reading these books, even though he made an obvious connection between the Draegeran houses and the books, that he'd actually write this many. There's a couple in the middle that dragged a little, but at least they are all relatively short.

>55 pgmcc: You'll have plenty of time to organize.

57BookstoogeLT
Ago 18, 2023, 2:58 pm

58pgmcc
Ago 18, 2023, 6:14 pm

>56 Karlstar:
You'll have plenty of time to organize.
Precisely.

59Karlstar
Ago 22, 2023, 11:35 pm

Is it weird that I'm just about to finish The Guns of August? I guess I'm a week ahead on the calendar.

60Karlstar
Ago 23, 2023, 2:38 pm

Done! Heading off to visit family for a few days so I have to plan something to read on Nook or Kindle.

61clamairy
Ago 23, 2023, 2:50 pm

>60 Karlstar: I hope you have a wonderful time.

62pgmcc
Ago 23, 2023, 3:46 pm

>60 Karlstar:
Have a great time.

63Karlstar
Ago 23, 2023, 9:21 pm

>61 clamairy: >62 pgmcc: Thank you both. It is supposed to be 100F tomorrow, but cooler after that.

64BookstoogeLT
Ago 27, 2023, 7:17 am

Did you delete your gravatar profile? I was running a broken link checker and it caught one of your old comments.

65Karlstar
Ago 27, 2023, 9:25 pm

>64 BookstoogeLT: Um? Not sure what you are referring to. i changed my profile picture here?

66Karlstar
Ago 27, 2023, 10:03 pm

Back from the trip. The drive was fairly easy, the roads weren't too busy, I'm guessing a lot of people are traveling next week. It also wasn't quite as hot as expected, it never did get to 100F and the following days were much cooler. Don't think it got over 70F today.

I wanted to read something on my Nook while I was away, so I picked up the most recent Elric novel, The Citadel of Forgotten Myths. So far a fairly typical Elric novel, but it is interesting to see how the writing has evolved a little over the decades.

67Karlstar
Editado: Ago 30, 2023, 10:19 pm

The Lost Fleet: Outlands: Resolute by Jack Campbell
STTM: 4 - the usual flying through space and time
Rating: 7

I think this is one of the better books in the series. The Alliance fleet, led by Adm Geary as usual, is off to Dancer space to make more formal contact - but to get there they have to go through systems controlled by the extremely hostile Enigmas. Unlike some of the other books, that isn't the only conflict.

Within the fleet there are now factions - those who are opposed to the Admiral, those who are opposed to contact with aliens and those who aren't ready to give up war with the Syndicate. There is also more of a civilian government vs. military power struggle as well. I thought these added conflicts really enhanced the book and added some interesting characters. Otherwise, this is fairly standard Lost Fleet fare, fairly light military scifi.

Was it immersive? Yes, I like this universe and this was a good addition.
Was it memorable? So far, yes.
Would I re-read it? Probably not, unless I re-read the whole series.
Would I recommend it? Yes, for fans of space opera with the emphasis on space.

68Karlstar
Ago 30, 2023, 10:14 pm

The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman
STTM: 2 - can get a little sloggy in spots
Rating: 8 out of 10

Like most people, I thought this was excellent. It starts with the funeral of King Edward VII as a way of introducing the primary leaders and the state of Europe, then proceeds to briefly cover the early years of the 20th century and the conflicts and preparations for war. The primary focus is on France, Germany and England, with a small amount of time spent on Russia and even less on Turkey. For whatever reason, Austro-Hungary is almost completely left out.

There were several pre-war incidents that were mentioned that I had to look up, she does have a tendency to mention events that may have still been taught in 1962, but have likely been left out of school textbooks since, so I had several things to look up in wikipedia, which I did not mind at all.

After going through the various preparations for war, about 2/3 of the book is spent on the summer of 1914, primarily August, 1914. After that, most of the time is spent on the Battle of the Frontiers in Belgium and France, at the army/corps level. Unlike many modern writers, she does not tell any stories of the individual soldier, or any military leader under corps level. There were times I wanted a more Atkinson or Shaara level view of what was happening to individuals. There are maps! At times reading the long sections on movements of this army or that army, or this town or that river, I would start wishing for a map, and there would be one a page or two later.

I thought this was very well done. Many of the blurbs or reviews mention the quality of the writing and I'm not sure quite what they meant, but there was some sneaky sarcasm from time to time that was amusing. It was sad, reading it, realizing that WWI was nearly a repeat of the Franco-Prussian war and that it would repeat, again, in World War II. What was even sadder were the parts that told how before the war, there was a theory that the world had become so economically intertwined that a big war was impossible, or would have to be only a few months long. If only that were true.

Was it immersive? No, it is too far removed in time and too vast of a conflict for that, I think.
Was it memorable? Yes, definitely.
Would I re-read it? Most likely.
Would I recommend it? Yes, for anyone without a comprehensive knowledge of WWI.

69jillmwo
Ago 31, 2023, 8:34 am

>68 Karlstar: Thank you for this review. Quite honestly this is one of those titles that I bought because of that uncomfortable sense of not knowing enough about the period so... "I should really read this." I just haven't got round to it yet. You've given me a MUCH better sense of what to expect!! I might yet get round to reading Tuchman's book

70mattries37315
Ago 31, 2023, 12:09 pm

>68 Karlstar: Good to hear that you enjoyed the book. Honestly Austria-Hungary was dead weight on Germany's war effort, the only area where they "succeeded" was on the Italian front due to the Italian commander being horrible.

71Karlstar
Set 1, 2023, 10:34 am

>69 jillmwo: You are welcome. Even if you aren't into the actual army vs. army sections, there's a lot of that book that will give a tremendous amount of useful background.

>70 mattries37315: Can we really blame them for participating half-heartedly? From when I read A Farewell to Arms last year, I remember that when he was with the Italian Army, it was full of ordinary soldiers complaining that they had absolutely no desire to go to war, the war was all about prestige for the nobility.

Tuchman does make the point in a couple of places that the German attitude was that they deserved to rule the world.

72Karlstar
Set 1, 2023, 1:50 pm

I finished The Citadel of Forgotten Myths, which probably should have been named 'The Citadel of Myths Best Left Forgotten'. On to Tsalmoth, finally.

73clamairy
Set 1, 2023, 4:37 pm

>72 Karlstar: Ha! That is definitely not a bullet. 😆

74jjwilson61
Set 1, 2023, 6:59 pm

>68 Karlstar: I remember enjoying The Guns of August and I remember liking The Proud Tower more although I can't remember too much about it except it discussing Western society around the transition to the 20th century and was partly about anarchists

75Karlstar
Set 1, 2023, 11:29 pm

>74 jjwilson61: I was definitely going to look into more of her histories, though I was immediately interested in The Zimmerman Telegram and Bible and Sword. We'll see how they go, The Proud Tower may end up on the list too.

76jjwilson61
Set 2, 2023, 1:47 am

>75 Karlstar: I didn't find her writing as engaging in those books.

77Karlstar
Set 2, 2023, 10:30 am

>76 jjwilson61: Uh oh. Sounds like I should try to get them from the library.

78Karlstar
Set 4, 2023, 1:25 pm

The Citadel of Forgotten Myths by Michael Moorcock
STTM: 8 - no mud to speak of but so many different ways to slog!
Rating: 5 out of 10

This is really three novellas with a bit of a common storyline. Elric and Moonglum adventure to the World Below - the other side of their 'egg shaped' world. I still haven't figured out how an egg-shaped world has an apparent flat edge. Is it shaped like a fried egg?

Elric is accompanied by a Princess of somewhere or another, while his love, Zarozinia stays home, waiting for him to solve the mystery of the origin of the Melniboneans and his own personal demons. Of course, since he won't stop using his soul drinking sword Stormbringer, how can that happen? In the first story, they meet some other Melniboneans who have become pirates and slavers and along with a couple of warrior priestesses, they get involved.

The second novella is a Heart of Darkness type story - they have to adventure upriver to the deep jungle, infested with hostile natives, to find the Blood Anemone, the plant that may cure Elric's chronic weakness (anemia?). His soul drinking runesword, Stormbringer, just isn't helping much any more, no matter how many souls it consumes and his patron Arioch seems a bit distant. They meet some more outcast Melniboneans.

In another review I read that these first two novellas were written a long time ago and fit into the middle of the Elric timeline.

In the third and worst story, which seems to be completely out of sequence, Elric and Moonglum continue to search for the origin of the Melniboneans and their Phroon/dragon allies, while also trying to return to their side of the world. This one really felt like a final Elric story. Unfortunately Moorcock sprinkles in way too many references to modern politics, going as far as naming two opponents or creatures using an anagram of Boris Johnson. (it was that obvious, even I noticed). Lots of babbling about origins, lots of talk about battles that happen that are supposed to feel part of the story, but get just a bare mention and lose all impact. The end is completely unsatisfying.

79Karlstar
Set 6, 2023, 10:46 pm

There is a birthday hunt going on!

80Karlstar
Set 6, 2023, 11:08 pm

I have 8 candles, the other 4 are going to give me trouble.

81Karlstar
Set 6, 2023, 11:11 pm

I got in a quick read, another of the Time-Life books The Road to Kitty Hawk. It was fun to read, but it definitely felt like it was missing some things. The illustrations and photographs were great. Not as good or informative as the airship book.

82clamairy
Set 7, 2023, 8:32 am

>80 Karlstar: I have 8 as well. I started it before the site went down, so I haven't had much opportunity to go back.

83jillmwo
Set 7, 2023, 10:22 am

>80 Karlstar: and >82 clamairy: Wow, you're both impressive. I haven't even begun on that particular Hunt.

84Sakerfalcon
Set 7, 2023, 10:33 am

>79 Karlstar:, >80 Karlstar:, >82 clamairy:, >83 jillmwo: I finished it but had to get some hints from the Help thread. The "hack" one I needed very detailed help to get.

85Karlstar
Set 7, 2023, 1:56 pm

>84 Sakerfalcon: Tim's clues were a bit too specific for me, but I'll go back and try again.

86Narilka
Set 7, 2023, 3:55 pm

>84 Sakerfalcon: That one I needed help with too. It's a fun hunt :)

87Sakerfalcon
Set 8, 2023, 7:00 am

>84 Sakerfalcon: Tim's clues were definitely the hardest to solve.

88MrsLee
Set 8, 2023, 12:36 pm

I started the game yesterday, but the site was slow. I got 3 before I quit. Not Tim's. :D

89ScoLgo
Set 8, 2023, 12:43 pm

I finally got them all last night but at least 3 or 4 were attained by randomly clicking around, as opposed to any coherent research or plan on my part.

Candle #3 was particularly obscure for me. When it popped up, I was like...

90Karlstar
Set 8, 2023, 4:30 pm

>89 ScoLgo: Yeah, #3 has been bugging me, I can't figure it out.

91ScoLgo
Set 8, 2023, 4:54 pm

>90 Karlstar: Would you like a hint?

92Karlstar
Set 8, 2023, 8:49 pm

>91 ScoLgo: I wouldn't mind.

93clamairy
Set 8, 2023, 9:11 pm

I got that one after dredging around a bit, but I'll let >91 ScoLgo: give you the hint.

94ScoLgo
Set 8, 2023, 9:17 pm

>92 Karlstar: Try poking around in 'More...'

95Karlstar
Set 8, 2023, 10:24 pm

>93 clamairy: >94 ScoLgo: I would have never 'guessed' that was the right link to click on, thanks!

96AHS-Wolfy
Set 9, 2023, 5:34 am

In the descriptive text for the treasure hunts there is always a link to a topic that provides clues for those in need. These clues then get collated into another thread too.

97Karlstar
Editado: Set 9, 2023, 8:26 am

>96 AHS-Wolfy: I'm up to 9 out of 12. I try to avoid looking at that thread.

Make that 10, I finally realized I wasn't being literal enough on #1.

98Karlstar
Set 10, 2023, 11:41 am

I finished Tsalmoth and really enjoyed it. If you've read some of this series, you should read this one. In some ways it felt like a direct sequel to Iorich, and from my reviews of Tiassa and Hawk, maybe those could have been skipped. Can't wait for the next one.

99majkia
Editado: Set 10, 2023, 2:02 pm

>98 Karlstar: I need to get back to Brust's series. I really enjoyed the ones I read.

100Karlstar
Set 10, 2023, 10:27 pm

>99 majkia: I thought there was a couple that wandered a bit, plot-wise. Brust has something in mind, I just can't figure out what. ALso, without all of the other characters, I still enjoyed them, but Vlad mostly talking to himself when he's on his own, just isn't as much fun.

101Karlstar
Set 10, 2023, 10:29 pm

I remembered today that I had purchased Conan the Invincible, one of the Conan novels by Robert Jordan. Not great literature, but that's what's up next.

102clamairy
Set 11, 2023, 11:09 am

>101 Karlstar: Hopefully it will be entertaining.

103Karlstar
Set 11, 2023, 11:21 pm

>102 clamairy: Eh. Its not DNF worthy, but I won't be reading any more Conan novels.

104Karlstar
Set 12, 2023, 12:40 pm

After finishing Tsalmoth, I was looking around for something else to read and decided to pick up an old Frank Herbert novel, Direct Descent, from way, way, way down at the bottom of the gravity well/TBR pile.

It is actually an illustrated novel, there is a black and white sketch/illustration every 3 or 4 pages, kind of neat. The first one is of two people - a man in a shipsuit and brush cut, a woman in the same outfit but with a very Joan Jett haircut. Very early 80's.

105BookstoogeLT
Set 12, 2023, 6:58 pm

>103 Karlstar: But you'll keep reading Brust? My mind boggles ;-)

106Karlstar
Set 12, 2023, 9:51 pm

>105 BookstoogeLT: What can I say, I'm a Brust fan and I like the Vlad character. It's good stuff.

I forgot to mention, I did actually finish Conan the Invincible.

107BookstoogeLT
Set 13, 2023, 5:14 am

>106 Karlstar: I've come to realize that it's all about personal taste and I just have to accept it :-D I love the original Conan stuff and really like most of the pastiches. I tried Brust but had to stop at whatever book it was where the main character and his wife got divorced.

108Karlstar
Editado: Set 21, 2023, 7:25 pm

>107 BookstoogeLT: I disliked that section of the Vlad books too and Brust knows the fans didn't like it, I think. The last two books I've read either had a flashback to when they were together or clear signs they will get back together.

Ed: Fixed a terrible word order mistake.

109Karlstar
Set 13, 2023, 1:37 pm

I finished Direct Descent, I really enjoyed the illustrations. Oh, the stories were kind of fun too, nothing fantastic about them but not terrible.

Not sure what will be next, another selection from the deep TBR pile or the top of the TBR pile are the choices.

110clamairy
Set 13, 2023, 2:32 pm

>109 Karlstar: Do you close your eyes and reach in?

111Karlstar
Set 13, 2023, 5:06 pm

>110 clamairy: I wandered around the library (its one room, not that much wandering) and basically picked a book at random to get Direct Descent. There are a couple small TBR piles to choose from too. I could roll dice to see what the dice say.

112jillmwo
Set 13, 2023, 6:06 pm

>111 Karlstar: I swear that I know a librarian in Pennsylvania who uses a multi-sided dice to do exactly the same kind of selection.

113Karlstar
Set 13, 2023, 9:41 pm

>112 jillmwo: Good for them! I have enough books listed here as 'to read' I'd have to go with percentile dice.

114Karlstar
Set 13, 2023, 10:52 pm

I don't remember who recommended this one, but The Reluctant King: The Life and Reign of George VI, 1895-1952 is up next. Strangely, LT keeps wanting to just call this George VI.

115Karlstar
Set 17, 2023, 10:37 pm

A short review.
The Road to Kitty Hawk by Valerie Moolman
STTM - 0, this is about flying!
Rating - 6 out of 10

Another of the Time-Life large format, short picture/history books. This one focuses on experiments, attempts and concepts of flying before the Wright brothers, plus the last third is about the Wright brothers. It is kind of shocking to read about how many people jumped off buildings or towers or hills with feathers or wings on, convinced they were going to fly. It didn't cover much about balloons, as that is in a different book. I thought it did a good job going over the early gliding attempts before moving on to the Wright brothers. It also covered some of the other powered-flight attempts going on at the same time, like Langley, but left out Santos-Dumont.

Not bad, not great, but I enjoyed it. It would have gotten a higher score but it was too brief. It did make me want to re-read McCullough's book on the Wright brothers again.

116Karlstar
Set 17, 2023, 10:47 pm

Tsalmoth by Steven Brust
STTM - 4 - they don't go far, but they do walk a lot
Rating: 8 out of 10

A rare 8! I really enjoyed this one. Tsalmoth is the most recent installment in the Vlad Taltos series of novels. However, though it is newest, the entire book is a flashback to somewhere around the 4th book - except for the last paragraph.

This book not only clarified a lot of what has gone on in the last few books, it also brought us back to a time when Vlad was happy, engaged to his wife and still in Adrilankha. Like most Vlad books, it involves a bit of a mystery. Some borrows a considerable sum from Vlad, then is killed before they could pay him back. Their quasi-illegal money making scheme was near perfect. Now someone owes Vlad 800 (and counting) and he's determined to find out who, what and why and make them pay.

Each chapter is introduced by a brief blurb about Fenarian (human) wedding customs vs. the customs of the various Dragaeran houses. As Vlad and Cawti go about to solve the mystery, they also proceed with wedding planning. As mentioned in my LT review, Brust portrays Vlad and Cawti as one of those couples so much in love they are kind of sickening, in a good way.

I always appreciate Brust's writing and I enjoy the characters. There is quite a bit of good stuff revealed along the way and he sets up a bit of a cliff-hanger for the next book.

117BookstoogeLT
Set 20, 2023, 6:14 pm

Two words....

As you can see, I AM truly a man of few words. In fact, if I were a man of any less words, I would have to be the man of no words and that just wouldn't be kosher.

Speaking of kosher, hebrew national hotdogs are certified kosher. They're pretty good. Of course, I put them into Grands crescent rolls to make pigs in a blanket. Since the grands biscuits have butter in them, the hotdogs stop being kosher per the whole don't mix dairy and meat thing. But I believe that part of the certified kosher is getting blessed by a rabbi. So would the rabbi's blessing overcome the butter in the crescent rolls?

That's what happens when you're a man of few words. Like me....

;-)

118Karlstar
Set 20, 2023, 9:29 pm

>117 BookstoogeLT: lol! I personally am partial to Ball Park franks. As in, if I had to make a ball-park guess, I'd say that no sort of blessing would make pigs in a blanket kosher, since pigs are not kosher.

119Karlstar
Set 20, 2023, 10:28 pm

I am progressing through The Reluctant King. I think it is good, though I'm not getting a good sense of who he was, it is more focused on what happened to him.

120jillmwo
Set 21, 2023, 2:44 pm

Just a quick note to see whether you were aware of the newest (2023) edition of The Hobbit as illustrated by the author. It matches the copy of The Silmarillion that I think you were given for Christmas last year. Visit https://www.harpercollins.com/products/the-hobbit-illustrated-by-the-author-j-r-...

121ChrisG1
Set 21, 2023, 5:40 pm

>117 BookstoogeLT: I found an "out" for your kosher problem - Grands don't contain butter, but rather "vegetable shortening." So, no dairy combination - you are absolved!

122Karlstar
Set 21, 2023, 7:09 pm

>120 jillmwo: Thanks! That will be going on my wishlist. I needed a different hardcover edition of The Hobbit anyway.

123BookstoogeLT
Set 22, 2023, 8:45 pm

>121 ChrisG1: Fantastic! (I think)

I'm not sure whether to be happy or grossed out now, hahahahaa

124Karlstar
Set 23, 2023, 3:08 pm

Not reading related and you'll have to endure a commercial, but I thought some folks might appreciate this.

"Jimmy Fallon & Jack Black Recreate "More Than Words" Music Video"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ISYT6EeUM0

125clamairy
Set 23, 2023, 5:16 pm

>124 Karlstar: That's wonderful. Jack Black is so freaking talented. Jimmy Fallon, too. I will be sharing that.

126Karlstar
Editado: Set 26, 2023, 2:16 pm

Still reading both The Reluctant King and Earth is Room Enough.

Some thoughts on the stories in Earth is Room Enough. This is a collection of short stories that all take place on Earth.

The Dead Past - an archeologist has an unhealthy interest in time viewing. A good story about the dangers of such technology. I thought this was excellent.

The Foundation of S.F Success - a poem (!) about how to write SF, or mostly about how Asimov does it.

Franchise - a cautionary tale about turning too much over to the computers. It is almost amusing how poorly Asimov anticipated developments in computers while speculating on their effects on society more accurately.

Gimmicks Three - a fantasy story about wishes and consequences. So trivial I have trouble remembering it at all.

Kid Stuff - is fantasy kid's stuff? What if your life depended on it?

127Karlstar
Editado: Out 30, 2023, 3:21 pm

I finished Earth is Room Enough, here is a blurb for each of the rest of the stories. Some of these stories are scifi, some are not.

These are all quite short or even very short. Some are only 1 or 2 pages so I can't say much at all.

The Watery Place - very hard to remember what this is unless I keep in mind it was written using 1940's astronomy. Also a terrible play on words.

Living Space - with infinite Earths to live on, it had to happen eventually.

The Message - how'd that historically significant message get there?

Satisfaction Guaranteed - a robot story about a too-humanoid robot. This one has appeared in other collections.

Hell-Fire - so short no blurb is necessary.

The Last Trump - a story about Judgement Day.

The Fun They Had - it's always better in the good old days.

Jokester - a computer story about jokes, that is not intended to be funny. Kind of scary, actually.

The Immortal Bard - another time travel story. I thought time travel was bad?

Someday - another robot/computer story.

The Author's Ordeal - another poem about what it is like to be a writer.

Dreaming is a Private Thing - Dreams as entertainment.

Of these stories, I thought 'The Dead Past', 'Franchise' and 'Satisfaction Guaranteed' were by far the best, though I'd read them before. They are all very good.

As 'The Author's Ordeal' describes, most of the rest of the stories are his mind coming up with a 'what if' scenario then writing a quick story to go with it. Not my favorite type of short story, as you end up with no character development or plot.

Was it immersive? Sometimes.
Was it memorable? A little?
Would I re-read it? Probably not.
Would I recommend it? Yes, for anyone who likes classic scifi short stories.

Edited to add the 4 key questions.

128Karlstar
Set 30, 2023, 6:09 pm

Almost done with The Reluctant King, but it is making me want to re-watch The King's Speech and the first season of The Crown. Not sure what's up next to read, likely something else from the TBR pile.

129clamairy
Editado: Set 30, 2023, 6:38 pm

>128 Karlstar: Uhoh. I might have taken a bullet. I loved that movie, and that series. Although I enjoyed the earlier seasons of The Crown much better than the last two.

ETA: Sadly only available in paper.

130jillmwo
Editado: Set 30, 2023, 8:05 pm

>128 Karlstar: Your touchstone for The Reluctant King brings up a biography by Bradford of George VI rather than the particular title you meant. Was that intentional? Is it the same book with a title changed for different markets (UK vs US)?

131Karlstar
Out 1, 2023, 12:53 pm

>129 clamairy: I enjoyed both and I already warned Trish that I need to re-watch them. I actually have a spare hardcover library copy with no jacket if you are interested.

>130 jillmwo: Yes, that's the correct touchstone, for some reason, LT keeps stubbornly insisting it is titled George VI, even though my copy is titled 'The Reluctant King The Life & Reign of George VI 1895-1952' by St. Martin's Press, NY.

132Karlstar
Out 1, 2023, 9:14 pm

Next up is Hellburner, another old-ish Cherryh scifi novel from the TBR pile.

133ScoLgo
Out 1, 2023, 10:02 pm

>132 Karlstar: Have you read the preceding volume, Heavy Time?

134Karlstar
Out 1, 2023, 10:46 pm

>133 ScoLgo: I have, but it was quite some time ago. Are any of the characters the same?

135ScoLgo
Out 2, 2023, 2:13 am

>134 Karlstar: Yes. Heavy Time and Hellburner comprises a duology. The other Alliance-Union novels are loosely related stand-alones.

136clamairy
Out 2, 2023, 9:04 am

>131 Karlstar: You're very kind to offer, but I rarely read physical books these days.

137Karlstar
Out 2, 2023, 7:10 pm

>135 ScoLgo: It did feel a bit familiar, but even after re-reading my review here on LT, I remember nothing of Heavy Time. Maybe I should re-read the last couple of chapters.

>136 clamairy: Unfortunately it is harder to share/transfer an e-book, if I had one.

138clamairy
Out 2, 2023, 7:43 pm

>137 Karlstar: There isn't one, or I would have just borrowed the ebook from the library. It's too old, apparently.

139Karlstar
Out 7, 2023, 2:27 pm

Still working on Hellburner, which kind of describes my week at work, both the title and plot.

We finally ventured down to some little shops on main street here. The general store had some rosemary flake salt from a company in Syracuse, they are trying to sell 'local' products. The very small bookstore next door was what I expected, it is mostly aimed at children, but it did have kittens and Trish found a used soup cookbook. The last store was the gold mine - an infused olive oil and balsamic store. Trish really is into the aged balsamic and dark chocolate vinegar we picked up. I have to say, it wasn't terrible. The italian herb olive oil is good too.

140jillmwo
Out 7, 2023, 3:27 pm

>139 Karlstar: Were they "free" kittens? The kind you're encouraged to take with you?

141Karlstar
Editado: Out 7, 2023, 9:12 pm

>140 jillmwo: Yes, they were looking for someone to adopt them. I think they had 4 and 3 of them were already spoken for/taken.

142clamairy
Out 7, 2023, 3:55 pm

>139 Karlstar: That sounds like the perfect trip. I got addicted to infused olive oils and vinegars about a decade ago. There was a store in Connecticut that I loved, but recently found one about 8 miles from me that offers a wide variety. The truffle extra virgin olive oil and the apricot white vinegar are to die for. But I am intrigued! What do you put that dark chocolate vinegar on exactly? And I'm sorry your work week was so rough.

143Karlstar
Out 7, 2023, 9:14 pm

>142 clamairy: So far it has just been used to dip the nice italian scaletta bread we also picked up.

144Karlstar
Out 10, 2023, 10:08 pm

I decided to go for a Heinlein from the TBR pile, Citizen of the Galaxy. Don't think I've ever read this one before.

145jillmwo
Out 11, 2023, 9:59 am

>144 Karlstar: I'm not familiar with that one, so will look forward to hearing more about it. (The marketing blurb over on Amazon makes it sound like a science fiction update to an old Civil War story.)

146BookstoogeLT
Out 11, 2023, 8:09 pm

>144 Karlstar: I remember liking that one a lot as a teenager. can't remember if I ever read it again once I started keeping track of my reads.
I hope it turns out well for you. At least you'll know it will be an easy read, what with being a Heinlein juvie.

147Karlstar
Out 12, 2023, 12:14 pm

>145 jillmwo: >146 BookstoogeLT: I'm enjoying it so far. Sure, it is a little simplistic, but not shallow.

On another topic, I thought this was a bit interesting:

https://www.tor.com/2023/10/12/what-makes-some-long-books-feel-too-long/?fbclid=...

148Karlstar
Editado: Out 25, 2023, 10:54 pm

Way behind on reviews, so here's one.
The Reluctant King The Life & Reign of George VI 1895-1952 by Sarah Bradford
STTM: 3 - very little travel, surprisingly
Rating: 7 out of 10

I enjoyed this biography quite a bit. In the beginning, it was a bit confusing for me, a simple American, with all of the Princes, Princesses, two Edwards, two Georges and two Elizabeths; so I had to often refer back to the family tree on the inside of the cover.

Naturally, while the book covered his childhood and young adult years, a lot of time was spend on the years before, during and after the abdication of his brother, Edward VIII. I think that there was actually too little attention to the years after that, especially concerning that time included WWII. The shadow of what his brother might do constantly loomed, even the top secret parts, of which the documentation has been destroyed.

I'm not sure whether it helped or hurt that I've seen 'The King's Speech' and 'The Crown' in the last 3 or 4 years, I think it helped to visualize palace life, but at the same time, I think I was looking for the more personal details of their life that we get in the visual media, but not in this book. Still, it was a good book and for me, filled in a large history gap, at least in a very specific way.

Was it immersive? Not really. I think it was a little too impersonal.
Was it memorable? I think I picked up a lot of information I'll retain.
Would I re-read it? Probably not.
Would I recommend it? Yes, for anyone who wants to read that sort of history/biography.

149Karlstar
Out 17, 2023, 11:17 pm

While trying to decide what to read next, I picked up another of the Time-Life books Knights of the Air, which covers aviation in WWI. I think I will also do a re-read of The Fires of Heaven on my Nook, before I dive back into the old scifi TBR pile again.

150Karlstar
Out 22, 2023, 11:51 am

I'm enjoying The Fires of Heaven, again. A lot of focus on Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne in this one, plus Rand and Gareth Bryne. It is a bit intimidating to read it on my Nook and see that it says things like '30 hours and 20 minutes left in book'.

151clamairy
Editado: Out 22, 2023, 1:15 pm

>150 Karlstar: Yes! I think that's one of the reasons why, after two and a half weeks, I gave up reading and decided to switch to the audio for The Shadow Rising. I felt like I wasn't making much progress. But I am glad you're enjoying it. Do you feel like you're reading it more quickly the second time around?

152Karlstar
Out 22, 2023, 12:48 pm

>151 clamairy: I do, but that may be partly the Nook effect. I also feel like, as usual, that I'm picking on up on little things I'd forgotten or may have missed entirely.

153Karlstar
Editado: Out 25, 2023, 10:55 pm

Review time.

Hellburner by C. J. Cherryh
STTM: 2 - they never leave Earth orbit, but the plot does bog down a little.
Rating: 7 out of 10

For a book where very little happens, I enjoyed this one quite a bit. It mostly follows two Belters who have joined the Earth space forces - Ben and Dekker. One is in the Fleet, the other is in the UDC - the 'Unified Defense Command'. This is early in the Alliance-Union wars in Cherryh's universe.

At the start, Ben's about to be assigned to a post on Earth after his training, he's an expert at security. Paul Dekker is in the hospital on a space station, after yet another 'accident' that may or may not have been his fault.

This book is mostly about the people and how the pilots and crew get caught up in Fleet vs. UDC, Earth vs. Belters (not to to the Expanse level) and AI vs. humans and of course, military procurement vs. people. Ben and Dekker both get involved in the testing/proving out of a new ship, nicknamed the 'Hellburner'. A ship so hard to pilot, it requires 4 expert crew working in complete synchronicity at the very edge of human reactions - or should the AI's do more? Should be the crew be trained using Union 'tape learning' methods?

Other than the political/military maneuvering for blame and credit and the people just trying to make sense of it all, not a lot happens, but I still enjoyed it. I got caught up in what might happen to the characters.

Was it immersive? Sometimes.
Was it memorable? A little.
Would I re-read it? Probably not.
Would I recommend it? Yes, for anyone who likes classic scifi, especially Cherryh.

154Karlstar
Editado: Out 30, 2023, 3:19 pm

Citizen of the Galaxy by Heinlein
STTM: 6 - quite a bit of travel and growth
Rating: 6 out of 10

This one may deserve a 7 out of 10, I thought it was good. There was a little of Heinlein's political philosophy, but not too much, this was mainly about Thorby, at the start a young boy with no family.

The book starts at a slave auction on a far-off world (wait.. a young slave boy on a remote world... where have I heard this before?) where a one-legged beggar buys a young boy when no one else will. The beggar and boy live in the beggar's hideout in some ruins, where he does his best to raise the young boy. The boy cannot remember his past, he has blanked his previous life of abuse out of his mind.

Always wanting to learn about his past and given a mysterious quest by his beggar foster-father, Thorby manages to get off planet and travels the galaxy. His past turns out to be complicated and he has to overcome some unusual challenges.

I thought the Free Trader society was interesting and what eventually happens to Thorby was good too. Despite the absence of anything resembling cell phones or the internet, I thought Heinlein did a slightly better job than usual, for the time, of anticipating technology. On the other hand, the idea that society in the future will fall back to a medieval serf/peasant/slave form is depressing and I hope unlikely now.

Was it immersive? Yes, more so than most Heinlein.
Was it memorable? Somewhat, too early to tell for sure but I haven't forgotten it already.
Would I re-read it? Probably not, since I think this was already the 2nd reading.
Would I recommend it? Yes, for anyone who likes classic scifi.

155Karlstar
Out 30, 2023, 3:20 pm

I finished The Fires of Heaven, which has some of the clothing/character issues that folks complain about, but still is one of my favorite books in the series, there is a lot going on through the whole book. I'm still slowly working on Knights of the Air and I've started The Machineries of Joy from my TBR pile.

156clamairy
Out 30, 2023, 7:45 pm

>155 Karlstar: There are clothing issues? Can you give us a little more detail without spoilers?

157Karlstar
Out 30, 2023, 8:00 pm

>156 clamairy: One of the common complaints about Wheel of Time, particularly in books 6-10, is that Jordan spends too much space on telling us what people are wearing. Not so much that he goes on and on, it just comes up too often. In this one, a character is conflicted about what they are wearing and it comes up too often.

158clamairy
Out 30, 2023, 8:15 pm

>157 Karlstar: A female character?

159Karlstar
Out 30, 2023, 8:43 pm

>158 clamairy: Yes, wasn't sure how much info you wanted me to give.

160Karlstar
Editado: Out 31, 2023, 1:50 pm

I finished The Machineries of Joy today. One of the better short story collections I've read lately. I won't mention all of the stories, but there are a few highlights.

All titles in the book are lower case, though the first is also the title of the collection. Some of these stories are more fantasy than scifi.

The title story, 'The Machineries of Joy', is about a debate between priests on what to think about the space age.

'the one who waits' - a Mars story, much like the ones in Martian Chronicles. Mars is not friendly.

'the vacation' - I mentioned this one over in the scifi group, but it has a great first line: "It was a day as fresh as grass growing up and clouds going over and butterflies coming down can make it."

'perhaps we are going away' - a story of Native Americans meeting Europeans.

'almost the end of the world' - apparently Bradbury was not a fan of television.

'a miracle of rare device' - what if visions come true?

All of the stories were good, even for short stories. Unlike so many short stories (to me) they felt like complete thoughts, it helped that none were less than 4 pages long and most were 10 or more.

161Karlstar
Out 31, 2023, 8:21 am

A couple more stories to mention from The Machineries of Joy.

'the illustrated woman' - similar title, but not similar to The Illustrated Man.

'the beggar on o'connell bridge' - a writer in Dublin encounters multiple beggars and starts to wonder about their nature and his.

162BookstoogeLT
Nov 1, 2023, 6:55 am

>154 Karlstar: I remember this being one of my favorite Heinlein juvies back in my teens.
I re-read it back in '03 and gave it 3stars, so I'm pretty satisfied with that. Glad to see you were happy with it too. Never can tell how juvenalia will work out...

163Karlstar
Nov 2, 2023, 1:10 pm

>162 BookstoogeLT: True, but I guess the only thing that made this one a juvenile was the lack of adult themes, mostly.

I have a bit of a dilemma about a book I received from Early Reviewers, Keyhole. The blurb said: "Nick, a hapless alien with a gambling problem and a nasty loan shark on his tail, is on a wild quest for a lost world. With his trusty buddy Egrog by his side, Nick embarks on an adventure filled with interstellar cannibals, dragons, and a poetry-obsessed AI. He soon discovers a secret that could make him and Egrog rich but could also prove fatal."

I didn't get as far as the dragons part. The book wasn't poorly written, I found nothing wrong with the style or grammar. I got past the obvious Star Wars plot at the beginning of the book. However, after one egregious science error, I almost quit, then after one ridiculous scene, I really feel like quitting. After Nick starts to suspect that the AI-driven spaceship has contraband cargo on board, they open a cargo crate and discover - a mother 'kzinten' (cat) with small kzintens (kittens). To the aliens on board, the kzinten are killers with poison fangs and claws. To the human on board, they are fun pets because the poison is chocolate. Ha! ha! chocolate is poison to aliens - despite all species breathing the same air and eating the same food.

Looking at the ER page now, I see "The story is fast-paced, with unusual characters who have relatable problems.

Fans of The Hitchhiker’s Guide will enjoy this work, which is stylistically similar to Adams’ story."

Am I giving this a fair shake or should I press on?

164hfglen
Nov 2, 2023, 3:29 pm

>163 Karlstar: fyi: Maybe not such a clanger: Cats and dogs eat much the same food as we do, and breathe the same air, yet chocolate is toxic to them.

165MrsLee
Nov 2, 2023, 3:41 pm

>163 Karlstar: I usually give a story like that three strikes. The strikes could involve anything from incorrect information to misused words or unrealistic reactions of characters. What it comes down to is, are you enjoying it enough to go on, or not? Personally, if I'm really enjoying a story, I'm likely to overlook a lot, but if not, every wrong thing stands out.

166Karlstar
Nov 2, 2023, 10:20 pm

>164 hfglen: It's a fair point, considering all of the various animals that are toxic to us in one form or another on this very planet!

>165 MrsLee: I'm on the fence. I wasn't hating it by any means, but I was also getting the sense that the third strike was coming soon. I'll likely pick it up again someday.

167fuzzi
Nov 3, 2023, 8:32 am

>163 Karlstar: I haven't seen much on ER that interests me, or that I think my grandchildren might enjoy. So much of what I see available seems to be aimed at current events, which will make it obsolete, dated reading in a few years.

168Karlstar
Editado: Nov 3, 2023, 10:35 am

I've been recovering from a cold and a twisted ankle this week, so I picked up another of the Time-Life Epic of Flight books, The RAF at War. A very brief overview, but still good information and great photos and drawings.

For a comfort read, I decided to re-read The Forgotten Beasts of Eld.

169Sakerfalcon
Nov 3, 2023, 12:39 pm

>168 Karlstar: I need to reread Forgotten beasts. It's been many years.

Hope your cold and ankle get better soon.

170jillmwo
Nov 3, 2023, 12:59 pm

Oh, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is wonderful. I hope you'll post about it (while not taxing either the cold or the twisted ankle). Take care of yourself!

171Karlstar
Nov 3, 2023, 9:15 pm

>169 Sakerfalcon: >170 jillmwo: Thank you both. At least the cold gives me time to read.

172fuzzi
Nov 3, 2023, 10:02 pm

>168 Karlstar: I have The Forgotten Beasts of Eld on my shelves, in the queue.

Hope you feel better.

173clamairy
Nov 4, 2023, 12:00 pm

>168 Karlstar: Oh no! Well, at least the weather is conducive to staying inside and recuperating now. Mend quickly!

174Karlstar
Nov 4, 2023, 10:13 pm

>172 fuzzi: >173 clamairy: Thank you. I finished The Forgotten Beasts of Eld this today, it was really good. I wish I could remember when I first read it, but I think it was very long ago. I'll do a better write-up tomorrow.

175pgmcc
Nov 5, 2023, 1:51 am

>168 Karlstar:
Get well soon. Sorry to hear about your cold and twisted ankle.

I have never come across The Forgotten Beasts of Eld. You have given me something to investigate. Thank you.

176Karlstar
Editado: Nov 5, 2023, 11:52 pm

>175 pgmcc: Thank you, the cold is almost done, ankle is going to take a while.

I said I'd do a better review today.

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip
STTM: 2 - almost no travel in a very small 'world'
Rating: 8 out of 10

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is not only one of my oldest paperbacks and one of the first dozen or so books that I purchased (from a Waldenbooks in the mall), but I believe it is Mckillip's first published novel, just before the Riddle-Master trilogy. Interestingly, there's a mention of a 'Riddle Master' in the book too.

This book introduces some very common McKillip themes. Sybel is the only daughter of a wizard, who was the only son of a wizard, and the family has lived on the lonely mountain of Eld outside of world events. Their primary power seems to be the ability to learn the names of legendary animals and call them to serve - Cyrin the talking boar, aka Lord of Wisdom; Gules Lyon, the golden lion; and Gyld, the green dragon, and others. They live in peace and solitude until one day, a young man named Coren arrives at the gate, bearing a child that is somewhat related to Sybel.

From there it becomes the story of the conflict between the King, Drede and the brothers of Coren. Sybel is caught up in it, despite not wanting to be at all. There's a romance involved, of course, as well as some well done conflict of both politics and spirit.

I really enjoyed this re-read, though I have to admit, since I believe I last read this about 40+ years ago, I did not remember much at all. I would say that McKillip developed her signature prose later in her career, but this was still excellent. I always enjoy her novels for the writing and characters and creatures she creates.

edited to add the 4 criteria:

Was it immersive? Yes, I did not want to put it down.
Was it memorable? Yes, I think so, ask me again this time next year.
Would I re-read it? I think there was 40 years or so between reads, so maybe in 10 or 20 years next time.
Would I recommend it? Yes, for anyone who likes their fantasy well written, with conflict but not combat.

177clamairy
Nov 5, 2023, 6:47 pm

>176 Karlstar: Thank you for the reminder to read more of her work. I'll be putting this on my wishlist.

178BookstoogeLT
Nov 6, 2023, 7:28 pm

>176 Karlstar: I always found Forgotten Beasts to be proto-McKillip. You can see all the themes and ideas she expounds upon in later books, and she still uses the poetical prose, but it's not quite as polished or quite as poetic as in her later books.
But I've got nothing bad to say about her books. I love them to pieces :-)

179Karlstar
Nov 6, 2023, 9:32 pm

>178 BookstoogeLT: I agree, not quite as awesome as some of her later works, but it made me want to re-read the Riddle Master series soon. There's never anything bad to say about her novels.

180Karlstar
Nov 6, 2023, 9:34 pm

>177 clamairy: According to LT, I still have 6 more of her novels to read, which seems a bit surprising. More books for the wishlist!

181jillmwo
Nov 7, 2023, 9:34 am

>176 Karlstar:. Excellent! There is a line from that book that has stayed with me (for whatever peculiar reason my brain felt necessary). Sybel is talking to someone (Coren's sister, perhaps?) and the phrase used is "black as Drede's heart". My memory -- and I have had insufficient caffeine this am -- is that Sybel says that Coren uses that line to her about either Sybel's coffee or her eyes. (It must be her eyes. I said it was a peculiar thing for my brain to hold on to.) As one might imagine, Coren's sister is a little taken aback.

But this is why readers can be weird and the bane of a writer's existence. The thing we remember about a book shifts. I remember the lion, the swan and the falcon -- oh, and the cat. But the phrase is what my brain summons up.

And I swear the first time I read The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, it ripped my heart out.

182fuzzi
Nov 7, 2023, 10:17 am

>176 Karlstar: I looked, I added it to my library in 2022 on a recommendation by quondame .

Guess I need to move it up in the queue.

183Karlstar
Nov 7, 2023, 11:01 pm

>181 jillmwo: Yes, it was eyes. Thanks for reminding me of the falcon, it was probably the animal featured the most in the book and I forgot about it! For some reason the boar and lion caught my attention more, even more than the dragon.

>182 fuzzi: I don't think you'll regret it if you do.

184clamairy
Nov 8, 2023, 6:57 am

>180 Karlstar: LT lists so many titles written by her that I am confused. I've only read four, so I need to rectify that dismal stat.

185Karlstar
Nov 8, 2023, 2:38 pm

>184 clamairy: Wikipedia shows more like 30, not counting omnibus editions, which is a lot less than LT, which includes short stories. I had no idea it was that many, I'm at 12, so I have a long way to go also. There's a site I used to have bookmarked but don't have any more, a science fiction/fantasy books and authors site, I need to find again and see what that says.

Wikipedia also says there are 2 books from 1973, so they would be older than The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, I'll have to look into those, I don't recall ever seeing them.

This is just one reason why I'd love to have my own bookstore. I bet if I went to a B&N today (I started to write Waldenbooks) I'd find 1-3 of her novels and probably no more than 1 copy each, not nearly enough. I do realize my bookstore wouldn't sell the optimal number of books, but I'd be happy with my selections!

186clamairy
Nov 8, 2023, 9:50 pm

>185 Karlstar: Oh, that makes me feel a little better. I only have 26 to read, and not 70 something.
You're probably right. Our Barnes & Noble is tiny. It opened in the old Pier 1 building, so there isn't even coffee. The last time I was in there I noticed two things. It didn't look like there were more than one or two copies of anything unless it was on the bestseller list, and there was no bargain book rack.

187jillmwo
Nov 9, 2023, 12:15 pm

>185 Karlstar: and >186 clamairy: That's interesting as an alternate perspective on how B&N has changed. The current CEO of B&N was speaking this morning as a keynote presenter at a library conference and ONE of his major points was allowing store managers greater discretion in terms of title curation. They may only have one or two copies of something, but that gives them more room on the shelf to have a broader variety of titles. Now that may work better in a store with more floor space, but to some extent upper management is aware that you can't make money just on the 24 titles visible on a bestseller list.

188Karlstar
Nov 9, 2023, 3:36 pm

>186 clamairy: >187 jillmwo: Someone should tell the B&N in Poughkeepsie about the concept of variety. They had way too many books from way too few authors last time I was there in June. I need to wander down to one of the one's around here (there are 2) and compare.

189BookstoogeLT
Nov 9, 2023, 4:51 pm

>185 Karlstar: I've read 28 of her books. Some of those were omnibus editions containing shorter duologies, so I might have read all of her released stuff. I think she wrote a couple of non-fantasy/sf stuff that I might have missed (I did read House on Parchment Street and the Night Gift).

It is a wonderful collection to read through and I already look forward to my eventual third time through :-D

190Karlstar
Nov 9, 2023, 9:03 pm

>189 BookstoogeLT: I'll work on catching up!

191Karlstar
Nov 11, 2023, 1:38 pm

Some catch-up on reviews. The most recent two from the Epic of Flight series.

The Knights of the Air this is one of the large format Time-Life books. This was all about the pilots and air warfare in WWI. It is amazing to think that just over 10 years previously, heavier-than-air craft could barely get off the ground, by 1915 they were zooming over battlefields, attacking each other. The book covers the major aces from Britain, France and Germany, with good photographs and illustrations. It is mostly about the people, just a little bit about the technology. A good overview. I'm sure I read this book decades ago.

The RAF at War another good overview, mostly focused on the Battle of Britain during WWII, of course, but also including North Africa and India/Burma theaters. A significant percentage was also spent on the missions of Bomber Command. For me, not enough space was devoted to the planes, but otherwise another good overview. I would say that compared to The Knights of the Air, this one may have been a little bit too high level.

192Karlstar
Nov 11, 2023, 1:48 pm

The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan
STTM: 8 - so much travel, maybe even some character growth
Rating: 8 out of 10

This was my 3rd or 4th reading of this book. I still feel the same about it as the previous reads, this is one of the better books in the series. At this point, all of the major characters - Rand, Nynaeve, Egwene, Matt and Perrin all have their own major story lines, though Perrin is absent from this book. A good chunk of this book also follows Siuan Sanche and Min. There are 3 plotlines through the book, as the major characters are paired up at this time. Having 3 story lines doesn't bother me at all, they are all interesting separately and are weaving the tapestry of the series together.

A lot happens in this book. This is not a fantasy novel where all the action is saved until the end. There is always something going on. As I mentioned in a previous post, there is a bit too much time spent on one character's conflict about their future, which shows up visually as a choice in clothing and mental angst about it. I would have liked some of it to have been edited it, as it felt repetitive, but I see why it was done.

Lots of action, fascinating world building and plot, interesting conflicts and action. Not to mention the fascinating characters on all sides. A really great fantasy novel.

A this point, while looking for my next read, I picked up the Legends I collection and re-read The Hedge Knight, which was as good as ever; and then New Spring, which is the novella form of the full novel. The full novel is better.

193fuzzi
Nov 12, 2023, 2:10 pm

>191 Karlstar: we had some of those TimeLife war books. I recall The Battle of Britain being one of them. They didn't make it on the last long move.

194Karlstar
Nov 12, 2023, 4:37 pm

>193 fuzzi: I understand that, they are so big. I got these from someone else who was trying to unload them and I should have said no thanks. I'm only keeping about half.

195fuzzi
Editado: Nov 12, 2023, 5:29 pm

>194 Karlstar: interesting. I searched and found a list of Time-Life series, but the WWII series isn't listed. I found it, finally, here: https://www.librarything.com/nseries/2752/World-War-II-Time-Life

If I had the time I would add this series under Time-Life, but it's going to be a lot of work...maybe after I retire.

I added the first three to my library, only ones I recall. I guess we stopped collecting them after that.

196Karlstar
Nov 12, 2023, 7:14 pm

>195 fuzzi: I actually have those as well, unfortunately I have two sets, one is still at my parent's house, but looking at that list I'm not sure either set is complete.

197Karlstar
Nov 17, 2023, 4:58 pm

The Paradox Men by Charles L. Harness
STTM: 3 - very little travel, or a lot
Rating: 6 out of 10

This is part of the 'Modern Classics of Science Fiction' collection, published in the 80's in small hardcover format. I'm a sucker for collections and small format hardcovers, which is why I bought this in the first place.

The book jumps right in with the character of 'Alar', stealing jewels from a high level government scientist. Alar is a Thief - a Robin Hood type that steals from the rich and gives the proceeds to the poor - or buys slaves their freedom. Together with his other Thief allies, they are attempting to overturn the totalitarian, corrupt, brutal American Imperial government. The world in the future is divided into just two factions, East and West and they are on the brink of nuclear annihilation, as the Americans have discovered 'muirium', an element mined from the Sun and more powerful than plutonium.

Aside from some strange scientific concepts, which are central to the plot, this novel is mostly a cautionary tale, warning of the dangers of dictators and corrupt governments. Really dated, but I enjoyed it.

I have two of the books in the collection, I'll see if I can pick up a few more to complete the 7 book collection.
The other one is The Joy Makers, which I gave the same rating, so they aren't terrible.

198clamairy
Editado: Nov 19, 2023, 10:55 am

>192 Karlstar: How do you get through the Wheel of Time books so quickly? I was working on my last one for about 10 days and had only made it about ⅓ of the way in before I gave up and switched to the audio. I have found myself unable to read the books for big stretches of time because there is such an information overload. Is it because you've read them several times before?

199Karlstar
Nov 19, 2023, 11:47 am

>198 clamairy: Like most of my re-reads, I pick up things I didn't catch the time before. I think I just enjoy these books so much, I don't want to put them down, but I think you are likely right. Knowing what's going to come in the future (to the extent I remember) means that I'm invested in every story line.

200Karlstar
Nov 22, 2023, 12:18 pm

I took a break from my Vietnam War reading for a couple of days. The book is excellent, the subject matter is depressing. I had to pick up a smaller book on a whim to read, so I grabbed Witch World. I finished it yesterday, so likely going back to The Long Grey Line.

201Karlstar
Nov 23, 2023, 5:21 am

Happy Thanksgiving!

202Sakerfalcon
Nov 23, 2023, 5:41 am

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones!

I really enjoyed Witch World and need to continue with the series.

203pgmcc
Nov 23, 2023, 6:47 am

>201 Karlstar: Happy Thanksgiving. Have a great day.

204clamairy
Nov 23, 2023, 8:06 am

>201 Karlstar: Happy Thanksgiving!

205jillmwo
Nov 23, 2023, 10:21 am

Happy Thanksgiving!

206Karlstar
Nov 23, 2023, 10:32 am

>202 Sakerfalcon: Thank you! Looking at my list here on LT yesterday, i discovered I did not own book two, so my re-read of the series will have to wait a bit.

>203 pgmcc: >204 clamairy: >205 jillmwo: Thank you!

207Karlstar
Nov 23, 2023, 11:05 am

What's your playlist for today's cooking? I have to have music on, otherwise it will just run in my head nonstop anyway.

Today's CDs on the stereo:

BNL - Gordon
Bill Joel - The Stranger
Moody Blues - The Very Best of the Moody Blues
Rush - Roll the Bones
Huey Lewis and the News - Sports

208Narilka
Nov 23, 2023, 6:22 pm

Happy Thanksgiving!

209Karlstar
Nov 23, 2023, 11:00 pm

>208 Narilka: Thank you!

210haydninvienna
Nov 24, 2023, 2:40 am

>207 Karlstar: I don't have playlists for cooking, but I do have a playlist for in the car (only when I'm on my own). I've just rediscovered Bruce Springsteen's version of "Chimes of Freedom". Surprisingly powerful sound system in the Camry.

211fuzzi
Nov 24, 2023, 9:28 am

>207 Karlstar: I know three of those, and approve.

212Karlstar
Nov 24, 2023, 11:58 am

>210 haydninvienna: On your phone or a USB? I know it is really old school, but for long trips I've put a bunch of songs (about 10 hours worth) on a USB, which I edit a bit every trip.

>211 fuzzi: Billy Joel, Huey and Moody Blues?

Most of the cleanup was done last night, but I'm still finishing today.

The cleanup playlist, only one CD stayed the same as I'd listened to the others recently.

Billy Joel - The Stranger
Tom Petty - Wildflowers
Train - Drops of Jupiter (by request, but I like it too)
The Revivalists - Take Good Care
Mumford and Sons - Sigh No More

213BookstoogeLT
Nov 24, 2023, 1:17 pm

Happy belated Thanksgiving. I put up the sound track for Last of the Mohicans today and I've been listening to that on and off all day :-D

214Karlstar
Nov 24, 2023, 1:39 pm

>213 BookstoogeLT: Thank you and I hope yours was good. Nice choice. I thought that was a good movie, but I do not recall the soundtrack.

215fuzzi
Nov 26, 2023, 7:17 am

>212 Karlstar: hahaha, yes.

I appreciate much of Petty's music, but especially his time with The Traveling Wilburys:
https://youtu.be/1o4s1KVJaVA?si=9eAMuUwv7twiqA9V

216Karlstar
Nov 26, 2023, 9:45 am

>215 fuzzi: I'm a big fan of the Wilbury's too. What a great combination of talent.

217Bookmarque
Nov 26, 2023, 10:14 am

Oh man, the Wilbury's were so great. Who'd have thought Dylan would outlive Petty? And poor Roy and George...all gone. Only two left, one of which, Lynne, is responsible for the production and it's definitely got his "sound". If you like that vibe and dig Joe Walsh, I highly recommend Analog Man which had Lynne as a producer. It's from 2012 and it's pretty darn great. Very typical of Walsh's style.

218fuzzi
Nov 26, 2023, 12:00 pm

>217 Bookmarque: thanks for the recommendation. I first discovered Walsh with Life's Been Good to Me.

219Karlstar
Nov 26, 2023, 8:42 pm

>217 Bookmarque: That's one of the reasons I love the Wilburys so much, the Jeff Lynne sound. I've always been a big ELO fan too. I'll check out the Joe Walsh album.

221jillmwo
Nov 28, 2023, 1:34 pm

>220 Karlstar: Some of those looked interesting in a quick review; I will have to go back in for a longer second look!

222Karlstar
Nov 28, 2023, 9:48 pm

>221 jillmwo: I thought so too, though I seem to remember a Hakon/Haakon series from back in the 80's or 90's.

223Karlstar
Nov 29, 2023, 9:34 am

The 4th book in the Haakon series was published in 1984, checking my shelves I actually had 3 out of 4, but they weren't in LT. No idea how I'd managed to skip adding them all to LT, but that's fixed now. I guess they were memorable.

Adding the 3 Eric Neilson books pushed me past the 1900 mark here in LT.

224jillmwo
Nov 29, 2023, 3:45 pm

*thumbs up*

225BookstoogeLT
Nov 29, 2023, 5:08 pm

>223 Karlstar: Double Thumbs Up! (and one big toe just in case ;-) )

226Karlstar
Nov 29, 2023, 10:21 pm

>224 jillmwo: >225 BookstoogeLT: Thanks! My copy of Web of the Witch World arrived today, so I'll be reading that next, in between reading The Long Grey Line. I have to give the seller of Web of the Witch World credit, the book is in excellent shape and was packaged very securely. They even sent a bookmark and a piece of candy. Not sure about the candy. I'm more impressed that for a 1983 ACE paperback, it is very nice.

227Karlstar
Nov 29, 2023, 10:24 pm

Sad tidbit from The Long Grey Line - one of the '66 graduates was killed in the DMZ in Korea in 1976. I expected the stories to end with the end of the Vietnam War, but the book continues past the war.

228Karlstar
Dez 5, 2023, 9:29 pm

I finished Web of the Witch World yesterday on a plane (A320) and I'm almost done with The Long Grey Line.

229clamairy
Dez 6, 2023, 8:30 am

>228 Karlstar: Nice! How was the leg room? I've had mixed reading experiences on planes. Usually it's good, but sometimes it's more difficult to filter out the various noises or conversations. (Plus you have to keep checking the wings for gremlins.)

230Karlstar
Dez 6, 2023, 11:26 am

>229 clamairy: My brother was able to upgrade us both to business class, so the leg room was good. He was reading The Martian (maybe because I gave it to him and he hadn't finished it yet...) while I was finishing WotWW.

231ScoLgo
Dez 6, 2023, 12:25 pm

>228 Karlstar: >229 clamairy: I too was reading on a plane yesterday. Leg room was bad. Ear plugs while flying are a must for me. It was an early flight so the largest obstacle to reading was lack of focus due to sleepiness. Luckily, no gremlins. Will continue to keep an eye peeled for them on the return flight next week.

232clamairy
Editado: Dez 6, 2023, 3:57 pm

>230 Karlstar: Well that's good! Hope your brother was enjoying your gift.

>231 ScoLgo: Best to stay vigilant! Remember what happened to William Shatner's character. I use them for sleeping, but I have never thought of using ear plugs when flying. I will definitely try to remember that.

233jillmwo
Dez 6, 2023, 5:31 pm

>230 Karlstar: I never got upgraded to business class very often but the few times I did (transatlantic to Amsterdam or once when flying to the US West Coast), it did make a real difference. (And can we not talk about the gremlins on the wing? I mean, why invite a repeat visit? *snort*)

234Karlstar
Dez 7, 2023, 12:13 pm

>231 ScoLgo: Hopefully no gremlins! Best not to mention them.

>232 clamairy: It was, we have similar tastes, I knew he'd enjoy it.

>233 jillmwo: It does make a difference, though in this case, for a shorter flight, it was mostly just the bigger seat. The 'snack' selection was not worth even bothering with. I think it amuses the attendants when we get either water or Coke to drink and no alcohol, even though it is free.

235Karlstar
Dez 7, 2023, 6:47 pm

Along with my reading time I got covid while I was away. Not too terrible yet.

236clamairy
Dez 7, 2023, 7:35 pm

>235 Karlstar: Aww, &%$#. Is this your first case? Hopefully it won't be terrible. I got it for the first time in July and I went on Paxlovid as soon as I could. It definitely cut the time down. But if you aren't that sick you might not need it. Best of luck to you.

237Jim53
Dez 7, 2023, 9:07 pm

>235 Karlstar: sorry to hear that. I've finally been released back into the wild after three weeks of isolating. It started out really awful but by the end I was mostly tired and impatient.

238Karlstar
Dez 8, 2023, 9:38 am

>236 clamairy: >237 Jim53: Thanks. So far not bad, I had a televisit with the Dr last night, he's holding off on the Paxlovid unless it gets worse. So far it isn't quite as bad as the cold I had last month.

239clamairy
Dez 8, 2023, 10:20 am

>238 Karlstar: That's awesome news. There are so many different variants and some are milder than others. Keeping my fingers crossed for you.

240pgmcc
Dez 8, 2023, 11:47 am

>235 Karlstar:
Sorry to hear that. Wishing you a rapid recovery.

241Narilka
Dez 8, 2023, 1:57 pm

>235 Karlstar: Feel better soon

242Karlstar
Dez 8, 2023, 6:55 pm

>240 pgmcc: >241 Narilka: Thank you!

I finished American in the Air War today and The Long Grey Line yesterday. Reviews probably tomorrow. I had already started Use of Weapons because it was on my TBR list, but I'm about 50% through and now I'm remembering why I didn't remember anything about it from my first reading. It doesn't help that it is an older paperback and hard for me to read.

As a 'get well' gift, Trish gave me My Effin' Life, so that will be next.

243Karlstar
Dez 9, 2023, 12:31 pm

Everything about this thread is getting too long, so I will start another one.
Este tópico foi continuado por Karlstar's Reading 2023 The Finale.