aryllian: (Default)
I never liked this book when I was a kid reading Diana Wynne Jones. I disliked Mitt, which pretty much made the book unpleasant reading for me. (I also didn't really appreciate The Homeward Bounders, which I felt had a similar hero who I disliked for similar reasons.)

It's hard to articulate why I disliked these characters, but I think it has to do with them being thoughtless.

Of course, that was a long time ago, and the last time I reread The Homeward Bounders, I liked it quite a bit. So I had hopes for Drowned Ammet...

And I did actually enjoy the pure simplicity of revolution for kids (that is, written for kids, though in a way it reminds me of Avatar: The Last Airbender in the way it approaches its audience: i.e. simplified in plot and presentation to some degree, but not holding back on the places where human nature is ugly...though perhaps kids would not have the imagination to fill out some of the more glancing references in the way that an adult might), and the part with Mitt and his father was nice character plotting...

But the action plot doesn't come to a conclusion, IMO.

The character plots (Mitt and Hildrida) both come to points of decision, which are lampshaded by them being asked questions by gods and then having to act in ways that are consistent with the decisions that they make.

I can't even quite figure out what the action plot is, though it surely has to do with Mitt the revolutionary. I mean, the book begins talking about Mitt and gunpowder... Does the story stop at the point where Mitt quits being a revolutionary, at the point where Mitt stops being an enemy?

And he saves the other characters from going back to that should be a resolution, I guess? But they never get to the north, and there's all this talk of coming back to the Holy Islands, which gives the book a very unfinished feel. I can't remember if this stuff gets resolved in the fourth book, but the third book plays more with the idea of gods (and also has a ... well, it's not an unfinished ending, but it doesn't really get resolved in a way that satisfies me either. It feels like a just so story about some fact I didn't know in the first place.)

I think what doesn't satisfy me is that most stories let you have some kind of glimpse of what happens after, and neither of these middle Dalemark books give me the glimpse that I was looking for in order to consider things settled.

I can't really say they don't give a glimpse at all, it's just not the one I want.

Or possibly, even though the individual books are mostly stand-alone, Dalemark really needs to be read as a series?
aryllian: (Default)
Well, that was unsatisfying.

spoilers )
aryllian: (Default)
The worldbuilding -- mostly the nomenclature -- didn't make sense to me in this one.

Usually when chaos is contrasted with something, it's contrasted with order, but in this book, chaos is equated with stories and chaos/stories are contrasted with nature/rule of natural law.

So chaos ends up being everything that is more dramatic or more ... well, not exactly mythological, but folk tale type stuff, such as vampires and the fae, most notably. And worlds (the story takes place in a multiverse) that are more chaotic tend to behave more like a dramas than like ... well, a scientific worldview, I suppose.

(I will admit that I can understand and agree with equating fae and chaos to some degree, and equating fae/vampires with folk tales and therefore with stories and drama, and I can also understand and agree with equating scientific worldview and natural order to some degree, so this worldbuilding/nomenclature isn't a deal-breaker for me, it's just that I think that it goes too far in both directions and ends up not making sense.)

The problem with this, for me, with my understanding of language and my understanding of stories, is that stories are the opposite of chaos. Stories are the way that we find order in a world that is extremely complex. And "natural order" is far more chaotic than stories...storytelling requires simplifying a lot of times, finding what's really absolutely relevant. You find this in the sorts of histories that try to tell stories too, vs. the kind of histories that try to be comprehensive. The first type are much more fun to read, but if you really need a specific detail, it will probably be more likely to be found in a comprehensive type of history.

Or look at the kind of book about science that tries to tell a story, vs. the kind of book about science that tries to tell you all about every detail of how the immune system works, ever molecule or protein or whatever that's involved.

The natural world might be orderly (though I'm reminded of Einstein saying that God does not play dice with the universe and subsequent scientists leaning more and more toward the view that actually, God does play dice with the universe), but the natural order looks a lot like chaos to the human mind, and we create stories and organizational systems and equations and theories and so on in order to deal with it. Order is a product of the human brain. The natural world just is, orderly or chaotic or whatever.

And stories are part of the order that the human brain produces out of the reality (chaotic reality, sometimes) that we're presented with.

At least, that's how I view the world. And every time this book talks about chaos, it causes a moment of cognitive dissonance because Genevieve Cogman's view of the world is clearly so different from mine.

I also wonder about the way the chaos/stories and the laws of stories seems to mean basically tropes, and whether Genevieve Cogman has thought about the role of culture in story tropes, but perhaps that will become clear in future books.

Re: existence of a "true" language that acts a bit like magic in that it must be obeyed: As a computer programmer, I would like to observe that natural language is not meant for creating commands that specify behavior exactly and can't be wiggled around by intelligent people (or other entities) intent on getting around it. I wonder if anyone has ever written a book that takes computer programming languages as the model for the language that must be obeyed, instead of natural language. Though that raises a number of philosophical questions that a "true" language based on natural language doesn't, somehow... it treats people much more like meat machines to have a magic that "programs" them. Not that commanding is any less icky, really, but commanding elevates things into people more than it demotes people into things.

(Having just read one of Max Gladstone's books, I will also note that legal language is meant for a similar purpose, binding entities to behave in certain ways, though this is because of contracts entered into more or less freely, not commands. But it also requires courts -- and the addition of a third party -- to adjudicate the meaning of the agreement, which is different from the simple command and obey model.)

And because my brain seems to want to pull up other books that are similar to this book:

The political situation reminds me a lot of Django Wexler's YA series (which also has libraries in it, and starts with the book The Forbidden Library).

The spectrum of magical and non-magical worlds in a multiverse reminds me of Diana Wynne Jones's Magid books.

And something about the style of this book reminds me of V. E. Schwab's Darker Shade of Magic, though I can't quite put my finger on it. That one is a bit darker in terms of content, this one comes across as a bit more gonzo and Darker Shade of Magic is more horror, but the two also share a multiverse concept and also the idea that some worlds in the multiverse don't make it in some way.
aryllian: (butterfly)
Ways in which this is very typical of a Connie Willis book:

1. Frenetic pace (although my favorite part was when the two main characters temporarily slow down and have some time together).

2. Quirky characters. (I also feel like it's typical of Connie Willis that the female lead was surrounded by quirky characters but was mostly quirky herself in trying to deal with them than in adding to the quirk factor herself. Also, the female lead was more socially connected than the male lead...though I may just be thinking about Bellwether as a comparison here.)

3. Mental constructs were treated as another form of reality, or as a setting with which the characters could interact. (See also Passage.)

4. No villains, just lots of people going at sometimes contradictory goals.

5. History has an important place in the worldbuilding. (It's not only in her time travel books that Willis looks at history, her books about other topics generally talk about a made up or not so made up history -- I'm never really sure exactly where the line is drawn, because I'm generally not an expert on the subjects.)

6. The characters argue a lot. (And it's not really serious arguing, it's exploring the world and trying to find patterns through argument, basically, not trying to hurt someone through arguing, not the kind of arguing that has negative personal repercussions, or that hurt relationships. The characters, even when feel overwhelmed by their relationships and the frenetic demands of everything going on in their lives, are careful about how they deal with other people.)

7. But history and worldbuilding are all very personal. No one talks about history because of an abstract interest in history (though they might have an abstract interest), it's because history is relevant to something that's going on in their life, or because they want to convince someone else of something using examples from history. (I'm also thinking about To Say Nothing of the Dog, and the way the problems of history and the timeline become personal because of the way the time travel and history work in Willis's universe, but really all the time travel books make history personal by setting historians down in history, and her other books generally use history in the same style as this book.)
aryllian: (Default)
Wow. That is how to do plot. And theme. And have each supporting the other.
aryllian: (Default)
Several years ago, I wrote something about every book I read that year. I decided to do something similar this year, but because I often ended up without enough that was interesting to say the year I wrote about every book, this year my goal is to write about one in every five books that I read.

The only other guideline I've come up with for myself is not to get into whether the book is good. I'm not trying to write book reviews, just book reactions and book thoughts. Sometimes my thoughts may have more to do with me than with the book.

On the not a review front, I'm also not going to try to explain what the books are about, or what type of book they are, unless that seems important to me.

The Children of the Sky was a reread this year, but instead of that meaning that I knew what to expect, it turned out that I had a very vivid memory of a scene that never took place in the book. I think I was so convinced that a certain plotline would be resolved in a certain way the last time I read the book that I kept repeating this made-up scene in my head as I was reading, waiting for it to happen, and that ended up being a more vivid memory than my memory of the actual book.

Because in fact, this plotline was not resolved at all.

Even aside from than that semi-disappointment, I don't think this book quite stood up to a reread. I still like the ideas, I can see why Vinge might have wanted to revisit this world to add in the new ideas he'd had about the Tines...but on reread, I already know all that, so the story has to stand on something other than my delight in the ideas, and as a story, it just wasn't very satisfying to me.

I put this down to two things. First, the only character I was really interested in and really believed in was Ravna (and that's not just because I believe in her arc but because I absolutely empathize with the way she was led to her downfall and the weaknesses that allowed this to happen). Second, the villain was just too evil, and the people dealing with the villain didn't have some tools that I thought they should have.

Which is to say, if you come from an uber-civilization, then I would think you'd have some conceptual tools for putting together societies that go a little further than "well, maybe we should have some elections some day, oh sure, we can do that now if you want". I also looked in vain for any glimmer that anyone had thought about rule of law, or about trying to hold the villain (or anyone else among any of the characters) accountable for the actual crimes that were committed. Or thought that it would be a good thing to develop these kinds of rules or the capabilities to enforce them.

I guess part of the point of the book is that Tine world is not at a stage where the political system has any resilience or depth; it's all individual people without much of a system to sustain them. Tine world is whatever you make it; the Tycoon seemed to prove that point as well.

But back to Ravna, I think one very small point that I liked about the way things were treated is that a difference in fundamental beliefs was treated as important. No matter how much she bonded, a difference in fundamental beliefs was not something to just ignore.

I will note that there wasn't actually a lot of real debate shown on the really important point in this book: i.e. did things in the past happen the way Ravna claimed. I suppose this is because you can't really have a satisfying and interesting debate when first of all, the reader is firmly on Ravna's side because of the previous book and second of all, apparently there's no hard evidence (I guess it all dissolved along with other non-working technologies), just Ravna's word on things.

So any debate hinges on not believing Ravna's word, and no matter how hard Vinge tries to make the deniers have a point, this is never going to fly with me. I was there, I saw it happen is not just Ravna's position, it's the position of anyone who read A Fire Upon the Deep.

And while I'm somewhat willing to entertain the hypothesis that it didn't happen that way, like if Vinge were to write another book and prove that Ravna (and everyone else) had been deceived and how and why, I might read it, but the deniers don't seem to have any actual points that refute "I was there, I saw it happen", just a strong wish for it to be untrue, and this is not a good starting point for a reasonable debate.

So while I'm happy that a difference in beliefs is treated seriously, I find the whole denier position -- not exactly ridiculous, know, actually, if it wasn't framed as "denier", if it was "how should we use our resources" then that's where I see the actual debate lying.

And that's where Ravna has made an almost magical advancement via Tycoon, i.e. she's hit a point where resources are suddenly going to be less scarce, where the technologies she wants to develop will happen faster...

And that's where things get interesting. The worldbuilding. The Choir. The Tines, as individuals and as not always individuals, the development, the politics -- not just the personal politics, but the glimpses of a world dealing with and developing technology past its level of political order, the people trying to make the world be what they want it to be...

But poor Ravna is trying to be Bren Cameron handing out (and therefore controlling) technology (not just to aliens, but also to the humans) and trying to deal with the social and political change it causes (on both sides, though for humans impatience with not having tech is the change) without any support at all. She needs Jago and Banichi and all the others to protect her and make her environment supportive and let her do her job, because this thing she's trying to do is not settled, it's just starting. And the kinds of trouble she got into in this book are not over. There's so much more technology and technological capability to go.

So are there going to be more books in this universe, following these characters? Because the more I look at it, the more this book seems like a middle book, like setup for something more... It just doesn't feel like an ending for this universe or these characters.

ETA: The problem with Ravna as a leader is that she is generous to her enemies, which is absolutely a personal virtue, but as someone who is (by default, admittedly, and reluctantly, and this is not easy) trying to lead a society, what is a personal virtue becomes a leadership flaw. She is not looking out for the interests of the society when she decides to ignore the part where the villain committed actual crimes. (And also the part where they really need some way of having elections besides "okay sure, now is good, why not?")

I mean, yes, practically, at that point maybe she couldn't have done anything, but... There's just no indication that anyone is even thinking about creating a society where certain crimes are not the norm, or about preventing the same thing from happening all over again the next time some issue comes up. It's just assumed that it won't happen again, and the only reason it happened in the first place is because the villain is evil, and that there's only one important issue and it's been settled. Which is just frustrating.

ETA2: This actually reminds me a little of Regenesis, the sequel to Cyteen, by C. J. Cherryh. Just because they're both sequels to books that are pretty complete in themselves, and in both cases the author obvious had more they had to say and refinements they wanted to make to the world, but the story of the sequel book isn't quite up to the story of the original.

Books, 2017

Jan. 1st, 2017 05:15 pm
aryllian: (Default)
To be updated throughout the year. Italics indicate a reread. Entries without numbers indicate that I didn't finish for some reason but read enough (and liked enough) to consider it worth recording.

1.(01/02/17)Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
2.(01/06/17)The Children of the Sky, by Vernor Vinge
3.(01/08/17)The Martian Chronicles (1997 version), by Ray Bradbury
4.(01/10/17)Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management, by Johanna Rothman and Esther Derby
5.(01/10/17)The Like Switch, by Jack Schafer with Marvin Karlins
6.(01/12/17)Crosstalk, by Connie Willis
7.(01/13/17)Cold-Forged Flame, by Marie Brennan
8.(01/14/17)My Sister Rosa, by Justine Larbalestier
9.(01/18/17)Fruits Basket Volume 13, by Natsuki Takaya
10.(01/26/17)The Invisible Library, by Genevieve Cogman
11.(01/30/17)Four Roads Cross, by Max Gladstone
12.(01/30/17)Political Order and Political Decay, by Francis Fukuyama
13.(02/02/17)The Hanging Tree, by Ben Aaronovitch
14.(02/06/17)Once Upon a Time in Russia, by Ben Mezrich
15.(02/08/17)Making Money, by Terry Pratchett
16.(02/08/17)Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, by J. K. Rowling
17.(02/1?/17)The Book of Speculation, by Erika Swyler
18.(02/14/17)Fruits Basket Volume 14, by Natsuki Takaya
19.(02/14/17)Night Witch, by Ben Aaronovitch et. al.
20.(02/24/17)Double Entry: How the Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance, by Jane Gleeson-White
21.(02/26/17)Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee
22.(02/27/17)The Dictator's Handbook, by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith
23.(02/28/17)Fruits Basket Volume 15, by Natsuki Takaya
24.(03/01/17)Magonia, by Maria Dahvana Headley
25.(03/01/17)Stone in the Sky, by Cecil Castellucci
26.(03/12/17)Time and Again, by Jack Finney
27.(03/15/17)The Spellcoats, by Diana Wynne Jones
28.(03/19/17)Drowned Ammet, by Diana Wynne Jones
29.(03/21/17)Cart and Cwidder, by Diana Wynne Jones
30.(03/22/17)The Crown of Dalemark, by Diana Wynne Jones
31.(03/23/17)Aerie, by Maria Dahvana Headley
32.(03/27/17)Bellwether, by Connie Willis
33.(03/28/17)The Origins of Totalitarianism, by Hannah Arendt
34.(03/30/17)Fruits Basket Volume 16, by Natsuki Takaya
35.(03/31/17)A Gathering of Shadows, by V. E. Schwab
36.(04/04/17)The Likeness, by Tana French
37.(04/05/17)Fruits Basket Collector's Edition Volume 9, by Natsuki Takaya
38.(04/06/17)Fruits Basket Collector's Edition Volume 10, by Natsuki Takaya
39.(04/06/17)Fruits Basket Collector's Edition Volume 11, by Natsuki Takaya
40.(04/10/17)Uprooted, by Naomi Novik
41.(04/12/17)The Natural Origins of Economics, by Margaret Schabas
42.(04/17/17)Convergence, by C. J. Cherryh
43.(04/22/17)The Whispering Skull, by Jonathan Stroud
44.(05/02/17)Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman
45.(05/08/17)The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
46.(05/09/17)Seven Surrenders, by Ada Palmer
47.(05/11/17)GDP: A Brief But Affectionate History, by Diane Coyle
48.(05/16/17)Raising Steam, by Terry Pratchett
49.(05/18/17)Within the Sanctuary of Wings, by Marie Brennan
50.(05/23/17)The Hollow Boy, by Jonathan Stroud
51.(05/23/17)The Creeping Shadow, by Jonathan Stroud
52.(05/27/17)Adiamante, by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
53.(05/28/17)Orbital Resonance, by John Barnes
54.(06/02/17)The Fourth Turning, by William Strauss and Neil Howe
55.(06/05/17)Friday's Child, by Georgette Heyer
56.(06/08/17)American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
57.(06/09/17)Wolf-Speaker, by Tamora Pierce
58.(06/12/17)Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
59.(06/14/17)Growing Up Weightless, by John M. Ford
60.(06/15/17)Down Among the Sticks and Bones, by Seanan McGuire
61.(06/21/17)Wired for Story, by Lisa Cron
62.(06/23/17)All Systems Red, by Martha Wells
63.(06/25/17)Emperor Mage, by Tamora Pierce
64.(06/26/17)The Realms of the Gods, by Tamora Pierce
65.(07/01/17)The Enchanted Castle, by E. Nesbit
66.(07/01/17)Body Work, by Ben Aaronovitch et. al.
67.(07/07/17)No Friends but the Mountains, by Judith Matloff
68.(07/09/17)Old Man's War, by John Scalzi
69.(07/10/17)Raven Stratagem, by Yoon Ha Lee
70.(07/17/17)The Edge of Worlds, by Martha Wells
71.(07/18/17)The Essex Serpent, by Sarah Perry
72.(07/22/17)The Confidence Game, by Maria Konnikova
73.(07/24/17)The Harbors of the Sun, by Martha Wells
74.(07/26/17)Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, Book 1, by Ta-Nehisi Coates et. al.
75.(08/01/17)Grave, by Michelle Sagara
76.(08/14/17)The Invisible Library, by Genevieve Cogman
77.(08/19/17)The Masked City, by Genevieve Cogman
78.(08/20/17)Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness, by Peter Godfrey-Smith
79.(08/29/17)The Stone Sky, by N. K. Jemisin
80.(08/29/17)Lightning in the Blood, by Marie Brennen
81.(09/05/17)Flora, by Gail Godwin

First read: 63
Reread: 18
Adult fiction: 41
YA fiction: 25
Nonfiction: 15
aryllian: (Default)
I read this book because it's by Delia Sherman. If it had been by anyone else, I think the title would have signaled me away, saying "Not your thing".

I'm not entirely sure why the title says that to me, but basically, I think "evil wizard" is a bit too much of a stereotype to appeal to me, even if it's probably going to be deconstructed. And "Smallbone" just sounds odd to me.

In fact, although I enjoyed reading it quite a bit (it had a lot of forward momentum and was a fun read), it wasn't exactly my thing, but not because of anything that the title signaled. The "Smallbone" part was actually quite cool, I enjoyed the little New England town filled with people with the family name Smallbone.

I suspect it might be better on reread, knowing what it's really all about, though, because there was one thing that came out of the blue (I think I must have missed a few clues though) and disappointed me:


Books, 2016

Jan. 7th, 2016 04:14 am
aryllian: (Default)
To be updated throughout the year. Italics indicate a reread. Entries without numbers indicate that I didn't finish for some reason but read enough (and liked enough) to consider it worth recording.

1.(01/12/16)Regenesis, by C. J. Cherryh
2.(01/1?/16)Castle Hangnail, by Ursula Vernon
3.(01/20/16)Time's Magpie: A Walk in Prague, by Myla Goldberg
4.(01/??/16)The Emotional Life of Your Brain, by Richard J. Davidson and Sharon Begley
5.(02/03/16)The Rest of Us Just Live Here, by Patrick Ness
6.(02/05/16)Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, by Lois McMaster Bujold
7.(02/06/16)Immunity to Change, by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey
8.(02/07/16)The Power of a Positive No, by William Ury
9.(02/11/16)Fundamental Processes in Ecology, by David M. Wilkinson
10.(02/11/16)Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
11.(02/14/16)Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
12.(02/??/16)Memory, by Lois McMaster Bujold
13.(02/2?/16)Cryoburn, by Lois McMaster Bujold
14.(03/01/16)The Scorpion Rules, by Erin Bow
15.(03/07/16)Cetaganda, by Lois McMaster Bujold
16.(03/17/16)The Wiles of War, compiled and translated by Sun Haichen
17.(03/23/16)Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer
18.(03/26/16)Falling Free, by Lois McMaster Bujold
19.(03/28/16)April Lady, by Georgette Heyer
20.(03/30/16)Maybe This Time, by Jennifer Crusie
21.(04/0?/16)Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as You Negotiate, by Roger Fisher and Daniel Shapiro
22.(04/08/16)Enchanted Glass, by Diana Wynne Jones
23.(04/17/16)The Hero and the Crown, by Robin McKinley
24.(04/24/16)Dearest, by Alethea Kontis
25.(04/26/16)Kingfisher, by Patricia A. McKillip
26.(05/0?/16)Merchanter's Luck, by C. J. Cherryh
27.(05/07/16)Diplomatic Immunity, by Lois McMaster Bujold
28.(05/16/16)In the Labyrinth of Drakes, by Marie Brennan
29.(05/17/16)40,000 in Gehenna, by C. J. Cherryh
30.(05/23/16)Every Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire
31.(05/24/16)Gifts, by Ursula K. Le Guin
32.(05/31/16)The Trigger: Hunting the Assassin Who Brought the World to War, by Tim Butcher
33.(06/01/16)Prague: A Cultural History, by Richard Burton
34.(06/??/16)Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads, by Rosalind Wiseman with Elizabeth Rapoport
35.(06/17/16)Visitor, by C. J. Cherryh
36.(06/20/16)Roses and Rot, by Kat Howard
37.(06/23/16)Once Upon a Revolution: An Egyptian Story, by Thanassis Cambanis
38.(06/2?/16)League of Dragons, by Naomi Novik
39.(06/30/16)How to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable, by Suzette Haden Elgin
40.(07/17/16)The Palace of Glass, by Django Wexler
41.(07/??/16)The Serpent Sea, by Martha Wells
42.(07/29/16)Too Like the Lightning, by Ada Palmer
43.(08/03/16)The Lie Tree, by Frances Hardinge
44.(08/06/16)Unseen Academicals, by Terry Pratchett
45.(08/12/16)The Murder of Mary Russell, by Laurie R. King
46.(08/14/16)The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution, by Francis Fukuyama
47.(08/1?/16)The Philosopher Kings, by Jo Walton
48.(08/17/16)Binny in Secret, by Hilary McKay
49.(08/19/16)The Siren Depths, by Martha Wells
50.(08/21/16)Caddy's World, by Hilary McKay
51.(08/22/16)Necessity, by Jo Walton
52.(08/23/16)Saffy's Angel, by Hilary McKay
53.(08/24/16)Indigo's Star, by Hilary McKay
54.(08/25/16)Permanent Rose, by Hilary McKay
55.(08/26/16)Caddy Ever After, by Hilary McKay
56.(08/27/16)Forever Rose, by Hilary McKay
57.(08/27/16)Hogfather, by Terry Pratchett
58.(08/3?/16)Child of Saturn, by Teresa Edgerton
59.(09/02/16)The Moon in Hiding, by Teresa Edgerton
60.(09/02/16)The Reckoning: Financial Accountability and the Rise and Fall of Nations, by Jacob Soll
61.(09/03/16)The Work of the Sun, by Teresa Edgerton
62.(09/04/16)Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, by J. K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne
63.(09/06/16)Getting to Yes, by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton
64.(09/07/16)Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson
65.(09/12/16)The Long Earth, by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
66.(09/13/16)Fruits Basket Collector's Edition Volume 1, by Natsuki Takaya
67.(09/15/16)Fruits Basket Collector's Edition Volume 2, by Natsuki Takaya
68.(09/17/16)The Jewel and Her Lapidary, by Fran Wilde
69.(09/20/16)The Forbidden Library, by Django Wexler
70.(09/20/16)Fruits Basket Collector's Edition Volume 3, by Natsuki Takaya
71.(09/20/16)Fruits Basket Collector's Edition Volume 4, by Natsuki Takaya
72.(09/22/16)Poisoned Blade, by Kate Elliott
73.(09/25/16)The Thief, by Megan Whalen Turner
74.(09/30/16)Stories of the Raksura Volume Two, by Martha Wells
75.(10/03/16)Mind Over Mood, by Dennis Greenberger and Christine A. Padesky
76.(10/08/16)A Darker Shade of Magic, by V. E. Schwab
77.(10/??/16)Broken Homes, by Ben Aaronovitch
78.(10/??/16)Fire and Hemlock, by Diana Wynne Jones
79.(10/??/16)The Game, by Diana Wynne Jones
80.(10/??/16)Dogsbody, by Diana Wynne Jones
81.(10/??/16)Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren
82.(10/26/16)Ghost Talkers, by Mary Robinette Kowal
83.(10/28/16)Two Cheers for Anarchism, by James C. Scott
84.(11/01/16)Fruits Basket Volume 9, by Natsuki Takaya
85.(11/02/16)The Evil Wizard Smallbone, by Delia Sherman
86.(11/06/16)Understanding Cultures through Their Key Words, by Anna Wierzbicka
87.(11/06/16)Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Homura's Revenge, Volume 1
88.(11/06/16)Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Homura's Revenge, Volume 2
89.(11/07/16)Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Different Story, Volume 1
90.(11/07/16)Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Different Story, Volume 2
91.(11/07/16)Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Different Story, Volume 3
92.(11/10/16)The Obelisk Gate, by N. K. Jemisin
93.(11/11/16)Fruits Basket Volume 10, by Natsuki Takaya
94.(11/11/16)The Pushcart War, by Jean Merrill
95.(11/14/16)Neuromancer, by William Gibson
96.(11/16/16)Arabella, by Georgette Heyer
97.(11/22/16)Fruits Basket Volume 11, by Natsuki Takaya
98.(11/25/16)Foxglove Summer, by Ben Aaronovitch
99.(11/26/16)The Wolf Wilder, by Katherine Rundell
100.(12/05/16)Five For Sorrow, Ten For Joy, by Rumer Godden
Secondhand Time, by Svetlana Alexievich (p. 142)
101.(12/11/16)Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell
102.(12/13/16)Fruits Basket Volume 12, by Natsuki Takaya
103.(12/22/16)The Secret Place, by Tana French
104.(12/27/16)The Corinthian, by Georgette Heyer
105.(12/31/16)Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J. K. Rowling

First read: 68
Reread: 37
Adult fiction: 42
YA fiction: 43
Nonfiction: 20
aryllian: (Default)
To be updated throughout the year. Italics indicate a reread. Entries without numbers indicate that I didn't finish for some reason but read enough (and liked enough) to consider it worth recording.

1.(01/??/15)The Safe-Keeper's Secret, by Sharon Shinn
2.(01/14/15)Foxglove Summer, by Ben Aaronovitch
3.(01/??/15)The Truth-Teller's Tale, by Sharon Shinn
4.(01/24/15)The Changeling Sea, by Patricia A. McKillip
5.(01/25/15)The Just City, by Jo Walton
6.(01/26/15)The Turning Season, by Sharon Shinn
7.(02/03/15)To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis
8.(02/07/15)Power of Three, by Diana Wynne Jones
9.(02/13/15)War, by Sebastian Junger
10.(02/13/15)Hawkeye: L.A. Woman, by Matt Fraction et. al.
11.(02/18/15) Why Not Kill Them All?: The Logic and Prevention of Mass Political Murder, by Daniel Chirot and Clark McCauley
12.(02/23/15)As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust, by Alan Bradley
13.(02/25/15)The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place, by Julie Berry
14.(02/26/15)Stranger, by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith
15.(03/07/15)Bitterblue, by Kristin Cashore
16.(03/10/15)Alphabet of Thorn, by Patricia A. McKillip
17.(03/11/15)The Other Wes Moore, by Wes Moore
18.(03/13/15)Pacific Fire, by Greg van Eekhout
19.(03/16/15)Witches Abroad, by Terry Pratchett
20.(03/24/15)Brat Farrar, by Josephine Tey
21.(03/28/15)Unexpected Magic, by Diana Wynne Jones
22.(04/??/15)The Winner's Curse, by Marie Rutkoski
23.(04/21/15)Tracker, by C. J. Cherryh
24.(04/29/15)The Mad Apprentice, by Django Wexler
25.(05/04/15)A Natural History of Dragons, by Marie Brennan
26.(05/11/15)Karen Memory, by Elizabeth Bear
27.(??/??/15)The Asperkid's (Secret) Book of Social Rules, by Jennifer Cook O'Toole
28.(??/??/15)Engineering the Financial Crisis: Systemic Risk and the Failure of Regulation, by Jeffrey Friedman and Wladimir Kraus
29.(05/20/15)Castle Hangnail, by Ursula Vernon
20.(05/24/15)Uprooted, by Naomi Novik
31.(05/30/15)The Phoenix Guards, by Steven Brust
32.(05/30/15)Ballet Shoes, by Noel Streatfeild
33.(06/01/15)The Silkworm, by Robert Galbraith
34.(06/05/15)Of Noble Family, by Mary Robinette Kowal
35.(06/09/15)Razorhurst, by Justine Larbalestier
36.(06/10/15)Tin Star, by Cecil Castellucci
37.(06/??/15)Queen Bees and Wannabes, by Rosalind Wiseman
38.(06/??/15)Economics in One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt
39.(06/??/15)Lifelode, by Jo Walton
40.(06/25/15)Shadow Scale, by Rachel Hartman
41.(06/30/15)The Battle of the Villa Fiorita, by Rumer Godden
42.(07/07/15)I Am Princess X, by Cherie Priest
43.(07/13/15)The Philosopher Kings, by Jo Walton
44.(07/17/15)The Just City, by Jo Walton
45.(07/20/15)Jane Austen, Game Theorist, by Michael Suk-Young Chwe
46.(07/2?/15)Watership Down, by Richard Adams
47.(07/2?/15)Black Dove, White Raven, by Elizabeth Wein
48.(0?/??/15)Last First Snow, by Max Gladstone
49.(08/04/15)The Annihilation Score, by Charles Stross
Capital in the Twenty-First Century, by Thomas Piketty (p. 199)
50.(08/0?/15)Skating Shoes, by Noel Streatfeild
51.(08/0?/15)Rational Ritual: Culture, Coordination, and Common Knowledge, by Michael Suk-Young Chwe
52.(08/08/15)Floating City: A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New York's Underground Economy, by Sudhir Venkatesh
53.(08/11/15)Stories of the Raksura Volume Two, by Martha Wells
54.(08/12/15)To Love and Be Wise, by Josephine Tey
55.(08/1?/15)The Tropic of Serpents, by Marie Brennan
56.(08/18/15)The Time Roads, by Beth Bernobich
57.(08/25/15)Seeing Like a State, by James C. Scott
58.(08/26/15)Thursday's Child, by Noel Streatfeild
59.(08/31/15)The Fifth Season, by N. K. Jemisin
60.(09/02/15)The Voyage of the Basilisk, by Marie Brennan
61.(09/05/15)The Cloud Roads, by Martha Wells
62.(09/07/15)Hawkeye: Rio Bravo, by Matt Fraction et. al.
63.(09/10/15)The Summer Prince, by Alaya Dawn Johnson
64.(09/21/15)The Sharing Knife: Beguilement, by Lois McMaster Bujold
65.(09/23/15)The Sharing Knife: Legacy, by Lois McMaster Bujold
66.(09/23/15)Far to Go, by Noel Streatfeild
67.(09/24/15)City of Bones, by Martha Wells
68.(09/27/15)The Shepherd's Crown, by Terry Pratchett
69.(09/30/15)The Court of Fives, by Kate Elliott
70.(10/06/15)The Neverending Story, by Michael Ende
71.(10/07/15)Sorcerer to the Crown, by Zen Cho
72.(10/09/15)The Peacock Spring, by Rumer Godden
73.(10/??/15)Dragon Coast, by Greg van Eekhout
74.(10/13/15)Wild Magic, by Tamora Pierce
75.(10/20/15)The Traitor Baru Cormorant, by Seth Dickinson
76.(10/23/15)Dreamwalker, by C. S. Friedman
77.(10/24/15)Stealth of Nations: The Global Rise of the Informal Economy, by Robert Neuwirth
78.(10/29/15)The House of Shattered Wings, by Aliette de Bodard
79.(10/31/15)Ancillary Mercy, by Ann Leckie
80.(11/??/15)Uprooted, by Naomi Novik
81.(11/??/15)An Apprentice to Elves, by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear
82.(11/18/15)Stories of the Raksura Volume One, by Martha Wells
83.(11/??/15)Ring of Swords, by Eleanor Arnason
84.(12/02/15)Three Parts Dead, by Max Gladstone
85.(12/08/15)Well Witched, by Frances Hardinge
86.(12/10/15)Dear Committee Members, by Julie Schumacher
87.(12/1?/15)Tracker, by C. J. Cherryh
88.(12/1?/15)The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, by Peter Senge
89.(12/31/15)Pegasus, by Robin McKinley

First read: 63
Reread: 26
Adult fiction: 49
YA fiction: 27
Nonfiction: 13
aryllian: (Default)
I read this chortling with delight the whole way through. It's all just so very Vlad. I'm not sure how to take the ending, but I'm sure future books will explicate the meaning of the thing Vlad does and how exactly he means to handle it.

Now I sort of want to read it again to see how it's put together.

Spoilers? Maybe? )
aryllian: (Default)
I read a lot of books, and a lot of them flow by, not really sticking in my mind. Sometimes I look back and I wonder if I've already read all the books that are going to have a big impact on me, because there are so many books I've read in the last five or ten years that didn't stand out. Books that I look at the title in my book list, and wonder what it was about.

But some books do stick. In This House of Brede has been in my mind a lot since I read it, for example.

I am certain that Cyteen is going to be one of the books that stick.

The scope is large -- it touches on entire societies and how they're put together, grow, change, and either work or don't work -- but mostly this is the story of two people trying to grow into who they could be / would be / ought to be, and do the work that is theirs to do -- and what that means, and how it's never done in isolation. Plus, it's about being a clone of someone else, and the various ways that could go, especially if other people have ideas about who you should be and how to make that happen.

The character dynamics are fascinating. I had no idea what was going to happen, but everything that did happen made sense.

This book does do some things that are very very recognizably in the Cherryh pattern...I think Cherryh thinks very differently than I do, so sometimes her books have this alien sense to them, even when they're not about aliens. But this one is both very approachable (to me) and the patterns I noticed fit into the book in a way that makes sense. (Sometimes, especially in the Foreigner series, I feel like Cherryh just uses the same patterns because she's not interested in that part of books so she just uses whatever comes to hand most easily, which happens to be the same thing a lot of the time. And sometimes I do think the repeating patterns detract from the books...but I still read her books, because the things that she is interested in are usually so well done it makes up for anything else.)

I'm still thinking days later about what this book said about power and influence and the role of the individual in a society, the morals and ethics of using power and influence on other people, and also about how thinking works and how everyone effects everyone else on all kinds of levels. I love books that make me think.

It does have some really questionable stuff at the beginning, I almost stopped reading before I got to the good part. I'm really glad I didn't.
aryllian: (Default)
This book has really good battles. I say that as someone who is usually not that into battles.

Books, 2014

Jan. 2nd, 2014 04:58 pm
aryllian: (Default)
To be updated throughout the year. Italics indicate a reread. Entries without numbers indicate that I didn't finish for some reason but read enough (and liked enough) to consider it worth recording.

1.(01/02/14)Unfinished Desires, by Gail Godwin
2.(01/09/14)The Thousand Names, by Django Wexler
3.(01/21/14)Cyteen, by C. J. Cherryh
4.(01/2?/14)The Fifth Elephant, by Terry Pratchett
5.(01/23/14)The Screaming Staircase, by Jonathan Stroud
6.(01/29/14)Carpe Jugulum, by Terry Pratchett
7.(02/02/14)Gypsy, Gypsy, by Rumer Godden
8.(02/03/14)Across the Great Barrier, by Patricia C. Wrede
9.(02/09/14)A New Kind of War, by Anthony Price
10.(02/10/14)The Girl of Fire and Thorns, by Rae Carson
11.(02/12/14)The Far West, by Patricia C. Wrede
12.(02/21/14)Touch, by Michelle Sagara
13.(02/21/14)Downbelow Station, by C. J. Cherryh
14.(02/24/14)King and Joker, by Peter Dickinson
15.(03/02/14)Midnight Riot, by Ben Aaronovitch
16.(03/03/14)The River, by Rumer Godden
17.(03/04/14)The Chosen, by Chaim Potok
18.(03/12/14)The Siren Depths, by Martha Wells
19.(03/18/14)Brain Plague, by Joan Slonczewski
20.(03/18/14)Archer's Goon, by Diana Wynne Jones
21.(03/25/14)Hild, by Nicola Griffith
22.(03/29/14)The Raven Girl, by Audrey Niffenegger
23.(03/30/14)The Real Boy, by Anne Ursu
24.(04/07/14)A Prospect of Vengeance, by Anthony Price
25.(04/??/14)Hawkeye: Little Hits, by Matt Fraction et. al.
26.(04/15/14)A Candle for St. Jude, by Rumer Godden
27.(04/20/14)The Penguin and the Leviathan, by Yochai Benkler
28.(04/28/14)The Unknown Ajax, by Georgette Heyer
29.(05/01/14)The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison
30.(05/05/14)Breadcrumbs, by Anne Ursu
31.(05/06/14)The Memory Trap, by Anthony Price
32.(05/07/14)Cognitive Surplus, by Clay Shirky
33.(05/11/14)The Islands of Chaldea, by Diana Wynne Jones and Ursula Jones
34.(05/14/14)The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. Le Guin
35.(05/17/14)Battle Magic, by Tamora Pierce
36.(05/21/14)Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
37.(05/23/14)Ender's Shadow, by Orson Scott Card
38.(05/23/14)Naturally Selected: The Evolutionary Science of Leadership, by Mark van Vugt and Anjana Ahuja
39.(05/26/14)Royal Airs, by Sharon Shinn
40.(05/27/14)A Breath of Air, by Rumer Godden
41.(05/30/14)Ancillary Justice, by Ann Leckie
42.(05/31/14)The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater
43.(06/06/14)Moon Over Soho, by Ben Aaronovitch
44.(06/07/14)Valour and Vanity, by Mary Robinette Kowal
45.(06/11/14)Steering the Craft, by Ursula K. Le Guin
46.(06/12/14)Peacemaker, by C. J. Cherryh
47.(06/12/14)Whispers Underground, by Ben Aaronovitch
48.(06/13/14)My Real Children, by Jo Walton
49.(06/16/14)Three Parts Dead, by Max Gladstone
50.(06/18/14)The Other Brain, by R. Douglas Fields
51.(06/19/14)Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, by Lois McMaster Bujold
52.(06/20/14)Broken Homes, by Ben Aaronovitch
53.(06/24/14)Two Serpents Rise, by Max Gladstone
54.(06/29/14)The Nature of Economies, by Jane Jacobs
55.(07/02/14)Understanding the Process of Economic Change, by Douglass C. North
56.(07/05/14)A Hat Full of Sky, by Terry Pratchett
57.(07/07/14)Foreigner, by C. J. Cherryh
58.(07/12/14)Wintersmith, by Terry Pratchett
59.(07/15/14)Use of Weapons, by Iain M. Banks
60.(07/19/14)The Ogre Downstairs, by Diana Wynne Jones
61.(07/21/14)The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
62.(07/21/14)The Queen of Cool, by Cecil Castellucci
63.(07/22/14)The Time of the Ghost, by Diana Wynne Jones
64.(07/25/14)I Shall Wear Midnight, by Terry Pratchett
65.(08/07/14)Binny for Short, by Hilary McKay
66.(08/12/14)Beyond Nature and Culture, by Philippe Descola
67.(08/14/14)Full Fathom Five, by Max Gladstone
68.(08/16/14)The Blue Castle, by L. M. Montgomery
69.(08/20/14)Nature's Second Chance: Restoring the Ecology of Stone Prairie Farm, by Steven I. Apfelbaum
70.(08/21/14)The Forbidden Library, by Django Wexler
71.(09/01/14)The Causal Angel, by Hannu Rajaniemi
72.(09/07/14)The Cuckoo's Calling, by Robert Galbraith
73.(09/09/14)Her Fearful Symmetry, by Audrey Niffenegger
74.(09/20/14)California Bones, by Greg van Eekhout
75.(09/22/14)Dragonsong, by Anne McCaffrey
76.(09/22/14)Dragonsinger, by Anne McCaffrey
77.(09/24/14)Exo, by Steven Gould
78.(09/26/14)Dragondrums, by Anne McCaffrey
79.(09/30/14)The Lions of Al-Rassan, by Guy Gavriel Kay
80.(10/02/14)The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Distaster Strikes -- And Why, by Amanda Ripley
81.(10/13/14)Ancillary Sword, by Ann Leckie
82.(10/15/14)Hawk, by Steven Brust
83.(10/28/14)Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen, by Garth Nix
84.(1?/??/14)The Lives of Christopher Chant, by Diana Wynne Jones
85.(1?/??/14)Conrad's Fate, by Diana Wynne Jones
86.(1?/??/14)Charmed Life, by Diana Wynne Jones
87.(1?/??/14)The Pinhoe Egg, by Diana Wynne Jones
88.(1?/??/14)Mixed Magics, by Diana Wynne Jones
89.(1?/??/14)The White Dragon, by Anne McCaffrey
90.(11/18/14)Winter Rose, by Patricia A. McKillip
91.(11/18/14)Kingfishers Catch Fire, by Rumer Godden
92.(11/??/14)Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J. K. Rowling
93.(11/30/14)Roadmarks, by Roger Zelazny
94.(12/0?/14)Witch Week, by Diana Wynne Jones
95.(12/07/14)The Slow Regard of Silent Things, by Patrick Rothfuss
96.(12/08/14)The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, by Genevieve Valentine
97.(12/14/14)The Magicians of Caprona, by Diana Wynne Jones
98.(12/26/14)Fool's Run, by Patricia A. McKillip
99.(12/29/14)Scout's Progress, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
100.(12/30/14)Hellspark, by Janet Kagan

First read: 63
Reread: 37
Adult fiction: 58
YA fiction: 32
Nonfiction: 10

Books, 2013

Jan. 5th, 2013 11:02 pm
aryllian: (Default)
To be updated throughout the year. Italics indicate a reread. Entries without numbers indicate that I didn't finish for some reason but read enough (and liked enough) to consider it worth recording.

1.(01/05/13)Thief of Time, by Terry Pratchett
2.(01/06/13)The Privilege of the Sword, by Ellen Kushner
3.(01/09/13)Monstrous Regiment, by Terry Pratchett
4.(01/11/13)Vessel, by Sarah Beth Durst
5.(01/1?/13)Days of Blood and Starlight, by Laini Taylor
6.(01/14/13)Miss Pym Disposes, by Josephine Tey
7.(01/14/13)Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo
8.(01/18/13)Thud!, by Terry Pratchett
9.(01/23/13)Masquerade, by Terry Pratchett
10.(01/23/13)Buffy Season 9: On Your Own, by Joss Whedan et. al.
11.(01/24/13)Impulse, by Steven Gould
12.(01/30/13)Wrapt in Crystal, by Sharon Shinn
13.(02/??/13)The Wise Man's Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss
14.(02/14/13)Catching Jordan, by Miranda Kenneally
15.(02/??/13)Lords and Ladies, by Terry Pratchett
16.(02/20/13)Tales from Outer Suburbia, by Shaun Tan
17.(02/21/13)Gaudy Night, by Dorothy L. Sayers
18.(02/??/13)Komarr, by Lois McMaster Bujold
19.(02/26/13)A Civil Campaign, by Lois McMaster Bujold
20.(03/01/13)The Stonekeeper, by Kazu Kibuishi
21.(03/04/13)The Fractal Prince, by Hannu Rajaniemi
22.(03/05/13)To Love and Be Wise, by Josephine Tey
23.(03/10/13)A Shilling for Candles, by Josephine Tey
24.(03/12/13)The Paladin, by C. J. Cherryh
25.(03/12/13)The Magicians of Caprona, by Diana Wynne Jones
26.(03/14/13)The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, by Kate Summerscale
27.(03/28/13)Speaking from Among the Bones, by Alan Bradley
28.(04/01/13)The Freedom Maze, by Delia Sherman
29.(04/03/13)The Man in the Queue, by Josephine Tey
30.(04/05/13)Renegade Magic, by Stephanie Burgis
31.(04/09/13)Revenant Eve, by Sherwood Smith
32.(04/16/13)The Dragonfly Pool, by Eva Ibbotson
33.(04/18/13)Clouds End, by Sean Stewart
34.(04/19/13)A Cluster of Separate Sparks, by Joan Aiken
35.(04/19/13)Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti, by Genevieve Valentine
36.(04/27/13)Madness: A Brief History, by Roy Porter
37.(05/02/13)This Alien Shore, by C.S. Friedman
38.(05/03/13)When We Wake, by Karen Healey
39.(05/05/13)Cold Comfort Farm, by Stella Gibbons
40.(05/06/13)The Borders of Infinity, by Lois McMaster Bujold
41.(05/07/13)Fuzzy Nation, by John Scalzi
42.(05/08/13)The Vor Game, by Lois McMaster Bujold
43.(05/09/13)Six-Gun Snow White, by Catherynne M. Valente
44.(05/09/13)The Two Princesses of Bamarre, by Gail Carson Levine
45.(05/14/13)Earth and Air: Tales of Elemental Spirits, by Peter Dickinson
46.(05/14/13)B.U.G. (Big Ugly Guy), by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple
47.(05/17/13)The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry, by Gary Greenberg
48.(0?/??/13)Dealing With Dragons, by Patricia C. Wrede
49.(06/02/13)River of Stars, by Guy Gavriel Kay
50.(06/04/13)The Serpent Sea, by Martha Wells
51.(06/07/13)Searching for Dragons, by Patricia C. Wrede
52.(06/12/13)Doc, by Mary Doria Russell
53.(06/12/13)Daggerspell, by Katherine Kerr
54.(06/17/13)Protector, by C. J. Cherryh
55.(06/22/13)Man in the Empty Suit, by Sean Ferrell
56.(06/24/13)Without a Summer, by Mary Robinette Kowal
57.(07/03/13)Mairelon the Magician, by Patricia C. Wrede
58.(07/11/13)Calling on Dragons, by Patricia C. Wrede
Queen Victoria's Book of Spells, ed. by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling (p. 130)
59.(07/20/13)January First, by Michael Schofield
60.(07/23/13)Unspoken, by Sarah Rees Brennan
61.(07/24/13)Confessions of a Sociopath, by M. E. Thomas
62.(07/24/13)The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman
63.(07/26/13)Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon, by Matt Fraction et. al.
64.(07/29/13)Magician's Ward, by Patricia C. Wrede
65.(08/06/13)The Diddakoi, by Rumer Godden
66.(08/07/13)Interesting Times, by Terry Pratchett
67.(08/11/13)The Last Continent, by Terry Pratchett
68.(08/14/13)Guards! Guards!, by Terry Pratchett
69.(08/16/13)The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker
70.(08/18/13)Handbook for Dragon Slayers, by Merrie Haskell
71.(08/25/13)Cromartie vs. the God Shiva Acting Through the Government of India, by Rumer Godden
72.(08/26/13)Glasshouse, by Charles Stross
73.(08/29/13)The Mote in God's Eye, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
74.(09/05/13)Try to Feel It My Way, by Suzette Haden Elgin
75.(09/0?/13)Thursday's Children, by Rumer Godden
76.(09/0?/13)Redshirts, by John Scalzi
77.(09/09/13)Pandora's Keepers: Nine Men and the Atomic Bomb, by Brian VanDeMark
78.(09/??/13)Starfarers, by Vonda N. McIntyre
79.(10/01/13)Transition, by Vonda N. McIntyre
80.(10/06/13)Metaphase, by Vonda N. McIntyre
81.(10/07/13)Nautilus, by Vonda N. McIntyre
82.(10/07/13)The Gentle Art of Written Self Defense, by Suzette Hadin Elgin
83.(10/08/13)Breakfast with the Nikolides, by Rumer Godden
84.(10/12/13)Rose Under Fire, by Elizabeth Wein
85.(10/21/13)Gateway, by Frederik Pohl
86.(10/2?/13)Men at Arms, by Terry Pratchett
87.(10/27/13)Feet of Clay, by Terry Pratchett
88.(10/??/13)Black Narcissus, by Rumer Godden
89.(11/01/13)The Republic of Thieves, by Scott Lynch
90.(11/05/13)Home Before Morning, by Lynda Van Devanter
91.(11/??/13)Blood of Tyrants, by Naomi Novik
92.(11/??/13)Shadows, by Robin McKinley
93.(12/01/13)The Social Conquest of Earth, by Edward O. Wilson
94.(12/04/13)Necessity's Child, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
95.(12/??/13)Who's in Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain, by Michael S. Gazzaniga
96.(12/18/13)Jingo, by Terry Pratchett
97.(12/24/13)Hero, by Alethea Kontis
98.(12/29/13)Dreamers of the Day, by Mary Doria Russell

First read: 62
Reread: 36
Adult fiction: 64
YA fiction: 23
Nonfiction: 11
aryllian: (Default)
I love Sprig Muslin.

I especially love the ending, which has eight people in the same scene saying things at complete cross purposes that are absolutely hilarious mostly because of who they are and everything that's come before. But then in general, I love people saying things at cross purposes.

That is all.
aryllian: (Default)
Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman -- this appears to be a first novel. If I ever write a first novel that's as good and well balanced and well paced and well plotted (mostly, some tiny problems there when you really think about it) and has such interesting characters and interesting world as this -- a fascinating take on dragons...I will be very happy. As it is, I'm sort of jealous.

Fortress of Ice, by C. J. Cherryh -- so, suddenly in 2007 Cherryh decided she wanted to write about children/young adults caught up in her usual political plots? (Deliverer, the first Foreigner book with the young atevi Cajeiri as a point of view character, was also published in 2007.) But really, I love Cherryh's children/young adults, Elfwyn and Aewyn here and Cajeiri in the Foreigner books...but I missed the level of complicated in politics that previous books had. There was more personal plot, and I'm not sure the personal plot worked as well as the politics as a mix with the mystical sort of magic in these books, either. (I ended up a bit confused by the ending.) But that might just be me.
aryllian: (Default)
I was fascinated by the characters and their interactions (there's a pretty unique group of friends in this book), but a bit less than fascinated by the plot with dead people. Dead people == still not my thing. (I think it was handled really well, though. If dead people were my thing, I'm sure I would have adored this book.)

It brought home to me why I like fantasy better than non-fantastic fiction, though. Every now and then I read a young adult book without magic, and it seems like they're all about things falling apart. Friendships failing, things not working out. They sort of have to be, to have plot. But with magic, you don't have to have the group of friends fall apart, it can be tested by the plot involving dead people and weird things happening, but the friendships don't have to break to keep things interesting.

I wish I knew of more fantasy books about unique groups of friends, though. This book reminded me of Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary, by Pamela Dean...I wish I could think of more.
aryllian: (Default)
It's a book about a circus and clowns aren't mentioned even once: it's a very elegant circus. And a good book, it's evocative and it has enough of a story to pull it along. Not the kind of book to go to if you want to really understand every detail of magic and interaction, but that's clearly not the point. It is the kind of book to go to if you want to find an appealing and slightly disturbing place to hang out for a while and see what happens.
aryllian: (Default)
The final exam in a wilderness survival class turns real when all the students are trapped on an alien planet.

It's interesting to compare this book to The Hunger Games. In The Hunger Games, children/teens are trapped in a survival situation where their surroundings are out to get them, and they're forced to kill each other. In this book, children/teens are trapped in a survival situation where their surroundings are out to get them, and they band together in order to survive.

I find the premise of this book infinitely more interesting. The struggle to work together and keep things from falling apart and to deal with challenges together when everyone has their own ideas about what to do is so much more interesting than the struggle to kill people. I mean, really, I read The Hunger Games despite the premise, not because of it.

On the other hand, there are some places where Tunnel in the Sky is showing its age. The attitude toward women isn't as blatant as it could be, but it's there, and there's something else that seemed a little off to me. The whole book is about how survival requires being careful and making choices based on what you have without looking back and without trying to be macho, and yet at a very important point the main character makes a very emotional (and sort of stupidly macho) decision and then we don't even see how that choice might have led to problems because the narrative skips ahead to the point where that choice worked out in the long run.

So in the end, I liked the adventure aspects and I liked the thinking about group dynamics aspects, and it was definitely a very readable book. But I'd like to see a book like this, about creation instead of destruction when faced with a survival situation, that worked a bit more like The Hunger Games in terms of better characterization and more subtlety (though I wouldn't call The Hunger Games an especially subtle book either).
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