Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Current Reading

I've just finished one book and I'm in the middle of another.  First, we have Spinward Fringe - Origins by Randolph Lalonde.
This one is a space opera and it's really quick, enjoyable reading.  It begins with a group of what amounts to on-line gamers (albeit a few hundred years in the future).  They've gotten bored with the level of games available to them, so now, they're breaking into the Military's simulations and they're wiping the instructors asses every time.

The military ends up offering them a choice; come test with us.  If you win, we'll give you a ship.  Lose and you go to jail for 2-10 years.  Of course, they prevail and they get sent off to have ADVENTURES.  There are no great revelations in these stories, but the stories flow nicely and the characters are interesting enough to keep your attention.

Best part?  This is currently a free eBook both for Kindle and Nook.  Another reason I'm glad I haven't made any personal blanket prohibition against picking up self-published books.

I'm currently about 1/2-way through The Magicians by Lev Grossman.
I have to admit I hadn't heard of Grossman, but since he's part of an event John Scalzi is doing at the New York Public Library along with Cat Valente and Scott Westerfeld, i thought I'd read his stuff before attending.  I'm glad I picked this one up.

The book is described as Harry Potter for adults.  That's probably a simplistic description, but I suppose it'll do.  The writing is terrific and I'm enjoying it quite a bit. I'm especially enjoying how the language tends to allude to the attitude the school wants to project -- that of a snooty English Public School -- and then jars you out of that regularly by reminding you that our protagonist is a Brooklyn boy, through and through.

I'd recommend both -- just on different days.


TimBo said...

I downloaded Origins yesterday on your recommendation and since it was free anyway. Never mind which was more important to me.

I've read the first two books of the three. Nice light reading. Lots of fun. Thanks for the recommendation. I may even buy some of the $2.99 offerings in the series.

Nathan said...

I'll have to go back and double check, but I think Origins is an anthology and includes all of the others from the series.

Nathan said...

OK, I went back and took a closer look and it appears I WAS WRONG. There are some other books there that aren't part of that specific series...or they're offshoots from it. Or something.

I stand corrected and I'll probably buy some of them.

TimBo said...

I've now read the Spinward Fringe Broadcasts 1&2 (they're packaged together for $2.99). Not bad, but not as good as Origins. Also the second one introduces what amounts to immortality, which I always find boring (even when Heinlein did it). I've moved on to Sandman Slim.

Keep 'em coming otherwise I'd have to chose books for myself.

TimBo said...

The Magicians: Harry Potter goes to Narnia but Hermonie has all the power. There's a lot of The Magician's Nephew in that book. Rather captivating.

I note that Sandman Slim also has an important character called Alice. Perhaps the name is making a comeback.

So now what do I read?

Nathan said...

Well, I've moved on to "Kill the Dead"...the 2nd Sandman Slim book. And then, I'm planning to go back and read the other Spinward Fringe books.

Maybe you'll have to do the next set of suggestions? Hmmmmm?

TimBo said...

Its your blog, buddy. I'm just the leech here. ;-)

I don't know that I liked Sandman enough to read the sequel.

See what you did? Now I feel like contributing. So here are some books I'm either reading, just read, or am going to start in the next week or so (I do work long hours and I'm not sure how I find time to read so much, it kind of surprises me actually):

Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's Autobiography of a guy with Asperger's Syndrome (whodda guessed from the title?). Interesting if you know someone with Apserger's and if you work in IT or with creative people you do. I read and enjoyed this book.

Rain Fall I saw this movie, a suspense thriller and I liked it so I thought I'd try the book. The main interest is in enigmatic character of John Rain. I haven't read this one yet.

Born On A Blue Day The autobiography of an Autistic Savant, kind of a Rainman. I enjoyed looking into this guy's life.

Cooking for Geeks Cook as if cooking was a science experiment. Learn to cook and refine your dishes. Underway, a bit of a long slug.

The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire Everything you wanted to know about the Byzantine Empire. I read this in the middle of the night when I can't sleep because it doesn't have a plot line and I can put it down as soon as I feel tired. It turns out there's a family connection that I didn't know about. It is pretty long and I've been reading it for about two months and I'm about 2/3 done.

God's Middle Finger This is the story of a journalist who goes into the Northern Mexican Sierras and meets all kinds of shady characters and has a few adventures. This was recommended by Fred Redd. I enjoyed this one a lot.

The Glass Castle This is a really, really interesting autobiography of a journalist and the horrendous experiences she had growing up. My daughters both read this and enjoyed it enough to re-read it. I can't recommend it enhough. Really. Buy it now.