Top Ten Tuesday

Hmm, this week’s theme is about recommending stuff you like if you like something popular, and I’m never sure about what’s actually popular and what I just know about because I’m in my own little circle. So I’m just going to suggest some readalikes.

  1. If you like N.K. Jemisin, especially The Fifth Season, try Kameron Hurley. Reading the start of The Fifth Season, I was so struck that it ‘felt like’ The Mirror Empire.
  2. If you like J.R.R. Tolkien, particularly in The Lord of the Rings mode, try Poul Anderson. He was also one of the founding writers of SF/F, and dug into a lot of the same material that influenced Tolkien.
  3. If you like Raymond Chandler, try Chris F. Holm. Mostly if you like SF/F as well, because the Collector series is a lot of fun, and riffs on Chandler and Hammett’s style and plots. But The Killing Kind is also great.
  4. If you like Jacqueline Carey, particularly the Kushiel books, try Freda Warrington, starting with A Taste of Blood Wine. There’s a similar lushness there in the language and style.
  5. If you like Ilona Andrews, try Jacqueline Carey! She has written some urban fantasy type stuff with the Agent of Hel trilogy, which is now complete.
  6. If you like Catherynne M. Valente, try Patricia McKillip — or the other way round, both being differently famous depending on your circles. The lyrical writing and some of the themes seem akin.
  7. If you like any books at all, try Jo Walton. She’s written in a whole range of genres, but mostly I’m thinking of the fantasy/coming of age story, Among Others. If you’re in love with books, you’ll have something in common with Mori.
  8. If you like Ellen Kushner’s Swordspointtry Tanya Huff’s The Fire’s Stone. Also has LGBT themes, in a more fantastical world. Never seems to get the love I’d like to see for it!
  9. If you like epic fantasy, of whatever stripe, try Tad Williams. I really enjoyed the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn books, and though they stick quite close to a traditional fantasy mould, they had a lot there that I appreciated, especially by way of characters.
  10. If you like Gail Carriger, try Genevieve Cogman. The tone is less silly, but some of the same enthusiasm and tone is there.

I’ll be interested to see what other people are recommending here! I found this one difficult, because I’m never sure how to judge other people’s taste.

Stacking the Shelves

It’s been a bit of a weird and wonderful week for me, as far as acquisitions go — which surprises nobody, really. My trip last weekend to a consciousness workshop in London was really interested, and prompted pretty much all the non-fiction I’ve picked up, and then I had a three hour monster exam on Wednesday on maths and science, and my mother provided a nice chunk of Amazon voucher to reward me, so… yeah. Books!

I don’t know if I mentioned I also got a new Kindle recently — a Kindle Voyage, which has been christened Glyph, and which I should write a review of soon.

Non-fiction

Cover of The Edge of Uncertainty by Michael Brooks Cover of 13 Things That Don't Make Sense by Michael Brooks Cover of The Technological Singularity by Murray Shanahan

Cover of The Tell-Tale Brain by V.S. Ramachandran Cover of Self Comes to Mind by Antonio Damasio Cover of A Portrait of the Brain by Adam Zeman

Cover of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks

I know, I know, it’s a little unbelievable I haven’t read more of Sacks’ work already. Working on it!

On a side note, since this week covered my weird reading habits, here’s a weird blogging habit: I prefer multiples of three for covers in a row. Two is acceptable. That Oliver Sacks cover on its own is a travesty that, if I’d noticed before, I’d have fixed by getting out another library book on neurology.

Fiction (bought)

Cover of The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker Cover of The Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente Cover of Chapelwood by Cherie Priest

Cover of The Heart of Valour by Tanya Huff Cover of Valour's Trial by Tanya Huff Cover of The Truth of Valour by Tanya Huff

Cover of Farlander by Col Buchanan Cover of Sunset Mantle by Alter S. Reiss

Sunset Mantle was blurbed by Jo Walton, so I’m very much looking forward to it. I noticed the Tanya Huff books were only £2.50 ish each on Kindle, so I grabbed ’em to complete my collection. Goodness knows when I’ll get round to all this reading…

Fiction (library)

Cover of The Gate to Women's Country by Sherri S. Tepper Cover of London Falling by Paul Cornell Cover of Hard to Be A God by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky

I have a challenge/resolution to read more of the SF Masterworks, and I’ve been meaning to try London Falling for a while, so they were my somewhat random choices at the library.

And that’s it! It’s been a busy ol’ week. How’s everyone else been doing? What have you been reading, acquiring, reviewing and squealing over? Do tell.

Review – Third Time Lucky

24965354Third Time Lucky, Tanya Huff

I’ve wanted to get this collection since it came out, so no surprises that I read it as soon as I got chance. I love Huff’s collections of short stories: they’re bite-sized, sure, but there’s enough there to get your teeth into. Especially in this collection, which is a group of stories about the same character/world: Magdalene, the most powerful wizard in the world. I loved that she is literally the most powerful wizard, and that Huff chose to deal with that not by making her less powerful, but by making her essentially her own worst enemy. (Which is particularly true in the last story.)

I like that Magdalene is lazy, indolent, sensual, sexual — and none of this is particularly judged by the stories in any kind of “teach her a lesson” way. She still does what needs to be done, she still cares about the people around her, and she doesn’t care to boast about her. That would take effort.

In fact, arguably the only “lesson” in these stories is that she must accept herself, whole and entire, the good with the bad. Not a bad message at all, if there’s going to be one.

Rating: 4/5

Stacking the Shelves

A somewhat acquisitive week for me! But at least I’m keeping from requesting loads of ARCs, given I have a challenge to meet that means reading 55 of them already… (Yes, that’s not even all my backlog. Just 30% of it. I am awful.)

Bought

Cover of Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers Cover of Changeless by Gail Carriger Cover of Blameless by Gail Carriger

24965354 Cover of One Night in Sixes by Arianne Thompson

The first three, well, I planned to get them anyway, since I’m enjoying both series. The Tanya Huff I’ve been eyeing for ages. And One Night in Sixes is a bookclub read, if I recall rightly.

Comics

Captain Marvel Spider-woman

Looks like a tie-in event for Captain Marvel? Might not be so fond of that… And I am getting tired of seeing Carol looking terrified/helpless on covers. Spider-woman looks fun, though.

How’s everyone else doing? Up to anything interesting?

Top Ten Tuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is books on the winter TBR. I’m not very specific about stuff like that, and I’m dreadful at getting round to books on time, but here’s more or less what I’m planning…

  1. Mary Stewart, the Merlin trilogy. The first book was a reread, but with The Hollow Hills I’m breaking new ground. And enjoying it, thankfully; I still think Rosemary Sutcliff has just about everyone except maybe Steinbeck beat, but I’m enjoying Stewart’s work more than I remembered.
  2. Jo Walton, The Just CityI got distracted from finishing this off by family visiting, and because I can’t take it to clinic with me (I’m only allowed my ereader because it’s quite discreet!). So I’m planning to finish it… probably before the start of December, really.
  3. Tanya Huff, The Enchantment EmporiumAlso been on the go for a while, whoops. And it’s fun!
  4. Ben Aaronovitch, Foxglove SummerBecause omgggg.
  5. Garth Nix, ClarielBecause I’m dreadful and still haven’t got round to it after I wasn’t able to read it on the Eurostar on my last trip.
  6. Brandon Sanderson, Steelheart. Because superheroes! And it’s about time.
  7. Samantha Shannon, The Bone SeasonI’ve been meaning to pick this up for a while, and with the next book out soon, it seems like it’s about time.
  8. Guy Gavriel Kay, The Lions of Al-Rassan. I’m still working on reading all his books in chronological order (by publication), so this one’s up next.
  9. Henry Marsh, Do No Harm. I’m starting the long road to becoming a doctor, in theory. Marsh’s topic (brain surgery) fascinates me, and I feel like I should be learning everything I can and just soaking up the knowledge in that way I have of gaining things by osmosis. (Ask my mother. I don’t know how to pronounce a lot of words because they just slipped into my vocabulary via books, without me ever hearing them. She thinks it’s funny.)
  10. Bernard Cornwell, The Winter KingBecause there’s no better time, with a title like that, right? But also because the Mary Stewart re/read is putting me in the mood for other historically based versions of the story.

What about everyone else? Share!

Top Ten Tuesday

This week’s theme is “Top Ten Books I’d Like to Reread”, which is a topic just made for me — the first one in a while I think I could talk for ages about — because I love rereading. Honourable mentions in advance to Chalice and The Hobbit, both of which I already reread recently! And I’m just going to leave it unsaid that I want to reread The Dark is Rising books, since I do that every year.

  1. Seaward, Susan Cooper. I’ve been meaning to reread this for a while. Heck, by the time this post goes live, I might’ve got round to it already. It’s beautifully written, a bit more mature than The Dark is Rising, and I love the characters a lot. I read it right through the day I got it, I think, at Christmas a couple of years ago. And then I made my partner read it, and my mother, and… everyone else I could get my hands on, really.
  2. The Lions of Al-Rassan, Guy Gavriel Kay. I think this might be the next book in my chronological-by-publishing-date reread of GGK’s work. I think it’s my mother’s favourite of GGK’s books, and my partner loves it too; I remember liking it, though it wasn’t my favourite, but it’s one of the few I’ve only read once so far (along with Under Heaven, which is too new for me to have reread yet).
  3. Sunshine, Robin McKinley. This is another I might’ve got round to already by the time this post goes live, because I’m tearing a streak through Robin McKinley’s work lately. Sunshine is one of my favourites; the world-building, the characters and their relationships, all the talk about food… And also, vampires done right, so that they’re genuinely fucking freaky, even Our Hero.
  4. Kushiel’s Dart, Jacqueline Carey. And pretty much everything by Carey, actually. I love the richness of her writing, and the intrigues of the court in Terre D’Ange. Honestly, if it wasn’t for all the sex and BDSM in the book, I’d recommend it to everyone, because the actual world-building is really cool. But I’m aware it’s not something everyone can be comfortable with.
  5. The Fire’s Stone, Tanya Huff. I could swear I’ve already talked about wanting to reread this somewhere on the blog, but I can’t find it. I did start a reread recently, but then got interrupted. I’m particularly curious because just before I first read this, my partner and I were working on an original world/plot that was very, very similar in many ways. And I’m looking forward to the relationship between the three main characters, and the way the situation turns out for them all. It’s sweet, feel-good stuff.
  6. The Winter King, Bernard Cornwell. I’ve always loved the way Cornwell handles the legends. Okay, some of his characters really don’t fit with the legends, and I do like the legends, but at the same time he has one of the most likeable versions of Galahad, and a really interesting take on the magic/reality stuff where the narrator can view it as magic and we can dismiss it as trickery, or maybe not quite.
  7. The Thief, Megan Whalen Turner. And the rest of the series. It’s easy to read, fun, and does interesting things with the character, the world, etc. I’m less a fan of the most recent book, but I’m still going to try rereading it.
  8. The Tombs of Atuan, Ursula Le Guin. The whole series, really, but this one is my favourite. It marks a separation from the world of the first book, which is fairly conventional fantasy, and begins to shape a place for women and a different view of the world that’s more in line with Le Guin’s own beliefs. And she’s so good at writing the small clear moments of quiet that really shine (Ged’s hand and the thistle).
  9. Assassin’s Apprentice, Robin Hobb. It’s been a long time, and I miss Fitz, Nighteyes and Verity. (My mother never liked Verity nearly as much as I do, but I find him one of the most genuine characters of the lot — not subtle, not perfect for his job, but doing what he can and making good despite the difficulty.) And there’s a new Fool trilogy now, which I even got an ARC for originally, so I want to reread everything to get back up to speed for it.
  10. Sorcerer’s Treason, Sarah Zettel. I remember these being good books, using a less typically Western fantasy setting, with a lot of Russian influence and I think later Asian? I remember finding it very different, at any rate, and I do like Zettel’s work. So, soooon. I hope.

Any of these your own special favourite? Let me know! I comment back to everyone who comments here, both on my post and on your own if you’ve done one.

What are you reading Wednesday

What have you recently finished reading?
FF: Fantastic Faux, by Matt Fraction. Which is heavily linked to the Fantastic Four title in the Marvel Now lineup, which I haven’t read, so made very little sense. On the other hand, Fraction deals very deftly with a transgendered character, making it so normal and the transition so well done that it barely registers as a big issue at all.

And you’ve gotta love the line “All of you pale before our hetero-normative cisgendered classification of family!”

What are you currently reading?
The Fellowship of the Ring. Oh, Tolkien. Oh, Frodo.

The Enchantment Emporium (Tanya Huff). Can’t remember if I mentioned this last week, but so far it’s very fun. I do have to switch my brain onto the Mary Stewart/Georgette Heyer cousin-marrying-is-okay frequency, but I do have that frequency, so that works. Casually queer, all kinds of family stuff, interesting magic.

What will you read next?
Well, Tolkien aside, I’m gonna dig back into We Are Here (Michael Marshall Smith) and Tomorrow and Tomorrow (Thomas Sweterlitsch), since I’m halfway through both and certainly owe a review for the latter.

Reading Habits

I’m not sure where I picked this up from, but it seemed like fun, and touched on some stuff I’ve never thought to mention before. So, another meme!

(1) Do you have a certain place for reading at home?
Mostly, I flop down on my bed for it when I’m with my grandmother. I used to have all sorts of hidey-holes where I’d go to read, but I’m bigger now and can’t fit into them so well, or Grandma’s filled them with boxes or junk or something. When I’m at home, I generally read at my desk with my feet on something, or up in my bunk bed. If I’m feeling particularly bleh, I make myself a blanket fort by hanging blankets down the sides of my bunk bed and curling up on the sofa underneath.

(2) Do you use a bookmark or a random piece of paper?
Mostly bookmarks. A random piece of paper may happen if I can’t find one, but I don’t really have a good excuse for that since I have a pile of about fifty bookmarks. Wherever I go, I try and pick up some bookmarks if they’ve got any free or cheap ones. I have some very nice ones from the Bodleian library shop.

(3) Can you just stop reading or does it need to be at the end of a chapter or a certain number of pages?
I have rules about this shit. It always has to be at the end of a page or, if the paragraph goes onto the next page, the end of that paragraph. I much prefer to stop at paragraph breaks or, even better, the end of even-numbered chapters. I remember when I was a kid, I didn’t like finishing at even the end of a chapter if the last sentence was dialogue.

(4) Do you eat or drink while reading?
Yep. Snacks, water, pop — it sometimes depends, though. If I’m reading something by a writer who is really good with the sound of words, I don’t eat/drink while reading so that I can whisper the words along. I’m a synaesthete, so the words have a ‘taste’, and for writers like Tolkien, Le Guin or Richard Fortey, that’s a part of the experience I wouldn’t want to miss. I don’t eat at mealtimes; Dad trained me firmly out of that.

(5) Do you read one book at a time or several at once?
Many, many at once. I shouldn’t, in that I inevitably end up neglecting something, but I like to have different things on the go for different moods and situations. I don’t read stuff by the fine prose writers in public, because I’m embarrassed about the fact that I want to whisper them. But seriously, ‘swept’ and ‘stepped’ and ‘crept’, or pretty much anything Tolkien ever wrote, they have such a satisfying mouth-feel and taste: I don’t really get why other people find that concept so strange.

(6) Do you read out loud or silently in your head?
Oh, I didn’t notice this question in advance! Silently, mostly, but with fine prose, in a whisper. I don’t like reading aloud to someone else, though. That’s when I start stammering and tripping over the words, which is not fun for anyone involved.

(7) Do you ever read ahead or skip pages?
I don’t mind spoilers, so yes, sometimes I do. Especially in comics, I find. I flick through the book, stop at a pretty page, and end up reading quite a bit to try and figure out what’s going on. Whoops. Obviously, I don’t end up doing this with ebooks, because it’s much harder to skip ahead. And I would never, ever skip the section with Tom Bombadil, and I don’t care what everyone has to say about that.

(8) Breaking the spine or keeping it new?
Keeping it new. And therefore not lending it to my mother.

(9) Do you write in your books?
Neveeeer.

(10) What are you currently reading?
Oh, cripes. The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff, primarily. And also We Are Here by Michael Marshall Smith. And… and… it’s a long list, let’s just leave it at that.

Tagging: 
As usual, whoever wants to!

Top Ten Tuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt from The Broke and the Bookish is ‘top ten books everyone’s telling me to read’. Which really isn’t hard, because everybody’s always on at me to read something, heh.

  1. Republic of Thieves, Scott Lynch. I love Scott Lynch’s first two books, and I actually got this one back when it was an ARC. I’m just terrible. I’ve bought it since and still… Mum and my partner both reaaaally want me to get on with it.
  2. The Vorkosigan Saga, Lois McMaster Bujold. Again, so many people want me to read these. I’ve actually read Cordelia’s Honor, and I wasn’t that impressed? But I was also cranky and feeling a bit harassed. If nothing else, Jo Walton’s recommendations mean I should really get on with it…
  3. Throne of Glass, Sarah J. Maas. I read the prequel short stories way back before the first book was out, and wasn’t really interested enough to read more. But I hear so much about the trilogy, and Leah was urging me to read it, so.
  4. Pantomime, Laura Lam. I’m going to read this reaaaally soon, or that’s the plan at least. It’s the only book I can think of, other than arguably The Left Hand of Darkness, with an intersexed protagonist.
  5. The Enchantment Emporium, Tanya Huff. This has been recced me a couple of times, and it’s the book I happened to pick up for Tanya Huff to sign for me at Worldcon, so there y’go.
  6. A Song of Ice and Fire, G.R.R. Martin. My first rec for this came from Robin Hobb when I was about fourteen, and I still haven’t got round to it — and the recs are mounting up. It’s actually one of the books in a reading challenge I’m doing, so I’ll get round to it soon.
  7. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Catherynne M. Valente. I’ve been meaning to read it since it came out, and now there’s a whole trilogy. Also in my challenge list.
  8. Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell. I’ve read part of it. I have the special edition, signed. I’ve read Attachments and Eleanor & Park. And yet. I’ll get there eventually. Sorry, Leah, and everyone.
  9. Yendi, Steven Brust. I read the first book of the series at Jo’s recommendation, promptly bought a whole bunch of the omnibuses, and then… got distracted by so
  10. The Healer trilogy, Maria V. Snyder. I like Snyder’s work as a casual fun read, and my sister will kick me if I don’t hurry up and read these. And probably many other books too; she likes kicking me.

What’s on everyone else’s lists?

Top Ten Tuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is “how many books do you own the most from”. I’m gonna be totally unscientific here and just take some wild guesses.

  1. Jo Walton. I own all her books, often in several formats. I think this one’s a safe bet.
  2. Ngaio Marsh. I have all those omnibuses. Omnibii?
  3. Robin Hobb. I’ve been reading everything she writes since I was, uh, thirteen ish?
  4. Guy Gavriel Kay. Again with the multiple formats.
  5. Ursula Le Guin. I don’t own everything she’s done, and I don’t usually have multiple copies, but I think she might still outnumber eveeeryone else. She’s just so good, I’m willing to try anything she’s done.
  6. Steven Brust. This is Jo Walton’s fault. I haven’t even read most of them yet.
  7. Tanya Huff. This is a guess, but I’m pretty sure I’m right. I’ve bought most of her books, though I haven’t read them all yet.
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien. Everything bar the twelve volume history of Middle-earth, I think. Multiple editions.
  9. The Gawain-poet. Whoever he (or she?) was. I own so many translations — probably at least nine?
  10. The Beowulf-poet. I’m not quite as big a fan as I am of the Gawain-poet, but still. I’ve got a facing translation one, Heaney’s, Tolkien’s… the list goes on.

So, what about everyone else? Strangely, Dorothy L. Sayers does not make the cut, because I borrowed my copies to read.