Author Topic: Rate the last book you just read  (Read 85260 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline superdave

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 5540
Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #915 on: December 19, 2017, 10:07:38 AM »
Autonomous-Annalee Newitz
6/10

I am a fan of Newitz's journalism so I was pretty excited for this book. In fact, I pre-ordered it.  But while the plot was interesting, the characters were not quite 3 dimensional enough and their motivations were not explained well, and both these made it hard to be interested in what happens to them.  The plot follows a pharmaceutical robin hood that reverse engineers medicinal drugs for the black market.  She discovers one of her recent batches has a fatal flaw, and realizes the flaw was not her fault, but rather in the original drug formula.  This sets up a race to discover an antidote and stay ahead of an anti terrorist group force trying to catch her.  Along the way there is love sex and robots, frequently all at the same time.

I found the most interesting bits to be the contrast between robots and human slaves and the idea of autonomous robots living in free society.  But the biggest problems with the story was that the world is poorly explained.  This makes it hard to understand the stakes that are involved.  I found myself wondering if the actions of the hero of the story actually made anything better.  It was also not totally clear as whether this was a dystopian future or not.  And the main reason for this is we never really see what life is like for everyday citizens of this world.  Every characters is directly involved on one side or another.  I legitimately wondered if in this world, every single person is either a bioengineer, military officer or robot.  We needed a perspective from outside the main conflict of the story in order to understand how the world works and the stakes at hand.

I disavow anyone in the movement involved in any illegal,unethical, sexist, or racist behavior. However, I don't have the energy or time to investigate each person and case, and a lack of individual disavowals for each incident should not be construed as condoning such behavior.

Online Noisy Rhysling

  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 3048
    • Hyperwar, WWII in Hypertext.
Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #916 on: December 19, 2017, 12:28:51 PM »
Artemis, by Andy Weir. Pretty good, distinctive style.

I hear this is his second book?
"Sunday's horoscope is note worthy because of its strange, sudden and wholly unpredictable and inexplicable occurrences, affecting all phases of life." Your Horoscope" L.A. Evening Herald Express, Sat, 12/06/41

Offline superdave

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 5540
Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #917 on: December 19, 2017, 03:12:21 PM »
Artemis, by Andy Weir. Pretty good, distinctive style.

I hear this is his second book?

Is that sarcasm?  The Martian was his debut, and it was one of my favorite books of the decade.
I disavow anyone in the movement involved in any illegal,unethical, sexist, or racist behavior. However, I don't have the energy or time to investigate each person and case, and a lack of individual disavowals for each incident should not be construed as condoning such behavior.

Offline daniel1948

  • Hasn't
  • Too Much Spare Time
  • ********
  • Posts: 6543
  • Cat Lovers Against the Bomb
Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #918 on: December 31, 2017, 01:21:14 PM »
For a long time I was mostly reading books unworthy of note. Fun, but cheap escapism. However this month I read two wonderful books. (I'm a slow reader.)

I re-read The Idiot by Dostoyevsky. This is the third time I've read it, IIRC. I read it in my 20's or early 30's, then again perhaps a decade later. It's in 4 parts, and the third part is very dull, consisting mainly of a long, nonsensical, and pointless dissertation (Hippolite's "explanation") by an otherwise relatively unimportant character. The rest of the book is fun and exciting. I like stories about crazy people, and this book is chock-full of crazies. Of course it's regarded as one of the great classics, a must-read.

(I bought a complete Dostoyevsky on Kindle, so I'll be reading some more of him. I have good memories of The Brothers Karamazov. Also decided to get a complete Tolstoy, so I'll be re-reading some of him. I read these guys decades ago when i was young.)

And I read West With the Night by Beryl Markham. Plenty of people flew the Atlantic before her, but mostly west to east. One man flew east to west before her. Markham was the first woman to fly the atlantic solo from east to west. Thus her claim to fame. Her flight was mostly at night. Flying west the prevailing wind is against you.

But this is one short chapter in a much longer book about a much fuller life, and the flight is almost an anticlimax at the end of a book so beautifully written as to well deserve being called poetry. After all the cheap stuff I've been reading, it was a joy to read language on a par with Melville or Dickens.
Daniel
----------------
"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Offline John Albert

  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 3649
Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #919 on: January 02, 2018, 10:02:52 PM »
I like stories about crazy people

Ever read À Rebours (Against Nature) by Huysmans? Highly recommended, especially if you love reading about craziness.

Offline daniel1948

  • Hasn't
  • Too Much Spare Time
  • ********
  • Posts: 6543
  • Cat Lovers Against the Bomb
Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #920 on: January 03, 2018, 10:57:40 AM »
I like stories about crazy people

Ever read À Rebours (Against Nature) by Huysmans? Highly recommended, especially if you love reading about craziness.

No I have not. And it's not so much craziness that I like reading about, it is crazy characters, of the sort one finds in The Idiot, for example.
Daniel
----------------
"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Offline John Albert

  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 3649
Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #921 on: January 03, 2018, 12:11:24 PM »
I like stories about crazy people

Ever read À Rebours (Against Nature) by Huysmans? Highly recommended, especially if you love reading about craziness.

No I have not. And it's not so much craziness that I like reading about, it is crazy characters, of the sort one finds in The Idiot, for example.

The protagonist of À Rebours, an aristocrat named Des Esseintes, is an excellent crazy character.

Offline daniel1948

  • Hasn't
  • Too Much Spare Time
  • ********
  • Posts: 6543
  • Cat Lovers Against the Bomb
Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #922 on: January 08, 2018, 04:11:35 PM »
Just read Matilda, by Roald Dahl. 8/10. It's a delightful little book, very short, suitable for its intended audience, which I assume is children. What surprised me was that I enjoyed the movie more. I cannot remember when I've enjoyed a movie more than the book it was made from. The movie has added detail which was a lot of fun and allowed Matilda to develop her powers more gradually. The book almost felt like a condensation from the movie.
Daniel
----------------
"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Offline Redamare

  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 3951
Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #923 on: January 08, 2018, 11:56:03 PM »
Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi

Fuckin' brilliant. Just... just read it.
"redamare has kicked this thread's ass" -champagnej

Certainty is the enemy of wisdom.

--RED-uh-MAR-ay--

Offline Neutral Milk

  • Forum Historian
  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • **********
  • Posts: 13384
  • Physics makes us all its bitches.
Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #924 on: January 17, 2018, 04:51:53 PM »
Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi

Fuckin' brilliant. Just... just read it.

Thanks for the rec! Haven't read a scalzi I didnt like. That said I didn't pick it up when it came out because many of the reviews had the complaint that it was "half a book". After reading it I have to agree that while it does have a conclusion it felt like not enough of a book.

I also read that he recently signed a 4 million dollar contract for 13 books in 10 years including this new series (and another lock in and old man's war book!). This book sort of feels like cheating. Like he would have written more of a book if he hadn't had a quota to fill.

Anyway really fun book that's setting up for a fun series.

Offline SQ the ΣΛ/IGMд

  • Atheist extraordinaire
  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • **********
  • Posts: 12542
  • Pondering the cosmos since 1969
Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #925 on: January 17, 2018, 05:26:45 PM »
I recently read The Girl on the Train and found it meh.
It was scattery and chronologically hard to follow. I also found the ending predictable.
"That's ridiculous, spooks. That's silly!" ~ The Tin Woodsman - The Wizard of Oz ~

"Like it or not, we are stuck with science.  We had better make the best of it." ~ Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World ~

Offline Redamare

  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 3951
Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #926 on: January 17, 2018, 07:51:45 PM »
Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi

Fuckin' brilliant. Just... just read it.

Thanks for the rec! Haven't read a scalzi I didnt like. That said I didn't pick it up when it came out because many of the reviews had the complaint that it was "half a book". After reading it I have to agree that while it does have a conclusion it felt like not enough of a book.

I also read that he recently signed a 4 million dollar contract for 13 books in 10 years including this new series (and another lock in and old man's war book!). This book sort of feels like cheating. Like he would have written more of a book if he hadn't had a quota to fill.

Anyway really fun book that's setting up for a fun series.

I've read it 8 times already!
"redamare has kicked this thread's ass" -champagnej

Certainty is the enemy of wisdom.

--RED-uh-MAR-ay--

Offline Nosmas

  • Not Enough Spare Time
  • **
  • Posts: 229
Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #927 on: January 17, 2018, 08:19:37 PM »
Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi

Fuckin' brilliant. Just... just read it.

I've been procrastinating picking this book up but I've seen this opinion stated by so many people that I feel I have to this week.

I recently finished Origin by Dan Brown. 9/10. I really enjoyed it.

Also finally finished Death's End by Liu Cixin. 7/10. It took me forever to get through this trilogy (Three Body Problem and Dark Forrest before this one). There were moments of intense interest followed by a lot of disinterest. It might be the style of writing and the fact that I find it hard to memorize (or pronounce in my head) Chinese names of characters and therefore keeping track of who is who was distracting. The ideas and creativity were impressive though.
Providing yesterday's solutions to today's problems, tomorrow!

Offline Neutral Milk

  • Forum Historian
  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • **********
  • Posts: 13384
  • Physics makes us all its bitches.
Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #928 on: January 25, 2018, 01:10:59 AM »
Again I'm surprised no one has reviewed this one yet (I mentioned a few months back before I'd read it that I was surprised about this fact):
La Belle Sauvage - Volume 1 of The Book of Dust - Philip Pullman
As a YA novel: 9 out of 10
As a novel: 8 out of 10.

It's a prequel to His Dark Materials, and I definitely don't think you could read it before His Dark Materials. I hadn't read Pullman since I put down The Amber Spyglass 10 years ago but I was instantly reminded why I liked HDM so much. The writing is really engaging, the young characters feel very real, and it's a dark world in which religion is the root of all evil.

I love that it's a YA book I would be happy with my 12 year old reading (I don't have kids for the record) even with it containing a few well placed F-bombs and some pretty gruesome scenes of death and
(click to show/hide)

Not really a spoiler but if you don't want to know anything about the book's pacing don't read:
(click to show/hide)

If you haven't read His Dark Materials.. what kind of atheist/skeptic are you?
If you have and you haven't read this.. you owe it to yourself!

Offline Jeremy's Sea

  • Kintsukuroi, baby.
  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4633
  • 667 - Neighbor of the beast.
    • jeremyad [sic]
Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #929 on: January 25, 2018, 01:41:10 PM »
The Road
9/10

Yeah, it's probably bleaker than the movie.
I thought the movie did a slightly better job driving home how damaged and paranoid and "of the world" the father had become without him realizing it, but the kids quest for justice and understanding was really well told in the book.
Knowledge is power. France is bacon.

 

personate-rain