Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November '11

The Lost StoriesThe Lost Stories by John Flanagan

Ebook, 352 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

John Flanagan did a great job with this book. Sometimes a collection of short stories will just fall flat and leave you feeling bleh. Not this one though.

Flanagan packed each story chock full of what I've come to expect from the RA Series-adventure, fun, a tiny bit of mystery and suspense and a good ending.

I was a little confused at the first, with the whole archeological thing, but it quickly made sense. Just the first couple of pages made me wonder if I'd gotten a bad ebook or something.

The Viscount and the Witch (The Riyria Chronicles Short #1)The Viscount and the Witch by Michael J. Sullivan

Ebook, 28 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story was over before I even got my head around that it was starting. That was my only complaint-too short :D

Really neat intro to Royce and Hadrian and "their" noble. Now I REALLY want the final book, sigh...

The Sea Watch (Shadows of the Apt, #6)The Sea Watch by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Ebook, 586 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It seems like it is Stenwold Maker against the entire Kinden world. I feel pretty bad for the poor guy. Everything seems to go wrong for him.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. Not quite as much as the previous books, but I think the Wasp Empire makes a fantastic antagonist, and the underwater kinden made me feel kind of creepy/crawly and Tchaikovsky's descriptions made ME feel claustrophobic.

I have to say, it sure would be nice if somebody besides Stenwold became the major character. I just have this image of an 80 year old tottering around. I know that isn't accurate, but from the descriptions in previous books, that is how I see him.

Looking forward, with great anticipation, to the next book, Heirs to the Blade[I think that is the name].

Steel: And Other StoriesSteel: And Other Stories by Richard Matheson

Dtb, 320 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Matheson seems to see the worst in humanity and to spray that about.
I think every story was about a human being being irrational in one form or another.

I enjoyed these,[there was comic relief, even if in a bitter form] but would not want to read lots of books like this one right after the other. It would be too much.

The Story of My Experiments With TruthThe Story of My Experiments With Truth by Mahatma Gandhi

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I simply gave up around page 300.

I didn't know much about Gandhi except that he was a pacifist and helped free India. So I wanted to find out more about him. What better way than to read the man's own words about his life? So I went in with vim and vigor, ready to learn.

I got bogged down in details that didn't mean anything to me [he wrote about current Indian authority figures like I might toss off a comment about Britney Spears].

He routinely came across as a complete prick, ie, he would almost scold the reader to do, or not do, some particular line of action simply because he, Gandhi, recommended it.[this is/was a time period thing. I've read several other pieces of non-fiction by like people from that time and it is just how they write. Still pisses me off though]. He also had no problems denying people the same benefits that he had had[college, job opportunities, etc] if the alternative was an "experiential" growing thing-ie, he denied formal education to his children because he thought they would be better off simply "knowing" people and how life worked.

He routinely acted like an authority on a subject that he had an interest in, based upon 1 or 2 instances-ie, he decries doctors, and then goes on to talk about a plague that he helped deal with and how he used some alternative medicine [doctors and him were both ineffective in that case]. It was not a case of "I found X to work for me and if you feel like it, you can try it", it really came across more as "I like X, you should use X too. It might work, it might not, but it is better than anything else".

False humility? This one I'm not sure of to be honest. He comes across as very humble in many instances, but there are flashes of extreme arrogance or ignoring certain facts that made me really wonder just how much his writing hid. Given, we all self-deceive to one degree or another [and in most cases, it isn't purposeful, we humans are simply blind to our own faults], but for a self-professed "seeker of truth" to say some of the things he did, it did not jive with humility.
But that is the kind of thing you cannot accurately judge unless you've met the person.

His wife. His poor, poor, wife. I don't know if she should be considered a saint for putting up with Gandhi, or what. Abandoned for months or years at a time while he pursues social equality in South Africa [for Indians], constantly told that material possessions are meaningless, that sex has no part in love, and in a nutshell, told that anything she wants must be subsumed to the greater good of the Indian Cause.

And that is the main reason I stopped reading. Gandhi seems to advocate the collective over the individual. And he was a prick and wicked boring. Now I am completely disillusioned with him.

I predict it will be years before I attempt another autobiography of anyone after this.

Winter's Heart (Wheel of Time, #9)Winter's Heart by Robert Jordan

Ebook, 560 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read June 2001
Re-read November 2011.

What a difference 10 years makes. First off, I've got the final book in my hands in the next couple of months. Second, I'm reading a WoT book a month instead of a year[or 2 or 3] and I think that is just about the right amount of time.

Most of this was completely new to me because I think I stopped the first time when I realized the series wasn't at its end. I enjoyed this. Same compliments, same complaints as the previous books.
And the cleansing of Saidin was pretty cool. It did make me wonder just how strong/weak the Forsaken actually are. And if they couldn't deal with Rand and Co, why did the original Aes Sedai have such trouble?

The Warrior Heir (Heir Series #1)The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

Ebook, 272 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this.

Not much of a review, I know, but it was fun, with just the right amount of danger and uncertainty to spice it up.

And no ***** werewolves or vamps [sparkly or otherwise]...

Horus Rising (Warhammer 40,000) (The Horus Heresy, #1)Horus Rising (Warhammer 40,000) by Dan Abnett

Ebook, 295 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While a very action packed, gruesome story, I kept waiting for the "Heresy" to show itself, and it never did.

Also, logistics. A space force that is dealing with at least 3 different forms of humanity would not have integrated walkways/doorways/whatever for all 3 subspecies, it simply would be cost prohibitive.

And every bloody "hero" is always godlike, or nearly godlike. I felt like I was reading the Iliad or something. Frack that...

The DepartureThe Departure by Neal Asher

Ebook, 352 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Non-polity universe.

But blood and guts GALORE! I kind of found it over the top. And the whole mental "aha, I found a new trick that I can use until you figure out how to counter it" was used enough that it detracted from my enjoyment.

Would certainly not recommend as a first Neal Asher book. hardcore fans only.

Star Wars: Choices of OneStar Wars: Choices of One by Timothy Zahn

Ebook, 384 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Zahn brings some much needed polished writing to the Star Wars universe. I actually put the book down when I got tired so that I would be able to understand what he was writing.[and yes, that is a good thing]

I had fun reading this, a bit more than I had reading Star Wars Allegiance, not sure why though. Seemed to have more action than I remember in Allegiance.

Glad I bought this one...

Underworld (Underworld, #1)Underworld by Greg Cox

Ebook, 302 Pages
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

If you really liked the movie, you'll probably enjoy this.

I thought the movie was a good action romp, but the book was just plain dull.

I had all three books on tap to read, but after this, I'm not going to waste my time, it is just mediocre pablum.

The Walking DrumThe Walking Drum by Louis L'Amour

Dtb, 480 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Instead of stereotyping westerns here, Louis L'Amour does medieval Europe.

It was fun, but it got kind of tiring having the hero bash Europe, praise the Middle East, learn EVERYTHING in about 2 days, and get into a new kind of danger at the end of every chapter.

So it was a typical L'Amour :D

Making Money (Discworld, #36)Making Money by Terry Pratchett

Ebook, 400 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Maybe the "Occupy Wallstreet" people should have read this before camping out and pooping in the parks ;)

Anyway, a very humorous look at the banking system, Anhk-Morpork style. We get good old Moist Von Lipwig[who I am enjoying immensely] and some more Vetinari stuff. He's the best kind of tyrant :D

And I actually found the little annoying dog funny too! Which means Pratchett wrote this well, cause I NEVER find annoying little dogs funny...

Maelstrom (Destroyermen Series #3)Maelstrom by Taylor Anderson

Ebook, 400 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book, with it's very large battle at the end, but it wasn't as riveting as the previous book nor did I feel the excitement.

Taylor Anderson opens up enough extra cans that we know this could be a lengthy series[thankfully book 6!!! came out just as I was getting into this. Better not be as long as the Wheel of Time series though!]

I am not a big fan of alt/whatever, but this is keeping my interest. I do wish Anderson wouldn't speechify so much though. Sometimes I feel like I'm re-reading the previous book as characters "remember" scads of info.

White Night (The Dresden Files, #9)White Night by Jim Butcher

Ebook, 376 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Harry is stronger, badder and more kickass than he has ever been.

And we still get to hear lots of whining. But I do like that there are now more bad guy options.

13 Novels
1 Short Story
1 Unfinished Novel
5107 Pages