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quack_tape
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 7:24 am    Post subject: QT's Summer Reading List Reply with quote

Here is everything that I have read or am planning to read this summer. In bold are the books that I have read and in italics are the ones on my to-do list. Included is a brief review.

Trilogies are separated by slashes

Mistborn/Well of Ascension/Hero of Ages
Brandon Sanderson's most iconic book series. It's a combination of a fantasy/heist novel in which a group of Allomancers (metal-based magic users) try to overthrow an evil empire (at least in the first book). Acts as a deconstruction of the "evil overlord" archetype.
The magic system is unlike anything I've seen from other authors and can't really be summarized well. That is a good thing.
The last fifth of Well of Ascension was the most awesome thing I have read this summer.
On the downside, Sanderson's ability to write pretty prose is not nearly as good as the other authors on this list. It's passable, but nothing to write home about.

Warbreaker
Another Brandon Sanderson book. I think he sat down and though "I'm going to write the most original fantasy book ever created" and then proceeded to do so. Once again there's a completely novel magic system and setting. Magic relies upon transmuting the breath of other people into inanimate objects so that they can do you duty. The more breaths that a person possesses, the stronger they are. One of the viewpoint characters is an atheistic demigod.
The book sacrifices most of best parts of the fantasy genre for the sake of doing something different, which is a hit or miss depending on how much you like Sanderson's other stuff (hint: I really like his other stuff). There's a fairly forced battle scene at the end, but it's definitely more character-driven than it is HOLY BALLS THAT'S AWESOME-driven like, say the Wheel of Time series (not entirely fair to WoT, but whatever).

Way of Kings
Another Sanderson book. It's his first foray into epic fantasy (i.e. a dozen books that each have ~1000 pages). Since epic fantasy is mostly about world building and since Sanderson is one of the best world-builders out there, this is going to be really kickass.
It's also worth mentioning that Sanderson has experience with he format, as he has been hired to write the previous two Wheel of Time books after Robert Jordan died. The fourteenth and final book in the mind-bogglingly large series is coming out later this year. I can't wait.

I Am Not A Serial Killer/Mr. Monster/I Don't Want To Kill You
Written by Dan Wells. Centers around John Cleaver, a sociopathic teenager who has an obsession with serial killers and is trying very hard not to become one himself. Then a serial killer shows up in his town. Not for the faint of heart.
The first book is an absolute work of art. I don't think I've ever sympathized so strongly with a character who has been so completely different from myself.
Also they're very short, you can finish them in a day.

Neuromancer
A cyberpunk novel written by William Gibson. I bought it based solely off of the first line, which is: "The sky above the port was the color of a television, tuned to a dead channel." Turns out that it's in a genre that I don't particularly enjoy. It is widely considered to be the best cyberpunk novel ever written.
I felt that Gibson sacrificed plot and characterization for beautiful scenery descriptions. I absolutely loved the book when stuff was, you know, happening. That wasn't often.

Hyperion/Fall of Hyperion/Endymion/Rise of Endymion
Science fiction series by Dan Simmons. The first book is about a group of people on a pilgrimage to the home of the legendary monster known as the Shrike. On the way, they each tell the story of what led them to join this pilgrimage. Think of it as Canterbury Tales in space.
Each story represents a subgenre of the science fiction genre, whether it's cyber punk, military sci-fi, or space opera. The stories themselves are incredibly well written and can be read independently of one another, should one wish. I have trouble pointing to one as the best, because they're all so excellent.
I'm halfway through Fall of Hyperion right now. It starts with the pilgrims reaching the lair of the Shrike. It maintains the high level of quality of the previous book, despite the fact that large portions of it are written in present tense (boo...)
Also, I hope you like 18th and 19th century poets, because they are discussed quite a bit.

The Feynman Lectures On Physics Vol. I-III
Probably the best written instructions on introductory physics that you will ever find anywhere. Feynman was intellectually in the same league as people like Maxwell and is in a league all of his own when it comes to teaching.
Also not for the faint of heart.

Critique of Pure Reason
Written by Immanuel Kant. I have no idea why I made my self slog through this thing.
On the plus side, I think about my ethical system in a completely different way now. That's a plus, right?

Here's a ranking of these books in order from most awesome to least awesome.
1)I Am Not a Serial Killer
2)Hyperion
-----READ EVERYTHING ABOVE THIS LINE OR I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN AND KILL YOU-----
3)Well of Ascension
4)Fall of Hyperion
5)Mistborn
-----I STRONGLY SUGGEST EVERYTHING ABOVE THIS LINE----
6)Warbreaker
7)Feynman
-----DO NOT READ THINGS BELOW THIS LINE-----
8)Neuromacer
9)Critique of Pure Reason
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Oreoiorio
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Downloading Audio books of Hyperion/ Fall of Hyperion now.
I'll try to listen during my drive to Maine, as apposed to while I am there.
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quack_tape
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very good. I approve.
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Million Dollar Horse

"This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in - an interesting hole I find myself in - fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!'"
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Aulos
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm.. that's a good idea. I could never read in the car for long without feeling like I'd throw up - car sickness. So instead of listening to comedy pod casts constantly on long (or short) trips, that's something to try.
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psy_wombats
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 5:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never been able to do anything but sleep...

But anyway, neat list. I might try out your top two, but I haven't read anything written in the past 30 years for ages... Kind of dumb of me. And I have 3 half-finished books to get through first.
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quack_tape
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What are those books?
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Million Dollar Horse

"This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in - an interesting hole I find myself in - fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!'"
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quack_tape
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I finally finished Fall of Hyperion. I kept putting it off because I was afraid of the present tense, but once I got used to it, everything was fine. Even though there were a few scenes that I didn't like (one of which I talked about elsewhere) they only stood out because the rest of the book was so damn awesome. Easily on par with Hyperion, although its written in a different style.

Also, I've been listening to a lot of short stories on the various escape artist podcast. They're all about half an hour to an hour long. Here are the ones that I liked:

Stories read on EscapePod:
The Things The movie "The Thing" told from the monster's perspective. Wierd, but very good.
Tom the Universe A reckless grad student accidentally becomes God. 'nuff said.
Impossible Dreams A movie buff steps into a video store from an alternate universe. This story is probably the happiest and most feel-good of all the other ones on the list. I normally don't like this type of story, but found this one to be terrific. It's probably the best one on this list.

Stories from PodCastle:
Ghost of New York Told from the perspective of a woman that jumped out of one of the World Trade Center towers. A warning: a lot of people thought that this story was disrespectful and unnecessarily gory. I disagree, but that might be because I like it so much.
(Just about all the stories that are read on PodCastle are pretty good, just not as good as the rest of the things on this list. Particularly, I enjoyed Card Sharp and The Surgeon's Tale, but I'm not sure that you guys would).

Stories from PsuedoPod:
Nimble Men Two pilots are stranded on a remote runway after the man driving the de-icer stops responding to them. There are strange lights in the trees.
(most of Psuedopod's stories kinda suck. There are a few other good ones, but I wouldn't suggest trudging through the archives to find them).
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Million Dollar Horse

"This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in - an interesting hole I find myself in - fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!'"
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Oreoiorio
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tried listening to Hyperion, but either the narrator was too annoying to listen to, or the content was really hard to follow without any kind of backstory.

Going to try to avoid audio books from now on, except I only got it cause it was "free".
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quack_tape
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It might be both. The beginning of Hyperion is pretty slow. I'd really advise sticking out until the first pilgrim's story. The rest of the book is really a framing device for the stories. The context doesn't become important until Fall of Hyperion
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Million Dollar Horse

"This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in - an interesting hole I find myself in - fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!'"
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psy_wombats
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

quack_tape wrote:
What are those books?

The Brothers Karamazov is the most recent, and I'll probably wrap it up when I'm bored around here. I've also got Anna Karenina in progress as well as The Windup Bird Chronicle. I'm not recommending any of them until I finish them, but as for The Brothers Karamazov, it's about 200 pages of tedium, 30 pages of awesome, 150 pages of tedium, and then it gets *really good.* Stupid Russians take forever to get going.
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quack_tape
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So basically, it's like Crime and Punishment, except with interesting parts?
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Million Dollar Horse

"This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in - an interesting hole I find myself in - fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!'"
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psy_wombats
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know. I'm probably never reading that because it looked way too boring from the parts I've read. There's a reason it was chosen as the generic boring book in the original LCPANES.
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quack_tape
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shit, I remember that now. Awesome.
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Million Dollar Horse

"This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in - an interesting hole I find myself in - fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!'"
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quack_tape
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just finished Mr. Monster (sequel to I am Not a Serial Killer). It started off slow, but after a certain point halfway through became one of the most intense things I've read in a very long time. I'm not sure if it was as good as the first book, but it was damn close if it wasn't. As soon as I calm down, I'm going to start I Don't Want To Kill You (third book in the trilogy). If I'm lucky, I'll finish it before the end of today.
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Million Dollar Horse

"This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in - an interesting hole I find myself in - fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!'"
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quack_tape
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been reading I Don't Want To Kill You almost non-stop since that last post. It was... fantastic. Best in the series, best thing I've read this summer.
Dan Wells kicks serious ass.
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Million Dollar Horse

"This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in - an interesting hole I find myself in - fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!'"
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psy_wombats
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where are you getting all this time, seriously?
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bob_esc
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think he is stealing it from babies or something.

Also, qt, have you read game of thrones or whatever the hell that book is called? I'm trying to find someone who doesn't hate it more than Justin Beiber or love it more than...well, a 12 year old girl does Justin Bieber.
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quack_tape
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read instead of wasting time on the internet or playing games. I've already worked six hours today and will probably work another three or four later. My schedule it quite full.

I haven't read Game of Thrones yet, but I've heard very good things about it from some of my friends. I also listen to a weekly writing podcast hosted by some decently well-known authors who strongly recommend it as well. I've actually never heard negative things about it, but I can imagine what they would be like.
It's also on my reading list, but I need to finish Way of Kings first (all 1000 pages of it...)
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Million Dollar Horse

"This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in - an interesting hole I find myself in - fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!'"
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psy_wombats
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah okay. My free time is still being put into developing Icthyology, so I guess if you're not screwing around you've got the time you need.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

*~* (^00)^ TOPIC NECROMANCY ^(00^) *~*

I just finished Way of Kings the other day.

Um... wow. It was just as good as I hoped. Like I've said before, Brandon Sanderson kicks serious ass at world-building. The magic system and the cultures are original well-thought out to the extreme. I really liked a lot of the characters and I felt like their character arcs were well played-out.

Sanderson isn't exactly... subtle, though. His foreshadowing leaves a bit to be desired, but it was still an awesome read. Definitely near the top of my list, even though it was 1250 pages long.

Now I'm moving onto Siddhartha. It's kinda sorta awful.
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Million Dollar Horse

"This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in - an interesting hole I find myself in - fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!'"
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