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N-E Book Club (or just a chat about books)

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23 minutes ago, Retro_Link said:

Currently reading The Witcher saga and really enjoying it.

The Last Wish. 4/5

Season of Storms. 3/5

Sword of Destiny. 5/5

And coming towards the end of Blood of Elves at the moment.

I’m also interested in reading His Dark Materials. The TV series is absolutely fantastic, it’s a great world.

I bought all The Witcher books a year or so ago but still haven't made it through The Last Wish. I'm not much of a fantasy guy and even though I love the games and the tv series I still really struggle with the books.

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3 minutes ago, Happenstance said:

I bought all The Witcher books a year or so ago but still haven't made it through The Last Wish. I'm not much of a fantasy guy and even though I love the games and the tv series I still really struggle with the books.

Hmm yeah you may struggle if you’re not massively in to fantasy, but I would definitely recommend persevering with The Last Wish if you can, and even if you just move on and try Sword of Destiny, which I thought was incredible. Unlike the 6 other books they’re collections of short stores (as you may know) and easier to dip in and out of than the others. The full story books that I’m on now are a bit harder going, but there are great characters and I enjoy the world.

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I finished Do What You Want: The Story of Bad Religion. It takes a bit of a different approach compared to other bios I've read. First of all most bios of musician's I read were of individuals like Moby, Johnny Cash, Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden and Lemmy from Motörhead. This covers the whole band so a lot more different people are involved. It also is less heavy on the touring anecdotes (which is a shame cause I love these), but it goes a bit more into the lyrics, concepts and recording so that is pretty interesting. The only real gripe is that it is sometimes a bit too pretentious. All in all a good read.

Now I'm reading Pet Sematary by Stephen King. After finishing a biography, it's always nice to read something easier after, so nothing from a series, or non-fiction. I'm about a quarter in and for now yeah, a classic Stephen King I'd say.

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I decided to read Ready Player Two since i enjoyed the first one, and the film was pretty good.

The sequel is not a good book. It's basically just a guy rambling and listing things from the 80's. I mean, that's basically what the first one was, but at least it managed to tie it all together with a fairly enjoyable plot. This one is lame.

The whole thing seems very anti-climatic. They are given this new quest to find all the 7 shards, any they just....go and collect them all. They don't really struggle or get into difficulty at all, it's like a really boring fetch quest. 

I would give it 3/10.

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I finished Stephen King's Pet Sematary last week. It's one of the few times a book has made me really uncomfortable. Without going into spoilers, there are a number of moments where I thought: "Is this really going to happen?" or "Is he really going to do this?". The ending was a bit of a let-down though, it went a bit too all-out horror for my liking. But for the rest a pretty good read and a classic Stephen King.

Despite various warnings about it not being great (like the one from @bob up here), I've started Ready Player Two. I know I would want to read it anyway so better to get it out of the way. :grin: Yeah the start isn't promising. Parzival and Art3mis have become some kind of moody characters, and the story isn't that engaging. The 80s and 90s references aren't as clever as they were in the first part either.

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Ready Player Two is done. Yes, as said above, it's not a great book.
 

Spoiler

 

Where Ready Player One went in all directions with the references, this one just picks a few main topics and goes with those. Prince, first Era Lord of the Rings, John Hughes. If the topic is of no interest to you it means you're just reading and not getting any of the references. Of course this was the case in part one as well, but it felt a lot like there was something for everyone.

Didn't get on with the cast as well. Wade becomes this unlikeable whiny rich boy, but gets his redemption arc and love at the end, no surprises there. Would have half expected him to run off with Lohengrin but that would have been too far-out I guess instead of playing it very safe. The rest (Shoto, Aech, Art3mis, are just there and don't get any development at all.

The plot is mediocre at best and the deus ex machina sword needed to slay the bad guy is just hauled in by some off-site characters?

 

Where I really enjoyed part 1, part 2 had some okay moments but for the rest it's a step back on all levels.

Didn't really know what to read next so I just picked something from the shelf and it's John Grisham's A Painted House.

 

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Triple post! Finished two books in the last couple of weeks. First one was A Painted House by John Grisham. While he is famous for his books about the American court, A Painted House isn't that. Instead it is a coming of age story of a kid growing up on a cotton farm. I enjoyed it, and loved the historical setting.

The second book I read was a Dutch book by Ton van Reen, a writer who grew up in the South of the Netherlands, just as I did. The book is called Vlucht voor het Vuur (Flight for the Fire), about a girl in the 16th century whose mother is being chased for witchcraft. While it's more of a young adult book, it does paint a good picture about how the faith and fear among people led to the witch-burning craze in those times.

And now it's time for another Murakami, so I've started Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.

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To break things up before  @Vileplume2000 scores an uncoveted (?) quadruple post, some books that I had recommended to me in recent months that I followed through and read are The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell, The House on the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune, The Institue by Stephen King and of course the Ask Iwata book.

All worth a read if you ever come to the end of your reading list.

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3 hours ago, darksnowman said:

To break things up before  @Vileplume2000 scores an uncoveted (?) quadruple post, some books that I had recommended to me in recent months that I followed through and read are The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell, The House on the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune, The Institue by Stephen King and of course the Ask Iwata book.

All worth a read if you ever come to the end of your reading list.

Man, The House in The Cerulean Sea was way too twee for me. If you want a better novel (in my opinion) about a middle-aged homosexual where nothing major happens, then I recommend Less by Andrew Sean Greer.

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20 minutes ago, Magnus said:

Man, The House in The Cerulean Sea was way too twee for me. If you want a better novel (in my opinion) about a middle-aged homosexual where nothing major happens, then I recommend Less by Andrew Sean Greer.

Thanks. If I'm ever looking for a book of that description I will be sure to hunt that one down. 

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I’m about halfway through The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August at the moment and I’m really enjoying it. Interesting take on time travel/reincarnation. I think I’m starting to get to the point where there’s more of an over arching story/mystery but surprisingly I’ve been fine without one so far and mostly just been interested in his various lives.

Anyone else read it?

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19 hours ago, Happenstance said:

I’m about halfway through The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August at the moment and I’m really enjoying it. Interesting take on time travel/reincarnation. I think I’m starting to get to the point where there’s more of an over arching story/mystery but surprisingly I’ve been fine without one so far and mostly just been interested in his various lives.

Anyone else read it?

Yeah i've read it. It is pretty good. It does time travel in an interesting way as you say. I can't really remember much beyond the plot outline though. 

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On 13/08/2021 at 8:17 AM, bob said:

Yeah i've read it. It is pretty good. It does time travel in an interesting way as you say. I can't really remember much beyond the plot outline though. 

Just finished it. My earlier opinion stuck throughout it. Only real complaint was that I wanted a bit more of an ending. Through the nature of that world and existence it was always going to be open ended but they spent so long building to it that I kind of wanted more of a confrontation.

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Update time! Finished quite a few books since my last post:

Haruki Murakami - Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. Not my favourite from Murakami, but still a great read. Again, the story tells the tale of two interwoven worlds (as is pretty common in Murakami books). It's as vague as always and I won't even try to explain, but it's a great read and how the story slowly unfolds and the two stories come together in typical Murakami fashion is well executed.

The Fork, the Witch and the Worm - Christopher Paolini. A book with three short stories set in the world of Alagaesia (the world from the Inheritance series). For those not familiar, it's the tale of Eragon the dragon rider, I really enjoyed the 4 books from the main series. This has two pretty good side stories and one lesser one (which is written by Christopher's sister but it just misses the point). A quick and decent read if you want more Alagaesia.

Face It - Debbie Harry. The biography of Debbie Harry, singer of Blondie but also solo artist, and actress. It's always great to read about the start of popular bands, rock and punk music, and this does a good job highlighting the early Blondie days, and the New York City vibe of the 70s/80s. There are some dark bits in there as well, about sexual assault and criminality that fell on her, those were some heavy bits to read. It's a bit less structured than other bios I've read, so it goes a bit all over the place sometimes. Difficult to recommend if you're not into Blondie or the punk from the early days, but if that is your cup of tea it paints an interesting picture. It's also the first bio I read from a female artist.

Godendrank - Ilja Gort. A Dutch book from a guy who owns a winery in France (his wines are pretty nice!). The book is also about a hippie who sells his record shop in Amsterdam to buy a winery estate. Naturally, it's not all fun and games so he has to go through quite some hoops to make his winery work (such as starting a cannabis plantation in his vineyard). Very tongue in cheek, not literary at all and it's more like watching a comedy movie than reading a book. Perfect for a quick summer read.

And now I've started The Subtle Knife, book 2 in the His Dark Materials series.

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