Jump to content
NEurope
Beast

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

Recommended Posts

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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. 

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Figured this was a big enough story in the book world to post here:

 

Spoiler

Brando Sando reveals that he is in fact four smaller writers in a large trenchcoat, and 'accidentally' wrote 5 extra novels during lockdown (in addition to those his publishers knew about). 

He puts these novels up on Kickstarter, where they become the fastest Kickstarter of all time, and are on course to reach the No.1 funded Kickstarter of all time after only a couple of days. 

I've bought the basic, e-book version of the 4 novels available, and I think i'm going to keep them a secret until they get delivered to me, so I can go in blind.

 

Regardless of whether you like his writing (I think the prose can get a bit...basic at times, but i think the plots and ideas are incredible, considering they are all from one guy), he really is a writing phenomenon.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see I haven't updated in a while! Since my last post I've finished The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. Definitely not my favourite fantasy series.

I also read After the Quake, a series of short stories from Murakami. Always good to read Murakami.

Vad3r is a book by a Dutch musician about being the father of 2 kids with a 3rd on the way. It's more of a diary but was a fun read with the prospect of becoming a father myself.

And this weekend I finished Game Over: Press Start To Continue - How Nintendo Conquered The World. A very interesting read that gives an insight in the rise of Nintendo in Japan and America, how they launched the NES and Game Boy systems, the business practices they used (definitely aggressive for such a kid-friendly company :grin:). Some cool anecdotes in there, plus some chapters about Atari and Tetris as well. It also talks a bit about the deal with Sony for the Super Nintendo PlayStation and how they ended up with the Philips CD-i instead. In places it's a bit dated, but it's definitely a cool read for anyone interested in the business side of things, especially how Nintendo rose to fame with the NES.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I finished my degree in 2009 it had basically killed my entire love of reading. In the gap since then I barely read anything (although - since it's been mentioned repeatedly some time ago in this thread, I did enjoy the His Dark Materials trilogy in that window, for the first time, through the medium of the very excellent BBC audiobook). I decided to force myself to change that by buying a Kobo with a light so I can read it when my better half has fallen asleep and my insomnia has taken hold. With that and a generous voucher at Christmas, my interest in reading has finally been rekindled. Or rekobo'd, I guess (heh heh)

Before I get to the Kobo books, the only physical book I can remember even trying in that last decade or so was The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemesin - first in the "Broken Earth" trilogy. It was very highly regarded and although I thought it was good, maybe I just wasn't in the right place at the time? Mostly I found it a bit difficult to follow, and by the end of it I wasn't entirely sure what had happened. A couple of years later and I'm not sure I could tell you much of the plot at all.... I might need to give it another shot soon.

Anyway, onto the Kobo. I've been going mostly for Sci-Fi...

I started off needing something which comes up when you google things like "something nice to read". As in, I needed something with a real sense of feel-good comfort reading. That search lead me to the Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers, starting with The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. And it was the perfect thing to get me back into reading, easy, lovable characters, a good mix of exploring fun new ideas about species and gender with characters that are easy to care about, and a good dose of humour and adventure. The following books in the series follow new characters and I jumped straight in with the second, and bought the third and fourth for the future. Going forward there are some places where the characters' integrity dip a bit below believable levels, but it's still enjoyable. It was generally just a shame not to be continuing with the first story.

Continuing on the sci-fi theme, I went for a book by one of the only authors I have bothered with in the last decade - Andy Weir, reading his newest entry, Project Hail Mary. Despite a very generic stupid name, it was a good gripping book that I enjoyed nearly as much as The Martian. I love the direction it took, even if the narrator was very occasionally intolerable.

Then I decided I wanted to scratch an itch of a genre I've always loved, time travel. For that I went with The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. A really gripping read with a great main character and a fun twist on the time loop trope. I loved this enough that I got another book by the same author, Touch - straight away. Which I'm also enjoying, but not quite as much as it spends waaaay too much time describing settings.

Took my book on holiday and decided to pause the Sci-Fi trend with something veeeery different and my style at all, but it caught my eye on a kobo store sale. Anxious People by Fredrik Backman. It's a kind of comedy/slice of life/introspection about reality and day to day issues. I almost thought I'd made a huge mistake as one of the opening jokes was about getting a usb port in the wrong way round but I forced my way past that and had a really good time with it. I didn't laugh out loud a lot of times, but I was certianly engaged with the long character list.

Another one that I knocked out in a single day during that holiday was Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. This was... pretty good fairly standard action fare with just barely enough turns in the story to keep you from guessing how it's all going to end. It was very by the numbers with really overly dramatic storytelling at time, I was surprised how well it was reviewed, but I was certainly interested enough to keep flipping pages til it was done.

The next books I've bought and am ready to read are The Complete Witcher - purely because the entire set was 99p, All Systems Red - a seemingly short book which is the first in the Murderbot Diaries series, and purely because it's a book that I added to a wishlist 13 years ago just before giving up on reading for-nearly-ever, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 30/05/2022 at 8:09 AM, Dufniall said:

And this weekend I finished Game Over: Press Start To Continue - How Nintendo Conquered The World. A very interesting read that gives an insight in the rise of Nintendo in Japan and America, how they launched the NES and Game Boy systems, the business practices they used (definitely aggressive for such a kid-friendly company :grin:). Some cool anecdotes in there, plus some chapters about Atari and Tetris as well. It also talks a bit about the deal with Sony for the Super Nintendo PlayStation and how they ended up with the Philips CD-i instead. In places it's a bit dated, but it's definitely a cool read for anyone interested in the business side of things, especially how Nintendo rose to fame with the NES.

Wow! I've not heard that name in awhile, I read one of the versions of that whilst I was at uni, oooh... about16 years ago. Depressing!

 

As much as I love physical books, their natural size and my desire to keep them in a good condition means I don't take them out of the house unless it's for an extended stay, so I finally bowed to my Dad's recommendation of a Kindle which he had been touting the benefits of for awhile (as a bus driver he gets periods of downtime between shifts) and asked for one for my birthday.

Plus it meant those books I got from Humble Bundles I didn't either have to A) sit at my computer to read or B) attempt to read a whole book on my phone (which I have done a coupla times, it does grate)

It's been under two months and I've read the following (taking full advantage over the free Kindle reads):

Crimes Against Magic - Hellequin Chronicles part 1 - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13608133-crimes-against-magic

1984 - not bad, surprised he didn't die at the end

A Time of Dread - Of Blood and Bone part 1 - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34392663-a-time-of-dread - I'll will be getting more of these if the price comes down.

The Mortal Blade - Magelands Eternal Siege part 1 -  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54800094-the-mortal-blade? - I liked this also, and will be getting more once I've finished Hellequin, I did consider bouncing between next stages in the series, but worried myself things would blur, so this is on hold.

Ghoulslayer https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54800094-the-mortal-blade? - one of the Warhammer Black Library books I got from a Humble Bundle.

Chosen: Beautiful Ones Trilogy Part 1(Cassandra Programme Series) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50895491-chosen - This started off slow and then went to 200 way to quick in an extreme way which put me right off wanting to read more*

 

 

Currently reading Born Of Hatred, the second in the Hellequin Chronicles books, over halfway in under a week.

Physically I've just gone through A Court of Thorns and Roses Series by Sarah J Maas, borrowing them from someone at work. Bit of fantasy mixed in with some hardcore plowing at parts. I've never read/watched Twilight, but I imagine they're not too dissimilar. Just finished The Black Coast by Mike Brooks, bought on a whim, not a bad book, but I didn't care enough to invest in the next in the books. The use of pronouns to dictate social standing (he/hé and various other lines above the e), was off-putting to the point where I just ignored it, and the constant use of people referring to themselves in the third person felt more like a way to pad the word count than trying to create a foreign dialogue.

I'll still try to enjoy physical books, I've got a copy of Heroes by Stephen Fry which has been on the bedside for years now looking at me.

 

Spoiler

Without any mention of the possibility of it happening, the two main characters zip 60-80 years into the future. This is about two thirds in.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has anyone read Circe or The Song of Achilles?

I'm going to be running a psuedo-greek-myth inspired D&D campaign at some point in the future and hoping these will give some inspiration around the epic myths!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×