Books! What are you currently reading or just finished?

Which Wolfe books? I love the first 2/4 parts of the new sun. I learned last year that he wrote more books in the world and I reread the book of the new sun and then read all the later books (8 of them!) but found them to be mostly quite boring and overall a real slog. I stuck with them because I loved the first so much and kept hoping they might turn around.

At any rate, I would love pointers to more good Wolfe books because I know they can be superb but I’m feeling a bit too burned to simply try my luck.

I know I’ve read Shadow & Claw and Sword & Citadel. But I only remember a few scenes from it and now I kind of want to reread them.

I may have read Urth of the New sun but I’m not sure – I know there was one I started and gave up on but it might have been a Long Sun book.

Shadow & Claw and Sword & Citadel comprise The Book of the New Sun. Those, in my opinion, are the good ones. Urth of the new sun was pretty good. Book of the short sun and Book of the long sun were the ones I didn’t particularly enjoy.

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I haven’t finished a lot of voks recently, but I have been plugging my way through a few.

A fantastic read. Learned so much about music and artists I thought I understood.

I felt a bit conflicted about this one. It’s a good read but I felt it was a little self-indulgent in a way they didn’t help the plot overall.

Not sure what I’ll dig into next, but I’ve got a ton of Verso book club ebooks to catch up on so …

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I guess I lucked out, because of those I’ve only read the New Sun books (which I liked a lot). Look for a copy of Soldier of the Mist. It’s similar with an unreliable narrator and the first person perspective is framed as a diary of events (whatever the literary term for that is, I like it).


Just finished The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Nayler, highly recommended - about communicating with octopuses, language and AI, a few similarities to Arrival but no aliens and very different tone. Good fun thinky sci fi thriller.


Just finished reading Skullcrack City by Jeremy Robert Johnson. I know it’s only March, but this might turn out to be the best book I’ve read this year, like equal parts experimental, horrifying, and thigh-slappingly hilarious.


I just finished The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie after having the first book in my to-read list for a year or two. On the whole, I didn’t really like it. A couple of the characters (Logen & Glokta) had some depth to them and were interesting, but the development of the other characters across the trilogy was really clumsy.

I also had gripes with several plot and arc choices. I won’t spoil anything, but several things just had me scratching my head as to why they were even included. And one thing that drove me crazy was how some conflicts would reach a crescendo before a jump to a different arc in the next chapter and upon returning, the conflict would be resolved. For what I felt was largely an action-driven plot, that was kind of frustrating. I was also completely underwhelmed by the way the trilogy ended.

I think part of the reason I was so disappointed is that the books had praise from GRRM and Jeff Vandemeer, so I went in with high expectations.

/end rant

All of my criticisms aside, reading things I don’t enjoy that much really helps me clarify what I like in a book, in this case a fantasy book. So I leave this trilogy with exposure to a style I’m not a big fan of and a better idea of what I do enjoy.

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I personally love the First Law (I’d probably say it’s my favorite fantasy series), but you nonetheless bring up some excellent points. I sort of liked the way the plot arcs would resolve, maybe because it kept things a little more trim, plot wise (which is kind of hilarious given how long each book is), but I can totally see how such an execution could be frustrating.

Anyway, I’m glad you at least got something out of the experience, even if it’s just knowing what you don’t want. :slight_smile:

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Hey! That’s really awesome that you loved it! I had hoped to hear a differing opinion, so I’m really glad you shared yours. And I can totally see your point about the way the arc resolutions in question kept things trim.

I will say that the Bloody Nine was actually pretty awesome and perhaps the aspect of the book I found the coolest and most engaging. I also loved Glokta’s inner monologues and his characters arc.

I’ll try to add what I did like when I share thoughts on something I didn’t really like. Thanks for taking my gripes in stride. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Glokta is definitely the standout character of the series for me. I love the gallows humor he brings to his scenes, all the while being this inimitable combination of despicable and tragic.

Of course! It’s nice to have a conversation every now and then that isn’t complete agreement. I imagine it must be at least a little frustrating to not see the emperor’s new clothes here, so to speak, haha. :slight_smile:

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I don’t know what it is – maybe the older one gets taste gets more specific (though I hope it would broaden?) – but lately I find myself quitting highly praised books halfway through because I think they’re garbage, and opening Goodreads in the hope that someone will validate my half-formed opinons :wink:


That’s interesting—I do find as I’ve gotten older, I’m open to checking out more things I’m unfamiliar with than I was when I was younger. So even in the case of my recent post, I stuck with it to see how it went, but wasn’t won over.

And @diodemover even though we only exchanged a couple posts, it was very pleasant to hear a different opinion from my own and I hope to have more interactions like that in this thread. Again, thank you!

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I’m totally guilty of doing this, haha. I recently had to put down a newish book on Ornette Coleman but was looking through Goodreads to see if I was the only one who didn’t like it. Sometimes you question the sunk cost fallacy and sometimes you embrace it. :stuck_out_tongue:

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4th time around.


I tried reading this recently but didn’t finish it. I really liked Cosmos and Pornografia by the same author.

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It’s a different vibe than his regular work, and since it is Witold Gombrowicz, it is elevated pulp fiction.

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I avoided Martha Wells’ Murderbot Diaries because the title made me think it’d be godawful military scifi, but my colleague recommended them highly enough for me to get past that. They actually remind me of Becky Chambers’ excellent Monk & Robot books in terms of the outer and inner journeys and introspection and finding one’s place in the world, but with more … well … murder.


Based in part on @Starthief’s recommendations above, I’m about halfway through A Psalm for the Wild-built and I’m absolutely loving it.

It’s actually the first book I’ve read in too many years, having lost my mind to digital devices…