This weekend I will mostly be reading…

Posted: January 24, 2015 in reading
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What books are you excited about at the moment? Here’s my current reading heap, or at least the tip of it.

Second Chance by Dylan Hearn

A science fiction story that combines politics, technology and crime in an intriguing near future tangle. Being a fan of abeyance, I like the way that the world is slowly built up through dialogue, thoughts and actions, revealing how Hearn’s imagined future is different from now. It’s definitely a novel that’s focused on plot and pace rather than intricate prose – for example, there’s almost no physical description of the characters, letting you fill in the blanks as you see fit. I’m maybe a fifth of the way through, and really looking forward to seeing where this goes.

Write Your Novel From the Middle by James Scott Bell

Several writing buddies have recommended this to me as a top book on plotting. I haven’t started reading it yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing what all the fuss is about.

Plus my legs are really tired from working at my new standing desk, and reading this is a productive writing thing I can do while sitting down.

Seriously, my right calf is killing me. Who’d have thought standing still would be so much exercise?

The Bookman Histories by Lavie Tidhar

I’m still slowly working my way through this, and it’s still worth the effort. Somewhere around page 180 of the first book things have taken an unexpected turn, feeling much more pulp action oriented than what came before. The references to history and other works are also becoming less obstructive and more part of the natural flow of the story.

I stand by my initial assessment that this is an incredibly rich read full of fantastic ideas. Now it’s one that’s found some pace as well.

Over to you

What are you folks reading at the moment? Anything you’d care to recommend? And if you’ve read any of these books what did you think? Share your literary appreciation by leaving a comment.

  1. I’m reading Foreigner by C.J. Cherryh, and really feeling 20 years late to the party because I like it a lot! The series is still going, so I have a lot of catching-up to do.

    • I’ve never read any Cherryh, but have a friend who has repeatedly enthused her books. Is Foreigner a good place to start?

      • It’s the first in its particular (and long-running) series, and currently has me in its grips in a Robin Hobb kind of way — slow build, getting to know the characters and their stresses. It’s largely about alien/human diplomacy, not so much about SF adventures. I don’t know about her other books; my Goodreads says that beside some of the Thieves’ World anthologies, this is the only one of hers I’ve read. But I’m liking it!

        • If it’s particularly long running then I’ll leave it for now. There are several long series I’ve read book one of and not got back to, if I pick up too many more I’ll never get closure on anything!

          • There are at least fifteen books, heh — the series started in ’94 and she put out a new one just this year. But there are others of hers that are either trilogies or stand-alones — I just don’t know them enough to recommend.

          • Steve Hartline says:

            The Faded Sun trilogy was exceptional. It’s one of those that will from time to time beckon for a second read.

          • The Foreigner series tends to have story arcs in sets of 3 (‘fortuitous 3’ says some corner of my brain that slips into the atevi culture far too easily): if you don’t want to commit to 15 (or more) novels in a row, you could read the first 3 and then let it go for a while.

            If you have an interest in xeno-anthropology (alien cultures), this series is a must-read.

  2. Sue Archer says:

    I really enjoyed Second Chance. I don’t read a lot of thriller-style books, but I found that I just could not put this one down. It just keeps building and building.

    • The plot is good, isn’t it. At the moment I’m still just getting hints about how it’s going to connect together, and I’m intrigued to find out what’s behind the disappearance.

  3. skudssister says:

    Just finished The Fire Sermon by a new author Harper Voyager are very excited about – Francesca Haig. Dystopian with a slight Aussie flavour (rather like Trudi Canavan – but not sword & sorcery) and plenty of interesting plot twists. I enjoyed the writing – the author is an academic and poet but don’t let that put you off 😉
    Recently I also enjoyed Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel – another dystopia (flu epidemic rather than zombies or explosions), starts with King Lear and ends in an apocalypse and features a ficticious graphic novel which is almost like a character…

    • Wow, you’re all about the dystopia at the moment, aren’t you? Station Eleven sounds like it could almost be set after the events of Channel 4’s drama Utopia, which also featured a fictitious graphic novel and a conspiracy to unleash a virus. It was really good, very bleak, which seems in keeping with all of your current reading!

  4. I just finished re-reading The Giver, and before that I read a couple of novels by Ceri London, Rogue Genesis and Destiny Nexus (both good stories, although I have to admit the punctuation occasionally drove me insane — I’m old-fashioned and like to see commas in any compound sentences), and before that was a novel titled B-Spine. Oh, and before that I re-read Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance. Apparently I’ve been on a bit of a sci-fi kick lately; maybe I’ll read a fantasy novel or even a contemporary techno-thriller next.

    • Sounds like you’re getting through a lot more than me at the moment – that’s an impressive amount of books finished.

      Like you, grammar can put me off if it isn’t done right – and in an age of shifting rules, that partly just means done to my tastes. One of the things that always intrigues me is how differently people approach commas – the editor I’m working with as a ghost writer uses them differently from my proof-reading wife who uses them differently from the manager of the letter writing team I used to work in. And not everybody is very good at understanding or explaining how they use them, which makes it hard to separate good and bad use.

      Or at least that’s my excuse for my own punctuation!

      • I’ve had a lot of trouble with my eyes lately, and I’ve been spending my time reading because that’s the only thing I CAN do much of. (Had an eye exam almost three weeks ago, and my eyes are STILL not recovered from getting my pupils dilated. The lenses that helped me see clearly last month now don’t allow me to read or watch television.)

        I wish someone could point out to me some collection of the new rules for punctuation, though, so I can learn this stuff for myself. Everything I can find online (I assume that would be more up-to-date than a book from the library) still says that compound sentences get commas and that it is necessary to separate a direct address from the rest of the sentence (“Let’s eat, grandma” rather than “”Let’s eat grandma” if you’re talking TO your grandmother instead of ABOUT her), but I’ve been told (sometimes by writers I’m doing editing for) that these are no longer accepted. Oxford commas — whatever. All I care about there is clarity. However, I still cannot get used to “different than” (of “different to”) being the accepted form instead of “different from,” and don’t even get me started about “more unique.” *shakes head*

  5. Justine says:

    I enjoyed second chance as well. I’m reading Mr Banks’ “Crow Road” at the moment!

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