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  1. - Top - End - #211
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Recommended to me by @Knaight

    The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro



    has been good reading.

    It's not what I expected, which was something like Gaiman's Stardust.

    I'm reminded a bit of works by Dunsany, Jorge Luis Borges, Ted Chaing, and especially of Lud in the Mist by Hope Mirrless in mood and pace.

    Edgar Rice Burroughs it's not!
    Grim specter of noogie hangs like shroud over us all


    Extended Sig
    Quote Originally Posted by JoeJ View Post
    Does the game you play feature a Dragon sitting on a pile of treasure, in a Dungeon?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Prawn View Post
    You're an NPC stat block."I remember when your race was your class you damned whippersnappers"
    Quote Originally Posted by the secret fire View Post
    ...Sounds to me like a race of fantasy plumbers...

  2. - Top - End - #212
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    rooster707's Avatar

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    Turns out the Thursday Next series is good, and has a cool premise, but is not incredible.

    Just finished American Gods. I think I need some time, and maybe a TV Tropes binge, to help me process it, but I really liked it. Not quite as much as The Sandman, I think, but it's very close.
    Last edited by rooster707; 2017-12-16 at 11:10 PM.
    Vitruvian Stickman avatar by linklele.
    I have an extended signature now. God knows why.
    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    What this guy said.

  3. - Top - End - #213
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    Knaight's Avatar

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    My anthology kick continues with Wastelands 2: More Stories of The Apocalypse. There are some excellent works in there, with quite a bit of variety between them - I'd call it one of the better anthologies I've read.

  4. - Top - End - #214
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    Velaryon's Avatar

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    I joined a book club with a co-worker, and we just discussed Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (which I read over the summer), and Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich, which I actually haven't quite finished yet.

    It's got an interesting premise. Evolution has not only stopped, but is starting to roll backward. You mostly hear about this in the background, so the causes are never explained and it's not really seen in great detail, because the story focuses on the personal tale of main character Cedar. Because of what's going on, child births are becoming tightly controlled. Cedar, who is several months pregnant, goes on the run because the various entities that have supplanted the government (at least one of which is a theocratic totalitarian regime) are locking up pregnant women in an attempt to find the babies that are born normal, as opposed to dying in birth or being born as some sort of primitive throwback.

    It's a weird story that I've seen compared to The Handmaid's Tale, though I haven't read that so I'm not sure. I also haven't finished it yet - most of the people in my book group liked the middle section (where I am now) the best, and hated the ending. I guess I'll see what I think when I get there.

    ------------------------

    I've also started my second listen-through of the Dresden Files. I remember liking the first two books more than a lot of people apparently do, so I'm quite interested to see what I think this time around. I'm still quite early, but I already notice that James Marsters's narration hasn't quite hit its stride yet. Early Harry sounds less sarcastic and more grumpy than in the later books.

  5. - Top - End - #215
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    Kato's Avatar

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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Velaryon View Post
    I joined a book club with a co-worker, and we just discussed Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (which I read over the summer), and Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich, which I actually haven't quite finished yet.
    Kind of a curious book for a book club... is there much to discuss?

    I (nearly) finished the Peter Grant books (waiting for the most recent to get a paperback) and now got back to reading the last of the Long Earth books. I can't say I enjoyed every bit of that series but I'm curious how it will end anyway.
    "What's done is done."

    Pony Avatar thanks to Elemental

  6. - Top - End - #216
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    I've been listening to Tim Ferriss' podcast for a couple months now, and I've picked up the 4-Hour Body to start reading. It's an interesting tome.

  7. - Top - End - #217
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    Velaryon's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kato View Post
    Kind of a curious book for a book club... is there much to discuss?

    I (nearly) finished the Peter Grant books (waiting for the most recent to get a paperback) and now got back to reading the last of the Long Earth books. I can't say I enjoyed every bit of that series but I'm curious how it will end anyway.
    As it turns out, there really wasn't.

    The way the book club works is that each month, one person makes a list of ten books they'd like to read, and then the group votes on the top two and we read those for the next month. It occurred to me that it might be hard to say much about this book, but I voted for it anyway because I'd already read it and knew I would be pressed for time this month to get reading done. Also, I enjoyed it.

    Most of the discussion centered on how Loki is pretty much the only real mover-and-shaker among the Norse gods, and without him almost nothing would happen. And then we moved on to each talking about their favorite story from the set, how we would like to know more about some of the less prominent ones, and then moved on to the other book.

  8. - Top - End - #218
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    Finally getting around to Mallory's Morte d'Arthur (in translation), never managed to read the whole thing straight through. Wish me luck!

    Having just finished Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, I gotta say, Mallory's kinda staid and repetitive in comparison. That Italian stuff is wonderfully wild. Makes me want to learn enough to read it in the original, just to fully appreciate how crazy it is.

    Probably my favorite bit from Ariosto:

    LII
    Here he by chance encountered in mid road
    Two youths, that wood men were, and drove before
    An ass along that pathway, with a load
    Of logs; they, marking well what scanty store
    Of brain in poor Orlando's head was stowed,
    Called to the approaching knight, and threatened sore;
    Bidding him stand aside, or else go back,
    Nor to their hindrance block the common track.

    LIII
    To this address Orlando answered nought,
    Save that his foot he to their beast applied,
    Smote in mid-breast, which, with that vigour fraught,
    — That force exceeding every force beside —
    Tost him so hight, that the beholders thought
    It was a bird in air which they descried.
    The ass upon a mountain-summit fell,
    Which rose above a mile beyond that dell.


    Favorite bit of Mallory so far:

    "With this there came a knight riding all armed on a great horse, and took the lady away with him with force, and ever she cried and made great dole. When she was gone [King Arthur] was glad, for she made such a noise."

  9. - Top - End - #219
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Well, I've been playing the video game 80 Days on my phone a bit, so I decided to go back and re-read the original Jules Verne Around the World in Eighty Days. I had read it once, decades ago, but honestly the only things I could remember from then where the beginnings (the valet thinking he had gotten a nice, super-regimented job only to be whisked off on the crazy trip), and the ending
    Spoiler
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    with them realizing that crossing the date line meant they had, in fact, arrived back in London just in time, not 1 day late.
    I didn't even remember the characters other than Fogg and the valet, nor anything that happened along the way.

    On the whole, it's... OK. Verne shows off his continual inability to write characters who are in any way interesting or have even an inch in their third dimension. Fogg is stoic and unemotional. Then he's stoic and unemotional some more. Passepartout (the valet) is loyal and... doesn't really seem to have much motivation beyond that. Aouda is grateful and affectionate, then affectionate and grateful. The actual adventure is a bit better than more of Verne's stories, though; there are actual problems they have to overcome. (As opposed to, say, From the Earth to the Moon, which reads like a thesis paper on how to get to the moon, put in quotation marks with a "[name] said" at the end of each paragraph, or Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, in which the main characters mostly seem to sit around waiting for Captain Nemo to show them the next cool thing.) The part where Fogg actually goes so far as to
    Spoiler
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    dismantle and burn the ship he's sailing in
    to keep the boilers running is pretty clever and a "whoa" moment, but there's way too many times that Verne sets up a problem only to have it solved by incredible, hand-waving coincidence. (Fogg just happens to decide to take in a show, despite never before or after having shown any interest in theatre, mere hours before he must leave on ship he can't afford to miss, and in all of Yokohama, it's the one theatre that Passepartout is performing at? Seriously? Why did you set up the "Fogg and Passepartout are separated" problem if you were going to have that lame of a resolution?)

    Otherwise, re-reading a whole bunch of Lois McMaster Bujold novels, like I usually am. Started re-reading A Civil Campaign because I wanted to check something for an online discussion of the work, and of course ended up rereading most of it, especially Ekaterin's POV sections, which I love.

  10. - Top - End - #220
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lector87 View Post
    Finally getting around to Mallory's Morte d'Arthur (in translation), never managed to read the whole thing straight through. Wish me luck!

    Having just finished Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, I gotta say, Mallory's kinda staid and repetitive in comparison...
    .
    I read it in full in the late 1990's, and while reading parts of it is fun, I remember that reading the whole thing is a slog.

    Unfortunately he died before completing it, but John Steinbeck's

    The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights

    is a good retelling.

  11. - Top - End - #221
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    Lector87's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    .
    I read it in full in the late 1990's, and while reading parts of it is fun, I remember that reading the whole thing is a slog.

    Unfortunately he died before completing it, but John Steinbeck's

    The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights

    is a good retelling.
    Thanks for the recommendation!

    Not the first thing that occurs to you when you think of Steinbeck...

  12. - Top - End - #222
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Currently reading Fine Structure, it's rather interesting in how it's St up as a collection of short stories but doors have a central plot thread as a novel.

    Managed to lose The Outsider for a while, so finishing that is next on my list. After that I'll hopefully be in a position to start the copy of Norse Mythology by Mr Gaiman that my sister got me, but that's only if I'm back on the country. If not I've got A Second Chance at Eden by Peter F. Hamilton waiting.
    I prefer science fiction to fantasy, and generally play in the former genre. Due to this, I generally expect the laws of physics to apply to games, and work from that perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  13. - Top - End - #223
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    rooster707's Avatar

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    Just finished Elantris; my main reaction was “holy crap why did I not listen to anyone when they told me to read Brandon Sanderson.” Currently reading Arcanum Unbounded (at least, the parts of it not marked “massive spoilers”) while I wait for the library to get the Mistborn trilogy.
    Vitruvian Stickman avatar by linklele.
    I have an extended signature now. God knows why.
    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    What this guy said.

  14. - Top - End - #224
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by rooster707 View Post
    Just finished Elantris; my main reaction was “holy crap why did I not listen to anyone when they told me to read Brandon Sanderson.” Currently reading Arcanum Unbounded (at least, the parts of it not marked “massive spoilers”) while I wait for the library to get the Mistborn trilogy.
    Elantris is probably my second favourite, after Warbreaker (which I mainly like because it's shorter). Note that when you start reading the Mistborn books, he's not that good at middles. The Final Empire (or whatever it is) is good, The Hero of Ages is great, The Well of Ascension can drag if you're not into Sanderson's specific style (which means that the middle books of The Stormlight Archive might drag, especially as it seems to be resolving plot points faster than you'd expect for a 10 tome series).

    Actually, beware of The Stormlight Archive. If you've ever tried to read Peter F. Hamilton, each book is as long as the two tomes of the Commonwealth Saga and slightly shorter than the books in the Night's Dawn Trilogy, and this is supposed to go on for ten books. The first book is shorter than the other two (as in it doesn't actually hit Night's Dawn levels), in that it's original paperback wasn't split in two like Words of Radiance was (which can now be bought in single volume paperback). It's not bad, it's just long and I just found Hamilton to be better at inserting highs to keep my interest (I put down Well of Ascension out of boredom, I couldn't stop myself from reading The Neutronium Alchemist despite it being much longer).

    As a side note, I hate the American covers for his adult books. The English covers have an amazing theme with black and white penilish artwork with literally a twirl of colour (coded by series, Mistborn is blue, Elantris is green, Stormlight Archive is red, Warbreaker is purple but the cover has a few minor bits of other colours). Compared to the distinctiveness the American covers look downright standard fantasy. English American.
    I prefer science fiction to fantasy, and generally play in the former genre. Due to this, I generally expect the laws of physics to apply to games, and work from that perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  15. - Top - End - #225
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    Khay's Avatar

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    Shameless plug: I'm currently working my way through Baldur's Gate II: Bhaal is Dead! It's not a good novel at all, but at least it's entertaining in a way only terrible videogame novelisations can be. The series is fascinating as a time capsule of basically everything that was wrong with fantasy writing in the late '90s.

  16. - Top - End - #226
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    NinjaGuy

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    Just started Claire North's The End of the Day, which has started off great. It reminds me of Terry Pratchett's Mort.

    I don't know where I heard of this author, but I picked up A Sudden Appearance of Hope last year, and it was a breath of fresh air. I'm really looking forward to it.

  17. - Top - End - #227
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry.

    It's story about a youngish Victorian widow, the friends and life she makes once she gets away from the mentally and physically abusing and domineering husband she absolutely relies on.

    The wanders around the coast, looking for fossils, stops wearing makeup and generally acts unladylike. She gets sucked into the ignorant but fascinating life of small essex village that is certain a sea-serpant is haunting their river, and all sorts of strange omens are seen.

    The omens are so well spaced out that they do seem very strange and disconcerting amongst the ordinariness, the characters are charming and I'm starting to suspect there might not actually be a serpent, but I still want to find out what happens to the characters.

  18. - Top - End - #228
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    Eldan's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    As a side note, I hate the American covers for his adult books. The English covers have an amazing theme with black and white penilish artwork with literally a twirl of colour (coded by series, Mistborn is blue, Elantris is green, Stormlight Archive is red, Warbreaker is purple but the cover has a few minor bits of other colours). Compared to the distinctiveness the American covers look downright standard fantasy. English American.
    One of the few good things about reading English-language books in a non-English speaking country: my preferred bookseller is ordering them abroad anyway, so I usually have the choice of two or three covers and can take the best looking one.

    As an example, for Jonathan Strange, which I'm currently re-reading, I had the choice of this:


    which is functional, and this:


    Which is gorgeous, especially if you hold it in your hand. It has a relief effect.
    "The land is all too shallow
    It is painted on the sky
    And trembles like the wind-shook rain
    When the Raven King goes by"

    -Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell

  19. - Top - End - #229
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    One of the few good things about reading English-language books in a non-English speaking country: my preferred bookseller is ordering them abroad anyway, so I usually have the choice of two or three covers and can take the best looking one.

    As an example, for Jonathan Strange, which I'm currently re-reading, I had the choice of this:


    which is functional, and this:


    Which is gorgeous, especially if you hold it in your hand. It has a relief effect.
    Yeah, although I recognise and like the first one (which I normally see in red), it's because that's the cover over here. However I can see that the second is beautiful and striking, and it also doesn't feel like a normal book cover for the genre to me, which is a major problem I have with the BS American covers.

    I'm hoping to move from the UK soonish (mixture of reasons), which should give me a better choice of covers when buying english books. Although I tend to buy in Kindle these days.

    On a cover topic, I hate all the modern covers for the Night's Dawn books. The spaceships on the covers look nothing like the ships described in the books, which are either biological flying saucers or near perfect spheres (with a handful of exceptions that make sense in the book's narrative). I can't even tell why, the spaceships described are striking compared to the ones on the covers.
    I prefer science fiction to fantasy, and generally play in the former genre. Due to this, I generally expect the laws of physics to apply to games, and work from that perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  20. - Top - End - #230
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Chetan Bhagat

  21. - Top - End - #231
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    BardGuy

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    Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer

    it is actually a really good book and I just started it today if you like vampires I recommend that you should read it
    Last edited by Kafei; 2018-01-08 at 12:07 PM.

  22. - Top - End - #232
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kafei View Post
    Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer

    it is actually a really good book and I just started it today if you like vampires I recommend that you should read it
    The bolded words should not go together whenever possible
    I prefer science fiction to fantasy, and generally play in the former genre. Due to this, I generally expect the laws of physics to apply to games, and work from that perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  23. - Top - End - #233
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    The bolded words should not go together whenever possible
    Now now, this is obviously wrong when you think about it.
    "Stephanie Meyer should not be allowed to write about vampires ever again".
    See? Works beautifully.

  24. - Top - End - #234
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    I'm doing a book talk at my local schools this month about Rebecca Caudill Award nominees, which is an award for children's and teen books which is voted on by kids at participating schools. It's not sci-fi or fantasy focused, which I realize is most of what people talk about in this thread, so feel free to ignore this post if you want.

    There isn't time for me to talk about every book on the list (or read them, for that matter), so I picked three, and each of the school's library people picked three as well.

    First up for me was All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor, which is about a kid who grew up in a minimum security prison where his mom is an inmate. When the local DA finds out about the arrangement, he puts a stop to it and gets himself appointed as the boy's foster father. Fortunately, he turns out to also be the stepdad of Perry's best friend. The story follows Perry as he works on a class project to tell the stories of some of the inmates he grew up with, as well as to unearth the mystery of why his mom is in prison and why she won't talk about it. The book is written for kids, but it's actually really good.

    The only thing that bugs me about the story is...
    Spoiler
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    ...that it turns out several of the major characters whose stories Perry tells, including his mother, aren't really guilty of anything at all. His mom is in jail for manslaughter because her father died in a car crash, and she pled guilty to driving drunk. However, she hadn't been drinking, wasn't driving the car, AND her father was already having a heart attack and might not even have died because of the crash. She lied to protect her boyfriend (Perry's father) because... reasons, and has been in prison ever since Perry was born for something she didn't do.

    One of the other inmates, whom Perry calls Big Ed, is also in prison for basically no reason. He caught a burglar robbing his store in the middle of the night and chased them out with a gun. Then the burglar got hit by a car and died, and Ed got a manslaughter conviction and has been prison ever since.

    While I'm sure these kinds of things do happen, the fact that all the inmates close to Perry have stories like this kind of weakens the point the story is trying to make, that these inmates are just people who made a mistake and should be given another chance to become functional members of society. Since it turns out they didn't really do anything to deserve being imprisoned in the first place, that point is undermined.


    Now I'm reading A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen, which is about a family that's split by the building of the Berlin Wall. Gerta's family lives in East Berlin, though her father is a bit too outspoken in his opposition to the communist rule. He heads into West Berlin with one of Gerta's brothers to look for work so he can move the family over there, but then the wall is built, trapping the family on opposing sides. The story follows Gerta as she chafes under the repressive East German regime, and her father and brother try to send her some kind of message from the other side of the Wall. So far I'm enjoying it quite a bit.

  25. - Top - End - #235
    Pixie in the Playground
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    A tale of two cities.

  26. - Top - End - #236
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    I just finished up reading the Peter Grant novels. They were pretty good! There was a ton of granularity when it comes to London geography and architecture that was almost entirely lost on me, but I still enjoyed them quite a bit. I also really liked how cosmopolitan the cast was, it was really refreshing.

    I really want to keep on this urban fantasy/magical detective kick. It's a shame I can't stomach Dresden Files.

  27. - Top - End - #237
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Quote Originally Posted by solidork View Post
    I just finished up reading the Peter Grant novels. They were pretty good! There was a ton of granularity when it comes to London geography and architecture that was almost entirely lost on me, but I still enjoyed them quite a bit. I also really liked how cosmopolitan the cast was, it was really refreshing.

    I really want to keep on this urban fantasy/magical detective kick. It's a shame I can't stomach Dresden Files.
    Have you checked out Mike Carey's Felix Castor novels?
    Carey did what to my mind is the best run on Hellblazer (though individual stories from certain others may have been better than some of his stuff).

  28. - Top - End - #238
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Quote Originally Posted by BWR View Post
    Have you checked out Mike Carey's Felix Castor novels?
    Carey did what to my mind is the best run on Hellblazer (though individual stories from certain others may have been better than some of his stuff).
    Nope, but I'll look into them, thanks!

  29. - Top - End - #239
    Eldritch Horror in the Playground Moderator
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    finally got around to reading The Martian, and loving it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

  30. - Top - End - #240
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Jeff Shaara's The Frozen Hours. I really wish his next one was going to be Inchon/the Battle of Seoul instead of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

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