Kriti's (kgodey) 2017 reading
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Welcome to my 2017 thread!
I'm 27, and I'm a software engineer / engineering manager for a company that develops transportation related software. The company is based in San Francisco but I work out of my home in a small college town in Ohio. I've been married for four years to my husband Joseph, and we live a pretty quiet life.
This is my seventh year with the 75 Books Challenge group. I usually only have one thread each year – I'm not very chatty and I often don't have time to post here (the company I work for is growing rapidly, and my responsibilities keep increasing), but I really enjoy being part of this group and try to keep up the best that I can.
I read a lot of fantasy and science fiction, some non-fiction (primarily history related) and some general fiction. I review books sporadically on my blog, Just a World Away. I don't have many goals or categories – I just read what I want, although some of my reading is driven by the review copies I receive from publishers. The few goals I do have are in the post below this one.
Joseph and I have been watching at least one movie everyday since October 2015. I reviewed a few in my thread last year, and I may do so again this year.
Last year's thread: Kriti's (kgodey) 2016 reads
GOALS FOR 2017
Read at least 75 books
Current total: 26
Read 36 books I already own as of 2016 (only one per series is allowed to be counted here)
1. Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan (acquired Dec 2016)
2. Love Hina, Vol 1. by Ken Akamatsu (acquired Feb 2012)
3. Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick (acquired Jul 2016)
4. The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan (acquired Jan 2016)
5. Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty (acquired Nov 2016)
Write 52 book review posts on my blog
1. "Merchants and Maji" by William C. Tracy
2. "The Fifth Season" by N.K. Jemisin
3. "Age of Myth" by Michael J. Sullivan
4. "Unfettered II" edited by Shawn Speakman
5. "The Heart of What Was Lost" by Tad Williams
6. “Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War” by Nathaniel Philbrick
7. "The Obelisk Gate" by N.K. Jemisin
8. “Dear Samsor” by Ahmad Zia Wahdat
9. “Empire Games” by Charles Stross
10. “The Crown Tower” by Michael J. Sullivan
11. “The Rose and the Thorn” by Michael J. Sullivan
12. "The Death of Dulgath" by Michael J. Sullivan
13. Reread: "Theft of Swords" by Michael J. Sullivan
14. Reread: "Rise of Empire" by Michael J. Sullivan
15. Abandoned: “Crossroads of Canopy” by Thoraiya Dyer
16. Reread: "Heir of Novron" by Michael J. Sullivan
17. "Six Wakes" by Mur Lafferty
18. "Discount Armageddon" by Seanan McGuire
19. "The Sudden Appearance of Hope" by Claire North
20. "The Ghost Map" by Steven Johnson
21. "The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet" by Becky Chambers
22. Review & Giveaway: “The Collapsing Empire” by John Scalzi
Write 52 movie review posts on my blog
1. Weekly Movie Reviews: Jan 1-7, 2017
2. Weekly Movie Reviews: Jan 8-14, 2017
3. Weekly Movie Reviews: Jan 15-21, 2017
4. Weekly Movie Reviews: Jan 22-28, 2017
5. Weekly Movie Reviews: Jan 29-Feb 4, 2017
6. Weekly Movie Reviews: Feb 5-11, 2017
7. Weekly Movie Reviews: Feb 12-18, 2017
8. Weekly Movie Reviews: Feb 19-25, 2017
9. Weekly Movie Reviews: Feb 26-Mar 4, 2017
10. Weekly Movie Reviews: Mar 5-11, 2017
11. Weekly Movie Reviews: Mar 12-18, 2017
Read at least 5 history books
1. Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick (finished Jan 8)
2. The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson (finished Feb 7)
Read at least 10 non-SFF fiction books
1. Dear Samsor by Ahmad Zia Wahdat (finished Jan 20)
1. Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan (Jan 2, 391 pages, hardcover, BOMB)
2. Love Hina, Vol 1. by Ken Akamatsu (Jan 2, 185 pages, paperback, BOMB)
3. Unfettered II, edited by Shawn Speakman (Jan 8, 565 pages, hardcover)
4. Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick (Jan 8, 361 pages, hardcover, BOMB)
5. The Heart of What Was Lost by Tad Williams (Jan 10, 204 pages, review copy, hardcover)
6. The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin (Jan 14, 391 pages, review copy, paperback)
7. Empire Games by Charles Stross (Jan 17, 324 pages, review copy, hardcover)
8. The Crown Tower by Michael J. Sullivan (Jan 19, 368 pages, review copy, paperback)
9. Dear Samsor by Ahmad Zia Wahdat (Jan 20, 124 pages, e-book, e-book review copy)
10. The Rose and the Thorn by Michael J. Sullivan (Jan 22, 347 pages, review copy, paperback)
11. The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan (Jan 24, 435 pages, hardcover, BOMB)
12. Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan (Jan 26, 648 pages, reread, review copy, paperback)
13. Rise of Empire by Michael J. Sullivan (Jan 28, 756 pages, reread, review copy, paperback)
14. Heir of Novron by Michael J. Sullivan (Jan 30, 895 pages, reread, review copy, paperback)
Total books: 14
Total pages: 5,995
Male authors: 12 (6 unique)
Female authors: 1 (1 unique)
Mixed authors: 1 (1 unique)
Review copy: 9
Graphic novels: 1
15. Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty (Feb 2, 362 pages, review copy, ARC, paperback, BOMB)
16. The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson (Feb 7, 262 pages, hardcover)
17. The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North (Feb 12, 484 pages, review copy, paperback)
18. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (Feb 14, 438 pages, paperback)
19. Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire (Feb 18, 352 pages, review copy, paperback)
20. Seven Surrenders by Ada Palmer (Feb 23, 363 pages, review copy, hardcover)
21. The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi (Feb 28, 333 pages, review copy, ARC, paperback)
Did not finish
Crossroads of Canopy by Thoraiya Dyer (abandoned Feb 3, review copy, hardcover)
Total books: 7
Total pages: 2,594
Male authors: 2 (2 unique)
Female authors: 5 (5 unique)
Mixed authors: 0
Paperback: 5 (2 ARC)
Review copy: 5
Graphic novels: 0
22. Mira's Last Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold (Mar 2, 87 pages, e-book)
23. Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan (Mar 8, 604 pages, review copy, ARC, paperback)
24. Green Rider by Kristen Britain (Mar 14, 471 pages, review copy, paperback)
25. Lock In by John Scalzi (Mar 19, 334 pages, review copy, paperback)
26. A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers (Mar 24, 364 pages, paperback)
Hi, Kriti! Will you be updating us on the movies you watch this year?
Always look out for your reading, Kriti, (chatty or not!) so it is great to see you back again for 2017.
Hi! Dropping a start and looking forward to seeing what you read (and watch) :-)
"Read at least 10 non-SFF fiction books" - Haha. I like this goal of yours. ;) Looking forward to seeing what you end up reading this year.
I am part of the group.
I love being part of the group.
I love the friendships bestowed upon my by dint of my membership of this wonderful fellowship.
I love that race and creed and gender and age and sexuality and nationality make absolutely no difference to our being a valued member of the group.
Thank you for also being part of the group.
Happy New Year, everyone!
Here are my 2016 stats:
Total books read: 87
Books by male authors: 43
Books by female authors: 43
Books by both male and female authors: 1
New books read: 66
Mix of new and reread: 1
Review copies read: 20
Unique male authors read: 20
Unique female authors read: 20
I was extremely evenly split between male and female authors!
Top 5 books of 2016
1. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin
2. Too Like The Lightning by Ada Palmer
3. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
4. Hild by Nicola Griffith
5. The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner (really it's the whole series, but I picked this one since it cemented my love for the series)
1. A World At Arms by Gerhard Weinberg
2. Necessity by Jo Walton
3. City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett
4. The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber
5. India After Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha
And here's the book meme that's been making its way around the thread – you're supposed to answer each question with the name of a book you read last year.
Describe yourself: Too Like The Lightning
Describe how you feel: Calamity
Describe where you currently live: The Forbidden Library
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: House of Many Ways
Your favorite form of transportation: Howl's Moving Castle
Your best friend is: The Mad Apprentice
You and your friends are: The Neverending Story
What’s the weather like: Cryoburn
You fear: The Price of Valor
What is the best advice you have to give: Embracing Defeat
Thought for the day: Never Let Me Go
How you would like to die: Necessity
Your soul’s present condition: Catching Fire
Thanks so much for visiting my thread, Kriti. I am looking forward to following you in 2017. And I am happy to see that The King of Attolia made you list of favorites - I have that series in the stacks, and I am hoping to get to it this year.
I've gotten off to a good start with my goal of writing 52 book reviews on my blog this year:
1. "Merchants and Maji" by William C. Tracy
2. "The Fifth Season" by N.K. Jemisin
I also wrote two reviews yesterday, but I'm not counting those towards my total since it was still Dec 31 to me.
"Flame Tree Road" by Shona Patel
"Martians Abroad" by Carrie Vaughn
I'm currently reading Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan, which was one of my SantaThing books. It's pretty good so far.
Hi, Kriti. Just stopping by to drop a star. Can't wait to see what you're reading and watching this year.
My first book of 2017 is Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan, which I received for SantaThing. I'm a fan of Sullivan's Riyria Revelations series, so I was looking forward to reading this book since it's a prequel. It's set 3,000 years before the events of Riyria which sounds like a lot, but since that's a normal lifespan for an elf of this world, it actually has more connections than I thought it would.
I enjoyed the book quite a bit, I think of Sullivan's Riyria books as comfort fantasy, and that's exactly what this was too. The world is different since technology isn't as developed and human settlements are much smaller, but otherwise the themes and characterization were similar to Riyria – heroes rising from an unlikely place, fighting oppression, etc. This book isn't very subtle sometimes (there are characters that are just Evil) but that's okay.
Edit: I also have a slightly longer review up on my blog.
I go back to work tomorrow after ten days off (four actual vacation days sandwiched between two three day weekends), which means I'll have less time for reading, reviewing, and LibraryThing. It's been nice to have a break, though.
2. Love Hina, Vol 1. by Ken Akamatsu
I watched the anime adaptation of this manga last year, and although it started off as a weird wish-fulfillment type show about a teenage boy managing a girls dorm (with lots of risque accidents), it quickly won me over with zany adventures, constant fourth wall breaking, and heartfelt character arcs.
We've had the manga for a while, and I decided to read the first volume today. I don't think I've ever read manga before, it took me a while to figure out what order the panels went in, I kept accidentally reading left-to-right. The book was even more risque than the show, and it's all setup right now, so not too much has happened. If I hadn't seen the show I probably wouldn't be interested in reading more, but each volume is a pretty quick read so I'll probably pick back up later.
Happy New Year, Kriti! I will look forward not only to your book reviews, but also your movie comments. I see very few movies in the theater, so I'm always looking for suggestions of good ones I've missed that I can stream on Netflix or the like. Happy reading — and watching!
>39 rosalita: Happy New Year to you too, Julia, and welcome to my thread! I think I'll be posting movie reviews weekly.
Hi, Kriti! Happy New Year! Thanks so much for visiting my 2017 thread.
Sounds like you are off to a stellar start with your reading and blogging. I've bookmarked your blog so I can follow it.
Happy New Year and New Thread, Kriti! My goal is be a more active member of this group, so here's to resolutions!
>41 Storeetllr: Hi Mary and welcome! I'm not sure how well I'll continue doing with the blogging and reading now that I'm back at work.
>42 leahbird: Hi Leah! I'm actually trying to have resolutions this year (exercise every day, blog more) which I haven't done for a few years, so here's to resolutions too! I have your thread starred as well.
>36 kgodey: Thanks, Kriti! My goal is to try to hang on through the whole year this year! I managed once in 2015!
>43 kgodey: I totally get that! When I retired, I found I had so much more time. Last year, I started working again and completely blew off everything else, including LT, because I couldn't manage to do anything else and work too - even though it was only part-time!
>44 rretzler: I hope you're able to, I enjoy reading your reviews!
>45 Storeetllr: Work takes a lot out of you, even when it doesn't seem like it should! I work on my computer all day, so I end up wanting to spend my off-work hours nowhere near a computer.
I got my pre-order of the fantasy short story collection, Unfettered II yesterday. I'm pretty excited about it – all proceeds go to helping authors out of medical debt, plus it's new stories by some really great authors – Naomi Novik, Michael J. Sullivan, Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, Django Wexler, etc. And an excerpt from Brandon Sanderson's next Stormlight Archive book, Oathbringer, which doesn't come out until November!
Popping in to say hello and drop a star. Happy reading!
ETA - I had no idea there was an Unfettered II! I have the first volume, and really love the idea behind the book. I'll have to go see if there are any copies of the second volume still available!
>47 Storeetllr: I'm about halfway through it, and I think the stories are pretty good so far! I usually don't read anthologies very often because they tend to be so uneven.
>48 tapestry100: Hi David, and welcome! I think there were still some copies left on the Grim Oak Press website, I hope you like it!
I was waiting to post here until I'd finished a book, but I'm doing something I almost never do – I'm reading two books at the same time (Unfettered II and Mayflower). Usually I can't wait to see what's happening with the story I'm currently reading so I have a compulsion to finish it, but that isn't an issue since neither of the books I'm reading are novels. Unfettered II is an anthology and Mayflower is non-fiction. Anyway, it's probably going to take me a couple of days to finish either of them.
My first movie review post is up at this link: Weekly Movie Reviews: Jan 1-7, 2017.
The movies reviewed are:
Nice movie reviews, Kriti! We recently watched The Accountant and all of us liked it - I thought Ben Affleck was very good in it. Happy Sunday to you!
>51 Crazymamie: Thanks Mamie! We thought Ben Affleck's performance was very well done, too.
I finished both the books I was reading today.
3. Unfettered II, edited by Shawn Speakman – I thought this collection of stories was better than the average anthology. There's no theme to it, so there were a variety of different stories, although most were fantasy. Some stories were better than others, but I didn't think there were any absolute clunkers. I'll probably write a more detailed review for my blog later talking about my favorite stories.
Edit: Link to review on my blog: "Unfettered II" edited by Shawn Speakman
4. Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War – This book isn't the history of the Mayflower voyage that I was hoping it would be, it focuses mainly on King Philip's War about fifty years after Plymouth was settled. It's well written and well researched though, and I still found it interesting because I don't know much about American history. I think I would have found an actual political history of the Mayflower and the early years of Plymouth more interesting, though – how the government was formed, how the colony grew and what hard decisions they made. The details of the war got boring after a while – Philbrick compares it to the Civil War or World War II in terms of percentage of population killed, but the fact remains that most battles involved a dozen to a hundred men. The lack of Native American sources makes the telling very one-sded as well.
>52 kgodey: I agree that an actual history of the Mayflower and early Plymouth would be very interesting, Kriti. Let me know if you find one!
>53 rosalita: Will do, Julia! The first third of the book did offer that, and it was extremely compelling.
5. The Heart of What Was Lost by Tad Williams – I don't remember the events of the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy very well, but I did enjoy it, so I was looking forward to reading more about the world. There haven't been any new Osten Ard books in a long time!
This is very much a grim war book, and it made for more intense reading than I expected. We follow people on both sides of the battle, including Duke Isgrimnur from the original trilogy. It was very interesting to see a Norn viewpoint – they were faceless implacable enemies previously, and now we know a lot more about their culture and motivations. They're the ones we're rooting for (despite some horrible acts they commit), because no one likes a genocide.
The way it ends has me looking forward to reading The Witchwood Crown when it comes out later this year, since it takes the "happily ever after" ending of the previous trilogy and adds some complexity to it.
Also, this is completely unrelated, but fantasy books need more original names. I recently read The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington, this one is The Heart of What Was Lost. To make things even more confusing, the second James Islington book is An Echo of Things To Come, and Tad Williams is writing another Osten Ard book called "The Shadow of Things To Come"...
I finished The Heart of What Was Lost a couple of days ago and I haven't started a new book yet. I got a pile of review copies in the last week, all by authors I really like, and I'm not sure where to start. I have:
The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
The Crown Tower and The Rose and the Thorn by Michael J. Sullivan
The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin
Skullsworn by Brian Staveley
Also, after adding all these, I noticed that my "Review Copies" collection on LibraryThing is now 366 books! One for every day of the year on a leap year. That is a lot of free books.
Ok, so this is cool. I was planning a re-read of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn this year anyway. And now there's more!
#6 is The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin. This is the follow up to The Fifth Season, and is just as good. We have a couple of new viewpoints this time – Nassun, Essun's daughter, and Schaffa, Syenite's former Guardian, but they fit very well into the expanding story. The world and characters continue to be utterly brutal. N.K. Jemisin writes so well that I almost don't even notice the awful acts that the protagonists commit because I'm so sympathetic to them (and because broken as they are, they seem to be the best the world has to offer.)
I'm really looking forward to how the conflict of interests established at the end is going to resolve itself. Only about six more months to wait!
Edited to add: I have a new blog post up! Full review of The Heart of What Was Lost by Tad Williams
Kriti, its amazing to me that you can write all of those reviews. If I hadn't realized it before, I figured out last year that it is so difficult (painful, almost) to write a review. You do such a beautiful job of it, and make it look so easy! I also now understand where my younger son gets his writing disability from! I would love to get more free books, but I've just decided that the pleasure of getting a new free book doesn't begin to mask the pain of actually having to write the review. ;-)
I was very interested in your Koyaanisqatsi review. I have had it on my list to watch for many years but just haven't done it yet. My family and I were just talking about it the other day, or at least the music from it. We were talking about examples of contemporary composition, and I mentioned Philip Glass and Koyaanisqatsi as a good example. Many years ago, before kids, my husband and I used his parent's tickets to the Cleveland Symphony. That evening a composition by John Adams was being premiered -Century Rolls. While Ed and I both love the symphony, we were less than impressed by Century Rolls, even though we went to the pre-symphony talk that was given by John Adams about the work. Then several years later, we happened to go to the Cleveland Symphony again and, yes, it just so happened that Century Rolls was being performed AGAIN! Interestingly, I have no idea what other works were performed either evening; I can just remember Century Rolls and my dislike of it. We were telling our sons that story at the dinner table and talking about contemporary composition - we played both Century Rolls and Koyaanisqatsi for the boys and we were all in agreement that Philip Glass had written the better work! I'm not sure it would keep the boys' interest, but I think I will have to watch it soon!
>59 rretzler: Thanks, Robin! I was terrible at writing reviews when I started, I had no idea what to say, but I've found that writing reviews helps me figure what I like and don't like about books (and movies), and helps me figure out what to read or watch next. It definitely eats up a bunch of time, but I'm a little bit of a workaholic and like to feel productive on the weekends when I'm not working. It also helps me keep sane at work because I feel like I have a side project that only I control that I can put some energy into.
That being said, I've never been consistent at reviewing, I usually review in spurts and then don't review at all for months. I'm trying to change that this year, but we'll see how it goes. I always do best at my resolutions in January.
I'm not familiar with Century Rolls, I'll have to listen to it and see how I feel about it. I can't say enough good things about Koyaanisqatsi's score, though. Two pieces from the score (Prophecies and Pruit Igoe) were also used to great effect in the Watchmen movie, and Hans Zimmer's Interstellar score (which I like too) was also inspired by it.
My second movie review post of the year is up at this link: Weekly Movie Reviews: Jan 8-14, 2017.
The movies reviewed are:
Two more book review posts are up as well!
“Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War” by Nathaniel Philbrick
"The Obelisk Gate" by N.K. Jemisin
I'm actually caught up with book reviews! As long as I don't count all the books I read in 2016 and previously, anyway.
Hi Kriti! Just dropping by to see what you've been up to and drop of a star! I'm glad you are continuing with your movie reviews! I started doing that last year, but was so bad at doing reviews of any kind it quickly dropped off. Hmm, maybe I'll start up again. We just recently got Netflix so I'm sure our movie consumption will go up!
>63 HanGerg: Hi Hannah! I hope you do movie reviews, I'd love to read them and hopefully get some movie bullets :)
Book #7 is Empire Games by Charles Stross.
I've never read any Stross before, but he's been on my wishlist for a very long time, so I was excited to read this book. It's set in the world of his Merchant Princes books, but it's the start of a new series. I had high hopes, but I ended up being a little underwhelmed.
I think a large part of why I didn't love this book was the picture that Stross paints of the world. After terrorists from an alternate timeline nuked the White House, the U.S. has become a paranoid surveillance state (compared often to the GDR and the Stasi) where the Bill of Rights is a farce. Conservative values have taken root, everyone is more racist and homophobic, and Roe vs. Wade was overturned. India and Pakistan have had a nuclear war.
I'm much more anti-surveillance than the average person (I won't use anything that has an always-on microphone, like an Amazon Echo, I host all my email on a local server rather than use GMail), but I just couldn't buy this world. India and Pakistan are very unlikely to have a nuclear war, and I cannot believe that Americans would allow Roe vs. Wade to be overturned or effectively give up on fourth and fifth amendment protections in some moral panic, even if George W. Bush was nuked. It seemed like the author was just dumping his politics into the story, especially with references to "President Rumsfield" making everything horrible.
The story and the characters were fine, but they were inseparable from the world because of the tone of the book (old school spy), so it was hard for me to get very invested. I wasn't a huge fan of the omniscient narration either, it took a lot of tension out of the story.
I'm not saying this was a bad book – it was well written and well executed for what it wanted to be. What it wanted to be just wasn't for me.
>64 kgodey: Interesting comment about the Amazon Echo and surveillance. We got one for Christmas and I had not really considered the point at all and have simply treated it as an amusing toy (the 4 year old tries to reason with it when it plays the wrong song).
I hope you are right about India and Pakistan being unlikely to engage in a nuclear war. That is the place that is most likely to do so in my opinion.
>58 kgodey: I'm so glad you enjoyed The Obelisk Gate! It's not often that I like the second book in a series as much as (or even slightly more than) the first, but that's what happened with this one. Jemesin avoided the middle book slump so well. If the first two books have been this good, I suspect the third book might be amazing. So many threads to resolve! I feel like we learned an incredible amount in this book and I still have a lot of questions about how and what and why...and how she can ever resolve it. I'm going to be impatiently waiting for the last one.
>65 Oberon: Heh, I had the same thought about India and Pakistan!
>64 kgodey: Stross's books aren't really my cup of tea, so I probably won't be picking this up, but some parts don't sound that unlikely to me. I'd love to think Americans wouldn't let Roe v Wade be overturned, but hearing some of the rhetoric coming out of the Republican camp doesn't make me that hopeful. And India and Pakistan have such a history of conflict and threats that they're probably one of the more likely regions to have a nuclear war if one happens.
>65 Oberon: >66 archerygirl: I think the danger of setting up an alternate reality that diverged only a few years ago is that it will inevitably ring false to many people, because everyone has opinions about the times they live in. :)
I'm worried I'm veering into controversial political discussion territory here, but I really don't think Roe vs. Wade is in any danger of being repealed. I don't doubt that there are people (even a significant number of people) that would advocate for it, but I don't think the majority of Americans would support that or let it happen. The media wouldn't support it, either.
The same goes for an India-Pakistan nuclear war. The two countries have had a pretty contentious relationship, but I grew up in India, and from my observations, there would be no popular support for a war with Pakistan, much less a nuclear one. Our main rivalry with Pakistan happened during cricket matches. I remember the Kargil conflict that happened when I was in school, and absolutely no one thought it would escalate into general war, or was worried at all. There's a lot of posturing around Kashmir and that leads to some pretty terrible situations in that area, but I find it highly unlikely that it would ever spread.
>67 kgodey: I appreciate the perspective. By contrast, I recall having lunch with an Indian client when we were talking about the prospect of war with Pakistan and he made the statement that if war were to break out he would return to India with the express purpose of cutting off as many Pakistani heads as he could. I remember being shocked by the statement for the virulent amount of hatred toward Pakistan, especially from someone who had never shown any particular animosity toward others.
Goes to show that I should be careful to generalize the opinion of a country with over a billion inhabitants.
Can't believe I haven't stopped by yet! Especially as I'm adoring your movie reviews and now have several I need to add to my Netflix queue including Interstellar, April and the Extraordinary World, and Last Action Hero.
>68 Oberon: That sounds scary – I think that your client is definitely an outlier. I've never heard anyone say anything remotely close to that. I can see how that would give you a terrible impression, though.
Other than popular support, I don't think there's much reason for the governments to go to war either – there's not enough to gain and too much to lose.
>69 Morphidae: Hi Morphy! Thanks for stopping by. Those are all great movies, I hope you enjoy them.
Book #8 is The Crown Tower by Michael J. Sullivan.
This is part of the Riyria Chronicles, a series of standalone books featuring Royce and Hadrian's (from the Riyria Revelations) early years. The Crown Tower is the first chronicle, and it's an origin story of Royce and Hadrian – how they met, and the first adventure they had together. I enjoyed the book, although I felt like the foreshadowing was not very subtle. I would not recommend starting Riyria with this book, though, I don't think it would have the same payoff unless you've read Riyria Revelations first. I mean, it's still a standalone story and it has a good arc, but Royce and Hadrian are literally forced together, and I don't think I would have had as much sympathy for that without knowing their later arc.
Book #9 is Dear Samsor by Ahmad Zia Wahdat
This novella was written by an Afghan friend from college, and I wanted to read and review it to support him. It's a coming of age story of an boy from a small Afghan village, Samsor, whose father dies when he was ten in civil unrest. He has a hard life with many difficult choices, but eventually comes into his own.
The writing style of this book is fairly simple, almost like the author is right there with you telling a story. It does a good job of setting – you really get a sense of war-torn Afghanistan where life is uncertain all the time, no matter where you are. There are a few glimpses of the past before things got so bad, and that makes it even more heartbreaking. Samsor's life is not easy, and even when he's trying to do the right thing, it often doesn't end well. The book ends on a note of hope, though.
This is definitely a debut – there's a little more telling than showing I would like, and some awkward phrasing at times. I still enjoyed the read, though, and I hope the author keeps writing.
Review on my blog: “Dear Samsor” by Ahmad Zia Wahdat
This week's movie reviews are up: Weekly Movie Reviews: Jan 15-21, 2017
The movies reviewed are:
>74 kgodey: And yet more movies to watch - Deepwater Horizon & Aeon Flux. Maybe even Captain Fantastic Would you stop it? :D
I'd even watch The Revenant but I don't do dark and bleak. I really enjoy Phantom of the Opera and have watched it a few times. (I own it.)
>75 Morphidae: I know the feeling, Morphy! Our list of movies to watch or consider watching is over 500 movies long, and we haven't even really started exploring foreign films yet.
The Revenant was an extremely uncomfortable movie to watch, even for me.
Book #10 is The Rose and the Thorn by Michael J. Sullivan
I actually have my review up on my blog already, so I'll just link to it: “The Rose and the Thorn” by Michael J. Sullivan. Usually I write my initial thoughts on LT first and then polish them up into a longer review on my blog a few days later, but I guess I was inspired today.
Kriti! This is maybe a ~weird place to ask this (though it does seem more efficient than texting, maybe?), but when we (you) made wontons/dumplings did you use a recipe or were you just kinda wingin' it?
>78 andrewreads: Hey Andrew! I looked at a few different recipes for inspiration and cobbled together my own recipe. I think I remember most of what I used for the filling:
1 tray ground pork (~1.25 lb)
2-3 cups of minced coleslaw mix (cabbage and carrot, basically) – I didn't measure this, but maybe 2/3 of the package
4-5 scallions, chopped up
1/4 cup soy sauce
~2 tablespoons chopped up ginger
4-5 cloves minced garlic
~2 teaspoons sugar
~2 tablespoons sesame oil
~1 teaspoon salt
I followed the Serious Eats recommendation of taking a teaspoon of the filling once it's all mixed together and microwaving it for 10 seconds (I did it for longer because I was worried about it being too raw) to taste it and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Also, here are the recipes I looked at for inspiration:
The Best Japanese Pork and Cabbage Dumplings (Gyoza) Recipe
Chinese Fried Pork and Cabbage Dumplings With Homemade Wrappers (guo tie) Recipe
I bought the wonton wrappers at the store and looked at YouTube videos to figure out how to fold and seal them.
Book #11 is The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan
I've had this book for a while, I participated in the Kickstarter that was used to fund it, but I hadn't gotten around to reading the first two Riyria Chronicles, so I never read it. I liked it a lot more than the first two Riyria Chronicles because it's a standalone adventure that expands the world a bunch (and has some fun tie-ins to Age of Myth!) The origin story of Royce and Hadrian was cool to read about, but this felt more like a whole standalone book. And Nysa Dulgath was a really interesting character.
Now I'm rereading Theft of Swords, because Royce and Hadrian!
>79 kgodey: Thanks! You're the best. I think Steph and I are gonna make some dumplings this weekend (with mushrooms and/or tofu instead of pork) and I remember realllly liking the ones you made.
>82 andrewreads: That sounds tasty, let me know how it turns out. Mushrooms and tofu are not going to bind together as well on their own as ground pork, so you may need to add some sort of binding agent so that the filling isn't too loose.
>83 kgodey: We've considered this and have resigned ourselves to eating somewhat crumbly dumplings. Oh well.
Allllso, I just randomly noticed that today (Jan 26; it's still "today" where I am) is the seventh-year anniversary of your LT account! Woooooooo!
>84 andrewreads: You could always try adding an egg to the filling, it should help a little bit. Some of the pork recipes I looked at used an egg too, but I didn't think it was necessary.
Thanks! I'm supposed to be buying eight books according to LT tradition, but given that I've acquired 16 new books so far this month (14 review copies, 1 gift, 1 pre-order), and I ran out of shelf space a while back, I'm skipping the tradition.
Book #12 is a reread of Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan
This is the first time I'm rereading this series, and reading it after reading the three Riyria Chronicles for the first time as well as Age of Myth is making me notice a lot more details. It helps that Sullivan writes whole series' at a time, so things really are seeded through all the books to find. I enjoyed this book even more than the Riyria Chronicles, I think I like thick books that tell a single story better than standalones.
I posted a short review on my blog: "The Death of Dulgath" by Michael J. Sullivan
I'm thinking about taking a break from Michael J. Sullivan for a bit to read something else (perhaps Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty?) but I may be too obsessive to stop until I'm done with the series.
This week's movie reviews are up: Weekly Movie Reviews: Jan 22-28, 2017
The movies reviewed are:
Book #13 is a reread of Rise of Empire by Michael J. Sullivan.
I'm finding it hard to say new things about these books, but here's a link to my review on my blog. I feel like I need to review them because these are review copies, and I didn't review them the first time I read them.
>87 kgodey: It's getting to the point where I'm afraid to open your movie reviews. I don't need to add more to my 400+ long Netflix list!
>88 Morphidae: Sorry, Morphy! This week was actually pretty bad in terms of movies, we mostly just watched the Fast and Furious series.
Not surprisingly, book #14 is Heir of Novron by Michael J. Sullivan
I finished up my Riyria reread with the final volume Heir of Novron. It was pretty good, but I'm glad to move on to other books, I have a whole pile of interesting looking ones. This month has been really good for review copies.
I also calculated some stats for January in case anyone's interested:
Total books: 14
Total pages: 5,995
Male authors: 12 (6 unique)
Female authors: 1 (1 unique)
Mixed authors: 1 (1 unique)
Review copy: 9
Graphic novels: 1
I always read a lot in January and February, so I don't expect this rate to keep up.
Book #15 is Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty
This one is a recent release. Six clones wake up in a generation ship and find their previous bodies murdered in the cloning bay. There's no one else on the ship, and their last memories are from 25 years ago so they're trying to reconstruct what happened.
I liked this book, but I don't think it was exceptional in any way. It's an interesting story, the technology is cool, but I wasn't able to connect with any of the characters that much. It ultimately had a lot more human drama than I thought it would. I feel bad for not saying anything more complimentary because it really wasn't a bad book. If you like mysteries and exploring weird things that could happen from cloning, you'd probably like this.
I haven't recorded the books I don't finish on here before, but I'm going to start now. I have always treated books I don't finish like I'm going to finish them someday, but that's not true for most of them, and I made an "Abandoned" collection on LibraryThing to I can reflect that accurately.
What would have been book #16 is Crossroads of Canopy by Thoraiya Dyer
I really thought I would like this book – a unique fantasy world, a female protagonist coming of age, and so on. I just wasn't able to connect to it, though. The main character, Unar, is pretty unlikeable, but she's played straight as the hero. None of the other characters were likeable either (or if they were, they seemed like caricatures.) Plus there is some weird sexual stuff, Unar is extremely fixated on getting the guy she likes (who is magically constrained to not have sexual feelings) to have sex with her, and fantasizes about it constantly. That's a small part of the story, but it really skeeved me out.
So yeah, I abandoned it a little over halfway through, although I did skip ahead to see what happened at the end and it had no impact on me, so I think I made the right decision to stop reading.
Since I wasn't that excited about my last couple of reads (although Six Wakes was still way better than this book), I've decided to change up my genre a little and read non-fiction. I'm currently reading The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson, which several people here have read and liked, and it's really compelling so far.
>87 kgodey: I love the Riddick series, but somehow have not yet seen the 2013 addition. I guess if they are making a new one this year, I will have to get on the ball and catch up. I enjoy Vin Diesel movies, but for some reason, I've never been able to get into the Fast and Furious series. We are looking forward to the new XXX movie, though.
>94 rretzler: They're filming this year, so you probably have until next year to catch up, Robin. I haven't seen any of the XXX movies, but I'm looking forward to watching them, those kinds of action movies are like candy to me.
I don't think I'd like any individual Fast and Furious movie by itself, but watching them all in order helped, they have a lot of consistency and treat their characters surprisingly well.
>95 Oberon: I'm really enjoying it, I can see why. It's fascinating but also very well-written.
This week's movie reviews are up: Weekly Movie Reviews: Jan 29-Feb 4, 2017
The movies reviewed are:
I've got four more posts up and ready to go (including an author interview and giveaway), but I think I'm going to post them one-per-day.
Nice movie reviews! The only one where we might disagree is Star Trek, which I thought was ok at the time but have really lost interest over the years. But it did set up Star Trek IV, which is one of my faves in the series. :)
>96 kgodey: I'm safe. Most of the movies I've seen or were already on Mount TBW.
>97 drneutron: Hi Jim! I love Star Trek IV too, although my favorite is probably Star Trek VI. I'd never seen the first one before, so I'm sure that helped hold my interest – I can't imagine being as interested the second time around, it was really slow.
>98 Morphidae: That's good!
Book #16 is The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson
This book is about a terrible cholera epidemic in London and how the investigation into it led to some foundations of modern medical practice and epidemiology. I enjoyed it and learned a bit, but I was far more compelled by the first half of the book than the second. It was well-written and seemed well-researched, though.
I felt like there wasn't a full book length of material in here, and the author tried to stretch it in creative ways towards the end. He seems to strongly believe we should be striving towards urbanizing as much as possible, and there's almost a whole chapter about that, as well as a bunch of material about the various things maps can be used for, which also seemed very tenuously connected to the cholera story. Even the later parts of the cholera story got repetitive. Also, at certain points, the author went into tangents where he drew conclusions that didn't matter to the narrative and worse, did not seem backed up by anything (I checked the citations), one example being alcoholism as an evolutionary predilection for some races of people.
I've got a few more blog posts up:
Two book review posts:
Abandoned: “Crossroads of Canopy” by Thoraiya Dyer
Reread: "Heir of Novron" by Michael J. Sullivan
And the big one, an interview with author Carrie Vaughn and a giveaway of Martians Abroad (which all my LT friends are welcome to enter!)
Interview & Giveaway: “Martians Abroad” by Carrie Vaughn
Love the interview, Kriti. Sounds like a fun book. And Bujold and Cherryh as influences--can't beat that!
>101 ronincats: Thanks Roni! I liked the book, I think you would too. And you can't go wrong with Bujold as an influence (or Cherryh, but I haven't read a lot of her work.)
>102 Morphidae: Yay, thanks Morphy!
The last of my queued up posts from last weekend is up: "Six Wakes" by Mur Lafferty
I'm currently reading The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North, I've never read anything by her before (she also writes as Kate Griffin) but I'm really enjoying this book. It's a big change of pace for me, it's barely speculative fiction at all, and it has a lot of stuff set on the internet, and involving software (which is what I do for work), and it gets a lot of it right, which I've never really encountered before.
Last week's movie reviews are up (a little late this week) Weekly Movie Reviews: Feb 5-11, 2017
The movies reviewed are:
I've also read three books:
#17 is The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North – I really liked this book. The protagonist is Hope, a woman who cannot be remembered for more than 60 seconds unless you're in an active conversation with her. Deprived of normal human relationships, naturally she becomes a thief and a con-artist. But even she has limits, as she discovers after becomes involved with the makers of the mobile app Perfection after a routine jewel heist. This book has lots of interesting things to say about identity, surveillance, conformity, and it also manages to have a good, well-written story about a protagonist that's always alone in the most awful of ways. Highly recommended, and I'll probably be reading more Claire North at some point.
#18 is The Long Way to A Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – I got tired of reading review copies and actually bought myself a book that I've heard great things about it. I mostly really liked it, too – it's a cozy spaceship book where there's no real antagonist, just humans and aliens and AIs learning and growing and becoming closer. Character-driven sci-fi is pretty awesome. My only complaint is that the characters seemed flat at times, I didn't end up feeling close to any of them, like I do with the best character-driven books. I've pre-ordered the next book, though, and I'm excited to read it.
#19 is Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire – Urban fantasy is not my thing – maybe because cities and nightclubs and sexy clothes and hairdos and that whole lifestyle really doesn't appeal to me, even as wish fulfillment. The only urban fantasy series I remember really liking is Jacqueline Carey's Agent of Hel series, but that was small town fantasy, not urban fantasy. Anyway, as far as urban fantasy goes, this was a pretty good book with all the standard tropes – sexy badass girl gets into supernatural mystery, meets hot guy who is of a rival faction, lots of action, sex, etc. I do like the Price family, they seem cool. The first half was a little slow, but I raced through the second half. I probably wouldn't buy these books, but they're fun and since I own the next four, I'll read them.
I've been extremely busy at work lately, so I haven't really been on LT at all. I've been working 10 hour days just because there's so much to do. I'm hoping things will slow down in a couple of weeks, but my company is in the "explosive growth" phase (we went from being a 20 person company in June to around 70 people this month), and there is so much going on, and I'm managing at least 10 or 15 things. Plus, I set up a Minecraft server for work so that we could do something fun as a team, and I've been spending some time on it, too.
On the book front, I got an advance finished copy of Seven Surrenders (the sequel to Too Like The Lightning) by Ada Palmer yesterday, and I'm very excited to read it.
>104 kgodey: re: Discount Armageddon
You didn't answer the most important question - what did you think of the mice?
>104 kgodey: I really enjoyed this line in particular in your movie review of Titanic: "James Cameron is the master of making formulaic movies that are made so well that you almost don’t notice the predictability." So true! I adored that movie and saw it twice in the theater (an extreme rarity for me) but once got out in the light of day the flaws are hard to deny.
I did love Backdraft, though that might again be sentiment more than actual quality. Mostly it made me want to hug every firefighter I saw for the next week, because what they do amazing and completely beyond my abilities.
>107 Morphidae: Oh yeah, the mice. I think I would go insane and/or violent if I had a colony of excitable talking mice living with me, so I have to admire Verity's fortitude.
>108 rosalita: Hi Julia! Titanic is a really good movie in a lot of ways, I can't think of anyone who didn't like it when it came out.
Backdraft did make me have a whole new respect for firefighters. I can't believe that there are people who willingly do that.
New movie reviews are up: Weekly Movie Reviews: Feb 12-18, 2017
The movies reviewed are:
My full review of "The Sudden Appearance of Hope" by Claire North is up on my blog.
And I finished a book!
#20: Seven Surrenders by Ada Palmer
This is the sequel to Too Like The Lightning, which I loved last year, and it's just as good. It's faster paced than the first book, I felt like the revelations kept coming. This series is such an interesting mix of science fiction, theology, philosophy, and it's surprisingly compelling given the amount of dense dialogue. It wraps up the duology pretty well, but it does set up the next book in the series pretty explicitly (Amazon says it's coming out in December, I already pre-ordered it.)
New movie reviews are up: Weekly Movie Reviews: Feb 19-25, 2017
The movies reviewed are:
My full review of "The Ghost Map" by Steven Johnson is up.
I'm reading The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi, it's pretty good – Scalzi is like comfort food to me, he's predictable. I'm scheduled to post a review on my blog on March 15 as part of a blog tour.
Also, I get to interview Ada Palmer on my blog soon. Are there any questions I should ask her?
I don't think I'm familiar with Ada Palmer, Kriti. What has she written? That's great that you get to interview her!
>112 kgodey: I'm trying not to be too jealous that you've already got your hands on The Collapsing Empire. Trying...and failing.
>113 rosalita: Ada Palmer is the author of Too Like The Lightning and the sequel that just came out, Seven Surrenders. Too Like The Lightning was one of my favorite books of last year, it's science fiction set in a future heavily influenced by Enlightenment-era France, with plenty of theology and philosophy. It's a pretty unique series, I'm not sure how to describe it any better.
>114 archerygirl: >115 mahsdad: You've got a good read to look forward to! It's a little bit edgier than Scalzi's usual stuff – more sex and swearing and melodrama – but it still has the core of everything Scalzi is good at.
#21 is The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi – I already talked about it a little bit above, so I'm not going to do a formal summary. I'll definitely be doing a full review of this one on my blog since I committed to a spot on the blog tour for the book's launch.
>116 kgodey: The Palmer series sounds interesting — thanks for explaining. I have not read a lot of sci-fi in my life although I've been branching out in that area since I joined LT — one of the many benefits I've gotten from being here. I will look for the Palmer books at the library.
>118 rosalita: I hope you enjoy them, Julia! They're not like most science fiction novels that I've read.
>119 ronincats: I'm looking forward to seeing what you think.
My review of "The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet" by Becky Chambers is up on my blog. And I finished another book.
#22 is Mira's Last Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold, the fourth novella in the Penric and Desdemona series (set in her World of the Five Gods/Chalion universe.) I feel kind of bad calling this a book, since Amazon lists it at 87 pages, but I read enough doorstoppers that I don't feel too guilty. Penric's Mission ended kind of abruptly, so I was glad to have a sequel so soon. It offers some resolution to that story, and as with all of Bujold's work, it's warm and funny and thoughtful. It felt a little too short though, and the ending is clearly setting up for more Penric stories.
I'm currently reading Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan, which is set in his Powder Mage universe, but is the start of a new standalone trilogy. I like his work, it's familiar and is quickly becoming a comfort read.
New movie reviews are up: Weekly Movie Reviews: Feb 26-Mar 4, 2017
The movies reviewed are:
>122 Morphidae: That one's great, Morphy, I'm sure you'll like it. There needs to be more cozy science fiction.
I did finish Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan (book #23 this year) earlier this week, and I really enjoyed it. I want more! I'll post a full review later, probably on my blog.
I'm a little bit of a reading rut right now, I'm sort of working on Green Rider by Kristen Britain but it doesn't quite fit my mood. I did recently receive Evicted by Matthew Desmond from Early Reviewers, which I haven't participated in in a while. Maybe I'll read that – not quite my usual genre, but my usual genre is why I'm in a rut, right?
New movie reviews are up: Weekly Movie Reviews: Mar 5-11, 2017
The movies reviewed are:
My full review of The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi is up, and I'm giving a copy away! See: Review & Giveaway: “The Collapsing Empire” by John Scalzi
Book #24 is Green Rider by Kristen Britain. It's a standard epic fantasy book about a young person (not a farmboy, though) caught up in magical events as a long forgotten dark power rises to the north. Karigan is running away from school when she encounters a dying royal messenger and swears to deliver his message to the king. Of course, there are many pitfalls along the way, and a discovery of magical powers. If I had one word to describe this book, it would be "mediocre". Nothing about it is really bad, but there's not much holding my interest either. I didn't like Karigan as a protagonist – she's much too bland and seems to only react to things. Other characters also didn't seem like real people but just vehicles for the plot – which wasn't very compelling either. I don't think I will continue with the series.
Book #25 is Lock In by John Scalzi
After reading The Collapsing Empire, I was in a Scalzi mood, so I figured I should read Lock In, which has been on my list for a long time. It's a near-future murder mystery, set after a disease causes millions of people to become "locked in" – paralyzed and communicating with the outside world through android bodies and/or virtual reality. The book is set at a pivotal political time, and the murder mystery ends up revealing something much larger happening behind the scenes. I liked this book a lot, I thought it was much better than even The Collapsing Empire. I thought the worldbuilding was especially good.
>125 kgodey: Kriti, I just finished reading Lock In as well and enjoyed it. That makes two that I've read by Scalzi - Redshirts and Lock In and I like both a lot, so I guess I'm going to have to find time to read more from him.
>104 kgodey: Ah, another Minecrafter!!! I love it! My boys got me hooked about 3 or 4 years ago, and I just love playing. Recently, my younger son got me to join a server with him, and we also have a Realms server, which the entire family plays. I'm so glad to know that you're a bit of a gamer too! Do you play anything else or just Minecraft? I play games on Steam and Origin, but those are mostly adventure type puzzle games. My older son has been trying to get me into 1st person shooters, especially Overwatch, so I think after tax season is over and I have more time, I'll give it a try. With Minecraft, I totally enjoy the building aspect - I'm usually the one to build the elaborate modern houses, while the boys are more into the battles, but they've got me battling now too! It is a big drain on time, though!
I really love the action movies you're watching - Demolition Man (I still wonder about those three shells!), Lethal Weapon, Doctor Strange, Mad Max, Star Trek (although the first movie is probably my least favorite)! I wish we had seen Doctor Strange in 3D in the theater, I think it would have been great, but we didn't.
Do you watch any other Marvel movies/TV shows? Netflix just released the first season of the new Iron Fist, and we watched the first two episodes tonight. We all really loved it - I think it's much better than Daredevil, and I enjoyed Daredevil. I'm not done with Luke Cage - its pretty good, but harder for me to identify with I think. Jessica Jones was great - David Tennant playing Kilgrave was perfect!
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