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Always interesting to see who defriends me after I post about racism, sexism, etc...

Anyway, time for a break from the intense blog posts. Let's talk books! Last night I finished The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] by N. K. Jemisin.

Wow. I'd heard a lot of buzz about this one, which always makes me nervous, because big book buzz doesn't always translate to a book I'll enjoy. But I have to say, this is the best book I've read so far this year, and as soon as I can remember how, I'll be recommending it for the Nebula.

Was it a perfect book? No book is. But I loved the narrative style, I loved the worldbuilding, I loved the gods and most of the characters. It was a very well-written fantasy that sucked me in and kept me up late for the past two nights to finish it.

Jemisin has the first three chapters posted on her web site. Go forth and read.

#

One of the nice perks of being an author is that you get the occasional ARC or review copy. This has been a good month. Sitting on my To Be Read pile are review copies of:

I love being a writer :-) I've also got a copy of Nnedi Okorafor's Zahrah the Windseeker [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon], which I picked up at her signing in Lansing last week.

What about you? What have you read and enjoyed lately, and what are you looking forward to picking up next?


Comments

( 92 comments — Leave a comment )
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smiko
Jun. 7th, 2010 03:25 pm (UTC)
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is absolutely fantastic. I'm so close to finishing it, but I just need more TIME to read...

I got my hands on a copy of Ecstasia by Francesca Lia Block. It's...interesting. It's written in a delicate, minimalist prose style, heavy on the symbolism and references to Greek mythology and light on things like world building explanations. The result is dreamlike and surreal. Recommended, but not if you're looking for a classic epic fantasy or a lot of action.
jimhines
Jun. 7th, 2010 03:38 pm (UTC)
I know! I remember being a kid, being able to zip through two or three books in a week sometimes. These days it's hard to squeeze in a half hour of reading after the kids are in bed. (Though for THTK, I just sacrificed sleep :-)
(no subject) - tsubaki_ny - Jun. 13th, 2010 06:07 am (UTC) - Expand
jonxarn
Jun. 7th, 2010 03:28 pm (UTC)
I'd noted that book, but now I'll pick it up. The last new book I read was Death Blows by DD Barant. I've been rereading old Harry Dresden books, lately.

I'm also looking forward to July, there's a cool series I follow and a new book is coming out then. : )
jimhines
Jun. 7th, 2010 03:39 pm (UTC)
I read the first Dresden book a while back, but hadn't picked up the next. It was good, but not great ... at the same time, everyone tells me the series gets better as it goes.

July -- ooh, right! Julie Czerneda has a new one out next month, doesn't she ;-)
(no subject) - elucreh - Jun. 7th, 2010 04:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - misslynx - Jun. 7th, 2010 04:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
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sylvanstargazer
Jun. 7th, 2010 03:30 pm (UTC)
Lots of good stuff recently
I definitely enjoyed One Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, even though the prose didn't always work for me. It reminded me of a more-interesting, less-anachronistic, less-Christian version of Brandon Sanderson.

Currently I'm reading Joe Abercrombie's Best Served Cold. I adore his narrative style, his dialog and characters. It reads almost more like magical-medieval-realism than fantasy, but I love it.

Just finished Elizabeth Bear's Chill, a squeal to Dust. While I prefer her urban fantasy and the Hammered trilogy, her world building blends disparate elements in interesting ways. Not that many science fiction novels with fascinating and sympathetic necromancers, for example.

Up next is Minister Faust's new work, From The Notebooks of Dr. Brain.
jimhines
Jun. 7th, 2010 03:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Lots of good stuff recently
::Grin:: One of the things I like about Bear is that she knows the tropes, and likes to mess with them.

The down side of this sort of post is that every time I end up doubling my list of books to pick up. But there are worse problems to have ;-)
pandarus
Jun. 7th, 2010 03:38 pm (UTC)
Sweet weeping mother of God - people DEFRIENDED you after that post?

::boggles::

That post confirmed for me the impression that I'd gained when randomly encountering you in the discussion about fanfiction on Katherine Kerr's LJ: that you are A Good Egg. (Well, no, mostly that post made me go WTFF??!!??!!! and be horrified, but the fact that you were posting these things made me think well of you.)

Oooh, Zahrah the Windseeker looks good.

This week I've been mostly on a writing jag, but in the previous weeks I've been reading a fair bit of YA Lit, and particularly enjoying the b'jayzus out of Lian Hearn's "Tales of the Otori" series. In addition to some scrumptiously vivid prose and clear, engaging characters, the stories are distinguished by the fact that they DON'T do what one expects. The first novel is set up to be a vengeance-type hero quest/coming-of-age kind of story, but in point of fact the vengeance doesn't work out at all as anticipated, and neither does the whole coming-into-one's-inheritance thing. The second book is possibly even better, bringing a breadth of politics only touched on in the first - I've just bought the third, but haven't tucked into it yet. (All this AND samurais and ninjas! Samurais and magical ninjas! Awesomecakes!)
jimhines
Jun. 7th, 2010 03:46 pm (UTC)
I heard Nnedi read from her latest, Who Fears Death, last week. That was intense, but very interesting. I've heard a lot of good things about Zahrah as well.

A handful of defriendings, but yeah. I'm not sure if it was the content, or maybe some folks just don't want to read Authors On Soapboxes, which I could understand. Trying to give folks the benefit of the doubt.

Magical ninjas make everything better!
(no subject) - dweomeroflight - Jun. 8th, 2010 08:36 am (UTC) - Expand
mtlawson
Jun. 7th, 2010 03:39 pm (UTC)
Always interesting to see who defriends me after I post about racism, sexism, etc...

Doesn't the influx of new friends offset that, or am I simply naive?

Anyway, time for a break from the intense blog posts.

Thank you. It is a Monday, and while I'm now caffeinated, I'm still beset by meetings and oddball requests/demands.

Thanks for the recommendations! I know, my TBR pile is light years larger than my completed listings for the year, but I've now got the incentive of our local library's summer reading program to shoot for.
jimhines
Jun. 7th, 2010 03:41 pm (UTC)
"Doesn't the influx of new friends offset that, or am I simply naive?"

More often than not, but not always. And it's not like I'm keeping score, but it is something I notice, and occasionally it depresses me. Defriend me if you want, that's fine -- we all change what we want to read over time. But after a racism post? Sigh.
(no subject) - mtlawson - Jun. 7th, 2010 03:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jimhines - Jun. 7th, 2010 03:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mtlawson - Jun. 7th, 2010 03:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
socchan
Jun. 7th, 2010 03:41 pm (UTC)
I swear, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms should come with instructions to clear your schedule before you open it. I still don't know how I managed not to pull an all-nighter the day I picked my copy up.
jimhines
Jun. 7th, 2010 03:47 pm (UTC)
And it's her first book. That's just not fair! I'm working on my seventh, and here I am I'm poring over hers trying to figure out how she did it :-)
(no subject) - mtlawson - Jun. 7th, 2010 03:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - jimhines - Jun. 7th, 2010 05:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
realmjit
Jun. 7th, 2010 03:55 pm (UTC)
check out http://community.livejournal.com/50_in_2010/ . A friend of mine started it to encourage herself to read more.
jazzfish
Jun. 7th, 2010 04:15 pm (UTC)
Well, I friended you after, mm, I think it was after a friend pointed to some smart things you were saying about gender. So, +1 for righteous outrage and soapboxen and all that.

Books. . . I just finished rereading the first thirty or so pages of Greer Gilman's _Cloud & Ashes_ and I think I finally understood about two-thirds of what happened. Now on to the rest of the (beautifully written, lyrical, dense, deeply imagistic, baffling) book!
jimhines
Jun. 7th, 2010 05:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Like I said to MT up above, it works both ways :-)

Sounds like a fun book, but not one to read on an overtired brain...
margaret_y
Jun. 7th, 2010 04:17 pm (UTC)
And also, I'm reading Airborn by Kenneth Oppel. It's YA steampunk. Protag is a 12 year old cabin boy on an airship. I'm about 1/3 of the way in and

::::spoiler alert!:::

the ship has just been boarded by sky pirates! Fun, fun, fun.
ginmar
Jun. 7th, 2010 05:35 pm (UTC)
Oh, hell, there's one coming out in mid June that I'm salivating over. There's Kraken and Ship Breaker. The latter, at least, is YA, which I find is a nice relief when I've had too much adulthood in my day.
fadethecat
Jun. 7th, 2010 04:22 pm (UTC)
I just finished Havemercy and, well. The Stepsister Scheme. (Hi! Great book! Thanks for writing it!) I have an ever-growing list of library books to check out, and an ominously tall pile of recently checked out ones, as well. Jo Walton's recommendations over on the Tor blog are dangerous.

On watching who defriends... I found myself happier just turning off notices for that sort of stuff. Same on Twitter. If someone stops following me, that's their business, and I'm generally happier not knowing. I sort of wish more people wouldn't watch those stats, honestly: when I want to stop following someone because their formatting breaks my flist or they won't stop posting image-heavy memes without LJ-cuts, it makes me uneasy to know they might take the defriending as commentary on them. Or their most recent post. Sometimes I want to cut my flist down a lot just for reasons of time--I can only read so much in a day--but it's uncomfortable to think that half the people I remove from the list for that reason might think it's something personal.
jimhines
Jun. 7th, 2010 05:32 pm (UTC)
::Grin:: Thank you!

At one point, I deliberately removed the bookmark that went to my LJ profile in order to train myself out of checking. And then LJ went and added their Statistics feature so I could see what kind of readership I was getting on various posts and such, and I was doomed.

I don't really worry about it, and I know there are a lot of reasons for someone to remove someone else from their reading list. (I hate the "friend" and "defriend" terms, actually.) But when I see a clump of them all at once, it's more likely to be related to something I wrote.

If I was still in school, I'd probably do an entire psych paper on the mentality of friending/defriending...
(no subject) - fadethecat - Jun. 7th, 2010 05:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
blythe025
Jun. 7th, 2010 04:36 pm (UTC)
I recently bought a stack of books that I'm looking forward to reading. I've got:
A Local Habitation, by Seanan McGuire
Feed, by Mira Grant (this is a pen name for Seanan McGuire)
Silver Kiss, by Naomie Clark
Palimpsest, by Catherynne M. Valente
Chasing the Dragon, by Nicholas Kaufmann
Sisters Red, by Jackson Pearce
bigherman
Jun. 7th, 2010 05:08 pm (UTC)
Ach, I'm waiting to buy Feed until SF in SF this weekend when I can buy from Borderlands and support an awesome bookstore instead of merely book-vending B&N or Borders.

Palimpsest is the book of my heart. Valente's style can be hard to adjust to, I liken it to reading Shakespeare for the first time, but it's worth the initial struggle and becomes oh-so-delicious. I feel like my brain is eating butterscotch carmels when I read her stuff, except they're chock full of good-for-you vocabulary vitamins and metaphor-minerals.
(no subject) - blythe025 - Jun. 7th, 2010 05:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - apricot_tree - Jun. 7th, 2010 05:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
lotuseyes
Jun. 7th, 2010 04:58 pm (UTC)
I just finished Passion Play by Beth Bernobich, I enjoyed that one quite a bit. I can't wait to get my hands on Brent Weeks' new book The Black Prism and Brandon Sanderson's new (non WoT) book The Way of Kings.

I loved The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms! I can't wait for its sequel this fall Broken Kingdoms. I saw it at BEA, or rather the blurb and cover for it, and fell in love on sight.
jimhines
Jun. 7th, 2010 05:24 pm (UTC)
Passion Play is on my list of books to pick up :-)
(no subject) - beth_bernobich - Jun. 7th, 2010 05:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jimhines - Jun. 7th, 2010 05:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
bookblather
Jun. 7th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC)
I just finished The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (it was my graduation gift to me!) and oh my Lord it was amazing. Totally agree with your assessment. Also, really, really jealous of you for having A Star Shall Fall already. I love the Onyx Court books.

So I'm looking forward to A Star Shall Fall. I'm in the middle of Mira Grant's Feed and I really need time to finish it. The next Miles Vorkosigan book comes out in November (hear that shrieking sound just now? That was me, flailing in sheer delight) and I will be purchasing it as soon as I possibly can. And, of course, I'm quite excited about Red Hood's Revenge.

In the more immediate short term, I'm finishing Feed and rereading Jennifer Crusie's oeuvre, because much as I adore Feed, zombies give me nightmares, so I need something fun and fluffy to read at the end of the day. Feed is my breakfast book, Crusie my bedtime book. Bet Me's up next.
bookblather
Jun. 7th, 2010 05:03 pm (UTC)
Oh, also, I friended you BECAUSE you talk about racism, sexism, etc, in such a frank and unapologetic manner. So's you know.
(no subject) - jimhines - Jun. 7th, 2010 05:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dweomeroflight - Jun. 8th, 2010 08:39 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jimhines - Jun. 8th, 2010 01:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dweomeroflight - Jun. 8th, 2010 11:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jimhines - Jun. 7th, 2010 05:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bookblather - Jun. 8th, 2010 05:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - zelda888 - Jun. 8th, 2010 03:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
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misslynx
Jun. 7th, 2010 05:08 pm (UTC)
A few books I've read and enjoyed recently (well, for a fairly loose definition of "recently"):

Cherie Priest's Boneshaker - yes, I know, everyone else on earth had already read it. Sometimes I come in late to these things.

Ekaterina Sedia's The Secret History of Moscow and The Alchemy of Stone - very much enjoyed both, though I think the former more than the latter. Also, while I love her writing style and imagination, I'm not always pleased with her endings. Not that I require a storybook and-they-all-lived-happily-ever-after sort of ending, but, well - can't really say anything else without spoilers.

Catherynne M. Valiente's Palimpsest - I actually read it about six months ago, but I loved it so much I'll probably be including it on "cool stuff I've read recently" lists for the next 10 years.

Always interesting to see who defriends me after I post about racism, sexism, etc...

Well, on the flip side, I friended you because I like what you write on issues like that. Embarrassing as it may be to admit, I'd never heard of you or read any of your books before I found your LJ through someone else linking to a post you'd written on feminism (can't now recall which one, or who linked to it). So hopefully these things balance out...
jimhines
Jun. 7th, 2010 05:29 pm (UTC)
Took me a while to catch up on Boneshaker too. I read Secret History, but haven't gotten to Alchemy of Stone yet.

It does balance out, thanks. And please don't be embarrassed that you'd never heard of me. Most people haven't. My first book from DAW only came out a few years ago. I'm still pretty new, and I'm okay with that.
lavvyan
Jun. 7th, 2010 05:23 pm (UTC)
If it's any consolation, I friended you because of your posts about racism, sexism, and so on. Haven't read a single one of your books.

... Which probably isn't all that much of a consolation after all. Sorry.
jimhines
Jun. 7th, 2010 05:27 pm (UTC)
Consolation not required. Mostly I just find it interesting to see what pushes people away. And it might just be that some people prefer their authors to be soapbox-free.

But I figured out a while ago that if I worry about gaining or losing readers, it gets in the way of just saying what I want to say.

(And thank you!)
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