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Thread: November - How Many Books?

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    Senior Member Receiving Daily Medication TacomaDiver's Avatar
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    November - How Many Books?

    My reading habits changed this month and will continue changing for the foreseeable future (I'm back to carpooling for work - driving in the mornings - instead of spending 4-5 hours a day on trains an buses, so my reading time is less) but I still managed to knock out a few books this month:

    Book-Books
    1. The Dark Forest (Cixin Liu) - 4/5
    2. Gods of Risk (James S.A. Corey) - 3/5
    3. The Vital Abyss (James S.A. Corey) - 2/5
    4. Senlin Ascends (Josiah Bancroft) - 5/5
    5. An Easy Death (Charlaine Harris) - 3/5

    Comics
    1. Astro City Volume 14: Reflections (Kurt Busiek) - 4/5
    2. Daredevil Volume 1: Guardian Devil (Kevin Smith) - 4/5
    3. Daredevil Volume 2: Parts of a Hole (David Mack) - 3/5
    4. Daredevil Volume 3: Wake Up (Brian Michael Bendis) - 4/5
    5. The Punisher: Welcome Back, Frank (Garth Ennis) - 4/5

  2. #2
    Senior Member Lobotomized Martin's Avatar
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    In November I had less reading time but managed to keep my book count up with Audible. I also benefited from several of my reads this month being shorter works. I completed 13 reads in November.

    Psycho by Robert Bloch: I had never read this but felt like I knew the story well from multiple viewings of the movie. Great read with more character development than the movie, no surprise there.
    4 Stars

    The Woman in Black by Susan Hill: This one re-appears on may classic horror book lists but I have never read it and new little about it. The audio book was on sale in October so I added it. Not a classic for me but the story finished strong enough for me to give it three stars but it was close to a two star book for me. I have not seen the movie and probably will not bother.
    3 Stars

    Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell: This is another story I new very little about that was on sale on Audible so I added it. I loved this novel. It had a few sub plots that I felt did not need to be in the story, without those it would have been a five story for me. Will probably seek out more from this author.
    4 Stars

    Jaws by Peter Benchley: Another that I had never read but felt I knew the story well from the movie. There are significant story elements that are not in the movie and the book has a much better ending in my view. Definitely worth a read.
    4 Stars

    The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum: Another Audible sale book. This is one I have wanted to read for a long time. I knew it was loosely based on a true story and Ketchum never fails me. Throughout the story I kept thinking he was taking great liberties with the actual story as it could not have been this horrific. When I finished the book, I researched the events the story is based on. Turns every horrific act I thought he was embellishing actually happened. I am so glad I did not that when I was reading as it would have made the story had to get through. This book is a look into pure evil, mob mentality and how people can perform evil acts out of fear.
    5 Stars

    Have a Nice Day by Billy Crystal and Quinton Peeples: This was a free story from Audible and is performed as a radio play. I enjoyed it more than I expected as it was a fun uplifting story.
    4 Stars

    Automated Customer Service by John Scalzi: This is a short story released on Mr. Scalzi’s website for free. I really like Mr. Scalzi’s work but his purely humor pieces often do not work for me. This was one of those pieces.
    2 Stars

    Twain’s Feast Audible adaptation of an Andrew Beahrs novel: Another Audible free story. This is based on a book about Mark Twain’s favorite foods and is taken from a list Twain made when touring Europe and missing home. The book is really about America during Twain’s life. Parts of this are fantastic and parts feel forced. Overall an enjoyable read.
    3 Stars

    In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan: ‘Eat Food. Mostly plants. Not too much.’ Mr. Pollan makes a defense of food. Overall a read good presentation of common sense and facts about the effects of ‘Industrial food’ on our health.
    4 Stars

    30 Day’s of Night by Steve Niles: Another Audible sale item. Another story I knew little about. This is a full audio play of the original graphic novel. Enjoyed it but was not blown away.
    3 Stars

    A Christmas Story by Jean Sheppard: Started my Christmas season with a re-read of this fun story.
    3 Stars

    The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien: I have come close to picking this up many times. It is a semi-autobiographical story of a young man sent to fight in Vietnam. Really glad I picked it up. The author uses fiction to present the emotions of a young man from the time he is drafted, through his experiences at war and trying to adapt to life at home and having a child. This is not a linear story but a group of vignettes that piece together a view into the effects war can have on the human mind. After one of the stories the author also inserts a brief explanation of how the story came to be and why he uses a soldier’s real name when the rest of the book uses fictional names. As a man who was lucky enough to be raised in a time of peace this is a read that will stick with me for a long time.
    4 Stars

    The Vietnam in Me by Tim O’Brien: This is a non-fiction story about the authors return to Vietnam 25 years after he served there.
    4 Stars

  3. #3
    Administrator Totally Insane Dan Hocker's Avatar
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    6 books in November.

    Books 1 - 6 of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. So I'll probably be done by early January. Progress has been quick as I've been out working in the shop a lot in November so several extra hours of listening to audio books a day. Plus given that with most of these this is probably my 5th or 6th time through the books (first with the audio books though) I know what to kind skim past as being boring. Robert Jordan can be a little too long winded for "re-reads" sometimes.
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    Senior Member Hearing Voices
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    Martin, you may be the first person I've seen that liked the JAWS novel. The film is, of course, a classic, but from comments I've seen and my own (ultimately failed attempt at) reading of Benchley's novel, it was in spite of the book not because of it. I found it truly awful, and I give Spielberg credit for having the foresight to see through Benchley's prose and be inspired by the concept.

    Hill's THE WOMAN IN BLACK: I just finished it last night, and would generally agree with you...while it was fairly good, I didn't find that its modern classic status was really justified. Perhaps my patience for slow-burn novels is not what it once was, and I do understand that it was a homage to an older style of storytelling, but it felt like the first third could have been lopped off by an astute editor and the book would have been no less for it. As well, I never really felt like the protagonist was in jeopardy (nor, for most of the book, did he), which rachets down the suspense considerably. Maybe a 3.5 star book from me.

    The Bloch and O'Brien books: Yep, agreed -- great stuff.

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    Junior Member Visitor JasonUK's Avatar
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    Stephen King - Elevation (3/10) Another sub-par effort from King following on from his poor story in the Flight or Fright anthology. Mercifully it was only a short novella and not a full blown novel.

    Robert McCammon - The Listener (8/10) Southern noir with a supernatural twist. Highly enjoyable.

    Joe Lansdale - A Fine Dark Line (5/10) Part coming-of-age, part murder mystery, part social commentary. Lansdale tries to cram too much into this novel for any part to be fully satisfying. Readable but not among the author's best work.

    Stephen King & Richard Chizmar - Gwendy's Button Box (4/10) A companion piece to Elevation, this is another short novel where the main character loses weight unnaturally. Instantly forgettable. At this point I'm not sure King knows what horror is any more.

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    Senior Member Lobotomized Martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonClinton View Post
    Martin, you may be the first person I've seen that liked the JAWS novel. The film is, of course, a classic, but from comments I've seen and my own (ultimately failed attempt at) reading of Benchley's novel, it was in spite of the book not because of it. I found it truly awful, and I give Spielberg credit for having the foresight to see through Benchley's prose and be inspired by the concept.

    Hill's THE WOMAN IN BLACK: I just finished it last night, and would generally agree with you...while it was fairly good, I didn't find that its modern classic status was really justified. Perhaps my patience for slow-burn novels is not what it once was, and I do understand that it was a homage to an older style of storytelling, but it felt like the first third could have been lopped off by an astute editor and the book would have been no less for it. As well, I never really felt like the protagonist was in jeopardy (nor, for most of the book, did he), which rachets down the suspense considerably. Maybe a 3.5 star book from me.

    The Bloch and O'Brien books: Yep, agreed -- great stuff.
    I enjoyed Jaws, both the movie and the novel. The elements of the novel that are not in the book, while interesting background, did not need to be in the movie. The ending of the novel was, in my opinion, better than the movie but I get why the novel ending would not have worked as a movie. I think our views on The Woman in Black are similar. I only give whole stars because that is all Goodreads allows.

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    I loved Jaws the novel but I read it in about 1975, so my critical sense was a little underdeveloped.

    I had a much quieter November but here's what Goodreads says:

    Feed - Mira Grant 3/5 - I'm a bit over Zombie stories
    The Last Colony - John Scalzi 5/5 - Loving the OMW series
    Zoe's Tale - John Scalzi 4/5 - a bit YA for my taste but it's still Scalzi's voice
    How to be right in a world gone wrong - James O'Brien 5/5
    Astrophysics for People in a hurry - Neil deGrasse Tyson 5/5 - I'm in a hurry and I love Astrophysics
    Dead in the West - Joe Lansdale 4/5 - An easy read, but more Zombies!
    The Drive-in - Joe Lansdale 3/5 - a bit silly but fun.
    The Drive-in 2 - Joe Lansdale 3/5 - more silliness, more fun.
    Southern Highway Gospel Companion - Richard Holeman 5/5 - I love this bloke.
    For We Are Many - Dennis E Taylor 5/5 - This is a bit like the murderbot series. Really just one novel masquerading as three novellas.
    All These Worlds - Dennis E Taylor 5/5 - see above
    New York 2140 - Kim Stanley Robinson 3/5 - I have mixed feelings about this. I'll need to read some more of his work to make up my mind. A strong 3.

    Actually, I read more than I thought in November. Some short books in there though.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Lobotomized Martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HumphreyBear View Post
    I loved Jaws the novel but I read it in about 1975, so my critical sense was a little underdeveloped.

    I had a much quieter November but here's what Goodreads says:

    Feed - Mira Grant 3/5 - I'm a bit over Zombie stories
    The Last Colony - John Scalzi 5/5 - Loving the OMW series
    Zoe's Tale - John Scalzi 4/5 - a bit YA for my taste but it's still Scalzi's voice
    How to be right in a world gone wrong - James O'Brien 5/5
    Astrophysics for People in a hurry - Neil deGrasse Tyson 5/5 - I'm in a hurry and I love Astrophysics
    Dead in the West - Joe Lansdale 4/5 - An easy read, but more Zombies!
    The Drive-in - Joe Lansdale 3/5 - a bit silly but fun.
    The Drive-in 2 - Joe Lansdale 3/5 - more silliness, more fun.
    Southern Highway Gospel Companion - Richard Holeman 5/5 - I love this bloke.
    For We Are Many - Dennis E Taylor 5/5 - This is a bit like the murderbot series. Really just one novel masquerading as three novellas.
    All These Worlds - Dennis E Taylor 5/5 - see above
    New York 2140 - Kim Stanley Robinson 3/5 - I have mixed feelings about this. I'll need to read some more of his work to make up my mind. A strong 3.

    Actually, I read more than I thought in November. Some short books in there though.
    I agree with you on Zoe's Tale. Really enjoyed it but it had the feel of a story for his daughter to me.

  9. #9
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    Finished 7 in November.

    Strange Weather was a collection of four novellas by Joe Hill.* This was a definite mixed bag for me.* My favorite by far was 'Loaded', which I think could easily be expanded to novel length.* I also liked the apocalyptical 'Rain'.* 'Snapshot' was OK, and I didn't care for the too fantastical 'Aloft'. 3.5/5 **

    Bad Moon Rising was the third book in Jonathan Maberry's Pine Deep trilogy and a very satisfying conclusion to the story.* I liked all three books and this one was the best.* This classic horrors trilogy has definitely made me want to seek out more of Maberry's work in the future.* 5/5

    Elevation was a short, novella length piece by Stephen King.* There were fantastical elements to this story, but it was basically about how neighbors (and people in general) should treat one another.* I quick read that enjoyed.* 4/5

    Flight or Fright was an anthology of stories about the bad things that can happen during air travel edited by Stephen King & Bev Vincent.* I found most of the stories to be entertaining, though there were a few I didn't care for.* Favorites were 'You are Released' by Joe Hill (the best story in the anthology IMO), 'Air Raid' by John Varley, and the classic Matheson story 'Nightmare at 20,000 Feet'.* 4/5* * *

    Magic Wagon was an early, weird western by Joe Lansdale.* I liked this story about an orphaned teenager who somehow finds himself joined up with some strange traveling companions who are part snake oil salesmen and part traveling carnival.* An entertaining story, though definitely not Lansdale at his best. 4/5

    Shining in the Dark is a commemorative anthology edited by Hans-Ake Lilja celebrating 20 years of the website Lilja's Library.* This was for the most part a very entertaining anthology, with favorite stories by Bev Vincent ('Aeliana'), Kevin Quigley ('Drawn to the Flame' - reminiscent of Something Wicked This Way Comes, though much darker than Bradbury's classic tale), Brian Keene ('An End to All Things' - if only his novels would remain to be as interesting as his short fiction continues to be) and Brian James Freeman ('A Mother's Love' - a very short story with a very surprise ending).* 4/5* **

    The Event by Michael McBride was a short novel with a very interesting concept that was marred by a lackluster ending.* I really liked the first 4/5 of this story, about how individuals* with insider information could use instances of domestic terrorism to control the stock market.* However, I found the reveal of the identities of the protagonists at the end of the story to be a little too far fetched.* A very interesting story by McBride that comes up short due to an unbelievable ending. 3.5/5

    B

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