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Thread: December - How Many?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Jeez! Don't you have anything better to do with your time? Martin's Avatar
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    December - How Many?

    As is usual, my reading time took a hit in December. Still managed to read 7 stories:

    A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A Fletcher:
    Add the phrase ‘on a quest’ at the end of the title and you would have a pretty accurate synopsis of the book. For about the first 80% of the book I was enjoying the story but not real impressed. The last 20% takes this book to the next level. A very satisfying read.
    4 Stars

    The Road by Cormac McCarthy:
    I have actually avoided this one, thinking it would be to dark. I actually did not find the story that dark after all. I found the love the father had for his son and how he prepared him for life is what stood out for me.
    4 Stars

    The Collected Schizophrenias by Esme Weijun Wang:
    The Author has Schizoaffective Disorder. In the book she discusses some of the differences in the types of schizophrenias. She also discusses how society deals with persons suffering mental illness and the effects that treatment can have on the person. While much of the book is rather clinical it really strikes when it is personal. Having had a brother who was schizophrenic this book was very emotional for me.
    4 Stars

    Chernobyl 01:23:40 by Andrew Leatherbarrow:
    This book began as a personal fact-finding mission with results posted on a blog. People reading the blog suggested he make a book. Much of this is information I have heard before but he does delve into new territory. My only issue was with the writing taking place over 5 years he at times jumps around. A good read but it would have done with another round of editing.
    4 Stars

    A River in Darkness by Masaji Ishikawa:
    I have read several tales of people escaping North Korean concentration camps and making it out to the South. This is a very different tale. The authors father was born in Korea (the southern part of the united Korea) and kidnapped at about 13 by the Japanese. He was taken to Japan as slave labor for the Japan war effort. When the war ended, he was simply released and allowed to find his way as a Japanese citizen. Japan did not welcome the Korean’s who now found themselves living in Japan. He was treated very poorly. He managed to fall in love with a Japanese woman. They got married and started a family. The family had a very hard life with the father’s inability to find decent work, both from a lack of training and rampant prejudice. In the 1950’s The North Korean government had people in Japan recruiting Korean’s to return to this new utopian society in the North. They promised good jobs and a free education for their kids. Upon arrival in Korea they quickly learned that things would not be as advertised. The children were not allowed to attend school because they were ‘dirty Japanese’. The mother could only find menial labor for the same reason. The father was also discriminated against because the locals looked down on the ‘returnees.’ The book follows his life in Korea until in his thirties and facing starvation for his children, his wife and himself it was decided he would try to get back to Japan. It also covers how the Japanese after getting him home did not want his story publicized and the issues he faced after returning to Japan. This is a hear wrenching story originally published in 2000 in Japan. Translated to English in 2018.
    5 Stars

    A Little Yellow Book of Fever Dreams by Caitlan Kiernan:
    I was really looking forward to this book in the series. I have repeatedly heard great things about the author. I am not sure if it was just the story selection but these stories mostly fell flat for me. One I would consider pretty good and one good. The rest I could have done without. Overall, I give it three stars but it is close to a two-star read for me.
    3 Stars

    The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King:
    I have not read this book since the mid to late 80’s but remembered as one of my top King reads. Decided to give it a re-read via Audible. The story was everything I remember. I love the story of King Roland, his two sons, and his magician Flagg. On top of that Bronson Pinchot does a great job with the narration!
    5 Stars

  2. #2
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    Finished 6 in December.

    The Seeds of Nightmares was my introduction to the work of Tony Tremblay, and overall I found it to be a pretty solid collection. The stories ranged from horror ("The Strange Saga of Mattie Dyer"; "The Husband of Kellie"), SF/Fantasy ("Stardust"; "Tsunami") to noir ("Old Men" & "The Pawnshop"). Will definitely read more of Tremblay in the future. 3.75 / 5

    Green Grow the Rash was a chapbook collection of 7 short horror stories by William Meikle. For the most part I enjoyed the stories in this short chapbook. Nothing ground breaking here. If you are a fan of Meikle's work you will enjoy these chapbooks; if you're not, then you probably won't. 3.75 / 5

    The Siren & the Specter was the first thing I've read by Jonathan Janz. It definitely won't be the last. The story revolves around a paranormal investigator hired by a college friend and his wife to investigate their newly purchased house, which has a long history of horrific events tied to it. A major past wrong doing on the part of the protagonist soon comes into play in the storyline. Janz does an excellent job in updating traditional horror tropes (the haunted house, ghosts) into a modern storyline. Plus, his style of writing keeps the story moving along at a good pace. The beginning is a little slow, and the protagonist at times comes off as an asshole (which, in hind sight, makes him a more believable character than a cookie cutter 'good guy'), but I found the last 75 pages to be completely compelling reading. One of the better novels I've read this year. 4.5 / 5

    Odd Man Out by James Newman - I'd heard a lot of positive buzz about this novella from Newman, and after reading it, I have to say that OMO deserves it. A gut wrenching take on friendship, bullying, and peer pressure, OMO is one of the best things I've read by Newman. 5 / 5

    Tales of Death was another chapbook collection by William Meikle, this one containing 3 stories dealing with death and the afterlife. 3.5 / 5

    Beneath the Moors was the first novel by Brian Lumley, published by Arkham House in the mid 1970's. I'm a big fan of Lumley's short fiction, but I've never cared much for his longer stories. This tepid fantasy, influenced more by Derleth than Lovecraft, does nothing to change my opinion about that. 2 / 5

    B

  3. #3
    Senior Member Jeez! Don't you have anything better to do with your time? Martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brlesh View Post
    Finished 6 in December.

    The Seeds of Nightmares was my introduction to the work of Tony Tremblay, and overall I found it to be a pretty solid collection. The stories ranged from horror ("The Strange Saga of Mattie Dyer"; "The Husband of Kellie"), SF/Fantasy ("Stardust"; "Tsunami") to noir ("Old Men" & "The Pawnshop"). Will definitely read more of Tremblay in the future. 3.75 / 5

    Green Grow the Rash was a chapbook collection of 7 short horror stories by William Meikle. For the most part I enjoyed the stories in this short chapbook. Nothing ground breaking here. If you are a fan of Meikle's work you will enjoy these chapbooks; if you're not, then you probably won't. 3.75 / 5

    The Siren & the Specter was the first thing I've read by Jonathan Janz. It definitely won't be the last. The story revolves around a paranormal investigator hired by a college friend and his wife to investigate their newly purchased house, which has a long history of horrific events tied to it. A major past wrong doing on the part of the protagonist soon comes into play in the storyline. Janz does an excellent job in updating traditional horror tropes (the haunted house, ghosts) into a modern storyline. Plus, his style of writing keeps the story moving along at a good pace. The beginning is a little slow, and the protagonist at times comes off as an asshole (which, in hind sight, makes him a more believable character than a cookie cutter 'good guy'), but I found the last 75 pages to be completely compelling reading. One of the better novels I've read this year. 4.5 / 5

    Odd Man Out by James Newman - I'd heard a lot of positive buzz about this novella from Newman, and after reading it, I have to say that OMO deserves it. A gut wrenching take on friendship, bullying, and peer pressure, OMO is one of the best things I've read by Newman. 5 / 5

    Tales of Death was another chapbook collection by William Meikle, this one containing 3 stories dealing with death and the afterlife. 3.5 / 5

    Beneath the Moors was the first novel by Brian Lumley, published by Arkham House in the mid 1970's. I'm a big fan of Lumley's short fiction, but I've never cared much for his longer stories. This tepid fantasy, influenced more by Derleth than Lovecraft, does nothing to change my opinion about that. 2 / 5

    B
    Thanks for the reminder that I need to go back and read more from Jonathon Janz. The James Newman title sounds intriguing as well.

  4. #4
    Member Part-timer JasonUK's Avatar
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    John Urbancik - Darkwalker 1: Hunting Grounds (6/10) Orlando is awash with monsters including zombies, vampires, demons and were-bats! and only a select few watchers & hunters can see them. Non-stop action doesn't allow much time for backstory or characterisation. This first book in a series reads like YA fiction to me. Minimal swearing, limited gore and a couple of brief non-explicit sex scenes. Hopefully the following books will add more depth.

    William Ollie - Fifteen Minutes (7/10) A 16 year old geeky virgin "inherits" a magic ring that lets him become any person he can subdue for 12 hours. He plans to use it to have sex with lots of hot women but events turn out very differently than he expects. A few plot holes aside, this was a fun read.

    Andrzej Sapkowski - The Last Wish : The Witcher Book 1 (6/10) I read this in preparation for watching the new TV series. It's a collection of short stories about the central character who travels around hunting monsters for money. A decent start but I hope the novels later in the series will provide more backstory and world-building.

    Philip K Dick - Do Andriods Dream of Electric Sheep? (3/10) I've always considered Blade Runner to be a great, visually stunning noir thriller, but now I've read the mediocre novel it's based on I have even more respect for the movie. The book's continual ramblings about the benefits of animal ownership are tedious in the extreme while the hunt for and fights with the androids are a complete anti-climax.

  5. #5
    Administrator Totally Insane Dan Hocker's Avatar
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    December was the month of Terry Pratchett. I completed the first 4 Discworld audio books in December and started on the 5th book last week. So that's:

    The Color of Magic
    The Light Fantastic
    Equal Rites
    Mort

    and I'm currently listening to Sorcery. Mort was a bit Meh and I'm not very far into Sorcery yet, but I've enjoyed them all so far.
    CD Email: danhocker@cemeterydance.com

    Non-Work related social media and what not:
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    Buy my stuff! - https://www.etsy.com/shop/HockersWoodWorks

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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonUK View Post

    William Ollie - Fifteen Minutes (7/10) A 16 year old geeky virgin "inherits" a magic ring that lets him become any person he can subdue for 12 hours. He plans to use it to have sex with lots of hot women but events turn out very differently than he expects. A few plot holes aside, this was a fun read.
    Whatever happened to William Ollie...? He was a real staple of the older message boards, and he was an insanely aggressive self-promoter. We used to correspond via e-mail fairly regularly, and he used to send me drafts of his books for feedback. I mention this because it was after reading FIFTEEN MINUTES that I stopped hearing from him. I read the book as a favor, and he kept pressing me for honest feedback, and didn't take my subtle hints that I didn't really care for the book....I finally agreed to break down everything about it that I didn't like, at his repeated request, and....he seemed hurt. Never heard back after that. I don't think he's published anything in years, and his website has been claimed by a Japanese site that has a picture of a redhead holding an apple on the front page (???).
    I'm not on any social media, so I'm not sure if he has a Facebook page...hope he's doing OK.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Receiving Daily Medication c marvel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dannyboy121070 View Post
    Whatever happened to William Ollie...? He was a real staple of the older message boards, and he was an insanely aggressive self-promoter. We used to correspond via e-mail fairly regularly, and he used to send me drafts of his books for feedback. I mention this because it was after reading FIFTEEN MINUTES that I stopped hearing from him. I read the book as a favor, and he kept pressing me for honest feedback, and didn't take my subtle hints that I didn't really care for the book....I finally agreed to break down everything about it that I didn't like, at his repeated request, and....he seemed hurt. Never heard back after that. I don't think he's published anything in years, and his website has been claimed by a Japanese site that has a picture of a redhead holding an apple on the front page (???).
    I'm not on any social media, so I'm not sure if he has a Facebook page...hope he's doing OK.
    I did a quick search for William Ollie author and did not find any sign of a website or blog for William Ollie. I have Sideshow and read it. It was okay, IMO it did not live up to the hype for the book. I'm not saying that Sideshow was bad, just good. I also have The Damned and Lord Of The Mountain by William Ollie. I do see that William Ollie is on Facebook. At a quick glance it appears he does not post much on FB. There are hardly any posts about books.

    Cap
    Last edited by c marvel; 01-10-2020 at 02:15 AM.
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