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Our three-year-old has chickenpox, so he's in quarantine until he ceases to be contagious. He's dealing with it pretty well really - some scratching, not too serious - but of course cabin fever is beginning to set in a bit, and it threw our weekend plans completely out of kilter: I'd planned to take them up to Dad's for a day or so and then take them to a child's birthday party, neither of which got to happen. So instead I did a bit of crafting with them that didn't require too much creativity from me ("Duct Tape Dragsters"; quite cute, though the interest seemed to pall almost as soon as we'd built them, but hopefully they'll pick them up again a bit later), and have otherwise mostly been decompressing and trying to at least establish some kind of base camp on the housework mountain. This evening [livejournal.com profile] ghoti and I played Monastery, which I think worked much better the second time although the rules are still not the clearest piece of writing in the world and I had to resort to BoardGameGeek to disambiguate, which was OK until I failed to correctly explain what I'd learned to [livejournal.com profile] ghoti and ended up inadvertently gaining an advantage as a result. Hopefully next time we'll know what we're doing.

So, recent reading. My reading rate is way slower than a lot of other people I know these days, but I've managed to finish a few things recently.
  • The Martian, Andy Weir. Picked up from XKCD, who clearly knows exactly what I like and summarises it better than I can. "Hard science fiction" doesn't seem to quite cover it, since for me that suggests something more physicsy along the lines of Greg Egan; maybe hard engineering fiction? Any book whose plot uses rocket fuel for some purpose other than going bang and accelerating things is just fine by me.
  • Tigana, Guy Gavriel Kay. Not finished, but doesn't matter because it's comfort re-reading. Fantasy in a land where an invading sorcerer has made it impossible for anyone not from the eponymous province to hear or remember its name as retribution for the death of his son. It's one of the most luminously poetic works of speculative fiction I know and I love it.
  • The Annihilation Score, Charles Stross, sixth novel in the Laundry Files sequence. I'd probably happily read Charlie's shopping list and I've had this on pre-order for a while, then devoured it in a couple of days (very quick for me at the moment). The series premise is that sufficiently complex computation breaks down barriers between universes, allowing practitioners to perform magic but also summoning eldritch and very unfriendly entities in the process: basically, Lovecraft was right, but Turing put it on a scientific footing and then the British government spun off a secret department to try to keep people safe from it. The earlier novels let Stross pastiche classic British spy fiction as well as riffing on the horror genre, but the basic premise is pretty flexible and later books have been heading in the direction of urban fantasy. This one's an occult superhero novel. The protagonist is married to the protag of the previous books, and Charlie has been dropping hints that this will expose ways in which the previous protag is an unreliable narrator, but I didn't notice very much of that; perhaps it will become clearer on re-reading.
  • The Bloggess. This is probably one of those cases where everyone else ran across the giant metal chicken story years ago and I just missed it, but anyway, A+++ would collapse in fits of giggles again.
  • The Book of Taltos, Steven Brust, books 4 and 5 of a series. Borrowed from [personal profile] liv, as with the previous anthology The Book of Jhereg which included books 1-3. The first three were more or less otherworldly detective yarns and thoroughly enjoyable; but I'm not far enough through these two to say much about them yet. Maybe later.
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We have a ridiculous excess of books, not so much compared to how many books I want to have in an ideal world, but certainly compared to how much space we have for storing them, so I'm going to start trying to cull them. Does anyone who I'm likely to see in the next month or two want any of these, for free? Otherwise I'll take them to a charity shop or similar.

Scott Adams: The Dilbert Future
Robert Asprin: Another Fine Myth
Tim Berners-Lee: Weaving the Web
Alex Boese: Elephants on Acid, and Other Bizarre Experiments
The Harvard Lampoon: Bored of the Rings
Seanan McGuire: October Daye, books 1-4 (Rosemary and Rue; A Local Habitation; An Artificial Night; Late Eclipses) - these were water-damaged thanks to the good care taken by a courier so we got replacement copies, but I believe they're still readable
Mil Millington: Things my girlfriend and I have argued about
New Scientist: Do Polar Bears Get Lonely?
Lemony Snicket: A Series of Unfortunate Events, books 1-3 (omnibus)
Keir Thomas: Beginning Ubuntu Linux

ETA: added the Lemony Snicket
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[livejournal.com profile] sphyg asked me to write about good films/books.

Read more... )

This post is part of my December days series. Please prompt me!
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Who: Peter Dickinson
Whence: Borrowed from [personal profile] liv and [personal profile] jack
What: Alternative-history poly-friendly murder mystery

King and Joker is a neatly-plotted murder mystery in the Christie mould, with some intriguing quirks.

review, with mild spoilers )

Overall, I enjoyed this very much, and would gladly recommend it to anyone who enjoys the mystery genre.

Book meme

Jan. 1st, 2012 03:19 pm
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From [personal profile] kaberett: NPR's top 100 SF/Fantasy books. Bold if you've read, italicise ones you fully intend to read, underline if it's a book/series you've read part but not all of.

Read more... )

Of those I read last year, my favourite was probably "Anathem", although it did take a while to get into it. "A Canticle for Leibowitz" and "A Fire Upon the Deep" are comfortably on my re-read-again-and-again list, and I really must finish the "Hyperion" series because I adore Dan Simmons' style. I would not read any more of "Thomas Covenant" if you paid me.

September 2017



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