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tannat

Tannat

Not so much a blog; just lots of books

Currently reading

Spinning Silver
Naomi Novik, Lisa Flanagan
The Tropic of Serpents
Marie Brennan, Kate Reading
The Black Tides of Heaven
JY Yang
Lies Sleeping
Ben Aaronovitch
Artificial Condition
Martha Wells
Progress: 18%
Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life
Liz Kalaugher, Matin Durrani
Progress: 70/294pages
Engineering Animals: How Life Works
Alan Mcfadzean, Mark Denny
Progress: 125/314pages
The Rise of Yeast: How the Sugar Fungus Shaped Civilization
Nicholas P. Money
Conservation of Shadows
Yoon Ha Lee
Progress: 22%
Le premier jour
Marc Levy
Progress: 180/496pages

Reading progress update: I've read 18%.

Artificial Condition - Martha Wells

I'm reading about Murderbot and a ship AI binge watching TV, essentially. Please tell me there's something more to this novella.

The Sultan's Seal by Jenny White (audiobook)

The Sultan's Seal - Jenny White, Nadia May

Series: Kamil Pasha #1

 

The only reason I finished this book was because it was an audiobook. In fact, I almost abandoned it anyway but the other selection I had downloaded at the time wasn't very engaging either.

 

The main character appears to be Kamil Pasha, a magistrate in the secular courts of the late Ottoman Empire, who is investigating the murder of a woman. Sybil, the daughter of the English ambassador, gets involved and appears to serve as his love interest, but there are also chapters in the first person from an initially unnamed woman.

 

I mostly found the book dull, and the present tense was very distracting in audiobook form: it just sounded wrong. It also turns out that the mystery woman's chapters are necessary because Kamil Pasha doesn't discover all that much of the truth, so the story needs to be rounded out. Oh, and Sybil is TSTL.

Snakes & Ladders Update Post 8

I'm using the history book I just finished to roll one die (you could maybe argue that it could fit because many of the historical figures discussed were men but I wouldn't call them main characters). Plus this way is less risky from a snake point of view. Maybe.

 

 

 

Squares Completed (Square condition in bold if book actually meets the square's condition):

1. Author is a woman: Ruler of the Night by David Morrell [1 die = 3]
4. Published in 2019: Graphene by Les Johnson & Joseph E. Meany [1 die = 1]
5. Published in 2018The World in a Grain by Vince Beiser [2 dice = 8]

13. Author is a manA Necessary End by Peter Robinson [2 dice = 7]

20. Set in a country that is not your country of residenceA Dedicated Man by Peter Robinson [ladder]

70. Something related to fall/autumn on the cover: The Hanging Valley by Peter Robinson [1 die = 6]

76. Set in a world with magic: Jade City by Fonda Lee [1 die = 6]

80. Main character is a man: The Royal Art of Poison by Eleanor Herman [1 die = 2]

82. Genre: urban fantasy:

 

This may call for Lies Sleeping, the latest Rivers of London book. :D

The Royal Art of Poison by Eleanor Herman

The Royal Art of Poison: Filthy Palaces, Fatal Cosmetics, Deadly Medicine, and Murder Most Foul - Eleanor Herman

This is a popular history account of the final illnesses of various historical personages reputed to have died of poison. It also has some general poison information and some more modern poisons and poisoners. Plus some historical medical information, ghastly as it may seem to us.

 

The author's tone sometimes veered toward condescension when talking about various mercury and arsenic cures but it's interesting that some of them actually worked. Of course, poisoning the patient was a potential side effect but avoidable in the right dose. Anyway, it was interesting that the author combined the historical autopsies with the modern diagnoses and autopsies (if available) because I honestly had no idea that autopsies were such a common thing that long ago (at least among the nobility).

 

I was also introduced to some historical personages that I hadn't heard of before (I'm not exactly a history buff) so that was cool, although a lot of the people were English, French, and Italian. Anyway, it's not overly rigorous by any means, but I found it interesting.

Snakes & Ladders Update Post 7

I decided to use Jade City and roll just one die (it's fantasy and jade gives enhanced abilities but it's not really considered magical).

 

 

 

Squares Completed (Square condition in bold if book actually meets the square's condition):

1. Author is a woman: Ruler of the Night by David Morrell [1 die = 3]
4. Published in 2019: Graphene by Les Johnson & Joseph E. Meany [1 die = 1]
5. Published in 2018The World in a Grain by Vince Beiser [2 dice = 8]

13. Author is a manA Necessary End by Peter Robinson [2 dice = 7]

20. Set in a country that is not your country of residenceA Dedicated Man by Peter Robinson [ladder]

70. Something related to fall/autumn on the cover: The Hanging Valley by Peter Robinson [1 die = 6]

76. Set in a world with magic: Jade City by Fonda Lee [1 die = 6]

80. Main character is a man

 

Hmm...my current audiobook, The Sultan's Seal, appears to have the main character as a man but there also appear to be some chapters from a woman's POV (the transitions are confusing in audio and I'm not sure what the woman has to do with the story yet). Would that count?

The Sultan's Seal - Jenny White,Nadia May

For those who might find the description interesting, it's written in the present tense, which just seems jarring in the audio.

 

I suppose I could always read another Banks. But those frequently have other POV chapters interlaced as well.

 

 

The Hanging Valley by Peter Robinson (audiobook)

The Hanging Valley - James Langton, Peter   Robinson

Series: Inspector Banks #4

 

 

So, this one was pretty good although I could tell my attention was flagging from too many Banks in a row. And there's a lot of abusive relationship crap along with rape. Inspector Banks gets to fly to Toronto and hang out on the Danforth while looking for an English expat in all the  British bars in Toronto (don't worry, he paces himself). The narrator's Canadian accent was way too American and there were a few things like mispronounced street names (Yonge is pronounced like young and not like yong and the i in Spadina is pronounced like eye and not ee unless the pronunciations have shifted in the last 30 years). Don't get me started about pronouncing the final t in Toronto. At least there was no spelling out of the abbreviation for the Royal Ontario Museum (R-O-M (a pet peeve)).

 

Getting Banks turned around in the underground shops at Yonge & St. Clair was a nice touch, although there are certainly more confusing areas.

 

ETA: I forgot to mention that I think these must have been Americanized versions of the books because I think I caught Robinson referring to Banks's "pants" when he meant trousers. o.O

 

(ETA = Edited to Add)

Snakes & Ladders Update Post 6

Book doesn't fit the prompt, so just one die to roll:

 

 

Squares Completed (Square condition in bold if book actually meets the square's condition):

1. Author is a woman: Ruler of the Night by David Morrell [1 die = 3]
4. Published in 2019: Graphene by Les Johnson & Joseph E. Meany [1 die = 1]
5. Published in 2018The World in a Grain by Vince Beiser [2 dice = 8]

13. Author is a manA Necessary End by Peter Robinson [2 dice = 7]

20. Set in a country that is not your country of residence: A Dedicated Man by Peter Robinson [ladder]

70. Something related to fall/autumn on the cover: The Hanging Valley by Peter Robinson [1 die = 6]

76. Set in a world with magic

 

I have lots that I could use for this square although I'm not sure when I'll get around to them, so I may end up using something that doesn't actually fit. I don't think Jade City really has a world with magic, so that means that I can't finally use that book.

Snakes & Ladders Update Post 5

No dice roll for me despite reading a book that fit the square but I get to climb a ladder instead. It looks like I'll only be rolling one die from here because none of my current books have anything related to Fall on the cover.

 

 

Squares Completed (Square condition in bold if book actually meets the square's condition):

1. Author is a woman: Ruler of the Night by David Morrell [1 die = 3]
4. Published in 2019: Graphene by Les Johnson & Joseph E. Meany [1 die = 1]
5. Published in 2018The World in a Grain by Vince Beiser [2 dice = 8]

13. Author is a manA Necessary End by Peter Robinson [2 dice = 7]

20. Set in a country that is not your country of residence: A Dedicated Man by Peter Robinson [ladder]

70. Something related to fall/autumn on the cover:

A Dedicated Man by Peter Robinson (audiobook)

A Dedicated Man (Inspector Banks #2) - Peter   Robinson, James Langton

Series: Inspector Banks #2

 

Not a bad second in the series (especially since I apparently one-starred the first book), but I ended up having to relisten to the last chapter to figure out how everything worked.

Snakes & Ladders Update Post 4

 

Ladder!

 

I've switched things up a bit and I've started putting semi-transparent markers on the squares I've been.

 

 

Squares Completed (Square condition in bold if book actually meets the square's condition):

1. Author is a woman: Ruler of the Night by David Morrell [1 die = 3]
4. Published in 2019: Graphene by Les Johnson & Joseph E. Meany [1 die = 1]
5. Published in 2018The World in a Grain by Vince Beiser [2 dice = 8]

13. Author is a man: A Necessary End by Peter Robinson [2 dice = 7]

20. Set in a country that is not your country of residence

 

That one should be easy...in fact, the next Banks should cover it. Although I suppose I could use Jade City for it too.

A Necessary End by Peter Robinson (audiobook)

A Necessary End (Inspector Banks #3) - James Langton, Peter   Robinson

Series: Inspector Banks #3

 

I'm reading this series out of order (I read book 3 before book 2) because of library availability and because I was looking for something written by a man that I could finish relatively quickly for the Snakes & Ladders game.

 

I have to say that I really enjoyed the narration (although it seems like the last second or so was cut off from several chapters) and the mystery was interesting enough to keep me guessing. It was also weird reading about everyone smoking and using their cigarette lighters to actually light their cigarettes rather than to charge their iphones (it was published in 1988). It made me realize that it's been many, many years since I've even seen an ashtray. 

 

Anyway, now book 2 has become available so I'll probably continue with that.

SPOILER ALERT!

Jade City by Fonda Lee (audiobook)

Jade City (The Green Bone Saga #1) - Fonda Lee, Andrew Kishino

Series: The Green Bone Saga #1

 

I didn't really know what to expect with this one. I forget how it got on my list in the first place, but it must have made enough waves for me to notice it when it came out. I was originally planning to read the ebook, which I bought, but then the library had the audiobook available, so I took that route instead. The audio was nice because that way I wasn't guessing about the pronunciation of the names, although I had to go back to my ecopy to check on spellings a few times.

 

Basically it's an alternate modern world (i.e. with different country names) where bioenergetic jade confers superpowers (basically heightened senses and abilities) on people. But most people are too sensitive to be actually be able to use jade, so only certain people from Kekon (a small Asian island nation) end up really using (although there are mentions of special ops teams in foreign countries). The people who use jade, the green bones, ended up organizing themselves into clans that are a mix of gangs and the mafia and that have political influence although they're not supposed to control politicians directly.

 

Jade City is the story of what happens when two of these clans go to war, and it's a mix of family drama and gang warfare, basically, with nice little touches like the fact that the old Pillar (head of the clan) never actually liked his second grandson and puts him down all the time. It goes so far that the old Pillar's right hand man is even willing to let the second grandson be killed by a rival clan in order to keep the peace because he feels that this is what his old boss would have wanted. That kind of family drama.

 

Anyway, I feel it's a pretty solid start to a new fantasy series, and I'll be looking for the next book when it comes out this summer.

February 2019 Wrap-Up

Books Read: 12

Average Rating: 3.1

 

4.5 stars

Good Omens - Terry Pratchett,Neil Gaiman,Martin Jarvis The World in a Grain , The Story of Sand and How It Transformed Civilization - Vince Beiser

 

3.5 stars

The Anatomist's Apprentice (A Dr. Thomas Silkstone Mystery, #1) - Tessa Harris,Simon Vance  

 

3 stars 

A Short History of Drunkenness - Mark Forsyth The Magician's Land - Mark Bramhall,Lev Grossman The Poppy War - R. F Kuang Ruler of the Night (Thomas De Quincey #3) - Neil Dickson,Hachette Audio,David Morrell Graphene: The Superstrong, Superthin, and Superversatile Material That Will Revolutionize the World  - Joseph E. Meany,Les  Johnson

 

2.5 stars

The Dead Shall Not Rest (Audio) - Tessa Harris,K.W. Jeter Equal Rites - Terry Pratchett,Celia Imrie Buried in a Bog (County Cork #1) - Amy Rubinate,Sheila Connolly

 

2 stars

The Devil's Breath - Tessa Harris,Simon Vance

 

 

Now for the graphs:

 

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 70 out of 294 pages.

Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life - Liz Kalaugher, Matin Durrani

So far I haven't seen any improvements in the level of "chattiness" and the way the discussion is organized, the efforts to make me interested in the subject matter bore me or almost make me miss the whole point of their discussion. For example, in the fire beetle section, among a lot of fluff, the discussion moves from a baseball game where the beetles are attacking people to how they're the enemies of trees to an oil fire in the 1920s to discussion of their infrared sensing abilities only to conclude that they were actually attracted to all the cigarettes and not that there was a nearby fire at the time that they were attacking people in the first subsection.

 

Some of this stuff could be interesting but I feel like you could distill each chapter subsection to a few paragraphs rather than pages and pages and that I'm spending my time wading through a lot of dross. Like, I'd be better off reading a Wikipedia entry on some of these animals if they existed. None of their pop culture references or jokes seem to hit the mark with me either. I'm not sure if I'm going to find anything interesting in the remaining chapters and I expect all their conclusions will be drawn out almost to the level of soap opera.

 

Since one of the authors is a man, if I finish this book, can I count it toward my current square #13 for the Snakes & Ladders game?

Reading progress update: I've read 15 out of 294 pages.

Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life - Liz Kalaugher, Matin Durrani

I know I'm a bit early, but it came in and I thought I'd pick it up from the library today because otherwise I probably won't get a chance until Saturday.

 

So far I've read the introduction and although I don't think I'll hate it, I suspect the authors may simplify too much for my taste at times. The intro was a little...chatty? But we'll see.

Snakes & Ladders Update Post 3

My first roll with two dice!

 

 

(By the way, didn't the original game have squares that wrapped back and forth? I almost totally screwed up my board before I noticed that I was counting on the wrong side.)

 

Squares Completed (Square condition in bold if book actually meets the square's condition):

1. Author is a woman: Ruler of the Night by David Morrell [1 die = 3]
4. Published in 2019: Graphene by Les Johnson & Joseph E. Meany [1 die = 1]
5. Published in 2018: The World in a Grain by Vince Beiser [2 dice = 8]

13. Author is a man: