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Ermahgerd. Berks.

Currently reading

Caliban's War
James S.A. Corey
The Shining Girls

City of Bones

City of Bones - Martha Wells One star for each month it took me to finish.

Killing Moon (Dreamblood 1)

The Killing Moon - N.K. Jemisin Much better than [b:The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms|6437061|The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (The Inheritance Trilogy, #1)|N.K. Jemisin|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1303143211s/6437061.jpg|6626657]. The fact that it felt like there were more than three characters helped. Also no human/god romance.

Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces That Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave

Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave - Adam Alter This is basically the same book as Freakonomics and NurtureShock with a slightly different focus. Thus: three stars for everyone!

The Human Division #12: The Gentle Art of Cracking Heads

The Human Division #12: The Gentle Art of Cracking Heads - John Scalzi Dude, the last chapter is going to have to be pretty epic to actually wrap up the plot, such as it is, after the last few semi-wasted installments. I can't imagine this reading coherently as a novel at all, and yet all spread out it doesn't seem to be going anywhere. BUT EVERYONE STILL LOVES IT SO WHAT DO I KNOW

The Human Division #11: A Problem of Proportion

The Human Division #11: A Problem of Proportion - John Scalzi In Scalzi's universe, even the aliens engage in sarcastic witty banter ALL THE TIME.

The Human Division #10: This Must Be the Place

The Human Division #10: This Must Be the Place - John Scalzi If I am buying John Scalzi's pitch that this serial novel is akin a to a TV show, this is that late-season episode where they just figured out that they need a week of filler so they can time the actually interesting episodes for sweeps.

The Still Point of the Turning World

The Still Point of the Turning World - Emily Rapp Lois McMaster Bujold, a great writer made no less great by the fact that she writes science-fiction books with covers like this, wrote one of the truest things I have ever read about becoming a parent: “It's a transcendental act. Making life… 'By this act, I bring one death into the world.' One birth, one death, and all the pain and acts of will between.” This, from a story with spaceships and lasers in it.When we have children, we birth potential into the world. We question ourselves, our spouses: who will this person be? What foods will he like? Will she be as smart as you? Will he inherit your sense of humor, your eyes, your smile? Will she be healthy? Happy? Everyone loves to tell you how your life is going to change after having kids, about how things will never be the same but also how you’ll discover a love you never imagined you could feel, filling you up and overflowing.What they usually don’t mention is the fear. The knowledge that so many terrible things can go wrong. That the world can be a bright and beautiful place, but also a cold and hard one, and that your child will experience a measure of both. You can only hope it’s more good than bad. Only hope, and do everything you can to make it so.The Still Point of the Turning World is the story of a mother for whom all those fears became suddenly, crushingly immediate. Writer Emily Rapp (author of a respected memoir about growing up with a disability that requires her to wear an artificial limb) saw her future collapse in on itself one January day in 2011 when she took her infant son Ronan to the doctor for an eye exam and learned he had Tay-Sachs disease, a debilitative genetic disorder that is always fatal, that cannot be treated or cured, only managed.Read the rest of the (slightly revised and less digressive) review on the Barnes & Noble Book Blog.

The Silent Tower (The Windrose Chronicles #1)

The Silent Tower - Barbara Hambly CLIFFHANGER!

The Human Division #7: The Dog King

The Human Division #7: The Dog King - John Scalzi Oh hilarious. Did Dave Barry co-authors this one?

Glamour in Glass

Glamour in Glass - Mary Robinette Kowal Look, I love Jane Austen books as much as the next guy (provided the next guy’s love of Jane Austen books is limited to reading her shortest book and watching at least three separate adaptations of Pride & Prejudice), but no one is ever going to call her writing action-packed. Unless a bunch a well-dressed ladies making veiled catty comments to one another during a boring social event counts as action in your book. In which case, I hope you are sitting down when you read Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamour in Glass, because in Austen’s terms, this thing might as well have been written by Michael Bay.Click to read the rest of my review on the new Barnes and Noble Book Blog.

Alif the Unseen

Alif the Unseen - Alif the Unseen is a novel about political unrest in the Middle East, fueled by hackers and subversives on the internet who are angry about the way their governments are controlling their lives and cracking down hard on the digital world. This virtual unrest eventually leads to a revolution of sorts, but according to the author, G. Willow Wilson, an award-winning writer of graphic novels working in prose for the first time, the book was already in editing when the winter of 2011 turned into the Arab Spring. Though the story is tempered with elements of the fantastical—it’s also a novel in which the djinn are literal and magic computer code might be able to rewrite reality—that anger gives it an undeniable energy and relevance.But let’s not get too serious. Because like I said: the djinn are real, and at one point, one of them gets trapped in a soda bottle. So this isn’t C-SPAN or anything.Click to read the rest of my review on the new Barnes and Noble Book Blog.

The Human Division #5: Tales From the Clarke

The Human Division #5: Tales From the Clarke - John Scalzi So far, I like the "narrative" chapters a lot more than the "experimental" chapters, which might mean either A) this "novel in episodes" told across 13 weeks isn't for me, or B) I am not really down with the way Scalzi is executing on it. Judging by my past experience with his books that aren't fairly straight space thrillers (i.e. the ones with fart jokes... ok, the ones with more fart jokes), it is probably the latter, but I am still in for, the, what, 20 to 30 minutes a week they take to get through, if only for the sake of novelty.(3 stars for this one means it was a narrative chapter, by the way... it was interesting, but let's not go nuts.)

The Human Division #4: A Voice in the Wilderness

A Voice in the Wilderness - John Scalzi Oh ha ha, I get it. He's like Rush Limbaugh. How funny that political discourse will be the same 200 years after we've expanded into space. What an imagination.**is not in evidence.

The Warrior's Apprentice

The Warrior's Apprentice (Vorkosigan Saga, #2) - Lois McMaster Bujold It was three stars most of the way, but the ending cleared the bar. Bujold can really end a book. I have less to say about this one than [b:Barrayar|61905|Barrayar (Vorkosigan Saga, #2)|Lois McMaster Bujold|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348837985s/61905.jpg|3036422], which was written later but comes earlier in the story, so I'm going to wait and hopefully write about that one first. I know. Pins and needles.

Who Could That Be at This Hour?

Who Could That Be at This Hour? - Do any actual kids like Lemony Snicket books, or are they only read by hip parents who think that they are the kind of books they want their kids to like?Because, sure, I'd think it was neat if my daughter was into, like, opaquely plotted genre satires stuffed with obtuse narration, whimsical wordplay, literary references and impenetrable characters, books that tackled life's big philosophical questions through a meta-filter of storytelling.But actually, kids want to read Captain Underpants and Judy Moody. This is why the publisher has turned the Lemony Snicket books into uniformly designed fetish objects: because they appeal exactly to the book-loving parents who fool themselves into thinking their kids will one day pull them off the shelf and actually read them. But not that copy! That's daddy's special matched-set copy.Oh, this book? Well, if you read all 13 volumes of A Series of Unfortunate Events, it is more of the same. Delightful writing, a total unwillingness to actually explain what is going on, promises of revelations in future lovingly-designed books in the series, none of which will actually contain any of those answers.(Xmas gift.)

Libriomancer: (Magic Ex Libris Book 1)

Libriomancer - Jim C. Hines In our crazy, ranking-obsessed world, it is sometimes hard to remember that those three stars up there are not absolute, but a loose representation or summation of many different factors, and that three stars here and three stars there does not necessarily mean that all of those factors line up. I have given books I enjoyed a lot more than this one the same ranking, and books I liked a lot less a better one. Because context matters.And in this case, that context included, perhaps, the worst professional audiobook narration I have ever encountered -- and I listen to way more books than I read these days (commute + playback speed control / infant at home x Audible membership = where are my earbuds?)The following is a by no means exhaustive list of the words this book's paid narrator, professional "comedy hypnotist" Brian Eslick, totally mispronounced:- The main character's name. Which throughout the book I thought was made-up and kind of a goofy choice on the author's part, sounding like "eye-zay-ick." Oh no, wait. That's just "Isaac" pronounced like someone who has never heard the name before.- Automaton. Which is said like "auto-maton." Which wouldn't be a huge deal except it appears in the book about 50 times, and every time it is super annoying.- Possession. Which is pronounced with a hard "PO." Which just sounds weird.- Conflicted. Which is pronounced with a hard "CON." See above.- Palimpsest. Which is pronounced "palimpst." Which, come on. I know it is a weird word if you don't read a lot of China Miéville, but at least try to fit all the letters in there.- Golem. Which is pronounced "goo-lem." Which kind of takes away the sense of foreboding. - Impale. Which is pronounced "impall." Which makes the sentence kind of confusing, especially in a book with made-up magic spells. - Deity. Which is pronounced like "DIE" like "If I have to keep listening to this guy say auto-maton I am going to DIE."- Dimentia. "Di-men-she-a." That's cool, add whatever syllables you need.- Pseudonym. Or "pseudonism." Like I said. Any extra letters you have lying around, go ahead and stick them in there.- Refrigerator. Pronounced "frigerator." Aw, did you use them all up?- Library. Sometimes right, but "liberry" snuck in there twice. Just... no.- Disapprove. Pronounced "disprove." Which, confusing, because also a word.- Character. Caricature: Also a word.- Morgue. Pronounced "morge." Wait, now you are just fucking with me.- Copernicus. No, you did NOT say "Coper-knockus." Twice.There were more. I didn't even mention all the Latin and, good god, the French. And I don't want to pile on the poor narrator too much, because reading out loud is going to inevitably include some fuckups, and the producer (an Audible employee, whose name appears on many of the books I have enjoyed) carries a healthy share of the blame as well.*But yeah, context matters. And in this context, my constant annoyance with the narrator (who also made no effort to distinguish his characters or the difference between thought and dialogue) made "reading" this book a lot less enjoyable than it probably should have been. Because it does have a fun premise: guy with the magical ability to pull objects from books into the real world tries to figure out why vampires are killing off magic users! And even though vampires are an annoying and overused trope in urban fantasy, the author pokes fun at it by giving them funny scientific names like Sanguinarius stokerus and Sanguinarius meyerii (aka "sparklers")!But instead I am focusing on the pronounciations and the bad performance, which leads to nit-picking like "the plot is really formulaic" and "gosh, I really could have done without the romance parts." Even though there was actually a really interesting discussion of female agency in these kinds of stories, I just couldn't enjoy it. Although, again considering the context, at least there weren't any sex scenes.*2/7/13 - Just found out the book has been pulled from Audible to re-record the narration. And now I feel INCREDIBLY GUILTY.Seriously though. Coper-knockus.