2022 Reading Diary Part 2!

JULY TO DECEMBER
CONTINUED FROM PART 1, 2022

Reminder: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases via the Amazon links included below – not that anyone has actually purchased a book from my links, but that’s ok – this diary is really just for me.

Book 24: Inversions (1998) by Iain M. Banks is his sixth book in his Culture series, and it’s quite a departure as its set on a planet with a human civilization with Medieval-level technology. As such the science fiction element are almost – but not quite present, and I have to say it’s probably my favorite of the series so far. It’s just a little surprising that I’m not reading faster considering I am on vacation. It took three weeks, but you could say I savoured it rather than devoured it. (Read between June 23 & July 15)

Book 25: Under Fortunate Stars (2022) by Ren Hutchings. This space opera/time travel debut novel had me hooked from the get go – I love these first time experiences with an author that grabs me.  After savoring Inversions at a slow savoring pace, I’m devouring this!  Albeit not as quickly as I had first anticipated, but I read it at a good pace nonetheless. This was one of those books I was sad to finish. Ren Hutchings, thank you! (Read between July 15 & 19)

Book 26: Shadows of Self (2015) by Brandon Sanderson is the second in his Wax and Wane series and fifth overall in his broader Mistborn saga. Warbreaker (2009), my first Sanderson didn’t really do a lot for me, but I have now come to understand his popularity and achievements.  Having said that, the story and characters are still very much fresh in my mind two years after finishing it. Anyway, I’m officially now a big fan. I am enjoying this more than his other books – with perhaps the exception of The Wheel of Time books that he wrote to complete Robert Jordan’s massive work. (Read between July 19 & August 4)

Book 27: Eversion (2022) by Alastair Reynolds (Read between August 4 & 7)

Book 28: Pines (2012) by Blake Crouch wasn’t on my TBR list, but I decided to give it a try after enjoying recenly my first Blake Crouch story. I read 70% during the evening and night of August 7, and then I finished it in the early hours of the next day after waking up at about 2:30. It felt good to really fly through a book again. It was a page turning mystery with an SF slant – it’s the author’s homage to Twin Peaks – and with two more books in the series, I’m tempted to read them very very soon. (Read between August 7 & 8)

Book 29: Ogres (2022) by Adrian Tchaikovsky was next, and it was another quick and therefore enjoyable read. Adrian is now officially among my top ten authors. And I’ve never compiled a list of favorite authors. I might do that now. There are certainly authors whose new books demand immediate reading. Well I’m on vacation, so I might as well do that. Back to Ogres, and it was perhaps the only book I’ve read that uses the second person narrative voice, and it worked beautifully. And it was full of surprises, twists and turns, and a dark insight into humanity. (Read between August 8 & 10)

Book 30: The Last Shadow (2021 ) by Orson Scott Card is the sixth and final book in his Ender’s Shadow series. My main reason for choosing to read this now is simply to reduce the number of series I’m reading by one. I grew a little tired of it in the early pages – and the reason was something I’ve felt about some other books in the series – too much dialogue that I found to be tedious. I didn’t feel that way about Ender’s War, the original book in the series, but here is quite a thoughtful and interesting article about that book being dialogue heavy – and why it works. But for me – and I only recall noticing this in the Ender’s Shadow series, there’s just been too much unnatural philosphical dialogue between characters. So I was feeling that way early into The Last Shadow, and then one sentence came along that made turned my interest back on and turned it up to 11. It’s still not for me as page-turning as other books I’ve read, but once that sentence was encountered – andhow the story developed as a result, I began really enjoying the book for the first time. I also found myself considering exploring more of his books. Yes, the author sounds like someone I would detest, but I do enjoy his books and the criticism I mentioned early serves to also make his books feel quite unique.  Update: Unique, but weird. I was glad to finish it, which isn’t really a compliment. (Read between August 11 & 17)

Book 31: The Rooster Bar (2017) by John Grisham was next. I just realized I had read 19 science fiction/fantasy books in a row. so it really is time for a change and a pallet cleanser, and this is it. It’ll take a while – perhaps 5-6 years for me to read them all, but I would like to read evert Grisham book eventually. This started well, and it really was refreshing to be back in the real world. I read the last 40% in a day,  my reading speed growing as the ending approached. (Read between August 17 & 21)

Book 32: Bubble Or Revolution? (2019) by a trio of authors: Neel Mehta, Aditya Agashe, and Parth Detroja was next on my trusty and loyal Kindle Oasis. That’s enough fiction for the time being – it’s time to find out of blockchain is a bubble or revolution. A quick and interesting read, but it covered the same material (not its fault) albeit more simply than the first cook about blockchains and crypto: The Basics Of Bitcoins & Blockchains (2018),which delved deeper into the maths and mechanics. Considering that, Bubble of Revolution would have been the better choice to read first.  (Read between August 21 & 22)

Book 33: White Night (2007) by Jim Butcher, the ninth book in his Dresden Files series marks a return to fantasy. I’ve read many say that the series gets better, and after not really connecting with the seventh book, Dead Beat, I can say that I’m really enjoying White Knight. This will be a quick read, and I loved the ending. This series sure is getting better and better. (Read between August 23 & 26)

Book 34: Exercised: The Science of Physical Activity, Rest, and Health (2021) by Daniel Leiberman. Well this is fascinating, but I’ll take my time with it reading chapters while reading my usual fantasy and science fiction. That was fascinating and insightful, and it left me more motivated to stay active with a lot of walking and weights. (Read between August 26 & September 10)

Book 35: Wayward (2013), the second book in Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines trilogy, was begun while reading Exercised for some variety – a nice mixture of fascinating non-fiction and page-turning fiction. And I basically read it in a few sittings, and I was all done around 7 a.m. the morning after the afternoon I started it. It ended on quite a cliffhanger, so it won’t be long until I complete the trilogy. I’ll read some other books before then and savor the expectation. (Read between August 27 & 28)

Book 36: The Last Town (2014) by Blake Crouch was next. I decided not to wait to finish the Wayward Pines trilogy. I flew through it like I did the previous two books, and I finished it at about 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Something of a little twist at the end surprised me (and I liked it), but I really should have realized that was a possibility.  That’s it for thr trilogy, but I sure hope Blake returns one day to add more to the saga. The ending sure leaves him room to take me on more adventures, And that’s the first question on his site’s Q&A section, and the answer is a definite “maybe”.  My fingers are crossed! (Read between August 28 & 30)

Book 17: The Unreal and the Real Volume 1: Where on Earth (2012) by Ursula K. Le Guin. I read all but the last two stories back in late March and early April, and then I moved on to my next book. After failing to decide upon my next book to read, I decided to return to the imagination of Ursula K. Le Guin and finish the remaining stories. (Read between March 29 & August 31)

Book 37: The Unreal and the Real Volume 2: Outer Space, Inner Lands (2001) by Ursula K. Le Guin was next as it seemed a logical next step after completing volume 1. I read the first two stories, and I’ll save the rest for later.  Correction, I decided to push on. Some of the stories I have read before in other collections. Some of those I reread, and others I skipped. And it was no surprise to discover the stories I read for the first time were simply wonderful. I then finished Exercised: The Science of Physical Activity, Rest, and Health (Read between August 31 & September 4)

Book 38: Fairy Tale (2022) by Stephen King was next as it was just released and King is one my favorite authors. After reading the first 20%, I think I can safely call this one of my favorites and one of his best. It’s hard and also sad to put it down after every reading session. I have work and exercise to do; otherwise, I could see myself jumping into bed finishing it, only taking breaks called by nature. Well, that was unexpected – soon after writing that and soon after the main character travelled to a new location, the story lost some its appeal for me. I’m at the 80% mark, and I’ll probably finish it today, but the excitement and rush to discover the rest of the story is certainly lower than I ever would have imagined afer that wonderful first 20%. Like The Outsider, this kind of feels like two different books. I liked the ending more, and perhaps I would appreciate it and enjoy those middle parts more. It was I have to say a book with a lot of heart, and I think quite a unique Stephen King book. For a lot of the book, it didn’t feel like a Stephen King book. Is that a positive or a negative? Perhaps a positive as variety is, after all, the spice of life. (Read between September 10 & 22)

Book 39: Dark Matter (2016) by Blake Crouch was next. It wasn’t on my short-term TBR list, but it was a spontaneous decision. I enjoyed and read very quickly his Wayward Pines trilogy, and I’ve seen a lot of positive reviews. Some similarities, mainly the set-up, between this and the first Wayward Pines book – a man thrust into a place/world that he doesn’t understand far removed from his own. As expected, it’s very readable and almost unputdownable. And wow, one development towards the end really blew my mind! (Read between September 22 & 25)

I’ve spent almost two days trying to decide what to read next. For some reason, none of the books on my immediate TBR list are jumping out at me. This requires more thought!

Book 40: Small Favor (2008) by Jim Butcher, the tenth in his Dresden Files series was next as I decided to make progress on existing series. With 17 novels in the series published to date as well as some short story collections, I’m past the half way point. I just read that the series could end up being 25 books, so there is still a lot of reading ahead. The first few days were slow going as I had a lot of homework to check and classes to prepare for, but I’m on the crusp of a five-day weekend! Well, it took me until about the 60% mark to really get interested in the story. I’m now at the 77% mark on this autumn night of October 11. It’s been slow going, but I’ll finish it tomorrow or on Thursday. I finished it “tomorrow” and the ending did make up for the lack of interest I experienced earlier in the book. I’m happy to continue with the series after a break of perhaps at least ten books. (Read between September 27 & October 12)

Book 41: Why You Like It: The Science & Culture of Musical Taste (2019) by Nolan Gasser seems to be a book written just for me as I can’t honestly imagine a more appealing title given the huge role music plays in my life. And I’ve decided that since this is non-fiction, I’ll alternate between this and a shorter work of fiction. I’ll select that now – it took me a couple of days. (Read between October 12 & …)

Book 42: Next in Line (2022) by Jeffrey Archer was next as he never disappoints and from the first few sentences, I knew this would be an enjoyable and fast read.  And this double change from science fiction/fantasy to a non-fiiction book about musical taste and a work of fiction grounded on planet earth in the late 20th Century is a wonderful palate cleanser. That was a good one, and Archer’s writing was a smooth as always; the pages seemed to turn themselves. (Read between October 14 & 22.)

Book 43: The Gone World (2018) by Tom Sweterlitsch was just bought to my attention a couple of weeks ago by a BookTuber. And well, the premise sound intriging enough to become my next book, and it’s always refreshing to encounter a new author. And the first chapter was a killer. And it didn’t disappoint. I love the feeling of enjoying an author new to me. It feels like, and I guess that’s because it is, … like stepping into a new brain and exploring around.  (Read between October 22 & 26)

Book 44: No Plan B (2022) by Lee Child and Andrew Child is the 27th Jack Reacher book, and the third on which original author Lee Child collaborated with his younder brother, Andrew. They’re collaborating on number 28 at the moment having started on September 1, the date Lee traditionally starts a new book. The next book will be Lee’s last, and then he’ll hand the reigns completely over to his brother to continue the series. I devoured the earlier books in the series, but I have enjoyed the last few a little less, including No Plan B. It had some classic Reacher moments, but the extra two plotlines were unnecessary I thought, I’ll for sure read Lee’s last contribution, but I think perhaps after that, my relationship with Jack Reacher, at least as far as the books go, will come to an end.  The TV show seems like it’ll be around a while after a successful first season and a second one well into production. (Read between October 27 & November 5)

Book 45: Bear Head (2021) by Adrian Tchaikovsky, the sequel to Dogs Of War is next, and although it’s slow going because of my busy semester, I’m enjoying it.  I read the second half in a few days, and as I finished it, I wondered if there will be a third book. In one sense, the story has ended, but in another, it could be just the beginning. (Read between November 6 & 17)

Book 46: The Stars My Destination (1956) by Alfred Bester is next. I’ve heard good things about this SF classic, and one comment in particular helped me to read it now: “I read it in one sitting”. I won’t be doing that with a class to teach in a few hours, but I love the fact I am probably in for an entertaining quick read. With that in mind, I’ve already decided what book 47 will be before I read the first word of The Stars My Destination. Well, it’s not a book I could have read in one sitting, but it certainly had its fair share of twists and turns. (Read between November 17 & 20)

Book 47: The Bands of Mourning (2016) by Brandon Sanderson is the third in his Wax and Wane quartet, and I start it just as the fourth and final book, The Lost Metal, is published. I’m enjoying being back in the world and being reunited with its cast of memorable characters. I hit the halfway mark on the morning of Thursday, December 1. Work is stopping me from making faster progress. (Read between November 21…)

Book 48:

 

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