2024 Reading Diary Part 1!


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Book 1: Oathbringer (2017) by Brandon Sanderson, the third major novel in the Stormlight Archive saga, started the year on a high and exciting note.  I started it a couple of days agoI was hooked again from page one, and that was a pleasant surprise that wasn’t really a surprise. The book continued to grip me and while the second book, Words of Radiance,  is.often mentioned as a fan favorite, I enjoyed Oathbringer more. It’s length of almost 1,300 pages coupled with a busy new year schedule, meant it was pretty slow going, but I finally finished it on the morning of January 18. I’d love to continue but I think I need a break from this most epic of sagas. I did read a few chapters of the next main novel to see how it began and the story continued with no intention of reading further. Pluse, there is a novella, Dawnshard, set between books three and four, so when I return to the series, that will be next. (Read between December 30, 2023 & January 18, 2024)

Book 2: Sympathy for the Devil (2022) by Seth MacFarlane is a novella based on a script written for the third season of The Orville that couldn’t be filmed because of the pandemic as the story calls for location filming in Europe. Well I’d sure like to see this made into an episode and Seth hasn’t ruled out potentially filming it should a season 4 eventuate. (Read January 18)

Book 3: Dawnshard (2020) by Brandon Sanderson is the novella set between the third and fourth Stornlight Archive novels, and I really enjoyed this one as some secondary characters got their chances to shine as more of the Cosmere was tantalizingly revealed (Read between January 19 & 21 )

Book 4: Generation Ship (2023) by Michael Mammay was next as I’m a sucker for generation ship SF, and I had heard good things about this book somewhere on YouTube. I’m currently about a third of the way through and its more intenal shop politics than I had expected, but I’m still enjoying the story, and they are almost at a possible habital planet where some twist and turns and alien stuff surely awaits. I loved the last 20% and upon further reflection, I liked the earlier parts of the book more. I liked the characters. Those that could be classed as antagonists later in the book generally had good intentions and had likeable qualities earlier in the piece. (Read between January 21 & 24)

Book 5: Empire of Silence (2018) by Christopher Ruocchio is next as I feel ready to start another multi-book saga. I’ve heard great things about The Sun Eater series, and I’ve really enjoyed watching some interviews with Christopher. I previoulsy read the first 15 or so pages but didn’t feel ready to dive into another series, but now that I’m almost up to date with Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive, I think it’s time to embark on another epic long reading journey, and I’ll have more free time than usual until early March.  And that was amazing. All the positive reviews were spot on. This was something special – one of those books that’s a reminder of how much pleasure can be provided through the written word as written by a master storyteller. And there was a lot of emotion packed into especially the ending which was heart-wrenching, and to think, the author considers this the lesser of his books. And he considers the second, The Howling Dark, to be his best.  I’d love to dive into that right now, but there is a novella set between the two, The Lesser Devil, which I feel I must tackle before the second novel even though it’s not necessarily necessary.  (Read betwen January 25 & February 1)

Book 6: The Lesser Devil (2020) by Christoper Ruocchio was next as I decided afterall to continue with the Sun Eater series with the first novella in the series set after some of the events of the first novel. (Read between February 2 & 3)

Book 7: Howling Dark (2019) by Christopher Rusccio was an unexpectedly fast read, but I am on vacation. And this was a really good follow-up to the first novel which went into some unexpected dark places, figureativly as well as literally – as the title suggests. I enjoyed it enough to want to continue straight on with the novella set some years later. By the way, the autho is smiling in the photo – his books seem to dark for an author that can smile, so I think he’s faking that smile. (Read between February 3 & 7)

Book 8: Queen Amid Ashes (2022) by Christopher Ruocchio is the second novella set in The Sun Eater universe, unlike The Lesser Devil, this explores an incident experienced by the main character, Hadrian Marlowe, the Sun Eater himself. Another rivetting and quick read. (Read February 7)

Book 9: Tales of the Sun Eater Volume 1 (2021) by Christopher Ruocchio (Read between February 7 & 9)

Book 10: Demon in White (2020) by Christopher Ruocchio was next as I just can’t drag myself away from this series, which I think like a lot of other readers is now my favorite SF series of all time. (Read between February 9 & 13)

Book 11: Tales of the Sun Eater Volume 2 (2022) by Christopher Ruocchio was kind of next as I just read the two shortest stories in it before going on to the next novel. I’ll return to the rest soon enough. (Read between February 13 & 20)

Book 12: Kingdoms of Death (2022) by Christopher Ruocchio was next as I’m certainly don’t feel the need yet to take a break from this great series. Given the title, it’s not really a spoiler to say that this is the darkest book so far, and the main character, Hadrian Marlowe did not have much fun nor reason to smile as the author is doing in the photo of his I grabbed. How can he smile after what he did to poor Hadrian? (Read between February 13 & 17)

Book 13: Ashes of Man (2022) by Christopher Ruocchio was next as I still can’t drag myself away, and I was probably always going to read book 5, Ashes of Man, after book 4, Kingdoms of Death, as the two books were conceived as one book that ended up being a little too long for the publisher.  These books are only getting better and better, and I loved the first book. I’m really glad I chose to start the series during this winter vacation. It’s really more of a Sun Eater vacation than a winter vacation. And it’s pretty safe to say now that this series is now my favorite SF series regardless of what I choose SF stands for in this case: science fiction or science fantasy. Although this is the shortest novel so far, I read it more quickly than I had expected thanks to a spending pretty much the whole of the evening of February 18 lost in the story. Now I’ll return to the second collection of Sun Eater short stories that I begun on February 13. After that, there is one more collection of short stories and another novella. Then I’ll be up to date until book 6, Disquiet Gods, is released in April. Or! I could buy it early as Bean books, with the blessing of the author, is selling advanced reader copy ebooks, which save for any remaining typos, will be the same as the published version. I may have to buy that if the need grabs me to get completely up to date before I return to work in the first week of March. (Read between February 17 & 19)

Book 14: Tales of the Sun Eater Volume 3 by Christopher Ruocchio was next, and I read the first story on Tuesday night which was a story I just couldn’t resist diving straight into when I realized who the main character was and when her story was set. After completing that, I almost took a break from the Sun Eater galaxy, but decided to push on and finish the collection, which I did in the first hours of February 23. (Read between February 20 & 23)

Book 15: Night Watch (2022) by Terry Pratchett was the change I needed from all those Sun Eater books, and it felt great to be in the hands of Pratchett’s witty and insightful and just plain brilliant sense of humor. (Read between February 23 & March 2)

Book 16: Planet of Exile (1966) by Ursula K. Le Guin is my first book by her over a year. I have read all but the first three novels in her loosely connected Hainish Cycle of novels and short stories, the most famous being The Dispossessed (1974) and The Left Hand of Darkness (1969). For some reason I have yet to read her first three novels in the cycle, whch is actually not a cycle. In her own words:

The thing is, they aren’t a cycle or a saga. They do not form a coherent history. There are some clear connections among them, yes, but also some extremely murky ones. And some great discontinuities…

Anyway, I had always one day planned to read them; they just weren’t on my immediate TBR list. Until just recently, I came across a short synopsis of Planet of Exile, the second published in this non-cycle, and that picqued my interest enough to pick it up. Once again, her writing is just so beautiful, an dit left me wondering why I had waited so long. I reallly should read the other two of those first two as well as the few remaining works of fiction I have yet to read by her. (Read between March 3 & 11)

Book 17: The Dregs of Empire (2023) by Christopher Rocchio was next as I found I couldn’t resist returning to his Sun Eater series. This is one of the side stories seperate from the main novels, but this is as far as I’m concerned an essential read which, at over 300 pages, is more of a short novel than a novella. That was again a great read with some heart-wrenching moments. I’m now more excited than before about next month’s release of the sixth Sun Eater novel, Disquiet Gods. (Read between March 11 & 16)

Book 18: The Alien Years (1998) by Robert Silverberg was next as I suddenly felt like reading an author for the first time, and the short plot summary I read last year piqued my interest. Well, I did enjoy it, but I thought it a little odd that this alien invasaion story spent a lot of sentences describing breasts. After a little Wikipedia research,  this little factoid helped explain them, although I’m not sure I’d agree with the last sentence based on my reading of just the one science fiction book.

There would have been no way to pay the house off by writing science fiction so I turned out a slew of quick sex novels. I never concealed the fact that I was doing them; it made no difference at all to me whether people knew or not. It was just a job. And it was, incidentally, a job that I did very well.

It was certainly one of those books that has its own unique flavor, and I kind of missed that once I had finished. It was certainly an interesting take on the god old alien invasion of earth, but perhaps his earlier novels might interest me more. I’m not in a big hurry to explore his other novels, but I think I’ll try one more sooner or later.  (Read between March 18 & 26)

Book 19: Rhythm of War (2020) by Brandon Sanderson was next as it felt like the right time to return to his Stormlight Archive saga. I read the first few chapters earlier in the year, but wasn’t in the mood to commit to another huge book in that series after reading the previous three novels and two long novellas that were really novels pretty close together. I may not read right through until the end as I might wait until closer to the release of the fifth book in November. Then again, who knows?  It’s April 9, and I’ve just past the 20% mark and I’m nearing the end of part one. I have to admit this isn’t gripping me as much as previous books on the series, so I’m thinking of taking a break from it once I’ve completed part one. Today is Monday, April 15, and I’m at the 30% mark, and yes, I’m pretty sure I’ll take a break after a few more chapters and return to this closer to the December 6 release of the fifth book, After passing the 50% mark, I decided to stay on course. I enjoyed the ending, but I enjoyed the first and third books far more. But the slow progress was in part due to being busy at work. Still. I did feel at times that the magic system and its effects were getting a little convoluted. A quick look on YouTube revealed there is certainly at least one person who understands it all. The positives, Kaladan working through is PTSD. A lot of people who have experiences something similar feel this Kaladan’s arc is one of the most accurate portrayals of PTSD they have read in a work of fiction. Actually, there were quit a lot of things I enjoyed in the book, but it didn’t get that “page-turning” and “gut wrenching” feeling I got from the first book. The conclusion of the first half of the series, Wind and Truth, will be released in November. I may wait a little and read it after my winter classes are done and dusted. (Read between March 27 & May 1)

Book 20: Alien Clay (2024) by Adrian Tchaikovsky was next and it certainly cemented Adrian as being in my top ten living writers. I would have read this in three or four days had I begun it during a vacation or a less busy semester. I finished the last 20% on the wet rainy night of May 15, which was a holiday, and that was a wonderful climax and ending. (Read between May 1 & 15)

Book 21: Ghost Station (2024) by S. A. Barnes was next after I enjoyed Dead Silence a few years ago in 2022. I would have sworn I read it last year, but my records do not lie. Ghost Station was somewhat of a letdown in comparision – a little lacking in the horror and msyerious alien categories – but that’s not to say it was a total disappointment, and I did fly through it pretty quickly. (Read between May 15 & 20)

Book 22: Disquiet Gods (2024) was next as it felt time to continue with Christopher Ruocchio’s Sun Eater series, and it continues to not disappoint. I’s easily my favorite SF series ever. The chapters flew by as it was just so darn readable and, at times, mindblowing. Christopher is currently hard at work on the seventh and final book, and that is a book I’ll certainly start the second I can get it on my Kindle. There is also another collection of short stories in the works, and likewise, that will be read ASAP. Wow, just wow. (Read between May 20 & June 6)

Book 23: You Like It Darker (2024) by Stephen King was next. A mixed bunch which contains two stories  that were previously published: Red Screen and Turbulance Expert, the latter I think one of my least favorite King stories. I read them again as they were quite short. My favorite by far of the bunch so far is Danny Coughlin’s Bad Dream, the longest tale in the collection. It felt like classic King to me. As I write this, on Sunday morning in a Starbucks, I have four more stories left to read, and I anticipate finishing tonight or tomorrow sometime.  It ended up taking me until Wednesday evening after welcoming Abel back to Korea at Incheon Airport, and wow, those last few stories were my favorites. One of those stories. “Rattlesnake”, is somewhat of a sequel to Cujo (1981), the one novel solely written by Stephen King that I have yet to read. “Rattlesnake” is a story involving one of the surviving characters some 40 years later. As such, that character does reflect on the events in his past thereby providing some unwanted spoilers. Well, that’s my fault as I did briefly flirt with the idea of reading Cujo before “Rattlesnack”. Well, the experience has at least reminded me that I really should read that book. (Read between June 6 & 12)

Book 24: Go Tell The Bees That I Am Gone (2017) is a book that’s been on my To-Be-Read list (TBR) list since its publication. I was just shocked to realize that I finished the previous book, Written in my Own Heart’s Blood (2014), on the last day in September in the Year of our Lord 2017 – almost seven years ago! I have read a few short stories and related novellas since, but I really can’t believe that it’s been so long since I last read words from the main series. While I do remember the main events of the ending, I definitely need a refresher course. And after realizing it has been almost seven years, I will certainly now continue with the book until its end after initally thinking I’ll just see how it begins. It’s time. And I should also catch up with the TV show.  (Read between June 12 & …)

Book 25: