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RogueLibrarian

Assassins Read: the book club thread

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What are you reading? What should we be reading? What do you love/hate about it? Did it give you any skill points?

 

Bonus points if it's Assassin-related or relevant to your fitness journey.

 

I'm also stealing an idea from my favorite book podcast, Reading Glasses: 

 

What's your reading "wheelhouse"? What are common threads in your favorite books -- things that will make you want to pick up a book?

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Just now, RogueLibrarian said:

What are you reading?

 

Woken Furies by Richard K. Morgan, the third book in the Altered Carbon trilogy. Ultra-violent cyberpunk noir with body-swapping, weird technology, and a couple of hottish sex scenes.

 

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders. (Listening to the audiobook.) I picked this one up knowing nothing about it solely because I'd heard such great things, and I love it. One kid is a budding witch and one is a technology genius. They meet up again in their twenties in San Francisco. (Bonus point: There's an assassin in it named Theodolphus Rose.)

 

Just now, RogueLibrarian said:

What's your reading "wheelhouse"? What are common threads in your favorite books -- things that will make you want to pick up a book?

 

Thieves, rogues, assassins. (Duh.) Characters who are smart enough to talk themselves out of/into trouble. Putting a team of specialists together to do a big job. Bisexual characters. Urban settings -- fantasy, historical, or modern cities, doesn't matter, but if the city feels like another character in the book, I dig that.

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Mid-class right now, so my reading list is pretty much focused on terrorism. Main book is Terrorism and Counterterrorism by B.L. Nacos. Had a section on the history of terrorism, including a brief paragraph on the Order of Assassins in the 11th-13th centuries, pretty neat to see a tie-in to this group and the games. 

 

Before class started, I was reading the third book in the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson, amalgamation of magic and social overthrow and learning to deal with one's abilities. I've read some of his other stuff too, and look forward to exploring it when I have time. 

 

Reading wheelhouse is tough. Used to be very scifi/fantasty, but I think I read too many and started seeing the common themes. GOt to the point I could guess pretty well how the book would end by a few chapters in, and it wasn't fun anymore. Standby go-to series are Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, Ben Aaronovich's Rivers of London, and good old Sherlock Holmes. 

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I was recommended by pretty much every single person in the Monks Guild to read Guards! Guards! by Terry Preatchett, because apparently it is required reading for assassins :D  It is in my kindle but I haven't started it yet.  Need to get on that. :) 

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On 6/15/2018 at 3:46 PM, RogueLibrarian said:

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders. (Listening to the audiobook.) I picked this one up knowing nothing about it solely because I'd heard such great things, and I love it.

I read this last year and also liked it a lot. :) 

 

Right now I'm reading Inda by Sherwood Smith, which is apparently book 1 of a huge quartet of 600+ page fantasy novels that I found by googling "trashy comfort fantasy" because I am in need of some escapism after reading Hunger by Roxane Gay and just dealing with the general state of the world. So far, Inda is not a stand-out in terms of anything exciting or genre-bending, but there is no sexual assault (canonically in the whole series), so that's a huge plus for me. 

 

I read all over the place but like to alternate more realistic stories (either nonfiction or just more "serious" fiction) with fantasy/sci-fi. Themes and things I like: dark humor, magical realism, voices different from my own, and stories where no one wins. As a note, I have been trying to read more women authors intentionally after noticing a gender skew in authors last year and it's been going pretty great, honestly. 

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On 6/15/2018 at 6:52 PM, Manarelle said:

Before class started, I was reading the third book in the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson, amalgamation of magic and social overthrow and learning to deal with one's abilities. I've read some of his other stuff too, and look forward to exploring it when I have time. 

 

A lot of my friends like Sanderson a lot, and for some reason I've never been able to get into his books. I've tried two or three times and I don't know why they don't click for me. Given my tastes, it really seems like I should like him.

 

On 6/15/2018 at 6:52 PM, Manarelle said:

Reading wheelhouse is tough. Used to be very scifi/fantasty, but I think I read too many and started seeing the common themes. GOt to the point I could guess pretty well how the book would end by a few chapters in, and it wasn't fun anymore. Standby go-to series are Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, Ben Aaronovich's Rivers of London, and good old Sherlock Holmes. 

 

I had not heard of Rivers of London, but it sounds great. It's now on my list.

 

On 6/17/2018 at 8:34 AM, WhiteGhost said:

I was recommended by pretty much every single person in the Monks Guild to read Guards! Guards! by Terry Preatchett, because apparently it is required reading for assassins :D  It is in my kindle but I haven't started it yet.  Need to get on that. :) 

 

I haven't read it in years, but it's great. The Guards books are my favorite Discworld sub-series.

 

2 hours ago, raptron said:

I read this last year and also liked it a lot. :) 

 

Just finished it today. Wow, what a great book.

 

2 hours ago, raptron said:

Right now I'm reading Inda by Sherwood Smith, which is apparently book 1 of a huge quartet of 600+ page fantasy novels that I found by googling "trashy comfort fantasy"

 

I can't tell you how much I like this tactic. I feel certain I can use it in a future conference presentation in some way.

 

2 hours ago, raptron said:

I read all over the place but like to alternate more realistic stories (either nonfiction or just more "serious" fiction) with fantasy/sci-fi. Themes and things I like: dark humor, magical realism, voices different from my own, and stories where no one wins. As a note, I have been trying to read more women authors intentionally after noticing a gender skew in authors last year and it's been going pretty great, honestly. 

 

If you don't listen to Reading Glasses podcast, you might like it a lot. You have some tastes in common with the hosts.

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4 hours ago, raptron said:

I am in need of some escapism after reading Hunger by Roxane Gay and just dealing with the general state of the world.

 

That seems like a very heavy book, no wonder you needed something else to read after that. I just read a synopsis and need a break. 

 

1 hour ago, RogueLibrarian said:

A lot of my friends like Sanderson a lot, and for some reason I've never been able to get into his books. I've tried two or three times and I don't know why they don't click for me. Given my tastes, it really seems like I should like him.

 

Always frustrating when that happens, especially an author you want to like, but just... doesn't work. The Shanarra books were that for me. Everyone I knew was reading them, and the theory was sound, but just couldn't do it. 

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If there are any relations to science, specifically biochemistry and human pathology and the like, I want to read it. I read Richard Preston books Devil in the Freezer (smallpox) and The Hot Zone when I was 13. Looking at Nelson DeMille's Plum Island soon. Find me more books with disease or poison or whatever and I will be all over that.

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On 6/20/2018 at 8:52 AM, Snickie said:

If there are any relations to science, specifically biochemistry and human pathology and the like, I want to read it. I read Richard Preston books Devil in the Freezer (smallpox) and The Hot Zone when I was 13. Looking at Nelson DeMille's Plum Island soon. Find me more books with disease or poison or whatever and I will be all over that.

 

If you're interested in historical crime at all, this was really interesting: City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris

 

I just got assigned to review The Grey Bastards, a new fantasy novel about (I think) orcish mercenaries that sounds like fun.

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Right now I'm listening to the audiobook of Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. He explains where the difference between fast, intuitive answers and reactions and slow, meticulous ones come from and how to train your brain to make less mistakes.

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Currently I'm going to be reading Rooted as part of my goal to connect better with my faith, but typically I love high fantasy and science fiction, especially when they somehow merge like with the riftwar saga by Raymond E Feist. If it's got faeries in it, it's almost a guaranteed read. I also have no idea what genre it would fall into, but Douglas Coupland or Neil Gaiman (to an extent, since his bare also pretty fantasy-esque) type jaded-modern-life books are also a go-to for me. 

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Only because it reminded me, has anyone else read Naomi Novik's Uprooted? It's an excellent riff off of Beauty & the Beast and she's got a new book in a similar vein coming out this summer, Spinning Silver... like this week, I think. 

 

 

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15 minutes ago, raptron said:

Only because it reminded me, has anyone else read Naomi Novik's Uprooted? It's an excellent riff off of Beauty & the Beast and she's got a new book in a similar vein coming out this summer, Spinning Silver... like this week, I think. 

 

Haven't, but now I want to. /Adds to reading list.

I love the alternate pov takes on old stories. Makes you rethink how you approach things. 

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On 6/18/2018 at 3:48 PM, Manarelle said:

Always frustrating when that happens, especially an author you want to like, but just... doesn't work. The Shanarra books were that for me. Everyone I knew was reading them, and the theory was sound, but just couldn't do it. 

I've found that this happens to me mostly with collaborations. I love Raymond E Feist novels, but there's a series he wrote with Janny Wurts (I think that was her name) that I absolutely just couldn't get into. And it took me forever, and finally getting the book on CD before I could get through Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, no matter how much I really wanted to like it. And it was good, it was just hard for me to actually want to sit down and read for some reason.

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On 6/28/2018 at 4:33 PM, RogueLibrarian said:

I just got assigned to review The Grey Bastards, a new fantasy novel about (I think) orcish mercenaries that sounds like fun.

 

Update: I am halfway through this (it's a long audiobook, so I'm taking my time) and I'm really enjoying it. It's set in a land with small settlements all hostile to one another all around, so lots of uneasy truces and riding the range on patrol. The publisher compares it to fantasy Sons of Anarchy, which seems apt. It's a super high testosterone world, which won't appeal to everyone; that often wouldn't grab me but I'm enjoying the fast pace and twists.

 

Re authors you feel like you should enjoy, but don't -- for some reason this is Brandon Sanderson to me. I've tried a couple of his books, I feel like it should be everything I like, but so far has just left me kind of flat.

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Took the day off of reading for class and re-read an old favorite: Blink by Malcom Gladwell. It's about the power of the subconscious, how it affects our thinking, and expertise, practice, and "gut feelings" are related. If you're at all curious about how and why you think the way you do (or others do the way they do), I highly recommend it.  

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On 8/4/2018 at 9:57 PM, Manarelle said:

Finally finished the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. Quite the roller coaster ride at the end.   

RIGHT!?

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I just finished The Finnish Way by Katja Pantzar, which I picked up only because it was on the virtual shelf with some review audiobooks I got to grab for free, and it sounded interesting and was short. :) It turns out to be pretty relevant to a lot of my NF goals -- it's about a Finnish idea called "sisu," which is sort of about resilience, courage, fitness and related virtues. It ended up on some interesting detours about mental health, public transit, education, winter swimming, and other stuff. (I thought of @Mad Hatter of course.)

 

I also just finished the latest Dresden Files collection, which is mostly about wizards fighting monsters and was good.

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Heh I actually don't know much about sisu except on a very superficial level. As in it makes for great memes. :D Sounds interesting though.

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3 minutes ago, Mad Hatter said:

Heh I actually don't know much about sisu except on a very superficial level. As in it makes for great memes. :D Sounds interesting though.

 

Oh god, of course there'd be sisu memes. :) You might actually like this book. There's a lot about the benefits of outdoor exercise, the incidental health benefits of movement, and so on.

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4 hours ago, raptron said:

RIGHT!?

 

Definitely marking that as one of the go-to books when I need a good cry. 

 

2 hours ago, RogueLibrarian said:

I just finished The Finnish Way by Katja Pantzar, which I picked up only because it was on the virtual shelf with some review audiobooks I got to grab for free, and it sounded interesting and was short. :) It turns out to be pretty relevant to a lot of my NF goals -- it's about a Finnish idea called "sisu," which is sort of about resilience, courage, fitness and related virtues. It ended up on some interesting detours about mental health, public transit, education, winter swimming, and other stuff. (I thought of @Mad Hatter of course.)

 

I also just finished the latest Dresden Files collection, which is mostly about wizards fighting monsters and was good.

 

Fortuitous discovery. And yay for Dresden! Can't believe it's been FOUR. YEARS. Since the last (real) book. Come on, man...

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Presently reading:

 

Audiobook of Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding, first of a trilogy. It's kind of ... steampunk Firefly with demons? I'm about 2/3 through and enjoying it.

 

(In print/ebook, I'm reading a manuscript for someone so I can write a cover blurb; it's much less fun and I'm looking forward to moving on to a novel when I'm done.)

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I recently picked up the first 13 Schlock Mercenary books through their latest kickstarter, so I've been rereading those.  This is my 4th or 5th time through and it's always a fun ride.  You can read the comics free online, but the print versions have bonus content.

 

 

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