Media Month in Review – May-October 2015 – Books (And Manga/LNs)

I had the May post in draft for a long while, then I’ve been busy since, so let’s have a several months’ worth of wrap-up again. Only books this time, cause writing it took far too long as is, and I’ve read so much recently that it deserves its own space.

Books/Comics:

The Windup Girl - Paolo BacigalupiThe Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi – This book had a better starting position than many other near-future sci-fi books I’ve read simply because the culture it describes is already “ever so slightly alien” to me in its present form. I don’t know a whole lot about many South-East Asian countries, let alone about their daily lives. Thai near-future sci-fi, food shortages, a bevvy of points of view. This was a well-written book. It wasn’t really about the sci-fi and more about the lived-in experience, which the book got across very well, including the rising tensions, the terror of riots, and other such “fun stuff”. It truly did feel like peering into another fully-formed culture. Though Thailand and not Vietnam, it did remind me of some media revolving around the Vietnam War, in terms of atmosphere, that tense “peace” at times.

Yotsuba&! Chapters 1-60 – Yotsuba&! is mostly referred to as “Yotsubato”, which covers the world through the eyes of a 5 year old girl as she encounters all sorts of things, thus, “Yotsuba and Balloons!” for instance. There’s no real sense of wonderment in “So this is how a kid views these topics” for me in these chapters, but they’re funny, touching, sometimes very clever, and often you go, “Yes, that truly is how little kids act, aren’t they hilarious, so long they’re someone else’s?” The narrative structuring in the chapter with the detective story was especially good. The only bad thing I can say about Yotsuba is that I should’ve read all the material available for it. It’s really good.

The Dark Tower books 2 – 3 (Drawing of the Three, The Wasteland), by Stephen King – I’ve re-read book 2 so many times. It speaks to me. Especially the sequence with Eddie, and the final joining of the three. I’m not sure what it is. Book 3 is so grand in scope, and completely different. I know why I never really re-read book 4, at least beyond Blaine’s bit in it, because man is it slow with Roland’s backstory, but I find it strange I never re-read book 1. I think it might be too poignant for me. It’s very raw, not just in content, but in terms of quality. It’s very rough. So I flinch from it. Well, periodical re-read of this content accomplished.

The Lost Fleet books 1-3 (Dauntless, Fearless, Courageous), by Jack Campbell – These are the western equivalent of light novels, sort of. Light reading, fun and not very serious. It very literally is, “I might not be the best, but everyone around me is stupid, so I’m going to win the war,” because a century-long war killed all the experience. The characters are actually fine, and the relationships too. The worst part is the expected military fetishism, that saluting is a high mark of discipline, and other “liberal decision-making” being made fun of. He has a point, and if it were satirical it could be great, but it’s delivered very seriously. Still fun. Books should’ve probably been released as “two for one”, in terms of size and content.

Lirael, Abhorsen, by Garth Nix – This series of posts tells me the last time I’ve read Sabriel, the first book in the series (originally a trilogy) was August 2014. I’ve read it enough times that I remember it. Lirael I’ve only read once, and Abhorsen wasn’t out yet by that time. Well, I decided to re-read it in order to read Abhorsen, as those two comprise a single story, and leaping straight into Abhorsen without remembering everything from Lirael didn’t sit too well with me. The pacing in the middle section of Lirael flags down after a great start, but it’s fine. Abhorsen uncovers so much about the world, and has not just a lot of action, but a lot of “character growth moments.” It’s really good YA fiction. I’ll say that. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Fortunately the Milk, by Neil Gaiman – Light, somewhat amusing. It was lying around so I read it. Not much to say, really. I could see this being a book to read to children who’d wish for it to be read time and again, though it might be too long to be read as a single before-bedtime story.

Night’s Master, Tanith Lee, first part – Discussing pretty prose brought this series to mind again, and I read the first couple of chapters, and boy is the writing to die for, prose wise, but I wasn’t in the mood for it at the time and ended up reading more upbeat and quickly-moving content.

The Farseer Trilogy (Assassin’s Apprentice, Royal Assassin, Assassin’s Quest), by Robin Hobb – I’ve read this series so many times during junior high and high school, but in Hebrew, where they mostly translated the names, such as “Patience” and “Verity”, which always felt ever so slightly wrong. Regardless, this was my first time reading them in English, so many years down the line. The first two books in particular are great coming of age fiction, a falling in love story, disillusionment, finding your place in the world, etc. The third book is much more ponderous, after we’re removed from most of the action and intrigue, and it relies on traveling and understated interactions that aren’t nailed quite perfectly. Still, it was great to meet these old friends again.

The Tawny Man Trilogy (Fool’s Errand, Golden Fool, Fool’s Fate) by Robin Hobb – Back when I read books 1-2 of the series, 3 hasn’t been out yet, so this was a good opportunity to read it all. In many ways it mirrors the first trilogy, inasmuch as the first at least is a pretty wild tale of growing up and then action. There was a moment at the end of the first book that got me super emotional, and everyone who’s read the series probably knows which. The second book is much more given to dealing with court intrigue, and feels as if the atmosphere of the Liveship Traders series, which was much more, well, slower-paced and subdued fused with the Farseer Trilogy atmosphere. The third book is a thing of its own, and quite special. It’s a good trilogy, even if it feels more like a collection of three disparate books, tonally, than an actual trilogy.

Fool’s Assassin, Fool’s Quest (The Fitz and the Fool Trilogy), by Robin Hobb – The gang is back! So much happened in the first 200 pages of each of these books, and a lot happened later, but man, you know how many books (and movies) have very little happen in the first two thirds, and then in the final 100 pages/30 minutes, everything happens? Sometimes it’s sort of the reverse, in that in-world the first 200 pages out of 500 take 80% of the time, but everything happens later in one in-world time, but most of the book. This series is sort of the mirrored opposite, in that so much happens in the first 200 pages that it feels like those “final 30 minutes”, but then the rest of the book, which is about 400-500 more pages feels like that again, and yet feels more subdued because it’s still stretched over much longer space than the original. Both books got me emotional, and it was great to meet the old characters again, and read content I was dying to see where it was going.

But that also brings me to a criticism. Chade is about 90 now. Fitz isabout 60. ~25 years passed since we last met them, and they read exactly the same. Yes, Fitz gets to demand others’ respect as he didn’t before, but it’s the same character in a different situation. For Chade it can still be excused because he was an old man last we met him, and he’s the same old man now, but for Fitz, there was an event in the end of the Tawny Man Trilogy that made him be someone else, except here he reverted to the same old Fitz he’s always been, even as Dutiful just became Verity…

Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry / Tale of The Worst One (Light Novel) books 1-3, by Riku Misora – This is slightly petty of me. Someone commented on my seasonal preview saying how this is sooo not a harem show, so I went and checked the first novel’s images. Then I started reading a bit, and it was so bad I had to keep on reading, to see how much worse it’d get. And it kept getting worse! The first book is so bad, and while it may not be a harem, it certainly makes itself out to be as one, especially early on, with how all the girls flock to our manly man protagonist (see my post on how harems are structured in anime and related media, it’s relevant).

It gets better by a bit as the story continues, but it’s underwhelming and non-terrible at best. The high point of the series commonly praised by its fans are its romance, which I found aimed at 13 year olds, and seems to describe characters who act and feel as if they are. Heck, the relationship reminds me of the “relationships” of “boyfriends and girlfriends” in 4th to 6th grade, where kids are play-practicing, except here we have teenagers with mature bodies. It reads almost like a mirror of shoujo manga. This relationship is not only unrealistic, but not even tropey, it’s as if you write based on tropes, and get even farther from reality and emotional resonance. I guess it reads as “good romance” because most other works in the genre bait you and don’t give you even that, coupled with, well, a lack of experience on the readers’ part.

Bad villains, bad characterization, non-intelligent fight sequences. I can’t really recommend this series. I’d even recommend Mahouka over it.

Here are some excerpts from the novels I’ve shared. Squish

Witches Abroad, by Terry Pratchett – I’ve read this in the past in Hebrew, but since I’ve now had access to it in English and I wanted to re-read the Greebo sections, I ended up re-reading it all. It’s an okay book. I really like Granny Weatherwax as a character, but the witch books feel as if there’s something missing in terms of pacing. Discworld books are often not the fastest until the last act, but it’s even more-so with the witches. At least the last act here really was impressive, on all sorts of levels. The ball, the mirrors, Granny’s answer, etc. Yes, Granny’s answer as to finding her real self was so obvious, and yet so genius.

Raising Steam, by Terry Pratchett – This book recently came out in paperback, so I finally read it. First time. This is a Moist von Lipwig book, which reads much as most of these books do. There was much less space given to Moist in this book, and his shenanigans, he’s much more of a respected figure this time around. Instead, it reminded me of Unseen Academicals, if there is one message that Pratchett tried to hammer home hard in his last few books it’s one of progress and acceptance of others. It’s unsurprising, considering how the world in general and Europe in particular have been recently with rising xenophobia. It’s a good book, even if it’s not amazing.

Night Watch, by Terry Pratchett – This book sits at the top of a nearby book pile, always close to hand. I read it 1-4 times every couple of years. It’s one of my favourite books of all times. I just like it. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve read it by now, so this was another.

Reaper’s Gale (Malazan Books of the Fallen, book 7), by Steven Erikson – Recently loaned book 6 to someone, and checked a bit of it out. This is the first book I haven’t read already, so I read it, and a wee bit of the next book. I need to make the time to re-read the entire thing in one go, since it’s been a while, and there are so many characters. It’s ridiculous to look back and go, “Damn, we’ve had all of this happen 4 books ago, and all this happen 2 books ago, so much stuff is happening!” but of course, not all characters and storylines are as interesting as others, and book 7 definitely delved into stuff I care for less. Tehol Bedict is cute and all, but he’s another “Kruppe-Voice Character” for Erikson, which he seems to be unable to do without, but the Letheri and Titste Edur storyline is weaker, at least at this phase, than in its original, or the Malazan storyline.

Halting State, by Charles Stross – This is very much a Charles Stross book. I like the character interaction, the slightly cynical cast to it all, but the mystery and the action feel, well, not entirely worthwhile? Not sure what isn’t clicking for me here. I do like the writing itself, but the story isn’t doing it for me. Still got a wee bit to go in the book though.

Fruits Basket volumes 1, 6, 7 – I just wanted to revisit a specific sequence, of how Tohru and her mother met with Arisa, the former delinquent. Such a good moment. There are so many great sub-stories within Fruits Basket, it’s never really just about Tohru, and in fact she almost becomes a side-character used to introduce other characters for large segments of the series. And everyone’s story, well, not everyone’s, but so many of them are so heart-rending. I know it’s “cheap emotional manipulation,” but it’s just so well done.

Rurouni Kenshin volumes 3-27 (complete) – Continuing and completing my re-read. Some stories here went too long, or went too long without feeling they expanded enough about some of the side characters, but I wonder if part of that feeling was engendered by the author’s segment before each chapter where he said the same. There were quite a few emotional moments in the series. I think this is my 3rd time reading it in its entirety. The action was good, the characters were solid. I still quite like it.

Trigun Maximum volumes 4-5 chapter 2 – Well, read some more of it. Part of it is surely the translation I’m reading, another the exceedingly hard to follow frame-by-frame movement in Nightow’s comic, but man, this is hard to follow, and so my attention wandered to other stuff.

Any books, manga, or Light Novels you’ve read recently, or are reading now, and would like to discuss? Or any of the copious amounts of stuff I’ve read?

14 comments on “Media Month in Review – May-October 2015 – Books (And Manga/LNs)

  1. fgfdfh says:

    I see that there’re 41 discworld novels. Which one should I start with? I heard the novels are fantasy parody, but I don’t really like fantasy ( I’m more of a Sci fi guy). Will I be able to understand the jokes? I also heard that the early books aren’t that good.

    I’m re-reading Yotusba, this time in Japanese. Trying to understand the language sucked out most my enjoyment from the manga. I’ll have to increase my Japanese reading skill a bit more before being able to read for pleasure.

    • Guy says:

      I’ll address Yotsuba first cause it’s short. Reading something for enjoyment when you struggle with the language doesn’t really work. Especially when it’s supposed to be a light experience…

      The first two books of Discworld go together, and are parody of Fantasy. You may like them or not, I thought they were “alright”, but they’re skippable. The books onward are satire of our own world, or of how Hollywood came to be, or the monetary system, but they’re good stories even on their own.

      I really like Equal Rites (book 3), but know that some of the things in it weren’t kept, continuity wise, for later, but some did. I’d suggest starting with that. Mort is the first book in the Death sub-series, and also quite good. Then I’d check out Wyrd Sisters, it’s the first book of the Witches of Lancre, and all of their books follow a similar pattern of retelling a story (usually plays). I find their books much slower, but it’d tell you if you like them or not. I’d follow that by reading Guards! Guards! the first book of my favourite sub-series, the Night Watch one, and the first book dealing heavily with Ankh Morpork.

      After that, you’ll have a better idea of where to go. You could focus on particular sub-series you like, or avoid others, and also check out the stand-alone books that interest you (Pyramids is not the greatest, but it gives a lot of valuable information about the Assassins’ Guide. Small Gods is masterful and worth a read even if you don’t read other Discworld books, etc).

      Not all books are equal, and I really didn’t care for Moving Pictures, but that’s how I’d get started: Equal Rites > Mort > Wyrd Sisters, but know this one is more polarizing/slow > Guards! Guards! And go from there.

  2. fenglengshun says:

    worse than Mahouka
    slightly spiteful

    I think you misspelled “very” into “slightly” there. I mean, while I don’t think of Rakudai Kishi as the best piece of art that ever graced this planet (that honor is reserved by The Epic of Gilgamesh), to call it worse than Mahouka is just taking it too. If you want to put a “This one is better because it’s more fun to tear apart” recommendation, then put Heavy Object there. Because it us worse and I’ve seen people defending it by saying the author intended it to be bad.

    But Mahouka? Mahouka simply gets me tired. The protagonist is more overpowered than pretty much every other protagonists of the genre, the story licked his dick harder than black holes sucking all matters, in-story is hated more than Jesus, and has power based on Jesus and Shiva of all shits. The rest of the characters are even worse of a cardboard cutout with personalities that is about as Anine-ish as you can get, with an incestuous little sister whose love was never questioned by the story of its morality and has worse depictions of her obsessive love too.

    Which would have made it a great target for spiteful reading if it wasn’t so dry that being adapted into a visual medium still could not make it exciting at all. It has fight scenes which is impressive in animation details and complexity of the images, but still not at all inspired and with tensions so low it made Kirito’s fights looked like the most tense fights in the history of anime industry in comparison. As if those weren’t enough, it was filled to the brim with worldbuildings that killed all imaginations and excitement in the magic while being more dry than my poorly translated college text books. It was SO BAD even pre-highschool Feng Lengshun thought it was bad and boring.

    And you saying that “Mahouka is more recommendable” is in any way “slightly spiteful”? As if nitpicking about the writing of a fan translation wasn’t already spiteful enough – even a newly initiated anime enthusiast knows they’re bad, it’s as dumb as pointing out that babies are dumb. But really, for all of it’s badness, it’s still not as bad as its ilk. Which is what I mean when I call it good. The genre is almost entirely bad, any breath of fresh is honestly appreciated. The genre, in general, is unrealistic but they were never meant to be a thesis on the nature of men – they’re meant for lite and relax reading without much thinking aimed for Japanese people. Nitpicking them is like nitpicking mobile games based on the metrics of PC games, they wouldn’t hold up and it’s kicking a deader than dead horse, with an occasional hornet nests in it.

    As for “realistic”, well, it’s not something I would use as a metric for stories in general. It has a dictionary meaning but its usage differs from people to people. But for argument’s sake, let’s just roll with it. Now, the question is, is the romance in the series “realistic”? Well, kind of. You pointed that it was done like the relationships of elementary graders, which is something the book pointed out. They simply cannot into romance stuffs; they had been focusing on training themselves and ignoring social stuffs bar those enough to sorta fit in. It is thus “realistic” that they acted like little kids in their relationships. And I could see where their worries came from. Japan is a pretty repressed place in terms of opposite-sex interactions. I remember reading a few articles that they rarely have a neutral grounds made to meet and pick up people of the other sex. Comparing their romantic situations with Westerns standards is as apt as using a Flathead screwdriver to screw in Phillips screws – they are, at best, not a perfect fit. Now, as a person living in Asia, specifically in Indonesia, I could see where they are coming from. It’s especially repressed here, don’t talk about kissing, sometimes even holding hands can be forbidden at times. Now, Japan has a more loose standards and restriction the subject, with premarital sex and kissing more accepted, but it’s still pretty repressed all things considered. I’ve had people who have lived in Japan call Kimi ni Todoke as The perfect picture of the average Japanese boys and girls’ relationship for one. Besides, my idea of “realistic” romance would basically consists of lots of time spent on phone calls/texts, and lots of sweet talking with some small fights here and there – in other words, pretty boring to watch.

    So yeah, I’m defending Rakudai Kishi no Eiyutan, because it isn’t that good but it also isn’t THAT bad either. It’s a funny thing, really, because when you speak about something others like with a lot of vitriol, they almost always shoot back with a lot of annoying words. It’s why I keep a neutral “just tired, disappointed l, and genuinely wish it could have been better” tone in general unless a work was simply that strongly offended me or I genuinely could not see any redeeming quality whatsoever – as with Mahouka. I doubt I would be anywhere near as mad as I am now if you hadn’t call Mahouka being more recommendable than it.

    Hooookay. Now, I saw that there isn’t Undertale yet on the list there, so I’m giving that a Big recommendation. It was, simply put, one of the best RPGs I have ever played and one of the most creative games I’ve seen in terms of gameplay and narrative integration. It has an Earthbound-like aesthetic, complete with a Giygas-like boss, with a gameplay reminding me of Shin Megami Tensei… if you can spare all the enemies and has a bullet hell-based defense system. It’s about $10 on Steam though I recommend getting the OST too because it was simply great. Of particular note was “Human, I cannot accept your mercy”, ” Megalovania”, and “A True Heroine”. Oh yeah, just a tip; if you want to go Genocide Route first, just walk then immediately alt-tab/click something else to make the character keep walking on its own until it gets an encounter, keep doing it until it said “But Nobody Came”.

    If you have played it… well, have you tried Sword Art Online Abridged? It was a lot better than the original in my opinion. Still only eight episodes though. And if that you already know too, then maybe Diamond in the Rough on YouTube, by Spaztique. It was pretty great for a one-man production using rudimentary tools. I don’t know what else to suggest to try if you already know that one too.

    • Guy says:

      Dude. I’m going to say it outright. You’re coming off as a crazy fan. Knock it off. Not just on my blog, but in general. Take a deep breath. Then take another. Chill.

      Also, you misread me, and I never said I’m “spiteful”, I said “slightly petty”, which was only my motivation for starting to read the books, which was to prove a commentator wrong. The books are bad. I’m not a fan of Mahouka and spent thousands of words on why it’s not good, but I think Rakudai is worse.

      Deal with it.

      As for SAO Abridged/Undertale, this post is about books/manga/comics/LNs alone, so everything dealing with anime, youtube videos, or video games will have to wait for the appropriate post(s).

      • fenglengshun says:

        shrug That’s what happens when you post a review with a very poorly managed tone. I’m usually a very chill person. I usually deal with criticisms on works I like calmly and accept that people have opinions. I mean, I’m pretty sure that you’ve criticized stuffs I liked a few times before and after a little defense, just end it with an “Eh, shrugs” of sorts. I mean, I don’t quite agree with the recent view on Shirobako, but I accepted that you can have different view on things and valued your opinions on the matters still. It just that me and people using abrasive tones just really, really don’t mix well.

        Try taking a page out of Bobduh’s general tone when reviewing stuffs, try to be more neutral with the tone. Saying you don’t like it, it’s not good, etc., are fine, but certain choices of words… can get fans to get really riled up. Want to avoid having to deal with annoying fans being riled up? A better tone and choices of words when composing reviews, criticisms, and opinions could do the trick. Not a particularly hard thing to do, I think.

        Honestly, I was half in mind to just not type any of it – I mean, I’m not even particularly invested in the series and I’ll probably forget about in two months after it finished airing – but I had free times dealing with an hour and half commuting, so I thought, why not? Someone’s certainly not thinking about others’ feelings on the matter, I don’t really have to consider how annoyed they could be in reading my own opinion on the matter right? Well, deal with it, I guess.

        As for the latter, yeah I know, just telling about them now so that I could see your opinions on them when you do make your posts later. Would be a shame if I have to wait a few more months to see some comments on it, just because I didn’t mention/requested them a bit earlier. And before you say anything about why would I want to hear it, I like to hear opinions from everyone if possible. They can broaden the mind, provided the opinions are well-constructed with good arguments and explanations (probably why lately I just stick to reading professional reviews on ANN).

        • EatzAce says:

          I like to hear opinions from everyone if possible

          Alright, here’s mine: the tone of your comments make you come off as very passive-aggressive making it very hard to want to read through it and very easy to dismiss it as the ramblings of an overly-attached fan. You say you want to hear everyone’s opinion on Rakudai but what you really seem to be wanting is confirmation of your own opinion. Even if you have legitimate arguments within your comments, I’d be hard-pressed to read past the first couple paragraphs to find them given the manner in which they’re presented.

          I may be completely off-base in my assumptions but that’s the impression I got from reading your comments.

        • fenglengshun says:

          I think it was pretty obvious that I was quite… annoyed to say at the very least. Also pretty obvious that Guy didn’t want the argument to continue by how he wasn’t responding in spite of the many holes in my statements, but eh, whatever.

          Strictly speaking, there are two things that I am objecting to in the comment:

          One: The comparison to Mahouka. To say that I have a major distaste for the series would be putting it mildly. But even disregarding my own personal feelings towards it, the series is infamous in the internet as a very bad action high school harem series. Anyone with a decent amount of activity in the internet anime communities should at least know how… divisive the series is. Disregarding its actual quality, what is important is that comparing any anime – or at least anime of similar categories – to it would be like comparing an action game to Hatred. Any reviewers worth their salt should know that it is, at best, inadvisable. I think that it is within the realm of understandability that I interpret it as him using it in bad faith.

          Second: The general tone of the review. Being upset or being disappointed in a series is understandable, but just because one felt something, does not mean it’s in the best idea to say about all of how you feel in raw emotions. We’ve seen cases of people getting sued over what they said on the internet – this is the same as that. As a reviewer, one should try to be as neutral as possible. Not saying that you have to objective, but at least try to really think about what you are going to type, and think if it would be a good idea to post it. Especially since toxic behaviours begets more toxicity.

          Now, with all that said, I still value what Guy says sometimes – the comment on Orphan-Blooded Iron (or was it the other way?) was pretty interesting since I didn’t really caught it in the middle of all the awesome space pirate actions (because the action scenes really looked like it was adapted from a pirate movie), MSG: Portable Ops action (which makes me wonder if it was planned, produced, and released with the thought of taking advantage of The Phantom Pain’s releases and popularity), and Aldnoah.Zero similarities (so far it’s still better than AZ in my opinion). In the midst of all those and the general barren season, I didn’t notice the whole adult-are-undependable aspect of the show. That, and making me think that maybe I should pick up Concrete Revolutio again – the first three episode felt kind of weird, but it was pretty interesting.

          It just that, well… sometimes poorly thought-out tone and word managements can start a giant flame war. And when reviewers put reviews that seems to be done in bad faith… let’s just say that it makes it hard to really trust them on what they’re talking about. I’m still following because hey, people get angry and makes mistakes all the time, just like I did. Just because you get angry once, it doesn’t make everything you say before and after lose all its worth. I mean, even the most vocal haters can have a point sometimes, even if it can be buried under a lot of negativity and bad compositions, but eh, this isn’t a perfect world and nobody is perfect – doesn’t mean they can’t still contribute something. Although it would be great if they could improve as a person and be more mature in their actions. Eh, I’ll give them some times, not like I’m a completely good and mature person anyways. I’ve got to say though, it’s really hard to believe in a person’s potential to do great things when they behave in a way that annoys you.

        • Guy says:

          Please do not leave more replies about this subject. Your comments beyond the first one had all said basically the same thing and using more or less the same argument and same words.

          You’re free, as always, to keep leaving comments about other topics. “Moderate your tone” with regards to reviews, not just in regards to Rakudai no Kishi and Mahouka, will no longer be a permitted argument.

          Thank you.

  3. Frog-kun says:

    I’m not much of a sci-fi/fantasy reader, so I can’t comment much on the books you’ve written about in this post, but the last novel I read was Fahrenheit 451. I found it not to my taste at all. The characters kept making literary references and talking like literary characters even though it’s supposed to be set in a world where such books are outlawed. It might have been a stylistic decision, but I just couldn’t get over my shattered suspension of disbelief.

    Lately, I’ve been reading lots of YA (not LNs) and enjoying them quite a lot! They’re nice to read after being suffocated by so many academic books orz. Anyway, I think my favourite book I’ve read lately was The Protected by Claire Zorn, which was about coping with death, and it made me cry a little bit.

    • Guy says:

      Outlawed, but not forgotten, which was sort of the point ;-)

      BTW, have you read my favourite children’s book, which is also about coping with death? I highly recommend it, Brothers Lionheart by Astrid Lindgren. I’ll check out The Protected if I come across it.

  4. enigmator says:

    Raising Steam is a memorable book for me as it’s Pratchett’s final book (as far as I recall), and this really showed through the content of the work. While the plot itself revolved around Moist, the whole book felt like a tour of everything Pratchett accumulated in Ankh-Morpork: the clacks, the goblins, the dwarf-troll relations, the Watch, the post office, etc. It’s a nostalgia trip of how far his world has developed and that even with this last book, this world will continue to live on, perhaps not in the form of more books, but through the march of progress. Even without Vetinari to set things in motion, he’s created a thriving world that curiously mirrors our own. In brief, the book provided some nice closure for Discworld as a whole, that’s speaking someone who’s partial to Vimes and Moist stories.

    On another note, I recently finished Cloud Atlas and it’s a great book that manages to tie together several different stories into a cohesive whole. Each story has its own distinctive tone and writing pattern that keeps the whole thing fresh. Much recommended.

    • Guy says:

      The Shepherd’s Crown, released posthumously, and the final segment written by Terry Pratchett’s daughter is the final Discworld book. And yes, well, the last 10-15 books in Ankh-Morpork always made use of everything that came before them. That’s sort of Ankh Morpork’s theme, progress, and the theme of tolerance Pratchett tried to convey via it.

      Being partial to Moist’s stories I understand, but Vimes’s?! Shocking! :P

      I’ve watched Cloud Atlas, and I can definitely see how that story in particular would work much better in book form, but I don’t really have plans to read it anytime soon. Thanks for the recommendation, maybe others will pick it up :)

      • enigmator says:

        I’m more shocked that you find my preference for Vimes’ stories shocking since he strikes me as one of the more popular characters to like.

        Throughout the ones I’ve read, Vimes has had some of the most extensive development across books, my favorites being Night Watch (which you also mentioned) and Thud. For the Moist stories, on the other hand, I’m into them less for Moist himself and more for his significant role in the large-scale changes taking place in Ankh-Morpork in many of the later books.

        On Cloud Atlas, it’s a worthwhile read for a book whose recurring feedback seems to be, “It’s better than the movie”.

        • Guy says:

          Sorry, for a moment I read “I am partial to” as the opposite, as you not liking them. I don’t care that much for Moist, especially beyond his first book, but Vimes is my favourite Discworld character.

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