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I have to admit that I was touch suspicious about this when I started. But my first book arrived the other day. I'm also actually getting quite a lot of pleasure sending unwanted books off to the other side of the world where someone wants them.

So go have a look and put your books up:
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I have to confess that it took me a couple of goes to get into this book. It's set in a far future, in polities that have been fractured from the Republic by a memory-editing worm. Transport is instant through T-gates. Manufacturing, even of oneself, is done through A-gates. The experimental polity in which our protagonist finds himself, for various reasons, is truly horrific. I thought it was a tedious mash-up of SF tropes at first, but it was so good, returning to the real world was a painful shock.
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I forgot to add that Eric is ripping through The Ghost Brigades like there's no tomorrow. Of course, this meant that I had to read it while he was cooking, and then The Last Colony and then part of The Android's Dream. I did not have time for this.

I also found my copies of Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising sequence and Diana Wynne Jones' Dogsbody at my parents' place. I'm deeply happy about this.
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Well, that was certainly a busy weekend. More detail )
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I loved the first two Mercy Thompson books. They weren't thought-provoking, but they had all the components of a good series - real characters, original elements to the vampire/werewolf/Faerie lore, good plots, well-crafted dialogue and prose.

Contains spoilers )
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I have a confession to make. I adore Georgette Heyer. I am consoled by the fact that I'm in very good company.* So I was absolutely delighted to be able to read her biography (at last) and meet the woman herself, so to speak.

I first read The Convenient Marriage when I was raiding my mother's bookshelves at the age of 13. And then I found there were more! I managed to track down almost all of Ms Heyer's romance/historical books over the years. I even found the four early modern romances that she suppressed, thanks to the wonderful Toronto Public Library network.** But I just couldn't justify the hardcover price for this biography by Jane Aiken Hodge ($65.00 at Borders) when I saw it a few years ago. Luckily for me, Eric and I ran across this delightful (and affordable) paperback version just before Christmas last year. Guess what I found under the Christmas tree?

I think it is a mark of a successful biographer to capture the personality of their subject, instead of merely providing dry dates and events. Jane Aiken Hodge succeeds in doing so, bringing out Ms Heyer's strong character and sense of humour through excerpts from her correspondence and anecdotes from friends and family. It was a true privilege to peek into the daily life of one of the most successful authors who has graced the literary landscape, to hear about her fights with the tax man, her dedication to her work, and her strong principles. (It was particularly fascinating to realise that she was related in some sense to the Pullein-Thompsons, whose books filled my childhood with dreams of hoofbeats.) If you are a fan of Ms Heyer's work, this book is clearly worth your time and effort.

* Names of the guilty are available upon application and payment of the application fee.

** The TPL is a fabulous network with 90 (!) libraries in Toronto, Canada. It also had the Great Roxhythe, which I found quite odious.
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This trilogy is composed of The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and the Amber Spyglass. The first book has been made into a movie, which was released in December 2007. I made it through the first two and skimmed the third.

I don't know how anyone can compare this set to Narnia or Harry Potter. I should say up front that I don't have any particular issues with an atheist mindset. Your faith or lack of it is between you and God. I have a number of views which my church would probably not support. And I think banning books is silly - children have more sense than they're given credit for.

My problem is that the books are just so badly plotted. The motivations of the characters are confused, at best, especially Lord Asriel and Mrs Coulter. The children appear to believe what they're told, without any critical thought whatsoever. I don't like Lyra, the little liar. And the overall result makes no sense - how is it any better to be required to be happy and cheerful and loving to create more "Dust" than to do it because it makes the world a better place (for whatever reason you might want to do so)?
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The book, silly! By [ profile] matociquala!

Oh, so good. And the rest is not as scary as the first chapter. Which is good. Because the start gave me the creeps.

Also, have just read the Jack Horner graphic novel from the library. I love the Fables universe.
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Bugger, I've just forgotten what I wanted to say.

Oh yes, I read two spectacularly good books a week or so ago. John Scalzi's The Ghost Brigades was a more than worthy successor to Old Man's War. Rich, meaningful, and poignant. My only regret is that I need to operate dangerous machinery between now and Wednesday afternoon, because borrowing Jon's copy of The Last Colony would probably require the sacrifice of sleep.

The other one was my first Elizabeth Bear book, Carnival. Oh, my, goodness. Very, very good, although the men-women role flip was interesting. Well justified, mind you, on a sociological basis. I liked it more than the Wen Spencer book with the same idea - A Brother's Price because it's set in the future of ambassador-spies and tech stuff in the style of Crossover. Did I say it was good?

Oh yes, and I forgot. I also re-read Patricia Briggs' Mercy books over the weekend. They are just as good as I remember. *sighes over Adam Hauptman* And there's good news - they are not going to turn into Anita Blake - see

Anyway, off to Paris on Wednesday, so I better run.
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This one was another of the trio that Jon persuaded me to take home the other day. Again, stunningly good.

Yes, maybe I'm just easily stunned. But this one was dark and complex and horrifying in a way that didn't rely on wriggling worms or gore. Just intricate and well done.
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Fresh from reading Old Man's War (which fulfilled all its promise), I picked up my first conscious Heinlein. By which I mean that it's the first book by him that I've read since realising his importance in the field of SF. This one was also courtesy of Jonathan.

While The Door into Summer is obviously dated in its references to 2000 AD as the future, I began to understand why Heinlein is admired. The story is about Dan Davis (an engineer!) and his cat, Pete, (what is it with SF writers and cats?) being swindled out of his business by his greedy partner and greedier fiancée. It holds lessons not only for the lawyers among us, who would lecture you gravely on the importance of control and preferred voting shares, but on human nature, social hacking (ref: Kevin Mitnick), and the time travel paradox.

It is a thoroughly entertaining story. Definitely a keeper.
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I've just started reading Old Man's War by John Scalzi, due mostly to Jonathan's exceedingly good sales technique. I can't say I was persuaded by the starting scene in a graveyard, but now that the action has started, I'm deeply impressed. The dialogue sparkles, the premise is stunning, and I can't wait to find out what happens next.
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