Literary New To You June 2017 => Books you read this month
Andy Howell
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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Bookish types love nothing more than a bibliography, especially book lists generated by like-minded (or not so like-minded) readers.

Please share what you've been reading with your fellow gamers!
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1. Board Game: T.I.M.E Stories [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:125]
Board Game: T.I.M.E Stories
Andy Howell
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O

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Neal Stephenson is my favorite author by country miles. Absolute fan. This is probably the lightest thing he's worked on, which is by no means a bad thing. It's hilarious and clever. If you've read Anathem, this is almost like a teeny pastiche of some of those ideas, with some Outlander and Dr. Who thrown in for flavor.

This is one of those books you read and you tell your wife the hilarious stuff that happened in the chapter you just finished. Where you tell all your literate friends about the hilarious book you're reading. I haven't read any of Galland's other stuff, but will be checking it out based on this one.

Highly recommended.
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2. Board Game: Fantastiqa: The Abandoned Abbey Adventure Expansion [Average Rating:7.58 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.58 Unranked]
Board Game: Fantastiqa: The Abandoned Abbey Adventure Expansion
Cliff Roberts
United States
Lakeland
Tennessee
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https://www.amazon.com/Abandoned-Faith-Millennials-Walking-A...

As a youth pastor, college pastor and children's pastor, Millennials are people I encounter regularly and are some of my favorite people to be around. I know most of those within my sphere of influence pretty well, but extending beyond that, I'm less familiar with what many of them are going through and the struggles they have.

This has been a pretty good read, although not exactly eye-opening. Maybe that means I'm fairly aware of many of the issues facing the Millennial generation? Whatever the case may be, a book that gets me thinking about what others are experiencing is something I typically appreciate and find helpful. So, I hope this book keeps my focus outward as God works inward in my life.
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3. Board Game: Fury of Dracula (Third/Fourth Edition) [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:210]
Board Game: Fury of Dracula (Third/Fourth Edition)
Anne Skelding
United States
Connecticut
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booksbooksbooksbooksbooksbooksbooks!

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It's funny, Fury of Dracula is a more accurate adaptation than most of the Dracula movies I've seen.

I've heard a lot of people say this book legitimately frightened them, but it didn't bother me at all. I enjoyed it.

This Norton edition has a number of critical essays, many of which have good ideas but most of which are COMPLETELY OUT THERE. For example, I 100% agree that Dracula is loaded with queer subtext and with Victorian anxieties about foreign influences, gender roles, and militant capitalism, which many of the essays discuss, but then they go on to insist that Quincey Morris is a vampire, or that Dracula isn't really a vampire, or any number of other very strange conclusions.



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I also read the first four books in Marie Brenna's A Memoir by Lady Trent series. I had read the first one, A Natural History of Dragons, before, but after that they were new to me. I am currently reading the fifth and final book.

This is a pretty great series, especially if you love Victorian era fiction. It takes place in a Victorian-esque world (with the mannerisms of Victorian gentlefolk pretty spot on), the main difference being that there are dragons in this world. No magic, nothing fantastical except dragons, which are basically just considered to be any other large predator. The protagonist is a lady who wants to study them, and she faces a number of challenges (social and physical) and goes on many exciting adventures. Also, the books are all works of art--literally! Beautiful illustrations and the thickness and texture of the paper makes them feel like they really are the memoirs of a period gentlewoman.


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And finally, The Traitor Baru Cormorant. Wow, I had such high hopes for this book, and I absolutely hated it. There's a number of reasons why, but the main one is that I am so sick of sad queer narratives.
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4. Board Game: Larger Than Life: The Game of Pulp Adventures [Average Rating:7.14 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.14 Unranked]
Board Game: Larger Than Life: The Game of Pulp Adventures
Joe Salamone
United States
Billerica
Massachusetts
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About 15 years ago I bought the entire collection of Doc Savage paperbacks and have been slowly reading them (I knock off about 3 - 4 per year). Most of the stories were written in the 1930s and 40s and appeared in magazine form. Bantam Books published them in paperback form in the 1960s and 70s. Oddly, Bantam did not publish them in the same sequence as the original stories. I am reading them based on Bantam's sequence, not the original publication sequence.

These books are poorly written (hey, they're pulp fiction) but I find them to be entertaining. Each story is only about 100 - 150 pages long. The author (Kenneth Robeson) is just a "house name" that the original publisher (Simon & Schuster) used. Most of the stories were written by Lester Dent, but there were about a half-dozen other authors and they all used the name Kenneth Robeson.

THE MEN WHO SMILED NO MORE is one of the worst I have read so far. While many of these stories take place in jungles or islands or other foreign lands (real or mythical), this one is set primarily around a duck pond (???). The crime involves uncut diamonds.

This was a very tough book to read because it is so bad. On the DOC SAVAGE scale (for which I have set the bar very low) I rate it:



I am currently reading THE MIDAS MAN. So far, it is significantly better than THE MEN WHO SMILED NO MORE.

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EDIT: I finished The Midas Man

Currently reading:

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5. Board Game: The Wrong Game [Average Rating:4.59 Overall Rank:17963]
Board Game: The Wrong Game
United States
Redford
Michigan
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After going through the Unfortunate Events series over the previous two months, I dug deeper into it by reading Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography which gives a little bit of background into the character of Lemony Snicket and some of the other characters from the series. I also read The Beatrice Letters which gives more background into the past as well as what happened after the series ended.

After that, I decided to read the All The Wrong Questions prequel series, which consists of Who Could That Be At This Hour?, When Did you See Her Last?, File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents (a side set of events that has 13 small cases with answers at the end of the book), Shouldn't You Be In School?, and Why is This Night Different From All Other Nights?

I liked this series a lot better that the Unfortunate Event series. Is has some connections to it, and despite taking place beforehand, should definitely be read afterwards. Otherwise, you ruin one of the big mysteries in the Unfortunate Events series. Some younger versions of the older characters show up, and it also answers a few of the unanswered questions from Unfortunate Events although you have to read a bit between the lines to see them.

Not sure what I want to move onto now, will probably take a look at the shelf and see what's there.
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6. Board Game: New Dawn [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:2716]
Board Game: New Dawn
Jason Cookingham
United States
Poughkeepsie
New York
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June wasn't as good as I had hoped, but I had some fun reads.

With the announcement of the Dark Crystal tv series, I decided to dive in and read up on the books. Otherwise, no big theme for the month.

Best of the month:

Dawn by Octavia Butler (4 stars)

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A woman wakes up on an alien vessel after nuclear war claims the Earth. The aliens have saved humanity, but they have their own ideas what that means.

I wish I had discovered Octavia Butler years ago, but I am grateful to find her now. She is refreshing. It is smart science fiction, but she also approaches the standard situations/tropes from a different angle.

Perhaps it is just a sign of having read too much genre fiction that my current favorite reads are by authors going in different directions.

An amusing (to me) aside, I chose this cover because this is what the library had. The woman with the black hair is supposed to be the main character of the book, but the main character of the book is a black woman. Recent covers are better.

Worst of the month: gulp

Escape From New York Vol. 1 (1 star)
Escape From New York Vol. 2

Wow. How did these get made? Who watched the original movie and thought these were good follow ups?

Very Good (4 Stars)

The Machine Stops by E.M. Foster

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor


If this was longer and further explored, it may have won best read of the month. I am looking forward to the sequel.

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

Good (3 Stars)

Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths, Volume 1
Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths, Volume 2


I was quite surprised by these books. The origin is nothing I expected.

Shadows of the Dark Crystal by J.M Lee

This is what I was looking forward to. It fleshed out the gelfling and their society. Made them more than innocent little cherubs awaiting their fates to be pushed upon them.

Skullsworn by Brian Stavely

While it was good, it was a disappointing follow-up from the original series.

Clash of the Demons by Joseph Delaney
Rise of the Huntress by Joseph Delaney
Rage of the Fallen by Joseph Delaney

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud

The Dream Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson


I have a weakness for anything set in HP Lovecraft's Dreamlands.

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow

Cibola Burns by James Corey

Kill or Be Killed, Vol. 1

Adventure Time Vol. 1


Okay (2 Stars)
Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

Legends of the Dark Crystal, Vol. 1: The Garthim Wars
Legends of the Dark Crystal, Vol. 2: Trial by Fire

Bee and Puppycat, Vol. 1

Sleepy Hollow, Vol. 1 (Sleepy Hollow Comics, #1)


Bad (1 Star)

Sons of Anarchy Vol. 1
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7. Board Game: The Brusilov Offensive: Imperial Russia's Last Campaign, 1916 [Average Rating:6.69 Unranked]
Board Game: The Brusilov Offensive: Imperial Russia's Last Campaign, 1916
Ivan
Russia
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Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev - Asya

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The romantic story affecting young Russians lived in Western Europe in the middle of 19th century. This story wasn't pleasant to me: its about experiences and decisions of 17-22-year-old young people. I look at life another way.

Sergej Nikolayevich Semanov - Brusilov (Life of Remarkable People series)

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Biography of Russian and Soviet military leader Alexey Alekseyevich Brusilov. Description of life of Russian army from 1877 till 1917. Sometimes the story forms absolutely depressing impression of tricks so-called "elite" that times. Brusilov supported October socialist revolution and served in the Red Army.


на русском - in Russian

Тургенев Иван Сергеевич «Ася»

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Романтичная повесть, затрагивающая молодых русских граждан, проживающих в Западной Европе середины 19 в. Мне не понравилась: она про переживания и решения 17-22-летних молодых людей. Я гляжу на жизнь иначе.

Семанов Сергей Николаевич «Брусилов» (серия ЖЗЛ)

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Биография русского и советского военачальника Алексея Алексеевича Брусилова. Местами немного пафосно, но интересно. Картина жизни русской армии с 1877 по 1917 г. Местами создаёт совершенно удручающее впечатление от проделок тогдашней «элиты». Брусилов поддержал Октябрьскую социалистическую революцию и служил в Красной Армии.
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