Literary New To You March 2019 => Books you read this month
Andy Howell
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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100 Years of Coast Guard Aviation!
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Those dang kids just keep growin'
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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: TransAmerica [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:1067]
Board Game: TransAmerica
Ryan Olson
United States
Auburn
Kansas
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It's taken me all month to try to finish my current book (Brandon Sanderson and his 1000+ page epics.), so I only finished a graphic novel series...

Transmetroploitan 7-10 by Warren Ellis: I finished the series off. It's a strange series, and I'm not sure I'd recommend it to just anyone, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, and there were several fantastic story lines. It's pretty over the top at times, so it's not something everyone would enjoy.
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2. Board Game: Conan [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:429] [Average Rating:7.73 Unranked]
Board Game: Conan
Its been a good month. I got quite a bit read by my own standards. Lots of good classic Marvel.

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Amazing Spider-Man #95-99
FF # 105-119
Marvel Feature #1 (defenders)
Sub-Mariner #41-46
Avengers #88-100
Incredible Hulk #141
Iron Man #41-47


A great mix here. Spider-Man is always good. These issues feature the Green Goblin coming back as Norman temporarily gets his memory back. The big story is Marvel ignoring the comics code and show Harry Osborn with a drug problem. And Peter beating up his dealers out of costume.

FF has them going back to the negative zone and you get a very creepy Agatha Harkness casting a spell to save Reed.

The Defenders is one of the comics I've been looking forward too since i started the reading order. I love all the characters involved in the beginning and am interested to see where it goes.

Sub-Mariner was more bad than good. It feels like they lost track of what they wanted to do during the search for his father arc. But it ends with a bang. Two big Subby villains team up to cause him even more pain.

These are the legendary Kree Skrull War issues. I really enjoyed them, but part of why I did is that I've read most of what came before. If you read it on its own it doesn't quite have the same impact. Still a great set of issues regardless. #99 is the debut of the infamous Hawkeye costume.

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Iron Man was bad for all of these.


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Black Colossus
Iron Shadows in the Moon
Xothal of Dusk

These were all good Conan stories, but none of them are quite as good as what came before.


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Usagi Yojimbo Volumes 5 and 6

this is my third time reading this material in 10 years. It gets better every time.

Also, IDW will be publishing Usagi Yojimbo from now on and in color.
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3. Board Game: Oblivion [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Oblivion
J. Gibson
United States
Texas
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Cast in Oblivion, by Michelle Sagara. The latest in the series. (I call it the “cast” series, but it is The Chronicles of Elantra.)


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Family: Star Wars
Luke Jaconetti
United States
Simpsonville
South Carolina
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Star Wars: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig. Borrow the paperback from my friend. In the days following the death of the Emperor and the destruction of the second Death Star, the New Republic tries to change the galactic order, while the remnants of the Empire plot from the shadows. Sounds like a sweeping epic, right? Wrong. This is a fairly intimate story revolving around a meeting some surviving Imperial bigwigs on an Outer Rim planet, and a disparate band of outcasts who end up working together to stop them. About 100 pages too long, and written in a choppy, modernist type of prose which immediately differentiates it from the old EU. It improves towards the end, but this is pretty uninspiring. I much preferred the last SW novel I read, Catalyst.

Marvel Masterworks: The Incredible Hulk volume 3 by Stan Lee, Marie Severin, et al. Read digital copy from Comixology/Amazon, collects the Hulk stories from Tales To Astonish 80-101, as well as Hulk 102. The Hulk battles foes as varied as Boomerang, the debuting Abomination, and the High Evolutionary, all while being hounded and hunted by General "Thunderbolt" Ross and the US Army. Most of these stories are 10-11 pages long, as Hulk was sharing TTA with Namor at this point, but the "superhero soap opera" nature of the strip (which dated back to the debut of Hulk in this title) works well, as generally each installment flows into the next. The art is universally pretty strong, but once Marie Severin comes in as the steady artist, this book really takes off. I tend to think of Severin more for her cartooning (ie, Not Brand Ecch!), but her depiction of Hulk, Bruce, Betty, Thunderbolt, Talbot, and all the rest are quite wonderful. (Her Betty especially is rather lovely, and approaches a human woman in proportion.) And while I will always think of Herb Trimpe as "the" Hulk artist, Severin's take Ole Green Genes is excellent, ranging from the slam-bang action to the quieter, more morose moments. Nothing earth-shattering in these issues (the biggest "moments" are the creation of longtime foe Abomination, and TTA #100 which is a non-stop mash-up smash-up with Hulk and Namor pounding the ever-lovin' tar out of each other for 22 pages), but Silver Age Marvel fans will eat this up.

Star Trek Voyager: Cybersong by Shariann "S. N." Lewitt. Read as an ebook. Captain Janeway and crew come across a ship's graveyard surrounded by a massive tachyon field, and find that Voyager is being drawn towards it by inexplicable means. I liked this book quite a bit. The premise and the plot ring true as a Voyager story, one which I could see being adapted to the show. Sometimes in these books you get big action setpieces or special effects which would break the budget of a TV episode (naturally!), but here the away team action involves EVA exploration of a massive alien ship. Lewitt has a good voice for the characters (even Chakotay, who it really seems no one was quite sure what to do with) -- unfortunately did not write any other Trek books, Voyager or otherwise. (She is also a lecturer at MIT and has written several other, non-franchise sci-fi books.) I doubt if you are not a Voyager fan that this will do much to flip your proverbial skirt up, but a solid Trek read nonetheless. (Good timing as well, as my friend and podcast network colleague Andy Leyland just released his second episode where he is doing a curated rewatch of Voyager on his show The Palace of Glittering Delights. You can find both episodes here: http://twotruefreaks.com/shows.php?show=37)

I have a vacation coming up this month so hopefully will have a few more books in the next Geeklist!
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5. Board Game: That's So Raven Star of the Show Trivia [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
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Jason Cookingham
United States
Poughkeepsie
New York
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My busiest month of the year kept me from reading as much as I would have liked, but I did read some really good stuff.

5 STARS meeplemeeplemeeplemeeplemeeple

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The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie

The leader of a nation is dying, and his son races home to be ready to accept the mantle of the role... including the close relationship with the nation's god. Things don't go as planned.

The book is told from a second person limited perspective. It isn't the easiest of reads, but it wasn't a problem for me.

If you like the setting of Spirit Island, then you may enjoy this. The gods of this world hold a similar powerful and yet limited role in the lives of the people. Ann Leckie doesn't just created interesting characters and plots, but she creates interesting cultures to view them through.

Four Stars

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The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty

A sequel to A City of Brass, it continues to follow the life of a young woman that learns she is more than human. While a big book, it continues to impress how quickly it passes. The author does a great job of invoking a sense of history to her setting. The different tribes, languages, and their interactions leads to some interesting developments.

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Eager by Ben Goldfarb

A look at the history, current state, and ecological impact of beavers. It mostly centers on the Western US, but is relevant beyond. I learned a lot reading this.

Three Stars

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Follow This Thread by Henry Eliot

A fun experience book that is a light exploration of mazes in our history, mythology, and culture. The book does some fun things that makes it a joy to read.

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Lord Emsworth and Others by P.G. Wodehouse

A short story selection. The first story is a fun story set at Blandings Castle, but the other stories are a bit less interesting.

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The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

A young boy that serves a dying doctor in 1930s Malaysia is given the task to find the doctor's missing finger so his whole body and soul can be put to rest.

I don't think I have read a book set in Malaysia before, and I enjoyed the tiny look into the culture. There is some good mysteries and supernatural tension in this book. I look forward to reading more from this author.

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My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan and Braithwaite

A woman in Lagos helps her serial killer sister clean up after her kills, but what happens when the sister intrudes upon the sister's life and dreams?

The basic idea is fun, but setting in modern day Nigeria is what pushes it into the interesting category. Very short chapters keeps this book moving at a brisk pace.

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Eclipse, Vol 1-3

A graphic novel series about a post apoc world after a solar fair has either changed the sun or our atmosphere. Sunlight now immediately burns human flesh, and what is left of humanity lives underground and comes out at night. Our hero is an Iceman, responsible for doing repairs when the sun is up. When a murder happens, he is called in to help investigate. The art is very good with a lot of incredible details.

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Skyward, Vol 2

The continued adventures of a young woman in a world where most of gravity has disappeared.

A bit of a step down after the first excellent volume, but still good. It becomes more fantastic than I cared for, but the story was still enjoyable.

Two Stars

Your House Is On Fire, Your Children All Gone by Stefan Kiesbye

An older man returns to the town of his childhood, and we are treated to the stories of his and his friends as they grew up in this village.

The stories have a vulgar Shirley Jackson feel. Some are quite good, and others are quite boring.

Infinite Darkness Vol 1

In the future, heat death occurs to the universe much earlier than mankind intended. Humanity builds an ark to save as much as humanity as possible, but few make it to in time. Years later, a murder leads to a bigger mystery.

It is often hard to follow who is talking due to artistic choices, and while the idea is cool... the execution is just frustrating.

Death Be Damned by Acker and Blacker

A horror western about a woman gunned down with her family, but returned to life to seek vengeance. She can't be put down until she has her revenge.

Some fun ideas and moments in here, but it is marred by art that I didn't like. It was difficult to tell some characters apart and the action scenes were confusing.

Sherlock Frankenstein by Jeff Lemire

A side story that explores what has been happening in the original world in The Black Hammer setting. The book is okay. I was hoping it was going to be something more interesting that it turned out to be.

Pemmican Wars by Katherena Vermette

A young woman gets pulled into history, and witnesses the atrocities committed against natives in what is now Canada. The history is fascinating, but the story is barely there and should have been dropped just to tell the history.
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6. Board Game: Call to Adventure: The Stormlight Archive [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:6314] [Average Rating:7.78 Unranked]
Board Game: Call to Adventure: The Stormlight Archive
I just discovered these lists recently, but unfortunately my first entry is not that interesting, as it is just two books from the same series:



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The second of book of Sanderson's Stormlight Archives, it has been awhile since I read the first book, The Way of Kings. what I remembered about the first book is while it seemed to drag early on, the events at the end really elevated it to me to 4 stars. Here, I wasn't as enamored with the plot twists in the ending, but felt that the day to day lives of the characters the story shifts perspectives around were more interesting.





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Oathbringer had much more going on than Words of Radiance, but the way the things came about sometimes felt like it didn't fit well with the existing narrative. One of my favorite things about reading fantasy is getting to learn about the lore of the fantasy universes. When the plot reveals for these universes don't feel consistent or as epic as I previously imagined they would be, that really affects my fantasy immersion.


With less thousand-page books this month, me having some books to catch up in the book club I partially follow, and the volume 6 English translation of one of the few manga I follow just coming out, hopefully my entry for the next month will be more varied.
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7. Board Game: Storm Over Stalingrad [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:2531]
Board Game: Storm Over Stalingrad
Ivan
Russia
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Alexander Ilich Rodimtsev - About 13th Guards Rifle Division in Stalingrad

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Memoirs about 13th Guards Rifle Division actions during Battle of Stalingrad in 1942-1943.



Thomas Hanna - Somatics: Reawakening The Mind's Control Of Movement, Flexibility, And Health

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Interesting complex of exercises.



Stendhal - The Charterhouse of Parma

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Interesting description of Waterloo battle by eyes of the person being near the battle ("sideways"). Behavior of characters is rather strange: now theyy control a situation, provide different ways of probable events; then give in to their emotions and make one mistake after another. Frequent phenomenon: reticences between people conduct to problems in the future.


Stanislaw Lem - Peace on Earth

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Interesting novel about autonomous evolution of several military AI's at Moon.


in Russian

Родимцев А.И. - Гвардейцы стояли насмерть

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Мемуары про боевые действия 13-й гв. Дивизии в Сталинграде. Разительный контраст действий и отношению к службе бойцов и командиров с войной в Испании. Отличная книга. В отдельных местах глубина обороны дивизии достигала всего 300 м (до берега Волги).

Ханна Томас - Соматика

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Методика лечения разнообразных проблем с опорно-двигательной системой.

Стендаль - Пармская обитель

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Интересно описание битвы при Ватерлоо глазами человека, видевшего сражение издалека и «сбоку». Поведение персонажей странное: то они контролируют ситуацию, предусматривают разные события, потом поддаются эмоциям и совершают глупости. Частое явление: недоговорённости между людьми ведут к проблемам в будущем.



Станислав Лем - Мир на Земле

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Про самостоятельную эволюцию нескольких военных ИИ на Луне. Очень интересно.
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8. Video Game: The Stanley Parable [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:600]
Video Game: The Stanley Parable
Anne Skelding
United States
Connecticut
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Super meta and kinda trippy. But that's PKD.



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Good. Liked the characters. I feel like there's some loose ends not tied up, but couldn't quite put my finger on which ones. Room for a sequel? I'd read it.



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Welp. That was super rapey and disturbing. I genuinely cannot tell if Butler was following trends or bucking them. I think the latter? Regardless, it wasn't fun.
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