melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
melannen ([personal profile] melannen) wrote2017-09-12 01:51 pm

FMK #23: Long Book Is Long

Last week's F winner, after a very close race, was a tie between Beguilement and Daughter of Witches! I picked Beguilement because I know I'm keeping the rest of Lyra regardless, so Beguilement is more likely to lead to me dumping several books at once. K winner was The Death of Sleep, so goodbye Lunzie!

The comics bonus round winner was Asterix le Galois. Of course the bonus round I threw in because "comics are fast and easy!" gets won by one where I'm going to have to review a whole other language first... There was no K majority for the comics round, although I'm curious about the fact that Maison Ikkoku nearly got it, because I had not idea there was active dislike for Maison Ikkoku out there.

I am going to spend two days of next week trapped in a car with a couple of cats and almost no luggage space, so it's time to finally roll out the LONG BOOKS ARE LONG poll. That way I can only pack one and be reading it all week. :P

I don't know if I'll have internet next Tuesday but likely not (we are helping sister move) so there may be another break in fmk next week.

How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)


Poll #18807 FMK #23: Books over 550 Pages
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 49


Enemy Glory by Karen Michalson, 564 pages (2001)

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F
6 (46.2%)

M
3 (23.1%)

K
4 (30.8%)

The Kingdom of Gods by N. K. Jemisin, 582 pages (2011)

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F
18 (69.2%)

M
6 (23.1%)

K
2 (7.7%)

The Ruby Dice by Cathrine Asaro, 592 pages (2008)

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F
11 (68.8%)

M
2 (12.5%)

K
3 (18.8%)

The Court of the Air by Stephen Hunt, 599 pages (2007)

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F
8 (53.3%)

M
1 (6.7%)

K
6 (40.0%)

The Last Hunt by Bruce Coville, 624 pages (2010)

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F
7 (43.8%)

M
5 (31.2%)

K
4 (25.0%)

Better to Beg Forgiveness... by Michael Z. Williamson, 640 pages (2007)

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F
5 (41.7%)

M
1 (8.3%)

K
6 (50.0%)

Moby-Dick, or, the Whale by Herman Melville, 624 pages (1851)

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F
10 (33.3%)

M
11 (36.7%)

K
9 (30.0%)

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, 736 pages (2006)

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F
24 (80.0%)

M
1 (3.3%)

K
5 (16.7%)

Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, 760 pages (1973)

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F
7 (35.0%)

M
5 (25.0%)

K
8 (40.0%)

Otherland: City of Golden Shadow by Tad Williams, 780 pages (1996)

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F
8 (44.4%)

M
1 (5.6%)

K
9 (50.0%)

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke, 800 pages (2004)

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F
16 (39.0%)

M
20 (48.8%)

K
5 (12.2%)

Mad Ship by Robin Hobb, 850 pages (1999)

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F
7 (36.8%)

M
5 (26.3%)

K
7 (36.8%)

Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany, 879 pages (1975)

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F
8 (33.3%)

M
14 (58.3%)

K
2 (8.3%)

Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson, 917 pages (2003)

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F
7 (35.0%)

M
2 (10.0%)

K
11 (55.0%)

Maia by Richard Adams, 1062 pages (1984)

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F
4 (22.2%)

M
4 (22.2%)

K
10 (55.6%)


cinaed: I improve on misquotation (Default)

[personal profile] cinaed 2017-09-12 06:01 pm (UTC)(link)
So while I love Bruce Coville -- he's one of my formative childhood authors and I've read both Rod Albright Alien Adventures and My Teacher Is an Alien series a half-dozen times -- I feel I should mention that The Last Hunt is the final book in his Unicorn Chronicles quartet, so if you haven't read the earlier books, The Last Hunt won't make much sense.
cinaed: I improve on misquotation (Default)

[personal profile] cinaed 2017-09-12 06:29 pm (UTC)(link)
Haha, god, I remember I was at a writers conference when I was thirteen, and Tamora Pierce was a guest, and when she was mingling with us, after I'd gushed about her books, I went, "So you're friends with Bruce Coville, right? I love his work, any idea when he might finish the next Unicorn Chronicles book?" And she just sighed deeply and said, "I know. I try not to bother him about it either, but...."

This would've been about 2000 or so, after the second book came out....

DCPL has the entire series, but I guess that's not much help to you. I have the series somewhere in my numerous boxes of books, haha, probably at my mother's, and am actually weeding my collection, so if I find them, I can possibly send them your way.
birke: (Default)

[personal profile] birke 2017-09-12 06:41 pm (UTC)(link)
Dude, and it was only published in 2010? Time to revisit my childhood and reread stuff I'd more or less forgotten existed.
birke: (Default)

[personal profile] birke 2017-09-12 06:46 pm (UTC)(link)
I know, I read it when I was a kid in the 90s! That's why I'm surprised that there is a followup published so recently.
Edited 2017-09-12 18:46 (UTC)
birke: (Default)

[personal profile] birke 2017-09-12 06:57 pm (UTC)(link)
There can be miracles... when you believe...
rachelmanija: (Books: old)

[personal profile] rachelmanija 2017-09-12 06:16 pm (UTC)(link)
Mad Ship is book two in a series and won't make any sense if you haven't read book one.

Jonathan Strange is great - well worth the time.

The Lies of Locke Lamora is tremendous fun but has one of the worst fridgings I've ever encountered. Book two, also tremendous fun, but also has a giant fridging. Book three, the author clearly wised up about feminism but the consequence is that characters suddenly start lecturing each other on feminism and about two-thirds of the book seems to be there solely to make incredibly heavy-handed feminist points. So while there are no fridgings, the entire book annoyed me and I did not find it fun. I would still highly rec the first two if you like heists and amoral characters being witty and stealing stuff. It also has really cool worldbuilding.
malnpudl: (Default)

[personal profile] malnpudl 2017-09-12 07:32 pm (UTC)(link)
Just in case a contrary opinion might be useful: I found the first Locke Lamora book tedious and mildly annoying, because in my late 50's I've apparently hit my lifetime ceiling on a bunch of clever, witty, roguish young men being awfully good at being... darn near anything, really. Men. Young men. So very clever. So very witty. So very roguish. So very good at it. Whatever.
birke: (Default)

[personal profile] birke 2017-09-12 10:42 pm (UTC)(link)
+1
rachelmanija: (Default)

[personal profile] rachelmanija 2017-09-12 11:29 pm (UTC)(link)
It's a really fast read for it's length, though.
ratcreature: RatCreature is bored. (bored)

[personal profile] ratcreature 2017-09-12 06:19 pm (UTC)(link)
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell was boring, and I never finished it. I think I tried for over 300 pages (my paperback had over 1 a thousand iirc, so a bit over a third), and never started to like any of the characters, and the worldbuilding was interesting and the main reason I stuck with it, but not even that could save it. And the footnotes were excessive and annoying, and I normally like appendixes and footnotes and such. So if I had enough opinions on the others I would definitely vote "kill" for it.
ratcreature: reading RatCreature (reading)

[personal profile] ratcreature 2017-09-12 07:02 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah. I posted about it when I was about to abandon it and got a lot of comments from other people hating it. I had thought I would like it, because I like historical fantasy, I like worldbuilding, I like long novels... But it turns out having a likable character to identify with on some level is a deal breaker for me.
Edited (typo) 2017-09-12 19:02 (UTC)
birke: (Default)

[personal profile] birke 2017-09-12 06:45 pm (UTC)(link)
I agree that it is frequently boring. I voted M because it is a classic of the genre... the genre being historical fantasy generally and early 19th century English historical fantasy in specific. I like Naomi Novik and Zen Cho and Patricia C. Wrede's attempts better, but I like what Jonathan Strange adds, both on its own merits and as something to compare the others with.
jainas: (Default)

[personal profile] jainas 2017-09-13 06:45 am (UTC)(link)
I didn't find it exactly boring, but it is slow paced and very dry at time, and the MCs are not always very likeable... I much more enjoyed the BBC series actually, and the book of short stories.

But when I saw the book in your FMK list, my first thought was that if it get voted Fuch, it's gonna be a long slow dry one. >_>
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)

[personal profile] rmc28 2017-09-13 10:39 am (UTC)(link)
I also gave up on it. I probably didn't read a whole third, but multiple chapters anyway. I don't hate it, I just didn't like it enough to bother any more.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)

[personal profile] sophia_sol 2017-09-12 06:46 pm (UTC)(link)
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is very much the sort of book that is not to everybody's taste but for the right audience it is INCREDIBLE. A number of characters are not particularly sympathetic/likeable, it goes on endless tangents, and the focus is far more on worldbuilding than on plot. Also it's aping a 19th century writing style and is a thousand pages long. And I can see how all these things mean the book mightn't work for everyone, but I personally find it riveting.

I have never read any of the other books on this list, which is kind of odd given how much I love long books. Perhaps I should finally get around to Moby-Dick myself.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)

[personal profile] sophia_sol 2017-09-13 12:11 am (UTC)(link)
Yep, I've put it on my list!
rymenhild: Manuscript page from British Library MS Harley 913 (Default)

[personal profile] rymenhild 2017-09-12 07:37 pm (UTC)(link)
Jonathan Strange: DNF, twice.

Moby Dick: hilarious and one of my great literary loves.

Maia: the touching story of a beautiful prostitute who is too stupid to understand basically any of the choices she ever makes. Holy male gaze, Batman. Kill with extreme prejudice.
rymenhild: Manuscript page from British Library MS Harley 913 (Default)

[personal profile] rymenhild 2017-09-12 11:12 pm (UTC)(link)
Somehow she manages not to notice, despite encountering a LOT of obvious code words, that her fellow elite courtesan, who is her best friend and occasional (female) lover, is actively engaged in Revolution. Maia's too busy enjoying her life in the beds of wealthy aristocrats to see it. This is only a spoiler to Maia. Anyone else would figure out Occula's deal from the second or third chapter.
rymenhild: Manuscript page from British Library MS Harley 913 (Default)

[personal profile] rymenhild 2017-09-13 01:12 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, Occula is unquestionably the most interesting character in the book. Her Crowning Moment of Awesome at the very end is all that justifies the last five hundred pages.
elanya: Pensive pony (Default)

[personal profile] elanya 2017-09-12 08:30 pm (UTC)(link)
I think the Jemisin is also last in its series, but I haven't finished that one yet.

I remember reading Dhalgren ages ago and enjoying it, but I'm fuzzy on the details now.

Mostly these lists always just make me realize how little I've ever actually read ;p
elanya: Pensive pony (Default)

[personal profile] elanya 2017-09-13 01:28 pm (UTC)(link)
Hah, fair! My unreads are mostly still packed in the basement where they can't mock me as eaily, and that's after I did a huge pre-move purge...
copracat: marble angel (from episode of Smallville) (stone tears)

[personal profile] copracat 2017-09-12 08:31 pm (UTC)(link)
I first read Dhalgren when I was arguably too young to understand it. Probably because of that it blazes in my mind, the mental imagery it left me with hasn't faded. It's a bit more James Joyce than SF. Don't expect a neat linear narrative.

Edited to add: in this it is the opposite of Jonathan Strange which I read through easily but don't remember a single thing from except there was a black character and fairyland.
Edited (more to say!) 2017-09-12 20:36 (UTC)
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)

[personal profile] seekingferret 2017-09-12 08:33 pm (UTC)(link)
Egad. Dhalgren and Moby Dick are two of my favorite books, and Jonathan Strange is well beloved as well, but the idea of going on a two day trip with only one of those books terrifies me. For the love of your sanity, bring a shorter change of pace book if you end up with one of those!
lannamichaels: Astronaut Dale Gardner holds up For Sale sign after EVA. (Default)

[personal profile] lannamichaels 2017-09-12 11:13 pm (UTC)(link)
Jonathan Strange starts slow and stays that way forever. It took me a while to get through it, but it does pick up once it hits Part 2, especially the napoleonic wars bit, and Part 3 is pretty gripping, especially near the end. I have endless questions about why the author structured the book the way she did, but... yeah, I'd honestly recommend starting pretty far into it, and then going back to the beginning after the end to see how the slooooooow tendrils are started. But the first part is full of slowness and unlikeable characters and the most blatant "I'm not going to give this main character a name" that I've only seen topped by a fandom recently whose name I can't even remember, where it goes "why should we mention your name? We both know what it is! So let's move on."
lannamichaels: Astronaut Dale Gardner holds up For Sale sign after EVA. (Default)

[personal profile] lannamichaels 2017-09-13 01:11 am (UTC)(link)

I'd say starting from Part 2 Jonathan Strange would be, although that's not the first appearance of Strange, but it's a nice kickoff to his part of the plot. The key points from before that are that Norrell brought Lady Pole back to life with the assitance of the faerie gentleman with the thistledown hair (Lady Pole pays all the price for this magic, Norrell none of it), and also that Vinculus is going around telling people a prophecy http://hurtfew.wikispaces.com/Prophecy+of+John+Uskglass

marginaliana: Buddy the dog carries Bobo the toy (Default)

[personal profile] marginaliana 2017-09-13 12:26 am (UTC)(link)
I tried Moby Dick twice and couldn't finish - the first time it was because of a sentence that went for literally a page and a half, and the second time it was the chapter describing all the fucking whales that did me in. I know it's supposedly doing interesting things there but I just cannot bring myself to care, it's that dull. VERY DULL. SO DULL.

I liked Quicksilver but it's very much Stephenson at his ultimate 'I learned a lot of neat stuff about this topic and now I will share ALL of it with you!' so depending on your affinity for the topic, it can be very hit or miss. Or if you hate infodumping. (I mean, I feel like he at least does amusing infodumping, when he's on form.)

Locke Lamora is, as others have said, a romp if you're into sassy thief heist stories and you can live with all the attendant fridging and the fact that it sometimes tips over into 'author has thought of a clever line and must shoehorn it in' mode. And that first book is the most fun of the series - it gets more grim from there.

I'm going to be keeping an eye on the comments here to see what people say about those of these I haven't heard of. I'm always in the market for a good doorstopper.
marginaliana: Buddy the dog carries Bobo the toy (Default)

[personal profile] marginaliana 2017-09-13 12:43 am (UTC)(link)
I think the difference is the emotional angle with which the info gets presented - with Stephenson I feel like his narrative voice is always either thrilled by an idea or amused by it, or both. Which makes it easy for him to sell me on wanting to know more about it and/or wanting to read him being amusing. I also loved the infodumping of Cryptonomicon and while Quicksilver doesn't quite hit that high, it's pretty good.

Whereas Moby Dick just felt very encyclopedic. Here are some facts about whales. Did you know there are different types? Here are the types. Some are longer and some are wider. (etc ad infinitum)
jain: (watchmaker of filigree street katsu)

[personal profile] jain 2017-09-13 12:20 pm (UTC)(link)
An alternate POV: I love the infodumps in Moby Dick. There are digressions on the nobility of whaling and the unlimited supply of whales that are beautifully written but heartbreaking to read from a 21st century perspective; and interesting analyses of whales in art and scientific literature; and hilarious (imo) arguments over whether the whale is a mammal or a fish.

The only parts I regularly skip are the "Etymology" and "Extracts" at the very beginning. Instead, I jump straight to Chapter 1 and "Call me Ishmael," and proceed from there.
genarti: Stonehenge made of hardcover books, with text "build." ([misc] a world of words)

[personal profile] genarti 2017-09-13 03:48 pm (UTC)(link)
I also love the infodumps in Moby-Dick, for the record! And Ishmael's narrative voice, which IMO is clear and full of personality even when he's being encyclopedic.
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)

[personal profile] seekingferret 2017-09-13 03:28 pm (UTC)(link)
I will defend the infodumps in Moby Dick to the death, but it must be acknowledged that the page and a half long sentence in Moby Dick is spectacular but also incredibly racist.
rushthatspeaks: (sparklepony only wants to read)

[personal profile] rushthatspeaks 2017-09-13 04:52 am (UTC)(link)
Moby-Dick is occasionally HILARIOUS and is also at the top of my list of novels that were way, way, waaaaaayyyyy more homoerotic than I was expecting. Seriously, if you take of-the-period euphemizing as it is usually taken, the difficulty would be in proving that Ishmael and Queequeg aren't lovers, and it's an incredibly easy argument for them as canonically married (because Ishmael... says so... in so many words... more than once...). Ever since first reading the novel, I have had a fun yet aggravating hobby of reading academic texts in which people try to argue away the homoeroticism, and it's amazing how stupid and contrived those things can get.

I like the Whale Facts rants, for several reasons: where there's a difference of opinion between theorists, Melville always picks a side and argues it to the bitter end; if you know modern biology, he is invariably screamingly wrong; the state of knowledge or rather lack of knowledge about whales not all that long ago really puts how far things have come into perspective; and also Melville is incredibly erudite and clever about being invariably screamingly wrong. I for one enjoy fifteen pages of somebody trying to convince me that whales must, biologically speaking, be fish by way of Pliny and the Bible, but I do see why not everyone does.

*carves ISHMAEL + QUEEQUEG 4EVA on Nathaniel Hawthorne's grave and backs away hissing*
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)

[personal profile] seekingferret 2017-09-13 03:31 pm (UTC)(link)
My favorite part of the Whale Facts rant is how every whale is ultimately evaluated in terms of how much oil it yields. He'll go on for page after page about the majesty of the animal and how graceful it is swimming, and funny stories about whaler encounters, and the coloration of its spots, and then bam, six barrels of oil.