What books are you reading for pleasure these days?

agentlossing

Top Veteran
Location
S. Oregon Coast (the Northernmost-Cal of them All)
Real Name
Andrew Lossing
Yesterday I finally finished First King of Shannara, the 9th and last of the Shannara prequels. Today I begin Brooks’s debut novel, The Sword of Shannara, published in 1977. This book was my original introduction to sci-fi fantasy. This is the only one of Brook’s novels that I have in paperback, and my copy is well worn.

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One of Brooks' best, and yet paradoxically his least original, maybe. This book is based so heavily on Lord of the Rings, relies on it for so many of its story and character beats, that it shouldn't be a good book. But, perhaps because its predecessor is just so great, it somehow works. Grand and epic in all the right ways, with actually a lot of world building that has always been Brooks' strong suit. I need to read it again.
 

tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Real Name
Tony
One of Brooks' best, and yet paradoxically his least original, maybe. This book is based so heavily on Lord of the Rings, relies on it for so many of its story and character beats, that it shouldn't be a good book. But, perhaps because its predecessor is just so great, it somehow works. Grand and epic in all the right ways, with actually a lot of world building that has always been Brooks' strong suit. I need to read it again.
It's funny, copying seems to engender copying. Just as Shannara seems to have been heavily influenced by Tolkein, the dark wizard Voldemort in the late 90s and early 2000s Harry Potter novels seems to be a near copy of the dark Druid Brona, aka the Warlock Lord. He was vanquished in the book I just finished, reduced to his non-corporeal form, wandering the lands for centuries until he could rebuild his power and attempt to exact revenge. Sounds a lot like Rowling's later He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
 

Richard

All-Pro
Location
Marlow, UK
I’m just reading this, the autobiography of test pilot Eric “Winkle” Brown.


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I’m not keen on the cover, nor the title actually, but the book itself has been a pleasure to read – a real ‘Boys’ Own’ adventure story.

A natural and very skilful pilot, Eric Brown joined the British Fleet Air Arm in 1939 at the outbreak of World War II. He flew against the Luftwaffe in the Atlantic, gaining valuable experience of aircraft carrier operations before his ship was torpedoed and sunk.

As an exceptional pilot and a fluent German speaker he was given the job of locating and evaluating various German military aircraft at the end of WWII, including the famously dangerous Me-163 Komet. He also conducted interviews with Herman Goering and other captured Nazi officials at that time.

Later, he became an acknowledged expert in aircraft carrier deck landings - he holds the world records for the most aircraft carrier deck take-offs and landings (2,407 and 2,271 respectively) and was the first person to land a jet aircraft on an aircraft carrier.

Brown went on to fly 487 different aircraft types, which is more than any other pilot in history.

The list of records goes on, and the book also catalogues a series of nasty accidents and near-misses plus some tragic losses of close friends and colleagues along the way. Fatalities aside, it’s an enjoyable book written by a charming and modest man (who died in 2016, at the age of 97).

-R
 

theoldsmithy

Hall of Famer
Location
Cheshire, England
Real Name
Martin Connolly
Recently I have picked up my reading speed again since the two Rose Tremain books. I had a change of gear and whizzed through Jo Nesbo's latest Harry Hole book, The Knife. Then I went for Kate Atkinson's companion to Life after Life, "A God in Ruins". Thoroughly recommended apart from the ending which had me furious for several days! I moved on quickly to Susanna Clarke's latest, Piranesi, which was really imaginative and (unlike the Kate Atkinson) wrapped everything up in a satisfactory manner. Now I'm re-reading the wonderful Gormenghast trilogy by Mervyn Peake. I now have the characters from the TV adaptation a few years ago in my mind, which always irritates me. I much prefer having my own vision of how characters look. Still, the prose is as fabulous as it ever was.
 

Richard

All-Pro
Location
Marlow, UK
I now have the characters from the TV adaptation a few years ago in my mind, which always irritates me. I much prefer having my own vision of how characters look.
I think I prefer that scenario to the reverse, where a familar character in a book is played by a TV or film actor who is very different to the person you had in your head. Sometimes just the voice can be all 'wrong'.

I've never read Gormenghast (saw the BBC adaptation a few years ago), but I've got a thick single volume of it somewhere. Maybe I should give it a go now that we've all been given a lot of time for reading ;)

-R
 

theoldsmithy

Hall of Famer
Location
Cheshire, England
Real Name
Martin Connolly
I think I prefer that scenario to the reverse, where a familar character in a book is played by a TV or film actor who is very different to the person you had in your head. Sometimes just the voice can be all 'wrong'.

I've never read Gormenghast (saw the BBC adaptation a few years ago), but I've got a thick single volume of it somewhere. Maybe I should give it a go now that we've all been given a lot of time for reading ;)

-R
Yes, like in the “His Dark Materials” adaptation. Lyra is completely wrong!

Gormenghast is well worth the read. It’s one of those books (or series) where the pleasure is as much, or more, in the writing as in the plot or characters. I wouldn’t worry too much about Titus Alone; the first two books are basically the main story. But, like you say, what else are we going to do for the next couple of months?
 

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