What’s the Last Book You Read and Was it Any Good?

It always interests me to see what other people are reading. I like to see what appeals to their tastes in reading. Some people like to stick to a single author until their entire bibliography is read. Others like to mix it up by alternating authors and even genres. Some switch between fiction and non-fiction. I’m curious to know what our readers read and what their impressions were.

For my part, as I religiously post on this very site, I recently read Frederik Pohl’s career-spanning collection Platinum Pohl. It was a good collection of stories, though Pohl is liberal with the economic and political themes. But man, there were some great stories in there. I think I tend to overdose on a particular writing style in collections but not so much with anthologies where the various authors have widely different styles. And yet, that’s a reading impediment that does not usually occur with novel-length fiction. Somehow, the short doses of science fiction make me more aware of the writer’s style.

So, what’s the last book you read and was it any good?

14 thoughts on “What’s the Last Book You Read and Was it Any Good?”

  1. The latest book I read was TO CRUSH THE MOON by Wil McCarthy. I was given an advanced reviewer’s copy: this is a fine book. The science is stout and authentic, the prose weaves between the playful and the poignant, the depth of time, the sorrow of loss, the promise of immortality, are all explored in this book of wonders. I’d recommend it.

  2. As a Star Wars Fanboy, the last book I read was Jedi Trial, and I thought it was pretty good. I know I owe reviews for that and Thud! by Terry Pratchett which was also quite good. I will be honest and say that most of what I have read was enjoyable save a couple books – because if they were not – I would have stopped…

  3. You can always see what I’ve been reading by going to my site and looking at the most recent Year in Books item (left column).

    Most recent books were “The Hedge Knight” (a graphic novel) by George R. R. Martin, “H.M.S. Surprise” by Patrick O’Brian and “Draco’s Tavern” by Larry Niven.

    I have never liked “graphic novels”, but I really liked “Hedge” and now I’ve gone on to “A Game of Thrones” (and see the entry on my site called “Gadzooks” from Sunday, 1/29/06 for a reaction to that book!).

    Patrick O’Brian is a treaure.

    As for the Niven, it was a mixed bag. Some of the stories were great. Others not so much. But, it’s the most enjoyable Niven I’ve read since, ahhhh, “Ringworld Engineers”, so that’s a positive!

    I do have “To Crush the Moon” on the TBR pile!

  4. Actually I am becoming more and more a fan of Cory Doctorow’s work, which is all readable for free online http://craphound.com/ (although I prefer to read it on paper), and I just read his latest: Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town.. I was pretty suspicious from nearly the outset because I read his stuff because I love the technology ideas in the vaster majority of his work, which I would characterize as ‘post-singularity’, and I dont do much in the way of fantasy. Well, he has never failed to amaze as an author, so I persisted, and discovered that it was still set in modern day, and still imbued with a lot of optimism, and solutions for current-day issues (how to implement free mesh networking is one of the central themes).. But just the characters, and thier interactions.. Man, this book will blow your mind.. I would describe it as a masterpiece, and I dont think of many books that way, and I read a great deal of critically aclaimed SF..

  5. I finished the His Dark Materials Trilogy today with the Amber Spyglass. I give a review of it on my blog.

    In general, though, I enjoyed it, although I don’t think it lives to the high expectations I got from the first two novels in the series. But if you go through one and two, (Golden Compass and Subtle Knife), then reading Amber Spyglass is worthwhile.

  6. I’m trying to get through Lady of Mazes by fellow Torontonian, Karl Schroeder. A well written book exploding with ideas, but the style – or I guess, pace – has taken me some time to get used to. I’m a third through and it just picked up a bit with some hair raising scenes.

    Next up is probably The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho, and then The Long Way Down by Nick Hornby – unless I’m craving for SF again, in which case it’ll probably be an Asher (The Skinner) or Mieville (Iron Council) or the new Zahn Star Wars book.

    As for non fiction, and I’ll admit to a Canadian bias here, the best books I read in 2005 were Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw by Will Ferguson, and The Closer We Are to Dying by Joe Fiorito.

  7. The last book I read was Crime and Punishment. A classic tale of a man who murders a woman and has to deal with the crime. He has a theory that all evil can be undone by over-shadowing it with good. It’s a long book that dives into conscience.

    Check it out.

    jLh

  8. I have almost finished “Pandora’s Star” by Peter F. Hamilton and I’m really loving it :) It is one of best books I’ve read lately. Though a bit long it is fast paced and full of interesting ideas.

  9. The last book I read was for one of my university courses – Swamp Angel by Ethel Wilson. I enjoyed it.

    The last SF book I read was Falling Out of Cars by Jeff Noon. My final opinion on that one was a pretty strong ‘meh’, but there were a lot of extremely well-written scenes there…they just never resolved into any sort of cohesive whole.

  10. I’m almost done with Ilium by Dan Simmons. Excellent ideas and writing and an interesting premise. I’m just far enough along that I’m beginning to put the pieces of this future history together.

    Prior to this I read Imperial Earth by Arthur C Clarke which I thought was a fine book. Not fantastic but good. And I also read Harry Potter And The Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling so I could read the book before seeing the film. Both had their weaknesses and I’m not a big Potter fan, but it’s fun to discuss with my wife, who is a fan.

    Read Pandora’s Star a few months ago. An excellent novel and one of my favorites from 2005’s reading list.

  11. Well, it wasn’t SF (*gasp*), but I just finished Patrick O’Brian’s “The Far Side of the World.” It’s one of his Aubrey/Maturin series set in the British royal navy in the early 19th century. I’ve loved the whole series. Next up is Steven Erikson’s “Gardens of the Moon.”

  12. Almost finished with Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves, a challenging, fascinating, terrifying read that I highly recommend. Also a few stories into Robert Aickman’s collection Cold Hand in Mine.

  13. I am pretty much a read-a-holic and am always reading something. My pile of books to be read is huge and the library pretty much knows me on sight.

    I’ve read a few books lately. The best one I’ve read recently was Cell by Stephen King. Sort of SF but not really. It was good and I enjoyed it a bit. I read the thing in three days and that was pacing myself to not read it all at once and to really enjoy it.

    I’ve got a whole list of the books I’ve read during the past month on my blog..yes, I know, shameless plus. But hey…you gotta do what you gotta do.

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