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I think Martin's problem is that he has split his world in two. At the moment (spanning both parts of book 3, book 4 and still far off book 5) we've got two entirely seperate narratives, northern kingdoms and southern lands. I can see how they'll come together in one almighty clash at the end (

I'm thinking frozen frost wraiths vs fire breathing dragons here

) but with hindsight I think the decision to split the books on those lines now looks like the wrong one. I don't know if he would have been able to write at a faster pace if he'd continued melding both together, but the lack of anything for the southern side in book 4 doesn't do it any favours.

I don't think mulitple POV's is really a problem Martin has to deal with much. I think of his series like a tree, lots of branches may grow off it but they soon get pruned to help the tree continue to grow.

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Try Feersum Endjin again. It clicks eventually and then reads like a futuristic Trainspotting.

I actually really enjoyed Feersum Endjinn. It is a slog, even after a whole book worth of Bascule speak it's still tiring, but it comes together so beautifully at the end - one of my favourite Banks books.

Speaking of Banks, I recently finished The Algebraist. What a frustrating book! I love some of the of the ideas but the book just goes on and on and on and ARGH! Banks squeezes in more unrelated (and ultimately irrelevant) guff into a sentence than I previously thought possible. It's like he finished the first draft, thought "Hmm, this is too short" and just put in loads of pointless padding. The Dwellers are the stars, though, and it's worth persevering just for some of their one-liners.

Also read State of the Art, which I found entertaining but ultimately fluff. The main story is decent, and God knows it's nice to finally see an Earth connection, but it's all a little bit "Meh, what is the point?"

Finally I just finished The Pilo Family Circus by Will Elliott. A great read - disbelief well and truly suspended for the duration. Never really been scared of clowns but this might just have turned me.

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Have just finished "Kill your friends" by John Niven. I dont know if its been mentioned previously on this thread but wowser its a black, black comic novel. Its the story of a music industry worker in the mid-late 90s during the britpop era. The main character is as depraved, racist, sexist, classist S.O.B as youre ever likely to encounter in a book...but its hilarious, addictive and utterly shocking. I cant recommend it highly enough.

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Somebody recommend me a book. I have a huge pile of books sitting unread but they're just not appealing to me.

Suggest anything*! I have a credit note burning a hole in my pocket I need to spend.

*Hoop, i'm not reading Crime and Punishment.

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I read a few books over the last couple of weeks. Some good, some terrible.

Sharp Objects by Gillian somebody. This was so bad I can’t be bothered googling it to get the writers second name. I only bought because there was a recommendation from Stephen King on the cover.

Awaydays by Kevin Sampson. I really liked his book Powder, but this was pretty rubbish. The story of a Tranmere Rovers supporter and his football hooligan hobby. Pretty dull, it felt like it had been done before and done better. Powder was fantastic but this and Outlaws were really bad. I don’t think I’ll be bothering with any of his book again.

A Big Boy did it and Ran Away by Christopher Brookmyre. I’d never read a Christopher Brookmyre before but this was absolutely brilliant. Iain Banks, Ben Elton and Carl Hiassen all mixed together. It’s the story of a guy in his 30’s that sees a friend of his at the airport one afternoon. The problem is that his friend died in a plane crash a few years earlier. At the same time there’s a terrorist plot, loads of video game references and a brilliant bit where a guy loses his virginity. The ending is slightly OTT but it doesn’t take away from it.

I liked it so much I bought a few more Brookmyres – I read Quite Ugly One Morning yesterday and it was OK. One of my pet hates in thrillers is when the killer is revealed early and the reader knows more than the characters so we spend the whole time waiting for the characters to catch up with us. Anyway, that’s what happens in this book. A doctor is murdered and a journalist teams up with his ex-wife to find the killer and find out why he was killed. This was good and the Carl Hiassen influences are writ large in it.

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I think you should, seeing as it's pretty much the greatest SF ever written! Try and get the cool edition that has curved pages rather than the cheesy SF-Masterworks one though.

I have been trying for months and months, that's why I don't have it yet. I want that entire curvy collection, but they seem to be out of print, go for a fortune on amazon marketplace. The SF-masterworks cover is so horrid.

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I read a few books over the last couple of weeks. Some good, some terrible.

Sharp Objects by Gillian somebody. This was so bad I can’t be bothered googling it to get the writers second name. I only bought because there was a recommendation from Stephen King on the cover.

Awaydays by Kevin Sampson. I really liked his book Powder, but this was pretty rubbish. The story of a Tranmere Rovers supporter and his football hooligan hobby. Pretty dull, it felt like it had been done before and done better. Powder was fantastic but this and Outlaws were really bad. I don’t think I’ll be bothering with any of his book again.

A Big Boy did it and Ran Away by Christopher Brookmyre. I’d never read a Christopher Brookmyre before but this was absolutely brilliant. Iain Banks, Ben Elton and Carl Hiassen all mixed together. It’s the story of a guy in his 30’s that sees a friend of his at the airport one afternoon. The problem is that his friend died in a plane crash a few years earlier. At the same time there’s a terrorist plot, loads of video game references and a brilliant bit where a guy loses his virginity. The ending is slightly OTT but it doesn’t take away from it.

I liked it so much I bought a few more Brookmyres – I read Quite Ugly One Morning yesterday and it was OK. One of my pet hates in thrillers is when the killer is revealed early and the reader knows more than the characters so we spend the whole time waiting for the characters to catch up with us. Anyway, that’s what happens in this book. A doctor is murdered and a journalist teams up with his ex-wife to find the killer and find out why he was killed. This was good and the Carl Hiassen influences are writ large in it.

You should just read all of Brookmyres' stuff before you get sick of the way they're all pretty much the same story. Brilliant writing style, though - you can tell he was a journo for ages, as it just draws you in completely. My favourite one is the one set on an oil rig - One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night. The characters are cornball and the subplot is groan-worthy, but both in good ways.

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Just read "Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold. Thought three-quarters of it was great, some beautifully drawn emotional moments in there, but the end was a bit unsatisfying,

seemed a little too keen to give everyone a perfect happy ending and was a bit too saccharine. Would have liked more of the shades of grey to continue on.

Also read "The Hot Kid" by Elmore Leonard which was immense. One of his best, all the praise the reviews gave it were spot on.

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I was on holiday for three wonderful weeks and worked my way through this lot:

You Got Nothing Coming - Jimmy Lerner As a devoted Oz fan and being inexplicably fascinated by the US prison system, I was a little disappointed in this. Jimmy seems to have had a fairly clear run during his stint and the final third, where he describes his crime, was a bit much. I didn't really care, I would have preferred to read more stories of Kansas and the other cons. Still worth a read.

The Player of Games - Iain M Banks My second novel from Banks after Consider Phlebas. This was excellent and I ploughed through it in a few days. Loved the build-up, really enjoyed the sections where Gurgeh was competing in the game and the general Culture awesomeness. It won't be long before I get into Use of Weapons.

The Call of the Weird - Louis Theroux I read this in a day or so. Perfect holiday reading, it follows Louis going back to visit some of his previous subjects in US from the Weird Weekend series. I found it a bit light or something and it didn't really add much to the stories I felt. It's a little disappointing but I really enjoyed it anyway. Couldn't get Louis' voice out of my head as I was reading it.

Riddley Walker - Russell Hoban I feel I need to read this again, I'm sure I missed out on a lot of the suggestions. The first half took me a while to get into the Riddleyspeak, but managed the second in a matter of hours. It's definitely compelling and you really get a sense of this new dark age. I also quite enjoy books that have their own 'language', it's very immersive so after a bit of patience at the start, it really works it hooks into you.

The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde I loved the prose and the witty banter throughout, especially from Lord Henry. Men finding other men beautiful (not in a gay way surely), wild 1890s debauchery (Ooooh) and a sold Gothic horror story, what's not to like? I really enjoyed it throughout!

I am now saddened to be back in work and will go back to my usual 1-2 books per month :-(

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The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde I loved the prose and the witty banter throughout, especially from Lord Henry. Men finding other men beautiful (not in a gay way surely), wild 1890s debauchery (Ooooh) and a sold Gothic horror story, what's not to like? I really enjoyed it throughout!

I don't know about you, but I found its prose had a bizarre powerful affect on me, only exhibited by books with an acute style, where it was affecting my way of saying things for days after.

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A Big Boy did it and Ran Away by Christopher Brookmyre. I’d never read a Christopher Brookmyre before but this was absolutely brilliant. Iain Banks, Ben Elton and Carl Hiassen all mixed together. It’s the story of a guy in his 30’s that sees a friend of his at the airport one afternoon. The problem is that his friend died in a plane crash a few years earlier. At the same time there’s a terrorist plot, loads of video game references and a brilliant bit where a guy loses his virginity. The ending is slightly OTT but it doesn’t take away from it.

I liked it so much I bought a few more Brookmyres – I read Quite Ugly One Morning yesterday and it was OK. One of my pet hates in thrillers is when the killer is revealed early and the reader knows more than the characters so we spend the whole time waiting for the characters to catch up with us. Anyway, that’s what happens in this book. A doctor is murdered and a journalist teams up with his ex-wife to find the killer and find out why he was killed. This was good and the Carl Hiassen influences are writ large in it.

One fine day ion the middle of the night is really good. A Big BOy.... is really cool i agree. Finished Dan Brown it was ok, the books he writes are pretty interchangeable in plot and characters.

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