1. jeff: the city and the city. china mieville.

    1. verdict: meh.
    2. review:

      he got halfway through and got a little tired of it. forced himself
      through and definitely enjoyed the second half more than the first,
      but was still a bit disappointed overall.

  2. paul: perdido street station. china mieville.

    1. verdict: +
    2. review:

      really liked the first half or so, but became less interested when it
      turned away from the society and the setting and became "all about the
      slake-moths." started strong but didn't follow through. on the other
      hand, he'll definitely read the next book. brandon suggests that iron
      council is really the book that he starts well and really finishes well.

  3. brandon: kraken. china mieville.

    1. verdict: -
    2. review:

      "i just felt like i was reading a terry pratchett novel." really wanted
      to like it, but felt like it was a picaresque. enjoyed himself, but
      didn't feel like it was a fully-baked novel. ("did you think freaks
      and geeks was a fully-baked tv show?" "no. no, i did not.")
      interestingly, several other people started kraken and either didn't
      (or at least haven't) finished it.

  4. megan: the name of the wind. patrick rothfuss.

    1. verdict: +
    2. review:

      of the story and the story-within-the-story, she *really* preferred
      the latter and felt that the former was a total slog. basically she
      really liked it, the writing is fantastic, and these are her only
      complaints. (lyle thinks kvothe is gonna level up in the next book,
      josh isn't sure.)

  5. lyle: prince of wolves. dave gross.

    1. verdict: unclear
    2. review:

      "this is a trashy piece of fantasy right here." (and he also has the
      pathfinder d&d campaign setting. nice.) it's a bad book and he
      wouldn't recommend it. but this is interesting, this stuff is
      published by paizo, a bunch of ex-wotc dudes. a long digression on d&d
      follows, which i'm enjoying so much that i shall leave off
      transcribing so i can follow more closely. bottom line: paizo is
      bigger than wotc, doing awesome stuff, and these are some dudes to

  6. megan: the would-be witch. kimberly frost.

    1. verdict: +
    2. review:

      if you want to read something and not think very hard, this is the
      book for you. there's a girl, she's a witch or something or at least
      ought to be, i dunno, and she's bad at magic i guess and becomes a
      chef. more synopsis that shall not here be recounted. souls being
      sucked into dark pits of nothingness and lists of men that the family
      women cannot date. this is weird. there's werewolves in it, too.

  7. marko: light. m john harrison.

    1. verdict: ++
    2. review:

      this has been reviewed to death, so he doesn't know what to say. but
      this is really good.

  8. marko: earth abides. george stewart.

    1. verdict: ++
    2. review:

      very old, against the rules, but so far still an overlooked classic,
      as i believe we've previously heard. post-apocalyptic, i shan't again
      recount a synopsis, but marko's way of talking about the book is
      interestingly different. it sounds like a profound downer, but marko
      insists that it isn't.

  9. interlude

    lots of discussion on post-apocalyptic and disaster stories, then and
    now. this is a fun one.

  10. chris: the way of kings. brandon sanderson.

    1. verdict: meh.
    2. review:

      "i thought you were done with brandon sanderson." "i am, i'm going to
      report on the 17% that i finished." ok, so this book is "21,346
      locations" long. hmmm, we hate the future. also, it's the first of ten
      volumes, which is why we hate the past and present. it isn't very
      engaging, it's "what you'd expect." it's not exactly like robert
      jordan, there's a lot of world-building and a big arcane magic
      system. he intends to get back to it, but it just didn't grab him that
      much, and he didn't especially want to make the commitment to ten more
      of these. and a counterpoint from lyle! he's halfway through the book
      and thinks it's pretty good. so a + from lyle!

  11. josh: monsters of men. patrick ness.

    1. verdict: +
    2. review:

      it's good, he still likes the first book best, so he's obvously cooled
      off a little by now on this series. which is too bad, i'd say, because
      the reviews of the first book were pretty hot. but it was pretty good.

  12. josh: blonde bombshell. tom holt.

    1. verdict: +
    2. review:

      "this is a pretty good airport book, and that's about it." so, you
      know, there are aliens who are dogs, and they're pretty advanced and
      keep humans as pets. they become angry at earth for blasting all this
      music into space, and send a bomb down. the first half is pretty good
      and goofy, and the second half is just sort of finishing the story, so
      the first half was a little better. the thing that i want to say about
      this book is that this guy has written "like a million" books.

  13. lyle: the wind-up girl. paolo bacigalupi.

    1. verdict: ++
    2. review:

      plot synopsis, WITH WRITTEN NOTES! this is nice. a little steampunk
      here, lots of springs and wind-up stuff and dirigibles. food supply is
      a mess, to the point that the sole unit of currency is the
      calorie. this guy obviously doesn't shy away at all from controversy,
      and it's been getting really good reviews, so i would guess that it
      must be pretty well done.

  14. lyle: cowboy ninja viking. leiberman and rossmo.

    1. verdict: ++
    2. review:

      so, a graphic novel. "they" decide that instead of just training
      brainwashed super-soldiers, they should find people with multiple
      personality disorder and train ALL of the personalities to be
      brainwashed super-solders, e.g., cowboy/ninja/viking. this sounds
      absolutely ridiculous. the art itself is sort of sloppy and kinetic,
      and it's pretty light fare, but good. they're making a movie.

  15. chad: the magicians. lev grossman.

    1. verdict: +
    2. review:

      this is by a columnist and book reviewer for time magazine. the fellow
      in the airport borders told chad "this one is really good, too, it's
      kinda like harry potter goes to college." chad is convinved that this
      vibe really must have been cultivated quite intentionally. seems like
      grossman really wants to sort of subvert or perhaps further develop
      the young adult center-of-the-universe coming-of-age vibe and capture
      the college sense of disillusionment and disenchantment (despite the
      always underlying background of privilege). there are things chad
      really liked about it, but there's a sense in the end of it all being
      for show. chad had some problems with this book, but all in all, he
      liked it. it's well-written, he wishes it wasn't as hackneyed, but he
      will read the next one.

  16. that's all, folks.