50 shades of grey
Recently finished Brian Aldiss's classic trilogy Heliconia, set on a planet whose binary star system means it suffers an 1800 year long "great year" with huge extremes of climate. The world-building is great, care and imagination has been spent in crafting the fauna, although the virtually exactly parallel-evolved humans seems a little contrived. The stories themselves sometimes appear to be window dressing on the changing environment, no matter what they do there are always forces more powerful than the characters and the parts set off of Heliconia grate a little, with the Gaia hypothesis being pushed a little too strongly. Having said that, there were parts that I found engrossing and I made it through the 1200-odd pages of my edition without breaking to read anything else in the middle.
Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco
Just finished A Storm Of Swords which I found very very brutal to be honest especially the bits everyone knows about already, don't go to a feast in the game of thrones world I say. It manages to be both beautiful sometimes and sympathetic to previous villians(especially Jaime) but also cruel and horrible to others like Sansa. all in all a good read and I'm very excited how they will film some of this stuff in the series.
Just finished The Gathering of the Lost by Helen Lowe. There's something about these books I can't quite place, but I'm really eager for the next one. They burn slowly and they aren't phenomenally original (even if there are neat ideas there) and some of the action scenes leave me wondering what just happened but yet I found myself enjoying it greatly nonetheless.
Now onto Red Country by Joe Abercrombie. I've always had mixed feelings about his work (except The Heroes which was just really good) but I expect I'll enjoy it nonetheless.
Dan Simmons - Hyperion and it's sequels.
Well, now, years after reading it in a very wrong way( Endymion -> Hyperion -> Fall of Hyperion -> Rise of Endymion) I finally re-read it in right order and in English. Guess I understand now why so many people say that only first and ( mybe) second book are worth reading. Third and fourth are not exactly bad, but unnecessary, plus some of the explanations and revealed backstories are simply disappointing, some things shouldn't be explained after all, I think. Shame, also I ended up skipping parts of Rise of Endymion because I remember that nothing of interest happened. I never did that even when reading Illium and Olympos, other Simmons' massive ( and often sleep-inducing) works.
Fun Fact: my aunt gifted me Endymion on Feburary 23 1999 aka Soviet Army day. Probably random choice.
Robin Hobb - Assassin's apprentice
Not bad, I guess. Still reading the first third of it so it may change for better or worse.
From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia, by Pankaj Mishra.
And then, for some light reading, A Strategic Model of Chinese Checkers: Power and Exchange in Beijing's Interactions with Washington and Moscow, by Peter Kein-hong Yu. Which should go well next to the book that typifies Mao's communist revolution as an extended game of weiqi.
After that, I'll be reading Blood & Bone, by Ian C Esselmont, the 5th of his Novels of the Malazan Empire. Received my copy today, from Amazon. This one is set on Jacuruku, a continent that's only been mentioned and seen briefly before in the 15 or so other Malazan books (it was one of Kallor's Empire's continents, where K'azz of the Crimson Guard was, Ereko's 'homeland', and where Ruthan Gudd was held by an Azath House at some point in time). I've only had a quick scan of the 'Dramatis Personae'... Crimson Guard & Disavowed are in there, Osserc/Osric & L'oric, Ardata & T'riss, Spite, and Gothos even. Also Kallor, though he isn't named.
Yeah, I read the first 100 or so pages of it earlier today. I never actually liked Logen until now. He feels so much more rounded now than he did before. This is definitely the sort of book I can really see myself wallowing around in for the next few days.
And that's Red Country finished.
Collapse - Jared Diamond
Hot, Flat and Crowded - Thomas Friedman
While waiting on Patrick Rothfuss to come out with the newest book to his Kingkiller Chronicle, someone suggested the following as highly evocative of Rothfuss' work:
Blood Song (Raven's Shadow) by Anthony Ryan
Not freaking bad for a self-published book, although Penguin signed him up shortly after because they apparently aren't idiots. Read this if you enjoyed the Rothfuss books and want more of the same.
A thousand splendid suns by Khaleed Hosseini. Wow, just wow..
Also I just finished Night watch from Sergey Lukyanenko and it wasn't half bad. Looking forward to reading the whole series as I've heard it only gets better.
Metro 2033 is based on a Russian novel right ? Has anyone read it to recommend it (or not) ?
I think the main spoilers would be about the universe. As I remember it, the game skips many parts of the story and changes others a good deal, so it probably wouldn't be too bad if you were to play the game at some point.
PKD: The Man in the High Castle.