I tend to read a decent amount. If my Kindle tell the truth I've read about two books a month for the past 4 years, however it may not be telling the entire truth as some of those 'books' are in fact short stories or Aurealis. Regardless I do read every day. Given this is the first entry the 'recently' is subjective. I'll go back a while in time and list out the books I've read as indicated by my Kindle. I must confess I don't know enough about copyright, so I will include the covers of the books I review until I get told otherwise.
In chronological order as ordered by my Kindle
by Robert Dean
I was given this book in paperback by Robert Dean when he was in Sydney. We were colleagues at the time (at Atlassian, but Robert has since moved on). He got wind of me running the local writing group in Sydney and we were keen to hear him talk a bit about his experience as a published author. I later bought the Kindle version as I prefer to read on the kindle. Now for the book itself.
This book is a western-horror and it is not normally what I would read. The book is quite dark in its subject matter. I did enjoy it. The plot moves along well and it keeps you interested and invested in the characters. I remember thinking at the end that I wish there had been a bit more closure and feel-good. It is still a good book, I do recommend it to people who likes this genre.
by Gary K. Wolf
We recently watched Who framed Roger Rabbit with our oldest daughter. I got curious about the book that inspired the movie. It is a short story and the plot is very different from the movie plot. I understand why they did deviate from the book when they wrote the script. It is the same cast of characters but in the book Roger gets killed rather than framed. It was a good book, it is not very long. If you enjoyed the movie you will enjoy the book as well. I don't feel like I will read any of the sequels right now. I can't remember any specifics about it any more though.
I subscribe to Aurealis which is an Australian magazine for new and upcoming authors. They take unsolicited manuscripts so it is a good chance to get published. Their vetting process is really good and the quality of the stories are very very high and really on par with more well known authors and published stories. The story that made an impression this time (they publish three stories every month, and you really should get a subscription, it is so worth the $20) was 'Surfing Time' a story about two teenagers that crack the riddle of time travel and surfing at the same time. I really liked how the story solved the grandfather paradox.
I read a couple of Aurealis that had banked up on me close together. This edition held the usual collection of stories. I don't remember much about them specifically. I think they were three sci-fi stories. I suppose they were not exceptional if I can't remember them, but on the same token they were not bad. I maintain the quality of the stories in Aurealis is high even if I don't like each and every story they publish.
This month had a story regarding hmm, letting go I suppose. It was called Obsidian River. The basic idea seems inspired by Groundhog Day, but the plot is vastly different and much much darker. I was not a huge fan of this story. It was well written and that, but it didn't engage me that much. The second story 'Searching for Cidalisa' did grip me. It was very much close to my heart. It was a sci-fi yarn around how much information we give up, either voluntarily or is collected without our concent and later stored in large databases. It was a good story, I think I felt the ending was not really excellent but it was still a good read. Even reading a few passages from the third story I can't remember anything about it.
by Robert B. Cialdini PhD
This is not a work of fiction. I read it as I had read Scott Adam's blogs about persuasion and influence. It was a good book. It was a bit long, but well written. It deals with influence and how simple and seemingly innocent things affects us and makes us do things we may not have wanted to in the first place. I am glad I read it. I feel I have a stronger weapon against telemarketers and others that try to change my opinion or wants me to sign up for something I don't really want or need. It is a good read that I do recommend to anyone interested in these things. I read it was part of my growth as a people leader. I think it helped with that too but it is applicable to anyone.
By Terry Pratchett
I wanted to read something easy after having gone through Influence. I knew Terry Pratchett to be a safe bet. I had quite enjoyed Going Postal so I thought I'd read something with Moist again. This book was well written and the story compelling. It didn't hit all the high notes that I remember Going Postal did. It was a rather cynical book about banking and the environment and how things work. Still Pratchett is a safe bet if you want some easy light reading and he did not dissapoint here.
By Morgan Rice
I found Swedish books on Amazon.com and wanted to support them having books in Swedish for the Kindle so I bought this on a whim. It was the best of the few (think tens) of books available when I bought it. They have since grown their catalog significantly. The book was a Young Adult, and it shows in the storytelling. It is a bit simpler and the plot elements not so intertwined. I felt I could predict a number of events that would happen. The translation was terrible. Given my fluency in English I could see where it had come from but it was not good Swedish. I felt disappointed with the translation but not with the story. I will read at least one more book in the series, most likely in Swedish.
This edition featured a horror story, inspired by Russian folklore. It was interesting and made me go look up more about the characters mentioned and traditional tea making equipment used in Russia. I'm not a horror fan so the story did not appeal that much to me. The second story Elementability was quite good. It was about a little girl that could turn things into other elements by saying the proper name of the element. It was gripping and reflecting on how our socity always push 'others' out. Different in any way and you are not accepted.
As usual there were three stories in this issue plus some other collected articles. Starting with the stories it was not the strongest of Aurealis. The first story 'When I tried to go to england' was ok. It left no marks on me. I can only remember bits and pieces from it. The second story 'Wind farmers from outer space' was a humor piece. I enjoyed it, it made me smile that's pretty much all I can say about it.The last story 'Hyter and the House that stands' did not appeal to me at all. I finished it. As always there are stories that you like and some that you don't. Ultimately I am one experience richer I suppose. The other articles were interesting and amusing as always. I really like the mix of stuff you get with Aurealis. As with any magazine or paper you read there are ups and downs, but the sum for Aurealis is easily a large net positive for me.
By Howard Pyle
I got this from Project Gutenberg. It has been on my Kindle for years. I remember when I got the Kindle that I went and looked for lots of old books on Project Gutenberg and downloaded all the ones that you felt 'yeah I'll read that' as I didn't have any others to read. The plot is fairly well known I'd say. Given Robin Hood is today a mythical historical figure. I am not certain we know if he actually existed or not. Regardless mr Pyle's depiction of him is a well known version. The story was compelling, but it has aged. It is slow reading, very wordy by today's standards. I'm glad I persisted with it, but there were times when I thought I would not finish it as the pace was slow and the language at times repetitive. 'Stout' must be one of mr Pyle's favourite words, sometimes used three times in the single sentence.
The number before the big 100th issue. This issue had a two stories involving assassins. The first one follows one assassin as she carries out her deed. It was a very well written story about personal loss and how to deal with it. I quite enjoyed this story. It had all the parts of a good space opera, space ships, alien technology and of course the usual human aspects. The second story was quite good as well. It again touched upon issues from today's society. Today we have the technology to monitor people much closer and our governments are doing the best they can to do so under the guise of crime prevention or safety. This story tells a story of this having gone too far. Well worth the read and as a thought piece for what we are prepared to accept our leaders to do. As Dia Psalma once said "believe right, believe wrong, is it you or me that decides that?" it is a question to ponder. Just because you disagree with me, or believe something different doesn't make you wrong. Anyway I digress. The third story dealt with time travel as partly suggested by the theory of relativity. It was ok, but it felt like it missed a good ending. Arguably writing the ending is the most difficult part of writing. As usual there were reviews and other articles in this edition of Aurealis. They had an article about map making, and how easy it is to get it wrong and how that breaks the suspension of disbelief. It was a strong issue.
by isaac asimov
I saw this somewhere or other as a link to buy the short story on Amazon. I didn't recognize the title and it was cheap so I bought it. Turns out I had already read it and have it in one of my books. I have a rather large Asimov collection. I did enjoy the story though. It is a short story. Even now decades on Asimov stands strong. This story highlights a real thing from our daily life, how sometimes the tiniest detail or misunderstanding can have rather large impacts. I won't go into detail as the story is short and before long I've given away an important plot point. Suffice to say Asimov is a master of short stories and this is a good story.