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  1. Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss It's been a while since I've read these books, but I'm still eagerly awaiting the third (and I think final) installment. The storytelling in this book is amazing; the change of scenes and times and scenarios captivated me throughout the whole thing. Just in the first book there are several distinct settings, and the worldbuilding is focused on certain details but still very good. This is a story framed within another story. We have a present-day Kvothe settled down and dealing with looming issues, and also being slightly angsty over his past, as he tells his story to a scribe. The magic system is definitely one of my favorite things about this series! The main system, called sympathy, is made out to be like a science, with precise measurements and knowledge needed to perform it, just like any other intellectual discipline. It doesn't feel unfair when magic is used, since this novel is so good about explaining the wit and problem-solving the main character uses to work out problems. Also subtly explored throughout the series is the more traditional magic that you usually see in fantasy novels, but this kind of magic of controlling elements is very rare and requires a lot of soul searching. It's actually where the title of the first book comes from. I loved the characters; especially the main character who is also the narrator. I think I've seen some complaints that he's too cocky and confident, but I personally don't see that as a problem; I suspect it may be because most young adult fantasy novels have that wimpy main character who has things thrown into his lap for him. While Kvothe (pronounced "Quothe") has a lot of inherent talents and ability, it's great to see how he uses them throughout the story to solve conflict and get where he needs to go. Female characters are very meh and flat. It seems like the author doesn't really know how girls work to be honest, and there are a couple scenes that come to mind that make me cringe a little on the inside. It's definitely not super distracting overall however, although the plot line involving the main character and his wandering love interest is kind of iffy and confusing at times. I feel like since I haven't read this story in a while I'm not really doing justice to how good I felt about this book while I was reading it and reflecting on it. Seriously-- if you like epic fantasy I recommend reading a bit of the series. I think it's ranked quite high up there on Goodreads on certain fantasy lists, and for good reason. As always, I can describe the plot a bit, but the writing really has to be experienced for yourself.
  2. So who else likes them Japanese comics? I thought this would be better than clogging up the comics thread where manga posts can get overlooked. I normally stick to vintage manga, mostly work published prior to 1980, but lately I'm in the mood for something modern. I could re-read what's available of Wandering Son, maybe? How's Knights of Sidonia? I hear that's good.
  3. Would anyone be interested in an un-official monthly non-fiction book club? Fiction book clubs are more popular and I really enjoy the Idle Bookcast but I'd like to be part of a book club that is focused on non-fiction - any type (except maybe auto-bio cause I find few of them worth reading). Looking at my goodreads account only 1/4 of the books I read were non-fiction and I'd like to up that to somewhere between a 1/3 and and a 1/2. I think the Zen and the art of motorcycle maintainance would be a good first pick as it has been talked about on the podcast before and is it on the cheap on Kindle ( currently $2.99). If anyone else is interested I will be starting to read the book this week and will post about it in this thread. Hope you will join in.
  4. A Brief History of Curious Things

    In Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum, the protagonist is tasked to find illustrations for a book on the history of metals with a focus on the curious rather than just the cold facts. I would buy this book in a heartbeat, if only it existed. This is why I am asking for suggestions on non-fiction that is interesting, informative and entertaining. I remember enjoying Stephen Hawking's A Short History of Time when I read it long time ago. Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything was okay, though its scope was clearly too large and, so I have understood, there were plenty of factual errors. A Long History of Electricity (there might be a pattern here) by a Finnish professor Ismo Lindell was an excellent read, especially since it deals so closely with the subject of my studies. In all the books, the "stories" are told, more or less, through individuals and mostly in chronological order (of discovery), which makes for a very pleasant and human reading experience. Speaking of humans, I also recently read Alan Weisman's The World Without Us. It had its moments but wasn't as well organized as the others and I often found it quite dull. So anyway, any subject will do, though I'm likely to skip A Colorful History of Tiffany Glass and will almost definitely not read one dedicated to war or economy. Feel free to suggest those too, however, as someone else might be interested. Illustrations are considered a plus. Thanks!