Top 5

Top 5 Wednesday is GoodReads group where people discuss different bookish topic each week. Today the topic is Favorite Friend Groups
— We’ve discussed bromances before but let’s discuss our favorite ensemble friend groups!

The first ones that came to my mind were from TV shows, like Buffy, the Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Farscape, Firefly… (clearly I could go on all day). Of course, books have them too and I had really hard time narrowing them down to just five.

1, The Merry Men
Little John, Will Scarlet, Alan-a-dale and the rest were driven together by being outlaws but still decent men.

2, X-Men
This is the only comics entry so of course it went to the X-Men. They have so many great friendships (as well as romances). Storm and Kitty Pryde had a mentor-student relationship. Wolverine and Nightcrawler are best friends as are Colossus and Storm. Wolverine and Jubilee were another mentor-student pair. While they can also bicker and fight amongst themselves (hello Schism), for the most part they can always rely on each other. Of course, being a hunted minority creates a strong bond.

3, Vlad Taltos and his friends by Steven Brust
Vlad is a human in a world were humans are, at best, second rate citizens. Still, he has forged friendships with some pretty powerful Dragaerans (who rule this world), such as Morrolan, Aliera, and the vampire sorceress Sethra Lavode. They’re loyal to each other despite being so different from each other.

4, Toby Daye and her friends by Seanan McGuire
Toby has very interesting friends. Her squire, Quentin, was actually pressed on her by her liege lord (also a friend). But she also knows a techno dryad, her death omen, and of course the sea witch.

5, Jonathan Harker, Mina Murrey and the rest in Dracula by Bram Stoker
Seward, Godalming, and Morris were actually friends before the book starts: they’ve traveled in Wild West and got into quite a few scrapes together. Yet, when they start to hunt Dracula, they and the others become best of friends.

Honorable mentions to Temeraire and Laurence and their dragon friends and well as to the Fellowship of the Ring.


Top 5 Wednesday is GoodReads group where people discuss different bookish topic each week. Today the topic is Book List for Class on [pick genre/trope/etc]
— Just in time for back to school, create a reading list for a class on a bookish topic of your choice

I picked intergalactic anthropology. It’s surely a class on Starfleet Academy and if it’s not in the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning it very much should be.

The books have great alien cultures and you just might learn something about that alien culture.

1, C. J. Cherryh: Pride of Chanur
This book has only one human characters; all the others are aliens. The main character captain Pyanfar is a hani who have evolved from lions but we get to meet a couple of other alien species, as wll.

2, Kristine Kathryn Rusch: Buried Deep
The fourth book in series is set on Mars which is controlled by an alien species called the Disty. While they are bipedal mammal humanoids who have a spacefaring culture, they are quite different from human cultures.

3, Octavia Butler: Lilith’s Brood
This is a (short) trilogy of books where humans are almost extinct (because of nuclear war) but the few remaining humans are rescued by the alien Oankali who are very different physically and mentally from humans.

4, Karen A Wyle: Twin-Bred
On an alien planet Tofarn, humans and the alien Tofa are slowly learning to live together. The Tofa are quite different from humans, for example they don’t have biological sexes (they’re all hermaphrodites).

5, Lee Killough: Deadly Silents
This book is set on an alien planet where the inhabitants are all (or used to be) telepaths, so the culture has grown from the assumption that everyone can read each others’ minds.

Top 5 Wednesday is GoodReads group where people discuss different bookish topic each week. Yesterday the topic was Favorites You’d Like to Revisit

— What favorite books would you like to re-read? These don’t just need to be books, they can also be TV, movies, video games, etc.

Well, I’d like to reread more than I do because I have so many unread books on my shelves. But I do rewatch a lot of TV series and films, especially in recent years when it seems that every time I find an interesting TV show, it’s already (or soon will be) cancelled. (Luckily, neither Flash nor Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seem to be in danger of being cancelled, so far.)

These are the ones I’m currently revisiting:

1, Fraiser
Some months back, I bought all eleven seasons in one wonderful bundle and I’ve been rewatching the whole show. For those of you who don’t know, it’s the best US sitcom ever.

2, Star Trek: TNG
My science fiction comfort watch.

3, To say nothing of the dog or how we found the bishop’s bird stump at last by Connie Willis
Hysterically funny time travel comedy. I have the audio book and occasionally relisten it, especially when stressed.

4, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Another series I just adore and rewatch my favorite episodes from time to time.

5, Marvel’s Legendary the deck-building game
It became quickly my favorite board/card game since this came out 2013. Out of the 14 expansions I don’t own 4. I’m eagerly looking forward to their next expansion which is going to center on Ant-Man and hopefully we’ll finally, finally get the Wasp! (I’ve already printed out a fan-made the Wasp but an official the Wasp would be great!) The game is based on Marvel superheroes.

Top 5 Wednesday is GoodReads group where people discuss different bookish topic each week. Today the topic is Best Books You've Read So Far in 2018

A classic but always interesting. I’ve read and reviewed 36 books so far. This year the quality has been pretty good. I’ve finished completed series and I’ve found a new favorite author. Only one book got less than three stars, so it was hard (once again) to choose just five. But here are the ones I chose today:

1, Robert Jackson Bennett: City of Miracles
The final book in the Divine Cities series was just as good as the previous two. It’s a noir revenge story, espionage mystery, and fantasy all rolled into one. Excellent ending.

2, N. K. Jemisin: The Stone Sky
The final book in the Broken Earth fantasy (sf) series. This series (including the last book, of course) deals with lots of heavy themes, such as bigotry, survival in harsh conditions, and motherhood.
While it’s good it’s also quite grim. There’ not a lot of humor in the books and the world itself is… well awful. And many of the people are also awful and I find myself wondering just much can a person hate people they don’t even know and force other people, including children, to suffer because of such abstract hate? It’s of course very worthwhile read.

3, Trish Heinrich: Serpent’s Sacrifice
An indie superhero series set in the 1960s US. Pretty much the only thing I didn’t like in this series is the romance. Otherwise, all three (Serpent’s Sacrifice, Serpent’s Rise, and Shadow Dreams) are very enjoyable and I’m looking forward to the next book.

4, R. J. Theodore: Flotsam
This was another wonderful new author. Flotsam is steampunk/science fiction book and the first in a series. Wind Saber is a small airship with the total crew of four. They captain works hard to keep the ship intact and the crew fed. Sometimes they have to do illegal stuff to get by.
It’s very hard for me to choose the final one. I’ve read a couple of others very good first in a series books but also old favorites and it’s always very hard to choose between.

5, R. E. Stearns: Barbary Station
Another great first book in a science fiction series. It has a committed lesbian couple as the main characters and I just loved them. Also, space pirates!

Top 5 Wednesday is GoodReads group where people discuss different bookish topic each week. Today the topic is

Favorite Fathers/Father Figures
Literature is full of fathers and father figures, both bad and good. I’m going to list some of my favorite fathers from various comics.

1, Jonathan Kent by DC comics
As the foster father of Superman himself, Pa Kent is an iconic father figure. Not only did he raise young Clark to defend all innocent people, and the whole planet when needed, the adult Clark can always come to him and Martha with his troubles (at least in the universes where the Kents are alive).

2, Ben Parker by Marvel comics
“With great power comes great responsibility.” Another iconic father figure, Ben raised young Peter Parker but Ben’s death taught him the ultimate lesson.

3, Cutter from Elfquest by Wendy and Richard Pini
When we first meet Cutter he’s the brash and headstrong young chief of the small Wolfriders tribe. But he adjusts surprisingly well to fatherhood and is an excellent father to the twins. Of course, being a chief sort of means be a parent to the whole tribe so I guess it’s not such a big leap.

4, Reed Richards by Marvel comics
These days Reed and Susan have two kids and I think for the most part they’re excellent parents. Even though Reed has the tendency to get buried in his work, he usually manages to come out and hang out with his kids and Susan. Not surprisingly, they also make sure that the kids Franklin and Valeria have the best education possible. However, sometimes Reed’s questionable choices (such as keeping secrets from his family) comes to bite them.

5, Donald Duck by Walt Disney
Another male raising alone a child (or in this case three children) who aren’t his own. Donald could be either on the worst dad list or best dad list. He’s usually a caring father figure to his three nefarious nephews, giving his last cent to get them a birthday or Christmas present. They also have wacky adventures together. On the other hand, he can also lose his temper in half a second and chase them down with a rod in his hand.

Top 5 Wednesday is GoodReads group where people discuss different bookish topic each week. Today the topic is Summer Reads
–With summer finally kicking off, now is the time to recommend your favorite summer reads, whatever that means to you!

I don’t really change my reading habits by season, but I guess summer reads are light and fun. I do like to read a lot of light and fun books (and comics). Here are some of my favorite fun fantasy series:

1, Anything by Terry Pratchett
Personally, I recommend starting either with the city guards series (with Guards! Guards!) or the witches series (with Wyrd Sisters) but any of the Pratchett books can be read as the first one. While they’re very funny they also always have a more weightier theme.

2, The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
The first book in the Thursday Next series introduces us to the wacky alternate universe where books and authors are the biggest celebrities. Thursday begins her career as literary detective.

3, The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
While it’s not as funny series as the previous two, this is still lots of fun. The Library is a nexus of sorts to many alternate universes with various levels of chaos and order. The main character Irene in a junior librarian whose job is to rescue books from various worlds.

4, Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Penric novellas are feel-good fantasy and they’re short enough to be read on the beach.

5, Summon the Keeper by Tanya Huff
This is the first book in a funny fantasy trilogy set in Canada. Claire Hansen is a Keeper, a person who sorts out magical accidents. She and her talking cat Austin get a bit bigger problem than usual in the first book.

Top 5 Wednesday is GoodReads group where people discuss different bookish topic each week. This month is a rewind month, a chance for everyone to do topics they haven’t or did long ago.

My third choice is Favorite character Tropes

1, Enemies forced to work together
This is a great troupe when used well. There’s a bigger or different evil and to defeat it, enemies are forced to work together. They’ll snark and snap at each other and there’s probably going to be a betrayal at some point. It’ll highlight their differences and maybe mirror each other. In the end, they might end up hating each other more or perhaps understanding each other more but unwilling to let go of the hatred. Perhaps they’ll find out that for just a lucky chance they might have been on the same side. Or in the case of enemy soldiers, that they aren’t so different after all but they’re still loyal to their own country.
Examples: Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold, various comics and tv-shows

2, the hero with the heart of gold (or a knight in a shining armor)
Too often this type of character is written as boring. Often, they need better challenges.
Examples: Prince Valiant (the comic), Aral Vorkosigan by Lois McMaster Bujold

3, former friends/lovers are now arch enemies
Example: Magneto and Xavier by Marvel comics

4, An eclectic group of characters become friends/family
A very common troupe in the fantasy and science fiction. It could be a blood family, too, but those are actually pretty rare.
Examples: Flotsam by R. J. Theodore, the X-Men, Avengers, Firefly, Farscape etc.

5, Established couple
Lovers who fight crime together, stay together! I’d love to read more of these but they’re very rare.
Example: Barbary station by R. E. Stearns, Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold

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