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Thread: What book are you reading?
08-04-2014, 06:33 PM #2021
I got 3, 4, 5 and America for Kindle off one of Amazon's sales last year and it was startling to remember (I last read 2000AD a long, long time ago) that for all the ridiculousness there was some great storytelling in there. I was more a Nemesis the Warlock/ABC Warriors kid, mind you, but still.
09-04-2014, 10:24 AM #2022
Just finished State of Fear by Michael Crichton. It's a fictional action/thriller (for want of a better description coming to mind) that explores the debate around global warming and climate change. It raises some interesting questions/points, although I'm not about to start a debate on whether it actually answers then appropriately. Agree or disagree with the author's position, it does encourage the reader to actually do some research themselves rather than blindly accepting media headlines as the indisputable complete picture on climate change or equally any other topic.
Wikipedia page for the book (obvious spoilers within): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_Fear
I've been reading a few of his novels lately, and while I can't say he's a terrific writer some of the stories and ideas behind them are interesting.
09-04-2014, 10:31 AM #2023
Also Volume 5 had the single greatest comic panel ever:
09-04-2014, 07:53 PM #2024
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- Apr 2014
Right now I'm reading the hunger games saga,it looks pretty interesting.
16-04-2014, 05:06 AM #2025
I wrapped up Hitchhiker's Guide to Galaxy in mere two days, excellently hilarious read. Waiting for the sequel to arrive at my local library for pickup :)
In the meantime, i started re-reading Catch-22 - the first book I really fell in love with many years ago. While its a bit thick in places, the writing is still bitterly clever and hilariously schizoid. I am so glad I do not have flies in my eyes.
16-04-2014, 12:32 PM #2026
Just finished The World Turned Upside Down by Christopher Hill. I cannot emphasise just how good this book is. Especially if read with God's Englishman and the Century of Revolution.Hill is brilliant at bringing the period to life, his wit and excellent quotations from the writers of the time really speak of people's hopes and dreams. It covers the various sects, the Levellers, Ranters, Diggers etc. Just quite how radical they were in the 1640s is staggering, universal sufferage, equality for men and women, communal ownership of the land, a completely secular society... you can't help but feel that nearly 400 years later we're still stuck with the Oligarchy these people fought and died to overthrow. Also that Cromwell but especially Monck and Barebone's parliaments were traitors to the radical ideals and awful compromisers.
Anyway I'm now re-reading Paradise Lost by Milton as I never finished it the first time.
16-04-2014, 01:04 PM #2027
If you go throughout history you get a feeling that the people who call for more socialistic ideals and more power to the people and all that good stuff is not a new enlightened thing in the world. They had those kind of people back in the roman era! If you delve deeper into history you realize not much is actually different from humans back in the roman times to humans now...its just some of the prevailing attitudes and what technology allows us to do changes somewhat.
16-04-2014, 01:15 PM #2028
Of course, it's hardly light reading, so I've got Invisible Cities (again), a JJ Ballard collection, and Simulcra and Simulcrum on the side. I just finished Notes From the Underground, which I found to be very feverish and unpleasant. I know full well that that was the intent, but I think I've known too many of that desperate affectation in my life to want to be around it anymore.
16-04-2014, 02:23 PM #2029
16-04-2014, 11:07 PM #2030
I struggle to articulate the hate - and I do mean hate - I'm feeling for The Wise Man's Fear. I'm actually seriously considering not buying Numenera solely because Patrick Rothfuss is writing for it, that's how much I can't stand this book. Not as a protest or anything, just because whatever he's done would probably make my eyes bleed. It's a long time since I've come across world-building and philosophising I find so actively... repellent as this. I would have struggled to imagine who the flying fuck would imagine a race of ninjas spouting poorly-translated, badly cobbled together Zen snippets, practising half-assed free love and espousing cultural values that make them seem actively, dangerously mentally ill at best, wildly offensive at worst would ever be a good idea, but apparently in Rothfuss's head this actually makes for high drama.
So, so frigging bad, seriously. I'm struggling to the end of this, but then I'm out; no third book for me at any price (I bought the first two on sale). I don't mind having my beliefs or preconceptions challenged - I don't believe immortality is inherently a bad thing, for example, and any number of genre authors like to revisit that one. And I don't mind being shocked, one way or the other - I find that scene at the end of Lev Grossman's The Magician King absolutely monstrous and I'd like to punch the guy for having written it... I think he got it wrong, and yet overall I love the book(s), for all they depress me. But Rothfuss is just... no. There's no excusing this shit. Dreadful, dreadful, dreadful storytelling.
16-04-2014, 11:12 PM #2031
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- Aug 2012
And now I'm tempted to read it. :P
16-04-2014, 11:30 PM #2032
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- Jun 2011
I don't really get it. I mean, those segments (along with the elf-segment, which I found really kind of dull, besides the tree) weren't exactly well received, but they didn't raise my ire that much. They were silly, and gods, I found their hostility to science and basic observation pushing me ever closer to becoming Sokka from Avatar: TLA, but no worse than many real world cultures that have actually existed with beliefs that were completely wrong and harmful, and the whole tone of everything just felt like 'Kvothe goes on a gap year' so I wasn't exactly taking it super seriously to begin with. It didn't once come across as high drama to me. It came across like The Beach Episode. Which is still a criticism, don't get me wrong, but I'm hardly frothing at the mouth with ragevomit at the thought of it.
17-04-2014, 01:02 AM #2033
It isn't just that I object to - reams and reams of pretentious wordy bullshit peppered with idiot Zen aphorisms that are frequently patently untrue, a complete lack of any drama or suspense, everyone speaking in the same author's voice, Rothfuss's infuriating insistence on shelving what few story threads actually seem to hint they might go anywhere interesting, the dubious achievement of making page after page of magical boning profoundly uninteresting (the Kushiel novels have some glaring problems but they're miles better than this nonsense for writing lots o'sex into a fantasy plot)... it was just the ninjas turned out to be the final straw.
18-04-2014, 11:51 AM #2034
Ahahaha Wise Man's Fear... I liked it before aformentioned "training" sequence. Speaking of ninjas by the way.
Couple of days ago I had a nostalgia attack and thus am re-reading Timothy Zahn - Black Collar, in English this time. It influenced me more then I thought back in the day. The concept of occupation by alien invaders wasn't anything new to me but the thing is the aliens didn't eat humans, they just conquered planets, installed puppet collabrationist governments and moved on to conquer someone else. And thirty years after invasion, it's time for retired superhuman ninjas to kill collaborators who probaly didn't even live during the invasion. And they start by using the crowd of angry unemployed youth as diversion and meat shields. I can't tell if author did it all on purpose to make everything as morally grey as possible or it's just a bad battle sci-fi.
18-04-2014, 09:36 PM #2035
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- Aug 2011
I recently read My James, the story of James Bulger, as told by his father. I guess that due to my being an American, and only a child myself at the time of the crime, I had never really heard much about it until I saw it mentioned somewhere recently. It's just one of the saddest fucking things I've ever heard. I'm 31 years old. I'm not prone to fits of emotion, especially for strangers. I've cried twice in my entire adult life (Having to put down a family pet of 18 years, and holding my mom's hand as she passed from cancer). This fucking got to me. Not even the book itself, but just what happened to that poor boy. The part that probably got me the most, was when it mentioned that many people recalled seeing the boy being led around by his killers, with a bump on his head and crying, but they all assumed he was just their little brother and didn't intervene. Thinking of how scared and confused he must've been makes me sick to my stomach. I've got a 13mo old son, and these past few days, when I'm playing with him, or holding him while he sleeps, I've been unable to stop thinking about James. My wife has even noticed these past few days that I am quicker to volunteer to get up and hold our son if he is having trouble sleeping at night. If you're a father to a young child, this book will really make you appreciate what you have."What were we talking about? Pegasuses, pegasii, that's horses with wings. This motherf*cker got a sword that talks to him. Motherf*cker live in places that don't exist, it comes with a map. My God."
19-04-2014, 05:43 AM #2036
Revisiting the Chronicles of Prydain, by Lloyd Alexander, which I first read around age 9 (best guess), has been a guilty pleasure. They're written for a young audience, light reading without the depth of Tolkien or likewise, but are rich with wisdom. The plotting is simple, and protagonist Taran is frequently saved by deux ex machina, but he grows and matures with the series as it progresses, winning over the reader and ultimately earning his place. The charming Welsh-myth inspired setting is a solid foundation, and the brisk pacing makes for a snappy tour. The Foundling is a companion book of prequel tales, but it isn't essential IMHO. It can't compare, for example, to the excellent Tales of Beedle The Bard that expands on the Harry Potter series.
I've just finished Cyteen, by C.J. Cherryh, and had quite a mixed reaction to it. With intelligent and sympathetic characters trapped in an ethically horrifying scenario, I was alternately gripped and exhausted but just felt beaten up toward the end. The central mysteries are not resolved and despite seeming to build toward a profound tragedy or revelation, the conclusion is rather empty and the protagonists merely survive. At nearly 700 pages it's far too drawn out, and despite being part of a wider connected series of books, I'm not inclined to give them or the direct sequel (written 20 years later!) a chance. While the social sciences are involved heavily, with a smattering of ecology and genetics, I was disturbed by the lack of justified motivation for the dubious mad science projects and also grew tired of all the psycho-babble. I was deeply involved and enjoying this book around halfway through, so it surprised and disappointed me to find that ultimately I dislike it. The richly developed characters are sadly abused, and the endlessly shuffled suspense wears too thin.
19-04-2014, 09:47 AM #2037
Took care of my parents' house for five days, so I finally got to do some proper reading (while sitting in the sun much of the time, even):
Read the four novels in the Mortal Engines series by Philip Reeve and then the three in the Fever Crumb series. They're a little uneven, especially the Fever Crumb books, but quite entertaining. And the setting is rather interesting; giant mobile cities that eat each other for materials, municipal Darwinism, in a world that was wrecked by some devastating war thousands of years ago.
Also read Winter of the World by Ken Follett. It's the sequel to Fall of Giants, which I read last year (I think). It takes place in the US and various places in Europe and the Soviet Union from around 1930 to a few years after the war.
This trilogy, like Pillars of the Earth and World Without End before it, is kind of workmanlike, well put together, but maybe not earth shattering art. A few characters are perhaps a little too evil or a little too good and such, but they do give a good picture of the times and they're hard to put down.
19-04-2014, 12:35 PM #2038
I don't find it any more morally grey than what our own armies do with young soldiers, even in active conflicts vs. the come- out-of-retirement scenario.
22-04-2014, 10:45 PM #2039
Currently reading Rites of Passage by William Golding, because I read The Spire a few years ago and thought it was excellent.
23-04-2014, 03:28 AM #2040
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. He might be dead for 1800 years, but I still can relate to his misanthropy. I'd totally buy him a beer (or watered down wine).