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Trivial Pursuits => Arts & Entertainment => Topic started by: lprkn on April 26, 2010, 06:00:20 am

Title: Book Thread
Post by: lprkn on April 26, 2010, 06:00:20 am
Because I didn't feel like resurrecting a thread last seen in 2007.

In my opinion, half the pleasure of reading is talking about what you've read.

So: I just finished The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier's Education (http://www.amazon.com/Unforgiving-Minute-Soldiers-Education/dp/1594202028), and I like it. A lot.

The author was a second-in-his-class West Point grad who was a Rhodes Scholar (went to Oxford for graduate school). He went through Ranger training and deployed to Afghanistan, and eventually taught history at the Naval Academy. He worked for the Obama-Biden Transition Project as an adviser to Obama on Middle Eastern policy and now apparently now works for USAID.

The memoir is really a valuable picture of what goes into shaping a smart and tough military leader. Craig brings a lot to the table from the start, but he takes the best the Army has to offer and uses it to become a better person. He's a gifted writer with exceptional talent and drive, but he never toots his own horn unnecessarily and doesn't pull any punches in describing his failures.

The experiences he relates should be genuinely interesting to people from both military and civilian backgrounds. For a civilian, the book will go a long way toward bridging the gap in understanding between themselves and the mentality of the principled, thinking soldier. In my own case it offered quite a bit beyond that. One of the best lessons of the book is the suppression of selfishness and self-interest in the service of one's subordinates.

After a failed training mission at Ranger school, an instructor hisses to the exhausted soldiers, "Fuck self-pity. This isn't about you." This thread is present throughout the book; the thought that one's subordinates will rightfully demand everything you have is a sobering one.

Anyway, I'd like to hear about any noteworthy stuff you guys have been reading lately. I just really liked this book and wanted to share.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Carlos del Vaca on April 26, 2010, 01:35:51 pm
I just finished "Downtown Owl."  Mr. Klosterman has been discussed here before, and I know he annoys the shit out of some people.  I like him, though, and this one was no exception.  A work of fiction, but it's still Klosterman. 

Other recent reads:  "Soon I Will Be Invincible" (enjoyable, even if it's treading oft-treaded ground) and "Geek Love" (one of the best books I've read in quite a while, but not for the squeamish).

I have started on Rohinton Mistry's "A Fine Balance."  Now there's a dude who can turn a phrase.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on April 26, 2010, 01:50:58 pm
I was visiting my nephew this weekend and read Captain Under##### and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopy#####.  I was so inspired, I think this may totally change the direction of my writing career.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Carlos del Vaca on April 26, 2010, 01:54:07 pm
I was visiting my nephew this weekend and read Captain Under##### and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopy#####.  I was so inspired, I think this may totally change the direction of my writing career.

So what's your new name?
http://www.scholastic.com/captainunder#####/namechanger.htm

Regards,
Buttercup Burgerbuns
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on April 26, 2010, 02:11:18 pm
Booger Liverlips. Yours is better, can I borrow it if I decide to write under a pseudonym?

Also: Sorry, lprkn. This is why we can't have nice things, I know.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: greenkoolayd on April 26, 2010, 07:18:44 pm
i just read the first 2 of a 5 part graphic novel version of The Stand.  it made me want to go back and read the actual novel again and im 1/3 of the way through.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: jay-ell on April 26, 2010, 08:59:13 pm
I was visiting my nephew this weekend and read Captain Under##### and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopy#####.  I was so inspired, I think this may totally change the direction of my writing career.

My nephew loves these. I haven't read one yet but I'm sure my time will come.

Speaking of so-called children's lit, has anybody read the Percy Jackson books? I'm intrigued by the concept but heard the movie is awful. My friend's daughter has the first three I could borrow if anyone can recommend them.

Also, I'm halfway through the Lord Peter Wimsey books, as you may be able to tell by my signature line. I took a temporary break from the novels to read a Sayers short story collection, but my BFF informs me that I need to read Busman's Honeymoon before I can read the last short story, "Talboys."

I also read The Union Club Mysteries recently. I love Isaac Asimov, but...wow, dude. Some of those were just hackneyed and lame. I've read Encyclopedia Brown books that were better orchestrated than "Twelve Years Old," FFS.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: jaydub on April 26, 2010, 09:38:57 pm
My kid is burning through the Diary of a Wimpy Kid oeuvre, and I'm enjoying them way too much.  Otherwise I'm dipping into an SF anthology, and cautiously eyeing Rainbow's End by Vernor Vinge.  Don't know if I'm up for tipping the world on its head at the moment.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Mr Trout on April 27, 2010, 02:54:18 am
I was in the mood for some sci-fi so I re-read the Hyperion cantos. Drags a little bit in the third book, but Rachel's story always gets me a bit choked up, and the payoff at the end is so good.

As far as actual "literature" goes I read One Hundred Years of Solitude a few months ago. Goddamn. Shot up into my top 10 favorites of all time, easily.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on April 27, 2010, 03:21:38 am
I just finished re-reading Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle a couple week ago.  I haven't started anything major since.  I kinda need something.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Mr Trout on April 27, 2010, 04:45:19 am
I've had Quicksilver on my nightstand for probably 6 months now but I just can't get into it. I blame the small type and the sad fact that I just don't really like historical fiction. I get excited by the far-future stuff like Diamond Age.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Choop on April 27, 2010, 05:16:11 am
trout, i'm crazy for far-future stuff, but really try to stick it out through quicksilver. the second and third volumes are really fantastic books, it's a great series. i think i've read it four times now.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: jay-ell on April 27, 2010, 01:56:49 pm
As far as actual "literature" goes I read One Hundred Years of Solitude a few months ago. Goddamn. Shot up into my top 10 favorites of all time, easily.

Dang, man. That is a book that will leave you lying on the floor, all bruised and bleeding, with a mild concussion and all your money gone, trying to figure out what it slipped into your drink.

I'm not sure whether I ca say I enjoyed it or not, but it sure does mess with your head, which is usually a plus in my book.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on April 27, 2010, 02:29:39 pm
Yeah, the first third of Quicksilver where he's just focused on Daniel Waterhouse and Newton is a little dry.  It gets a lot more exciting/swashbuckly when Jack Shaftoe gets introduced.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: CortJstr on April 27, 2010, 05:10:04 pm
Other recent reads:  "Soon I Will Be Invincible" (enjoyable, even if it's treading oft-treaded ground)

I just finished this about a week ago. I was really worried early on that it would boil down to "Batman did it"

The Confusion was my favorite of the Baroque Cycle books. I would not recommend reading the mass-market paperback version as it totally screws up the chronology from what I understand.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on April 27, 2010, 11:43:42 pm
I own all of those books (quicksilver, etc) but gave up halfway through the second. I need to try again.

this summer, I am going to read so many books, in between applying to every job that exists.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: miles on April 28, 2010, 04:10:05 am
I just finished this about a week ago. I was really worried early on that it would boil down to "Batman did it"

Fuck, that's the one! Thank you! I was watching The Venture Bros. the other day and remembered that someone had mentioned the show and the book in the same post. I couldn't remember what exactly the comparison was and I couldn't for the life of me remember the title, but somehow your Batman comment triggered it. This is going on my list.

I just finished Brighton Rock which took me a while because I haven't been giving myself much time to read. Also I've been reading a bunch of comics. Though I'm behind on all of them so I need to go see if I can find some back issues. Has anyone read Chew?

Next in my stack of books is some Evelyn Waugh, but I might change things up a bit and go straight for Soon I Will Be Invincible. And this girl I've been seeing is going to make me read Quicksilver once she finishes it, and after reading this thread that feels right.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on April 28, 2010, 12:38:07 pm
I wouldn't bother with the Baroque Cycle unless you like pirates, physics and economics.   And swords.  And alchemy.  And chemistry.  And harem girls. Oh, and cryptography, of course.  Can't have a Stephenson novel without cryptography, can you?
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: CortJstr on April 28, 2010, 01:23:43 pm
I wouldn't bother with the Baroque Cycle unless you like pirates, physics and economics.   And swords.  And alchemy.  And chemistry.  And harem girls. Oh, and cryptography, of course.  Can't have a Stephenson novel without cryptography, can you?

This reminds me of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. You can read that book without visiting the website annotating it just fine so long as you are versed in Dominican Republic Spanish, The Simpsons, D&D, DR politics/history, Dune, and pro wrestling.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: jay-ell on May 06, 2010, 01:49:43 am
Just started listening to The Lightning Thief. Not as well-written as Harry Potter, and of course knowing the premise from film trailers ruins the first hour, but really an interesting concept.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Doc on May 06, 2010, 12:12:38 pm
I'm about halfway through The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I didn't see the movie but I did read this comic (http://www.lucid-tv.com/oscarnight.jpg). Which made me want to read it.
I like it so far but I'm not sure where it's going or if it might just be a really big piece of world building. Which I wouldn't mind, since I like world building.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: greenkoolayd on May 06, 2010, 03:03:03 pm
I'm about halfway through The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I didn't see the movie but I did read this comic (http://www.lucid-tv.com/oscarnight.jpg). Which made me want to read it.
I like it so far but I'm not sure where it's going or if it might just be a really big piece of world building. Which I wouldn't mind, since I like world building.

word has it that mr mccarthey was a poster on assbar.  im looking foreword to the book, regardless.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: pmcd9 on June 02, 2010, 07:58:50 pm
I'm reading a book titled Continental Drift by Russel Banks.  It was recommended by the guy at the bookstore, but so far I'm not liking it much.  Anybody read this one?
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: jay-ell on June 04, 2010, 03:23:25 pm
Pedro just finished The Time Traveler's Wife, and said it was incredibly good, but that I should not read it because it will make me feel terrible.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Doc on June 04, 2010, 04:20:43 pm
I read that a few years ago after my mum read it and passed it on.
It kind of reminded me of a classic sci fi novel in that it just takes one new idea and then the rest is about how that idea affects human relationships. I didn't find it as great as a lot of people did though.
Hell of a harsh ending though.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: schnitzelbank on June 05, 2010, 07:34:34 am
I have a stack of non-fiction eating my brain right now. I am tempted to read all the Dianna Wynne Jones books again. An NPR story on Stieg Larsson has me thinking of reading his books, and some magical realism by way of Isabel Allende sounds good. Oh wonk books, why must you be in the way and so full of information I need?
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Mr Trout on June 06, 2010, 02:13:23 am
I've been reading the Foundation novels by Isaac Asimov. They are so badass. Set 12,000 years in the future, the series is about the fall of the galactic empire told over the course of a thousand years, and the subsequent rise of the second galactic empire. Apparently the fall of the Roman empire was his big inspiration for the story. It is some of the best sci-fi I've read.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Choop on June 06, 2010, 02:31:05 am
i've read the entire foundation series. the first book is the best, and from there until the third from last (tenth?) each is not quite as good as the prior. the first three make a good trilogy. the last three make a good concluding trilogy. the rest, between, i felt were basically filler that basically just provide backstory between the good opening three and the good closing three.

i just started a book by sinclair lewis called "it can't happen here" written in 1935 about the rise of fascism in the u.s. it's a novel. i nodded off on page two, but i'm attributing that to the beer i had with lunch and the four pages of introduction i read before deciding "that's enough of that" and skipped to page 1.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: jay-ell on June 06, 2010, 03:29:37 am
I've been reading the Foundation novels by Isaac Asimov. They are so badass. Set 12,000 years in the future, the series is about the fall of the galactic empire told over the course of a thousand years, and the subsequent rise of the second galactic empire. Apparently the fall of the Roman empire was his big inspiration for the story. It is some of the best sci-fi I've read.

I haven't read the Foundation books, but I completely fell in love with the ***** trilogy a while back. I have a complete set of the Foundation books, they're on my list of books to read before I die.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on June 06, 2010, 03:54:52 am
I haven't read the Foundation books, but I completely fell in love with the ***** trilogy a while back. I have a complete set of the Foundation books, they're on my list of books to read before I die.

I read the first couple, or maybe the first trilogy.  The first was great, after that they kind of decreased in enjoyment for me.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Choop on June 06, 2010, 06:30:11 am
guys i started an alliance in cybernations named foundation if you catch my drift, i enjoyed the shit out of the theory of the books is what i'm saying. until asimov (as he tends to do) turned derivative of himself. then he kind of (the term didn't exist yet) rebooted the whole series with the closing trilogy. anyway yes i like them and it's a great read of every one of the books from start to finish though some will leave you dissatisfied.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Mr Trout on June 06, 2010, 12:15:52 pm
Dammit Choop don't ruin this series for me. I've read the first three and they were great despite almost falling into a monster-of-the-week pattern (which I can forgive since they are a collection of short stories). The scale of the books is amazing and I find myself thinking about them constantly.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: jay-ell on June 07, 2010, 01:33:59 pm
I found that with the Union Club Mysteries, too -- some were fantastic, others were...a bit of a stretch. But in a short-story format that was originally written for a "gentleman's magazine," I figured it was due to the constraints of the medium.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on June 16, 2010, 12:31:37 am
1. my college roommate and I had an ongoing joke about The Time Traveler's Roommate.
"hey man, shit, sorry, here's my rent for last month."
"What? who are you? I'm seven!"

2. I've been on a Learning-About-Iran kick, and I am pretty fascinated. Watched some documentaries online, read 2 library books in record time. Empire of the Mind was good, but I am bad at remembering dynasties and stuff, so I don't know how much I retained. There were definitely some points where I felt like he was rattling off names of kings, but I guess you have to expect that with millenia of history in a 300 page book.
The Ayatollah Begs to Differ is good, but I have caught a few things that are wrong (based on the other book/wikipedia). Much more readable, though.

I am doing a thing I have not done in a long time, where every single thing anyone says to me makes me think of something about Iran. I don't think I realized how annoying this was when I was a kid. It's kind of nice to be so into something, though.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: miles on June 16, 2010, 12:39:05 am
So I'm reading Good Omens and I love it.

I read a book called The Hunger Games, a first in a trilogy (thought I had mentioned it here but couldn't find it), and while I enjoyed it, none of it has really stayed with me and have no desire to read the other books in the trilogy (I guess the third is forthcoming). And the middle school teacher who made me read it and I broke up, I don't feel obligated anymore. Has anyone else read these books? Is the second one worth reading?
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: jaydub on June 16, 2010, 04:40:00 pm
And the middle school teacher who made me read it and I broke up, I don't feel obligated anymore.
It took me a bit to realise she wasn't your teacher in middle school.  I thought you were either phrasing your graduation from the school in an amusing way, or perhaps you were hot for teacher in that way which attracts media attention.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on June 16, 2010, 07:27:55 pm
Only book I ever kept from a public library and I'm not going to Stockton to return it now...

My new career goal: That someone loves one of my books enough to steal it from the library.

My previous dream was to someday see someone reading my book on the subway, but I don't ride the subway enough anymore for this to be a realistic goal.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Choop on June 16, 2010, 08:07:41 pm
and mentioning library theft when you want libraries to stock your book probably isn't going to work in your favor either
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on June 16, 2010, 08:37:06 pm
I like you and all but let me say...you might want to start this one in baby steps. Like, maybe they'll like it enough to pay the late fees so they can keep it for a reread.

I'd say mention that goal in your Author's Bio on the back fly but reminding people of libraries when you want them to buy the book is prolly a shitty business plan.

Hey, libraries pay for books too. And there are lots of authors where I read something in the library and it convinced me to pay money for the rest of their books.

Overdue fines don't do me any good, but if someone steals it, they have to buy another one!
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Doc on June 17, 2010, 08:55:27 am
Wombat: Capitalist genius, who knew?
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: miles on June 22, 2010, 03:30:52 am
Reading some non-fiction David Foster Wallace. So what if I'm drunk?
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on June 22, 2010, 07:06:01 am
just finished Franny and Zooey. I love a lot of things about Salinger, but I don't see myself reading this one again for a while.

This one argument in it reminded me of my old roommate, and I was like, "yeah, that is what bothered me about him this whole time."

now I am moving on to read books on my current roommate's shelf that I've always meant to read. Don Delillo, Haruki Murakami, others. YEAH for being able to read for fun now.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: pmcd9 on June 22, 2010, 12:20:17 pm
We read Franny and Zooey a couple of years ago when we were doing a book club thing here.  I remember passionately hating every character in that book. 
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on June 22, 2010, 02:39:01 pm
We read Franny and Zooey a couple of years ago when we were doing a book club thing here.  I remember passionately hating every character in that book. 

I view that as a pretty strong endorsement of the quality of the writing.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: pmcd9 on June 22, 2010, 03:50:19 pm
I view that as a pretty strong endorsement of the quality of the writing.

Maybe so, but it didn't make it fun to read.  I just wanted them to all die.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on June 22, 2010, 04:54:44 pm
Watch out, you're treading on AW's lit-crush.

Naw, I can handle it.  I think a lot of Salinger, but I understand why a lot of people don't like him. 

Now if you start talking smack about Vonnegut, somebody's gonna lose an eye.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: littlefallsmets on June 22, 2010, 05:47:37 pm
And then I'd quickly take out the other eye.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on June 22, 2010, 06:42:26 pm
Start with Slaughterhouse Five, then go to Cat's Cradle, then maybe Bluebeard or Breakfast of Champions.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: littlefallsmets on June 22, 2010, 07:00:12 pm
Yeah, I'd consider Cat's Cradle to be his best work but the idiocyncracies of his writing style in that might be a little off-putting for a first read.

And I love Breakfast of Champions but there's no doubt that it is somewhat self-indulgent on certain level.

I also have a sweet spot in my heart for Player Piano as, though it is hardly his most original work and maybe his book with the least tinge of science fiction, it is the closest thing I've seen to a major work of fiction (that is to say, a less popular early work by a major author) that mentions Little Falls, NY.

As a stop on a train ride, of course.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Drygioni on June 22, 2010, 07:18:06 pm
Pfft. Vonnegut's a hack
I love him more than my own mother
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Drygioni on June 22, 2010, 07:45:22 pm
Quote
I wasn't even aware you read English.

Well I can't read any other language competently

Quote
I wasn't even aware you read, English.

I am a voracious reader. I study English at university which means I have to read a novel a week (ridiculous tbf, no way to appreciate a book cramming it in like that) and in my free time love to read, esp. Vonnegut but also Orwell, Greene, Rushdie, among many others

Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Drygioni on June 22, 2010, 08:13:08 pm
OK, so it goes in fine, it's just the output process where things get dodgy then.

Me fail English? That's unpossible!

I have to save my good writing for non-trivial matters lest I waste it all on fake people from the internet
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: pmcd9 on June 22, 2010, 09:35:47 pm
All right, you eye-snatching motherfucks, bring the strong sack then. I've spent near 42 years never having scanned a page of Vonnegunt. Give me starter I can walk into the book man and pick up, something a non-Vonniegunt reader can hash into.


Yeah, what he said.

Start with Slaughterhouse Five, then go to Cat's Cradle, then maybe Bluebeard or Breakfast of Champions.

Oh yeah, that guy.  I read Slaughterhouse Five.  I liked it.  It didn't inspire me to want to read more Vonnegut though.

I liked the Slaughterhouse Five movie quite a lot.  I'm surprised they haven't remade that.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Drygioni on June 22, 2010, 10:27:47 pm
I quite like Mother Night, too. Quite accessible I reckon
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: CortJstr on June 23, 2010, 12:45:00 am
Player Piano was my least favorite by far. Of course now I can't even recall what it's about.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: jay-ell on June 23, 2010, 02:12:01 am
OK, so it goes in fine, it's just the output process where things get dodgy then.

He speaks English just fine, it's American he has trouble with.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on June 23, 2010, 02:32:29 am
Player Piano was my least favorite by far. Of course now I can't even recall what it's about.

Well, it was the first and it was before he really developed his style.  The same themes are there, but to me it's mostly interesting as a "developmental" piece.  I like The Sirens of Titan much more.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: KeithHernandez on June 23, 2010, 03:23:48 am
I quite like Mother Night, too. Quite accessible I reckon

That is my favorite one.  For Ash's taste probably start here or, yeah, Slaughterhouse Five.

Vonnegut is easily my favorite author.  Unlike with some of my favorite bands, none of his books have ever disappointed me.  I love everything of his that I have read.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on July 08, 2010, 08:00:30 pm
Any of you guys read any TC Boyle?

I think his writing style is going to make me jump out a window. This book is alternating between late 60s and the 1600s, and the parts set in the sixties are fine. But in the 1600s he can't help but use Dutch words instead of English words, and explain every damn thing like it's a sci-fi novel. "Pieter grabbed the woorkhoe the Van Geelder's had given him after last Bedanksgiverning, walking along the Oppomotowok ridge towards the Hudson River (which was called the Norte River then). He went to visit Van Woorten, the cynosure of all New Amsterdam."

I mean, he does it better than that. But it is killing me. I can see why my girlfriend loves this, her writing has a similar thing where sometimes it crosses the line into seeming like she wants you to count all the big words she knows.

I don't know, he is an author people like and she's been published and awarded so maybe I'm just grumpy.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on July 11, 2010, 01:49:40 am
ok, now that I'm 3/4 done, I like it a lot more. The story is good, his writing style still bugs me sometimes though.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: jay-ell on July 11, 2010, 04:15:35 pm
I watched a miniseries called "Tin Man" -- not knowing before I started it that it was a SciFi original -- and it was rather Meh. However, it did remind me how much I loved Return to Oz (ever so much more than The Wizard of Oz), and I got to wondering how closely it followed the other Oz books. So I downloaded the first five Oz books from Project Gutenberg (http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/b#a42) (they're in the public domain) and have been reading them.

There are thirteen in all, and being children's books they're pretty straightforward and quick to read. (I read the first two last night.) They were all published between the turn of the century and the beginning of World War II, and stylistically they're quite spare and remind me of A.A. Milne. Dunno if they're enjoyable, per se, but I feel like I'm Accomplishing something by reading them, learning a new mythology, etc. Plus, it's interesting to see where the well-known films take license with the original stories.

Recommended? Probably not, unless you're really interested in absorbing the official canon of a specific branch of children's literature, as I am.

Yeah, I'm a nerd.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on July 11, 2010, 05:01:06 pm
I watched a miniseries called "Tin Man" -- not knowing before I started it that it was a SciFi original -- and it was rather Meh. However, it did remind me how much I loved Return to Oz (ever so much more than The Wizard of Oz), and I got to wondering how closely it followed the other Oz books. So I downloaded the first five Oz books from Project Gutenberg (http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/b#a42) (they're in the public domain) and have been reading them.

There are thirteen in all, and being children's books they're pretty straightforward and quick to read. (I read the first two last night.) They were all published between the turn of the century and the beginning of World War II, and stylistically they're quite spare and remind me of A.A. Milne. Dunno if they're enjoyable, per se, but I feel like I'm Accomplishing something by reading them, learning a new mythology, etc. Plus, it's interesting to see where the well-known films take license with the original stories.

Recommended? Probably not, unless you're really interested in absorbing the official canon of a specific branch of children's literature, as I am.

Yeah, I'm a nerd.

Have you read Wicked?
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Choop on July 11, 2010, 05:12:06 pm
i've read wicked like five times, fantastic book. skip the sequel, or for that matter anything else the author's written. dude had one great idea and it fruited and since then he's been riding his own coattails
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: jay-ell on July 11, 2010, 09:16:24 pm
Have you read Wicked?

Yes, I liked it. Dude did his homework; I'm discovering that there's a lot in there that comes straight from Baum's books. I also enjoyed Son of a Witch, tho not quite as much. Pedro didn't like either book, but loves the musical; go figure.

Reading Baum's books tickles my History bone, tho.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: robot_god on July 12, 2010, 01:49:00 am
Cat's Cradle was the most disappointing read I've ever read.  What a lame ending.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on July 12, 2010, 02:28:49 am
THANK YOU.

I've liked other books of his, but that book I found completely unenjoyable.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: littlefallsmets on July 12, 2010, 02:53:36 am
But but but...

That ending is the only one that could happen!

In a human race trying to commit suicide for capricious reasons, against a God absent/uncaring/andor/incompetent and with the maguffin of Ice-9 in play, what other ending was there?
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: robot_god on July 12, 2010, 03:45:28 am
The only one I can think of is to not publish the book and write a better one.

If that book were a webcomic we'd all be like, "he's not even trying anymore."
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: littlefallsmets on July 12, 2010, 04:59:11 am
Like, what ending could've made more sense with the themes, I guess I'm asking.

I'll admit straight up: I am an irrational defender of that book. I agree with most of the ideas it is trying to get across about the human condition.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: robot_god on July 12, 2010, 08:36:10 am
Well, I dunno, I can't really remember the details.  I guess once it got to the island it just seemed pretty predictable, so I probably would have just never taken it there.  But I don't remember it well enough to suggest where it could have gone.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Drygioni on July 12, 2010, 12:51:23 pm
Well I really enjoyed Cat's Cradle. It is one of his more divisive books though I reckon, all comes down to personal preference. Rate it above Breakfast of Champions, at any rate
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on July 12, 2010, 03:31:14 pm
Cat's Cradle is one of my most favorite books.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on July 12, 2010, 04:03:27 pm
The only one I can think of is to not publish the book and write a better one.

I remember nothing about Cat's Cradle but there sure are a lot of other books where the author should have taken that advice.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on July 14, 2010, 09:16:47 am
I tease my mom because of her reading habits. If she is reading a book where someone is mean or unfair to someone else (especially if it is a kid... like... say... Harry Potter) she just can't handle it and has to stop reading the book for a while.
I am realizing that I am the same way. I get really agitated about what happens to characters in books. Now I'm reading a fictionalization of the people who worked on the Kinsey Reports, and it is just making my skin crawl. All socially pressuring each other into doing sexual stuff they don't want to do/their spouses don't want them to do/ etc.

This seems obvious in retrospect, but the reason my mom's weirdness bugs me so much is that I am weird in the same ways, and they are some of my least favorite personal characteristics.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Mr Trout on July 20, 2010, 05:54:57 pm
What do you use to read ebooks? I can throw them on my phone or I can read them on my laptop but neither are comfortable enough for long-format reading. Maybe it's time to pick up a used Kindle or something, but I feel like I have enough electronic devices as it is.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on July 20, 2010, 07:14:41 pm
my dad has a kindle, and swears by it. he has to travel A TON for work, and says it has basically saved his life. Buy a few books before a trip, read them, delete them. If he finishes them he can always get another one using wifi.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: miles on September 02, 2010, 05:50:35 am
If you feel like paying for a book, I recommend picking up a copy of The Ask by Sam Lipsyte and then reading it. Hell of funny, and topical but timeless. I'm kidding, it's mostly just really funny.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Carlos del Vaca on October 26, 2010, 02:02:34 pm
You know, if Jesus did in fact appear periodically as an enormous, talking lion, and helped one defeat their enemies, I bet Christianity would be REALLY popular.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Pedro Picasso on October 26, 2010, 02:45:49 pm
Tolkien and Lewis disagreed about the usefulness of allegory in storytelling. Tolkien's writing was strongly influenced by the wars in Europe and was awesome. The Jesus, The Devil, and The Door to Metaphor was a straight allegory and was terrible.

There I said it.


The Screwtape Letters was pretty neat. Were pretty neat? What's the verb agreement rule here?
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: CortJstr on October 26, 2010, 03:42:48 pm
Is anybody else participating in the "get Machine of Death to #1 on Amazon today" initiative?
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Nabubrush on October 31, 2010, 05:38:32 pm
Just catching up on old threads. I like Vonnegut just fine but I'm really surprised to hear anyone here say he's their favorite author. Fun reads, though.

I'm trying to make my way through Red Mars (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Mars). It's great, but for some reason it's taking a long time to get through. I did recently read the graphic novel series 100 Bullets (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100_bullets). That was striking - beautiful and horrifying and very well written, I thought (there's supposedly a game coming, but it's in development hell). I'm also continuing to stay up on Walking Dead (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Walking_Dead), and I'm pretty much furious I won't be home to watch the premiere (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Walking_Dead_(TV_series)) (taking place at the Bagdad (http://www.mcmenamins.com/events/82721-Halloween-at-Bagdad-Theater), and presented by Cort and Fatboy, but probably not our Cort).
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: miles on November 01, 2010, 01:07:47 am
I love 100 Bullets. I've taken a break about halfway through the series  because I didn't want to get through it too quickly. I've also been enjoying some Ed Brubaker. Right now I'm reading The Executioner's Song. It's fantastic, but I'm more than halfway through and have like 500 pages still. It's not slow, just long and I haven't had a lot of time to read lately.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Doc on November 01, 2010, 01:51:02 am
I really liked 100 bullets, one of like 3 series I've actively collected, but I kind of lost my connection with it somewhere after Milo's story, which was probably the highpoint of the series for me. I feel like they either needed more room to flesh out the stories in the second half or needed to cut out a lot of the fat. Still has a hell of a lot of style though.

That said I got into it not knowing it even had an over-arching storyline so I would have been happy with one shots of agent Graves entering people's lives basically forever.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: greenkoolayd on November 01, 2010, 02:36:34 am
nothing special.  i just finished the first of stephen kings darktower series.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Choop on November 01, 2010, 02:41:48 am
man i sure wish he'd finished off the series after the first three.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on November 01, 2010, 02:59:19 am
I just finished a bunch of Horatio Hornblower novels.  They were good.  Now I'm reading some Pahluniak book about the world's deadliest joke or some such.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: littlefallsmets on November 01, 2010, 04:04:38 am
I am reading Chuck Klosterman IV (I have gotten over the idea that reading Klosterman would be A Thing) and the new Good Eats book.

All kinds of middle-brow up in this house.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Nabubrush on November 01, 2010, 04:09:58 am
I like Klosterman, but I've only read Fargo and the one about dead rockers. Well, and his online stuff.

Pahlaniuk's a Portland guy! Have you read that non-fiction essay thing? It's ok.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Pedro Picasso on November 01, 2010, 07:21:56 pm
Listening to Jimmy Carter's White House diaries. The optimism about mid-east peace is depressing. Also Jimmy Carter is not only an American President, he's also the president of his own fan club.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: jaydub on November 02, 2010, 11:51:15 pm
The Girl Who Played with Fire.  Since my morning radio DJ mentioned the other day that he's reading Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, I exempt my statement from any claims to Literature.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Carlos del Vaca on November 03, 2010, 03:59:00 pm
I am reading the Narnia series with the oldest daughter (if you couldn't guess by my previous post).  We finished "Dawn Treader" this weekend.  The last chapter of that book gives me CHILLS.  I remember it from when I read it as a kid, and again this time around.  One of the most masterful build-ups to an event that I think I've ever read.  I know the movie for this book is coming out soon, and I am debating whether to see it or not.  Can they pull that off, or will they freakin' butcher it?
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Nabubrush on November 20, 2010, 08:06:39 pm
I'm currently about 40 pages into The Ghost Map (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ghost_Map), about the 1854 London cholera epidemic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1854_Broad_Street_cholera_outbreak), on my wife's recommendation. It was the book for Multnomah County's Everybody Reads 2010 (http://www.multcolib.org/reads/2010/). So far it is horrifying, but also interesting.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: miles on January 13, 2011, 03:17:56 pm
Not exactly a book, but thought a few TOUAMBers may appreciate this:

15 Things Kurt Vonnegut Said Better Than Anyone Else Ever Has Or Will (http://www.avclub.com/articles/15-things-kurt-vonnegut-said-better-than-anyone-el,1858/)

Sorry if this has already been posted.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Carlos del Vaca on January 13, 2011, 05:13:27 pm
I just stumbled upon that yesterday and had it linked for my Friday linkdump.  In fact, I dropped a comment on it, suggesting that this should have been included:

"Where is home? I've wondered where home is, and I realized, it's not Mars or someplace like that, it's Indianapolis when I was nine years old. I had a brother and a sister, a cat and a dog, and a mother and a father and uncles and aunts. And there's no way I can get there again."

Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Nabubrush on June 02, 2011, 01:40:50 am
The U of Chicago Press is still doing a monthly eBook for free.

This month is The Lavender Scare (http://www.bibliovault.org/cgi-bin/DeliverADE.epl?transid=DwSnBiedpubD14dn) which combines history, perverts and shameful behaviour.

Right down my alley, in other words.

That practically makes it TOUAMB's official book.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: miles on September 01, 2011, 04:34:44 am
Made a pretty good find at Borders over the weekend. Sure, I felt like a vulture, but I got Flannery O'Connor's Collected Works (http://www.amazon.com/Flannery-OConnor-Collected-Everything-Converge/dp/0940450372) for under $15. I went immediately to Everything That Rises Must Converge. That story is so good, but so depressing. So, so depressing. The last two paragraphs are a sure way to kill any buzz I might have. But so good. I'm gonna read the other stories in that collection this week.

Other than that I've been reading crime fiction nearly exclusively for at least a couple months.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Nabubrush on September 01, 2011, 05:38:18 am
Flattery O'Connor is my favorite author.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on September 01, 2011, 01:18:44 pm
What crime fiction? Anything you'd recommend?
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Nabubrush on September 01, 2011, 03:30:08 pm
Flattery O'Connor is my favorite author.

Flattery? I don't enough know how that could be made into a joke.

Flannery.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Nabubrush on September 01, 2011, 04:14:20 pm
Shit, and here I thought that was on purpose.

I wonder if that's where all those cans came from. I wish I was smart enough to make that joke.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on September 01, 2011, 04:50:03 pm
I wonder if that's where all those cans came from. I wish I was smart enough to make that joke.

Oh, you are, you are. 
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: greenkoolayd on September 01, 2011, 05:00:57 pm
[insert joke about an irishman who only pays compliments to sheep]
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: miles on September 02, 2011, 01:05:01 am
What crime fiction? Anything you'd recommend?

I've really been enjoying Wambaugh's Hollywood series. Read a couple Robert Crais books, those were pretty good. A couple of Walter Mosley's newer ones. Oh, and Charlie Huston, I really enjoyed Caught Stealing.

And Elmore Leonard. Always Elmore Leonard. Swag is the most recent one of his I read I think, it's an older one but one of his best.

Right now I'm reading Killing Floor by Lee Child, and it's been good so far. For some reason he's never interested me, but someone strongly recommended him and I haven't been disappointed yet.

I had a bunch of Amazon gift money and also spent some time at Borders, so I have a stack of books that I'll post about if they end up being any good.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Nabubrush on September 02, 2011, 03:44:51 pm
Try Westlake, too, if you haven't. He's fantastic.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on September 02, 2011, 05:58:54 pm
Try Westlake, too, if you haven't. He's fantastic.

Seconded.  John Dortmunder is a classic character.  "Kahawa" was another favorite Westlake book of mine.

Little bit more old school, (of Westlake's generation), but I love Lawrence Sanders, especially the "Deadly Sin" books.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Nabubrush on September 02, 2011, 07:21:56 pm
Heartily endorse Sanders. Just watch out for the "Sanders" books.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: jay-ell on September 10, 2011, 09:02:42 pm
I just finished a huge annotated compendium of Grimm's fairy tales, and now I'm on to a book about the "Wild Mother" archetype in traditional tales.

Fiction, what? I am such a nerd.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: pmcd9 on September 10, 2011, 09:04:09 pm
I'm reading Wombat's book.  I'll report when I have finished.  So far, I like it.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Carlos del Vaca on September 11, 2011, 04:32:44 pm
I am reading China Mieville's "Perdido Street Station" and it is seriously bad-ass.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on September 11, 2011, 05:50:30 pm
That is one of his that I haven't read. I have loved some of his other books, but I read the sample on Amazon and I felt like this one was going to be China Mieville Overdoseland.  I have to say my favorite was The City and The City, which he does in a kind of noir thriller style which forces him to dial down the elaborate descriptive language.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Carlos del Vaca on September 14, 2011, 07:12:10 pm
That is one of his that I haven't read. I have loved some of his other books, but I read the sample on Amazon and I felt like this one was going to be China Mieville Overdoseland. 

Yeah, to a degree. He's created a world of size and complexity that's almost on par with Tolkien or the Star Wars universe. There's times when it's laid on a little thick, but mostly it's great writing and great atmosphere. The plot was predictable at some points, but quite surprising at others. I finished it last night and quite enjoyed it, but I am going to take a break from him before I pick up "The Scar."
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on September 15, 2011, 01:14:38 am
Yeah, to a degree. He's created a world of size and complexity that's almost on par with Tolkien or the Star Wars universe. There's times when it's laid on a little thick, but mostly it's great writing and great atmosphere. The plot was predictable at some points, but quite surprising at others. I finished it last night and quite enjoyed it, but I am going to take a break from him before I pick up "The Scar."

Hmmm.  Sounds like I need to check this out.

And Neal Stephenson has a new book coming out too.  Excellent.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on November 07, 2011, 07:28:31 am
Haruki Murakami's Wind Up Bird Chronicle is the first thing I've read in a really really long time that I can't put down. Not sure how much I love the Magical Realism/Surrealism stuff. But for some reason this book about an unemployed dude not knowing what is going on, and drinking a lot of whiskey and cooking a lot is resonating with me. (this is not what the book is about).

It is making me want to write something. Also a bizarre thing happened to me today that was so utterly surreal that it felt like a book/bizarrely symbolic dream. Which I suppose is what Surreal means.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Nabubrush on November 07, 2011, 01:48:06 pm
I found a signed first edition of Anansi Boys (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anansi_Boys) on our vacation.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: lprkn on November 09, 2011, 11:59:44 am
Sweet book. Neil Gaiman is pretty much the best guy.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Nabubrush on November 09, 2011, 04:52:29 pm
I'm pretty jazzed. I like getting signed shit. I like actually getting it signed, but I don't much meet authors. Wombles hooked me up, though.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: jaydub on November 23, 2011, 04:19:58 am
I'm reading Wombat's book.  I'll report when I have finished.  So far, I like it.
Me too - the Animals Behaving Badly one.  I'm going to write a dissertation on Amazon once I'm done.  Perhaps under the "Segmental Phonology in Optimality Theory" section though, to be puckish.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: jaydub on November 23, 2011, 06:19:33 am
Also, I just finished Hunger Games, which I note parenthetically (is there any other way) has been previously referenced on TOUAMB exactly twice - once by Toaster expressing glee in 2009 over getting a Hunger Games pin; again by Miles in 2010, and my impression of the book is decidedly mixed.  Were I still a teenager I would love it unreservedly.  As a grownup with kids there is a serious squick factor to a storyline that pits 24 children between 12 & 18 years of age to lethal combat with one another.  Get ready, anyway, Hollywood got ahold of the story and is set to crank out a successor to Harry Potter.  I'm eagerly anticipating/ awaiting in horror the product tie ins with Burger King, Disney and Trapper Keeper.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: KeithHernandez on November 23, 2011, 06:24:45 am
I've mentioned this here (maybe twice), but watching Battle Royal is the best thing anyone coming down off of cocaine at 4 in the morning can do.

Actually now that I think about it, that only happened in OK.  Maybe cut with meth or something there?  Whatever it was I just needed to see those kids battling.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Nabubrush on February 16, 2012, 08:56:18 am
Zombo-thread alert.

I don't know where to put this, so here it goes. I'm in the midst of reading Robert B. Parker's Cold Service (I think that's the right one), and here's the little blurb on the back:

Quote from: back cover
When his closest ally, Hawk, is beaten and left for dead while protecting a bookie, Spenser embarks on an epic journey to rehabilitate his best pal, body and soul.

Great! Except what actually happens, in the first few pages of the book, is that Hawk gets three slugs in the back from a rifle. Why would that happen? Carelessness? Maybe he edited the beating out? If you've read the series you can't really imagine anyone beating Hawk up, so I guess I figure it's the latter, but it just struck me as odd.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: dejavroom on February 17, 2012, 11:59:24 am
I'm nibbling around the edges of the "Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology (http://www.amazon.com/Blackwell-Companion-Natural-Theology/dp/1405176571/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1326902757&sr=8-2)". It's an unforgiving hard-ass of a book, but it's been one of the most rewarding reads I've had in a long time (it was a surprise for me to learn that apparently theism has progressively become respectable again in the academic community).

The book is a summation of the current state of affairs in the field, with all major arguments for theism being expounded on and defended against possible refutations by leading contemporary theist philosophers. It begins by laying out the five general objections to theism, and then it proceeds to refute them. Then it discusses at length the arguments for theism (cosmological arguments, argument from consciousness, argument from reason etc) against their possible refutations.

It puts your mind in a place so high you're likely to get dizzy trying to make sense of heady stuff like whether there's an end to the past or whether is it possible for something to happen without something causing it. Of course, I can't even begin to understand it when it gets really into the meat of the matter (at least for the arguments that depend of heavy logic, since my knowledge of the subject is nil; arguments such as the problem of evil, on the other hand, yield a lot more), but there's such an overabundance of ideas and concepts that's impossible not to learn something here and there.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Jaded Tersk on February 19, 2012, 12:45:18 pm
After you punish yourself thoroughly with trying to get your head around the ontological arguments for the existence of God and the ideas of The Goldilocks Principle of cosmological constants, etc., if you would like something in the vein of light relief, try The Case for God by Karen Armstrong.  It's rare to say that a book will really make you see things in a different light, but Karen Armstrong is one of the few who really did that for me.

There will be no great classic theological arguments for the existence of God here - Armstrong argues that these are poison to religion.  It's very hard for me to sum up her view, even though I've basically adopted it myself, and so now consider myself some sort of atheist who feels positively towards many religious traditions (a demographic of which I think I have seen some evidence for it's growth over the last few years in the positioning of some atheists distinguishing themselves apart from the Dawkins brigade).  I actually feel after reading her that I could retain my atheism and practice a religious tradition at the same time, with all the benefits that accrue.  I don't, but I may some day.

Anyways, if religion still interests you after old-skool theology, her book is at least a different take on what it's all about, and how often do you really get something different?  Never mind one that can change your mind.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: pmcd9 on February 20, 2012, 07:23:07 am
That sounds like an idea i've been espousing for awhile; secular Christianity.  Basically, the problem with Christianity is if you don't believe in God you can't be a Christian.  The Jews got it right.  Don't kick people out if they don't believe.

There's a lot of good that could come of that.  And the Church might not be so fuck*ng crazy if there were a few doubters around to keep them sane.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Jaded Tersk on February 20, 2012, 08:07:38 am
That sounds like an idea i've been espousing for awhile; secular Christianity.  Basically, the problem with Christianity is if you don't believe in God you can't be a Christian.  The Jews got it right.  Don't kick people out if they don't believe.

There's a lot of good that could come of that.  And the Church might not be so fuck*ng crazy if there were a few doubters around to keep them sane.

My exact thoughts.  Why should one have to accept any beliefs about the origin of humanity or the universe in order to claim that they are going to follow a moral code based on the principles espoused by Christ (or whomever)?

If religion is not something you believe (which Armstrong says is a surprisingly recent emphasis, and a reactionary one), but something you practice, there is huge scope for the radical and revolutionary ethical ideas of Christ (or whomever) to act as a catalyst for positive social change again, just like they did in the past.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Nabubrush on February 20, 2012, 09:47:22 am
My exact thoughts.  Why should one have to accept any beliefs about the origin of humanity or the universe in order to claim that they are going to follow a moral code based on the principles espoused by Christ (or whomever)?

If religion is not something you believe (which Armstrong says is a surprisingly recent emphasis, and a reactionary one), but something you practice, there is huge scope for the radical and revolutionary ethical ideas of Christ (or whomever) to act as a catalyst for positive social change again, just like they did in the past.

I think you might be raising the level of discourse around here a bit abruptly.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on February 20, 2012, 02:08:28 pm
That sounds like an idea i've been espousing for awhile; secular Christianity.  Basically, the problem with Christianity is if you don't believe in God you can't be a Christian.  The Jews got it right.  Don't kick people out if they don't believe.

I thought this was exactly what Unitarianism was for.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Jaded Tersk on February 20, 2012, 02:39:40 pm
I think you might be raising the level of discourse around here a bit abruptly.

This is why I'm so much fun at parties.

Also, I blame dejavroom.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: dejavroom on February 20, 2012, 05:23:00 pm
Thanks for the recommendation, Jaded, I just wish-listed the shit out of it.

If religion is not something you believe (which Armstrong says is a surprisingly recent emphasis, and a reactionary one), but something you practice (...).

I concur, the distinction between mere belief and action is crucial, especially when the former is emphasized to compensate for want of the latter. As for the possibility of a "secular Christianity", the jury is still out. Christ himself seemed to be wary of this idea when he said in Mark 10:18:

“Why do you call me good? No one is good—except God alone.".

So far I'm working with the model that: One's moral choices (which make up a large part of life) stem from one's conviction of whether this spatio-temporal world is the only that exists or not (the Existentialist stance that man must live "as if" his actions have meaning, although not aesthetically unpleasant, turns out to be an unnecessary act of exasperation, as there's really no rational impediment to conceive of a God).
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: miles on February 20, 2012, 05:55:39 pm
Where's Ben-San when you need him. He'd be all up in this shit.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Nabubrush on February 21, 2012, 01:46:57 am
Seriously. You two should get a room.

Wait, Ben-San? Is that you?
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on March 05, 2012, 03:06:58 pm
Also, I just finished Hunger Games, which I note parenthetically (is there any other way) has been previously referenced on TOUAMB exactly twice - once by Toaster expressing glee in 2009 over getting a Hunger Games pin; again by Miles in 2010, and my impression of the book is decidedly mixed.  Were I still a teenager I would love it unreservedly.  As a grownup with kids there is a serious squick factor to a storyline that pits 24 children between 12 & 18 years of age to lethal combat with one another.  Get ready, anyway, Hollywood got ahold of the story and is set to crank out a successor to Harry Potter.  I'm eagerly anticipating/ awaiting in horror the product tie ins with Burger King, Disney and Trapper Keeper.

I just finished Hunger Games this morning.  Since it was published in 2008 and the Great Outdoor Fight was in 2006, I think Suzanne Collins hella ripped off Onstad.  Also Romeo and Juliet.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: greenkoolayd on March 05, 2012, 03:13:44 pm
i still have enough angst that im kinda lusting after these books since i have recently become aware of the basic plot.  my soul has a half-chub at the prospect of reading "hunger games".
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Carlos del Vaca on March 05, 2012, 03:27:51 pm
I just finished Hunger Games this morning.  Since it was published in 2008 and the Great Outdoor Fight was in 2006, I think Suzanne Collins hella ripped off Onstad.  Also Romeo and Juliet.

Not to mention the Japanese film Battle Royale (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_Royale_(film)).
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: jaydub on March 05, 2012, 08:21:59 pm
My anime loving niece pointed that out to me too, but apparently the victors in Battle Royale are still treated like murderous scum once the event is over.  In Hunger Games they become the living trophies of the inhuman state they live within.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: jay-ell on April 10, 2012, 06:06:12 pm
Reading The City & The City (http://www.amazon.com/The-City-China-Mieville/dp/0345497511). Never read Mieville before, but I sorta have a crush on him (http://couldtheybeatupchinamieville.wordpress.com/who-is-china/) now. Who else has read his stuff? Pedro thinks I would like Kraken (http://www.amazon.com/Kraken-China-Mieville/dp/034549749X) because I liked American Gods (http://www.amazon.com/American-Gods-Novel-Neil-Gaiman/dp/0060558121/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1334081125&sr=1-1).
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on April 10, 2012, 08:31:49 pm
That is one of the best books ever. I also liked Kraken. I don't like all of his books, but I loved those.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on April 10, 2012, 08:47:44 pm
Quote
My anime loving niece pointed that out to me too, but apparently the victors in Battle Royale are still treated like murderous scum once the event is over.  In Hunger Games they become the living trophies of the inhuman state they live within.

This isn't completely true... or rather... in Battle Royale they are treated like murderers because SPOILER:
they decide to BECOME THE RULING BODY and kill the guy running the game. It isn't clear (to me, at least) what would have happened if they had won.

Just saw that movie, it was really enjoyable.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: jay-ell on April 10, 2012, 08:56:55 pm
The Hunger Games books are on my list. Pedro recommended I see the movie first, then read the books. My BFF said that for most book/movie stories, that's a good plan, but in this case, she thinks I might enjoy the movie more if I've already read the book. What do you guys think?
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on April 10, 2012, 09:01:08 pm
yesterday on Reddit someone posted "This is my response when someone asks why I didn't read the book before I saw the movie. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0QNLM82XeA)"

Kind of thinking I might just alternate rewatching The Wire with reading urban history books for the rest of my life. The other night I found myself staying up until almost 3 reading articles from when St Louis thought about building an El in the early 20th century.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: miles on April 11, 2012, 04:18:19 am
That is one of the best books ever. I also liked Kraken. I don't like all of his books, but I loved those.

I picked up The City & The City on somebody's recommendation here, maybe yours. But I don't remember it being that strongly recommended. Just got bumped to the top.

I liked Hunger Games when I read it. That was two years ago and I haven't had a desire to read the other two. It was recommended to me by a lady with whom I was having sexual relations, and I think I lost interest when that ended. Oh sexual relations. Is there anything you won't make me do?

I just finished Hunger Games this morning.  Since it was published in 2008 and the Great Outdoor Fight was in 2006, I think Suzanne Collins hella ripped off Onstad.  Also Romeo and Juliet.

And The Lottery? It's a chilling tale of conformity gone mad.


Kind of thinking I might just alternate rewatching The Wire with reading urban history books for the rest of my life. The other night I found myself staying up until almost 3 reading articles from when St Louis thought about building an El in the early 20th century.

I was watching The Wire again until I hit a wall halfway through the fourth episode of the 5th season. I hate that fuck*ng plagiarist reporter. What a wiener.



Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on April 11, 2012, 05:09:32 am
yeah, that plotline and the serial killer one were pretty bad.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Nabubrush on April 14, 2012, 08:29:38 pm
Read and saw Hunger Games this time home, books first. I think I wouldn't have been happy the other way around.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on April 14, 2012, 10:05:35 pm
Read and saw Hunger Games this time home, books first. I think I wouldn't have been happy the other way around.

Me too.  I much prefer reading first, it restricts my imagination the other way.

What did you think of the movie?  I thought it was pretty well done.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: greenkoolayd on April 15, 2012, 11:47:43 am
i havent seen THG yet, but jennifer lawrence is a talented(also, fuck*ng gorgeous) young lady.

something i just realized: she's from KY.  in Winters Bone, she played a tough, starving, put upon girl from appalachia who had to take care of her family.  in THG, her character is a tough, starving, put upon girl who has to take care of her family.  they live in district 13, which used to be appalachia.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Nabubrush on April 15, 2012, 09:44:04 pm
I thought the movie was whizz-bang. Of course, a lot of what made the book good would have made the movie six hours long. In addition (spoilers):

It is hard to see Woody Harrelson in a movie and not think "hey, it's Woody Harrelson." Other than that, they didn't make Katniss cold and heartless enough. In the books, she takes zero shit. In the movie, I don't think they played that up enough. That takes a lot of character development to make it believeble and not just "wow, she's a bitch".
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: jay-ell on April 18, 2012, 05:38:46 pm
Finally getting around to The Diamond Age. I got about 70 pages into it last summer and then got distracted, so I had to restart. Doing a readalong with my BFF, who almost exclusively reads trashy romance and urban fantasy nowadays, so that'll be interesting. I wonder if she'll like it -- I seriously doubt there will be any gratuitous romantic affairs.

I'm also stoked to be starting a new nonfiction at the same time -- The Disappearing Spoon (And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements) (http://samkean.com/disappearing-spoon). I think I picked it up based on somebody's positive review on Goodreads, but I'm not sure.

(I'm trying, and failing, to keep myself limited to 2 books at a time, one fiction and one non. I may abandon The Price of Everything because I suspect I've already finished the good bits.)
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: CortJstr on April 18, 2012, 08:15:19 pm
Finally getting around to The Diamond Age. I got about 70 pages into it last summer and then got distracted, so I had to restart. Doing a readalong with my BFF, who almost exclusively reads trashy romance and urban fantasy nowadays, so that'll be interesting. I wonder if she'll like it -- I seriously doubt there will be any gratuitous romantic affairs.

This is one of my favorite books. Like most Stephenson books I'm pretty hazy on how it ended but I remember the rest being excellent.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on April 19, 2012, 03:47:39 am
This is one of my favorite books. Like most Stephenson books I'm pretty hazy on how it ended but I remember the rest being excellent.

Yeah, that's the standard knock on Stephenson, and there's probably a little merit to it.  I don't care, though.  The rest of the books are so fuck*ng great that I just don't give a shit that he doesn't do endings well.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on April 19, 2012, 04:38:26 am
I remember loving that book. I did a book report on it and told my 9th grade English class all about every twist and turn of the plot. It was riveting, I'm sure.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Choop on April 19, 2012, 07:05:01 am
the baroque cycle had the perfect ending, i don't care what anybody says. he nailed it that time.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: jay-ell on April 24, 2012, 03:55:59 pm

I'm also stoked to be starting a new nonfiction at the same time -- The Disappearing Spoon (And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements) (http://samkean.com/disappearing-spoon). I think I picked it up based on somebody's positive review on Goodreads, but I'm not sure.


I'm most of the way through this book and I am really enjoying it. It's a history book about chemistry; I have read consumer reviews from people who were disappointed because they expected it to be a chemistry book about history. Also, some people criticized it for jumping around in time too much. Well, duh -- that's because it's organized thematically; if it were chronological, it wouldn't make any dang sense. But if you like books that are filled with amusing anecdotes and which assume you already pretty much know about major events in 19th and 20th century world history, this is probably a win. As a bonus, I'm learning/remembering a lot about chemistry, and it's making me think about everyday things in a new way.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: side_show on May 01, 2012, 08:55:52 pm
I mentioned The Art of Racing in the Rain (http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Racing-Rain-Novel/dp/0061537969/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1335905476&sr=8-1) elsewhere, but I thought I'd note here that after being unable to put it down from start to finish, I loaned it to my SIL who did the same, then leant it to my FIL who did the same who has now passed it on to my MIL.  I've heard horrible rumours of a film version they're making, so I highly recommend reading it before it gets ruined. 
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: greenkoolayd on May 04, 2012, 06:00:54 am
top 10 most read books in the world (http://www.businessinsider.com/infographic-the-top-10-most-read-books-in-the-world-2012-5)
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Choop on September 17, 2012, 10:32:35 pm
yeah that's a particularly good short story. here's another slightly more famous one (http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/harrison.html). leave slaughterhouse five to read in  a while, after you've gotten a bit more familiar with his style and substance. enjoy!
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on September 18, 2012, 03:07:24 am
Been reading simultaneously Let us Now Praise Famous Men (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_Us_Now_Praise_Famous_Men) and Anna Karenina. Slow going.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: CortJstr on September 19, 2012, 06:49:08 pm
I finally finished The Malazan Book of the Fallen series nly to find out the dude has started a new trilogy in the same universe. Has anybody started The Mongoliad?
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: jaydub on September 19, 2012, 10:33:29 pm
Has anybody started The Mongoliad?
That sounds rather non-PC.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: CortJstr on September 20, 2012, 02:08:39 am
That sounds rather non-PC.

It's by Neal Stephenson and others. It's set around a not-historically-accurate Earth during the spread of the Mongol empire. There are Khans in it.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on September 20, 2012, 01:12:29 pm
It's by Neal Stephenson and others. It's set around a not-historically-accurate Earth during the spread of the Mongol empire. There are Khans in it.

(https://encrypted-tbn2.google.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSb7Yjf_ef81V1f6jtJHj1g0_f5VklqjMIjob8uEStbByq6SSUK)
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: jaydub on October 01, 2012, 11:23:43 pm
Low hanging fruit, Aug.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on October 02, 2012, 03:02:17 am
Low hanging fruit, Aug.

Sometimes it's the sweetest.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on January 17, 2013, 11:09:42 pm
I'm extremely tempted to delete that link, but I guess anyone could find it who wanted it. Sigh.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: pmcd9 on January 18, 2013, 04:51:23 am
Thanks Ash, I was almost about to pay for that book. Just kidding Wombat, put down the gun.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on January 18, 2013, 01:36:44 pm
To be serious for a moment: I have all the material, outline, draft chapters etc for a second Animals Behaving Badly-type book - it could be written at this point in a few weeks - but because the first one didn't sell enough, it's not going to happen.

And there is a second mystery, but because the first one didn't sell enough, the publisher declined to publish it.

I'm guessing that particular author is doing OK financially, but if anyone is thinking of doing this sort of thing in another case: People tend to think that anyone who has had a book published is making a good living writing books, but in fact a whole lot of them have day jobs. And if you want to be able to read another book by that person someday, you need to put your money where your mouth is.

Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on January 18, 2013, 06:27:34 pm
Ash, I am waiting to hear from a couple of ebook publishers but if they say no I have probably run out of options, so at that point I may take you up on that.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: jaydub on March 11, 2013, 10:43:30 pm
I was worried that link would go to a photograph.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: dejavroom on March 12, 2013, 02:41:34 pm
Finished "Crime & Punishment". Psychological/spiritual aspects aside, it's a lovely kick in the balls of the revolutionary mindset (responsible for reformers of society in general, but, most damningly, social engineers who don't mind a death or two or 60.000.000). It's the sort of thing that's good to hear & have confirmed once in a while, especially when it's voiced by a secular saint like Dostoyevsky. Had a cry, felt better about the whole mess, the usual thing when it's really Art.

Will start "The Demons", which a friend told me is even more intense in its sociological critique. From the wiki: "Dostoyevsky casts a critical eye on both the left-wing idealists, portraying their ideas and ideological foundation as demonic, and the conservative establishment's ineptitude in dealing with those ideas and their social consequences."

Demonic. Heh. I will like this book.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Mr Trout on March 12, 2013, 04:58:40 pm
I'm reading A Dance With Dragons because, you know, dragons.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Pedro Picasso on March 12, 2013, 07:35:17 pm
Listening to Jack Welch's Winning. He's the guy that Rip Torn was pretending to be in "30 Rock."
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Pedro Picasso on March 14, 2013, 09:59:18 pm
I'm suffering through Feast for Crows right now. I'ma power through it but it's my least of them so far. Do Not Like so many of the viewpoint characters.

I pretty much loved every part of every book. To the point where if there are no more books ever, I will still look back and remember the good times.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Choop on March 14, 2013, 11:16:43 pm
having read the whole song of ice and fire to date, i cannot in good conscience recommend it to anyone. it's great and compelling and all, unique, fully-fleshed, blah blah, but it's so GODDAMNED INFURIATING and more than once that i wish i'd never picked it up. feast for crows was a weird route to go for book four, exactly where the audience didn't want to go.

kind of like the dark tower, actually. well, not quite. king ruined the dark tower series when he wrote that second batch of four. he lucassed himself, except he can't sell the property to disney.

i can only imagine one way at this point that the song of ice and fire can have a satisfying ending, which of course means i can't be satisfied by the ending, but of course i'll have to read the rest of it whenever it finally comes out, because by now i'm hooked. which pisses me off.

here's a great new trilogy-in-progress: The Kingkiller Chronicle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kingkiller_Chronicle). the author has set out with the express mandate that this is only going to be three books. we'll see. regardless, the first two are pretty effing good, and easy and fast to read.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: pmcd9 on March 15, 2013, 03:31:40 am
I just finished the first Game of Thrones after having seen the first season of the television series. They talk about not letting the movie spoil the book, but in this case the opposite was true. I probably would have never made it through if I hadn't had the visuals from the show to buoy me along.

On the other hand, I've watched Sherlock, a new series about the great detective. Not Elementary, that schlock on American TV, but a very well made British show. I've seen lots of Sherlock Holmes through the years, but it occurred to me that I've never read any of the original stories. So I'm doing that now and am enjoying it very much. Doyle's descriptions bring the scenes to life.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on March 15, 2013, 03:52:11 am
having read the whole song of ice and fire to date, i cannot in good conscience recommend it to anyone. it's great and compelling and all, unique, fully-fleshed, blah blah, but it's so GODDAMNED INFURIATING and more than once that i wish i'd never picked it up.

A friend gave it to me, and I read about a hundred pages or so, then I just put it down.  

I'm not sure I can explain why.  It was well done and was starting to be fairly compelling.  But I could kind of see how if I was going to really enjoy the book I was going to have to be emotionally invested in the characters otherwise why bother?  And I could tell he was going to rip their arms and legs off and then throw them in the fire and I just didn't want the heartburn.

Lately, I just finished Neil Young's autobiography (great, rambling and weird. More about automotive vehicles than I expected) and am working on a Neil Young biography.  
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: pmcd9 on March 15, 2013, 04:01:21 am
My sister gave me a Nook for Christmas and I have been using the Hell out of it.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Pedro Picasso on March 15, 2013, 01:46:23 pm
And I could tell he was going to rip their arms and legs off and then throw them in the fire and I just didn't want the heartburn.

When I describe the book to friends, I say this:

If you're reading the books, and a character is having a good day, reread that passage a couple of times. Linger over it, and enjoy it. Things are going to get very bad for that person, and you'll want to have good times to look back on.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: CortJstr on March 15, 2013, 01:48:51 pm
I've mentioned this before but for anybody who enjoys Ice & Fire there's also the Malazan Book of the Fallen series. Bonus: the whole series is complete. There are a couple supplemental "side-quest" style series that are still ongoing but the main plot is all wrapped up.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Choop on March 15, 2013, 01:58:26 pm
see this is why i can't get into the wheel of time. i think that one's never going to end. there was another series i read, the belgariad/the mallorean, that just bored me. i swear i only read all ten books because a buddy gave me eight of them and i was bored.

recently i read 20,000 leagues under the sea because it occurred to me that i'd never read any verne. look, i get that this guy basically invented sci-fi, but christ, with that shit? thirty pages from the end i was still wondering when the fuck*ng story was going to start. so i accepted that it was just a travelogue, okay, fine. but why skip the fuck*ng climax?! seriously, it goes "okay here comes the climax, are you ready? here it comes... ¶ well that was an interesting climax, wasn't it." and i had a red wedding moment, where i damn near threw the book across the room.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Choop on March 15, 2013, 04:05:02 pm
naturally, and the only way i managed to make it through was to skip all the lists of creatures encountered, because seriously that was like a third of the text.

still, man, the idea of a structure to a tale has existed since ancient greece, and that was completely lacking in this book. nobody changed, there was no effect on anything, and any sense of mystery or excitement was completely ignored.

i went to burst a balloon once with a straight pin, but it didn't burst, the air just leaked out until the balloon was a floppy nothing. that's how i felt about that book.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: CortJstr on March 15, 2013, 05:03:04 pm
That reminds me a bit of Neal Stephenson. Paraphrased conversation I had about one of his books:

Him: What are you reading?
Me: Quicksilver
H: What's it about?
M: I'm not sure; I'm only 400 pages in.

Oh, and speaking of creatures encountered I highly recommend The Antler Boy and Other Stories. It's a really beautiful single-author comic anthology. Of the characters is an explorer and when she encounters a creature there will be a labelled cutaway drawing. It's much cooler than I'm making it sound. I gave a copy to my friends' kid for his birthday and they said he read it every day for weeks.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on March 15, 2013, 05:19:42 pm
That reminds me a bit of Neal Stephenson. Paraphrased conversation I had about one of his books:

Him: What are you reading?
Me: Quicksilver
H: What's it about?
M: I'm not sure; I'm only 400 pages in.



Yeah, but that's really only true about Quicksilver.  Most of the other books are very plot driven to the point where they sometimes seem like "...and then they, ... and then they".  And shit does start happening in Quicksilver once Jack and Eliza show up.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on March 15, 2013, 05:22:24 pm
That is pretty much what kills that era and kind of writing for me as well.

I don't know whether you'd consider Kipling that era or not -- I would, I guess.  But I wouldn't characterize Kipling that way.  He rocks the sub-continent, dude.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Choop on March 15, 2013, 05:32:30 pm
i fuck*ng LOVE the baroque cycle. i've read it at least three times.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: CortJstr on March 15, 2013, 05:59:20 pm
i fuck*ng LOVE the baroque cycle. i've read it at least three times.

That wasn't a complaint. I felt the same way about Anathem. A couple hundred pages in I was like "interesting things are happening but I can't quite figure out what they're getting at yet."
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Pedro Picasso on March 15, 2013, 06:38:05 pm
That wasn't a complaint. I felt the same way about Anathem. A couple hundred pages in I was like "interesting things are happening but I can't quite figure out what they're getting at yet."

I loved Anathem. It's one of the few I reread. When I gave Diamond Age to jay-ell, I warned her that the book begins "when the little girl opens the primer." Everything before that is just setting the stage. Baroque Cycle scares me. I'm worried the setting won't be interesting enough for me to hang on until he gets to the parts I givacrap about.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on March 15, 2013, 06:58:49 pm
That wasn't a complaint. I felt the same way about Anathem. A couple hundred pages in I was like "interesting things are happening but I can't quite figure out what they're getting at yet."

Yeah, but then it kicks in and they become the Polar Explorer Quantum Karate Secular Monks In Outer Space.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Choop on March 15, 2013, 07:13:39 pm
baroque cycle is the fastest 2800 pages i've ever read. just incredible. totally worth the introductory "book" third of the first actual book.

have any of you read stephenson's latest? REAMDE? it's a lot like cryptonomicon, a much smaller-scoped effort than anathem (which hurt my brain for a couple months) or baroque or diamond age (maybe my favorite of his).

something about anathem i read long after i finished the book that makes me want to reread it but also frightens me even more about doing so: in the reader's note at the beginning, he says "Names of some Arbran plant and animal species have been translated into rough Earth equivalents... The names of those species' rough equivalents have been swapped in here to obviate digressions..." -- this article i saw posited that this rule applied to the PEOPLE on that planet. i'd read the whole thing just thinking of these as humans, but what if that wasn't quite it? it's a pointless thought exercise, kind of, but still adds another layer on all this.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on March 15, 2013, 07:22:46 pm
I just read REAMDE a month or so ago.  It was good, but not earthshattering.  Almost all plot with no slow introduction. 

I reread Anathem this winter too, and that was worthwhile.  There's a lot there, especially toward the end, and I think I understood it a little better the second time through.

The Baroque Cycle (including Crypto) is my favorite, though. 
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: CortJstr on March 15, 2013, 08:19:21 pm
Reamde is in my Kindle but I've been borrowing The Mongoliad books from Amazon Prime and reading those instead.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Choop on March 15, 2013, 09:11:33 pm
i don't count cryptonomicon as part of the baroque cycle. i think even diamond age has an enoch and a waterhouse, they're his way of linking his universe together, but i look at the baroque cycle as just what's labeled baroque on the cover.

how's the mongoliad? i haven't had any opportunity to check it out yet, really. i don't own a device that's comfortable for reading.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on March 16, 2013, 12:08:09 am
enoch and a waterhouse,

There are a whole lot more connections than that.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: CortJstr on March 16, 2013, 02:19:46 am
i don't count cryptonomicon as part of the baroque cycle. i think even diamond age has an enoch and a waterhouse, they're his way of linking his universe together, but i look at the baroque cycle as just what's labeled baroque on the cover.

how's the mongoliad? i haven't had any opportunity to check it out yet, really. i don't own a device that's comfortable for reading.

Mongoliad is fine. Every time I've seen it on Kindle it's been between free and $1.99. I can't say I'd pay actual money for it but I think that's my taste not lack of quality.

And yeah, I'm pretty sure the families in Crypto and Baroque are explicitly listed as direct lineage. And isn't it the same Enoch?
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Choop on March 16, 2013, 03:22:02 am
yeah, of course, but just because there are connections doesn't mean it's all part of the same series. there are waterhouses in reamde too, and that ain't part of the baroque cycle either. it's a running thread that links together the universe, but the series is a specific set of pages that doesn't include reamde or cryptonomicon
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on March 16, 2013, 12:53:42 pm
yeah, of course, but just because there are connections doesn't mean it's all part of the same series. there are waterhouses in reamde too, and that ain't part of the baroque cycle either. it's a running thread that links together the universe, but the series is a specific set of pages that doesn't include reamde or cryptonomicon

Semantics, dude.  Crypto and Baroque Cycle are set in the same universe with a continuous flow of related characters from the 17th century to roughly the present.  Everything else isn't set in that universe. 


Also, to a certain extent, Baroque is about "What happens to the gold".  So is Crypto.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Choop on March 16, 2013, 05:50:59 pm
and so is reamde. same universe, different series. semantics.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: miles on March 17, 2013, 01:19:09 am
and am working on a Neil Young biography.  

Please tell me that when you say "working on" you mean "writing."
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on March 17, 2013, 04:10:35 am
and so is reamde. same universe, different series. semantics.

How is reamde about the gold?  There's no gold in reamde. 

The gold that everybody is chasing after in Crypto is literally the same gold that everybody's chasing after in Baroque Cycle, right?

I'd argue that Baroque Cycle : Crypto :: Hobbit : LOTR.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on March 17, 2013, 04:11:11 am
Please tell me that when you say "working on" you mean "writing."

I wish.  Just reading.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: pmcd9 on March 17, 2013, 05:13:56 am
Please tell me that when you say "working on" you mean "writing."

No, but he is searching for a heart of gold.. in the Baroque Cycle, or something.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on May 01, 2013, 12:33:11 am
Debt, the First 5000 Years (http://www.amazon.com/Debt-First-5-000-Years/dp/1933633867) is absolutely fantastic. The anthropological history of the idea of "debt." I am just getting to the part where it gets all Political, so we'll see. I'm either going to stop liking the book, or develop some opinions no one likes.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on May 01, 2013, 02:39:28 am
So I wonder if I'm gonna wind up liking this Billy Pilgrim dude.

So it goes.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Arachno-capitalist on May 08, 2013, 01:45:13 am
Anyone have a good lead on a book for a mother from a son on mother's day? As expected all the sales are on <12 boys. My mums needs a long book. She reads pathologically on the pool.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Arachno-capitalist on May 08, 2013, 01:55:15 pm
No one? No one has a book for mom day?
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on May 08, 2013, 02:01:02 pm
I'm such a curmudgeon about books these days that I can't think of anything I've read lately that I'd actually recommend.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Choop on May 08, 2013, 02:05:21 pm
just go to a local bookstore and find something by tony bourdain or some other food writer she doesn't already hate
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Victoria Waterfield on May 08, 2013, 03:57:31 pm
No one? No one has a book for mom day?

Carrie?
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Arachno-capitalist on May 08, 2013, 06:13:12 pm
I'm such a curmudgeon about books these days that I can't think of anything I've read lately that I'd actually recommend.
I bought her your book for pool reading. She said it was slow. Slow for 'pool reading'
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on May 08, 2013, 06:36:34 pm
Well that gives us an idea of her tastes. What can we all come up with that is more what the literary agents refer to as "relentlessly plotted"?
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Arachno-capitalist on May 08, 2013, 06:44:09 pm
She digs on anything erin brockovich writes, but has recently expressed a renewed interest in Grisham novels. Help me help her.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on May 08, 2013, 07:02:15 pm
Hmm, mostly I like things that are more humorous. Has she read Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books?
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on May 08, 2013, 08:10:59 pm
Hmm, mostly I like things that are more humorous. Has she read Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books?

Along the same lines, The Spellman Files (http://www.amazon.com/The-Spellman-Files-A-Novel/dp/B0012F48KU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1368043806&sr=8-1&keywords=spellman+files) series is good.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: CortJstr on May 08, 2013, 08:12:14 pm
I know literally nothing about it, but it seems like ever ovary-containing person I know is reading or just read Gone Girl.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Arachno-capitalist on May 08, 2013, 08:32:53 pm
Gone Girl it is. HAPPY MOM DAY!
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Arachno-capitalist on May 30, 2013, 11:25:12 am
(http://i.imgur.com/3fdCzIo.jpg)
As pictured:
The Professional - WC Heinz
Under the Volcano - Malcolm Lowry
All The King's Men - Robert Warren
The Physics of Wall Street - James Owen Weatherall - I'm on another message board with this dork
Plainsong - Haruf ( I bought this and the following mostly for my mom who I will be offloading most of my collection for 'pool reading' )
Rabbit, Run - John Updike
The Spy Who Came In From From The Cold - John Le Carre
U.S.A. - trilogy of the 42nd parallel, 1919, and The Big Money - John dos Passos -Bible print, bible thin pages, probably better reading than the bible

And a bio of andy carnegie

Not Pictured - reading now - Women - Bukowski


Summer reading list
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: miles on May 30, 2013, 11:32:34 am
The Professional is near the top of my reading list, too. I'll be curious to know what you think.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Arachno-capitalist on May 30, 2013, 11:45:17 am
The Professional is near the top of my reading list, too. I'll be curious to know what you think.
Give me your addy on PM and I'll send it over if you want.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on May 30, 2013, 02:34:32 pm
Under the Volcano - Malcolm Lowry

Never read the book, but the movie with Albert Finney is pretty darn good.
Quote
All The King's Men - Robert Warren
Robert Penn Warren is from Guthrie, Kentucky, a village on the periphery of Hopkinsville, the town where I grew up.


Quote
Rabbit, Run - John Updike
The Spy Who Came In From From The Cold - John Le Carre

Updike is great.  Le Carre is also great.  Spy... is probably his first great book.  If you like him, you should really read the :) trilogy (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; The Honourable Schoolboy; and :)'s People) which are frigging amazing.


Quote
U.S.A. - trilogy of the 42nd parallel, 1919, and The Big Money - John dos Passos -Bible print, bible thin pages, probably better reading than the bible

Always meant to read this. Working on Infinite Jest at the moment.

Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: pmcd9 on May 30, 2013, 08:31:57 pm
I'm still reading Sherlock Holmes tales. I've just started a really interesting one involving Moriarty.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: miles on May 31, 2013, 01:47:55 am
Give me your addy on PM and I'll send it over if you want.

Thanks for the offer, that's really cool of you. I have a copy though. Just curious to hear your thoughts when you're done. When I say "near the top of my reading list," for any book it could mean there are 10 ahead of it. But if someone who generally has good taste is enthusiastic about a book it may get bumped to next in line.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Arachno-capitalist on May 31, 2013, 11:44:24 am
Well its more of an open invitation. I have too many books. I just recently unloaded a few dozen Microeconomics textbooks.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: miles on May 31, 2013, 12:27:15 pm
Hey a book trading thread could be interesting. Or just post books you want to get rid of in this thread and people can PM you.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Arachno-capitalist on May 31, 2013, 12:44:27 pm
Hey a book trading thread could be interesting. Or just post books you want to get rid of in this thread and people can PM you.
I concur
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on July 26, 2013, 07:49:35 am
Jeez louise I am still reading so much. Now I am on a fiction kick. 100 Years of Solitude, Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Crime and Punishment. All great. Just got a bunch of sci-fi and fantasy stuff I remember liking as a kid. Ursula K Le Guin and Larry Niven.

Like I said before, this thing has somehow made a mental pattern happen that hasn't happened in a long time-- I try to find any chance to read during the day. If I know I have to be somewhere, I try to get there early so I can read. That is SICK.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: KeithHernandez on July 26, 2013, 06:07:17 pm
I was in this 4000 level s american literature course.  We were supposed to read a book every week.  The only one I didn't read was 100 years of solitude (I think we had 2 weeks for this one, to be fair), should I?
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: KeithHernandez on July 26, 2013, 06:09:47 pm
Also, The Seven Madmen by Roberto Arlt is a really good book...just putting that out there.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on July 26, 2013, 09:14:20 pm
I am really enjoying it, the magical realism is done in a way I am really into. A lot of the time that stuff is not my bag, but it seems like the South Americans got it down. In the shrouded world of an unspecified historic era mysterious happenings occur and are no more or less strange than imperialism or living out of touch with everyone you've ever known in a strange far away land.

Reflecting on my own family's origin as "south American imperialists" as my roommate's girlfriend so sensitively put it. It is weird, every story I know from that half of my heritage is bizarre and magical. My dad's family has working hard in factories and industrial accidents, but my mama's people killed indigenes and were driven insane by ghosts and stuff. Compared to all that my grandparents coming here on a plane with 2 suitcases and 2 kids seems like a boring conclusion.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: pmcd9 on July 27, 2013, 02:50:02 am
I've never really been a non fiction reader, but due to a strange chain of events I'm reading a fascinating history of the Civil War 'Battle Cry of Freedom.' (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/listing/2689853810950?r=1&cm_mmca2=pla&cm_mmc=GooglePLA-_-TextBook_NotInStock_26To75-_-Q000000633-_-2689853810950)

It started when I watched 'The Outsiders' a couple of months ago. I decided that I had waited long enough. It was time to read the book, which I did and enjoyed very much. I had never read Gone With the Wind because it just seemed like a grandiose romance novel to me. But when Ponyboy and Johnny are hidden away and they're reading it to one another I decided that if it was okay for these tough guys then it would be okay for me too, so I read that next. Well it turns out it really is a grandiose romance novel, but it's much more than that as well. One things for certain, it definitely presents a stilted view of the civil war era. So I felt like I needed to cleanse my palate with some actual history. And that's where the textbook comes in.

I almost went with Civil War: A Narative (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-narrative-shelby-foote/1008916050?ean=9780394419510) by Shelby Foote, which was at or near the top of every best of list I looked at. But one review said "Foote displays the novelist’s eye for story and character." I thought, "nope, I just want the facts without a lot of flourish." So I'm concurrently watching Ken Burns series on the Civil War and who is their main historian commentator, but Shelby Foote. And yes, he is very eloquent. If I'm still interested in the Civil War when I am finished with the first book I may read this one as well.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: miles on July 27, 2013, 03:56:24 am
If it's good enough for Ponyboy, it's good enough for me.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: pmcd9 on July 27, 2013, 12:32:06 pm
The next time someone says "The Civil War was not about slavery, it was about states rights" which I've heard a shocking number of times, I'm just gonna laugh in their face* and say "looks like someone got their history from Gone With the Wind."

*I already do that much.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: KeithHernandez on July 27, 2013, 03:55:59 pm
I got in trouble in 11th grade for telling the teacher she was full of shit.  I was a lot more outspoken then.  But seriously, they should not be teaching kids that.

Also, now I just say, yeah, states rights to own slaves.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Arachno-capitalist on July 27, 2013, 04:55:51 pm
The next time someone says "The Civil War was not about slavery, it was about states rights" which I've heard a shocking number of times, I'm just gonna laugh in their face* and say "looks like someone got their history from Gone With the Wind."

*I already do that much.

The amount of crushing persecution complex that comes out of southerners is honestly one of the things I have the most trouble wrapping my mind around. When I point this out I'm told "THE WINNERS WRITE HISTORY!". To be fair I went to the last southern gentlemen's school in America so my sample is skewed.

PS: The guy who was most hardcore in the rebel reenactment anti-yankee scene became one of my best friends until he moved in to the forest and died under mysterious circumstances.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: CortJstr on July 29, 2013, 01:57:34 pm
I believe you are referring to the War of Southern Ignorance.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on July 29, 2013, 04:48:38 pm
A lot of my friends who are not from the south also seem to have been mis-educated on this topic. Spouting some BS about how it was really about two economic systems in conflict and people in the north were racist too and blah blah. Come on guys, hove some dignity.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on August 06, 2013, 07:32:11 pm
Open Veins of Latin America (http://www.amazon.com/Open-Veins-Latin-America-Centuries/dp/0853459916) is kind of ruining any romantic ideas I had about that part of my family. They are the bad guys of history. Latin American mine owners are not the good guys. The idea of my great-grandma riding around the Andes on a donkey carrying a shotgun is a lot less charming than I thought.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Carlos del Vaca on August 06, 2013, 08:32:41 pm
Soon I Will Be Invincible (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soon_I_Will_Be_Invincible)

That was kinda bitchin'. Quite enjoyed it.

I picked up David Wong's "This Book Is Full of Spiders" and it's pretty good so far. I don't know that anything could match "John Dies at the End," which I first read in the serialized web format. I seriously lost an entire day at work reading that thing. Now it's been pulled down and made into a book (and also a movie); can't say as I blame him, might as well make a buck or two off of it. But the sequel is decent so far.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on August 06, 2013, 10:11:28 pm
Did you see the movie? It's one that the Tech Staff will never forgive me for. I told him the book was great and it was exactly like a movie anyway, so surely it was a sure thing. Um, no.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: CortJstr on August 06, 2013, 10:56:20 pm
I read Soon I Will Be Invincible but have also read several books in the genre and now mix them all up.

I just finished This Is How You Die. I think it nicely expanded on the first book with some new ideas.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Choop on August 07, 2013, 03:06:32 am
i loved the movie of john dies at the end, but i haven't read the book. i'm going to need a few things to read for my upcoming vacation, though, so maybe i'll pick that one up.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Choop on August 07, 2013, 11:17:05 pm
whaaaaaaat
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on August 08, 2013, 02:54:22 am
Check yer gmail?

Me too?
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on August 08, 2013, 05:20:41 pm
mooooan guys can't you do that where I can't see you...
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Victoria Waterfield on August 19, 2013, 12:40:10 am
I picked up David Wong's "This Book Is Full of Spiders" and it's pretty good so far. I don't know that anything could match "John Dies at the End," which I first read in the serialized web format. I seriously lost an entire day at work reading that thing. Now it's been pulled down and made into a book (and also a movie); can't say as I blame him, might as well make a buck or two off of it. But the sequel is decent so far.

Are either of those books anything like this (http://youtu.be/9YrDQ18P9x4)?
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: dejavroom on August 23, 2013, 11:50:46 am
I'm nibbling around this bad boy here - "Meditations on the Tarot": http://www.amazon.com/Meditations-Tarot-Anonymous/dp/1585421618 (I recommend you read some of the 5 star reviews, they're pretty, er, illuminating, like this one, for instance: "That is to say, in my experience, to engage sincerely with this book is to engage with more than a book. It is to engage with a living spiritual master and genius of the highest order. A very human being, with the warmest of hearts, the most lucid of minds. A profound, profound thinker whose heart, burning with compassion for the world, gave us a manual of practical Christian alchemy - an alchemy that has undone my neuroses, strengthened my sanity, vastly enlarged my scope of feeling, vitalised my mind, melted my anger, fired my compassion, deepened my calmness - and more - so, so much, much more besides.").

I had never read anything about the subject, but am completely engrossed by it. It was written anonymously and published posthumously. It's comprised of 22 letters adressed to the "Unknown Friend" (the reader), each letter dealing with one card. I made it to half the book (the Hanged Man card) but felt the need to start all over again and so I did. Thing is so dense you can't read a paragraph without being majorly mindblown. I don't think I ever said so many "whoa, dude"s before. Cool thing is that is not only theoretical (the author says he wouldn't have bothered writing it if that was the case), but it points the way toward a practical incorporation of the knowledge contained therein into one's life. Other than that it is really beautiful -- its underlying tenet and guiding compass is the notion of Love, which is expounded on, illustrated, extoled etc. It helped me a lot during a certain rough patch I was going through -- lifted my spirit, really. That you can get that from a book is something that seems almost forgotten today, but there it is: someone who never knew of me helped me from beyond the grave, and that is fuck*ng beautiful and amazing.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on August 25, 2013, 02:34:20 am
I re-read A Wizard of Earthsea for the millionth time. What a good fantasy book.

Trying hard to make myself read Marx or finish this history of Latin America, but I think I want to read a Story.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Carlos del Vaca on August 26, 2013, 02:20:46 pm
Are either of those books anything like this (http://youtu.be/9YrDQ18P9x4)?

Wong's books have more dong jokes.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: pmcd9 on August 26, 2013, 06:15:41 pm
I'm reading Moby Dick. You guys can send me to the remedial class if you like.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on August 26, 2013, 08:25:38 pm
What a great book! I just read it a few months ago. Great.

Now I am reading A Canticle for Leibowitz which is pretty awesome. Post-apocalyptic fiction written during the cold war. A secret monastery are the only ones who preserved knowledge of man's technology and writings from before the war-- the general society are all virulently anti-science and anti-technology. At this point they don't even remember what happened to destroy the old world, and even the monks don't understand the technical writings they're copying over and over. There was this part about a guy making an Illuminated (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illuminated_manuscript) version of a circuit diagram that really hooked me.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: CortJstr on August 27, 2013, 02:49:50 am
I'm trying to read Big Little. I forget what prompted me to add it to my wishlist but right now I'm about only reading about 2% of the book a week.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on August 27, 2013, 04:03:07 am
What a great book! I just read it a few months ago. Great.

Now I am reading A Canticle for Leibowitz which is pretty awesome. Post-apocalyptic fiction written during the cold war. A secret monastery are the only ones who preserved knowledge of man's technology and writings from before the war-- the general society are all virulently anti-science and anti-technology. At this point they don't even remember what happened to destroy the old world, and even the monks don't understand the technical writings they're copying over and over. There was this part about a guy making an Illuminated (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illuminated_manuscript) version of a circuit diagram that really hooked me.

Great book. 
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on September 05, 2013, 02:40:15 am
hmm. I am working on the idea that I alternate chapters of fun books with chapters of interesting but not exciting books. Eric Hobsbawm is going well. The end of Canticle for Leibowitz pissed me off in a major way. I guess maybe I wasn't reading closely, because I didn't pick up on the theme of "the world is going to shit because people don't care about God, and if they understood God and His Plan they would stop trying to make the world better and fuck*ng it up" until the last chapter.

I try hard sometimes to understand religion and religious beliefs, but it is sometimes a lot easier to say "maybe this book is just about the bad kind of religion."
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Arachno-capitalist on October 09, 2013, 02:31:53 am
Carl Jung's Red Book. "The Red Book was a product of a technique developed by Jung which he termed active imagination. As Jung described it, he was visited by two figures, an old man and a young woman, who identified themselves as Elijah and Salome. They were accompanied by a large black snake. In time, the Elijah figure developed into a guiding spirit that Jung called Philemon (ΦΙΛΗΜΩΝ, as originally written with Greek letters). Salome was identified by Jung as an anima figure. The figures, according to Jung, "brought home to me the crucial insight that there are things in the psyche which I do not produce, but which produce themselves and have their own life."[4]

The Philemon figure represented superior insight and communicated through mythic imagery. The images did not appear to come from Jung's own experience and Jung interpreted them as products of the collective unconscious"


Guys -It is really fuck*ng weird.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: dejavroom on October 10, 2013, 04:22:17 pm
Guys -It is really fuck*ng weird.

Sounds fuck*ng awesome, that's what it sounds like. Give William James' "The Varieties of Religious Experience" a whirl next, you're in for some intraplanar shenanigans.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on October 10, 2013, 04:30:02 pm
The Savage Detectives was excellent. It was split into three sections-- the first is from the point of view of this young nerdy guy getting to know this group of poets. It leads up to a dramatic moment, then the second part starts. That part is a series of short (interviews? not the right word, but they are reminiscences addressed to an imaginary listener, as if answering a question we didn't hear) about the poets with different characters who knew them, over the course of 20 years after the first part. They tell you all sorts of adventures and stories about these guys' fucked up lives over the following decades, from a variety of perspectives and in a variety of voices. Then, the last page of that part is with the nerd from the first section, and he says, "oh, did you ever hear what happened [at the end of the first section]?" and then you learn what happened, and it is a really intense and strange series of events which gives a different perspective on all the events of the second part. Really awesome.

Damn, that book was GOOD.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Choop on October 10, 2013, 05:35:04 pm
Grendel, by John Gardner, 1971 (http://www.amazon.com/Grendel-John-Gardner/dp/0679723110/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1381425023&sr=8-1&keywords=grendel) tells the oldest story of northern Europe from the monster's point of view. Ostensibly. It's a philosophical examination of life, time, culture, meaning, growth, intent, religion, and emotion, which plays with form as just another facet of the investigation. It has the feel of being crafted, not just written, distilled to just under 200 pages without losing anything and potentially becoming more potent. Even at that length, it took me nearly a week to read, because each passage required some digestion and thought. I still haven't unpacked it, but I'm looking forward to reading it again and figuring it out a little better. And again another time, most likely. I haven't read anything quite so good in a long time.

Among Others, Jo Walton, 2011 (http://www.amazon.com/Among-Others-Jo-Walton/dp/0765331721) is a rich fantasy in journal form, from the viewpoint of Morwenna, a fifteen-year-old Welsh girl and one of a pair of twins, which doesn't offer nearly the depth of Grendel but is still a delightful read. The narrator herself is incredibly well-read in the worlds of sci-fi and fantasy, and I look forward to cataloging her favorites into my own next-to-read list. Mori deals in magic and solitude until she finds a way to connect with a couple of like-minded loners  she finds through channels both normal and unusual. She is mature for her age and intelligent, and we slowly learn what's shaped her into who she is as she sparingly doles out secrets from her history while trying to navigate unfamiliar surroundings and situations. This one is probably best suited to help teen girls deal with the unexpected loss of a loved one, but it's a lovely story regardless who you are.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), Mindy Kaling, 2011 (http://www.amazon.com/Everyone-Hanging-Without-Other-Concerns/dp/0307886271) is one my wife picked out while we were at Powell's books in Portland, when I chose Among Others. Mindy, contrary to her current sitcom, is dreadfully funny, and the prose sounds so much like her voice that my imagination basically gave me a free audiobook. She's no Tina Fey, and this book is no Bossy#####, but it's a quick, fun read broken up for the most part into short chapters of just a few pages. There's some memoir in there, some advice, some lists, and some grievances, but mainly jokes. Lots and lots of pretty good jokes and a couple absolute killers. If you know enough about Mindy that you can pick out the Office episodes she wrote or directed, you'll love this book. Comedy nerds should read it to give them more  to talk about than Louis CK or the podcasting scene. When you look at it in the long run, it's just fluff, but it's some of the better fluff you can find.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Arachno-capitalist on October 11, 2013, 01:35:34 am
Sounds fuck*ng awesome, that's what it sounds like. Give William James' "The Varieties of Religious Experience" a whirl next, you're in for some intraplanar shenanigans.

Thanks for that recommendation. When I'm done traveling Jung's delusions I'll pick that up. [Edit: I don't need to pick it up, because it is right here: http://web.archive.org/web/20080727010425/http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/JamVari.html]
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Arachno-capitalist on November 02, 2013, 10:54:17 pm
For LFM and the other Vonnegut fans: http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/books/2012/11/kurt_vonnegut_term_paper_assignment_from_the_iowa_writers_workshop.html
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: side_show on November 04, 2013, 12:10:41 am
I just finished reading The Orenda (http://www.amazon.com/The-Orenda-Joseph-Boyden-ebook/dp/B00BMVRUNG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1383523390&sr=8-2&keywords=orenda) by Joseph Boyden.  If a lady with a 3-4 month old baby reads a 500 page book in just over a month, you know it's good.  I'm not usually one for historical novels, but this one is visceral. It's up for several serious awards here and Boyden is my favorite contemporary Canadian author. 

I am one degree of separation from Boyden due to my past work in theatre, so I FB friended him on a whim, and I tagged in him recently in a post about his book, and to my utter delight he responded.  I felt like the cutest boy in school asked me to dance!
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on November 06, 2013, 10:43:34 pm
The new chapter about the dogs is one of the funniest things about dogs that I've ever read.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Arachno-capitalist on December 26, 2013, 01:41:59 am
I highly recommend the book "S". I'm not a mystery reader but this thing has me caught up. There's the story itself, the margin notes of the two readers, and various side puzzles to solve with the provided props stuck in the pages.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Choop on December 26, 2013, 03:50:21 am
I highly recommend the book "S". I'm not a mystery reader but this thing has me caught up. There's the story itself, the margin notes of the two readers, and various side puzzles to solve with the provided props stuck in the pages.

author? link maybe? i'm intrigued.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: ianmalcolm2 on December 26, 2013, 04:16:09 am
Bill Bryson.

I wasn't really big on the guy. His writing was interesting, but 'The Mother Tongue' was kind of a cock-up, and his science writing is goofy to the point that it wears on me.

I got 'The Lost Continent' from my pops for Christmas, though, and shit is funny. I was at a gathering today, reading it to ignore screaming babies, and I was laughing my ass off at some of the turns of phrases he gets in there. N.B. that I'm only like 40 pages in, but thus far, it comes with recommendations.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: miles on December 26, 2013, 07:28:46 am
author? link maybe? i'm intrigued.

Looks like you can find it here (http://www.amazon.com/S-J-Abrams/dp/0316201642/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1388042757&sr=8-1&keywords=S).

That does look interesting.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on December 26, 2013, 01:23:16 pm
Bill Bryson.

I wasn't really big on the guy. His writing was interesting, but 'The Mother Tongue' was kind of a cock-up, and his science writing is goofy to the point that it wears on me.

I got 'The Lost Continent' from my pops for Christmas, though, and shit is funny. I was at a gathering today, reading it to ignore screaming babies, and I was laughing my ass off at some of the turns of phrases he gets in there. N.B. that I'm only like 40 pages in, but thus far, it comes with recommendations.

If you like this one you should read the one where he walks the Appalacian Trail, I think it's called A Walk in the Woods. I've also given up on his later books - I feel like he's one of those people who's become so successful that they will publish anything he writes even if it's stupid - but the early ones are good. There's also one where he walks around England. I guess basically, he should have stuck to travel writing.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Arachno-capitalist on December 26, 2013, 07:43:50 pm
Mom and I are trading the book now. The reviews are mixed but it is fun. If you like puzzles and riddles you'll like the book.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on December 28, 2013, 03:46:37 am
How has anyone, ever, read enough to have an opinion on anything?

The more I read, the more I learn, the more I think that no one I know can possibly have read enough to ever tell me anything.

Lately I think I should read Kierkegaard, and understanding him relies on knowing a lot more about Christianity than I do, and also older philosophers (classical, german, french), and his contemporaries (Hegel?) and of course 20th century people who expanded on his thought (Camus? I don't know?). And that's just one thing. One topic. Albeit the topic is "the relatively recent history of abstract human thought."
To understand the urban planning stuff I want to understand I need to know finance and economics, in-depth details about the local political system where I am working (plus the history of that city, cultural/political/economic). Oh, would it help to know about poverty, transit, utilities, racism, political philosophy? What about architecture, building technologies, information technologies? Do I also have enough time in life to learn new recipes, and keep up with music, and read literature so that I don't go insane? No matter how many times I learn them I forget what ontology/epistemology/metaphysics are, and i forget why the Chinese Room is a bad thought-experiment, and I forget who came up with the big anthropological theories and which theories are stupid and which are clever.

What is extra frustrating is that there are a lot of people I know Making Waves in St Louis who don't know any of that stuff. They just talk like they do and shake hands and smile and get handed jobs. Or, not handed. But instead of the work that I do (reading and learning and thinking) they do the social/interpersonal "work" of schmoozing and making connections. Which ironically gets them into the position of actually being able to do things and accomplish things, while I am sitting here applying to expensive graduate programs.

(the Chinese Room is a bad thought experiment because it uses a homunculus, which short-circuits your intuitions about the workings of the imaginary system. It also relies on using Chinese and our racist ideas of Chinese as incomprehensible symbols. If it were The Spanish Room nobody would fall for it.)
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: pmcd9 on December 28, 2013, 04:23:38 am
It takes a lifetime to learn it all, I guess.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: jaydub on December 28, 2013, 06:51:21 am
More practically, it's why we team up to do Big Things.  I'm not saying it's always successful, or that the odds of it succeeding aren't inversely proportional to the number of leaders, but the expertise necessary for success really can only be brought to bear by several minds working toward a common goal.

p.s. A committee is an organism with six or more legs and no brain.
-Heinlein
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on December 28, 2013, 07:09:35 am
I had to take a break from reading Infinite Jest because the narrator (??) said that black people never have tattoos "for obvious reasons." What?? The black people I know have lots of tattoos. What.

But also I took a break because I went to a party and got drunk and danced near pretty ladies. And maybe flubbed a few interesting inter-sex-interaction situations. But such is life.

"do you live around here?"
"what? no, I live down the street."
"do you... is your apartment close?"
"no, no, this is Mike's apartment."
"..."

Let's be honest, I always exaggerate these situations to make them more entertaining. Maybe that lady was just interested in how close every person at the party lived to the party, and was doing a Project with that information.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on January 02, 2014, 07:59:27 am
I am really excited to eventually finish Infinite Jest so that I can read what people think is going on in this book. So far what I am getting out of it is something about the limits of rationality, or people approaching a problem with a "rational" mindset that will get them nowhere. You can keep tenaciously attacking a problem with the same framework and keep on failing, sometimes without realizing why. In attempting to modify your system to explain reality you will get more and more baroque, rather than realizing that the system is flawed from the start. Now that I am trying to type this out of course I am failing to recall all of the ways that this is instantiated.

One exterior example of this behavior is grammatical prescriptivism. Is that ironic?
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Carlos del Vaca on January 02, 2014, 04:01:34 pm
Mentions of Cracked elsewhere made me think to post: I am reading "This Book Is Full of Spiders" by David Wong. The sequel to "John Dies at the End." It was OK for the first half but really kicked into gear in the second. I must have read 75 pages of it last night.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on January 02, 2014, 06:36:08 pm
I just finished John Dies at the End yesterday.  I liked it, but I'm not sure I understood the end.

I was psyched to see that the guy who made Phantasm is making the (inevitable?) movie version.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Victoria Waterfield on January 02, 2014, 07:34:38 pm
I just finished John Dies at the End yesterday.  I liked it, but I'm not sure I understood the end.

John died.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Carlos del Vaca on January 03, 2014, 04:50:01 pm
I originally read JDATE when it was out on his web site. I pretty much lost half a day at work because I could not stop reading it. When I figured out what was going on at the mall I laughed for like ten minutes.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: miles on January 15, 2014, 01:06:31 am
I had to take a break from reading Infinite Jest because the narrator (??) said that black people never have tattoos "for obvious reasons." What?? The black people I know have lots of tattoos. What.

A quick Google search suggests the narrator is not alone in assuming that.

Has anyone here tried to read IJ on a standard Kindle or other basic non-touchscreen e-reader? Or talked to anyone who has? I'm wondering if the endnotes would be too much of a hassle on an e-reader.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on January 15, 2014, 01:18:35 am
I haven't read that book but I am always sorry when I buy a book for Kindle and find out that it has footnotes.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: miles on January 15, 2014, 01:23:02 am
I haven't read that book but I am always sorry when I buy a book for Kindle and find out that it has footnotes.

So it is a pain in the ass when there are footnotes, or have you not bothered with those books? I just got a Kindle and love it. I was looking forward to reading books on my list like IJ and Harlot's Ghost just because it's easier to handle and carry around, but going back and forth for notes seems like it could be a pain.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on January 15, 2014, 01:42:01 am
Sometimes I buy books for the Kindle without knowing they have footnotes, and then yes, the footnotes are a pain. if I knew in advance that a book had footnotes I'd seriously consider getting it on paper. I would at least recommend trying something shorter with footnotes first to see how much it annoys you. Maybe just the Kindle sample of that book?
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on January 15, 2014, 01:48:43 am
A quick Google search suggests the narrator is not alone in assuming that.

Has anyone here tried to read IJ on a standard Kindle or other basic non-touchscreen e-reader? Or talked to anyone who has? I'm wondering if the endnotes would be too much of a hassle on an e-reader.

I read it on an e-reader app on my tiny little old phone.  I really liked how it handled footnotes -- it jumped you right back to where you left off, even with a footnote within a footnote within a footnote within a footnote.1



1. Within a footnotea
a. et cetera ad infinitum
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on January 15, 2014, 02:07:12 am
On the phone you have a touchscreen, that's the difference. On the Kindle, getting back from the footnote is just as easy. The annoying part is getting TO the footnote in the first place without a touchscreen.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on January 15, 2014, 02:33:12 am
My kindle (the Paperwhite) has a touchscreen. I am not having issues getting to/from the endnotes, except when surreptitiously reading on my phone at work. I click on the number and it thinks I am trying to turn the page. So I end up not reading a lot of the footnotes if I am on my phone.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on January 15, 2014, 02:52:14 am
The Tech Staff has a Paperwhite that he won at a company party. I haven't even really looked at it, there is no point in making myself jealous.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: CortJstr on January 15, 2014, 02:53:57 am
I have the 1st touch screen Kindle and at first it was really hard to convince it I was clicking the footnote and not turning the page. But one of the upgrades made it 500% better and I almost never turn the page accidentally now.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: miles on January 15, 2014, 04:50:21 am
I bought the most basic Kindle for $50 on sale, so no touchscreen. I'm sure it'd be nice but I love mine.

I'll try the sample to see how I like it.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on January 15, 2014, 05:09:37 am
Oh, we have a Kindle Fire, so that's a touchscreen.  But I didn't read IJ on it, so there's that.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: jaydub on January 15, 2014, 06:06:08 am
A quick Google search suggests the narrator is not alone in assuming that.
None of those guys must be sports fans.  Tatted up guys of all shades are in abundance.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: miles on January 15, 2014, 07:46:09 am
None of those guys must be sports fans.  Tatted up guys of all shades are in abundance.

True. And I've only barely cracked Infinite Jest, but it seems like tennis is kind of a big deal? You don't see quite as many tattoos on that particular court, regardless of skin color.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on January 15, 2014, 05:47:49 pm
The person saying "black people don't get tattoos, for obvious reasons" was not from the tennis academy, he was living in the halfway house.

I am so tantalizingly close to the end.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: CortJstr on January 15, 2014, 05:57:27 pm
The person saying "black people don't get tattoos, for obvious reasons" was not from the tennis academy, he was living in the halfway house.

I am so tantalizingly close to the end.

Well, the physical end of the book. Because that thing is a non-chronological motherfucker.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on January 21, 2014, 08:45:47 pm
Yesterday I went to my friends' house and made them veggie soup. They are a houseful of nice ladies who are all kind of flaky but good friends. We ate the soup and talked, and then all did work/ read and sat around and talked. Excellent. The end of the night was sitting at the foot of my friend's bed reading infinite jest. She has the real book so I got to hold it in my hands for the first time. I was so comfortable and engrossed that I got completely sucked in-- whenever she would talk I felt like I was waking up from a dream. Why am I in/on bed with this friend? Something about their house (creaky radiators, dusty old wooden house, mothball-y smell from thrifted clothes) felt like my grandma's house. Very disorienting.

I have like 100 pages to go. Every time there is one of those 5-page endnotes I scream.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: ianmalcolm2 on January 22, 2014, 03:23:33 pm
What is it with grandparents' houses being the best possible place to read? I'm a grown-ass man, and I still bring a good book when I visit my grandma at holidays. Something about the environment just lubes up my word comprehension.

And I hope I am not spoiling, but the huge footnote giving the origins of the AFR was a total near-end highlight for me.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on January 24, 2014, 07:03:30 am
I finished that book. Hmmm.

I am doing some Googling, and for some reason I am having a (false?) memory of reading some of his philosophy articles at some earlier time. Lately a lot of weird memories are surfacing in a way which feels very strange.

Quote
It was a defining tension: the very conceptual tools with which he pursued life’s most desperate questions threatened to keep him forever at a distance from the connections he struggled to make.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: CortJstr on January 24, 2014, 05:31:26 pm
I finished that book. Hmmm.

I am doing some Googling, and for some reason I am having a (false?) memory of reading some of his philosophy articles at some earlier time. Lately a lot of weird memories are surfacing in a way which feels very strange.


It took me so long to read it that I'd completely forgotten having read the (chronological) ending like 2 months prior.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on March 24, 2014, 01:28:47 am
Faulkner. Damn, I cannot understand a single event that is happening in this book (As I Lay Dying).

This kind of writing makes me feel like a philistine. Ditto poetry. I get almost nothing out of these sentences. It's not just that I am not absorbing content, they are also so opaque that I can't even enjoy words or phrases. I am trying to remember that I have read other "difficult" things and ended up appreciating them in the end. But it is always hard to remember in the moment.

Also, didn't realize that those creepy achewood characters whose name I don't remember ("all souls did burn," the guy who said "hine") were a Faulknerian thing.

Love in the Time of Cholera, that was enjoyable as all get out.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: ianmalcolm2 on March 24, 2014, 02:02:10 am
For me at least, As I Lay Dying falls into the category of books I can't enjoy because I'd have to make a graph or flowchart to even understand what's going on. I first read it in a literature class where the prof spent the entire hour and a half explaining to us what happens and in what order. And even then, it wasn't that exciting.

Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: pmcd9 on March 24, 2014, 02:37:24 am
I tried to read Faulkner once. I think it was Absalom, Absalom! I gave up after about 30-40 pages.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on May 01, 2014, 04:01:02 am
Gormenghast. So good. Have any of you guys read these? The first one is awesome so far.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on May 12, 2014, 06:17:38 pm
OK you guys, read the Gormenghast series. Weirdo "fantasy" written in the 1940s and 1950s, before the all-pervading influence of Tolkien. A really unique vision-- a surreal castle filled with unique and strange characters living a life of pedantic and pointless-seeming ritual. Characters all have wonderfully distinct voices and use lots of strange vocab a la Onstad. The second book is hilarious, the first book is a little more "dramatic."

These are so good, you guys.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on May 13, 2014, 04:33:39 am
OK you guys, read the Gormenghast series. Weirdo "fantasy" written in the 1940s and 1950s, before the all-pervading influence of Tolkien. A really unique vision-- a surreal castle filled with unique and strange characters living a life of pedantic and pointless-seeming ritual. Characters all have wonderfully distinct voices and use lots of strange vocab a la Onstad. The second book is hilarious, the first book is a little more "dramatic."

These are so good, you guys.

OK, I'm downloading the audiobook and I'll start listening tomorrow.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: ianmalcolm2 on May 13, 2014, 12:36:08 pm
I tried Gormenghast years ago, and couldn't do it, but probably only on account of me being kind of a dolt. I'll have to give it a try again.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on May 13, 2014, 04:24:47 pm
I think I wouldn't like them as much if I didn't have the Kindle "click on a word to see the definition" feature.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on May 13, 2014, 04:55:43 pm
I'm going to wait for Aug's review, I definitely need a second opinion on this one.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on June 03, 2014, 03:23:33 am
Virginia Woolf-- Mrs. Dalloway. Totally awesome. My friend recommended I check this out if I was interested in "modernism" but turned off by Faulkner. In this one I really could tell the purpose for the stream of consciousness and other techniques-- it really felt necessary to the story and her attempt to capture the world as it is. I finished it a few days ago and keep having moments where a passage comes back to me.

It had a lot of moments that reminded me of a line in Kafka on the Shore that stuck with me. I can't find it (already returned the book to the library so I am working off of quotes I can find online), but it was definitely during the passage where he says
Quote
“That's why I like listening to Schubert while I'm driving. Like I said, it's because all his performances are imperfect. A dense, artistic kind of imperfection stimulates your consciousness, keeps you alert. If I listen to some utterly perfect performance of an utterly perfect piece while I'm driving, I might want to close my eyes and die right then and there. But listening to the D major, I can feel the limits of what humans are capable of - that a certain type of perfection can only be realized through a limitless accumulation of the imperfect. And personally I find that encouraging.”
but the quote is not related to imperfection. He says something like "I find as I get older that I have grown bored of exciting things, but I never get bored of boring things." This is the kind of line that feels a little... tautological maybe? Not quite the right word. It reminds me of those Andy Warhol quotes that Wombat doesn't like. But I think it captures something related to something that Woolf has Walsh say in Mrs Dalloway, about how as he gets older he is no longer interested in "adventures," but perceives everyday life in a "richer" way that he couldn't when he was rushing around in his youth. I hope like hell that is true.

It is fitting to discover this idea in a book, because in the past year or so, since I started reading seriously again, I have felt a sense of deep optimism about life. The thought that for the rest of my life I can keep learning and reading, and that everything I read and learn will richen my experience the way my reading has over the past year, makes me feel very happy.

I think I have posted this exact chain of thought several times, including this caveat, so obviously I am getting older.

[[also, in Gormenghast I learned a usage of a word that I am absolutely in love with. Of course you might know that "ramifications" means the outcomes of an action, the many things contingent upon an event or choice-- but did you know that it can also be used for the outward "limbs" of anything that takes the form of a root? For instance, my grandfather's "ramifications" on the family tree, or in the case used in the book, "he knew well the major passages of the western wing of the castle, but not their ramifications." How fuck*ng perfect!]]

Now I am trying, again, to read Eric Hobsbawm's bajillion page history of the 19th century. It is so, so interesting, but I can't sit down and read it.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: pmcd9 on June 04, 2014, 05:51:50 am
Thank you for this Inev. I want to get back into reading books as a major part of my life. I'm reading more now than I have in the last 5 years or so, but I'm still pretty sporadic. The lions share of my reading is on Facebook and whatever articles getting posted there that catch my attention. I definitely would not describe my Facebook experience as optimistic.

So yeah, you've inspired me to replace my FB time with something better, a good book.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Carlos del Vaca on June 05, 2014, 06:23:05 pm
I have read the first three books. I haven't been actively watching the show, but I've been kind of keeping up with it on the interwebs (AV Club recaps and such).

The show has some differences from the books, for sure, but for the most part it hasn't been THAT different. But the pacing is a little different, and spoiler-y things can come up in the show when you don't necessarily expect them. I knew what was going to happen at the end of the first book, I knew what the Red Wedding was all about before I read about it, and I won't say that ruined either of those books for me but it definitely changed my perception of them. "Oh, that guy is doomed anyway."

I read that Martin gave the HBO producers a plot outline to wrap up the series if he does keel over before the books are finished.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: jaydub on June 05, 2014, 07:59:18 pm
I'm reading along a few chapters (more or less) behind the show.  I got into it at about ep 6 of the first season, on account of Littlefinger's habit of exposition against a backdrop of naked ladies frolicking.  I'm enjoying this approach; there are so many characters, settings, and plotlines that having the books to go back and provide more detailed backstory and scene details help me understand what I'm watching.  On the other hand, the actors on the series are so tremendous and inhabit their characters so well, that its truly another dimension on top of Martin's writing.  I would say get going on the series, so next year you can enjoy the ride along with the rest of us, whether you read ahead or along.  The first season is a bit uneven as the actors were trying to find their characters' voice (except Sean Bean, who was great) and the budget was under-funded as HBO didn't know whether the series was in it for the long haul.  From seasons 2 on, its gotten stronger and stronger.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: pmcd9 on June 06, 2014, 12:10:58 am
I read the first book before watching the series, but I've decided to skip the rest of the books because the television show is so much better than the books. George R.R. Martin (seriously, two r's?) is a terrible writer who has created a wonderful story. I'm all like C'mon, say boiled leather one more time mother fucker.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: pmcd9 on June 06, 2014, 08:16:57 pm
I gave you a can for your pain.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Carlos del Vaca on July 23, 2014, 07:53:08 pm
Just added a couple things to my "Books to look for" list. It has 72 items--either specific titles, or authors.
This is to say nothing of the "to be read" shelf in my bedroom, the two books in progress on my night stand ("A Feast for Crows" and "Eating the Dinosaur"), or various other books strewn about the house.
What is sad is how rarely I actually read for pleasure of late. Not sure I can fully explain it. I frequently bemoan that my "pop culture time" is extremely limited, and of late if I have downtime I'd rather watch TV or play a computer game than read. I guess I go through cycles on these things; maybe once baseball season is over I'll actually read again.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on November 06, 2014, 04:01:57 am
Read this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aubrey%E2%80%93Maturin_series) instead.  21 books ought to keep you busy for a little while.

Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on November 07, 2014, 02:50:49 am
Quality, not quantity, m'man.

Besides, if shit goes south and it becomes a trudge by, let's say, 14, you don't want my 'trapped in a train with crazy guy' rampage on your conscience, right?

Trust me, they are of the highest quality.  The.  Highest.

Otherwise, I wouldn't have recommended 'em.  Sheesh.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on November 07, 2014, 08:23:18 pm
On the one hand, I believe you are a person of the highest good taste. On the other, I can hardly think of three more soul-deadening words than "nautical historical novels."
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on November 08, 2014, 06:00:09 am
Maybe I should read those. Moby Dick was the book that got me back into reading, and I have fond memories of loving books like that when I was younger. Stories about ships and pirates and sailors and merchants.

Quote
“Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off - then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.”

Quote
“However baby man may brag of his science and skill, and however much, in a flattering future, that science and skill may augment; yet for ever and for ever, to the crack of doom, the sea will insult and murder him, and pulverize the stateliest, stiffest frigate he can make; nevertheless, by the continual repetition of these very impressions, man has lost that sense of the full awfulness of the sea which aboriginally belongs to it.”

There's a line somewhere in there about not taking nerds aboard, who tell you how much they've always wanted to see the world, but will end up staring off at the horizon and not spotting any whales.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: jaydub on November 08, 2014, 09:46:31 pm
Hard liquor, close quarters, sodomy, and the lash.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on May 04, 2015, 04:00:06 am
I think you guys would like The Mars Trilogy. (http://www.amazon.com/Red-Mars-Trilogy-Stanley-Robinson/dp/0553560735) I have been reading them before going to bed (and on the can, sorry if TMI) and have finished the first two so far. I keep getting wrapped up in a chapter and reading far past when I need to go to bed.

Basically: the first book starts with the first 100 colonists landing on Mars, a decade or so from now (these books were written in the early 90s). They are all scientists and engineers and work on building a base of operations. Lots of stuff about research station politics. But also lots of great 1st person exploration of what it would be like to be on Mars, on a cold/hostile/lonely planet, exploring new vistas. Lots of nitty gritty about geology and engineering and terraforming and habitat architecture.

Then it starts jumping forward through time, to when there are more people on Mars, following some of the same characters as things change. By the latter books there are whole cities on Mars and the Mars-Humans want to have their independence, basically. So then there is a lot of discussion of political systems, interpersonal politics, the practical side of organizing a revolution, etc. The author (Kim Stanley Robinson) does a great job of writing each section truly from the perspective of these different actors. So for one chapter you might follow a really pragmatic guy who just wants to change the little things he can for the better, and the next you might follow a radical "Red" Mars-First-er who is against terraforming and wants to cut all ties with Earth. The characters (mostly) don't feel like strawmen and you get a glimpse into their perspective on what is going on, how it is informed by their experiences, etc. I definitely want to slap a few of them though. There is one particular lady who I wish they had just thrown out of the airlock early on. (Amazon reviewers say they're all obnoxious archetypes, so what do I know.)

One of the things going on in the series is also that radical new longevity technologies come onto the scene. So some of the same characters live through 100 years of Mars history, and you get to see how their ideas change or don't change over time.

But really, something about this series feels like An Accomplishment in a major way. I wish there was a little less geology but he really captures a broad range of (imaginary) human experiences in an interesting way.

FREE MARS.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: pmcd9 on May 05, 2015, 11:07:38 pm
That sounds really good. I think I'm going to buy it today.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on May 24, 2015, 02:39:09 am
Karl Ove Knausgaard, My Struggle (Book 1). Incredible. It kind of feels like nothing is happening, and yet I can't put it down. I read 200 pages the day I bought it, and am finishing tonight. Basically it's 6 books of his life story, and this guy has an incredible ability to somehow make his boring life really interesting. This one was mostly about his dad-- framed as him preparing for his dad's funeral and thinking back to their relationship. He is pretty hard on himself, and definitely describes himself "warts and all" as well as the people around him.

(yes, same name as Hitler's book, he said he did it to reclaim the title and also to make fun of it. What could be stupider than writing a book about your life called "My Struggle" was basically his explanation.)

A little annoyed that I didn't just buy the rest of the series, or I guess the 4 that have been translated so far, when I bought the first one. Well, I'll have plenty of time to read on the train all summer, I guess I can read something else for now.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: pmcd9 on May 24, 2015, 03:12:53 am
Hey, no skipping ahead. I've barely gotten a colony established on Mars.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on May 24, 2015, 03:54:43 am
I finished Blue Mars the other day. The middle of that one (the third book) kind of dragged, but the end is great. At a certain point I started kind of skimming whenever he started describing another rock formation.

Also, so annoying: the used copy of the 1st (Knausgaard) book I bought has a crazy collage on the cover. The 2nd and 3rd books have photos of him on white backgrounds. The fourth book is only in hardcover, and has some kind of painting. And they're all different sizes. Why are they doing this to me!?
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: jaydub on May 26, 2015, 06:36:41 pm
My wife's theory is that publishers do this to confuse you into buying the same book over.  Like, several years pass, and you see a book by an author you know - "hey I liked that guy's work before!" but it looks new to you because who remembers titles, and the cover art is different.
It rarely happens to me because I do in fact remember titles, but pointing this out usually lands me on the couch for a night.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on August 24, 2015, 06:06:04 am
Finished The Book of the New Sun (tetrology? quadrology?) just now. Weird post-apocalyptic (?) fantasy/sci-fi, mostly enjoyable.

Man, I am just not very perceptive when reading. I thought it was kind of confusing, interesting, and and wanted to hear some theories about what was going on at the end. These people online point out all kinds of major plot points that I missed, as well as major stuff going on with the main character that I did not notice. I just read a thing that seemed so obvious in retrospect, which is that the main guy is (spoiler) basically a scumbag, but tries to make himself sound good in how he describes his actions. He always explains the lofty morals he has while running away, abandoning his friends, etc. There is also a lot of half-hidden stuff going on with (spoilers again) time-travel or something like it, where apparently if you read the book again you notice that things are having effects backwards in time.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on March 30, 2016, 01:47:03 am
Man, I have not read any fun/interesting books since last summer. I am so ready to be done with school. I have a HUGE stack of unread books to read that I have bought since last summer.

This year has been a lot more productive than last year, academically, but I have gotten to read a lot less books. Last year I managed to turn my term papers into "read this book you already wanted to read." This year my papers have all involved reading articles, making maps, etc.

I am getting to read one book that uses GIS mapping to look at the history of segregation in St Louis. That's pretty cool.

On the other hand, I'm thinking back, and I read a pretty impressive stack last summer while also learning to code and working 30-40 hours a week. I bet I can top it this summer. If things work out and I get a job in the city, I'll be riding the train 2-3 hours 5 days a week until August when my lease runs out and I can move.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on April 16, 2016, 05:26:30 pm
It is the time of the semester when I lose motivation and read fun stuff. I borrowed a ton of manga from my buddy and read 100s of pages of Ranma 1/2, Urusei Yatsura, and now Osamu Tezuka's biography of the Buddha. Very good.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on April 23, 2016, 05:26:35 pm
The next Karl Ove Knausgaard book came on Thursday, right as my three day weekend of hellish work began.
Started reading it "for a bit before bed" and read almost 200 pages. This guy is a good writer.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: pmcd9 on April 24, 2016, 07:09:45 am
You know stuff. I like your recommendations, but I'm not sure I'm up for reading this. I assume you are reading an English translation?

My book choices lately have been pretty weird for me. I've only ever read fiction before now. I've always gotten my history from magazines and television. But I think the last fiction I read was your suggestion of Red Mars a couple of years ago. Haven't tried the sequels yet, but I think I probably will eventually. I've tried to get into history and biographies with some success. The Civil War, Sam Houston, Lincoln. The last thing I've read was Cosmos and it took me forever. It was super interesting, but it put me to sleep almost immediately. I don't even know how that works. This is great... snore! So next up in my queue is Sackett's Land by Louis L'Amour. I never paid any attention to him because he wrote something like 300 books. I assumed he was a hack. I was at my aunt's last year and I took this paperback into the bathroom with me and read a few pages. It starts off really good and well written. So, I'm going with a little light fare. I haven't started reading it yet though. Maybe tonight.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on April 24, 2016, 04:13:06 pm
Yep. Still only English for me.

I am pretty sure you read Red Mars this year, because I remember that I read it on the train to work in New York.

I brought it up to a guy in my grad program and he did the thing that men stereotypically do to women. He explained to me, for a long time, that it's considered an important work of leftist science fiction, and that he's really interested in that as a left winger who is really into sci fi and fantasy.

...Why do you think I randomly brought it up to you, dipshit?
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on April 24, 2016, 07:02:44 pm
I'm just finishing up the third one.  Good stuff.  I kept getting a couple of sets of characters confused in my head, but other than that, it's a good read and provokes some interesting thinking about environmentalism.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: pmcd9 on April 29, 2016, 04:58:04 am
I think I made a serious mistake. That Louis L'Amour book was really good. Finished it in 2 days good. Not challenging at all, just entertaining.The problem, it's the first book in a series. There are 16 more books in the series.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on April 29, 2016, 05:23:05 am
Mistake? Get the other 16 from the library and knock those suckers out in 32 days!
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: pmcd9 on April 30, 2016, 07:20:39 pm
I decided to switch gears. Maybe I'll read 16 books later. For now, I'm going with Zane Grey. Seems a bit more substantive, but still, lots of fun. Maybe one day I'll go back to heavy shit like Steinbeck or Hemingway, but right now I can't see the point. I get my fill of horror and suffering every time I look at Donald Trump. I might read Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little next. I adored those books when I was a kid.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: AugustWest on May 03, 2016, 02:09:56 am
I might read Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little next. I adored those books when I was a kid.

Charlotte's Web will make you cry.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on May 03, 2016, 05:57:42 am
Final class project almost done, we're all working on it kind of halfheartedly. Which means I'm reading big stacks of comics I got from the library and drinking coffee and beer.

OK, this is the book thread, so I guess I gotta say what I'm reading. Nausicaä (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nausica%C3%A4_of_the_Valley_of_the_Wind_(manga))
and
Goodnight Punpun (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goodnight_Punpun).
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on May 03, 2016, 12:21:33 pm
I wish my library had good comics, it would save me a lot of money and bookshelf space.

I just read this (http://www.amazon.com/Gods-Lie-Kaori-Ozaki/dp/1942993366). It was really well done, but not so much my cup of tea. I keep getting tricked into buying manga that are about sad real life. I should check out the one you mention, "a normal child depicted in the form of a bird" sounds better.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Carlos del Vaca on May 03, 2016, 12:39:40 pm
I wish my library had good comics, it would save me a lot of money and bookshelf space.

I thought you were opposed to library borrowing when the author is still alive.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on May 03, 2016, 01:09:41 pm
No, it's that I don't buy used books. Libraries pay for their books and they introduce people to authors they might pay money for later. There is no author on earth who thinks library sales are a bad thing.

But used books, now that they are so easy to get, are a different kettle of giraffe. It was one thing when you'd maybe stumble across something in a used book store that you'd never have otherwise thought to read, and then go buy more stuff by the author because it could take years to stumble across another of their books. Now you can go to the Amazon listing looking for a specific book and with the same one-click, buy a used book instead of one that will count as a sale for the author. And then easily buy all their other books the same way. My last book had cheap used copies for sale on its Amazon listing basically immediately. And the reason I haven't gotten to publish another book since then is not unrelated to that fact that that book didn't sell enough NEW copies.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on May 03, 2016, 05:50:24 pm
For the love of god don't read Punpun if you don't want to get sad. It's sad as hell. The bird is abused and mistreated from page one.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on May 03, 2016, 07:34:48 pm
For the love of god don't read Punpun if you don't want to get sad. It's sad as hell. The bird is abused and mistreated from page one.

Thank you for the warning.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on May 03, 2016, 08:53:43 pm
This guy's dialog (although I guess that's the translator to some degree) and drawings are so intensely good. I have also seen a few pictures of his newer stuff and those seem awesome too. But Punpun being a bird annoys me to no end. I don't get it. And sometimes he is suddenly different looking and I don't know what that is supposed to mean.

I think it would be interesting if the bird matched the visual style of the rest of the art. But it's a bird like a little kid would draw.

(https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/l6xibgdr8d0qixpyjvyp.jpg)

The art is so detailed that I wonder if he uses some kind of digital tool to make all of it. This can't all be hand-drawn in this volume and with this much detail.

On the other hand, my comic book artist friend told me Nausicaa was drawn all with pencils. That is pretty incredible, and now when I look at it I can tell... there's a texture to the drawings that is great.
(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/b6/Nausicaa2p121.jpg)
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on May 03, 2016, 09:09:38 pm
I like that art, I like the bird looking weird. But I'm not going to be tricked into reading another manga about miserable children.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on May 03, 2016, 09:10:56 pm
Also now I'm sad that These Kids Today assume something can't be hand-drawn just because it's good and detailed.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on May 03, 2016, 09:39:19 pm
It's not just that it's so detailed, it's something about the precision of the drawings. And that he comes out with so many thousands of pages of comics. I guess it's possible that he has a big team of people all drawing his ideas.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on May 03, 2016, 10:55:58 pm
Yeah, the successful ones have assistants.

I'm still intrigued. Maybe I should buy it in Japanese so I can't really understand how sad it is.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on May 04, 2016, 12:56:00 am
I would say the garish faces alone are worth it.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: pmcd9 on May 04, 2016, 12:36:03 pm
Don't forget to re-read Watership Down while you're at it.

I've never read that in the first place so definitely. I saw a thing not long ago about how the movie version is considered controversial because bad shit happens, death and all that.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: theinevitable on May 04, 2016, 03:49:26 pm
This book is turning from "everyone has some evil/selgiraffeness inside them" to "everyone does horrible, evil things, and that's just life." Every character is committing adultery, beating their wives, stealing, etc. Gimme a break.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: miles on June 07, 2021, 08:13:48 am
There hasn't been a new post in this thread for over five years. What's the best book you read in the past five years?

For me, Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: wombat on June 07, 2021, 12:52:27 pm
I can only dream of my memory being good enough to answer that question, but I'd love to see other people's answers.
Title: Re: Book Thread
Post by: Asherdan on June 11, 2021, 04:00:06 pm
A couple I liked over last year and this:

What the Hell Did I Just Read - Jason Pargin
Solutions and Other Problems - Allie Brosh
Point B - Drew Magary

Also, I got my hands on two big TPB focused on Maggie the Mechanic and Hopey from Love and Rockets. I've heard some modern criticism of the Hernandez brothers work, and although warranted, fuck it, these are the people, stories and tone of my teens.