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Midnight_Carnival
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Midnight_Carnival »

The Blade Itself by Joe Abecrombie.
Not bad.
...apparenly we can't go with it or something.

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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by thespaceinvader »

The Fry Chronicles, the new chunk of Stephen Fry's autobiography, which I got signed the other day by the author. So far, so funny and well-written, but you will have to have read Moab Is My Washpot (no, I don't understand the title either), which is the first part, before you hit this one.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Moab-My-Washpot ... 843&sr=1-1
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fry-Chronicles- ... pd_sim_b_1

I heartily recommend both books.

EDIT:

I also recently finished the latest (AFAIK) Runelords book, and I have to say I think the series went seriously downhill after book 4. With The Lair of Bones, I saw a truly satisfying conclusion to the plot. Sure, there was a lot of hinting throughout that this wasn't the ultimate evil he was fighting at the time, but those could have been excised without harming the action. And there was the slightly unanswered plot point about the Netherworld from which the Darkling Glory and the Bright Ones issued. And Daylan Hammer. But overall, the rip-roaring conclusion to Gaborn's epic battle (calling it a quest when the primary action took place over little more than a month, if that, would be a little overblown...) was eminently satisfying, and well-written. Aside from rounding off Gaborn's shortened life as the Earth King, little was missing from book 4 - and that little could easily have been fixed by adding a heavily edited version of book 5's first couple of chapters as an epilogue. It would have left us with a nice, if slightly bittersweet, ending.

Instead, Farland treats us to another 3 books (to date that I'm aware of, with no conclusion in sight) offering scope of millions of shadow worlds and a massive mythology that all seems a little tacked on to the initial story. Not to mention the loci, which often feel similarly iffy. It's difficult to follow who the villains are when they change every book after book 4 - is it the One True Master reborn? Shadoath? Despair? Yaleen? Are the loci really indestructible? Where did they come from in the first place? Too many questions are raised and then go unanswered for long periods, too many beloved characters go utterly ignored in favour of new characters we've not built a connection to. What happened to Borenson and Myrima and the family? All we know is the Borenson probably merged with Aath Ulber, and we only have that second-hand.

It all reads to me as a slightly indistinct and unconnected set of concepts which could have been better explored in their own series, rather than trying to fit them into the Runelords setting. They would be interesting to read, but they'd need their own space.
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Gwynnedrion »

Maybe a bit off-topic but don't you hate it when you've read this great book/serie and then a couple of months later it becomes popular and people all start to talk about how great it is and stuff? (eg. Harry Potter)
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Velensk »

Not at all.

Far more bothered when I read a book and I am not overly impressed and then I hear that it has become very popular. If I am actually impressed by something and it becomes popular it means that people I talk to may have actually heard about it so I can use it as an example when I feel like it.

EDIT: To be on topic I just finished reading Lost Dorsai (a book that was somehow on one of the library shelves without being in the actual cataloge). It did not feel like the military science fiction that the Dorsai books ussually are however I didn't mind reading it.
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by thespaceinvader »

I'd agree. I'd far prefer to read a book and be able to judge it honestly without rabid fans getting in the way.
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Rigor »

same situation here. actually i have to congratulate myself for reading HP DESPITE all the fans...

i just finished the hero of ages, one of the books mentioned above, and i must say i really love the tension of the series. i immediately grabbed book 3 and started reading on. plz no stupid ending plz no stupid ending plz no stupid ending...

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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by sur.nhm »

Rigor wrote:same situation here. actually i have to congratulate myself for reading HP DESPITE all the fans...

[...]
Same around here. Augh. anyway, has anybody read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance?
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by styles1005 »

Ehhh. Myself, I think HP is a pile of Phoenix manure with great PR. Then again, it's been a while since I read it, so my perceptions may be distorted by not remembering it as well as I could.

Another "don't you hate it when?" question: don't you hate it when people are disdainful of you because you read fantasy/science fiction? That happened to me once at a local Taco Bell; this couple who were eating there said that they were avid readers too, etc., and then asked what I was reading. I showed them. The woman said something along the lines of "our son used to read that sort of thing too, but he's moved on." I mean, come on! I enjoy "literary" fiction as well (even if James Joyce and William Faulkner give me headaches,) but am I not allowed to read something else once in a while?

Anyway, on-topic, right now I'm rereading Brisingr. Yeah, it's not my favorite book either, but I don't have any new ones and haven't had time to go to the library, though I'll be doing that some more now that I just learned the library is right next to the bowling alley I go to.

Also, I do believe I mentioned this one earlier in this very thread, but has anybody else read The Hunger Games by, oh, whatchamacallit, Susan? I think it's Susan, Susan Somethingorother I'mterriblewithnames. Anyway, I like it for the same reason that I despise HP; the characters aren't cardboard cutouts. I've also read the sequel . . . which I again can't remember the name of. I've also heard a passing reference somewhere to a book called Mockingjay, which is probably the third one in the series - at least I've never heard of a mockingjay anywhere else.

EDIT: Also, reading back, I find a lot of people bashing X series or X book for stealing from Tolkien, or Star Wars, or whatever well-known author/book/series. Have you ever heard of the concept of reworking a book? You might want to look into it.
Last edited by styles1005 on October 4th, 2010, 4:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Rigor
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Rigor »

ROFL what? a book about zen and motorbikes?? i should have given this one to my prof who decided to go t opension last week!!! :D what an audacious topic!

i also can not stand it when ppl ask u what u read and then u show them ur fantasy stuff and THEN they sigh quietly inside but u notice. i mean, this is disrespectful. simply no style. ah btw, now i had my amazon window opened but usually i wouldnt even try to look for brisingr, the 3rd book of the trilogy of eragon, so plz be so kind and provide a link as u write stuff here, otherwise a title doesnt tell me that much and u know not only i am lazy, but many others too ;)

cardboard cutouts - whats that ? no i havent heard of those books, maybe heard u say something about them, but no :D

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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by styles1005 »

What I'm saying about cardboard cutouts (not a series or book, by the way, which is the impression you seem to have gotten) is that the characters have no depth, no emotions; most of that sort of books can be summarized as "(Insert hero name here) defeats the big bad villain using the awesome power of (insert gimmick here, whether it be magic, technology from an ancient alien race, or whatever)!" with the other million pages there to increase the cost.

EDIT: And, though you seem to know what Brisingr is, here's an amazon link for the Hunger Games trilogy; http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_ ... es+trilogy.
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Rigor
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Rigor »

uh that sounds brutal, i read battle royal in manga-version. i found it more brutal than the movie. the movie was kinda lame...and very japanese. i couldnt really understand the ending. which is typical for JAPANESE movies and series. the mangas however, are cristal-clear, mostly. not the romantic stuff, they r weird too, i heard from my gf :D better avoid those books if u can :mrgreen:

hunger games: "A lot of characters die, and their deaths aren't pleasant. This series may not be for you. Then again, those who know me well would say it's not for me, either. I'm one of the most squeamish people you'll meet, and The Hunger Games more closesly resembles the movie Battle Royale than I thought it would when I started reading."
- sounds messy

and no i didnt misinterpret cardbord cutouts for a book but i didnt know the expression yet. thx for the - uh - new word :)

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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Velensk »

styles1005 wrote:Ehhh. Myself, I think HP is a pile of Phoenix manure with great PR. Then again, it's been a while since I read it, so my perceptions may be distorted by not remembering it as well as I could.

Anyway, on-topic, right now I'm rereading Brisingr. Yeah, it's not my favorite book either, but I don't have any new ones and haven't had time to go to the library, though I'll be doing that some more now that I just learned the library is right next to the bowling alley I go to.

Also, I do believe I mentioned this one earlier in this very thread, but has anybody else read The Hunger Games by, oh, whatchamacallit, Susan? I think it's Susan, Susan Somethingorother I'mterriblewithnames. Anyway, I like it for the same reason that I despise HP; the characters aren't cardboard cutouts. I've also read the sequel . . . which I again can't remember the name of. I've also heard a passing reference somewhere to a book called Mockingjay, which is probably the third one in the series - at least I've never heard of a mockingjay anywhere else..
I am not at all fond of HP however I will say that I do not find the characters to be any more cardboard cutouts than those in the Eragon books. Most of my complaints about HP are leveled about the world building as the characters seemed to be dumb in about the same way real people are whereas the world design seemed to be nonsense. Was not at all interested by the Hunger Game.

I have discovered over time that interesting characters do not sell stories to me but characters that annoy me (such as Eragon) can make me unwilling to put up with things that might otherwise be interesting. Also when it comes to it if I know that everyone (or even almost everyone) is going to die I tend not to care overly much how it is going to happen even if I have a vague interest in some of them.
styles1005 wrote:EDIT: Also, reading back, I find a lot of people bashing X series or X book for stealing from Tolkien, or Star Wars, or whatever well-known author/book/series. Have you ever heard of the concept of reworking a book? You might want to look into it.
Concepts are there to be stolen by anyone however if you do not use them in a way that is fun or interesting then you might as well not have stolen them in the first place. Far too many things that steal things don't use them well enough to justify doing so.

I have encountered the disdain of fantasy/sci-fi before. In a way this is fair because I too have a disdain of a ton of the stuff written in the genres but at the same time it is a far too simplistic view to think that they are all worthless. Of course, this disdain that I encounter comes most frequently from people who believe in the concept of 'Great Literature' which I find to be a bit of a fallacy. Many of these people seem to believe that any book written for the purpose of entertaining cannot contain anything of lasting value. Also it seems that many of these people are just ignorant of the actual reasons the genre is bad (or good) and the ground that has been tramped. I remember being forced to read "The Giver" in school and it seemed to me that the author seemed to think that what he was doing was in some way unique which would indicate to me that he hadn't read much science fiction as I had already seen the same sort of thing except better; yet he who wrote to the literary audience gets the awards and put on the mandatory reading lists and the other stuff I had read remains in relative obscurity.

There are usually aspects of value in even some of the dumbest works. I still would not recommend anyone most of those manga I read awhile back (though there were a couple which weren't that bad) however when it comes to it even if I didn't care about the characters, the plots, the action or romance, the drama (or extreme melodrama) I feel that I have a bit of a feel for Japanese Culture that I didn't have before I tried. A long time ago I read the original DragonLance Trilogy I won't say that it was horrible but it definitely was not great literature. I didn't care about the vast majority of the characters and my two favorite characters were the ones who died (which was fine because they were very well built to die), the plot was mediocre and the world building was strange (probably due to the fact that the writers were hired to write based of a D&D setting). On the other hand it was interesting for me to read through it and just gage how much fun I was having against what was happening at the moment just to see what responses were caused by what (and there were definitely bits where I was having fun). I liked other works by the same authors better (perhaps because they did not have to base it on a D&D world). I could enjoy some books of this type even if many of them (including some that I enjoyed) are ultimately forgettable.

Now to contrast I've taken multiple literature courses and I don't like most of the books they make me read. However each of these books is just ripe full of stuff to analyze and think about. Bursting with commentary about this issue or that that is important to the author. A few of them even manage to put in little bits that are actually fun to read. When it comes to it however I find it a lot more engaging to read the books that are most 'dumb' but can convey things worth thinking about in a fun way than the books that are all about things to think about and occasionally mange to be fun. Of course the fact that I am forced to analyze them might hurt especially when I feel that the book is conveying a fantasy as if it were real. I remember reading the ending to the Color Purple and thinking ("This is a lie, people who live like that are unlikely to wind up so happy in the end. Don't encourage people to act like that!"). I have at times wondered if these 'Literary People' would be more likely to accept that kind of situation as truth merely because it is set in 'The Real World' than a situation I would consider to be more realistic and relevant because the latter is presented in a fantasy novel in a world they believe could never exist.

EDIT: Of course, then you get the fantasy novels that try to be literary and frequently run into the problems I have with both.

To be on topic the book I am reading is called 'The Jackal of Nar'. Not too bad so far but I haven't had much time to get far.

EDITED to clarify
Last edited by Velensk on October 4th, 2010, 11:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Hulavuta »

styles1005 wrote:Also, I do believe I mentioned this one earlier in this very thread, but has anybody else read The Hunger Games by, oh, whatchamacallit, Susan? I think it's Susan, Susan Somethingorother I'mterriblewithnames. Anyway, I like it for the same reason that I despise HP; the characters aren't cardboard cutouts. I've also read the sequel . . . which I again can't remember the name of. I've also heard a passing reference somewhere to a book called Mockingjay, which is probably the third one in the series - at least I've never heard of a mockingjay anywhere else.
Suzanne Collins. Who before that wrote the Underland Chronicles, which in my opinion, were very good. Also yes, Mockingjay is the third book, although I haven't read any of the Hunger Games books myself.
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Rigor
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Rigor »

damn, it is so late here alrady, and i really would love to respond in a more eloquent way, but theres no time for that now, my eyes tired, my fingers type slowly, but this much has to be said:

i just LOVE the way you write velensk, this analysis was just GREAT and i enjoyed every sophisticated sentence of it.
my personal highlights:

the characters seemed to be dumb in about the same way real people are whereas the world design seemed to be nonsense.

this disdain that I encounter comes most frequently from people who believe in the concept of 'Great Literature' which I find to be a bit of a fallacy. Many of these people seem to believe that any book written for the purpose of entertaining cannot contain anything of lasting value.

it seemed to me that the author seemed to think that what he was doing was in some way unique which would indicate to me that he hadn't read much science fiction as I had already seen the same sort of thing except better

There are usually aspects of value in even some of the dumbest works[...]I feel that I have a bit of a feel for Japanese Culture that I didn't have before I tried.

I didn't care about the vast majority of the characters and my two favorite characters were the ones who died

the fact that I am forced to analyze them might hurt especially when I feel that the book is conveying a fantasy as if it were real.[...]"This is a lie, people who live like that are unlikely to wind up so happy in the end. Don't encourage people to act like that!"


i would sign here if i could. good job!

what im reading atm is some german stuff u wont find to buy on amazon, but it looks like that http://www.amazon.com/Prost-Mahlzeit-Wo ... 898&sr=8-5 and its about life-science-[censored] that has been "critically" revised by this author, its about novel food, fitness, (and much more) and common misperceptions connected with those issues.

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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Midnight_Carnival »

Before They Are Hanged, sequel to The Blade itself (havent read enough to judge so far)

and
Vertigo's Fables. Comic/graphic novel thing. Really good, I not only spent time I sould have used working reading them obsessively, I also spent time I would normally spend eating and sleeping on reading them (!)
I even gave up making another Wesnoth MP map so I could read Fables instead.

If you loved fairytales, don't read them.
If you want to read how the big bad wolf go snow white pregnant and the ran off without paying child-support, and that kind of thing...
...apparenly we can't go with it or something.

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