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Elvish_Pillager
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Elvish_Pillager »

Limabean wrote:Right now, i'm reading the Aeneid (english translation of course :wink: ).
Well, I'm reading Ovid's Metamorphoses (the original 8) ).
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anakayub
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by anakayub »

Just finished "The Ottoman Empire" 1326-1699".

Going to start reading "The Second World War - Northwest Europe (1944-1945)" once I've regained enough sleep lost by staying up until late at night to finish the last book. :P
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Joram »

I just recently finished reading Summa Elvetica: A Casuistry of the Elvish Controversy. It is a fantasy book by Theodore Beale, and am now reading it aloud in the car, as I regularly go on long car trips with someone else, and we exhausted all of our recorded books (reading aloud for 5 hours at a time can try the vocal cords :augh: )

The book was basically the result of the author realizing that while most fantasy takes place in a pseudo-medieval setting, it almost invariably leaves out the most influential force of that setting: the Catholic Church.

Summary:
In Summa Elvetica, the Church has to wrestle with the question of whether elves have souls. If yes, then they must naturally be brought the holy word of the Immaculate. If not, then as the elves will be merely intelligent animals, anyone will be justified in invading their lands and plundering their riches.

Powerful factions and intellectual thinkers take both sides of the debate, so the Church is sending a delegation to the Elvish Kingdoms to see if it can reach a definite conclusion. But as there is always profit in war, there are some who are doing everything possible to incite a holy war against the elves.

The main character is a promising young noble who will likely join the Church, who is sent in the delegation in the place of the Sanctiff (Pope) who is too old to survive the journey.

Interesting points, Pros and Cons:
1- Naturally, as this book was written from a Christian viewpoint, it will lose some of its appeal to non-Christians.

2- The Elves in this book are nowhere close to their standard fantasy image of goodness; there is a reason that they are called Hell-spawn (in my book, this is a pro; there are enough super-good-guy-elves running around :) )

3- There is a paragraph of Latin heading each chapter, and some more sprinkled throughout the text. I don't know the first thing about Latin, so can't say that it adds anything, but it certainly didn't detract.

4- This book naturally includes some philosophy; if you're interested in that sort of thing, you might enjoy the book more.

5- The story itself isn't, imo, particularly strong (or long); I liked the book anyway, but if you prefer to have a whole lot of action, romance, warfare, intrigue, and such, the book may be a little bit slow for you (it has some of all those things; just not in huge quantities).


NOTE: I understand that the author is also a somewhat controversial political columnist; writing online under a pseudonym. I don't follow that at all, and it doesn't seem to have influenced his book at all.
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turin
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by turin »

That actually sounds fairly interesting. But a question - have the elves always been around, or have they just now been discovered? If the former, I don't see how the circumstances in question would have arrived - wouldn't they have had to answer the question long before the medieval ages rolled around? Human-elf relations would have been around for a long time, presumably some stable situation would have arisen, there's no reason you would need to re-investigate in the middle ages. I find it hard to believe it'd be the latter, though. That'd make it more of an alternative history book with fantasy elements - what if in the year 1200 a kingdom of elves had been discovered? - rather than a fantasy book. So my guess is the former, but I don't see how exactly it would work.
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Joram
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Joram »

The elves have been around a long time; as have orcs, trolls, goblins, and dwarves. Most of these latter races hit their cliches pretty hard, but as their entry into the book is minimal, it didn't bother me; especially since his human and elvish cultures are (based on my limited experience) rather unique.

The issue had been addressed before by philosophers and churchmen alike; during the course of the book, there are occasionally places where other works are quoted in an argument. What is happening now is that His Holiness, the Sanctiff Charity IV, Viceroy of God, is going to delve into the matter and make an official decision. The reason that His Holiness decided to intervene in the matter is that one of the greatest minds of the Church wrote a book entitled Summa Spiritus about the diverse races of Selenoth, and their place in the will of God. This sparked a raging debate throughout intellectual circles, that continued for over a year. While that was happening, one of the few intellectuals who was esteemed enough to dare arguing with the author of the Summa wrote a book in response. While the two were in agreement on many things, they differed in one very important point; and the Sanctiff has decided that the matter must be finally resolved.

It is never explicitly stated why the issue wasn't addressed before this. I believe that there have been extensive wars with the elves in the past, which prevented a thorough scholastic inquiry (as the only place to really observe elves is in their own country). That is to say, I know that there have been wars, and I received an impression that they were fairly extensive.

The last conflict with the elves was about a couple hundred years ago, but the war never officially ended.

So I think it was just a combination of that, and the fact that it wasn't a pressing matter; the Church has plenty of other matters to occupy itself with other than involved investigations into something that keeps to itself when it isn't bothered.

As in the historical Catholic Church, there is a certain amount of politics involved as well. It is rather a drastic step to take; as there are people who earnestly desire the ruling to go a one way or the other; and it is possible that previous Sanctiff's did not feel secure enough to take such a step when there was no pressing need.


I believe that there are also some short stories set in this world. I know that two came in the back of my copy of the book. It is possible that more information is contained in them, but I've only read one.

I found out that the publishers have the first chapter and most of the second online, if you are interested in a sample: http://www.marcherlordpress.com/Summa_Elvetica.htm
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Polaris »

Just now, I am reading the second book of the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy, "The Restaurant at the end of the Universe". Pretty nice series, if you ask me.

After that, I'll read book 8 of warhammer 40000's horus heresy saga, Mechanicus :)

Love reading! 8)
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Baufo »

'Der Steppenwolf' by Hermann Hesse. Pretty interesting read so far.
Elvish Pillager wrote:
Limabean wrote:Right now, i'm reading the Aeneid (english translation of course :wink: ).
Well, I'm reading Ovid's Metamorphoses (the original 8) ).
Cool, you can actually read that? I'm currently in the process of translating Augustus' 'Res gestae'.
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by The Great Rings »

Polaris wrote:Just now, I am reading the second book of the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy, "The Restaurant at the end of the Universe". Pretty nice series, if you ask me.
Wait until you finish the series. 8)
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Skizzaltix »

The Great Rings wrote:
Polaris wrote:Just now, I am reading the second book of the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy, "The Restaurant at the end of the Universe". Pretty nice series, if you ask me.
Wait until you finish the series. 8)
Yup.
And when you're done, read Dirk Gentley ;)

Currently reading Toume Kei's Acony... Or, well, not really any more. I read it a few days ago, but when I'm reading stuff in Japanese, I like to read through it two or three times, because I always miss some stuff the first time through.

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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Thanatos »

Finally I can start reading José Saramago's "As Intermitências da Morte", which on English would be "Death with Interruptions" or "Death at Intervals" (found both title's on Amazon, used for the same book). I like the idea of this little thought-experiement, and as Saramago is one of the world's finest writers - or at least should be, due to his win of the Nobel prize for literature - I'm excited about how he pictures a world without Death.
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by turin »

Just finished the Book of the Short Sun. I've now read BotNS, BotLS, BotSS, the Wizard-Knight, and Latro in the Mist. There's more good stuff by Gene Wolfe to read, but I think I've covered most of the major stuff... I'll probably be exploring other authors in the near future. Also just finished No Country for Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy. Quite well written.

I'm not sure what I'm going to start reading now... I'm currently reading Moby-Dick for school, and I plan on re-reading the four great Shakespearean tragedies (Othello, Hamlet, Lear, Macbeth) sometime soon, other than that no real plans. Maybe I'll check out Asimov's Foundation books...
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Limabean »

turin wrote:Maybe I'll check out Asimov's Foundation books...
I recommend them. Probably among the best sci-fi ever written :)
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Joram »

I just finished reading Assignment in Brittany, by Helen MacInnes.

It starts out when a wounded French soldier who is transported to England from Dunkirk, in 1940, happens to look almost exactly like Martin Hearne, a British agent; so much so, that the wounded Frenchman on a stretcher is mistaken for Hearne by a personal acquaintance in the Military Intelligence.

This fellow then gets the bright idea to send Hearne to France pretending to be this soldier returning home; the intent being that Hearne could then keep watch on the Germans in the area; where they are moving troops, setting up airfields, etc., in that area; which can then be pieced together with reports from other agents to form a rough map of German activity all over the north of France.

Investigations are made, and as Bertrand Corlay, the wounded soldier, apparently has no family, other than a bedridden mother, they decide that it is possible to pull the stunt off; any brief lapses of memory can be accounted for by shell shock from the fighting. So Hearne spends several weeks memorizing details about his new role (the fact that the wounded soldier likes talking about himself helped), and off he goes to a small village in Brittany.

And of course, when he gets there, complications come up. Among other things, it was rather disconcerting for him when the Nazis who made it clear they were confiscating his home and were on the point of ordering him to report the next day for "employment", apologized and left when they heard the name "Bertrand Corlay"; Hearne begins to suspect that he is impersonating someone who is more than a simple Breton farmer. These suspicions are reinforced by various other discoveries he makes over the course of the story.


I'm not very familiar with spy/agent type books, but I found this book to be pretty good. I really liked the author's depiction of the occupied peoples reaction to the Nazis. One thing that I found interesting was that the book was written in 1942; which was before WWII was even over. I didn't think that authors did that (shows you how much I know).
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Groan »

I am reading the hobbit (in English) for the 4th time :eng:

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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Majestic »

Right now? Right now, at this moment I'm reading the words I'm taping. :wink:

And books... It's all the studies..
Aah... Nothing but a nice, quiet patrol... Boooooooring!

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