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Oblarg
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:52 pm 
 

failsafeman wrote:
A big part of it is also how a lie, with an emphasis on fabricated history, if believed by enough people and acted upon as if true, can basically become true. There's the part at the end for example where the different "sects" of secret societies believe the fabrication that they're all descended from the same secret society of Templars, and then actually "reunify" as one big secret society. It makes me think of how a lot of nationalism was and is founded on a heavily edited past which co-opts historical figures and cultures and blends them into a single fabricated identity convenient to the situation. Like how Mussolini constantly referenced ancient Romans, and the Greeks and Macedonians were bickering over essentially "ownership" of fucking Alexander the Great. It's grade-A bullshit, but it's bullshit that got actual people to rally around their respective flags. So in that regard, the importance of ethical and honest treatment of history is illustrated by showing what happens when it's treated too flippantly.


Oh, certainly. But it's also important to note that the Plan didn't "gradually" leak out into reality.
Spoiler: show
Rather, Belbo makes the pretty big mistake of explicitly taunting Aglié with it, in a fit of jealousy - prior to that, it was entirely "contained."
Many of the analyses out there make it seem as if there's some sort of mysterious transition from fabrication to reality that can't be explained in any commonsense way, when Eco himself seems to spend an awful lot of time mocking precisely that kind of thinking.

Quote:
Anyway it's a complex book with a lot of themes going on and a lot of conclusions that can be drawn. I like that Eco left its "message", if there even is one, very much open to interpretation.


All of Eco's works seem to be pretty multifaceted and deep; he was pretty explicit about his belief that "closed texts" with few viable readings are the least-interesting. One reading that occurs to me as particularly interesting is as an attack on post-structuralism/lazy semiotics - the notion that, if one adopts the habit of torturing contrived webs of meaning out of effectively-unrelated elements, one will eventually lose the ability to distinguish between that and genuine hermeneutics.
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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:14 am 
 

Right, there's the scene where the main character's wife (I read the book almost 10 years ago, their actual names escape me) goes over all of his research, which he himself has started to believe by that point, and then spends a few pages breaking down exactly why the whole thing is based on nonsense and confirmation bias. It's a great scene because the reader (at least in my case) has started to actually believe the whole conspiracy theory is true, and then there's Eco basically saying "no, even within the world of this book, it's ridiculous to believe it's true."
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Oblarg
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:11 pm 
 

failsafeman wrote:
Right, there's the scene where the main character's wife (I read the book almost 10 years ago, their actual names escape me) goes over all of his research, which he himself has started to believe by that point, and then spends a few pages breaking down exactly why the whole thing is based on nonsense and confirmation bias. It's a great scene because the reader (at least in my case) has started to actually believe the whole conspiracy theory is true, and then there's Eco basically saying "no, even within the world of this book, it's ridiculous to believe it's true."


I felt Eco was an absolute master of keeping the novel right on the line where things continually happen that are contrived enough to make it intensely frustrating for the reader to write them off as coincidence, yet still only rationally explicable as such. It's a lot like what he did with The Name of the Rose, except this time he's putting the reader in the situation that William was in. It's very effective. It really says something about the way our brains crave meaning, even to an extent where we see it when it's not there (the same way we see constellations in effectively-random arrangements of stars).
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Thiestru
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:58 pm 
 

So I finally decided to give Jane Austen a chance, after thinking for years that the phrase 'novel of manners' could only entail ball-crushing boredom, and it turns out that I'm glad I did. To wit, I'm reading Sense and Sensibility, which, while not exciting at all, is quite entertaining, and features top-notch characterization. But when I think of it, action has never been one of the chief things I seek in a book; hell, one of my favorite chapters in The Lord of the Rings (which is my favorite book of all time) is 'The Council of Elrond', which is nothing more than a bunch of folks sitting around talking. Anyway, as with many books, one of the biggest attractions for me to this novel is the writing (although Austen overuses the word 'approbration'). I love 18th and 19th century writing; it has a class that modern novels too often sorely lack.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:28 pm 
 

I've recently (because it was extremely difficult) abandoned reading Twilight of the Idols by Nietzsche. I'm at the moment reading Dostoyevsky's Notes from the Underground and the Double. Notes from the Underground was very pretentious at the beginnig but started getting better as I read throughout the novella.

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BeholdtheNicktopus
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:08 am 
 

I've finished Poe's complete stories, moving on now to the Elric saga. I read the Swords trilogy by Moorcock in high school and really loved it. I hope Elric is as good! Of course I have to listen to Domine while reading.

Also, I hesitate to call this literature, but I'm giving a go at Hegel's Science of Logic... hoo boy. I forgot how wild this stuff is. I think that Hegel may be a bizarro Neoplatonist deformed by protestant modernity. Maybe my favorite modern philosopher (along with Badiou and Bergson).
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:35 pm 
 

I was at Barnes & Nobles last week and they actually had a copy of Mein Kampf by Hitler. I thought it was kind of taboo, you know? Has anyone ever read the book? It can't all be about bashing Jewish people in a sense.

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InnesI
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:07 am 
 

TheConqueror1 wrote:
I was at Barnes & Nobles last week and they actually had a copy of Mein Kampf by Hitler. I thought it was kind of taboo, you know? Has anyone ever read the book? It can't all be about bashing Jewish people in a sense.


I listened to it several years ago as an audio book and its fine. Some people have said its written so badly that its hardly readable. I think that's just projecting a feeling towards his ideas and what they led to. The book is written fine and I think he is quite clear in explaining his views. Much of it is about the Jews and he tries to explain his stance. But of course its not only about the Jews either. If you're interested in the ideas behind the NSDAP I think it is essential reading in the same way "The Communist Manifesto" is essential reading if you are interested in Marxism or "The Social Contract" by Rousseau to understand the ideas of the enlightenment.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:42 pm 
 

Just finished Notes from the Underground and The Double by Dostoevsky. Both novellas were good.

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InnesI
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 6:11 am 
 

TheConqueror1 wrote:
Just finished Notes from the Underground and The Double by Dostoevsky. Both novellas were good.


I have read Notes From the Underground as well. I thought it was good. I very much did prefer the first part of the book before he went into the actual anecdotal story that is told in the second part though.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 7:26 pm 
 

I'm thinking about reading Bram Stoker's Dracula. Is it a good read?

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iamntbatman
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 10:56 pm 
 

Yeah, it's a solid read. Not jaw-dropping or anything, but still quite good.
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MARSDUDE
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:11 am 
 

TheConqueror1 wrote:
I'm thinking about reading Bram Stoker's Dracula. Is it a good read?


Good to see where today's vampires began in popular culture. Obviously writing has come a long way since then, so don't expect to actually be terrified or thrilled.

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Thiestru
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:20 pm 
 

@MARSDUDE: Yeah, writing has come a long way since then - downhill. Dracula is an excellent book, TheConqueror1, and you should definitely read it.
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Razakel
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:28 pm 
 

Thiestru wrote:
@MARSDUDE: Yeah, writing has come a long way since then - downhill. Dracula is an excellent book, TheConqueror1, and you should definitely read it.


Honestly I can't agree with this. Dracula is definitely worth reading to appreciate its influence, but there are better Gothic horror books out there, like Frankenstein, which is a hundred times better.

For me, Dracula loses almost all of its momentum after the first few chapters which take place in Dracula's castle. The rest just turns into a bit of a slog. It's like one of those frustrating albums with an awesome opening track that the rest fails to live up to. That opening section is filled with atmosphere and tension, and then when it's finished the book just starts going downhill and never really picks up again. There are still memorable moments later on, and Van Hellsing is a cool character, but eh, it really begins to peter out for me fairly early.

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Earthcubed
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:50 pm 
 

I agree that the scenes in Transylvania are the best part of the work. I didn't find it amazing but it's worth a read.

InnesI wrote:
If you're interested in the ideas behind the NSDAP I think it is essential reading in the same way "The Communist Manifesto" is essential reading if you are interested in Marxism or "The Social Contract" by Rousseau to understand the ideas of the enlightenment.


Minor quibble here--the manifesto is the one most people in the West are familiar with or have heard of, but Capital was arguably more influential worldwide. For one thing, the tsar's censor banned the manifesto outright for obvious reasons but didn't initially ban Capital, thus it circulated quite freely in Russia and had more impact. Apparently, the censor thought it a purely scientific work rather than a political treatise, and also thought it too confusing for peasant Russia to make much use out of it. Many of the revolutionaries in the world's first communist state probably had never read the manifesto yet had read Capital.

But yeah, one shouldn't be knocked for reading a work of Marx or Hitler for historical or educational reasons. That shouldn't be taboo.
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InnesI
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 3:44 am 
 

Earthcubed wrote:
Minor quibble here--the manifesto is the one most people in the West are familiar with or have heard of, but Capital was arguably more influential worldwide. For one thing, the tsar's censor banned the manifesto outright for obvious reasons but didn't initially ban Capital, thus it circulated quite freely in Russia and had more impact. Apparently, the censor thought it a purely scientific work rather than a political treatise, and also thought it too confusing for peasant Russia to make much use out of it. Many of the revolutionaries in the world's first communist state probably had never read the manifesto yet had read Capital.


Very true. And I probably said it (maybe unconsciously) because I haven't read The Capital.

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Thiestru
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 12:35 pm 
 

Razakel wrote:
Thiestru wrote:
@MARSDUDE: Yeah, writing has come a long way since then - downhill. Dracula is an excellent book, TheConqueror1, and you should definitely read it.


Honestly I can't agree with this. Dracula is definitely worth reading to appreciate its influence, but there are better Gothic horror books out there, like Frankenstein, which is a hundred times better.

For me, Dracula loses almost all of its momentum after the first few chapters which take place in Dracula's castle. The rest just turns into a bit of a slog. It's like one of those frustrating albums with an awesome opening track that the rest fails to live up to. That opening section is filled with atmosphere and tension, and then when it's finished the book just starts going downhill and never really picks up again. There are still memorable moments later on, and Van Hellsing is a cool character, but eh, it really begins to peter out for me fairly early.


I understand your opinion, and I agree that the beginning of the book is the best part. Frankenstein is indeed a very good book, but I still prefer Dracula. I just like the titular character of the latter better, although that of the former is a superb example of a tragic figure. Happily, we live in a world where we can take both books, and not omit either. :)

The other day I got David Copperfield and Hard Times, both by Dickens, and both for free. I'm reading the former now, and enjoying it, but I do find that Dickens here is guilty of over-writing. He and Tolstoy have that in common. But as he has more strengths than weaknesses, I haven't given up on this book yet.

I also recently read Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, which I expected to be ball-crushingly boring. I was wrong. If you don't depend on action to sustain you through a story, you could do a lot worse than giving Austen a chance; she's exceptionally good at characterization. I though a so-called 'novel of manners' must needs be doomed to insipidity on the very premises, but it wasn't. If you're even a bit curious about Jane Austen, I recommend this book to you. I'm led to understand that it's not even her best book, which bodes well for future prospects.
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 3:23 pm 
 

Jane Austen is one of those writers I thought was basically "chick flick" in written form, but yeah she's actually great.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 8:16 pm 
 

At the moment, I'm reading R.A. Salvatore's Homeland and it's very entertaining.

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raspberrysoda
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:12 am 
 

I'm currently reading "Naked Lunch" by William S. Burroughs, and it's one of the most fucked up books I've ever read- which is great.
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CoconutBackwards
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:05 am 
 

raspberrysoda wrote:
I'm currently reading "Naked Lunch" by William S. Burroughs, and it's one of the most fucked up books I've ever read- which is great.


I tried to read this a long time ago, but the slang was so prevalent and so abstract to me that I had no idea what I was reading.
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raspberrysoda
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:42 am 
 

CoconutBackwards wrote:
raspberrysoda wrote:
I'm currently reading "Naked Lunch" by William S. Burroughs, and it's one of the most fucked up books I've ever read- which is great.


I tried to read this a long time ago, but the slang was so prevalent and so abstract to me that I had no idea what I was reading.


well, it is translated to another langauge so that's not much of an obstacle for me
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BeholdtheNicktopus
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2019 12:22 am 
 

Anybody here ever read Slaine? I picked it up obviously due to Slough Feg, and quite liked the first 2 volumes I've read so far.

Volume 2 gets pretty crazy though. It goes from Stone Age fantasy (Slaine uses a STONE axe, and the characters lament the rise of metalworking in weaponry. "I like stone. You know where you stand with stone") to futuristic grimdark scifi (the Cythron time-traveling menace) in, like... the space of a few panels???? It's just "Suddenly..." or something and then there you go. I'm not sure how it's just gonna go back to heroic Stone Age fantasy in the next volume, but I think it will...

Curious to know if there are any Warped Warriors here, straining against their battle-harnesses and blasting orgots with Leyser-Guns while browsing MA?
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waiguoren
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2019 12:57 am 
 

I still have a Slaine action figure actually (which isn't saying much as I've been collecting action figures for decades). To answer your question, yes I read Slaine back in the 90's when Simon Bisley was huge (an artist who seems to have fallen off the radar). If you like Slaine you should check out other 2000AD stuff like Rogue Trooper, the ABC Warriors, etc. I was always particularly fond of that Torquemada character, what a peach!
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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2019 10:43 pm 
 

Man, I really really wanted to like Nemesis the Warlock, what with Torquemada and his minions being a big influence on WH40K's Imperium of Man, but no matter how I tried, I just couldn't bring myself to think that Nemesis's design was cool. His head is just SUCH an awkward shape. Pretty much all of the 2000AD characters look like they were designed by high school students, but most of them have a good balance of goofy and edgy. Nemesis looks fucking ridiculous, and then it seems like an attempt was made to overcompensate with even more edginess than usual, which only makes things worse.

Spoiler: show
Image


It's just a shame, because if Nemesis looked as cool as Judge Dredd or Strontium Dog, I could really see myself loving the series.
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BeholdtheNicktopus
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 8:42 pm 
 

I am definitely intrigued to read more stuff in this style! It will probably take me a while to get through Slaine since I don't have much time for pleasure reading these days. I hear Judge Dredd is the best (or just the most popular?) of those titles related to Slaine (2000AD? A comic periodical? I'm a fool with no comic book smarts, I only have obtuse rambling smarts, certainly nothing like street smarts for that matter). I guess when the time comes I'll just try out a few and see what grabs me. I used to read a bunch of manga but those days are far behind me. Slaine (and last year I read Alan Moore's "From Hell") is my re-entry into nerd fandom, unless you count sword and sorcery stories.

On that note, I like Elric so far! Spotted a bunch of Summoning lyrics of course. I really like the more philosophically-inflected stuff where Moorcock goes into his weirdo Law-versus-Chaos metaphysics and humankind's (and Elric's) place in larger schemes. Though I fear I'd align with hardcore Law (like the dude in the Absolute Law dimension in "To Rescue Tanelorn" who spouts all that supposed nonsense about Law and Nothingness and pure thinking and abstraction; he is promptly killed by Rackhir the Red Archer). Moorcock doesn't seem to go for metaphysical extremes!
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Necroticism174
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 1:34 am 
 

raspberrysoda wrote:
I'm currently reading "Naked Lunch" by William S. Burroughs, and it's one of the most fucked up books I've ever read- which is great.


I actually hate Naked Lunch. Gave my copy to a friend after forcing myself to finish it. Just such edgy try-hard bullshit. It's fine taken as random fragments every once in a while, but as a complete work it utterly fails.

I still like Junky, but most Burroughs really leaves me cold.
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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 9:14 am 
 

I remember trying Naked Lunch a few years back and not being able to finish it. Just a lot of nonsense really.

Getting back into George Saunders' "Lincoln in the Bardo" - an almost inexplicable work, written almost like a script between a bunch of bizarre spirits in limbo in the afterlife as Lincoln's son dies. Unbearably tragic at times, plain bizarre and oddly funny at others. Saunders' imagination and feel for storytelling is through the roof.

Also reading Ta Nehisi Coates' Black Panther run - just super well written, tight, mature works. Loving it.

Got to check out some Slaine it sounds like. Obviously I'm a big Slough Feg fan.
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Razakel
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:06 pm 
 

I don't really like the Beat writers in general, at least the ones I've read. A friend lent me On the Road a few years ago, insisting that it would change my life, and I hated it from beginning to end. It's like a celebration of '50s bro culture; every character was so outrageously unlikable and I just constantly wanted to punch Kerouac as I was reading it. Naked Lunch is obviously very different, and I think I remember kinda liking it for its weirdness as I was reading it, but apparently it hasn't really stayed with me.

BeholdtheNicktopus wrote:
(and last year I read Alan Moore's "From Hell")


The greatest graphic novel of all spaces and times. I actually just bought the first 4 issues of the new League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series but haven't cracked 'em yet.

BeholdtheNicktopus wrote:
On that note, I like Elric so far! Spotted a bunch of Summoning lyrics of course. I really like the more philosophically-inflected stuff where Moorcock goes into his weirdo Law-versus-Chaos metaphysics and humankind's (and Elric's) place in larger schemes. Though I fear I'd align with hardcore Law (like the dude in the Absolute Law dimension in "To Rescue Tanelorn" who spouts all that supposed nonsense about Law and Nothingness and pure thinking and abstraction; he is promptly killed by Rackhir the Red Archer). Moorcock doesn't seem to go for metaphysical extremes!


Elric is definitely a lot of fun. I binged the whole series a few years back so it's hard to distinguish particular books right now, but I remember Stormbringer was totally awesome. I don't think it really matters what order you read them in, but do read that one last! It makes for such a great conclusion. I think I recall some of the books narratively coasting, or repeating themselves, but eh, overall they're great and Moorcock rules. I have a shit ton of other Moorcock books unread on my shelf because they're always so cheap at every used bookstore. Anyone wanna recommend other good books of his? I think I have the whole Hawkmoon and Count Brass series.

Empyreal wrote:
Getting back into George Saunders' "Lincoln in the Bardo" - an almost inexplicable work, written almost like a script between a bunch of bizarre spirits in limbo in the afterlife as Lincoln's son dies. Unbearably tragic at times, plain bizarre and oddly funny at others. Saunders' imagination and feel for storytelling is through the roof.


This gets me stoked. I bought this book over the holidays and I've heard great things about it. I was actually about to start it the other day but then my mom lent me a brand new book called Milkman (by a Northern Irish writer, Anna Burns) that she just finished and was raving about, so I'm gonna blast through that first. Always gotta read what your mom tells you to read.

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Thiestru
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:34 pm 
 

David Copperfield is great. Dickens was a master at characterization. Mrs. Gummiedge is my favorite character; she reminds me of Puddleglum, from C. S. Lewis's The Silver Chair.

Edit: Jesus, this post looks like it was written by Ernest Hemingway. :ugh:
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Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2007 9:05 am
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 3:49 pm 
 

Just finished reading R.A. Salvatore's Homeland. I really enjoyed reading this novel.

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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:58 pm
Posts: 26373
Location: Where the dead rule the night
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:08 pm 
 

Razakel wrote:
Empyreal wrote:
Getting back into George Saunders' "Lincoln in the Bardo" - an almost inexplicable work, written almost like a script between a bunch of bizarre spirits in limbo in the afterlife as Lincoln's son dies. Unbearably tragic at times, plain bizarre and oddly funny at others. Saunders' imagination and feel for storytelling is through the roof.


This gets me stoked. I bought this book over the holidays and I've heard great things about it. I was actually about to start it the other day but then my mom lent me a brand new book called Milkman (by a Northern Irish writer, Anna Burns) that she just finished and was raving about, so I'm gonna blast through that first. Always gotta read what your mom tells you to read.


Saunders is such a damn talent. You should also check out his short story collection Tenth of December too - some really amazing stuff in there. He's got a real talent for writing in odd ways and conveying story little by little, revealing things in a slow drip. It's inspiring.

I'm gonna get some of his other ones too, soon.
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Razakel
Nekroprince

Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:36 pm
Posts: 5542
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:45 pm 
 

Oh I've read Tenth of December and I adore it. I've read that, Pastoralia, In Persuasion Nation, and some smatterings of his non-fiction. I love him. He's probably my favourite contemporary short story writer. He's like a modern American Nikolai Gogol.

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Grave_Wyrm
Metal Sloth

Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:55 pm
Posts: 3873
Location: a branch
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:40 pm 
 

Do you guys have any recommendations of mysteries/detective stories or mystery-forward authors? Series, one-offs, not picky about settings, it's all fine .. more concerned with quality than type. Size restrictions of book may apply, however, since I'm mainly reading on commute.

Thanks!

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Nahsil
Clerical Sturmgeschütz

Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:06 pm
Posts: 4466
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 1:43 am 
 

The Big Sleep is good, and also The Name of the Rose.
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Oblarg
Veteran

Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:59 pm
Posts: 2699
Location: The second sea
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 1:17 pm 
 

Seconding The Name of the Rose. Absolutely fabulous novel.
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failsafeman
Digital Dictator

Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 8:45 am
Posts: 11846
Location: In the Arena
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 6:17 pm 
 

Yeah anything Raymond Chandler is top-notch. I'm honestly not super big on mysteries in general but Chandler is great stuff, completely drenched in atmosphere and cynicism without every straying into self-parody territory.
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BeholdtheNicktopus
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2008 6:26 pm
Posts: 454
Location: Chicago
PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:35 am 
 

@Razakel: Woops I am just reading the latest collection of the Elric stories (entitled "Chronicles of the Last Emperor of Melnibone", published by Ballantine I believe). Stormbringer is the last story in volume 1. They are arranged roughly in order of publication I think? So I already read that one. It definitely seemed, uh, like it was supposed to be the very very last thing. You don't come back from that one without a cosmic reset button for the story.
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~Guest 118084
With a 120kbps bitrate!

Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2007 9:05 am
Posts: 986
PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:12 am 
 

I finished R.A. Salvatore's Exile a couple of days ago. I think the DemonWars Saga could actually be Salvatore's greatest achievement. Currently, I'm reading The Village of Stepanchikovo by Dostoevsky. So far it is an excellent novel and very captivating in a sense.

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