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Zelkiiro
Pounding the world with a fish of steel

Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:30 pm
Posts: 6141
Location: Pennsylvania
PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2018 5:28 pm 
 

Those moments where Hitchhiker's Guide gets good, though...those are what I live for. The Agrajag chapter is among the funniest things ever written.
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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:58 pm
Posts: 25698
Location: Where the dead rule the night
PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:43 pm 
 

Earthcubed wrote:
Honestly you should just stop with Annihilation, given you enjoyed the weird dreamlike para-reality aspect of the story so much. There's nothing strictly bad about the two subsequent books, they just feel like an altogether different series and a lesser one at that. The first book works perfectly fine as a very weird standalone novel.


I'm a bit through the second one and liking it as well. It isn't as good, but only because it's not really comparable so much as it is a continuation and expansion of the world. It's creepy and weird in a subtle way and I like the main guy. I like how he's constructing this where he's just sort of slowly expanding the perimeters of this world. It works and I wouldn't have wanted him to just do the first one in a different way. He needed to switch up the style. The writing is absolutely beautiful, evocative and human as well. Love this type of style. He's great at describing anything and getting you into the headspace you need to be without excess words or purple prose.
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iamntbatman
Chaos Breed

Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 5:55 am
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Location: Tyrn Gorthad
PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:10 pm 
 

Zelkiiro wrote:
Those moments where Hitchhiker's Guide gets good, though...those are what I live for. The Agrajag chapter is among the funniest things ever written.


The part where a bowl of petunias and a sperm whale get willed into existence in space above a planet because of the LOLRANDOM SPACESHIP and the whale falls to the planet and dies because LOLRANDOM? Guys...it's so random!!!!111
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Gastjale
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2011 8:31 am
Posts: 110
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:35 am 
 

iamntbatman wrote:
Zelkiiro wrote:
Those moments where Hitchhiker's Guide gets good, though...those are what I live for. The Agrajag chapter is among the funniest things ever written.


The part where a bowl of petunias and a sperm whale get willed into existence in space above a planet because of the LOLRANDOM SPACESHIP and the whale falls to the planet and dies because LOLRANDOM? Guys...it's so random!!!!111


Hardly "it's so random!!!!111". More like "I say, that was rather improbable."

For me, the greatness of the book doesn't necessarily lie in the events or the plot, but in the general, British sangfroid which is usually part and parcel of that nation's humour (ruling out Acrobat quite conveniently). Adams' calculating coolness allows him to churn out japes and jests at will, and while they're not all golden, they're executed with such smoothness and lack of visible effort (in the positive sense) that to call them "try-hard" would be doing the defunct Douglas a disfavour.

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BeholdtheNicktopus
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2008 6:26 pm
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:43 pm 
 

Glad you like the second book, Empyreal. While I think the first is the best, the second was good and the third was pretty decent. No reason not to just read them all, they are pretty fast reads.

I finished the 3-volume original Robert E Howard Conan stories. I knew metal loved REH but there were more references than I expected. Obviously Manilla Road alone has millions of them.

Next up is Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser. The first book kind of sucked but it is getting better now. I am reading them in the story's chronological order, not the publishing date. Hm.
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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:58 pm
Posts: 25698
Location: Where the dead rule the night
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:01 pm 
 

BeholdtheNicktopus wrote:
Glad you like the second book, Empyreal. While I think the first is the best, the second was good and the third was pretty decent. No reason not to just read them all, they are pretty fast reads.


Yeah. It's not a 5 star book by any means, but I appreciate things that are original and weird and their own "thing." If I like the brand/style/voice I'll probably like its various parts unless they're outwardly weak or bad.
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Zdan
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2004 6:05 pm
Posts: 2079
Location: Poland
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2018 7:37 am 
 

Currently going through Stephen Lawhead's Pendragon Cycle. I like all of the references to Celtic/Welsh mythology and texts but it also has a heavy Christian slant that seems to be getting heavier with each book. It does not seem VERY preachy but we will see.

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Yak_Forger
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2018 8:53 am
Posts: 14
Location: Belgium
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:02 pm 
 

Eh, the only thing I've been reading these days are real estate articles at work... And it's FUN, I'll let you be the judge : https://tranio.com/articles/buying-a-small-hotel-abroad/

But I'm whining a little bit too much, because I recently had the occasion to buy Roald Dahl's Squadron 80, that I could read at my house this weekend. I feel a little bit dumb now that I've learnt so late in my life, as a military history nerd, that one of my childhood's favourite authors fought for the RAF over Greece!

Edit : wouldn't that be a great Sabaton song, by the way?

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iamntbatman
Chaos Breed

Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 5:55 am
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Location: Tyrn Gorthad
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:20 pm 
 

Trick question. Nothing would be a great Sabaton song.
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Zdan
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2004 6:05 pm
Posts: 2079
Location: Poland
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:19 pm 
 

iamntbatman wrote:
Trick question. Nothing would be a great Sabaton song.


Wrong. Their non-historical album "Metalizer" has some pretty good heavy metal tunes.

As for reading I took a break from the Stephen Lawhead books and jumped into a book in my native Polish and the title good could be translated roughly as "I Will Come Back as Thunder: A History of the American West."

It essentially focuses on the struggles of the American Indian and the issues surrounding that topic. The main "character" would be the famous American Indian activist Russell Means but it also mentions AIM in general, Dennis Banks and the case of Leonard Peltier.

A good read to be sure.

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MacMoney
Man of the Cloth

Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2002 10:17 pm
Posts: 2179
PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:32 am 
 

iamntbatman wrote:
Trick question. Nothing would be a great Sabaton song.


Hear, hear!

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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:58 pm
Posts: 25698
Location: Where the dead rule the night
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:45 pm 
 

Third Annihilation book 'Acceptance' is interesting so far at about 80 pages in. What a weird way to end a trilogy, just kind of chopping up stories of characters from previous installments and putting them together. But Vandermeer's writing is so good and spellbinding. You can tell he really evolved this whole thing from the bizarre nightmare-trip of the first one into a genuinely well thought out, character-driven story. It's lost some of the spontaneity and the surprise of the original book but I am digging it anyway. I can tell he put a lot of thought into this very specific, strange ecosystem of a world and its history, and I like the slow drip of revelations coming out all the time in these books.
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Razakel
Nekroprince

Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:36 pm
Posts: 5426
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:39 pm 
 

Just finished blasting through Blood Meridian for the fourth time. A novel that never ceases to fascinate me. I get so much more out of it with each reading. Still the most horrifying book I've ever read and it's safe at this point to call it my favourite American novel of all time.

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Earthcubed
The Great Fearmonger

Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 3:44 am
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Location: eccaira nare epë Anar
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:04 pm 
 

I haven't gotten around to reading that yet because apparently book stores have a strong hallucinogenic effect upon me and cause my mental image of my book pile to shrink to the point I feel I must needs have more books. AHHHHHH, so many books.
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failsafeman
Digital Dictator

Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 8:45 am
Posts: 11773
Location: In the Arena
PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:50 pm 
 

The only downside to Blood Meridian is that it makes every other Cormac McCarthy novel feel like a failed attempt at writing Blood Meridian.
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darkeningday
xXdArKenIngDayXx

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 1:20 pm
Posts: 4373
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 2:47 am 
 

Blood Meridian is great but I wouldn't put it anywhere close to the best from Nabokov or Philip Roth.
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Razakel
Nekroprince

Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:36 pm
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Location: Canada
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 3:33 am 
 

failsafeman wrote:
The only downside to Blood Meridian is that it makes every other Cormac McCarthy novel feel like a failed attempt at writing Blood Meridian.


I don't think anyone disputes that it's his masterpiece. No shame in not being able to reach its height again, he has plenty of other great books.

darkeningday wrote:
Blood Meridian is great but I wouldn't put it anywhere close to the best from Nabokov or Philip Roth.


I need to read more from each author. Only Nabakov I've read is Lolita which is amazing, and only Roth I've read is The Human Stain which was good but didn't blow my mind. Obviously it comes down to taste - I don't think any of those three authors have very much in common with each other. I guess calling Bloom Meridian my favourite American novel seems a bit provocative, but after four readings I'm more impressed by it than ever.

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Gastjale
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2011 8:31 am
Posts: 110
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 4:49 am 
 

Razakel wrote:
Bloom Meridian


A Joycean slip?

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andersbang
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 9:28 am
Posts: 996
Location: Denmark
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 7:21 am 
 

Blood Meridian is amazing, easily my favorite book, and easily better than anything Roth has ever done, in my opinion. I haven't read Nabokov, so can't comment on him. I actually just started Blood Meridian again yesterday, it's been some time since I read it last, but this will probably be my 8th or 9th time I guess.

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Razakel
Nekroprince

Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:36 pm
Posts: 5426
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 6:29 pm 
 

Gastjale wrote:
Razakel wrote:
Bloom Meridian


A Joycean slip?


:lol: Let's go with that. Bloom Meridian, or A Portrait of the Kid as a Young Scalphunter

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iamntbatman
Chaos Breed

Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 5:55 am
Posts: 11157
Location: Tyrn Gorthad
PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:35 am 
 

Razakel wrote:
Bloom Meridian, or A Portrait of the Kid as a Young Scalphunter


:lol: :lol: :lol:

My friend let me borrow his 1st Edition AD&D Fiend Folio, so that's been my literature for a bit. Dunno what I'll read next...
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Nahsil
Clerical Sturmgeschütz

Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:06 pm
Posts: 4412
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:07 am 
 

I just started China Mieville's The Scar and I'm pretty impressed so far, he's got a nice command of language and is building good atmosphere. I always figured I'd like him (literary scifi from a Marxist, sign me up), just needed to get around to it.
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andersbang
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 9:28 am
Posts: 996
Location: Denmark
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:35 am 
 

Nice, The Scar is probably the best of his Bas-Lag novels, though my favorite is the first, Perdido Street Station, mainly because there is even more world building and crazy details than in The Scar and Iron Council which are a bit shorter and more contained stories (not to say Perdido Street Station is perfect). If you still like it when you're done, I can only recommend the other two books from that universe.

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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:58 pm
Posts: 25698
Location: Where the dead rule the night
PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:33 pm 
 

Just finished Acceptance, the third book in the Southern Reach/Annihilation trilogy. This is basically unfilmable so I hope they don't try to make a movie out of it. I liked the human resonance. Great stories of mortality and connection and Vandermeer writes about emotions in a fluid way that doesn't spoonfeed you, making it a rich storytelling experience, realistic because the way we experience things in real life is equally complicated, vague and multifaceted. It was surreal and dreamlike and what I imagine an acid trip is probably like, and it's less about plot than about broader, vaguer feelings of despair. Powerful shit.
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iamntbatman
Chaos Breed

Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 5:55 am
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Location: Tyrn Gorthad
PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:49 pm 
 

You've seen the Annihilation movie, right? I really liked that, and the description you just gave sounded real cool...so would you generally recommend these books to someone who dug the movie?
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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:58 pm
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Location: Where the dead rule the night
PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:51 pm 
 

Yeah, I liked the movie quite a lot, but honestly the books take it so much further and are totally different. The things that happen in the movie have all been changed, though they share the same basic premise of an expedition going into this alien world. I recommend the books if you like the movie, since the books are basically an expanded, much richer version.

I guess some people didn't like the second or third books but I dug them a lot. Second one was a slow-burn psychological thing that worked in its subtleties... the third was the opposite, totally insane and over the top and it might have been the best one in some ways for me, with rich, deep character development. Though the first one is still such a concentrated, precise thing, and truly horrific at times.
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Earthcubed
The Great Fearmonger

Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 3:44 am
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:14 pm 
 

I would recommend the first book to someone who liked the movie, and vice versa. As Empy said the setting, themes, and concept are basically the same, and the characters from the movie are sort of remixes of the book characters. The themes are sort of remixed as well...the mimicry/DNA scrambling theme from the book ends up playing out differently in the movie, and it's also more central to the film than the book, but it's still recognizable. Some of the weirdest/creepiest things from the book didn't make it into the movie, but likewise the film had its own WTFery not present in the book. The endings for each are completely different.

I preferred the movie overall, but if you liked one you should enjoy the other. I've already made my feelings on the second two books known...in summary I don't think they are bad, they're just not necessary to enjoying the first.
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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:58 pm
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Location: Where the dead rule the night
PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:22 pm 
 

I thought both the second two books were full of absolutely breathtaking moments and some that were also completely horrific. I couldn't turn away. The third one ended slightly weaker than I'd have liked, got almost too weird, but it wasn't bad.

The movie was fantastic as a visual adventure and I got totally sucked into that too. Definitely not saying it's lost anything from a quality standpoint. Just totally different from the book. It was going for other things - I don't think Garland wants to build a universe with this the way Vandermeer did with the books.
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iamntbatman
Chaos Breed

Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 5:55 am
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:29 pm 
 

Alright, I'll probably check them out soon. After reading that D&D Fiend Folio I read a Magic: The Gathering coffee table art book that my friend recommended to me, which was nice to look at but not really fulfilling as an actual thing to read. Next up I'm going to start Le Guin's The Dispossessed as I've had that burning a hole in my shelf as it were, then I'll probably start the Vandermeer books after that if I can find them.
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TheConqueror1
With a 120kbps bitrate!

Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2007 9:05 am
Posts: 654
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:08 am 
 

Currently reading Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov and it's and excellent novel so far.
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iamntbatman
Chaos Breed

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:58 am 
 

Finished The Dispossessed. Man, Le Guin is a really great writer. I love how rich the settings and characters were despite a pretty sparse economy of writing and without a lot of the bells and whistles you might expect to find in a science fiction novel. Though, I hesitate to really even call it a sci-fi novel - it's really a sort of political discourse in the trappings of a science fiction setting. I ultimately do wish more actually happened in it, but it was a good read start to finish and I started to get really pulled in about halfway through. I'm definitely keen to get into more books in the Hainish Cycle (and other books by Le Guin).
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Earthcubed
The Great Fearmonger

Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 3:44 am
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:05 pm 
 

Yeah, that one's very damn good (even for an archist like me). I think I prefer Left Hand of Darkness slightly. Only other book of hers I own is The Word for World is Forest, which looks like a slim read, so I might take it up between door-stoppers; looking forward to it in any case.

I have several door stoppers "on the shelf," though my current abode contains no proper shelf. Dhalgren, Tales of the Dying Earth, Moby Dick, and The Pillars of the Earth are among the few of the bible-length fictions I have, along with too many damn nonfiction books to catalogue here (and on too many subjects as well, for that matter). As I've mentioned, I also have Blood Meridian, which is on the shorter end, but I know by reputation it's a devastating read and I'm of the mind to read more of McCarthy's oeuvre before reading McCarthy's magnum opus. I like both of the two novels of his I've read so far; I think I will read at least one if not two more before settling in for BM.

Currently I'm reading The Russia Hand by Strobe Talbott, who served in a few different positions during the Clinton administration and whose principal charge was Russia policy (and who has since gone on to head the Brookings Institution). It's a memoir, so you can never retain complete faith in its accuracy; it's (so far--I'm about halfway through it) a borderline hagiography of Clinton himself, another mark against its accuracy; and Talbott's also been quite wrong about Russia a number of times. However, it's a good inside look at the personal diplomacy between Clinton and Yeltsin and between Talbott and his counterparts. Also full of jocular anecdotes about Yeltsin's "undisciplined personal habits" like getting shitfaced and ordering delivery pizza at 3am on a trip to DC. So it's got that going for it.


Edit: magnum opus, not magna mater. I was looking at a Lovecraft collection next to my desk when I wrote this :lol:
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GTog
Metalhead

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:38 am 
 

So I just completed 14, the first (I think) book by Peter Clines. It's a strange thriller/adventure sort of thing, with lots of interesting diverse characters and not at all predictable plot points. I actually really liked it, enough to look into his other two books. Think of David Wong's John Dies at the End series of books. If you read any of those and thought "well I liked the story, but maybe something not quite so goddamned weird next time", then you'll probably like 14.
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Xymosys
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2011 9:19 am
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Location: Croatia
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 1:10 pm 
 

Well, starting with H.D.Thoreau' Walden for the first time...
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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:58 pm
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Location: Where the dead rule the night
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 2:13 pm 
 

Earthcubed wrote:
The Pillars of the Earth


Such a great book. It's long but easy to get into and the characters and story are so well written and epic.
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caspian
Wanderer of the Wastes

Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2004 11:29 pm
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 9:14 pm 
 

failsafeman wrote:
The only downside to Blood Meridian is that it makes every other Cormac McCarthy novel feel like a failed attempt at writing Blood Meridian.

Haven't got around to reading this yet, I probably should

but
cormac mccarthy's writing style
really gets on my nerves
after a little while

I would even say he's a little overrated.

Anyway, recently went on a Kierkegaard marathon. Works of Love is still a powerful and brilliantly argued book, although it's definitely one of his books that is most christian-centric, ie I'm not sure you'd get much out of it if you weren't christian. I also tried The Sickness Unto Death again; I didn't really understand it the first time I read it and I didn't really get that much out of it this time either. Oh well!

I did have a laugh about it all near the end, tried reading it, gave up, and then my eye caught Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit which I bought a year or two ago. Bit of a chuckle; there's no way I'm even attempting that book. Must've had my head even further up my ass than usual when I bought that thing.
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iamntbatman
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:49 pm 
 

I haven't read it in a long time, but I remember McCarthy's writing style being like that and somewhat annoying to me in The Road, but it was way less choppy in Blood Meridian. Never bothered me at all there.
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Earthcubed
The Great Fearmonger

Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 3:44 am
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:33 am 
 

I don't know what you two are going on about. Granted, I've only read two of McCarthy's books but the thing that most stood out to me about his prose (other than never using quotation marks, ever) was its superfluidity, not its staccato. His aversion to commas seems nearly as total as his aversion to quotes, so his sentences tend to lack any implied pauses. They run, even when they're short.
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andersbang
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 9:28 am
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Location: Denmark
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:54 am 
 

I don't get it either, that's basically the opposite of how he writes.

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Razakel
Nekroprince

Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:36 pm
Posts: 5426
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:28 am 
 

caspian wrote:
cormac mccarthy's writing style
really gets on my nerves
after a little while

I would even say he's a little overrated.


I remember reading your praise for The Road, what have you read other than that one? I think anyone should read Blood Meridian before deciding that McCarthy's overrated, it's definitely his best.

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