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CoconutBackwards
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2016 2:02 pm
Posts: 556
Location: Walled Lake, MI
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:22 pm 
 

wraithlike wrote:
So there's been a lot of talk about Cormac McCarthy here, to much praise from some and disappointment from others. I haven't read Blood Meridian, nor The Road.
But I read Child of God and I have to say I was really impressed. It is a truly amazing sketch of depravity, and depicts all that it does in a markedly distinct fashion. I can't comment on his other works but I have to say there is clearly genius in this man's work.

Anyone on the fence or not convinced about Cormac McCarthy, try Child of God. It's a short read but there's a lot packed in this tiny novel.


I'm almost done with Blood Meridian and while there are aspects of it I did enjoy I did not love this book like the rest of the board did. There have been multiple parts of this book that I've had to trudge through without really understanding what Cormac is trying to say/convey.
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Thiestru
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Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2008 9:18 am
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:27 pm 
 

@InnesI: All right, fair enough. I did say that he didn't make sense to me, and I never told anyone they shouldn't read him. Maybe my opinion would change if I gave him another chance, but, frankly, I'm simply not interested in doing so. There's plenty of other stuff to occupy my reading time. But since you've mentioned the Quran, I will say that that's another work I gave a brief look at, simply because I wanted to get to the source of Islam rather than what people say about it (good or bad). You'll notice I said brief look and not careful perusal; for this reason alone I prefer to refrain from stating any opinion on the subject one way or another, since I don't feel qualified to do so. So on that note, I'll return to the topic of Nietzsche one last time with a concession: whether I understood what I read of him or not, I'm sure I didn't read enough of him to have a strong, informed opinion on him. (Yeah, I know I'm waffling - I reserve the right to do so! :p) But I'll reiterate that I'm simply not interested enough to delve deeper.
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RakdosWarlord
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Jun 10, 2017 4:26 am
Posts: 133
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 5:08 am 
 

I'm currently on a reading challenge. I'm 8 for 10 so far. Got about 200 pages to go on The Count of Monte Christo. It's a good book but its confusing. I'll probably re-read it after the challenge is over to get the most out of it. I'm enjoying it but the names of the characters kinda trip me up and I forget who's who.

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BeholdtheNicktopus
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2008 6:26 pm
Posts: 445
Location: Chicago
PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 9:40 pm 
 

I'm going to do a read-through of Diogenes Laertius' book "Lives of the Eminent Philosophers" this December break. I got the new translation, replete with beautiful and cool images throughout. I'm a big proponent of how one lives being an important part of a discipline like philosophy, the acid test if you will. I can't wait to hear about what crazy hijinks those old Greeks got into.

In other news, my very slow reading of Edgar Allen Poe's complete fiction is still happening, although it is slower than even I could have ever thought. His writing is also, thankfully, better than I expected beforehand! Some real classics in there, even if "The Murders at the Rue Morgue" is a bit goofy. My personal favorite so far is "Mesmeric Revelation", love that stuff.

Otherwise, I've just been reading Aristotle. I did Physics a while back, just recently went through Metaphysics. Up next is De Anima. Gotta hit the big ones. Still not done with all of Plato, but I'll pick up the last few I haven't gotten to next semester (Laches, Lysis, Charmides, a few others). And I need to reread Timaeus and probably Republic, since it's been quite a while.

It'd be great if this thread got some more action! What have folks been reading? I've unfortunately never read The Count of Monte Christo, but have heard only great things about it.
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Thiestru
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 2:34 pm 
 

I'm currently reading Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc by Mark Twain and absolutely loving it. Strangely, this is the first thing by Twain I've ever read. I might have to give his other stuff a shot. Anyway, I never knew much at all about Joan of Arc, and now I'm convinced she was a total badass. A real tragedy her country thanked her by murdering her.
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Earthcubed
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 3:13 pm 
 

Two recent quick fiction reads for me since I finished Dying Earth:

Ursula K. Le Guin, The Word for World is Forest. My third and shortest Le Guin book, I would place it below Left Hand but above Dispossessed. It's much more simplistic than those two (it's essentially Colonialism is Bad: The Novel) but I really enjoyed the setting, and despite its brevity Le Guin manages to convey the different societies and individual personalities quite well. I found myself wishing it hadn't ended so soon...I wanted to spend more time in the forests with Selver.

Jeffrey Lewis (aka "The Arms Control Wonk"), The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States. A longtime nuclear policy expert authors an intensely realistic scenario for a nuclear war with Pyongyang, set in 2020. The premise is that he is authoring a report for a congressional commission after the war, similar to the 9/11 report. It's a quick read and I highly recommend it. Some of the seemingly unbelievable things in the book have already happened, and he provides end notes.
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Jonpo
Hypercolombowler

Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2007 10:05 am
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:09 am 
 

I borrowed my SO's copy of Gone Girl while we were doing laundry last night and I am hoooooked. Was up until about 3am with it, so I'm feeling like a zombie at work today. Even still, I just want to go home and rip through more of it. I've been way obsessed with "true crime" stories lately so the timing is perfect. Really tense undertones and a great style of writing.
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MARSDUDE
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Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2005 8:17 pm
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Location: Canada
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:51 pm 
 

Jonpo wrote:
I borrowed my SO's copy of Gone Girl while we were doing laundry last night and I am hoooooked. Was up until about 3am with it, so I'm feeling like a zombie at work today. Even still, I just want to go home and rip through more of it. I've been way obsessed with "true crime" stories lately so the timing is perfect. Really tense undertones and a great style of writing.


Definitely check out Gillian Flynn's two previous books. They're both well-paced, killer reads in a similar vein, with some nice twists.

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Jonpo
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:50 pm 
 

Will do! I burned through Gone Girl. Absolutely not the ending I ever expected.
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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:58 pm
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:55 pm 
 

Jonpo wrote:
Will do! I burned through Gone Girl. Absolutely not the ending I ever expected.


I can't wait to read that again, was thinking of it recently.

I'm reading Ursula LeGuin's Left Hand of Darkness right now. Not my usual cup of tea but I do love a good old sci fi, and this is scratching some sort of itch. Very imaginative. I find the writing to be evocative and interesting. I'm not sure where it's going so that's fun.
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Earthcubed
The Great Fearmonger

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:01 pm 
 

All I'll say is it's going to interesting places. Really a quite wonderful novel.
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iamntbatman wrote:
On Friday I passed an important milestone in my teaching career: a student shat himself

FloristOfVampyrism wrote:
That wasn't meant as a k.o. though, he specifically targeted an area of the cerebellum which, if ruptured, renders you a Jehovah's witness indefinitely

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Zelkiiro
Pounding the world with a fish of steel

Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:30 pm
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Location: Pennsylvania
PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 1:30 am 
 

Empyreal wrote:
I'm reading Ursula LeGuin's Left Hand of Darkness right now. Not my usual cup of tea but I do love a good old sci fi, and this is scratching some sort of itch. Very imaginative. I find the writing to be evocative and interesting. I'm not sure where it's going so that's fun.

If you're in the mood for more LeGuin and haven't read it yet, check out The Lathe of Heaven. It's about a guy who sees a psychologist because he believes his dreams are reshaping reality and the novel focuses on the results of their sessions--really cool and imaginative.
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darkeningday
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Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 1:20 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 3:46 am 
 

Lathe of Heaven has a great TV adaptation as well.
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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:58 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 9:54 am 
 

Zelkiiro wrote:
Empyreal wrote:
I'm reading Ursula LeGuin's Left Hand of Darkness right now. Not my usual cup of tea but I do love a good old sci fi, and this is scratching some sort of itch. Very imaginative. I find the writing to be evocative and interesting. I'm not sure where it's going so that's fun.

If you're in the mood for more LeGuin and haven't read it yet, check out The Lathe of Heaven. It's about a guy who sees a psychologist because he believes his dreams are reshaping reality and the novel focuses on the results of their sessions--really cool and imaginative.


This does sound good - and actually more in my lane in a way. I'll keep it in mind.
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Oblarg
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 11:39 am 
 

I recently read The Name of the Rose, and was blown away by it and it is now possibly my favorite novel.

I'm currently about 200 pages into Foucault's Pendulum, and it's a tougher read but I'm still enjoying it greatly. Lots of setup, though, I'm hoping the plot itself picks up soon.
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Razakel
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Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:36 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 4:45 pm 
 

I actually just read The Lathe of Heaven a couple months back. It's pretty great but I think I liked Left Hand of Darkness a bit more. Lathe has such a brilliant set up and I was utterly gripped for the first third of it, but then as it went on it started to lose me a bit. I still really liked it overall, I guess I just wanted it to stay a little more grounded. It reminded me a lot of Philip K. Dick, which isn't a bad thing of course, but it seemed like Le Guin was really trying out writing a PKD book. Still no reason not to read it though, it's a good time and it's less than 200 pages.

I recently read the best novel I've read this year. Spider by Patrick McGrath. I'd never heard of the book or the author, but I happened upon it for 99 cents in a thrift shop near my house and thought the cover looked bleak and grim and the blurb on the back compared it to Poe and Beckett, so I thought what the hell. Oh my god, this is one of the best gothic novels I've ever come across. Narratively it's nothing groundbreaking; pretty much a standard descent into madness told from a first-person perspective, but the way it unfolds is simply brilliant. Before I'd even finished it I ordered a few more of his books and have now read three others (Asylum, Blood and Water, and Ghost Town) but none quite reached the same height as Spider. Apparently there's a David Cronenberg adaptation but I haven't watched it yet.

Now I'm reading Lanark by Alasdair Gray. A big postmodern Scottish novel that came out in the '80s. A friend of mine has always recommended this book to me and finally I'm getting around to it. It admittedly took me about a hundred pages to really get into, but now that I'm 300 pages deep I'm absolutely loving it. Sort of a Portrait of the Artist-esque bildungsroman mixed with some Kafkaesque hellish surrealism. Also just ordered a collection of Gray's short fiction since I never want this book to end.

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BeholdtheNicktopus
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Location: Chicago
PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 7:30 pm 
 

Oblarg wrote:
I recently read The Name of the Rose, and was blown away by it and it is now possibly my favorite novel.

I'm currently about 200 pages into Foucault's Pendulum, and it's a tougher read but I'm still enjoying it greatly. Lots of setup, though, I'm hoping the plot itself picks up soon.


I think I preferred The Name of the Rose but I quite enjoyed both of those. Foucault's Pendulum has the whole occult conspiracy thing going strong, of which I'm a huge fan. It's pretty similar honestly to Robert Anton Wilson's Illuminatus! trilogy in some ways (as a kind of deconstruction of the genre, if that's a right word), though from a very different angle. But a similar message, sort of. I would totally recommend that trilogy to anyone into more interesting occult conspiracy/paranoid acid novels from a not-sure-if-serious kind of perspective.
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Earthcubed
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 10:20 pm 
 

The little I know of Lathe of Heaven sounds sort of like the dreamtime concept from The Word for World is Forest, which I quite liked...guess I'll have to add that one to my list.
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Resident_Hazard
Possessed by Starscream's Ghost

Joined: Thu Oct 07, 2004 2:33 pm
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 2:24 pm 
 

As using the "writers" thread at this point risk necromancy, I will post this here:

I have finished a Christmas novel for non-believers (you know, them baby eating atheists), and it's up and for sale over at Amazon as Print on Demand or Kindle.

An Atheist Christmas Tale is the book. My goal was A Christmas Story or Christmas Vacation with a non-believer spin to it.
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Thiestru
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:02 pm 
 

Any history buffs here? I've been reading a great book called Caesar and Christ by Will Durant; it's a history of Rome from 753 B.C. to 325 A.D., and it's absolutely captivating. I expected dryness, but it's extremely readable, and even humorous at times. It's part of an 11-book series called The Story Civilization, in fact the third installment in the series, of which I haven't read any other books, but now greatly want to. Highly recommended.
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Earthcubed
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2018 2:00 pm 
 

^History guy here but I know very little about the Roman period.
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On Friday I passed an important milestone in my teaching career: a student shat himself

FloristOfVampyrism wrote:
That wasn't meant as a k.o. though, he specifically targeted an area of the cerebellum which, if ruptured, renders you a Jehovah's witness indefinitely

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Nahsil
Clerical Sturmgeschütz

Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:06 pm
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2018 8:13 pm 
 

Finally finished Mieville's The Scar. Very good. Looking forward to more of his stuff, maybe Perdido Street Station next.
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BeholdtheNicktopus
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 1:26 am 
 

I quite enjoyed Perdido Street Station, great world-building but haphazard plot. I guess I ought to read The Scar!
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InnesI
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:10 am 
 

I finished reading Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. A very enjoyable read. It flowed really well and had the ability to draw me into the world of Paris 500 years ago. The gallery of personalities is strong and very dark. Most, if not all, have quite dark and questionable sides. And the whole book is very dark with only a few bright spots which makes for great atmosphere. This is easily one of the best books I've read and one of those classic books where I really understand its legendary status.

A strong recommended!

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Scorntyrant
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 10:12 am 
 

Thiestru wrote:
Any history buffs here?


Massive history nerd here. That transitional period is really interesting. It's been diagnosed in lots of different ways - the current school of thought is that the empire continues in the east in the form of the orthodox byzantine empire as opposed to the "fall of rome" narrative. Even when looking at the west, Gibbon's "blame Christianity" narrative is very outdated by current scholarship. You're much more likely to hear it described as a population collapse preceded by a debasement of the currency and the inability of central government to exert authority over such a large area
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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 10:35 am 
 

Finished Left Hand of Darkness yesterday. It ended up being a quite powerful story about male bonding and breaking down gender roles between all the epic sci-fi world building and gorgeous/terrifying ice imagery. Enjoyed it quite a bit. I'll check out Le Guin's other work sometime.

Now going back to Gone Girl for the first time in about 5 years.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 8:12 pm 
 

Dostoyevsky's Raw Youth is a bit boring. I enjoyed War and Peace much more than the A Raw Youth.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:44 pm 
 

Anyone into R.A. Salvatore? I really love his novels. The Demon Awakens is excellent.

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Oblarg
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:45 am 
 

So, I finished Foucault's Pendulum. The beginning is a real slog, but it definitely picks up near the end, and the ultimate payoff is pretty great.

Unfortunately, I can't really find any decent analysis of it online. Most of the ones I've read make me doubt that their authors actually read the damn book, as they mischaracterize major plot points and cloak Eco's pretty clear, commonsense point in thick obscurantism (and also tend to constantly reference the French philosopher, whom Eco has explicitly stated the book has nothing to do with).
Spoiler: show
In particular, everyone seems to think the protagonists are seduced into believing in their own hoax merely by its growing intellectual appeal, when the real crux of the story is that the habit of ironically "constructing" a conspiratorial alternate history is not a cognitively-neutral action, and eventually inclines them towards conspiratorial thinking themselves. None of them really believe in the Plan until near the very end, when prompted to do so by very specific and immediate traumas - and even then the "belief" is tenuous; what's much clearer is the perverse twisting and decay of the characters' powers of rationality.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:35 pm 
 

Just finished A Raw Youth by Dostoevsky. Started off kind of slow but got progressively better as I read through the novel.

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Thiestru
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:20 pm 
 

I read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens yesterday and really enjoyed it. Pretty much everyone is familiar with the story, whether they've read it or not, but it's worth reading for the writing alone.

As for Salvatore, he's godawful. Definitely one of the worst writers I've ever read, and fantasy is full of bad writers.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:00 pm 
 

Thiestru wrote:
I read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens yesterday and really enjoyed it. Pretty much everyone is familiar with the story, whether they've read it or not, but it's worth reading for the writing alone.

As for Salvatore, he's godawful. Definitely one of the worst writers I've ever read, and fantasy is full of bad writers.


Are you fucking serious, man? I think the concept of his novels is extremely satisfying!

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Thiestru
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:03 pm 
 

I didn't say anything about that, did I? I remarked on his writing, which is terrible. You can be a good storyteller and a bad writer simultaneously. He might have some cool ideas, but the poorness of his ability to express them completely undoes him. Besides, read The Crimson Shadow trilogy; it's shameless plagiarism. Fuck Salvatore.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:13 pm 
 

Well, I just started on a Twilight of the Idols by Nietzsche. Hopefully, I don't struggle too much later on in the book.

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~Guest 118084
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:51 pm 
 

Thiestru wrote:
I didn't say anything about that, did I? I remarked on his writing, which is terrible. You can be a good storyteller and a bad writer simultaneously. He might have some cool ideas, but the poorness of his ability to express them completely undoes him. Besides, read The Crimson Shadow trilogy; it's shameless plagiarism. Fuck Salvatore.


You know I can kind of understand what you're trying to say. His novels kind of seem like a rip-off of Lord of the Rings. But I mean goddamn, I Iove reading his work!

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Razakel
Nekroprince

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Location: Canada
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:33 pm 
 

Recently I blasted through the first book in the Warhammer 40K Horus Heresy series: Horus Rising. Someone gave me this book ages ago and it's sat on my shelf for a while so I guess I finally decided to check it out. I don't play Warhammer, but my brother always has so I feel I've had some kind of peripheral knowledge of its lore forever (plus I'm a Bolt Thrower fan!) Anyway, this book was pretty sweet. Did a good job of plunging you into its deep future sci-fi universe without too much exposition and without being too confusing. You really wouldn't need to know anything about 40K to get a grip on what's going on, which is good; it stands on its own legs. Whether or not I'll continue with the series (it's like 50 fucking books long) I dunno, but when I finished it the same friend who lent it to me gave me the second one, so I guess I'll keep going for the time being.

Also read another George Saunders collection, In Persuasion Nation. I adore Saunders as an endlessly inventive storyteller and as a prose stylist, but this collection didn't leave as much of a mark on me as the other two of his I've read, Pastoralia and Tenth of December, although it's possible I'm just getting a bit too "used" to his stuff so it doesn't come off as original as it initially did. It was still pretty good though, with some truly bizarre tales. Over the holidays I bought his newish novel, Licoln in the Bardo, which has won all kinds of awards, so I'll definitely check that out pretty soon.

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Zelkiiro
Pounding the world with a fish of steel

Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:30 pm
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Location: Pennsylvania
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 6:50 pm 
 

Thiestru wrote:
I read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens yesterday and really enjoyed it. Pretty much everyone is familiar with the story, whether they've read it or not, but it's worth reading for the writing alone.

Shocking, isn't it? When the man isn't being paid by the word and artificially inflating his novels with extraneous fluff, it turns out he's a really good author.
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BeholdtheNicktopus
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2008 6:26 pm
Posts: 445
Location: Chicago
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:43 pm 
 

@Oblarg: Glad you liked Foucault's Pendulum. It's been a while since I read it, otherwise I'd have more to say regarding your brief analysis. I still say if you want the other side of the coin, check out Robert Anton Wilson and Bob Shea's Illuminatus trilogy. But given your comments, you may find them implicit in hooliganism. But hey, that's their jam.

@TheConqueror1: I used to read a lot of that Forgotten Realms stuff. I always liked the Elminster stories by Ed Greenwood best. Might be up your alley.

Currently reading "The Narrative of A. Gordyn Pym", Edgar Allen Poe's lone finished novel. It is pretty exciting so far, and he's doing a good job keeping up the excitement and mystery. Reading through his complete tales has been fun, lots of hit and almost equally as much miss. I'd say the highlights were "Mesmeric Revelation", "The Tell-Tale Heart", "The Masque of the Red Death", and a few other more horror-y and philosophical ones. But I did quite enjoy the highly comedic "Literary Life of Thingum Bob, Esq.". Most of his more humorous writings were a bit too goofy, but that one literally had me laughing out loud in public and making a fool of myself.
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failsafeman
Digital Dictator

Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 8:45 am
Posts: 11844
Location: In the Arena
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:25 am 
 

Oblarg wrote:
So, I finished Foucault's Pendulum. The beginning is a real slog, but it definitely picks up near the end, and the ultimate payoff is pretty great.

Unfortunately, I can't really find any decent analysis of it online. Most of the ones I've read make me doubt that their authors actually read the damn book, as they mischaracterize major plot points and cloak Eco's pretty clear, commonsense point in thick obscurantism (and also tend to constantly reference the French philosopher, whom Eco has explicitly stated the book has nothing to do with).
Spoiler: show
In particular, everyone seems to think the protagonists are seduced into believing in their own hoax merely by its growing intellectual appeal, when the real crux of the story is that the habit of ironically "constructing" a conspiratorial alternate history is not a cognitively-neutral action, and eventually inclines them towards conspiratorial thinking themselves. None of them really believe in the Plan until near the very end, when prompted to do so by very specific and immediate traumas - and even then the "belief" is tenuous; what's much clearer is the perverse twisting and decay of the characters' powers of rationality.

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.

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.
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Dustroy_Troly
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2015 8:29 pm
Posts: 20
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 1:15 am 
 

I'm reading Robert Aickman's Dark Entries. The guy is a master at building up suspense and horror but I'm not so sure about his endings. They're very ambiguous, which I usually do like, but I'm not so sure about these ones. They seem either half-finished or just too ambiguous to really make you feel anything. I'm only three stories in though and eager to read more.

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