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read any good books lately...

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dr wu23 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dr wu23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 05 2015 at 16:25
Originally posted by TheProgtologist TheProgtologist wrote:

A new Simon R. Green series....awesome


Damn..I still haven't finished all the Drood and Nightside books and he's starting another series....I'm getting ready to read the latest Drood book...as soon as I finish what I'm reading now.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dr wu23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 05 2015 at 16:26
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Toaster Mantis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 09 2015 at 05:56
Finished reading Ann Radcliffe's A Sicilian Romance yesterday. It was hell overdue at the library because I've been moving the last couple weeks and didn't get to finish it until afterwards unlike planned, but it was quite entertaining: Once you get used to the purple prose and constant philosophical/religious stream-of-consciousness meditation it's quite the page-turner, and I find it remarkable that many of the same storytelling techniques and plot structures invented by late-18th/early-19th century gothic novels can be recognized in modern crime/horror pulp fiction.

It was a somewhat strange experience from a book that's an Oxford World's Classic, though, finding out that kind of literature was apparently considered "high culture" back then but somewhere around the Industrial Revolution got re-assigned to the status of lowbrow kitsch fit mostly for the trashy pulp magazines according to the "true art is realistic" mentality arising at the same time. I'd also say that Radcliffe's writing is way above the level of most so categorized today, other than the fact that I don't think the "show don't tell" principle had been invented back in her day.

Next up, I'll probably finish that anthology of crime/horror short stories compiled by Alfred Hitchcock.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Atavachron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 21 2015 at 18:12
finally getting into some of the Star Wars extended universe stuff, though the word is that everything written up to now will no longer be considered Star Wars "Canon", but rather just "Myths".   One of the things I imagine Lucas regrets about selling all the rights to Disney.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Atavachron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 28 2015 at 20:34

^ Just finished, pretty good.  Now on to -


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"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."   -- John F. Kennedy
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Toaster Mantis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 31 2015 at 05:45

I've finally found a copy of this in a Danish library after searching for years, only ever heard of Cornell Woolrich because the 1980s industrial music project NON apparently take much of their lyrical inspiration from his books. So far it has a very original narrative structure for a 1940s crime novel, the plot follows both a female serial killer and the police officer on her trail but is not really told from their perspectives rather those of the various people they interact with along the way.

I can see how that would turn off some readers, but I find it an interesting way of approaching the genre.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Atavachron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 04 2015 at 22:08

Star Wars: Death Star





"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."   -- John F. Kennedy
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Toaster Mantis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 05 2015 at 05:55
Out of curiosity: Do people here occasionally make New Year's Resolutions to expand their literary horizons and have at least half their reading material this year come from outside their comfort zone? I always do that, this year I'm trying to read more literature written by women for instance. Last year I read more stuff written before WW1 because I'm very 20th century-centric in my reading habits... and the year before that half the literature I read was by authors of different national origin than usual.

I think next year my resolution will be to read an equal amount of authors from every continent, since I've noticed I haven't read any fiction by African or Oceanian* authors and very little from Middle Eastern authors.

One of my Facebook friends, however, remarked that it's very unusual that I have this systematic order for what I want to read even if not formalized that much, and I feel like I am getting bored on a basic existential level if I'm not in the active process of expanding my frame of reference. I kind of approach music and film in the same way, if not that orderly about those because they're more collaborative artforms where pinpointing cultural origin is less clearcut.

*Australia, New Zealand, Pacific islands etc.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote progaardvark Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 05 2015 at 06:56
I haven't read a baseball biography in quite a few years and have always been interested in the early history of the game. I just started reading Fifity-nine in '84: Old Hoss Radbourn, Barehanded Baseball, and the Greatest Season a Pitcher Ever Had. So far it's been a rather enjoyable read. Although I'm not from, nor have ever been to Providence, Rhode Island, those interested in the late 19th century history of this city might also enjoy this.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Toaster Mantis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 11 2015 at 14:25
What are people here's opinions on Ursula Le Guin? I got an omnibus edition of her Earthsea Trilogy as a gift from my mother a couple years ago, as she's a major fan of Le Guin, but before I decide to dive in I think I want to absorb her writing in smaller doses first. As a result, I've borrowed an anthology of her short stories (The Compass Rose) from a public library first.

Which of Le Guin's "one-shots" (i e. the ones that are self-contained complete narratives) would you recommend I start with? It looks like The Dispossessed and The Left Hand of Darkness are her most acclaimed works. I've also heard that she's a major source of inspiration for Hayao Miyazaki, whose work I quite enjoy.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vompatti Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 11 2015 at 16:20
Halfway through Nachtstücke by E. T. A. Hoffmann, pretty good so far.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Pessimist Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 23 2015 at 11:22

Reading this at the moment. Not very well written at all (full of tautology and weird, overly frilly descriptions). He uses the word clench on every other page. But it's a really interesting story and the characterisation is good.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Toaster Mantis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 27 2015 at 12:35
This is what I've been reading:


Not a novel, but a non-fiction book exploring the folkloric roots of cryptozoology as well as what natural phenomena lie behind the "cryptids". Sensationalistic cover art aside, it's rather sober and written with an obvious skeptical agenda... but quite informative. For instance, it shows that many cryptids start out as legendary beasts that are clearly supernatural in nature before being in recent times shoehorned into a pseudo-scientific worldview and re-interpreted as flesh-and-blood animals.


Like I mentioned earlier, I got an omnibus edition of The Earthsea Trilogy from my mom a couple years ago as a Christmas gift but I want to test the waters first by reading a compilation of Le Guin's short stories. I like that they are written in a rather folkloric style reminiscent of collected folk tales from Eastern Europe I've read, right down to the narratives working more on "dream logic". This sensibility strikes out the most in the stories that are closer to the science-fiction end of the genre spectrum than to the fantastic.


I'm rather fascinated by the cultural distinctions between "high" and "low" artforms, in particular the mechanisms behind how the hierarchy shifts over time. Surprising how many pulp genres had their roots in more highbrow literary phenomena. For example, here it turns out the spy thriller novel as we know it today was the invention of none other than Joseph Conrad, who firmly grounded it in modernist existential anxieties about man's place in a constantly changing political landscape. I like the attention to detail in the description of not just the sociological and political conditions in Edwardian London, but also the internal psychological lives of the involved personalities which makes it so interesting. 100 years later the far left in Britain still attracts as many rather eccentric people as in Conrad's lifetime, see also the many cans of alphabet soup battling Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s and everyone who's ever been a member of Crass.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Atavachron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 27 2015 at 14:05
Originally posted by Toaster Mantis Toaster Mantis wrote:





Looks very cool, I'll have to pick up a copy


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."   -- John F. Kennedy
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