OT: Book Discussion

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OT: Book Discussion

Postby Captain LeBubbles » Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:55 pm

I suggested a book discussion thread over here and Figgy seconded the motion, which is good enough for me.

So, read anything interesting lately?
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Re: OT: Book Discussion

Postby LadyObvious23 » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:03 pm

I've read "The Hypnotist" Lars Kepler and his wife. DX And I absolutely adore it.

The mother is awful though. DX She's just a complete monster in the beginning. Horrible to her husband and hardly does anything for her son. (Who has a horrible blood condition which made walking when he was little very hard. Not like she cared. She picked on him for not walking.) Ugh. I get that her husband cheated on her once (But he felt horrible about it and tried everything to fix his marriage. And I mean EVERYTHING.) but somehow I can't bring myself to care less about her. She's so much of a horrible little Daddy's girl that I want to punch her until my hand either broke or her face did.

DX And I'm a bit worked up but she's just so awful.

But she does get better thankfully.

The book itself is very suspenseful and tons of it I've never seen coming at all. Characterization is different from what I'm used to but in a good way. And I adore the lead character for all his strengths as well as his weaknesses. I can really identify with the character. :) It's just very awesome suspenseful and somewhat tearjerkery. XD Well to me at least.
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Re: OT: Book Discussion

Postby sun tzu » Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:45 am

I'm currently reading "Peddling Prosperity" by Paul Krugman. Really helped me understand economics a lot better.
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Re: OT: Book Discussion

Postby Valerie » Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:08 pm

Well, as I've mentioned before elsewhere, I'm reading 50 Shades of Grey. But we've talked that to death by this point, so I'll mention some of my favorite books instead. :P

The Giver is amazing and full of greatness. It's a deconstruction of a utopia, and a fairly brutal one for the intended age group (I first read it at school when I was 11 or 12, which is roughly the age of the main character). There are two other books in the series. The second is called Gathering Blue, and the third is called Messenger. The second and third are much more obviously related than the first, but it's all connected.

The Reapers are the Angels is a book I ran into while I was working at Borders, and I fell in love. It's about a girl trying to survive during a (long-established) zombie apocalypse. She was born ten years after it started.
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Re: OT: Book Discussion

Postby Captain LeBubbles » Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:29 pm

I'm reading a book called "Reggie and Ryssa and the Summer Camp of Faerie" (or something like that) right now, which despite it's stupid title is actually pretty good. It's in the spirit of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson and Artemis Fowl, and really, if you can see the pattern you'll get the point. Probably others, too. I've got a stupid weakness for this type of story.

Anyway! The story itself is moving kind of slowly because every other page it has to stop so characters can exposition at the two clueless leads, but this is actually a good thing (in my opinion, anyway) for a number of reasons. For one, it's way better than throwing the exposition into the narration and bogging that down- it's actually a part of the story, so you don't have to back up several pages to try to remember what they were talking about before the exposition. For another, I really like world-building exposition. I love knowing how a fantasy world works almost more than I like reading about the characters' adventures in it; I myself have a bad habit of getting so bogged down in world-building that I forget to write the story I'm building the world for.

And finally, it's because the two clueless leads can be kind of annoying in more than small doses. They have loads of potential, and maybe if they'd been able to spend the last three hundred pages having adventures instead of being expositioned at I'd have changed my mind by now, so.... hmm... that's an interesting contradiction. We'll see what happens once the exposition is gone and the adventures and character growth starts. Even if they turn out to still be as annoying, I'll probably see about getting my hands on the rest of the series (which the 'book 1' label implies either exists, or will exist) because the world is fun to read about even with a couple of annoying leads.
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Re: OT: Book Discussion

Postby Kamino Neko » Sat Nov 10, 2012 8:51 pm

I'm reading 2 books right now. Storm Front, by Jim Butcher (the first of the Harry Dresden books), thanks to several of my friends (and one, in particular) being big fans, and Faith & Fire by Jim Swallow, a Warhammer 40,000 novel, the first of Swallow's series about the Sisters of Battle.

Funny thing is, I started Faith & Fire first (back in February, when I was in hospital), but put it aside because the first chapter didn't really grab me.

Then my ebook reader fritzed out in the middle of chapter 8 of Storm Front, and I had to have something to read while I got it working again, so I picked up F&F again, and got sucked in, to the point I've tracked down a whole buttload more of WK40k books (mostly to get Swallow's second Sisters of Battle book), and really wanting to play the game...

Not exactly high brow choices, I know, but both very good books.
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Re: OT: Book Discussion

Postby retrophrenologist » Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:19 pm

I just finished Blue At the Mizzen, by Patrick O'Brian. I like to reread the Aubrey-Maturin series (twenty volumes!) every year or so, to keep it fresh in my mind. If I had to be marooned on an island with the works of only one author, O'Brian would definitely be one of my top three choices.
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Re: OT: Book Discussion

Postby Alice Macher » Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:09 am

Yesterday I finished The Wicked Years, a four-part series by Gregory Maguire: Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Son of a Witch, A Lion Among Men and Out of Oz. You may be familiar with Wicked the musical, which is a "lighter and softer" version of the first book.

The series is an alternate, non-canonical take on the Oz novels of L. Frank Baum, using Baum's first two books, with elements of the 1939 MGM movie as a foundation. But Oz, in The Wicked Years, is a much grimmer, more complicated world, rife with systemic racism (against both sapient Animals and certain human peoples), nationalistic conflicts, economic inequity and religious exploitation. The protagonists, who differ somewhat from book to book, must therefore find whatever justice, friendship, love and purpose they can, for themselves and others. Much like in our world.

The good: Maguire's writing is witty, heartfelt and makes you think, avoiding easy definitions of "good" and "evil," as well as neat, Hollywoodish plot resolutions. Also, the series is of special interest to LGBT readers, and not just because Maguire happens to be gay. One of the positive aspects of his Oz is that there's apparently no taboo on same-sex relations, even among the most religiously orthodox, so there are sensitively-depicted same-sex relationships, both actual and implied, throughout. The same sensitivity applies to the treatment, in the final book, of a certain canonical character who's long been a literary hero for the trans community.

The bad: The writer's highly literary style is sometimes hard going, as the prose sometimes breaks into long-winded philosophical musings that tended to take me out of the story. Maguire is fond of incorporating in-jokes referencing the Baum novels, the MGM film, and even, later on, the Wicked musical. Sometimes these work well; other times, they come across to me as gratuitous and cutesy ("He is his--, he is his--, he is history."). Most infamously, in the first novel there's a sex-club scene which, while it ends up being plot-relevant, nonetheless in many readers' opinion is far too long and detailed...and decidedly not arousing, not that it's meant to be.

I'm not going to give volume-by-volume trigger warnings, but be aware that there are scenes involving or implying sexual assault, self-harm and other brutal violence. For that reason, and for reasons of language and thematic complexity, the series is not recommended for children.

All in all, I'd recommend The Wicked Years as a unique, sometimes disturbing, but ultimately compassionate and thought-provoking exploration of a fantasy world both similar and different to our own.
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Re: OT: Book Discussion

Postby Valerie » Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:17 pm

Reading Aesop's fables today. Came across this one:

The Trumpeter Taken Prisoner

A TRUMPETER, bravely leading on the soldiers, was captured by the enemy. He cried out to his captors, "Pray spare me, and do not take my life without cause or without inquiry. I have not slain a single man of your troop. I have no arms, and carry nothing but this one brass trumpet." "That is the very reason for which you should be put to death," they said; "for, while you do not fight yourself, your trumpet stirs all the others to battle."
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Re: OT: Book Discussion

Postby thebitterfig » Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:17 pm

Finally read "The Princess Bride." I've known it existed for years, but was partly "why bother" with the movie being as nearly perfect as it is.*

Anyhow, thinking about it just now, I figured out the most brilliant part of the book. The same was as all the great many pages of rambling about Florinese royal history, or trees, or court protocol are "edited out," it will fall to the next generation to edit out all the satire on the publishing industry and child psychology. It's all great and sharp, and wonderful satire, particularly once the lawyers get involved, but what kid recovering from a cold wants to hear about literary estates and copyright and so forth? Of course, the eventual omission of these sections will need to be explained, leaving another layer of growth for the next gardener to prune.

* <3 Peter Falk. Seriously. Got to be one of the greatest last lines in film.
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