Author Topic: Book Thread Continued

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Dincrest

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1905 on: August 02, 2017, 06:27:01 PM »
As you learn more about his relationship with his family later on, that actually makes some sense.

You know, though I find some of Boromir's character traits off-putting, I kinda do feel bad for the guy now. 
Spoiler: show


Boromir has been fighting the good fight for Gondor and its people against the armies of darkness, and there is this ultimate power ring that could turn the losing tide.  Then he's told that some pip-squeak halfling is to go to Mt. Doom to melt it.  He clearly thinks it's folly that such a magnificent resource will be going to waste, especially since he has a noble purpose (not heeding the old adage of "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely").  He also has to defer leadership to "king" Aragorn, who he probably felt abandoned Gondor to go do fuck-all out in the woods while he was left holding the bag.  I do think his plan to gank the ring from Frodo and bring it back to Gondor was premeditated from the start, but the power of the ring stoked his hubris and forced him to play his hand too soon. 


And poor Frodo is realizing the gravity of this quest thanks to his meeting with Lady Galadriel. 
Spoiler: show
She basically presented him with a "heads I win, tails you lose"
 scenario.  If Frodo fails his quest, she and the elves of Lothlorien will be conquered.  However, if Frodo succeeds in his quest, then the elves lose their magic.
  And through it all is Sam, who
Spoiler: show
despite wanting to run back home to The Shire after seeing the vision in Galadriel's mirror, composes himself and decides that he wants to take "the long way home with Mr. Frodo" or not go back at all.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 07:28:25 PM by Dincrest »
"There are no happy endings, because nothing ends."
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Rucks

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1906 on: August 07, 2017, 12:18:04 PM »
Just finished Ghostopolis.  It was ok, but that's not really why I mentioned it here.

I lead a graphic novel book club and when I suggested this book by Douglas TenNapel (an artist I've always admired) I got a lot of grief from my group because he's a religious conservative and part time contributor to Breitbart. 

On a personal level I find that sort of association to be concerning, but on a professional level (I get paid for this after all) it really irritated me that the group had absolutely devoured titles like FunHome by Alison Bechdel (a gay rights activist) and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (an Iranian attempting to humanize Western perception of the Muslim experience) with clear political agendas, yet refused to give a book with no political agenda what-so-ever a fair shake simply because they didn't care for the author's personal views. 

The whole ordeal just reeks of hypocrisy. It's not like it was Frank Miller's Holy Terror (probably the most Islamaphobic comic book ever conceived). It's about a kid being chased by ghosts.

I guess what really honks me off is that the library is supposed to be a repository for all material of all viewpoints, so once you start curating what you can and can't read in a group that's supposedly open to everyone (based on individual political views) you risk veering off into dangerous territory.

Censorship has no place in a public book club.  Thank Zeus we meet at a bar so there's beer.

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Jimmy

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1907 on: August 09, 2017, 03:14:15 PM »
This book is pulp.  Unashamedly, unreservedly pulp, and I mean that in the best possible way;  this is a fun read.  Fleming's prose is quick and clean, there are no dead spots or breaks in the action, and I finished it almost in a single sitting.  There was one point where, while riding a plane in a storm, Bond contemplated his own mortality, but the moment passed, and the book returned to its regularly scheduled sex and violence.

Pulp is seriously awesome. I've been on a pulp kick myself as they're nice diversions from reading for grad school. I even stumbled on some pulp magazines from the 1940s; an issue of Star Western that I haven't looked at yet, and an issue of Fantastic Adventures that had a hilariously risque cover, for a story that was actually interesting even if the prose was missing some of the fervor you typically expect from pulps. Here it is, and you can actually download a scanned CBR file of the issue (should anyone be interested).

As for my reading, I've really been struggling with Dance with Dragons. Feast for Crows was slow, but Neal was right that there was very important and interesting world-building happening. Not so much thus far in Dance with Dragons. I'm about 420 pages in, but since the semester starts in a little more than a week I'm going to try to binge it.

I had a similar problem with The Gunslinger. It was just moving so slowly, and I was struggling staying interested. My library loan expired, and I haven't requested it again. I may try it again come winter break, but for now it's on the backburner.

Back to talking about pulp, I was browsing books at a thrift store while on vacation in Utah (my wife was getting a manicure, so I had time to kill), and found a cool looking pulp sci-fi novel from the early 1980s called The Water of Thought, by Fred Saberhagen. The cover was just too great to pass up: https://www.instagram.com/p/BWmNhsNFJUAHPw0iF-FP4wf7h87OWAJMYZvHQc0/?taken-by=jimfox14

And it was actually interesting! More a brief space opera than sci-fi, but definitely a fun and interesting read. It even has quite a bit of cool, almost psychedelic artwork.

Dincrest

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1908 on: August 09, 2017, 05:47:56 PM »
Jimmy, the last 1/3 of A Dance With Dragons is excellent.  A lot of that book is chess pieces moving around and some characters being kept in holding patterns, but the latter end of that book is when things intensify.

Generally, I agree with popular opinion that A Storm of Swords is the best book in the series.  Second best is A Game of Thrones, third best is A Clash of Kings, fourth best is A Dance with Dragons, and A Feast for Crows (while quite good) is the worst of the bunch.  Sometimes I think I'm the only one who rather liked Feast.

EDIT: As of yesterday (8/16/2017), I finished reading Fellowship of the Ring (the first 1/3 of the LOTR trilogy.)  Good book, but somewhat exhausting to read.  I may read another book before moving on to The Two Towers.  That book may be Blackmark by Jean Lowe Carlson.  It was a freebie on my Kindle, so hopefully it will be good.  If it entices me to invest in the series, great.  If not, then nothing lost.  I sure as gravity won't turn down a free book in my preferred literary genre. 

Man, my backlog of books is getting up there.  I still have the remaining books in L. Frank Baum's Oz collection to read (I've only read the first one, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz), I want to restart Ashok Banker's Ramayana...

EDIT 2: As of today (8/21/2017), I decided to just continue the Lord of the Rings trilogy with The Two Towers.  I thought I could intersperse Blackmark in there, but I want to keep going with Frodo, Aragorn, and company. 
« Last Edit: August 21, 2017, 07:31:28 PM by Dincrest »
"There are no happy endings, because nothing ends."
     -Schmendrick (The Last Unicorn)

Der Jermeister

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1909 on: August 24, 2017, 10:19:17 PM »
A few days ago I finished rereading the Redwall and Dune books. I like how most of the former books pretty much stand alone, but most of them feature essentially the same plots. I enjoyed the Dune books as well, but they go a bit overboard with cloning late in the series chronology.

Started Discworld and will parallel-read the Barsoom books.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2017, 10:22:00 PM by Der Jermeister »

Jimmy

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1910 on: September 03, 2017, 04:58:07 AM »
It may have taken months to get through it, but I finally finished Dance with Dragons. It was pretty boring overall. Kind of like Crossroads of Twilight in The Wheel of Time series, not much happened until near the end of the book, and only one of those few morsels of actual good reading was a significant plot development. I can understand this one may be setup for Winds of Winter, which the preview in the back of my copy made it sound incredibly more appealing than the fifth volume. But it has been six years and there's no sign of Winds of Winter. I know Martin has been busy with the show, that he's a meticulous writer, and that he promises he's working on it, but I have to wonder how serious he is about finishing the books. He's already made so much money he probably doesn't have any real incentive to finish.

To say it more succinctly, I'll believe it when I see it.

EDIT: Oh, and I much preferred Feast for Crows than Dance with Dragons. Actual world-building happened that was quite interesting. Dance with Dragons was mostly characters worried about losing their tenuous power, and other disempowered characters complaining about their state of affairs. I can only think of one instance of actual world-building in Dance with Dragons.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2017, 05:01:39 AM by Jimmy »

Jimmy

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1911 on: September 14, 2017, 06:48:31 PM »
I think I forgot to mention it here, but I read a pulp mystery novel (they're nice to help me relax and enjoy reading during the semester) called The Gutter and the Grave by Ed McBain. It was really enjoyable with super fun prose, a good mystery, and an interesting main character. It was also nice to be back on the streets of New York in the book. My only complaint is that it was obvious who the killer was after the second murder, but otherwise it was really fun.

Sticking with the pulp mystery, next I'll be reading A Walk Among the Tombstones by Lawrence Block. It's pretty long for a pulp, so it will probably take me a while to get through it since my recreational reading time is usually only half an hour before I go to sleep.

Dincrest

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1912 on: September 22, 2017, 07:36:32 AM »
Lately, I've been pretty unmotivated to read even though Lord of the Rings is really good.  I'm about 2 chapters into The Two Towers. 

However, I did recently read Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets, which was the goofy palate cleanser book my addled brain truly needed.  I was bulk-buying at a price club last weekend and some kids and parents from a local soccer team were seeking donations.  Since I like soccer and community initiatives I donated a few bucks.  As thanks for my donation, I was offered a free book from their table.  As I scanned the table I saw Captain Underpants and exclaimed, "I'm going with Captain Underpants."  This got universal smiles and even cheers all around from the kids and the parents, which definitely amused me. 

It was definitely a fun book... but my favorite is still Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants.  Under the Professor Poopypants regime, my name would be Zippy Gigglechunks.  (So far I've read Poopypants, Talking Toilets, and Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman.) Tra La Laaa!

https://i.imgur.com/UX39AAE.jpg
« Last Edit: September 22, 2017, 07:55:56 PM by Dincrest »
"There are no happy endings, because nothing ends."
     -Schmendrick (The Last Unicorn)

Artimicia

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1913 on: September 23, 2017, 11:11:43 AM »
I'm re-reading Harry Potter I guess. It's still like my favorite book series I guess somehow.

Honestly the thing the movies never got was JK Rowling's humor, a lot of the phrases and such were clearly intended to be taken cheekily but the movies are dour a lot of the time.

I think Radcliffe got some of it though at times.
"I don't live by labels, I can be anything I want, I'd rather die a pauper than live on as someone else's fantasy!" - My best attempt at quoting the protagonist of Vandal Hearts 2.

ironmage

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1914 on: September 24, 2017, 11:37:27 PM »
Frank Herbert - The Dosadi Experiment:  I wasn't paying enough attention when I picked this up, and it turns out to have been the sequel to a book I hadn't read.  Notwithstanding that, reading this wasn't really worth my time.

The major interesting ideas here are rehashed from Dune.  Dosadi is an extremely inhospitable planet, and after a number of generations, the colonists placed there have developed extraordinary survival talents (also see: Arrakis, Salusa Secundus), and, for some reason, an almost preternatural ability to read other people's mental state (also see: Bene Gesserit).  One of the alien races involved had a legal system that seemed quite interesting, but unfortunately Herbert didn't expound upon it adequately.  I normally enjoy figuring things out with incomplete information, but here I was left with more questions than answers.

It might be easy to attribute my confusion to having not read the first book (Whipping Star), but Dosadi didn't seem very well constructed to begin with.  Although the middle of the book held my interest, by the end, the roles and motivations of the main characters were unclear, and the whole thing seemed rather muddled.

I think I need to be more careful about checking reviews for anything Herbert wrote in the second half of his career.  (Dune is one of my favorite books, but the last two or three books in the Dune series were pretty bad.)

Der Jermeister

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1915 on: October 11, 2017, 07:29:15 PM »
I read a guide to reading better by Debbie Drum entitled Read Better Faster, which basically consists of text-to-speech accompaniment when reading e-books, which I'll definitely give a whirl.

Arvis

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1916 on: October 12, 2017, 04:49:49 PM »
Finally done with my last round of Star Trek TNG novels and started Jane Austen's Emma.  Right away I am enjoying luxuriating in Austen's mastery of the English language.  Sometimes "economy of words" is overrated if it means missing out on all the hilarious nuance of the 18th century English upper class.
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Der Jermeister

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1917 on: October 16, 2017, 04:37:06 PM »
I read The Light Fantastic, the first Discworld sequel, using Debbie Drum's reading system, and though it slowed my typical reading speed, I was able to write a four-paragraph review alongside the notes I took, so it probably worked.