Author Topic: Book Thread Continued

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Der Jermeister

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1920 on: November 28, 2017, 12:09:04 PM »
Right now I'm juggling the Barsoom books and the Sixes Wild series by Tempe O'Kun (furry literature). Since the speech function on my iPad somewhat locked it up I've resorted to minimizing the text size so I can preview the text and take notes before reading each page, and it's still worked more than maxing the font, since that made it easy to get lost in a plot.

Dincrest

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1921 on: December 12, 2017, 07:53:18 PM »
I had some time to read more Lord of the Rings.  I'm in the middle of the chapter "Treebeard" in The Two Towers.  I must say, this and the preceding chapter "The Uruk-Hai" have been two of my favorites because they're Merry and Pippin chapters.  Merry and Pippin actually have personalities, unlike everyone else (particularly the folks in the Fellowship) who are all just boring slabs of exposition.  Like, when Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli talk, I have trouble telling who's who since none of them have distinctive personalities and have all just been interchangeable mouthpieces for exposition.  Aside from Merry and Pippin, only Treebeard has shown a personality.  Tolkien's worldbuilding is incredible, but his characters leave much to be desired. 

One thing is bugging me from the Uruk-Hai chapter, though.  When Grishnakh
Spoiler: show
frisks Merry and Pippin for the McGuffin in order to stage a mutiny against Ugluk, Pippin teases him by saying, "Gollum, gollum" and referring to the ring as "my precious."  HOW?!?!?!?!  There is NO WAY that Pippin had any prior knowledge of Gollum to even know to do that.  And no amount of logic-leaping rigmarole is making this make sense to me. 
« Last Edit: December 12, 2017, 08:00:19 PM by Dincrest »
"Yes, there's lots of things to do if you're not so busy huffing and puffing."
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Arvis

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1922 on: December 13, 2017, 09:52:18 AM »
You really don't think Pippin heard all about Bilbo's adventures while living in the Shire??  Bilbo probably told that story hundreds of times.  Everyone in the Shire could have made that joke.
"You know, you're pretty cool too, Arvis.  You like good music, good games, and good tennis." - Divingfalcons

Dincrest

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1923 on: December 14, 2017, 06:17:01 PM »
But Bilbo sometimes outright lied or withheld the truth in his "tall tales."  And even when he told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth at the Council of Elrond, Merry and Pippin were not present.  And in both The Hobbit and Fellowship, Bilbo was extremely secretive about the ring throughout his life, so I'd venture he remained secretive about the ring.  I also wouldn't put it past the ring's influence to feed that. 

And then we come to the whole thing about how in the world did Pippin know to use that specific Gollum tease on Grishnakh?  It felt too calculated to be a simple hail Mary/shot in the dark, especially given Grishnakh's reaction that he seemed aware of Gollum and precious. 

I don't know... that whole interaction just doesn't sit right with me.  Everything around it feels too coincidental.  How would Pippin innately have that innate, very specific understanding of how to say "gollum, gollum, precious" and act as Gollum would?  Would Bilbo's tall tales and books written mention all those details, especially given how secretive he was about the ring and how he admitted that the book wasn't the truth?  And Merry and Pippin strike the others as kinda flighty and not people you'd make privy to the most pertinent information.   Maybe (and that's a BIG maybe) I'll buy that maybe Merry and Pippin badgered Samwise to tell them everything he heard at the council of Elrond, but I'm sure there are details he may not have picked up on, since whenever multiple people are exposed to something we all naturally attune to different details. 

Anyway, I'm still in the middle of the Treebeard chapter and it's a good one. 
« Last Edit: December 14, 2017, 06:39:07 PM by Dincrest »
"Yes, there's lots of things to do if you're not so busy huffing and puffing."
     -Leonard the Wolf (Sesame Street)

"People are really really good at making themselves unhappy in their pursuit of happiness." -Arvis

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1924 on: December 15, 2017, 09:36:32 AM »
It's implied that the entire story of "The Hobbit" was fictionally written by Bilbo, and the entire Gollum sequence in that would have been a favorite with young Pippin and Merry, et al.  There's really no reason to think Bilbo wouldn't have hammed up that entire thing and put as much life and detail into it as possible.

As for Grishnakh's reaction, well... it wouldn't be the first time our fantasy heroes got incredibly lucky.  You gotta suspend that disbelief, bro.
"You know, you're pretty cool too, Arvis.  You like good music, good games, and good tennis." - Divingfalcons

Dincrest

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1925 on: December 15, 2017, 04:56:48 PM »
Suspending my disbelief is something I do all the time, especially when I play RPGs.  And in fantasy, I can totally suspend my disbelief about eldritch worlds with talking trees, monks shooting fireballs from their fists, a small party of meddling kids overthrowing an imperial army to save the world, all that good stuff.  I get plenty immersed into that stuff.  But sometimes things happen where I feel very consciously forced to suspend my disbelief and it makes the "this isn't logical, even within the illogical rules of this fantasy world" part of my brain hiccup.  It bugs me when some little thing is too pat and the planets were so perfectly aligned for something so incredibly specific to happen and there is no explanation. 

Sorry, but that one little interaction between Pippin and Grishnakh was that one place where it broke my immersion. 

That's a big reason why I like a lot of Brandon Sanderson's books.  Nothing in the first Mistborn trilogy happened "because F you, that's why" and everything was explained utilizing the "logic" of how that world works.  Sanderson deftly rode the edge of that knife where things could have totally slipped into "because F you, that's why" territory, but it didn't.  Dude is a master. 

At this point, Arvis, it may be best that we just agree to disagree. 


"Yes, there's lots of things to do if you're not so busy huffing and puffing."
     -Leonard the Wolf (Sesame Street)

"People are really really good at making themselves unhappy in their pursuit of happiness." -Arvis

Arvis

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1926 on: December 15, 2017, 05:18:56 PM »
I WILL NEVER AGREE TO DISAGREE!!!
"You know, you're pretty cool too, Arvis.  You like good music, good games, and good tennis." - Divingfalcons

Dincrest

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1927 on: December 16, 2017, 08:43:11 PM »
Well, you're going to have to, because LOTR made me "WTF?!?!" again in a not-good way. 

After the masterpiece Treebeard chapter, I'm now in the middle of the next chapter: The White Rider.  Early on in that chapter, Aragorn
Spoiler: show
manages to figure out exactly what happened to Merry and Pippin simply by perusing a leaf.  Look, I know Aragorn is a ranger and the most skilled tracker in the history of tracking, but I'm not buying this.  The level of clairvoyance Aragorn displays here is beyond even Gandalf's capabilities and last I checked Aragorn is no wizard and there's nothing in his lineage, as far as I can see, that would indicate he is any sort of magical being with wizard-level clairvoyance. 
« Last Edit: December 16, 2017, 08:47:04 PM by Dincrest »
"Yes, there's lots of things to do if you're not so busy huffing and puffing."
     -Leonard the Wolf (Sesame Street)

"People are really really good at making themselves unhappy in their pursuit of happiness." -Arvis

Arvis

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1928 on: December 18, 2017, 11:37:16 AM »
Elves can talk to leaves and Aragorn is part Elf.  Boom.

Man, I really should have been a lawyer.
"You know, you're pretty cool too, Arvis.  You like good music, good games, and good tennis." - Divingfalcons

Dincrest

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1929 on: December 19, 2017, 07:55:58 PM »
No, I still don't buy that
Spoiler: show
Aragorn can read leaves as well as a purebred elf nor have that level of clairvoyance of a wizard.
  Especially since he told the story what happened beyond Merry and Pippin's interaction with the leaf, so how could the leaf know what happened after the point where it had borne witness?

And weren't the Dunedain some kind of offshoot of elves?  And with their gene pool being so humanized, wouldn't that have watered down some of the finer elven powers to the point of vestigiality?  Orcs are basically corrupted elves and have no elven powers whatsoever.  And I would think that nature-based powers in elven offshoots would be watered down since humans (in typical fantasy) are not much in tune with nature and are more attuned  to machines and the like?  Dunedain are identified as more human than anything. 




Anyway, in my reading, Aragorn and company are at the Golden Hall. 

And my opinion of the book remains thus: I respect the work as a seminal cornerstone of fantasy because it totally revolutionized literary culture and even pop culture like no other fantasy work has.  It's an excellent book, but I'm not digging it as much as I dig other stuff.  It's kinda like how The Beatles were a phenomenon that revolutionized music and culture as a whole like nothing before.  I respect their exalted place in history and their stellar music, but I prefer listening to several other bands any day.  (Till my dad's dying day, that was one "agree to disagree" point of contention neither of us relented on.  To him, The Beatles are the mightiest band of all time and I think Led Zeppelin is the mightiest.) 
« Last Edit: December 19, 2017, 08:13:57 PM by Dincrest »
"Yes, there's lots of things to do if you're not so busy huffing and puffing."
     -Leonard the Wolf (Sesame Street)

"People are really really good at making themselves unhappy in their pursuit of happiness." -Arvis

Arvis

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1930 on: December 20, 2017, 09:29:59 AM »
That's ok, I think Jimmy Eat World is the greatest band ever, so... you know, just run THAT by your dad next time the subject comes up.
"You know, you're pretty cool too, Arvis.  You like good music, good games, and good tennis." - Divingfalcons

Frostillicus

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1931 on: December 20, 2017, 10:23:52 AM »
Are you in the middle of the ride, Arvis? Everything will be just fine.

I agree about the Beatles. Never understood what the big deal was. Maybe you just had to be there at the time. However, even then, Stones all the way.
"Movies are better than people. You don't have to smell who you're watching." ~ Baby Cakes

Dincrest

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1932 on: December 20, 2017, 05:48:15 PM »
That's ok, I think Jimmy Eat World is the greatest band ever, so... you know, just run THAT by your dad next time the subject comes up.

Err... my dad passed away two years ago, so our Beatles/Zeppelin debate won't be going any further.  Funny thing- although I hail Zeppelin as "the mightiest" they're not my favorite band.  Despite my deep rooted love and connection to music, I never really had a favorite band.  I could never see myself committing to follow one band and all their works, because there is so much amazing music out there that I like a good variety.  So it's rare for me to have more than 1-2 albums from any band.  Closest thing I have to a favorite band is Rush. 

Anyway... I didn't get to read any further yesterday, so Aragorn and company are still at the Golden Hall where Aragorn
Spoiler: show
almost destroyed the path Gandalf laid out for them by refusing to leave his sword at the door.  Gandalf managed to talk him down, but then he god scolded for not laying down his walking stick.
  That whole thing struck me as rather funny. 

UPDATE: I finished the Golden Hall chapter last night and now more chess pieces are moving into place.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2017, 06:20:02 PM by Dincrest »
"Yes, there's lots of things to do if you're not so busy huffing and puffing."
     -Leonard the Wolf (Sesame Street)

"People are really really good at making themselves unhappy in their pursuit of happiness." -Arvis

Der Jermeister

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1933 on: December 20, 2017, 09:46:13 PM »
I'm reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy given its alleged influence on authors like Robert Jordan, and it feels sort of like a Tom Clancy novel (though I've only read Clancy's Red Storm Rising), which definitely isn't a bad thing. The short chapters make it more digestible in bites, as well.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2017, 09:51:05 PM by Der Jermeister »

Dincrest

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1934 on: December 29, 2017, 06:53:00 PM »
Every time I hear about War and Peace, I think about Charlie Brown.  Everyone in Charlie Brown had to read it at some point.  Like Charlie Brown trying to balance reading it and trying to hook up with the little red haired girl at the New Year's party.  And I remember reading a Peanuts book as a kid where Woodstock's profile said that the last book he read was War and Peace.  And it led me to wonder, is that book any good?  My mom said she had to read it back when she was in school and Russian literature was not her thing. 

As for my reading, I've been getting further in Lord of the Rings, though not as far as I'd like.  I just finished the chapter chronicling the battle of Helm's Deep and now Gandalf is leading the company to Isengard to parley with Saruman.  I now remember why, when I was much younger, I had some trouble reading the book.  My addled brain kept getting mixed up between Sauron and Saruman. 
"Yes, there's lots of things to do if you're not so busy huffing and puffing."
     -Leonard the Wolf (Sesame Street)

"People are really really good at making themselves unhappy in their pursuit of happiness." -Arvis