Author Topic: Book Thread Continued

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Arvis

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1950 on: February 20, 2018, 02:00:51 PM »
What a minute.  Emily Brontė wrote Wuthering Heights??  How did I mess that up?
"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 #1951 on: February 26, 2018, 05:47:03 PM »
I'm about 60 pages away from completing Lord of the Rings.  Incredible book(s) and I love it, but once more I gripe about the same old stuff- that Tolkien is ace at evocative worldbuilding (his descriptions of places are amazing), but is less skilled at writing multidimensional characters and believable relationships that weren't bro-mances.  I was not buying
Spoiler: show
that Eowyn did such a sudden about-face yielding to Faramir, who didn't really do much of anything to warrant that kind of swoon reaction.
  I was also not buying that
Spoiler: show
Arwen just came out of nowhere and married Aragorn straight out of the blue. 
  Both of these were things that were done a bazillion times better in the movies. 

The most memorable feeling I have is that I want to drink Ent-draught.  That stuff sounds like the most wonderfully nourishing thing ever. 

I look forward to finishing it, because I really want to read Blackmark (book 1 of Kingsmen Chronicles) by Jean Lowe Carlson.  That one was a freebie and I want to see if it's a trilogy I want to pursue.  Most of the epic "Game of Thrones" style fantasy novels I've read were by male authors, so I want to read something by an up-and-coming female author. 
« Last Edit: February 26, 2018, 06:33:24 PM by Dincrest »
Sometimes I wonder if there was ever a time a last-place Olympic diver decided before their final dive, "I'm in last place, I have nothing to lose, I might as well have some fun with this" then yell "CANNONBALL!" from the diving board before launching into a cannonball.

Jimmy

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1952 on: February 27, 2018, 02:30:49 AM »
What a minute.  Emily Brontė wrote Wuthering Heights??  How did I mess that up?

Pretty easy to do. Charlotte Brontė was the author of Jane Eyre[i/], and Anne Brontė was the author of Agnes Grey. They all were published and active writers, despite all of them dying tragically young.

Arvis

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1953 on: February 27, 2018, 08:58:50 AM »
I'm not familiar with Agnes Grey, but I know Wuthering Heights is not my thing at all, while Jane Eyre is truly wonderful.  I can forgive Charlotte's heedless and shortsighted disdain for Jane Austen, because she walked the walk.
"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 #1954 on: February 27, 2018, 06:17:26 PM »
Ugh, Jane Eyre was one of the banes of my existence in high school English class.  I so wish Thug Notes existed back when I was a student, because this actually made Jane Eyre make sense to me and actually made it seem kinda interesting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPlN_HIU55U (Go figure, Thug Notes does in 3 minutes what my high school English teacher couldn't do in 3 weeks.) 

Anyway, I'm a short ways into the chapter "The Scouring of the Shire" in Return of the King.  Man, that is a totally "Aww Yeah!" righteous chapter and I'm loving it!  If I didn't have to keep to my bedtime (I go to bed early because I have to be up at 5AM to get ready and get to work on time) I would have stayed up to finish the chapter and the book, because it rocks.  I love when
Spoiler: show
the Shirriffs are admonishing Frodo's company for breaking a whole bunch of new rules and Merry and Pippin are all like, "Fuck yeah, bitch! And we're gonna break a whole bunch more shit too!"  It's like when Bugs Bunny says, "You realize, this means war!"  And you know it is on and fools will not be suffered gladly.


UPDATE: I finished Lord of the Rings last night (2/28/2018).  The Silmarillion is definitely on my list for future books I want to read, because this and The Hobbit were wonderful (in spite of all my griping).  What I loved about them is that the true heroes weren't the proverbial "Aragorn type" of hero, but rather ordinary and rather schlubby-seeming folk in Sam and Frodo.  I also found the dynamic of the final chapter interesting in that
Spoiler: show
The Shire was more ga-ga over Merry,
 Pippen, and Sam than Frodo (to Sam's dismay), even though Frodo's errand was what started this whole butterfly effect.  Frodo was so secretive of his errand in The Shire that none of them really "got" the gravity of it the way Aragorn's realms or the elves did, though the Battle of Bywater was a direct showcase of Merry's, Pippen's, and Sam's true mettle. 
« Last Edit: March 01, 2018, 06:00:27 PM by Dincrest »
Sometimes I wonder if there was ever a time a last-place Olympic diver decided before their final dive, "I'm in last place, I have nothing to lose, I might as well have some fun with this" then yell "CANNONBALL!" from the diving board before launching into a cannonball.

Dincrest

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1955 on: March 03, 2018, 08:34:08 AM »
So, I started Blackmark by Jean Lowe Carlson.  It was a freebie and the start of a fantasy trilogy.  I'm about 3-4 chapters in and while I'm not wowed by it, I'm not turned off either.  The characters seem cool and the story has potential, but the writing clearly indicates that this author is still getting her sea legs.  The narrative sometimes goes on ambling tangents, making some paragraphs feel loose.  It's nothing some tighter editing couldn't help.  Dialogue also sometimes has instances of more contemporary phrasing.  It usually works, but I'm probably just noticing it more because I just got off of reading Lord of the Rings where Tolkien's writing made everything feel otherworldly because it was older (British) English.   
« Last Edit: March 08, 2018, 06:19:06 AM by Dincrest »
Sometimes I wonder if there was ever a time a last-place Olympic diver decided before their final dive, "I'm in last place, I have nothing to lose, I might as well have some fun with this" then yell "CANNONBALL!" from the diving board before launching into a cannonball.

Jimmy

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1956 on: March 08, 2018, 03:13:04 AM »
I finished reading Ready Player One last night. I thought it was a very enjoyable read. I really liked the quest and the characters. I also thought the future was mostly pretty believable. I'm really looking forward to the movie now despite the fact that it's easy to tell from the trailers that they've changed it up quite a bit. I'm hoping it will be good.

I want to read Armada now, though I've heard it isn't nearly as good. I have it, and I may give it a go since I still have a few days left of Spring Break.

Dincrest

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1957 on: March 09, 2018, 07:58:08 PM »
About 100 or so pages into Blackmark.  The plot is thickening and some really cool characters are being introduced.  As always, the more interesting characters to me are the side characters the "point of view" characters interact with, particularly those in the Olea, Ghrenna, and Dherran chapters thus far.  In general, the female POV characters are more interesting than the guys.  The most interesting male POV character so far is Dherran. 

The writing still loses me on occasion with its paragraph structure (sometimes paragraphs go off on ambling tangents and/or combine two trains of thought that would be more cohesive and comprehensible were they separate paragraphs) and snippets of somewhat modern vernacular that don't always feel smoothly integrated into this fantasy world.  The author is creative and the book is filled with potential (which is why I'm still reading it), but she is either still getting her sea legs or doesn't have a good editor to really tighten up the narrative. 
Sometimes I wonder if there was ever a time a last-place Olympic diver decided before their final dive, "I'm in last place, I have nothing to lose, I might as well have some fun with this" then yell "CANNONBALL!" from the diving board before launching into a cannonball.

Dincrest

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1958 on: April 24, 2018, 06:27:21 PM »
...I would be reading more, but my Kindle decided to breathe its last a couple of weeks ago.  I had that thing since 2011 and it was great.  So until I buy a new one, I've been re-reading most of my comic books and graphic novels, since those are real books and I don't like reading those on digital devices.  However, I've found that I like reading novels on a basic e-reader because I can easily change font sizes, access a digital dictionary for words I don't know, and it's more portable than a big ol' 1000 page tome. 

When I get a new Kindle, I don't plan on continuing Blackmark.  The more I read it, the more it felt like a mishmash borrowing from every fantasy trope and cliche I've read a kajillion times before.  Plus, it wasn't written very tightly at all.  It was an okay freebie, but I'm not invested in that series.  Once I get a new Kindle.  I might re-read Hexed: Sisters of Witchdown since it takes place between the Fall of Cthulhu and Hexed graphic novels, which I haven't re-read yet. 
« Last Edit: August 03, 2018, 11:30:07 AM by Dincrest »
Sometimes I wonder if there was ever a time a last-place Olympic diver decided before their final dive, "I'm in last place, I have nothing to lose, I might as well have some fun with this" then yell "CANNONBALL!" from the diving board before launching into a cannonball.

Arvis

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1959 on: April 25, 2018, 09:37:05 AM »
I should mention that I finally finished Emma the other day, so it's right back to ST:TNG novels for me.
"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 #1960 on: May 12, 2018, 06:19:37 AM »
I procured a new Kindle as a birthday gift, so I read samples of The Curse of Capistrano (the first Zorro book) and The Scarlet Pimpernel, since those books are what originated the trope of the foppish aristocrat by day- masked hero at night we all love so much in comic books.  Batman wouldn't exist were it not for Scarlet Pimpernel and Zorro, so as a comic book fan I felt I owed it to myself to pay my respects to the OGs.  Anyway, I couldn't really get into Zorro for some inexplicable reason, and though Scarlet Pimpernel was more appealing (I guess I just prefer that European style of writing), I couldn't get into it much either. 

I also read a sample of The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness.  It's basically about what happens to a bunch of average ordinary everyday kids who live in a town where something weird is always happening, some chosen one is always combating it, yet the big worries on these regular kids' minds are things like getting through history class, asking out your crush, graduating, etc before the school blows up... again.  I like the theme of "what if you were just some random Hufflepuff who just happened to be attending Hogwarts the same time as Harry Potter" but the sample did not grip me at all.  It felt like it was going out of its way to make these average kids seem really boring, which is a disservice to what the book seemingly wants to do.  Plus, the prose felt choppy and the dialogue felt stiff.  This sample is one of those cases where I like the concept more than the execution.     

Anyway, while my Kindle was out of action I was re-reading a lot of my old comics.  I recently finished Fall of Cthulhu by Michael Alan Nelson and will now re-read Hexed: Sisters of Witchdown, as it takes place between Fall of Cthulhu and the Hexed series (which is my favorite comic book series.) 
« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 06:30:25 PM by Dincrest »
Sometimes I wonder if there was ever a time a last-place Olympic diver decided before their final dive, "I'm in last place, I have nothing to lose, I might as well have some fun with this" then yell "CANNONBALL!" from the diving board before launching into a cannonball.

Der Jermeister

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1961 on: May 15, 2018, 12:35:03 PM »
I'm rereading the Harry Potter books (which I haven't read since the last main one came out), and damn, they definitely pack quite a punch, as I've been able to write detailed reviews on each. The franchise has issues, for sure, but I like how the books grew with their readers.

I've also been working on the Shannara books in chronological order, and got through The Sword of Shannara and its prequel/sequel short stories. I can definitely see how Sword has been accused of being a Lord of the Rings ripoff.

Dincrest

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1962 on: May 17, 2018, 06:22:36 PM »
I'm re-reading Hexed: The Sisters of Witchdown.  When my old Kindle bit the dust, I'd been re-reading all my comics/graphic novels and since I finished Fall of Cthulhu and got a new Kindle, I need to re-read Sisters of Witchdown because it falls between Fall of Cthulhu and the Hexed comic/graphic novel series, and explains several open-ended things in the Hexed comics.  The novel is a good, fast read.  I'm around chapter 6, I think.  I feel like all the negative reviews of the book stem from the fact that it falls in the middle of a storyline continuum and that you need familiarity with the reading material outside the novel to glean the most from it. 

And at work, the English class I'm support staff in is reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.  We just read about the Sorting Hat and did a Sorting Hat activity in class.  One thing I hope we impressed on the students is that although Slytherin is painted as the nasty house in the book, it's not a bad house to be in.  Gryffindors are brave, Ravenclaws are wise, Hufflepuffs are loyal, and Slytherins are go-getters and being a go-getter is a good thing.  And what's great is that we have a student who is a Harry Potter virgin and he's enjoying the book so much, that he reads it on his own time outside of school and during his lunch breaks.  How wonderful is that!

I feel like I'm back in that state of mind when I was first reading the books and am recalling stuff I pondered about.  For example, I realize that the books are from the point-of-view of Harry and, as such, Gryffindor is painted as the heroic house, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff are just kinda there, and Slytherin is a wretched hive of scum and villainy since Harry, Ron, and Hermione's bullies are in it.  However, I think Slytherin would be the best house to be sorted to.  Slytherins are characterized as ambitious go-getters by the Sorting Hat, and I think to be a successful Slytherin you need to have the intelligence of a Ravenclaw to craft your plans, the work ethic of a Hufflepuff because you need to put in the work to make any ambition a reality, and the bravery of a Gryffindor to face the consequences of your actions. 

Plus, regarding Gryffindor,
Spoiler: show
 are they really the heroic house?  Who's to say they aren't capable of producing bad eggs and harboring bullies?  Gryffindors tend to be jocks, and I'd bet that most our youth's school bullies were jocks.  Plus, James Potter (Harry's dad) was a Gryffindor and a horrendous bully to poor misunderstood Slytherin Severus Snape.  And that's not even getting into Cormac McLaggen and Romilda Vane, who were both scummy.  Ravenclaws can be bullies too, in that they can be rather arrogant know-it-alls because they think they're smarter than everyone else.  I'd say most Hufflepuffs are pretty chill, but several would definitely have resentful chips on their shoulders since everyone thinks they're the house of rejects who are just kinda... there.  But if you mess with a badger... well, you'll never make that mistake again.  Honey Badger don't give a fuck.


EDIT:  And, you know, in the first book after Harry is sorted, Dumbledore announces the words "nitwit, oddment, blubber, tweak."  That initially had me scratching my head, but thinking about it now, it totally goes in line with my prior paragraph. 
Spoiler: show
Stereotypical Ravenclaws are stuck up nerds who think everyone else is a nitwit.  Stereotypical Slytherins are elitists who think everyone else is an oddment; not on their level.  Stereotypical Gryffindors are jocks who think everyone else is an out of shape blubber.  Stereotypical Hufflepuffs are stoner-types who think everyone else is an obsessive-compulsive tweak.  So Dumbledore is basically saying that your house makes you a biased and prejudiced little cretin.  That's something that kinda bugged me about Harry Potter- I didn't see all that many inter-house friendships.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2018, 09:40:34 PM by Dincrest »
Sometimes I wonder if there was ever a time a last-place Olympic diver decided before their final dive, "I'm in last place, I have nothing to lose, I might as well have some fun with this" then yell "CANNONBALL!" from the diving board before launching into a cannonball.

Der Jermeister

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1963 on: May 18, 2018, 02:08:50 PM »
Yeah, and not all Slytherins are necessarily bad, such as Horace Slughorn and Nymphadora Tonks' mother Andromeda.

Harry also is a bit of a jerkass in later entries, but I think he had every right to be, given what he went through.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2018, 02:11:09 PM by Der Jermeister »

Dincrest

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1964 on: May 18, 2018, 06:02:41 PM »
And to footnote that, the Harry Potter characters aged over the course of the books and, as such, the writing matured too.  When Harry started raging at Ron, Hermione, and everyone at Grimmauld Place (I think?) in the beginning of book 5, it showed that Harry is not a wide-eyed, innocent, cute little kid any more.  He's a troubled teenager who's hitting puberty.  That age is when boys are monsters to deal with, because their glands are suddenly dumping tons of testosterone into their bodies and that makes them exhibit a natural form of "roid rage."  So, yeah, between hormones and circumstances it's no surprise that Harry was a dick at times and prone to lashing out. 
« Last Edit: May 19, 2018, 08:54:35 AM by Dincrest »
Sometimes I wonder if there was ever a time a last-place Olympic diver decided before their final dive, "I'm in last place, I have nothing to lose, I might as well have some fun with this" then yell "CANNONBALL!" from the diving board before launching into a cannonball.