Author Topic: Book Thread Continued

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Tooker

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1470 on: May 20, 2014, 08:41:25 PM »
can anyone recommend some good nonfiction to read? History, biographies, science... etc.

I feel like reading two ASoIaF books in a row is not helping me brain out.

I liked Guns, Germs, and Steel, which is about the development of civilizations in different parts of the world.  It starts from the premise that we know the Spanish conquered the Native Americans because they had guns and germs that the natives had no defense against, and steel armor that stopped the weapons the natives did have.  But why did they have those things and why didn't the natives?  It's stupid to think that the natives weren't as intelligent, so what led the two cultures to develop differently?

I also liked The Elegant Universe, which is about quantum mechanics and string theory, but is still pretty understandable to a layman.
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ultra7k

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1471 on: May 22, 2014, 06:44:53 PM »
can anyone recommend some good nonfiction to read? History, biographies, science... etc.

I feel like reading two ASoIaF books in a row is not helping me brain out.

I'm a big fan of Richard J. Evan's WWII books:
The Coming of the Third Reich
The Third Reich in Power
The Third Reich at War


These are pretty heft tomes but worth the read. They are written to be quite accessible, plus you get to learn a whole lot too!

For a lighter but equally informative and perhaps more entertaining history read, I also highly reccommend David Grann's The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon.

Basically the author tries to re-trace the steps of Percy Fawcett, a real life Indiana Jones type character as he went missing into the Amazon at the turn of the 20th century. The man was in short, unbelievably dedicated, and is often considered one of the last 'explorers'. A whole bunch of people went to look for him, and also disappeared, and Grann tries to solve the mystery. I believe the rights to this book were bought for a movie, and at one point Brad Pitt was supposed to be Percy Fawcett.

On the fiction side of things if you haven't already read them, I put James Clavell's Shogun and Tai-Pan at the top of my historical fiction list. Clavell has a way of writing that I think is unparalleled, and you wish his books were longer. I wish I could recapture that feeling of first reading these two books...they are that good IMO. Yes, they are fiction but built around historical events.

In Shogun he takes more liberties with as he changes historical figures names (Toranaga = Tokugawa Ieyasu, the other warlord = Toyotomi Hideoshi, Blackthorne = William Adams), but the storytelling is just second to none.

Tai-Pan is about western traders in Hong Kong in the 19th Century. Sounds dry, but holy what a ride. I may like this one more than Shogun.




MeshGearFox

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1472 on: May 27, 2014, 10:07:53 PM »
Snow Crash - I like the story but any time it starts to attempt to talk about computer science or linguistics it's like reading a bad Cracked article which is to say reading any Cracked article.

Like there's some comment about Sumerian being unusual for being agglutinative, and the main character is like WAIT DOES THAT MEAN SENTENCES SOUND LIKE A STRING OF SINGLE SYLLABLES?

And it's funny because the main character is supposed to be half... Japanese or Korean, and both languages are fairly agglutinative and have pretty rigid syllable structures.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2014, 10:13:37 PM by MeshGearFox »
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Yoda

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1473 on: May 27, 2014, 10:14:58 PM »
can anyone recommend some good nonfiction to read? History, biographies, science... etc.

I feel like reading two ASoIaF books in a row is not helping me brain out.

I liked Guns, Germs, and Steel, which is about the development of civilizations in different parts of the world.  It starts from the premise that we know the Spanish conquered the Native Americans because they had guns and germs that the natives had no defense against, and steel armor that stopped the weapons the natives did have.  But why did they have those things and why didn't the natives?  It's stupid to think that the natives weren't as intelligent, so what led the two cultures to develop differently?

I also liked The Elegant Universe, which is about quantum mechanics and string theory, but is still pretty understandable to a layman.


Thanks, Took.

GGS looks up my alley, I've also been interested in: The World Until Yesterday

Esper_Crusader

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1474 on: May 31, 2014, 10:43:31 PM »
Re-reading Memnoch The Devil by Anne Rice. I was obsessed with her books when I was a lad.
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Tooker

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1475 on: May 31, 2014, 11:05:58 PM »
I've been reading the Diablo book Legacy of Blood.  It's not bad!  It's not great, but it's not bad.
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MeshGearFox

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1476 on: June 05, 2014, 11:27:08 PM »
Snow Crash - I can't tell if this is a parody of bad sci-fi or just legit bad sci-fi.
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Der Jermeister

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1477 on: June 19, 2014, 09:17:47 PM »
I've been reading the Ender's Game books, which have been hit or miss for me. I saw and liked the Ender's Game movie, but when I read the book again, I was just totally lost, ironic considering that Orson Scott Card himself wrote the movie's screenplay.

Jimmy

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1478 on: June 21, 2014, 10:35:56 PM »
Mistborn #1, several chapters in now. It all starts out so simple, doesn't it? A band of thieves doing their thing.  It's obviously going to become so much more, and I look forward to it.

Mistborn is definitely a "stick with it and you'll be rewarded" series.  A lot of things that happened in book 1 aren't explained in-depth till book 3 and now reading book 3, it's like "whoa!"

Speaking of, I'm 56 chapters into book 3 and it feels like a snake all coiled up still, waiting for that perfect moment to strike. 

I too am reading the first Mistborn book. I've been curious about Sanderson for a while now since he finished The Wheel of Time, but only recently learned that he now lives only a few miles from where I grew up. So I decided I'd better check out the "hometown" guy.

I'm about halfway through and so far I'm intrigued. I do really like the world he created in this series, and allomancy is a really cool magic system. I am finding it a bit slow, but so far it has picked the action up whenever the narrative has been slow for a time. Sanderson can also write a fight pretty well. I don't really care for R.A. Salvatore, but I have to concede that man can write a fight scene like no other writer I've ever come across. I think Sanderson does have the potential of getting close to Salvatore in that regard though, and I think he is a much better writer of character and setting so far.

I'm looking forward to reading more.

Der Jermeister

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1479 on: June 22, 2014, 11:10:46 AM »
Sanderson's Elantris is definitely one of my favorite standalone fantasy novels. Didn't care much for Wheel of Time or Mistborn, though, but I'm willing to give the latter another shot.

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1480 on: June 23, 2014, 10:17:12 PM »
I just finished reading the third book in the Mistborn trilogy.  I'll eventually read Alloy of Law, but I need a break after such an epic series. 

It's no secret that I thoroughly enjoyed Mistborn.  The magic system was really cool, the characters were engaging, and the action scenes were incredibly written.  This is, again, a series that rewards patience and perseverance.  Stuff that has you scratching your head in book 1 may not be explained till book 3, but the revelation moments are great.  It definitely feels like Sanderson planned out the novels very well and probably kept extensive notes rather than just "writing as he went along" like many fantasy authors do.  I loved those moments where it seemed like Sanderson was going to write himself into a corner only to realize that it was part of his plan all along. 

Brilliant series.  Highly recommended.
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Der Jermeister

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1481 on: June 27, 2014, 10:01:42 PM »
Finished the Infernal Devices and Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. Not a fan.

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1482 on: June 30, 2014, 01:54:28 AM »
Snow Crash - I can't tell if this is a parody of bad sci-fi or just legit bad sci-fi.

It was written in 1992.

Tooker

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1483 on: June 30, 2014, 07:48:47 PM »
I'm reading a series that was published on a blog, called Worm. It's about a girl who has the power to control insects, and starts out to become a super hero... but things get twisted up, and she becomes a villain instead.
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Der Jermeister

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Re: Book Thread Continued
« Reply #1484 on: July 03, 2014, 10:38:35 PM »
Recently reread the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. A little derivative but half-decent nonetheless.