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What are you Reading Now?

Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by Mythopoet, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Auror

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    My wife and I recently finished listening to the audiobook version of six of Bevan's short stories, one of which was "Orcs, Bears and A$$holes." Bevan writes fun stories that are entertaining and don't take themselves too seriously. Yes, a bit crude at times, so they might not be for everyone.

    Right now I'm listening to Hard Luck Hank: The Prince of Suck (by Steven Campbell), which is the third novel in the series. Humorous SF is hard to find. What I like is Hank, who realizes he's not the brightest fellow on the block, but does what he can to get the job done. While the stories appear to ramble with events and situations Hank stumbles upon or confronts, they always come together in the end.
     
  2. BronzeOracle

    BronzeOracle Sage

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    I'm taking a break from reading classics to start Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb. I've heard good things about her and I feel in the mood for a well written fantasy - like a good cup of coffee :)

    btw I've enjoyed reading the classics History of the Peloponnesian War, The Histories and The Aeneid- they all offer some fantastic ideas, styles and insights for an ancient fantasy world. I'm about midway through each of them, but now its time for some contemporary fiction.
     
  3. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    I finished The Book of Imaginary Beings by Jorge Luis Borges. It was a fun little volume. I knew most of the creatures already, being a mythology nerd, but there were some interesting fresh ones. And the descriptions themselves often had sources and information I hadn't come across before. Glad I read it. (And it's really clear how much influence it had on Gene Wolfe and in particular some of the things found in The Book of the New Sun.)

    Also finished Peter and Wendy (aka Peter Pan) by J. M. Barrie. This one really took me by surprise by how wonderfully written and vivid it was. It's very heavy on the narrative exposition, but I found it so delightful in voice and tone that it didn't bother me in the least. Barrie describes the characters so vividly, particularly Peter and Hook, that I found myself continually fascinated. Most often it was when he made a deft observation about their character in the narrative and then proceeded to back it up by showing it in a little scene. The scene that talks about Hook's obsession with good form is brilliant.
     
  4. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    I finally finished Titus Groan! Oh frabjous day! I'm never going to read another word written by Mervyn Peake ever again! Hahahahaha!
     
  5. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

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    Yeah, certainly not for everyone--I not only look forward to the next two installments, but plan to read at least a few of his other works as well--at least Peake's Progress and Mr. Pye. Peake is a literary genius, in my book.

    I think it is good for us to experience different authors, read wider. Still deciding whether or not to force my way through a Gaiman book. I probably should... just because.
     
  6. Kobun

    Kobun Scribe

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    Trying to learn the not-so-subtle art of Military Sci-Fi so I pulled out a Battletech book I remembered loving in middle-school. Double-Blind by Loren Coleman.
     
  7. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Auror

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    Just finished "The Poem of the Cid" which is a medieval Spanish epic about the famous El Cid and essentially his conquest of Valencia and the less than happy marriage between his daughters and the Infantes of Carrion. I could recommend it.

    What I'm looking at now is re-read A Song of Ice and Fire and also to finish an introductionary book on feminism which I'm a little more than half-way-through. And after that, we'll see but Blackwell's "A Companion to the Ancient Near East" looks rather tempting, as does the E R Eddison's Mistress of Mistresses, A Fish Dinner in Memison and The Mezentian Gate.
     
  8. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    Well, I just finished Go Set a Watchman. And I have to say, there is no doubt in my mind that Harper Lee wrote this book. There's just this inimitable quality to her style--a unique blend of seriousness and irreverent humor that no one else could write.

    Plus, nobody but her could take the literary equivalent of a baseball bat and mercilessly shatter my memories of To Kill a Mockingbird into a million shards. Seriously, the only person who can so completely and brutally tear characters apart like that is the person who created them. I can never recall To Kill a Mockingbird the same way again; Go Set a Watchman really changed my impression of it. It's sort of sad that my childhood memories of first picking up that book are distorted now, but it's also fascinating to see how I viewed the characters then and how I view them now.
     
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  9. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

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    Interesting, Tom. This is about what I expect to encounter whenever I get around to the book.
     
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  10. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    Trying to wrap my mind around this sentiment... No use, won't stretch... Well, to each his own. ;)

    I have been reading a scholarly work called Lands Beyond by L. Sprague de Camp and Willy Ley. It is an examination of various geographical myths throughout history including Atlantis, the locations of The Odyssey, the Land of Prester John (which I had not heard of before), El Dorado and more. I have found it to be immensely interesting and enlightening. It has strongly influenced my thinking about the nature of fantasy and science fiction throughout the ages.

    I've also started Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne.
     
  11. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

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    Lands Beyond sounds really cool. I'll have to remember that one.

    As far as Peake goes, I was referring strictly to craftsmanship. For good or ill, I'm able to compartmentalize the various aspects of fiction. Liking the story is a separate matter. For instance, one might acknowledge that Beethoven or Mozart have greater musical skill than, say, The Backstreet Boys, while actually enjoying the latter more (though not me, in this case!)
     
  12. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    The craftsmanship was all right, for the most part. But the final 25% or so had a bad tendency to get really, really purple. Everything was dragged out so long because of the extremely tedious and repetitive description. So I just can't really see him as a master of craft either.
     
  13. I got burned out on fantasy lately (except for some favorite authors and continuing series that has books coming out) so I'm reading some different kinds of thrillers right now to help me understand their structures for a future fantasy novel I am working on. First in the lineup The Litigators by John Grisham.
     
  14. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    I also started reading (finally) the manga Trigun by Yasuhiro Nightow. I'm a big fan of the anime series, most because the MC is the most awesome MC ever (Vash the Stampede), but naturally the book is supposed to be better than the movie. At the very least, it's much longer which means there's a lot more development of certain characters and plot points. Really looking forward to getting the full story.

    After I read Trigun, which is going to take a while, I really want to start reading his current series, Blood Blockade Battlefront. The recent (regrettably short) anime adaption was the best new anime so far this year, imo.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2015
  15. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

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    I guess we have different ideas about 'craft' then. Nothing wrong with that. I would say the descriptions were elaborate, which might be viewed as tedious by some readers. But I certainly saw nothing repetitive and not so much as a single instance of purple prose. What I saw was some of the greatest writing skill I've ever read, in any genre or from any time. But that's just me--most folks don't care about writing skill. I tend to agree with C.S. Lewis' remarks about the book.
     
  16. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    I'm trying to figure out if you're insinuating from that statement that I might be such a person that doesn't care about craft, which is why I don't appreciate Peake's. :p

    I am not a reader that dislikes description in general. I tend to prefer older styles of writing with more exposition and narrative personality rather than the modern sparse ideal. Like I said, for most of the book I found nothing to complain about in Peake's style and craft. But I am a bit surprised that you didn't see his writing in the last handful of chapters as even a little purple. To me, it seemed like as he approached the climax he got a tad self indulgent. I sensed a definite change from his style in the beginning to his style at the end. The end was much, much worse than the beginning. It was like he was trying to hide the fact that there was no real resolution at all, that the story just comes to a stop without a real ending, by describing everything as minutely and as grandly as possible.
     
  17. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

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    Started "The Name of the Rose" by Umberto Eco on the weekend. So far, so good. Not fantasy, but there is a lot of cool stuff about medieval monasteries and monks and church history. Otherwise its sort of an old-fashioned "who-dunnit" murder mystery. Good, hefty writing.

    (@Mythopoet--sorry, I try not to insinuate. I merely meant to point out that writing craft probably tops the list for things I want to see in a novel. As far as I can tell, this is lower down on the 'list' for most readers. I'm perfectly willing to be corrected, but it seems to me you put at least one thing higher up on such a list: having at least one likable/relatable character in the story. Apologies if I have misunderstood. No matter what crazy opinions I might have, I'm super glad you're here--I think you may be the only person in the whole world that I have interacted with that appreciates the pre-Tolkien fantasy as much as I do.)
     
  18. Adalind

    Adalind Dreamer

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    I'm currently giving "The Darkness that Comes Before" by R. Scott Bakker another chance. I bought the book a few years ago, but didn't finish it even though it had everything I usually liked in a fantasy novel. For some reason I'm enjoying it much more now. I might even read its sequels.
     
  19. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    Finished Lands Beyond. What a fascinating read. It's inspired me with thoughts of a new fantasy setting based on geographical myths.

    Also finished reading The Three Impostors by Arthur Machen, which was an influence on Lovecraft. Very strange book, odd structure. But fittingly creepy. I love the old weird stories.
     
  20. teacup

    teacup Auror

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    Still reading Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey - I think I'm 100 or so pages from the end.
    It's great so far, really loving it. I enjoyed it well enough throughout but once the pov characters meet it really picks up and just gets so good.
    I think Steerpike(?) recommended it a long time ago and I've only just recently got around to reading it, and I'm very glad I did so far.
     
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