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What are you Reading Now?

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

  1. I'll check it out. :)
     
  2. Yora

    Yora Maester

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    I picked up Hyperborea by Clark Ashton Smith again. They are fun stories and this time I am looking specifically at how they are structured and what makes them work. It's the best example I can think of for stories that are really all about showing the setting and giving impressions of how things work there while being very light on plot, which is where my own interests as a writer are and which suits my own strengths and weaknesses.
     
  3. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    I need to read all of those too! I read all the Zothique stories a while back. Zothique was a bit too dark for me. But I still want to read the Averoigne, Hyperborea and Poseidonis stories.
     
  4. Yora

    Yora Maester

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    After having read Hyperborea and having heard the reputation of Zothique, I was very disappointed by the later. I like Hyperborea way better, no contest.
     
  5. Skybreaker Sin K'al

    Skybreaker Sin K'al Troubadour

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    Reading Brandon Sanderson's original Mistborn trilogy. Great stuff, am I right?
     
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  6. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I finished two books while off on vacation--East of Eden by John Steinbeck, and A Town Called Alice by Nevil Shute. Both were fascinating and both broke nearly every rule in the book about how to write.

    Seven hour plane rides focus one's mind wonderfully.
     
  7. started howl's moving castle even though i am already reading a book
     
  8. I'm reading 20000 Leagues Under The Sea in French so it's quite a challenge, but I enjoy it. I started reading it to take a break from the miserableness of Les Miserables.
     
  9. y'all setting the bar too high, i have hard enough time reading books in just one language
     
  10. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Verne's challenging in any language. His style is too antiquated, preachy. The ideas are great, which is why his stuff is prime material for being re-made into movies. Or into awesome, new fantasy novels. ;-)
     
    Dark Squiggle likes this.
  11. I'm finding Verne easier than Les Mis so that is something.
     
  12. Dark Squiggle

    Dark Squiggle Troubadour

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    I LOVE Les Mis. It's heavy, but every word is enjoyable, like Mark Twain's books. I like Verne too, but can't say the same for him.
     
  13. I like Les Mis too, just needed a break from all the sadness for a bit.
     
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  14. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    Really? Every word? Wow. Cause... that's a lot of words. And I admit I skipped certain parts. Like when Hugo decides to wax eloquent about the Paris Sewer for a whole chapter. I mean, I love the story of Les Mis. But the book itself is... one of the greatest reading challenges I've ever had. Mostly because the man apparently had some sort of mental disability that made it impossible for him to focus on one character for more than 100 pages.

    That said, it's been a long time since I read it. I may have to give it a reread sometime.
     
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  15. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Just finished reading A Town Called Alice. It's a very odd book. Remarkable and readable--this is my second Nevil Shute book and I think I may find his other work to have the same adjectives applied--but still oddly constructed. He does just about everything wrong according to modern writing advice. I do believe I shall start ignoring all such advice.

    Next up is Robert Silverberg's Downward to the Earth. Which causes me to mention the passing of Harlan Ellison. We won't see his like again soon. His short story, A Boy and His Dog has stuck with me for forty years.
     
  16. Dark Squiggle

    Dark Squiggle Troubadour

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    I enjoy his descriptions. Hugo weaves a world noone else can. I feel like I'm in the sewers and he's talking to me.
    I can see needing a break.
     
  17. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    I DID IT!!

    I have finally, FINALLY managed to finish The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson. This has taken forever and was definitely the most challenging book I have ever read. I had to set it aside several times to read something else before I could continue. I had previously read an edited version of the novel which replaces the insane prose of the original with regular English and fell in love with the story. But I wanted to read the original as well which is known for being nigh-unreadable. In hindsight, the edited version must have changed a few other things as well because I don't remember it being oppressively misogynistic.

    So, conclusion: I freaking love the story and the worldbuilding of The Night Land. But it has two major issues.

    First, guys you don't even understand. This prose isn't even old fashioned or archaic. Literally no one in the history of humanity has ever spoken the way this book is narrated. Most of the verbs are left in the infinitive. For example, instead of writing "I ran" he would write "and I to run". But also, weirdly, instead of writing "I was" he would write "and I did be". And nearly every single paragraph (and this is a long book) was ended with the phrase "as you to know" or "as you shall know". It is also hopelessly repetitive. And by that I mean that there was this great big swampy middle that was mostly the same things repeated over and over and I lost all hope. I only managed to get through it due to pure will power.

    Second, it's so misogynistic. I mean, it was written by a white man in 1905-ish so I suppose I should have expected it. The premise of the story is that millions of years in the future the MC makes an impossible journey across a dead hellscape Earth to rescue his soulmate from certain death. So there's a significant amount of romance involved. What I was not expecting was an extended sequence in which the MC gets upset with the "Maid" for not obeying every single thing he says. He declares that she is so "naughty" that he must teach her that he is her "master" and does so by hitting her with sticks on two occasions. And get this, the second time he does it she becomes docile and loving and never crosses him again because she totally loved being dominated. Seriously, only a man could write this. On top of this, he almost never uses her name. The MC never gives his name, but he does give her name, Naani, which is lovely. But then 99% of the time he refers to her as "the Maid" or "Mine Own" or "Mine Own Maid" and puts A LOT of stress on how she totally belongs to him. Ugh.

    Beneath the terrible prose and the misogyny though there is a thrilling story of rescue and return and easily one of the most imaginative worlds I've ever seen in fiction. The landscape of the far future in this novel is unique and original, often delving into cosmic horror. The narration gives a brief overview of some of the events of the past that lead to that future, and probably the explanation for the cataclysmic events of the world changing and the sun dying accorded with the science of the time. Though now of course it's quite out of date. But it's mostly a tale of adventure and romance. And despite its flaws I can't hate it. There's too much wonder. But if you ever want to read The Night Land I would recommend the retold version: https://www.amazon.com/Night-Land-Story-Retold-ebook/dp/B004GKNM3W
     
  18. X Equestris

    X Equestris Maester

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    I'm currently reading through a few different comics, both to help with research for my current project and for personal enjoyment. Batman #50 disappointed me, though that probably had more to do with the hype rather than the content itself. Catwoman #1 sets up what looks to be a promising series. And I loved Green Arrow #42. There have been points where the writer's efforts to fit Oliver's politics into the story line has come off as a bit ham-fisted, but this issue definitely wasn't one of them.
     
  19. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    I bought myself Vampire Hunter D novel 6: Pilgimage of the Sacred and Profane as a reward for finishing The Night Land. And it was SO GOOD!! Definitely the best so far. It gave a lot of new characterization to D and had some really interesting side characters. Sometimes I wish these novels were longer, but then I remember I still have almost 20 more to go.

    After that I began reading The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller which I picked up on sale a while back. I haven't read much yet but I've always loved Greek mythology so this is right up my alley.
     
  20. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Reading Downward to the Earth, by Robert Silverberg. Marvelously well executed story.
     
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