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What are you Reading Now?

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

  1. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Breakfast at Tiffany's was an embarrassment and a disappointment. But now I'm reading On the Beach. Much better.

    This is the third Neville Shute book I've read. This fellow deserves wider recognition. Yes, some of his works were made into movies, but one hardly ever hears his name these days. Each book of his so far has been utterly memorable, even though his prose is ... homely? Workaday? Understated. Straightforward. Whatever, his prose manages to snag me within the first chapter without being in the least showy or dramatic.

    This book is a prime example. He's writing about nuclear Armageddon, but does he narrate the war? No. Does he show us people struggling in a nuclear wasteland? No. Instead, he gives us people untouched by the war, but waiting for the winds of the planet to bring death from the northern to the southern hemisphere. It's surprisingly touching.
     
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  2. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Started Camelot 30K, by Robert L. Forward. In addition to the others I already had going.
     
  3. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    What flaws? Both in fantasy in general and GRRM? I’m curious, haven’t read Fire and Blood, yet.

     
  4. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Auror

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    The most crucial flaw that I see and which has turned me off many authors, and reduced my enjoyment of the fantasy genre in general, is the predictable moralism of the author as delivered by the story. When you've got black-and-white conflicts with essentially immorale idiots vs morale wise men/women then you're losing my interests because I know that the conflict will be one-sided and the outcome can never be doubted by the reader, and as such I know that there's no way for the good guys to lose or suffer drastic losses in the pursue of victory.

    It's not just fantasy, but I've come to associate it with fantasy to a higher degree than historical fiction. The numbing sense of the good guys walking from victory to victory to victory with the bad guys not standing a chance due to their overwhelming stupidity. Its just boring and the victories for the good guys losses all meaning in the absence of resistance and failure.

    And finally I must keep looking for the fantasy author I dream about. An author who is not going to force down the proper way to read his story down my throat but says. "Ok, this is the scenario. These characters do this and those characters do that. Now you the reader can decide for yourself who your heroes and villains are in this story."
     
  5. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    I can see that. I think Martin does a good job with moral ambiguity.

    I’m playing around with stuff in my series. Winning and losing itself are ambiguous. But, my stories wll be all over the board, they’re following a history rather than just telling particular stories.

     
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  6. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    That's curious, Gurkhal, because my reaction is the opposite. Much fantasy bores me because of the heavy reliance upon grim and dark. Most books in that genre don't push a moral down my throat, other than the implied moral that the world is grim and dark and look how grim and dark my world is, isn't that grim and dark, and the characters in it are so very grim. And dark.

    I'm much more of the Philip Marlowe type. Give me a hero, first of all, which means someone who knows their own mind, and who goes through a difficult world staying true to that. This doesn't mean the hero doesn't make mistakes, doesn't even deliberately do the wrong thing (though always for a higher good, as defined by hero), but is always absolutely aware of the choice they're making and the consequences thereof.

    No shining knights, sure. That's thin writing. But so is the ultra-cynic who's hip to the world and goes through it with one eyebrow raised.

    I guess there's a market for just about everything!
     
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  7. I have this thing where I can't both read regularly and write regularly. Which means my books are receiving neglect. Library books. Oh dear. A couple are due on the 17th; I cannot remember which.
     
  8. As per my Christmas tradition, I'm reading the Discworld novel Hogfather.
     
  9. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    I feel like I've read a ton of stuff since I last posted but for the life of me can't remember any of it right now. Recently most Tolkien ebooks went massively on sale so I stocked up on a ton of them. Almost all stuff I already have in print, but these days I like reading on my kindle best. Also, I like to keep my Tolkien hardcovers nice so carrying them around isn't something I like to do.

    Since then I've been working my way through Tolkien's Letters. Since unfortunately, I never read it cover to cover in print. I've really been learning a lot. It's fascinating to see Tolkien's personality coming through the words and hear his point of view about his work. I've also been reading The Story of Kullervo, one of his oldest pieces of writing. You can see exactly where certain words of Quenya first came from and where some of the ideas in The Silmarillion first appear. I have come to really appreciate and relate to Tolkien as a person. And feel better about my potential as a fantasy writer, which foolishly I can never help comparing to his genius.
     
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  10. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    Eeeyes, a Tolkien book gave Eve of Snows no chance of hitting #1 in category... My Tolkien fandom came back to bite me, heh heh.

     
  11. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    I made a new year's resolution to read more in 2019, and so far I'm holding to it pretty well. At the end of December I read Hogfather (a must), and over the last few weeks I've also read Shirley Jackson's Haunting of Hill House, The Yellow Wallpaper (free on Google Play right now), and The Changeling by Joy Williams. Right now I'm starting on the first volume of The Unreal and the Real, a collection of short stories by Ursula K Le Guin.

    I got a Samsung tablet in the fall and it's really helped me get back on the reading wagon--I often don't have time to go to the library and can't really afford physical books, so having an ereader has made reading accessible to me again. I have all my books at the tips of my fingers wherever I am.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019
  12. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I'm reading The Expanse series, currently on volume 3. Gotta say, I haven't had this much fun reading SF in a very long time. It's an extraordinary story told with great skill.
     
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  13. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    I'm awaiting the next one. The show is quite good, too.
     
  14. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I watched the first season, because it was free. It's very good, but I'm glad I'm reading the books. When it comes to astounding tales, words do it better.
     
  15. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    I read the first volume of the light novel series The Devil is a Part-timer! and it was even more hilarious than the anime was. Definitely going to keep reading this series. Highly recommend.

    The premise is that there's a fantasy world where the Devil King Satan is bent on world conquest, but just before achieving victory a Hero appears. One by one his armies are defeated and the Hero and her party assault the Devil's Castle. As a last resort, the Devil King and his one remaining Great Demon General create a portal and flee to another world: this world, Tokyo, Japan. Where they find that they have lost their demon forms and have no natural supply of magic power. They are stuck here in human bodies, subject to human frailties and no way to create another portal to return home. But the Devil King is unfazed. He forms a plan. He will... get a part-time job! If he does well enough he might even make it to... Full-time Employee! And once he can surpass his manager at MgRonald's he'll be poised to take over the world! Only one problem, Emilia the Hero followed him to this new world and though she also is cut off from the source of her holy power, she's still trying to kill him.
     
  16. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Auror

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    Just some 25 pages and I've finally finished with Geoffrey Hosking. Soon, so very soon.
     
  17. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Auror

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    And now its finished.

    I'm moving on to Anna Virubova's memoir about her life, and perhaps most interesting about life at the Imperial Russian court between 1905-1917.
     
  18. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    I finished reading The Story of Kullervo. A volume including Tolkien's unfinished "The Story of Kullervo", based on the Kullervo cyle of the Kalevala, two versions of his lecture on the Kalevala and an essay about Tolkien's relationship with the Kalevala. It was all quite fascinating. It's common knowledge that Tolkien's Turin Turambar and the Tale of the Children of Hurin takes a lot from Kullervo, but until now I had never really fathomed why Tolkien was so inspired by this story in particular. It's easily my least favorite part of the Kalevala and I find Kullervo himself rather a repulsive figure. But after reading this I have a better understanding. It's also very interesting to see one of Tolkien's earliest attempts at creating names. Some of the "word sounds" he used in Kullervo ended up as part of proto-Quenya.

    I also finished 1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed. Despite its unfortunately sensationalist title (for which I imagine the publishers are to blame) this was a very informative look at the Bronze Age Collapse and what really caused it. Was it the Sea Peoples? Was it earthquakes? Was it climate change and famine? Many theories have been put forth by historians over time. The book comes to the very reasonable conclusion that it was all of the above. Or rather, a total systems collapse caused by many different disasters in different places and times that had a large ripple effect that devastated the whole eastern Mediterranean. The most interesting part of the book though was not about what caused the collapse but was the detailed picture the author painted of what the Bronze Age was like pre-collapse. He describes it as a far more advanced, interconnected and cosmopolitan age than I realized. In fact, he compares it directly to our own times and not without reason.
     
  19. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    After reading a few Crime stories, I've come back to Fantasy [sort of] and left Crime behind [and no, not really]. I've just started Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. It is entertaining so far. Light and quick but not slight. The main characters are engaging and interesting as well as being likeable [for the most part] and believable. One thing I have noticed already is that it is set in early 2012 and it is strange to me to read something less than ten years old and have it feel like a period piece.
     
  20. I vented about one Charles de Lint book, and here I am so glad that I found one that doesn't have any adult content, and is so, so good that I almost want to buy all of the others. But I must proceed with caution.
     
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