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Thread: What are you reading?

  1. #76
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    I've never tried audio books. Not sure when I'd get the chance to listen really. When I learn to drive, I may try some then.

  2. #77
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2003
    Location: UK
    I've read some of the Clancy books, and whilst there's a dropping of the standards towards the end, the early ones were good quality. It's sad that he's gone. Does anyone know why so few of his novels are available on ebook? I really want some of the early Jack Ryan and John Clark books, but Amazon UK are only selling "Hunt for Red October" of his early works on Kindle.

  3. #78
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2007
    Location: Alberta, Canada
    If you go to any used bookstore there'll probably be a room that is 1/2 clancy novels. Clancy paperbacks are so numerous you could probably power the US for a month just from burning them.

    Not sure how to help with the ebook situation. Maybe buy the paperbacks and then "acquire" the electronic versions?

  4. #79
    Member
    Registered: Jun 1999
    Location: Procrastination, Australia
    I'm all audio books of late. Mostly since podcasts don't come out fast enough. They can be really good, but they depends on the reader a lot of the time.
    I got a free Audible account and then kept it for a while, initially because I could never find All the President's Men to actually read myself.
    That is particularly good though and the reader guys really sells it. (a book everyone should read anyway. The amount of internet conspiracy theorists who think they are following Woodward and Bernstein's footsteps when they have not and will not do the tiniest fraction of what those two did to check all their facts and put the story together right. Instead they mostly hang around each other and discuss how much smarter they are than everyone else.)
    Then I went on to drier fare, so it's harder to say if more vibrant reading would have made any difference. First was Bruce Schneier's 'Liars and Outliers' which is a really interesting broad take on practical security covering biology, neuroscience, political science, psychology, law and history (security as the enabler of society and civilisation itself, as he puts it). It's just smart enough and reasonable enough that everyone who really needs to pay attention to it will be able to ignore it.
    Then I got one of Bruce's anthologies of essays and things.
    Then I got David Aaronovich's Voodoo Histories, all about the very real history that has been made by conspiracy theories (plus some stuff about conspiracy theories more broadly). It's quite snarky and fun, but also scary. He does and exhaustive look at the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the endless persistence of that document to this day. What's weird is that part starts to seem like a DaVinci Code-esque theory, drawing tiny connections and threads between things back to some over arching evil. Only instead of finding the Illuminati or the Jews it's a forged document by a couple of the Tzar's chief hoods to libel the Bolsheviks. It's a fact based spooky Secret History that explains another one. Quite funny (if you don't think too hard about how it's actually wrapped up deeply in half the 20th century's worst shit, from WW 2 and Stalinism right up Al Qaida.)

    I cancelled my account (which involves clicking through about ten pages of them begging you not to, btw) just because I don't need to be paying for a new one every month. But the service is good, even though its weirdly random which titles have an audiobook and which don't.

    Then I discovered Librivox, which is a collective that reads public domain books, like and audio Project Gutenburg. It's all volunteers though so its completely variable who you get, from one chapter to the next sometimes. But that's part of the fun in a way.

  5. #80
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    I totally agree about the cheap conspiracy theorists! The paranoia squad drums up the stupidest conspiracies out of nothing, bankers or 9/11 insiders or whatnot, that no matter how much you uncover evidence of its falsity, they insist the "hidden truth" is always (conveniently) deeper. AND THEN when we have *actual* bona fide conspiracies that are really uncovered and really were deep and pervasive and should make us worry, they dismiss it as no longer a conspiracy but just a boring "scandal".

  6. #81
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    Well of course there's no evidence, it was destroyed.

  7. #82
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    I'm re-reading William Gibson's Sprawl trilogy for the first time in 20 years. They've lost a little of the "WOW!" factor thanks to a lot of his predictions being slightly wonky, but they're still great explorations of what AI could mean and how they would interact with people. Currently on Count Zero, which is nothing like I remember it, so almost like reading a new book again.

    And after 20 years of reading Gibson, I'm finally beginning to appreciate his relatively cold style.
    To explain, I always enjoyed the concepts and characters he explored, but when I initially started reading him I was a lot younger and found his relatively passionless prose quite jarring. But now I can see past it and I've found the character he writes in, the unseen observer that notes every detail. It's actually quite voyeuristic.

    My signed copy of Idoru is still one of my most prized possessions

    One series I would highly recommend to someone looking for something gloriously pulpy is the Sandman Slim series by Richard Kadrey. I discovered them and tore through every last one in a couple of weeks.
    They're nothing serious, but they move at a helluva pace. Kinda like Scott Sigler but with more humour. And demons. And angels.

  8. #83
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2007
    Location: Alberta, Canada
    Had to take a break from WOT. 2/3 through book 10 and, its not that I'm not interested, It's just reading 8 or 9 thousand pages of the same story is starting to get fatiguing.

    So thanks to Dethtoll and his constant freaking out about Frictional stuff. I've started to read some Lovecraft. Not what I expected. To be honest, I always had him a bit confused with Crowley because of the era, and I never had a desire to read him, and thus this is the first time I've ever had any direct exposure.

    I'm enjoying it a lot, so far I've read Dagon, and Call of Cthulu, currently on Horror of Dunwich. I like the short length of the stories, makes for easier reading in chunks.

  9. #84
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004
    Well I finally wrapped up World War Z which I aboslutely loved. Probably due to my studies in Ethnic Conflict, it felt like just another case study of a torn nation, but with, you know, ZOMBIES. Very well researched too, reading about Isreal and Palestine and how it was affected, having studied it extensively before, was fascinating.

    Also have this on my reading list:



    Which basically boils down to: "Oh you live in California? Well FUCK YOU!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Volitions Advocate View Post
    So thanks to Dethtoll and his constant freaking out about Frictional stuff. I've started to read some Lovecraft. Not what I expected.
    Ah I liked the stories, but the problem is, once you read one you read them all. Each one is basically the same exact thing in slightly different context. Bit disappointing :/

  10. #85
    Cuddly little misanthropic hate machine
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: someplace better than this
    Yeah that's kind of an issue with him. Though I highly recommend "The Colour Out of Space." "The Dunwich Horror" is interesting because it's one of the few stories with a generally positive ending where the protagonists successfully defeat the monstrosity. And they do it with SCIENCE!

  11. #86
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    Lovecraft isn't good because he's diverse, he's good because his stories drip with atmosohere. He provides something particular. One of my personal favourites is In the Walls of Eryx. Such despair. I think he is best read on occasion - mostly I recommend just buying a compendium of his stories and picking one out every now and then. He's mostly a one trick pony, but that trick has decent longevity if it's your thing.

    On a side note, I'm noticing a trend on TTLG that if Dethtoll shows disdain towards something, people seem to get the motivation to immediately try it out (Fez is a notable recent example). With this in mind, can I please send you my next album Dethtoll? You're guaranteed to hate it and I could use the promo
    Last edited by faetal; 15th Oct 2013 at 04:58. Reason: added smiley in case taken seriously

  12. #87
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2007
    Location: Alberta, Canada
    to be fair. I didn't start reading Lovecraft because Dethtoll said he hated it (he didn't). I'm reading it because I want to understand his argument about Amnesia and Penumbra better, because I literally know nothing about Lovecraft other than "Cthulu Mythos" which is about as informative as labelling coffee .... coffee. er.. yeah. Plus, y'know. I want to know what all the fuss is about (in general)

    oh and. GODDAMIT DETHTOLL. I'm not finished Dunwich yet! :P

  13. #88
    Member
    Registered: Jun 1999
    Location: Procrastination, Australia
    Yeah you kind of have to read him regardless. Anything you've ever seen or read that involves forbidden libraries or books, aristocratic secret societies of cultists and that sort of thing: despite some real world examples it's pretty much all his doing. Which is pretty remarkable.

    Colour out of Space is a good twist on the formula. Mountains of Madness is a nice change of setting. Shadow out of Time is better read after getting those others under your belt. The Outsider is a pretty cool Poe-alike that's not really connected to anything else as well.

    For all the complaints about his prose he has written a couple of really good academic essays and things on the history of 'the uncanny' in fiction. Stating from the Gothic all the way down to himself and his Weird Tales pals. They're interesting if you like that sort of thing.

  14. #89
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    I put a ton of pdfs on my phone. I tend to browse read, like a cow meandering from grassy patch to patch and munching as he pleases.

    But the one I'm actually tending to stick with is Joyce, Ulysses. Wanted to get to it sooner or later. Also part of wanting to kick through the "100 greatest books ever" list. And ... more & more I'm wanting to write my own novel, and I don't want it to read like genre fiction but a legitimate piece of literature, and I'm trying to remind myself just what the difference between genre fiction and literature fiction is supposed to be anyway.

    One thing is that I have something of an agenda with what I want to write... It's not just about entertaining people. That's part of what literature is for (which BTW genre fiction can do too; I don't think they're mutually exclusive). That's not to say I want to lecture to people; more like inviting people to consider a way to see the world & where we're going, but up to them whether they want to take the plunge. I'm also fascinated by all the "isms" that scatter history -- the good ones I mean, Romanticism, Pragmatism, Modernism, Surrealism, Existentialism... -- and think it's high time our era had one that isn't stupid. I've already claimed ownership over a title for my philosophy too, cyberealism. I fully expect it to flop like a lead zepplin because our culture is dumb. But my responsibility is not to make up other people's minds for them anyway. I feel it's to craft the most compelling invitation that I can, and let the ideas do their own work crafting their way into people's minds and how they see the themselves and the world.

    But the question is how one packages a worldview.

  15. #90
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    There's also a crossover with R. E. Howard and Lovecraft.
    They were pen-pals, and Howard even wrote some Cthulhu stories which were really good. Indeed, reading Conan alongside Cthulhu stories, you can see there's a lot of cross-pollenation, with the monsters feeling pretty similar. That sense of the unknown, of terrible things from the Stygian depths of time and space.

    If you're enjoying Lovecraft, I strongly recommend some Solomon Kane or Conan after you've finished.
    As long as you can get past all of the steely thews and panther-like grace that is

    Thanks to the Eighties Arnie Conan, people have a misconception of the Conan character. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore the movie, but Arnie just isn't Conan. Arnie plays him as the big, dumb barbarian, where Howard's Conan is wiley, intelligent, stubborn and mistrusting of civilisation. It's also fascinating to read those stories with some idea of Howard's background and his history of mental health problems.

  16. #91
    Cuddly little misanthropic hate machine
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: someplace better than this
    Quote Originally Posted by faetal View Post
    On a side note, I'm noticing a trend on TTLG that if Dethtoll shows disdain towards something, people seem to get the motivation to immediately try it out (Fez is a notable recent example). With this in mind, can I please send you my next album Dethtoll? You're guaranteed to hate it and I could use the promo
    As long as it's not dubstep there's a real possibility I'll enjoy it.

  17. #92
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    If we're talking about Lovecraft, worth mentioning I was replaying the classic IF Anchorhead recently too, since I got IF set up on my phone too; and worth repeating that that it still kicks total ass and the best example of interactive fiction there is IMO, on top of being an awesome horror story in the best Lovecraftian style.

  18. #93
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    Quote Originally Posted by dethtoll View Post
    As long as it's not dubstep there's a real possibility I'll enjoy it.
    There's no chance it's dubstep.

  19. #94
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    don't be hatin

  20. #95
    NewDark 64 Contest Winner
    Registered: Jul 2005
    Location: Locked Inside Dromed
    In the last couple months, I've been all over the place. Nothing too groundbreaking:
    The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
    Call of Cthulu and Other Weird Tales
    1984
    On the Road
    and I'm just about to finish The Longest Goodbye by Raymond Chandler.

    Not sure where to go next. Maybe some Agatha Christie, maybe some Dickens. But that talk above in the thread also got me interested in maybe reading Nostromo

  21. #96
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    Try some Flashman.
    Telepathy is not mind reading. It is the direct linking... ...of nervous systems... ...separated by space.

  22. #97
    NewDark 64 Contest Winner
    Registered: Jul 2005
    Location: Locked Inside Dromed
    Somehow I've never heard of it, but it sounds interesting. Though I'm trying to finish all the books that I have on my bookshelves before I start buying more. I'm marking it down as a future purchase.

  23. #98
    Cuddly little misanthropic hate machine
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: someplace better than this

  24. #99
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2000
    Location: Portreath Cornwall UK
    I just read this...

    Nobody loves a Tory


    Because the Badgers are moving the goalposts.
    The Ferrets are bending the rules.
    The Weasels are taking the hindmost.
    The Otters are downing tools.

    The Hedgehogs are changing the game-plan
    The Grass-snakes are spitting tacks.

    The Squirrels are playing the blame-game.
    The Skunks are twisting the facts.

    The Pole-cats are upping the ante.
    The Foxes are jumping the gun.
    The Voles are crashing the party.
    The Stoats are dismantling the Sun.

    The Rabbits are taking the biscuit.
    The Hares are losing the plot.
    The Eagles are kicking the bucket.
    The Rats are joining the dots.

    The Herons are throwing a curveball.
    The Shrews are fanning the flames.
    The Field mice are sinking the 8-ball.
    The Swans are passing the blame.

    And the Pheasants are draining the oil from the tank-
    but only the Bustards have broken the bank.

    Carol Ann Duffy

    Then I saw this!

    Last edited by Medlar; 18th Oct 2013 at 16:41. Reason: None at all!
    P{

  25. #100
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004
    Just started on Winterbirth by Brian Ruckley and so far it's quite a different fantasy book, focusing more on the higher-end Thanes doings, politics and the world, rather than slaying orcs and dragons. Reminds me of old Polish history books

    Enjoying the change of pace from the typical fantasy fare, but also having a wee bit hard time keeping track of the multitude of ("bloods"), races, cities and their relations. Just a matter of getting used to it I guess; at least the book provides a map + cast of characters upfront which is nice!

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