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Thread: Books and the reading thereof

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Draggy the Dragons house

    Books and the reading thereof

    Remember when there was a book club thread, ages ago back in the mists of time?
    Well this isnt a repeat of that, but I have been reading a whole lotta books lately, and got to thinking. I want to read more.
    So maybe this can be a book review/recommendation thread if ppl are interested, and I dont mean classic intellectual literature. Just anything you think is worth reading.
    I tend toward the scifi/fantasy/horror genre. Dont judge me.
    books i have been reading lately include John Connelly and his Charlie Parker series, a dark gothic, urban fantasy crime novels. Very well written, great characters.
    Also Brian Sandersons Mistborn series, a political magic/steampunk world, something I think Yakoob would enjoy (hits some real karaski notes)

    So anyone got some books they wanna talk about?

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: Netherlands
    I can recommend the Old Man's War series by John Scalzi. I've read the first four books (the 4th being a young adult novel). There are two more, which I also plan to read. It's about interplanetary war, where the humans turn out to be just as much opportunistic, war-mongering scumbags as the rest of them, if not more so.

    A good book with science fiction short stories I can recommend is Axiomatic by Greg Egan. Very much hard sci-fi stories instead of spaceships and aliens.

    On horror, I liked the Dutch novel HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt. Of course, I read it in Dutch, and it's set in the Netherlands. However, for an international audience, the author has rewritten his novel, so it's set in the Hudson Bay area in America, with more stuff that appeals to Americans and an American style of humor (Dutch humor can be darker than Americans tend to enjoy). He said he wanted to present a familiar picture, with the reader feeling at home, and then striking even harder when the horror starts happening. I haven't read this American version, but the Dutch version was very much worth reading.

    A more literary horror book I can recommend is Lisey's Story by Stephen King. I've read a lot by him, and I think this is his most cerebral novel (of the ones I've read, at least). He cites it as a personal favorite.

    EDIT: one more: The Dinner by Dutch author Herman Koch. There are three movie versions made of it, none of which are very good. I really liked the book though. I know it's been translated to English because I read a statement by Stephen King who praised it. It's not horror/fantasy/sci-fi however, but still good.
    Last edited by Harvester; 16th Feb 2017 at 07:19.

  3. #3
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Honestly I've been reading a lot of hard science books, cognitive science most of all, because I'm upset with reality these days and want to finally understand how things tick. Or more like I want to get myself as far as possible away from this Truth vs. Alt-Facts game happening in pop culture and be a happy refugee from conventional wisdom. A few years ago it was physics books, and this is like the other side of the coin, since I think Standard Model + CogSci is the Theory of (Almost) Everything out of which, maybe not eveything, but a lot of things worth caring about flow.

    Fiction-wise, my go-to genre has historically been scifi. As for recent reads -- I was trying to get into Cryptonomicon recently and it wasn't sticking, it's so fragmented. And then Ringworld was reaaally cliche it started actually bothering me. The Forever War was fucking ace. Highly recommended. Flowers for Algernon was great, but I think people that read it in highschool (not me) got the full dose. Thinking about Cloud Atlas next since I liked the movie and got the idea it was just the tip of the iceberg.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2003
    Location: Darmstadt, Germany
    Scifi, sweet! Now let's get the first word in before the snobs with their Iain M. Banks' and Philip K. Dicks come out of the woodwork, ha! Nah, just kidding, I like those authors too. I'd like to recommend a couple of others, though.

    1. The Vorkosigan Saga - probably one of my favorite series, if not the most favorite. It's best to read in internal chronological order, starting with Cordelia's Honor (Shards of Honor + Barrayar) and then the books about Miles. I'd read the first two, Dreamweaver's Dilemma and Falling Free only after you've (hopefully) already been hooked to the series and read at least a few of the Miles books. Sadly it's the only Scifi by Lois McMaster Bujold - she also writes fantasy, which I still haven't read but should probably give it a try someday, if the writing style is anything like in the Saga.

    2. The Stainless Steel Rat series and one of my first encounters with Scifi, when I was around 10 or so (the first was, probably not incidentally, another one by Harry Harrison, The Planet of No Return). Even though some of the books are quite old, 50 years or so, you can still read them today without cringing and they still feel like Scifi. I'd probably read them in order of publication, but in internal chronological order is also fine - and mostly the same anyway, except for the first 3 books, when the Rat is still young.

    3. Most of David Weber's stuff. Unlike Harry Harrison and Lois Bujold he tends to get a lot more technical and unfortunately long-winded, especially in the later books of his longer running series. Some people say the main character in his Honorverse series is a Mary Sue, which is probably not wrong. He's still one of my favorite authors, though and I can't put down any book of his that I start. The Honorverse and Safehold are his "flagship" series, but Dahak is also quite interesting, especially the first book. I'd probably read either Mutineers' Moon or On Basilisk Station first and see if you like them.

    4. A World out of Time by Larry Niven - harder Scifi than the others above and also one of my favorites. Even though it's technically a part of The State series, it's actually stand alone, so if you just want to read a book without getting invested in a whole series, that's the one I'd recommend.




    I've read all of the above books at least 3 times each, some as many as 5 times, so that's several hundred thousand pages in the last 8 years. And I've also read quite a few other books in that time, but nothing else comes to mind that I'd recommend right now.
    Last edited by dj_ivocha; 16th Feb 2017 at 08:03.

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Draggy the Dragons house
    omg Stainless steel rat, those books are amazing, but so difficult to find hard copies, I own 2 paperbacks. The time travelling one where Jimmy goes back to Earth in the 80's is great satire, I also think they would make great adventure games. Please mention the author as well as title dema.
    Harry Harrison also did an alternate history series where the nazis won, or something like that cant quite remember.
    ah Stephen King, so much that is good, so much crap.
    also gonna say the Hugh Cook series Chronicles of an Age of Darkness, while they look and the titles sound like 80's pulp fantasy, are actually the best series of books I have ever read. Absolutely amazing. I cannot say this enough, read them if you get the chance.

  6. #6
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: Sulphur, whatever
    Quote Originally Posted by demagogue View Post
    Thinking about Cloud Atlas next since I liked the movie and got the idea it was just the tip of the iceberg.
    Go for it. I can't wholeheartedly recommend it as a classic, but it's deffo better than good. I thought it was a clever take on the epistolary novel, which the movie tried to replicate in its structure, but with some pretty jarring edits/tonal shifts. And, since you've seen the movie, you're in roughly the same place I was to appreciate the increased depth the prose offers, plus it doesn't have some of the more ill-placed and ill-conceived twists of the movie.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Draggy the Dragons house
    The Circle by Dave Eggers is pretty mindblowing as well, in fact I think a movie of it is being made with Emma Watson in the lead role. Well worth a read before you see the probably crap movie version.

  8. #8
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: Sulphur, whatever
    By the way, how are people on Murakami? I read Kafka on the Shore, and I didn't quite get why it was so celebrated, though that may be a function of me not getting past the book's surface level in the first place. It was okay. Okay-ish?

    So obviously, the next thing I did was to ignore the copy of King Lear I've been meaning to get to whilst also forgetting I was a third of the way through The Moor's Last Sigh, and instead got a copy of the thickest Murakami book I could find, which was 1Q84, because goddammit it was time to find out what was going on.

    That was three months ago.

    The cover stares at me at night from its place on the shelf, waiting to pounce when I nod off. I placed it behind a hardbound copy of an anthology of short stories selected by Isaac Asimov to shield myself from its baleful glare, but one of these days, it just might win. I'm not sure what to do with it. I suppose I could eat it. One does need one's dietary fibre, yes?
    Last edited by Sulphur; 16th Feb 2017 at 08:42.

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2000
    I'm just about finished reading Le Guin's Earthsea Quartet, I read the first one when I was 18 but hadn't gone back to the others til now. They're brilliant, each one is a totally different type of story, and although the narratives are outwardly very simple, the conceptual underpinning of her world is incredibly complex and the characters are very believable. I love the setting as well, something about a world made up mostly of islands and seafaring people that makes it more compelling than other fantasy lands I've read about.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Draggy the Dragons house
    Hah, my son got that as a christmas gift, so I decided to read it again after so many years, it really stands up. In fact I think reading as an adult was better. The earthsea islands setting is very evocative and really stirred my imagination.
    I read around 4-5 books a week, either re-reads of classic stuff I own or random picks from my local library.
    Keep in mind any genre is good for recs, hell I love Dick Francis novels.
    Last edited by PigLick; 16th Feb 2017 at 09:12.

  11. #11
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Murakami I think is popular almost entirely for his style and sinking the reader into a kind of atmospheric swirl of loosly connected events and thoughts in his settings, which are close to the real world but always a little off. His books are like magic realism without the magic. They've been hit or miss with me, although in theory I should like it. I love indie movies with that kind of approach. I'm thinking I haven't found the right book to get him like I'm supposed to and wanted to get to 1Q84 eventually.

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: Cologne
    Quote Originally Posted by PigLick View Post
    I read around 4-5 books a week
    Must be nice being unemployed.

    I read to my wife for falling asleep, currently Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. If you never heard of that, it's no big surprise because compared to Treasure Island it's a preachy slog.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    I read 2-6 books every night. ...To my 4-year-old daughter. I can almost read Fox in Socks without pausing. (I still stumble a bit amidst the freezy breezy cheese trees fleas.)

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2016
    Location: Blundering through the shadows
    If you haven't already read The Kingkiller Chronicle books by Patrick Rothfuss, I highly recommend them. They're some of the best fantasy I've read in years, and I read a lot of books. I only read the two that are out so far this past summer, and they quickly catapulted themselves on to my list of favourites.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: 1, Rotation: 0
    Try the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch. It's about a police unit specialising in magical crime in a contemporary setting. Sometimes pretty brutal, full of dark humour, and you learn lots of interesting details about London.

    Being an Australian, I suppose you know Trudi Canavan. She's pretty good, too.

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2002
    Location: London / London / London
    I have a three book cycle thing of worthy (currently the count of monte cristo, which is fucking BANGING if anyone ever wondered), factual/hard (which is lined up with Godel, Escher, Bach at the moment, which looks terrifying) and then indulgent, which has been re-reading all of the culture novels again in order so far, but as a general rule is high-end laser fights. Count of Monte Cristo is free if you've got a kindle. Turns out it's great. Vintage dickery.

  17. #17
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    I've been spending most of my time recently reading ghost stories on the internet.

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Quote Originally Posted by PigLick View Post
    Hah, my son got that as a christmas gift, so I decided to read it again after so many years, it really stands up. In fact I think reading as an adult was better. The earthsea islands setting is very evocative and really stirred my imagination.
    I read around 4-5 books a week, either re-reads of classic stuff I own or random picks from my local library.
    Keep in mind any genre is good for recs, hell I love Dick Francis novels.
    Was really surprised to see that they're classed in some circles as kids' books. Some of the stuff in there about how magic and language works is really complex. I think her parents might have been anthrolologists, seems to have given her the ability to describe complex societies pretty accessibly (same with her sf books as well, though I've only read The Dispossessed.

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Anyone read Alan Moore's new magnum opus yet? I keep hearing good things about it, but the sheer length of it makes me hesitant to pick it up just yet.

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Draggy the Dragons house
    Quote Originally Posted by Kolya View Post
    Must be nice being unemployed.
    lol I'm not unemployed, I just dont spend my time on social media or gazing into smart screens much, leaving me with plenty of spare time. Plus I read real quick like, call it a skill.

  21. #21
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: Cologne
    I was being slightly facetious, but still: that's almost a book per day. Quite an amazing skill.

  22. #22
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Draggy the Dragons house
    haha yeh i know you had jokes going on, plus i re-read a lot of books which makes it quicker. I suffer from insomnia and find reading in the middle of the night or early morning a good cure, although sometimes that backfires and I get engrossed in a book and end up not sleeping at all

  23. #23
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: Cologne
    I guess it's cheaper than drunken midnight amazon shopping sprees. In the end I had to send that Po Demeron jacket back to Pakistan. Twice.

  24. #24
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Draggy the Dragons house
    totally up for some drunken midnight amazons

  25. #25
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2000
    Location: Portreath Cornwall UK
    The Morgaine Stories, also known as The Morgaine Cycle, are a series of science fantasy novels by science fiction and fantasy writer C. J. Cherryh

    Great book if you can get into the first couple chapters.
    Last edited by Medlar; 17th Feb 2017 at 14:21. Reason: McTaffer beat me to it!

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