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Thread: What are you reading?

  1. #151
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew View Post
    The first book is so horrendously tragic, there's a real sense of potential lost in it*. Where are you up to?

    *Edit: on the part of the characters rather than the book, I mean.
    I agree completely and think Dan Abnett is an excellent writer. I find it strange that he's never written an original peice. It all seems to be Warhamer and comics, with the odd bit of torchwood and Doctor Who thrown in.

    The other authors in the series aren't bad either, but the subsequent books seem to lack a certain something. I suppose it could be down to the serial nature of the writing. The other authors have to make do with the limits set by those before them.

    Right now I'm just over half way through Fulgrim. Feels a bit like filler, which is a shame. Not to say I'm not enjoying it, I just think it could be better. I've been getting the feeling that Black Library, in keeping with the GamesWorkshop tradition, are trying to milk this for every drop, which ofcourse would affect the quality of the books.

    An example would be the structure of Darkblade. "Oh, you have to find 5 relics do you? Well, take your time and spread that out over quite a few novels please". Aside from the somewhat abupt ending of volume 1, it was great.

  2. #152
    june gloom
    I have Horus Heresy book 9, but I'm not going to read it until I get the others, which could take a while.

    That said, I can't recommend Lord of the Night enough- it's stupendous. Really worth reading. The novel focuses on two characters, and the tone tends to shift slightly with the character focus. Fits the characters nicely.

  3. #153
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Quote Originally Posted by Starrfall View Post
    You and Angel Dust are crazy, Faulkner is the only author depressing enough to make me wish I was reading something by Tennessee Williams
    Aint it true? Hemmingway and Faulkner had that famous adversarial tiff about writing style and I confess I fall on Hemmingways side. If I have to slog through pages of maze like passages which lose the intent among the intricacy then what is the point? Tennessee may have been maudlin but he could lead you right to the point. Consise. What a lovely word.

    I'm reading "Nelson" as edited by Colin White which is a compilation of Admiral Lord Nelsons correspondence. God that sounds pretentious. But he was a very personable sort for all his military genius. Not the least bit pompous. I like him off the bat and want to understand the battle of Trafalgar. I may speed read the "editing" part a bit though.

    I want to read "The Day it Rained Forever" though. I often find things suggested here that ring my bell and Bradbury had me from the moment he described the things in his fathers pockets which were so near the things in my Dads. Ohgod the story where he called his Dad back from the grave for one last talk. Rip my heart out and make me chew it hard and slow you bastard.

  4. #154
    Registered: Dec 2007
    Location: Finger paintings of the insane
    Currently reading this, as per Ulukai's recommendation in gengaming. Sort of a look into dethtoll's childhood.

  5. #155
    june gloom

  6. #156
    Just finished The Drowned World by JG Ballard.

    I've no idea what his other books are like but this was quite wonderful in a primal way and I could really identify with the main character (accept for his attitude to one of the female characters which was just... wasteful). I reckon out doorsy type people would appreciate it and probably most Americans on account of the fantastic landscapes you guys must all have experienced. Towny Brits will not get it all though, I can feel it in by bones.

  7. #157
    Registered: Mar 2006
    Location: Hamilton, New Zealand
    Quote Originally Posted by Aja View Post
    Jesus christ you're just plowing through this stuff!
    Yeah, I had the sudden 'brainwave' that instead of watching a couple of hours of bullshit TV every night I could read instead! I've also been on such a reading kick lately that I've even been forgoing some of my other interests, films and gaming, in favour of having a good read.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tocky View Post
    Aint it true? Hemmingway and Faulkner had that famous adversarial tiff about writing style and I confess I fall on Hemmingways side.
    I must confess that I love them both! I never for a million years thought I could get into a writer like Faulkner but hey, I genuinely love what I read so far. I find this raw power and emotion in his work that just completely floors me.

    Anyway I finished A Farewell to Arms a few days ago, which was brilliant and perhaps my favourite Hemingway novel yet, and I'm currently halfway through Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, which so far has been supremely entertaining.

  8. #158
    Registered: Dec 2005
    Location: Denmark
    "Peace" by Gene Wolfe. I guess it's his only non-sci fi/fantasy book. Still weird, though.

  9. #159
    Registered: Sep 2008
    Location: In the Present Perfect
    Titus Groan, by Mervyn Peake, Meditations of the First Philosophy by René Déscartes, Poetics by Aristotle and Waiting for Godot by Beckett (the last two because I'm writing an essay about them for my own entertainment ).

  10. #160
    Registered: Feb 2008
    Location: on a mission to civilize
    The Poe Shadow, by Matthew Pearl.

    About twenty pages in, and--well--it's interesting. I'm not sure if I like the writing style, but it's got a great hook.

  11. #161
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    Right now, for a summer course, I'm reading a book by native American author Ray Young Bear called Black Eagle Child: The Facepaint Narratives. I'd never heard of this author before I enrolled in the course (I needed the credits) but after a book of his poetry and now this novel, I think he probably deserves more recognition than he gets.

    Young Bear's writing style is difficult to place. He describes what seem to be events in his life, but often without specific details of time and place. The reader is left to assemble the narrative from a stream of vivid but disjointed recollections that invoke pop culture as much as they do Mesqwaki (the tribe to which Young Bear belongs). Occasionally awkward passages give way to some startlingly evocative and skillfully crafted ones.

    So far I'm reading this text partly as a commentary on aboriginal/white relations (how could it not be), but at the same time it seems unfair that all Native literature should have a diasporic focus. To that end, the novel doesn't seem to be written for a specifically western audience (i.e. one that craves the kind of self-reflection that only a displaced person can provide), and it sometimes makes me feel excluded, which, in this case, is not necessarily a bad thing.

  12. #162
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: Lost in transit.
    A couple of hundred pages into James Clavell's Shogun right now, and enjoying it quite a bit, even if it sometimes feels like he's hitting you over the head with how much research he's done.

    I recently finished Imperial Life in the Emerald City, which really laid bare the naivete, incompetence and arrogance of the Iraq occupation, in a very readable way. Since it focuses on the administration of the occupation and stays away from the the overall political rationale behind war it won't give anything approaching a complete picture, but then it's not pretending to. As a snapshot of the implementation of the war, and the bizarre ivory tower that was the Baghdad green zone it's excellent.

    Also just got done with China Mieville's Perdido Street Station. It's dirty and grimy and grotesque, and jam-packed with ideas. I really, really liked it. If there were more fantasy books with as much verve, I'd be reading a lot more fantasy.

  13. #163
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    I'm about in the mid-'60s (halfway) in European postwar history.

    The author tends to be pretty droll, and I like his style.

    He enjoys the little ironies, stories that bring to light really interesting contradictions, idiosyncrasies, or character traits of each country. It really breathes some colour into the history and makes for enjoyable reading. But he also ties things into the bigger trends ... the "Germany problem"; the USSR-ification of the East; the "Social Democratic moment".

    I wish I could tell some of the stories to see if anyone from those countries sympathize or would want to qualify or contest them, but there are so many of them it would be overwhelming.
    Last edited by demagogue; 16th Jul 2009 at 15:24.

  14. #164
    Registered: Jul 2003
    Location: some things never change
    Quote Originally Posted by BEAR View Post
    Hopefully the surrogate-writer will be done by the time you get to the final book. Even having read most of them, Im not sure why anyone would do that to themselves
    Reading them or finishing the series as a surrogate-writer? Being now in the middle of book two I seriously doubt that I'll read all in one go (if at all), so I'm pretty sure that I wont end up waiting anxiously for the final book(s).

    Quote Originally Posted by Morte View Post
    Also just got done with China Mieville's Perdido Street Station. It's dirty and grimy and grotesque, and jam-packed with ideas. I really, really liked it. If there were more fantasy books with as much verve, I'd be reading a lot more fantasy.
    It really was jam-packed with ideas, only for me that was the problem of the book, because it didn't seem to grow together to an impression of a living city (and narrative). While that could be intentional with regard to the city, showing it as an accumulation of people and groups instead of as a working society, it didn't work for me as a believable background. He seemed to reflect the problem with his two big metaphors, the Construct vs. the Weaver, but that was too obviously done for my taste.

  15. #165
    The Pickwick Papers. For real this time.

  16. #166
    Registered: Feb 2004
    Location: Israel
    Rama was indeed one of Clarke's best books. I love how it's all about exploration and discovery. It almost feels like a Jules Verne book.
    (That was a compliment).
    Also read Martian Time Slip, which was kinda meh-ish and a bit of a dissapointment after The Simulacra, and No Blade of Grass, which is like a more depressing version of Day of the Triffids. I didn't like the way it kinda turned to standard post-apocalyptic stuff fairly early on. I mean, forty pages in and it could've been a zombie apocalypse, plain old nuclear holocaust, anything basically. Which is a shame, because the grass eating virus and its consequences were very interesting and they ended up being just the premise for the rest of the book. Other than that, good book.
    Getting started with Extro now, which gives off the impression of being batshit insane. That's ALSO a compliment if it turns out to be as awesomely batshit insane as The Stars My Destination.

  17. #167
    Registered: Aug 2003
    Location: Sydney
    Darwin's Origin Of Species.

    You'd be surprised how chicks on the tube are impressed.

    Plus its much more exciting that the dull horrostories in the Metro each morning.

  18. #168
    Registered: Apr 2006
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    I'm reading Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.
    Borrowed it off a friend who's obsessed with Neil Gaiman.
    It's quite good so far and I like the mish mash of history that it has, some of the characters are quite odd. The conecpt is quite interesting I must say and I appreciate it's dark fantasy aspect.

  19. #169
    Registered: Mar 2006
    Location: Hamilton, New Zealand
    I finished Midnight's Children a few days ago and found that my initial enthusiasm had given way to a resounding 'meh'. The teasing, back and forth way in which it was told was intially intriguing and charming but quickly become tedious and finally irritating, and I found it hard to get caught up in the characters struggles when I constantly had advance knowledge/hints of what was to occur. A little dramatic irony or foreshadowing can be effective but I felt it was a bit overkill in this case. I also wonder if my ignorance of Indian history may have hurt the resonance of some sections. Needless to say I did a bit of wikipedia-ing after I finished it!
    Still Rushdie seems to be a talented writer, and I did enjoy much of the first half, so are there any recommendations for something else by him?

    I've been really sick the last week so have not been up to tackling another book so I'm currently working through a Kafka short story collection. I read The Metamorphosis last night and it was quite a strange and disturbing tale, as well as being an extraordinarily effective examination of alienation.

  20. #170
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Rhode Island
    I'm still reading China Mieville's "Perdido Street Station." Purchased the book years ago but only decided to read it this year. I started reading it back in May, read the first 120 pages or so, then didn't read it at all in June. A few days ago I picked it up again and read a lot more of it, to the extent that I'm past the halfway point now and making my way to the end. I'm still not sure how I feel about it. On one hand, there are moments where I feel like it's one of the most brilliant and exciting books I've come across in awhile now, but there are also moments where I just find the whole thing very frustrating and, at times, a real chore to read.

    Many people on Amazon have complained about China's overuse of "big" words and his baroque writing style... this doesn't bother me in the least. I like how he has applied a sort of element of Lovecraftian horror to the whole fantasy/steampunk genre, and I also like how he namechecks surrealists as an influence in interviews (such as Max Ernst and Yves Tanguy). Yet for all his interest in experimentalism, in some ways many aspects of his book are very conventional, from his use of numerous Deus Ex Machinas to the somewhat flimsy characters. The plot of the book takes forever to set up, and what it actually is isn't anything to write home about (then again, I've never really cared all that much about plot anyway). And sadly, like most fantasy books, it's way too long... over 600 pages, over 200,000 words, etc. Why so many fantasy books are bloated in this manner, I'll never know.

    The city of New Crobuzon is a fascinating environment, but I think that China spends way too long describing it (and it doesn't help that seemingly every district in the city is a slum teeming with garbage and sewage... surely there must be some nicer neighborhoods). And while I love weirdness, after awhile the constant weirdness becomes numbing. Which reminds me of a critique I read recently regarding the whole "New Weird" genre, that after awhile so much weirdness just becomes normal and commonplace. I think that might be the problem (well, one of the problems) with "Perdido Street Station."

    Having said that, I'm totally in love the Weaver character.

  21. #171
    june gloom
    Finished up Lord of the Night last night. Trying to decide if I should crack open The Road or House of Leaves.

  22. #172
    Registered: Jan 2006
    Location: On the tip of your tongue.
    Quote Originally Posted by Andarthiel View Post
    Neil Gaiman.
    Try American Gods - a fascinating and powerful study on the nature of gods and belief.

  23. #173
    Registered: Mar 2000
    Location: tall bikes and tattoos
    ^^^also complete crap.

    Currently reading City of Thieves by David Benioff, which is a fun yet smart read. It's a coming of age story set in WWII, and supposedly pretty historically accurate. Recommended so far, although it's a little distracting that the book prominently features a charismatic ladies man named Kolya.

  24. #174
    Gone, but not forgotten

    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: Seaside, Oregon
    The Art of war,by Sun Tsu, andMilitary Methods, by Sun Pi.

  25. #175
    Given up on Pickwick Papers.

    Now reading technical work related books only.

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