Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Writing Forums Staff, Feb 22, 2008.
I am glad you enjoyed it, I just couldn't get into it.
Started reading a comic, Saga by Brian K. Vaughan.
I don't read comics. The only 3 comics I've read that I actually liked were for class (Persepolis for Freshmen orientation, Marbles for a psych class, American Born Chinese for children's literature). I've read a few Marvel shorts, but nothing book length.
Saga is awesome! I finished Vol 1 in a night and decided to get the version with like 5 volumes in one so that I could keep reading without having to find the next volume. Artwork is beautiful and the writing is amazing. He really makes you care about the characters and what happens to them, right down to the bad guys. One bounty hunter's pet/sidekick got sucked out of a hole blown into his ship and his face as he looked on as it floated in space was heart breaking.
Said bounty hunter has turned in to somewhat of an anti hero, so I guess he's not THE bad guy, but still.
Second Hand Souls, my third Christopher Moore this year, and Lolita. I'm reading that one in chunks. It's a little heavy. That will make eighty for the year, including audiobooks, obliterating my old record of 36.
Oh, and my four-year-old and I are reading Captain Underpants and the attack of the Talking Toilets. It's quite good.
Last two works have been To the Lighthouse and The Yellow Wallpaper. Currently reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Great narrative voice.
Trouble with Lichen, by John Wyndham. I've read The Day of the Triffids, and at some point I want to read The Midwich Cuckoos by Wyndham, too.
I am reading a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories, just because I was curious about the character. However, my favourite author of detective, crime is no doubt, Agath Christie.
[QUOTE="Rzero, post: 1727083, member: 88234Oh, and my four-year-old and I are reading "Captain Underpants and the attack of the Talking Toilets". It's quite good. [/QUOTE]
Might have to try that one.
I'm just coming to the end of 'The Name of the Wind' by Patrick Rothfuss and what a slog it's been. Undecided if my next book will be Kate Morton's 'The clockmaker's daughter' or to continue with the Game of Thrones saga, or to try something completely different. Could do with a good ghost story if anyone has any recommendations?
I'm reading The Singer's Gun by Emily St. John Mandel and it's very good. The other book of hers I read, Station Eleven, was absolutely amazing, so I'm happy to see that she's someone with more than one good story in her and I'll be looking for more in the future.
I'm also reading Helmet for My Pillow by Robert Leckie (bad habit, I know) which is one of the books that the WWII miniseries The Pacific was based on. It's interesting-ish, but we're only in training so far, so I'm hoping it'll get better.
Arctic Dreams, by Barry Lopez. Also some poetry by Gary Snyder, but he's bugging the crap out of me because he's just about the least poetic poet I've ever read. I'm thinking of retreating into a volume of Robinson Jeffers or WB Yeats. I might try Derek Walcott, because I've never read him before. But whatever - I gotta get the taste Snyder out of my mouth.
I'm not currently reading any fiction. I'm kinda orbiting David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest on the recommendation of a friend, but I haven't beamed down to the surface yet. It's a big ol' planet of words and I don't know if I want to make the commitment just now.
I read The Yellow Wallpaper this year, and then reread it three times that week. I never do that. It was like Stephen King and Sylvia Plath somehow wrote a short story together in 1892, though that opinion may be heavily influenced by having read both The Shinning and The Bell Jar earlier in the year. I couldn't believe it was written 126 years ago. Cuckoo's Nest is on my short list. I should pick it up soon. It might round out this descent into madness kick.
I only discovered John Wyndham this year, and he's one of my favorite authors now. I read The Crysalids, Day of the Triffids and Chocky. So far, Chocky is my favorite. I also picked up but haven't gotten to The Midwich Cuckoo, Time Stops Today and a collection of shorts. I'll be sad when they run out. Actually, I've been a little obsessed with mid-century sci-fi in general this year, with two Ray Bradbury, four Philip K. Dick, one Clifford D. Simak, and as of today, I'm on my third Robert Sheckley.
Let me know how you like it. I was thinking about picking that one up. I read With the Old Breed by E. B. Sledge, one of the other source books for The Pacific. Sledge is even a character in the series, and Ken Burns references it a bunch in The War. It was worth the read. Considering the matter-of-fact style of the prose, it was intense.
I was auto corrected into a classic Simpsons reference. Nice. As I believe Willie said in the exact same episode when he caught an axe to the back, "Argh, I'm bad at this."
@Still Life, I have in my list the Murakami's works but I didn't know where to start. After reading your post, I think I'll start with Underground and see how it goes. Thanks.
Working on Canada by Richard Ford. What I would tell the author, I get that the parents don't belong together, you've expressed that sixteen different ways! I was getting ready to put the book down, I can only read the same thing over and over so many times. It feels like adding fluff to flesh it out. There are parts of the story that are well written and pull me into the story. I will try to finish it and probably donate it away, although it would be a good example of what not to do.
Just finished reading "The Defining Decade" by Meg Jay. Didn't give me an order on how to live my life or what to do, but it gave me a lot of useful insight and got me thinking about the things I ought to be thinking about, including things I didn't even know I ought to be thinking about. Definitely something I'll be reading again and again in the future, and a new path to pursue in my reading, including Erik Erikson and Anders Ericsson.
Oh dear. On the recommendation of a friend, I just read my first Rosamunde Pilcher novel, Winter Solstice. This was written at the end of a long career, and published when the author was 76 years old, so I take that into consideration. I may read The Shell Seekers, just to give her another chance. But holy mud, she makes tons of writerly mistakes. Having said that, the story was absorbing enough to keep me reading to the end, but I did put the book down afterwards feeling very uncomfortable and irritated by it. And amazed that she got away with so many faults.
Let's see, where do I start? She handwaves important details, and gets many of them (vital ones that impact on the plot) totally wrong. Including how spousal inheritance law works in England (I checked afterwards—and no, a lawfully wedded spouse can't be completely disinherited by the other.) How lawyers work. (They don't reveal details of a will to the beneficiary on the day of their client's death OVER THE PHONE!) What it's actually like living in a remote part of Scotland (with which I am personally familiar) in winter.
She also solves all her characters' story problems easily—many by coincidences. Some more plausibly than others. While it's okay to start a story with coincidence, it's really not a good idea to solve the story's problems with it.
Her attitude towards Scotland is annoying. She definitely is one of those incomers who regards Scotland as a twee playground for the fortunate classes, via estate homes, and a great place to retire to. She displays quite a lot of snobbery in her attitude towards 'the lower classes.' Many reviewers have observed and criticised the selfishness and self-absorption of her 'good' characters—the ones we are supposed to identify with. I agree with their assessment. Liking her characters takes a bit of effort. (And no, she's not doing this on purpose. She really wants us to like and identify with them)
Anybody who dislikes multiple points of view in a story will hate this one. However, I didn't find that device of constantly switching POV all that bothersome. What WAS bothersome was the way she kept repeating herself, giving us background details we already knew several times. She often dropped back to go on and on about backstory, to the point where you kind of forget where she started from. The book was a VERY slow read, which I actually enjoy. But she spent a LOT of time faffing around in a location (Cornwall) that proved irrelevant to the story, which was ultimately irritating. I expected this part of the story to be relevant later on, and it wasn't.
She could have used a very harsh edit of this piece, although she probably got away with these flaws because she is a bestselling author and people buy her books no matter what.
She is excellent at evoking landscape and certain kinds of details, which is probably what kept me reading. I'm hoping that this book is flawed simply because it was her very last, and she was winding down. I'll give The Shell Seekers a go, and see if that changes my opinion of her. As it sits now, however, I'm not as impressed as I hoped I would be. Using major factual errors to underpin a story—and simply handwaving them away—is a flaw I find difficult to forgive.
I finally got book of Wolf Hall. So far so good...
Finished Roadside Picnic, by the Strugatsky brothers.
I haven't been so gripped by a work of fiction in a long time. Finished it in two consecutive nights. If I wasn't getting absolutely shitfaced right now in celebration of getting an acceptance letter from a university I applied to, I'd give it a review here. Maybe tomorrow.
And no, I didn't read it while I was shitfaced. You can trust me when I say that it was an exquisite work of science-fiction. I tell you, something about these Russian authors... They're always stellar. Tolstoy. Dostoevsky. Thank goodness McCarthy ain't around to put his boot on my neck. "THESE DAMN WEEBS!" he'd say.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. It's pretty good, but only half way through it's already giving off strong vibes that some of the story threads are going to be resolved in some upcoming sequel.
Just finished "Good Omens" by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman and Tom Sharpe's Wilt Alternative and heading back to the library (I may scroll through this thread first...)
It's been a mediocre week for books. I read Robert Sheckley's The Status Civilization. I only discovered Sheckley in the last few months. Imortality, Inc. was brilliant, the kind of left field thinking and originality of concept that similarly makes Philip K. Dick one of my new favorite authors coupled with a tinge of Christopher Moore level satire, almost what I think might have been the result if Douglass Adams had taken a less comedic tack with sci-fi (which would have robbed us of one of the greatest piece of satire ever written, so I'm glad he didn't). His collection of shorts, Untouched by Human Hands, was almost better. I don't love short stories as a rule, but this was the best collection I've ever read. Not a single one of them felt like the author lacked the material necessary to write a full-length story but decided to put it on paper anyway and call it a short. Neither did I feel cheated by a telegraphed punchline in lieu of a proper ending. These are by far my two most frequent complaints with short fiction. Instead, the stories ranged from compelling to thrilling, and each was so off-the-wall original as to make even my proudest ideas feel embarrassingly banal (and concept is generally the aspect at which I most feel I excel). Each was perfectly suited to the format. Not once did I wish he'd stretched a piece into a book. They were perfectly contained.
The Status Civilization, on the other hand, was interesting and even enjoyable enough to follow through to the end in audiobook form, but I don't know if I would have finished it on paper. I've never seen such a stark contrast in style between two books written by the same author and published only two years apart. He broke every rule of writing I know, and the book suffered for it. The story opens with a dream sequence; the MC passes out or gets knocked unconscious at least three times to change scenes; the big mystery revolves around another dream sequence, this one an exact replica of an erased memory with only the most important part cut out; the narration switches between omniscient and limited perspectives with no warning or pattern; and worse, he constantly tells instead of showing. In fact, where there isn't dialog, every paragraph reads more like part of a synopsis than a novel. It did however prove that a good idea can survive a great number of tired tropes and writerly sins, because in the end, it was far from terrible. I do plan to read more.
I also read The Moth and Other Stories by H.G. Wells. It was just plain boring, very dissapointing. That's all I have to say about it.
I'm still working on Lolita. As beautifully written as it is, it seems I can only take a few chapter at a time inside that character's head.
Next on deck is The Green Mile (Yay!). I've wanted to read this one for years.
I like Sheckley as well. I haven't read Immortality, Inc., however. Have to look for that one.
I liked Lolita quite a lot, but agree that Humbert Humbert has a disturbing mind.
I'm working on 3 books at the moment:
Night Watch of the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. Always a delight, especially when the City Watch is involved. I'm taking these in as audiobooks, and I don't like that they've changed the narrator for this one; the previous guy, Nigel Planer, was perfect.
The Dark Corrupts, book 3 of A Land Fit for Heroes by Richard K. Morgan. I've become rather fond of this Dark Fantasy series over the course of it, and I'm considering checking out the Takeshi Kovacs books by the same dude (I watched the show and liked it)
Romeo and Juliet, by none other than William Shakespeare, which I bought for myself as a souvenir in Verona, where the story takes place. Actually quite enjoyable. Say what you will about him, the Bard could write.
Separate names with a comma.