What Are You Reading Now.

Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Writing Forums Staff, Feb 22, 2008.

  1. Dogberry's Watch

    Dogberry's Watch Swaggin like a Baggins Contributor

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    Finished The Toll about an hour ago and I'm still basking in the afterglow of such a goddamn masterpiece.

    I'll probably read something by Erik Larsson next. Pardon me if I spelled his name wrong.
     
  2. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Modern Dinosaur Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Just finished The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole. It's the opening salvo to what would become a pervasive flood of Gothic literature in the English cannon for the next hundred years. More of a novella than anything at its thirty odd thousand words, but an interesting piece of history nonetheless.

    It's also the only piece I've read that starts off with a prince getting crushed by a giant, inexplicable helmet.

    It isn't particularly well written because it is one of the early examples of novels in the English language, so you have to give it room for some industry standards that just didn't exist at the time. The paragraphs involving multiple people speaking aren't broken up, for example. This is very difficult to read this way, so I suggest reading it on Project Gutenberg for free if you get the chance. It's manually separated there and much more accessible. There's also an insane amount of emdashes covering the work, which are very distracting.

    Otranto is maddening in its treatment of characters as well. The women are all basically wooden from the start. They stay irritatingly true to their filial and marital relationships, even though they are so far gone that divorces are occurring in a strange sort of accepted state and daughters are just tossed around as bargaining chips. Somewhat true to the day being depicted, but a bit just too far off the deep end of believability. Then there's this emotional conversation between the three main women that is just silly. All sorts of fainting and holding each other up. Walpole trying to write women is just over the top.

    He does, however, write some of the men quite well. Manfred is a very believable villain and actually the most dynamic of them all. He's the core of the drama and his bouts of fury are kind of exciting because you don't know what madness he will decide that irrevocably changes the environment around him.

    Most of the novel, unfortunately, is telling and big gasping moments (or they are intended to be) that would have shocked some readers of the day, but ultimately fall pretty flat in this day and age where we are numb to it. It's an interesting bit of Gothic history, but if you're reading it as a fun and relaxing beach read, I would suggest something else.

    Later this week I'm starting the first horror novel in the English language: Matthew Lewis' The Monk. I've heard it's pretty wild and grotesque, despite its age. Exciting for me.
     
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  3. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

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    Manifold Space by Stephen Baxter. Pretty good. Standard sci-fi fare in the vein of Asimov and Clarke, complete with zero characterization, which is fine since the book doesn't pretend to care a whit about its characters.
     
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  4. Historical Science

    Historical Science Contributor Contributor

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    Anyone tackle 1Q84 by Murakami? Thoughts?

    Slow burn but I'm certainly intrigued and Murakami's writing speaks (reads?) for itself.
     
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  5. Van Turner

    Van Turner Member

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    Doctor Who and the Daemons, by Barry Letts.
    Evermore, by Sara Holland.
     
  6. Catriona Grace

    Catriona Grace Member

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    How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster. Picked it up at B&N expecting dry academia but it's interesting from both a reader's and a writer's standpoints, and a hoot to boot. Re: the main character in Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon: "...the rain cleanses her of illusions, and the false ideal of beauty. The experience, of course, destroys her, and she soon dies of a broken heart and overwatering."
     
  7. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Modern Dinosaur Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I finished Matthew Lewis' The Monk yesterday and I have to say, despite its age, it is phenomenal. It is the first horror novel written in the English language, and yetit feels like a great one still, even after pioneering the off-shoot genre.

    The book comes straight out of British fear of Enlightenment related revolution, much like was happening in France at the time. That brings with it a multitude of Anti-Catholoc and Anti-Enlightenment digressions, as well as on overall negative outlook. It's visceral, rather fast paced, and incredibly well written.

    Where Radcliffe tends to fail in my eyes for building up terror and then dropping it to explained supernatural, Lewis instead drives the scene forward into its horrid realization. Its never really gratuitous in its violence or depravity, but it gets there. What it is is convincing. I believe the world he creates there and understand it. The plot is full of storylines within the main tale whichactually support or build up the main narrative nicely. Everything feels naturally conveyed and less artful. The writing is nearly modern at times, using stylistic stratagems I havent seen in most any other work of the time.

    It's worth the twelve hour read.
     
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  8. Gibdo Baggins

    Gibdo Baggins New Member

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    So far this year I've read:

    - Animal Farm by George Orwelll
    - 1984 by George Orwell
    - A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
    - Flashman's Lady by George McDonald Fraser
    - The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

    I'm now reading Dragonfly in Amber by Diane Gabaldon and I've got How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie sitting in my bathroom being read whenever I'm doing my business. I'm definitely on track for my book-a-month goal.
     
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  9. Triduana

    Triduana New Member

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    I'm about half way through A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin. I've been reading it for 2 weeks now. It's well-written, but it's very wordy!
     
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  10. Dogberry's Watch

    Dogberry's Watch Swaggin like a Baggins Contributor

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    Geared up to finish the Wastelands collection this morning, and then I'll stare at the shelf for what to read next. I ordered two books about the battle of Ardennes last night, but I might start one of my WWI books while waiting for them to arrive.
     
  11. escorial

    escorial Member

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    like reading about posh stuff
     

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  12. Catriona Grace

    Catriona Grace Member

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    I'm reading a book about storm chasers right now, something my brother did back in the seventies and eighties when he was a meteorology student in college and later as a volunteer reporter for the weather service. Now that he's retired, I wonder if he'll climb back in the truck and go looking for tornadoes.
     
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  13. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    I vaguely remember the series and suspect I’d appreciate it far more now than I did when it originally aired. I’ve developed a real soft spot for the depiction of the upper classes. I love the idea and notion of friends getting together for a summer weekend back in the 1920s, held at some huge stately home in 300 acres of land... A game of croquet followed by tea and crumpets...
     
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  14. escorial

    escorial Member

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    it's all that and if you want city life on the same lines Vile Bodies....Bridesmaid is just as much about religion..i find Waugh books either terribly good or poor.....
     

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