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Thread: What are you reading?

  1. #2461
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fazor View Post
    Apparently I got appointed to read "The Hunger Games." Tara was talking to her mom, who had just read it and was raving about it. Of course, she tells Tara, "Oh you just *have* to read it!"

    . . . to which Tara, of course, replied, "Oh, I don't really read. But Steve does!"

    . . . and then Tara went up to visit yesterday and came back with a book. For the love of god, tell me it doesn't suck as bad as I fear it's going to?
    Skimming the Wikipedia article, it looks like the plot is the logical extension of current reality shows, plus some political claptrap to make it look meaningful.
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  2. #2462
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenrikOlsen View Post
    Skimming the Wikipedia article, it looks like the plot is the logical extension of current reality shows, plus some political claptrap to make it look meaningful.
    But it's become incredibly popular! ... among it's target teen audience. *sigh*

  3. #2463
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    So's Twilight, that's not a measure of quality.

    Let's just say I'll sympathize with your pain if it does turn out to suck badly but it's actually a plot that has potential for greatness if handled right. Please let us know if this was the case.
    __________________________________________________
    Reductionist and proud of it.

    Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn. Benjamin Franklin
    Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat tails. Clarence Darrow
    A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read. Mark Twain

  4. #2464
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    I have a friend (in his late twenties) whose mother said, "Oh, you like vampires, so you have to read Twilight!" And bought him all four books. He read them, because his mother asked him to and had bought them, but he only seems to like the vampires described in the Wizards of the Coast vampire roleplaying, which he LARPs. So he doesn't even like good vampire fiction that isn't the same as those. Needless to say he was not impressed with Twilight.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  5. #2465
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    I started reading Hunger Games. I'm 7% in (I'm reading it on the Kindle). The prose is good, the setting is moderately credible and well thought out, and the protagonist is pretty admirable so far - she lives in a tough world, and she's well aware of the unfairness of her situation, but she gets on with life without wallowing in self pity at all.

    I haven't read Stephanie Meyer (nor will I) but judging by the descriptions of her books, I would say Hunger Games is nothing like Twilight.

  6. #2466
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post

    But I find the idea that fiction is "escapist" an odd one. Some fiction is awfully grim, darker than the life I'm actually living. Some of it is just a thinly veiled version of real events; some of it isn't even that but is full of invented dialogue and so cannot count as nonfiction.
    I consider my life neither grim nor boring. It's just that fiction -- story-telling -- has always been meant to entertain, possibly with a secondary didactic purpose. I just extend that position to the point where if a work of fiction doesn't manage to entertain me, it's just not worth the bother to read it. I just apply the same criteria to a book by Dickens or Joyce as I do to a book by a NYT best-selling author: the only value I place on a work of fiction is its entertainment value. I also find some entertainment value -- and didactic value -- in the non-fiction I read, but I consider non-fiction to have values other than entertainment, so I'm willing to work through something like Ashley & Landahl.
    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

  7. #2467
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    I think fiction is more valuable than "just" entertainment. For one thing, the fiction of an era can tell you as much about it as nonfiction about the era. It can teach in a way that nonfiction does not. There is also the beauty of language, which is a bit beyond merely the story-telling. If the only value you place on fiction is entertainment, you are undervaluing it. Not that the entertainment factor isn't important; it's just that it's not all there is.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  8. #2468
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    But I find the idea that fiction is "escapist" an odd one. Some fiction is awfully grim, darker than the life I'm actually living. Some of it is just a thinly veiled version of real events; some of it isn't even that but is full of invented dialogue and so cannot count as nonfiction.
    I think some stories can be called "escapist" but I see that as a badge of honor, not a put-down. A story that helps your imagination escape to new worlds and lifts your spirits on a bad day is a wonderful thing. Most of my favorite stories are ones that did just that.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." Abraham Lincoln

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  9. #2469
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    I think fiction is more valuable than "just" entertainment. For one thing, the fiction of an era can tell you as much about it as nonfiction about the era. It can teach in a way that nonfiction does not. There is also the beauty of language, which is a bit beyond merely the story-telling. If the only value you place on fiction is entertainment, you are undervaluing it. Not that the entertainment factor isn't important; it's just that it's not all there is.
    My feelings about the non-entertainment values of fiction is one of the reasons I'm not an English teacher
    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

  10. #2470
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    Speaking of fiction, I seldom read it, but am currently making an exception. And quite a contrast too:

    Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov.

    The Christmas Bride by Grace Livingston Hill:

    http://www.ladybluestocking.com/GLH/...s-Bride-ur.jpg

    Beautiful cover art. Have never read GLH before, and it'll likely be the only novel of hers which I'll read. Am merely curious; my sister was a huge GLH fan as a teenager.

    Otherwise still reading LOTS of Carl Jung.

  11. #2471
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    I had an hour of free time today and read a short story called "Orange". It was about a witness to an alien invasion, she is being interviewed by a government agent. The twist is you can only read her answers, not the questions.

    (Punchy link to the Answers only, no questions thread)
    Solfe

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  12. #2472
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    What on Earth Evolved?: 100 Species That Changed the World, by Christopher Lloyd. Given that the author is clearly British, he appears to be a Christopher Lloyd, not the Christopher Lloyd.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  13. #2473
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    Batman: Year One and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, both written by Frank Miller.
    Wow. Excellent storytelling, tight art, brilliant comics. TDKR is a Wham Episode at the end of the Batman continuity... a Wham Epilogue perhaps?

    I still have the sequel to read, but I am saving that for tomorrow. And I'll have to order Year Two as well, I suppose...


  14. #2474
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    Just picked up this:
    http://www.amazon.com/Nikita-Khrushc...1332510&sr=1-1

    Written by his son Sergei, who worked with Chelomei in building the UR-500 Proton rocket which launched the Mir modules serviced by the smaller R-7. Nice photographic plates.

    http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/ur500.htm

    I bought it in my libraries discards. I think there was a book about library discards but could only find these selections:

    http://www.amazon.com/Double-Fold-Li...332405&sr=1-12
    http://www.amazon.com/Gentle-Madness...1332450&sr=1-1
    http://www.amazon.com/Patience-Forti...1332471&sr=1-1

  15. #2475
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    Today picked up Carl Jung on Death & Immortality, 1979 Princeton Univ. Press.

    Also giving romance fiction a (very rare) try:

    The Christmas Bride and In Tune with Wedding Bells, both by Grace Livingston Hill. Published 1939 and 1941, respectively.

  16. #2476
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Beardsley View Post
    I am reading Trooper: From Barnard Castle to Berlin by Arthur "Two Sheds" Beardsley.

    The author is my father. It's a self-published Amazon/Kindle book, the story of a (late) friend of the family who drove a tank during World War II.
    Hussars, noble horsemen of the Steppe or in the British Army, c . . er . . . blokes in tanks. Our neighbour in Brum is an old 15th/19th man from the NW Europe Campaign so I'll pass this on, I'll get a copy myself.

  17. #2477
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    The Alchemy of Murder, by Carol McCleary. It's a mystery novel set in Paris starring Nellie Bly and Jules Verne. It's okay.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  18. #2478
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    Micro by Micheal Crichton and Richard Preston. I like Preston's writing; he has done a quite creditable job of completing what will probably be the last Crichton novel.

  19. #2479
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stug III View Post
    Hussars, noble horsemen of the Steppe or in the British Army, c . . er . . . blokes in tanks. Our neighbour in Brum is an old 15th/19th man from the NW Europe Campaign so I'll pass this on, I'll get a copy myself.
    Good on you, Stug III! Hope you're not disappointed.

  20. #2480
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    Nemesis by Jo Nesbo (translated to English by Don Bartlett)

  21. #2481
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    Abundane by Peter Diamandis.

    The future looks bright; I'm excited.

  22. #2482
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    11/22/63 by Stephen King.

    An unexplained time portal to September 9, 1958 at 11:58 AM. It always leads to the same time and place but you don't meet yourself on successive trips because any changes made to the past on previous trips are reset. With the Kennedy assassination being five years away, there's plenty to time to save him. 849 pages.

  23. #2483
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    The American Library Association's yearly Lists of Challenged and/or Banned Books for 2004-2011. Available for free download here.

    Makes for interesting reading and makes you aware of some unsung heroes of intellectual freedom, such as St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin, Texas. The private school returned a three million dollar donation rather than submit to the donor’s request that the short story Brokeback Mountain be removed from the school’s list of optional reading for twelfth graders.

    And makes you aware just how moronic some people can be, such as the Menifee, California Union School District who decided to remove the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary from their shelves because a parent complained that it included an entry on "oral sex"
    __________________________________________________
    Reductionist and proud of it.

    Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn. Benjamin Franklin
    Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat tails. Clarence Darrow
    A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read. Mark Twain

  24. #2484
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    James A. Michener's Space, good read so far.

  25. #2485
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    I've got back to The Hunger Games, and am now a quarter of the way through the first book. The worst thing I can say about it is it's straightforward extrapolation of what's already obvious. Stories about reality TV, in which the participants face lethal challenges, predates reality TV itself - take Nigel Kneale's TV play The Year of the Sex Olympics, or the classic Doctor Who story Vengeance on Varos, not to mention lethal sports games such as the film Rollerball.

    But it's well written, well thought out, credible, and quite acceptable reading for this 48 year old man who doesn't usually read fiction intended specifically for teenage girls - which I don't think this is. Not exclusively, anyway.

    By contrast, I recently finished Susan Hill's The Woman In Black, in anticipation of seeing the film. Oddly, I initially kept thinking of the protagonist as Leonardo DiCaprio, but by about a third of a way through it just felt like a story told by a woman doing such a poor job of pretending to be a man that it would have been better if the protagonist had been a woman. A lot better, actually. At no point did I imagine the prot to be Daniel Radcliffe, but that's not a criticism of anyone.

  26. #2486
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    I am reading Galactic North. It is pretty interesting, but one thing that always freaks me out about these books is no FTL=long times in space. The main characters have no attachments except to the people on the ship with them and even those connections don't end well.
    Solfe

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    "Triangles are my favorite shape
    "Three points where two lines meet"
    Tessellate, Alt-J

  27. #2487
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    The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson.

  28. #2488
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    Stephen King's IT, on audio book.

  29. #2489
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike alexander View Post
    The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson.
    Oh, that one's a delight.

    A Brilliant Madness: Living With Manic Depressive Illness, by Patty Duke and Gloria Hochman.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  30. #2490
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    Oh, that one's a delight.
    Totally agree. Poignant, fascinating, and at turns side-splitting funny.

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