Books

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  • @Doctor_Nick I'm almost done with The Dark Forest (the second book in the series) and I think it's got some super fascinating concepts. Some stuff I've never really seen done before. It is clunky at times, but there's so much interesting going on with it. You planning on continuing the series? The second book is definitely better in my opinion. 
  • Doctor_NickDoctor_Nick Terminus
    edited December 2016
    DaveyMac said:

    @Doctor_Nick I'm almost done with The Dark Forest (the second book in the series) and I think it's got some super fascinating concepts. Some stuff I've never really seen done before. It is clunky at times, but there's so much interesting going on with it. You planning on continuing the series? The second book is definitely better in my opinion. 

    Yeah, I actually have it in from the library.  I am interested to see where this goes.  
    DaveyMac
  •  Thank you, I will check these out!
    ceburaska said:

    I am fairly new to the Forums -  quite enjoyed this thread about books. I've been into non-fiction books lately. The last two that I read were about North Korea, "Nothing to Envy" and "Escape from Camp 14". Very interesting and hard to put down. I'm looking for other non-fiction books, if anyone has recommendations.




    Good, but difficult, reads. I've waded through a lot of Communist/Nazi concentration camp literature, but thankfully most of it is now history. North Korea isn't, yet many people have zero knowledge of what is happening there.

    If you want books in a similar vein, then I would recommend Primo Levi's If this is a man and The Truce, and Solzhenitsyn's A day in the life of Ivan Denisovitch. They all read like novels but are either autobiographical or, at the least, heavily inspired by real experiences.

    Truly non fiction I'd recommend Gulag by Anne Applebaum and also Vasily Grossman's A writer at war (edited by Anthony Beevor).

    Speaking of Grossman, I have to mention his incredible novel Life and fate. It's War and peace but set in the USSR in 1942-3. It's long and full of confusing Russian names, but it captures the society of the USSR like no other book I've read. If that's of interest to you!

    ceburaska
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  • Doctor_NickDoctor_Nick Terminus
    edited January 2017
    Old Man's War: John Scalzi- 2.5/5-  Classic military poor bloody infantry style science fiction.  I give it credit for the compulsive readability and page turner writing, though zero art to the writing.  I didn't need the author's acknowledgement at the end to know this was a homage to Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein.  Unfortunately, it dispenses with most of the interesting political and philosophical questions of the book and leaves us with a remarkably hypercompetent protagonist zipping his way through different encounters with monsters of the moment as the body count climbs.  Not much emotional engagement at all.  I also question his concept of how wars of the future would actually be fought given the technology that he posits in this book....
  • I'm currently reading a Dance with Dragons.  I finished what is the first Reek chapter and the visuals I conjured up in my head while reading that part was awesome.  It's one of those times I wish I could draw or paint well.
    Elisa
  • I finally finished Death's End, the final book in the Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy and I thought it was fantastic. Definitely worth a read for any sci-fi fans. I will say, though that some of the characters and characterizations are lacking and some of the translation is a bit clunky, but it totally makes up for all that with the ideas that it's putting forth. It's super ambitious and there are so many mind-blowing moments. It's also interesting in that it came out of China and I think a lot of the storytelling is actually a metaphor relating to China itself and what it's like to try to create art or any form of dissent in a country that monitors everything so closely. (I could be wrong on this last count. Just something I was thinking about while reading.)

    I'm also reading A Personal Anthology by Jorges Luis Borges and it is great so far. @ceburaska is totally right. Great stuff and I will be picking up Labyrinths after this one. 

    I'm also excited for the new Neil Gaiman book, out this week, Norse Mythology.
    ceburaskavoodoorat
  • I'm reading Trouble Boys a bio on The Replacements and reading The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard. 
  • ceburaskaceburaska London, England, United Kingdom, European Union (but not for long)
    Right now I'm finishing off Graham Greene's the Comedians. Bleak, sad, and full of racism - from all directions. I would love to know if Haiti has had any meaningful change since it was written.
  • DaveyMac said:

    I'm also excited for the new Neil Gaiman book, out this week, Norse Mythology.
    It's out today, get hype!
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  • Doctor_NickDoctor_Nick Terminus
    edited February 2017
    Right now I'm finishing off Graham Greene's the Comedians. Bleak, sad, and full of racism - from all directions. I would love to know if Haiti has had any meaningful change since it was written.
    That's a great book.  One meaningful change in Haiti at this point would be the lack of a psychotic strongman dictator, so there's that. 

    I just finished Nicola Griffith's Ammonite, which had an interesting initial setup with an all female society on a former colony planet, but turns out the setup wasn't all that well thought as the book goes on out and it became very Avatary.....
    mileswarrin
  • voodooratvoodoorat Atlanta
    edited February 2017
    @akritenbrink  i'm a gaiman fan, and i'm not exactly sure what i like about his writing although i've read a bunch of it.  it's fantastical even though it's not (all) conventional fantasy.  i think the reason i like him (and some others, like salmon rushdie) is because the language and ideas surprise me a lot.  i like the opposite too, tolkien and martin write/wrote well but are very precise, the surprising things in their books are in the intricacies of the story plots themselves and the stories are what the books are about.  i feel like gaiman (and rushdie and others) the plot is sort of less of an important part of the story as much as the feeling of experiencing it.  hell, i can barely remember what happened in american gods, but i remember liking it very much and some of the themes and characters have stuck with me.

    all that said, i'm not sure how that translates to non-fiction, but i'm excited to find out.  i picked up a kindle copy of it (haven't started it yet tho, i have a bad recent habit of getting like halfway through books and losing steam so i've got a half dozen half-finished books laying around--it's a little like the "golden age of television" on my kindle with deserving things unfinished due to lack of time and attention span).

    (edit) i'm not a literary critic (or, really, a media critic at all) and was a mediocre literary student so i don't usually really analyze themes or allegories or anything more than the surface type level stuff of plot, character, and dialog; i just read for simple entertainment most of the time and judge books by how much i enjoy them, full stop.  but sometimes when i read something that i really like there's some spidey sense that it's special and it is especially affecting without my really being consciously aware of why. 

    actually it's one really cool thing about amazon, how they have that "peek inside" or whatever it's called that lets you read some small % of the book, but i find it's usually enough to tell if i'll like it or not.  so if you're curious just do that.
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  • DaveyMacDaveyMac Tokyo
    edited February 2017
    @voodoorat I just started reading it yesterday, and it's good so far. And aside from the introduction, it isn't really non-fiction per se. It is just a collection of stories from Norse mythology that have survived and he's retelling them. It starts with the beginning of the world and presumably ends at Ragnarok. I'm finding it a breezy, fun read so far. And it's already informing some of his other work as I can see where he gets some ideas. 

    @akritenbrink I love Gaiman, mostly because I love that he writes stories about stories and how open he is about the story-writing process and also his openness in talking critically about his own work. Also, I feel like I'm reading someone who really has fun with writing when I read his stuff. And he is a firm believer in fairy tales and myths, and that they can still have power.

    My favorite work that he's done is Sandman, and some would write it off before giving it a try as it's a comic series, but he packs so many interesting, crazy ideas in there and combines so many elements from myths and religions, Shakespeare, and pop culture and it's amazing that it all hangs together. 

    His novels tend to be divisive, but I have enjoyed each one that I've read, though I suppose you could accuse him of telling similar types of stories in each one. Though he does like to play with tropes and conventions and I do like that he blends the everyday with the fantastical. I also know some people find his protagonists bland, which I think is often the point. And I know other people who don't like the way he writes certain female characters in that they feel like he often falls into the manic pixie dream girl archetype. Though sometimes I think he's commenting on the archetype itself. A good starter novel that I know a lot of people enjoy is Stardust. My favorite novel of his is American Gods, but that's also one of the most divisive. 

    He's also got some great collections of short stories, which are varied and quite fun to read.
    ceburaska
  • I second Sandman. Surprisingly emotionally engaging, i almost got dusty reading some parts of it.
    DaveyMac
  • pavlovsbellpavlovsbell Brooklyn, NY
    edited February 2017
    I'm making my way through a few books I received for Christmas. Currently, it's Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. Really enjoying this so far. I would have finished it a while ago, but I'm also following a couple of ASOIAF rereads during the off-season for Game of Thrones, and it's slowing me down. I don't like to read more than one book at a time, but what are you gonna do. Next up is:

    Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
    The Nix by Nathan Hill
    American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst by Jeffrey Toobin. This looks more like a summer read to me, but I really enjoyed Toobin's book on the Supreme Court, The Nine, which I highly recommend, especially if you've never even given a second thought to the inner workings of the Court, its justices, or the politics of appointments.

  • ceburaskaceburaska London, England, United Kingdom, European Union (but not for long)
    @akritenbrink the Gaiman I enjoy has been funny, whimsical and slightly creepy , e.g. Anansi Boys, Good Omens, Stardust and his first episode for Dr Who.
    American gods, which is influenced by Norse myths, left almost no trace after reading, so a retelling of Norse myths doesn't agitate my molecules.
    DaveyMac
  • I just finished Norse Mythology and thoroughly enjoyed it. Very easy, breezy fun read. I just wish there were more tales in it as it was over far too soon. 

    I just started Ken Liu's The Grace of Kings, and while it's too early to tell, I'm enjoying it so far.

    I'm also gonna try to get into Umberto Eco as several friends keep recommending his work, so I am starting The Name of the Rose today.
    ceburaska
  • that's cool. I did study literature, but I'm not an academic by profession, so I had to sort of unlearn some of the literary criticism stuff just to enjoy books again, if that makes sense. 


    I don't think I would actually read this particular book, just because I have a hard time finding reading time to read nowadays, but I think it might make a good audiobook listen. I put a hold on the audiobook at the library (15 people ahead of me, haha).

    I hear you about having so many great books on the Kindle that never get finished!! With all the new ways to consume media I always have a surplus of quality and a deficit of time!
    My favorite Gaiman work is Sandman, but it's a comic series. For audiobooks, I would highly recommend American Gods: Tenth Anniversary Edition. It's my favorite novel of his but, like @DaveyMac said, it is divisive. The full-cast audiobook is awesome, though.
    DaveyMac
  • FreddyFreddy Denton, Texas
    edited February 2017
    Good god.... This page reads like Moby Dick. J/K
  • ceburaskaceburaska London, England, United Kingdom, European Union (but not for long)
    @DaveyMac I really loved Name of the Rose, and more than that Foucault's pendulum which is Da Vinci code written by a genius
  • ceburaska said:

    Right now I'm finishing off Graham Greene's the Comedians. Bleak, sad, and full of racism - from all directions. I would love to know if Haiti has had any meaningful change since it was written.

    I've been meaning to read it.  I've heard great things.
    Doctor_Nick
  • calebthrowercalebthrower South Carolina
    I just borrowed "King Rat" by James Clavell from my local library. I've heard nothing but good things so I'm excited to start reading. 
  • @ceburaska Foucault's Pendulum is definitely in the queue. I thought I'd start with Name of The Rose as my friends all said it was an easier way in. Loving it so far.
    ceburaska
  • I'm sure someone has asked before, but have there been any bald move book podcasts? I'd love to hear a book club style one.  I know doing the winds of winter on the GoT podcast was mentioned but I think it would work for other books too, either divided up into chapters or focusing on a whole book.
  • amyja89amyja89 Oxford, England
    Finally finished Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, probably one of the best books I've ever read.

    Moving on to The End Of Alice by A. M. Holmes. For some reason I'm drawn to controversial literature.
  • non-fiction for me right now, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert
  • DeeDee Adelaide
    Adrian said:

    I'm sure someone has asked before, but have there been any bald move book podcasts? I'd love to hear a book club style one.  I know doing the winds of winter on the GoT podcast was mentioned but I think it would work for other books too, either divided up into chapters or focusing on a whole book.

    Nope. Jim's not a big reader and I guess they're too busy with movies and TV. There was a casual read along of a Stephen King book in the forums a year or so ago (The Shining, I think? I can't remember offhand - it's 6am here and pre-coffee), but nothing really since.

  • Yeah it was The Shining. That was a cool read along, except that it petered out before the end. I think I remember A.Ron saying he might do something podcast/book club-wise if The Winds of Winter ever comes out.
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