Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by NedimNapoleon, Apr 19, 2012.
Finished Montaigne's Essay. Moving on to Ulysses which I read back in 2003 or 2004.
I've heard of this book. It's received some very good reviews.
It's very thorough without being boring. The author has taken great advantage of a recent publication of Napoleons thirty-three thousand letters, giving the reader a very nice insight. I can't compare it with any other Napoleon biography for I haven't read any, but I suspect this is a very good place to start.
I was just given a copy as a gift. I guess i have to read it.
The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome -Susan Wise Bauer
Basically what the title says, split up and compartmentalized into eighty-five ten-page 'episodes' (for lack of a better word). This is very easy reading but kind of makes it hard to recall context.
So after like a years break I have finally finished "Game of Thrones" (as in the first book of that series). It was translated after the program became popular, so I read it in norwegian.
I can't pretend it's masterfully written or deep in any way. There were some clichés, and there were some part of his fantasy world I would do different (maybe it's just me who thinks that as somewhat of a problem), but it sure was intriguing and thoroughly crafted.
A review on the back cover proclaimed that this book puts most other works in this genre in the shadow. I take that somewhat as saying most things in this genre is pretty bad, but I can't deny that this book succeeded in being what it tried to be.
Yeah, G.R.R. Martin's writing is ok but really not worth all the adulation it receives.
I'm about 50 pages away from finishing Terry Pratchett's Darwin's Watch: the Science of Discworld III. The last two books I finished were his first two Science of Discworld books.
Next I'm going to start his posthumously published The Long Utopia.
A Call to Duty David Weber and Timothy Zahn. Space opera of a series I more or less am tired of. But not a bad read for something quick and easy.
The Long Utopia Terry Prachett and Stephen Baxter. Took a while to get into this one. When I picked it up I didn't know it was the last book in a series. So missing the earlier books made this one harder to follow. Still a decent book and an interesting concept. But not that great of an execution.
The Great Cities in History, ed. John Julius Norwich
I'm reading "The Shadow Rising"... Book 4 of "The Wheel of Time" by Robert Jordan
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I'm rereading the City of Dreaming Books. Talk about a love letter to the written word. It's a critique of the publishing industry, a statement on writing, and a coming of age story all rolled into one. It's a book brimming with zaniness. It's a bit wordy, but that is part of its charm. I mean you cut out a lot of the pages and still technically come out with a functioning story, but the book would also lose much of its charm. I wish I could include an excerpt of one of my favorite parts, but I'm not sure if that is allowed here. I will close my raving on this note- the author obviously loved writing this book, and I love reading it.
It's been a while.
Understanding Naval Warfare by Ian Speller. Book delivers. That is all you need to know.
EM Detection of Concealed Targets by David Daniels. Equations and jargon ahoy. Once you get past that, good for understanding the principles of sensing targets using the electromagnetic spectrum.
Mondo Cocktail by Christine Sismondo. Start with a base of cocktail introductions. Pour history and literature into the mix. Add a dash of science and economics. Shake. Finish off with a garnish of unusual trivia. Makes for an interesting drink, but needs to be mixed some more (i.e. to get rid of the random 1-2 page asides that have little to do with the subject of cocktails). The sardonic writing style may leave a strange aftertaste.
(Also, there's the issue of the author admitting she's a supporter of feminism while celebrating the same cocktail culture considered a pillar of traditional, chauvinist masculinity. Cognitive dissonance at its finest.)
This is kind of a rant, but f books set in high schools, especially fantasy ones. I'm not sure the term for the genre of books about teenagers with magical powers that go to high schools with normal people who don't know about them, but I have been burned too often. My latest read was something I picked off of Kindle in its free section called "Darkness of Light" and it employ almost every tired boring cliche of the genre. I might as well replace the character's name with the stereotype they represent. I have only read about 13% of the book, so it might get better later on, but right now this read has thoroughly bored me to tears. How does this have an average of 4.5 stars for reviews?
This is kinda how I feel about various popular genres since I have become semi-serious about writing myself and as a consequence refined my perspective as well as dramatically increased my literature intake. I have read crime novels, fantasy novels and historic novels, picked based on good amateur reviews or at random and all either sucked or were only more or less okay. So many things wrong, flat or tired or all three of them. So much bad writing and narration styles. Just one novel I picked was excellent, but that was not a genre novel, just good literature, though a bestseller in Germany nevertheless. One other book I found to be somewhere between alright and decent, by Stephen King.
It is really incredible how much bad literature makes it into publishing, considering how hard it is to get published.
Oh and than there is Ian Banks, Sci-Fi, from whom the last book I read was unusually weak for his standards, but still, all in all that is some cool writing he got.
And then there is Kafka, who doesn't write good stories, in my view, but does still write a lot of intriguing and fascinating and inspirational stuff. But I am digressing..
The funny thing though is that I don't consider myself to be an especially picky reader. I mean, Captive Heart, another book I have read is not especially great. It is a steamy medieval romance with unoriginal characters and hackneyed sex scenes. Still the writing is competent enough to make those characters likeable and give them something beyond their stereotype skeleton. And it has decent chemistry, and that is all I need. I don't need every aspect of a book to be well crafted or executed, just a few elements to be good, but more and more books can't seem to make it to my low standards and it frustrates me.
I'll say we blame TV.
I blame the younguns and their rap.
I also was joking, but only half-joking. Literature's immense virtue is that it allows for completely independent work, allowing an individual to explore any thing to any extent he or she feels like on their way to the finale work, while providing a medium of almost infinite possibilities - words.
TV/Cinema in comparison has harsh time constraints regarding production as well as consumption, a huge group of people all entangled in a - in comparison - suffocating web of dependencies, expectations and conventions, has the need to capture the attention of a huge audience not looking for anything particular and because of the production costs is largely dominated by the soulless logic of profit-maximizing.
And it dominates what we expect from a story.
Well, bear in mind that the show that makes it to your screen may be no more different from the creator's idea than any book that makes it into your hands is different from its author's original idea.
I mean, lots of people are involved in getting a book published. Just as in making a TV show real.
So, I am to start reading Lovecraft stuff… if I suddenly start posting at odd hours about octopuses and black CFC being too dark for me, send some rappelling commandoes in.
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