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What have you been reading recently?


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I've been busy over the vacation. Read two books, one called Tobacco, which is about this curious weed named after a court physician, and its relation with Man. Goes from the uncertain discovery of tobacco's properties in South America, to its arrival in Europe with the Spaniards, all the way to the present day.

 

The writer, Iain Gately, has written one other book, a novel. As such, even though the book could be incredibly dry, he really makes it come alive as a story; as every history book should do, in my humblest of opinions. Highly recommended.

 

The other book was the eigth installment of the Edge Chronicles, The Winter Knights. As usual, Paul Stewart weaves a tale full of imagery, rigor, and even combat; his beautiful portrayal of life upon a giant, floating stone that is freezing to the core is only amplified by Chris Riddell's masterful artwork. Also highly recommended, though it is better to start at the beginning.

 

Now, I'm reading a memoir by a historian, Stephen Ambrose. To America is a book stretching from the bravery of figures such as Jefferson and Washington all the way to the present. In each chapter, he details the objects of his study, how he studied them, and short, humanistic personal insights. So far it is excellent, and I only hope to be so learned as him in the future.

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Based on the fact that this topic has over 1.5 million views, everyone's answer should be "What have you been reading recently?"

The topic is dead! Long live the topic!   —Alorael, who will throw in The Ringmaster's Daughter, a relatively normal and therefore still quite unusual novel by Jostein Gaarder. Unlike Sophie's Wor

It was in one of the introductions for a book. Part of the problem was he had a few children and was trying to save for their future educations.   The figure I've seen is that a basic paper back

  • 3 weeks later...

Banks's books do run deep - consider Inversions, which can be read on many levels. I tend to just relax and enjoy the humour.

 

Incidentally has anyone read anything by Kevin J. Anderson? I'm rapidly running out of books here. Edit: I'm talking about his original stuff, not the star wars/dune tie-ins.

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Originally Posted By: Excalibur
Originally Posted By: Iffy
...I will soon have nothing to read.

Golden Compass is good, if you haven't read it already.

If you mean "The Golden Compass" as in, the trilogy which also has "The Subtle Knife" and "The Amber Spyglass" than...

Yes, I have read that trilogy.

I still have nothing to read.
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Read Lloyd Alexanders Prydain Chronicles books, they're really good.

 

I also recommend David Eddings' "The Belgariad", which comprises six books, and the sequel "The Malloreon" which is five books.

 

Both are part of the adventure/fantasy genre, and both recommendations are about boys who become part of tumultuous events and, of course, are very important though they don't know it.

 

If you don't mind a female protaganist, I would also go for Mercedes Lackey's "Queen's Own" series, which takes place in her world of Valdemar (which has lots of books about it).

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Originally Posted By: Toby-Linn
Read Lloyd Alexanders Prydain Chronicles books, they're really good.

That series tends to deter people because the first few chapters of the first book are boring. It's pretty strange that any good author would do that.
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I finished off The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah. I think I should have read the previous five volumes, because this book put me to sleep. All anyone did was wander from place to place, talk about what happened in the previous books, talk about what they might do in the future, and do some wandering around. I'm not certain, but the first hundred pages consisted of them taking a walk to a cave. Turtle statues brainwashing people was kind of fun, though.

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Originally Posted By: Toby-Linn
If you don't mind a female protaganist


It's a bit sad that people feel the need to say this, isn't it? I don't ever recall anyone apologising for recommending to a woman a book that had a male protagonist.
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And yet that seems to be the case for many in today's society. Speaking of Mercedes Lackey's books and the world of Valdemar, give the last Herald-Mage series a try, if you don't mind a gay protaganist. (haha).

 

Speaking of female protagonists, there is this book i read recently called The Naming that was pretty good. Protaganist finds out she has magic, but doesn't care about using it, that old jazz, but it's pretty well written.

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Originally Posted By: Thuryl
It's a bit sad that people feel the need to say this, isn't it? I don't ever recall anyone apologising for recommending to a woman a book that had a male protagonist.
It just goes to show men have a harder time understanding the opposite sex than women do, and they're not afraid to admit it. tongue
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How the freaky freak can you say you have "nothing to read", Iffy. People have been writing for centuries. If just one book a week was published since the invention of the printing press in 1439, that's 29588 books. If you read one a day, it'd take over 80 years to read them all.

 

The last book I finished was "The Dice Man" by Luke Rhinehart (George Cockcroft). It was fun. At the moment, I'm reading Dante's Inferno.

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ezAndy: how can you read the Song of Susannah without reading the other volumes? I could never come into a series in the middle, unless it was a standalone story.

 

To Thuryl, Sleeping Dragon, etc: I wasn't really apologizing, I just assumed that Iffy was a young teenage male (as so many are on these boards) and assumed he wouldn't want to read about females.....that was a lot of assumptions on my part, I apologize for that.

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Toby-Linn: The library I went to had only Books 6 & 7. Also, I believe that a good author should have their books written in a way for the reader to jump in at any point in the story and not be completely confused.

I also finished "Red Dragon" by Thomas Harris, the first of the Hannibal Lector (in order of publication). Having Lector used _sparingly_ was a good idea.

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A nice ideal, sort of, but when there've been literally thousands of pages of preceding text, it's pretty hard to write a satisfying stand-alone that also continues the story.

 

I've been having a hell of a time recently with non-stand-alone stories, because I've been trying to read the X-Men comics from start to mid-1990's. Only problems are the cross-overs and extra X-Titles and limited runs. I really just want to read Legionquest with full context, but to do that requires tracking the entire history of Legion, and (much worse) the entire history of Professor X and Magneto.

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Last book I read was The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli. Meh, its age shows, I think.

 

Went to the second hand bookstore today and bought Neuromancer by William Gibson, Nineteen Eighty-four by George Orwell, and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams. But before I start those I have to finish off my Crichton backlog - Next and The Terminal Man.

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Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series is indeed quite good. IMHO, though, only the first book in the Queen's Own set is really good. Arrow's Flight and Arrow's Fall are necessary to the plot of the overall series, so they should be read, but I would hardly call them great. I loved Arrows of the Queen though. My favorite Valdmemar book would probably be Brightly Burning, which can be read without any prior knowledge of the series. It also has a male protagonist, if such things actually matter.

 

I hope she hasn't decided to stop writing in Valdemar novels. It's been 5 years now since Exile's Valor came out.

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I just looked up those two books on Amazon, just to satisfy my skepticism, and I've found that, in fact, Andraste is not joking.

 

At the moment I'm reading a couple books by Russell Edson. "The Song of Percival Peacock" and "The Reason Why the Closet-Man Is Never Sad". People: Go find this guy's stuff and read it. It's hilarious. Classic Absurdism.

 

And not for children.

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Finished "The Inferno". I want to get a decent copy of the rest of the poem - the only reason I got this one was because it was £1 and I had a long train ride.

 

Next, I've acquired "The Metamorphosis" by Kafka, so I'll try that.

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The Trial was my favorite of his novels.

 

Amerika was the silliest, and he knew it. Kafka wanted to write something that would sell. But he knew almost nothing about America except what he read from, I think, a book by Ben Franklin, and something else. Maybe I'll take a look later and find out the full info.

 

And... I think The Burrow was probably my favorite of his shorter stories. ...Either that or Description of a Struggle.

 

The Castle I read so long ago it's hard to remember. It had a spooky atmosphere but I think I also remember the book rambling a lot. I really should re-read that one.

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Originally Posted By: Tyranicus
Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series is indeed quite good. IMHO, though, only the first book in the Queen's Own set is really good. Arrow's Flight and Arrow's Fall are necessary to the plot of the overall series, so they should be read, but I would hardly call them great. I loved Arrows of the Queen though. My favorite Valdmemar book would probably be Brightly Burning, which can be read without any prior knowledge of the series. It also has a male protagonist, if such things actually matter.

I hope she hasn't decided to stop writing in Valdemar novels. It's been 5 years now since Exile's Valor came out.


I like the Last Herald-Mage series, which takes place back when people still had the Mage-Gift. No idea what happens in the arrows books though.

EDIT: First book is Magic's Pawn.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Every once in a while I find a book somewhere but am unable to buy it, and wind up spending years looking for it. I have finally tracked down and am about to read The Roaches Have No King (the title roaches try to get the main character to get a new girlfriend because his current girlfriend is really tidy and doesn't leave out any food they can steal.) Next up: The Gods Hate Kansas, which could be harder to find. (amazon.com is selling it for a hundred bucks!)

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I also need to read past book 6 of the Wheel of Time.
You really don't. I can sum up all 5 of them for you right here:
Rand is cleansing the source and going mad.
Nynaeve and Min are helping Rand.
Mat is wandering around with Thom and Tuon.
Perrin is trying to rescue Faile from the rebel Aiel.
Egwene is leading the rebel Aes Sedai to besiege the White Tower
Elayne is trying to hold her throne.

There, that saves you from reading thousands of pages of tedium. Seriously, after Lord of Chaos, the Wheel of Time really starts to suck.
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Hey, Redwall was good stuff! I stopped after Marlfox, though, so I don't know how it went after that.

Downhill, and fast. Lord Brocktree and the middle section of The Legend of Luke are worth a read. Possibly Rakkety Tam too, but all the others since Marlfox are terrible.

Dikiyoba.
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Dikiyoba:

 

Quote:

Downhill, and fast. Lord Brocktree and the middle section of The Legend of Luke are worth a read. Possibly Rakkety Tam too, but all the others since Marlfox are terrible.

 

Dikiyoba.

 

I don't think Jacques has ever heard of pushing the envelope. His books are so mind numbingly repetitive. Every book consists of hordes of big bad irredeemable slaver vermin attacking the poor innocent non-vermin. Usually it's an attack on Redwall or Salamandastron. And just when you think Redwall/Salamandastron is going to fall, oh look, here comes the relief army of otters/long patrol hares to save the day. Hooray!

 

What a load of cack.

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