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Got past the halfway point of New Testament, now also reading Darwin's watch by Pratchett, Stewart and Cohen. So far, too much repetition of things I already know and too little fumbling wizards. I've also been skimming a Judo manual I forgot to return last week. I hope FDF library doesn't penalize me too badly for this...

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Informed by Kirkus Reviews that "it's difficult to imagine a reader who will not be changed by" Disquiet by Julia Leigh, I discovered I am difficult to imagine. This is in large part because I didn't get what the point was supposed to be. Also picked up but never finished a book where an annoying guy and a hot girl try to stop an evil corporation from killing people with bar codes--this is a good example of why I get so snarky whenever I discuss modern literature. Now I'm just playing video games and trying to cool down.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I finished Shakedown by Ezra Levant half a week ago. It details what federal and provincial Human Rights Commissions in Canada have evolved to. Levant started researching the HRCs after he became the only journalist to be prosecuted for republishing the Danish cartoons of Mohammed. I could talk about the book at length, but I don't know where to begin - it's one of those exposés that have you shaking your head after every page. My favourite is the complaints made by a member of a HRC against Neo-Nazis on Stormfront.org. The Neo-Nazis were replying to incendiary posts made by members of the HRC posing as Neo-Nazis, and when questioned, they admitted to stealing people's wireless to hid their tracks. The other one (still ongoing) is when a minister published his views on homosexuality in his local newspaper - and then received a lifetime gag order on the subject. By this time, Levant was receiving press and support nationwide, and he had a legal team going. When he reposted the letter on the now defunct Western Standard, the HRC said that it was excused because it fostered public discussion (to quote, the Western Standard wasn't a "forum which espouses extreme views of hatred". Pretty ridiculous, as the Western Standard was always a periodical by angry conservatives for angry conservatives, while newspapers have these things called 'Letters to the Editor' and 'editorials'.

 

Joy. It's times like these I'm glad I'm not from the States, where I would have to put up with the dangerous concept of 'free speech'.

Originally Posted By: Dean Steacy
... freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don't give it any value ... It's not my job to give value to an American concept.
I'm beginning to get really, really tired of reductio ad americanum. You see it pretty much everywhere. We, as a culture, really need to get over this bloody inferiority complex.

 

Anywho.

 

Started reading New Spring, the prelude to Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. For those of you not in the know, Brandon Sanderson projects that A Memory of Light is going to be enormous, and will be split into three volumes. The first one will be coming out later this year. Meaning I've got to reread the series again. Which is not a bad thing.

 

Well, it sorta is for New Spring. I consider it to be the worst in the series. At least some things happened in The Crossroads of Twilight (and most of it was Mat's doing - Go Mat!). New Spring is more of a "Where were they then?".

 

Ah well. At least I can play Aes Sedai Bingo. "Do I remember you? No... How about you? Yes - you're the frigid Red! That's five on that diagonal... Bingo!"

 

--------------------

And whenever you think about the First Amendment, the first thing you should remember is that it was designed by the Framers of the Constitution to protect offensive speech and offensive speakers. After all, no one ever tries to ban the other kind.

- The other Godwin's Law

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An excellent "school days" book is Talion, by Stackpole. I'm not a huge fan of most of his books, but that one is quite amazing in its dual interlinked plot perspective. (and oh dear, I seem to be repeating myself from about three years ago.)

 

As to the actual question, I've been reading the Vorksagian series by Lois McMaster Bujold. Good enough writing, tis an enjoyable read.

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That's the one, SoT. Stackpole seems like an author who writes reliably good but not great fantasy that is fun but not deep. One can do worse.

 

—Alorael, who is now reading American Pastoral and for once actually enjoying something by Philip Roth. He's rather surprised, actually.

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Just picked up a French novel called Cosmos Incorporated, by the same fellow who gave us the book that reportedly was absolutely butchered to make the movie Babylon A.D. It looks to be really, really good, but I'd like to complain to the translator--if a word isn't in Webster's Unabridged (Deluxe Edition), you have no business using it without proper context (e.g. a pun about "intramediary intermediaries.") Also read a moderately mind-blowing bit of slipstream called The Physiognomy, a subpar supernatural thriller entitled The Hour Before Dark, and the Russian import Roadside Picnic. That last deserves special mention--I happened to know ahead of time what it was adapted into, but an unprepared reader who also plays a lot of computer games might flip their lid when they start seeing references to "stalkers," "batteries," and "witches' jelly."

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  • 4 weeks later...

The Lies of Locke Lamora. I like it a lot, and a large part of that is simply the magical semi-Venice setting. I'm a sucker for well-developed cities. New Crobuzon, Ptolus, Sarantium, Ambergris, Lenele, TunFaire, and now Camorr. They make otherwise mediocre things excellent.

 

—Alorael, who would be impressed if anyone is familiar with all of that somewhat eclectic bunch. He'd be shocked if Spiderweb collectively didn't recognize any one of those, though.

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I know Camorr, New Crebuzon and Sarantium, and I've heard of Amergris. Where are the others?

 

Locke Lamora is one of my favorite books now, mainly for the way its plot extends down into the grass. Lynch makes arresting little stories at a level of detail where most writers are spackling with adjectives. The sequel was maybe not quite as good, but still good enough not to be disappointing.

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TunFaire is the major city where Garrett is a private investigator in the long running series by Glen Cook. I probably should catch up since I stopped reading it about book 8.

 

Alorael and the Dead Man, from the series, have a lot in common as grumpy old things waiting for the end and complaining about how their wisdom is appreciated by those younger than them. Also they snipe at pests.

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Everyone has read Harry Potter. Some (like me) haven't read most of the books, but everyone's read some of them. Now I just know someone will pipe up otherwise.

 

Ptolus is a setting for D&D campaigns that is one very large, very D&D city. Lenele is the capital in the otherwise thoroughly mediocre RPG Summoner, and it's my favorite rendition of any city in any game. And Ankh-Morpork definitely belongs on my best cities list. It's no coincidence that the Watch books are my favorites, though Carrot and Vimes help.

 

—Alorael, who thinks the decision to read or not to read Garrett books is easy. If you've read a few, you get the idea. They don't change, and the metaplot never really picks up very much. If you like the setting and the whodunits, keep reading.

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Originally Posted By: Cleric Minister
Lenele is the capital in the otherwise thoroughly mediocre RPG Summoner, and it's my favorite rendition of any city in any game.


Oh yeah. That game did suck, and I never did finish it, but you're right. The city is pretty awesome.
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Originally Posted By: Student of Trinity
Oh, I have read a few of those Garrett books. Is it worth reading many?


They are mildly entertaining, but like all series after 4 there is plenty of material from the earlier books that is referred to but left out to keep the books from having large sections of what happened before. I don't think I'd reread them, but for the first time they are fun. Everyone has some interesting twists so you can't quite predict what's going to happen.
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Originally Posted By: Andraste
No, she can't. She died last year.


Oh snap.

Can't say I liked his books much. In 10th grade I read the first 4 books of the Belgariad. If you recall, the books had a few catchup pages at the beginning, detailing what happened during the previous books. While reading that section of the 5th I thought, 'Man, I don't really care what happens to these people' and put it down, never to return.

I've just finished The Assassin's Gate (liberal take on the Iraq War) and Not Quite the Diplomat (Former EU commish for foreign affairs, writing about...foreign affairs) and am most of the way through 'The Brain that Changed Itself', which is about the field of neuroplasticity. All three books are excellent, easy to read non-fiction that don't require prior knowledge.
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Originally Posted By: Abhishek
Mahabharat(again). For BoA script, but say how many people know about it. I guess no one hahaha


Here it should be acknowledged immediately that, however we may smile at Abhishek's English, he knows classics of human literature that we have at best barely touched.

Do you read Sanskrit, Abhishek? If not, in what other languages is the Mahabharat available? I know very little about this, but the first part of the Bhagavad Gita has stuck in my mind — in English translation. Arjuna will not fight, for he identifies with both sides. Krishna says fight, nonetheless. Although I am a Christian, this seems to me to express something of the deepest moral issue of all.

And every physicist knows what J. Robert Oppenheimer thought at the moment of Trinity.
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Great knowledge SoT. I guess it is available in English if you are interested on net. In case of printed book, yes I am sure. If you are really interested, I will try to help you to enjoy the most deathly battle story of the world. Do you said Sanskrit? Hey, I am an Indian, it is in my bloodsmile, not directly but actually Hindi is um, distorted face(simplified version) of Sanskrit. I read it in Hindi.

 

Bhagwat Geeta, well, this is too difficult to understand even for Indians so you dont need to think that you dont know much. Even the Indian hermits do not know its mystery properly. To explain its difficult language but its importance, this is just enough to say that whatever written in Bhagwad Geeta are the words of God. So I am not going to grade it under human measure saying great, greater or greatest.

 

You are touching the most difficult but unquestionably the most important part of Mahabharat, I dont know your taste and Bhagwad Geeta fluently just Geeta is based on holy and true morals of life which can of course change the life. But if you are not interested(which is highly likely in our age) you can also read the main book Mahabharat for story purpose. You will need to skip a couple of places but a lot of people demand for it seeing the complexity and holiness(which is allergatic in todays life)of those part even skipped version are available to enjoy is as story of war of cousin (100 brothers vs 5 brothers) for the kingdom. Fits for BoA.

 

I have enjoyed the deepness and I guess I am looking like an old man while discussing.

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Originally Posted By: Student of Trinity
Originally Posted By: Abhishek
Mahabharat(again). For BoA script, but say how many people know about it. I guess no one hahaha




the first part of the Bhagavad Gita has stuck in my mind — in English translation. Arjuna will not fight, for he identifies with both sides. Krishna says fight, nonetheless.



Krishna is rude, explain him dude(hey that rhymes). Sorry for the multi posting but this was my only way for quote. This may spread misunderstanding so I need to explain it.

Well, Krishna is God, he is ordering Arjun to fight because he is on right side and he is going to kill those who are on wrong side. Then what is the problem, why he is not fighting? Because they are army comprising his cousins, teacher, grand-father, friends. A super "what should I do" condition.
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Someone definitely said that. I forget who. It was in a recent census thread of some sort.

 

EDIT: Oh, duh. It was Abhishek. *facepalm*

 

I haven't been reading much except for message boards and textbooks, but I finished listening to the audiobook version of Sarah Vowell's "The Partly Cloudy Patriot" the other day. I felt sad as the final iteration of TMBG's "The Partly Cloudy Patriot Theme" played, because I thoroughly enjoyed it and didn't want it to be over. Oh well.

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Hmmm. Many wont understand. Why dont I ask a question. Say you are Arjun. You know you are correct. Your cousins tried to kill you by burning a palace. They failed so they send you into forest for 14 years so that you and your brothers can not become king by defeating you unfairly in gambling. You wander in forest with your four mighty brothers who deserve the kingdom alongwith your old mother and wife due to them. They tried to on your wife.....Sorry but yes that was also the case. Will you kill them? Of course yes, they are so bad.

 

Now come. You have also to kill your grand father who loved you so much. Arjun father died early, he and his brother loved their grand father, respect them. Now you have to kill them because he is on opposit side. Not on his own wish, but forced by the cousins as grand father Bheeshm was also the mightiest warrior of his time. He loved you more, so much that in future when you failed to defeat him, he told you the trick that how to kill me. Will you kill your such lovely grandfather?

 

Move, there is your teacher who joined them because he was too poor for daily wages, but you were his favorite student, will you kill him? To the person who gave you these skill with which you are standing?

 

Come back to the 100 cousins with whom you played when you were young, who saved your life once when they dont knew what kingdom is, will you kill them?

 

These are just 3 examples there was the whole army and such such case with everyone. It was not easy. The mightiest archer begins to cry like kids. Lets go home, I wont fight. I dont need kingdom, I wont kill them. Say was it easy if you would be in Arjun shoes?

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Linking or quoting is probably better, especially if you don't give the correct topic name, which makes it very hard to find that topic using the search function. Anyway, here's the question we're talking about:

 

Originally Posted By: Excalibur
4. Do/did your parents or legal guardian(s) know any other language other than your native language. If so, what?
Originally Posted By: Slarty
4. No
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