Jump to content

What have you been reading recently?


Goagh-Nar Tourism Agency
 Share

Recommended Posts

Originally Posted By: thi'serbated tiulen-formature tiemos
David Eddings - Guardians of the West.

Should I keep reading it? Its kind of meh so far, but does it get better?


I'd never suggest you stop reading a book you've started, but if you found the beginning "meh", the rest will not exceed expectations.

You will probably care about the story enough not to put it down. But it's no surprise that the good guys win (sorry, spoiler tags?).

Click to reveal..
The one main character he does kill off just at the end is barely significant, and in fact is bereft of a purpose. His passing is repeatedly foreshadowed ("one of you is going to DIE!") and then mourned grandly.

Basically, Eddings killed a supporting character and went "Woo! Tragedy! Victory at great cost! See how deep I am?"


I'm not knocking Eddings' writing skill though; it's better than I can do.

Besides, I obviously enjoyed Eddings enough to read his entire works (all 19 or so) again this year, and I just finished Eragon a second time too.

----

Ever since I finished Cryptonomicon some years back, I've wanted to find out about some of that stuff for real, so I'm about to start on Schneier's Applied Cryptography. I just hope it's not way over my head.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Alistair MacLean - The Secret Ways

 

I've never read anything by him before, and I seem to have neglected the book, which has sat unread on my bookshelf for a year now.

 

The last book I read, Nineteen Eighty-Four, is now my favorite novel. I have never read a book so fervently.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I recently reread both of my Barrayar books, Cordelia's Honor and The Warrior's Apprentice. There is so much depth to these books that I found something new in every reading. I started out with the Apprentice back in 2002, then bought Honor (which is actually the first) in 2005, and have re-read both of them more than once alternately.

 

Too bad I'm so lazy I haven't gotten around to buying the rest of the books yet. There are quite a bunch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Banana- I love that book. "A gram is better than a damn."

 

@Brock- Isn't the battle game cool? And all the strategies...

 

I myself am currently reading Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. I'm 200 pages in and already I don't want the book to end. I haven't experienced such deep characters since Crime and Punishment a few years ago.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm rereading Stephen King's the Cell right now.....I am liking it quite a lot.

 

I don't know what it says about King's writing that I'm picturing every scene in my head as a movie scene though tongue

 

Actually, it would make a pretty awesome movie. The opening just grabs you and then you're on a rollercoaster ride for the rest of the book.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Getting around to reading my backlog of books, instead of adding to them. Shredding the Public Interest and Democracy Derailed by Kevin Taft. Watchmen by Alan Moore a while back.

 

Don't know what will be next. Night class starts again in January, so probably back to flashcards on the bus.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stem Cell Century is interesting, but I think (I hope!) that parts of it will become quickly outdated under the Obama presidency. On the other hand, there's some very interesting stuff in there about biotech, patents, and profits.

 

—Alorael, who is also nearing the end of the Age of Discovery trilogy. It's one of Michael Stackpole's better writing efforts, which means it's probably only a little bit over mediocre but it doesn't matter because it's so much fun. Wandering swordsmen, corrupt politicians, gods, demons, and sleeping saviors! Also in-jokes and obscure references.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ayn rand may have been a raving loony but she was also a good writer. It's just a shame she used her gifts for evil and crazy.

 

—Alorael, who finds it even sadder that her efforts inspired Terry Goodkind to his efforts at raving lunacy. Unlike their inspiration, his works aren't even decent writing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally Posted By: Thuryl
Originally Posted By: I burn alongside the books.
Just finished We, by Yevgeny Zamyatin


Hey, synkarius: you should read this book instead of Atlas Shrugged. It's better in every way, mostly because it wasn't written by a raving loony.


Myself, I thought Zamyatin came off as a bit extreme, if not necessarily a "raving loony." I was particularly irritated by how he seemed to take it for granted that anything he considered dystopian would be considered dystopian by the reader. The society as a whole was abominable, true, but individual aspects he mentioned and dismissed in a throwaway fashion left me intrigued when they were supposed to repel me (for instance, the harnessing of water power on a massive scale, which Zamyatin seemed to view as crass exploitation of nature.)

On the subject of my own readings, I found a writer I'd never heard of named Adam Dekker, looked at the list of all the books he'd written, and was intrigued. I found out why I hadn't heard of him when he went into--well, I might as well call it a rant, the subject being how agnostics are the greatest danger to the survival of America. Phew. Other books recently read: Melusine by Sarah Monette was confusing, tasteless--and ten times better than it had any right to be. I'm hoping for a sequel. The Bourne Identity wasn't as good as the movie (and how often does anyone say THAT?) The Death Gate Cycle by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman is entertaining so far, and I'm reconsidering my previous negative evaluation of their work. Next up: The Red Badge of Courage, for school.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally Posted By: feo takahari
Myself, I thought Zamyatin came off as a bit extreme, if not necessarily a "raving loony." I was particularly irritated by how he seemed to take it for granted that anything he considered dystopian would be considered dystopian by the reader. The society as a whole was abominable, true, but individual aspects he mentioned and dismissed in a throwaway fashion left me intrigued when they were supposed to repel me (for instance, the harnessing of water power on a massive scale, which Zamyatin seemed to view as crass exploitation of nature.)


Yeah, he's a pretty big hippie, but he has a better excuse than Rand for being the way he is, since he actually spent time in Soviet Russia as an adult.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally Posted By: feo takahari
Originally Posted By: Thuryl
Originally Posted By: I burn alongside the books.
Just finished We, by Yevgeny Zamyatin


Hey, synkarius: you should read this book instead of Atlas Shrugged. It's better in every way, mostly because it wasn't written by a raving loony.


Myself, I thought Zamyatin came off as a bit extreme, if not necessarily a "raving loony." I was particularly irritated by how he seemed to take it for granted that anything he considered dystopian would be considered dystopian by the reader. The society as a whole was abominable, true, but individual aspects he mentioned and dismissed in a throwaway fashion left me intrigued when they were supposed to repel me (for instance, the harnessing of water power on a massive scale, which Zamyatin seemed to view as crass exploitation of nature.)
...

We had a very strong effect on me when I read it, because the society described in it is a good portrayal of what the "bright communist future" we were building in USSR would actually look like. Even though USSR had collapsed by then and I was living in America, this book was one of the reasons I realized that even in theory "bright communist future" might not be as bright as it sounds.

As for individual details of the book, I don't remember them because I read it too long ago, but your hydro-power example is a valid bad thing that happened in real life: The famous Volga river (one of Russia's most famous rivers) has been turned into a series of swamps by too many dams. And similar things (although on smaller scale) happened to many other Russian rivers.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Out of curiosity, and I know this may become a tangent, but why is Rand a lunatic? This is the first work I've ever read by her and I'm generally unaware of her reputation/etc. I guess I could Wikipedia it, but I'm feeling lazy.

 

Also, I forgot to mention that I am also reading Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky, which is a bit dry, but enjoyable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ayn Rand created Objectivism, which you should look up on Wikipedia. It's actually really just a questionable mix of egoism, extreme capitalism, and libertarianism, but she manages to couch it in terms that make it singularly unappealing.

 

—Alorael, who will go ahead and say that anyone who can have protagonists as rapists had better have a good justification. Stephen R. Donaldson does it by having the protagonist be an anti-hero with emphasis on the anti, piles of guilt, and many ruined lives. Ayn Rand does it by making rape a good thing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I should probably reread We again. Read it years ago (as in, before we took communism in school), so most of it would have gone over my head. I do remember liking it; reading it was just a result of me cruising the Sci-Fi aisle in the local library, looking for an intriguing cover.

 

Never read any Rand, though I do have second hand exposure from Neil Peart and Terry Goodkind. As for the latter: I haven't reread the early books in the Sword of Truth series, but was Goodkind espousing Objectivism even then? Bits and pieces get introduced as the series progresses, but is this gradual introduction intentional, or was it something Goodkind decided to tack on once he was established?

Click to reveal..
The first book had Darken, who was not the nicest guy, y'know? The second book had Goodkind slapping everything into a religious framework. Instead of just being a big meanie, now Darken's a servant of the Devil. The third book extended the theme of how believing in God is a Bad Thing. Also, it introduced Jagang, who at this point is a cunning brute who wants to destroy magic, and thus weaken the power of both God and Satan. Of course, Goodkind is anything but consistent: by the sixth book, Jagang is a firm believer, and wants to destroy magic because it's blasphemous. He's also an evil commie.

 

So he's well and truly an Objectivist by book six. But again, is he intentionally Objectivist in the first book? Spiritualism and the like are good things then.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally Posted By: Dintiradan
As for the latter: I haven't reread the early books in the Sword of Truth series, but was Goodkind espousing Objectivism even then? Bits and pieces get introduced as the series progresses, but is this gradual introduction intentional, or was it something Goodkind decided to tack on once he was established?


My understanding is that he at least claims it was intentional all along.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I recently finished reading the Mistborn trilogy since the final book just came out. I must say, the ending seemed a bit deus ex machina. It was an extremely good book until it got to the end, which was very disappointing.

 

I'm currently in between books, trying to decide what to read next. Maybe something by Asimov, I haven't read Foundation for a while...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whew, do I smell fetid rot and decay here? How many times has this thread been resurrected?

 

 

Originally Posted By: Mistb0rn
I recently finished reading the Mistborn trilogy since the final book just came out. I must say, the ending seemed a bit deus ex machina. It was an extremely good book until it got to the end, which was very disappointing.

 

Dammit, I know to look for some sort of surprise now. Ahem, just finished the second book.

 

Also reading Infinity's Shore, the second book of the second series in the Uplift universe.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now up to 1998 in the X-Books, and I should be moving forward again soon.

 

Also starting on Discworld myself (with The Color of Magic), and I'm tempted by Mistborn. Like many, I first heard of Sanderson when he took over the last book of WoT after Robert Jordan's death, and I read a large chunk of his blog at one point to see where AMoL stands. Seems like a good writer and a neat guy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Lies of Locke Lamora has impressed me much more than any novel has in a long time. Scott Lynch (the author) really understands that a good story is made of smaller stories. So the book is just packed with about three times as much plot as most, and makes them all look flabby and padded. Not because it's got this insanely elaborate plot, although since it's about a con artist the plot is pretty involved. It's because even Lynch's knife-fights and tumbles off rooftops are little stories you can follow, instead of vague flurries of verbiage.

 

The sequel, Red Seas Under Red Skies, is perhaps not quite as good as the first book; but it's close enough that I have no fears of an abrupt decline, in what is supposedly going to be a seven-book series. (I guess that after J.K. Rowling, seven is the new three.)

 

What I've read recently is Mainspring, about a world that is literally a clockwork universe. Earth is encircled at the equator by a mountainous wall, topped with enormous infinitely precise brass gear teeth. God made them, so that the earth can run around the sun on its cogwheel track. The earth is driven by an enormous coil spring inside it. The mainspring needs rewinding.

 

It's a worthwhile book, but not quite satisfactory. I'm not sure whether it's imperfectly executed, or a perfect realization of an intrinsically flawed idea. I had the feeling that the author was largely improvising his plot, à la Stephen King, and then implicitly blaming a lot of coincidences on inscrutable Providence. That's not necessarily a problem in itself — King usually gets away with it, I think — but in this book Providence isn't supposed to be inscrutable: you can see God's gears in the sky. Still, the book manages to be quite a bit more than just a quaint notion spun out into a novel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally Posted By: Frank.
Several more Discworld novels. Going Postal is probably my favorite so far, with Small Gods not far behind.

Dikiyoba was slightly disappointed by Guards! Guards! though. Confusing a female dragon for a male one is quickly becoming a cliche.


Going Postal and Small Gods are on my top three as well, but Making Money is now on spot two between them.

I used to be more of a Death/Rincewind fan, but Moist is just awesome. Moist is like Rincewind in that he fakes his way through life, but where Rincewind runs away and mistakenly stumbles into sort-of-not-quite-saving the day, Moist bluffs to win (and does).
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never liked Rincewind very much. He takes pathetic and cowardly to levels that are amusing for a book or two, but they only work when he takes the reader to other places and people more interesting than he is. (On that note, my favorite Rincewind book is Interesting Times.)

 

Carrot/Vimes and Death are my favorites in the series, but Making Money is next on my book list, so we'll see how Moist stacks up.

 

—Alorael, who also has Locke Lamora. He normally wouldn't start a series until it's finished, a trick that Robert Jordan and George R. R. Martin taught him, but it looks like it's not laden with enough continuity (yet) to need such careful treatment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's not as though no one saw it coming! Besides, the series will be finished by Brandon Sanderson, author of books mentioned on this very page (depending on page settings).

 

—Alorael, who is reminded that he should probably pick up a Sanderson book or two some day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just received a stern lecture from the smartest girl in my school after she saw me reading a book in the Twilight series. Apparently she didn't think it was intellectual enough for the likes of me. Aside from hating being classified as somehow "above" the people around me, I began to wonder more and more about why it is that Twilight doesn't qualify as a classic--every argument I can think of would also disqualify Romeo and Juliet, The Scarlet Letter, or The Lord of the Rings.

 

Also, found an online comic, www.misfile.com. I've been waiting for a chance to plug it--it's not exactly the most tasteless thing I've ever read, but it's hands-down the most hilarious.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally Posted By: feo takahari
Just received a stern lecture from the smartest girl in my school after she saw me reading a book in the Twilight series. Apparently she didn't think it was intellectual enough for the likes of me. Aside from hating being classified as somehow "above" the people around me, I began to wonder more and more about why it is that Twilight doesn't qualify as a classic--every argument I can think of would also disqualify Romeo and Juliet, The Scarlet Letter, or The Lord of the Rings.

Also, found an online comic, www.misfile.com. I've been waiting for a chance to plug it--it's not exactly the most tasteless thing I've ever read, but it's hands-down the most hilarious.


Twilight is good; however, to be a classic, you need to be able to stand the test of time. Stephenie Meyer just barely finished the series, so I don't think it's withstood that test, yet.

So, I just finished reading Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher over the weekend; it's a good book, with a clear moral. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants a quick read, and doesn't mind the subject matter (suicide).

Meanwhile, I'm reading the sci-fi -esque book, The Host, also by Stephenie Meyer. It is a good read, as well, and sheds light on several philosophical questions concerning utopia and humanity. It's more adult oriented, but it's still a good book, all in all.

Oh, and I picked up and read my father's copy of The Tales of Tweelde the Bard, by JK Rowling, today. It was okay, but the "commentary" by Dumbledoore was heavyhanded, and the excessive plugging for Rowling's other short books was annoying. I was pleased to find that the proceeds from the book are going to some charity or another, however. Not like she needs the money...
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally Posted By: feo takahari
Just received a stern lecture from the smartest girl in my school after she saw me reading a book in the Twilight series. Apparently she didn't think it was intellectual enough for the likes of me. Aside from hating being classified as somehow "above" the people around me, I began to wonder more and more about why it is that Twilight doesn't qualify as a classic--every argument I can think of would also disqualify Romeo and Juliet, The Scarlet Letter, or The Lord of the Rings.


Sparkly vampires. Argument destroyed.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally Posted By: feo takahari
I began to wonder more and more about why it is that Twilight doesn't qualify as a classic

Because it is a complete and utter piece of crap.

Bella is so whiny and self-centered it's inconceivable she would choose to move to Forks in the first place. She made her dad come visit her; why would she suddenly to something nice for him now? Then she meets Edward and becomes Edward-centered. Seriously, the amount of adjectives spent on describing Edward's physical appearance is absolutely ridiculous.

Dikiyoba gave up reading after Chapter 3, in which Edward saves Bella from being hit by a van. Then an ambulance comes to pick Bella and Edward up (but mostly for Bella) and people skip class to see whether she's okay. The kid who was driving the van apparently crawled to the hospital, because the book doesn't really concern itself with him until he shows up covered in blood to aplogize to Bella.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't read the book, so I'm not really qualified to weigh in. The impression I get is that while the plot is serviceable, much like Romeo and Juliet's, the writing just isn't up to Shakespearean snuff.

 

—Alorael, who can't imagine that sparkly vampires help. Also being appreciated most by the preteen girl demographic tends to earn scorn, deserved or not, for any work of literature.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Recently, I've been into crime novels and the like. Stuart MacBride's stuff is awesome (Though you shouldn't take my word for it as I am likely biased by the facts that a) He's Scottish, and lives in my general area of Scotland, and B) I saw him in person as part of my Higher English course in secondary school).

 

Gritty stuff, and yet it has a streak of humour throughout. Said streak of humour is probably best exemplified by this quick quote from his latest book, "Flesh House" (Spoilered just in case)

 

Click to reveal..
"I don't care, you're shut down till I tell you different!" And with that, she stomped off. It would have been an impressive exit, If she hadn't stopped halfway down the stairs to haul her SOC oversuit out from the crack of her backside.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...