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What are you reading? 
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Post Re: What are you reading?
Blonde Almond wrote:
JJoshay wrote:
Blonde Almond wrote:
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley


One of my favorite books, I might have found it funny at one point that I'd find this novel more tragic than terrifying but damn did this one get me (opening passages were a chore the first time through though).


It really is a great piece of work, despite the initially-confusing narrative structure, and there's definitely a tragic undercurrent to it all. The monster, despite being created with a monstrous appearance, is not inherently evil. It's only when he is rejected both by his creator and society that he turns to evil actions. The whole account by the monster of his "education" by observing the family, and his eventual rejection by that family, is heartbreaking.

I read it a long time back in high school but had forgotten quite a bit of it. This time, due to the parameters of the class I was taking, I had to analyze it from a feminist critical perspective, which led to some very interesting layers that I hadn't fully considered before.


This is definitely one of the literary classics whose pop culture image doesn't do it any level of justice. Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is another. There's so much more going on here than the monster movie treatments and the many parodies of it would lead one to believe. It floored me when I first read it, and I was definitely not expecting that. I was expecting something more of an entertaining story with horror overtones, not a remarkable examination of the creator/creation dynamic. Tragic is definitely the word to describe the overall story, and the final scene moved me more than I expected. The monster's explanation for his motives casts a sharp light on Frankenstein's actions after he created him, and getting to see the other side of the story makes him more sympathetic than you would think. I need to reread this soon.


Sun Feb 16, 2014 4:54 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading?
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This is definitely one of the literary classics whose pop culture image doesn't do it any level of justice


I think that is very well put.

I read this book when I was 19 because my Dad had authored a book on High School English literature and had borrowed from this book for one of its chapters.

It blew me away and I dare say still would. It's an absolute crime that the residual popular theme from the novel is the monster, and not the almighty ethical dilemma of playing God.

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Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:34 am
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Post Re: What are you reading?
I'd argue that Frankenstein, in all its forms, resonates with an underexamined anxiety over technology that has existed since the Industrial Revolution, and especially since the bomb. It was the first of many "science gone rogue" stories that started to seep into popular culture and whose peak coincided with the Red Scare.

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Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:10 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading?
Blonde Almond wrote:
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley


I'm "in between" contemporary novels now and have been boning up on a few of the classics. I knocked off Orwell's Animal Farm" a couple of weeks ago and just now picked up Frankentstein from the library and am about 3 chapters in. Have of course seen the original 1930's monster films from Universal, but also saw the (slightly) more faithful 1994 version out of Branagh and the 2004 TV mini-series, which wasn't terrible.


Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:21 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading?
Also read nothing to envy. Read this book its good.


Mon Feb 17, 2014 6:55 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading?
Some short story collections. Right now it's Spectacle by Susan Steinberg. Not working for me but there may yet be a gem in there. Also looking at Vampires in the Lemon Grove, more stories. That's better.

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Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:53 am
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Post Re: What are you reading?
Ken wrote:
I'd argue that Frankenstein, in all its forms, resonates with an underexamined anxiety over technology that has existed since the Industrial Revolution, and especially since the bomb. It was the first of many "science gone rogue" stories that started to seep into popular culture and whose peak coincided with the Red Scare.


The theme that hit home with me was the sense of dread/excitement that the Doctor had when he was one the cusp of creating life in his little corner of the world. It was almost dizzying, as he was clearly crossing a significant boundary, but it would have been perverse to stop.

Pandora's box was ajar. And such is our condition, it's impossible not to peak inside.

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Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:59 am
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Post Re: What are you reading?
Finished Stephen King's 11/22/63. It is bound to be slower-paced compared to my last King, Under the Dome, but it is still very engaging. The section in Derry is so tense, and in Jodie so delightful, that the return to surveillance gets tedious at times. Although it is cleverly used, more than a few instances of "the past harmonizing with itself" just seem like plain writerly contrivances to me. More than made up by the climatic rush (that was insane!) and the ending though. The last page choked me up a bit; that was seriously beautiful. Rarely has King nailed an ending this good.


Sun Feb 23, 2014 12:12 am
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Post Re: What are you reading?
I'm about to start Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice. Anyone read it? I've heard it described as Pynchon-lite. And yes, I'm only reading it now because PTA is turning it into a movie.

I recently finished up Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel a book that's about as dry as reading a history textbook, which for some reason I didn't think would be the case. Probably because people told me that wasn't the case. Even though it was. Anyway, it's got a ridiculous amount of interesting facts and theories to think about despite not being particularly enjoyable to actually read.


Sun Feb 23, 2014 4:52 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading?
Petey-- 'lite' is probably the wrong word but I get that notion. It is thick, certainly, but to me Pynchon at his best reads like great fantasy in that it sort of envelops you. If you can get into it you'll love it even if you're not getting it. Look forward to your thoughts.


Sun Feb 23, 2014 6:12 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading?
@11/22/63

I'm not a fan of Stephen King though 11/22/63 very nearly converted me. It's been a couple of years since I read it though I will still experience the odd sensation of looking forward to picking it back up, as if I was still at the halfway point. Though I thought the novel too long -- the events that occur when the protagonist returns to the 'present', the cartoon of the revision somewhat dulling the journey -- I give the clunkier elements something like a free pass. The excellence of the first 80% is such that it steamrolls over King's fumbling the end. Reading Joyland this past summer reminded me why I'm not a fan of the author, only a fan of 11/22/63. There are authors that, on the whole, I like more but some of them haven't written anything quite as good as the one under discussion.

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Sun Feb 23, 2014 6:32 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading?
I've read not more than 10 of him, and I think I've flat out loved only three: The Stand, Under the Dome (the fastest I've read a book this thick), and his non-fiction On Writing. To be fair, most of what I read came from his middle period which is supposedly not at his height. I've yet to read his most acclaimed like The Shining, It, and Salem Lot.


Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:54 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading?
I liked Carrie, put down The Dead Zone after only a little while (the dog scene didn't sit well), liked Needful Things, and loved On Writing. I think that's all the King I've read. I haven't read anything from his rough patch in the '80s either.

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Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:58 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading?
I have been reading The Loudest Voice in the Room, a biography of Roger Ailes, the president of the Fox News Channel.

It is telling that Ailes tried to suppress the publication of this book; though author Gabriel Sherman has tried to be fair to Ailes by including as many viewpoints as possible, Ailes does not come off looking vary good. Ailes is a man driven by racism, sexism, homophobia, paranoia, and general hatred of anyone who isn't white, male, Christian and conservative, and this book examines (in a sobering way) what happens when such a person gains significant power. The Loudest Voice in the Room is a depressing book about a thoroughly despicable man, but it is a story that needed to be told.

A few tidbits from the book:

  • Ailes once had several floors of the Fox News building evacuated because he saw someone near his office who he thought was a Muslim. It was the janitor.
  • Ailes in incredibly paranoid. He travels with a security detail about as big as President Obama's. He had bulletproof glass and a bomb-proof door installed in his office, and had every tree on his property cut down, so he could see "if liberal mobs were rushing his home to kill him" (A quote from the book, not mine). He had a blast-proof shelter installed under his home in case Islamic terrorists tried to attack his house. And there was a period of several weeks where he refused to leave his home because he was convinced Barack Obama had targeted him for assassination.
  • The book also details how Ailes attempted to out Anderson Cooper to get back at CNN after CNN scooped Fox on a big story.

There's a lot more. Conservatives will likely hate this book, but they should read it. They should know the man who shapes their views.

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Mon Mar 03, 2014 11:44 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading?
I just finished The Fault In Our Stars. I've always liked John Green's vlogs and was dimly aware that he's also an author, so I promised myself I would read something he'd written sometime. The Fault In Our Stars was getting a lot of attention because of the upcoming movie, and I didn't want to read it after I'd seen the movie, so I picked up a copy. I breezed through it in a few days. Damn good book. I recommend it to one and all, and there's plenty of time to get through it before June.

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Tue Apr 29, 2014 12:53 am
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Post Re: What are you reading?
Image

Just finished The Wes Anderson Collection. A good book to savor and get lost in that perfectly captures Anderson's style (lot of gorgeous drawings and pics), and Matt Zoller Seitz has a great rapport with the director, although sometimes it's just Seitz analyzing at length while Anderson just went "Hmm" for a while.


Fri May 02, 2014 4:49 am
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Post Re: What are you reading?
Slogging through the last few books of The Wheel of Time series. I had started reading the thing back when the first book came out, but had gradually lost interest when the time between releases grew to the point that I could no longer remember who was who without re-reading the older books when a new one came out.


Mon May 05, 2014 2:04 am
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Post Re: What are you reading?
Batman. The Killing Joke.

Alan Moore is easily my fave graphic novelist. Loved The Watchmen and V For Vendetta. This one isn't on the same level as those. But it's an interesting take on Batman.

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Mon May 05, 2014 9:02 am
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Post Re: What are you reading?
Jeff Wilder wrote:
Batman. The Killing Joke.

Alan Moore is easily my fave graphic novelist. Loved The Watchmen and V For Vendetta. This one isn't on the same level as those. But it's an interesting take on Batman.

Moore has, in hindsight, pointed out that he wrote The Killing Joke concurrently with Watchmen, and it therefore includes some of the same ideas in a much less developed way. I would say that's one of its chief weaknesses, the other being that there isn't anything particularly insightful about Batman as a specific character. On the heels of Frank Miller's Dark Knight series, which was a drastic reinterpretation, The Killing Joke feels somewhat toothless.

Still, it has a smattering of strong ideas, which were eventually cannibalized for Ledger's interpretation of The Joker.

And, obviously, Brian Bolland turns in some of his most memorable artwork, and that's saying a lot.

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Mon May 05, 2014 10:46 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading?
How pissed would you be if you'd given your best artwork to an underdeveloped story

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Thu May 08, 2014 4:32 am
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