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What are you reading? 
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Post Re: What are you reading?
If it's anything like The Road in terms of style then I can definitely understand the complaints. I finished about 20 pages of the Road (while on a road trip with my father a few years ago, ironically enough), and then stopped. I didn't like the style and it was too unrelentingly grey for my tastes (same reason I stopped reading 1984).

It's hard for me to get into fiction. I read Ender's Game in under a week, but that's the last fiction book I read and that was maybe 7 months ago.

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Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:46 am
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Post Re: What are you reading?
I'm not necessarily complaining. Well, I am, but it's relatively impotent and unimportant complaining. I am enjoying the book and have every intention of finishing it.

I can't speak for The Road, though I did see the movie and found it strangely unaffecting. "Grey" is a good word for it. The only other McCarthy I've read is No Country For Old Men, which, as Shade recently put it, is like "McCarthy for kids." It is a far less challenging book, though I apparently liked it more than some of the McCarthy stalwarts did. I do think that the Coens' version brings out its untapped potential. Perhaps it was destined to be a movie all along.

I enjoyed 1984, though it is quite bleak and its moments of happiness are short-lived. As far as the Big Dystopian Novels go, it's one of the better ones.


Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:04 pm
Post Re: What are you reading?
Interesting little burst of activity there. I can't speak for Suttree or No Country but both The Road and Blood Meridian are fantastic reads. However, both are quite bleak. The science fiction aspects of the former make it the easier read but I still think it's powerful. I was indifferent to the latter after the first two chapters or so, but once evil incarnate enters that book it becomes one of the best things you will ever read. There's never been a character quite like The Judge and I don't think there ever will be. Blood Meridian is a dense and challenging work. It's well worth the effort if you can stomach it*

Ender's Game didn't really interest me until the end. At that point things got really different. I liked that.

* I've seen and read a lot of brutal things but nothing prepared me for the kind of shit that goes down in Blood Meridian. A bare tree, where slaughtered babies hang like Christmas ornaments is an example, but it's probably not the worst thing you'll come across. Reading about it in McCarthy's poetic prose makes it one hundred times worse.


Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:36 pm
Post Re: What are you reading?
McCarthy had perfected a very spare prose style up to but excluding Cities on the Plain. It was then that he began his second, less welcome phase of Parody McCarthy where everything looked like the familiar bullet-prose but no longer had the same weight. The shock of reading The Road or No Country prior to reading any of his titles from the 60s, 70s, or 80s is mammoth.

Todd Field (In the Bedroom, Little Children) is currently adapting Blood Meridian for the screen. The novel is quite possibly the greatest American novel of the past 30 years. Adapting it for the screen should be one amazing challenge.


Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:14 pm
Post Re: What are you reading?
johnny larue wrote:
Based on the TV thread for the upcoming HBO adaptation of A Game of Thrones, and based on Ragnarok's (and others') recommendations, I've just started this series; about 1/2 way through the first book.


Finally finished the 4th book of the series. I liked the series starting out but it started getting tiring somewhere during the third book; many characters just spinning their wheels. Also, for every character who gets disposed of, Martin seems to add 2-3 more. He definitely got more verbose between books 1 and 4; chapters got thicker with roughly the same amount of action happening. He could probably use a good editor at this point to try and keep things a bit tighter. Also, 5+ years to wait for a forthcoming 5 novel in the series (when it was teased as "pretty much already written and ready for next year" at the end of the 4th) is a bit of an insult. Especially since the story is continuous. Stephen R. Donaldson also has that bad habit of taking years to churn out material that is probably just a bit too dense.


Sat Dec 04, 2010 1:21 am
Post Re: What are you reading?
Reading The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. It was the inspiration for the film Gettysburg and tells the story of the definitive battle through the eyes of those involved. Great read.


Sat Dec 04, 2010 7:25 pm
Post Re: What are you reading?
I just started reading Keith Richards book, waiting for it to get interesting


Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:06 pm
Post Re: What are you reading?
been reading a bunch of comics lately.

New Men sucked. And it had nothing to do with Liefield's art. A crappy ripoff of X-men without the things that made x-men good.

Bad Planet and Singularity 7 were cool enough series with fighting and action. Could've been alot better, but what can you do. If they were movies they'd end up as the forgettable b-movie which looked like it had alot of promise but didn't deliver and ended up on the bargain bin.

Considerably better ones I'm checking out are Phonogram and Chew. Phonogram is about a british indie hipster who can make magic happen with his music. He lives in a world where people can make magic happen with music. Even though I hate indie hipsters its still interesting.

Chew is about a dude who can get psychic glances of the past by eating things.
He solves crime by eating body parts left from the victims after they are killed.
He works for a huge british/french dude who throws ninja stars and fights with yakuza hitmen and says "Backup has arrived" in a totally badass scene.
Awesome.


Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:30 am
Post Re: What are you reading?
mailedbypostman wrote:
New Men sucked. And it had nothing to do with Liefield's art. A crappy ripoff of X-men without the things that made x-men good.
Come now. If something awful was drawn by Liefeld, Liefeld had something to do with its awfulness.

But then, if there were no Liefeld to hate on, there would be such a sad, sad hole in my life. It's a dilemma, really.


Crap, I'd better post something on topic.

I took a brief break from Suttree (which is getting good) to read the 10th and final volume of Ex Machina. This is a series that I have loved so far, but I think they kind of lost their shit with this one. I was a little nervous, given that BKV and Harris spun mystery after mystery leading up to here. It's hard to imagine it all getting resolved within the handful of chapters that one volume represents.

Those misgivings were pretty much validated. While the wit and flair for invention are present and accounted for, the story wraps up in a way that readers might logically fear: with lots of fast-forward summation and out-of-character behavior. Shame. This is definitely a worthwhile series, and it is truly excellent at times. I just regret that it didn't end more strongly.


Thu Dec 09, 2010 11:30 am
Post Re: What are you reading?
Reading through Paul Auster's Moon Palace. This guy is a special case for me as I haven't liked anything he's written save for his first work (The New York Trilogy) which ranked as one of the formative novel-readings of my college years. I've been reading his stuff ever since and have yet to find anything that comes remotely close to the level of genius of that first novel. I'll keep looking.

--

Finished Cleopatra: A Life and felt guilty for finding the bio a bit on the dull side. Stacy Schiff's writing, while nicely detailed, tends toward the 'tell' rather than the 'show'. The book is still worthwhile especially if you're a history nut. I'm not.

--

The New York Times released their list of the ten best books of the year, 5 for fiction and 5 for non-fiction as always. The list is their least controversial of the past several years and contains not one but two short story retrospectives. That's disappointing for any number of reasons. Emma Donoghue's Room placed on the fiction list and that was nice, albeit unsurprising, to see.

--

I'm gonna throw out another recommendation for Tom McCarthy's C as that ended up being my #1 of 2010 despite my novel-reading being all kinds of untimely (just as it is for everyone else save for book critics). Excellent novel that should appeal to those in for a nice challenege and, not to any exclusion of challenge-seekers, fans of Neal Stephenson.


Thu Dec 09, 2010 12:44 pm
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Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 3:20 pm
Posts: 162
Post Re: What are you reading?
I'm reading '1984' again until I can go out and buy some new titles. I love this book so much.


Fri Dec 10, 2010 3:28 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading?
Arron wrote:
I'm reading '1984' again until I can go out and buy some new titles. I love this book so much.


Undoubtedly a good book. Dystopias make better reads than Utopias, don't you think?


Sat Dec 11, 2010 2:51 pm
Post Re: What are you reading?
Depends. Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End makes a good argument for utopia.


Sat Dec 11, 2010 3:02 pm
Post Re: What are you reading?
Ken wrote:
Depends. Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End makes a good argument for utopia.


Haven't read it, but I'd wager that there is more 'great' dystopian literature:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dystopian_literature


Sat Dec 11, 2010 3:10 pm
Post Re: What are you reading?
ed_metal_head wrote:
Undoubtedly a good book. Dystopias make better reads than Utopias, don't you think?

depends on your mood, but generally, yes. Dystopias usually have better design too.


Sat Dec 11, 2010 3:27 pm
Assistant Second Unit Director

Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 3:20 pm
Posts: 162
Post Re: What are you reading?
ed_metal_head wrote:
Arron wrote:
I'm reading '1984' again until I can go out and buy some new titles. I love this book so much.


Undoubtedly a good book. Dystopias make better reads than Utopias, don't you think?


I'd certainly agree.


Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:11 am
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Post Re: What are you reading?
Just finishing up a re-read of Donaldson's first Covenant books. I haven't read them since high school, and find them far less impressive. A bit too much angst for me, and somewhat repetitive. And if I see "inchoate" or "incarnadine" one more time... Yes, we understand that you have a large vocabulary, but is it really that impressive when you keep using the same words over and over again?

When I need a break, I have read the last installment of Ennis' The Boys, which is great fun.

Oh, I also re-read the entire Harry Potter series in preparation for seeing Deathly Hallows. That took 10 days...

It was nice to revisit the series. Reading through them again makes me realize just what a creative achievement Rowlings did.


Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:25 am
Post Re: What are you reading?
Read The Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller's four-episode run at the Batman mythos. It's a deceptively dense work, a parallel-universe taste of a experience-alcohol-age addled Batman and the repercussions felt when he comes out of retirement. While highlighting the human elements of the man behind the bat, Miller manages the impressive literary trick of deconstructing the Bob Kane Batman and advancing, as a few of these graphic novels have done for me, the form to those lofty literary heights. The episode around The Joker was the highlight... if only Nolan's film had played with some of those delicious sexual elements. I can see myself reading more graphic novels in the near future.

--

Not as good as DKR but good enough to write a few sentences about was Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games trilogy. The last novel is a flop but, for the 600+ pages of the first two volumes, Collins pulls off convincing anti-utopian song (not the same as dystopian song) while creating an awesome character in the deeply-flawed, reluctantly-heroic Katniss Everdeen. That girl deserved a better book than Mockingjay. The movie, neutered of all the bloody violence that made the first two volumes so exciting/scary, will be out soon enough. If any teen film deserved an R-rating it'd be The Hunger Games.


Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:01 pm
Post Re: What are you reading?
majoraphasia wrote:
Read The Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller's four-episode run at the Batman mythos. It's a deceptively dense work, a parallel-universe taste of a experience-alcohol-age addled Batman and the repercussions felt when he comes out of retirement. While highlighting the human elements of the man behind the bat, Miller manages the impressive literary trick of deconstructing the Bob Kane Batman and advancing, as a few of these graphic novels have done for me, the form to those lofty literary heights. The episode around The Joker was the highlight... if only Nolan's film had played with some of those delicious sexual elements. I can see myself reading more graphic novels in the near future.


I'm pleasantly surprised. Here I thought DKR would be a little too comic-sy for your taste. Better stop assuming things about other people's taste. But yes, I like it a lot too. I was slightly underwhelmed when I first read it, but it continues to grow in my estimation. Batman's inner voice is what makes this great: "The time has come. You know it in your soul, for I am your soul... You cannot escape me. You are puny, you are small, you are nothing--a hollow shell, a rusty trap that cannot hold me. Smoldering, I burn you--burning you, I flare, hot and bright and fierce and beautiful. You cannot stop me, not with wine or vows or the weight of age--you cannot stop me, but still you try. Still you run. You try to drown me out... But your voice is weak." <---WOW!


Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:21 pm
Post Re: What are you reading?
The wildest thing about DKR--and it's easiest to appreciate when you keep in mind the role it played in the history of the genre--is the moral statement that it makes about superheroes, or, at the very least, Batman himself. Miller appears to be suggesting that Batman is beyond concerns of right or wrong, and that what really matters is that he's necessary. Most superhero comics... fuck it, nearly every damn one of them stays at least 40 feet away from this idea at all times.


Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:36 pm
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