What are you reading right now?

We've read at least one, and we'll prove it!
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Liriodendron_fagotti
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Liriodendron_fagotti »

Hey! Speaking of - I finished the Bill Bryson book today about 1927 and there was a section on literature, including some choice excerpts from the original Tarzan.

I also finished the Atwood. It felt like a cross between the Oryx books and The Handmaid's Tale, but she was trying to avoid making it either one. The result isn't increeeedible. There's only one character I liked, and she isn't introduced until around halfway through. The two main characters aren't inspiring or empathizable and the dialogue wasn't that great (compared to her other work). The emotional and plot revelation climaxes happen before the book is half over, leaving more than a hundred pages of tropey shenanigans. The "happy" ending was stupid and cheesy. The one attempt at fleshing out a minor character was awkwardly overdone and stilted. It also had a solely linear timeline*, which I realize now also made it feel less like better Atwood. It might've felt too much like The Handmaid's Tale if we had switching between the couples' current tribulations and how they got to that point. The dual climaxes in Oryx & Crake are crazy well done and the, what, five??? plot climaxes in The Blind Assassin are brilliant. The dystopian aspect of it also wasn't anywhere close to as horrifying as her other books in the speculative fiction genre, which is kind of a lame reason to dislike it, but when The Really Bad Stuff gets revealed so early on, it's not very interesting.

*in the forward direction
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Astrogirl
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Astrogirl »

Kimra wrote:I just read Tarzan of the Apes (the first Tarzan book). It is both horrifying and comical in how racist, sexist and uninformed it is (mostly racist). I think there were more compliments of Tarzans greek god like stature than there were in all the Twilight novels combined. It has an unhealthy obsession with meat, and the consumption of it (with a strong focus on cannibalism). And the overall message that Tarzan is better than the apes, and the native africans because of his white blood and noble english ancestry blew me away every time it came up.

It's an interesting piece of reading for analysis purposes, but overall it's a really chunky pulp fiction (which was it's intent) with giant plot holes, inconsistent universe building, and contradictions throughout.
Interesting. I head heard it's racist but not that it's so blatantly openly racist.
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Kimra
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Kimra »

Astrogirl wrote:Interesting. I head heard it's racist but not that it's so blatantly openly racist.
If that book were published today people would rip it apart and cry murder.

Without even going into the finer details, the black maid is a simpering simpleton who exists for comic relief, all the black men (even the 'civilised' ones working for the british) are cannibals, Tarzan often takes pride in his white white skin because it makes him 'better' than everyone else, the cannibal tribe are all idiots so bogged down in their 'superstitions' (which they can't get over because they are black unlike Tarzan who can think things through - I'm not even saying this the author says it bluntly) that they assume a god is eating the offerings they lay out under a tree... ignoring that they live in a forest full of monkeys and other tree dwelling animals (birds? have they not heard of birds?) who could have taken the food...

There are just so many instances of it that I couldn't list them all without re-reading the book and highlighting them... and I'm not doing that.
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Liriodendron_fagotti
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Liriodendron_fagotti »

I'm reading The Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo. It's her second book translated from Finnish into English, and it's way better Atwood than the last Atwood book. In the novel, Finland, alone of all countries, has turned into a "eusociocracy", where women have been "domesticated" into "femiwomen" or "elois" and men are "mascos". Women that show any sign of intelligence or inclination towards masculine attitudes are deemed "neuterwomen" or "morloks" and barred from having kids. The same goes for "minormen" - guys who exhibit feminine traits. All intoxicating substances have been banned - cannabis, tobacco, alcohol, and, interestingly, capsaicin. The two main characters, Vanna, a morlok disguised as an elois and Jare, a masco, are dealers in chilis. Excellent book. Highly recommended. Kinda like The Handmaid's Tale, but way spicier.
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Kaharz
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Kaharz »

Finished All the Pretty Horses. It was really good. I was apparently very misinformed about the "borderland trilogy." It is an actual trilogy, The Crossing and Cities On the Plain being the other two. It is not a loose association of three western novels that are otherwise unrelated like I was told some time ago and naively believed.
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Liriodendron_fagotti »

Oh really? I should read the other two, then.

I finished The Core of the Sun. Great book to the end. Recommended.

Reading Dan Simmon's Hyperion now. Classic awesome sci-fi. Canterbury Tales in Space. But better.
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Kaharz
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Kaharz »

Just finished Half A King by Joe Abercrombie. It was very good if you like low fantasy and exactly what you would expect from Abercrombie. I'm told it is supposed to be YA, but with the exceptions that there is no sex in it and maybe there is a moral that isn't incredibly pessimistic, it is no less "adult" than his other books. There are two other books in the series I believe, but each follows a different protagonist.
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by trickcyclist »

Finished The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro. He is a beautiful, talented, heartless bastard who consistently brings me to tears. Such elegant writing. If you like Atwood, you should give him a go. I'd start with Never Let Me Go, although if you like Downton Abbey then The Remains of the Day should also hit the spot. He writes proper Literature (capital L), and many of his books have a genre trope overlaid. Never Let Me Go has hints of sci-fi, and this one a fine fantasy veneer.

The Core of the Sun and Hyperion have gone on the list.
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Felstaff »

Finished Career of Evil. I recommend J.K. Galbraith. In fact, stop reading this after this paragraph, and do the following: 1.) Buy The Cuckoo's Calling. 2.) Read it. 3.) Go "hmm, that was quite good, the characters are believable, and it's a promising detective story". 4.) Buy The Silkworm. 5.) Read it. 6.) Go "fuck me, J.K. Rowling has a grim dark side; that was macabre as hell. I'm starting to really enjoy the wonderful complexities of Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott that Rowling has elegantly painted". 7.) Buy Career of Evil. 8.) Read it. 9.) Go "another strong detective story. This series is starting to hit its stride. The universe that Strike inhabits is starting to form a pleasant cohesiveness, and it's as believable and comprehensive as the universe of, say, Sherlock Holmes. Except it's more about getting severed limbs in the mail than taking heroin recreationally".

I'll wait.

I've just started on Armada, and (so far) Ernest Cline is doing his utmost to convince me that this isn't just Ender's Game. But really, it's Ender's Game with a bunch of videogame references in it. That's no bad thing. Ready Player One was a geek reference-churning David vs. Goliath story. I enjoyed Ready Player One. I enjoy geeky things. I'd probably be described by many as a geek. So this book is pertinent to my interests due to its adeptness at hitting that pleasure spot in my brain that lights up whenever I come across a reference I understand. I think I'm going to enjoy it.
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Kaharz
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Kaharz »

About a third of the way through Parable of the Sower by Butler. This snow storm is doing wonders for my book count so far this year.
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by trickcyclist »

Felstaff wrote:I recommend J.K. Galbraith. In fact, stop reading this after this paragraph, and do the following: 1.) Buy The Cuckoo's Calling. 2.) Read it.
I have read the first 3 chapters. I like it. Thank you, save for your kind suggestion/intemperate demand I would never have given it another look due to its association with the ghastly Hairy Pooter. I can only think that after seven books Rowling was glad to be shut of the little oik, cos she's certainly distancing herself from her previous work as fast as she can cram in the swearing and gritty realism.
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by smiley_cow »

Felstaff wrote:Finished Career of Evil. I recommend J.K. Galbraith. In fact, stop reading this after this paragraph, and do the following: 1.) Buy The Cuckoo's Calling. 2.) Read it. 3.) Go "hmm, that was quite good, the characters are believable, and it's a promising detective story".

I read Cuckoo's Calling a couple months back. I don't remember if I bothered to post it in here or not though. It was pretty good. JK Rowling's writing is perfect for detective novels, she's so detail orientated. I have plans to read the others, I haven't gotten to it yet though.
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Felstaff
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Felstaff »

trickcyclist wrote:I would never have given it another look due to its association with the ghastly Hairy Pooter.
I have an intense liking for Harry Potter (the books, not the films, which I consider sub-par, mainly due to the bothersome wooden monotony of Daniel Radcliffe's voice, and are only saved by the exceptional (adult) ensemble cast of British stalwarts and luminaries), so much so that ...and the Prisoner of Azkaban fills my required sesquiannual rereading, alongside Nineteen Eighty-Four and Ulysses. Due to it occurring 42.86% of the way through the seven-year arc, it requires me to start at ...and the Philosopher's Stone and conclude with ...and the Deathly Hallows, as a matter of course. As I no longer have access to the hardback copies of the first three books in my possession (THANKS, MOM), I content myself with the audiobook, read in the indomitably dulcet tones of Stephen Fry, who thou shalt not question. Admittedly, as with all Wheel of Tome series (I'm looking at the likes of George R. R. Martin, Katherine Kerr, and Robert Jordan here), the later stories get bogged down under the cumbersome weight of the universe in which they have been built. Yet the magic remains, long after the final page has been turned. Harry Potter is a triumph of young adult literature, chock full of original ideas and breathtaking scope, expounded upon with urbane and fascinating writing, with well-rounded characters that you truly cared for within minutes of them being introduced. And I won't hear a word against it, sirrah. Well, perhaps that it doesn't have too many people of colour in it; bit-part players like Parvati and Padma Patil being the only ones with non-European names, and Angelina Johnson and Rufus Scrimgeour being the only two black characters (as Rowling mentions they are black in each novel they are introduced, which she didn't do with Hermione Granger, despite her protestations about not mentioning race).

In retrospect, I don't think I enjoyed The Casual Vacancy, as I felt it was too weighted by sledgehammer social commentary, and the (too large) cast each becoming a stereotype of their ingrained class. Despite the setting of the fictional picturesque town of Pagford being brought to life in spellbinding manner, the friction between the characters felt overwrought and leaden, and the novel disappears up its own proselytising arse, somewhat.
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Kimra
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Kimra »

trickcyclist wrote:I can only think that after seven books Rowling was glad to be shut of the little oik, cos she's certainly distancing herself from her previous work as fast as she can cram in the swearing and gritty realism.
I'm unclear what you mean by 'distancing'. Certainly she's writing a different style of book with different characters aimed at a completely different audience. Writers like to experiment. But I think it's safe to say that JK Rowling is anything but distanced from Harry Potter. She continues to talk about Harry Potter on twitter, she just wrote a movie set in the potter universe, she's always adding large chunks of information the the Pottormore site... I just don't see any of those things count as distancing when she doesn't need to do any of them because she's already made and given away more money than any of us will see in our life time.
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Re: What are you reading right now?

Post by Liriodendron_fagotti »

Probably just distancing herself from them in whatever new books she writes. So people stop trying to find analogs between it and some HP shit.
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