Favorite books / What are you reading?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by Snackpack, Jun 21, 2008.

  1. Nas92

    Nas92 It Wandered In From the Wastes

    198
    Sep 8, 2012
    I have finished reading Dan Abnett's Blood Pact and Salvation's Reach. Can't wait 'til Warmaster comes out, apparently it's slated for June 2015.
    I have also finished reading Bram Stoker's Dracula. A good novel, though the whole diary and letter form gets a bit unbelievable at a certain point.

    I am now reading some of the Very Short Introduction, at the moment "Stuart Britain" and "Modern Ireland". I was never much of a history buff, but I have always wanted to have a solid, but not altogether complex knowledge of history - especially a history of the British Isles (from far past to today) and the US.
     
  2. MutantScalper

    MutantScalper Dogmeat

    Nov 22, 2009
    I got Anthony Beevor's Berlin: The Downfall 1945. Pretty grim stuff and also pretty controversial when it comes to the number of rapes committed by the Soviet troops. Beevor seems to favor the high estimate number. I got it cheap so no biggie if it's not great.
     
  3. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    I've got a question for anyone with experience reading A Song of Ice and Fire.

    Just how different is it from the show? I've been interested in reading it, but I will probably give it a pass if I am just retreading the exact same plot of the show in written form.
     
  4. Nas92

    Nas92 It Wandered In From the Wastes

    198
    Sep 8, 2012
    First book is more or less the same as the first season, but I'd still read it if I were you. As for the rest they are different. Very different, especially in quality - yeah, I'm a bookfag - but also in content.
     
  5. Akratus

    Akratus Bleep bloop.

    May 14, 2011
    Barnes and Noble produces the most astoundingly beautiful and complete editions of classic books.

    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/?series_id=934942

    Unfortunately most aren't available in any store based in my country. I'm planning on ordering the absolutely beautiful dune book from america. And I'll want to get to know more about the Foundation books from Asimov which they also have. But what they do offer here are some things like the works of Edgar Allen Poe and Alice in Wonderland, which is interesting up to a point but not something I immediately consider buying.

    However, they do have, that I'm interested in: The Complete Sherlock Holmes and Dracula.

    Can anyone say what one is in for when it comes to these books?
     
  6. Yamu

    Yamu Le Fromage Vieux oTO Moderator Orderite Board Cop oTO

    Jul 26, 2003
    My girlfriend and I have both actually worked at B&N and we're working on an ever-expanding shelf of these. Is there anything in specific you'd like to know?

    In general, I'd say they're a good value for the money. Once in hand, it's obvious they're not individually handcrafted by artisanal bookbinding monks or anything, but for $20 usd they're hardier and prettier than you'd expect, as you've noticed. The bonded leather covers are quite sturdy and easy to care for, and they have good shelf presence. The inside covers tend to have tasteful and appropriate designs/patterns/illustrations, well-designed frontpapers and title pages, and, depending on the volume, a deal of design consideration given to the chapter headers and that sort of thing (though Dracula and Sherlock, along with most of the older classics, are a little more conservative in that regard). The page weight leaves nothing to be desired, and nearly every volume's pages are gilt- or dyed-edged. Each book also has a (faux-?)satin anchored bookmark.

    The binding is usually pretty sturdy, but every once in awhile you'll get a clunker. It's usually apparently immediately; I've never had one fall apart with age. Since you can't hand-select your copy to make sure it's in the overwhelming majority of good ones, make sure whoever you go through has a dependable return policy. (By contrast, my girlfriend's Dickens collection has been mauled twice by pit bulls and still doesn't appear to be in danger of shaking loose a single page).
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2015
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  7. Wumbology

    Wumbology Actually a sentient CRT

    298
    Mar 5, 2013
    Just read A Canticle for Liebowitz (1959) by Walter Miller Jr. and Deus Irae (1976) by Philip K. Dick/Roger Zelazny. Both are post-apocalyptic fiction. Both deal with religion.

    Canticle is the history of the Catholic Order of Liebowitz tasked with the preservation of technological knowledge after a nuclear war.

    Deus Irae is about a limbless, legless master painter named Tibor McMasters who is a member of a new post-apocalyptic church called the Servants of Wrath. They deify the scientist and former chairman of the ERDA, Carlton Lufteufel, who created the bomb (called the Gob) that destroyed the world.

    Deus Irae is more of a surrealistic journey into Christian theology and the nature of religion as well as God. I prefer it over A Canticle, mostly because Canticle has a much less plausible story: after the nuclear war, the roving survivors of America went on an intentional destruction of any and all books and scientists, engineers, and technicians. I find this really kind of unlikely. The idea that survivors of a nuclear war would have the time or the means to go around doing that, and the sudden emergence of a murderously anti-intellectual beliefs... I find it implausible.

    Furthermore, Miller writes this conflict between secular/ state intellectuals and ecclesiastic intellectuals, which really has very little historical precedent. I mean, anti-religious attitudes didn't exist in the secular scientific community until the political agendas of various French Revolutionaries led to the rewriting of half of European history, but Miller makes as if they're fundamentally opposed.

    Also, Miller writes the nomadic people of the Plains in his fiction warlike, simple, and violent, which I think is a pretty antiquated and euro-supremacist view of nomadic or non-agrarian peoples. It's still a good book, but it has these big problems. It also has really great moments; the last act has this moment where the Don of the monastery explains why euthanasia for the suffering is "tribute to a false god of expedient mercy". Whether you agree with it isn't the point, but it's fascinating stuff.

    Deus Irae has none of the yucky stuff. It's just a weird adventure with lots of moments where characters discuss the nature of Christianity, and it has this cool world with bug-men, lizard-men, insane biological underground factories with aggressive personalities, psycho worms, and this ancient senile computer that traps passing wanderers and consumes them in an acid bath.

    Thinking I'm going to read A Boy and his Dog next. I've all but exhausted the meager amounts of religious post-apocalyptic sci-fi...
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2015
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  8. Akratus

    Akratus Bleep bloop.

    May 14, 2011
    Well I already knew from reviews and just seeing the work that has gone into the design and embossing and all that of the books that the quality is super amazing for that price. But what I'd really like to know is how interesting Sherlock Holmes and Dracula are to anyone here who might have read them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2015
  9. Yamu

    Yamu Le Fromage Vieux oTO Moderator Orderite Board Cop oTO

    Jul 26, 2003
    Ahhh. But of course. I knew that. Obviously. Just being thorough. :look:

    Dracula I can't vouch for yet. Sherlock, I enjoyed thoroughly, but it took some dedication. It really depends on your tolerance for turn-of-the-century language and storytelling. I'm sure they were the most gripping thing going on the Victorian parlor room circuit, but they do come off as highly staid in their English these days. If you can enjoy Lovecraft or Poe, you probably won't have much of a problem, though Sherlock's milieu and overall energy is necessarily less sensational, and at times less dynamic than you'd expect from the structure of the narrative.

    The characterizations are good enough, but the characters themselves, though iconic, aren't remarkably deep. As with most pre-noir detective stuff, the persona of the protagonist and the unfolding of the investigation-- which often hinges on details completely unknowable to the reader until the wrap-up monologue at the climax/denouement-- is the main attraction. As the granddaddy of British mystery, the stories maystrike you as a bit cliched or outmoded, and as the prototype for the nigh-omniscient Batman-sue protagonist that's since been done to death in popular culture, Sherlock himself can at times come off at turns as over- or under-done to acutely genre-savvy readers.

    All that said, I do highly, highly recommend the books. The last time I read them was years and years ago, too, so you may want to take any of the negatives here with a grain of salt.
     
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  10. UniversalWolf

    UniversalWolf eaten by a grue.

    Aug 28, 2005
    Those editions are pretty nice looking. Unfortunately I don't have a study or a library with vast shelves of books, or I might be interested. I prefer small paperback editions I can manhandle without effort or care.
     
  11. Yamu

    Yamu Le Fromage Vieux oTO Moderator Orderite Board Cop oTO

    Jul 26, 2003
    Sometimes I question their practicality, myself; were it not for my physical media library, my last few moves could have been handled by two trips in a family sedan. As it stands, I had to use two trucks.

    Speaking of books, though, I always somehow manage to forget as the spans between readings stretch on that Earth Abides isn't just a great book, but is, in all likelihood, my unequivocal favorite book. The post-apoc genre needs more cautiously optimistic fiction about civilization going to hell, says I.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
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  12. Nas92

    Nas92 It Wandered In From the Wastes

    198
    Sep 8, 2012
    Can't say shit about Sherlock Holmes, but Dracula is pretty good, though sometimes it gets frustrating with some of the emotional monologues and the letter/diary form. In spite of that it's still worth reading, but be prepared for sometimes having to read through meaningless horseshit.
     
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  13. Akratus

    Akratus Bleep bloop.

    May 14, 2011
    I'm watching Gravity right now, and seeing astronauts working, through the not entire accurate or wholly captivating hollywood lense, makes me realize how gladly I'd like to read about actual space missions, but my interest right now drifts towards the execution and space activities of a relatively modern space mission by NASA. And that's hard to find amongst all the speculation, purely apollo focussed books, motivational books by astronauts, or individual memoirs by astronauts, or books about space weather across the solar system yada yada. It's such an interesting topic, being among the most ambitious ventures in science. Regardless of the possible relation to this topic I'd like to ask if anyone here has read a non-fiction book on space travel that they would praise? I'm having a hard time finding a non-fiction book on the experiences, workings and details of a (relatively) modern space mission.

    Edit:

    Well I assume none of you can help me on the very specific topic above, which is fine. But I have something else: I just received in the mail, the barnes and noble collectible Jules Verne: Seven Novels hardcover book. And god damn. This is the prettiest book I've ever even seen. I just spent the first ten minutes after I got it stroking it and smelling it and looking at it. I need to have more of these.

    "Each volume features authoritative texts by the world’s greatest authors in exquisitely designed bonded-leather bindings with distinctive gilt edging and an attractive silk-ribbon bookmark. Decorative, durable, and collectable, these books offer hours of pleasure to readers young and old and are an indispensable cornerstone for any home library."

    And the entire cover, back and front, are embossed and beautifully designed.


    God damn.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2015
  14. Yamu

    Yamu Le Fromage Vieux oTO Moderator Orderite Board Cop oTO

    Jul 26, 2003
    It's an addiction. I'd suggest starting a support group, but my reading list is too backed up to make time for the meetings.

    So, Naked Lunch didn't age gracefully, I'd say. Dense books, I can do. Divorcing internal narrative logic from that of the real world, I can do. Hashing out half a book's vocabulary via context, I can do. But this book is something else altogether. It's easy enough to follow if you just give yourself to the flow of it, but you never quite escape the idea that you're missing critical fine detail because you don't happen to have a 60s-era Heroin Addict slang dictionary handy. It's not unenjoyable (in its alien way), but I think I've managed about 27 pages in the last three days.
     
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  15. Akratus

    Akratus Bleep bloop.

    May 14, 2011
    So, has anyone read the Illiad and/or the Odyssey? They seem fun. Worth 34 euro for collectible edition? I read a few lines online, if it's a similar translation I'll like the writing style at least.

    Being that my serious reading started with Tolkien I think I naturally gravitate towards books with good world building and an older style. At least at this point in time. I think I'll be getting the illiad and oddysey, and the foundation trilogy. I've already bought the Jules Verne, Conan and Lovecraft compilations that I hadn't read before buying them, or didn't know too much about vis-a-vis writing so I don't want to get too hasty, but also kind of do want to get these things so praised as classics that at least seem up my alley.

    Edit: I tried purchasing the illiad/odyssey hardcover, only to be told iDeal is down. (Dutch online payment system) I feel like the universe is telling me to stop being hasty. Fuck you universe!

    Edit 2: Getting it shipped from Barnes and Noble themselves along with the Foundation Trilogy and Dune saves me money anyway.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2015
  16. Atomkilla

    Atomkilla Hazel Hegemon oTO Orderite

    Dec 26, 2010
    I've read Iliad. It is...interesting, to say at least, but tedious at times.
    The language itself is archaic and the style differs from chapter to chapter (adding to the theory that it wasn't a work of a single person), which can make it boring at times. And yeah, at times it is boring, if you're there just for the story. If you want to be a bit analytic about and go in details about that particular time period - from human behavior and relations, beliefs, to culture, military tactics and so on - it is a goldmine, but I doubt you're going after that unless you're studying literature or history.

    What I perhaps loved most about Iliad (or any other "ancient scripture" that I've read) is that they are often sparse on details - Iliad has plenty of details, but your mind always puts them in the historical context. You know that there was a conflict ages ago, you know the basic premise etc. But what if you didn't know that and gave yourself some liberty over the actual text? Say...Illiad is actually set 50,000 years in future and it represents a galactic war between two civilizations? Okay, that's not the most original assumption, but I think you get what I mean. Because the writing is vague at times and if you purposefully ignore your previous knowledge of the events in the work, you can make wild intepretations of it, which can be fun.

    All that mumble-jumble of mine aside, it's a relatively interesting book, if it is well translated. Don't expect something like you've seen in Troy or whatever...
     
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  17. Walpknut

    Walpknut This ghoul has seen it all

    Dec 30, 2010
    I red the Illiad in school, I don't think you have to spend 34 euro on them.... those books are public domain so you can find them at very low prices, paying so much for them sounds more like you are putting money on the pocket of opportunists....
     
  18. Akratus

    Akratus Bleep bloop.

    May 14, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2015
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  19. UniversalWolf

    UniversalWolf eaten by a grue.

    Aug 28, 2005
    They're well worth reading, but they're very different in character from each other. The Illiad is a little dry, frankly. The Odyssey is much more lively, and reads like an adventure novel.
     
  20. Hassknecht

    Hassknecht For hate's sake. Staff Member Admin Orderite Board Cop oTO

    Aug 16, 2010
    Reading the Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson again.
    Absolutely one of the most amazing sci fi book series ever. It manages to satisfy my need for scientific accuracy and yet can go on about philosphy, sociology, relationships and politics without ever getting boring.
    So damn good. Robinson is a genius (Exhibit A: All of his fucking books, seriously).