The Book Thread

Physical media such as books, comics and other artwork
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The Book Thread

Post by hellboy » Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:40 am

I'm sure we used to have some kind of book thread (we seem to have on for comic and the ill fated Book of the Week thing). Feel free to post your latest readings and recommendations for others. Or just ask for some new stuff to read.

The last couple of books I've read are:

The False Mirror by Alan Dean Foster. Book 2 in an interesting sci-fi series that explores humans aggressive nature. It's set in a universe where many other alien species have evolved in such a way that they a physically incapable of fighting, and humans are one of the rare creatures that can still do so. Not high brow sci-fi by any means, but an interesting and thoughtful read.

The Prestige by Christopher Priest. Most of us here have seen the movie, and personally it's one of my favorites. I'd never read the book though, and finally got around to it last week. The book is quite interesting - very different from the movie in many ways, but gives some good insight into aspects of the movies that are skimmed over a little (in particular Telsa's machine). A great book, and good companion piece to an excellent movie.

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Re: The Book Thread

Post by hellboy » Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:42 pm

19 views and no responses. Does anyone else read?

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Re: The Book Thread

Post by M0G » Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:57 pm

Revisiting The Lyonesse Trilogy by Jack Vance. Vance is a master of language. His prose is exceptional.

Book one: Lyonesse (subtitled Suldrun's Garden)

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Re: The Book Thread

Post by basejumper » Tue Apr 15, 2014 11:53 pm

.

The Immortality Edge - Fossel,Blackburn,Woynarowski

The Gold Clause - Holzer
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Re: The Book Thread

Post by liz » Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:26 pm

hellboy wrote:19 views and no responses. Does anyone else read?
Not as much as I used to (books that is), I think we all spend a lot of time now reading on the net . I'm on a houseboat for the weekend and I am taking a debut novel by Mark Lawrence "Prince Of Thorns". Robin Hobb describes it as "Absolutely Stunning...jaw dropping", as I absolutely love her work (fantasy predominantly) I am looking forward to it. I actually brought a book by Mark Lawrence at an airport at Christmas time to read on the plane. Once I had boarded I realised it was number two in the series. I was more than a little peeved.

I promise a review when I get back.
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Re: The Book Thread

Post by liz » Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:28 pm

Just as an aside I note that this author is a research scientist in the field of artificial intelligence. So many of the excellent sci-fi and fantasy writers have a science background.

@Mog - Yes I like Jack Vance I have read the Durdane Trilogy which was excellent. He comes up with some outlandish concepts.
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Re: The Book Thread

Post by hellboy » Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:37 pm

Thanks for the input guys - you have given me plenty of suggests for other books to read. Thankfully the local library here is excellent.

At the moment I'm reading The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss at M0G's suggestion. Several chapters in and I'm enjoying it so far.

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Re: The Book Thread

Post by liz » Mon Apr 21, 2014 11:27 pm

Mark Lawrence's "Prince Of Thorns" is terrific! I couldn't put it down, and now after a couple of days I am on to his next.

Comparisons have been drawn with GOT and certainly Lawrence uses the phrase "game of thrones", twice that I noticed, to describe the political landscape. It is a far more brutal book than the GOT series though and we follow the story through one set of eyes, a 13 year old anti hero who could easily be described as a sociopath.

The world is a post apocalyptic earth now operating in a feudal like way with works from Plato, Sun Tsu, Nietzsche and several others referenced and quoted by our anti hero Jorg. I really enjoyed the setting. The old forgotten technologies appear as magic, like the reactivated computer security system with attitude, which reasonably enough seems to be a voice of the "builders" past. I'm not sure that anything is supposed to be "magic or supernatural", more likely that Lawrence has envisioned a more technologically advanced earth on which to base his past earth. That being said those advanced technologies must include some very interesting chemical discoveries because mind control features.

Jorg's age was a bit of an issue for me. I really could not relate to him as a 13 year old save that he had a very underdeveloped sense of morality. It's a small criticism really, this character is positioned for growth, that is evident by the end of this first book. I look forward to witnessing at least a partial redemption of this very flawed character by trilogies end. But maybe not...

We wrap up our violent and mysterious world in a pretense of understanding. We paper over the voids in our comprehension with science or religion, and make believe that order has been imposed. And, for the most of it, the fiction works. We skim across the surfaces, heedless of the depths below. Dragon flies flitting over the ;lake , miles deep, pursuing erratic paths to pointless ends. Until the moment when something from the cold unknown reaches up to take us.

The biggest lies we save for ourselves. We play a game in which we are gods, in which we make choices, and the current follows in our wake. We pretend a separation from the world. Pretend that a man's control runs deep, that civilisation is more than a veneer, that reason will be our companion in dark places.
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Re: The Book Thread

Post by liz » Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:15 pm

Those of you with young children may be interested in this book by Annaka Harris called "I wonder".

The following link provides a free download, until Mothers Day apparently.
http://we.tl/cwJ50f0uiO

Annuka is the wife of Sam Harris (American philosopher) and the book is about asking questions. The concept behind this work is to encourage children to continue to wonder about things for which no answers are apparent and to thereby assist them to learn through continuous question. To teach them that it is ok not to have, or receive an answer, for every question.

In Annuka's words:

I believe that one of the most important gifts we can give our children is the confidence to say “I don’t know.” Identifying and expressing the feeling of not knowing is the first step in learning. It’s the foundation from which we begin our investigation of the world: asking questions, taking the necessary time to understand the answers, and searching for new answers when the ones we have in hand don’t seem to work. The feeling of not knowing is also the source of wonder and awe. I Wonder is a book that celebrates the feelings of awe and curiosity in children, as the foundation for all learning.
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Re: The Book Thread

Post by M0G » Mon Apr 28, 2014 3:55 am

Currently reading Embassytown by China Mieville. Mieville writes speculative fiction, more specifically, he dabbles in the new weird, although he despises genre labels. I am not exaggerating when I say that he is one of the best authors on the planet in any genre.

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Re: The Book Thread

Post by The Boss » Mon Apr 28, 2014 6:06 am

hellboy wrote:Thanks for the input guys - you have given me plenty of suggests for other books to read. Thankfully the local library here is excellent.

At the moment I'm reading The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss at M0G's suggestion. Several chapters in and I'm enjoying it so far.
I would suggest you get a tablet or an e-reader. There are online libraries where you can digitally borrow, or you can torrent ebooks - which is fundamentally the same thing as a library in my eyes. EDIT: I actually read all my books on my phone now. A five inch screen and a good app (e.g. UB Reader) is literally all you need to read books in the post-post-modern era.

I'm reading the second GoT. Will probably finish it tonight and go on to the next one.

I recommend anything by Hermann Hesse and Luis Borges. "MOBY DICK" is an absoute gem, as are "WUTHERING HEIGHTS", "THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA" and "THE SECRET GARDEN". I feel that much more emphasis should be placed on the classics in your early adulthood.
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Re: The Book Thread

Post by hellboy » Mon Apr 28, 2014 6:18 am

The Boss wrote: I would suggest you get a tablet or an e-reader. There are online libraries where you can digitally borrow, or you can torrent ebooks - which is fundamentally the same thing as a library in my eyes. EDIT: I actually read all my books on my phone now. A five inch screen and a good app (e.g. UB Reader) is literally all you need to read books in the post-post-modern era.
Thanks crow - I read almost exclusively on my tablet these days, unless I can't find a book in it's electronic format. Our library does have an extensive eBook range via Overdrive, which I use from time to time.

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Re: The Book Thread

Post by The Boss » Mon Apr 28, 2014 6:20 am

hellboy wrote:
The Boss wrote: I would suggest you get a tablet or an e-reader. There are online libraries where you can digitally borrow, or you can torrent ebooks - which is fundamentally the same thing as a library in my eyes. EDIT: I actually read all my books on my phone now. A five inch screen and a good app (e.g. UB Reader) is literally all you need to read books in the post-post-modern era.
Thanks crow - I read almost exclusively on my tablet these days, unless I can't find a book in it's electronic format. Our library does have an extensive eBook range via Overdrive, which I use from time to time.
Oh, good.

While it may not seem like a massive impact on the environment, I can't justify buying or even using hard-copy books anymore. And the options to change fonts, sizes, colours etc is a nice little touch if you're eyes are a bit rough.
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Re: The Book Thread

Post by liz » Mon Apr 28, 2014 6:37 am

The Boss wrote:
hellboy wrote:
The Boss wrote: I would suggest you get a tablet or an e-reader. There are online libraries where you can digitally borrow, or you can torrent ebooks - which is fundamentally the same thing as a library in my eyes. EDIT: I actually read all my books on my phone now. A five inch screen and a good app (e.g. UB Reader) is literally all you need to read books in the post-post-modern era.
Thanks crow - I read almost exclusively on my tablet these days, unless I can't find a book in it's electronic format. Our library does have an extensive eBook range via Overdrive, which I use from time to time.
Oh, good.

While it may not seem like a massive impact on the environment, I can't justify buying or even using hard-copy books anymore. And the options to change fonts, sizes, colours etc is a nice little touch if you're eyes are a bit rough.
I'm a purist. There is something very off about curling up in bed with your tablet and they don't do well at the beach. As far as my eyes go, I know that all those brightly lit screens I constantly watch do my eyes no good at all.
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Re: The Book Thread

Post by hellboy » Mon Apr 28, 2014 6:41 am

I read with a black background and white text. Made a huge difference to the brightness issues. Also, it's not too hard avoiding dropping a tablet in the water at the beach, while sober anyway.

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Re: The Book Thread

Post by liz » Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:02 am

hellboy wrote:I read with a black background and white text. Made a huge difference to the brightness issues. Also, it's not too hard avoiding dropping a tablet in the water at the beach, while sober anyway.
Interesting idea. Can I do that on my computer?

I am a model of sobriety as well you know.

What about the sand and the beach cricket?
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Re: The Book Thread

Post by The Boss » Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:07 am

hellboy wrote:I read with a black background and white text. Made a huge difference to the brightness issues. Also, it's not too hard avoiding dropping a tablet in the water at the beach, while sober anyway.
You know, I used to do that until I noticed that it would seriously fuck my eyes up right after I had finished reading. Particularly in the dark.

Now I just go for a nice soft non-white background in UB Reader.
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Re: The Book Thread

Post by nxrm » Fri Jan 01, 2016 9:15 pm

I've been slowly working my way through David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest. Three hundred and fifty pages in at the moment. There are some great sections with lucid and brilliantly descriptive observations, but for the most part it's been a depressing slog. I've never given up on a book before, but this one is testing me.

I've set it down a few times and read the following in between sections:

1. Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums.
2. Nick Offerman's Paddle Your Own Canoe.
3. Cheryl Strayed's Wild.

All enjoyable and happy to have read.

Once I've finished Infinite Jest I've got the following waiting for me:

1. Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man.
2. David Mitchell's Slade House. A companion to his great The Bone Clocks.
3. Luis Jaramillo's The Doctor's Wife.
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Re: The Book Thread

Post by nxrm » Fri Jan 29, 2016 4:02 pm

Finished reading Bruce Duff's The Smell of Death a few nights ago.

The book is about Bruce's experience traveling through Europe for two months as bass player for Jeff Dahl's band in 1993.

It was a really entertaining read, and I definitely recommend checking it out.

Here's a link for the book on Amazon:
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Re: The Book Thread

Post by Kittaan » Fri Jan 29, 2016 5:51 pm

I did a search and not one mention of The Expanse...

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Five of the nine full books planned in the series have been released and are a very compelling read:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Expan ... el_series) Started in 2011, supposed to be fully released by 2019. Do yourself a favor and don't read any reviews / dig into it too much. Much better to go in blind.

There's also a SyFy series that started this year, but I highly recommend reading at least the first book (same reason as above) before watching the first episode of the series. They are doing a decent job, but as with most attempts at capturing a book, there's really no comparison with the depth of the books. Not completely sold on the casting so far, but it's growing on me. I find it interesting how they've strayed from the book's story line and incorporated some of the associated novella and short stories' aspects. Similarly to Game of Thrones, I have a few friends who can't stand that approach and won't watch it. And there is a connection with George RR...

Still, I think it's worth checking out: http://www.syfy.com/theexpanse
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Re: The Book Thread

Post by nxrm » Fri Jan 29, 2016 6:18 pm

^I'm having a difficult time remembering the last good sci-fi book I read, so I'll definitely add this to my list.

I think it may have been The Martian, although I imagine this one is quite a bit different.
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Re: The Book Thread

Post by hellboy » Fri Jan 29, 2016 8:58 pm

Noted: I will check this series out...

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Re: The Book Thread

Post by Rockgirl » Fri Sep 30, 2016 12:49 am

I have been reading a few books lately but by far the best was a trilogy by Hugh Howey.
The first book is titled Wool
Post apocalyptic earth with surviving humans living underground. I wont go into it but I would read it again which is saying something!

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Re: The Book Thread

Post by hellboy » Mon Oct 03, 2016 6:00 am

Rockgirl wrote:I have been reading a few books lately but by far the best was a trilogy by Hugh Howey.
The first book is titled Wool
Post apocalyptic earth with surviving humans living underground. I wont go into it but I would read it again which is saying something!
Sounds good to me - will check it out.

Lately I've been reading The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia's Founding which is a good retelling of Australia's convict history.

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Re: The Book Thread

Post by Rockgirl » Mon Oct 03, 2016 7:03 pm

How are you finding it so far? Is it well written or a bit dry?

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