Re: What are you reading?

MartyJ wrote:

I read that a year ago (in the original English) and, while the story is good and the universe interesting, something about Tolkien's style has made it an excruciating read for me (I kept thinking: "I'd rather just watch the movie again."). Is it more palatable to Britons?


Short answer: Nope, it's still a tough read.

Longer answer:

My first exposure to Lord of the Rings was New Years Eve 2001. It used to be a bit of a tradition for me and my dad to go see a film on NYE and the adverts for Fellowship seemed cool. My dad had no idea what LOTR was and thought I was taking him to 'some Jesus film' - it's got the word Lord in the title, go figure.

Anyway, whilst we were out - my mum had dug out her old copy of the book. She read it way back when and thought I'd enjoy it. The book was tattered, the pages were yellowed and just turning the page had the potential to make a tear. This was the cover.

http://www.tolkienbooks.net/images/main/lr/lr-1979.gif

My mum warned me in advance it would be a hard read, but I jumped right in. She was right, it was a hard read - but not because of the language. The sheer fragility of this particular copy made it tough. Each page turn had to be slow and delicate. I needed a new copy.

I eventually got my own and made it all the way up to 'The Council of Elrond' chapter. Then, I just stopped. I can't remember exactly why, but I remember the book became less fun to read and more daunting. I'd pick the book up many times through the later years, but I'd never get very far. I've read the first few chapters in The Shire so many times, that it's almost comfort reading.

[meta]I didn't want to leave The Shire. The roads beyond were ominous and beyond my comfort zone.[/meta]

Fast forward to the tail end of last year. I'd just finished Siddhartha, which was a relatively short read. Now that I had the need to actually always be reading something, I was wondering what I should tackle next. I saw LOTR staring at me from the bookcase and decided 'Fuck it, I don't care how long it takes - or how tough it will be. I'm gonna finish it!'

And yeah, it was a bit of a slog at times. But honestly, I'd made it seem much more tedious in my head. I particularly recall dreading coming up to 'The Council of Elrond' chapter, but it came and went without any issue - in fact, I really enjoyed it this time round!

I think reading it on a Kindle really helped in a few different ways. The main benefit was the built-in dictionary feature, which will also search Wikipedia. As you can imagine, this was brilliant for quickly getting up to speed with who this character that has a very similar name to another character. If it wasn't for this, I'm sure my brain would have merged so many characters together. Another big benefit to the Kindle is the 'Time Remaining' feature. Seeing that you've only got 12 minutes left during a bit of a plodding section makes it so much easier to just persevere.

Anyway, yeah... I kinda rambled a bit here. It was a big thing for me to finally get round to finishing LOTR. It was tough at times, but despite all that I ended up falling in love with Middle-earth all over again. I'm not itching to jump in to The Silmarillion any time soon, but there were points during LOTR where I was tempted to dive right in.

Boter wrote:

Solid reads sir. Especially a fan of the last two. I recommend Diamond Age also by Stephenson, if not immediately after Snow Crash then sometime within the next year or so.

Recommendation noted. I probably wont get round to it right after Snow Crash, but I'll definitely add it to my list. I was actually thinking of dipping my toes in to Narnia after this.

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Re: What are you reading?

Owen_Ward wrote:

I was actually thinking of dipping my toes in to Narnia after this.

I'd highly recommend Dune - another epic story set in a complex universe with its own vocabulary, but without Tolkien's exhausting prose. I haven't read the sequels yet, but they're on my list.

We all float down here...

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Re: What are you reading?

Narnia... is... odd.

Reading it as an adult you don't have the luxury of childlike wonder and ignorance glossing over the incredibly heavy handed christian metaphors and themeing that goes into EVERYTHING in those books. Which in and of itself isn't the worst thing in the world, but as the series goes on it just becomes increasingly more and more like a weird trip until you hit The Last Battle where you just spend the entire thing going "What the /actual/ fuck am I reading right now?".

They're probably worth one read through as an adult, but there's a reason they only ever tried to adapt 3 of them to film, cause, hooboy.

ZangrethorDigital.ca

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Re: What are you reading?

For other "if you liked this you should do this" recs:

HEAVILY, UNRESERVEDLY recommend The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson for fantasy. It's hard fantasy from the perspective of a member of a society that's been colonized and ruined by the Empire of Masks (the obvious real-world parallel is Great Britain's imperialism, but Dickinson has said he's more inspired by the American colonization of the Philippines). She's taken into their ranks at a young age and begins a mission to bring them down from within using the tools of finance and politics. Not only does it have all sorts of candy for people who are into said tools of finance and political maneuvering, it's first and foremost a devastating character piece about a woman who, in endeavoring to bring down her enemy, is compromising her own humanity.

For the Snow Crash rec, David Louis Edelman's Infoquake and its two sequels are how I got into cyberpunk at a young age. Extremely twisty/turny/tense SF business thrillers, essentially, about transhumanism and multiple realities and boardroom meetings. Can't speak to whether I'd still find them well written, as it's been at least seven years since I last read them, but they're impossible to put down and loaded with ideas.

Also, what BDA said; the earlier Narnia books are good but it quickly goes insane. For a much better fantasy children's series, try Catherynne M. Valente's The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.

Last edited by Abbie (2019-03-12 00:54:39)

Re: What are you reading?

Narnia is a world where Santa Claus gives deadly weapons to children.

Philip Seymour Hoffman wrote:

Excuse me, what the fuck?

We all float down here...

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Re: What are you reading?

And are you enjoying Snow Crash? There are no wrong answers. Don't fuck up.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: What are you reading?

MartyJ wrote:

Narnia is a world where Santa Claus gives deadly weapons to children.

Philip Seymour Hoffman wrote:

Excuse me, what the fuck?

Except Santa Claus is also /literally/ god.

ZangrethorDigital.ca

Re: What are you reading?

MartyJ wrote:

Is it more palatable to Britons?

It is not.

Extended Edition - 144 Detective Pikachu
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Re: What are you reading?

Teague wrote:

And are you enjoying Snow Crash? There are no wrong answers. Don't fuck up.

I'm not loving it, but it's been an enjoyable read so far. It has certainly stuck with me and I find myself eagerly awaiting any chance I get to start another chapter. That being said, although I really like all the individual ingredients, the pie as a whole falls short just a little - can't quite put my finger on why though.

Anyways, I gotta get back to reading some more. The last chapter taught me all about magic Sumerian jizz, this is wild.

Last edited by Owen_Ward (2019-03-12 13:02:52)

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Re: What are you reading?

I haven't gotten to it yet, but Gideon the Ninth jumped to the top of my reading list when I'm done with For Want of a Nail.

https://www.tor.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Gideon-the-Ninth-cover.jpg

I see a fair amount of Teague in the face. Might just be the red hair and most of my visual memories of him including it. The pitch at the bottom seems like it's trying slightly too hard but damn if it isn't my wheelhouse anyway. It comes out in September, but hey, bookseller perk.

Plus it's kinda cool seeing how they put the cover art together. https://www.tor.com/2019/01/07/gideon-t … er-reveal/

Boter, formerly of TF.N as Boter and DarthArjuna. I like making movies and playing games, in one order or another.

Re: What are you reading?

Owen_Ward wrote:

I'm not loving it, but it's been an enjoyable read so far. It has certainly stuck with me and I find myself eagerly awaiting any chance I get to start another chapter. That being said, although I really like all the individual ingredients, the pie as a whole falls short just a little - can't quite put my finger on why though.

Nah, that's the right opinion. You're good.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: What are you reading?

I just got "A Tale of Sand," for my birfday. Graphic novel based on a complete screenplay by Jim Henson/Jerry Juhl from their early experimental-film years. It's about a guy running through an allegorical desert while experiencing various post-modern film-trope episodes, while trying to get his last cigarette lit. I might prefer to read the actual screenplay, but I'm american-connotation-"quite" happy that I finally own this book.

Possibly related: is it worth returning to "Infinite Jest"? I got about halfway through while on vacation 2 or 3 years ago, and it has now risen to the "next" position in the literal pile on my nightstand.

(UTC-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada)

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Re: What are you reading?

Snow Crash: Now that I think about it, Owen, that seems about right. I did love it but each time I re-read it it feels slightly less than I remember it - the sum of it's parts would be great, and it falls just short of that into "quite good" in my opinion. Diamond Age does a better job at being cohesive ("better"), but is still recognizeably the same author and similar plot arcs IIRC.

Tolkien: I got up to Return of the King in high school and about midway through that had the stunning realization, "I'm not enjoying reading this." It was annoyingly dense reading the entire time and when there was a point that I was satisfied with where the characters were and didn't bother reading through the endless epilogues and denouements (again, as I recall, this was some fifteen years ago).

Boter, formerly of TF.N as Boter and DarthArjuna. I like making movies and playing games, in one order or another.

214

Re: What are you reading?

Not a book, but: never forget the time Hunter S. Thompson absolutely reamed Anthony Burgess over his trying to back out of a deadline.

http://cdn8.openculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/23211914/Thompson-Burgess-Letter.png

Two things I wish: 1.) that Thompson were still around to write about the modern Republican party; 2.) that "cheapjack scum" enters our cultural vocabulary.

Last edited by Abbie (2019-04-11 05:19:00)

Re: What are you reading?

Did you ever read his eulogy of Nixon?

Boink.

Excerpt:

You don't even have to know who Richard Nixon was to be a victim of his ugly, Nazi spirit.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: What are you reading?

Yep, I go back and re-read that one every so often when I need a good dose of someone being torn apart by typewriter. "The morals of a weasel on speed" is my favorite bit.

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Re: What are you reading?

Today, the latest in "pulp-ass shit Boter reads"...

https://i2.wp.com/www.tor.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Gideon-the-Ninth-cover.jpg?resize=640%2C989&type=vertical&ssl=1

Necromancers. Ladies with swords. Swords wielded by lady necromancers. Listen, if this isn't hooking you, I don't know what will. Gideon herself is the most self-assured protagonist I have read in a long time, with wit and actual competence to match. Mix in a conspiracy involving the immortal emperor, eight houses vying for supremacy, and a dash of LGBT+ representation naturally woven throughout and you have, hands down, an early contender for my favorite book of the year.

To expand a bit on what I wrote as a staff review for my store, I really enjoyed the narration in here, though at times it jumps outside what's reasonable. While not told from a first-person perspective, Gideon is still the point-of-view character, so while the following sentence is fun: "Then Gideon whistled through her teeth as she unlocked her security cuff, and arranged it and its stolen key considerately on her pillow, like a chocolate in a fancy hotel." You stop and think, "She's never been to a fancy hotel and likely has had very little opportunity to read about them." I just sat back and enjoyed such literary decoration, meanwhile Steph started reading it and couldn't get past it.

Still, between the writing, the characterization, the exploration of what "necromancy" might entail beyond just skeletons when there are eight different Houses each with their own take on it, and the plot itself, I thoroughly enjoyed this and had a hard time putting it down.

The book is due out September 10th of this year.

Boter, formerly of TF.N as Boter and DarthArjuna. I like making movies and playing games, in one order or another.

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Re: What are you reading?

Doing a re-read of Notre-Dame de Paris and stumbled upon something vital.

https://scontent-msp1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/57575301_1816834071751181_7234470315273748480_o.jpg?_nc_cat=104&_nc_ht=scontent-msp1-1.xx&oh=3480e90b6f3054235d58bd42802fb85f&oe=5D38D6AA

Did . . . did Victor Hugo just make an oral sex joke?

Re: What are you reading?

1) Wow.

2) Maybe?

3) Could he mean "head" as in "thoughts?"

4) *squint*

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: What are you reading?

I have it on good authority that the head and the womb may both benefit from being connected.
The putative double entendre will be allowed to stand.

(UTC-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada)

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Re: What are you reading?

http://lacrimamens.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/nevada.jpg

Easily my favorite read of the year so far, fiction or otherwise. Follows a twenty-something trans punk trying and failing to get her shit together and eventually taking off from New York for parts unknown. There's no cutesy hand-holding or attempts to make it an instructional read for cis people—this is a trans book by a trans author with a fucked-up trans heroine and I dug it so hard.

Available for free due to the loveliness that is its Creative Commons license!

Along similar lines, Andrea Lawlor's Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl just got a second edition courtesy of Vintage—magical realism with a genderfluid shapeshifter, that one, and one of my favorite reads from last year.

Last edited by Abbie (2019-07-21 05:30:12)

Re: What are you reading?

Abbie wrote:

There's no cutesy hand-holding or attempts to make it an instructional read for cis people—this is a trans book by a trans author with a fucked-up trans heroine and I dug it so hard.

https://i.imgur.com/Zc8TlVa.png

What luck! An opportunity to discover whether my year of hardcore-mainlining Contrapoints has been... useful!

EDIT: Aw. I made it 29 pages before becoming too frustrated by her punctualization-and-grammar-and-aspect.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: What are you reading?

Aww. I geddit, though--the style definitely isn't for everyone.

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Re: What are you reading?

Did My Lunches with Orson today—a collection of conversations between Henry Jaglom and Orson Welles over lunches that Jaglom recorded. It's a mixed bag whose subjects don't always come off well, but it's at its best when Welles is being deliberately catty about other filmmakers he doesn't like. The most famous quote from it (deservedly) is his long dressing down of Woody Allen, but I also loved this bit about John Landis:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EAb4DCyWsAEwF2x?format=jpg&name=4096x4096

Anyway, if you're a Welles buff it's worth checking to see if your local library system has it—it's a quick read, too, you can get through it in an afternoon.

Last edited by Abbie (2019-07-27 05:54:19)