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Thread: What are you reading?

  1. #1171
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    Finished: “Black Dragon” by Victor Milán… obviously I took my sweet time reading it. Just wasn’t much in the mood… but we’re done now. It was a good book, lots going on. Can’t go wrong with a Princess Bride reference.

    Going to take a break from books for a bit while I do a deep dive into the comics I've collected for the past little while.

  2. #1172
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    @allegro @elevenism , my Christmas presents.


  3. #1173
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    I know what I will be reading.


  4. #1174
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    I started reading The Three-Body Problem - a science fiction novel written by the Chinese writer Liu Cixin. From the first sentences, from the first chapters, I understand that this is a masterpiece.

  5. #1175
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    Baron Wenckheim's Homecoming by László Krasznahorkai

    Who needs periods?

  6. #1176
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    Starting: "Exodus Road" by Blaine Lee Pardoe.... time to get back on that BattleTech absorption and see where that grand narrative ends up.

  7. #1177
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    Finished: “Exodus Road” by Blaine Lee Pardoe … I liked it. Looking forward to the rest of the “Twilight of the Clans” series.

    Starting: "Grave Covenant" by Michael A. Stackpole

  8. #1178
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    Finished: “Grave Covenant” by Michael A. Stackpole … took a bit for me to get into it but was aptly rewarded when I did.

    Starting: “The Hunters” by Thomas S. Gressman

  9. #1179
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    The Chain by Adrian McKinty. This is the first book of his that I've picked up, and so far I'm really liking his style and pacing, and the basic concept behind the thriller device is simple but intriguing. Hopefully it stays on target, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to pick up his new book after I finish this regardless.

  10. #1180
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    Finished: Starting: “The Hunters” by Thomas S. Gressman … enjoyed it but took my sweet time with it. Cover art depicted a scene in the novel.

    Starting: “Freebirth” by Robert Thurston

  11. #1181
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    re-reading The Fourth Hand by John Irving. Want some misanthropy up in this bitch?

    The story starts talking about a very handsome man, who was known for being handsome. Women loved him, and they said they definitely would love to have sex with him at least once. And then his arm gets bitten off by a lion, and his ex-wife mocks his explanation of his pain.

    Beyond that, no spoiler alerts.

  12. #1182
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    I know this sounds pretentious possibly, but I'm reading The Tibetan Book of the Dead. I bought this truly beautiful (and sadly expensive) copy of it, and I wasn't sure if this was going to be an ornament or something I'd actually consume... and it is hard. It is a challenging read. It has passages like this...

    "These [signs] may all indicate that one has fallen into the hands of the Lord of Death"

    And I'm really digging it.

  13. #1183
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    Ha! Speaking of pretentious, I'm starting the book Seven Types of Ambiguity by William Empson because of a mention in the short story by Shirley Jackson: Seven Types of Ambiguity.
    Revised twice since it first appeared, it has remained one of the most widely read and quoted works of literary analysis. Ambiguity, according to Empson, includes "any verbal nuance, however slight, which gives room for alternative reactions to the same piece of language." From this definition, broad enough by his own admission sometimes to see "stretched absurdly far," he launches into a brilliant discussion, under seven classifications of differing complexity and depth, of such works, among others, as Shakespeare's plays and the poetry of Chaucer, Donne, Marvell, Pope, Wordsworth, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and T. S. Eliot.

  14. #1184
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    Just finished Heat 2. Very good for first effort from Michael Mann. Hope they do a film of it. They'll have to get someone younger to play the Al Pacino part & the Val Kilmer part.

  15. #1185
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    I thought I read that it was already optioned? or maybe it was just Michael Mann manifesting it into being?

    https://www.empireonline.com/movies/...vie-exclusive/

    I really want to watch it but I also really want to watch Heat again first. oh darn.

  16. #1186
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    Quote Originally Posted by allegate View Post
    Ha! Speaking of pretentious, I'm starting the book Seven Types of Ambiguity by William Empson because of a mention in the short story by Shirley Jackson: Seven Types of Ambiguity.
    I fucking love everything Shirley Jackson ever wrote. Don't get me started there; I love everything. The Witch is probably my favorite. (it's, naturally, a short story)
    And I just assume you have read We Have Always Lived in the Castle, but... if not, big recommendation
    Last edited by Jinsai; 08-28-2022 at 01:44 AM.

  17. #1187
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    The short story collection I read was The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson:
    I wish I could have liked this collection more but there were so many stories where two characters are in the same room as each other and talking at each other but not with each other. Two different conversations are happening and neither person seems that put out by it. Such a weird feeling reading those.

    There were some standouts for sure though. The Tooth for example was such a surreal experience that it put you on edge because it never gave you something secure to hold onto. Got a Letter From Jimmy was similarly disconcerting because you didn't know why Jimmy was so ostracized and to be honest I don't think all of the characters in the story did either.

    I feel like a cad because of the one thing I highlighted from the Introduction:

    Grace Paley once described the male-female writer phenomenon to me by saying, “Women have always done men the favor of reading their work, but the men have not returned the favor.”

    I read it but I didn't get it I guess. My fault more than hers, I just had issues with the way people talked. On that note there were at least two stories - the names of which escape me - where I was pretty sure if it were a play being performed it would have been perfectly fine because it would have sounded like people talking over each other but reading all the parts in a row it turns into a weird Cormac McCarthy of 'who's speaking now and why'.
    As for We Have Always Lived in the Castle, I read that last October (spooky month!):
    I'm not sure where to put this. It's not a horror story and if you read the afterward it's not considered one. It's a creepy story right up until you get to the part where you realise this is kind of just "The Good Son", which I hope isn't that much of a spoiler but come on, how many people are going to remember that movie unless they saw it - and there wasn't that many people who saw it, it only made $60M - so I'm good with the reference if you are.

    The story is very carefully plotted and the way information is given to you is through an unreliable narrator. But also she isn't? I mean the second sentence of the story is "I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance." That's clear from the jump and yet I spent the entire rest of the story imagining her much younger because of how she is shown and she's the one doing the showing. So how can you take her seriously when she is clearly addled in some way?

    I don't remember the moment that I thought to myself, "Ah ha, the underlying story/mystery that keeps coming up constantly in fits and spurts is actually _____" but I do know that suddenly a lot more things made sense. The fact that Constance had a weird agoraphobia though I never understood. The afterword says that it's one half of Shirley Jackson's life because she was diagnosed with it late in life but that's too easy, that's just weird story motivation and reading something in real life and making a leap to conclusions mat.

    You know, Office Space? ah well.

    The book has so much hiding around the corners that you are never given, only hinted at. I suppose this is what makes a compelling short story/novella, the ability to give you a world that feels lived-in in so few pages. It's not just the story that's happening to you at the moment but also the story that you can barely see at the edges. Kind of like in "The Ring" when they find the extra film on the film edge.

  18. #1188
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    Finished: “Freebirth” by Robert Thurston … oh those pesky Smoke Jaguars. Cover art reflected a scene in the book (always nice).

    Starting: "Sword and Fire" by Thomas S. Gressman

  19. #1189
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    Not really reading, but currently listening to Stephen King's The Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three. Finished The Gunslinger a couple days ago but enjoying the series so far. For Christmas I got "We Are Legion, We Are Bob" by Dennis Taylor, "The Storyteller" by Dave Grohl, and "A Perfect Union of Contrary Things" by Sarah Jensen and MJK.

  20. #1190
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    Been looking forward to this one for a while now.

  21. #1191
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    I've been reading The Analects of Confucius. Right now, I'm sitting by the fire, it's raining outside, and I'm reading Confucius. It's this really beautiful edition of it, pages are sewn into the spine, its backing is real leather, the spine is ridged authentically, it has a silk bookmark... the edges of the pages are dipped in 22k gold... and you can open it to any page, and it says:

    "Is there any one maxim which ought to be acted upon throughout one's whole life?"

    The Master replied: "Surely the maxim of charity is such: 'Do not unto others what you would not they should do unto you."

    This is a truly beautiful book, in every sense of the word

    Last edited by Jinsai; 01-16-2023 at 12:00 AM.

  22. #1192
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    I think for me I just had a really rough time and so I've gone deep into Buddhism as well. I'm sorry to hear about that.

    I've found that Buddhism and philosophy have been very helpful for me. Tao Te Ching, now The Analects of Confucius, The Tibetan Book of the Dead. I was gifted a Bible recently and I've appreciated the gesture enough to buy a copy of the Quran and read that as well. Up next I'm planning another deep dive into Kant's critiques.

  23. #1193
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    I actually have not read Aurelius, though I’m familiar conceptually. Maybe that should be next

  24. #1194
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    I hope all goes well for you, @allegro . Prayers up for you. I've been living under a sword of Damocles for several years. It wears you out so be strong. The past few years have seemed like the downward spiral, to coin a phrase.

  25. #1195
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    Quote Originally Posted by allegate View Post
    I know what I will be reading.

    I'm about 70 pages into The Passenger. Very interesting so far! Not at all what I expected given all the talk about McCarthy spending the last decade or whatever living with (?) a bunch of experimental physicists. It's cool that - so far, at least - whatever he absorbed at that institute is clearly informing the novel's themes, but kinda from the inside if that makes sense. Not as overtly sci fi or theoretical as I thought it might be. Feels like it's going to be a major headfuck in any case.

    Pretty cool that a person can be at the end of their artistic career and totally reinvent themselves like this. That said, I haven't read anything before he started into the Western stuff, so maybe this is more similar to his first novels? Donno. I do know that I think he's one of a kind, both on the level of the sentence and the uncompromising moral / metaphysical vision that beams through everything he does. Blood Meridian is still the scariest thing I've ever read.

    Did you start / finish these, Allegate? Thoughts? No spoilers please

  26. #1196
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    I'm reading I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy and I just don't know how/what I'm supposed to be feeling here. So far I feel like this is a little one-sided in terms of how terrible the mom was. She's dead now so it's hard to get a second version of events. Though mom does sound - and I hate this word because of its overuse in news media - unhinged and truly awful. I’m at the Nickelodeon part of the book and the usage of The Creator was weird at first - she is a religious Mormon who thinks God is talking to her - but then I realized it was the creator of the show. And then I got sad because I remembered who that is.

  27. #1197
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    Ringworld, by Larry Niven

  28. #1198
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    I finally picked up House of Leaves after having it recommended to me for decades…. Any advice on how to read this thing?

  29. #1199
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    carefully.
    The book is formatted by academic publishing conventions, including exhibits, appendices, and an index, as well as numerous footnotes. It is also distinguished by convoluted page layouts: some pages contain only a few words or lines of text, arranged to mirror the events in the story, often creating both an agoraphobic and a claustrophobic effect. At points, the book must be rotated to be read, making it a prime example of ergodic literature.
    Format
    Danielewski wrote the book in longhand and revised it with a word processor. He then flew to Pantheon's NY headquarters to do the typesetting himself in QuarkXPress because he only trusted himself with the book's vision.[6]

    The book contains copious footnotes, many of which contain footnotes themselves, including references to fictional books, films or articles.[7]

    Colors
    House of Leaves includes frequent and seemingly systematic color changes. While Danielewski leaves much of the interpretation of the choice of colors up to the reader, several distinct patterns emerge upon closer examination.[8]

    Notable examples include:

    The word "house" is colored blue (gray for non-color editions of the book and light gray for red editions). In many places throughout the book, it is offset from the rest of the text in different directions at different times. Foreign-language equivalents of house, such as the German Haus and the French maison, are also blue. These colorizations even extend to text on the book's copyright page.
    In all colored editions, the word minotaur and all struckthrough passages are colored red.
    Many references to Johnny's mother are colored purple.
    Font changes
    Throughout the book, various changes in font serve as a way for the reader to quickly determine which of its multiple narrators’ work they are currently following. In the book, there are four fonts used by the four narrators. These are: Times New Roman (Zampanò), Courier (Johnny), Bookman (The Editors), and Dante (Johnny's mother).[9] (Additional font changes are used intermittently—Janson for film intertitles, Book Antiqua for a letter written by Navidson, and so on.)
    But seriously, it's a dense book. There are, iirc, three different stories going on in it. There's the Navidson story, Johnny's story in the margins, and the letters at the end of the book. The main ones are of course the first two as they have interplay on the page but it can get daunting and confusing to read all of that at the same time. I think the easiest way to approach it is to read the Navidson parts first - they are the most dense when it comes to the formatting choices of the author after all - and then Johnny's so you at least have a backstory for what he's writing about.

    On top of that there's a Poe album that you can listen to while reading it. Also her breakout single was Angry Johnny which, ah, does that sound familiar?
    A two-second clip of "Angry Johnny" was included in the endpapers of the US hardcover version of Mark Z. Danielewski's novel House of Leaves, in the form of hexadecimal numbers that, when compiled in a hex editor, could be turned into an AIFF audio file.
    There is a pretty good haunted house story buried in The Navidson Record outside of the weird stuff that Mark's trying to do within the format of a book.

    And finally there's the television series that was started but ultimately did not go to production.
    In 2017, Danielewski entered talks to adapt the novel into a TV series,[10][11] stating that if a deal was not made by February 2020, the project would be abandoned.[12] Ultimately, Danielewski published screenplays of three episodes online.[13] A sequel to the book, the screenplays both adapt the original story and extend it to the present day. Past sequences, depicted as filmed by a then-young filmmaker named Mélisande Avignon, contradict the book significantly: Zampanó's [sic] work, found by Truant, was not a manuscript but the actual film footage of The Navidson Record. This and Avignon's film are later seized, and public knowledge of them suppressed, by a "data disposal" company called Skiadyne. In the present, unknown forces steal both films from Skiadyne and return them to Avignon, leading to a high-stakes fight for control. The book House of Leaves, now academically studied as a work of fiction, becomes embroiled in a "fake fiction" scandal when Avignon publicizes its factual basis by leaking the films.
    I love the book and it's probably one of my top ten. It will challenge you both in stamina and mental acuity and is similar to David Foster Wallace's books with the "what is a book, really" attitude.

  30. #1200
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    I watched the first 2 eps day of release, and I'm hooked. So this weekend's read:

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