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Pontius Pilate
Jul 25, 2006

Crucify, Whale, Crucify

The New Black posted:

Just before that it was Huxley's Brave New World. Distopian futures are awesome.


I must be insane for saying this, but am I the only one that found Brave New World alright? Maybe the middle just ruined it for me. What happens in the middle, no need for spoiler warnings, is nothing. Nothing at all.

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ultraviolence123
Jul 3, 2002


Just finished Richard Laymon's The Cellar, the first in the Beast House series. Gotta love those sloppy, cheesy Laymon horror novels. Also recently finished Edward Lee's Flesh Gothic, (a great haunted house novel), Edward Lee's The Backwoods (not nearly as good as Flesh Gothic), and Gary A. Braunbeck's Keepers (excellent book that kept me in suspense until the final page).

The Werle
Aug 8, 2005

Fireworks for Christmas is absolutely American


The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - A Pulitzer prize winning tale of two Jewish cousins who become a powerhouse comic duo in the 30's and 40's. For fans of comics its a really awesome book, reading about the golden age of comics and catching parallels to great artists like Jack Kirby and Jim Steranko. In the big picture its a story about family though, which always tends to sucker me in.

The New Black
Oct 1, 2006

Had it, lost it.

Pontius Pilate posted:

I must be insane for saying this, but am I the only one that found Brave New World alright? Maybe the middle just ruined it for me. What happens in the middle, no need for spoiler warnings, is nothing. Nothing at all.

It is true, it does sag a bit in the middle in terms of the story and with regard to the reservation (Huxley himself, in an introduction to the version I read that was added later agreed with this, and also said he found the way in which they lived the most unbelieveable part of the story). In any case, it's not a particularly long book so I didn't find it dragged on. The real genius of the book comes mostly in its setting and mood, although the ending (from the return to civilisation onwards) is great.

Avoiding the derail by saying I, too, recently read Naked Lunch. It I got it due to my love of Kerouac, and so didn't find it exactly what I expected, but enjoyed it anyway. Reading that book is, I imagine, about as close to understanding total madness as sane people can get.

The New Black fucked around with this message at 03:27 on Nov 16, 2006

the42ndtourist
Sep 6, 2004

A half-dead thing in the stark, dead world, clean mad for the muck called gold

Michael Collins' The Meat Eaters. A short story collection.

Canadian writing often comes out rather dreary and depressive, but it seems we're amateurs compared to the Irish. That being said it's drat well written, if unrelentingly downspirited.

nemesis07
Jan 13, 2006

Word.

Bukowski's Ham on Rye was an excellent read. It was a good introduction to a lot of his poetry. I'm currently in the process of reading Mr. Nice, which I find to be poorly written and somewhat monotonous. Character's names are difficult to keep track of, and the plot is hard to follow at times. Next on my list is A Feast for Crows.

Jimbola
Sep 27, 2005

I say, what a dapper young fellow.

Fun Shoe

Just finished All Quiet On The Western Front and before that In Cold Blood.

Both are part of my 'classics I can't believe I haven't read' tour - I reccommend them highly.

Pontius Pilate
Jul 25, 2006

Crucify, Whale, Crucify

Jimbola posted:

Just finished All Quiet On The Western Front and before that In Cold Blood.

Both are part of my 'classics I can't believe I haven't read' tour - I reccommend them highly.

I just read both of these recently. I enjoyed both of them immensely, and I think they are really accessible books in general, In Cold Blood more so though.

On the Brave New World note, my opinion of it isn't low, I just didn't find it as enjoyable as others. I really enjoyed the beginning so I might have had too high of expectations when I got to the reservation section.

BLOG KING
Jun 20, 2004


I just finished Neuromancer by William Gibson. Great cyberpunk read.

Cartesian Cogito
Mar 1, 2005



Just finished reading Plato's Protagoras and Meno dialogues (they were both in one book). Figured I needed to expand the works of Plato I've read and who can't love wacky 'knowledge is remembering what you learned before you were a human' theories? Still don't know what virtue is though

Robophile
Apr 20, 2003

We know a remote farm in Lincolnshire, where Mrs. Buckley lives.

I just finished Elbow Room by Daniel Dennett. It was my second time through it because, not having any real background in philosophy, I felt I'd missed a lot the first time through. It's pretty accessible, and helps to clear up some of the clutter surrounding the idea of free will.

Before that I read Godel Escher Bach by Doug Hofstadter, which was very long but ultimately worthwhile and pretty entertaining. Again, I feel like I missed quite a bit, since it's so densely packed with hidden bits, double meanings, self-references, and whatnot, but I'll need to take a break before tackling it again.

Starscream
Aug 17, 2000


hooray a real book forum!


Just finished The Joyous Cosmology by Alan Watts (with foreward by Timothy Leary). Great book (albeit a touch outdated) on the topic of psychedelic drugs: LSD, Mescaline, and Psilocybin (mushrooms).

In the bathroom I'm about 80% done Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions. Great book and great "artwork" from a great writer.

Sloth Socks
May 13, 2005

dangling is the finest of all the arts in all the worlds



Lipstick Apathy

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.

I'm usually not a big fan of 19th century literature, but it was a solid read, the whole way through. My only qualm is that by 3/4ths through the book, Dumas kills off who I percieved as the major villain, and the rest feels like too much wrapping up of loose ends instead of interesting narrative. Granted, the book is a solid 1200 pages, but it was like enjoying a mini-series that took me two months to work through.

Next up? Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson

KQKyle
Feb 26, 2006

by Fistgrrl


MetricLeft posted:

I just finished Neuromancer by William Gibson. Great cyberpunk read.

Same here, first cyberpunk novel I ever read and one of the first sci-fi (others being Ender's Game and Dune) I think I'm going to have to check some more of this stuff out.

McCaine
Feb 20, 2002

ASK ME ABOUT MAKING A SICK BURN ON MY
TWITTER ABOUT VILE RATS DEATH FOR SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED THREE YEARS AGO, PS CHECK MY RAP SHEET BECAUSE I AM MOST LIKELY STILL BUTT HURT THAT HE BANNED ME BECAUSE I POSTED PEDO ANIME BOYS


I'll not count scientific works. I've just finished Daniel Dennett's Darwin's Dangerous Idea. I'm afraid it makes me like Dennett and his overblown theories rather less than more. I also read an English translation (I can read Latin but it's such a bother ) of Cassius Dio's Roman History, which is very interesting and also describes a lot of pretty saucy orgies! And I reread Louis Paul Boon, Pieter Daens.

mystes
May 31, 2006



In the last week or two I have read:
The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi, an entertaining but forgettable space military sci-fi book.

Prospero's Daughter by Elizabeth Nunez, based on The Tempest and pretty solid all around.

In a Dark Wood by Marina Warner. I had never heard of the author or this novel before I found it in a used bookstore. I enjoyed the author's prose style considerably. There was not much actual plot in this book, but it was extremely interesting nonetheless. It is concerned with two brothers: one the editor of a prominent journal that is about to be disgraced for receiving funding from the CIA, the other a priest who is obsessed with the journal of a Jesuit who went as a missionary to China.

Vivisector
Aug 24, 2002

Squirreling?

I just finished The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. It's a mystery novel about a boy with autism that goes in search of who murdered the neighbor's dog. He discovers a lot more. It's not a very difficult read, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Geoffrey Ingram
Dec 24, 2004



.

Geoffrey Ingram fucked around with this message at 08:29 on Nov 14, 2007

mynie
Sep 16, 2002

by HELLTANK


David Halperin's No Future, Queer Theory and Death Drive

Even as literary theory goes, this one was hard to slog through. Which is a shame, because it's got a drat fine premise: the soceital focus upon The Child as a sacred object, the needs of which all forms of media, expression, and behavior should be concerned with, and the protection of that all censorship is in the name of, should be gotten rid of. Of course, this leads to a "death drive," a focus not on the future, but on the now. Filmic examples are looked at, detailing the controlling power of The Child.

The language is hyperbolic in the Edward Said, "Yeah, I guess I'm just a loving savage no matter what I do so I'm gonna embrace the title" sense. Children are told to go gently caress themselves, and a lot of readers are going to take issue with that. But if you're willing to give Halperin the constant benefit of the doubt, this is certainly worth a read.

bazooka_tooth posted:

Not enough to make a discussion thread about, but did you interpret the Airborne Chemical Event as a mid-life crisis?

Also, Professor of Hitler Studies, and the Nuns who worship JFK, were both hilarious, and in tune with the mid-life crisis theory.


It's the "Airborne Toxic Event." That's significant, because it spells "Ate." As in, to consume. Mindless, modern consumption that is slowly causing death, but also granting solace from the fear fear of death.

mynie fucked around with this message at 06:22 on Nov 16, 2006

Bibliophobe
Apr 25, 2006

by Fistgrrl


I just read Patriotic Fire by Winston Groom. It's a history of the battle of New Orleans during the war of 1812. The book follows Andrew Jackson during the conflict and while I enjoyed it immensely, but a great deal of it was sourced to other authors. Still, he manages to frame the battle and its aftermath, which I knew almost nothing about, in a straightforward and understandable way.

Bibliophobe fucked around with this message at 06:42 on Nov 16, 2006

Bibliophobe
Apr 25, 2006

by Fistgrrl


I also just finished The Tortilla Curtain by T. Coraghessan Boyle. The book is about the intersecting lives of two families in modern day S. California - one wealthy and the other illegal aliens. This book could have been great but you could see the gears at work. This is the part where we're suppossed to laugh, this is sad part. Boyle's dialogue sounded like forced political speech.

Still, it's a book dealing with a very modern topic and it held my interest. I wouldn't recommend it for the story however.

Also let me be immodest and say I have the best username in this forum.

JIHAD JERRY
Mar 16, 2004

by Fragmaster


Thus Spake Zarathustra for the fourth time, Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis by Sigmund Freud for the first time (finally!). Both easily two of my favorite books ever.

Decius
Oct 14, 2005



Ramrod XTreme

The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization by Bryan Ward-Perkins. The titles is a bit misleading, while Ward-Perkins argues that the End of Rome is seen too cosy in some recent books and studies his point would be better named The Violent Decline and Change of Half a Civilization, but still a good book.
The War for All the Oceans: From Nelson at the Nile to Napoleon at Waterloo by Roy Adkins and Lesley Adkins. Well written account of 1798-1815.
Enigma by Robert Harris. I love stories about Bletchley Park and next to Cryptonomicon this is the best I know.
Imperium by Robert Harris. I always like Cicero more than Caesar . Very entertaining if you like Court Room and Political drama.
Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann (I read the German original, so can't say if it is well translated). Wonderful story about Alexander von Humboldt and Carl Friedrich Gauß. We only see small sketches of both's life, very entertaining. Was a big, big hit in Germany, a shame I waited so long to read it. Big recommendation.

Decius fucked around with this message at 07:12 on Nov 16, 2006

bipolarbear
Jun 15, 2005

Droppin the Funk Bomb!

Decartes In 90 Minutes by Paul Strathern- Succinct but effective look at the life of Decartes. Gives you a good protrait of the man. The whole "90 Minute Philosopher Series" is supposed to be wonderful. Pity my Library has only the one copy.

Specineff
Mar 10, 2005



Fun Shoe

mynie posted:

David Halperin's No Future, Queer Theory and Death Drive

The language is hyperbolic in the Edward Said, "Yeah, I guess I'm just a loving savage no matter what I do so I'm gonna embrace the title" sense....


Please, could you elaborate on this a little? I'm only familiar with Said's Orientalism and Culture and Imperialism, and I suddenly feel like I'm missing something important.

Pierson
Oct 31, 2004



College Slice

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, a biography about Bill trying to walk the Appalachian Trail with a giant man he doesn't get along with very well. Hilarity ensues.

I only picked it up because I'd never read any of his novels before and people kept recommending them, and it was awesome. Plus I learned a lot about the the Trail and other Trail-related American history. Are all his other books like this? Because if so I need to go hunt down some more.

nnamaste
Jun 15, 2005

by elpintogrande


Pierson posted:

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, a biography about Bill trying to walk the Appalachian Trail with a giant man he doesn't get along with very well. Hilarity ensues.

I only picked it up because I'd never read any of his novels before and people kept recommending them, and it was awesome. Plus I learned a lot about the the Trail and other Trail-related American history. Are all his other books like this? Because if so I need to go hunt down some more.

Bill Bryson was introduced to me when i was 12 or so, and he's really a funny guy, his book A Short History of Nearly Everything is really great/funny and you learn alot too!

DarthVersace
Jul 26, 2001

I am The Everything.

I tend to read more than one book at once. The last couple I've finished have been The Great Gatsby, by F Scott Fitzgerald, and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, by David Sedaris.

The first was a murder-betrayal-n-intrigue novel set among New York's Jazz Age upper crust. Surprisingly engaging, for a classic. It didn't plod in the slightest, which I find to be a problem with older novels. It's aged well.

The second was a collection of short, confessional bios and autobios by David Sedaris, who I and everyone else first became familiar with through the "This American Life" radio show. No surprises; solid, enjoyable stuff, especially when Dave's foul-mouthed little brother, The Rooster, makes him "Uncle enjoyable human being" with the birth of his daughter.

Currently on the table: War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy, and A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole.


Hey. Read my comic. kthnx.

Mellow Harsher
Nov 16, 2006

Unconditional love has a little known cross-checking subclause. Prepare to eat ice.

I recently re-read Mark Danielewski's House of Leaves, followed directly by Haruki Murakami's The Elephant Vanishes.

The first book was more enlightening the second time around, although it still remains a labyrinth (no pun intended, those that have read it).

The second was a wonderful collection of Murakami's short fiction, a lot of Magic Realism and heartbreaking segments.

Chronic Reagan
Oct 13, 2000

pictures of plastic men


Fun Shoe

I just finished Julian May's Conquerors Moon which is a fairly standard fantasy novel which begins the 'Boreal Moon tale' of at least 3 books. Julian May is best known for her science fiction books, of which I read a couple of back in the 80's, so I was intrigued enough to pick them up.

The gist of the plot involves a Prince on the England-analogue isle of Blenholme and his machinations to unite the four kingdoms of the isle under his rule. He devises a gambit to sack the capital of a neighboring kingdom which requires the enlisting of a sorceress to provide the cover for the approach.

There's magic, sword fights, prophecies, political intrigue, and hints of a larger story. There's some humor - during the coronation of the sorceress's unfortunate brother (her major rival), she disrupts the proceedings with plagues of animals. Overall, about what you'd expect in a fantasy novel and nothing more. Fairly literate and compact (445p) as opposed to a lot of the fantasy juggernauts out there.

Chronic Reagan fucked around with this message at 17:02 on Nov 16, 2006

Carti
Nov 15, 2005

Blackholes! Bleep! Blorp!

I just finished reading 'Naked Pictures of Famous People' by Jon Stewart. I picked it up alongside his 'America - A Citizens Guide to Democracy Inaction' after finding out about the Daily Show and Colbert Report in the states. They only show the Daily Show over here in the UK which is heavily edited.

'Naked Pictures of Famous People' features around 19 different essays written by Jon Stewart taking on such topics like Politics, Celebrities and Religion with just plain.. awesomeness.

Jon Stewarts quite a good writer. It's not something you'd expect from his seeing as this was written in 98, but for someone who has a strong stance on the issues mentioned above and enjoys a laugh or two, or would like to see how an interview with Larry King and Adolf Hitler pans out, i would highly recommend this book.

the Daddy
Apr 15, 2005
well, yeah

I just finished "In an angels hand", by Dominique Fernandez. It's a fictional biography of Pasolini. It was interesting at times but in my opinion too long. I guess if you are interested in Pasolini, this would be a good read.

Postradamus
Jun 12, 2006



In the last 2 weeks:

Kipling - Kim for the 2nd time. I still like this book, even though it's really slow. It gives me a great feeling of peace when I've finished it.

Remarque - All Quiet on the Western Front for the 2nd time. Still crazy depressing, still liked it.

Pratchett - Wintersmith. Pratchett's young adult books are better than his old adult books now, and this was by far the best one yet. Opened it at 3:00 on Sunday and finished it at 8:00, stopped only to pee.

Salinger - Catcher in the Rye n-teenth million time. I still like Franny and Zooey better I think, even though I always think I like Catcher in the Rye better.

edit: currently reading Wodehouse - A Gentleman of Leisure, which I've never read before, and to this point is surprisingly good considering it isn't a Jeeves book. It's a quick read and I'll definitely finish it tonight, and I think Kipling - Captains Courageous is going to be next.

Oh, I also recently finished LeCarre - Single & Single, which was refreshingly playful and modern compared to his older, more famous works. I thoroughly enjoyed it, give me hope about reading the rest of his newer stuff after I thought I was sort of burned out on LeCarre.

Postradamus fucked around with this message at 17:41 on Nov 16, 2006

LittleJoe
Jun 21, 2004

heh


Paradise, by Donald Barthelme. Not to be confused with Toni Morrison's Paradise, which is also quite good. A fairly surreal and innovative novel in which a middle-aged, divorced architecht has three young, attractive women move in who, because they are apparently bored and sort of adrift and have nothing better to do, take turns loving and sucking him and each other. Despite being in "paradise", he can never quite work past the realization that one-day-sometime-maybe-soon they'll just pack up and leave him as suddenly as he came, despite the fact that they don't really give him any indication of wanting to leave. It sounds stupid, and it maybe it a little, but it's also quite sad and black and fairly unconventional in its narrative structure.

Jacob's Room, by Virginia Woolfe. A book I read because someone else suggested it, because I like Woolfe, and also because it's canonically "good". I actually really liked it although it took me a while to "get" it. Basically, the novel is a narrative experiment in portraying the paralysis and insensibility of Europe regarding the terrible cost of war, right up to the eve of the First World War. It's all about the life of Jacob, and his room, but in the most oblique and side-on way imagineable. It's never really explicitly stated "Jacob did x, y, z, and was a good guy, and then went and died in the war, very sad." You learn that he's a teacher because he has students that talk about him still -- you learn he's dead because his shoes sit in a corner in his room, never to be filled again. His death, a metonymy for the war, is the figurative "elephant in the bedroom", never addressed or dealt with directly, and certainly never coped with. The way that Woolfe structures the novel is incisive and highly critical of the type of thinking regarding war that typified pre-war Europe. The novel closes with the sound of guns firing in the distance and everyone still as unaware as they were at the beginning.

I reread Grettir's Saga a while back. I originally read it in an Old English class as a companion to our travel through the original text of Beowulf. There are a great deal of similarities between the two stories, and the common ground is what we were studying in class. My reading was a lot less scholarly this time around; I just think it's cool and fairly funny for an ancient saga.

Sloth Socks posted:



Next up? Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson


hell yeah

LittleJoe fucked around with this message at 17:19 on Nov 16, 2006

bazooka_tooth
Jul 8, 2004

The police can't catch you if you were never there

vivisectvnv posted:

Yes to the first question, although i guess it could be seen as the mere fact of facing one's mortality and the sum of your life

I'm not completely in agreement with the last two comments, especially since he started his career during a timeline before the book was written.

I loving loved Heinrich though...

I agree with you, I think I just typed it out poorly. Both things were hilarious, but only the second thing matches my theory.

Krinkle
Feb 9, 2003

Ah do believe Ah've got the vapors...
Ah mean the farts



The last three weeks were pretty much taken up by the count of monte cristo. That was a great book but god drat was it long. He can just go on for pages about what people were eating or wearing or how much money every person in the room makes per annum... poo poo that has nothing to do with anything. The dude is rich. I get this. Please get to the revenge.

This week, though I read stranger in a strange land. I loved the beginning but towards the middle and the end I just... well heinlein wanted to challenge my mores and I guess he succeeded. I don't dig cannibalism or free love, I guess, and cults are basically my biggest fear so I didn't like anything michael tried to achieve. I wanted him to fail and I wanted people to reject that lifestyle, but it looks like I'm the rear end in a top hat.

And before that was slaughterhouse-five, which was a good read. I didn't even recognize the intro as being what kurt vonnegut actually did and take his word for it being true until I was 80% through it. It threw me for a loop for a character in a story to tell me this was a true story, partially, and be expected to believe him but after that it was a good book.

Painkiller
Jan 30, 2005

You think the truth will set you free...

Decius posted:


Imperium by Robert Harris. I always like Cicero more than Caesar . Very entertaining if you like Court Room and Political drama.


I've just read this as well, it was pretty good. Harris is writing two more books as part of his series on Cicero, so look out for those. I'm quite a fan of his alternate/historical fiction, Fatherland, Pompeii etc.

Before that I tried reading Catch 22, didn't make it through despite finding it entertaining, before that was Slaughterhouse Five and now I'm reading Cat's Cradle.

Defenestration
Aug 10, 2006

"It wasn't my fault that my first unconscious thought turned out to be-"
"Jesus, kid, what?"
"That something smelled delicious!"




Grimey Drawer

Just finished Portnoy's Complaint. Thankfully, my time at SA significantly increased my tolerance for reading about jerking off in strange places.

Also recently read Barth's End of the Road which was hella fantastic.

Shrecknet
Jan 2, 2005

Nosferatu Enthusiast
@shrecknet


The End by Jim Starlin. A comic book maxi-series about how Thanos saves the universe. It's much more hosed up than it sounds.

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Mystery Opponent
Sep 27, 2006

but u was a real nigga
i could sense it in u


Dragons of a Fallen Sun. Not an amazing book, but I always had a soft spot for the Dragonlance series, and now I'm reading the next book, Dragons of a Lost Star.

I've also read Johnny Got His Gun and The House of God over the summer.

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