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John Crichton

What's The Last Book You Read?

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I'm sure this is an unpopular opinion but... that sounds dreadfully try-hard.

It turns out it works really smoothly, at least for me, but I'm not entirely the target audience here. The character is like a modern day Spider-Man, just different than Spidey.

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If I say I like her better than Spider-Man I'll be stoned by a bunch of angry white men.

I need to find myself Warren Ellis' Trees and a bunch of other stuff that makes a page long list. And Bourgeon's Compagnons du Crepuscule, of course.

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King Jesus, by Robert Graves

It's a very interesting, albeit conjectural take. Graves' mastery of the political climate of the period and ancient mythology is staggering

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My wife convinced me to start reading a series she's been a fan of for years, The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. Aside from Tolkien and I suppose Lewis, I'm not really fond of fantasy - take away the obvious great works in the genre and you're left with reams of derivative schlock - this is my undoubtedly ignorant opinion on the matter. However... I'm immensely and pleasantly surprised by these books. I've torn through the first two in a matter of weeks. They're just engaging, addictive. There's nothing not to like, and everything to like. Plus the guy had a physics background, which I wasn't surprised to learn considering how much of the "magic" element is founded on some analogues of the more far-out theories of modern science. Great, great stuff. Added to my list of dream-adaptations to score.

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I never got past first 200 pages of Jordan's first Wheel of Time novel. The overwhelming sense of familiarity and that this has all been done previously just bugged me so much I could not be bothered to read another version of the story of a shepherd who is the chosen one and will defeat the arch-evil once and for all. Does it become more engaging after the first book TGP?

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Sounds good. I'm still eyin' my complete THE DARK TOWER anthology by King. It seems alluring but to this day i never made it beyond page 30.

Another series I like, although it certainly goes beyond just a simple "fantasy" classification.

I never got past first 200 pages of Jordan's first Wheel of Time novel. The overwhelming sense of familiarity and that this has all been done previously just bugged me so much I could not be bothered to read another version of the story of a shepherd who is the chosen one and will defeat the arch-evil once and for all. Does it become more engaging after the first book TGP?

Hard to say. I didn't have that problem at the start, which surprises me. It's done in a way that seems somewhat fresh and self-aware. And there's so much else going on, there's no tunnel vision focus on the "hero's journey," but so much focus on the huge ensemble of characters, that that familiar element just doesn't bother me at all. It's almost just an incidental catalyst for all of the other stories being told. And certainly the development of that staple idea is anything but familiar.

And here's a fine example of how to not awkwardly leave anyone with a vagina out of your story or relegate them to concubine status, but also without wearing a big sign that says "LOOK AT MY FEMINISM." Great gal characters, good and bad. No fuss about it, it just is.

I also must point out that while I enjoy Game of Thrones for what it is, this is a story that's far more interesting to me. In fact, the show's core idea of fantasy politics/scheming and meddling appears in a few chapters of the second novel, and in that compressed appearance is more satisfying to me than five seasons of it. One wonders if GRRM is a fan, considering the similarities.

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Hmmm I might make another try with fresh eyes. It was years ago I took that read of the first book.

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I'm reading John Adams' autobiography, Hallelujah Junction, for the third time. It's a great summer book, and the guy has an exceptional way with words that effortlessly guides you into his mind and his colorful life story. Anyone interested in contemporary music should read it.

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Just finished "Go Set a Watchman." I would say don't even bother reading it, but you have to so you can just be severely disappointed by it. It's not a bad read, but compared to To Kill a Mockingbird it's horrible.

Currently reading the Odyssey for a conference paper and a book about Cicero for "fun."

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Just finished "Go Set a Watchman." I would say don't even bother reading it, but you have to so you can just be severely disappointed by it. It's not a bad read, but compared to To Kill a Mockingbird it's horrible.

Currently reading the Odyssey for a conference paper and a book about Cicero for "fun."

Odyssey and Cicero. Very nice. Are you a Classical scholar by any chance? :)

I am having my usual summer Agatha Christie murder mystery binge with Elephants Can Remember, Labours of Hercule, The Big Four, The Mystery of the Blue Train and Clocks. Dame Agatha's quality varied wildly but there is some excellent stuff among those mentioned. Alas also some of her absolute worst as well.

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Just finished "Go Set a Watchman." I would say don't even bother reading it, but you have to so you can just be severely disappointed by it. It's not a bad read, but compared to To Kill a Mockingbird it's horrible.

Currently reading the Odyssey for a conference paper and a book about Cicero for "fun."

Odyssey and Cicero. Very nice. Are you a Classical scholar by any chance? :)

.

Yes! I just got my BA, am currently teaching public school Latin, and start my Masters in September.

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Currently reading the Odyssey for a conference paper and a book about Cicero for "fun."

Nice! There seems to be a disproportionately high number of Latin scholars on this august website - I too have a degree in Latin, so I can sing along to the Gloria from Monsignor and Saying the Rosary from Sleepers.

I had to study Cicero's pro Caelio as one of the set texts for my degree. The brother came up with some loooooooong sentences, didn't he?

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Currently reading the Odyssey for a conference paper and a book about Cicero for "fun."

Nice! There seems to be a disproportionately high number of Latin scholars on this august website - I too have a degree in Latin, so I can sing along to the Gloria from Monsignor and Saying the Rosary from Sleepers.

I had to study Cicero's pro Caelio as one of the set texts for my degree. The brother came up with some loooooooong sentences, didn't he?

Yeah Cicero and Plato were both pretty expert in that area. I remember how we desperately tried to search for the main verb on the page in one of Plato's dialogues so we could start unravelling the page-long sentence. ;)

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Sounds good. I'm still eyin' my complete THE DARK TOWER anthology by King. It seems alluring but to this day i never made it beyond page 30.

Another series I like, although it certainly goes beyond just a simple "fantasy" classification.

The first book really isn't all that indicative of what's to come. It's a really great series that's slightly marred by some wrong-footed elements in the final 3 books, and a relatively sub-par ending, which seem to be a result of rushing them out after his accident. After spending 15 years on the first 4 novels, he pumped out the last books within a year and a half.

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Well, I finished SW Crucible, ending my 17 years affair with Star Wars EU adult novels (Jan 1998-Aug 2015!).

I suppose that as an ending for the original EU it is not bad. I think the book should have been a little longer, and wrap some things better...or have a lenghty epilogue. But it ends the story of the big three in a more or less statisfying way. I'm glad they at least gave us that.

I'm glad to finish this period and be able to read other things on a regular basis. (mind you I have read tons of other novels about other themes, in between SW books, but now i feel more "free", also, doing a PHD, I dont have so much free time for reading literature anymore...

It's been fun all these years, but it had to end (my wallet will thank it...though doing a calculation, its about 148x8$, more or less. 1200$. Which is not that much, less than one month's salary, in the span of 17 years. Soundtrack collecting is far more expensive!.) so, in a way i'm grateful to disney for ditching all these stories to create their own universe....

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I'm glad to finish this period and be able to read other things on a regular basis. (mind you I have read tons of other novels about other themes, in between SW books, but now i feel more "free", also, doing a PHD, I dont have so much free time for reading literature anymore...

Now you have time to read only PhD source related material and discuss extensively with bazillion authors in your dissertation notes! The joy! ;)

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The Shining

As big a King fan as I am, I have never finished this novel. I've been reading King for over 20 years now, and somehow this one escaped me. I started it maybe 7 or 8 years ago only to stop about half way through. Don't recall why, but it wasn't because it was bad. Just one of those things.

I can finally mark this one down off the list!

The_Shining_by_Stephen_King_Jack_with_Ma

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Doctor Sleep

Doctor_Sleep.jpg

Very much a sequel to The Shining, not just a continuation of the Danny Torrance character. In some ways it's a better read than its predecessor in terms of character and circumstance. I was more engaged from page to page and chapter to chapter. I didn't really want to put it down. King slips a little during the big showdown, not as exhilarating as I hoped, but I'll forgive him a minor misstep since the other 500 pages are quite captivating.

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In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck

Steinbeck is at his best when depicting the best and the worst in human nature in arduous circumstances. A very grass roots level examination of a strike of apple pickers in the poverty striken countryside of California of the 1930s the novel grows into a weighing of philosophies, ideals and rationales behind the events. While the events wind into a rather expected and bleak conclusion the world the author creates is compelling, the way he portrays the men and women in this situation illuminating and his understanding of human nature is sometimes frighteningly accurate. Steinbeck doesn't take sides as much as narrate an event that could have easily happened (and has certainly happened) when those with none go against those in power with everything and how fickle people as a group and individuals are and how man is at war against himself. While not his major opus a darn worthy and engaging piece.

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T.H.White: The Once and Future King

I'd wanted to read this for years. Took me nearly half a year, because I'm usually not a fast reader to begin with (also Netflix), and because it often dragged. It didn't fully convince me during the first half (although I was surprised how much in the Disney movie is more or less straight out of the book), but books 3 and 4 were mostly good and had very strong moments. Yet another case of an initially tedious, but ultimately very worthwhile read.

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The Annotated Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (notes by Douglas A. Anderson): A very enjoyable version of Tolkien's first opus with in-depth discussion ranging from etymological anecdotes to lengthier commentary that reveals a lot of connections and inspirations the author had for this story and also showcases a good deal of the artwork done for various foreign translations of the book by a wide range of artists. Highly recommended to all fans of the author for the additional perspective Anderson offers to Tolkien's work and world.

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On 9/18/2015 at 8:44 PM, nightscape94 said:

Doctor Sleep

Doctor_Sleep.jpg

Very much a sequel to The Shining, not just a continuation of the Danny Torrance character. In some ways it's a better read than its predecessor in terms of character and circumstance. I was more engaged from page to page and chapter to chapter. I didn't really want to put it down. King slips a little during the big showdown, not as exhilarating as I hoped, but I'll forgive him a minor misstep since the other 500 pages are quite captivating.

A far inferior novel and sequel. It was OK. Now Stephen's Mr Mercede's trilogy is brilliant, at least the first two parts. End of Watch arrives this summer.

 

currently flying through Crimson Shore by Preston and Child. Another amazing encounter with Agent Pendergast.

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Neither of those featured Pendergast as the main character. Read the Cabinet of Curiosities. Some are better than others but I have found them addictive. It has a great story arc. Relic and Reliquary are decent and important in the story arc but each stand alone, well almost.

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On 21/11/2015 at 8:39 PM, Marian Schedenig said:

T.H.White: The Once and Future King

 

I enjoyed this book far more on the second reading, after reading Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte Darthur. You can clearly realise how the author had Malory's book in mind all the time, with the exception of the first book. White takes advantage of major plot holes or undeveloped stories in Malory to make amusing explanations and apply his creativity.

 

It deserves to be highly regarded, as it is, among Arthurian literature of the twentieth century.

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Well, he mentions Malory countless of times, so it's clear he drew more than just general inspiration from him.

 

I recently re-read Heir to the Empire (the other two from Zahn's trilogy are in my queue; I read them once nearly 20 years ago) and just finished Pratchett's The Wee Free Men.

 

Starting The Ocean at the End of the Lane now. My first proper Neil Gaiman (not counting Good Omens, which is half Pratchett).

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The Hound Of The Baskervilles

 

Arthur Conan Doyle at his most gothic, involving Holmes and Watson in what is for much of it's pages a thriller ghost story full of dread and impending doom.

As with all for this author's best work it is both richly detailed in it's descriptions and sweeping in it's adventurous audacity.

I never minded much that Holmes doesnt feature in the middle of it. Watson, the eternal observer is a worthy character in it's own right and the characters that he is assigned to point his attentions too are sharply drawn and interesting.

 

There's always that hint of disappointment after the initial descriptions of the fierce hell-hound that Holmes and Watson end up doing battle with a shrewd, but common criminal rather then the forces of the supernatural. But that's a personal thing.

 

a stellar book, and a cracking read still.

 

 

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