Book Club

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FF-Hobbes
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Book Club

Post by FF-Hobbes » Sat Oct 01, 2005 8:13

Mark had a great idea, so like any good pirate I decided to hijack it. (He can throw feces all he wants later).

So this thread intends to be an open forum to comment on books, and perhaps share some insights, debates, warnings and good ideas amongst us.

I'm not sure where I should start; part of me wants to choose a classic author and get the good stuff going early, but a larger part would prefer to save it and savor it for when the debates are good and rolling, so I think I'll compromise: Orson Scott Card

I know you know him. Ender's Game, his penultimate work according to most, is on the reading list for the US Marine Corps for it's in depth exploration of leadership and tactics. It stands alone a great work of literature though, bypassing the flash and total lack of subtlety commonto pulp sci-fi, while still telling an interesting and compelling story.

Personally though, I liked it because it was subtle, it was interesting, but most of all it made me think some about different ways of looking at the problems life gives you. To me, and take this anyway you like, when Ender is in the battle room and he says the enemy's gate is down, it means much more than just a different way of looking at a wargame, but a philosophy to achieve success by looking at any problem a different way.

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Post by ladyAn » Sat Oct 01, 2005 12:23

Excellent Topic. :)

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Post by FF-Cernunnos » Sat Oct 01, 2005 16:59

I'm currently going through a historical fiction phase before I get hit by the big christmas bonanza which every year includes authors such as Terry Pratchett, Bernard Cornwall and most importantly Raymond.E.Fiest.

I'm also looking forward to George.R.R.Martins latest book in the Song of Ice and Fire series, A Feast for Crows, which I and other fans have been waiting around 6 years to read.

Current reading includes Wallace Breem; Eagle in the Snow which I finished yesterday afternoon. The book tells the story of a Roman Generals fight to save Gaul, and thus the western Empire, from the invading barbarian hoards. It wasnt the greatest historical novel I've ever read but it holds its own well against books of its genre.

Last night I began reading Steven Pressfield; The Gates of Fire which tells the tale of events leading upto and including the battle of Thermopylae. Initial impressions are favourable.

For really gripping historical fiction I would recommend anything by Bernard Cornwall...his Arthur Trilogy remains a firm favourite of mine. A recent addition to my favourites list is Conn Iggulden's Emperor series which had me gripped and is definatly a page turner.
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Post by FF-Hobbes » Sat Oct 01, 2005 17:22

is he the guy who wrote that series about a british soldier in the napoleonic wars?

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Post by FF-Cernunnos » Sun Oct 02, 2005 0:02

Yes mate. The Sharpe novels are fantastic and gripped me totally to the point where I usually finish any new Sharpe book within a 48 hour period. :D

He also wrote Stonehenge about a tribe of Britons building Stonehenge oddly enough. I'd avoid that though as I thought it was surprisingly bad for him...his worst work to date.

The Warlord Chronicles, The Winter King, Enemy of God and Excalibur are his best and greatest work in my opinion. They are quite simply brilliant. They tell the tale of Arthur and Dark Age Britain in a way which is very believable. A fantastic trilogy that will leave you a changed person once you have read it...well I think it changed me at any rate...lol.

Cornwall followed this with another good series of books, The Grail Quest. Whilst not being as good as his previous trilogy these books are masterworks in their own right. They tell the story of Thomas of Hookton, an archer in the English army during the time of The Hundred Years War.

His latest set, of which the second book The Pale Horseman is released on monday in the uk, began with The Last Kingdom. This series covers the story of Uthred, a young English lord at the beginning of the series, and takes place during the period in which King Alfred defeated the Saxons to keep control of England. Judging by the first book in the series this could be a return to the form seen from Cornwall in his Warlord trilogy.
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Post by FF-Hobbes » Sun Oct 02, 2005 2:55

my mate fell in love with the sharpe series years ago, i remember he had a pile of them on the floor in his room. used them for a pillow once. anyway, he couldn't stop talking about them.

but I know what you mean about finishing a book that fast. I wipe out a terry pratchett book in 48 hours or so myself. i tend to go without sleep, sex nor sustenance until the deed is done. That's how engrossing i find them.

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Post by FF-Cernunnos » Sun Oct 02, 2005 3:07

The guards books are the best. Cant beat a bit of Grimes, Carrot and Nobby for a laugh. He seems to have ignored the wizards and witches for a while which is a shame. Nanny Ogg has me in stitches all the time. :)

"'E's fighting in there!" he stuttered, grabbing the captain's arm. "All by himself?" said the captain. "No, with everyone!" shouted Nobby, hopping from one foot to the other.

-- Making Friends and Hitting People (Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!)
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Post by FF-Hobbes » Sun Oct 02, 2005 19:43

i definitely noticed a progression since the series began. The originals were not so well written, but within 4-5 books he nailed the formula. I definitely have a soft spot in my heart for Vimes and his crew, the nightwatch books are always a great read, especially the teetotaller vampire, but I think my hands down single favorite character is death (with the Death of Rats being a close second). No single character illustrates Terry Pratchett's evolution as a writer than death, where in the first books he was a walking apacolypse but as the series progresses settles into a strangely human manifestation so different from that.

But you can't dismiss Ridcully, Cohen, or monks of time either, all great characters and add spice to any Pratchett dish.

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Post by FF-Cernunnos » Sun Oct 02, 2005 19:58

I have the statuette of the Death of Rats on top of the TV. :D
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Post by FF-Hobbes » Tue Oct 04, 2005 3:11

you got a pic? i wanna see what that looks like

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Post by Rachy » Wed Oct 05, 2005 10:30

Got to love Terry Pratchet, his take on Death as a character is superb and my favourite character. The guard characters all have traits that I have seen in various people I have worked with /known.

Pratchet takes the ordinary and somehow twists it back and forth but it still
makes sense, humorous and most of all. enjoyable.
His characters do seem to strike a cord with people to whom they can relate to, as all good writers can do.

In short, if you haven't read his books, I honestly believe you are missing out on something.
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Post by FF-Cernunnos » Wed Oct 12, 2005 16:53

Finished reading The Gates of Fire. Damn good read especially the later chapters.

Now I've moved onto another Steven Pressfield book; Alexander: The Virtues of War. Fairly well gripped by it already. :D
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Post by ladyAn » Wed Oct 12, 2005 19:53

Arkh, gotta find time to go back reading. Use to read every night, sometimes a book in two days.
*Blames games, video or not* [edit] oh, and also hockey. and MSN.[/edit[

"Alexander" seems to be a nice one. I'll read it.

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Post by ladyAn » Wed Oct 12, 2005 23:14

My contribution to the thread:

Contemporary Literature:
IRVING, John. The World According to Garp. Balantine. 437 pp.
This is a story about a feminist ahead of her time, Jenny Fields, and her son, Garp. It is one of these rare novels that reading a second time is as enjoyable as reading it the first time.

(At a time, I played MTW undercover using the name "Garp". I said "Garp" a lot. It has been a secret I guess it is safe to reveal now as nobody should care at this moment :))

Anthropology

HARRIS, Marwin. Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches : The Riddles of Culture ISBN: 0679724680
HARRIS, Marwin. Cannibals and Kings: Origins of Cultures

The author main thesis is that every thing we called "culture", or "values" or even "Christian values" has a very strong driven force: the economy of resources. The book advances theories and supportive facts that are both entertaining and could be immediately use at cocktail parties.
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Post by Spectre » Thu Oct 13, 2005 2:43

Some random stuff off the top of my head (well, reading the titles on my shelf actually... :P)

Eco, Umberto: The Name of the Rose (medieval, historical, mystery)
Eco, Umberto: Foucault's Pendulum (occultistic psychological thriller)
Charriére, Henri: Papillon (autobiographical prison escape story)
Dumas, Alexandre: The Count of Monte Cristo (adventure, romantic novel, moralistic tale)
Dumas, Alexandre: The Three Musketeers (adventure)
Scott, Walter: Ivanhoe (pseudohistorical medieval adventure)
Huxley, Aldous: Brave New World (dystopia story)
Heller, Joseph: Catch-22 (war novel, satire)
Miller, Arthur: Death of a Salesman (play; tragedy, drama, social critique)
Shelley, Mary: Frankenstein (science fiction)
Swift, Jonathan: Gulliver's Travels (satire)
Moorcock, Michael: Elric of Melniboné (dark fantasy)
Doyle, Arthur Conan: Hound of the Baskervilles (detective)
Brontë, Charlotte: Jane Eyre (gothic-romantic bildungsroman... a bit chicky, yes, but good reading)
Shakespeare, William: Macbeth (bill got here too. It's fun!)
Christie, Agatha: Murder on the Orient Express (detective... Poirot ftw!)
Williams, Walter Jon: Hardwired (cyberpunk)
Gibson, William: Neuromancer (cyberpunk)
Salvatore, R.A: The Dark Elf Trilogy (fantasy)
Feist, Raymond: The Riftwar Saga (fantasy)
Lovecraft, H.P: The Call of Cthulhu (horror)
Tolkien (duh)

and last but not least, teh best book evar:

Pratchett, Terry & Gaiman, Neil: Good Omens (apocalypse ftw! :lol: )

hmm... need sleep. now. I would have commented on stuff, but exhaustion takes over... well, maybe that list alone is helpful in invoking some thoughts. :)

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Post by Clouseau » Thu Oct 13, 2005 4:01

Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series, starting with Gardens of the Moon, is probably the best fantasy literature i've ever read. if u like that kind of style i strongly recommend it.

The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson is my cyberpunk recommendation and goes along with Tad Williams' Otherland.

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Post by ladyAn » Thu Oct 13, 2005 4:23

Economics
BUCHHOLZ, Todd. New Ideas from Dead Economists: Revised Edition
This book is much, much more informative than any Economics 101 textbook out there. The author made it very easy, very fun, but quite accurate, to grasp the essence of different economic theories. Annecdotes about renouned economists and their backgrounds made dry subjects very easy to swallow.


Spectre:
I read all Agatha Christie books. The lady was quite a keen observer of human nature. Oddly, I never finish a Sherlock Holmes book. I guess after reading Mrs. Christie's work, Poirot seems to be more believable than Sherlock.

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Post by Spectre » Thu Oct 13, 2005 13:45

I read Holmes first, but like Poirot more. Believability is often an issue in old-fashioned detective stories and I'd argue that the genre itself is rather unbelievable, but Christie does score "humanity points" better than Doyle.

If you like Irving, you've probably read Milan Kundera (the Unbearable Lightness of Being) and Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Love in the Time of Cholera) as well. I haven't gotten around to them yet (and maybe never will... :P), but my girlfriend would definitely recommend them.

Lately I've fallen behind in fantasy and cyberpunk genres, so I think I'll have a look at Sabremind's recommendations. The most recent fantasy I read was Hobb's Assassin Trilogy, and I can't say I liked it much... maybe I was put off by the slow-paced start, and some of the characters felt thin.

It's been ages since I've read any cyberpunk at all, though The Diamond Age does ring a bell... hm. Must investigate. :P

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Post by Louis Ste Colombe » Thu Oct 13, 2005 20:51

Borges.

All of it. Spectre, have a look at it, Borges has been THE inspiration behind book as different as Name of the Rose and Neuromancers.

I am partial to old dirty bastards such as Cervantes/ Don Quijote, Rabelais / Gargantua, Dante... Hum, I can make a long list :)

Louis,

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Post by Spectre » Thu Oct 13, 2005 22:34

Umm... I have read some Borges, I think. It's been a while. Argentinian writer, heavily influenced by European literature and culture? Iirc, he drew on some Finnish history as well, modeling one of his heroes after our Elias Lönnrot (the collector of Kalevala poems.)
I am partial to old dirty bastards such as Cervantes/ Don Quijote, Rabelais / Gargantua, Dante...
Me too. Which reminds me... a lot of favorite titles are nowhere to be seen on my shelves. Grr, gotta hate people who loan things and don't return them...

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