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Author Topic: What are you reading?  (Read 426774 times)
Thaurismunths
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« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2007, 07:45:51 AM »

What are you reading and what is in your waiting to be read pile?

1&2) Are the first two books of the Terry Pratchet Discworld series. (What did everyone think of these?)

I'm a fan of Pratchet, but I can't quite figure out why. The disc world has many enjoyable characters and fun plots, some sapient pearwood, and Pratchet has an interesting view of his world. I can't say any of his books are very meaty, and they're all a bit satirical, but a good "young adult" fiction with a lot of inside jokes.

Currently: Uncivilized Beats and Shameless Hellions; Travels with and NPR Correspondent

On deck: A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

Huh... so much for the fiction.
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Brian Reilly
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« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2007, 09:03:31 AM »


On my to be read pile I have three books
1&2) Are the first two books of the Terry Pratchet Discworld series. (What did everyone think of these?)

I find them a bit lacking, compared to his later stuff. They are deliberate parodies of the fantasy genre, and the joke kind of wears thin. I am almost alone among my friends (I'm British, so I have lots of friends who have read Pratchett) in thinking that his stuff just keeps on getting better (most of my aforementioned Pratchett-reading freinds have discworld fatigue. He is a wee bit prolific). His latest stuff has better characterisation, it's darker and it has more to say about society and less about obscure pulp fantasy books I have never and will never read.

I've read the first two, they are for those of us who have to read the full set.

Currently i am reading a popular science book- A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. I've just read Armed Madhouse by Greg Palast, one of the best political books I have ever read, in a combative American attacking-the-oppressors way.

The last fiction I read was Glasshouse by Charles Stross. A brilliant piece of Post-Singularity SF. Less idea-dense than its predecessor Accelerando, this novel trades long jargon-filled exploration of future technology for a rather good futuristic mystery story.
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SFEley
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« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2007, 12:46:04 PM »

I find them a bit lacking, compared to his later stuff. They are deliberate parodies of the fantasy genre, and the joke kind of wears thin. I am almost alone among my friends (I'm British, so I have lots of friends who have read Pratchett) in thinking that his stuff just keeps on getting better (most of my aforementioned Pratchett-reading freinds have discworld fatigue. He is a wee bit prolific). His latest stuff has better characterisation, it's darker and it has more to say about society and less about obscure pulp fantasy books I have never and will never read.

I'm with you on that.  The Discworld series started as pure parody and nothing else -- and I personally found the first two books very funny as a teenager.  (The first one in particular; I still remember the scene where Twoflower tries to pay his tab at the seedy tavern with pure gold.)  I haven't tried to read them since.

His parody gradually spread out, picking more diverse targets.  He had a lot of one-gag books like Moving Pictures (the fantasy world invents Hollywood) and Soul Music ("sex, drugs, and music with rocks in.")  Even at their shallowest they were still pretty funny, or at least funnier than a lot of the other stuff out there, but they didn't stick with me.

Then I read Small Gods.  That book stuck.  It's the first time I felt that his satire was trying to say something really interesting -- in this case about religion, and how gods need believers more than believers need gods.  On a side note, it's also the first Discworld book I pushed on Anna that she liked.

Since then he's been all over the map.  Some books are still silly satire, and there are some that just plain aren't good (Jingo and Thief of Time did nothing for me), but sometimes he gets deep.  Really deep.  And the jokes are always there, but sometimes the jokes are serious.  I'd put Night Watch up against just about any other fantasy novel for complexity, character depth, and capacity to astonish.  And Wee Free Men is one of the best YA novels I'd read in a very long time.

So yeah, the series has definitely gotten better with age.  Not with total consistency -- like wine or whisky, some barrels just don't come out right -- but on the whole.

And if you're just starting Discworld now, and you intend to read it through, man, are you going to stay busy for a while.  >8->
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Russell Nash
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« Reply #23 on: January 17, 2007, 02:24:42 PM »

And if you're just starting Discworld now, and you intend to read it through, man, are you going to stay busy for a while.  >8->

A friend forced the first two on me and they've been sitting there for a year now. She has the full series and seems to expect me to read it. I was just wondering if I should start the fight or run.
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SFEley
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« Reply #24 on: January 17, 2007, 02:52:50 PM »

A friend forced the first two on me and they've been sitting there for a year now. She has the full series and seems to expect me to read it. I was just wondering if I should start the fight or run.

1.) Do you deeply enjoy fantasy?

2.) Are your reading sensibilities such that an entertaining style and humor will get you through sections (or entire books) of weak plot, until the plot picks back up again and becomes strong?

3.) Is she cute?


(One has to weigh all the factors.)
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Russell Nash
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« Reply #25 on: January 17, 2007, 03:48:06 PM »

A friend forced the first two on me and they've been sitting there for a year now. She has the full series and seems to expect me to read it. I was just wondering if I should start the fight or run.

1.) Do you deeply enjoy fantasy?

2.) Are your reading sensibilities such that an entertaining style and humor will get you through sections (or entire books) of weak plot, until the plot picks back up again and becomes strong?

3.) Is she cute?


(One has to weigh all the factors.)


I enjoy any entertaining story. I prefer a good plot that doesn't insult my intelligence.(hence why I hate Jerry Bruckheimer movies) However if the book is extremely intelligent and amusing it can cover for a weaker plot. She is easy on the eyes, but is an absolute Psycho.
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madjo
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« Reply #26 on: January 17, 2007, 05:48:10 PM »

For the PTerry fans (Pratchett's online handle), his book Mort is dramatized for the English radio (BBC7), and everyone can listen to it on the web.
You have till Saturday. (then comes the next episode)

And this is the link to the page with the 'listen now' button.
Warning it's a realplayer link. Smiley
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Brian Reilly
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« Reply #27 on: January 20, 2007, 06:07:09 AM »


Since then he's been all over the map.  Some books are still silly satire, and there are some that just plain aren't good (Jingo and Thief of Time did nothing for me), but sometimes he gets deep.  Really deep.  And the jokes are always there, but sometimes the jokes are serious.  I'd put Night Watch up against just about any other fantasy novel for complexity, character depth, and capacity to astonish.  And Wee Free Men is one of the best YA novels I'd read in a very long time.


Night Watch may be my favourite Discworld book. There's an incredible depth to it, and my Pratchett-fatigued friends are really missing out.

My first discworld book was Reaper Man, which I see as one of the lesse ones. I'm glad I stuck with the series though.

Wee Free Men was fantastic. I am Scottish after all.

Russell- I wouldn't start with the first two. It's not that they aren't funny books, but perhaps you should start with one of the better early ones- try Small Gods.

 
Quote
3.) Is she cute?

On a tangent- this gives me an idea for a thread topic.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2007, 01:47:22 PM by Russell Nash » Logged

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bekemeyer
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« Reply #28 on: January 22, 2007, 05:22:06 PM »

I am sort of new to reading any kind of SF/fantasy and there's so much out there, I'm not sure where to start.  By that I mean, what's worth reading and what's not.  So my question is, what are your selective top 3-5 must read "books"?  the ones that are already in my que to read are The Foundation Series, some Orson Scott Card books, The Lord of the Rings series and a book called "The Traveler" by John Twelve Hawks. 

i'm sure people have books that made them want to come back for more. 

thanks. 

-B   
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madjo
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« Reply #29 on: January 23, 2007, 05:38:52 AM »

> "The Traveller" by John Twelve Hawks. 
I have this book on the night stand at the moment. It is a book that evokes a lot of different emotion for me Smiley
Mostly anger because of the picture of the future that it paints. (A very 1984-esque picture)
Anger because I can see it happening in real life too (well the intrusion of privacy described in the book at least)
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bekemeyer
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« Reply #30 on: January 23, 2007, 05:43:36 AM »

do you like the book, or is it making you miserable? 
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Russell Nash
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« Reply #31 on: January 23, 2007, 06:55:36 AM »

I am sort of new to reading any kind of SF/fantasy and there's so much out there, I'm not sure where to start.  By that I mean, what's worth reading and what's not.  So my question is, what are your selective top 3-5 must read "books"? 

My advice is always read a series from the beginning. If someone gives you part 2, don't read it until you read part 1. Even if it isn't a continuation of the storyline, it has necessary information about the world the story is in.

1) Dune by Frank Herbert (sf)
2) Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (sf)
3) The Belgariad by David (& Leigh) Eddings (f)

There is a discussion about Dune going on right now. The emphasis is really on how much of it you should read. Everyone seems to agree that the first is essential reading and form there it kind of slows down and gets dense. How much further you want to go seems to be a personal thing.

Ender's Game is the book that broke Card onto the scene.

The Belgariad is my favorite fantasy series. It's got a good epic story and they ended the epic. This is important. Steve was commenting in one of the intro on how many epic series now just never end. they get the readers hooked in and just keep going long past the point of interest. The Belgariad also has a really good sense of humor. I think this helps readers who are new to the fantasy genre.
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bekemeyer
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« Reply #32 on: January 23, 2007, 07:04:17 AM »

definitely read Ender's Game.  i just started Children of the Mind.  then i will take a break from OSC for a bit.  Dune keeps coming up on the list.  so, i'll make sure and read that one.  but the third one on you list, is one i don't think i had heard of.

thanks.
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bekemeyer
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« Reply #33 on: January 23, 2007, 07:16:36 AM »

sorry, but i keep wondering what it is about the rest of the Dune series that seems to irritate everyone so much?  is it one of those things that i will get once i read the first book, or what?
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Russell Nash
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« Reply #34 on: January 23, 2007, 08:39:27 AM »

sorry, but i keep wondering what it is about the rest of the Dune series that seems to irritate everyone so much?  is it one of those things that i will get once i read the first book, or what?

The thread on Dune really covers it. Basically as you go through the books, the complexity of the politics emerges more and the action evaporates. Check out the thread for more detail.
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bekemeyer
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« Reply #35 on: January 23, 2007, 08:51:02 AM »

i will, but, i'll wait until i've read the book.  thanks.
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Russell Nash
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« Reply #36 on: January 23, 2007, 12:02:18 PM »

i will, but, i'll wait until i've read the book.  thanks.

The thread doesn't give away any plot elements yet. It just argues the value of the later books.
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bekemeyer
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« Reply #37 on: January 23, 2007, 12:04:58 PM »

okay.  cool, thanks. 
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Startrekwiki
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« Reply #38 on: February 21, 2007, 11:38:05 PM »

I've actually just finished Garth Nix's Sabriel. It's pretty interesting, and though heavily based on our real world's past history, which Nix takes and twists into an Earthsea [Ursula Le Guin] typed world. This is especially so when... Actually, I'll just leave it as "This is a pretty good book".

I'm also reading what is supposedly SF, a book called "Echelon", by Josh Conviser. It's a very... Action-packed, future James Bond kind of book.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2007, 08:22:03 PM by Startrekwiki » Logged
Alasdair5000
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« Reply #39 on: February 22, 2007, 06:43:44 AM »

   A couple of things at the moment:

DEEP STORM by Lincoln Childs-An oil rig burrows through to Atlantis, except...it might not be.  Really well done adventure fiction from one half of the team behind The Relic.

ENIGMA by Peter Milligan and Duncan Fegredo-One of the most under rated, and arguably best, graphic novels of the '90s.  A young man discovers that the comic he loved as a child is coming to life and its all his fault...  Funny, horrific and incredibly smart, its one of those books that deserves more attention than its got.

MAGIC FOR BEGINNERS by Kelly Link-Some of my friends love her stories, others think they're irritating and twee.  I fall somewhere between the two.  I'm four stories in and the vast majority of what I've read, especially 'The Hortlak' has been pretty good.
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