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Short Cut to Remote Gaming Forum (29 Aug 2020)

Since remote gaming has now become a significant part of how we play board games, we have added a short cut to this forum in the menu on the left.

What books are you reading?

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11 Sep 2020 11:18 #313997 by jeb
Replied by jeb on topic What books are you reading?
M&C nuts, please read MOBY-DICK! It's amazing. Just power through, it is so beautifully written and funny and queer and wonderful. One thing to keep in mind as you read it is that the narrator (Ishmael) is basically Cliff Clavin from Cheers. He's not as smart as he thinks he is, but that doesn't slow him down. You're going to hear all about it. Just imagine a ship on the seas that drops three 15' rowboats and the guys on those ride up on a whale and kill it with sharp sticks. It's fucking nuts!! Here's a passage as they wait for a whale to resurface:

The long-drawn virgin vales; the mild blue hill-sides; as over these there steals a hush, the hum; you almost swear that play-wearied children lie sleeping in these solitudes, in some glad May-time, when the flowers of the woods are plucked. And all this mixes with your most mystic mood; so that fact and fancy, halfway-meeting, interpenetrate, and form one seamless whole.


Meanwhile, I'm re-reading The Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson. A happy little yarn for folks raised on Discover magazine. Neal's writing can be annoying (speaking of Cliff Clavin), but he's a little more reigned in here and allows action to drive scenes of people talking instead of just writing paragraphs about how guns or swords work.

I've also read Robinson's WHY YOU SHOULD BE A SOCIALIST (you should), bits of Feynman's SIX EASY PIECES, and started Wilson's translation of THE ODYSSEY.
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11 Sep 2020 14:41 #314002 by RobertB
Replied by RobertB on topic What books are you reading?

jeb wrote: I've also read Robinson's WHY YOU SHOULD BE A SOCIALIST (you should), bits of Feynman's SIX EASY PIECES, and started Wilson's translation of THE ODYSSEY.


I have Fagles' translation of The Odyssey, and it's good.

Which leads me to yet another pitch for Herodotus' Histories. Yet another story from it: after the naval battle at Salamis, the captains were asked to vote on who was the battle's MVP. It ended up a 300-way tie for first place, and Themistocles unanimous for second.
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11 Sep 2020 16:47 #314004 by Not Sure

jeb wrote: Meanwhile, I'm re-reading The Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson. A happy little yarn for folks raised on Discover magazine. Neal's writing can be annoying (speaking of Cliff Clavin), but he's a little more reigned in here and allows action to drive scenes of people talking instead of just writing paragraphs about how guns or swords work.


I did that re-read earlier this quarantine. I had remembered the second volume as being weakish, but on re-read I found it the most enjoyable. The initial pipe-laying in the first volume was pretty damn tedious, but when he got past that and started letting his dominoes fall it got better.

I'm halfway through his most recent "Fall; or, Dodge in Hell" and I'm glad I did that BC re-read. No solid opinions on Fall yet.

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12 Sep 2020 00:14 #314019 by jason10mm
The last couple Stephenson novels I've read (Reamde and Seveneves) were 50% brilliant and 50% wiki info dumps that were really tedious. The Baroque cycle was similar but after the first novel it moved along nicely. I fear NS is becoming editor proof and heading down the Tom Clancy and George Martin well of over elaborate slogfest novels.

I'm still working through Sandersons 3rd Stormlight novel and it is verbose but action oriented enough to be entertaining.

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12 Sep 2020 00:50 #314020 by RobertB
Replied by RobertB on topic What books are you reading?
I thought Reamde was pretty good, and moved pretty quickly for a Stephenson book. Seveneves was a flabby book with about 2/3 of another flabby book glued onto the end.

I read somewhere that Heinlein and his wife took some insane amount of effort (days, a week, something like that) to get some calculation right that ended up being just a number in his book. Maybe he wanted to keep his math fresh, whatever. Stephenson will go through the same effort for that same sort of number in a book, but then Show His Work. Normally I like that sort of thing (I did buy a Stephenson book), but there is a limit.

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12 Sep 2020 09:16 #314023 by Shellhead
Snow Crash was fun. The Diamond Age was good, but felt like it could have easily been written by William Gibson or Bruce Sterling. Cryptonomicon was work to get through, and I don't remember most of it. I struggled to get into Quicksilver and finally gave up on it and on Stephenson. He has his style and he has his fanbase, but I don't have time for his sloppy ramblings anymore.
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