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What books are you reading?

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01 Mar 2022 11:54 #331186 by DarthJoJo
Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan of the Apes is probably best consigned to the dustbin of history. It popularized a type of character, and there are more layers to this character than our contemporary understanding of him, but the novel is so incredibly racist. The African tribes are cannibals that delight in torturing their meals, and the one American black is somehow more useless and irritating than that twit girl in Gone With the Wind. Cripes.

The thing is that this racism is necessary to tell the story Burroughs wants to tell. Like Lovecraft, you take away the racism, the story kind of evaporates. Burroughs wanted to write about nature versus nurture and wrap it a crunchy adventure coating. The Africans need to be these savage cannibals with sharpened teeth to show that his white and aristocratic lineage is superior to the other humans who can similarly survive in the jungle. You could say Burroughs swipes at white civilization when Tarzan dumps on the French for hunting lions in parties upwards of thirty when the only fair way to do it is alone and with just a rope and knife, but there really is no comparison.

I did enjoy the climax taking place in rural Wisconsin. I knew Tarzan was the master of the jungle and its beasts, but I was on the edge of my seat wondering whether he could beat that final frontier of the American Midwest.
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01 Mar 2022 12:53 #331189 by Shellhead
I am reading The Last Supper Before Ragnorak, by Cassandra Khaw. It features the last adventure of Rupert Wong, cannibal chef. The concept is good, which is a mystery about all the sky fathers of the various pantheons going missing. The execution is messy, with excessively quirky characters stumbling through weird situations. I mean, I suppose that was true of the previous Rupert Wong stories as well, but somehow this one feels excessively chaotic and unfocused.

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01 Mar 2022 15:35 #331197 by jason10mm
I started this series called Galaxys Edge. This is thinly (and I mean THINLY) veiled star wars fanfic run through a military techno thriller grinder and the first book is fantastic. Basically that old Stormtroopers parody of COPS mixed with Generation Kill and a hefty dose of good old fashioned blaster fire military action.

The authors got an entire line of these things and a full court marketing machine as well, kinda cool to see. I'm on book two, which features not-Han Solo, not-Chewbacca, and not-Princess Leia (I think) so I hope they can maintain the energy, the subtle and not so subtle digs at Star Wars, and good honest action. KTF.

Also wrapping up The Expanse book 8 (Tiamats Wrath?) on audio. FUUUUUUUUU$$&&$$&K I wish we could have seen this on the show. Amazon, squeeze the catering budget of Rings of Power a little and make it happen!
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17 Mar 2022 23:03 - 17 Mar 2022 23:07 #331699 by DarthJoJo
I enjoyed Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories way more than I expected. I’ve been off short stories for a while, but the medium worked great for these adventures. They hit like The Raid, all killer, no filler, and make me interested in the greater Hyborian Age as nothing is over explained.

Conan is a pretty great character, too. Unlike Sherlock Holmes or Tarzan, I feel like his original character has survived more intact than theirs. He’s more cunning than I anticipated but clearly a barbarian. It works that he’s often a secondary character in his own stories, getting dragged into adventures by princesses and pirates and noblemen. Too much of his perspective would lose his mystique.

It looks like a goodly number more of his stories are on Project Gutenberg, so that’s pretty great, too.
Last edit: 17 Mar 2022 23:07 by DarthJoJo.
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18 Mar 2022 09:43 #331713 by Jackwraith
I divested myself of a large chunk of my library before we moved the last time, because we were moving to a slightly smaller space and I wasn't certain that there would be a place for as many books. Plus, I'd been dragging them around for decades, in some cases, and the kids weren't really interested, so the biggest single class of books that I let go of were the hundreds of paperbacks that were mostly SF/fantasy. I kept about two dozen. Among them are the deCamp/Carter Conan collections (Conan through Conan of the Isles.) Like most of the rest of them, I haven't reread them in I don't know how many years, but they were one of the earliest fantasy stories I remember (along with my DAW, yellow-spined Elrics) and I still think of them fondly. I remember when Age of Conan, the game, came out and I was so geeked to see all of the little references to those stories in the cards. Unfortunately, no one I was playing with at the time had read them, so they didn't really care for the game...
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18 Mar 2022 21:05 #331728 by n815e
Replied by n815e on topic What books are you reading?
I only recently got into Conan myself, wanting to check out some fantasy stuff that I have ignored for most of my life.

I generally love it and finished the first collection that is currently in print a little while ago. The others are in my read pile.

I just finished Expanse 1, Leviathan Wakes. I’m a fan of the show and wanted to check out the books. I like how it’s pretty much the same story, but presented differently. Even knowing the plot, it’s still a great read.

I think I’ll try Elric, next. I picked up the new hardcover collection at B&N.
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21 Mar 2022 15:47 - 29 Mar 2022 22:03 #331777 by Cranberries
I am rereading Anne Tyler's The Accidental Tourist after reading that William Hurt, who starred in movie, had passed away recently. I originally read it in college, I think, and enjoyed the movie. The book is holding up well. It's a very different book when you're in your fifties reading about Macon Leary pondering the meaning of life than when you are a young college kid trying to figure out if Muriel is super hot or not.

“Ever consider what pets must think of us? I mean, here we come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul - chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we're the greatest hunters on earth!”
---
“Disaster followed disaster... the hero stuck in there, though. Macon had long ago noticed that all adventure movies had the same moral: Perseverance pays. Just once he'd like to see a hero like himself -- not a quitter, but a man who did face facts and give up gracefully when pushing on was foolish.”

― Anne Tyler, The Accidental Tourist
Last edit: 29 Mar 2022 22:03 by Cranberries. Reason: broken URL repaired.

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21 Mar 2022 16:27 #331779 by Shellhead

n815e wrote: I only recently got into Conan myself, wanting to check out some fantasy stuff that I have ignored for most of my life.

I generally love it and finished the first collection that is currently in print a little while ago. The others are in my read pile.

I think I’ll try Elric, next. I picked up the new hardcover collection at B&N.


For what it's worth, Elric was deliberately created as the anti-Conan. They only met in the pages of the excellent Conan comic published by Marvel in the '70s, but all of Conan's most prominent traits are reversed in Elric. I like Conan, but the early Elric books (collecting the stories published from 1961 to 1976) are amazing. Wild creativity, high fantasy, and most of the names of people and places are better than average for fantasy writing. There are also two crossover stories featuring characters from other Moorcock works, plus a startling cameo from early French literature.
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23 Mar 2022 12:17 #331813 by Joebot
Replied by Joebot on topic What books are you reading?

n815e wrote:
I just finished Expanse 1, Leviathan Wakes. I’m a fan of the show and wanted to check out the books. I like how it’s pretty much the same story, but presented differently. Even knowing the plot, it’s still a great read.


I just finished book 6 of The Expanse, and the series is still a great read. The books are such fun. They're like classic pulp sci-fi adventure, but with a very modern sense of pacing, humor, and action. I can't think of a fictional villain that I've read lately that I've hated more than Marco Inaros.
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27 Mar 2022 19:48 #331901 by n815e
Replied by n815e on topic What books are you reading?
I was surprised at what an easy and fast read the first book was! It was very engaging.

I think I was expecting something more dense, but this was actually perfect for what it is and I’ve already bought most of the other books in anticipation of reading and enjoying them.
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29 Mar 2022 13:56 #331962 by Gregarius
Yeah, pretty much all the Expanse books are very quick reads, despite their lengths.
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29 Mar 2022 15:03 #331965 by jason10mm
The expanse guys made some very deliberate choices that greatly simplified their books. There is almost no discussion of time or distance. Everything happens "at the speed of the plot" which frees them from tedious discussions of drive speed, navigation strategy, and "hurry up and wait" issues (undoubtedly learned from GRRM and his struggles with ASOIAF). I think some of this actually created some problems for the show as there were very few "5 AU level strategic maps" to orient people as to where everything was. But for the books it keeps everything nice and smooth for all the character stuff.

One thing about their writing style, and I'll spoiler it because once I mention it IT WILL DRIVE YOU INSANE (at least it did me listening to the audiobooks...

Warning: Spoiler!
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29 Mar 2022 16:11 #331966 by Shellhead
It's unfortunate that George RR Martin will be remembered as That Guy Who Couldn't Finish Writing Game of Thrones, because he really is a fine writer, especially compared to most genre writers. Aside from the Wild Cards shared world series, most of Martin's pre-GoT work was short stories, standalone novels, and television scripts. He was very good about finishing everything he worked on until Game of Thrones, and even then, he cranked out the first three books in about six years.
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29 Mar 2022 22:04 - 29 Mar 2022 23:36 #331971 by Cranberries
I predict that Brandon Sanderson will finish the series.

I just started Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go. A friend told me that the book has haunted her for 12 years.
Last edit: 29 Mar 2022 23:36 by Cranberries.

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30 Mar 2022 09:29 #331976 by n815e
Replied by n815e on topic What books are you reading?
I haven’t read any GoT books because he hasn’t finished them yet.

But I love the show.
Watching it, I get involved in these deep plot lines and complex character lives, then they suddenly die.
And that may be engaging and that may put readers/viewers on edge about the future of anyone in the series. However, it struck me as really lazy writing, as though the author created these plots around characters and they are so complex that he didn’t know how to tie them up, so off with their heads.
And that makes it easy. You don’t have to figure out how to resolve plot lines when their protagonist is dead.
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