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what are you reading?

Head over to the bookshelf and take your pick. We want to hear your thoughts on any past, present or future novels.
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Nu-D
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Nu-D » 03 Dec 2016, 16:21

Recently finished (re)reading C.S. Lewis' Till We Have Faces. It was Lewis's last novel, and the one he regarded as his best. He had been fascinated with the story of Cupid and Psyche all his life, and had tried to render it in prose and in verse many times. Late in life he had a revelation, and changed his view on the story and this novel was the result.

The story is the myth of Cupid and Psyche, told from the POV of Psyche's eldest sister. In the traditional myth, Psyche is so beautiful that Aphrodite is jealous and orders her sacrificed. She is rescued by Cupid, who takes her to his home but prohibits her from ever seeing him. Her sisters go to visit and are so jealous they trick her into looking at Cupid. When she does she is exiled and wanders the Earth for eternity.

In this version the eldest sister is not jealous, but rather she loves Psyche. When she visits Psyche on the mountain in Cupid's home, she cannot see its wonders. She believes Psyche is captive of a monster or a delusion, and coerces Psyche into looking at Cupid in the hopes she'll come to her senses and return home with the sister. Psyche does so, and is sent into exile.

Lewis' take on the myth is pregnant with messages about faith and doubt. It's written as an indictment of the gods' demands that we believe things we cannot see or verify.

I read it first back in 1999 on my father's recommendation. I remember really liking it a lot. I liked it enough that it was the first book I ever gave to my then-girlfriend (now wife). She also liked it a lot at the time, but doesn't really remember it now.

Honestly, it's very good but I can't really see whatever it was that I saw in it the first time. I know I'm in a very different place, spiritually, than I was then. That might have something to do with it. Back then I was learning a lot about varieties of spirituality. Today, I'm much more settled into my own space, and I don't think it's very similar to C.S. Lewis' questions and agonies in this book. (Contrast with The Screwtape Letters which speaks to me very precisely).
Music and silence–how I detest them both!….[Hell] has been occupied by Noise–Noise, the grand dynamism, the audible expression of all that is exultant, ruthless, and virile–Noise which alone defends us from silly qualms, despairing scruples and impossible desires. We will make the whole universe a noise in the end….The melodies and silences of Heaven will be shouted down in the end. (C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, 119-120)

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Nu-D
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Nu-D » 18 Sep 2017, 01:39

I just finished "A Good Country" by Laleh Khadivi. It was good, but doesn't deserves to glowing press it's getting. It's about a second generation Iranian American teen from California who becomes alienated by his exclusion from American society, and radicalizes and goes to join ISIS in Syria. His character arc is persuasive and sympathetic. But the author's picture of American high school life is pretty exaggerated in a lot of ways. It's an enjoyable read, but I found myself skimming at times and rolling my eyes at others.

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Gomurr the Ancient
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Gomurr the Ancient » 28 Nov 2017, 18:05

Blackcyclops wrote:
23 Feb 2016, 15:01
Thanks everybody!!!!!

If only comics could somehow be turned into audiobooks, read by the voice-actors from cartoons or live-action (I'd love to have the Mutant Massacre read by the cast of the 90s animated series lol)...
https://www.graphicaudio.net/our-produc ... arvel.html

I just stumbled across a fair number of adapted comic audiobooks. Figured I'd link it here, as I'm sure a number of us would appreciate it. I'm about an hour in on the Days of Future Past audiobook, it's pretty great.
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Rincewind » 05 Jan 2018, 15:17

Currently, I'm working my way through "The Land That Time Forgot" by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Yes, I saw the movie (well, the MST3K version), but that doesn't matter. I've been on a Burroughs kick lately (as well as other similar authors).
Many people who had got to know Rincewind had come to treat him as a sort of two-legged miner's canary, and tended to assume that if Rincewind was still upright and not actually running then some hope remained.

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Nu-D » 11 Feb 2018, 02:05

I recently re-read Mother Night, one of Vonnegut’s best.

I’m now re-reading Maze of Death, one of Phil Dick’s worst.

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by EvilMonkeyPope » 05 Mar 2018, 06:38

I finally finished Book Without End, er, World Without End.

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RingOtaku
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by RingOtaku » 07 Mar 2018, 20:22

Just finished re-reading The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton. Always interesting but in that academic slow but steady pace way his books always are. Especially the early ones like this.
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LockheedAndLoaded
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by LockheedAndLoaded » 08 Mar 2018, 06:35

Rincewind wrote:
05 Jan 2018, 15:17
Currently, I'm working my way through "The Land That Time Forgot" by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Yes, I saw the movie (well, the MST3K version), but that doesn't matter. I've been on a Burroughs kick lately (as well as other similar authors).
Where'd you find a copy of this one? I've been looking for ages...
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Rincewind » 08 Mar 2018, 16:14

LockheedAndLoaded wrote:
08 Mar 2018, 06:35

Where'd you find a copy of this one? I've been looking for ages...
The movie (along with Jonah Heston and the 'Bots) was via Netflix, the book at a local library.
Many people who had got to know Rincewind had come to treat him as a sort of two-legged miner's canary, and tended to assume that if Rincewind was still upright and not actually running then some hope remained.

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Anna Raven » 08 Mar 2018, 17:03

RingOtaku wrote:
07 Mar 2018, 20:22
Just finished re-reading The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton. Always interesting but in that academic slow but steady pace way his books always are. Especially the early ones like this.
That's a great book.
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Cable » 08 Mar 2018, 17:31

After seeing the movie Annihilation and really liking it I immediately left the theater for the bookstore and got the novel it is based on. The movie is somewhat ambiguous and I wondered if the novel would be less so, but it is actually much more so! I actually wish I had read the book first because it leaves things vague but having seen the film I could not help but layer its assumptions onto the novel as I was reading it. If you have seen the movie you might think it has a tad of Lovecraft to it; well the novel turns the Lovecraft vibe up to 11. It very much has that idea of leaving horrors up to your imagination. While I am a fan of Lovecraft though, and while I found the novel to be one of those books where I just wanted to keep turning page after page, in the end I was left wanting a bit more than what I got. Ultimately I think this is one of the very rare times the film adaptation is actually better than the book. I still feel compelled to read the two others in the trilogy though so I will be picking them up next.
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RingOtaku
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by RingOtaku » 09 Mar 2018, 04:35

Anna Raven wrote:
08 Mar 2018, 17:03
RingOtaku wrote:
07 Mar 2018, 20:22
Just finished re-reading The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton. Always interesting but in that academic slow but steady pace way his books always are. Especially the early ones like this.
That's a great book.
Yep. It and Eaters Of The Dead are some of my favorites of Crichton. Short but sweet, perfect length for a quick read and full of stuff that makes you think.
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Nu-D » 15 Mar 2018, 17:17

I’m reading Ready Player One. It’s entertaining, but trash. I assume the author wants me to find the idea of immersion into a video game appealing; mostly it makes me feel like I wasted days of my life in a basement when I could have been outside playing.

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Anna Raven » 15 Mar 2018, 17:27

Nu-D wrote:
15 Mar 2018, 17:17
I’m reading Ready Player One. It’s entertaining, but trash. I assume the author wants me to find the idea of immersion into a video game appealing; mostly it makes me feel like I wasted days of my life in a basement when I could have been outside playing.
Well the idea is compared to the real world which is a dystopia, escaping into a video game world is a paradise. Then it also plays on feelings of nostalgia by having all the 80's references thrown in as part of the game world. Saying it's trash is a bit harsh I'd say. I agree it is entertaining though.
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Cosmos666 » 16 Mar 2018, 19:29

I'm currently finishing A Clash of Kings. My original intention when I first read about A Song of Ice and Fire over 10 years ago was to wait until GRRM finished the series to read it in one go. But TV series is coming to an end and I was tired of waiting for him to release The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring so I said fuck it and start it. It looks like I'm joining the unwashed masses in waiting for the last two books.

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by AntiBody » 27 Mar 2018, 21:56

I just finished A Wrinkle In Time for the very first time! I saw it around as a kid and it seemed interesting, but for whatever reason I never picked it up. The movie is out and it looks good, so I figured I'd read the book first.

HOLY CRAP I LOVED EVERY PAGE OF IT. I cannot believe I'd never read it before! It's right up my alley! Probably gonna check out the whole quintet! Definitely recommend this to anyone who hasn't read it yet!!
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Anna Raven » 28 Mar 2018, 04:34

AntiBody wrote:
27 Mar 2018, 21:56
I just finished A Wrinkle In Time for the very first time! I saw it around as a kid and it seemed interesting, but for whatever reason I never picked it up. The movie is out and it looks good, so I figured I'd read the book first.

HOLY CRAP I LOVED EVERY PAGE OF IT. I cannot believe I'd never read it before! It's right up my alley! Probably gonna check out the whole quintet! Definitely recommend this to anyone who hasn't read it yet!!
I loved it so much as a kid, but the commercials for the movie had almost no appeal. Have you seen the movie by chance?
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by AntiBody » 28 Mar 2018, 09:35

Anna Raven wrote:
28 Mar 2018, 04:34
I loved it so much as a kid, but the commercials for the movie had almost no appeal. Have you seen the movie by chance?
I have not yet seen the movie. I thought the trailers looked cool, at least visually. But then again, I try to avoid seeing too many trailers (or seeing the same trailer too often) when I'm excited about a movie, so I might not be the best judge here. What turns you off from the film?
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Anna Raven » 28 Mar 2018, 14:42

AntiBody wrote:
28 Mar 2018, 09:35
Anna Raven wrote:
28 Mar 2018, 04:34
I loved it so much as a kid, but the commercials for the movie had almost no appeal. Have you seen the movie by chance?
I have not yet seen the movie. I thought the trailers looked cool, at least visually. But then again, I try to avoid seeing too many trailers (or seeing the same trailer too often) when I'm excited about a movie, so I might not be the best judge here. What turns you off from the film?
I can't put my finger on it, and granted its been literally decades since I read the book, but almost nothing from what I remember reading made it into the movie trailers. There were no centaurs, Meg isn't a red haired girl like I vividly remember from reading the book, literally the only thing that seems to be the same is the transporting across dimensions idea. Otherwise they seem to be going for a "modern retelling" and that's fine, but I would prefer something more classic I guess.
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by AntiBody » 28 Mar 2018, 20:18

I hear that. I wonder how they could possibly film some of the things that happen in the book, so there's that.
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Cyke » 07 Apr 2018, 15:14

Nu-D wrote:
11 Feb 2018, 02:05
I recently re-read Mother Night, one of Vonnegut’s best.

I’m now re-reading Maze of Death, one of Phil Dick’s worst.
I own just two of Dick's books. One is Man in the High Castle, the other is Maze of Death. Hahaha.

It's been many moons since I read it though and can't really recall why I bought it. Granted, I haven't read all that much of his work but what, in your opinion, makes Maze one of his worst?
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Nu-D
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Nu-D » 08 Apr 2018, 01:08

Eh, shallow characters making decisions that are plot-driven rather than character driven; dialogue that is inconsistent with what’s actually being shown to happen; a host of other bad writing qualities. Basically, it’s got all of the weakness of PKDs writing, without any of the benefits of the fascinating high-concepts that redeem his other works.

I binged a few others after that one: UBIK was not bad, but not as good as I remembered it. The Game Players of Titan was also not bad, and thought I’m sure I read it 25 years ago, it was as though I was reading it for the first time.

But none of the above are in that high tier of his best works: High Castle, A Scanner Darkly, VALIS, Palmer Eldritch and Timothy Archer.

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by EvilMonkeyPope » 08 Jun 2018, 00:47

Halfway through the series, I’m starting to like the 007 books more than the movies. It’s a bummer that most are such loose adaptations. From Russia With Love may be the best since it takes few liberties. (Both could’ve used a meatier battle with Red Grant.) Ian Flemming’s writing is so detailed without bogging down the rapid pacing. https://mattthecatania.wordpress.com/20 ... -a-dragon/

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Re: what are you reading?

Post by RingOtaku » 08 Jun 2018, 15:02

Douglas Adam's Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. Dirk Gently is a wonderful character but I feel like Hitchhikers's Guide series was a better example of the author's humor. Fans of Hitchhiker will like it which I am but I'm glad I borrowed it from the library before buying it. It may not be a repeat reading.
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Re: what are you reading?

Post by Anna Raven » 08 Jun 2018, 16:29

I think I liked Holistic Detective Agency better than Long Dark Teatime.
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