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What are we reading now?

5 months ago

Just noticed the last thread in here was over a month ago. 

What are people reading these days? Tell me what you're up to reading-wise.

I had a nostalgia kick so I'm rereading some books by Shannon Hale currently (Goose Girl and Princess Academy. I have no shame).

Recently finished Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog which is an autobiography about wounded knee in the 70s. Add on Memoirs of a Geisha which I finished a month ago and am still interested in (It's a fictional memoir. Of a geisha. It's worth the read!).

A friend is trying to get me to read The Dresden Files because he thinks it is the pinnacle of all writing and I probably will start some of the books next time I go to the library. 

What are we reading now?

5 months ago

Last week I finished "Dragon Blood" by Andrew Stanek (Some interesting ideas, but really fell flat with a passive main character,, lack of resolving the actually important plot points since it's a "series," and a bad guy who monologues for a dozen pages as he informs the main character of his convoluted master plan that depended on the main character doing everything he did, exactly, his whole life. Which is an impressively bad plan once you realize that the only reason the main character does anything is because he's either dragged into it or because he thinks it will save his childhood sweetheart. He spends most of his time high. He didn't even bother to learn sword-fighting in the 15+ years he was living in hiding with a master swordsman to guard him. *Sigh* So much potential wasted in this book... [Oh, and the unrealistic main character girl, who is not the girl he loves. Her whole arc ends with "oh my, I just realized I'm jealous he has someone who loves him and I want someone to love me! I must be an evil greedy dragon inside to have such a dark feeling! *Cue ominous music for sequel.*]  Hilariously, right after his one big scene at the end where he does something actually interesting, another character berates him for being utterly useless and passive and relying on everyone else.
The book was not terrible, and was competently written. But the main characters and the monologuing bad guy let it down. (There were some fantastic side characters, though.)

I was a bit disappointed with that one, so I read "The Narrowing Path"by David Normoyle next. While the main character was a little lacking in this one as well, it wasn't quite as bad. He was more self-contradictory than anything. Good at strategy in a game seeing countless moves ahead, but diidn't plan ahead much at all in real life except sometimes a few hours or days before he needed to do something radical. Could be very bold, but was more often passive, and too many incidents in the book relied on him being rescued by strangers.
There were a lot of interesting ideas in this book as well, especially the main device that every six years, at the closest point to the sun, the world grows hot enough that anyone without sufficient shelter dies. So most of the politics of the country revolve around who gets selected to stay in the refuge. Every class of society has their own "path" or trial that determines if they get to stay there once they reach a certain age. It was interesting enough I read it all in a couple settings.
I'm not sure it reached the level of "great," but there were some good twists. Important plot bits were resolved, yet there were enough questions left for sequels. My biggest issue with this one is that the ending felt very rushed, and that the storyline didn't quite live up to the potential his world and the "Green Path" set.

What are we reading now?

5 months ago

Fantasy can be so hit or miss sometimes, it's honestly disappointing. I take you aren't gonna follow up on the Dragon Blood sequels then:p I googled it and saw it was a trilogy. It sounds like it was trying to be edgy and subversive but just kind of turned it into a fantasy high school drama, haha.

Sometimes you just need some decent level books to appreciate the really good ones I guess.

What are we reading now?

5 months ago

Probably not, although I am curious about the "big lie" the dragon was told which was a huge thing in the book that was never resolved. We found out who told the lie, but not what the lie was.

I can't complain too much, I got the book on a free day (thanks to the Robin's Reads list which emails a bunch of free and 99cent books every day) and it did have some good ideas in it. The magic/alchemy of quicksilver was interesting, and the dragon was not a run of the mill sort even if the physics of a city-sized dragon didn't make much sense. The Scorched Bulwark was a fascinating location.

I'm not sure I would consider it a high school drama except the end where the shallow 'perfect' love story was thrown in, the mostly competent main character girl realized she was jealous and over-reacted about it, and the king assigns roles for each of his allies much like nerd, dumb jock, charismatic popular one, etc.

What are we reading now?

5 months ago
Recently read the Count of Monte Cristo. Someone could totally right a sequel for it, if anyone needs ideas for a fan-fiction.

Jokes aside, I liked it, for even when the main character was more a background force the story remained engaging. In fact, the Count being rather overpowered at times might've been a bit annoying with my 'modern perspective', but he doesn't experience smooth sailing for the entirety of the that time, and the ending was solid, so no real complaints. It was still interesting to notice, but then again, it isn't like people hate highly competent characters. Beside, there was character development in spades (or maybe I just never get that far in my projects).

The cast also felt like a strong point to me, and it was fun to see all the characters being utilised and having their arcs resolved (although I did stop reading at one stage, which made me forget some of the names [I did get back on track by the ending though!]).

Some parts of the writing style also read nicely to me, which has led to me trying to imitate it in some works, if only partially.

Further, as the story spans a longer time period, it is also interesting to see how the writer handled that. In general, seeing how things were handled was pretty interesting (as I am paying more attention to such things now), since while I have spouted the 'read to get better at writing', I haven't exactly put it into practice too much. I just hope that when I get back to trying to write, some of it sticks with me, aha.

The chapters being distinct also means that when I look at their names I recall all sorts of things about what happened, which shows the importance of being concise in your writing (as relevant for the story, of course). Perhaps I should try applying that to my forum posts too, but I might wait till I publish a storygame (so I have something else to be recognised by).


Also, this one is older, but did you know there is a cannibal in Moby Dick!? I didn't, so that was a fun surprise. I know some people here like some of the phrases that book used, but I'll leave it off here.

What are we reading now?

5 months ago

Dang, haven't read that since high school! I remember loving it though... Maybe I'll give it a reread at some point. I remember being utterly enthralled with the idea that the red liquid was a symbol for some thing or another. 

Spoilers: Also I'm pretty sure I was frustrated by a romance being thrown in at the end when I thought the protagonist should remain single because I was on a "romance doesn't equal redemption and is lazy resolution" kick at that point in time.

I agree though, I loved the various characters and was in awe the author kept it all orderly. 

What are we reading now?

5 months ago
"Come; let us squeeze hands all round; nay, let us all squeeze ourselves into each other; let us squeeze ourselves universally into the very milk and sperm of kindness!"
I do love that book. Stubb was the best character. Hands down. Died in his underwear.

What are we reading now?

5 months ago
Just noticed the last thread in here was over a month ago. The class got defunded for lack of students enrolling. Would you recommend any of the books you mentioned? I'm currently halfway through Doctor Sleep by Steven King. It's entertaining to read just before falling asleep. The chapter breaks are short, sometimes a single page, so it never feels like a chore to get to a good stopping point. This is only my third Steven King novel, and I'm a big fan of his characterization. He's also kind of a weird writer. There's tons of creatively-spelled words and the descriptions are downright odd at times. The current read isn't anything special, but it's engaging and suspenseful enough to keep me going.

What are we reading now?

5 months ago

Surprisingly I haven't read any Stephen King even though I love horror. I just keep putting it off.

Shannon Hale is decidedly YA. That being said, Goose Girl is an adaptation of the Grimm's fairy tale by the same name and I stole some of the ideas of name magic from the book to make a DND class so I still like it. 

Lakota Woman is interesting if you like social justice and hearing about how bad the US fucked Native Americans over. The author is married to a medicine man and has some cool insights into Sioux modern culture if that's something you're interested in.

Memoirs of a Geisha is essentially a first person exploration of what a geisha's life would have been like around the second world war. This includes big stuff like having her virginity sold off before she knows what sex is and small stuff like how cosmetics were made and applied. It's interesting if you like realistic fiction.

What are we reading now?

5 months ago

I think Doctor Sleep was my first Stevey book, I'd picked it up in mid high and found it okay. Entertaining and all, but alright. I can't seem to get scared by any of Stevey's works for some reason. And his characters...They don't do it for me. They're alright, but when I read his books it feels underwhelming. Maybe I've been piped up about all his stuff too much or somethin'. I will say The Long Walk is fantastic and made me more and more excited with every painful page. Ghosts and psychics and people huffing child juice like life-giving vapes are pretty spooky, but have you ever been left alone with your thoughts? Double spooky.

I will say Doctor Sleep got me super into the idea of psychic kids, so I wouldn't stop drawing these cute little characters haunted by ghosts just like in the book.

What are we reading now?

5 months ago
Roadside Picnic. Datasets and Algorithms, as I should be.

What are we reading now?

5 months ago

What am I reading right now? This.

What are we reading now?

5 months ago

fantasy is for children and autists, I never read it.

What are we reading now?

5 months ago

All fiction is fantasy. Just in different ways and to different degrees. There isn't a single Ernest Hemingway novel set in the real world. They're all set in fantasy versions of the real world.

What are we reading now?

5 months ago

I mean, you read my fantasy storygame. And that fantasy short story I wrote for you whenever you were asking for short stories forever ago. Did you do anything with that, btw? Cause I liked that one. 

What are we reading now?

5 months ago

The tattoo on coins' mom's lower back.

What are we reading now?

5 months ago

Rereading the Kull of Atlantis stories by Robert E. Howard. I actually think they're better than his Conan stuff. Kull is a better character.

What are we reading now?

5 months ago
The Art Of Electronics by Paul Horowitz and Winfield Hill. It's excessively interesting and 100% full of useful information that simply can't (and isn't) put into EE courses these days. On the lighter reading side, I'm reading The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker, a book about self-improvement and management skills in a career/executive context, and Deep Down Things by Bruce Schumm, a lighter physics text that goes from basic physics to very complicated and interesting physics all in a readable amount and without a concentration on the math portion.

I don't have much time to sit down with a book these days but I try to read a bit every night before bed. My jam right now is The Art Of Electronics, but my "bathroom reading" tends to be Deep Down Things. If I can't sleep, I read The Effective Executive on my phone using the kindle app.

What are we reading now?

5 months ago

I actually visited a bookstore or two in my new town with a friend. Happily there are lots of those and cafes and such around, it's kind of super darling. Here's what I picked up:

  • Some David Sedaris Thing: My ol' English teacher once said I write like an angry David Sedaris. That makes me happy, except I didn't have a single clue who that guy was, so I Googled it up. He's a white guy who writes about his parents being crackheads or something. The collection I picked up is titled When You Are Engulfed In Flames. I picked it out because the cover has a very cool epic awesome skeleton smoking a melancholy cigarette, and if you're going to pull me in it's gotta be about being melancholy and cool and smoking a cigarette-- Right now he's just talking about laundry stuff. Maybe it's better later.
  • Slaughterhouse-Five: I got way too into Vonnegut as a kid. I found an old notebook of mine while cleaning, and it's absolutely atrocious-- I'm clearly trying to copy that sardonic, horrific Heller-Vonnegut humor with all the over-the-edge ridiculously sad situations and light tone and all....But it's best if I keep that thing in the waaaaaaaaay back shelf. Away from sunlight. And eyes. Oh, and I forgot how addicting Vonnegut can be. Everything is so odd, but chipper in a way that turns you sidewaysed on the inside.
  • COWBOY BOOK: It's a cowboy book. :^)
  • "All of my characters are straight": Once, SE Hinton got all sorts of tussied up about people writing gay fanfiction of her novels. I mean, the covers got devilishly handsome boys in tight leather, bent over pool tables with hotly concentrated gazes for chrisakes. You're tellin' me that you're just gonna write a bajillion novels about pretty sadboys with zero supervision lighting each other's cigarettes under the crisp moonlight and expect it NOT to be kinda gay? Hinton, stop lying to yourself. Also which Hinton book I read doesnt matter because they're all the same.
  • THE ONLY GOOD WESTERN COMIC: My friend bought me The Watchmen. It was good. The more I think about it, the more epic it is. 9x9 panels almost the whole way through but it makes use of every single one of them. One like, one Rory busting into your house for midnight beans.

I remember being really obsessed with elegance of Geishas as a kid. I watched the movie once, and the Yuki-Ona scene still stick in my mind.

What are we reading now?

5 months ago
Just curious, what are your feelings on Rorshach?

#BEANSQUAD

5 months ago

I might end up making a new thread waaaaaaaaaaaay later with all my Big Brained Thoughts because there sure is a lot to go over, and I haven't even reread it yet. But yeah, Rory.

At first he's like, kinda cool. Very crusty. Fedora-tipping. #hardcore, don't talk to me-- But then I caught on to the scktick with this darned thing. I think it's easy to like Rory: He's the guy you see through first, he's punching bad guys, he's eatin' beans and he really hates EVIL and SHIT. We like him. He's the guy you latch onto as "good" because he's the first one you see. When reading a story, I think we all sort of grasp at someone or something to ride along with in good conscience. He's cool and gritty so it's only natural to get somewhat fascinated.

Getting that outta the way, Rory is Big Fuckup. Before the halfway point I kept noticing that he would jump to the sexual side of things-- Calling women whores, seeing a guy getting mugged in an alleyway and assume it's going to lead to rape, calling Ozzy gay because he doesn't have a partner (lmao), seeing Owlcuck and Lady Person out together and thinking they're cheating from the start. It was like a thistle in my sock the whole way. You see his childhood, and it makes sense. He's a crusty, lonely, twisted societal reject with a face like peperoni and a mind covered in blisters. Fuckin' nasty. I also like how gross his face is. It's almost like the author himself was revealing that your hero is just that smelly kid in highschool who hid dead rats in his backpack or something. He fights against "evil" yet never seems to find good in anything, because he's playing a part. The world is a nasty zit in need of popping.

His death made me feel kinda bad. But I guess that's the only way it could've gone. People find him heroic, because he "never compromises in the face of evil"... The truth is that he sees the world in black and white. Wait, that's probably why his mask is the way it is, huh? Everyone in this shitstorm sees the world differently, like it's a Rorshach test. And Rory sees it black and white, ugly wherever you go.

#BEANSQUAD

5 months ago

I always thought Rorshach was like a superhero version of Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver. He has a sense of decency, but he's so screwed up that he just sees the bad in people and seldomly ever the good.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9PCcx7i4xQ    

#BEANSQUAD

5 months ago

I actually have never seen Taxidriver, I just know that the soundtrack is supposed to be Super Epic Incredible. Only recently did I realize the true nature of the movie. Before, I thought it was just a guy driving taxis in a very mundane taxi driving fashion.