What are you reading?

Walter

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Johnstantine said:
Finally getting off my butt and reading Dune. I know there are multiple books, but I've heard anything after Herbet's death isn't worth reading.

Any insight from anyone?
The original run from Frank Herbert ended (somewhat prematurely) with book 6 -- Chapterhouse: Dune. Dune is my favorite sci-fi novel, but I've had a really hard time getting into the other books. That's certainly not to say they're bad, many people adore them. But so far for me (halfway into book 3 and I dropped out again) they just don't capture the greatness that I felt in the first book.
 
Perfume was such a good read. I've been generally following the fragrance community for the last 6/7 years and had this book in my bucket list to check out. Fascinating premise and it takes a dark/ disturbing turn as all obsessions can lead to.

I'm going to look into e-readers because I want to try to read a book a month without having to worry about shelf space. Any recommendations? I joined a bud's book club and they begin next month, they haven't picked a book as yet.

Grail said:
How cool! I read One Hundred Years of Solitude many years ago. Little did I know at the time that I probably should have read an article or two on Latin American history first. As a result, I took the entire book as a literal sort of fairy tale. It was fun, but perhaps not what the author intended! :ganishka:
Nice! I just began reading it. My plan of reading two books in December failed because I was running around between weddings, work, social stuff, family ... the usual when I visit home.
 
Johnstantine said:
Finally getting off my butt and reading Dune. I know there are multiple books, but I've heard anything after Herbet's death isn't worth reading.

Any insight from anyone?
Nice, I intend to do the same thing very soon!
 

XionHorsey

Hi! Hi!
67% Complete in Reaper's Gale(going slow, but finally picking up big time): https://www.goodreads.com/user_status/show/214620017
 
I picked up Gaiman's Sandman omnibus and I'm about half way through the series. I've been a fan of his for a while due to Good Omens and American Gods.
Sandman is concentrated doses of what he does very well and I've had my hair blown back a few times already. The surreal nature of the artwork is an interesting contrast to the hyper detailed work we celebrate here. It seems needlessly dark at times compared to other stuff I've read from him but I would recommend it to anyone who wants to read some panels from left to right.
 

Walter

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Staff member
buttonmasher said:
I picked up Gaiman's Sandman omnibus and I'm about half way through the series.
I pretty much grew up reading that stuff. Gaiman showed me the escape route from superhero comics as a wee teenager, and pretty much built the bridge that led to me falling in love with Berserk, after I started seeking out comic stories that were bigger than Marvel and Image's foil-embossed garbage. If you haven't checked it out yet, try Neverwhere. It's my favorite thing he's done. He also helped with the English localization script for Mononoke Hime, and a little bit of that shines through to American Gods, I've always thought.
 
I am also a big fan of Neverwhere. I especially enjoyed his prose and characters, which I suppose is the real key to any good story. Unfortunately that is the only book I have read by him to date. I tried to listen to the American Gods audio book but couldn't get into it. Maybe I didn't give it long enough.
 

Walter

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bulleit said:
I tried to listen to the American Gods audio book but couldn't get into it. Maybe I didn't give it long enough.
I wasn't a big fan of it, even back when I was a huge fan of Gaiman (he autographed mine, and even that couldn't rescue the book). It's a big sprawling mess.
 

jackson_hurley

even the horses are cut in half!
Walter said:
I wasn't a big fan of it, even back when I was a huge fan of Gaiman (he autographed mine, and even that couldn't rescue the book). It's a big sprawling mess.
Thats sad to read. American Gods is one of my favorite book. Not sure if I'd put it on top of Neverwhere though...
 
I totally agree that American Gods was all over the place. It felt like it never quite reached its potential and I definitely expected more otherworldliness (sorry for using that word). Having said that, I loved it because that was the first time I was exposed to Gaiman's uncanny ability to personify deities and ideas while placing them in our world.

I got Norse Mythology on audible and returned it after a day because it was too fantastic and it felt like there were no rules. I understand what he's doing with that book but it wasn't for me. Just the idea of the Endless immiedately blows anything from American Gods out of the water for me and I love the historical fiction in Sandman where we get to see these entities shaping the world. I really scratched my head at first wondering how Dream could be such a powerful entity but Gaiman has convinced me.
 

Grail

Feel the funk blast
Funny that you should bring up an attempt at listening to American Gods bulleit, I just did the same recently, with similar results. I'm not a Gaiman fan, so I don't know if it's just too "him" for me, but I felt like the mythological references I encountered in the first few chapters were too heavy-handed and lacked depth. :shrug:
 

XionHorsey

Hi! Hi!
Still on Reaper's Gale(76% complete). Slow and steady. Just like how Malazan has rekindled my love for Suikoden, especially of the character Clant(when I saw Redmask, I thought of him). It snowballed from there. LOL! I'll get this book done though.
 

Walter

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I'm just ~80 pages into the first book in Book of the New Sun ( Shadow of the Torturer ), and guys I'm in love. I'm just goddamned floored by the writing in it, in particular the author's way of obscuring the already complicated world. Understanding and unraveling it page by page has been delightful. It's a little like Cormac McCarthy in that every page can be incredibly dense because of how language is used. Old words + new words + descriptions of fantastical things that requires you to pause to understand the significance of. Haven't been this enamored by a book in a long time.

For those with a Kindle, just give the sample a whirl, it's what sold me.
 
I'm just ~80 pages into the first book in Book of the New Sun ( Shadow of the Torturer ), and guys I'm in love.
I just finished The Citadel of the Autarch, the last book in Book of the New Sun. Mind Blown. What a great book(s). You are very very lucky because it keeps getting better and you get to read it all for the first time. Beware of any spoilers or hints it's much more fun that way. It's inevitable that you'll look for answers to some of the mysteries. I had to be really careful when I searched not to get ahead of myself. Looking forward to re-reading it all over again next winter.

You can see where RR Martin got a few ideas. There's a lot of obscure extinct animals from across the Cenozoic. Obscure terms for medieval weaponry. It's especially tricky because he often doesn't know what the weapon really does. For instance he'll refer to a obscure type of Roman lance. Only that's not what the weapon really is, it functions and probably looks much differently. So you have two obstacles to stumble over, the archaic terms and his limited worldly experience. It must have been a rough read before google. It would be easier if he'd just say, Green Berets, Army Rangers, or Special Forces, instead of an obscure 14th century name for Arabic soldiers who did essentially the same thing. (made up analogy)

When I started reading it I saw the book referenced as an example of an 'unreliable narrator'. This is the sort of stuff they're talking about and I think it's unfair. If the narrator is describing something you should be restricted to what he can understand. Of course on a greater level you can question the narrator's honesty and such but then you have to question the themes and overall philosophy..

I can see how some people would be turned off by the style but to me it's perfect.. Give the book an even more mysterious, antique, and dream-like vibe. Layers within layers within layers. There's all sorts of coincidental meetings throughout, starting with saving Vodalus. Normally I hate that kind of thing but the book is so insane I end up accepting it.

I could go on and on, you know how it is when you just finished a series of some of the best books ever. It reminds me of some of the old weird fiction writers, specifically Clark Ashton Smith. If you've never read him before check him out. There's a website that has most of his stories printed up. Most of them are old enough and I don't think he had heirs so it's public domain or close to it. He uses very long, obscure words you need a dictionary. Or the glossary the website has.

Oh if you have questions about terms or ideas, ask. Some of it is a google away but some is more complicated and you don't want spoilers..

Finally getting off my butt and reading Dune. I know there are multiple books, but I've heard anything after Herbet's death isn't worth reading.

Any insight from anyone?
Great series. Anything written by old man Herbert is good, anything by the son is questionable. I don't want to call the people that like nu-Dune idiots, I don't want to insult anyone and different strokes for different folks. I can't imagine anyone who enjoyed all the original books liking the new ones. Discrepancies, dumbing down, one dimensional caricatures of the original characters, sloppy, juvenile writing, etc. etc. If you like simple young adult fan fiction to while away a rainy day you could like the new books. Or if you absolutely must have the blank spots the author expects you to use your imagination to fill, filled poorly, you may enjoy them. (They suck.)

As you get deeper into the original series the books get more philosophical. God Emperor is a stumbling block for a lot of people, it's the most philosophical and there's a lot of Frank Herbert's view on humanity and humanity's evolution. I enjoy it but I can see why some people don't. The last two books are quite good, pick up steam. At the end there's not a 'cliffhanger' as the nu-Dune authors claim, I think Frank knew it could be his last book. There are mysteries and string left hanging. To me ending it there is fine and makes sense. There were several times Frank thought he wouldn't write more books while writing the series. More money and ideas brought him back but the series could have ended after most the books and it would have been fine.
 

XionHorsey

Hi! Hi!
I'm just ~80 pages into the first book in Book of the New Sun ( Shadow of the Torturer ), and guys I'm in love.
GOOD! It is excellent work! I found it years ago at a used book store and I was just taken in by the cover/summary. One of the most memorable series I have ever read. I adore Severian. I need to read it again as it's been SOOOO long.

Anyway, 90% in Reaper's Gale. And those who've read it will know what I'm talking about when I say this
The death of Redmask bothered me. I knew it would happen because I peeked early on, but like that? Tragic. I really liked him and not just because of a Suikoden character.
 
Finished reading Flame Dragon Knight.

What a frustrating process. I loved the actual story. I honestly really liked the characters and their actual story and relationship. But the goddamn writing. It had no voice, it was far too childishly vulgar. Anyone who's read it fucking well knows what I mean. And no point in reiterating what people already know about it.

I really hope Miura redoes the story within the manga. There's a really beautiful and cool story within it that deserves far greater treatment.

It reminds me a lot of the episode of Berserk 2016 that Miura wrote. It was the episode I hated the most. I could see a good story in there but it was just so awful. This is just what happens apparently when his work is given to somebody else to create. He needs to stop doing that.

Aside from that, I am reading Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash vol 9. It's pretty damn awesome and might be one of my favorites in the series. His writing has gotten a lot better and far less childish I guess. Maybe it's just because of all the shit the characters have gone through and it shows. Who knows. Wish the anime series continued because it had a lot better art style and took a more mature and down to earth approach to it.
 

Walter

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Staff member
I really hope Miura redoes the story within the manga. There's a really beautiful and cool story within it that deserves far greater treatment.
I'm curious what aspect struck you as beautiful and cool. I think the only bright spots about that whole mess are Benedikte and Grunbeld's scenes. But those amount to about, what, 5 pages? And it's discordant with the rest of the book, not related to his character motivations or the nature of his ending, really. So it didn't add up to much for me, despite the potential laid pretty early on for those two.
 
Been reading Vinland Saga. I ordered the first 5 books during a Kodansha sale on RightStufAnime a couple weeks back and finally started this week. Really enjoying it so far (finished book 3 last night) so now I just ordered books 6 and 7 from Amazon.
 
I'm curious what aspect struck you as beautiful and cool. I think the only bright spots about that whole mess are Benedikte and Grunbeld's scenes. But those amount to about, what, 5 pages?
Honestly, they're partially what I meant.

Benedikte and her wolf were fantastic. Her blindness and abilities came across as ethereal and beautiful. Her relationship with Grunbeld was pretty cute.

I also really liked Sigur, Edvard and Grunbeld's relationship. At least the idea of them anyways.

Although the results of it, especially Edvard, was vulgarly rushed, like a lot of the book.

To be clear here, I'm not really justifying the book. At all. It's like seeing a shoddy painting with some interesting designs in it and being like "Well, this could be cool but it still sucks."

It's just hard not to objectively sit back and think what Miura would have done with the story instead and be able to see how gorgeous and heartfelt it could have been. But I guess that's just an obvious thought in itself hah.
 
I finished To Green Angel Tower the other day. It was a satisfying conclusion to an imperfect but enjoyable trilogy. I didn't care for the way Tad Williams wrote his female characters in Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, but aside from that, it was pretty decent.

Right now, I'm reading Dark Horse's translation of Berserk Vol. 39 and Miura's interview from the guidebook.
 
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