What are you reading?

I finished Longitude, The Making of Star Wars and Batman: Year One. Whew. I’m behind in my updating.

Longitude was great. I had no idea we’d gone for such a long time as a seafaring species without being able to accurately determine longitude. If I ever have the opportunity to visit England, one of my many stops will be the National Maritime Museum to see the Harrison clocks with my own eyes.

The Making of Star Wars was beyond thorough and such a wonderful look at the evolution of my favorite film. It had excerpts from Lucas’ first drafts, many “lost” interview segments and beautiful photos from behind the scenes and the film itself. Highly recommended for fans of the original trilogy.

Batman: Year One was better than I thought it would be, and my expectations were high as a fan of Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. I loved how down-to-earth and realistic it was. One of my favorite Batman stories, and one which I’ll continue to revisit.

Next up: a re-read of Ghost in the Shell.
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
Batman: Year One was better than I thought it would be, and my expectations were high as a fan of Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. I loved how down-to-earth and realistic it was. One of my favorite Batman stories, and one which I’ll continue to revisit.
It's always been fascinating to me how drastically different those two are, despite being written by the same guy within the same year ('80s were crazy, huh?). Dark Knight Returns is about as big and flashy as a modern-day Marvel movie, whereas Year One is very low-key, almost like a procedural drama by comparison. Too bad Miller eventually fell off the deep end.
 
I finished rereading Ghost in the Shell, as well as Ghost in the Shell 2: Man-Machine Interface and Ghost in the Shell 1.5: Human-Error Processor. Whew. Masamune Shirow is a brilliant guy, but at the end of the day, he isn't the best story-teller. His art is great, and his ideas and predictions about the future are excellent (and often correct), but he tells some of the most convoluted stories imaginable. I much prefer Mamoru Oshii and Kenji Kamiyama's storytelling. I think their takes on Ghost in the Shell have elevated it to its highest level so far (minus SAC_2045, from what I've heard, and Innocence).

Next up is Dan Simmons' The Crook Factory.
 

Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
I finished rereading Ghost in the Shell, as well as Ghost in the Shell 2: Man-Machine Interface and Ghost in the Shell 1.5: Human-Error Processor. Whew. Masamune Shirow is a brilliant guy, but at the end of the day, he isn't the best story-teller. His art is great, and his ideas and predictions about the future are excellent (and often correct), but he tells some of the most convoluted stories imaginable. I much prefer Mamoru Oshii and Kenji Kamiyama's storytelling. I think their takes on Ghost in the Shell have elevated it to its highest level so far (minus SAC_2045, from what I've heard, and Innocence).

I think the original Ghost in the Shell manga is pretty damn good. However the following works just... aren't there, even from just a visual perspective. I remember being supremely disappointed with Man-Machine Interface when it came out (however long ago that was... 1997, wow). You could already tell at the time Shirow's interests had moved on (to doing porn artbooks, which still baffles me to this day).
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
I finished rereading Ghost in the Shell, as well as Ghost in the Shell 2: Man-Machine Interface and Ghost in the Shell 1.5: Human-Error Processor. Whew. Masamune Shirow is a brilliant guy, but at the end of the day, he isn't the best story-teller.

You can't judge a book by its cover, but those catchy sequel titles aren't the most inspired.

You could already tell at the time Shirow's interests had moved on (to doing porn artbooks, which still baffles me to this day).

I mean, I get it, but just do that at home!:shrug:
 
The original manga is definitely the best of the three, that’s for sure.

Yeah, I don’t understand the porn art book thing, either. Strange guy.
 
I bought all of the wheel of time because I heard a lot of people say it was one of the best fantasy series ever written, I'm only on the eye of the world right now but I'm already really enjoying it.

Anyone here read these novels?
 
I've read the entire Wheel of Time. Honestly wouldn't reread. The first several books are pretty entertaining and well paced from what I remember, then the story threads start to diverge and the whole thing gets bogged down pretty much until Sanderson takes over. He at least provides some closure, but I don't feel like he quite captured the tone of Jordan (it's been a while so I don't have any examples at hand). I also don't think the ending was particularly well done. I did not feel many of the sub-plots were resolved in a satisfying way.
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
I bought all of the wheel of time because I heard a lot of people say it was one of the best fantasy series ever written, I'm only on the eye of the world right now but I'm already really enjoying it.

Anyone here read these novels?
I read it about 25 years ago. What I distinctly remember is a LOT of braid tugging. I did like the first book quite a bit, but it starts to turn downward after book 3 or so, from my recollection.

I've been reading a lot of Cormac McCarthy recently: No Country for Old Men, Suttree, All the Pretty Horses, The Crossing
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
I found Suttree to be a harder read than Blood Meridian. What did you think it?
I just started Suttree yesterday night. So far so good..? I understand that it's told through several stories and is generally lighter in tone, so I'm looking forward to that.

Blood Meridian I still look back on with anguish. It was my first book of his, and I think that was a mistake. Because as great as it is, every page is such a slog, like you're stuck in mud. All the Pretty Horses felt like the distilled, EZ-Reader version of BM, touching on all the western adventure notes but isn't so weighed down with Old Testament bravado. I probably stayed away from his books for years as a result of my slow experience with BM, but now that I'm reading everything else, he's become one of my favorite writers. The Road remains my favorite, though. I feel like it bundles all his tricks together in a setting and with characters that are far removed from his standard faire. I appreciate that self-inflicted wrinkle of challenge after a lifetime of writing westerns.
 
I read it about 25 years ago. What I distinctly remember is a LOT of braid tugging. I did like the first book quite a bit, but it starts to turn downward after book 3 or so, from my recollection.

I've been reading a lot of Cormac McCarthy recently: No Country for Old Men, Suttree, All the Pretty Horses, The Crossing
That's ok, I'm sure it's not for everyone. I loved the movie No Country For Old Men, but who didn't right?

I've also been reading some more kurt vonnegut, I really love his writing style. Sometimes I feel like the way he writes is the way I think, which makes it flow very easily and I speed through. I've read most of his novels at this point.
 
I finished The Crook Factory last week. I almost didn’t read it, based on the plot summary alone. Ernest Hemingway and a ragtag bunch of Cuban civilians and jai alai players hunting for Nazi U-boats during WWII?! Nonsense. Well, I was wrong. Not only was it a fun read, a lot of the book’s skeleton was true. The story itself is pure fiction, but Hemingway really did pull some secret agent shit in Cuba in the 40s. The characterization of Hemingway in the book was so compelling, I went down a Wikipedia rabbit hole learning about him and I plan on reading his books at some point in my life. Whether you like Hemingway or not, I still recommend the book. It was pretty damn enjoyable, and really hard to put down during the last third of it.

Next up: Tad Williams’ City of Golden Shadow.
 

Vampire_Hunter_Bob

Cats are great
I'm currently reading The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones. I first read some of his short stories in Nightmare Magazine and liked the majority of his stories. So far The Only Good Indians is a horror story that I'm liking.

I am also catching up on Berserk and just started One Punch Man.

I just started Suttree yesterday night. So far so good..? I understand that it's told through several stories and is generally lighter in tone, so I'm looking forward to that.
It's been a while since I read it. From what I remember it switches from deeply depressing to just lighthearted comedy.
Blood Meridian I still look back on with anguish. It was my first book of his, and I think that was a mistake. Because as great as it is, every page is such a slog, like you're stuck in mud. All the Pretty Horses felt like the distilled, EZ-Reader version of BM, touching on all the western adventure notes but isn't so weighed down with Old Testament bravado. I probably stayed away from his books for years as a result of my slow experience with BM, but now that I'm reading everything else, he's become one of my favorite writers.
Glad to hear that! Check out Child of God when you get a chance. The first Cormac book I read was The Road followed by Blood Meridian (because an earlier recommendation from you actually), Child of God, and then Suttree. Child of God is my favorite of his books that I try to read every October (seems properly spooky).

I read the Border Trilogy more recently, good books. ATPH is surprisingly romantic considering Cormac wrote it. Of those three, The Crossing is my favorite.

The Road remains my favorite, though. I feel like it bundles all his tricks together in a setting and with characters that are far removed from his standard faire. I appreciate that self-inflicted wrinkle of challenge after a lifetime of writing westerns.
The Road is on my reading list for this year. I saw the movie when it first came out and it was something. Anyways, I need to read the book again.
 

Matteo Metallo

Veritas Non Verba Magistri
I just finished "Photographing Fairies" and thoroughly enjoyed it. While quite different from the film (5 star gem imho), it is fundamentally the same story. The narrator and protagonist is someone I could easily relate to and found his tale to be endearing and poignant for lack of a detailed analysis.

A pleasant coincidence is while reading this I was also rewatching the original anime and revisited the interview with Kentaro Miura on the dvd. He mentioned the Cottingley Fairies and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle which was alluded to and essentially included in the narrative of the story.

Anyway there is a quote from the character of Doyle's daughter that made me think about discussions on this forum in terms of the importance of elves and how they impact humans in the Berserk universe.

"The world is changing... A new worldview is opening up thanks to psychic research. Fairies play an important role in that world. We suspect they represent a parallel line of evolution. They may be a kind of intermediate being, straddling the natural and supernatural worlds..."
 

Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
A pleasant coincidence is while reading this I was also rewatching the original anime and revisited the interview with Kentaro Miura on the dvd. He mentioned the Cottingley Fairies and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle which was alluded to and essentially included in the narrative of the story.

Anyway there is a quote from the character of Doyle's daughter that made me think about discussions on this forum in terms of the importance of elves and how they impact humans in the Berserk universe.

"The world is changing... A new worldview is opening up thanks to psychic research. Fairies play an important role in that world. We suspect they represent a parallel line of evolution. They may be a kind of intermediate being, straddling the natural and supernatural worlds..."

Just to clarify, what Miura said is that the story of the Cottingley Fairies inspired him to write the Lost Children chapter, and specifically the character of Rochine. It was not the basis for elves in Berserk.
 

Matteo Metallo

Veritas Non Verba Magistri
It was not the basis for elves in Berserk.
Agreed, my apologies if my post sounded as if I was trying to make that correlation. I was not familiar with the hoax, nor was I aware that Doyle was an avid spiritualist who believed in fairies and attempted to apply a scholarly or academic approach to their existence. Just found it to be interesting that I came across a reference to the story from two very different works of fiction.
 
I read In Cold Blood. An absolutely amazing work of non-fiction. Even though Capote is clearly biased towards Perry (through showing the unfairness of the legal trial, his lack of nurture as a child and the abuse he faced), the story is very entertaining. However, the first chapter is a bore. It explores the lives of the Clutter family and builds them up as this near perfect American religious family. They act as polar opposites to Dick and Perry, who are both on the fringes of society. Still, once you get past that first chapter, the pages start flying.
 
Started Rose of Versailles last night. Been waiting several years for an official English release and the last volume arrived yesterday.
 
Ooh, I didn't know there was an English edition. I'd be interested in that. This one...?
Yep. Udon announced that they would be publishing them back in like 2015. They started releasing them last year but the shutdowns for the rona delayed them even more. They look really nice, the paper is glossy and colored pages included (imagine that!).
 

Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
I was going to say I really have no idea if this is something I would or could read :ganishka:

Well it's a hugely influential manga to be sure, so for people interested in the history of that medium it's a must-read. But it's also a shoujo manga through and through, so I think its appeal to middle aged men is limited. I've never read it in full myself, just really not my thing. It was on TV when I was a kid back in the day, and I'd always shut it off when it came on. Dragon Ball, Saint Seiya, City Hunter... now those were my style! :badbone:
 
Top Bottom