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Old 10-27-2011, 08:56 AM   #61
Li-Ion
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Re: What Are You Reading Right Now?

Finished Consider Phlebas by Iain (M.) Banks. Good book but I like his non-scifi books more (especially Wasp Factory). Now reading Player of Games, the second Culture novel by Banks.

Also went through Nothing but the Truth, a compilation of writings by Anna Politkovskaya, a Russian journalist who was gunned down in her block of flats in Moscow in 2006. It is shocking what seems to be 'normal' in post-communist Russia and how many think of themselves above the law or untouchable.

Finally: Everything That Follows Is Based on Recent, Real-Life Experience That Has Been Proven to Work: Professional Survival Solutions by James Shepherd-Barron. An unwieldy title for a book that is quite interesting to read. It gives advice for situations we probably (hopefully) will never encounter. Like landing an aircraft without pilot. Or how to behave when being shot at with automatic weapons. Or when attacked by a lion or crocodile. Did you know it's better to crashland a helicopter on water? Or that the best way to dodge someone firing an AK47 is to dive to the right? Most things mentioned are common sense, but common sense seems to become pretty uncommon lately, thus this book might provide useful for some
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Old 10-29-2011, 08:56 AM   #62
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Re: What Are You Reading Right Now?

Interesting, the Anna Politkovskaya one must be quite depressing.

I'm not a fan of Iain Banks' other books, but maybe it'll work in reverse and I'll like his sci-fi?

I haven't read any sci-fi much, and would like to get into it - any recommendations from GC readers? I don't think I'd be much into the 'science' aspect, so no AC Clarke or Asimov, but I've enjoyed space operas like Peter Hamilton's Commonwealth Saga and found (sshh!) L. Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth to be highly enjoyable nonsense. Any suggestions?

Currently reading Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie. It's ok, quite poor really after his First Law trilogy.
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Old 10-29-2011, 09:13 AM   #63
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Re: What Are You Reading Right Now?

Depends what kind of books you like to read. Among my favourite sci-fi novels are Fahrenheit 451, 1984 and Brave New World. However, many people think more about star trek or some epic space opera when they think about sci-fi, which those are clearly not

And yes, the Politkovskaya book is pretty depressing.
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Old 10-31-2011, 04:52 AM   #64
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Re: What Are You Reading Right Now?

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Fahrenheit 451, 1984 and Brave New World.
I'd put We - Yevgeny Zamyatin on the top of the list.

the Neuromancer trilogy is fun
and the Hitchhikers Guide definitely is more genuine fun

Just finished Bram Stokers Dracula
I was quite surprised how awkward it handled the vampires powers and limits.
Van Helsing is sort of Fox Mulder sometimes, knowing everything on anything paranormal and that was a little weird. Explaining a bit more why (or that it is proven to work due to romanian peoples tales) eg garlic bans Vampires, why the count can't enter without being invited and stuff like that seem to appear out of nowhere.
Those are things known today as Vampire "facts" because of exactly this and following books, but why wasn't it treated with more detail and care? He learned those things from some colleagues and he has an open mind, of course, but taking them as facts sometimes without any proof when at the same time fear was described felt silly. I would not trust so open minded some tales if my life is at risk.
Also the personal entries in each of the protagonists diaries lack some sort of individual writing.
Good ideas but no really good writer at work.

Started The Divine comedy from Alighieri
Either my lacking English skills fail completely or the first few dozen pages where really about nothing i can understand. I guess i have to switch to Die göttliche Komödie if i want to get any meaning.

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Old 10-31-2011, 05:46 AM   #65
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Re: What Are You Reading Right Now?

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I'd put We - Yevgeny Zamyatin on the top of the list.
I haven't read that book yet. I take this as recommendation and will check it out as soon as I'm done with 1Q84 book 1, which was in my mail yesterday.
Quote:
Started The Divine comedy from Alighieri
Either my lacking English skills fail completely or the first few dozen pages where really about nothing i can understand. I guess i have to switch to Die göttliche Komödie if i want to get any meaning.
Maybe you should read it in Italian, then it all makes sense
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Old 10-31-2011, 08:04 AM   #66
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Re: What Are You Reading Right Now?

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Maybe you should read it in Italian, then it all makes sense
Would certainly make it much easier.
And afterwards some Cyrillic literature and then the Four Great Classical Novels in Chinese?

Reading books in their original is probably the best, but learning a language just for one book is something only very few people can stumble through. Like Tolkien who afaik learned Finnish just for the Kalevala.
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Old 11-10-2011, 04:11 PM   #67
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Re: What Are You Reading Right Now?

Since I'm separated from both my PS3 and my gaming PC for almost a week now, I had some time to read:

Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
I think this book is more aimed at young adults and less at old adults like me, but I liked it nonetheless. It's nowhere near as refined as his later The Shadow of the Wind or The Angels Game. Still a good book and pretty quick to read. Thumbs up.

Wartime Lies by Louis Begley
Semi-autobiographic novel about a jewish boy and his aunt surviving wartime Poland by lying to authorities and everyone else.
*sigh*
The edition I was reading has 220 pages. I would have been ok with roughly half that. It's just such a long book in a way. Apparently this book won some prizes and is generally awesome, I just don't see it.

Tomorrow to Be Brave by Susan Travers
Susan Travers is the only woman to serve in the French foreign legion and this book tells her story. Very interesting, both book and woman. I'm about halfway now and doubt it will take me more than one more day to finish.

Wind-up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami
Just started, too early to tell but so far nothing 'unexpected' from my favourite surrealist Japanese author (that's a narrow category, I agree ).
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Old 11-11-2011, 05:24 AM   #68
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Re: What Are You Reading Right Now?

The Wasp Factory is an excellent book. My missus had a copy lying around, as she had to read it years ago when she was in School, used to be part of the curriculum in England, it seems. Farenheit 451 I also read recently, and I found it to be abysmal. Really good premise, ruined by the actual writing of the book itself. I'd love it if someone else just completely re-wrote the book, as I don't like Ray Bradbury's writing style at all. I don't know how it's just me who thinks "How the hell did the guy ever get this published???", because I've never met anyone who feels the same way.

Just about to get stuck into Ace Frehley's autobiography, No Regrets (guitar player of hard rock band Kiss). Never pre-ordered a book before this one. Received it today, and as a pretty wild, controversial person I look forward to reading this. Not normally into biographies, but I should enjoy this.
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Old 12-14-2011, 04:10 AM   #69
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Re: What Are You Reading Right Now?

Still reading the Wind-up Bird Chronicles. Getting close to the end and I think it's excellent. Still has chances to kick Norwegian Wood off my throne as favorite Murakami but Norwegian Wood is still clinging to the top spot.

Next up on my list is We by Yevgeny Zamyatin. I'll postpone 1Q84 because I don't like too much from one author at once.
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Old 01-10-2012, 02:51 PM   #70
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Re: What Are You Reading Right Now?

Finished the books mentioned in above posting. Wind-up Bird Chronicles is excellent, but I still prefer Norwegian Wood. We has certain similarities to 1984, albeit being more grim than Orwell's book.

What else did I read instead of playing Chrono Trigger on my iPod?

Elementary Particles by Michel Houellebecq
A story about two half-brothers. For some time I wasn't sure if its a book about loneliness in modern society, masturbation or religion and morality. I like parts of the book and it's pretty quick and easy to read. However, I got bored by some of the sections regarding Bruno, the more deranged of the half-brothers.

Mein Leben by Marcel Reich-Ranicki
Autobiography by one of the best known literary critics in Germany. As Jew born in Poland he didn't have the best of times growing up in Berlin during Hitlers rise to power. Very interesting book, especially his depiction of the Warsaw ghetto.

Iphigenie auf Tauris by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Short stageplay, which I found rather underwhelming.

Russendisko by Wladimir Kaminer
Short stories about Russian immigrants coming to (east) Berlin in the 1990ies. Some very funny, some not so much. I managed to finish it during 1 1/2 hours of flight.
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Old 01-12-2012, 07:29 AM   #71
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Re: What Are You Reading Right Now?

Finished Ace Frehler's No Regrets a while back, but I haven't been on here in a while so I'm going to tell you all about it (from what I can remember). Excellent auto-biography. Even though Ace had someone write the actual book for him, his sense of humour just shines through on each and every page in this book. As a fan of the band Kiss (and Ace's solo material), I was not disappointed- It was incredibly refreshing to read about Kiss, in particular, from a point of view that didn't belong to the band's egocentric, dominant half, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley.

It was a bit short, but no more so than most rock 'n' roll memoirs (certainly the ones I've read), and I'm surprised that Ace could remember this much, what with his well-documented problems with alcohol and drugs. Definitely one for existing fans of Kiss and Ace, I doubt you'd get much out of it if you weren't a fan of Ace's work, but for huge fans such as myself, it is an enthralling read.
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Old 01-13-2012, 11:17 AM   #72
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Re: What Are You Reading Right Now?

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Finished Consider Phlebas by Iain (M.) Banks. Good book but I like his non-scifi books more (especially Wasp Factory). Now reading Player of Games, the second Culture novel by Banks.
What did you make of Player of Games? I've just finished it and have started Consider Plebeas. PoG started very slowly but I was very impressed in the end.

EDIT: Hi, JLB! Long time no see.

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Old 01-23-2012, 06:09 AM   #73
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Re: What Are You Reading Right Now?

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What did you make of Player of Games? I've just finished it and have started Consider Plebeas. PoG started very slowly but I was very impressed in the end.
I still haven't finished it. I got stuck at the beginning and just recently picked it up again. Currently I try to read a chapter an evening, in the hope of soon getting to the "good parts". Yes, PoG has a very slow start. I'm one of those people that read Crime and Punishment, I thought I've seen it all when it comes to slow starts

I also started Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. Still waiting for the spark.
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Old 01-23-2012, 06:18 PM   #74
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Re: What Are You Reading Right Now?

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Hi, JLB! Long time no see.
Thanks

Re-reading my collected volumes of Garth Ennis's comic book, The Boys, as I've recently ordered the new volume but it's been a while since I've read any. Such a great comic book. Basically Marvel/ DC heroes put into an adult world. So you have all these people with these amazing powers, but are corrupted by human nature (as they probably would be in real life). The eponymous Boys of the title are a gang of similarly super-powered heroes, who regulate them.

It's all very silly, which ruins any illusion of "what if there really *were* superheroes in real life?", with lots of crude/ adult/ dark humour, but I wouldn't change this. However, the characters are where it shines, for me. Often very obvious parodies of established Marvel/ DC superheroes, you have the Homelander, who is The Boys' equivalent of Superman, but driven insane with power, and Tek-Knight, who is basically Batman with the urge to fornicate with things he *shouldn't* have the urge to fuck, amongst many, many others. Most of the characterisation is a bit thin, but then, when so many are being introduced in such a short space of time, this is to be expected, and most of them are interesting enough that this isn't too much of an issue. Certainly, for some of the sillier characters, this is a blessing.

I'd recommend it if you like comic books, but not in the traditional sense. The humour isn't for everyone, but it's definitely my second favourite comic book series ever (after Garth Ennis's The Punisher Max).

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Old 02-22-2012, 03:43 PM   #75
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Re: What Are You Reading Right Now?

I started reading "The Eye of the World" by Robert Jordan, the first book of the Wheel of Time series. I've always been curious about the books ever since I kept seeing later entries end up in the bargain bin section of my local now defunct Borders.

I must say, I'm liking the book so far. Epic Fantasy, a la Lord of the Rings and whatnot.
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