Saturday Waffling (April 19th, 2014)

(54 comments)

Hello all. Life is good. Wrapped up the writing of TARDIS Eruditorum entries for Series Five yesterday, and got back on finishing off the next chapter of Last War in Albion today. That's going well, and I'm quite happy with the chapter.

So, let's see. I don't think we've done a "what are you reading" thread lately if at all, have we?

What are you reading? Should the rest of us be reading it too? For me the answer is the Frank Miller Daredevil run, but that's for an already discussed reason. It's... historically very important and easy to see why people made a big deal about, but probably not essential reading for one's happiness in life. It's sort of beyond the scope of reviews: if it sounds like the sort of thing that will interest you, it probably will, and otherwise can be skipped.

Comments

matt bracher 3 years, 6 months ago

The J. Michael Straczynski volume of Before Watchmen: Nite Owl, Moloch, and Dr. Manhattan. Nite Owl's good but not great, Moloch is well worth reading for an inventive look at Ozymandias' plotting, and Dr. Manhattan...

Has the gorgeous art of Adam Hughes. Well worth reading just for that, and I'm only halfway through because I saved it for last and I'm trying to savour it.It's playing quite a lot with alternative realities springing from huge choices to the relatively mundane. Great so far.

The book carries the stigma of the Watchmen prequel. But well worth reading for Adam Hughes' art, and some of the writing is inventive and delightful.

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mengu 3 years, 6 months ago

Just finished Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson. Pretty good: some clunky exposition*, but otherwise good prose; some interesting plot twists, and I think it holds together in retrospect; interesting characters; sadly, can't figure out how to maintain the agency of its female characters all the way to the end.

*why does the term BioChroma exist in a pre-industrial setting? Not even biochroma?

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Nick Smale 3 years, 6 months ago

Celebrating Marquez by reading "Love in the Time of Cholera" for the first time.

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dm 3 years, 6 months ago

Been reading plays mostly lately. No rhyme or reason to my choices beyond 'what my girlfriend has left lying around'. Highly recommend Fleabag by Phoebe Waller-Bridge which I'll be seeing next month. Also Posh by Laura Wade and the flawed but still pretty excellent Hitchcock Blonde by Terry Johnson (I only realised after reading it that it was the same Terry Johnson who wrote Insignificance, adapted into a brilliantly weird film by Nic Roeg)

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Burk Diggler 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm reading 'Commonwealth' by Antonio Negri and David Hardt - I've only just finished the preface but I like what I've seen! The best idea I've found so far is "the common" - like creative commons. It's contrasted with the private and the public - individual-owned and state-owned respectively. The common is people-owned - everyone who wants to take advantage of it does their bit to take care of it so we can all continue to enjoy it. It's not a new idea, but it's good to see it set out explicitly. It's interesting! Why not read it?

I've also been reading Tea Obreht's 'The Tiger's Wife' for a course at university. It's alright. If you want something to read for fun, read Mervyn Peake's 'Gormenghast' trilogy.

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Chris 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm currently reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. A couple of friends of mine have often mentioned this book, and one insisted I read it, so I bought it several years ago and am now getting a chance to read it.

And I don't like it. The first quarter I was thinking "is this self-published, or was your editor sleeping on the job?" and the second quarter I was thinking "there is a lot of BDSM and rape fantasy going on here, and I don't feel comfortable reading it." I'm in the third quarter in, and it seems to have leveled out, but I'm wary of it.

I'm going to finish the book, because I can't face my friends with "I didn't like it" if I haven't finished it, but... gah, it's difficult. It became a series, but I'm not going to read more than just this one. Has anyone else read this book? Am I just being overly sensitive to the juxtaposition of sex and violence? Or is it really targeted for that market? (Which is a fine market to have, just not for me, and makes me wonder what secret lives my friends are leading.)

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Alex Antonijevic 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm making my way through some Sherlock Holmes short stories. Been knocking over one a day, which kinda fills that indefinite gap between Sherlock Series 3 and 4.

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elvwood 3 years, 6 months ago

I've been reading Lois McMaster Bujold's Winterfair Gifts - out loud at nights to my family. (While my daughter was away in Ghana I read Gareth Roberts' The Plotters to my son and wife, but that one I'd read myself before and really rate highly.) Also just finished The Dalek Project, which my son just bought (with £10 off because of a voucher we had). That was...okay. It used some structural tricks which didn't quite come off, and having been gazumped by Victory of the Daleks of all things it also lost some impact, but it looked nice and was competent so filled a couple of hours pleasantly.

Oh, and I've just started rereading H. Rider Haggard's King Solomon's Mines, for the first time since I was an early teen (when I had almost no awareness of racism and colonialism). That's going to be interesting - the narrator says he doesn't like the N word, so there's some hope amid all the Great White Hunter stuff.

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therichfox 3 years, 6 months ago

Raymond Carver's final collction, 'A New Path To The Waterfall'. Carver was one of my inspirations for returning to studying six years back. Now I'm completing my final papers, I thought I'd address him one last time. Such a beautiful, intense writer.

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Frezno 3 years, 6 months ago

I've not been reading much of anything, because I've been writing for Camp Nanowrimo. 30,000 words in and I'm not even halfway done with the project. Really, I should be writing about old Nintendo games too... but I've got a one-track mind and can't multitask fake Nintendo god patheons with time travel and psychic explosions.

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reservoirdogs 3 years, 6 months ago

Let's see... going by the stuff I'm reading when I get home instead of now due to it being college stuff...
-The Hiketeia
-Spider-Man: Fight Night
-Finally gonna finish Preacher
-Spider-Man: Family Business
-The Nightly News
-The 3rd volume of Saga (I trade wait that series)
-Sex Criminals
-and some of the short stories from that 50th anniversary book they released

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jane 3 years, 6 months ago

I tried reading King Solomon's Mines as part of my LOST exegesis (Locke being in part The Great White Hunter) but I couldn't slog through the stultifying prose. I was, however, quite stoned at the time, which may have had something to do with it.

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brownstudy 3 years, 6 months ago

Reading Sarah Bakewell's "How to Live," a life of Montaigne. She takes 19 answers from his essays, uses them as chapter titles, and then weaves his biography along them, including the afterlife of his essays through the centuries (falling in and out of favor with the church and intellectuals, for example). She provides a great context for the danger and turmoil of his world; her account of the St Bartholomew's Day Massacre was terrifying and sobering. And a more discomfiting picture of a kidney stone I've never seen.

Also reading William Preston's stories on The Old Man, reimagining Doc Savage as seen by his associates. Not slam-bang pulpy stuff; deliberately paced, reflective, a theme of the stories we hear about and the ones we choose to put ourselves into.

Also Rick Steves' guides to London and England. We're going for a long trip in a couple of weeks (Lake District, London, etc) so studying up. I'm looking forward to the BBC tour.

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brownstudy 3 years, 6 months ago

Preston's stories are available from Amazon for a dollar or two. They need to be read in order of publication. His most recent story was published in the April Asimov's, I think.

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GarrettCRW 3 years, 6 months ago

I recently finished the second volume of Marc Cushman's These Are The Voyages, which continues to blow away the established conceptions about the original Star Trek, particularly the bit about the show being low-rated. (Also, Cushman's setup for the first day of shooting for each episode will be familiar to everyone reading here.)

And now, since I'm back in Vegas this weekend for Easter, I'm reading some book called The TARDIS Eruditorium Volume One, Second Edition, which has been waiting here for me for some time. (I should note that while the USPS did a good once over on the mailing envelope, the books are in perfect shape, making me perhaps the first confirmed case of relief that the cover is intentionally stylized.)

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jane 3 years, 6 months ago

I just finished The Luminaries, which was absolutely brilliant. Eleanor Catton manages to write a book that could very well pass for 19th Century literature, but it's still remarkably readable. Its structure is very strange (the first chapter is 360 pages long, the final chapter is barely two) and it's a story told out of order, so there's lots of active co-creation required on the part of the reader, which I love. Twenty main characters! Brought to life by her deft omniscient narration. And there's no shortage of plot, so it all keeps going at a brisk pace despite the book's 800 pages. Highly recommended.

Before that it was The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt. I was astounded by the pure artistry of her prose. For lit fans this stuff is gold, mesmerizing and beautiful passages all told through the perspective of a main character who has a penchant for half-page long sentences, sentences that nonetheless all cohere with verve and panache. All her characters are completely fleshed out, practically four-dimensional. It's a bit thin on plot, however, and there's a lot of metaphor concerning the refurbishing of antique furniture. It ends up being not so much a roller-coaster story as a day's meander through a lovely museum. Recommended.

Salmon Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories is the roller-coaster. Outlandish, fun, lots of on-the-nose literary metaphors (that is, metaphors about books and stories themselves), this is one that belongs next to Alice in Wonderland on the bookshelf. Unfortunately it's rather a boys' own adventure, as there's hardly two token female characters to be found. Otherwise, recommended.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein features a canine narrator who's an absolute delight, with his wry yet earnest observations of human behavior, and despite the fact that I loathe automobile racing the use of it for metaphor in this book was quite fascinating. But there's a rot at the heart of the story, as the second half of the plot hinges on a false rape accusation; coupled with the fact that every grown woman poses a problem for the main character, who's painted as rather flawless, I can't help but recognize a deep streak of misogyny here. So I can't recommend.

Finally, though, there's Lauren Groff's Arcadia, which left me openly weeping, and just writing about it makes me well up. It's about a utopian commune in the 70s, which reminds me so much of the dog-rescue commune I lived at in 2010. Not that the two were similar in their particulars, just in their attempts to grasp at utopia. Groff is one of my favorite new storytellers, who manages to balance sharp observation, rich characterization, interesting plot developments, and lyrical prose that's never overwrought (though in this book the lack of quotation marks takes some getting used to). Arcadia should be read by anyone with any kind of interest in "utopia" and anyone who loves fine contemporary literature.

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Callum Leemkuil 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm currently getting back to Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon after I lost track of it for a while, and man is it excellent. It seems like it exists to address the usual criticisms of Pynchon's work, such as being impossible to follow and having flat characters. It's a beautiful piece of work in every way.

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encyclops 3 years, 6 months ago

The 3rd volume of Saga (I trade wait that series)

I do too. I think if I had to wait a month between issues it would kill me.

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encyclops 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm maybe 70% of the way through Under the Skin by Michel Faber and I'm really gripped by it. I was trying to finish the book before I went to see the film, but couldn't wait. As it turns out, the book and the film are almost completely different; they share a general setting and a common thread, but the themes and approach and god, just about everything else are different. Which I kind of like, because it gives me two stories for the price of...well, two, but you know what I mean. The film's incredible on all sorts of levels, though it's just agonizingly depressing compared to the book. The book is almost too straightforward compared to the film (which has to be nearly inscrutable if you go in cold) but it's also much more sympathetic and full of detail, and I really like what I've read so far.

If you count audiobooks, I'm still (finally) slogging my way through The Satanic Verses. I've never read Rushdie before. The voice artist is really terrific; it's hard to imagine reading the words on the page now. I tend to take it a chapter at a time; I like it, but it's tough to listen to a lot of it at once, so I'm interleaving it with podcasts.

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BatmanAoD 3 years, 6 months ago

The book I've read most recently that I'd recommend without reservation is Galina: A Russian Story by Galina Vishnevskaya. She was an opera singer under the Soviet Union; she was married to Rostropovich and good friends with Shostakovich. Her memoir is fascinating, touching, and frequently hilarious. It's probably particularly appealing to lovers of "classical" music (I hate that phrase but don't have a better one handy), but that's certainly not a requirement to enjoy it.

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Bennett 3 years, 6 months ago

In the middle of a heavy study period which is sapping away my desire for extra-curricular reading, present company excepted. (I'd fare better with a 'What are you playing?' thread, as I'm on a big game drive at the moment.)

The last books I finished reading were Terry Pratchett's Going Postal and Making Money back-to-back. The Internet doesn't need another person extolling the virtues of this author, so I'll just say that this pair probably isn't the best entry point for readers new to the Discworld novels, but are heartily recommended for those more familiar with them. They're easily my favourites of his later work (so far).

I'm technically still reading Miss Marple's Final Cases by Agatha Christie - another author I'd recommend in the general, but not the specific, case. I haven't been tempted to pick it back up as it's a short-story collection, which doesn't play to her strengths, and I've never been too fond of Marple stories in general (aside from the first).

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Jordan Murphy 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm reading the Animal Man omnibus right now, comprising material that'll get covered in Last War in Albion eventually. Like the Miller Daredevil run you're reading, it's historically important and does some neat stuff, but it's not mind-blowing reading it now like it was in the late 80s. In retrospect, it's not too far from being a standard superhero comic. (In fact, one could argue, and trust me I have, that some of the major themes of this run, such as the main character's awareness that he's a fictional character, and the limbo of currently unused characters, were done first by Keith Giffen's parodic Ambush Bug). Likewise, Chas Truog is a decent enough artist of his time, but he's no Dave Gibbons or Bissette/Totleben (or even a Richard Case, who while limited was the perfect match, in my opinion, for Morrison's Doom Patrol, a run that is as mind-blowing to me now as it was 25 years ago). Getting back to Miller and Daredevil for a moment, his first run on that book is the historically important one, but his second run (with the outstanding David Mazzucchelli on art) is the really good one. Note that you could replace Daredevil with Batman in that last sentence and it basically remains true…

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Eric Gimlin 3 years, 6 months ago

Actually, the most recent book I've read is FLOOD. I realized after reading your transparency report that I never did get around to picking up a copy so I snagged it for my e-reader. Next on the list will be Nemo: Roses of Berlin, since my store finally got it in after being shorted on its initial order. In between other items I'm reading odd stories from some 40's-50's SF pulps I recently picked up. Just figured out one of them has a never reprinted story by Ray Bradbury, that should be interesting.

I haven't read the Miller Daredevils in years; I wonder how I would react now. It was amazing when I first saw it, but probably hasn't aged that well with a) everybody borrowing the good bits for the past several decades, and b) his sources, such as Lone Wolf & Cub, now being easily available in the US.

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encyclops 3 years, 6 months ago

I should probably mention what Under the Skin is about, huh? What I knew of it going in was a bit misleading. In fact the book is, without spoiling too much, concerned with industrialized agriculture, class, work, and exploitation -- you might say it's a plea for material social progress. It's probably not the most original treatment of those themes, nor the most subtle, but I find it extremely well-crafted.

The film is only obliquely about those things, and seems more concerned with the human experience, the parts of us that are human versus those that are not, with empathy and emptiness, with cruelly thwarted desire, self-discovery, despair.

One has lots of words in it. The other doesn't.

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euryale000 3 years, 6 months ago

At the moment I'm reading an abysmal series of historical romances out of a sense of obligation because they were written by a friend of the family.
What I'm looking forward to reading is "The Girl in the Road" by Monica Byrne. Also one I'm going to read because I know the author, but this one is supposed to rock and has been getting shout outs from the likes of Niel Gaiman.

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Philip Sandifer 3 years, 6 months ago

You know, speaking of that, I've embarassingly blown my deadline with you, haven't I. Thankfully you've bogged down with Camp Nanowrimo, thus covering my inadequacies.

I'll take care of it as soon as I wrap this Captain Britain chapter up.

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Scurra 3 years, 6 months ago

I've just finished (if that's remotely the right word, because...) "S", by Doug Dorst and JJ Abrams. It's one of those metanarratives, where what is going on alongside and underneath the ostensible narrative is possibly more important than the narrative itself, so the printed version comes with all sorts of ephemera (along with the nice conceit of marginalia) but there are also some external websites and stuff which are hidden away waiting to be found - shades of LOST but slightly more contained.
It's a bit too ambitious for its own good I think, but for anyone who likes this sort of thing will like it (and definitely recommended for puzzlers.) It's a lovely two-fingered salute to those who say that print is dead though...

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Josh04 3 years, 6 months ago

a dark secret... from the colonies?!

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Alex Antonijevic 3 years, 6 months ago

The last one I read was about the KKK and Watson didn't know what it was and Sherlock had to explain it. Guess it really wasn't common knowledge in the UK circa 1890.

The one before that was about some Australians.

So yep, dark secrets indeed.

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Daru 3 years, 6 months ago

Have only just finished reading the TARDIS Eruditorum - Hartnell, Second Edition. I'd waited eagerly for it and when it arrived from across the seas in the post I started devouring it immediately. I honestly found it a gripping read, tracking the journey, development and influences of the early days of the show and I found it a great consolation on my long early morning bus trips to work. I have only now began reading Dune Messiah for the first time and finding it utterly absorbing and fascinating. I have seen the mini series on DVD, but that for me in no way compares to this work where parts of the switch from one character's mental perspective to another's like the easy flow of water.

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Anton B 3 years, 6 months ago

The books I enjoyed the most recently were The Magicians and its sequel The Magician King by Lev Grossman. If I described them as Harry Potter in Narnia written by Brett Easton Ellis it wouldn't be totally inaccurate but hardly does them justice.
I've made a number of attempts to start Alan Moore's The Voice of the Fire but I'm easily distracted.
For post-modern Lit-crit that'll open your mind in unexpected ways I heartily recommend The Uncanny by Nicholas Royle. An examination and close reading of Freud's essay on Das Unheimlich as applied to literature, film, philosophy, psychoanalysis, feminism and queer theory. Including chapters on the death drive, solitude, the double, ghosts, cannibalism, telepathy, madness and religion. I particularly enjoy Royle's assertion that there is no such thing as an omniscient narrator in literature, rather that what is being demonstrated is authorial telepathy. That the term omniscience is too tied up in religious (particularly western, Christian) imagery.

Constant reference works for me are Keith Johnstone's books on Impro and Impro for Story Tellers.

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Carey 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm about to embark upon Jon Ronson's essay on Frank Sidebottom, Frank. Frank was a comedic character who wore a giant paper mache head and spoke in a shrill voice and approached everything in a childlike (although importantly, not childish) way. But, importantly, the division between character and artist behind the character was incredibly blurry: for a long time, nobody knew who was actually under the mask, and there were several rumours as to him being someone famous. Instead, it was revealled that Frank was Chris Sievey, lead singer of post punk band the Freshies, who were responsible for the masterful single "I'm In Love With The Girl On The Manchester Virgin Megastore Checkout Desk."* And even that single showed signs of what would eventually be Chris/Frank's downfall-- his willingness to squander commercial success. Because of the product placement in the song, it was banned from radio play on BBC Radio One, and svn though the group would re-record a Radio One friendly version ( "I'm In Love With The Girl On A Certain Manchester Megastore Checkout Desk") it never ached the success that it deserved.

Frank was (his paper mache head not withstanding) constructed from the same fictional ideaspace as Jilted John/John Shuttleworth and Mrs Merton: the exploration of the ordinary to a point where it becomes strange, and the celebration of the geographical area that made them.**

He dies a few years back, and is still missed. I get the idea that both Moore and Morrison were fans of his work (I'd almost guarantee that Frank made a cameo appearance in Morrison's Doom Patrol).

Ronson has written a film "about" Frank, although fittingly it is a fictional biography, further blurring the identity of Frank himself.

* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvV465SHJBg

**https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcAME_Hs9mg


Comics wise? I enjoyed the hell out of Michael Allred's first issue of the Silver Surfer. It is very much influenced by Doctor Who (and the Davies era in particular), but what amazed me more was that it felt like the Wes Anderson version of the Silver Surfer. For me, all the voices were very deadpan (and could be acted by the Anderson regulars), and there was even a cross-section sequence.

Allred's art, as ever, is beautiful. Like Moore and Morrison before him, I was lucky enough to discover Allred with some of his earliest work (Dead Air and Graphique Musique) and have followed his career ever since.

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Chicanery 3 years, 6 months ago

In proper important literature, I've been reading Bowen's The Heat of the Day, Beckett's Waiting for Godot, and I'm supposed to be reading Ulysses. Frankly I'm intimidated.

In the unserious, unliterary comics for children (and really these should be beneath me at my age oh) I've been at too much to remember. I'll try anyway. East of West, Sex Criminals, Zero, Secret Avengers, Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel, Thor: God of Thunder, Daredevil, Superior Foes of Spider-Man, She-Hulk, All-New Doop, Wolverine and the X-Men, Adventure Time, Adventure Time: The Flip Side, Red Sonja, X-Factor, Moon Knight, Hawkeye, Iron Patriot... I'm sure there's more. It's all terribly bourgeois and very bad for my bank account. Chew and American Vampire, that's what's more.

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Whittso 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm reading The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth. For the purposes of this blog, an apocalyptic novel set in 1late 11th century England, very much reminiscent of early parts of Alan Moore's Voice of the Fire.

Also Doctor Who in an exciting adventure with the Daleks. :)

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Whittso 3 years, 6 months ago

Can someone sell me on doom patrol? I read the first volume and was underwhelmed in much the same way you describe with Animal Man. It felt a lot like a rough draft of parts of The Invisibles. Which, interesting for the time, but i'd probably rather reread the Invisibles if that is what it is.

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Author 3 years, 6 months ago

I have been reading Outlander as well, off and on for about two months now, although I was thinking about the Starz series. At first the 1940s bit seemed long, then it got a little exciting with Claire, (Exciting enough that I went ahead and ordered the second book to read what would happen next) and then yes, it did get nasty and I was rolling my eyes and saying, "How much misery can she heap on these two people?" Apparently a ton of misery. (So I was in the middle of the first book and I started reading the second book, made it to page 80 or so of the second book--it skipped ahead to 1968 before going back in time, nice/okay summary in second book of what was in first book) Although now I'm near the end of the first book, like 30 pages or so from finishing, and...sometimes it tries my patience and aggravation, but I keep going. What can I say?

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prandeamus 3 years, 6 months ago

Just back from holiday where I took Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell as my blockbuster read. Still not sure what to make of it all (at 1000 pages to boot). The oddest experience was reading the Venice sections shortly after leaving the real venice. I lack the knowledge to relate this style of novel to Who, but I'd be interesting to see someone else try.

Also fairly weird was reading an offhand remark in The Room With No Doors that related to the Magic Roundabout, only half a mile from my house. Novels are following me around.

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elvwood 3 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, I'll see how it goes. I was a lot less phased by prose quality (or lack of it) back in the day.

Forgot to mention, I've just finished rereading the Pertwee Eruditorum volume as well, and am keeping the collection of Alan Moore's early Captain Britain stories on standby for when I want to dip into something for ten minutes or so. I was going to go for Promethea, but decided my concentration was wanted elsewhere and I didn't want to skim it because then you lose all the good stuff.

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Author 3 years, 6 months ago

So currently I am reading Superman comics, actually my first real taste of Superman comics (aside from Kingdom Come)--Superman: A Celebration of 75 Years, What Happened to the Man of Tomorrow, and Dark Knight Over Metropolis (I'm also going to read Man of Steel Volume 1)

I just finished reading Fables: Deluxe Volume 1, kind of cool, so I'm continuing on with that series, will get Deluxe Volumes 2-4 soon. I have also been reading Fic, Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World, I started reading Coleridge: Early Visions 1772-1804 (which I first read in high school as part of an author biography project, but I loved that book, so I decided to check it out again and also get the Darker Reflections sequel) and I am in the middle of About Time 2005-2006 (currently in Long Game--I'm okay with the tone of the authors, kind of too serious, but it is interesting to me).

I'm also checking out The Doctor's Lives and Times (looks neat) and a couple of weeks ago, I finished TARDIS Eruditorum Volume 4! I'm thinking of getting the recently revised Volume 1 soon. And I'm going to tackle reading The Hunchback of Notre Dame--I read the synopsis, different from the versions I have known, and I am going to read it. I have also finally gotten hold of copies of Doctor Who Magazine (dang, I should have been reading these a lot sooner, before I moved away from a decent bookstore) but I have already ordered a subscription to the magazine, which should start arriving in June or July.

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Author 3 years, 6 months ago

Awhile ago, I tried rereading Making Money so that I can be ready to read Making Steam, but I kind of stalled in the middle of Making Money around page 80 or so (Uh...there were other books on my nightstand and I kind of jump around from book to book.)

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David Anderson 3 years, 6 months ago

On Kindle: just finished the Fifth Doctor novel Sands of Time, am rereading Games of Thrones.
Out of the library: have read The Luminaries, two Brandon Sanderson doorstoppers, and am just starting A Face So White by Javier Marias. I'll probably switch to The Goldfinch when that arrives off the libarry reserve queue.
Before those books arrived from the library, I was reading Bringing in the Bodies (sequel to Wolf Hall) and Penelope Fitzgerald's Human Voices (about the BBC in World War II).

Quick reviews: Sands of Time is trying to be Steven Moffat ten years early, but Richards is sketching in bits that Moffat would linger on (the character development) and lingering on bits that Moffat would dismiss in a passing remark (what exactly is happening with the plot). That half of the anti-Moffat crowd who think he doesn't tie up his plots properly probably think it's really clever.
The first half of the first book of Game of Thrones is not the most compelling: it's still doing a lot of setting up the board.
Luminaries: I really liked. It doesn't feel like a nineteenth century novel pastiche - it feels after modernism. (Austen and the Brontes and Dickens and Trollope are brilliant writers, and the giants before the flood, but modern writers who pretend modernism hasn't happened are boring.) Hard to put my finger on how.
Brandon Sanderson: fun, although politically naive (in an annoying let the nice ruling classes do their job kind of way).
If anybody doesn't know Hilary Mantel or Penelope Fitzgerald, I recommend them unreservedly.

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prandeamus 3 years, 6 months ago

Sands of time was one of the first Virgin Novels I read and I have a soft spot for it.

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Daibhid C 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm currently enjoying Terra by Mitch Benn. It's about a young human girl who grew up on an alien planet and is trying to deal with all the regular things about growing up that are a lot harder when you're the only member of your species you've ever known.

I know, it's the usual "outsider metaphor", but it's done really well. The back cover blurb has Neil Gaiman comparing Mitch to Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams and this is about right.

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Doctor Memory 3 years, 6 months ago

Ah, yes, the Miller run on Daredevil. Not exactly essential, but if you're going to understand why Miller was so beloved by the industry and fans in the 80s, it's the right place to start.

Pity he snorted away all of his talent.

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Gallifreyan_Immigrant 3 years, 6 months ago

Currently, I'm deciding between reading Scarlet Empress and Timewyrm Revelation...which one should I read?

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storiteller 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm continuing to read parenting books, with the best one so far How To Listen So Kids Will Talk and Talk So Kids Will Listen. It has a lot of good techniques that are notable as much for the fact that they will straight-up make you a better person if you follow them as for their use as parenting techniques.

On the non-reference end, I'm in the middle of Jeff Smith's Bone, which is really excellent. It's a great example of genre collision, where you have characters from a very Disney-style comic end up in a very high fantasy-style comic with all of the clashing graphic styles, tone, and thematic issues that involves. After that is going to be Margaret Atwood's Maddadam, the third in the Maddadam trilogy after Oryx and Crake and Year of the Flood. Oryx and Crake is good, but its protagonist is kind of a jackass. Year of the Flood is really good with much more interesting, sympathetic characters. The third book brings the two of them together, so I'm really interested in how she wraps things up.

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storiteller 3 years, 6 months ago

If you like stories with dogs as narrators, I highly, highly recommend the short story "After I Was Thrown in the River and Before I Drowned." He gets the "dog voice" down incredibly well and it's a rather beautiful story. When I was working as a substitute teacher, I read it to a class of eighth graders and think I ended up with a couple of them crying.

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Daru 3 years, 6 months ago

Those last books, especially Impro for Storytellers sounds great - I will hunt them out as they sound like they would be very useful/interesting for me too.

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Anton B 3 years, 6 months ago

You'll love them. Johnstone uses his own workshop experiences to illustrate his techniques. The first book is interestingly autobiographical too. The chapter on mask is revelatory.

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Nyq Only 3 years, 6 months ago

Second Jane's assessment of The Luminaries. Wilkie Collins, a splash of Dickens and some Bram Stoker as well. Still not entirely sure quite how [spoiler] got on that boat...

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Nyq Only 3 years, 6 months ago

Recent reading include
Annihilation (The Southern Reach Trilogy) Jeff VanderMeer
Sort of like the movie Stalker
Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 14
Nostalgia fest - re-reading Necropolis
Ancillary Justice Ann Leckie
A neat space opera
The Martian Andy Weir
An adventure story in the near future
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August Claire North
Currently reading…so far fun

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Nyq Only 3 years, 6 months ago

Bone is a special favorite of mine. Read much of it when I was younger and then read it to my kids much later as protracted bedtime story. They then read it again themselves independently. A work of genius Disney+Tolkein+Moby Dick+sight gags

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encyclops 3 years, 6 months ago

I own both but the only one I've read (yet) is Revelation. It was worth it.

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encyclops 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm continuing to read parenting books, with the best one so far How To Listen So Kids Will Talk and Talk So Kids Will Listen.

I'm looking forward to the sequel: Listen, I Kid, I Kid. ;D

The third book brings the two of them together, so I'm really interested in how she wraps things up.

I quite liked it, but I'm not sure there's a bad Margaret Atwood book. It's spoiling nothing to say that it's mostly from Toby's point of view, so you'll probably find it as sympathetic as Year of the Flood.

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