Literature: Rate and Discuss

Discussion in 'Literature, Films, Music, and Comics' started by Asknoone, Jun 29, 2009.

  1. Asknoone

    Asknoone Newbie

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    We are rejuvenating the “Rate and Discuss” threads, with the intent of generating discussion and debate, in regard to your recent watch, playthrough, or read. For the music forum, this could be the last gig you attended or the latest albums you have been listening to. As a prerequisite of posting in this thread, you must expand upon your rating with, at the very least, a brief paragraph as to why you delegated it said rating. You must discuss, analyse, and critique – “I liked it” is not sufficient, and any posts that do not meet this criteria will be deleted.

    There can, of course, be discussion and argument - but in the same way that "I liked it" does not constitute a post, neither does - and it pains me to say this - "You're stupid, shut up" though some of you clearly are.

    An example of a suitable post:

     
  2. Sulkdodds

    Sulkdodds Companion Cube

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    Riddley Walker - 900/900

    If you trust me, read this book without even having the faintest idea what it's about.

    If not, or if you don't mind spoilers on the level of 'jurassic park is about dinosaurs' (didn't anyone ever think it would have been awesome to read that book not knowing what it was all about at all?)...

    Most post-apocalyptic novels are patronising towards the inhabitants of the future. Ha, ha! Silly future people. You think it's magic, but I know it's just a car from before the war! Riddley Walker turns that on it's head. Because not only has society fallen back to the iron age - agriculture is a new development, and people hunt boars with spears - and not only does the government consist of a travelling puppet show used for propaganda purposes, plus a few bodyguards - but language too has degenerated, to the point where the book is very difficult to read. So instead of feeling superior to the characters, you're as lost and confused as them.
     
  3. Ennui

    Ennui The Freeman

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    I read your spoiler tag and that sounds fantastic Sulk. I've added it to my reading list. If you haven't read A Canticle For Leibowitz by Arthur Miller you should check it out, it's another interesting post-apocalypse novel that follows human development (or entropy really) for thousands of years after the nuclear apocalypse.
     
  4. Yorick

    Yorick Guest

    That sounds awesome, Sulk, I think I'll check it out. :thumbs:
     
  5. knut

    knut Party Escort Bot

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    Interesting, but I've House of Leaves on my to-read list for the summer and flicking through it, I've a feeling it's going to take a while.
     
  6. Direwolf

    Direwolf Newbie

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    City of Thieves:
    http://www.amazon.com/City-Thieves-Novel-David-Benioff/dp/0670018708
    An interesting take on WWII Russian historical fiction. Written in a very western manner, with scenes moving quickly and dialogue that is often punchy and quick, but taking place in the horrors of WWII Leningrad. Best recommendation I can make is that I read it very quickly, often finding myself having a hard time putting it down.
     
  7. Maestro

    Maestro The Freeman

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    Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency:

    When compared to other Douglas Adams...7/10

    When compared to other stuff...9/10

    It's not as funny as Hitchhiker's series (although the last two Hitchhikers were more than a little disappointing). It's funny and wacky, but it doesn't deliver the laughs as consistently and his literary syncopation is a little less defined. There aren't an 'Mr. L. Prosser' kind of characters in this book.

    OVERALL? Great book, funny, makes fun of the quirks of British life and the timespace continuum. The end confused me, but that's alright since I read Adams for laughs. I'm looking forward to the sequel Long Dark Teatime of the Soul.

    I need recommendations for things to read whilst my leg is broken! So post up moar reviews!
     
  8. Maestro

    Maestro The Freeman

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    Actually, double post.

    I just finished The Strain by Chuck Hogan and Guillermo del Toro, a good novel by normal standards, dunno what vampire novel standards are.

    It's full of really dark vampire-stuff, he makes a semi-plausible case for how vampires work (which is nice, none of that 'sparkle-whiner-bitch' vampire bullshit). It's got a lot of dark imagery, some great eery scenes. It screams del Toro which is good.

    Overall, read it. I enjoyed it, especially which the vampire fighting by the humans.
     
  9. dfc05

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    Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck

    Although John Steinbeck used to be my favorite author (I'm not sure who is now), I haven't read much Steinbeck in the past few years. But this book makes me remember why I like his novels so much -- Steinbeck is an excellent storyteller.

    Sweet Thursday is the sequel to Cannery Row, which I read about ten years ago and can't remember very well. It doesn't really matter if you've read Cannery Row or not -- all the characters are easy to pick up and very likable. Before the book starts, there's a prologue where one of the characters in the book says how he'd like Cannery Row to have been written -- "I like a lot of talk in a book, and I don't like to have nobody tell me what the guy that's talking looks like. I want to figure out what he looks like from the way he talks. And another thing--I kind of like to figure out what the guy's thinking by what he says. . . . Sometimes I want a book to break loose with a bunch of hooptedoodle. The guy's writing it, give him a chance to do a little hooptedoodle. Spin up some pretty words maybe, or sing a little song with language. That's nice. But I wish it was set aside so I don't have to read it. I don't want hooptedoodle to get mixed up in the story." And that's pretty much how this book is written :p.

    I like how this book reads like a whole string of incidents, where each chapter stands well on its own but builds onto the story (with a couple of chapters titled "Hooptedoodle" involving absurd stories about butterfly festivals and old people obsessed with croquet). The book's not a difficult read... just a story about a guy trying to set his life right again (there's a girl involved), and his buddies in town trying to help him out in rather funny ways. Sometimes it's refreshing to read a book with normal, down-to-earth characters, told in a straightforward and unpretentious way :). I never had one of those old-timey grandpas around to tell me old-timey stories, but I'd imagine this book is how that would be.

    In summary -- Charming, feel-good story. Enjoyable and highly recommended.
     
  10. Direwolf

    Direwolf Newbie

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    The Ayatollah Begs to Differ
    [​IMG]
    Obviously I went looking for something on modern Iran due to the events taking place there right now, but I'm still not sure I could have done better than this. A very honest and very frank look at Iranian society as seen by an Iranian during his trips back. The author is very upfront about the differences between how he (being a westernized Iranian) and his countrymen see things, and it has some fascinating insights into the mindset and culture. Most interesting are the numerous points in the book that lay the foundation for what the world is seeing at the moment. He never goes so far as to predict the events that are now occurring, but he does make mention of how the Supreme Leader and President are (were) on shakier ground than they think in some areas of the populace.
     
  11. SimpleAssassin

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    Battle Royale

    I couldnt put this down, not the best written thing i have ever read probably because it is a translation but its rather disturbing and ridiculous subject matter make for a ridiculously entertaining time. I thought most of the characters were well done, some nice action and i found myself really disliking the main character yet warming to many other classmates. Not being much older than the characters it did bring about some interesting thoughts about what i would do in the same situation. Overall a great read.
     
  12. Sheepo

    Sheepo The Freeman

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    Maps in a Mirror, a collection of short fiction by Orson Scott Card

    It's pretty fascinating to read the good, the bad, and the ugly of an author's entire career. There was some really marvelous stuff in here, though there are never really any memorable characters like his novels develop very well, but the ideas and messages are so strong in some of them it can be quite amazing. His commentary is always very interesting and informative, even though the story itself may not be. I'd say there is definitely enough here to justify a read, the horror chapter especially.

    I skipped the mormon fiction chapter.
     
  13. Ennui

    Ennui The Freeman

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    I've taken a break from Spook Country to read Report from #24, the memoir of Gunnar Sonsteby who was a leader of the Norwegian resistance in WWII and is the most highly decorated man in Norwegian history (the equivalent of an American with multiple Medals of Honor in addition to every other accolade possible). It's great, the guy has a very straightforward, concise writing style, is clearly very intelligent, and speaks in a very matter of fact, humble tone about all the incredible stuff he did during the Resistance, including having dozens of identities, blowing up Nazi airplane parts and explosives plants, sneaking across the border regularly, etc. Read his wikipedia article, the book is essentially an extended, detailed version of his entire activities from the beginning to end of Norway's occupation by Germany.

    After I finish Spook Country I'm moving on to Jitterbug Perfume which is a funky book by Tim Robbins that my friend (who, aside from being one of the most painfully gorgeous girls I know, is also probably the smartest) recommends enthusiastically, so that will probably be excellent because she and I are of one mind on many things.
     
  14. Sheepo

    Sheepo The Freeman

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    I just started On the Road, it's going fast, then I hope to move on To the Last Man and then a Red Baron biography to complete the World War I theme.
     
  15. Ennui

    Ennui The Freeman

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    On the Road is an amazing novel, but what does it have to do with WWI?
     
  16. Sheepo

    Sheepo The Freeman

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    I was only referring to the last two, and yeah, I'm finding it really good so far.
     
  17. Ennui

    Ennui The Freeman

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    I absolutely adore Kerouac. His writing style is so frenetic, vibrant and full of energy - it completely captivates me and drags me along with it. This may be because he wrote the entirety of On the Road in a three day long marathon writing session fuelled by massive amounts of dextroamphetamine. Whenever I read his writing it's like being submerged, and when I look up from the page an hour or four hours later it's like coming up for air. Cool relevant fact: when sheepy (cybersh33p) visited me last year he gave me the original On the Road unedited scroll (spelling errors and all) as a present.
     
  18. Sheepo

    Sheepo The Freeman

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    I've read nothing of Kerouac until this, actually, but I see what you're saying. There is such a passion and genuine love for even the most minor characters he meets.
     
  19. brad92

    brad92 Spy

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    Frankenstein - Mary Shelley (10/10): I admit that when first picking up a novel I find myself feeling rather apprehensive. I wonder whether or not the book - or more precisley the narrative and its characters - will engage me. Whether or not it will captivate my thoughts and ensnare me to continue reading full-heartedly. I felt no different when I first rasied 'Frankenstein' to my nose and read the first paragraph of 'Letter 1' which, acting as both of prequel and epliogue in itself, convieniently starts off the incredibly gothic and vivid tale.

    So I started reading it less than a week ago and have found myself very nearly approaching the end. Frankenstein is vividly written. I have read, and indeed analysed, a great deal many novels/plays in my life (including, for those so interested; Medea, Antigone, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, The Picture of Dorian Grey, Great Expectations, Hamlet, Richard III, and All Quiet on the Western Front among many others) but very few have profoundly emotionally and intellectually stimulated me. The language is precise, harsh, and deliberate and the plot is one of vicarious imagination and questionable ethics.

    It's a terrible tale, in it's own right. A devastating exploration of the limits of human creativity. I recommend it to anyone who may be an avid reader, especially of earlier 17/18/19th century English works.
     
  20. Yorick

    Yorick Guest

    I ****ing hate Kerouac. He was a drunkard bum and a shitbag writer. The only thing he contributed in life or death is a gorgeous park that I sit in and play guitar.
     
  21. 99.vikram

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    I had to choose between Kerouac and Arthur C Clarke last week.

    Frankly I think I'm better off not reading about a loser tripping for 300 pages.
     
  22. Ennui

    Ennui The Freeman

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    That fact that you fail to appreciate Kerouac is seriously disappointing to me because it means that you are as sadly without a soul as Samon is.

    vikram, what the hell are you talking about? Kerouac is generally sober in his writing, sometimes drunk, and he smokes weed in Mexico in On the Road. "Tripping" isn't a factor, and you're an ignorant tard for trashing Kerouac without actually bothering to read him first.
     
  23. 99.vikram

    99.vikram Tank

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    Hmm.. I'll give Kerouac a shot next time..
     
  24. Yorick

    Yorick Guest

    I'm more than okay with that.
     
  25. Sulkdodds

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    The thing about Keruac is that he seems to have written only one really great book...
     
  26. Yorick

    Yorick Guest

    The same could be said of Stephen Chbosky. I don't think that negates what a fantastic book it was.

    The funny thing about Kerouac is that everyone here either loves him and thinks he's some kind of visionary, realises what a terrible writer he was, or absolutely hates that he's the main thing this city is associated with. There's no in between.
     
  27. Sheepo

    Sheepo The Freeman

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    It's pretty obvious, Yorick, that you do not know time.
     
  28. dfc05

    dfc05 Tank

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    Wow, I had to read that book for class and sincerely hated it. I found it mostly predictable and really repetitive (it keeps cycling between "science/nature is great!", "oh no the monster killed someone", "I hate the monster!" and back to "science/nature is great!"). I also didn't care for most of the characters in the book. The only part I found interesting was when the monster tells his story, just because it was refreshing to get away from the narrator, whom I thought was self-centered and occasionally stupid, e.g. at the end when....

    the monster kills his wife. Seriously, who didn't see that one coming?


    Also, regarding On the Road, I read a quarter of a way through it and stopped reading because I didn't have enough time, and I wasn't as enthralled with it as most people make it out to be. I can't really judge without reading the whole thing, but right now it's lumped in with other classics that I didn't think were as great as their hyped up to be, like The Great Gatsby and Catcher in the Rye.
     
  29. BabyHeadCrab

    BabyHeadCrab The Freeman

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    Chiming in to say this is just so irrevocably false. Maggie Cassidy may even be a superior novel in just about every way to On the Road, check it out. It changed the way I look at creative non-fiction forever, really.

    Of course he'll always be known as the guy who coined "beat generation" and wrote On the Road, history has a funny way of doing that to artists.
     
  30. Shakermaker

    Shakermaker Party Escort Bot

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    Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar - Simon Sebag Montefiore 9/10

    Not literature but non-fiction although it is very colorfully written. The book follows Stalin after he becomes the primus inter pares of the politburo at the start of the 1930's. The author used a lot new material in the form of recently unclassified private correspondence between the different magnates. That gives the characters a 'human' face, but Montefiore never lets you forget the fact that most of these men were monsters (f.e. Stalin signing execution orders one second and having fun with his daughter the next). Regretfully the author skips most of Stalin's early years, probably to boost sales of his other book on Joseph Vissarionovich. Other than that it is a highly recommended read.
     
  31. KiplingsCat

    KiplingsCat Space Core

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    I agree with you about The Catcher in the Rye. People seem to love it, but by the end of it I was like, "if I read the word phoney one more time....."
     
  32. Sheepo

    Sheepo The Freeman

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    Catcher in the Rye is phenomenal and if you didn't love it I can only think you didn't get it.
     
  33. ríomhaire

    ríomhaire Moderator
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    I had the same problem with Catcher in the Rye as A Series of Unfortunate events: I really, really don't like the main characters of either story and find them pretty annoying.
     
  34. SimpleAssassin

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    Yeah the main problem i had was Holden, all the way through i just kep thinking "wow, what a ****"
     
  35. Yorick

    Yorick Guest

    I can understand why some people might not like Holden. It's still one of my favourite books though.
     
  36. SimpleAssassin

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    There is no denying it is a good book, but as ive stated before in this thread it took me until after my exam to start to enjoy it and find Holden more relatable than the first time round.
     
  37. Shakermaker

    Shakermaker Party Escort Bot

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    Leningrad, State of Siege - Michael Jones 5.5/10

    Strange book. It starts of quite well when Jones describes the German dash along the Baltic towards Leningrad. The bulk of the book though is about the winter of 1941/42 which was indeed a living hell for the Russians, but it gets way too much attention. The 2 years after that first winter are dealt with in just a couple of pages. I should have probably read this book in stead.
     
  38. Sheepo

    Sheepo The Freeman

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    Watchmen: Chapter 11 I pick up Watchmen every now and then and just flip through it. Chapter 11 is wonderfully written and beautiful through out. The conclusion is so well built up and so emotionally satisfying I absolutely always get goosebumps on the final page.
     

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