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Book Discussion

 Post subject: Book Discussion
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 3:35 pm 
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What are your favorite books? Who are your favorite authors? Which authors do you despise?

And why?

I'll start with a quote:
Spectrar Ghost wrote:
[Peter F. Hamilton]is a joy, though I never made it all the way through the Neutronium Alchemist series. Six books is just a lot for a single storyline. And that's the thing - you need to have read the previous books to make sense of what's going on; you can't pick it up in the middle. The Commonwealth books suffer from the same problem, except there are only two. I've made it through them a few times now. He and Alistair Reynolds really do stand out in the space opera scene right now.

Yesterday I picked up The Long Earth, by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter. An unlikely combination, but I quite enjoyed it.


I'm a huge fan of anything by Terry Pratchett, Alistair Reynolds, L.E. Modisett Jr. or David Weber.

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 Post subject: Re: Book Discussion
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 3:56 pm 
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I like Weber's work too. There are better story tellers and authors who actually put character development in every book but his sheer imagination and world building is very inspirational. That he warns about the risks of corrupted religions in the Safehold series is icing on the cake.

An example of a very good story teller is G. R. R. Martin. His main problem is that he doesn't know when to stop. Possibly a result of his earlier career in writing for television. Whereas I read Weber to get the big picture of his worlds I read Martin to zoom in on the detail.

Hamilton had me at interstellar trains. I only wish there was less crime stories in his books, not a fan of the genre. The adult rated content is somewhat awkward at times too. (I'd better add that I think that about Martin's work too before someone calls me out on it.)

I'm trudging though the fourth book in Conn Iggulden's series on the Mongols. Mildly amusing from a wargamer perspective but a rather bleak story with a run of the mill feel to it. The fact that Iggulden seems to have a Hollywood view on swordplay and warfare does detract slightly. Swords to do not go 'cling' when they are drawn good folks. I seriously doubt that you can dismount and adjust a dislocated shoulder in the middle of a cavalry melee. And so on.


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 Post subject: Re: Book Discussion
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 4:04 pm 
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The Stars My Destination, by Alfred Bester. To this day it is my favorite book and -unlike some other quality books- it reads well aloud. Some portions are damn near poetry.

Gully Foyle is my name
And Terra is my nation
Deep space is my dwelling place
And death's my destination.

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 Post subject: Re: Book Discussion
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 4:08 pm 
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This is a lot worse than the "Film discussion" where you only had '000s of films to choose from - there are literally millions of books and authors. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Book Discussion
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 4:34 pm 
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Then we should have a lively discussion. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Book Discussion
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 4:50 pm 
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Iain M Banks, the whole Culture series in particular, with Excession as my all time favorite. His untimely demise is a great tragedy, his writing will be sorely missed.


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 Post subject: Re: Book Discussion
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 4:52 pm 
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Yay!

I'm discovering Neil Gaiman here; thoroughly enjoyed Ocean at the End of the Lane, but these days, frankly, I have more time to do audiobooks while biking, and prefer nonfiction for that - no real plot to follow =P

Peter F published Great North Road earlier this year, and if I ever get some reading time again, I'll be hunting it down like a rabbit ..

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 Post subject: Re: Book Discussion
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 4:56 pm 
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My recent fiction favourites:

Ocean at the end of the Lane / Neil Gaiman
A Fire Upon The Deep / Vernor Vinge
The Fall of Tartarus / Eric Brown
Proven Guilty / Jim Butcher
So Long and Thanks for all the Fish / Douglas Adams (Read by Douglas Adams)

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 Post subject: Re: Book Discussion
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 7:22 pm 
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we're talking fiction here presumably?

The Good Soldier Švejk – Jaroslav Hašek. Probably the funniest book i've read. Read it a couple of times and i still laugh aloud :D
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel García Márquez. Enchanting, wonderful imagery and flow and repetition and remixing and … . Bit long in the second half maybe.
Narziss and Goldmund – Herman Hesse. One of those books I wished there was more of to read after I finished.
At Swim-Two-Birds – Flan O'Brien (Brian O'Nolan). Amusing, interweaving, bizarre narratives with some great characters.

I read plays sometimes as well, if they count here. Ionesco and Arrabal are probably my favourites from what i've read this year.

I like a good bit of Pratchett and Aisimov, read a lot of both as a lad. Planning to read Raising Steam soon, maybe next, as i finished what had been my current book this morning.

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 Post subject: Re: Book Discussion
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 7:31 pm 
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I'll take non-fiction recommendations too...

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 Post subject: Re: Book Discussion
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 7:44 pm 
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The Wargaming Compendium by Henry Hyde is quite good on the non-fiction side of things. Great pictures too. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Book Discussion
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 7:56 pm 
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non-fiction pick of what i've read in last year is probably Storm of Steel by Ernst Jünger (WW1 memoir).

Forgot to add Gideon Defoe's Pirates! book series to fiction like as well.


Also just noticed you asked about despised authors. Not sure I 'despise' him but Hemingway annoys me. Or at least, his inability to write women as anything more than one-dimensional props annoys me. I loved The Old Man and the Sea, but A Farewell to Arms was ruined, after a promising start, by the 'i'll be a good girl now' shallows of Catherine (and The Firth Column is even worse).

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 Post subject: Re: Book Discussion
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 7:57 pm 
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Not all inclusive but need suggest Chthon by Piers Anthony which is probably the most uniquely structured novel ever written.
Quote:
The structure of the novel is described by Anthony as a double hexagon. There are six sections each divided into two parts. Aton Five's time in prison forms the major framework and constitutes one of the parts in each section. The other part includes flashbacks or flashforwards to parallel events in Aton's past or future.


There's some pretty grim stuff discussed Sadism/Masochism, incest, class-ism, slavery but also some great "high adventure in Sci-Fi" I've read and honestly some of the most well written descriptions of the naivety and wonder of youth ever penned Very much a 100 books to read before you die sort of thing.

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Last edited by jimmyzimms on Thu Nov 21, 2013 8:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Book Discussion
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 8:12 pm 
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My favorite books remain Anne McCaffrey's Pern series, however I do have to admit now that her writing doesn't hold up as well as I would have hoped.

My favorite author is Robin Hobb. Probably the best fantasy writer I have ever read.

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 Post subject: Re: Book Discussion
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 8:40 pm 
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I've got some Hobb on the shelf, ready to munch (o:

In nonfiction, I'm blazing thru Christopher Hitchens these days.

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