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Books (Read 231069 times)

Started by Sepp, September 06, 2004, 07:17:29 pm
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Re: Books
#381  August 27, 2013, 09:52:28 am
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Ilium/Olympos by Dan Simmons

y'know the plot summary for these are just too fucking insane so I'll just quote Amazon

Quote
The Trojan War rages at the foot of Olympos Mons on Mars -- observed and influenced from on high by Zeus and his immortal family -- and twenty-first-century professor Thomas Hockenberry is there to play a role in the insidious private wars of vengeful gods and goddesses. On Earth, a small band of the few remaining humans pursues a lost past and devastating truth -- as four sentient machines depart from Jovian space to investigate, perhaps terminate, the potentially catastrophic emissions emanating from a mountaintop miles above the terraformed surface of the Red Planet.
Ah yeah, Greek gods and sci-fi shit. Good read.

Or at least, the first one, Ilium is. The sequel is... oh boy. Olympos starts strong but then it just turns into "Dan Simmons rants about how terrible Muslims are".
Spoiler, click to toggle visibilty
After that bit of nonsense, Olympos does a pretty terrible job at wrapping up stuff, leaving numerous threads half-developed and/or unexplained. A very disappointing conclusion to a very good book.

Although... there were quite a few odd things in Ilium, like how Ada suddenly turned into a batshit insane harpy half-way through the book (she's back in form for Olympos, fortunately), there's the repeated references to "effete academics" being all politically correct and trying to push their liberal agenda on everyone, which was just, what.
Spoiler, click to toggle visibilty

I was actually re-reading them, I first read them years ago, and I remember my reaction to Olympos was "what in the fuck", but it wasn't until I happened to read the plot to the books again recently when I realized how fucking stupid it got. Sigh.
Re: Books
#382  August 27, 2013, 10:34:04 am
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Warren ellis writes about a detective hired to dwelve into the fetishy underbelly of the american people, seeking out to retrieve the real constitution of america, one that was embedded with radioactive elements and written in the skin of an alien. When read aloud it resets the minds of people that hear it read into heteronormative persons.
Great piece of work.

JAM
A man wakes up one day in sunny australia and as he walks out to the street he finds the roads to be jammed.
jammed with jam, strawberry jam, strawberry jam that eats anything organic.
It was funny but it ended too abruptely.

Wool
Story about a community that after the end of the world lives in a 150 story underground silo, the atmosphere has become toxic long ago in the past and the only connection to the outside are giant screens that are connected to a camera over the silo door. Every few years the accumulated dirt starts blurring the camera and it has to be cleaned with wool,  this is the execution method in which all criminals are dispatched, sent out to do the cleaning in protective suits that soon give away and have them die due to the atmosphere. What everyone doesnt know, is why the exiles clean the lenses even when nothing forces them to before they die.
It was a great book.


reading mogworld now.
its the story of an undead in a dnd type world that starts noticing that people are not only respawning, as there is a strange curse that turns the most beautiful and powerful into rigid automatons and his quest to find out what are those strange forces respawning people and force them to kill him.
so far so good, but im really at the beginning.
Re: Books
#383  September 16, 2013, 07:52:49 am
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American Gods and Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
the former is about a man who is released from prison and finds out that his wife has just died in a freak accident. He becomes the bodyguard of a mysterious man named Wednesday, who knows more about Shadow that he lets on, and they goes on a crazy adventure to prepare for a coming storm, a battle for the very soul of America.

The latter is an indirect sequel to the former, wherein a man named Fat Charlie (who is not fat) finds out his recently deceased father was actually the African trickster spider god, Anansi. And also he has a brother he didn't know about, and wackiness ensues when he comes to visit. And won't leave.

Great books, great reads, go read em. Hopefully that HBO series of American Gods gets made.

I also read the novella The Monarch of the Glen which is a direct sequel to American Gods, also great, got me pumped for the next, full-length sequel that is being written right now. Whoo!
Re: Books
#384  October 31, 2013, 02:45:56 pm
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The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
Simply wonderful. It has everything: Nazis, Golden Age comic books, escape artistry, repressed homosexuality, Golems, and even a Stan Lee cameo!

The book is about two cousins: Josef Kavalier, an art student and occasional escape artist who has just smuggled himself out of Nazi-occupied Prague and hopes to earn enough money to gain passage for the rest of his family to America; and Sam Clay, a Brooklyn-born writer with aspirations of greatness. Together they create The Escapist, and find themselves at the epicenter of the Golden Age of comic books, as they find love, and experience loss.

This won the Pulitzer Prize for good reason. Go read it!
Re: Books
#385  January 28, 2014, 09:48:13 pm
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The Spook's Apprentice
- I recall seeing this book in stores in New Zealand when I was a kid, never picked it up though. Its about Thomas Ward who is the seventh son of a seventh son. He becomes the apprentice of a Spook, who is a dude that takes care of supernatural stuff going around the area. Kinda hard to tell what age the book is based in but it's quite interesting. It's a decent start to a book series, could have been better, but it's enough for me to want to keep on reading.

A Song of Ice and Fire: Game of Thrones
- The HBO original show was all the rage some time back so I thought about reading this in my holidays. Damn this thing is pretty cool. You've got so much shit going on at the same time yet it all ties up with one another. I didn't expect "those" kind of parts so it got me by surprise :stare:
It did get boring in certain parts but it picks up speed everytime you think about putting it away. I'm definitely going to finish this series.

Skulduggery Pleasant: The Last Stand of Dead Men
- Written by Irish author Derek Landy, this book series is almost finished. I started reading these when I was around 10 or 11 but now about 7 years later they're still funny as hell. The characters in the book series all develop greatly as the series goes on. I can't really explain what happens since you would have needed to read the previous titles, but basically: shit gets real in this one.

Cherub: The Recruit (Book 1) and Class A (Book 2)
- I started this series as well. Meant for teens to young adults, it's the story about a young man named James who becomes an orphan with his half sister after his mother, an obese woman who was the boss of a larceny empire, dies. He gets taken in by Cherub which is a secret UK organization that trains kids and teens to become spies for the government. Seems kinda kiddy but it is quite funny to read. The only problem was that people who aren't familiar with british slang terms might not understand some parts (I know what they say since NZ people say a lot of them).

These are all books for teens and young adults ('cept Game of Thrones, that shit is meant for an older audience) so I recommend giving these a go if you're not busy. You can also get the ebook version for all of them (what I've got).

GDM

Re: Books
#386  January 29, 2014, 02:52:05 pm
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Yeah watta finished all 5 books of game of thrones still waiting for the 6th book and the 4th season
Re: Books
#387  January 29, 2014, 06:00:32 pm
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The Witcher: Storm Season

Andrzej (Andrew) Sapkowski return to his famous The Witcher saga, which is prequel (some sort) showing some of earliest adventures of Geralt. Book is bit rusty at the beginning but it's getting better the more you read. There are some new characterts and some old ones like his pet friend Jaskier (I don't know his english name). There are some royal scams, schemes, and twist and once again Geralt is being manipulated by someone to do some dirty work. And he sleep with most of female characters too lol. Overall very good read. I never realized how much I missed The Witcher books until I read this one. Epilogue is very cryptic & suprising and it may hit for possible continuation. I hope it will happen because writing historical fantasy is what Sapkowski does best.

Matthew Quick - Silver Linings Playbook

It was centrainly interesing book. Very different from the movie, more psychotic, but cool. I really like that kind unusual love stories so I enjoyed it very much. I only disliked father of Pat (hero of the book) and whole baseball themes. I'm not fan of baseball or any sports for that matter so these parts bored me greatly but I liked how Pat remained opthimistic after all these bad things happened in his life. And Tiffany was fun too.

John le Carré - Call for the Dead

I always wanted to try Carre novels and I got interesed in his famous protagonist George Smiley after I readed that Spy from 2011 was such great movie. I didn't watched it yet but I started reading books about Smiley first. Unfortunately I couldn't get digital copy of the book in polish language so I had to get audiobook. It's bit pain in the ass because I read so much faster than speaker but I'm getting through it. I'm at the last chapters at the moment and is very good spy novel so far. Smiley is very unusual and interesing character. Plot feels real and entertaing and it's not about action or shooting like in the movies. I'm centrainly hyped for more books about Smiley. I can't wait when I start Karla Trilogy

I may post here more if I will have some time or if i get some responses, we will see.
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Re: Books
#388  February 26, 2014, 09:06:10 am
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I just finished reading Cryptonomicon and all of The Baroque Cycle (which consists of eight books packaged together into 3 volumes: Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System Of The World), by Neal Stephenson.

Cryptonomicon is composed of two narratives set in two different time periods; the first is during WWII and follows the exploits of Lawrence Waterhouse, a young mathematical genius who is involved in Allied codebreaking efforts, and specifically their efforts to deceive the Axis powers into believing the Allies have not yet broken their most secret codes (for example, making it seem like spies in Axis territory have reported to the Allies the location of an Axis convoy, when in fact the Allies discovered the location by decrypting a U-boat message). Marine sergeant Bobby Shaftoe is the other lead of this half of the narrative, assigned with carrying out Waterhouse's plans. The second narrative takes place in the then-present day (sometime in the 90's), featuring Randy Waterhouse and a group of his friends, who are trying to set up a data haven in Southeast Asia, free from government and multinational control, and their efforts to stay one step ahead of those two antagonists. Helping them in this task are Doug and Amy Shaftoe, who do surveying work for the undersea cables that will feed into the data haven.

It's really fucking great, full of a lot of interesting stuff, like cryptology, computing, information security, hidden gold, mysterious priests, Alan Turing, and more. Go read it!!!

The Baroque Cycle is a sort of prequel to Cryptonomicon, set during the late 17th and early 18th centuries, featuring the ancestors of several characters from Cryptonomicon. The book follows the adventures of Daniel Waterhouse, aging Puritan and Natural Philosopher (what we would now call a scientist), who has returned to his native England from America to try and mend the growing rift between English and Continental European Natural Philosophers, at the center of which is led by Sir Isaac Newton against Gottfried Leibniz over who invented Calculus first, a conflict that might spell the end of the coming era of Enlightenment; it is also the story of Jack Shaftoe, daring adventurer and King of the Vagabonds, as he desperately seeks a fortune to provide to his sons before he succumbs to syphilis, a journey that takes him all across the globe as he encounters everything from Barbary pirates to mad Jesuits to the Pirate Queen of Malabar; and it is also the story of Eliza, snatched off a beach off an English island as a child and raised as a harem girl before being rescued by Jack, going on to become a financial powerhouse in Amsterdam and later spy, confidant, and pawn of various royal figures.

It's pretty epic in scope. In the original sense of the term, not the way the internet uses it. Each of these volumes is pushing 1000 pages, and there's three of 'em. I will admit it starts a bit slow (for the first chapter), but then a few chapters in and you've got a young Isaac Newton sticking a needle into his eye to figure out how the eye and colors work (this actually happened, dude was nuts), then the Plague comes around, there's the Great Fire of London, long discussions about Calculus, Alchemy, and complicated royal lineages. And then Jack enters the picture and everything gets crazy.

Really great, really interesting, and really informative. Also read it, but after Cryptonomicon!

oh and I also read a short story that's an oblique sequel to Cryptonomicon (in that it makes a few references to things from that book, but nothing major). It's pretty cool, you should check it out even if you haven't read Cryptonomicon, it's called Jipi and the Paranoid Chip.
Re: Books
#389  February 26, 2014, 04:31:40 pm
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I read another 3 John le Carre books:

A Murder of Quality

This time George Smiley is tring to solve murder of wife one of the teachers in some University. Carre departs from spy themes for a bit and this time book is crime-detective type of story. I liked it because it provided more insight into Smiley's mind, but overall it was weakest novel from Le Carre I readed so far. Le Carre portrayed British Univerisity in the 60-ties very well with all snobistic and closed community, which felt superior to everyone else. Pretty miuch all teachers annoyed me. I can't imagine how it was to be teached in that kind of schools during that time. Whole murder and investigation was nicely written but It was no big suprose there. Overall novel felt like those old classic crime novels by Agatha Christie. It was definitely different from other Le Carre works.

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

Le Carre is back into spy games and he do it with bang. There is new hero and Smiley is just secondary/minor character. Book tells a story of a spy who wants get revenge on German leader of Secret Service who ordered to kill many of his agents behind The Iron Curtain. Book have definitely much darker tone compared to previous Le Carre works. It's kind of sad and depressing especially at the end but it males book even better. Le Carre showed spy as amoral people, a liars who lied so much they forgotten how to tell the truth. I loved the plot and all twists. Le Carre have the ability to paint emotional scenes and switch to dry, dispassionate style is a second. It's definitely one of the best Le Carre works but I think it was overshadowed a bit by "Karla" Trilogy

The Looking Glass War

This time Le Carre show insight into rival agency of The Cricus (aka MI6 where Smiley works) called The Department. They were apparently outflanked by The Circus and now they are shadow of formerselves. Everything changes when they get intelligence that Soviets put some missles near East Germany border. When their courier is getting killed by unknown people they decide create cover operation and send agent to East Germany to confrim if the missles are truly there. Novel is nice although worse than The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. There is many characters instead of one main hero and Smiley is once again minor character here. Le Carre created bunch of believeavble characters, some symphathetic, some not. Once again spies are shown as burned out people who lost their will to live and as people who live proffesionally from lying to others. There is not much action here, just brutal realism.

Overall if you are into Cold war or you want to feel how it was like you should definietly pickiping both novels up.
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Re: Books
#390  February 26, 2014, 07:02:26 pm
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The Spook's Curse

The second book of the Wardstone Chronicles. To be honest, I've been busy as hell lately and my interest in reading has gone down due to me already having to read so much in school. However, I did read this book recently. Like most books in this series, it's only about 120 pages long. The story gives all the necessary information and terminology and has some good character development. There's like 13 books in this series so I've still got 11 to go, and from the way it's going so far, I'm excited to finish these :)

Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Movie of this came out recently and a lot of people liked it so I decided to get the original books. Compared to the other fantasy books I've read, like Skulduggery Pleasant for example, this book is reaaaaally damn slow IMO. It's got its interesting bits but it's just really bland for me :P
According to my ebook reader software, I've read exactly 50% of it though so it might get better in the end. But the thing is, I don't think I'm going to bother finishing this unless I have like literally nothing else to do. It feels like a manlier version of Twilight that dudes don't have to be ashamed to read.
I also checked out the movie but I couldn't make it past the first 15 minutes due to the bad acting and poor script :P

I recently put like another 50 books into my new tablet so I should be finishing those some time soon :D

I'm also reading The Witcher, ASOIAF: A Clash of Kings, A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning,
Re: Books
#391  October 04, 2014, 09:55:54 pm
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I've read a large amount of books since my last post so I'm just gonna mention the best of the bunch...

The Maze Runner Series
I've read the main trilogy; there's actually a fourth book which is a prequel, which I haven't finished yet. Seeing that the movie of this was coming out, I decided the read the books so that I could have exclusive rights of saying "that's not like the book" when I watch the movie lol.
This book series is a part of the whole sudden rise in popularity of dystopia genre books. It's nothing close to Hunger Games, but it's hell of a lot better IMO. Through out all of the 3 books, there's a constant feeling of tension and suspense and it really keeps you on the edge. The characters are interesting and quite mysterious. It's hard to tell who you can trust. Overall, the series is very well written; though the third book kinda stinks in comparison to the first two as the ending was VERY abrupt.

The Witcher: The Last Wish
This book is great. Geralt is pure badass and the stories all contain their fair share of comedy, action, and sometimes irony. This book is a collection of several stories which all feature Geralt, who is a Witcher. He's kinda superhuman but also has his limits. The way that the author set up the chapters is very smart as they leave you with a cliffhanger which makes you want to keep on reading. By this I mean that lets say that chapter 1 is talking about story A and leaves it unfinished, then chapter 2 talks about story B. Then you have to keep on reading until chapter 5 again which continues from where chapter 1 left off on. The second book in the series, the Blood of Elves, begins a more linear story line which acts as sort of a continuation of many of the stories seen in the first book. Great series, extremely well written. Not for kids.

The Ravens Shadow: Blood Song (Book 1) and Tower Lord (Book 2)
I randomly found this series while browsing through good reads. Jesus Christ, was I in for a surprise. Honestly, you're just going to have to read it to find out an accurate description of the book. In my own words, all I can say is that the plot is very solid and you get everything you could ever want from the book. I was 10/10 satisfied when I finished the first one. The second one is fantastic too, though slightly in lesser greatness to the first, it also remains a great book. The third and final book will hopefully be released next year (2015).
Like Game of Thrones? Screw that shit, read this.

Skulduggery Pleasant: The Dying of the Light
This is the ninth and final book to the Skulduggery Pleasant series. I myself, who is a fan of this series, was expecting a bombastic yet solid ending. Unfortunately I was quite disappointed. The plot often fails to stay linear and there's far to much shit going on everywhere. The character development is frankly super weird; the plot is jumping around on a Pogo stick; and the ending omg. Not only did the ending leave far too many loose ends to the story, it was poorly written, very abrupt, and frankly just shit and disappointing. God damn it.

A Wizard of Earthsea
I heard that this book was a classic in the fantasy genre so I had to check it out. I was blown away. I absolutely loved it all: the story, the characters, the universe, and the narrative setting. The story goes through the younger years of the magician named Sparrowhawk, who becomes one of the greatest magicians ever to be known in Earthsea. The story goes through his childhood to his years as a young adult. The protagonist, Sparrowhawk, portrays many heroic qualities which would normally bore you, however, he also displays very realistic weaknesses. He might seem OP at times, but then he also seems weak too. This is a work of art, and it begs you for more. Thankfully, there's an entire series of these books for me to read. This book felt similar to the Raven's Shadow series which I mentioned above. You get what you want, you never get bored, and damn that ending is satisfying.

Watta said:
Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
blahblahblah

Nvm, I wasted my life reading this. Don't read it, it had promise in the beginning but it feels like a copy of Twilight after a while. I feel ashamed :disappointed:
Re: Books
#392  June 20, 2016, 09:46:24 pm
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The last book I've red was The Cuckoo's Calling by J.K Rowling. It's a crime fiction novel and I liked it a lot. I've started to read it's sequel The Silkworm and till now it's interesting enough. The Cuckoo's Calling is kind of similar to Dan Brown books, but Rowling's writing is far more superior in my opinion. If you start reading it, you're gonna like Cormoran Strike.
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Re: Books
#393  September 02, 2016, 08:01:50 am
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Unrestrained planet . Harry Harrison worlds best novel I've read . great fiction .
Re: Books
#394  October 05, 2016, 08:41:01 am
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The Horror From The Hills by Frank Belknap Long

The Manhattan Museum of Art is about to receive a new statue for its collection: a giant elephant statue. But there's a lot of things weird about this statue. Its ears seem to resemble more webbed tentacles, it has the hands and feat of a human and is seated like one, its tusks resemble a translucent crystal, and at the end of its trunk seems to be something resembling a small mouth with teeth. It was brought over by the curator's field researcher, who claims that it is the god Chaugnar Faugn, who preys on human sacrifice and torture. The next day, a night guard is found dead in this room, his blood drained. In the confusion over finding a Chinese guest who is believed to be the murderer (due to a bowl of rice being found next to the body), only the curator seems to notice that Chaugnar Faugn's trunk is not in the same spot it was when he first saw it.

Before I review this book proper, some history is needed.

Spoiler: don't open if you don't want to read history (click to see content)

Now that that's settled, here we go.

One thing I like about Long's approach to the mythos is that there are very few overt connections to it. If you're a diehard Lovecraft fan, you might recognize one or two points, but there's no mention of "Cthulhu" or "The Necronomicon" or anything of that nature here. It stands on its own as its own horror story, and it still feels genuine. Another deviation from Lovecraft's style that I like is how this work focuses on fleshing out the characters. While Lovecraft's descriptions are incredible, Long's ability to communicate a character's personality and reputation simply through dialogue is very impressive. Dr. Little's discussion of his history with Chaugnar Faugn and how space/time works is explained well enough that you never feel like the author is BS'ing stuff to make the plot move forward.

If I have to mention downsides, it has to be how the story eventually moves forward. While I promise not to give anything away, it doesn't end in a typically Lovecraft way, but that's one thing I can look over. It is its own creation first, and not trying to ape his predecessor. Also, I will say that some plot elements just don't go anywhere. For example, we never find out what happens to the Chinese dude that the police find in the museum following the "murder."

So basically, I find that if you're looking for something that's *kinda* like Lovecraft but feels unique enough to be its own story, this is definitely something you should check out. I'll be searching for more of Long's other works (ie: "The Hounds of Tindaloos"), so look forward to that!

@Bea: Can we agree that Chaugnar Faugn is criminally underrated???
Last Edit: October 05, 2016, 08:44:45 am by J.A.N.G.O.

Bea

Re: Books
#395  October 05, 2016, 11:44:49 am
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Re: Books
#396  January 26, 2017, 07:17:17 am
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Just finished Terry Brooks' Dark Legacy of Shannara Trilogy and its just sad. A lot of major and supporting characters dead with promises broken and terrible decisions made.  Wish Song of Shannara wasn't this bad.