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It's the thank-goodness-it's-September reading thread!
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Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Sep 10 2013, 2:46pm

Post #1 of 26 (269 views)
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It's the thank-goodness-it's-September reading thread! Can't Post

Well, some of y'all might not be too thrilled that the summer is over, and here in North Texas it isn't over yet---we're still hotter than the hinges of hell. But when the football season starts and Halloween candy shows up in the stores, I know it won't be much longer until autumn, my favorite season, is here.

And since our summer was crazy, for both good and bad reasons, I'm doubly glad it's September.

This last week I've mostly been too busy to read, over and beyond catching up with the magazines: TIME, Smithsonian, British Heritage, Archaeology, Colonial Williamsburg, and a local one called West of 360 (Highway 360 runs between Dallas and Fort Worth) which has fashion spreads, fancy homes, posh restaurants---things so alien to me that I find them highly entertaining.

I also turned once again to the Precious Ramotswe series for some peaceful reading, this time The Kalahari Typing School for Men.

In this installment, a pushy and sexist man opens a second detective agency in town, causing Precious some distress. She's also concerned because her fiancÚ hasn't yet set a date for their wedding, and she's wondering if her assistant, the capable Grace Makutsi, will ever find a husband herself. Grace opens a typing school for men, which brings her much-needed income and a possible husband.... But of course things don't always work out as you would expect.

Even though the dialog in these books still irritates me a bit, with the see-Dick-run rhythms and repetitions, the dialog often holds gems of wisdom. I really like the positive outlook of Precious and her friends, and how justice always triumphs, one way or another. Yes, the books start sounding alike after a while, and yes, some of the matters Precious deals with are very small and slight, but as far as I'm concerned, you couldn't ask for better comfort reading. These books don't leave you feeling depressed and dirty, like so many mysteries do.

When I first encountered the series I leaped from the first book, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, to number five, The Full Cupboard of Life. I've now read books two, three and four and am re-reading Cupboard, since I now know the context.

So what have you been reading?




Eruonen
Tol Eressea


Sep 10 2013, 7:53pm

Post #2 of 26 (194 views)
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We are getting probably our last blast of heat now (mid 90s..97 F now) [In reply to] Can't Post

actually hotter than July and August (Chicago metro area).

I have started the 14th and final tome in the Wheel of Time series...

"The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again."

Or

"The Wheel of Time series continues, and books come and pass, leaving multiple characters and subplots unfinished, that become confused and forgotten, these stories fade and become frustrating when they come again."

It is a series I love and find frustrating all at the same time.


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Sep 10 2013, 7:55pm)


Meneldor
Tol Eressea


Sep 10 2013, 8:36pm

Post #3 of 26 (178 views)
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I read about six of those. [In reply to] Can't Post

The first three were quite good, but after that it seemed the story wasn't going anywhere, and I lost interest.


They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep.


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Sep 10 2013, 8:49pm

Post #4 of 26 (180 views)
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Chicago's temperatures have been all over the place, haven't they? [In reply to] Can't Post

Although I bet you can expect the usual icy winter. Unimpressed

The Wheel of Time is the Robert Jordan series, right? Who took over writing them after Jordan's death? I can see where a change of author like that could make for continuity problems. Still, there must be something to the stories that keep you coming back despite the frustration.




Eruonen
Tol Eressea


Sep 10 2013, 8:53pm

Post #5 of 26 (184 views)
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Actually, Brandon Sanderson took over and has done a terrific [In reply to] Can't Post

job. It was probably the most daunting of tasks and he has really made it seemless.

Temps to drop to 70s next week. All of the almanacs and other weather wizards who are rarely that accurate are calling for a cold winter for most of the nation.

You really need this online resource. Look at the number of characters just under A: http://www.encyclopaedia-wot.org/


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Sep 10 2013, 8:55pm)


RosieLass
Valinor


Sep 10 2013, 8:55pm

Post #6 of 26 (187 views)
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I've started the Percy Jackson series. [In reply to] Can't Post

Lightweight fluff, but fun. The one thing that kind of irritates me, but which is pretty standard for this genre of book, is the secretiveness. If they'd just told Percy who he was from the outset, it would have saved a lot of headache and heartache.

There's a reviewer on Goodreads who is just irate at how the author of the Percy Jackson series "rips off" Harry Potter, but I don't see it.

It's not like Rowling invented the orphan-boy-hero-who-doesn't-know-who-he-is. Nor is having students at school/camp divided up into their respective houses a Rowling original concept.

Rowling "ripped off" a fair amount from Tolkien.

(And, face it, Tolkien "ripped off" about 17 different mythologies himself. So what?)

I suspect it's more that this person hates to have any book in competition with her "pet" author, so she feels the need to rip on anything that is similar that receives similar praise.

Anyway, I'm enjoying the first book.

"BOTH [political] extremes are dangerous. But more dangerous are team fanboys who think all the extremists are on the OTHER side." (CNN reader comment)

It is always those with the fewest sensible things to say who make the loudest noise in saying them. --Precious Ramotswe (Alexander McCall Smith)

(This post was edited by RosieLass on Sep 10 2013, 8:57pm)


Eruonen
Tol Eressea


Sep 10 2013, 8:57pm

Post #7 of 26 (187 views)
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I was watching the HP marathon this weekend and [In reply to] Can't Post

I kept spotting the number of almost identical scenes shared with LOTR films.


RosieLass
Valinor


Sep 10 2013, 9:01pm

Post #8 of 26 (169 views)
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Oh, and I *adore* Precious Ramotswe. [In reply to] Can't Post

All of them! So sweet and uplifting.

I even enjoy the dialogue, although I can see how it could sound condescending, or how it wouldn't be to everyone's taste.

I've also listened to the first one as an audiobook, and that was very good, too.

"BOTH [political] extremes are dangerous. But more dangerous are team fanboys who think all the extremists are on the OTHER side." (CNN reader comment)

It is always those with the fewest sensible things to say who make the loudest noise in saying them. --Precious Ramotswe (Alexander McCall Smith)


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Sep 10 2013, 9:03pm

Post #9 of 26 (171 views)
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Good for him! [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, I'm sure Sanderson is being paid handsomely for his work, but still, that's quite a job, picking up someone else's series.

Your link reminds me of a story I heard George R. R. Martin tell, how he found a fan site listing characters, places, plot lines, etc., very valuable in writing the later Game of Thrones books!




Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Sep 10 2013, 9:10pm

Post #10 of 26 (174 views)
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I know for a fact... [In reply to] Can't Post

...as in, straight from Rick Riordan, the author, that his publisher came to him and asked him to write a Young Adult series that would appeal to fans of Harry Potter. Riordan had been writing mysteries, but was a middle-school teacher in real life, so he was obviously well-qualified. I agree that Jackson's not a rip-off so much as a variation on a theme, and a very well-done one at that.

I think you're right, readers often feel a certain possessiveness when it comes to their pet authors.

I like Harry Potter just fine---I think Rowling did something very clever and satisfying, even if she did reference Tolkien every now and then---but as far as I'm concerned, Tolkien is the ultimate fantasist. There's not an author born who isn't ringing changes on similar themes, but Tolkien went to much greater height, depth, and breadth than anyone else.




Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Sep 10 2013, 9:10pm

Post #11 of 26 (169 views)
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I was reading somewhere.... [In reply to] Can't Post

That a good story doesn't have all of its draw in originality or novelty, but that in many cases, it is the result of arranging common themes and devices in a new, and meaningful way. It's not the story itself, but the combinations of the ordinary, to form an extraordinary epic.


Semper Fi
Rohan


Sep 11 2013, 12:24am

Post #12 of 26 (163 views)
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I thought that callbacks to LOTR were better done than AUJ's [In reply to] Can't Post

HP managed to make them its own, as if it's a part of the same universe but different timeline. OTOH, AUJ's LOTR stuff was just lazy rehash.

"RadagaStoner deserves no mercy!" Tauriel the Radagast Slayer, the Chief of Inglorious Elfguards

Tauriel saved us from Itaril. Never forget.



Erewen
The Shire

Sep 11 2013, 6:52pm

Post #13 of 26 (135 views)
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I have just finished [In reply to] Can't Post

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, very good IMO; 704 pages and I sped through it in about 3 days couldn't put it down.


Meneldor
Tol Eressea


Sep 11 2013, 7:11pm

Post #14 of 26 (129 views)
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Orlando Innamorato [In reply to] Can't Post

I've already read Orlando Furioso, so the characters and situations are familiar. I think this will be a surprisingly fast read for me.


They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep.


Aunt Dora Baggins
Half-elven


Sep 11 2013, 7:16pm

Post #15 of 26 (145 views)
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I've started "The Book Thief" [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm about a hundred pages in. My sister raved about this book, and I started it once before and the beginning was too grim for me, but now I'm finding it compelling. It's the story of a young girl growing up in Nazi Germany, and is apparently based on the author's grandmother's memoirs. It's narrated by Death, who is as wry and urbane as Pratchett's Death.

So far the book it reminds me of the most is "Slaughterhouse Five", partly for the subject material and partly for the voice. No space aliens, though.

It's categorized as a young adult book. I would have hated this book as a teenager, but I'm finding it a page-turner now.

I'm glad to hear, Lily, that your crazy summer is coming to an end and things are settling down. As my mom used to say, "Life do get tedious sometimes."


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Sep 11 2013, 8:18pm

Post #16 of 26 (119 views)
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I enjoyed The Historian, several years ago [In reply to] Can't Post

Although I was a couple of steps out ahead of the main character and felt the climax was much too rushed---at least, considering the amount of material you worked your way through to get there! It was nicely written, though, and I always enjoy a novel with lots of chewy history in it.




Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Sep 11 2013, 8:23pm

Post #17 of 26 (115 views)
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I'm not familiar with this. [In reply to] Can't Post

I had to resort to good old Wikipedia. (I find Wikipedia is okay for general background information, it's the details you have to be wary of.) At any rate, this sounds intriguing. If you have time, I'd like to hear more.




Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Sep 11 2013, 8:25pm

Post #18 of 26 (120 views)
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I've heard about this [In reply to] Can't Post

But I thought it sounded a bit too grim for my present frame of mind. I'll make a mental note to give it a try later on, though.

Thank you. Your mom is right, life do get tedious at times! Smile




Meneldor
Tol Eressea


Sep 11 2013, 9:38pm

Post #19 of 26 (107 views)
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The copyrights expired centuries ago [In reply to] Can't Post

so you can read them free at Gutenberg.org

The Orlando stories are epic poems with a cast of thousands. Keeping track of character names is a challenge. There ere dozens of subplots mostly about knights, ladies, kings, monsters, wizards, spells, and all kinds of magic items: rings, swords, armor, helmets, shields, cloaks, books, castles, lances, and horses. Sometimes it reads like campaign notes from a medieval DnD game. Still, I think it's a fun read.


They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep.


RosieLass
Valinor


Sep 11 2013, 9:53pm

Post #20 of 26 (105 views)
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"The gateway to the Underworld is in Los Angeles." [In reply to] Can't Post

That made me LOL.

Out loud.

Laugh

"BOTH [political] extremes are dangerous. But more dangerous are team fanboys who think all the extremists are on the OTHER side." (CNN reader comment)

It is always those with the fewest sensible things to say who make the loudest noise in saying them. --Precious Ramotswe (Alexander McCall Smith)


Na Vedui
Rohan


Sep 11 2013, 10:29pm

Post #21 of 26 (110 views)
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A Child's Christmas in Wales [In reply to] Can't Post

This one by Dylan Thomas is an old friend - it makes me smile every time.


Aunt Dora Baggins
Half-elven


Sep 11 2013, 10:41pm

Post #22 of 26 (115 views)
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I read that every December. [In reply to] Can't Post

I have a lovely book with illustrations.

I first heard it read on TV when I was a kid, and the description of the voice that was "thin as an eggshell" scared me :-D


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Sep 12 2013, 2:13pm

Post #23 of 26 (75 views)
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"Campaign notes from a medieval DnD game" Great description! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 




Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Sep 12 2013, 2:14pm

Post #24 of 26 (80 views)
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Oh yes [In reply to] Can't Post

I, too, remember the TV version that Aunt Dora mentions. Just like an old friend, certainly.




Werde Spinner
Rohan


Sep 12 2013, 9:26pm

Post #25 of 26 (68 views)
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Ooh, I love those books! [In reply to] Can't Post

I have them all sitting on my shelf! Well, one of my shelves. I've gotten my brothers interested in them, and my cousins as well. Just have to persuade my sister now... but, then, I've finally managed to get her to start The Hobbit, so it's best to focus on just one thing at a time...

Yeah, you do have a point about the secretiveness, but I don't think it's anything worse than you would find in HP. As for that matter, I don't consider them to be very similar at all. People point out that the main characters look similar, but I honestly never realized that until it was explained to me. In my opinion, Percy and Harry are just so dissimilar in personality that I never compared the two.

My biggest complaint about the series isn't really the series' fault at all. It's the way Rick Riordan causes all the fans to scream with outrage when they finish his next book. (I'm one of those eagerly waiting for the next in the sequel series, but I won't give away any spoilers, I promise. Smile) To put it this way, the fandom no longer calls them 'cliffhangers'. They're 'rickhangers'. Gaaaaah. Crazy There's nothing like waiting a year to find out if a character gets out of mortal peril, buying the new book the day it comes out, reading it, and then screaming with frustration when you finish it because you have to wait a whole 'nother year to find out what happens next. Shocked

Grr. What happens when you're part of an active fandom.

At least with Tolkien, the books are all there. Now, the movies have some suspense with them, but when you've already read the book, you know the general gist of what's going to happen...

And on that note, don't try and watch the PJATO movies to try and understand the book, because they will only confuse you further.

"I had forgotten that. It is hard to be sure of anything among so many marvels. The world is all grown strange. Elf and Dwarf in company walk in our daily fields; and folk speak with the Lady of the Wood and yet live; and the Sword comes back to war that was broken in the long ages ere the fathers of our fathers rode into the Mark! How shall a man judge what to do in such times?"

"As he ever has judged. Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house."

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