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It's the birthday week reading thread!

Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Apr 17, 3:52pm

Post #1 of 13 (644 views)
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It's the birthday week reading thread! Can't Post

One of my sons will have a birthday this weekend, and this year we have the pleasure of having him and his family with us for the occasion. My husband made a special trip yesterday to make sure we have the proper chocolate chips for the cookies I'll bake instead of a cake. Smile

With all this, I don't expect to get much reading done this week, so it's just as well I'm in between paper books and am catching up on magazines.

Although I have read the first few pages of Will in the World by Stephen Greenblatt, a very well-received study of the life and work of William Shakespeare, and am looking forward to getting back to it. (Yes, Mr. Greenblatt is of the opinion that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare Tongue)

I'm still listening to Little Women, with only 4 (out of 17) CDs to go. The sisters have grown up and are finding their way in the world, with Meg married and a mother, Jo spending time working in New York and writing thrillers (and meeting a certain Friedrich Baer....), and Amy traveling in Europe, where her common sense sometimes wars with her increasing sophistication. Poor Beth is still at home, of course. Unsure

So what have you been reading?

Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow....


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 17, 4:14pm

Post #2 of 13 (607 views)
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'Amongst the Stars' [In reply to] Can't Post

I enjoyed the second volume of local author Kelly Sedinger's The Song of Forgotten Stars enough to start on book three: Amongst the Stars. The previous books are 1) Stardancer; and 2) The Wisdomfold Path.

The series is space opera with the focus on thee young women separated from the worlds they know to find themselves stranded on a distant planet that was an outpost of a long-forgotten empire.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


Attalus
Lorien


Apr 17, 5:56pm

Post #3 of 13 (600 views)
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It's Falco [In reply to] Can't Post

...for me this week. Reading See Delphi and Die. Not as slow a start as some of the series.

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhúr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Műmak. But we got him!


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Apr 17, 6:47pm

Post #4 of 13 (588 views)
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Outlander [In reply to] Can't Post

I thought I'd give it a quick re-read to compare it to the first season of the TV show. I'm really surprised at how different the book is compared to how I remember it from about 15 years ago - it's a little concerning to see just how maleable and unreliable memory is!

The book's enjoyable enough, I suppose. Claire and Jamie are still an intriguing couple but the plot is a bit uneven.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Darkstone
Immortal


Apr 19, 7:34pm

Post #5 of 13 (554 views)
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The Bible [In reply to] Can't Post

The Bible. Reading the Book of Amos, the original Social Justice Warrior. All the nations around Israel are committing sins, including abusing the poor, the innocent, and women. But Israel is doing the same bad things too. And God is a lot more angry at the Israelites because he gave them the Law so they should know better! The more things change. A common defense in politics today is “The other party does it too!” Yeah, but if you guys are claiming to be so morally superior then you guys should know better!
-Very highly recommended.


The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics, by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith. Explains why terrible leaders in kleptocracies stay in power forever despite being, well, evil. In democracies rulers have to bribe (provide public services, tax cuts, etc.) 51% of the electorate to stay in power but get to ignore the smaller 49% whose votes they don't need. In dictatorships rulers just have to bribe (kickbacks, government jobs, etc.) a small number of power brokers and get to ignore just about every else! Very depressing because it makes so much sense.
-Highly recommended if you want to have any faith remaining in politicians destroyed.


Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, by Captain Ted W. Lawson and Robert Considine. Re-reading the first hand account of the first US mission to bomb Japan in WWII. Basically a suicide mission. All planes were lost but only six of the 80 aircrew were killed. (Three KIA, two executed by the Japanese, one dead of mistreatment in captivity.) Always been my heroes since I was nine. Inspiring.
-Very highly recommended.

******************************************
“Did you say 'You Shall Not Pass' or 'You Shall Not Sass'?" asked the Balrog.

"I said 'You Shall Not Pass,'” replied Gandalf; "and I wish you wouldn't keep appearing and vanishing so suddenly: you make one quite giddy."

"All right," said the Balrog; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of its wings, and ending with its shadow, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone.

'Well! I've often seen wings without a Balrog,' thought Gandalf; `but a Balrog without wings! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!’

-The Adventures of Gandalf in Middle-earth Land




Annael
Half-elven


Apr 24, 2:54pm

Post #6 of 13 (386 views)
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Re-reading "Howard's End" [In reply to] Can't Post

as I am watching the new adaptation and got inspired. Amazing how much dialogue I had forgotten until it was used in the series, and how meaningful it seems to me today. Truly a brilliant work about men and women and about how our cherished convictions can blind us to reality. The two people at the center of the novel, both outspoken advocates of their particular and opposing views at the outset, find themselves challenged through their mutual attraction to take off these blinders and "see life steadily and see it whole" as Forster, quoting Matthew Arnold, advises us.

I am in fact at work on a blog post about it, but won't finish or post it until I see the final episode. I'm thinking of calling it "Romeo and Juliet for Grown-Ups."

I am a dreamer of words, of written words. I think I am reading; a word stops me. I leave the page. The syllables of the words begin to move around … The words take on other meanings as if they had the right to be young.

-- Gaston Bachelard

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Apr 24, 3:05pm

Post #7 of 13 (387 views)
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It's the last reading thread of April! [In reply to] Can't Post

It's full spring here, edging into summer. I sure hope all y'all in the northern part of the US are finally seeing some of the same.

I'm on the last disc of Little Women. It's funny how many passages/incidents I remember from having read the book several times in my youth, and how many other passage/incidents seem so new and fresh I'd swear they'd been inserted into the audiobook!

I was struck by one passage, describing Beth as she slowly fades away. Without a copy of the book in front of me, I can only paraphrase, but it was something about her face becoming transpared and filled with light for others to see---a very similiar description to Tolkien's of Frodo's face toward the end of LotR.

Among other things (magazines! non-fiction books!) I'm reading Crowned and Dangerous, umpteenth in Rhys Bowen's Her Royal Spyness series. These are very light but entertaining novels set in the 1930s and starring Georgiana (Georgie) Rannoch, a sprig of the English nobility related to the royal family, who finds herself mixed up in various mysteries.

Georgie's voice is pleasant enough and while the stories are little more than fluff, they keep me occupied in, for example, a waiting room.

So what have you been reading?

Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow....


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Apr 24, 6:33pm

Post #8 of 13 (376 views)
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I read a few of Her Royal Spyness [In reply to] Can't Post

and I think I have an unread one on my iPad, but I got bored with the series. It is very hard to write an on-going series, especially since the only tension here is Georgie's love life. I've enjoyed other series like the John Pickett or Detecting Duchess books (by Sherri Cobb South and Kate Parker, respectively) for fluffy romances. I like them because the romance is resolved, and we get to see the couples on the other side - how they cope with their new life. That approach allows the mystery to be front and center, and the romance is no longer a distraction. But as I said, on-going book series are very hard to write, so I can appreciate how some authors want to keep the romance going so they have enough to write about.

For myself, I just arrived in Gondor in my LOTR read-again. Getting to some of the especially-good parts! I have "Scourged" by Kevin Hearne lined up next. This is the final novel in the Iron Druid series, which I have enjoyed very much. Atticus O'Sullivan is the world's last Druid, and he's been around for thousands of years (I love the cameo visits from Jesus and Mary). Atticus has ticked off many of the gods in the Norse, Native American, Polish, Greek and Irish pantheons, so the series is about his attempts to avoid confrontation and sort out the different alliances. The writing is very entertaining and I'm sad to see the series end. Good news is that Hearne might be publishing more mini-books starring the Irish wolfhound Oberon, Atticus' dog.


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Apr 24, 9:05pm

Post #9 of 13 (359 views)
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Yes [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the only reason I still enjoy the Spyness series is that I've actually read only half the books in it. I prefer a series where the relationships develop, too. Although there are instances (and I imagine Spyness could be one of them) where the romance tease has been maintained for so long that when the couple finally does get together a lot of the air goes out of the series.

Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow....


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Apr 24, 9:30pm

Post #10 of 13 (354 views)
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Agree [In reply to] Can't Post

so the author is torn between prolonging the romance, or ending it and taking the tension out of the series. I guess the answer is to either end the romance early, or build up the other components of the story enough so that the romance is not front and center.

What I see in some of these series is that the author hasn't done a good job in planning out the series. Sometimes that happens when a series is unexpectedly popular (the Sookie Stackhouse "True Blood" books are a good example) and the author is suddenly faced with continuing a series of novels that have no business continuing. This is why I admire Jim Butcher's Dresden series to this point, although there's not an ongoing romance to maintain. But they are well-planned and the author knows what he is doing in each book. The Harry Potter series is another example - Rowling planned the teen romances from the beginning and did a good job building a story that didn't depend on the romance.

Sorry, too much analysis for light, enjoyable romance novels!


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Apr 24, 9:43pm

Post #11 of 13 (353 views)
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I saw [In reply to] Can't Post

a good comment* about what makes for the best resolution to a long-build up, be it a romance or a mystery. It was that the resolution itself had to set up another difficulty or mystery, or you're just left with nothing to work with. Makes sense.

* I think it came from commentary about a Dr Who storyline.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Attalus
Lorien


Apr 27, 7:04pm

Post #12 of 13 (279 views)
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Right now [In reply to] Can't Post

...I am reading War of Honor by David Weber. Good read but needs editing IMHO. Like all the stuff about what the bad guys are doing and why. I really don't care.

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhúr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Műmak. But we got him!


Meneldor
Valinor


Apr 28, 12:52am

Post #13 of 13 (263 views)
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Preach it, brother! [In reply to] Can't Post

I loved the first few Honor Harrington novels, but the later ones are just ridiculously bloated. If Reader's Digest ever puts out the later ones, I might get back into the series.


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. -Psalm 107

 
 

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