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 Book Chat Fiction - What Are You Reading Now?

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PostSubject: Re: Book Chat Fiction - What Are You Reading Now?   Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:15 pm

jmcc wrote:
'Years of Rice and Salt' by Kim Stanley Robinson was a good bit of
alternative history based on a Europe without Europeans and
Renaissance. A bit strange though. I'm not quite sure about the Gengis
Khan genetic legacy thing though - especially in Ireland.

Regards...jmcc
Kim Stanley Robinson - did you read Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars?

* thousand yard stare *
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PostSubject: Re: Book Chat Fiction - What Are You Reading Now?   Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:45 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
jmcc wrote:
'Years of Rice and Salt' by Kim Stanley Robinson was a good bit of
alternative history based on a Europe without Europeans and
Renaissance. A bit strange though. I'm not quite sure about the Gengis
Khan genetic legacy thing though - especially in Ireland.

Regards...jmcc
Kim Stanley Robinson - did you read Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars?

*
thousand yard stare *
Nope. Smile I don't think so. Strangely for a
techie, I don't read that much SciFi. Though the Arthur C. Clarke books
have a weird effect on me - they make me fall asleep.

Regards...jmcc
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PostSubject: Re: Book Chat Fiction - What Are You Reading Now?   Tue Apr 29, 2008 3:28 pm

I recently finished Foucalt's Pendulum by Umberto Eco. It is an excellent book and Eco really gets his message across but he leaves me with the feeling that he is trying to be be too clever. I think he intentionally does not comply with RL Stevenson's criteria that literature must be easy to read and easy to understand to be great. His books will not date but I think they will not last in the mainstream either. It will be a pity if I am right as he has fantastic insight into and understanding of the human condition and man's awarenes of that condition.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Chat Fiction - What Are You Reading Now?   Tue Apr 29, 2008 3:48 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
I think he intentionally does not comply with RL Stevenson's criteria that literature must be easy to read and easy to understand to be great.
Over-clever - that's why I haven't approached him yet.

Over the years I've been trying to make an effort to read Nobel laureates in literature - Hesse, Churchill, Beckett, Steinbeck and I find they more often than not fulfill that neat RL Stevenson criteria above about simplicity and comprehensiblity. It turns out that I also found those writers very entertaining for 'high' literature too.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Chat Fiction - What Are You Reading Now?   Tue Apr 29, 2008 7:58 pm

I reckon Umberto is happy in his little world though. He has multiple best sellers and is one of the most famour writers alive. I read Hesse and Steinbeck a long time ago and found their books hard to put down.

I bought a book of Beckett's prose before and found it pretty turgid. I am half way through a few other books at the moment but it is hard to resist the temptation to go out and buy some holiday style page turner. I just keep thinking of all the money I have spent on these boks because I was so sure I would read them.

Has anybody read Gorge Luis Borges fiction? I had a book of all his non-fiction stuff before and it was brilliant. I don't know if I would like fiction in the same style though.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Chat Fiction - What Are You Reading Now?   Wed Apr 30, 2008 2:08 am

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
I reckon Umberto is happy in his little world though. He has multiple best sellers and is one of the most famour writers alive. I read Hesse and Steinbeck a long time ago and found their books hard to put down.

I bought a book of Beckett's prose before and found it pretty turgid. I am half way through a few other books at the moment but it is hard to resist the temptation to go out and buy some holiday style page turner. I just keep thinking of all the money I have spent on these boks because I was so sure I would read them.

Has anybody read Gorge Luis Borges fiction? I had a book of all his non-fiction stuff before and it was brilliant. I don't know if I would like fiction in the same style though.

Borges short stories are fantastic... surreal, eerie...
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PostSubject: Re: Book Chat Fiction - What Are You Reading Now?   Wed Apr 30, 2008 2:09 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
jmcc wrote:
'Years of Rice and Salt' by Kim Stanley Robinson was a good bit of
alternative history based on a Europe without Europeans and
Renaissance. A bit strange though. I'm not quite sure about the Gengis
Khan genetic legacy thing though - especially in Ireland.

Regards...jmcc
Kim Stanley Robinson - did you read Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars?

* thousand yard stare *

I loved them at the time, but wow, they were hard work...
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PostSubject: Re: Book Chat Fiction - What Are You Reading Now?   Wed Apr 30, 2008 3:57 am

WorldbyStorm wrote:
I loved them at the time, but wow, they were hard
work...
I find the Arthur C. Clarke books to be a bit of the
same. I'm not sure if it is the cardboard characters or the prose. The
prose seemed to be very 19th Century.

Regards...jmcc
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PostSubject: Re: Book Chat Fiction - What Are You Reading Now?   Thu May 01, 2008 1:50 am

jmcc wrote:
WorldbyStorm wrote:
I loved them at the time, but wow, they were hard
work...
I find the Arthur C. Clarke books to be a bit of the
same. I'm not sure if it is the cardboard characters or the prose. The
prose seemed to be very 19th Century.

Regards...jmcc

I'd sort of agree. But, they still have a spark.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Chat Fiction - What Are You Reading Now?   Fri May 02, 2008 12:54 am

WorldbyStorm wrote:
I'd sort of agree. But, they still have a
spark.
Yes. The interesting aspect is that they tend to move a
lot slower than more modern books. The complexity and speed of modern
society is quite different to that of even twenty years ago. It is as
if the SciFi accurately reflects its own era.

I read Neil Stephenson's attempt at historical fiction (the Baroque
Cycle) and wished I hadn't. Snowcrash was great though.
Patrick O'Brian's books were far better at capturing
history but he based them on good source material.

Regards...jmcc
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PostSubject: Re: Book Chat Fiction - What Are You Reading Now?   Fri May 02, 2008 3:23 am

jmcc wrote:
WorldbyStorm wrote:
I'd sort of agree. But, they still have a
spark.
Yes. The interesting aspect is that they tend to move a
lot slower than more modern books. The complexity and speed of modern
society is quite different to that of even twenty years ago. It is as
if the SciFi accurately reflects its own era.

I read Neil Stephenson's attempt at historical fiction (the Baroque
Cycle) and wished I hadn't. Snowcrash was great though.
Patrick O'Brian's books were far better at capturing
history but he based them on good source material.

Regards...jmcc
Speed of society? Do you mean like in the cyberpunk stuff? I thought Clarke's books - I've read five or six - were long on the science and short on the fiction thank God until Gentry Lee (recruited from Mills and Boon possibly) came on board with the writing and then the books suddenly doubled in size and contained non-standard Clarke vocabulary mostly to do with relationships, women's accoutrements and other superfluous miscellany.

Did you really find the Red Green Blue Mars series tough going though, Worldbystorm? There was a lot of different characters in it but he engineered them to be able to live through the saga as it spanned two or three centuries. There was some love story in it but at least the women were revolutionaries and cult-leaders. And the breadth of the Martian landscape and the cities they built there and the ecological damage they did to the planet was all brilliant imagination I thought. All wrapped up in peculiar martian politics too... All in all a grand epic.

Patrick O'Brien was the one who wrote Master and Commander? Mighty film anyway ...
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PostSubject: Re: Book Chat Fiction - What Are You Reading Now?   Fri May 02, 2008 8:13 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
jmcc wrote:
WorldbyStorm wrote:
I'd sort of agree. But, they still have a
spark.
Yes. The interesting aspect is that they tend to move a
lot slower than more modern books. The complexity and speed of modern
society is quite different to that of even twenty years ago. It is as
if the SciFi accurately reflects its own era.

I read Neil Stephenson's attempt at historical fiction (the Baroque
Cycle) and wished I hadn't. Snowcrash was great though.
Patrick O'Brian's books were far better at capturing
history but he based them on good source material.

Regards...jmcc
Speed of society? Do you mean like in the cyberpunk stuff? I thought Clarke's books - I've read five or six - were long on the science and short on the fiction thank God until Gentry Lee (recruited from Mills and Boon possibly) came on board with the writing and then the books suddenly doubled in size and contained non-standard Clarke vocabulary mostly to do with relationships, women's accoutrements and other superfluous miscellany.

Did you really find the Red Green Blue Mars series tough going though, Worldbystorm? There was a lot of different characters in it but he engineered them to be able to live through the saga as it spanned two or three centuries. There was some love story in it but at least the women were revolutionaries and cult-leaders. And the breadth of the Martian landscape and the cities they built there and the ecological damage they did to the planet was all brilliant imagination I thought. All wrapped up in peculiar martian politics too... All in all a grand epic.

Patrick O'Brien was the one who wrote Master and Commander? Mighty film anyway ...

Don't get me wrong, I loved Red Green Blue Mars, but the detail in the descriptions. Amazing and almost hallucinatory in their comprehensiveness. Just, sometimes hard work to the point one feels one was there! Yeah, I also really liked the way (and this is true of KSR's other work) it did posit strong female characters.

Wasn't a fan of the Gentry Lee arrival either. The Rama series was ruined completely (Rendezvous with Rama was to my mind ACR's most accomplished mid-period novel).
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PostSubject: Re: Book Chat Fiction - What Are You Reading Now?   Sat May 03, 2008 3:34 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
Speed of society? Do you mean like in the cyberpunk
stuff?
Not quite. If you take the time it took to transmit a
copy of War and Peace across the Atlantic as the measurement, you can
see how communications has speeded up the world. At the beginning of
the 19th Century it would take over a week to get it across the
Atlantic by the fastest means possible. At the beginning of the last
century, it could have been transmitted by morse code. By the Sixties,
it could have been transmitted via satellite but for most of the
Seventies, the telex was the fastest generally available method. It was
replaced by the fax, which at 9600 Baud was quite a jump in speed. Then
dialup internet in the early 1990s pushed the speed upwards. Now we've
got broadband so the transmission takes seconds.

Quote :
I thought Clarke's books - I've read five or six - were
long on the science and short on the fiction thank God until Gentry Lee
(recruited from Mills and Boon possibly) came on board with the writing
and then the books suddenly doubled in size and contained non-standard
Clarke vocabulary mostly to do with relationships, women's
accoutrements and other superfluous miscellany.
It is all
marketing. SciFi is a niche market and after the 2001 movie, more
people started to read Clarke's books. The publishers probably wanted
to widen the market for his books.

Quote :
Patrick O'Brien was
the one who wrote Master and Commander? Mighty film anyway
...
The film was a combination of two books: 'Master And
Commander' and 'The Far Side Of The World'. The movie was good but the
books are better - and there is a whole series of them.

Regards...jmcc
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PostSubject: Re: Book Chat Fiction - What Are You Reading Now?   Sat May 03, 2008 9:27 pm

I can sense the disappointment as the rest of you sci-fi people read this but...

I'm reading Jodi Piccoult's 'My Sister's Keeper' and despite my initial protestations about how awful it would be, it's not that bad. I didn't choose it - it's a book club selection made by a friend and I can see that it's a great book club choice. The main character is a 13 year old girl who sues her parents for the rights to her own body. She has been donating bone marrow etc to her older sister since she was specifically conceived using IVF, an embryo chosen as a perfect match. I don't like Titanic Fiction - the kind that deliberately wants to make you cry/feel sorry/etc, but I'm halfway through and I may even finish it.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Chat Fiction - What Are You Reading Now?   Sat May 03, 2008 9:32 pm

I can't wait to get Paddington Here and Now - I have it on preorder Very Happy.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Chat Fiction - What Are You Reading Now?   Sat May 03, 2008 10:24 pm

Kate P wrote:
I can sense the disappointment as the rest of you sci-fi people read this but...

I'm reading Jodi Piccoult's 'My Sister's Keeper' and despite my initial protestations about how awful it would be, it's not that bad. I didn't choose it - it's a book club selection made by a friend and I can see that it's a great book club choice. The main character is a 13 year old girl who sues her parents for the rights to her own body. She has been donating bone marrow etc to her older sister since she was specifically conceived using IVF, an embryo chosen as a perfect match. I don't like Titanic Fiction - the kind that deliberately wants to make you cry/feel sorry/etc, but I'm halfway through and I may even finish it.

For a number of reasons that sounds actually very interesting. Incidentally, doesn't it sort of kind of touch on SF themes? ART, saviour siblings, etc...
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PostSubject: Re: Book Chat Fiction - What Are You Reading Now?   Sat May 03, 2008 10:59 pm

jmcc wrote:
WorldbyStorm wrote:
I'd sort of agree. But, they still have a
spark.
Yes. The interesting aspect is that they tend to move a
lot slower than more modern books. The complexity and speed of modern
society is quite different to that of even twenty years ago. It is as
if the SciFi accurately reflects its own era.

The same is true of modern films - childrens' films, at least - the older ones like 101 Dalmatians are very much slower in pace than the more recent ones.

It's interesting to wonder whether society is actually as much faster as media portrays it, though. Much of life remains exactly the same speed as before, so perhaps the speed increase is more perceived than real?
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PostSubject: Re: Book Chat Fiction - What Are You Reading Now?   Sun May 04, 2008 3:25 am

Has anyone read A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian?
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PostSubject: Re: Book Chat Fiction - What Are You Reading Now?   Sun May 04, 2008 3:33 am

unaligned wrote:
Has anyone read A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian?

I was ahead of the curve on that one! I was in Town in about October or thereabouts looking for a present to get my older brother. Since I'm quite into books, I was looking to see what sort of interesting tomes I could get for him. This slim novel caught my eye and I went up to the cashier, happy with my purchase. It was another 3 months before I saw in the Sunday Times' bestsellers' list. I'm quite glad to be among the early adopters of that delight!
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PostSubject: Re: Book Chat Fiction - What Are You Reading Now?   Sun May 04, 2008 3:43 am

A friend bought it for me a while back and it took me ages to get around to reading it. I thought it was fantastic and would highly recommend it! It reminded me that I don't read enough fiction.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Chat Fiction - What Are You Reading Now?   Sun May 04, 2008 3:49 am

unaligned wrote:
A friend bought it for me a while back and it took me ages to get around to reading it. I thought it was fantastic and would highly recommend it! It reminded me that I don't read enough fiction.

Yep, even the title is enough. It is truly original. Can't believe you're 43 btw.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Chat Fiction - What Are You Reading Now?   Sun May 04, 2008 3:51 am

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
unaligned wrote:
A friend bought it for me a while back and it took me ages to get around to reading it. I thought it was fantastic and would highly recommend it! It reminded me that I don't read enough fiction.

Yep, even the title is enough. It is truly original. Can't believe you're 43 btw.

I'm 23, I had 43 posts though Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Book Chat Fiction - What Are You Reading Now?   Sun May 04, 2008 3:53 am

unaligned wrote:
Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
unaligned wrote:
A friend bought it for me a while back and it took me ages to get around to reading it. I thought it was fantastic and would highly recommend it! It reminded me that I don't read enough fiction.

Yep, even the title is enough. It is truly original. Can't believe you're 43 btw.

I'm 23, I had 43 posts though Smile

So you are, Embarassed . It must be some of that wine I was drinking in the Sibín playing up on me. Deepest apologies.
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PostSubject: Re: Book Chat Fiction - What Are You Reading Now?   Sun May 04, 2008 3:57 am

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
unaligned wrote:
Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
unaligned wrote:
A friend bought it for me a while back and it took me ages to get around to reading it. I thought it was fantastic and would highly recommend it! It reminded me that I don't read enough fiction.

Yep, even the title is enough. It is truly original. Can't believe you're 43 btw.

I'm 23, I had 43 posts though Smile

So you are, Embarassed . It must be some of that wine I was drinking in the Sibín playing up on me. Deepest apologies.

No worries Ard-T. And a glass of wine is perfectly acceptable of a Saturday Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Book Chat Fiction - What Are You Reading Now?   Sun May 04, 2008 3:59 am

unaligned wrote:
Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
unaligned wrote:
Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
unaligned wrote:
A friend bought it for me a while back and it took me ages to get around to reading it. I thought it was fantastic and would highly recommend it! It reminded me that I don't read enough fiction.

Yep, even the title is enough. It is truly original. Can't believe you're 43 btw.

I'm 23, I had 43 posts though Smile

So you are, Embarassed . It must be some of that wine I was drinking in the Sibín playing up on me. Deepest apologies.

No worries Ard-T. And a glass of wine is perfectly acceptable of a Saturday Smile

Yep, the bouquet was delicate, the wine's body full with notes of chocolate and blackberry and the finish was very long. An enjoyable wine of relatively new vintage(2004). I must buy a few bottles for the Sibín.
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