Author Topic: Now reading  (Read 156959 times)

mgriffin

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #160 on: January 22, 2009, 05:21:41 PM »
When you're done with "There Will Come Soft Rains," def. watch the video (there is a lot of cool Russian animation floating around on YouTube).  My paperback copy has the last line of this story mysteriously omitted!  It was not the first copy I read, though—but you'll see how important it is to the whole.  I can't imagine how many people must have been baffled by that edition due to a dumb printer error!   ???

That "There Will Come Soft Rains" video was really surprising, nicely done, very ambitious.  Thanks, Brian.

I finished the book this morning and really enjoyed it very much.
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mgriffin

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #161 on: February 05, 2009, 04:50:05 PM »
I've been cranking through both audiobooks and "real" (printed) books lately.

I listened to Duma Key by Stephen King, his most recent novel, this past couple of weeks.  This is one of King's books in which the supernatural element emerges fairly late, or at least it's pretty understated until 2/3 of the way through the book.  I actually enjoyed the first part of the book the most -- it's basically about a guy trying to get some kind of life back after almost dying in a terrible accident.  He loses his wife, relocates to an island, and starts drawing and painting again.  This part is really compelling and mature, but it turns in a more "typical Stephen King" direction, with gruesome scary stuff.  Still, I'd recommend this book for anyone with any interest at all in Stephen King.

I've been reading Schild's Ladder by Greg Egan for a while now.  I actually stalled out on it, early on, set it aside and just didn't want to pick it back up.  This novel has what I'd call maybe the most off-putting first 20-30 pages of any book I can remember reading.  Yes, I'm OK with books that depend on difficult technical concepts (real or imagined), and I'm also OK with books that don't introduce a main character right away.  I do have a sort of hard time with a book that sticks the most difficult quantum physics theory stuff right up front, before giving you any kind of setup to care about, and that seems to have no actual characters at all.  It's literally like reading the account of an extremely advanced hypothetical physics experiment being conducted by an alien race (or so far-future as to seem alien), with little care given to the idea of getting a reader comfortable with what's going on.  So, I almost gave up, but decided to push on through to page 50-60 at least, since I was sure it would become a "real" novel at some point... and it did.  Still, jeez, does Greg Egan not have an editor?  WTF? It's OK now, still strange, and a bit hard to relate to, but more enjoyable and interesting now.

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Bebbo

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #162 on: February 09, 2009, 01:17:23 PM »
Any fans of China Mieville out there? Perdido Street Station and The Scar are for me probably the best modern fantasy out there.

Those are the only books by China Mieville that I've read and I enjoyed both, although The Scar seemed a bit stretched out.

At the moment I'm reading a single volume of 3 Jules Verne stories - 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Mysterious Island, and Journey to the Centre of the Earth. I find Verne quite readable, but clearly the phrase "show not tell" hadn't been coined in his day!

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #163 on: February 10, 2009, 08:31:52 AM »
Just finished (for the second time) the last two books in Ursula LeGuinn's Earthsea series: Tehanu and The Other Wind. (There's also a short story collection, called (I think) Tales of Earthsea, and I read that a few months ago). For my money, LeGuinn is one of the best SF writers, period. I just wish the SciFi channel hadn't crucified her story when they made an Earthsea movie. Anyway, great stuff. The ending of the fifth book reduced me to sobbing.  :'(

9dragons

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #164 on: February 11, 2009, 01:55:43 AM »
Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke has been recommended to me recently. The way my friend described it makes me really want to check it out. These days I am limited as far as what I will read in fiction, but this one sounds fascinating.

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #165 on: February 11, 2009, 08:04:58 AM »
Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke has been recommended to me recently. The way my friend described it makes me really want to check it out. These days I am limited as far as what I will read in fiction, but this one sounds fascinating.

A great read, IMO. One of my all-time faves in the genre. Sure wish a competent studio/director would turn it into a film, too.

jkn

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #166 on: February 16, 2009, 09:09:34 AM »
Just finished "Confessor" by Terry Goodkind.   It's the 11th (and final) book in his Sword of Truth series.  It wasn't a bad ending. Althoug frankly, with how bad the middle books had gotten, anything would have been better than those.  It did at least get me back to a "what's going to happen next?" Feeling which Goodkind had lost. 

In general - the first few books were very good - and the mediocre one following those was forgiveable... But then he ground to a halt preaching his Ayn Rand objectivism. - which in itself isn't bad - it's the huge sledgehammer he used and the 4 page monologues... The final trilogy of books to end the series left more of the preaching to the background and did a nice job finishing the story. 

My wife just bought me Wil Wheaton's "Just a Geek" book (yes - that's Wil "Wesley Crusher" Wheaton...) - I love his blogs - looking forward to the book. 
John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

mgriffin

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #167 on: February 16, 2009, 12:08:46 PM »
I used to read and enjoy Wil Wheaton's blog too... haven't checked it out in a while. 

I always felt sorry for the guy for the massive hatred he received from Star Trek TNG fans.  The annoying things about Wesley Crusher weren't Wheaton's fault.

As for my own reading, I'm getting through Schild's List pretty slowly. Keep setting it aside to read a Harlan Ellison story or something in one of the short fiction anthologies I received recently.

For audiobooks, I'm listening to Eye in the Sky, and old Philip K. Dick novel, and not one of his best.  It seems to have been hurriedly-written and I'm kinda ready for it to be over with, though it's interesting and entertaining in places.
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hdibrell

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #168 on: February 16, 2009, 10:06:49 PM »

As for my own reading, I'm getting through Schild's List pretty slowly. Keep setting it aside to read a Harlan Ellison story or something in one of the short fiction anthologies I received recently.
Ah, Harlan Ellison. That was one of my favorite authors from my college years. " The Beast That Shouted Love At The Heart Of The World" and, of course, "A Boy And His Dog". Classic stuff. 8)      Harry
A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kickboxing.

Seren

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #169 on: February 18, 2009, 05:07:41 AM »
In between listening to music whilst relaxing in the sun I read Bill Bryson's, 'notes from a small Island' - which was not as funny as i remembered from reading it years ago, but got a few laughs none the less.

I also read Timothy Ferris's 'The Whole Shebang' yet again and the latest edition of Sound on Sound.

And 'The Bourne Identity' by Robert Ludlum. Fascinating read to compare to the films....many similarities and some interesting differences. In the book he has amnesia but was an undercover agent for a very specific purpose rather than just killing people when told to by treadstone....There are four books in the series and I am tempted to get the others to see how the story develops. Got this copy for 99p in a charity shop.

hdibrell

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #170 on: March 22, 2009, 03:53:07 PM »
I am about halfway through Graham Greene's The Quiet American. Written in 1955 and set in Saigon circa 1952 it tells the story  of a middle-aged British reporter who is quite cynical, a young idealistic American working for the CIA and a Vietnamese woman they both love. The reporter in some ways represents the old world European view of the world as their empires decline. The young, innocent, idealistic American represents just that, meddling in things he doesn't really understand , convinced he can save the world. The Vietnamese woman is Vietnam, somewhat clueless about what is going on in the world, just trying to get by day to day. So far , a very interesting read with great descriptions of the country and life there around that time. Interesting characters as well.       Harry
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Seren

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #171 on: April 19, 2009, 11:33:05 AM »
Just learnt JG Ballard died this morning after a long illness. RIP.

hdibrell

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #172 on: April 19, 2009, 03:05:05 PM »
Just finished Foucalt's Pendulum by Umberto Eco. Really an interesting book! If you have any interest in the Templars, the Rosicruceans, Middle Ages history, the occult, philosophy, or just love a good story, you will enjoy this book. Eco touches on so many subjects and theories that it is a bit overwhelming at times. I learned early on in the book not to look up every reference, definition or translation as that was too time consuming plus it interrupts the authors rhythm. I was able to follow the story easily. I would sometimes go back and look things up later, but it really wasn't necessary. Anyway, very enjoyable.    Harry
A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kickboxing.

cromag

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #173 on: April 19, 2009, 03:38:09 PM »
I recently rediscovered an old used book store that I used to visit when I was a pre-teen.  They moved to a new location due to urban renewal, and I had just assumed that they had closed.

My daughter is about the same age now as I was then, and she loves visiting the store.  That's fun to watch!


Lately I've been stocking up on Keith Laumer titles (from before his unfortunate stroke) and Jack Vance titles.  Either to find books that I missed when they first came out, or re-read classics.  Right now I'm starting Throy, the third volume in Vance's Cadwal trilogy.
Science News, Vol. 175, No. 9, April 25, 2009, page 1 -- "New mapping of the human genome shows none of us are normal."

Brian Bieniowski

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #174 on: April 20, 2009, 05:23:19 AM »
Right now I'm starting Throy, the third volume in Vance's Cadwal trilogy.

I just read that one a few months ago.  I thought the first two books in the series were great, but it seems to me that he ran out of steam for the last.  I've read that he grows tired of the various milieus he invents, and it would appear that something like this occurred here as well.  Still, even mediocre Vance is miles away better than most other science fiction around.

Right now I am reading an old fantasy novel by James Blaylock called The Elfin Ship.  Blaylock is a wonderful writer and this one is like The Wind and the Willows meets The Lord of the Rings (minus the epic battles and melodrama of the latter)—very funny and charming.  For whatever reason, Blaylock is still a cult author, so his books can be difficult to find.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2009, 05:27:00 AM by Brian Bieniowski »

mgriffin

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #175 on: April 22, 2009, 09:46:14 AM »
Just learnt JG Ballard died this morning after a long illness. RIP.

I didn't mean to let this pass without a comment...

I've always considered Ballard one of the few self-consciously transgressive writers (read Crash if you're not sure what I mean by that) who actually had the ideas and the skill to allow him to work in a more straightforward style.  I've always intended to fill in the gaps in my Ballard reading, but just about everything of his I've read has been rewarding, even back to the early SF stuff from 1960 or so. 

He lived to about 80 and kept writing up to the end, which I think is really cool!  I'll have to pick up a copy of his autobiography.
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mgriffin

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #176 on: April 22, 2009, 01:03:42 PM »
I'm now reading Soul of a New Machine, a classic nonfiction story behind the scenes at Data General (a computer company, now vanished) that was prominent in the business computer world in the 70s and 80s) as they work on building a new computer.  It goes into great detail looking at the process and experience, though advanced technical knowledge really isn't required to enjoy this book.

I've enjoyed this quite a lot, and can see how it won a Pulitzer Prize.  Even if you're not interested in Data General workstations specifically, there's a lot of interesting insight into how people chase after goals, how businesses assemble and manage teams of talented people, and how difficult it is to balance obsessive hard work with a healthy life.  Definitely recommended (even though I still have 80 pages or so left).

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cromag

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #177 on: April 23, 2009, 10:46:29 AM »
I read Soul of a New Machine in '83 -- shortly after it came out.  At the time AT&T had recently gone through divestiture and wanted to get into computers.  I was one of the few employees (outside the labs) who actually owned one, so I was drafted.

One thing I pointed out to our District Manager was that, by the end of the book how few team members remained.

It went that way for AT&T as well.
Science News, Vol. 175, No. 9, April 25, 2009, page 1 -- "New mapping of the human genome shows none of us are normal."

mgriffin

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #178 on: April 23, 2009, 12:42:13 PM »
I read Soul of a New Machine in '83 -- shortly after it came out.  At the time AT&T had recently gone through divestiture and wanted to get into computers.  I was one of the few employees (outside the labs) who actually owned one, so I was drafted.

One thing I pointed out to our District Manager was that, by the end of the book how few team members remained.

My favorite part of the book so far was the overworked, overstressed engineer who suddenly disappeared and left a note saying he was going to a hippie commune in Vermont.
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Hypnagogue

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Re: Now reading
« Reply #179 on: April 28, 2009, 10:02:21 AM »
Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke has been recommended to me recently. The way my friend described it makes me really want to check it out. These days I am limited as far as what I will read in fiction, but this one sounds fascinating.

A great read, IMO. One of my all-time faves in the genre. Sure wish a competent studio/director would turn it into a film, too.

The story's a year-plus old, Bill, but:

http://www.obsessedwithfilm.com/movie-news/pierce-to-pitch-70-million-childhoods-end-epic-to-universal.php
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