Author Topic: Now Reading, pt 2  (Read 17088 times)

chris23

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Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« Reply #60 on: April 27, 2013, 01:13:15 PM »
The Human Stain by Phillip Roth
Fiction. Coleman Silk, an eminent professor and dean at a small NE college, resigns after being accused of using racial slurs in the classroom.  The novel documents the way in which Coleman's life unravels after the incident. But the true heart of the story concerns what the reader learns about Coleman's past along the way. A well told novel with great character development.

mgriffin

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Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« Reply #61 on: April 29, 2013, 04:15:28 PM »
I've neglected Philip Roth, and need to read more of him.  The Human Stain is one of the books I'd like to check out. All I've read is Goodbye Columbus, which is some of his earliest writing.
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chris23

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Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« Reply #62 on: April 29, 2013, 07:07:58 PM »
The Human Stain is the first book of his that I've read. I enjoyed it and I might check out some of his other books sometime in the future.

On a different note: I just (re)read this utterly disturbing, but fascinating, story:

THE VOICE IN THE NIGHT by William Hope Hodgson
http://gaslight.mtroyal.ca/voicenig.htm

Dave Michuda

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Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« Reply #63 on: May 04, 2013, 06:50:53 PM »


Just finished "The Martian" a fun read about an astronaut that get left behind on Mars & has to try and survive on his own until a possible rescue.  The book gets very technical about things like trying to grow crops, making water, scrubbing CO2, power consumption, etc.  All the tech talk makes it feel very real, very suspenseful.  The timeframe is the near future so all the engineering & tech is current.

The main character is and engineer & a botanist and those skills come in handy as he tears apart equipment, creates new tools, seals & re-seals habitats, rovers & tents.  You really root for him throughout the ordeal.

chris23

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Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« Reply #64 on: May 21, 2013, 06:47:50 PM »
Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
It took me much longer to get through this than Ender's Game, but it was great nonetheless.

chris23

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Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« Reply #65 on: May 30, 2013, 01:10:42 PM »
Inferno by Dan Brown
This story stays pretty close to the Dan Brown mold: The main character, a Harvard professor, uses his vast knowledge of art history to save humanity from extinction. There is a young, pretty woman; codes to be broken; apocalyptic scares; many chase scenes; and plenty of plot twists. The book is getting slammed pretty hard by the critics. But, I don't need everything to hang together perfectly or be highly original when I'm reading for entertainment.


mgriffin

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Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« Reply #66 on: May 30, 2013, 01:16:08 PM »
Thanks for the review of Inferno. I'm surprised at some of the Inferno reviews... "It's not high literature!!" Well, of course it's not. It's not meant to be. All MOST people want to know about Inferno is whether it's a reasonably satisfying for readers who enjoyed DaVinci Code or  Angels and Demons.

[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

chris23

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Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« Reply #67 on: May 30, 2013, 02:38:08 PM »
Good point.   ;)

I prefer Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code to Inferno largely because those stories touch on conspiratorial themes at the intersection of faith and science. They raise issues that are fun to consider independently of the plot itself.

The current novel is similar, but, instead of dealing with themes that are overtly relevant to the Catholic church, it deals with a moral dilemma that can be challenging for secularists and the devout alike: If you had the power to save humanity, but, to do so, you would have to sacrifice 1/3 of the Earth's population, would you do it?

Bottom line: It is a fun and quick read. It isn't meant to be classic literature, even if it pays homage to classic literature.  And, if you're willing to think outside of the main plot line a bit, you'll find some troublesome moral questions to consider that are likely to generate lively discussions among fellow readers.

chris23

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Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« Reply #68 on: June 08, 2013, 06:57:19 AM »
Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking by Daniel C. Dennett
Excellent non-fiction. Daniel Dennett is a philosopher who has devoted most of his career to challenging and probing our scientific and intuitive understandings of consciousness, meaning, and free will. This book brings together a lot of the points he's made over the decades, with a specific emphasis on "intuition pumps"--basic thought experiments that can be used to better probe your intuitions on these challenging topics. Dennett introduces several systematic ways to turn the knobs on these intuition pumps to better reveal what the critical ingredients might be in making them succeed or fail.

If you appreciate good clear thinkers who are tackling complex issues, you'll enjoy this book. Sometimes philosophy can be a bit too tedious for my tastes. Dennett knows how to get to the heart of the problems without losing touch with the reasons they are compelling problems in the first place.

einstein36

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Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« Reply #69 on: June 08, 2013, 08:40:17 AM »
I just recently finished this book too and I thought it was good to read for action, suspense, etc.....definitely up there with his other Robert Langdon novels, but this one at the end, let's just say the game has now changed for this series of Robert Langdon books:)


Inferno by Dan Brown
This story stays pretty close to the Dan Brown mold: The main character, a Harvard professor, uses his vast knowledge of art history to save humanity from extinction. There is a young, pretty woman; codes to be broken; apocalyptic scares; many chase scenes; and plenty of plot twists. The book is getting slammed pretty hard by the critics. But, I don't need everything to hang together perfectly or be highly original when I'm reading for entertainment.
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chris23

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Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« Reply #70 on: June 14, 2013, 06:53:45 PM »
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
OMG. So much fun! If you grew up in the 1980's and have a nostalgic fondness for Zork, Atari 2600, early Apple computers, Rush, and the movie Wargames, you absolutely MUST read this book. The story is set in a future world in which the majority of people escape their miserable realities by logging into a massively multiplayer world, called the O.A.S.I.S., that serves a variety of functions that are currently served by our MMOs, social networks, online stores, etc. The dying designer of the world has hidden an "Easter egg" somewhere in the world and, whoever is the first to find it, inherits it all. A great adventure that will leave your inner Geek screaming for more.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2013, 07:01:03 PM by chris23 »

mgriffin

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Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« Reply #71 on: June 21, 2013, 09:41:40 AM »
I absolutely LOVED Ready Player One and wholeheartedly recommend it to anybody who thinks fondly of 80s culture, especially video games.

Here's my full review from... gosh, over a year and a half ago:

http://griffinwords.wordpress.com/2011/11/02/words-in-ready-player-one-by-ernest-cline/
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chris23

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Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« Reply #72 on: June 23, 2013, 06:32:33 PM »
Good review! It really was a fun read. I'm sure I'll revisit it sometime in the near future.

Recently finished: The Faculty Club by Danny Tobey
A thriller about a young law student, Jeremy Davis, who is eager to fit in and be successful at a top-ranked U.S. law program. There are rumors of a secret society, the V&D, to which only the most ambitious and select students are initiated. After realizing that he has not been selected to join the club, he charges himself with learning more about the society's secrets. And, as you might expect, those SECRETS MIGHT POSE A GREAT DANGER TO HIM AND THOSE HE LOVES. A fun read; I'm a sucker for this kind of stuff.



chris23

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Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« Reply #73 on: June 28, 2013, 08:20:26 PM »
Based on a recommendation over at Boingboing, I picked up the Kindle version of Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 - 5).  It's a great deal for a 550 page book at only $4.99.  Out of 176 reviews, 166 of them are five stars.

Originally begun as a short story(Wool 1), the book tells of a dystopian future where humankind lives in underground silos, where the outside is toxic & where even discussing the outside will get you sent to die outside.  You can buy the individual stories that make up the series separately or save a buck or two & buy the omnibus edition.

Before I was even halfway through with this book, I ordered a few more of author, Hugh Howey's books.  It helps that the Kindle editions are only $2.99 so there's not much risk in discovering a new author.

So far I am loving Wool and am looking forward to more of Howey's works.


Just finished Wool--the omnibus edition. Fantastic stuff. Part of the fun is the journey you take with the protagonists in trying to learn exactly what their world is all about, why certain things are taboo (e.g., speaking of the outside), and why certain things they've taken for granted might carry a different meaning if the world doesn't work the way they've been taught (e.g., the price of cables/texts vs. the use of porters). The final segment seemed a bit unfocused and ad hoc to me. But, overall, great storytelling.
   

SunDummy

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Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« Reply #74 on: June 29, 2013, 12:27:33 PM »
Recently saw this "Rookie's Guide to Lovecraft" which I consider a pretty good overview and starting point for anyone interested in learning about H.P. Lovecraft:

http://www.sundriesshack.com/2013/04/02/the-rookies-guide-to-h-p-lovecraft-in-1500-words-or-less/
Interesting site. Lot's of good info.


If anyone's interested, I'll sell you "The Road to Madness", "Dreams of Terror and Death", and "The Best of HP Lovecraft:  Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre" anthologies.  All are paperbacks, in good shape.  $20.00 gets you all three shipped.

I'll also sell my copy of Peter Clines' "14", $10 shipped.

I'm moving and have waaaaay too many books!
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Dave Michuda

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Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« Reply #75 on: June 29, 2013, 07:36:48 PM »

Just finished Wool--the omnibus edition. Fantastic stuff. Part of the fun is the journey you take with the protagonists in trying to learn exactly what their world is all about, why certain things are taboo (e.g., speaking of the outside), and why certain things they've taken for granted might carry a different meaning if the world doesn't work the way they've been taught (e.g., the price of cables/texts vs. the use of porters). The final segment seemed a bit unfocused and ad hoc to me. But, overall, great storytelling.
   

Glad you enjoyed Wool!  I have the next three books in the silo series, 1st, 2nd & 3rd shift, but I haven't gotten around to reading them yet.  And now I see there is a new silo book, called Dust, due in August.  Also, I just noticed a bunch of Kindle singles by different authors written in the silo universe.  I have a lot of catching up to do.

Just finished the third in the Expanse series, Abaddon's Gate by James S.A. Corey.  An excellent trilogy that takes place(mostly) in the outer solar system.  Lots of great characters & action.  Good old fashioned space opera sci fi.

chris23

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Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« Reply #76 on: July 04, 2013, 05:55:13 PM »
I might explore the Shift set in August. I don't want to be hooked and then have to wait for resolution.

Is everyone hanging out without me? (and other concerns) by Mindy Kaling
A funny mini-memoir by one of the writers and actors from The Office.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2013, 06:49:16 AM by chris23 »

chris23

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Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« Reply #77 on: July 08, 2013, 05:07:03 PM »
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
This novel is explores the tension between the needs for autonomy and connectedness in the context of a dark and twisted ghost story.  The distribution of reviews on Amazon is completely flat--averaging at 3.0 stars. I think this novel is frigging brilliant, however. Strongly recommended--especially if you like a bit of strangeness and also appreciate stories that take the relationships between characters seriously.

chris23

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Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« Reply #78 on: July 12, 2013, 06:48:44 AM »
I, Lucifer by Glen Duncan
The end of the world is nigh. Lucifer has been offered an extraordinary proposition: If he can live as a mortal for a month without sin, God will allow him to enter the kingdom of heaven rather than banishing him for eternity. Lucifer, thinking "Why the hell not?!", enters the body of a washed up writer, Declan Gunn, and, in the process, shares his own story about God, creation, and various events described in the bible. He never has any intention of seeking redemption, but, in the process of living as man, gains some new insights into the ways in which temptation, evil, and good function in social relationships.

I'm on the fence with this novel. On the one hand, I enjoyed the angle of telling biblical events from another point of view. (It turns out, for example, that Lucifer was trying to thwart rather than facilitate the crucifixion because he knew the implications of the event for God's plan. Lucifer's insight into Pontius Pilate's struggles and the power of the mob are quite keen.)  On the other hand, Lucifer, when placed in human form, turns out to remind me of a drunken, rude bloke at the pub who doesn't know when to go home. I'm not a big fan of exploring the concept of evil as if it has its roots in the carnal. I'd rather consider it as something deliberate; something motivated by choice and reason. I'm agnostic, but I guess I've always imagined that, if something like Lucifer were to exist in human form, he would be charismatic, patient, and subtle in his ways.
 
 

mgriffin

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Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« Reply #79 on: July 12, 2013, 10:10:02 AM »
I've been reading more crime and thriller novels lately.

Recently finished The Guards and The Killing of the Tinkers, the first two books in Ken Bruen's Jack Taylor series. Jack Taylor is an alcoholic and self-destructive ex-cop in Galway, Ireland, who has drifted into private investigation. I really love Bruen's style, and all the characters here. The books aren't really traditional detective stories at all, and are more about Jack's lifestyle and the messes he gets himself into. I think there are 9 books in this series, and I plan to read them all. Just found out there's a series of Jack Taylor films on Netflix and I think I've got Lena convinced to check them out. I'd really recommend these books, and Ken Bruen in general, to anyone interested in crime fiction with a lot of Galway in it.

Also just read the first two books in another series, Blindsighted and Kisscut by Karin Slaughter. I had been fishing around for more crime novels a month or so ago, and happened to overhear my mom and my aunt talking about the latest Karin Slaughter (a different series) so picked these up. The books are part of the "Grant County" series, named for where it takes place, a rural county in Georgia. There's a strong Southern flavor here, which kind of bothers me. The main characters are Sara Linton, a pediatrician and part-time coroner, her ex-husband Jeffrey, the chief of police, and one of Jeffrey's cops, Lena Adams. I'd say this series starts off pretty well in the first book. It's a pretty compelling plot, about a blind woman Sara finds murdered in the local diner's bathroom. The second book's story, concerned with a child pornography ring, is less interesting and sort of "by the numbers." Also, I find the writing a bit flat in places. They're a bit more harsh and "edgy" than many pop-fiction thrillers, and there's been a bit of controversy about some of the sexual and rape-related content. I think these books are OK, but wouldn't recommend them unless a reader is specifically interested in crime fiction in a Southern setting, and doesn't mind a transgressive edge.
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