2017's What fiction or non-fiction book are you reading?

Discussion in 'Fiction (General)' started by Silvion Night, Feb 4, 2017.

  1. Silvion Night

    Silvion Night Sir Readalot Staff Member

    I've got some Dan Simmons books waiting on my TBR list. Not reading anything besides sci-fi and fantasy right now though. How about you?
     
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  2. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Ran bridges next to Kaladin

    I'm finishing a mini Noir/Crime binge read before jumping into Abercrombie's First Law.
    I have read books by Maj Sjöwall-Wahlöö, A Camilleri and F Vargas.
    I have also finished the comic Maus by A Spiegelman and I'm 1/3 into Bone: The Complete Edition by J Smith.
     
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  3. Bierschneeman

    Bierschneeman Journeyed there and back again

    Just finished "Eternal Russia " it's a sociopolitical analysis and first hand account of the Gorbachev and yeltsin years.

    Remember in good will hunting when Matt Damon explains that these professors spend fortunes on surrounding themselves with books they could read with $1.50 in late fees from the public library, and they're the wrong books...this is one of those books.

    Non fiction is supposed to be neutral. Sterile. True. This book might as well be written by the head of the DNC, or GOP for all its slanted writing. I'll forgive it a little, as it was written in 1993 it was probably as fantastic an account one could get in English. But now that we have translated russian texts to compete with, this can slide below the bar of ill written and be forgotten in time.

    3/10
     
  4. kenubrion

    kenubrion Journeyed there and back again

    We have a big problem with that in our "news" media these days.
     
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  5. Bierschneeman

    Bierschneeman Journeyed there and back again

    Just finished "the lovely bones"~Alice Sebold.

    The hardest book I have ever read. It starts with a very vivid account of the narrator's Rape and murder ( she's written as the protagonist, the whole story is from her POV. From heaven) ...if you research the author, she has first hand and second hand experience in the first part of that event. It shows, I would believe you if you said the first chapter was mostly copied from her diary around the time it happened to her.

    After that first chapter I found it almost impossible to put down when I was reading it, and even more nearly impossible to pick up when I wasn't reading it. I kept finding myself staring at the closed book and finding a reason to leave the room and do something else.

    The author makes it very clear this book is not about the first chapter, that's just the catalyst. And it isn't a "who done it" we already know all the details. This is about a family, and a community, moving on. It's about the small romantic and mundane details we miss everyday.

    It might be the reason I am so effected by this book is that I grew up in a small town where a serial killer did this to girls my age, from my school. Maybe it's too close to home, and it's just bringing up unresolved emotions.

    One thing I noticed is all the characters are identified by the books they are reading. Peter Jackson I think made a movie of this...it's well made, very true to the book.

    I'm not giving this a rating.
     
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  6. Silvion Night

    Silvion Night Sir Readalot Staff Member

    Loved the movie. Didn't know there was a book. Now I do. Thanks for that, I'm definitely going to buy and read it.
     
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  7. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Ran bridges next to Kaladin

    Read the book many years ago. I enjoyed its concept, but didn’t impact me the way it did to you. I do remember finding the villain utterly disturbing and thinking: "He is pure evil. There is nothing mad about him"

    I wasn’t aware there was a film based on the book...
     
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  8. Darth Tater

    Darth Tater Journeyed there and back again

    The hardest book I ever recall reading myself was Uncle Tom's Cabin. I refuse to read The Diary of Anne Frank. :'(

    I hear you. That stuff makes me sick too. I read to escape the real world. Kudos to you for getting through that. I will never forget a vivid rape passage in The Fionovar Tapestry years ago. It was necessary to the plot but I wish I could forget it.

    ----------------------

    Currently reading Dan Brown's Inferno.. #4 in the Robert Langdon series. So far I really like this latest installment. It's different somewhat from the first three. Less violence so far. A little bit less formulaic too which is refreshing.

    I think of the first trio my favorite was The Da Vinci Code. I liked the Lost Symbol too because it was concerned with freemasonry.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 2, 2017
  9. Darth Tater

    Darth Tater Journeyed there and back again

    They've run it for $1.99 on a one day Kindle Deal a couple times recently. I will let you know if I see it again.
     
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  10. Bierschneeman

    Bierschneeman Journeyed there and back again

    Anne Frank was required reading in 8th grade. (If you skipped it it was literally, autofail)

    I have uncle Tom's cabin slated for the not distant future...probably this year.
     
  11. Nuomer1

    Nuomer1 A Poet of the Khaiem

    I saw the film when I was too young to understand it (and I am now 67 - you do the maths!)
    It is many years since I tried the book - and the only thing I can remember is that the version I had was written in dialect - pick up a strong accent or dialect then spell everything the way it sounds.
    I think I managed three pages.
    I got about the same distance with Feersum Endjinn by the great Iain Banks.
    I suppose it is a mistake that even great authors make from time to time . . . .
     
  12. Darth Tater

    Darth Tater Journeyed there and back again

    I have uncle Tom's cabin slated for the not distant future...probably this year.[/QUOTE]

    My mom got it for me when I was around 10. I rembered getting to the "ice scene" and quitting always intending to read it again one day.Over 40 years (a few years ago) later I did so.

    Very powerful. Well done. A lot of African Anericans find it offensive. While it IS writren in a condescending tone "sweet creatures" and uses a certain word a lot that you cannot use even write even in that proper context without being labeled a racist (see, I didn't do it) - while you CAN use other discraminatory words like "kike" or "spick" when pointing out the other highly filthy, offensive, hateful and ignorant terms...in the proper context...but I digress-so that is a reason too. But she was trying to help change things and she helped accomplish that very goal and did it the only way she could get away with it even to most people sympathetic to the cause. When I read the classics there are a lot of remarks that would be considered racist now and there was no excuse for it, but you have to remember that it was a sign of the times and not that particular author . This was different though. She wasn't using it to hurt anybody or out of ignorance...quite the opposite. The term uncle Tom is used in a derogatory way but he was actually a great intelligent man with incredibly high morals and values doing what he needed to do...up to a point..to survive those times ... Regardless, admittedly, I don't like it when I come across any of that stuff in other classic works and it distracts and bothers me because it ticks me off to no end. Not a proud moment in history for either the people in Africa who sold them in the first place to the American slavers who bought, sold, abd bought them. But it sure does make you think about things that most people don't think about… for a variety of reasons... I know that for me it really drove the point home. Slavery was heartbreaking and tragic among other things..

    Oh my, I did get on my soapbox and go on a rant, didn't I. If I said anything offensive I apologize and I did not mean to do so. I just did not know any other way to put it...kinda like Harriet Beecher Stowe. Anyhow, DO read the book!! But I put it down for a couple months 2/3 of the way through as I had a sick feeling where it was headed and couldnt make myself read further. But then ploughed forward. I would be interested to hear your comments afterwards. Or from anyone else who read it for that matter.
     
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  13. Sneaky Burrito

    Sneaky Burrito Crazy Cat Lady Staff Member

    Samre for me. Although I had read it on my own some time before that. Then they invited Holocaust survivors to my school to give a talk (this was like 25 years ago, not sure there are so many of them left now).

    The concentration camp stuff isn't described in detail because she didn't have her diary with her then. In the edition they had in my school, of course there was a summary of all that. But mostly it was just about the daily life of a young girl who, for some large portion of the book, was in hiding.
     
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  14. Darth Tater

    Darth Tater Journeyed there and back again


    Right. It was left in the "wall". But you knew the ending. At least with Uncle Tom there was hope...

    Anne Frank was not on my required reading list. Maybe because at the schools where I attended it was too close to home. Most kids had immediate family members, extended family members, or friends of the family on a one way all expense paid tour to a concentration camp.

    My uncles father once sat at the dinner table with us on a holiday and told us all right after dinner how he and his two brothers were on a train with a bunch of others. I imagined little kids but I didn't ask afterwards because I was around 11 myself. He and his brothers saw the writing on the wall.There were several armed soldier guards. Maybe nazis? The brothers knew what was coming. So all three jumped off the train into a field and ran for the woods.

    Shots were fired. One brother and then the next went down. He showed us the long puckered scar on his side where a bullet entered near his kidney. I don't know what happened after he was shot orher than he escaped obviously.. I never asked if his parents there or if he had sisters or other siblings to small to jump. Afterwards I could have asked because it had already spoiled my appetite for dessert. No. My brother bought her diary when it appeared on one of those monthly school book order forms shortly afterward. I think I ordered a diary too. Al Kalines. The great Detroit Tiger Outfielder. Never regretted it. I graduated to wizards, elves and dwarves a few years later. Never looked back...
     
  15. Bierschneeman

    Bierschneeman Journeyed there and back again

    Just finishes Bonfire of the vanities ~Tom Wolfe

    A stellar read, it's all wrapped around the powder keg issue of justice, racism, and the manipulation it receives from all sides. There's adultery, crime, class vs class banter, and self interest, everyone seems to be out to sport it all for themselves.

    I found it profoundly perverse in how much I enjoyed watching these "love to hate em" characters squirm around the ant farm that is the sociological, political And judicial system in New York.

    Hmm...9/10...
    But only if I round the decimal.
     
  16. Bierschneeman

    Bierschneeman Journeyed there and back again

    Just finished "Running with Reindeer"~Roger Took

    It reads a bit like a travellogue of an English man repeatedly traveling to Russian Lapland, to see locals of various immigration. (Saami, stoltz, russian et cetera) to see the history that is mostly hidden or forgotten, to see the decaying wastes of land and machine caused by the Soviet rape of the area and amassing of a navy. And to fish, and herd like they always have there. Near the end its a lot more history lessons, environmental lectures, and political opinion.

    7/10
     
  17. Bierschneeman

    Bierschneeman Journeyed there and back again

    Just finished one flew over the cuckoo's nest~Ken Kesey
    The first half is a masterpiece, and although I would say the movie is also a masterpiece and very true to the book, it is also very different from the book. The movie is straight laced, showing you things as they are. The book is from POV of the big native and is filled with his interpretations of life on the ward. Like the machines, and wires and fog. The bestial transformation of the big nurse.

    The problem with the book is about a hundred pages from the end the editing process breaks down. There are more than a dozen huge plotholes which are then solved in the movie version. The writing itself switches from clean professional with great metaphors, to a sloppy unorganized brainstormed pages, that just happened to be submitted as a final draft. The ending is also very different.
    the movie big nurse wins, everyone is back in place where they should be her power seems weakened but she still wins. In the book she loses, everyone is transferring away or checking out to get away from her, mcmurphy s lobotomy is merely casting pearls, it serves no purpose except to punish him as there is no one left to witness the transformation , while in the movie it punishes everyone in the ward and gives her obvious leverage in controlling the populous

    If I rate this on the first half, it would be a 9, just the last, a 1 or 2.

    5/10. Watch the movie, skip the book. Read it only as a curiosity against the movie, or to see the beautiful metaphors in the beginning.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
  18. Tanniel

    Tanniel Became a Faceless Man

    When travelling, I usually browse airport book stands for something easily digested to read on my trip apart from what books I bring myself. While 98% of these dime novels or kiosk literature are books I would never touch, I've discovered that they tend to always have at least one historical novel; If it looks sufficiently interesting, I always get that. Even if the writing is not stellar, their historical setting usually interests me and often helps to inspire me for my own writing.

    There were no historical novels last Friday, but something even better: The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan, a work of academic history that analyses the trade network (and its consequences) of Asia to Europe through Antiquity and up until modern times. I imagine most people might find this topic dull, but trade (or otherwise control of money and resources) is probably the biggest influencing factor on human history, so understanding this topic is immensely satisfying for any student of history. I can recommend it to anyone on those grounds. There is an added bonus for me personally in that its discussion on various Asian regions is giving me lots of inspiration for when my own book series expands beyond its European setting, and I will have to develop the details of these other settings.
     
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  19. Bierschneeman

    Bierschneeman Journeyed there and back again

    Second novella of the day.

    Mathilda ~ mary Shelley

    Less than 100 pages. This was a deeply depressing novella, expanding a largely romantic gothic tone from the morbid topics of loss, abandonment, incest, and suicide.

    If you like feeling depressed, this is the short read for you. But if the incest scares you, it's never acted upon, and you can just skip to the last chapter which is both wonderful, and very morbid and dark . (Shakespeare has nothing on this ending)

    I would complain that
    this all seems cliche depressive female teenager and the futility of existence,
    but this would actually be the first.

    8/10
     
  20. Tanniel

    Tanniel Became a Faceless Man

    Another travelling tradition I have is to read a book located in the city where I am going. This time around, I was recommended Night Train to Lisbon and have almost finished it.

    In a nutshell, the protagonist has a mid life crisis and runs away to Portugal, exploring the life of a Portuguese doctor, who wrote a book with musings on loneliness and similar.

    The protagonist is Swiss and speaks German and French, and teaches Greek, Latin, and Hebrew. Add to this that he begins to learn Portuguese and some characters also speak English, it is quite the multi-lingual story. Being also a book about a man reading a book, it has some layers there. Can recommend if you can identify yourself with a 57-year old divorced classical philologist... or just like languages.
     
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