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  #261  
Old 10 November 2012, 11:58 PM
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I read that because it was a "word of mouth sensation" of some kind here, ten or fifteen years ago. I wasn't as impressed as I'd hoped either, although perhaps more so than you, since I did finish it.

I was never sure how much of the "sensation" was down to its being a translation from the German.
I didn't know it was a translation. Maybe it's a cultural thing. I find Swedish literature unreadably bleak....


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Oh, The Hobbit was indeed published as a children's book, by the way. It was still thought of as a children's book in my childhood too. I blame J K Rowling.
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  #262  
Old 11 November 2012, 12:34 PM
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Is that something you posted online?
No, I just wrote it for my own amusement. It's a short novel, but I wouldn't think of publishing it in any form.
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  #263  
Old 14 November 2012, 05:39 PM
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I've been re-reading a lot of Agatha Christie novels and was surprised to come across a title I was sure I had read before but hadn't. Finding a "new" novel was a bit of a bonus. It was also pretty good! Towards Zero is a good one and not just for established fans.
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  #264  
Old 14 November 2012, 08:16 PM
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I find Swedish literature unreadably bleak...
The book I'm reading about translation has some interesting things to say about Swedish bleakness and literature. Apparently part of the reason that Ingmar Bergman's films which gained international acclaim were so terse was that he knew he needed to make them easy to subtitle (or dub) and this helped to give the Swedes a reputation for bleakness. Bergman's films for a domestic audience are (apparently) fairly verbose comedies...

Also, translations of English language novels into Swedish tend to use a particular dialogue style which is allowed in Swedish but not conventional, and which was associated with detective literature. Swedish crime writers started to use the same style in their own novels (in Swedish), and the author of the book I'm reading reckons that has something to do with their success in translation and the current Swedish crime boom.
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  #265  
Old 15 November 2012, 09:13 PM
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The Joe Grey books. On second to last now, sure hope another is published soon.
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  #266  
Old 16 November 2012, 09:48 PM
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Reading my top 10 Shakespeare plays in chronological order: Richard III, Midsummer Night's Dream, Merchant of Venice, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear, The Tempest

Reading Of Human Bondage by M. Somerset Maugham-The beginning was alright talking about Philip Carey's childhood with his mother's death and being raised by his aunt and uncle and I am enjoying his lust-hate relationship with Mildred (the part that I'm reading now), but the middle which dealt with his education and aborted art career in Paris kind of dragged too much for me. Not one of my favorites.

Continuing The Tudor series with The Other Boylen Girl-More scheming in the days of Henry VIII, lots of fun.

Losing Gemma By Katy Gardner- A dark but ultimately very spiritual book and long-time favorite of mine about two young Englishwomen going backpacking in India only for one to disappear.

My final Time-Life series Mysteries of the Unknown starting with Mystic Places-I haven't read them in awhile but as I recall they are very intriguing.
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  #267  
Old 18 November 2012, 06:26 AM
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Reading

Quiet by Susan Cain
about introverts
easy to read & interesting

honestly, I feel I am understanding myself more by reading this book & I feel a bit more settled ... turing into a self-help book for me to some extent

interesting & a good read
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  #268  
Old 26 November 2012, 08:32 PM
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Quote:
I started listening to Perfume by Patrick Susskind, on the recommendation of several people, but after an hour I was so unimpressed I stopped. Way too much exposition and a thoroughly unsympathetic main character.
I don't get the hype either. Avoid the movie, it's possibly even less appealing. I actually dozed off towards the end and missed the orgy scene :-(

A couple of months ago I got myself an E-Reader and since then I've been reading pretty much non-stop. I'm on a John Le Carré binge right now after seeing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy(and so should you); I've so far read Call For The Dead (good, but a bit sparse, started on A Murder Of Quality but shelved it until I can figure out how the British school system works, and am now partway through The Spy Who Came In From the Cold. If you like spy thrillers, I can heartily recommend it. It's tense, very well researched and the writing has improved a lot since the first novel. I thought CotD often felt sparse and simplistic, but that's definitely not the case with TSWCIFTC.
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  #269  
Old 26 November 2012, 09:03 PM
Ryda Wong, EBfCo. Ryda Wong, EBfCo. is offline
 
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As a present to myself after the move, I got The Dark and Hollow Places (third in Carrie Ryan's Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy), Jim Hines' Libromancer, and Of Blood and Honey by Stina Leicht. they just got here. Yay! New books!
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  #270  
Old 27 November 2012, 01:40 AM
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I'm re-reading The Hobbit, a book I haven't read since my early teenage years, and before then a book that was only read to me as a young child. It's a lot more mature in some ways that I recall it being, while at the same time possessing a cloyingly condescending tone that I can't believe ever appealed to any self-respecting child such as myself.

The dwarves are almost completely interchangeable, Gandalf is a git-wizard of the highest order, Bilbo is such a fussy madam I keep expecting him to proclaim 'I do declare!' and the villains practically have 'Villainous McBadguy - Ask me about being evil!' badges. But at the same time the plot is so exciting and adventurous you can't help but wonder what happens to these terrible and boring creations.
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  #271  
Old 27 November 2012, 03:39 PM
Ryda Wong, EBfCo. Ryda Wong, EBfCo. is offline
 
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So I finished Libriomancer last night in about three hours. It is NOTHING serious. but it was a fantastic and utterly enjoyable romp for me. It's a book-lover's fantasy without a doubt and the references (which are in integral part of the story) really had me humming.
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  #272  
Old 27 November 2012, 03:52 PM
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Ryda, I knew you'd love Jim Hines. I think he's my current favorite author. I need to get that book. (I've read his Princess series).

I just read Cinder, which is a cyborg, futuristic take on Cinderella, but with enough of it's own story going on that it's not just a fairy tale. Lots of fun.
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  #273  
Old 27 November 2012, 04:18 PM
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I just got a reversion of rights on my YA Grimoire series, so now I can publish the last volume and bring the series to its proper end. I'll do it as an omnibus of all three books, though, since the last installment was published eight years ago.
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  #274  
Old 29 November 2012, 08:02 PM
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The first Thursday Next book by Jasper Fforde. I've been meaning to get started on them for ages and now I can't believe I waited so long. I hope the rest are as good as the first!

I've also just finished Redshirts after reading about it on these boards (while lurking), absolutely brilliant book.
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  #275  
Old 30 November 2012, 04:18 AM
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Reading

Finished Shakespeare and am doing some Christmas reading (sort of) by reading my Charles Dickens novels beginning with Oliver Twist-the earliest that I own and still one of my favorites.

Just started Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh and already loving the cute couple that is Charles Ryder/Sebastian Flyte (with of course Aloysius making three. )

Just finished The Other Boleyn Girl and will be starting The Boleyn Inheritance my favorite of the Tudor books because I didn't know as much about Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard but actually enjoyed their personalities enough that they became my favorites of the Henry VIII wives.

Continuing Mysteries of the Unexplained with Mind Over Matter dealing with Psychokinesis, telepathy, hypnosis, and other mental abilities.

Also started The Alchemist by Paulo Colhelo- a deep spiritual journey about a young boy discovering his "Personal Legend."
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  #276  
Old 30 November 2012, 04:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Loyhargil View Post
On a recommendation from a friend a couple of months ago, I read "Pillars of the Earth" by Ken Follett. I actually liked the architecture bits, but holy crap, the story drove me bat-poop crazy. There was no such thing as a fleshed-out character, everyone was one dimensional, age-old tropes were pranced out left and right (physical deformity = evil, fighting man = dumb, strong woman = misfit, craploads of female victimization, etc.).

Yet, of both these books, I've heard so many positive reviews. Seriously? Surely I can't be the only person in the world who was irritated to no end by them both, can I?
I haven't read those particular works, but I just finished the first two books of his unfinished "Century" trilogy (Fall of Giants and Winter of the World), and I feel the same way. They're like someone decided to write a history textbook by presenting all the information as dialogue spoken by (one-dimensional) characters, liberally sprinkled with gratuitous sex scenes to keep the reader's attention. I can't believe people rave about these books (and their author).
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  #277  
Old 30 November 2012, 07:10 AM
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The Casual Vacancy, JK Rowling

Grabbed it at the library.
I enjoyed it -- easily pulled into the story and the characters.
She does tell a good story.
It was a bit of a page turner for me ... wanted to know what would happen next to who.
I was surprised how things ended ... not what I expected ... or wanted for the characters.
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  #278  
Old 30 November 2012, 08:02 AM
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I read loads in November - although mostly quite short books. I mentioned a couple already in my October post (The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes and Khufu's Wisdom by Naguib Mahfouz). Then:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sem View Post
The first Thursday Next book by Jasper Fforde. I've been meaning to get started on them for ages and now I can't believe I waited so long. I hope the rest are as good as the first!
I read The Woman Who Died A Lot a few weeks ago, which is the latest Thursday Next. I think he keeps getting better, myself... The plot and settings start to get rapidly more complicated and self-referential over the first three books but he still manages to keep it making a surprising amount of sense, given that if you ever try to explain the plots of any of them, they make no sense whatsoever to anybody listening. As far as I remember the first three are sort of a direct trilogy and once that plot's resolved it gets a bit more straightforward.

This one was set entirely in Real Life Swindon with only incidental BookWorld involvement (although some of it was plot-critical). There are loads of things I like about them - the way that Thursday seems to be aging more or less in real-time is a nice touch. She was in her mid-thirties in the first one as far as I remember, and now she's about fifty. I'm not sure whether her children are, though, but it's quite hard to say exactly when (or in some cases, if) they were born and how old they would be supposed to be. Luckily time travel has never existed in this universe any more, so that simplifies things, although part of the plot of The Woman Who Died A Lot is dealing with the ramifications of the fact that time travel used to exist but now has never existed. (He managed to create a time travel paradox which negated the possibility of time travel itself...) I love the way that the characters try to explain things time-travel related, though - they don't resort to jargon or hugely complicated timelines, they'll just say something fairly straightforward which looks exactly like a complete non-sequitur, and everybody else will say "Of course, that explains it". It's a good way of making fun of the usual internet discussions of time travel plots.

Then I read Is That A Fish In Your Ear? The Amazing Adventure Of Translation by David Bellos. (I'll have to check but I think I've read his translations of Georges Perec in the past). Very interesting - a little academic in parts but mostly because he doesn't have much time for theoretical arguments about what "is and isn't possible" in language and so needs to dismiss them. His style reminds me a bit of ganzfeld's, so I can imagine people reading it and then getting annoyed because they're wrong.

Blue of Noon by Georges Bataille (trans. Harry Matthews). This is in one of the genres of literature mentioned in another thread that I may never fully appreciate - it's a sort of prototype of those French novels in which the narrators go around being nihilistic and self-hating, drinking far too much and having a lot of sex (or not having, in this case) with women they also hate. I suspect the protagonist of this one might have had more luck if he hadn't kept telling women that he was a necrophiliac who once masturbated over the corpse of his mother - although that never seemed to put them off as much as you'd expect; for some reason they all still wanted to mother him. The parts about the build-up to the Spanish Civil War are interesting, though. Quite prescient at the time too, as it was written (but not published) before the war itself started. It's not nearly as pornographic as The Story Of The Eye, and I can more-or-less see why it's published as a Penguin Modern Classic, although as I say, that seems to be mostly for its influence on genres of literature that I don't personally like anyway.

Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class by Owen Jones. This was really good - stick it to the Tories! And New Labour! Hooray! Reading this makes most of the things Cameron says seem even more hollow than they did already.

The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year - Sue Townsend. She seems to be back on top form - the last Adrian Mole was better than any for a while, and I really enjoyed this too. Lots of funny one-liners.

Where The Bodies Are Buried - Chris Brookmyre (no longer Christopher it seems). This was great too. I now understand why he's been transferred to the Crime section of the bookshop. He used to be in the mainstream literature section, and neither of the previous books I'd read were Crime. For those who've read more than me, is this one part of a series? It was a self-contained story but some of the references to past cases seemed as though they might have been referring to earlier books in this universe as well.


Now I'm reading Rhadopis of Nubia by Naguib Mahfouz, the second of his Ancient Egypt trilogy. (Trans. Anthony Calderbank).
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  #279  
Old 03 December 2012, 05:52 PM
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Where The Bodies Are Buried - Chris Brookmyre (no longer Christopher it seems). This was great too. I now understand why he's been transferred to the Crime section of the bookshop. He used to be in the mainstream literature section, and neither of the previous books I'd read were Crime. For those who've read more than me, is this one part of a series? It was a self-contained story but some of the references to past cases seemed as though they might have been referring to earlier books in this universe as well.
I used to love Christopher Brookmyre, but his most recent books haven't appealed to me so much. I think "Where the bodies are buried" is the first in a new series. But from what I remember his characters do cross over between books quite a bit.

I have just found out that he's got a new one out next year though, and I'm unreasonably excited about it because it looks like it will be sci-fi, or at least a bit weird and one of my favourites of his is "Pandaemonium" (which is a bit horrorish).

I'm nearly done with the second Thursday Next book, and enjoying it very much. I did think the end of the first one seemed a bit rushed though!

Next on my list is "This book is full of spiders", but I might have to finish all the Thursday Next books first
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  #280  
Old 04 December 2012, 03:25 PM
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Snopsters, I need help! Due to an unfortunate training accident, I am convalescing at home for at least 6 weeks. This is hard for a man who works 1 full time and 2 part time jobs! I love to read, but have not had much time lately(about 10 years! see above referenced jobs).

I love science fiction, and believe I have read everything written by Niven, H. Beam Piper, E.E. 'Doc' Smith and David Gerrold. Also loved All of Douglas Adams' stuff.

I have a Kindle (and I'm not afraid to use it!) and an Amazon gift card. I prefer Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and enjoy series (so that they don't end too quickly). I am looking for suggestions.

I have seen much love from Snopesters for Terry Pratchett, and I have wanted to delve into the Star Wars universe for years. Both of these seem to have a huge number of stories, and I wouldn't know where to begin.

Please help! I have a need to fill my reading void, but (due to limited income) I want to make my purchases count.

Jake
P.S: I welcome all suggestions - rereading my post made it sound like I only wanted Pratchett/Star Wars suggestions.
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