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Re: Books!

Post by Eldorion on Thu Aug 22, 2013 6:57 pm

Yeah, the final novel of The Wheel of Time was finally released just this past January. The series ultimately stretched to some 14 volumes and four million words. I haven't read the whole series but I'd imagine they have to do something other than just rip off LOTR to get that much material. Razz
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Re: Books!

Post by Semiramis on Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:12 pm

You have a point there Laughing 

Thanks Wink 

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Re: Books!

Post by Norc on Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:56 pm

how do u judge a book?

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Re: Books!

Post by azriel on Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:08 pm

Liked that Norc ! Cool

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Re: Books!

Post by Hillbilly on Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:18 pm

Three of my favorite books (short stories actually) are:

The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Ladies and Gentlemen, To the Gas Chamber by Tadeusz Borowski

I'm also quite fond of Hemingway. Would be interested in others thoughts of these if you've read them. Also, if you have read something similar that you would recommend.
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Re: Books!

Post by azriel on Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:40 pm

Books, to me, are an antidote to life, unless the are non fiction & factual or Historical. I very much enjoy Tom Sharpe & Terry Pratchett, due mainly to not just comedy but to dry wit !

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Re: Books!

Post by halfwise on Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:44 pm

You're a deep, one Hillbilly.  I always liked the segment from the Brothers Karamazov called The Grand Inquisitor, but haven't read any other Dosteyevsky - he runs long and the requisite time and depth of thought has been left behind in my youth I'm afraid.  The Russians are always deep.

I've been a bit afraid of the Frederick Douglas auto-biography, for much the same reason.  I could plumb the depths when I was younger, a bit afraid to go there now.  

Moby Dick is about my speed for depths these days.  What a strange and wonderful book: he'll spend a whole chapter talking about a whale's left side for pages, then later on the entire chapter about Tashtego in the crow's nest during a thunderstorm is so short I can quote it from memory:

"Thunder, um - um, too much thunder.
Rum, um - um, give us a cup of rum!"

End of chapter.

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Re: Books!

Post by David H on Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:01 pm

For a light intermission between classic Russian novelists, I can recommend "Death and the Penguin" by Andrey Kurkov. Very different, but very Russian!
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Re: Books!

Post by Hillbilly on Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:02 pm

Think you'd love Frederick Douglass Halfy. It's more inspiring than it is deep. What slave masters did for mind control is very insightful, and how Douglass discovered that education is the key to liberation (of the mind and body) is definitely motivation material.

Crime and Punishment is great, and some Chekov. Anna Karenina almost made my top three, but the length makes it difficult to recommend.

As deep as the Russians can be, I love Hemingway's brevity. He supposedly won a wager with his friends who bet he couldn't write a complete short story in six words. He wrote "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."
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Re: Books!

Post by Hillbilly on Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:03 pm

Thanks Dave, I'll check it out.
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Re: Books!

Post by halfwise on Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:11 pm

Very Happy 

Nice thing about Hemingway, you can treat him as light reading if you're in the mood because his writing is so crystalline, or you can go back and puzzle out the depths. His short stories have a way of sticking with you, and I confess I've never been able to figure out why. He seems to be hitting buttons you can never find even after he's hit them, and you go back and look at the story and nothing seems to be there and it's just disconcerting.  Mad 

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Re: Books!

Post by David H on Sun Jan 05, 2014 8:11 pm

One of my favorite Hemingway books is "A Moveable Feast".

I first discovered it in the little library in Petersburg Alaska while working 20 hour days in the fish cannery. It's first appeal was that is appeared to be a series of autobiographical short stories of his time in Paris in the 20's, very simply told, so that my exhausted brain could actually follow them for a few minutes before I dozed off.

But as he drew me in, I realized that it was actually the musings of an old man on his life and the nature of art. It's one I go back to.

Another on like that is "Wind, Sand and Stars" by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. It's simple stories of his pioneering aviation flights in Africa, South America, and the Spanish Civil War, but it's really a thesis on life, death, value, and humanity. I keep going back to this one too.

Oh, and then there's Conrad....
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Re: Books!

Post by Ringdrotten on Sun Jan 05, 2014 8:56 pm

I've read some of the Russian classics too, and to my own great surprise I really liked Anna Karenina. I especially loved the Levin character Very Happy Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol' is still one of my favourite books; not sure what genre to put it in, but it's a great work of comedic writing. Read some Dostoevskij too, but his style didn't appeal to me for some reason. Russian poetry is supposed to be excellent, but I rarely read translated poetry as translating a poem consisting of more than four lines is near impossible.

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Re: Books!

Post by Hillbilly on Sun Jan 26, 2014 11:28 pm

Halfy, your analysis of Hemingway is about the best I've heard.  I recently reread The Sun Also Rises, because like you said, the first time I read it, it left quite an impression on me.  After reading it again, I'm looking back and wondering what it was that struck me.

This cold weather has me pinned in, and without the computer I did some reading.  I read For Whom The Bell Tolls for the first time, and to date I believe it is the best Hemingway novel I've read.  I'm anxious to check out the short stories Dave mentioned (as well as the penguin book).  Right now I'm reading Dante's Inferno and loving it.

And Ringo, I loved Levin too, being a farmer and all.
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Re: Books!

Post by malickfan on Sun Jan 26, 2014 11:40 pm

I never read one book at a time, sometimes I can have a dozen on the trot at one time, I'm a very fast reader of words, but not perhaps a fast reader of books, it's trying to find the time and energy for long uninterrupted reads that's the problem


Currently re reading The Stand for the Third Time.

It's the only Stephen King book I've read, whilst it's kinda longwinded and self indulgent (some of his metaphors come across as being vomitted out by the typewriter, and it is perhaps overlong by five or six chapters) and the 1990 setting (it's the expanded version) doesn't entirely gel with the political undertones and tone of the story...I really love this book, great characters gripping entertaining story, with a few unexpected twists, and a straight to the point, but very fluently told writing style (Tolkien gets name checked at least twice as well so that's a bonus  Wink ) it may not be great literature but it's a great book IMO.

Aside from that I'm still slooooowly trying to work my way through over a dozen Tolkien books I picked up very cheaply over the last year (The Lays of Beleriand is brilliant in a 'bloody hell I need lots of coffee and a notepad' way), and I'm planning on starting The Ravenor Ominbus (Warhammer 40k fiction)by Dan Abnett soon, as I loved it's predecessor Eisenhorn

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Re: Books!

Post by Forest Shepherd on Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:04 am

I've been reading some Neil Gaiman. It's a bit gimicky, this collection of short stories, but I like it ("Smoke and Mirrors").
I'm starting Coraline too, once I finish this.
I also ready Summit Fever recently, some scottish poet's story about being invited along to go mountain climbing in Pakistan by the Scottish mountaineer Mal Duff. It was interesting enough.

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Re: Books!

Post by halfwise on Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:16 am

I'll have to check into A Movable Feast. PBS recently did a haunting study of the effect of early 20th century Paris on art in general, and of course it had a huge impact on America which most people are unaware of. It basically saved jazz, and most jazz musicians to this day make most of their money touring Europe.

Yep, I'd love to see that crucible through Hemingway's eyes.

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Re: Books!

Post by bungobaggins on Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:56 am

malickfan wrote:Currently re reading The Stand for the Third Time.

Oh, I love The Stand! cheers

It is often touted as "The American Lord of the Rings." If you read more King (particularly the Dark Tower series) you will start to see how King ties quite a lot of what he has written into the same universe. It's pretty cool.

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Re: Books!

Post by Norc on Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:12 am

i am writing a book review of the kite runner (school-stuff) want me to post it when i am done?

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Re: Books!

Post by Ringdrotten on Thu Jan 30, 2014 2:55 pm

Yeah, that would be cool Smile I mentioned we read the book in our English language class as well, and we also wrote an essay or something after we'd read it, so I'd be interested seeing your review of it Smile

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Re: Books!

Post by Mrs Figg on Thu Jan 30, 2014 5:22 pm

Forest Shepherd wrote:I've been reading some Neil Gaiman. It's a bit gimicky, this collection of short stories, but I like it ("Smoke and Mirrors").
I'm starting Coraline too, once I finish this.
I also ready Summit Fever recently, some scottish poet's story about being invited along to go mountain climbing in Pakistan by the Scottish mountaineer Mal Duff. It was interesting enough.

I love Gaimans writing, try Neverwhere, its one of all time top 5 books. and Anansi boys is great too.  Very Happy
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Re: Books!

Post by Norc on Thu Jan 30, 2014 6:18 pm

ok then ^^ I have to hand it in first though Wink

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Re: Books!

Post by Bluebottle on Sun Feb 23, 2014 4:47 pm

Just a small piece of Patrick O'Brian from his Aubrey-Maturin series. It's in the film they made based on his books "Master and Commander" as well, I think.

Patrick O'Brian wrote:“Two weevils crept from the crumbs. 'You see those weevils, Stephen?' said Jack solemnly.

I do.'

Which would you choose?'

There is not a scrap of difference. Arcades ambo. They are the same species of curculio, and there is nothing to choose between them.'

But suppose you had to choose?'

Then I should choose the right-hand weevil; it has a perceptible advantage in both length and breadth.'

There I have you,' cried Jack. 'You are bit - you are completely dished. Don't you know that in the Navy you must always choose the lesser of two weevils? Oh ha, ha, ha, ha!”

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Re: Books!

Post by Norc on Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am

Remember the kite runner i had to read and write a review for? since i finally got it back, i can share it with you :)i got 6  the only marks were like minor stuff, like i wrote exiting instead if exciting  and maybe i shouldn't have mentioned who Sohrab was, but then again, it doesn't make that much a difference if u know that fact, there are other stuff that is more of a thing... thing.. whatevz. here it is ^^

and if anyone tries to use it as their own in any way you are fucking morons because teachers have a database, plus they google the text if they have a suspicion that you might not have written it yourself!



book review
"The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini


“I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975.”[1] With these promising words the novel “the Kite Runner”(2003) takes us back to Kabul in the 70’s, where we meet Hassan and Amir. We learn about the devastating powers of friendship and fatherly love and the marks it leaves. “The Kite Runner” is also a story of regret and redemption and how the past will always be a part of you. “[…] I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.” [1]

The story takes for the most part place in Kabul and what a Kabul we are introduced to! A vibrant, thriving city is the backdrop of Hassan and Amir’s childhood. So vividly are the descriptions, it almost feels like I have lived there myself. When Hosseini tells us about Kabul in the 70’s, it is with a nostalgic longing for a time and place that no longer exists.  Amir and Hassan are friends, yet at the same time, they’re not. Hassan is a Hazara and Amir’s servant. He lives in a mud hut with his crippled father while Amir and his father, Baba, lives a wealthy and rather western lifestyle. They have a big house, western clothes and his father drives a mustang. Even though they do everything together, Hassan is still the servant, the illiterate Hazara. He is loyal and brave and would do anything for Amir, “for you a thousand times over” Hassan says. The same can’t be said about Amir. His relationship with Hassan is overshadowed by his desire for approval from his father. Amir decides to win the kite tournament and finally be the son his father could be proud of, but it has its price. The choices he made during the winter of 1975 will follow him forever.  The war comes and Amir and his father move to America. It is a fresh start and it allows Amir to forget his past. Although when he gets a phone call from Rahim-Khan, a close friend of his father’s, saying that there was a way to be good again, his past finally catches up with him. Amir has to go back and find Hassan’s son, Sohrab, but the Taliban are everywhere and his Kabul is nothing like what it once was. It is dangerous. He feels like a tourist in his country, but as his driver, Farid, says: “You’ve always been a tourist here, you just didn’t know it.”

The characters are interesting and complex. There’s the distant father, Baba, who never accepts his son the way he is. He wants him to play football and be tough, but that’s not Amir. Only when he is an adult there seems to have grown a mutual respect between them. Baba is an authoritative figure who is always the centre of attention and has independent opinions when it comes to education and religion. “I see you’ve confused what you learn in school with actual education,”   he says to Amir when asked if Baba was a sinner because Amir had learned from the mullahs at school that drinking was a sin. Following up with; “Piss on the beards of all those self-righteous monkeys.”

The novel is a sad and gripping story and even though the setting takes up a great part of the story, it is not a story about culture. It’s not the story of the suppression of the Hazara people; it’s not the story of how Afghanistan was invaded by the Russians and the Taliban, it is a story of human relations. It’s a story of the relationship between Amir and Baba, his craving for motherly affection and acceptance from his father. It’s about Amir’s friendship with Hassan, how he failed him when he needed his friend the most. It’s also a story of regret and redemption. What will Amir decide to do when faced with his past?

The story is very well written. The language is very descriptive and poetic in its way of dealing with desperation, the emptiness of not being able to have children and longing, yet it didn’t grip as well as I had hoped. It took a very long time for anything particularly exciting to happen. I understand that it was important for Hosseini to establish the characters early on, which is a smart thing to do if you want the reader’s sympathy, but it still dragged on for too long. The mid-sequence spent in America also felt dragged, although it gives a good perspective of how long Amir actually lived in the US before returning to Kabul. The plot also felt, at times, a bit like a cliché. The big reveal at the end wasn’t as big a surprise as the author may have wanted it to be, it was something I saw coming for a long time. Acknowledging the fact that it is a cliché does not help. “Here is another cliché my creative writing teacher would have scoffed at; like father, like son” , it’s still a cliché. Which brings me to my next point, the writing; it is not very challenging. It doesn’t leave a lot for the reader to read between the lines. As the example above says “like father, like son”. That is a statement the readers could, if given the trust from the writer, very well come up with themselves. There are a couple of other examples where the reader is deprived of the chance to figure it out themselves, connect the dots. At the hospital Amir looks in the mirror and examines his new scar over his lip. But instead of giving the reader the chance, and trust, to figure out this connection to Hassan’s harelip, Hosseini chooses to hit us across the head with a big hammer “like a harelip”  just to make sure we got the point.

That being said, I did like the book. The story and the characters felt believable and Hosseini’s writing is very present and alive. I particularly found Amir’s confusion and raw emotions at the hospital very well written. The characters are well-rounded and especially Amir is an interesting storyteller. He is honest and not the typical hero, he makes bad choices, but this makes him very relatable. Another character I want to mention is Baba. The change in him when he moves to the US and his relationship with Amir is some very clever writing. He is a character with many layers.

“The Kite Runner” is a book I would recommend. It has some faults, but they are minor in the big picture. Hosseini deals with human relations in a way that is both mesmerizing and provocative and the book is undoubtedly worth the read. It is a powerful story which balances on a thin line between poetically beautiful and devastatingly sad. Or maybe it is both at the same time?

[1],[2] p. 1
[3] p. 16
[4] p. 209
[5] p. 273

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Re: Books!

Post by azriel on Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:20 am

Quite a passionate, in depth piece there Norc, You've inticed me to dig out a copy & read it, & I think thats the best way !
Dang these clever clogs of the future  Rolling Eyes  Laughing

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