Books. Books? Books!

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Stalvern
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Books. Books? Books!

Postby Stalvern » April 30th, 2020, 12:49 am

I'm sure that I'm not the only person here who appreciates a good book, especially with all the time that people have to themselves right now. What's everybody reading? (I know that there's already a book thread, but it's a zombie that gets about two posts in a good year; I'm hoping that a new thread can get better traction, like that one had at the beginning.)

Right now, I'm about halfway through Angels, by Denis Johnson. An eloquently seedy bit of Americana; I wouldn't be surprised if it influenced Thelma and Louise. It's a bleak, often disturbing book, but one throwaway detail stuck out to me and made me think of this forum when I read it – at one point, one of the main characters plays a Styx pinball machine:
Standing at the pinball machine by the payphone near the restrooms, he cracked open his roll of quarters and dropped one down the slot. It was one of the new machines that go blip blip toot toot. Stupid. Okay. In rapid succession he shot his three chances, paying the progress of each metal ball no mind whatever, and studied the contraption’s face – a space-age tableau of the rock group Styx, the lead guitarist of whom was evidently about to be fellated by a mindless jungle woman strewn before his feet. Behind them, intergalactic bodies flashed with electricity, the phosphorus-fires of infinite patience.

Johnson's goofing around here; there has never been a Styx pinball machine (although the description was clearly inspired by the real Kiss machine). But I like how convincing this imaginary game is, an image as deft as it is expendable, and I think that most of the people here can appreciate it too. (As for the rest of the book, some parts are, uh, tough going. Definitely not for everyone.)

Edit: Finished the book. It turned from Thelma and Louise into Requiem for a Dream by the end. I had to skim some of the later sections at a safe distance.
Last edited by Stalvern on April 30th, 2020, 9:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ActRaiser
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Re: Books. Books? Books!

Postby ActRaiser » April 30th, 2020, 8:49 am

Do comic books count?

I signed up for DC Universe on a trial base and ended up letting it renew. So far I devoured Superman: Birthright, Superman: For All Seasons and started the Superman: The Man of Steel series.

I wanted to read something uplifting and more positive for obvious reasons. A while back I really enjoyed All-Star Superman for its sense of hope. Hence, my dive into comic books lately.

Has anyone read any of the Diskworld books? I've been thinking something humorous might be a good option as well. There are 40+ books in the series and I've yet to touch any of them.

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Stalvern
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Re: Books. Books? Books!

Postby Stalvern » May 1st, 2020, 10:49 pm

ActRaiser wrote:Do comic books count?

They came up a lot in the old thread, so why not here? :)

ActRaiser wrote:Has anyone read any of the Diskworld books? I've been thinking something humorous might be a good option as well. There are 40+ books in the series and I've yet to touch any of them.

I read The Colour of Magic and Guards! Guards! a while back. People tend to dismiss that first one, and there isn't a whole lot to it, but it's funny and fun and lays the basic groundwork of Discworld nicely. Guards! Guards! is definitely better and more representative of the series, though, with Pratchett having settled into his setting and figured out what he wanted to do with it beyond goofing off; I recommend it wholeheartedly, especially in light of what you're looking for right now.

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Gentlegamer
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Re: Books. Books? Books!

Postby Gentlegamer » May 2nd, 2020, 8:33 pm

I've been immersed in crime noir; read Perfidia and now reading This Storm, by James Ellroy, commonly known as the author of L.A. Confidential. They are part of the new "L.A. Quartet" as a WWII prequel to the original "L.A. Quartet," The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz.

Everyone's dirty; even the "good guys"
Last edited by Gentlegamer on May 3rd, 2020, 12:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ActRaiser
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Re: Books. Books? Books!

Postby ActRaiser » May 3rd, 2020, 9:49 am

Stalvern wrote:I read The Colour of Magic and Guards! Guards! a while back. People tend to dismiss that first one, and there isn't a whole lot to it, but it's funny and fun and lays the basic groundwork of Discworld nicely. Guards! Guards! is definitely better and more representative of the series, though, with Pratchett having settled into his setting and figured out what he wanted to do with it beyond goofing off; I recommend it wholeheartedly, especially in light of what you're looking for right now.


Thanks for the information. I appreciate it.

Luigi & Peach
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Re: Books. Books? Books!

Postby Luigi & Peach » May 9th, 2020, 6:47 pm

Currently trying to schlep my way through Jules Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth". The book isn't overly long, but it feels like more of a chore than a source of enjoyment right now.

Voor
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Re: Books. Books? Books!

Postby Voor » May 9th, 2020, 7:11 pm

Luigi & Peach wrote:Currently trying to schlep my way through Jules Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth". The book isn't overly long, but it feels like more of a chore than a source of enjoyment right now.



Yeah, I enjoyed that way less the 20,000 leagues and Around the World.

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Stalvern
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Re: Books. Books? Books!

Postby Stalvern » May 9th, 2020, 9:32 pm

Luigi & Peach wrote:Currently trying to schlep my way through Jules Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth". The book isn't overly long, but it feels like more of a chore than a source of enjoyment right now.

Which version are you reading? The public-domain Victorian translations of Verne (and most French literature of the period) are paragons of incompetence, severely abridged and censored to boot. (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea was one of my favorite books as a kid, and I happened to first read it in the Anthony Bonner translation – when I later checked it out again from a different library branch, the public-domain version that I ended up with was all but unreadable.) The Penguin and Oxford editions have proper translations; if you aren't reading one of them, it's a wonder that you've made it anywhere in the book at all. (If you are, well, you can at least be certain that you dislike it on its own terms.)

Luigi & Peach
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Re: Books. Books? Books!

Postby Luigi & Peach » May 10th, 2020, 4:53 pm

I'm reading a 1992 edition that was published by Tor. According to the cover it's "Complete & Unabridged". I bought it from a used book store and it still has a sticker from one of the local middle schools (I really like stuff like that). I think my expectations may have been too high for this book going in and so far it's moved along at a bit of a plodding pace (I'm about 180 pages in out of 260). I thought they'd start running across some more prehistoric life prior to p. 160 or so of the book. I guess in my mind I was comparing it more to something like "Lost World" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (or maybe I've read too many John Carter books which are the literary equivalent of kids' sugar cereal).

I read "10,000 Leagues Under the Sea" back in middle school which would have been almost 30 years ago at this point. I don't remember much about the book other than a general impression that the book was somewhere between "not bad" and "pretty good".

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Stalvern
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Re: Books. Books? Books!

Postby Stalvern » May 10th, 2020, 8:06 pm

The Tor edition appears to be the worst one available, even with another Victorian translation to choose from. Welp. A complete and unabridged edition of a text that itself is anything but.
Wikipedia wrote:The 1871 English-language edition published by Griffith and Farran [...] is an abridged and altered translation. It changes the Professor's name to Hardwigg, Axel's name to Harry (or Henry) Lawson, and Gräuben's name to Gretchen. It omits some chapters while rewriting or adding portions to others.

Dreadful stuff (and it's inexcusable that it's still in print), but I guess it's a moot point if your complaint is with the book's overall structure – it would be the same case even if you were reading the Oxford.

(I apologize to anyone who finds this translation business a dull topic. It's a subject that's very close to my heart, and the treatment of Verne in English is what made me conscious of it in the first place.)


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