Writing What are you reading?

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Posted

[FONT="Tahoma"]Now I know there is a thread like this in the Anime Central, but what about those of us who don?t really read or watch much anime? We need a thread for regular reading! I looked and didn?t see anything like that here in the Anthology so I figured I should start one. >_> Though if there is a thread and I missed it? you can just fix it right Sir Allamorph?

Anyway, I?ll start with a book I?m currently reading or rather re-reading since it?s been a while. And that would be [B]Her Majesty?s Wizard[/B] by [I]Christopher Stasheff. [/I]

Now borrowing from wiki since I?m lazy? >_> the story goes like this?

A PhD student called Matthew "Matt" Mantrell is transported into a fantasy world. In that world, which mirrors our own (but a thousand years ago), magic still reigns supreme. Dragons, wizards, sorcerers and giants are just some of the exotic residents of this world. Most importantly, faith (in the Christ) exists in this world, and largely influences the works of men. Devout men who believe in and follow God- exactly the way the Christian doctrine dictates - will turn out successful in their actions.

Matt found himself the unwitting hero who has to rescue royalty-in-distress and help her regain her rule from an evil usurper.

Now what makes this book so interesting is the culture shock resulting from an individual abruptly transitioning from our modern relativistic culture into a black and white world. Even if I don?t understand all the Christian philosophy on account of not being familiar with the Roman Catholic Church? the whole concept of moving to a world where things are so clearly defined and poetry results in magic? it?s just a fun read. ^_^

Anyway, I believe that makes it someone else's turn! Tell us what you are reading! And definitely include a bit about it since I'm always looking for something new to read. :catgirl:[/FONT]

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[COLOR="Indigo"]And here I'm reading stuff that's not exactly for fun and yet still interesting. What I'm currently reading,[I] beyond what I'm required to read for school,[/I] is [B]People of the Lie[/B] by M. Scott Peck.

Basically in the book Peck describes the stories of several people who came to him (since he's a psychiatrist) whom he found particularly resistant to any form of help. He came to think of them as evil and goes on to describe the characteristics of evil in psychological terms, proposing that it could become a psychiatric diagnosis.

It's a bit heavy and yet interesting to read just the same. Now I need to read something light and just for fun next though.[/COLOR]

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[COLOR="DarkGreen"][FONT="Book Antiqua"]When am I not reading? Anyway, currently I'm reading [B]The Gates of Sleep[/B] by Mercedes Lackey. She's one of my favorite authors. Anyway, the novel is based on the classic Fairy Tale of Sleeping Beauty. A brief summary which will sound ever so familiar...

Hugh and Alanna Roeswood have a baby girl named Marina and invite all the godparents to her christening. The godparents go up by themselves to lay a blessing on the sleeping babe. Before all the godparents have given their blessing, Hugh's sister Arachne, who is not supposed to have any magical abilities at all, lays a curse upon the infant (death by her 18th birthday). She then leaves, leaving behind not only the curse, but Marina's terrified parents and godparents. One of the godparents, Elizabeth Hastings, attempts to remove of the curse, but can only change the nature of the curse instead.

So far it's turning out to be pretty good. Mercedes Lackey does a fun job with older fairy tale stories. One of my favorites is a retelling of Cinderella only with a twist that is different from the standard story in [B]The Fairy Godmother[/B]. Hmmm... Maybe I'll re-read that book next. :catgirl:[/FONT][/COLOR]

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What I'm reading is rather dry since I'm currently taking a look at this: [B]Outlines of Music History[/B] by Clarence G. Hamilton. As it says at Amazon since it's easier to simply copy and paste - This book is meant to meet the demand for a concise history of the entire field of musical development, presented in the light of new research. It is designed for both the student and general reader. The author hopes this volume will give the reader an intelligent conception of how music developed and has added numerous illustrations to illuminate the text as to the style and materials used in the different epochs and as to the personality and characteristics of the leading composers.

I'm a music geek, obviously, and I teach as well, need I say more? Well other than whether or not it's actually any good or useful is another story. I've only just started it after all. >_> I need to read something different for fun or rather something not music related. Heh.

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I'll probably take the time to check that book out Darren. I find that kind of stuff fascinating and fun to read. Though I suppose I could also pull out my text books on music history from when I was in college.

Anyway, currently I'm reading [B]Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth's Last Days[/B] by Tim F. LaHaye. It is interesting for a fictional approach to what's known as the Rapture of the Saints--the scary last story in the Bible in which Christians are swept to heaven and unbelievers are left behind to endure the Antichrist's Tribulation.

But I'm not sure if I'll bother to finish it or not. It's a bit to predictable and overly melodramatic in a manner that I don't really care for. It's sole problem being that it is written at a middle school reading level with characters that are two dimensional at best. So though I find the concept interesting, so far it's not being brought to life very well or rather I think it's appeal is for a much younger audience that is less familiar with the premises it is based on because overall the story is just too simple.

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[FONT=Arial][B]Left Behind[/B] was one of the strongest in the series, incidentally; although I kind of liked the approach they took, their characters [I]did[/I] get kind of worn out and stale by the fourth and fifth, so I quit following. Plus, later on in the series, LaHaye and co-author Jerry B. Jenkins didn't thresh out their story as thoroughly as they did in the first one or two. It gets kind of choppy and "lolwut" every now and again.

If I get the chance, I'll start in on that Stephen King I picked up earlier this semester, [B]Duma Key[/B]. Since I haven't read any King yet, and I feel badly about that, I figured that it was as opportune a place as any to start.[/FONT]

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[COLOR="Indigo"][quote name='Allamorph'][FONT=Arial][B]Left Behind[/B] was one of the strongest in the series, incidentally; although I kind of liked the approach they took, their characters [I]did[/I] get kind of worn out and stale by the fourth and fifth, so I quit following. Plus, later on in the series, LaHaye and co-author Jerry B. Jenkins didn't thresh out their story as thoroughly as they did in the first one or two. It gets kind of choppy and "lolwut" every now and again.[/FONT][/QUOTE]I actually checked that series out because I was curious about it. And I have to agree, the further along you get, the more worn and stale it becomes. I never bothered to finish it. I already dislike that type of story anyway, so it took very little for me to decide to quit. And yes I know you're probably wondering why I even started it. It was given to me, the first five or six, I forget which. So I gave it a token trial as it were.

Anyway, I finished up the other book I was reading and now picked up something for fun instead. [B]Magic Kingdom for Sale -- SOLD![/B] by Terry Brooks. I heard that compared to his other books it was a lighter format and of course a totally different storyline than his Shannara series so I figured I'd give it a run. Basically...

The book begins with Ben Holiday, a trial lawyer from Chicago, lamenting the loss of his wife and unborn child when he finds an advertisement in a Christmas catalog advertising a magical kingdom for sale for exactly one million dollars. Feeling in need of a life change and having nothing to lose he inquires and eventually buys the advertised kingdom of Landover from Meeks under a few conditions:

- He has to live there for one year otherwise it will revert ownership back to Meeks.
- He can't take anyone with him.
- He has ten days to "examine" the kingdom without obligation and a 95% refund.

I haven't gotten that far, but it's already clear that the Kingdom in question or rather deal is not what it seems. Not surprising of course, but at least interesting. If it continues along that line, I'm thinking it will be a fun read. [/COLOR]

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I've been in need of a fantasy fix, and I am somewhat fascinated by "Eberron", so I wnt and picked up [URL="http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=products/eberronnovel/176430000"]"The City of Towers"[/URL]. I'm only 40 pages in, but right now its a pretty decent read. I've heard the second book in the trilogy is miles above this one, so even if I don't like it too much, I'll pick up the next book.

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Recently, I've been reading [b]The Bourne Supremacy[/b] by [i]Robert Ludlum[/i]. Most have probably heard of it, so I don't need to do a full summary. But even so the original book is so different than the Movie. Of course, I read Identity first, which was pretty damn different as well, but still an amazing read.

I'm not that far into Supremacy, but so far it's good. I've taken a liking to Ludlum's writing style, even though when reading Identity it was kind of hard to keep track of which character he was talking about. If you read either of them, you might get what I mean.

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[color=royalblue][size=1]

I just finished reading [b]The Road[/b] by the enigmatic Cormac McCarthy, author of [b]No Country For Old Men[/b]. The book is about a father and his son struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic America. Its never really adressed what happened to destroy society, or why. The story is about the father and the son's trials while they attempt to travel south before the northern winter kills them.

It was an extremely good read and I'd suggest it to anyone. Its an emotional story and disturbing on some levels in the realistic depiction of humanity on the brink of survival. I loved it.

Right now, I'm about to read [b]World War Z[/b] for the third or so time, easily my favorite book by author Max Brooks who also did the [b]Zombie Survival Guide[/b], which I read snips of when bored. If you haven't had a chance to read either, I suggest those as well, but especially the former. It reads like an oral history report while the ficticious author travels the world, interviewing different people and getting their individual stories during the zombie pandemic that swept the world and nearly destroyed humanity. Such a great book, very emotional, and deeply haunting. Your pretty much garaunteed to find a character in the story that you can relate to on some level.

Check those out.[/color][/size]

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Ok, just finished [B]Starship Troopers[/B] and [B]World War Z[/B]. Both great reads now I need to make a summer list.

Any suggestions for a sci-fi/fantasy fan? I was thinking of reading Frank Herbert's [B]Dune[/B] as I've never read a space opera before.

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Right now, I'm in the middle of the [B]Wheel of Time[/B] series, by Robert Jordan, but I'm still grieving his sad, sad death, so it's going kind of slow.

I intend to read [B]Prince Caspian[/B] again before I finish WoT, though, because the movie is coming out soon, and I want to be able to tell which parts are true to the book and which aren't.

I'd like to get my hands on the rest of the [B]Guin Saga[/B], too. I've only read the first three, and the last one was really a cliffhanger. I think there's a manga now, which I must have as soon as possible.

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I just started reading [B]Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows[/B] in Finnish ("Harry Potter ja Kuoleman varjelukset"). I've already read in English last summer, naturally, so even though the Finnish translation (which is great, by the way) was published two months ago, I didn't get into reading it until now.

It's not my favorite part of the series, but it's a sweet end to it. Perhaps too sweet... :/

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Has anyone read [B]The Culture[/B] series by Iain Banks? That just may be my summer reading list right there.

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[COLOR="RoyalBlue"][FONT="Lucida Sans Unicode"]And here I need to get past the Goblet of Fire Sandy... Harry Potter just never struck a cord with me. So though I've seen some of the movies, I got tired of reading the series and never bothered to finish it.

I don't know why the series tends to make me apathetic, but it always does. So... that is what I am reading right now, the next one in the series: [B]Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix[/B]

Sadly, I'm already getting bored with it and I'm not that far into the book. At this rate it's going to take me forever to get to the end of the series. And part of me could care less. I'm tempted to set it aside and find something else to read.[/FONT][/COLOR]

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[quote name='SunfallE'][COLOR="RoyalBlue"][FONT="Lucida Sans Unicode"]I'm tempted to set it aside and find something else to read.[/FONT][/COLOR][/QUOTE]

You'd be better off for it. HP really is a horrible read - predictable characters, stereotypical side characters (I'm looking at you, Malfoy), and a boring villain. All of it is just so mundane, you can only wonder why it is such a success. It's the type of book you would read when you want to not think for a few hours.

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[COLOR="RoyalBlue"][FONT="Lucida Sans Unicode"][quote name='Matt']You'd be better off for it. HP really is a horrible read - predictable characters, stereotypical side characters (I'm looking at you, Malfoy), and a boring villain. All of it is just so mundane, you can only wonder why it is such a success. It's the type of book you would read when you want to not think for a few hours.[/QUOTE]The biggest problem I see is that it's something I would have loved when I was between eight and ten years old, but now? It just seems to lack a certain amount of depth. I imagine that's why I get bored so easily with it. I do think the general idea is fun, I just don't care for the execution of it. XP Also, I did put it aside and plan on picking something else to read. I just don't know what yet. [/FONT][/COLOR]

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Matt, you know if the Harry Potter series was as horrible as you said, it would not have succeeded. It certainly had little chance to become a hit in the first place, being written by a poor single mother who nobody had ever heard of. So even though you might not see it, there's definitely some magic in the books.

Sure, they're naïve and some characters are one-sided (although for example Draco manages to surprise in the last book), but the world is so rich and detailed and each new book brought so much new things to it to easily make up for the minor flaws. And I wouldn't call reading the books "mind emptying", but more like returning to the childhood. And if you can't do [I]that[/I], you're pretty much lost to the boredom of adulthood forever. ;D

I know I sound like a raving fanboy who cannot tolerate criticism towards something he likes here, but I do respect your differing opinion. People can't be expected to like the same things in any subject.

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[quote name='Sandy']Matt, you know if the Harry Potter series was as horrible as you said, it would not have succeeded.[/quote]
[FONT=Arial]Not true. Look at Spongebob Squarepants.

I am withholding judgment at present since I quit after the first book. :p

[B]Edit:[/B] And [COLOR="DarkRed"]Matt[/COLOR]'s next response is exactly what I would have said.[/FONT]

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Oh come now Sandy. It's essentially the undeclared law of media that all the popular stuff is no good. To find the stuff that is actually good stuff, you have to find things that no one has ever heard of. Heck, most of the classics of American Literature were unknown for a good fifty or so years before they were discovered and were loved.

When I read Harry Potter, I see kiddy stuff. I see the type of thing that kids between the ages of ten and twelve would [I]love[/I]. And when I was a kid, I absolutely [I]loved[/I] Harry Potter. But as I got older, and I began to read different books - basically any book I could find in the darkened halls of the Library - I just saw how dumb Harry Potter really is. HP doesn't challenge you, it doesn't make you think, it doesn't present new ideas. To adult readers, it is just really insulting. It holds your hand all the way through. It does not let go of your hand. Its a book for little kids, and that's all it ever will be. In ten years, twenty years, no one is going to care about those HP books.

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[quote name='Matt']HP doesn't challenge you, it doesn't make you think, it doesn't present new ideas. To adult readers, it is just really insulting. It holds your hand all the way through. It does not let go of your hand. Its a book for little kids, and that's all it ever will be. In ten years, twenty years, no one is going to care about those HP books.[/QUOTE]

Those sentences show that you haven't really read the books. They also show how ignorant you are of the millions of fans the books have gathered from all over the world. Not just ten-year-olds, mind you, but adults and even old people who're still connected to the child within them. Since I'm in a relationship with the admin of Finland's largest HP-fansite, I've met hundreds of those people and seen with my own eyes that the fandom isn't going to just fade away in a matter of years.

Again, just because you don't appreciate something, doesn't mean nobody else does either. You can consider yourself an intellectual for reading "grown-up books" (and that goes to you, Allamorph, as well), but until you realize that people are different, you're really not one. Or if you're just one of those people who assume that everything that is popular must automatically be "uncool", then it's your loss.

Anyway, to get back on topic, the other book I'm currently reading is actually my old Spanish textbook from high school (or the Finnish equivalent of it, lukio). I need to prep my Español because we're spending most of June in Spain. Can't wait! ;D

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Although I should not get involved in an argument being so new I would also like to point out when things become popular people make a point of finding errors. A book that is more widely noticed is going to have errors in it just like every other book out there has errors in it.

I don't like Harry Potter anyway, lol.

Right now I'm reading Bill Bryson's A Short History of Everything. I'm not far enough into it to draw any conclusions but so far it's been a wonderful read :).

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[quote name='Sandy']Those sentences show that you haven't really read the books.[/quote]
[FONT=Arial]True.

[QUOTE][I]They also show how ignorant you are of the millions of fans the books have gathered from all over the world.[/I][/QUOTE]
Not true.

Actually, I find it rather an exemplification of the general societal tendency to [I]avoid thought[/I].

I am well aware that the general global populace raves over Harry Potter. I also am aware that the general global populace doesn't read much else.

Especially much else of value.

(^_^)

[CENTER]---------------[/CENTER]

I aim to see if I can find any more of Jim Butcher's [I][U]The Dresden Files[/U][/I] or Jacqueline Carey's [I][U]Kushiel's Avatar[/U][/I] series over the summer. After that, I should probably go back to Asimov.[/FONT]

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[COLOR="DarkSlateGray"][SIZE="1"]Right now I'm reading Lord Loss, book Number 1 of the [B]Demonata [/B]Series, by Darren Shan. Darren Shan wrote the Cirque Du Freak series, and he is an excellent author. I also got book two: Thief Lord from the library as well. Despite the fact that it was from the school library, it's very macabre and it swears a lot. But it's one of the most compelling stories I've read. I'm already to page 100.

The story sort of runs like a journal in a way, it's told by Grubbs Grady and it follows his story. He lived normally until one day when demons [spoiler]kill his parents and his sister. The demons are called Vein and Artery and their master's name is Lord Loss. Anyways Grubbs gets admitted into a nut-house because of the demon's he saw. Being that people thought he was lying/crazy. But later his uncle Dervish adopts him and he ends up living an even more kooky life.[/spoiler]

The thing is, the author writes so well that you get trapped, but he doesn't use large words, and his approach is simple. The descriptions of the demons are gruesome even the murders are gruesome. I just love this book and I know for a fact that at I might finish book 1 tonight.

My favorite scenes so far are the ones that describe the demons, and the one scene where he can hear demons laughing. I almost cried during that part because I could feel his sadness.

You have to get this book to really understand what I mean. But it is excellent piece of fiction.[/SIZE][/COLOR]

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[COLOR="RoyalBlue"][FONT="Lucida Sans Unicode"][quote name='Sandy']Those sentences show that you haven't really read the books. They also show how ignorant you are of the millions of fans the books have gathered from all over the world. Not just ten-year-olds, mind you, but adults and even old people who're still connected to the child within them. Since I'm in a relationship with the admin of Finland's largest HP-fansite, I've met hundreds of those people and seen with my own eyes that the fandom isn't going to just fade away in a matter of years.[/QUOTE]Since I semi started this whole debate I have something I?d like to point out and that is the average reading comprehension of many countries, the US being my prime example? If you look around at newspapers and the various literatures written to address the public, you?ll find that often the level of reading comprehension attached to it is that of someone who is in grades 7-9. This is to reach the widest audience possible because that is the average reading comprehension of the public. (here in the US)

Yes there is stuff that is written on a much more complex level, but the fact remains Harry Potter is written to be understood by grades 4-6. Now given what I?ve just told you, it makes perfect sense that adults are going to like the books, because to be blunt, it fits well within their ability to read. And let?s not get me started on the percentage of people who can?t even read! [quote name='Sandy']Again, just because you don't appreciate something, doesn't mean nobody else does either. You can consider yourself an intellectual for reading "grown-up books" (and that goes to you, Allamorph, as well), but until you realize that people are different, you're really not one. Or if you're just one of those people who assume that everything that is popular must automatically be "uncool", then it's your loss.[/QUOTE]Wait? what? No one said that others don?t appreciate the books, where did that assumption come from? Matt, Allamorph and I expressed dissatisfaction with the series in general; we never once said others don?t appreciate it. Nor are we incapable of seeing that others are different. You?re taking our input about the series a bit too personally if you ask me.

I can?t speak for the others but I [I]have[/I] read the first four books I have seen the first couple of movies, so for me to say it doesn?t draw me in and I find it boring? is perfectly acceptable. I gave it a chance and I just didn?t care for it. I find it ironic that I own the remaining books since I figured I?d get to them and yet that seventh book is still sitting on my bookshelf unread.
[quote name='Allamorph'][FONT=Arial]Actually, I find it rather an exemplification of the general societal tendency to [I]avoid thought[/I].

I am well aware that the general global populace raves over Harry Potter. I also am aware that the general global populace doesn't read much else.

Especially much else of value.

(^_^)[/FONT][/QUOTE]What I find ironic about that statement, besides the fact that it's completely true, is that many programs designed to instill a love of reading in children are banking in on the popularity of Harry Potter to get kids to actually sit down and read instead of playing computer games and watching TV.

It's a well known fact that if you get kids into reading at a young age then they tend to continue that trend. I've done volunteer work to assist reading comprehension of not only kids but adults who can't read. And Harry Potter has become a staple suggestion to get kids and adults to actually start reading. It's used because it is simple, it does hold you by the hand as you progress through the story and that makes it a good lesson in reading comprehension.

So all those things that make it boring to me as an adult since I prefer my stories to not be so obviously forward... is what makes it work so well as a tool to promote reading in the first place.

Anyway... after all of that I have finally decided on what I am going to read next, and that will be [B]Homer's Daughter[/B] by Robert Graves. It's something I was given last year and just never got around to reading.[/FONT][/COLOR]

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