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[font=franklin gothic medium]Thanks for the recommendations, guys. Much appreciated. I'll definitely check out Lord of the Flies now.

It's sad to hear about The Lost Symbol, even though I'm already getting the feeling that it's more fomulaic than its predecssors. The main reason I've enjoyed it is because of the secrets of Washington D.C. (which was made more fun by the fact that I got to actually visit D.C. while reading the book!)[/font]
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[quote name='Allamorph'][FONT=Calibri][U]Eragon[/U], and really [I]The Inheritance [strike]Trilogy[/strike] Series[/I] is a story that was published far too soon for the author's maturity to handle. Although Christopher Paolini has a pretty engaging universe set up, the story itself is rife with far too many trite phrases and easy-to-use, predictable 'twists', and really just a load of material that had he come back to it a few years later he might have noticed how much of it felt like unsatisfactory convenient rubbish and done a lot of much-needed revisions.
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[FONT="Palatino Linotype"]I never liked Eragon. After page 200, it just bored me and I never opened again. So the book sat in my room coverless for the past 2-3 years untouched.

I'm not reading anything at the moment, I'm busy writing my own book, but I'm anticipating the day when my school library gets the next part of the Demonata series in. I love Darren Shan's books so much, and while CDF was a wicked good series, I'm dying to read the rest of the Demonata, which in my opinion, for being comprised of short books, is an incredible series. And CDF was honestly 100 times better than anything Stephenie Meyer wrote. I don't like the Twilight series.

I read the first book, liked it and the movie, then half way through the second story, I just began to hate it.

My friend had to read Lord of the Flies during the summer to prepare for Honors English. She said I might like the book, so I think maybe I should check it out as well.[/FONT]
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[quote name='Jabberwocky][FONT="Palatino Linotype"']I never liked Eragon. After page 200, it just bored me and I never opened again. So the book sat in my room coverless for the past 2-3 years untouched.[/FONT][/quote]
[FONT=Calibri] inb4 lol Steph Meyer hate =P

Yeah, I didn't care for Paolini's book, either. Even though the concepts and lore he developed interested me, I couldn't get over how unpolished it was. I did finish it (it was no Stephen Crane, after all; I got so infuriated with [U]The Red Badge of Courage[/U] that I literally threw it into a wall, and left it laying there for almost half a year), but I decided not to continue reading the series.

Now, if you're into dragons, [COLOR="DarkRed"]chibi[/COLOR], definitely check out Anne McCaffrey's [I]The Dragonriders of Pern[/I] series. Those books are a great example of a well-thought-out lore and a good read besides.

Also it starts with a double-trilogy, where each book in the set happens alongside the corresponding book from the other set. Do not start with [U]Dragonsdawn[/U] (like I did) because that's the prequel and needs to be read penultimate in the series to get the best effect.[/FONT]
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[quote name='Allamorph'][FONT=Calibri] inb4 lol Steph Meyer hate =P
Yeah, I didn't care for Paolini's book, either. Even though the concepts and lore he developed interested me, I couldn't get over how unpolished it was. I did finish it (it was no Stephen Crane, after all; I got so infuriated with [U]The Red Badge of Courage[/U] that I literally threw it into a wall, and left it laying there for almost half a year), but I decided not to continue reading the series.
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[FONT="Palatino Linotype"]I tried reading it again about a year ago, but after finding where I left off and reading a page, I couldn't take it. I've yet to throw a book into the wall, however. lol[/FONT]
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[FONT="Comic Sans MS"]The only book I've ever thrown at a wall was [B]The Awakening[/B], by Kate Chopin. Seriously, this thing was acclaimed as a beacon of hope for the Women's Rights movement. It's supposed to be the story of one woman's journey of enlightenment and self-discovery. So what does she do?

She runs around town acting like a bitch to all her friends and family, with the notable exception of the one woman who doesn't discourage this behavior. She treats her husband like crap and the book seems to imply that he deserves it, despite never actually doing anything in-book other than be concerned for her well-being and possibly being a bit short with her after a stressful day. She neglects her children to run around trying to seduce several younger men, only one of whom she's actually romantically interested in, and she basically becomes a selfish, arrogant prick of the highest caliber by the end of the book.

Oh, and then she drowns herself because the one guy she's actually interested in can't return her affections. To reiterate, she kills herself over a man.

CLEARLY women can be independent.[/FONT]
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[font=franklin gothic medium]I think the only book I've been tempted to throw at the wall was [b]Fellowship of the Ring[/b]. I did attempt to read it, but it was just too muddy to wade through.

What is disappointing for me is that there are moments of life where the wording is beautiful and where you become completely engrossed. In between "events", however, the novel seems to spiral into nothing but overly-florid descriptions of landscape.

Sometimes I felt that Tolkein was so carefully creating this briliant universe that he regularly got carried away with that goal, rather than the need to maintain some kind of consistent pacing that will keep the reader interested.

I did want to continue reading because the novel really had some fantastic moments, but I didn't want to keep having that feeling of needing to skip pages to get to the good stuff, so to speak.[/font]
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[SIZE=1]I've finished a number of books in the last while but I suppose the only one worth mentioning would be Dan Brown's latest work [B]The Lost Symbol[/B]. I wasn't exactly hopeful going into it, as you said James, Brown has a somewhat set formula to his books but I have to admit, I really wasn't prepared for just how bad the book could be at times.

It wasn't just that TLS follows had a similar structure to The da Vinci Code or Angels & Demons, and it does, in fact it's probably fair to say that TLS borrows so liberally from the previous plots that it's identical in parts. The pieces are all in the same places, we've merely been treated to a change of scenery.

Brown's characters also remain sadly one dimensional. Even Langdon who at this point has been the centre character of three novels comes across as undeveloped over the course of the novel. Other characters seem to embody a particular personality trait and run with it for the entire novel, but again characters have never been Brown's strong point in the story, it's the mystery and ultimate revelation that we're supposed to keep reading for, the characters are merely tools to progress the story and allow the reader to invest themselves into the novel (which may be why Langdon comes across as so...bland).

Sadly where The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons (as well as Deception Point and Digital Fortress) succeeded in this regard, the final reveal in TSL is such a letdown it would actually be laughable if it weren't such a disappointment. What I assume was the big reveal for most people I figured out quite early in the novel and to be honest [spoiler]I think Brown is overplaying the "villain is the son of one of the other characters" plot device having occurred in 3 of his 5 novels so far[/spoiler].

One of my other major gripes with Dan Brown is his inability to accurately portray materials in his novels, particularly his portrayal of noetics in this novel as a legitimate science which it is nothing of sort as well as his embellishment of the Masons and their rituals. Langdon's repeatedly scowling and lecturing in regard to the Masons actually becomes rather irritating throughout the novel.

As for the villain, regarding one specific passage I was actually lost for words (I think you'll know which one I'm referring to James) as well as his somewhat unbelievable nature (taken even further than Silas).

This isn't just a typical Dan Brown pulp mystery, it's actually much worse. If I remember correctly I was putting down the novel after ever 15 pages constantly losing the will to soldier on with the novel, in the end a burst of vehemence to be done with it once and for all allowed me to finish the final 200 pages in a single night. Unless you wish to see Brown's latest offering this is one I would most certainly avoid.
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[FONT=Calibri]While we're on the subject of Dan Brown, I encourage everyone to visit [URL="http://www.slate.com/id/2228327/"][COLOR="Blue"]this[/COLOR][/URL] generator. You should find yourself amused.

[QUOTE=James][font=franklin gothic medium]I think the only book I've been tempted to throw at the wall was [b]Fellowship of the Ring[/b]. I did attempt to read it, but it was just too muddy to wade through.

...

Sometimes I felt that Tolkein was so carefully creating this briliant universe that he regularly got carried away with that goal, rather than the need to maintain some kind of consistent pacing that will keep the reader interested.[/font][/QUOTE]
The thing about Tolkien is that he will tell you everything at all so long as there is nothing else going on, and in a setting where the characters are journeying across a large distance mostly on foot, there's not much else to do besides look at the scenery. Problem with that is that, pretty as the scenery may be, it's mostly good for looking idly out the window from a moving car, and maybe the odd irrelevant conversation that doesn't even develop a character, so naught else to do really.

In fact, that's what got me about the first time I read it. But I was about thirteen, then, and boy was it boring. Now is a different story, of course, because I can manage the slog (spend most of that time watching technique), and I enjoy the trilogy a lot more.

I do recommend starting with [U]The Hobbit[/U] for anyone, really, because it's a lot softer introduction to the writing style of a professor of literature. And I will recommend [U]The Silmarillion[/U] only to huge history buffs. [I]That[/I] was a heck of a slog. :animestun[/FONT]
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[quote name='Allamorph'][FONT=Calibri]

The thing about Tolkien is that he will tell you everything at all so long as there is nothing else going on, and in a setting where the characters are journeying across a large distance mostly on foot, there's not much else to do besides look at the scenery. Problem with that is that, pretty as the scenery may be, it's mostly good for looking idly out the window from a moving car, and maybe the odd irrelevant conversation that doesn't even develop a character, so naught else to do really.

In fact, that's what got me about the first time I read it. But I was about thirteen, then, and boy was it boring. Now is a different story, of course, because I can manage the slog (spend most of that time watching technique), and I enjoy the trilogy a lot more.

I do recommend starting with [U]The Hobbit[/U] for anyone, really, because it's a lot softer introduction to the writing style of a professor of literature. And I will recommend [U]The Silmarillion[/U] only to huge history buffs. [I]That[/I] was a heck of a slog. :animestun[/FONT][/QUOTE]

[font=franklin gothic medium]Yep, bingo...you described the problem precisely. I was always waiting for these moments of activity that, when they happened, were actually quite enjoyable.

It's interesting that you mention The Hobbit. I've asked a few people about it and they've all told me that they found The Hobbit to be even more convoluted and dry than Fellowship of the Ring. I don't remember their reasoning now, but it's good to see a different perspective.[/font]
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[quote name='James][font=franklin gothic medium']It's interesting that you mention The Hobbit. I've asked a few people about it and they've all told me that they found The Hobbit to be even more convoluted and dry than Fellowship of the Ring. I don't remember their reasoning now, but it's good to see a different perspective.[/font][/quote]
[FONT=Calibri]I can see that point of view, actually, because the entire story revolves around Bilbo Baggins being caught up in something far bigger than he can see, and Tolkien went out of his way to keep the reader knowing mostly about the same as Bilbo did, save one or two occasions when it was necessary. But for me, especially from the perspective of a children's book, [U]The Hobbit[/U] is a lot easier to follow because all you have to do is follow Bilbo and learn things as he learns them. There aren't really any cut-scenes to villains plotting anything to give the reader an outside knowledge they don't really need, there's no esoteric conversations (I'm looking at you, Terry Brooks) between characters where one person has a mental near-breakdown and the other says just the right thing to keep them going (and in Brooks case he often had the same characters exchange roles within the span of twenty pages, which irked me after a while), it's just Bilbo on an adventure, trying to figure out what's going on and trying to stay alive.

And in that process Tolkien still follows some of the same intricate scenery descriptions (the segment in Mirkwood was particularly beautiful to me, even if Mirkwood is nowhere near as bright and lovely as Lothlorien), but not nearly to the same degree, and the language is much more on the level as if a venerable storyteller is regaling a group of small children, which I find rather engaging at times.

Incidentally, since you play Guild Wars you might appreciate something I learned recently. The Norn, in the Eye of the North pack, were possibly inspired directly by Beorn from [U]The Hobbit[/U]. I won't tell you much else than that because I kind of want you to read it and find out as I did. It's cooler that way. :p

[quote name='chibi-master']Wait. The Mounties hate the Vatican?:o[/quote]
Start hitting Refresh a lot and pay attention to three or four specific areas in the blurb. You'll find that the lines change only in phrasing and MO (in some cases) between each refresh, and even between different selections.

For instance, the initial clue is always left next to the dead Head Docent. He writes much more of these novels and we won't have any Catholics left.[/FONT]
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[font=helvetica]I am currently reading [i]The Hidden Stars[/i] by Madeline Howard. It's alright, I guess?it passes the time. But I don't find myself caring about the characters very much.

It just feels like standard fantasy fare, and there's not a lot to pull me in.[/font]
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[font=franklin gothic medium]Another book I've read recently is Christopher Hitchens' [b]God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything[/b]. Hitchens is a far more aggressive and colourful critic of religion than, say, Richard Dawkins, but he's also really attacking a slightly different point. Although he argues against a personal God, the primary basis of his book really revolves around the question "Is the world better off [i]with[/i] religion?"

Whereas Dawkins isn't quite so much interested in religion itself, but more the central question of both a personal God and the fallacy of creationism (or "intelligent design").

Apart from the fact that Hitchins' book also betrays my own general thoughts about the subject (which have actually changed somewhat over the last few years), I'm also finding that I really enjoy much of Hitchins' writing.

I also regularly read columns by Greg Sheridan of The Australian, who is easily one of Australia's foremost experts on foreign relations (and his writing is enjoyable to read too, thanks to his fantastic command of English).

Since this thread doesn't seem to specify works of fiction, I might as well ask, what non-fiction writers do you guys read regularly (if any)?

I also love reading David Attenborough's writing, although I've only ever read one of his books. His books are actually just as good as his brilliant television documentaries.[/font]
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[quote name='James'][font=franklin gothic medium]Another book I've read recently is Christopher Hitchens' [b]God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything[/b]. Hitchens is a far more aggressive and colourful critic of religion than, say, Richard Dawkins, but he's also really attacking a slightly different point. Although he argues against a personal God, the primary basis of his book really revolves around the question "Is the world better off [i]with[/i] religion?"
[/font][/QUOTE]

Hitchens' was on NPR not long ago and was a pretty interesting interview. I'll have to check out this book, sounds interesting.

I just picked up [b]Beat the Reaper[/b] by Josh Bazell. The first fifty pages are promising. His writing style reminds me of the good aspects of a Chuck Palahniuk novel. I'm hoping that it stays entertaining and unexpected.

The last novel I read, [b]Bangkok 8[/b] began with a bang and ended with a whimper. Truly one of the most convoluted and bizarre endings I have ever come across (and not in a good way).
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[COLOR="Purple"][SIZE="1"]I recently went to the library with the intent to snag all my old favorite reads, while I was there I happened upon [U]House of Many Ways[/U] by Diana Wynne Jones. It didn't sink in right away, but to my [STRIKE]utter fangirl excitement[/STRIKE] enjoyment I discovered that it is a sequel to [U]Howl's Moving Castle[/U]! I didn't read it right away due to being busy, but today I sat down and read the complete volume within a matter of hours. I was surprised and a little let down in a way at how easy a read it was. Of course, the return of Howl (however small it was) delighted me, but in the end I didn't feel satisfied when I set the book down...

For school reading, there has been quite a few of Wendell Berry's essays in the form of a book called [U]The Way of Ignorance[/U], which surprised me by being interesting. I feel so dumb by my own ignorance sometimes... > >;;[/SIZE][/COLOR]
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I've been thinking of reading [B]The Dark Elf Trilogy[/B] by R.A. Salvatore for awhile now, but haven't managed to get a hold of them as of yet (every where I go, they either have the second and third book, or they have the boxset but I don't have the money to get it at the time .-.)

But I found a book related to it in a stack of books I got for Christmas and only just started really going through- the first book of the [B]Transitions Trilogy- The Orc King[/B], which is related to The Dark Elf Trilogy. I'm actually enjoying it so far, something I haven't been able to do with a fantasy book in a long time.

I've also been attempting to read [B]Necroscope[/B], the first book in a horror series of the same name by Brain Lumley. Problem is, it starts out extremely slow and I have no idea if I'll be able to keep reading it any longer. I'm TRYING to keep going though, since the main character hasn't even been introduced yet, so I can't make any real judgments until then.
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[COLOR="DarkOrchid"][FONT="Times New Roman"]I dragged myself mercilessly through [u]Up In The Air[/u] by a Mr. Kirn, and I have to confess, I did not like it. A few funny moments were overshadowed by strange phrases and sentences that didn't seem to flow, and a plethora of such drab dull characters that they were impossible to discern from each other. Mr. Morse could just as well be Mr. Bean for all I'd know.[/FONT][/COLOR]
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  • 2 weeks later...
I have recently been re-reading [U]The Mysterious Benedict Society[/U] series. I love these books, but I'm annoyed at the lack of recognition and fanbase. But then again, would I still be able to comfortably enjoy it if it were as big as [U]Twilight[/U] or something? Sometimes books are like songs on a radio. You can love the song with all your might, but when it gets overplayed, more often than not, it loses its charm.:animesigh
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[quote name='chibi-master']But then again, would I still be able to comfortably enjoy it if it were as big as [U]Twilight[/U] or something? Sometimes books are like songs on a radio. You can love the song with all your might, but when it gets overplayed, more often than not, it loses its charm.:animesigh[/quote]
[font="Calibri"]I have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy the works of Ian Fleming (and his capable successor John Gardner) despite the massive fan base of James Bond, and the recent movie with Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law has certainly not dimmed my love for Sherlock Holmes just yet.

There is something decidedly off-putting about an almost mobbish mass enthusiasm for an artist or series, but I generally find that if it's good I tend not to be bothered too much, and if it's bad then it tends not to bother me too much in return. :P[/font] Edited by Allamorph
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[FONT="Comic Sans MS"]I agree with Al. Most of the popular stuff I enjoy I do on the basis of "Hate the fanbase, love the work." There tends to be a subculture of really, really annoying people in any fan community, so it's kind of unavoidable. Should that prevent you from enjoying something you like? No. Can it get on your nerves anyway? Oh hell yeah.

I'm about halfway through [B]Brave Story[/B] at the moment, and it goes a lot more in depth than the movie with some pretty important background info. It's an interesting take on a lot of stuff, and I like the way the story portrays divorce as a big deal (don't get much of that in US fiction since it's so common these days.) Even better, everyone's viewpoint is examined, so no one is fully the victim and no one is completely to blame. It's written mostly from the child's point of view, but you definitely pick up the hint that the mother he sides with isn't exactly innocent.

My only real criticism at this point is that the book did take a little too long to fully delve into the fantasy elements. Most of the exposition at the beginning was necessary, but the author could have thrown in a few more mysterious happenings and such to keep things interesting until the plot actually arrived in Vision.[/FONT]
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[quote name='Allamorph'][FONT=Calibri]I have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy the works of Ian Fleming (and his capable successor John Gardner) despite the massive fan base of James Bond, and the recent movie with Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law has certainly not dimmed my love for Sherlock Holmes just yet.
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I had actually never read any of the Bond novels until recently. The old one's are wonderfully misogynistic and definitely wouldn't be considered close to PC today.

One of my favorite bizarre lines was a scene where Bond basically rapes a girl. To paraphrase it went: "...she resisted at first so Bond twisted her arm sharply behind her back and took his reward". And then, of course, the rest of the novel she fawns over Bond until she is tragically killed by a henchman.
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I'm currently making my way through Martin Meredith's [B]'Diamonds, Gold and War: The Making of South Africa[/B]'. Meredith's writing style is both freeflowing and informative, it's an entertaining study for even a casual reader, never getting too bogged down in the technicalities. I would highly reccomend this book to anybody interested in African or British history. Another of Meredith's books, [B]'The State of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independance'[/B], is another cracking read, but is a lot broader, encompassing a larger temporal and spatial arena. Also, it does get caught up in tedious economic details midway through, but still I would definatley worth the time.

Another book I'm (re)reading is [B]'The Picture of Dorian Gray'[/B]. I've decided that I'm going to take the plunge and watch the film, and want to get reaquainted with this classic first. It's short, sweet and a truly fantastic story. While we're on the subject; has anybody seen the film? Is it worth my time? I've heard mixed reviews.

When I get finished with these I've got [B]'The Long March'[/B] by Ed Jocelyn and Andrew McEwan and [B]'Insomnia[/B] by Stephen King on the shelf. Anybody read either of these? I find Stephen King to be a bit hit and miss, but do fancy a bit of guilty pleasure in the next couple of weeks, and this may be the ticket... Don't want to be disappointed though!

Also, I'll give [B]'The Lord of the Flies'[/B] my thumbs up. I first read it twenty-odd years ago and still find myself coming back to it time and again.
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  • 5 weeks later...
Figured I'd do my part to keep Ace working.;)

Okay. In school I am reading [U]All But My Life[/U]. That's okay. But we have a student teacher in charge of the unit. She is NOT okay. The book is an AUTOBIOGRAPHY. Yet she keeps trying to get us all to look deeper into it. It's an autobiography: IT IS WHAT IT IS! I have no respect for this woman whatsoever. In fact, I think I lost any hint of respect for her in any shape or form once she said, "Me and *regular teacher's name here* haven't decided on what to do about that..." And this lady wants to teach English/Lit. The book is absolutely torturous to get through since she always stops everyone after every paragraph to discuss the deeper meaning. Every class is a battle against my self-control and quite frankly I'm about to exceed my limits.
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[SIZE="1"]I haven't read a book for pleasure in nearly a year.

I'm taking a literature course and so far we've read Vladimir Nabokov's [U]Lolita[/U], Dorothy Allison's [U]Bastard Out of Carolina[/U], Ralph Ellison's [U]Invisible Man[/U], and Toni Morrison's [U]The Bluest Eye[/U]. I couldn't force myself to read [U]Lolita[/U] or [U]Invisible Man[/U], but I really enjoyed [U]Bastard[/U]. I read [U]The Bluest Eye[/U] in a matter of hours, but more because I desperately needed to than because I was interested in it.

I just don't like reading very much. The last fun book I read was [U]A Wolf At the Table[/U] by Augusten Burroughs. I need to get his new book.[/SIZE]
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