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Well, I currently finished re-reading a couple of Nietzsche's books: [i]The Birth of Tragedy (trans. by D. Smith), Untimely Meditations (trans. R.J. Hollingdale), Thus Spoke Zarathustra (trans. G. Parkes)[/i]. I've not read Parkes' translation for Oxford World's Classics, so I had to pick that one up. When I hit up the library, I'll probably do a search for Douglas Walton's [i]Media Argumentation[/i], which, in simple terms, explores how rhetoric plays a role in mass media.
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[FONT=Calibri]Update again.

Not sure what I expected going into [b]By The Sword[/b], but it certainly wasn't what Mercedes Lackey gave me. Essentially a chronicle of (at least the first part of) the life and times of one Kerowyn who, oddly enough, is difficult to describe accurately with other than the words 'tomboy' and 'swordmaiden'â??although were she real I'd like as not get a decided earful for calling her a maidenâ??and without significant storyline spoilatry. I suppose I could say the book took the Special Ops training concept and transferred it to a fantasy setting, and although there was an obvious presence of magic throughout the book, I am reminded of a line spoken by a hero in the DC Bionicle publications: [i]"The power is in me; the sword is but the focus."[/i] Decent book; I'll probably check out more of her series.

When I read [b]The Bourne Identity[i] [/i][/b]some years ago, I became convinced Robert Ludlum was the best psychological writer I'd ever found, and that his talents at suspense thrillers was no small aid to his abilities. After literally just finishing its sequel, [b]The Bourne Supremacy[/b]â??I've been glued to the book all day, and only partly because I spent the morning and a good deal of the afternoon being quite illâ??I find, not that I've reversed the order of my opinion, but that I underestimated his skill at suspense writing completely. The man is a genius. He communicates panic to an astounding degree, can manage to keep all of his characters completely in character while operating no less than seven distinct and interweaving scenes at the same time (which can get confusing, let me tell you), and still manage to make me forget when I've passed a chapter break. And his knowledge of foreign (and Western-unfriendly) culture is remarkably thorough. I appreciate a guy who does extensive homework for minor details.

If you've seen the movies and aren't too terribly interested, I urge you to reconsider; the plot is only consistent with the novels up through about the first two-thirds of the first movie and then goes completely off base, and from what I've researched it doesn't get back on track ever. If you've only seen the previews and aren't really "into" espionage stuff, I also urge you to reconsider. Think of the spy portions as sort of a backdrop; the real story is about Jason Bourne himself, and the cloak-and-dagger is there for the added thrill.

Can't wait to dig into his third book.[/FONT]
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It's seriously depressing to think of how much I used to read. Now I only read what I'm assigned in school, but some high school friends made a book club and I joined it.

So I have to start reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck, which I'm excited about because I love Steinbeck. :)

I also started The Alchemist Paulo Coelho, but I really wasn't enjoying it and stopped halfway through. I thought it was just beating you over the head with things, and wasn't particularly insightful.
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I'm reading [u]The Secret Life of Bees[/u] because it's on my summer reading list. I think it's a really good book, but it sort of makes me feel like slapping myself in the face for being white, as do most stories that take place during the Civil Rights Movement. It says on the back of the book that "This is a remarkable novel about divine female power...", but I don't think I see that. Most of the main cast is female, but I don't think that makes the book about "divine female power", so...
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Rereading "The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear" by Walter Moers. Do the same, everyone here. It'll be (one of) the best read(s) in your life.

[quote name='chibi-master' date='27 June 2010 - 11:05 PM' timestamp='1277672736' post='696050']
I'm reading [u]The Secret Life of Bees[/u] because it's on my summer reading list. I think it's a really good book, but it sort of makes me feel like slapping myself in the face for being white,
[/quote]

Just seen the film some hours ago. Felt the same way. Though then I realised it was all in America 1964, so I felt better. :^D Edited by Lady Shy
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[quote name='Lady Shy' date='02 July 2010 - 09:25 AM' timestamp='1278077126' post='696344']Just seen the film some hours ago. Felt the same way. Though then I realised it was all in America 1964, so I felt better. :^D
[/quote]
Was it a good movie? I was wanting to see it since I finished the book.
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[quote name='chibi-master' date='02 July 2010 - 08:38 PM' timestamp='1278095927' post='696353']
Was it a good movie? I was wanting to see it since I finished the book.
[/quote]

I enjoyed it. It had good vibes going about, while at the same time being weighty enough.
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Right now Im reading Romance of the Three Kingdoms vol. 2 again. I love this story. Of course the video game Dynasty Warriors got my interest in the book sky high. I was playing the game the other day and I realized how much these games can stretch the truth. My favorite character is Ma Chao and I like reading his chapter the most. His life was hard but Im glad that he did what any normal person would do....Swear to uphold Justice. Sure he was a little contradictive in swearing revenge against Cao Cao but I feel that he was justified in his actions.
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I'm reading [u]Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies[/u] and as most everyone from chat knows, I loathe it. It is unbearably boring and every two sentences in the prologue I'm supposed to read, the author points out that he is not racist and he hates racism and blah blah blah. He seems like he's trying too hard just to make an emphasis on that.

The chapters are probably the most boring I've ever read in a book. Halfway through the second chapter, I wondered why I was reading this awful book.

The answer, of course, is that it's a summer assignment for my AP World History class. I have to answer before and after questions about the book and right summaries of the ten chapters I'm supposed to read. There isn't even any wit or interesting facts. When I read this book, it feels like a man with a monotone voice is reading it aloud to me and sighing every few sentences. Edited by chibi-master
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Several months after saying I was going to read [i]Sputnik Sweetheart[/i] by Haruki Murakami, I'm now finally reading it. I'm around half way finished (I read one chapter per-day), and I suspect I'll pick up more of his works after I've finished this one. One thing though: his writing isn't as esoteric and otherworldly as one would suspect from reading the usual raves and reviews. It's fully of this earth, which may be why his writings are seen to have a cryptic air about them. As with this book, it's full of delicate images that come and go, showing that the things of this earth are always threatened to be unfastened - nothing is ever fully secure. And with that, I think, comes that longing for something lasting, eternal, immaterial. I can't say much more, however, since it's still unfolding. Maybe he'll throw a curve-ball my way and demolish my ideas, but I suspect he won't completley cast them aside.
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Hmm, yeah, that's true - I don't read much manga, but I'm reading lots of books. Few months ago I discovered japanese writer, Haruki Murakami. Now I'm reading his autobiography - [b]What I talk about when I talk about running[/b]. Imo it's great, I didn't know he has such interesting life! However I like his other books more than his autobiography - I could recommend [b]Kafka on the Shore[/b] or [b]The Wind-up bird chronicle[/b] :) These two are my favourites. Too bad I can't read them in original - I have to read them in my language (polish titles of these books are: O czym mówiÄ?, kiedy mówiÄ? o bieganiu; Kafka nad morzem and Kroniki ptaka nakrÄ?cacza).
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I think the next book of Murakami's on my to-read list will be [i]The Wind-up Bird Chronicle.[/i] However, I've always had an interest in reading[i] Kafka by the Shore[/i], since this was the first of his books that I've heard about. When I get around to it, I'll probably read his autobiography, as well. I'd like to get even more into his head, to see what might go into his writings.
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The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, mostly because I have a literary hard-on for magical realism done right. Except I have yet to read all of Marquez's books, so... But then again I'm ADD with my reading.

Also, on the topic of Murakami. I read Kafka on the Shore and I thought it was kinda overrated. By the end I felt like I was watching some hyped anime show that was making things too metaphysical and trying too hard. But to be fair I read it a long time ago and I should probably re-read. But his writing was amazing. Edited by eleanor
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[quote name='Pleiades Rising' date='31 August 2010 - 12:08 AM' timestamp='1283209719' post='700039']
I think the next book of Murakami's on my to-read list will be [i]The Wind-up Bird Chronicle.[/i] However, I've always had an interest in reading[i] Kafka by the Shore[/i], since this was the first of his books that I've heard about. When I get around to it, I'll probably read his autobiography, as well. I'd like to get even more into his head, to see what might go into his writings.
[/quote]

I remember my first encounter with Murakami. Must've been, oh, six or seven years ago now? [b]A Wild Sheep Chase[/b] was in the recently released section. The cover was a plack and white picture of a sheep, with a red star on it. It was so out of the ordinary, I was drawn to it. The style and content were so original that I was hooked. Ever since then I scoured the bookstores for more of his work. The only two of his work I don't have are the first two novel's of the [b]Trilogy of the Rat[/b], which he doesn't want translated to English. Not once have I been disappointed, and have reread each of his books, at least once. Perhaps more than anything else, it was Murakami's influence that turned me on to the works of Franz Kafka and jazz music. I do hope you enjoy reading his works, as you can tell, I can't heap enough praise on him, and highly recommend all his writings.

I suppose that's one instance where judging a book by it's cover actually paid off...

Anyway, I've just finished reading a few bits and pieces myself.

[b]Death and the Penguin[/b] by Ukrainian author Andrey Kurkov. An enjoyable enough story about a newspaper writer who gets wrapped up in a crime war. Also he has a pet penguin. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The danger throughout is more implicit than I had imagined it would be, and the story more so deals with aspects of loneliness and isolation. The characters were endearing and sympathetic, if not a little vague. The penguin was hilarious.

[b]The Brief History of the Dead[/b] by Kevin Brockmeier. Interesting enough premise, the story is divided into two parts; a city where people's spirits(?) go to when they die and stay there as long as a living person remembers them, and the story of one woman in the Antarctic. The former is a very interesting idea, but never really delves into the details too much, and as such exposes questions that poke a few too many holes in it. The latter isn't as interesting, and quickly falls into a very repetitious and frankly tedious rhythm. The ending is made obvious from the get-go and as such, nothing hangs in the balance. Finally the pacing is quite disjointed; the odd chapters deal with the city, the even with the Antarctic. To sum up: Intriguing idea, but poorly executed.

And last, but certainly not least;
[b]Of Love and Other Demons[/b] by Gabriel García Márquez. I could gush over the works of García Márquez in much a similar fashion to the way I did about Murakami. Every word he writes is hauntingly beautiful. Realism and mysticism, with just the right hint of ambiguity are cornerstones of all his work that I am acquainted with. Love and Demons tells the story of a young girl who has been bitten by a dog infected by rabies. In time, she is confined to a local convent, where she is suspected of being possessed by demons. The book is short; little more than 150 pages, and I was so enthralled by it that I read it in one sitting.

At the moment, I am reading [b]The Long March[/b] by Sun Shuyun. A reporter travels along the route of the Long March and speaks to survivors along the way. I'm loving this book because it shows a very human side to history that is absent from most history books. Rather than get too bogged down with facts, and with no discernible ulterior agenda, Shuyun recounts her journey and her interviews. Even without a previous knowledge of the Long March, the book is a good read with enough backstory to make it understandable. If you are familiar with the history, this makes a fine companion to other works.
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I forgot to mention here that I finished [u]Brave Story[/u]! It was probably one of the most beautiful books I've ever read, actually... I cried so often that I had to stock my room with tissues. However, no matter how hard I cried, I still couldn't put the book down!

Now, the thing that made me very mad was an incident in my English class a couple weeks ago. I brought the book to my teacher and said I wanted to use it as my required reading material. He took one look at the cover and said in a condescending tone, "Uhm... Is that grade level apprpriate?" I was confused at first. I have the highest grade in the class, and I thought he was concerned that I was picking a book that was too challenging for me. No. It turns out that he meant that the book seemed too easy because of the COVER. He literally judged a book by its cover!!! When I argued this point to him, he responded, "Well, I have had much of my work published and I [i]know[/i] what the publishing industry is going for when they choose covers."

Now, take some time to note something. Just a few days earlier in class, he asked everyone to find words in an article that we maybe didn't understand. A girl raised her hand and said she didn't know what "emphasis" meant. Another classmate offered the word "mandatory." WE ARE TENTH GRADERS!!! WHAT THE HECK?! How could he agree that these words are acceptable for a Sophomore not to know and then turn away [u]Brave Story[/u], which I think most would agree has a much more challenging vocabulary than "empahasis?!" It was a very disappointing day...
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[quote name='chibi-master' date='20 October 2010 - 06:36 PM' timestamp='1287624979' post='701199']
I forgot to mention here that I finished [u]Brave Story[/u]! It was probably one of the most beautiful books I've ever read, actually... I cried so often that I had to stock my room with tissues. However, no matter how hard I cried, I still couldn't put the book down!
[/quote]
[font="Comic Sans MS"]Told ya. :P

Yeah, I have to question the judgment of an English teacher who so literally goes against one of the most oft-quoted stock phrases there are that easily (I will say that it's not entirely an invalid point. [b]Phineas and Ferb[/b] made a joke about how they put covers on books so you can judge them at a glance in the first place. I laughed). Seems like there should be a little more to it than that, though. Considering how thick that thing is, I would think you could simply close the book and show it to him sideways to convince him that it's not exactly something a preschooler can tackle.

Heck, maybe you can lend it to him. I actually let my old music teacher borrow my copy. She was the one who introduced me to the Harry Potter series, so I thought she might enjoy it, and she did.

Edit: Oh, and if you want another book by the same author that won't get judged by its cover as quickly, check out [u]The Book of Heroes[/u]. I haven't finished it, so I can't render final judgment, but it's got some very interesting mythology behind it and it carries a similar feel to [u]Brave Story[/u]. It's not quite as thick, but it's a good read so far nonetheless.[/font] Edited by The Professor
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[quote name='The Professor' date='20 October 2010 - 10:04 PM' timestamp='1287626693' post='701200']
[font="Comic Sans MS"]Considering how thick that thing is, I would think you could simply close the book and show it to him sideways to convince him that it's not exactly something a preschooler can tackle.

Heck, maybe you can lend it to him.[/font]
[/quote]
I did show him how thick the book was. "Look at it!" I said. "It's so heavy that if I hit someone with it, they would have ringing in their ears, for crying out loud!" Then he said in that same" kindergarten teacher talking to a dull 6 year old" voice, "Weeeeell... Thickness doesn't always mean the book is advanced enough for the reader..." I almost lost my temper to that.

I tried to lend it to him, but he kept saying, "Oh, I have too many books I'm trying to read as it is..." When I asked him to at least flip through it to see for himself that there were more advanced words than "emphasis", he replied, "Why don't you do it for me. Tell me some of the words." HONESTLY! This guy was so lazy that he couldn't bother to flip through a book?! I need a different teacher, a harder course, or both.
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At the moment: [b]1984 by George Orwell[/B]

And before that: [B]A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgress[/B]

And previous to the latter: [B]Animal Farm by George Orwell[/B]

And further before that: [B]On Poets and Poetry by T.S. Elliot[/B]

I only read these because I detest most modern novels and fiction writers, save a few. Dan Brown is a particular dislike in my world.
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