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The Literature Thread

ErasarielErasariel Member Posts: 757 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
edited August 2012 in The Universal Membrane
Share your taste for books here. Discuss classics, current populars, and upcomers. Doesn't matter whether it's high fantasy or abstract! Talk about books here.


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  • EiredhelEiredhel CaliforniaMember Posts: 602
    Anyone have any good speculative fiction or steam punk suggestions? I'm trying to fill one of my shelves with just that genre. 

    Meow, meow, etc. 
    Eiredhel's Family Tree

  • DetheaDethea Member Posts: 114 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished

    One of the better books I've ever read, though it's been a few years since, was American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Haven't brought myself to read anything else by him yet, though.
    Good Omens is great too!
    BoosteyaLucine
  • JhaeliJhaeli Member Posts: 541 @ - Epic Achaean
    Eiredhel said:
    Anyone have any good speculative fiction or steam punk suggestions? I'm trying to fill one of my shelves with just that genre. 
    For excellent fantasy, look up anything by Brandon Sanderson (if you like steampunk, you'll likely enjoy the Mistborn trilogy), The Belgariad/The Mallorean by David Eddings, and the Black Magician Trilogy by Trudi Canavan, to name a few. For excellent YA Fantasy that I *still* enjoy reading, there's the various Tortall quartets by Tamora Pierce, almost anything by Meredith Ann Pierce (try Birth of the Firebringer), and the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander. For science fiction, I think every good spec-fic library should contain a copy of Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, though I don't always say the same for the sequels. I also loved Old Man's War by John Scalzi.

    Just a few off the top of my head!

    "Gilgamesh, where are you hurrying to? You will never find that [everlasting] life for which you are looking. When the gods created man they allotted to him death, but life they retained in their own keeping. As for you, Gilgamesh, fill your belly with good things; day and night, night and day, dance and be merry, feast and rejoice. Let your clothes be fresh, bathe yourself in water, cherish the little child that holds your hand, and make your wife happy in your embrace; for this too is the lot of man." 

    ChryenthAyodele
  • EiredhelEiredhel CaliforniaMember Posts: 602
    Jhaeli said:
    Eiredhel said:
    Anyone have any good speculative fiction or steam punk suggestions? I'm trying to fill one of my shelves with just that genre. 
    For excellent fantasy, look up anything by Brandon Sanderson (if you like steampunk, you'll likely enjoy the Mistborn trilogy), The Belgariad/The Mallorean by David Eddings, and the Black Magician Trilogy by Trudi Canavan, to name a few. For excellent YA Fantasy that I *still* enjoy reading, there's the various Tortall quartets by Tamora Pierce, almost anything by Meredith Ann Pierce (try Birth of the Firebringer), and the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander. For science fiction, I think every good spec-fic library should contain a copy of Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, though I don't always say the same for the sequels. I also loved Old Man's War by John Scalzi.

    Just a few off the top of my head!
    Thanks a lot! I read all of Tamora's works when I was growing up, helped me switch over to books like Anathem by Neal Stephenson, and Iron Angel (The Deepgate Codex) by Alan Campbell. And I proudly own a lot of the books from the Ender's Universe and love sending copies to people as gifts. Can't seem to get my sister into the genre though, she doesn't have the attention span I don't think. =\  But I'll be sure to take a look around for some of those titles next time I stop by the book store! 

    Meow, meow, etc. 
    Eiredhel's Family Tree

  • KresslackKresslack Florida, United StatesMember Posts: 6,196 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    The Saga of Recluce by L. E. Modesitt Jr. has been a long-time favourite of mine. It's a bit scifi/fantasy, but I guess it might have a bit of Steampunk feel to it as well now that I think about it. The gist of it is a group of planetary explorers crashland their ship on an unknown continent, up in the mountains. They're used to extreme cold temperatures where they're from, so the mountains make it bearable for them, even though they consider the Winters on this continent 'warm'. 

    The saga( a total of 16 books ) basically tells about their fight for survival,since they have no way really to return home after crashing, and have to forge a living and adapt to survive. They're basically two different groups, warriors and engineers, and with the muscle they fight with the local armies and with the brains they figure out the rudiments of forging, construction, etc. They break down their ship for allow for swords and train themselves to counter the local fighting style, and also use some of their technology to help cut rock into blocks for building.

    Eventually, their technology fails them and they have to start doing everything the hard way, and basically start working towards a future here, giving birth to children. It's pretty interesting, I think. I believe most of this happens in Book 6, the Fall of the Angels; it's the one I remember the most about. They were called Angels because they came from the sky, but the native lore labels Angels as evil and destructive, so a lot of the local lords bring armies to kill them and drive them off.

    There is a lot of reference to Chaos and the battle with it between Order. What I especially like about it, is how it takes the cliche representations of White = Good, Black = Evil and reverses them. The mages where white robes, and use deadly chaos magic to try to drive them off, while the 'Angels' are all clad in black, and use their skill and ingenuity to fight for their lives and stand their ground.

    It's not like some stories I've read, where you're just taking along for the ride and watching the story unfold. The author really seems to drag you into the character, their mind and mannerisms, and you start to see it through their eyes, as if you're experiencing it. Ok, enough rambling for me. That's what happens when I talk about books.


    Ayodele
  • YraelYrael Member Posts: 17 ✭✭ - Stalwart
    edited August 2012
    Too long ago to remember why, but I couldn't stand Tamora Pierce. Read a book or two, and decided to say no forevermore. All I remember is a strong aversion D:

    Grew up on Patricia C. Wrede (really YA, but relatively original and hilarious), a bit of Anne McCaffrey, Jane Yolen, Lloyd Alexander, C.S. Lewis, Philip Pullman, and of course, Garth Nix.

    A lesser-known author and a lesser-known series both influenced me a lot, though. Donna Jo Napoli does retellings of fairy tales (though the quality ranges), The Magic Circle and Crazy Jack blew my mind back in 7th grade, and I started thinking a lot more about alternate perspectives and motivations. A friend gave me the first book (The Scorpion) from Legend of the Five Rings: Clan War series (although I never quite figured out what the five rings thing was about), which was really the only good standalone book amongst the seven. The series was overall poorly written (stylistically), but still so much FUN. Basically all seven books examined the same war from seven different cultural (clan) perspectives, and thoroughly supporting cause in turn, I learned that conflict is complicated, and solving important problems requires a lot of work in understanding other people's perspectives. o__o

    Recently, I've been making incredibly slow progress through Wicked and reading mainly stuff related to my field. I highly recommend Design of Everyday Things for anyone to read. It's not highly technical, a fast and easy read, and everyone I know who I've baited into it so far has told me their perspective on everyday stuff and tech has changed. Careful though, my friend started buying design books and spamming my facebook with design articles (I'm sure she reads more of them than I do), so you could get rather hooked (which I wholeheartedly welcome). I heard that Flow by this guy with a crazyass name was good too, so I bought it, but it's been chilling on my shelf, should get started on that soon.
    Ayodele
  • SilasSilas Member Posts: 2,546 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    James Clemens's Godslayer trilogy - hope the third one turns up sometime. (Gave up saying "sometime soon" a few years ago.)

  • RakonRakon Member Posts: 267 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    Trying to remember the name of a book (short story) I read. I think such an enlightened crew can help! 

    Vague memories of the short story, I want to say it was Isaac Asimov, but not 100% sure. It was about a guy losing his job and living in a 'white welfare/government housing' due to robots. Guy eventually gets a 'free pass' out of the colony, and moves to a socialist type place in the 'New Australia'.  

    Help me find this story again!
  • KresslackKresslack Florida, United StatesMember Posts: 6,196 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Rakon said:
    Trying to remember the name of a book (short story) I read. I think such an enlightened crew can help! 

    Vague memories of the short story, I want to say it was Isaac Asimov, but not 100% sure. It was about a guy losing his job and living in a 'white welfare/government housing' due to robots. Guy eventually gets a 'free pass' out of the colony, and moves to a socialist type place in the 'New Australia'.  

    Help me find this story again!
    Maybe part of this?



  • TaniaTania Member Posts: 257 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    Dethea said:




    One of the better books I've ever read, though it's been a few years since, was American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Haven't brought myself to read anything else by him yet, though.

    Good Omens is great too!
    Pratchett plus Gaiman. A literary match made in heaven. I enjoyed Stardust, as well, and have Anansi Boys on my "to read" pile.

    Once I finish rereading Thud! again.

  • JiraishinJiraishin trapped in a thawing block of iceMember Posts: 1,956 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Anansi Boys was great. I liked it better than Thud!, and I love Terry Pratchett.
    ________________________
    The soul of Ashmond says, "Always with the sniping."
    Boosteya
  • NaisarNaisar Member Posts: 255 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    I saw a David Eddings referral up there somewhere.  A cautionary tale: he's only ever written one story; it's probably not worth your time to read anything more than one complete plot arc.
    Jhaeli
  • DetheaDethea Member Posts: 114 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    I just read this:

    image

    I picked it up and could not stop. A departure from my usual (cheesy fantasy, some sci-fi), but hilarious!
  • JiraishinJiraishin trapped in a thawing block of iceMember Posts: 1,956 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Just finished "Warbreaker" by Brandon Sanderson. Yesterday I read "Elantris".
    ________________________
    The soul of Ashmond says, "Always with the sniping."
    DetheaJhaeliChryenth
  • AmunetAmunet Spokane, Washington, USAMember Posts: 750 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    @Dethea, I saw Mary Roach give a reading out of that book. I love it. Stiff, and Spook were also very good. I highly recommend them.

    @Orklanishkal, I told you before to read more Neil Gaiman, right after I fan-girled all over about how I got to meet him in November. Anansi Boys and Good Omens are both good, as other people mentioned, and I love Stardust, though that one isn't really everyone's cup of tea. 

    As mentioned in the thread on the old forums, my tastes are vastly different than those of most forum-going Achaeans, with the A Song of Ice and Fire series, my eternal love of H.P. Lovecraft, and my aforementioned adoration of all things Neil Gaiman, being my only modern sci-fi/fantasy preferences. Some of my favourite authors include Vladimir Nabokov, F. Scott Fitzgerald, the Marquis de Sade, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Evelyn Waugh, Ernest Hemingway, and Anthony Burgess. Then...I read a lot of poetry. I mean, a lot of poetry. Everything from the ancients up through Edna St. Vincent Millay, with my favourites among the Decadents.

    Yeah, I'm a literature snob. :(
    My avatar is an image created by this very talented gentleman, of whose work I am extremely jealous. It was not originally a picture of Amunet, but it certainly looks a great deal like how I envision her!
    KresslackBoosteyaKyrra
  • KresslackKresslack Florida, United StatesMember Posts: 6,196 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited August 2012
    Some still in my bookcase that I plan to re-read: 

    - The Godwars trilogy by Angus Wells
    - Book of the Kingdoms trilogy, also by Angus Wells
    - Darkness Descending by David Turtledove
    - Domes of Fire by David Eddings


  • MishgulMishgul ROTHERHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMember Posts: 5,337 @@ - Legendary Achaean

    Beyond Terry Pratchett who is one of my favourite authors I always struggle reading any fantasy books. My favourite series right now is the Childe Cycle by dickson, particularly the Dorsai series, which I love to re read, and I am a big fan of the foundation series by asimov.

    My favourite book by far is Soldier, Ask Not, by Gordon Dickson. The story itself made me cry almost as much as Forward the Foundation. I never finished Forward the Foundation, it got way too depressing. Good book though.

    -

    One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important

    As drawn by Shayde
    hic locus est ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitae
    JiraishinKyrra
  • JiraishinJiraishin trapped in a thawing block of iceMember Posts: 1,956 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I teared up at the end of Soldier Ask Not (I was 12 at the time, so I'm okay admitting that). One of my favorite books ever, and one of the few I brought with me to school.
    ________________________
    The soul of Ashmond says, "Always with the sniping."
    Mishgul
  • MishgulMishgul ROTHERHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMember Posts: 5,337 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    omg a soldier ask not buddy <3 <3 <3 you are the first person i know of besides myself and clementius who have read that book

    -

    One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important

    As drawn by Shayde
    hic locus est ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitae
    JiraishinBoosteyaRakon
  • BoosteyaBoosteya Member Posts: 388 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    Amunet said:
    @Dethea, I saw Mary Roach give a reading out of that book. I love it. Stiff, and Spook were also very good. I highly recommend them.

    @Orklanishkal, I told you before to read more Neil Gaiman, right after I fan-girled all over about how I got to meet him in November. Anansi Boys and Good Omens are both good, as other people mentioned, and I love Stardust, though that one isn't really everyone's cup of tea. 

    As mentioned in the thread on the old forums, my tastes are vastly different than those of most forum-going Achaeans, with the A Song of Ice and Fire series, my eternal love of H.P. Lovecraft, and my aforementioned adoration of all things Neil Gaiman, being my only modern sci-fi/fantasy preferences. Some of my favourite authors include Vladimir Nabokov, F. Scott Fitzgerald, the Marquis de Sade, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Evelyn Waugh, Ernest Hemingway, and Anthony Burgess. Then...I read a lot of poetry. I mean, a lot of poetry. Everything from the ancients up through Edna St. Vincent Millay, with my favourites among the Decadents.

    Yeah, I'm a literature snob. :(
    You. Say that (last line) with PRIDE!

    I grew up reading science-fiction from my dad's bookshelves, and two different sets of then-current encyclopedias. Unfortunately for me, all I ever remember about a story are things from the stories themselves, never titles or authors.

    Fell in love with 18th/19th-century poetry as a teenager, but ohai USA public education system. Not much exposure to it and nobody advertises. Like old poetry was an illegal drug or something - only it was MUCH harder to find a reputable librarian/bookseller/friend to suggest good books than a pusher/dealer/fellow druggie.

    Matthew Arnold, please.

    also, I would count it among my greatest treasures if I could find something contemporary, specifically a single volume of poetry published under the name Percy Wells.

    These are the only poets whose work has ever been so captivating to me that I memorised some, and was therefore able to look up the name of the first author.

    Unrelated to any of the previous, yet still, I hope, on-topic... I thought USA public schools were bad when I was young. They've gotten worse. My nephew is home-schooled because of too many incidents such as a teacher telling him he can't read the dictionary because it hasn't got a plot. Hey, idiot pretending to teach, what's an etymology?
    Miin-aan baash kimini-sij-i-gan bitooyin sij-i-gan-i bukwayszhiigan = blueberry π
  • YezritYezrit Member Posts: 20 ✭✭ - Stalwart
    My teachers also disliked it when I did a book report on the dictionary.
    VasoolRakonSalvar
  • BoosteyaBoosteya Member Posts: 388 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    Yezrit said:
    My teachers also disliked it when I did a book report on the dictionary.
    Not the situation in question.
    Miin-aan baash kimini-sij-i-gan bitooyin sij-i-gan-i bukwayszhiigan = blueberry π
  • NiciaNicia Member Posts: 61 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    The trouble is I start series and I always have so many that I'm reading at one time that I never seem to finish them. Stuff that I'm reading that I can recommend:
    I'm on Clash of Kings in George R.R. Martin and these are good if you like high fantasy. It also lacks a lot of the supernatural hocus pocus and fantasy religious stuff, which is kind of nice.
    Started Reading the first book of DiscWorld, which is amusing and charming on so many levels.
    The Dresden Files by Butcher. These are nice for a pretty light read.
    I just got the SF anthology "The Future is Japanese", which I would strongly recommend to anyone that likes science fiction.
    Other than that, I'm a sucker for the classics...and can tell you that the opening quote to achaea is Shelley from "Adonais" (a poem about the death of Keats another famous poet))
  • TvistorTvistor Member Posts: 2,899 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Keats is the man.
    NiciaKyrra
  • NiciaNicia Member Posts: 61 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    I'm a big fan of Shelley, though "Ode to a Nightingale" is definitely in my top ten.
  • JhaeliJhaeli Member Posts: 541 @ - Epic Achaean
    edited September 2012
    Naisar said:
    I saw a David Eddings referral up there somewhere.  A cautionary tale: he's only ever written one story; it's probably not worth your time to read anything more than one complete plot arc.
    Pretty much. He wrote the Belgariad and basically recycled the heavily troped plotline from there. That said, David Eddings is the kind of author I pull out of my bookshelf when I've had enough emotional turmoil from other sources and just want pure fluff. Eddings practically defines fantasy fluff, but that's part of what makes his work enjoyable - you know there's nothing heavy to it, you'll probably get a few good laughs from his archetypical characters, and you'll put it down with a smile without feeling like the world is a lost dystopia. If I remember right, Eddings himself basically admitted to this about his books. So as long as you know what you're getting and don't mind that, they're worth picking up for an easy read.

    ETA: As long as you avoid the last series he wrote. That wasn't enjoyable, that was just stupid. Stick with the Belgariad/Mallorean, the Elenium/Tamuli, and the stand-alone Tale of Althalus.

    "Gilgamesh, where are you hurrying to? You will never find that [everlasting] life for which you are looking. When the gods created man they allotted to him death, but life they retained in their own keeping. As for you, Gilgamesh, fill your belly with good things; day and night, night and day, dance and be merry, feast and rejoice. Let your clothes be fresh, bathe yourself in water, cherish the little child that holds your hand, and make your wife happy in your embrace; for this too is the lot of man." 

    Faolin
  • AmunetAmunet Spokane, Washington, USAMember Posts: 750 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I just finished reading The Book Thief and Reading Lolita in Tehran for my contemporary literature class. Both were quite good; I'd highly recommend them, though Reading Lolita in Tehran didn't seem to appeal to people (read: everyone else in the class) who weren't familiar with the books that Azar Nafisi and her students were studying. If anything, it served to highlight the near-illiteracy of recent high school graduates and only further emphasized the differences between my classmates and myself. It's no longer a gully that separates us; it's an effing chasm. We actually got into a debate last week over the Twilight series - the professor, a hipster, and I derided Stephenie Meyer's prose as a crime against literature, while a small claque of rabid Twi-hards argued that Bella Swan's battle to choose between committing necrophilia or bestiality was the greatest love story since Orpheus harrowed the Underworld to resurrect his Eurydice. I suddenly understood the hatred some adults bear for teenagers.
    My avatar is an image created by this very talented gentleman, of whose work I am extremely jealous. It was not originally a picture of Amunet, but it certainly looks a great deal like how I envision her!
    AlysseaJhaeliSalvar
  • JiraishinJiraishin trapped in a thawing block of iceMember Posts: 1,956 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    @Amunet you say that like adults can't be near-illiterate idiots.

    On topic, I recently read Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy. Thought it was good but not his best. I also finally finished El Cid, which I am supposed to have read a third of for class (I read ahead because it was good)
    I forget if I posted on here when I read the Song of Roland relatively recently.
    ________________________
    The soul of Ashmond says, "Always with the sniping."
    ChryenthJhaeli
  • DetheaDethea Member Posts: 114 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    I've recently just finished every non-short story from the Enderverse. I regret almost nothing.

    Also, I feel completely insane. Also, also, I have a love/hate relationship with Orson Scott Card (damn you, religion!!).
    Jhaeli
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