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yambu
Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:08 am Reply with quote
Joined: 23 May 2004 Posts: 6441 Location: SF Bay Area
I read all of Lewis. They were mostly ok, except for ELMER GANTRY. If it was supposed to be about the politics of preaching, it missed.

I have favorable memories of scenes from other books:

The pecking order of one community rests solely on money earned. The judge, doctor and others at the top must give way to the guy who has a large high collar factory. This is manifest over and over again as the men network like mad at the all new Lions, Rotary, Kiwanis, Elks, etc. Same memberships, same patter.

Family goes off to visit another branch. It's a three day ride by wagon. Their arrival is a surprise, as there is no telegram service. The oldest visiting woman is the matriarch, so she assumes command over everything. They don't give a departure date, and the hosts don't dare ask, but three weeks later they announce they're leaving the next morning.

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gromit
Posted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 12:09 am Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8552 Location: Shanghai
I read Arrowsmith in high school English class. Don't recall much, except thinking it was rather plodding. The other English teacher assigned Dreiser's An American Tragedy, but I never read that. I wonder if Sinclair Lewis or Dreiser are still assigned reading in public schools. I'm guessing not. I think I'd rather read Dos Passos.

I was surprised how much I dislike Lewis' writing style, and thought many of his sentences are comically bad. Really can't recall mentally editing so many sentences in a book before. I also sometimes rearranged/fixed scenes, which is something I do with movies as well when they become boring or slip up. Much of Lewis' dialogue just got me rolling my eyes and not bothering to improve it.

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Syd
Posted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:23 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 12506 Location: Norman, Oklahoma
We didn't have them. We had Shakespeare, of course, Knowles' "A Separate Peace," Hardy's "Return of the Native'* (never finished), and recent Nobel Prize winners, TS Eliot, Steinbeck ("Travels with Charlie", the safe choice), and Hemingway, Faulkner (never finished), as well as Sophocles' "Oedipus Rex," Homer's "Odyssey," Anouilh's "Antigone," Joyce's "Portrait of the Artist," Conrad's "Heart of Darkness." Also "The Sundowners," "To Kill a Mockingbird," and "Huckleberry Finn." I don't remember if I read "The Magic Mountain" on my own or if it was assigned, but I liked it. One whole year of poetry, a lot of which I liked.

*I later read "The Mayor of Castorbridge," which I do like, and I like Hardy's short poems. I think he was a better poet that novelist, but never attempt "The Dynasts."

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yambu
Posted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 4:19 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 23 May 2004 Posts: 6441 Location: SF Bay Area
My book club is reading Emily Wilson's superb translation of ODYSSEUS. We meet at UC Berkeley, and are fortunate to be joined by two Phd candidates of ancient Greek.

After a lifetime of failing at Joyce's ULYSSES, my son got me to read the text in the Gabler Edition, closely accompanied by the complimentary ULYSSES ANNOTATED by Don Gifford. Twenty pages a day, you'll be done by Christmas. I now dawble in them all the time. There is nothing like it.

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bartist
Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 10:56 am Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6400
Who Fears Death is one on my stack but I've put it off, honestly maybe due to tough themes like weaponized rape (The novel was inspired in part by Emily Wax's 2004 Washington Post article "We Want to Make a Light Baby," which discussed the use of weaponized rape by Arab militiamen against Black African women in the Darfur conflict. ) and FGM (also touched on in a heartrending scene in the series The Handmaids Tale) of the protagonist. There are stories I'm glad were written but that I have to be in the right frame of mind to pick up and read. There are days when I am done reading the news and feel I won't miss this planet when the Reaper takes me off it.

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carrobin
Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 1:40 am Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 7676 Location: NYC
The book I remember boring me half to death in high school was "David Copperfield"--I've never been a fan of Dickens, but I'd read "A Tale of Two Cities" after seeing a TV version and getting rather a crush on Sydney Carton. (That was so long ago that I didn't even know who the actor was--but many years later I found out it was James Donald, who was in "The Vikings" with Kirk Douglas and "The Great Escape" with David McCallum, my favorite movies starring my favorite actors at the time. I decided he was probably the "James" that Alan Bates talked to on the phone in "Butley" but was never seen.) "ATo2C" irritated me enormously because so much of it was about everything but Sydney--but the ending made up for a lot.

Funny that I didn't have to read "Moby Dick," but a favorite teacher recommended it, and I actually enjoyed it. I should read it again someday.
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Syd
Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 3:48 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 12506 Location: Norman, Oklahoma
bartist wrote:
Who Fears Death is one on my stack but I've put it off, honestly maybe due to tough themes like weaponized rape (The novel was inspired in part by Emily Wax's 2004 Washington Post article "We Want to Make a Light Baby," which discussed the use of weaponized rape by Arab militiamen against Black African women in the Darfur conflict. ) and FGM (also touched on in a heartrending scene in the series The Handmaids Tale) of the protagonist. There are stories I'm glad were written but that I have to be in the right frame of mind to pick up and read. There are days when I am done reading the news and feel I won't miss this planet when the Reaper takes me off it.


One of the main characters was once a child soldier, too, though that's long in the past by the time of the book, when he's become a healer. It's a great book, but is sometimes bleak, and the heroine does some deeds that are pretty dark.

She has another book, "The Book of Phoenix," which takes place in the distant past of this one and tells of the apocalypse that created this world. That one was more science fiction and didn't work as well for me because the fantastic elements didn't blend well. This one works better because it's overtly fantasy (there are sorcerers), despite some computer technology.

I'm about to read her Binti series, which currently is two novellas and a novel. The first story won the Hugo and Nebula awards in the face of the Sad Puppy assault on the Hugos. It also led to a bit of confusion because when I read that a Nigerian-American woman had won the Hugo for one of her books, I thought they meant the Hugo for best novel, and bought "The Book of Phoenix." When I got home, I discovered my mistake and bought "The Fifth Season" by N. K. Jemisin, who instantly became one of my favorite writers.

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gromit
Posted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 10:47 am Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8552 Location: Shanghai
Syd wrote:
We didn't have them. We had Shakespeare, of course, Knowles' "A Separate Peace," Hardy's "Return of the Native'* (never finished), and recent Nobel Prize winners, TS Eliot, Steinbeck ("Travels with Charlie", the safe choice), and Hemingway, Faulkner (never finished), as well as Sophocles' "Oedipus Rex," Homer's "Odyssey," Anouilh's "Antigone," Joyce's "Portrait of the Artist," Conrad's "Heart of Darkness." Also "The Sundowners," "To Kill a Mockingbird," and "Huckleberry Finn." I don't remember if I read "The Magic Mountain" on my own or if it was assigned, but I liked it. One whole year of poetry, a lot of which I liked.


We had a lot of that.
Shakespeare; A Separate Peace, Mockingbird, Portrait of the Artist, Huck Finn, Heart of Darkness.
But we read Grapes of Wrath.
I'm a fan of Travels with Charlie, but read that on my own and not sure it'd inspire much discussion.

Also, we read Great Gatsby. And Watership Down.
The other class read Faulkner (As I Lay Dying, I believe) while we had Hemingway. You did way more ancient classic than we did.

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bartist
Posted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:33 am Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6400
Syd wrote:
bartist wrote:
Who Fears Death is one on my stack but I've put it off, honestly maybe due to tough themes like weaponized rape (The novel was inspired in part by Emily Wax's 2004 Washington Post article "We Want to Make a Light Baby," which discussed the use of weaponized rape by Arab militiamen against Black African women in the Darfur conflict. ) and FGM (also touched on in a heartrending scene in the series The Handmaids Tale) of the protagonist. There are stories I'm glad were written but that I have to be in the right frame of mind to pick up and read. There are days when I am done reading the news and feel I won't miss this planet when the Reaper takes me off it.


One of the main characters was once a child soldier, too, though that's long in the past by the time of the book, when he's become a healer. It's a great book, but is sometimes bleak, and the heroine does some deeds that are pretty dark.

She has another book, "The Book of Phoenix," which takes place in the distant past of this one and tells of the apocalypse that created this world. That one was more science fiction and didn't work as well for me because the fantastic elements didn't blend well. This one works better because it's overtly fantasy (there are sorcerers), despite some computer technology.

I'm about to read her Binti series, which currently is two novellas and a novel. The first story won the Hugo and Nebula awards in the face of the Sad Puppy assault on the Hugos. It also led to a bit of confusion because when I read that a Nigerian-American woman had won the Hugo for one of her books, I thought they meant the Hugo for best novel, and bought "The Book of Phoenix." When I got home, I discovered my mistake and bought "The Fifth Season" by N. K. Jemisin, who instantly became one of my favorite writers.


Have started Who Fears Death - the style does suck you right in. I don't read enough fantasy to have a good handle on how fantasy and sci-fi do mix, or should mix. If there's any scientific element at all, my mind tries to start filling in all the happenings, no matter how magical, with some sort of hidden ancient technology that people have forgotten. I guess that's a Clarke-ian attitude - if it's magical, it must be a sufficiently advanced technology. OTOH, if I'm reading a South American writer, then I just take the magic at face value: it's magic and it's real.

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Syd
Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:59 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 12506 Location: Norman, Oklahoma
I hadn't mentioned: Nnedi Okorafor's Binti series is quite qood and gets better as it goes along, although it fades at the end. The first story is a novella that won a Nebula, but the sequels are a lot better. I did want to conk Binti on the side of the head several times, because she made a disspiriting assumption that was obviously false, but well worth reading and not as bleak as her other novels.

I'm currently reading Carrie Vaughn's Amaryllis and Other Stories because she was GOH at SoonerCon and I thought that was a better place to start than her 14 volume Kitty Norville series, and you know what? She's an outstanding writer in a wide variety of sf subgenres (which may be why she's never won a major award: it's hard to get a handle on her.) Favorites include "Strife Lingers in Memory," which asks the question: after all those battles and happy endings, and the hero marrying the wizard's beautiful daughter, what would their wedding night have been like. I was thinking Aragorn and Arwen, but Aragorn wasn't that reflective--but what about Eowyn and Faramir, and all those nightmares of battle coming to life.

Or "the amazingly clever "Draw Thy Breath in Pain," in which Shakespeare is hired to write a play in which a monarch is murdered and a throne usurped, and the person doing the hiring is named Banquo--excuse me, Horatio. (Remember Hamlet's deathbed commands to Horatio and a bit of the supernatural and it logically follows ).

Some hard science fiction "The Best We Can," which asks whether we can get our shit together when we detect a relic of alien life), "The Girl with Pre-Raphaelite Hair" (training AI to achieve sentience through connecting to the sensory impressions of a telepath), "A Riddle in Nine Syllable" (An explorer is attacked by a parasitic lifeform which starts to achieve sentience on its own.)

Or "For Fear of Dragons:" a clever young virgin has a master plan to end the virgin sacrifices to the local dragon, then learns the cynical reasons her village has to maintain the illusion.

And much, much more.

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bartist
Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:28 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6400
Century Rain, by Alistair Reynolds

My favorite Reynolds - noir, parallel worlds, jazz, nanotechnology, and Paris in the fall. Throw in pinches of Casablanca and The Third Man, an Enigma machine, and...aw heck, this isn't my favorite Reynolds, it's just my favorite sci-fi book of this century so far.

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bartist
Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2019 4:41 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6400
Quote:
It was garbage, but it had been cooked by an expert. Oh, yes. You had to admire the way perfectly innocent words were mugged, ravished, stripped of all true meaning and decency, and then sent to walk the gutter for Reacher Gilt, although “synergistically” had probably been a whore from the start


"Going Postal" has never been more timely.

And remains a masterpiece.

[/i]

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Syd
Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 1:54 am Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 12506 Location: Norman, Oklahoma
I don't recommend "Fire and Blood," the new George R. R. Martin book, unless you're really heavily into the early background of the Song of Ice and Fire and sequels. You will learn about the Dance of the Dragons in excruciating detail, but since you're not invested in a single character, who cares? It's a problem throughout the whole book.

Although the death of the dragons apparently was not due to inbreeding as much as using them as combat weapons against each other.

I do recommend Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Norville series, which I binge-read. They're addictive, and Vaughn, as I indicated, is a very good writer. As much as I love this series, I still think her best work is the independent short stories and her Bannerless novels. "The Wild Dead" is exceptionally good.

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carrobin
Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 2:57 am Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 7676 Location: NYC
Has anyone tried selling their books through Abebooks? I have way too many books and way too little cash at the moment, and have been searching the site to check prices. Most of my books wouldn't fetch more than a few dollars, though copies of my Regency Companion hardcover are available on the site for $200 up to $700. I'm still hoping to write my Regency romantic mystery someday, though, and it's too good a reference source to let go. Anyway--they also buy art, comics, magazines, maps, and ephemera. I'm going to look into it further.
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bartist
Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:17 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6400
...


Last edited by bartist on Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:57 pm; edited 2 times in total

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