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Old 2010-03-07, 19:11   #1
xilman
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We've a thriving music thread and an apparently moribund art thread so I thought I'd start off one devoted to literature.

The rules are simple: post about a good book you've read and that you think others here may enjoy.

I'll kick off with "Anathem" by Neal Stephenson. I picked it up at Stansted airport on the way to a business trip. It is a substantial (in quantity and quality) work of science fiction and I spent several multi-hour sessions reading it over the last couple of weeks. I won't reveal the plot (if you really want spoilers there are plenty to be found by Google) but I highly recommend it.

Thinking about it, it's more accurately described as philosophical fiction than science fiction...


Paul
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Old 2010-03-07, 22:38   #2
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Good idea for a thread. Why didn't I think of it?

I've been poring through Frank Herbert's Dune books for the past few weeks. I'm on Heretics of Dune at the moment. The original Dune stands out as a great piece of science fiction. The ones that follow are okay, but the first is clearly the best. The fourth book, God Emporer of Dune is much more philosophical.
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Old 2010-03-09, 00:08   #3
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Nobody here must be into reading...

In the last half of 2009 I read the 2001 series from Arthur C. Clarke. I enjoyed the entire series. I read 2001: A Space Odyssey back in high school (mid 80's) and watched the movie for the first time then. Unlike many of the posters over at IMDb, I found the movie to be incredibly boring. I have to change the channel after a few minutes if I catch it on TV today. Some of the posters over at IMDb remind me of the trekkies at the Star Trek convention bit in the SNL episode when William Shatner hosted. But I digress. I don't enjoy much of his earlier work (40's and 50's) as much as his later work. I think that is because much the technology in his earlier work is very dated by 21st century standards. I have read Rendevous with Rama, which I enjoyed quite a bit, but I am missing the second book, which I need to read before reading any of the other sequels.
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Old 2010-03-09, 00:15   #4
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When the Mike Myers "Cat in the Hat" film came out my sister asked my brother if he had watched it yet.

He said: "Don't need to. I read the book".

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Old 2010-03-09, 04:06   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rogue View Post
Nobody here must be into reading...
I'm just taking my time in selecting which of my favorite literature to initially praise here.
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Old 2010-03-09, 05:45   #6
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Mindswap by Robert Sheckley
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Old 2010-03-09, 17:40   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rogue View Post
Nobody here must be into reading...
No, just too busy reading to reply-

I'm re-reading Irving Stone's "The Agony and the Ecstacy", historical fiction about the life of Michaelangelo. Excellent book; now I'm trying to figure out how to make a trip to Italy, to see all the remaining works. (Got to see some on a brief trip to Rome, but would really like to take a vacation devoted to Michaelangelo's works and haunts.)

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Old 2010-03-09, 18:27   #8
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I'm a huge fan of both Frank Herbert and Neal Stephenson. I've only read the original Dune, and I think I've read everything but Anathem (including ITBWTCL, a great read).

Currently I'm into historical fiction: Bernard Cornwell and Conn Iggulden. I'd recommend essentially anything by these two authors.
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Old 2010-03-09, 18:59   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rogue View Post
Nobody here must be into reading...

In the last half of 2009 I read the 2001 series from Arthur C. Clarke. I enjoyed the entire series. I read 2001: A Space Odyssey back in high school (mid 80's) and watched the movie for the first time then. Unlike many of the posters over at IMDb, I found the movie to be incredibly boring. I have to change the channel after a few minutes if I catch it on TV today. Some of the posters over at IMDb remind me of the trekkies at the Star Trek convention bit in the SNL episode when William Shatner hosted. But I digress. I don't enjoy much of his earlier work (40's and 50's) as much as his later work. I think that is because much the technology in his earlier work is very dated by 21st century standards. I have read Rendevous with Rama, which I enjoyed quite a bit, but I am missing the second book, which I need to read before reading any of the other sequels.
I was waiting until a few others had joined in...

I'm a ACC fan but with tastes different from yours. For instance, I'm firmly of the opinion that 2001 A Space Idiocy is one of the best movies ever made but I could never get into the Rama series. I read the first and barely remember it. The second is on the bookshelf but hasn't been read beyond the first 20 pages or so.

Picking up on other posters' comments: Dune was superb but all the multitudinous sequels by almost as many different authors leave me cold. Stephenson's Cryptonomicon I enjoyed a great deal but, for the time being at least, prefer Anathem.

Ok, now for a few more recommendations. I discovered Stephen Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever as the first trilogy came out. I really liked them, and still do, despite his serious case of OEDema --- or perhaps because of it! The second trilogy was so-so but the third is a return to greatness. I've only read the first two books in the third trilogy. According to rumour, the third is due out this year and the fourth (pace DNA) in 2013.

I earlier referred to Anathem as being more philosophical fiction than science fiction. A book which in many ways is very different, and yet in others is remarkably similar is Roger Penrose's The Road to Reality. It is similar in that it contains science, philosopy and fiction as well as being a substantial work. The sentence "It's a thousand pages, give or take a few" comes to mind. TRtR, in contrast to Anathem, is primarily science with a healthy dose of philosophy sandwiched between some fiction. I recommend it very highly indeed but please don't make the mistake of trying to read it like a novel. It's a work to dip into repeatedly and I've been doing so ever since I bought it as a Xmas present to myself two and a bit years ago.

More later.

Paul

Last fiddled with by xilman on 2010-03-25 at 19:44
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Old 2010-03-09, 19:28   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xilman View Post
We've a thriving music thread and an apparently moribund art thread so I thought I'd start off one devoted to literature.

The rules are simple: post about a good book you've read and that you think others here may enjoy.

Paul
I'm reading through the Sherlock Holmes stories at the moment, which are nearly all available for free download from Project Gutenberg. I'd only read a couple before, and although the standard is variable, I'm enjoying them a lot.
Conan Doyle was a pretty good writer IMO.

After that I've got a couple of Wilkie Collins novels lined up. So at the moment my reading is not cyberpunk, not even steampunk, just plain steam.

Chris
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Old 2010-03-09, 19:50   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Card View Post
I'm reading through the Sherlock Holmes stories at the moment, which are nearly all available for free download from Project Gutenberg. I'd only read a couple before, and although the standard is variable, I'm enjoying them a lot.
Conan Doyle was a pretty good writer IMO.

After that I've got a couple of Wilkie Collins novels lined up. So at the moment my reading is not cyberpunk, not even steampunk, just plain steam.
An interesting novel by SCD was Sir Nigel. I've read some of the Holmes stories. Sir Nigel was an enjoyable read, although it would probably be considered along the lines of pulp fiction by most people today.

Last fiddled with by rogue on 2010-03-09 at 19:52
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