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  #12001  
Old 10-09-2017, 05:20 PM
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I'm currently reading Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms: Journeys Into the Disappearing Religions of the Middle East by Russell, and it's absolutely fantastic. The author is a former british diplomat who lived and traveled in the mideast, and is fluent in arabic, pashto and farsi. He does incredible research on minority religions fighting for survival under the dominant Islamic culture, and it's a fascinating look at a hidden universe. I found this book because i was interested in learning about the Yazidi when ISIS started destroying them, and it really does a great job.
This sounds right up my alley. Thank you for sharing Shivam.
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  #12002  
Old 10-11-2017, 01:27 PM
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Anno Dracula was awesome. Definitely will look into reading the rest of the series

On to Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poole
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  #12003  
Old 10-12-2017, 02:41 PM
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Finally diving into Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero
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  #12004  
Old 10-14-2017, 08:59 AM
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The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
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  #12005  
Old 10-14-2017, 03:31 PM
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I just finished The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin. It was fantastic (as was the previous book, The Fifth Season), and it won a Hugo as well (perhaps these things are related). On to the final volume, The Stone Sky.
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  #12006  
Old 10-14-2017, 08:36 PM
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Apparently, Russian literature and I don't get along too well. Instead, going to get lost in Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb. They say this trilogy is better than the first one
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  #12007  
Old 10-15-2017, 09:20 PM
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I recently read through the Lyonesse trilogy by Jack Vance. It's incredibly inventive and interesting, but also unfocused and scattershot. I would almost recommend it, but it's also incredibly misogynistic. Like, the heroes are very proud of themselves for not raping women, but they still harass them constantly. It's a huge disappointment.

I also recently read about 25 issues of Delicious in Dungeon. It's magnificent, and I can't recommend it highly enough. It's basically Etrian Odyssey, but the adventurers can't afford supplies so they cook & eat the monsters they kill. It's hilarious how excited they get about cooking monsters, and they actually have recipies, anatomies, and ecological data about each one. The dungeon design and art are solid too. The end of the first big adventure gets overly serious and cheesy, but it's definitely worth reading through their adventures in the first four levels.
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  #12008  
Old 10-16-2017, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by shivam View Post
I'm currently reading Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms: Journeys Into the Disappearing Religions of the Middle East by Russell, and it's absolutely fantastic. The author is a former british diplomat who lived and traveled in the mideast, and is fluent in arabic, pashto and farsi. He does incredible research on minority religions fighting for survival under the dominant Islamic culture, and it's a fascinating look at a hidden universe. I found this book because i was interested in learning about the Yazidi when ISIS started destroying them, and it really does a great job.
I finished this today and damn it was good. It's been a while since i read a nonfiction book i immediately wanted to start over and reread with wikipedia and reference books at hand.
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  #12009  
Old 10-16-2017, 10:06 PM
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Finished Sapiens, then read Homo Deus right after. Fascinating and thought-provoking, they left me with more wonder and curiousity than dread about the future. (not the case with all reviewers) The future's always kind of horrifying, but so was the past and so is present.

Harari references Stanislas Dehaene. I recently read his Consciousness and the Brain. Would also recommend. It's definitely a more hopeful work than Homo Deus because the former's wildly enthusiastic about consciousness (which I agree is very cool and personally important) while Homo Deus argues might not matter much in the future. (hope it will!)

From Shame to Sin is a compelling history of Roman sexual history and switch from pagan to Christian sexual ethics.

On a much lighter note: Dave Holmes' Party of One is a very fun memoir, particularly if you're gay.
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  #12010  
Old 10-18-2017, 09:45 PM
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new Steven Brust book came in! super stoked to start reading it.
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  #12011  
Old 10-20-2017, 05:55 PM
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Origin by Dan Brown
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  #12012  
Old 10-20-2017, 10:45 PM
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Origin by Dan Brown
...
why
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  #12013  
Old 10-21-2017, 07:41 AM
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Finished Book of Three and begun Black Cauldron (the Kindle edition has the whole series as one book). Itís easy to see how this series earned its reputation. Itís a pretty (well, excessively) by-the-numbers fantasy plot, but very accessible and the entire cast is made up of easily recognizable characters. Also, again, the first main villain is Skeletor.

On the downside; I donít have a damn clue how to pronounce almost any given name in this. Welsh is not a very clear dialect, guys! Itís a good thing itís so easy to tell characters apart by their personalities because their names are no help!
Aaaand done. Got used to most of the names after a while, thankfully. Whole series did an excellent job of telling a coming of age story, focusing on Taran going from a dopey kid to a somber dude (though, unfortunately, too somber for the goofy companions to mitigate) through the course of four books, and with the fifth the author said ďOh, right... the villain... he hasnít actually... done anything through this whole series. Might want to do something there...Ē

And whatís with mid-century fantasy series always ending with every single character metaphorically dying and ascending to heaven? With Lord of the Rings Iím willing to give it a pass because there were, like, eight different endings there and you could choose your favorite. But it seems to happen often enough that everyone must have thought ďSo the entire cast volunteered to perishĒ is a perfect finale.

Anyway, I enjoyed the series, though a little less as it wore on, and am lead to understand that because I enjoyed the series I should avoid the movie at all costs. I doubt the visuals would live up to my imagination anyway.

Anyway, Iíve had enough sweeping epic fantasy for the moment. Think Iíll go for publisher fanfiction; The Hound of the DíUrbervilles
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  #12014  
Old 10-21-2017, 09:54 AM
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...
why
It's book crack. With the exception of The Lost Symbol, most of the Langdon books have been pretty fun to read
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  #12015  
Old 10-23-2017, 09:07 AM
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Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy. This has been sitting on my shelf forever, because it's 1,400 pages long and Dickensian in scope. I was worried that my attention span wouldn't hold out and I'd get lost in trying to follow a lot of Indian history I wasn't familiar with. Turns out it's compulsively readable, and skillfully educates the reader about post-partition India while simultaneously immersing them in it.
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  #12016  
Old 10-23-2017, 10:37 AM
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Finally finished Little, Big. Not sure what my final impressions are. It didn't quite feel like it warranted its length, and the prose I was so enamored with at the beginning began to wear out its welcome as it turned into more of Auberon's self-pitying navel-gazing that never seemed to stick or shape him but flit away at the next turn of his character.

In fact, I think that's what might have bothered me the most: For a 100 Years of Solitude-esque book about a lot of characters in a family, it seemed like very few of them had any distinct sense of character about them. George Mouse and Ariel Hawksquill might have been the most consistently and distinctly-painted characters. Smoky was kinda vague and hard to follow, which seems odd because he started the book as an "anonymous" person but the end of act 1 was his ostensibly losing that and becoming a character, given a past and a present by Daily Alice. That he didn't might be an interesting act by the writer... but it's a hard sell when all the other characters kind of feel the same as he does. Auberon, the Second Main Character, never really seems to develop much personality either.

I also honestly never figured out what the point of Russell Eigenblick was, or where he actually fit into the narrative or Tale. The resolution of the whole overarching Tale was very vague. I understand that was probably on purpose, as the entire book is steeped diegetically and exegetically in ambiguity and maddening vagaries... and his own small arc seems to be his own attempt to figure out where he fits in which ends in failure... but it's also not particularly satisfying.

The last thing that kind of bothered me all along is that this book is kind of sexist as hell. It's basically an entire family of manic lethargic pixie dream girls, often quite literally, and the long-suffering smart but existentially self-obsessed men around them. Daily Alice is this shroud of mystery who never seems to have her own personality but totally loves our bland, anonymous protagonist. Smoky has an affair with Sophie, his wife's sister, Alice gets a little sad but then ends up loving him more because of it, and Sophie's totally fine with it too, everything is fine? Then there's Sylvie, the MPDG who actually is Manic, who jumps onto Auberon's dick in a flash for no other reason than he's the main character at the time, a tortured introspective with nothing to recommend himself to anyone, and they of course fall madly in love For Some Reason, then she disappears to give him something to spend a section of the book being sad and even more introspective about. Auberon has 3 sisters that barely even get mentioned. All the women are focused entirely on this Tale/Destiny that's been spelled out for them, and so never even think about claiming their own agency or identity. The only exception is Ariel Hawksquill, who acts to try and solve such things, only to find out she's part of the same Tale and end up in the same place as everyone else. But in the end, the women seem to serve at the pleasure of the men to drive their self-obsessed stories as mystical inscrutable agents instead of, like, people. I kept thinking of the old guard of male writers that came up a while ago, the classic "Great Thinker middle-aged intellectual with Struggles is somehow irresistible to young beautiful women he has lots of sex with" trope.
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  #12017  
Old 10-23-2017, 10:45 AM
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Iím about a third of the way through Hound of DíUrbervilles now and... well...

I think itís safe to call Kim Newman one of my favorite authors now. Dude is consistent with writing exactly what I want to read.

Except Dracula Cha Cha Cha, which was a disappointment.
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  #12018  
Old 10-23-2017, 02:01 PM
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My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
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  #12019  
Old 10-23-2017, 03:03 PM
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Recently I read through all of Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea stories and novels. They're all wonderful. Because she wrote them over such a long period of time, the last three books are in large part a feminist critique of the world she established in first three books, but with lots of dragons. So, you get both three books of pitch perfect all ages fantasy bildungsroman (each focused on a different character), followed by three books for adults by the same author decades later having the characters confront what she in retrospect realized were major flaws in the world she created. To be clear, the later books are not "adult" in the sense of say American comic books (e.g. for teenagers) but adult in the sense of dealing with domesticity, sexuality, and gender in a world of magic.
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  #12020  
Old 10-23-2017, 03:08 PM
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Nice to hear; that series is in my backlog too
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  #12021  
Old 10-23-2017, 03:35 PM
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I wish Earthsea was more popular and that I had discovered it when I was young. Still, it was a wonderful surprise to find it as an adult. If you're at all into science fiction, LeGuin's Hainish Cycle is excellent too.
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  #12022  
Old 10-23-2017, 03:55 PM
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I wish Earthsea was more popular and that I had discovered it when I was young.
This was also my reaction. (At least for the first three books. Tehanu and on are definitely better for people who have had adult experiences. I think I would have enjoyed them by middle-school or high-school, but major parts would definitely had gone over my head.)

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If you're at all into science fiction, LeGuin's Hainish Cycle is excellent too.
I definitely plan on reading those, too!
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  #12023  
Old 10-23-2017, 03:59 PM
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Nice to hear; that series is in my backlog too
Nice, indeed! The idea of a second arc, written later in a thoughtful author's life, is appealing all by itself.
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  #12024  
Old 10-23-2017, 08:33 PM
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The Fireman is a story about a mysterious spore that turns people's skin into black and gold dragon scales, before eventually causing them to violently combust. I'm only 150 or so pages into this gigantic book, but there already is a lot more to what's going on than what's on the surface.
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  #12025  
Old 10-24-2017, 01:20 PM
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Damaged by Timothy W. Long, about a heavy metal band that sell their souls to the Devil
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  #12026  
Old 10-24-2017, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by estragon View Post
Recently I read through all of Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea stories and novels. They're all wonderful. Because she wrote them over such a long period of time, the last three books are in large part a feminist critique of the world she established in first three books, but with lots of dragons. So, you get both three books of pitch perfect all ages fantasy bildungsroman (each focused on a different character), followed by three books for adults by the same author decades later having the characters confront what she in retrospect realized were major flaws in the world she created. To be clear, the later books are not "adult" in the sense of say American comic books (e.g. for teenagers) but adult in the sense of dealing with domesticity, sexuality, and gender in a world of magic.
I've been enjoying these too! Currently reading The Farthest Shore.
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  #12027  
Old 10-24-2017, 06:05 PM
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Station Eleven was hella good. One of the most compelling reads I've had in a while.

I'm taking a break from an accidental string of apocolyptic and post-apolyptic novels - Nemesis Games, Borne, and this one - to read October by China Mieville. I'd pride myself on my timing, except that the October Revolution started on November 7th, rather than October 25th, by the Gregorian calender...
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  #12028  
Old 10-24-2017, 06:13 PM
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I've been enjoying these too! Currently reading The Farthest Shore.
Oh, just as a note to you and also to anyone planning to read the books: The numbering is off in some earlier physical editions.

There is a book of novellas and short stories titled Tales from Earthsea, and Le Guin considers this book 5 of 6. Some publishers weren't cooperative though, and positioned it out of the sequence. Some of the middle stories just add flavor to the world, but the opening and closing novellas (The Finder and Dragonfly) are very directly in conversation with the novels before and after it. (And, personally, I think those two novellas are some of the best things she wrote in this setting.)

Anyway, the point is that the second set of three books is: Tehanu, Tales of Earthsea, and The Other Wind, in that order.

The most recent physical versions and the electronic versions you find on, say, Amazon are in correct order, but if you have an older physical copy it could be confusing.
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  #12029  
Old 10-24-2017, 09:00 PM
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I wish Earthsea was more popular and that I had discovered it when I was young. Still, it was a wonderful surprise to find it as an adult. If you're at all into science fiction, LeGuin's Hainish Cycle is excellent too.
Re: Earthsea: I am really looking forward to next year's omnibus edition with Charles Vess illustrations.
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  #12030  
Old 10-24-2017, 09:05 PM
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Re: Earthsea: I am really looking forward to next year's omnibus edition with Charles Vess illustrations.
The illustrations at that link and her other blog entries about collaborating with the illustrator include what some might consider to be major revelations from the last few books, so people who have strong feelings about that kind of thing might want to avoid it.

It looks cool as hell though, yeah.
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