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  #8941  
Old 02-13-2014, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Loki View Post
I'm really enjoying it as well. I'm glad all three books are out this year. It's very much in his vein too. For more dreamlike weird goodness check out his Ambergris Trilogy.
I can't wait to read Annihilation (although I might wait until the whole trilogy is out and just read them back to back to back). For serious, everybody needs to read the Ambergris Trilogy like yesterday.
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  #8942  
Old 02-13-2014, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Jayson View Post
I'm about a third of the way through Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer. My first experience with this author, but if the early going is any indication, it will not be my last.

This book was just published, and is the first part of a planned trilogy, with all three parts set to come out this year.
Really looking forward to this; it's next on my list after I finish W.G. Sebald's A Place in the Country, which is a very good essay collection, but more than his novels, clearly written for German writers. Of the six artists (four writers, a painter, and a writer/painter) covered in the six essays, I had only heard of two before I started this book. Still, Sebald's prose is as good as it ever was, and now I know a little bit more about some intriguing writers.
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  #8943  
Old 02-13-2014, 09:11 PM
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I'm looking for good books on mythology and the occult and junk. Can anyone recommend me books in this vein?
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  #8944  
Old 02-13-2014, 09:12 PM
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"The Golden Bough"
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  #8945  
Old 02-13-2014, 09:21 PM
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I'm looking for good books on mythology and the occult and junk. Can anyone recommend me books in this vein?
Anything by Joseph Campbell, but especially his Masks of God series.
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  #8946  
Old 02-13-2014, 10:18 PM
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I'm looking for good books on mythology and the occult and junk. Can anyone recommend me books in this vein?
Ask Eirikr
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  #8947  
Old 02-13-2014, 10:22 PM
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Borges writes a lot of great stuff about Judaic mysticism, crank philosophy, and mythology in his nonfiction stuff. If your interests line up with his AT ALL, opening Non-fictions will be like drowning a cat in cat nip.
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  #8948  
Old 02-13-2014, 10:30 PM
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These are all pretty good. Keep 'em coming!
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  #8949  
Old 02-13-2014, 10:52 PM
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Default Note from Borges

This is one of my favorite bits from Borges's essays. He's talking about a Hawthorne story where a group of people decide to free themselves of their history, which they feel has a malicious effect on them. They throw into a big bonfire all their history books, all their cultural achievements, all their technology. But a devil appears to them and says that if they really want to free themselves, they'll need to throw their hearts into the fire too, since it's the human heart that has made their history so bloody.

Anyway, this essay hasn't been translated into any of the English editions of his works, as far as I know. I realize Hawthorne's not THAT widely read today but it seems like a huge oversight. Anyway, forgive the crapiness of my translation:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Borges, Otras Inquisiciones
In what is referred to as "the fantasy of abolishing the past," it may be appropriat to remember that this was attempted in China, with little success, three centuries before Christ. Herbert Allen Giles writes: "The minister Li Su proposed that history would begin with the new king, who would take the title of 'First Emperor.' To banish the vain pretensions of antiquity, the confiscation and burningof all books, save those that provided instruction in medicine, agriculture, or astrology. Anyone who hid his books was marked with an incandescent iron and obligate to work in the construction of the Great Wall. Many valuable works perished: to the self-abnegation and the bravery of obscure and ignored men of letters, posterity owes the conservacion of the canon of Confucius. So many literati, it is said, were executed for disobeying the imperial orders, that in winter, melons grew in the location where they had been buried." In England, on the arrival[?] of the seventeenth century, the same proposition resurfaced among the puritans, among the ancestors of Hawthorne. "In one of the popular parliaments assembled[?] by Cromwell"--refers Samuel Johnson--"it was very seriously proposed that the archives of the Tower of London be burned, to erase all memory of past things, and so that the regimen of life could begin anew." This is to say, the proposition of abolishing the past has already occurred in the past, and--paradoxically--is one of the proofs that the past can not be abolished. The past is indestructible: sooner or later all things return, and one of the things that returns is the project of abolishing the past.
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  #8950  
Old 02-13-2014, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Healy View Post
I'm looking for good books on mythology and the occult and junk. Can anyone recommend me books in this vein?
Mircea Eliade: The Myth of the Eternal Return and The Sacred and the Profane. I always forget whether I've read one, the other, or both.

Also, while I don't have any specific recommendations, you might want to look into books on the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (not to be confused with the modern-day fascist party in Greece, by any means!), an English occult society that included W.B Yeats, Arthur Machen, Evelyn Underhill, Bram Stoker, and Aleister Crowley. My mom's always been fascinated by them, and I keep meaning to read up on it.
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  #8951  
Old 02-14-2014, 01:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Jayson View Post
I'm about a third of the way through Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer. My first experience with this author, but if the early going is any indication, it will not be my last.

This book was just published, and is the first part of a planned trilogy, with all three parts set to come out this year.

The narrative is paranoid, dreamlike, intelligent sci-fi in the "new weird" vein. Four characters - the biologist, the psychologist, the surveyor, and the anthropologist - are sent to explore a strange jungle-like region. They're the 12th such expedition. Of course, the previous 11 were all met with disaster.

The book is a dream come true for an Etrian Odyssey fan like me (and many other Tyrants). Imagine an extremely well-written, modern-day take on an EO-like dungeon crawl - with hallucinatory creepiness thrown in - and that's what we have here. Very impressive so far.
Holy shit that sounds amazing.
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  #8952  
Old 02-14-2014, 06:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Behemoth View Post
For serious, everybody needs to read the Ambergris Trilogy like yesterday.
Yeah that's definitely getting bumped to the top of the queue.

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Originally Posted by Paul le Fou View Post
Holy shit that sounds amazing.
It really is. This Vandermeer guy is the writer I've been looking for all along. If you've never read him, just imagine what it would be like if China Mieville knew how to actually write for an audience and not just for himself.
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  #8953  
Old 02-14-2014, 12:10 PM
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Guess I won't be reading Annihilation on my Kindle. Cheaper to get a brand new paperback copy, which is just plain silly. Glad I looked in here and saw this, it sounds fantastic!
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  #8954  
Old 02-14-2014, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeDinosaur View Post
Anyway, this essay hasn't been translated into any of the English editions of his works, as far as I know. I realize Hawthorne's not THAT widely read today but it seems like a huge oversight. Anyway, forgive the crapiness of my translation:

Quote:
In what is referred to as "the fantasy of abolishing the past," it may be appropriat to remember that this was attempted in China, with little success, three centuries before Christ.
I did a presentation on Qin Shi Huang in Grad School. A lot of people ended up burying their private libraries and some were recovered, but tons of books were destroyed. My understanding is that he didn't want anyone other than himself to be remembered.
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  #8955  
Old 02-14-2014, 04:05 PM
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I'm reading Zealot and it's all kinds of fascinating, both as an interesting examination of what the historical Jesus really might have been like, and an overview of the history of violence in Palestine during the whole era in which he lived.

It's making me want to read more non-fiction books. Anyone have recommendations for relatively recently written histories of ancient Persia, Egypt, Greece, or Rome? I like stuff that's detailed but still readable.
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  #8956  
Old 02-14-2014, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Adrenaline View Post
I'm reading Zealot and it's all kinds of fascinating, both as an interesting examination of what the historical Jesus really might have been like, and an overview of the history of violence in Palestine during the whole era in which he lived.

It's making me want to read more non-fiction books. Anyone have recommendations for relatively recently written histories of ancient Persia, Egypt, Greece, or Rome? I like stuff that's detailed but still readable.
It's not exactly the time period you're looking for, but I'm currently reading a book called The Crusades. It's a pretty fascinating examination of, well, the crusades. I would say it straddles the line between detailed and readable pretty well.
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  #8957  
Old 02-14-2014, 09:04 PM
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Karen Armstrong's book about Jerusalem is pretty fucking great. From antiquity till now.
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  #8958  
Old 02-14-2014, 09:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Behemoth View Post
It's not exactly the time period you're looking for, but I'm currently reading a book called The Crusades. It's a pretty fascinating examination of, well, the crusades. I would say it straddles the line between detailed and readable pretty well.
The Thomas Asbridge one? Yeah I'm interested in that whole period too.
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  #8959  
Old 02-14-2014, 09:19 PM
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The Thomas Asbridge one? Yeah I'm interested in that whole period too.
Yeah, that's the one.
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  #8960  
Old 02-14-2014, 10:11 PM
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Default Happy Valentine's Day.

I've been rereading The Mysterious Mr. Quin by Agatha Christie, and I love it now just as much as I did the first time. The character of Mr. Quin is gradually escalated from perceptive stranger with a knack for appearing when convenient to supernatural force whose sphere of influence is where love intersects with death. Also:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Agatha Christie no later than NINETEEN FREAKING THIRTY
Is it possible, thought Mr. Satterthwaite, that so many idiotic songs could have been written about My Baby.
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  #8961  
Old 02-14-2014, 10:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jayson View Post
...just imagine what it would be like if China Mieville knew how to actually write for an audience and not just for Matchstick.
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  #8962  
Old 02-14-2014, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by RAC View Post
I've been rereading The Mysterious Mr. Quin by Agatha Christie, and I love it now just as much as I did the first time. The character of Mr. Quin is gradually escalated from perceptive stranger with a knack for appearing when convenient to supernatural force whose sphere of influence is where love intersects with death.
It is far and away my favourite Christie book.
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  #8963  
Old 02-14-2014, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Teaspoon View Post
It is far and away my favourite Christie book.
As I understand it, it was hers too! There's an expanded edition with a few extra stories published under the name "The Love Detectives: The Complete Quin and Satterthwaite," and one of these days I intend to get around to buying a copy.
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  #8964  
Old 02-14-2014, 10:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchstick View Post
...just imagine what it would be like if China Mieville knew how to actually write for an audience and not just for Matchstick
+1
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  #8965  
Old 02-15-2014, 08:28 AM
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Hi.

I'm going to talk about a book I'm reading.

It's called Take Me There.

It's a book of erotica short stories.

It's pretty amazing.

Now, the sex is nice, of course. Who doesn't like that? But this book keeps blowing my mind and being overwhelmingly, amazingly awesome and kinda constantly uplifting in my life because of all its representation. It's all about trans and genderqueer characters, and every story is written by people who get it. I mean, completely get it. The fear, the million different ways you invent to refer to things, the perfection of being with someone who really understands, it's got all that in there. At the same time, it's all portrayed as normal. Partners that just get it, and don't care. First dates that don't go ridiculously badly when one feels forced to disclose. It's just... great. It makes me feel included in a way I so rarely do.

There's a story about two queer furries. (Like, in real life, not like... the characters are animals... whatever.) I nearly lost my mind screaming "HOW DOES THIS BOOK UNDERSTAND ME SO WELL???"

It is one of the most feel-good books I have read in years and years. I feel so good about myself reading this book. I want to force it on everyone. But, you know, erotica. But I decided to tell you anyway. Because it's really great.

I'm going to be really sad when I finish it. I have probably thanked my boyfriend about 5000 times for buying me this book.

(If you do decide to look at it, realize a lot of the stories also have pretty extreme BDSM themes. Which is right up my alley, but, you know! Maybe not yours.)
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  #8966  
Old 02-15-2014, 03:22 PM
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Just finished reading Matterhorn which is maybe the best straight war novel I've ever read.

There's nothing that new in it, it covers all the usual Vietnam stuff, racial and class tensions, pointless missions, territory abandoned and retaken at great personal cost, useless brass, but it's all so real that it feels vital.

There's a routine mission that turns into a starvation death march thanks to a series of bureaucratic fuck ups and attempts at saving face that's pretty much the most harrowing thing I've ever read.

Holy shit this book.
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  #8967  
Old 02-16-2014, 10:57 PM
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As I said upthread, it's been over a decade since I last read The Lord of the Rings. I've read enough of and on mythology to catch on to a lot of the themes, so that was no surprise, but while I knew Dunsany was a huge influence on Tolkien, actually seeing Gandalf quote the phrase "the fields we know" was all kinds of awesome.

I love books so much.
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  #8968  
Old 02-17-2014, 09:52 AM
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Found a copy of the last Mr. Quin story, "The Harlequin Tea Set,' last night. It's simpler than most of them, but I take that to be intentional; it takes place many years after "Harlequin's Lane" which was written in 1929, and Mr. Satterthwaite was somewhere around 69 then. My best guess from the information in the story is that it's set somewhere around 56 or 57, and Satterthwaite reads like he's in his nineties. He's not as quick as he used to be and has no small difficulty in remembering things. Knowing that this is the last story, and Mr. Quin's nature, and that Satterthwaite is very, very old makes Mr. Quin's final note to him ("Congratulations. To our next meeting") more than a little sad.
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  #8969  
Old 02-20-2014, 09:52 PM
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The Honourable Schoolboy is...kinda depressing.

It's a feature and not a bug in a long-running series that you can, in fact, have a novel where no one accomplishes anything at all, the protagonist who you've spent five hundred very dense pages with gets killed in an embarrassing and pointless fashion, and Smiley's in disgrace *again*.
None of this makes it particularly easy to read, though, and Le Carre's prose is not the most sprightly. Nor is there very much Karla in it.

's okay, but still nowhere like a favourite. Wondering how I'll like Smiley's People.
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  #8970  
Old 02-20-2014, 10:39 PM
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I finally finished Gardens of the Moon. The second half was a lot better than the first half, but not so much better that I am going to make any sort of effort to read the sequels. I started enjoying it a little bit once Kruppe and his group got introduced. Mostly because they were characters with motivations and not merely portals for readers to view the plot through. Its just not for me.

I wonder if I am going to Acacia more. I've already enjoyed the first couple dozen pages more. I didn't get any books for Christmas this year, so I am left reading to depressingly large stack of fantasy doorstops I've managed to build up over the last few years. Maybe I'll try to read something else on my kindle before I start that up.
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