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[Book] Thread 20XXAD

JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp.I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
edited June 2015 in Debate and/or Discourse

TAKE A LOOK, IT'S IN A BOOK!

Books! Despite everything, they're still around. The right book can save a life, ignite a passion, or spark a revolution. The wrong book is Atlas Shrugged.

Here are some books that are good. Tell us of others.

The (Semi)Official D&D Recommended Reading List

nabokov.jpgGENERAL FICTION
The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano
Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges
The Master and Margarita by Mikail Bulgakov
If on a winter's night a traveler by Italo Calvino
Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby
Dubliners by James Joyce
Ulysses by James Joyce
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Black Swan Green by David Mitchell
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Harauki Murakami
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Harauki Murakami
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
The Quincunx by Charles Palliser
Youth in Revolt by C.D. Payne
The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon
Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
Civilwarland in Bad Decline by George Saunders
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead
The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder
Life with Jeeves by PG Wodehouse

scifi.jpgSCIENCE FICTION
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov
The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov
The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks
The Algebraist by Iain M. Banks
The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
When Gravity Fails by George Alec Effinger
Neuromancer by William Gibson
Pattern Recognition by William Gibson
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
Dune by Frank Herbert
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The Left Hand Of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
A Canticle for Liebowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
1984 by George Orwell
Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds
Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
Hyperion by Dan Simmons
Ilium by Dan Simmons
Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
Anathem by Neal Stephenson
Stations of the Tide by Michael Swanwick
The Dying Earth by Jack Vance
A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge
Dread Empire’s Fall by Walter Jon Williams
The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson
The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe
The Fifth Head of Cerberus by Gene Wolfe

elfparrot.jpgFANTASY
The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie
The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander
Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
The Sharing Knife by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher
The Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher
The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Little, Big by John Crowley
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson
The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Ash by Mary Gentle
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart
The Dark Tower by Stephen King
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
Perdido Street Station by China Mieville
The Scar by China Mieville
The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers
The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
The Once and Future King by TH White
Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn by Tad Williams
Latro in the Mist by Gene Wolfe
The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny

bogie.jpgMYSTERY/CRIME
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
The Myron Bolitar series by Harlan Coben
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy
American Tabloid by James Ellroy
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
The Continental Op by Dashiell Hammett
The Ripley novels by Patricia Highsmith
Fletch by Gregory Macdonald
The Wallander novels by Henning Mankell
The Inspector Rebus novels by Ian Rankin
Keeper by Greg Rucka
The Lord Peter Wimsey novels by Dorothy L. Sayers
Hardcase by Dan Simmons
Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith

4589534743_516d360904_o.jpgESPIONAGE/THRILLERS
Complicity by Iain Banks
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John Le Carré
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John Le Carré
The Constant Gardener by John Le Carré
The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad
The James Bond novels by Ian Fleming
Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene
The Quiet American by Graham Greene
Harlot's Ghost by Norman Mailer
Keeper by Greg Rucka
A Gentleman's Game by Greg Rucka
The Crook Factory by Dan Simmons

price.jpgHORROR
Weaveworld by Clive Barker
World War Z by Max Brooks
The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill
It by Stephen King
The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub
Demons by John Shirley
Song of Kali by Dan Simmons
Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons
John Dies at the End by David Wong

hitler.jpgNONFICTION
Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein
The Wonder That Was India by AL Basham
D-Day by Anthony Beevor
Easy Riders, Raging Bulls by Peter Biskind
The Centennial History of the Civil War - Bruce Catton
The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Speed Tribes by Karl Taro Greenfield
All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
The Iranian Labyrinth by Dilip Hiro
Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter
The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia by Peter Hopkirk
Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe
In the Graveyard of Empires: America's War in Afghanistan by Seth Jones
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang by Pauline Kael
I Lost It at the Movies by Pauline Kael
On Writing by Stephen King
Battle Cry of Freedom by James MacPherson
Fear of Music: The 261 Greatest Albums Since Punk and Disco by Gary Mulholland
This is Uncool: The 500 Greatest Singles Since Punk and Disco by Gary Mulholland
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
My Turf: Horses, Boxers, Blood Money and the Sporting Life by William Nack
Zombie Spaceship Wasteland by Patton Oswalt
You'll Never Eat Lunch In This Town Again by Julia Phillips
Spike, Mike, Slackers & Dykes by John Pierson
The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat by Oliver Sacks
The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan
The Dragons of Eden by Carl Sagan
Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon
The Corner by David Simon and Edward Burns
The Elements of Style by Strunk and White
Reading Comics by Douglas Wolk

Jacobkosh on
«13456784

Posts

  • BogartBogart Because I hate you Registered User, Moderator mod
    Finally reading A Canticle For Leibowitz. I was expecting something a little drier, and am very pleased to find a rich vein of humour.

    JacobkoshIoloAManFromEarthEchoknitdanjakobaggerDoodmannAresProphetHaphazardCaptainNemo
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    Bogart wrote: »
    Finally reading A Canticle For Leibowitz. I was expecting something a little drier, and am very pleased to find a rich vein of humour.

    It's definitely more stylish than you'd expect of a book about the post-apocalypse written in the 1950s.

    AManFromEarthEchojakobaggerDoodmannCaptainNemoBobCesca
  • RMS OceanicRMS Oceanic Registered User regular
    Reading list does not have To Kill a Mockingbird. This needs corrected!

    On slightly less firm ground, what does the thread think of some HP Lovecraft? I know he drowns in purple prose and has some problematic attitudes as hilariously revealed in the inspiration behind Innsmouth, but I really enjoy The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and At the Mountains of Madness, the former for the mystery and the latter for the sheer atmosphere he conjures.

    tapeslinger
  • Mike DangerMike Danger "Diane..." a place both wonderful and strangeRegistered User regular
    I'm currently reading Gormenghast, but I'm only a few pages in. I'm surprised how much of Titus Groan I remember.

    Steam: Mike Danger | PSN/NNID: remadeking | 3DS: 2079-9204-4075
    oE0mva1.jpg
  • BogartBogart Because I hate you Registered User, Moderator mod
    Sometimes Lovecraft's stuff is unreadable and awful, and he is rarely ever underwriting anything, but in his best stuff he gets across, through some literary alchemy I can't actually detect, an atmosphere of alien, unknowable, nihilistic evil that lurks on the outskirts of consciousness that no one else can replicate. He's often a terrible, racist writer who also manages to create some of the most disturbing, influential fiction ever made.

    JacobkoshjakobaggerCaptainNemoV1mBloodySlothRchanenWearingglassesmarajiZampanov
  • BogartBogart Because I hate you Registered User, Moderator mod
    I can heartily recommend INJ Culbard's comic book adaptations of Lovecraft's stories. He's also just done The King In Yellow.

    RMS Oceanic
  • RMS OceanicRMS Oceanic Registered User regular
    Bogart wrote: »
    I can heartily recommend INJ Culbard's comic book adaptations of Lovecraft's stories. He's also just done The King In Yellow.

    I have his Mountains of Madness, Charles Dexter Ward and Shadow out of Time. They are great.

    In non-fiction I've started listening to Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. I could wait until the middle of next year to give you my thoughts, but a peak at the contents is interesting how outside the Byzantine Empire the later volumes looks like a more general history of Medieval Europe.

  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    Bogart wrote: »
    I can heartily recommend INJ Culbard's comic book adaptations of Lovecraft's stories. He's also just done The King In Yellow.

    I have his Mountains of Madness, Charles Dexter Ward and Shadow out of Time. They are great.

    In non-fiction I've started listening to Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. I could wait until the middle of next year to give you my thoughts, but a peak at the contents is interesting how outside the Byzantine Empire the later volumes looks like a more general history of Medieval Europe.

    A really good companion volume to this is Peter Heather's The Fall of the Roman Empire. It's not written as a direct response to Gibbons - although he does touch on how far archaeology and modern systems of political and cultural analysis have taken the understanding of Rome since his day. What I found fascinating was Heather's framework for understanding the Roman Empire, especially the late empire.

    Essentially, he said the key to understanding Rome was to frame it as the ancestor of the modern totalitarian despotisms. All of the written accounts have to be taken as propaganda, and any real historical analysis needs to take into account discoveries made in the last century from analyzing things like gravestones, account books and coinage. He uses the case of a major battle at Frankfurt as an example.

    In the Roman written records, Frankfurt was a massive Roman victory where the enemy was crushed. Digs at the sites, however, show that the Germanic fort at Frankfurt was not sacked, but showed signs of growth and prosperity. Roman records from after the battle - backed up by archaeological evidence - show that the Romans were actually sending massive shipments of grain to the fort after the battle.

    If you read the records like Gibbons did, you see the Romans dominating the area and start to see the decline as some sort of loss of virtue within Rome. If you put all the pieces together like modern historians, you see that the Romans lost and were paying tribute to the Franks, while declaring their great victory back home in the same way that the Nazis declared victory every time they lost on the Eastern Front.

    Really interesting stuff.

    RMS OceanicjakobaggershrykeRchanenEdith UpwardsKana
  • tyrannustyrannus Registered User regular
    I just bought Dune! I'm about to read this thing but holy shit I didn't know this thing could also be used as a floation device

    it's gigantic.

    DoodmannnathanaelVoodooV3lwap0
  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    On The Goblin Emperor, I ended up liking it once I wrapped my head around the fact that it was essentially a fantasy Jane Austen novel - more interested in questions of manners and propriety than actions scenes. Its pretty unique in the genre, and I found myself quite enjoying it once I had settled in.

    If I had one major complaint, it felt like all of the conflicts wrapped up too neatly. Part of this comes from the feeling I got that this was the start of the series, and the book's main goal was to introduce the cast of characters and the setting, while hinting at the major problems coming down the line.

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    Bogart wrote: »
    Finally reading A Canticle For Leibowitz. I was expecting something a little drier, and am very pleased to find a rich vein of humour.

    It's definitely more stylish than you'd expect of a book about the post-apocalypse written in the 1950s.

    Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman is the sequel. Walter Miller killed himself in the 1990s before it was finish, but using copious notes it was completed and published. It is not as good as Canticle, but still worth reading. It takes place shortly after the second section of Canticle, about 70 years or so and follows a crusade led by "The Red Deacon" Cardinal Brownpony and an imminently fallible monk from St Leibowitz's, Br Blacktooth St George. It is a very different tone from Canticle, but it is in many ways more human. You get inside Blacktooth's head as he struggles with faith in God, faith in the church, faith in Brownpony, and faith in himself. You also get a lot more development of the world of post apocalyptic North America that I find really benefits the later chapters of Canticle on a reread.

    There's a war, mutants, a couple coups, but the heart of the story is something very special. If you like Canticle, give it a go.

    Lh96QHG.png
    JacobkoshDoodmann
  • DiannaoChongDiannaoChong Registered User regular
    I started reading the Black Company books on recommendation of a dedicated thread that has since died. Really enjoyed the first book. I only read when I am tired, so 1-2 setups/descriptions really confused me and I couldnt decipher what the author was saying. I really enjoyed the modern style dialog and writing for fantasy setting. I hate any setting that feels like it cant make a fantasy world without having 15 consonants and apostrophes in every name.

    I'm halfway through the second book. The second book is set up so strangely that I don't know what to think. The crossing stories make it like a less interesting fantasy version of Snatch.

    steam_sig.png
  • IoloIolo iolo Registered User regular
    edited June 2015
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    Bogart wrote: »
    Finally reading A Canticle For Leibowitz. I was expecting something a little drier, and am very pleased to find a rich vein of humour.

    It's definitely more stylish than you'd expect of a book about the post-apocalypse written in the 1950s.

    Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman is the sequel. Walter Miller killed himself in the 1990s before it was finish, but using copious notes it was completed and published. It is not as good as Canticle, but still worth reading. It takes place shortly after the second section of Canticle, about 70 years or so and follows a crusade led by "The Red Deacon" Cardinal Brownpony and an imminently fallible monk from St Leibowitz's, Br Blacktooth St George. It is a very different tone from Canticle, but it is in many ways more human. You get inside Blacktooth's head as he struggles with faith in God, faith in the church, faith in Brownpony, and faith in himself. You also get a lot more development of the world of post apocalyptic North America that I find really benefits the later chapters of Canticle on a reread.

    There's a war, mutants, a couple coups, but the heart of the story is something very special. If you like Canticle, give it a go.

    Is the sequel really worth reading? I'm a huge, huge Canticle fan, but looking into people's thoughts about Wild Horse Woman had returned almost uniformly negative results.

    Canticle is such a singular work that I'm afraid reading a bad novel in that universe would almost be distasteful, you know? Like midichlorians. I don't really feel the need to just explore more of the world in the way I would with like Hugh Howey's post-apocalyptic America or China Mieville's Bas Lag if the story's not all there.

    Hm. I kind of answered my own question there... :)

    Iolo on
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    I just posted this in chat, sorry to spam but I just noticed this far more appropriate thread: help me out, chat! I'm trying to find some books for a Chinese kid, 15 years old, can have a decent conversation about a lot of things but needs to start reading, and textbooks are boring

    I have an essentially unlimited budget and an Amazon account

    he likes The Walking Dead TV show, so I figured I'd hook him up with the comic, maybe get him intro'd to decent American comics with Ultimate X-Men and Ultimate Spider-Man...

    what else is out there? Anything decent young-adult-wise that hasn't already been made into a movie that he's probably seen?

    2ezikn6.jpg
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Iolo wrote: »
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    Bogart wrote: »
    Finally reading A Canticle For Leibowitz. I was expecting something a little drier, and am very pleased to find a rich vein of humour.

    It's definitely more stylish than you'd expect of a book about the post-apocalypse written in the 1950s.

    Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman is the sequel. Walter Miller killed himself in the 1990s before it was finish, but using copious notes it was completed and published. It is not as good as Canticle, but still worth reading. It takes place shortly after the second section of Canticle, about 70 years or so and follows a crusade led by "The Red Deacon" Cardinal Brownpony and an imminently fallible monk from St Leibowitz's, Br Blacktooth St George. It is a very different tone from Canticle, but it is in many ways more human. You get inside Blacktooth's head as he struggles with faith in God, faith in the church, faith in Brownpony, and faith in himself. You also get a lot more development of the world of post apocalyptic North America that I find really benefits the later chapters of Canticle on a reread.

    There's a war, mutants, a couple coups, but the heart of the story is something very special. If you like Canticle, give it a go.

    Is the sequel really worth reading? I'm a huge, huge Canticle fan, but looking into people's thoughts about Wild Horse Woman had returned almost uniformly negative results.

    Canticle is such a singular work that I'm afraid reading a bad novel in that universe would almost be distasteful, you know? Like midichlorians. I don't really feel the need to just explore more of the world in the way I would with like Hugh Howey's post-apocalyptic America or Chine Mieville's Bas Lag if the story's not all there.

    Hm. I kind of answered my own question there... :)

    It's not really a bad novel, but it's a very different book from Canticle.

    I liked it, but I don't like it as much as Canticle.

    It is a much more traditionally structured book than Canticle, and a very different experience. If you keep that in mind when you start I think you have a better time of it.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • RMS OceanicRMS Oceanic Registered User regular
    Bogart wrote: »
    I can heartily recommend INJ Culbard's comic book adaptations of Lovecraft's stories. He's also just done The King In Yellow.

    I have his Mountains of Madness, Charles Dexter Ward and Shadow out of Time. They are great.

    In non-fiction I've started listening to Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. I could wait until the middle of next year to give you my thoughts, but a peak at the contents is interesting how outside the Byzantine Empire the later volumes looks like a more general history of Medieval Europe.

    A really good companion volume to this is Peter Heather's The Fall of the Roman Empire. It's not written as a direct response to Gibbons - although he does touch on how far archaeology and modern systems of political and cultural analysis have taken the understanding of Rome since his day. What I found fascinating was Heather's framework for understanding the Roman Empire, especially the late empire.

    Essentially, he said the key to understanding Rome was to frame it as the ancestor of the modern totalitarian despotisms. All of the written accounts have to be taken as propaganda, and any real historical analysis needs to take into account discoveries made in the last century from analyzing things like gravestones, account books and coinage. He uses the case of a major battle at Frankfurt as an example.

    In the Roman written records, Frankfurt was a massive Roman victory where the enemy was crushed. Digs at the sites, however, show that the Germanic fort at Frankfurt was not sacked, but showed signs of growth and prosperity. Roman records from after the battle - backed up by archaeological evidence - show that the Romans were actually sending massive shipments of grain to the fort after the battle.

    If you read the records like Gibbons did, you see the Romans dominating the area and start to see the decline as some sort of loss of virtue within Rome. If you put all the pieces together like modern historians, you see that the Romans lost and were paying tribute to the Franks, while declaring their great victory back home in the same way that the Nazis declared victory every time they lost on the Eastern Front.

    Really interesting stuff.

    Yeah, I've been following the History of Rome podcast, which is what turned me on to Decline, and "history is written by the winners/side who writes at all" is a theme I'm aware of. Like the story of Valerian's capture by the Sassanid's: Persia has him captured after the battle, Rome has him lured to the Sassanid court under false pretenses and seized. Of the two, I know which is more likely. Especially after Caracalla's shenanigans half a century earlier.

  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    Reading list lacks Jeff vandermeers southern reach trilogy

    Iolo
  • JRPGMasterPlayerJRPGMasterPlayer Registered User regular
    Hello, I'm a long time reader first time poster. I was wondering if anyone could figure out these books for me.

    1) The first book is a story where Good has finally triumphed over evil but the world becomes unbalanced and therefore the heroes in this book are a band of evil heroes who try to restore the balance and in the end released evil in the world. This was a fantasy book with dragons and I remember the title had a Knight on its cover.

    2) The second book is actually a series of 3 books. It stars an African hero, I think the writer based the hero on a Kenyan tribal warrior, who tries to save to world. All I remember was that there was a pirate type character who banded towards them to save the world. The hero might or might not be a wizard and I remember a scene where they enter a Djinns house and he binds them to the floor where they are sitting. I think the hero was based on the Massai.

    If anyone could remember which books these were, I'd appreciate it. Thank you!

  • RiemannLivesRiemannLives Registered User regular
    Reading list does not have To Kill a Mockingbird. This needs corrected!

    On slightly less firm ground, what does the thread think of some HP Lovecraft? I know he drowns in purple prose and has some problematic attitudes as hilariously revealed in the inspiration behind Innsmouth, but I really enjoy The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and At the Mountains of Madness, the former for the mystery and the latter for the sheer atmosphere he conjures.

    "problematic" doesn't even begin to cover it in a lot of cases (not just Innsmouth)

    that said I love me some Lovecraft. My favorite is Shadow out of Time followed by At the Mountains of Madness.

    jakobaggerEdith Upwards
  • CroakerBCCroakerBC YorkRegistered User regular
    Bogart wrote: »
    I can heartily recommend INJ Culbard's comic book adaptations of Lovecraft's stories. He's also just done The King In Yellow.

    I have his Mountains of Madness, Charles Dexter Ward and Shadow out of Time. They are great.

    In non-fiction I've started listening to Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. I could wait until the middle of next year to give you my thoughts, but a peak at the contents is interesting how outside the Byzantine Empire the later volumes looks like a more general history of Medieval Europe.

    A really good companion volume to this is Peter Heather's The Fall of the Roman Empire. It's not written as a direct response to Gibbons - although he does touch on how far archaeology and modern systems of political and cultural analysis have taken the understanding of Rome since his day. What I found fascinating was Heather's framework for understanding the Roman Empire, especially the late empire.

    Essentially, he said the key to understanding Rome was to frame it as the ancestor of the modern totalitarian despotisms. All of the written accounts have to be taken as propaganda, and any real historical analysis needs to take into account discoveries made in the last century from analyzing things like gravestones, account books and coinage. He uses the case of a major battle at Frankfurt as an example.

    In the Roman written records, Frankfurt was a massive Roman victory where the enemy was crushed. Digs at the sites, however, show that the Germanic fort at Frankfurt was not sacked, but showed signs of growth and prosperity. Roman records from after the battle - backed up by archaeological evidence - show that the Romans were actually sending massive shipments of grain to the fort after the battle.

    If you read the records like Gibbons did, you see the Romans dominating the area and start to see the decline as some sort of loss of virtue within Rome. If you put all the pieces together like modern historians, you see that the Romans lost and were paying tribute to the Franks, while declaring their great victory back home in the same way that the Nazis declared victory every time they lost on the Eastern Front.

    Really interesting stuff.

    I always quite liked Peter Heather, but given that he and one of my old supervisors had something of an
    Hello, I'm a long time reader first time poster. I was wondering if anyone could figure out these books for me.

    1) The first book is a story where Good has finally triumphed over evil but the world becomes unbalanced and therefore the heroes in this book are a band of evil heroes who try to restore the balance and in the end released evil in the world. This was a fantasy book with dragons and I remember the title had a Knight on its cover.

    2) The second book is actually a series of 3 books. It stars an African hero, I think the writer based the hero on a Kenyan tribal warrior, who tries to save to world. All I remember was that there was a pirate type character who banded towards them to save the world. The hero might or might not be a wizard and I remember a scene where they enter a Djinns house and he binds them to the floor where they are sitting. I think the hero was based on the Massai.

    If anyone could remember which books these were, I'd appreciate it. Thank you!

    The first one sounds a lot like "Villains by Necessity" By Eve Forward.

  • zakkielzakkiel Registered User regular
    So Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel is now a BBC miniseries. The first episode is available free from Amazon (even without prime), and it is remarkably good. It so deftly captures the collision between Austenite social comedy and ominous, almost horror-like magic that made the book special. Also, although it is pretty faithful so far, it is much faster paced than the book.

    Account not recoverable. So long.
    jakobagger
  • knitdanknitdan Registered User regular
    Picked up The Martian from the library and it is right up my alley. I'm roughly a quarter of the way in, and when I got to the part where
    NASA figures out he's still alive
    I just got this giddy feeling.

    Fuck Firearm Fetishism
    86 45
    Muppetman
  • TomantaTomanta Registered User regular
    zakkiel wrote: »
    So Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel is now a BBC miniseries. The first episode is available free from Amazon (even without prime), and it is remarkably good. It so deftly captures the collision between Austenite social comedy and ominous, almost horror-like magic that made the book special. Also, although it is pretty faithful so far, it is much faster paced than the book.

    I enjoyed the first episode, and I have tried to read the book twice but the beginning is so slow that I couldn't get very far.

    The first episode might have convinced me to give it another try.

  • MahnmutMahnmut Registered User regular
    Tomanta wrote: »
    zakkiel wrote: »
    So Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel is now a BBC miniseries. The first episode is available free from Amazon (even without prime), and it is remarkably good. It so deftly captures the collision between Austenite social comedy and ominous, almost horror-like magic that made the book special. Also, although it is pretty faithful so far, it is much faster paced than the book.

    I enjoyed the first episode, and I have tried to read the book twice but the beginning is so slow that I couldn't get very far.

    The first episode might have convinced me to give it another try.

    Big fan of the book, and I liked the first episode pretty well. I was worried that you'd lose a lot just from not having the faux-Austen narrator, but I think 'BBC period miniseries' is a firm enough genre that you get some of the same effect. Huge complaint though at the end:
    The gentleman with thistledown hair is way, way, way off-tone; between the SPECIAL EFFECTS and the ominous, leaden delivery....

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  • zakkielzakkiel Registered User regular
    Mahnmut wrote: »
    Tomanta wrote: »
    zakkiel wrote: »
    So Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel is now a BBC miniseries. The first episode is available free from Amazon (even without prime), and it is remarkably good. It so deftly captures the collision between Austenite social comedy and ominous, almost horror-like magic that made the book special. Also, although it is pretty faithful so far, it is much faster paced than the book.

    I enjoyed the first episode, and I have tried to read the book twice but the beginning is so slow that I couldn't get very far.

    The first episode might have convinced me to give it another try.

    Big fan of the book, and I liked the first episode pretty well. I was worried that you'd lose a lot just from not having the faux-Austen narrator, but I think 'BBC period miniseries' is a firm enough genre that you get some of the same effect. Huge complaint though at the end:
    The gentleman with thistledown hair is way, way, way off-tone; between the SPECIAL EFFECTS and the ominous, leaden delivery....

    I would that than unintentionally comic, which is how I suspect he would turn out if they kept him closer to the book.

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  • zakkielzakkiel Registered User regular
    Read The Library at Mount Char. It's sort of a revenge thriller set in a unique mythology (something of a Babylonian flavor crossed with Lovecraft). The voice and pacing remind me a lot of Idlewild. There's a lot of nice humor mixed in with the grimdark. I enjoyed it all except for the ending, which somehow manages to be both too pat and kind of nonsensical. It doesn't ruin the book at all, though.

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  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Finished Seveneves last night and....wow. That was an ending?

    I say this as somebody who is typically not the least bit bothered by Stephensons abrupt endings but this really felt like he hit a page limit threw in a paragraph or two about "The Purpose" and called it a day.

    htm
  • Mojo_JojoMojo_Jojo Registered User regular
    Started reading Middlesex. I feel bad that this has been sat around not being read by me for so long

    Homogeneous distribution of your varieties of amuse-gueule
  • altidaltid Registered User regular
    No Tolkien in the recommended list?

    Started re-reading game of thrones recently. Planning on mixing other books in between through rather than a straight re-read of all 5 in a row.

  • BogartBogart Because I hate you Registered User, Moderator mod
    Possibly Tolkien in a recommended list of fantasy novels would be redundant.

    tapeslingerjakobaggerJames
  • Mojo_JojoMojo_Jojo Registered User regular
    Also, you read Tolkien because he was seminal, most of his books are a real slog.

    Homogeneous distribution of your varieties of amuse-gueule
    A Dabble Of TheloniustapeslingerhtmApothe0sis
  • ShadowhopeShadowhope Baa. Registered User regular
    Mojo_Jojo wrote: »
    Also, you read Tolkien because he was seminal, most of his books are a real slog.

    Still better far, far than the movies based on what he wrote.

    Dinosaurs were made up by the CIA to discourage time travel.
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    Mojo_Jojo wrote: »
    Also, you read Tolkien because he was seminal, most of his books are a real slog.

    I am pretty sure I read Tolkien because I dearly love the prosody, the characterizations, the action of the plot and the emotions it stirs in me. It is certainly true that their appeal may be lost on the sort of person who wants nine volumes of detailed exegesis of fantasy magic systems, though, or people who have strict mayhem-per-page quotas that need meeting.

    ShadowhopeSo It GoesMahnmutGrudgeN1tSt4lkeraltidAManFromEarthjakobaggerCaedwyrJamesAresProphetBlackDragon480JragghenCaptain MarcusRchanenEvermourn
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    Bogart wrote: »
    Possibly Tolkien in a recommended list of fantasy novels would be redundant.

    This was my thinking but I'll put it in because I really ought not take anything for granted on this forum.

  • A Dabble Of TheloniusA Dabble Of Thelonius It has been a doozy of a dayRegistered User regular
    I guess I r just too dumb to enjoy Tolkien. Gotta go read explosions now



    ...

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  • CroakerBCCroakerBC YorkRegistered User regular
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    Mojo_Jojo wrote: »
    Also, you read Tolkien because he was seminal, most of his books are a real slog.

    I am pretty sure I read Tolkien because I dearly love the prosody, the characterizations, the action of the plot and the emotions it stirs in me. It is certainly true that their appeal may be lost on the sort of person who wants nine volumes of detailed exegesis of fantasy magic systems, though, or people who have strict mayhem-per-page quotas that need meeting.

    I really want some sort of graphing of mayhem-per-page across fantasy authors now.
    To Google Analytics!

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    Mojo_Jojo wrote: »
    Also, you read Tolkien because he was seminal, most of his books are a real slog.

    I am pretty sure I read Tolkien because I dearly love the prosody, the characterizations, the action of the plot and the emotions it stirs in me. It is certainly true that their appeal may be lost on the sort of person who wants nine volumes of detailed exegesis of fantasy magic systems, though, or people who have strict mayhem-per-page quotas that need meeting.

    I think he's a bit of both.

    Funny thing rereading LOTR a little while ago:
    The flight from Rivendell sequence that is the best part of the FOTR movie and the movie trilogy in general?
    Also one of the best parts of the book series and for exactly the same reason.

  • GrudgeGrudge Far Beyond DrivenRegistered User regular
    Speaking of challenging fantasy, I would really like to see R. Scott Bakkers Prince of Nothing series in the recommended reading list. They're maybe not for newcomers to the genre, but if you want cerebral fantasy, I'd say they're almost up there with Book of the New Sun. Plus, phalluses.

    (Btw, I enjoyed Tolkien immensely, which is why I re-read LoTR every summer through ages 10-20. It belongs in the list for many reasons.)

    Shadowhopejakobagger
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited June 2015
    Huh, I thought that was on the list already but you are right.

    shryke on
  • CroakerBCCroakerBC YorkRegistered User regular
    Finally started Lawrence's The Liar's Key on the commute this morning, and it already has a nice aura of menace mixed with humour going on.

    vamen
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