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Old 11-01-2008, 12:41 PM   #121
ThunderPeel2001
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Let's see, it's been sci-fi crazy:

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
Gateway by Frederick Pohl
Ubik by Philip K Dick

All highly recommended!

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Old 11-01-2008, 01:10 PM   #122
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Last night I read in under 1 hour 31 pages of my new book.
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Old 01-11-2009, 03:34 PM   #123
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Here's what I read from September 2008 till today.

California Girl - by T. Jefferson Parker (8/10).

Four brothers in California all meet and get acquainted with the one, same girl, who, a few years later, turns-up dead. By this point the sixties are in full-sway and one is the detective assigned to the case, one a reporter, one a Priest and one somewhere in Vietnam. It's great in that the characters are well-defined enough to each react to the death in a different way that makes them question their beliefs and foundations. It's a thoughtful read, not a flat-out thriller.

And Then There Were None - by Agatha Christie (8/10)

Ten people arrive on an island, invited by a mysterious stranger. As they eat dinner without their host (who is absent), a voice booms that accuses each and every one of them of a murder, and says they will all die before the week is up.

Even though a little mechanical and not entirely believable, the book is the world's best-selling mystery and probably deserves it. It's just one of those books that'll make you smack your head when the killer is revealed. Personally, I figured out how the killer was doing his/her thing early on, but the identity came as a surprise, I must admit. Very scary book, I might add. I loved it.

Old Flames - by Jack Ketchum (9/10)

Two horror novellas that twist and turn. I won't tell you what they're about but they're lots of fun. I liked the second one better - "Right to Life" makes a strange, disturbing case for life in the abortion debate (or so I interpreted it, anyways). The first is a little conventional, but then again it isn't. Some people might find them boring but I loved them so much I already bought another two Ketchums and am halfway through Off Season.

Being John Malkovich: The Original Screenplay - by Charlie Kaufman (8/10)

It's interesting to see how the script went from this strange mess to the final film, no less strange, maybe a little less messy. The brains are there, the beginnings of the writer that would go on to write Adaptation., Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and this year's Synecdoche, New York.

Little Scarlet: An Easy Rawlins Novel - by Walter Mosley (7/10)

It's a little like a sequel to Do the Right Thing. Set in LA after the "black riots" of the 1960s, it follows an African-American detective as he tries to track down a white man believed to have been the last person to see a murdered black woman alive. It helped me understand a little bit what it feels like to be discriminated against. But there's this obsession with this writer with "white halls," "white ceilings," "white white white". It kind-of gets annoying.

Nine Stories - by JD Salinger (7/10).

Just nine stories that could only have been written by the man who wrote The Catcher in the Rye. I think a lot of it is just, "I wanna eff with your mind," but it's also a little fun when he does that, I have to admit.

The Secret Adversary - by Agatha Christie (7/10)

Fun in the Christie sense. The new protagonists Tommy and Tuppence are a fresh breath of air away from Poirot and Marple. They're just a pair of dimwits way in over their heads. The romantic subplots were dumb, though. The ending was a surprise. I love how she used cliches to both lessen the work (unintentionally) and make it better (intentional).

Murder on the Links - by Agatha Christie (7/10)

A fun mystery novel, but I figured everything out a good twenty pages before Christie lets on. It relies too much on things like chance for me to say it's "great" though. Still, most people seem to be surprised by the identity of the killer.

The Man in the Brown Suit - by Agatha Christie (6/10)

One of those off-series novels she writes. It basically follows a somewhat boring protagonist as she decides to find "some adventure" in the high-old Romantic sense. I have to admit it was just fine. The stuff of early-20th Century English girls in their daydreams.

Poirot Investigates - by Agatha Christie (2/10)

Just bad. Plain old BAD. Some short stories that make no sense, that aren't any good, and that are just so goddam boring. Avoid.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - by Agatha Christie (9/10)

I have to admit that at this point I'd begun to doubt Agatha Christie - the last two were mediocre, and the two before that were only "good". But this was great, even better than And Then There Were None.

I wrote down a list of all the suspects, and then re-wrote wrote down why I thought each was the killer, then presented the argument against (hey, it was a slow weekend). And then I circled the killer's name, thought "Gotcha," shook my head and said "Nah, impossible," then got sucker-punched. Highly recommended. So simple, yet so brilliant.

The Big Four - by Agatha Christie (3/10)

A stinker. Just forget it, it's deus ex machina after another and half the time you're thinking it's a James Bond story.

The Mystery of the Blue Train - by Agatha Christie (5/10)

Not bad, not good. I actually don't remember that much about it, even though it's been barely a month. Which says how "meh" it is.

The Big Sleep - by Raymond Chandler (9/10)

Tired of Agatha Christie, I decided to go ahead with some Tim Schafer recommendations (Chandler is one of his favourites) and read this. Man, it's just so good. It's so freaking convoluted but it falls nicely into place (well...not entirely). It's a totally hardboiled novel, with a detective that's more badass than most "awesome"/Kratos-ish video games characters put together. And it's just so funny.

Raymond Chandler, wow. Definitely reading more of his work.

"Shakespeare" By Another Name: The Life of Edward de-Vere, the Earl of Oxford, the Man Who Was Shakespeare - by Mark Anderson (6/10).

Basically makes a case for Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, having really been Shakespeare. Good case, but it wouldn't hold-up in court; it also twists facts around too much. Move along.

Rosebud: the Story of Orson Welles - by David Thomsen (7/10)

It's one of those "intellectual" biographies. The author basically loves the man's work, likes the man, and hates anyone "dumb" (he uses the word "intellectuals" maybe ten times in the book). There's this really silly tendency to put "conversations" between himself and the publisher about Welles that explains things, with dialogue like "In walks the publisher extraordinaire, brandishing a legal letter." This is the publisher talking. Ugh.

The Life and Death of Harriet Freane - by May Sinclair (8/10)

It's not a biography. It's a novella about a girl called Harriett who can't stand the change that's going on around her life, and resolves to be "beautiful". Very stream-of-consciousness. Reading this made me feel like I was in that zone between being asleep and awake, neither here nor there.

Peril at End House - by Agatha Christie (8/10)

I went back to dame Agatha, hoping this wouldn't suck - and it didn't. Although I figured it out really early on, it was a lot of fun. Not a classic but it's really pretty good. But Poirot? Eat your heart out. I figured this one out before you did, mon ami. Way, way before.

Slaughterhouse-Five - by Kurt Vonnegut (9/10)

Woo, Kurt Vonnegut. This could have been a preachy book. This could have been a boring, super-serious book about the horrors of war. But it isn't. I know it works because, right now, my heritage is getting it in Gaza (850+ dead and counting), and I'm telling you, the fact that this book flits between being so very dark and actually having a sense of humour about it works. Probably one of the best novels I've ever read, and definitely the first political one to move me like this since Animal Farm.

Phew.

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Old 01-14-2009, 01:23 PM   #124
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I read also the book to the 4th Indy movie. I´ve seen it two times but no matter.
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Old 01-14-2009, 01:58 PM   #125
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I've recently been in the mood for graphic novels, so I read Bone 5 and 6 (lovely stuff) and Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns (very good). After seeing the trailer for Watchmen, and reading the hype about the book, I would like to read that as well.
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Old 01-14-2009, 02:30 PM   #126
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I really would suggest reading Watchmen. While the movie does look good and I have every intention of going to see it, I do feel the movie won't be able to do the greatness of the book as much justice as it requires.

I am also interested in reading The Dark Knight Returns.

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Old 01-14-2009, 03:00 PM   #127
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Why don't you just get the complete Bone, Gabez?

I tried reading Watchmen but found it unbearable. Strange, considering how much I loved V for Vendetta (the book; the movie I liked, but after I read the book I just pretend the movie doesn't exist).

I really should give graphic novels a serious shot though...If anyone can recommend something well-written (and I'm talking Schafer/Grossman standards here), with a decent art-style, then lay it on me.

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Old 01-14-2009, 03:34 PM   #128
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Kroms, I recommend the Rork series by Andreas. Also, the first 20 albums of Thorgal.

Same as you I tried to read Watchmen this year, but somewhere in the middle I decided to just skim it till the end. Despite the interesting premise it was a bit dull. Batman: The Killing Joke and V for Vendetta are the only comics from Alan Moore I've read so far that I'd honestly describe as exquisite.

Bone started out great, but the story went into a direction I didn't particularly enjoy (less humor and variety and the whole focus went to some epic quest I don't even remember anymore).

The Dark Knight Returns and the first Sin City novel are probably the best quality stuff from Miller. Lone Wolf and A Cub - the gritty manga that inspired his style greatly - is on similar level.

Some other greats: Slaine: The Horned God and Slaine: Treasures of Britain.

I also enjoyed a lot the three Corto Maltese albums I tried. It's a series that was referenced in Tim Burton's Batman for some reason.

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Old 01-14-2009, 04:12 PM   #129
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Quote:
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Why don't you just get the complete Bone, Gabez?
That's not in colour is it? Anyway, I don't like compilation books. Separate books are easier to hold and read, easier to lend out to other people, and you can read them from start to finish on their own.

V for Vendetta: I watched the movie recently and liked it. Would like to read the graphic novel.

Also, Kroms, if you haven't read Tintin then that's a must (or Asterix if you don't like Tintin) -- though they're not really graphic novels (and not really comics either, I don't think).
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Old 01-14-2009, 04:59 PM   #130
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How come you don't think Tintin is a comic book or a graphic novel (which means exactly the same)?
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Old 01-14-2009, 05:10 PM   #131
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Comic and Gaphic Novel don't mean the same, or else they wouldn't be separate terms. It's rather like how cakes and biscuits are different.

Without looking up the actual definitions (if set definitions exist at all), I would say that a comic is shorter and has less text than a graphic novel, though a comic may be collected together and put in the form of a graphic novel (like Bone is). The structure of comics, I would say, is lighter, and less unified. A graphic novel has one main plot which is its chief focus -- a comic may have an overarching plot linking the segments together, but is not as focused on a main plot as a graphic novel is. Graphic novels are also more likely to have one of more narrators (e.g. boxes aside from speech bubbles that say more than merely 'meanwhile...')

-- this is just me thinking aloud, though. I'm not an expert on either form, though I still believe that there is a difference between them.

Tintin seems to have the structure of a graphic novel (one unified story), but the form of a comic (less text and no meta-text, e.g. narrator).

Please don't pick apart what I've just typed as if I think I'm an expert because these are really just thoughts!
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Old 01-14-2009, 05:36 PM   #132
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Well, a lot of what we consider to be graphic novels are technically trade paperbacks, a compilation of a storyline inside a comic series. Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns, Batman Year One, etc were originally comics (In Watchmen's case, a limited series, and in the other two and a lot of other Batman trades, storylines that took place in the Batman series).

I am reading Watchmen right now so I'm glad I bumped into this thread, still pretty early on though. I had never heard of it before I saw the trailer but I was very impressed from that so I wanted to read it before the movie comes out. Very enjoyable so far.

Other graphic novels I'd recommend are Batman: Year One and Batman: The Long Halloween, the former is Frank Miller so definitely a good read and the latter I actually enjoyed more, it has a much more engaging story I thought. The Dark Knight Returns and The Dark Knight Strikes again are ones that I'd still like to pick up eventually.


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Old 01-14-2009, 05:42 PM   #133
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That's true -- the fact that The Dark Knight Returns was originally a comic sort of poos on my theory. Unless it was a graphic novel in the form of a comic...? Or maybe my definitions just need more work.

Speaking of Frank Miller, is Sin City good? I liked the film.

Other hraphic novel recommendations: Raymon Briggs' Gentleman Jim and the sequel When the Wind Blows. The former is a happy-sad (by favourite kind of happy, and my favourite kind of sad) children's story, and the latter is a powerful anti-atomic missile story (also an animated film that's on Youtube -- and you may know Briggs from The Snowman as well).

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Old 01-14-2009, 06:38 PM   #134
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I don't know what to tell you about Sin City, cause... I hated the movie and loved the graphic novel (the original one, the later ones were a mixed bag). The movie seemed to me like a cheap fan adaptation of the material. Also, they cut severely the stories and amped up their pace, so they could fit three graphic novels into one movie.
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Old 03-13-2009, 04:21 PM   #135
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I just 'read' And Then There Were None... well, actually, it was the unabridged audiobook, read by Hugh Fraser, who played Captain Hastings in the Poirot TV series. Great perfomance of an excellent murder mystery. I did guess who was behind it about halfway through (with the emphasis on 'guess'), but that didn't stop me from being blown away at the end. What an awesome story.

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Old 03-13-2009, 05:27 PM   #136
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Lol, and I Played it.
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Old 03-14-2009, 04:49 PM   #137
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OK, now go read The Mysterious Affair at Styles and Murder on the Links, then Murder of Roger Ackroyd. A trio that'll blow you away, especially the last one (but make sure you read it last).
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Old 03-14-2009, 05:06 PM   #138
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I plan on reading all the Poirot novels... or actually, listening to them. :P Just waiting for my Audible credits to arrive (I upgraded from Gold to Platinum just for the Agatha Christie books, so now I get 2 each month, yay!).

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Old 03-15-2009, 01:37 AM   #139
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Aww, too bad you didn't wait a few years, since the early ones are about to go out of copyright. The first one already is!

I'll tell you guys if the Marple ones are any good this summer, since I have them but haven't had time to look at them.

The Secret Adversary is free too! Here's my thoughts on it from this thread:

"Fun in the Christie sense. The new protagonists Tommy and Tuppence are a fresh breath of air away from Poirot and Marple. They're just a pair of dimwits way in over their heads. The romantic subplots were dumb, though. The ending was a surprise. I love how she used cliches to both lessen the work (unintentionally) and make it better (intentional)."

No idea why I mentioned Marple, I haven't read any of her stories yet. Kroms you should pay attention to what you type.

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Old 03-15-2009, 07:25 AM   #140
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Hmmm, well, I'll be sure to download them from Gutenberg as well, but I'll still get the audiobooks - I'm a lazy reader, and I just love a well-read audiobook.

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Old 03-16-2009, 07:39 PM   #141
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Must read...for any Vikings fan...and I know there's a lot on this forum.



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Old 03-17-2009, 12:38 AM   #142
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I'm reading Watchmen. Well, to be more specific, I was a week ago, but I haven't read anything since. I've lost my love of reading, I guess. Or I'm too busy. I really want to read Jack Ketchum's The Lost, which is just sitting there, tempting me. Oh but schoolwork is a cruel mistress that keeps me from my true love.

Quote:
Originally Posted by s-island View Post
spoiler:
In the 1945 movie, Wargrave does reveal himself and Eva only pretended to shoot Lombard. Wargrave commits suicide before finding out, expecting Eva to either hang herself or get hanged when they find her alone with 9 corpses. There's then a happy ending.
I saw this film yesterday (And Then There Were None for you curious people). It's so incredibly bad. Also,
spoiler:
Lombard is a psychopath. "Oh, they're in there!" And that ending - running into the sunset? Come on.


Book was way, way better, and not just by book-film standards.

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Old 03-17-2009, 01:56 PM   #143
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There's a Russian movie adaptation from the 1980s which kept the original ending. Of course, it's in Russian...
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Old 03-17-2009, 04:43 PM   #144
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I've just read The Three Musketeers (that I higly recommend) and started The Chronicles of Narnia. The next in line is Don Quixote, a daring shot - it's over 2.000 pages!
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Old 03-18-2009, 03:43 PM   #145
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Not to mention incredibly difficult. I've tried reading it in two languages, no can do.

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Old 03-18-2009, 04:33 PM   #146
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I started reading Don Quixote (in English) a while ago, but I didn't finish it, got to about a quarter... it's a very funny book though, I should resume reading it again some time.

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Old 03-20-2009, 03:15 AM   #147
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So I started reading Murder at the Vicarage today, and it's rather good, but it looks like I'll have to stop until May. I just want this year to be over with, pfft. I want to read 30+ books this summer, I swear.
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Old 03-28-2009, 01:43 PM   #148
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I read the adventureous voyages from James Cook. until last week. And a little roman called Escape over the sea. And now I read "Why there are stars?"

Yesterday I got a book about storytelling in adventure games from Amazon.
And today came the roman from The Dig. Used from Amazon.
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Old 04-25-2009, 08:06 PM   #149
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I don't get on with Neil Gaiman. I've tried American Gods and Neverwhere, and read through Coraline on a plane journey recently. He is dull. Although I think I might actually quite enjoy the Sandman comics. But yeah.

Other than that, Bad Science by Ben Goldacre is an enjoyable, informative read, definitely worth lending out to other people. I like Malcolm Gladwell's books too, 'Blink' and 'The Tipping Point'. Both are basically interesting bits of psychology cobbled together into some sort of unifying theme, and both should definitely be taken with a large pinch of salt.
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Old 04-26-2009, 03:59 AM   #150
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I've read American Gods, which is pretty good, but I wouldn't read it again. Sandman is excellent, though, so if you can borrow some of those from someone I'd recommend reading them. (wb, btw!)
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Old 04-26-2009, 02:59 PM   #151
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Just finished The Dig.
The book if you don´t know.
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Old 05-05-2009, 07:29 AM   #152
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:44 AM   #153
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I'm just done listening to The Secret of Chimneys, which is one of Agatha Christie's earlier books. It's quite nice, though nothing really special. Still, I enjoyed it, if only for Christie's masterful characterization. And there's a nice air of mystery around Chimneys, the manor where the story takes place.

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Old 05-19-2009, 07:34 PM   #154
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I am almost done reading Angels & Demons and it has been excellent so far. I probably have 100 or less pages left. I read The Da Vinci Code but that was a couple years ago now and it's great to read another Dan Brown novel. Can't wait to see how this one finishes up.


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Old 05-20-2009, 09:00 AM   #155
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I did a bit of reading last week and finished two books. I'm also reading three at once, but they're collections so that's OK.

Finished:
The Lost by Jack Ketchum: So this is my third Jack Ketchum, and it's pretty good. Some people might find it a tad unbelievable, but I thought it worked quite well, meaning that I could see it happening. It's completely opposite the last book of his that I read - the gory, infinitely disturbing Off Season - and screws around with your psych a little to slowly submerge a sense of foreboding, before yanking the chain and getting to its climax. If you love good horror, then this is for you.

The Matarese Circle by Robert Ludlum: Typical Ludlum. Conspiracy, super soldiers, backstabbings and triple-crossings. This was nonetheless a pretty interesting novel to read and I enjoyed it. If you like a spy novel with so-so characters, pretty bad handling of how relationships develop and terrible dialogue but good suspense, interesting ideas and a high body count piled next to higher stakes, then this is for you.

Reading:
How to Be Alone: Essays by Jonathan Franzen: just a bunch of essays on things like the Chicago postal office during the 90's, why we should bother with reading, and an account of his father's battle with Alzheimer's. Not exactly a walk-in-the-park to read, but I find it interesting and intelligent.

Main Lines, Blood Feasts and Bad Taste: A Lester Bangs Reader by Lester Bangs: a collection of articles by acclaimed critic (yeah critics acclaim critics) Lester Bangs. Most of it is pretty good, and also pretty funny. If you want to know if Bangs is for you read his review of Lou Reed's terrible Metal Machine Man.

Night Shift by Stephen King: collection of short horror stories. Superb. It's pretty amazing how he manages to start a story, make it scary and end it in 7-20 pages.

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Old 05-20-2009, 12:14 PM   #156
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Picture of Dorian Gray. Nicely written, but a bit disappointing considering the controversy it created some one hundred years ago.

Slowly (very slowly) I'm progressing in OZU and The Poetics of Cinema, which is a truly great book, also as a source of information about Japanese culture in general.
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Old 05-21-2009, 12:28 AM   #157
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I cannot get my head around some of Oscar Wilde's writings. He is such a man of flowery language. Meaning that he has a knack for just going on and on about a minute detail.
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:33 AM   #158
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldblum View Post
I cannot get my head around some of Oscar Wilde's writings. He is such a man of flowery language. Meaning that he has a knack for just going on and on about a minute detail.
I only read Gray, but based on it I agree about flowery language (meaning a kind of dandy's exaltation about the way things look on the outside) and it indeed can be a bit tiring. However, at the same time I actually felt the author gives very little attention to details. Most things are described in very general terms. The book even becomes boring because of that sometimes - we are given long lists of supposedly emotional events, but they don't have any life to them. The best thing about Gray for me were the cynical dialogs between Dorian and Henry.
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Old 05-21-2009, 01:41 PM   #159
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Oh no, I liked the dialogue he wrote, but the pacing in between just dragged.
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Old 05-29-2009, 05:35 PM   #160
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Well, just finished Red by Jack Ketchum, which also had the lovely novella The Passenger tucked in. Top notch!

Last edited by Kroms; 10-16-2009 at 07:53 PM.
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