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      CommentAuthorVornaskotti
    • CommentTimeJan 21st 2014 edited
     (11256.1)
    A new year, a new set of books.

    I'll start off with going wow at Red Men by Matthew De Abaitua. Artificial intelligence, PKDian reality bending, pop-occultism, corporate culture, alternative present. This hit me like a hammer. It's the book that I would've wanted to write, and at the same time hit it really home how much of a beginner I am in writing.

    There's actually a nice short film about the first scene of the book on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/68368877
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      CommentAuthorcurb
    • CommentTimeJan 21st 2014
     (11256.2)
    Started off my year with a nice piece of fluff - Let Me Off at the Top, the Ron Burgundy "autobiography". If you enjoyed Anchorman, I expect you'll find plenty to laugh at here. It's certainly not all gold, but it made me chuckle a good few times.

    Now, in something of a change of tone, I'm reading Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. Which is, well, not exactly a fun read. Very interesting, though, in a horrific kind of way.
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      CommentAuthoroldhat
    • CommentTimeJan 21st 2014
     (11256.3)
    I actually got a hold of the Bioshock: Rapture novel.

    It's terrible. Especially when John Shirley tries to write the dialogue for a British character and just slips in to random cockney dialects that are...god, they're awful.

    But god damn it, I'm in to it.
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      CommentAuthorallana
    • CommentTimeJan 21st 2014
     (11256.4)
    I'm reading a book of "modern fairy tales," which I thought would be totally new but are often just contemporary retellings that steal elements of old fairy tales. Regardless, some of the stories are creepygood. It's called My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me (or maybe mom and dad are backwads). Anyways. It's got a Joyce Carol Oates and a Neil Gaiman and a Chris Adrian and some other people.

    I am also tackling Rise Of The Creative Class, because stupid management course is going to require an essay about "leadership something" and I'm going to write about leadership in culture industries. Blech.
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      CommentAuthornigredo
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2014
     (11256.5)
    Currently reading Orhan Pamuk's My Name is Red, which is really enjoyable. Also, started A History of Opera: The Last Four Hundred Years by Carolyn Abbate and Roger Parker, A Social History of Music From the Middle Ages to Beethoven by Henry Raynor and Revolution: The Explosion of World Cinema in the 60s by Peter Cowie.

    Also picked up The Illuminati Papers by Robert Anton Wilson \m/
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      CommentAuthorWaxPoetic
    • CommentTimeJan 28th 2014
     (11256.6)
    Read The Luminaries, which was a delight and read far more quickly than I expected. Got sidetracked by a novel that was really well written and about dudes being friends and then turned into a lady novel and I had to put it away and forget that I'd ever seen it and then there was despair and then Patrick Ness and The Crane Wife and I can't actually imagine my life without a future that involves unread pages of this book. I am physically resistant to finishing it.

    I will though. One of my co-workers is almost done and I can't stand the competition.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeJan 28th 2014
     (11256.7)
    @oldhat - A friend of mine is in a fanfic community, and they have a board called 'Have a Brit proofread your British characters'.
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      CommentAuthoroldhat
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2014
     (11256.8)
    @flabyo, dear god yes. Everything this character is saying is " 'cor! That's a right blimey city you got here, guv!".
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      CommentAuthordorkmuffin
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2014
     (11256.9)
    I finally finished House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski. It was so so so so so so so so good. That book will stay with me.

    Then onto An Unquiet Mind, a memoir of a woman with bipolar (but who prefers "manic-depressive" as a clinical description for pretty interesting and respectable reasons).

    Now I'm reading Thinking Fast and Slow, but I am pretty sure it's going to be a slog because it's LONG. It's well-written, but it's a very very very long nonfiction book about rationality.

    Trying to read more.
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      CommentAuthorShawn
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2014
     (11256.10)
    @Vornaskotti - Thank you for posting about Red Men, definitely going on the list.

    Just finished Donna Tartt's The Secret History - Mouth-watering prose and a story that I found filled me with a wonderful dread. Went right from the high of that to King's Shining sequel, Doctor Sleep. Also brilliant but in a much different way. I would recommend both, especially The Secret History for people who dig Bret Easton Ellis, David Foster Wallace and/or John Irving.

    Moving onto The Universe Doesn't Do Second Chances, a novel by an independent author named Sean-Paul Thomas who read a review I did last year of Irvine Welsh's Scag Boys. Indie published, looks good so far.
  1.  (11256.11)
    Finished reading Michelangelo Signorile's Outing Yourself. Despite the passage of time, it still offers some good and relevant advice on "saying it now that I'm out and I'm proud." I definitely want to apply its lessons, especially on checking self-loathing behavior.

    Starting up Laurie Penny's essay collection Penny Red. It was a Whitechapeler who first mentioned her journalism back when London's university fee protests were going down a couple of years ago. Her passionate poppy style got me hooked on her writing, so when the book came out I ordered it even with the exchange rate difference. Having an introduction by the Master of Arse Eels who founded Whitechapel makes the collection that much sweeter.
  2.  (11256.12)
    Okay, I'm having a weird reading experience this week… Some book bundle I bought had B. V. Larson's Swarm in it, the first book in his StarForce series. The guy is one of those self-publishers on Kindle that have sold something like 200 000 copies.

    I'm weirdly torn. Okay, if I'm reading self-published military sci-fi with a series name of "Star Force" I'm not expecting a massive depth of characterization and psychological insight, but JESUS - the main character's kids get literally gutted by aliens in the first few pages and the guy gets abducted by the ship. The main character remembers to be devastated for the 15 minutes it takes for a hot younger chick to be abducted, after which it's boob staring time written in a way that made me cringe so hard I think I pulled a muscle. Yeah, there are some mentions about the revenge the guy wants for his kids later in the book, dropped here and there, but it reads like "oh shit, I did kill the kids, uh better mention it quickly". Also the main character feels like he's the purest Marty Stu I've ever seen - I mean a 30-something computer science professor who gets a starship of his own and turns into badass and gets a hot younger student girlfriend (apparently the writer himself is a professor of some field). Did I mention that so far, two-third into the book, the main character's musings about women and sex read like they were written by a 16 year old?

    Okay, so why am I reading this? I was ready to throw it away after the first couple of chapters (and I don't do that lightly), but persisted because… well, the actual military scifi stuff is entertaining. It's fun and pulpy and there are massive robots and space battles and… well that's about it, but that's plenty. It's just fun and entertaining brain bubblegum to read amongst the more serious scifi stuff I tend to prefer.

    Jesus, am I really contemplating actually buying the second book in the series?
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      CommentAuthorFoamhead
    • CommentTimeFeb 7th 2014
     (11256.13)
    @ Vorn: I almost bought the audiobook version of that (for want of anything more appealing, honest, guv!) but didn't because meh.

    You're not Pete (cape cod) on Amazon, are you?
    • CommentAuthorSuresh N
    • CommentTimeFeb 8th 2014
     (11256.14)
    Last week I picked up Cabinet of Curiosities, a book about Guillermo del Toro. It has bits from interviews, excerpts from his notebooks, pictures of his collections, sketches he did while working on various projects, etc. I've been having so much fun reading it. I'm planning on going over it some more once I finish the first reading of it, just to check out the pages from his notebooks and notes in more detail.
  3.  (11256.15)
    @Foamhead:

    Nope - I wrote my review in Goodreads.
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      CommentAuthorallana
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2014
     (11256.16)
    I've been cleaning out my bookshelf of library books, since I graduate soonishly. There were four books on Nietzsche's madness, his sister's fuckery of his archive, etc. The descriptions of his moment of brain-ruin and subsequent behaviours is really heartbreaking. But all the books essentially pitch him as an always-crazy-guy who occasionally said things that young people liked. Miley Cyrus, basically. It's weird.
  4.  (11256.17)
    I was saddened the Best Australian Essays collection i read wasn't a keeper. But the "Agamemnon's Kiss" essay was well done enough to make me want to check out the writer's other history books.

    Now it's back to the first Song of Ice And Fire book as favorite character Tyrion gets publicly mocked by his hardass father after a long day.
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      CommentAuthoroldhat
    • CommentTimeFeb 26th 2014
     (11256.18)
    I put away the Bioshock book. To terrible. John Shirley can't do dialogue worth a damn and the progression of the story was incredibly weak. I've been told his original stuff is better (to be honest I don't envy the guy having to fill in the blanks other people left for him), but it'll be a long time before I pick anything up with his name on it.

    I decided to pick up The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman and, for the first time in a while, I'm reading a book that is a wonderful form of escape.
  5.  (11256.19)
    Just finished Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffeneger. It's OK, but no Time Traveller's Wife. The characters feel a bit 'quirky'. He has OCD and sets crosswords for the times. He works in Highgate Cemetery and is writing a thesis on the occupants. The writing is good, but the story feels a little thin.

    Just started Zoo City by Lauren Beukes. Enjoying it. Dirty, urban magical cyberpunk influenced story set in J'Burg.
  6.  (11256.20)
    I feel dirty. I'm still reading the Star Force series. There's always one utterly horribly written female moment per book that's almost bad enough for me to just quit the whole shit (say "shapely body" once more, motherfucker, I dare you), but then they are again shooting at big robots. This is like sitting in and browsing imgur for two hours. You kind of hate yourself, but at the same time you're kind of entertained.