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  1.  (9362.61)
    Still working on You Bright and Risen Angels. I'm enjoying it, but it's hard work. I read Only an Alligator, the first book in Steve Aylett's Accomplice series (I picked up the new omnibus edition over Christmas) to give me a break, which was exactly the sort of linguistically pyrotechnic batshit fun that you'd expect from the man.
  2.  (9362.62)
    @ Jess - Well, it's that they're just such relentless books and you really empathise with the two leads. In the first book the action never lets up, and in the second they're plunged into this impossible moral quagmire from the very start that involves them doing terrible things. And every dilemma and challenge results in a pyrrhic victory at best, so pretty early on I started dreading what was going to happen to them next. In fact with both books I had to put them down for a while about halfway through coz I just didn't want to know how this was all going to wrong for them, but I was sure it was. Fantastic books though!
    • CommentAuthoreasthollow
    • CommentTimeJan 13th 2011
    Reading Doctorow's For the Win. Listening to his podcasts makes you want to read his books. This one's good so far, but seems a little long-winded -- why is it that modern books are so fat, anyway? Is this forced on authors by publishers who think readers want fat books? Maybe it's just my personal preference, but I like short, succinct books: Kurt Vonnegut, William Nolan's Logan's Run series, Richard Bach's Illusions... of course, I also like Heinlen's big fat novels, so who knows...
  3.  (9362.64)
    Richard Bach's Illusions is easily my favorite and most often read book. I've had to buy a few copies of it due to wear and tear, giving them to other people, and purposefully leaving them random places (hotel lobbies, apartment common room bookshelves, etc.)

    Finished Cherie Priest's Boneshaker yesterday. It was a good, steampunky book. Nice bit of adventurous fun. Started reading Guy Gavriel Kay's Fionavar Tapestry today. I've read all of his other stuff and thoroughly enjoyed them. Had never had the time to really sit down and read this set yet. (It's a trilogy).
    • CommentTimeJan 14th 2011 edited
    Finally finished Spook Country, been low on time lately, so it took longer than usual. I like that the main event of the story is really a fairly small thing, really. The point really isn't what happens in these books, but what Gibson has to say about how it happens. Starting Zero History imminently.

    Also working on Bataille's On Nietzsche, and a collection of Andre Breton's poetry.
    • CommentTimeJan 14th 2011
    Love seeing the folks reading Bataille. Should start a thread just to discuss his work sometime.
  4.  (9362.67)
    I got bought the wonderful Confederacy of Dunces for xmas, which I've been meaning to read for a while now. I'm both appalled and entrhalled by Ignatius which is, I've discovered, where his genius lies. Best line so far: "Please go away, you're shattering my religous ecstacy."

    Queing up some Vonnegut, too. Can't get enough of it.
  5.  (9362.68)
    Aristotle's Ethics drained me. Now on to his Politics, which is a lot easier to understand.

    Being taught by Gareth Steadman Jones this semester, and have been reading his An End To Poverty?, which is real good. It's about the way social democracy was invented around the time of the French Revolution, and then buried under conservative reaction and socialism in the 19th century. If yr interested in political ideas, look it up.

    Just bought the second Greek Street trade. Really looking fwd to it. Also found the Ultimatum trade in the library. It will be interesting to see if all the Loeb hatred is justified. I suspect yes, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.
  6.  (9362.69)
    @MagicSword! Yeah I suppose so actually, I forget they're just kids. Though I couldn't put the book down, it would have to be pried from my hands, I was so excited when I found it in the book shop, I wasn't sure if it had come out yet...but i digress...

    I have just finished reading Statistics 1, no time for fiction lately :(
    • CommentAuthorjdaysy
    • CommentTimeJan 14th 2011
    Positively TORE through Zeitoun by Dave Eggers earlier this week. It was a very good read, if a bit alarming.
    • CommentAuthorsacredchao
    • CommentTimeJan 15th 2011 edited
    I finished Pale Fire yesterday. Fucking awesome book - go read it, you unwashed hordes!

    Anyway, while I am generally against the idea of electronicifying books (for reasons I've stated at least twice on this site), I think this would be the perfect book for it.

    It is set up thus:

    999 line poem by fictional poet
    Commentary by fictional commentator, cross-referenced against lines from the poem (the majority of the book)
    An index

    Basically, the book could be condensed into this kick-ass little thing that looked like this:
    Poem, with commentary embedded as links to be clicked at one's leisure, which would expand into some kind of text bubble with the appropriate note, with each reference to another note linked as well.
    Index, again with nested links.

    And, it could be switched to be read with the commentary as the main text so that you click the link and the line from the poem shows up, hovers long enough to be read, then humbly dissipates.

    Of course, you could just set it to be read as Nabokov wrote it - the other modes would be more like a toy to be played with after for purposes of re-reading and playing, re-sampling, etc. Basically, the whole time I was reading it, I kept wanting to click the links that weren't there. You know, because it was on paper.
    • CommentTimeJan 15th 2011
    Put "Palimpsest" aside for the moment, started Mieville's "Kraken".
    • CommentTimeJan 15th 2011

    Actually, I'm reading that Bataille book because I saw that Allana mentioned it earlier, and remembered that it was on my "To Read Soon" list. So I figured now's as good a time as any. Yet another way that Whitechapel has commandeered my will.
  7.  (9362.74)
    Finished Lee Child's debut novel, KILLING FLOOR. Which is practically my first Lee Child novel. I had read ECHO BURNING as a teenager and liked it but I'll ignore that. If I stuck an icepick in my brain I wouldn't get more retarded than I used to be as a teenager.

    Child truly is a prodigy when it comes to describing violence, but in his first novel that's one of the few things he does right. The protagonist, Jack Reacher, aside from being a muscular giant who knows five ways to kill everyone in a room at any given time, is also absolutely incapable of doing anything wrong. At one point it's established that three experts in the same field racked their brains for a year and were unable to figure out how the villain was doing what he was doing. As soon as Reacher is informed of this -- having no previous experience in that field and receiving a quick lecture to get him vaguely up to date -- it takes him one fucking night to piece it all together. He then explains how he figured it all out to his partner Finlay, who took two more pages to understand it than I did despite being a detective with twenty years of experience in Boston, something Child exhaustively repeats but then proceeds to make Finlay about as useful as an ass nipple. Reacher and him are like Holmes and Watson, if Holmes was the war veteran and Watson the detective. And then there's Roscoe, initially an interesting character who soon devolves into the cliche romantic interest. The plot is that kind of complex multi-layered thriller plot in which usually intelligent characters instantaneously turn into retards in order to move things along. At one point, a villain says that if he doesn't get a call from his associate in a certain hour of the next day, something bad will happen. Apparently asking said associate to call him every hour would be too prudent. Most of the dialogue is bland and/or expositional, with the exception of a few gems such as a brilliant explanation of how money is printed. Child's short, to-the-point prose is suited to the protagonist but very rarely shines when describing anything but action sequences and very often makes a point of explaining the fucking obvious.

    It's a book that starts well, grows retarded and remains mostly that way, although it never turns into an excruciating read. And it has a fantastic moment concerning an ambush in a house. Child truly is a genius at this. He won't simply tell you a man's throat has been cut. He will tell you how the throat was cut, how long it took to cut the throat, how far the throat was cut and how generally difficult it is to cut a throat. But overall the plot is mediocre, the supporting characters mostly useless and the main character way too useful.

    While reading this, I tried to return to Chandler's THE BIG SLEEP but once again I couldn't remember what the plot was about because Chandler is usually more concerned with describing every single object around his protagonist down to their color, shape, material and how many atoms they're comprised of. In response to this, 256 said in the previous thread: If you want to read something that feels like what people told you Chandler was going to be like, check out Loren D. Estleman. He's written a lot of different stuff, but what you want is anything with his Amos Walker character: He's a detective, he lives in Detroit, he drinks hard, he never gives up. I'm already, if not much, familiar with Chandler's style. I've read a nice book of short stories by him and watched the brilliant DOUBLE INDEMNITY which he co-wrote. I just feel that in THE BIG SLEEP his narrative is totally lost, even if his talent for dialogue shines through.

    Now while I finish (and continue to hugely enjoy and be fascinated by) Michael Drosnin's CITIZEN HUGHES, I'll get started on Charlie Huston's SLEEPLESS, of which I've already read the first chapter. Huston's writing style is humiliatingly good so far.
    • CommentAuthormunin218
    • CommentTimeJan 15th 2011
    Finished reading so far this month:

    The Native Star--M.K. Hobsen
    The Bookman--Lavie Tidhar

    Just started reading:
    The Strange Account of Spring-Heeled Jack--Mark Hodder
    Sleepless--Charlie Huston
  8.  (9362.76)
    i absolutely adored The Strange Account of Spring-Heeled Jack - if you dig it even half as much as i did you're in for a trip.

    what was The Bookman like? i've been meaning to pick this up but haven't so far.

    i've just downloaded the audiobook of Sleepless which i'll be starting as soon as i finish the Doctor Who: Three Doctors one i'm currently listening to.
    • CommentAuthormunin218
    • CommentTimeJan 15th 2011
    The Bookman was pretty good. The story takes a few odd turns, but in general a good read. They also put some funny little things on the back of the book that I found amusing.
  9.  (9362.78)
    Finally working my way through Michael Chabon's Kavalier & Clay. Keep finding myself focusing on the structure and language over than the plot. Even so, enjoying it a lot.
    • CommentTimeJan 16th 2011
    What's up, infomancer! How did that bataille book end up on your reading list in the first place? I found it very accidentally in a bookstore a month ago and i can't believe how timely its ideas are. I'm hesitant to discuss it in a dedicated thread because it would probably end up being a big communal deadjournal filled with lots of TMI moments.

    I will say that the thirteenth chapter of the first section made me lose my shit. You won't find better intellectual justification for living out your life as an unaccomplished nobody.
  10.  (9362.80)
    So far this year I've got through
    The Coming of the Terraphiles - Michael Moorcock. His Doctor Who novel that's quite crazy and much more a Moorcock novel than a Doctor Who one, but fun all the same.
    Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King. Some great stuff among the four novellas, though I was a little disappointed with A Fair Extension.
    Pretty Little Dead Things - Gary McMahon. An urban horror/crime novel. Gary has a great turn of phrase and some nice disturbing imagery.

    Next up
    Towers of Midnight - Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan - Been reading this series for over a decade and a half, I'm seeing it through.