I've been on a reading frenzy

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by James_Kiang, May 20, 2003.

  1. James_Kiang

    James_Kiang Screenwriter

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    I used to enjoy reading quite a bit, particularly the works of Raymond Feist and Robert Jordan. As I got more into computer gaming, my time available for reading diminished. Once I got married and we had our daughter (now 2 and a half), that time decreased to zero (while my gaming time was just a little better than that). Well, towards the end of last year that started to change. My wife teaches 3rd grade and reads a few chapter books to the class through the year. She had just finished Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and was looking for something new. I'm a Neil Gaiman fan from his Sandman days so I recommended trying Coraline. She would read it to them at school and I would read it at home. I really enjoyed it, and I remembered how much I liked to read. At the end of December, we went out to visit my folks in Colorado. While out there, I picked up a number of new books. Also, I had yet to read books 8,9, and 10 in The Wheel of Time, so I knew I had plenty to get through. In that time since the last week of December, I've read:

    Lemony Snicket - Book 1
    The Golden Compass
    The Subtle Knife
    The Amber Spyglass
    (His Dark Materials trilogy - thanks HTF [​IMG])
    American Gods
    all 10 books in The Wheel of Time
    and now I am starting A Game of Thrones

    If anyone wants to discuss any of these, just say the word - there's plenty there. Also, if you have any other recommendations I'd like to hear them.
     
  2. JohnE

    JohnE Supporting Actor

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    I've been tearing it up lately myself. Books I've finished recentely,

    Tad Williams - War of the Flowers - Pretty good. It sort of reminded me of older CLive Barker.
    Greg Keyes - The Briar King - Very good. Can't wait for book two.
    Matt Reilly - Pretty fun ride. Good enough for me to order a couple of his other books.
    Raymond E. Feist - Talon of the Silver Hawk - OK, but not as interesting as his older stuff.


    If you are about to start on A Game of Thrones for the first time, you're in for a treat. IMHO it's the best written fantasy out there. Enjoy.
     
  3. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Are you going to read the rest of the "Lemony Snicket" titles? They're up to #9 now.

    How about "Artemis Fowl"? The third book, "The Eternity Code," was just released. I didn't really like the second as much as the first, but I'll be giving the third a whirl sometime.

    I'm into crime thrillers at the moment. Just read Stuart Woods' "Dirty Work," with the last two "Orchid" books on deck. Currently re-reading John Sandford's "Mortal Prey" as a refresher for the newly released "Naked Prey."

    Looking forward to the new Dean Koontz "Faces" coming out in June, as well as the new Preston/Child novel out in July. [​IMG]
     
  4. James_Kiang

    James_Kiang Screenwriter

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    JohnE:

    I saw that Feist had a new Midkemia book out. From what I read though it didn't interest me much. Actually, I have to dig out the Serpentwar Saga - read the first one when it first came out and bought the rest, but never read them. This will be my first time reading Martin's series. I've heard great things so I'm hoping to be entertained. I also have Wizard's First Rule in the queue (another series I have never read).

    Malcolm R:

    I have books 2 and 3. I enjoyed book 1 but I was more interested in these other ones. I'm sure eventually I'll get around to them. My main reason for picking those up was so my wife would have a series of books she could read to her class. She still hasn't done that though... I've seen the Artemis Fowl books, but never really looked into them. What are they about? Would they be appropriate for a 3rd grade class? I also have interest in Clive Barker's Ararat, but that one does look a little longer than what my wife would normally use.

    Crime thrillers are a genre I could read, but I've never really gotten too into them. I wouldn't mind reading Patterson's Alex Cross stuff or maybe Jester. I have read some Koontz long ago (Lightning and Watchers at least). His last novel sounded interesting. Other books I'd like to eventually get around to would include Cricton's Prey, King's Gunslinger books, that Vampyr series (can anyone recommend it?), and some Lovecraft.
     
  5. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    I just reread the approx 1800 pages thus far of David Gerrold's Chtorr saga, HOPING ANY DAY NOW HE'LL ANNOUNCE THE PUBLICATION OF THE FIFTH BOOK THAT'S COMING UP ON A DECADE AFTER THE FOURTH'S EVIL CLIFFANGER AND THAT HE WAS CONTRACTUALLY OBLIGATED TO FINISH IN FEBRUARY

    I feel better now
     
  6. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Do you mean Brian Lumley's "Necroscope" novels (the second book is titled Vamphyri)? Yes, I would recommend them very highly. [​IMG] [​IMG] Probably my all time fave sci-fi/horror series.
     
  7. James_Kiang

    James_Kiang Screenwriter

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    Malcolm - that's the one. I couldn't recall the name or the author. Another long series to add to the list.... [​IMG]
     
  8. DaveGTP

    DaveGTP Cinematographer

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    Feist has a new book?? I have been so distracted with anime and videogames recently, that's must be why I have missed it? I read so fast that I need to check out at least 10 books if I hit the library. Then I am so forgetful about returning them that I end up with like $20+ fines. That's when I started buying books again. I still need to read Jordan's new book.
     
  9. Joe Wong

    Joe Wong Second Unit

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    Malcolm,

    I agree about Koontz. Some of my favourite books when I was in high school in the 80s (what a time!) were by him...Lightning, Watchers, Midnight, Strangers, Phantoms. Lately he's become all verbose and lost the incredible pacing from those earlier novels. I even got my dad into them. The last enjoyable book I read from Koontz was Tick-tock (and it's more of a comedy than a thriller).

    I read Patterson's Jester in March. The usual super-short chapters and pacing. Entertaining but short on detail.

    I tried Golden Compass but haven't gotten past the chapter Lyra's Jordan. Is it worth my while to continue?

    I also think Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn is the best of these mega epic fantasy tales. There were so many moments of heartbreak and joy...and one particular scene that ripped my heart out (figuratively).

    Another fond memory is of McCammon's Swan Song, though I gather this is very similar to King's The Stand (haven't read The Stand).

    John E., I've read all of Matt Reilly's. Super-fast and entertaining, if lacking in character development (a facet Reilly freely admits). I love his massive action setpieces that seem to be written for the screen. Ice Station is his first and best, and Contest is very good, too.

    Wish I could get back into more reading...but I find, with the demands of work these days, I need attention-grabbing tales more than before.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  10. Michael Warner

    Michael Warner Supporting Actor

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    If you liked Neil Gaiman's "American Gods" then checkout his earlier novel, "Neverwhere." I read the two books back to back and found "Neverwhere" to be much more engrossing for some reason.

    I'll also second the recommendation for "The Briar King." It got off to a slow start and I almost gave up on the book but by the end I was fully engaged in the story. The alternate history basis for that world's past was a nice touch
     
  11. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    I've mostly been reading short fiction for the past few years, but with a little more free time on my hands (and a lot of trips back and forth to Maine for my brothers' graduations from high school to college where time must be filled), I'm starting to work my way back into the longer-form stuff.

    Recently:

    McSweeny's Mammoth Treasury Of Thrilling Tales - McSweeny's is, I gather, a sort of quarterly literary digest where each issue has a new editor and a new theme. #10 was edited by Michael Chabon, had illustrations by Michael Chaykin, and stories from Chabon, Harlan Ellison, Michael Chrichton, and others. Pretty much all good except for a nigh-unreadable "Gunslinger" thing from Stephen King.

    Kiln People by David Brin - I like Brin, and he has a pretty nifty idea here. And he explores it thoroughly, almost to exhaustion, while telling an exciting mystery/adventure story.

    Now:

    "Shopgirl" by Steve Martin - I wish Martin wrote more. As funny as he is in film, his prose is even more fun. Like another favorite performer-turned-writer, Stephen Fry, Martin's got a real skill at making every clause of every sentence of every paragraph of every chapter a joy to read.

    Next:

    Liberty by Stephen Coonts - I think Coonts is better than Tom Clancy, although his recent foray into science fiction, Saucer, wasn't his best work. Still, the Jake Grafton books have been good enough that I'll let it slide.

    Kaliver & Clay by Chabon - I liked the cover and I liked his McSweeny's. And a Pullitzer is good, right?

    I used to read much more science fiction, and read two magazines' worth of short fiction every month, but I almost feel like I'm being forced away from it when it comes to novels lately. I mentioned it in another thread, but it's depressing to look at the SF section of the bookshelf and see nothing but series. Just give me a self-contained story with a beginning, middle, and end.
     
  12. Khoa Tran

    Khoa Tran Supporting Actor

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    Books that i've read this semester(early april)
    Tropic of Cancer - Henry Miller
    Survivor - Chuck Palahnuik
    Stupid White Men - Micheal Moore
    Losing Julia - Jonathan Hull
    Bel Canto - Ann Patchett
    Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
    Sexus - Henry Miller
    Plexus - Henry Miller
    Nexus - Henry Miller
    and i'm on Slammerkin - Emma Donoghue
     
  13. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Definitely. His one-word-title books were probably his best. This is why I'm hopeful that Faces will be a nostalgic return to form. Of his recent titles, I have enjoyed False Memory, Fear Nothing, and Seize the Night. The latter two were supposed to comprise the first two of a trilogy, I think. Not sure when we'll get the third.
     
  14. JohnE

    JohnE Supporting Actor

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  15. Marshall Alsup

    Marshall Alsup Second Unit

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  16. James_Kiang

    James_Kiang Screenwriter

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    DaveGTP: As was mentioned by JohnE in post #2, Feist's new novel is the start of a new series, The Conclave of Shadows. I still need to read the Serpentwar saga, and I skipped the Riftwar Legacy series completely. The Riftwar saga still holds a dear place in my heart, but tha last stuff I read of Feist's just didn't do that much for me. If I pick up this new one, it'll be when it hits paperback.

    Joe Wong: I'm not exactly sure where you are in The Golden Compass, but if it is towards the beginning as I expect, definitely stick with it. I did find the book to start slowly, but it does pick up and is a worthwhile read.

    Michael Warner: Neverwhere is on my list, but I'm not sure when exactly I'll get around to it.
     
  17. James_Kiang

    James_Kiang Screenwriter

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    Well, I am almost 100 pages into the paperback edition of A Game of Thrones. I'm still getting a handle on this world and these characters, but it has been very good so far.
    I am not trying to start any anti-Jordan sentiment - I am aware that the latest novels in The Wheel of Time have been fairly poorly received (though I actually enjoyed them). I think I am drawing these comparisons simply because I just finished reading the WoT series and it is fresh in my mind. While I'm at it, I am not attempting to put down any series by any author [​IMG].
    That being said, Martin's writing style kind of caught me off-guard. I mean, he's dropped the f-bomb and had a young girl's lips (and not the ones on her mouth) get perfumed. It's quite interesting in that he does demonstrate the expected pomp and all that would surround royalty, but it is infused with a grittiness that is arguably more realistic. I'm not complaining, though at the same time I am being careful to not over-praise the little bit I have read because it is something I am not used to, something different from my "norm".
    Now, I want to deal with some spoilers (though being only 100 pages along I'm including a lot of speculation as well):
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    The last part I read was when Bran is pushed out the window. I have not found out whether he lives or not. If this was Jordan or Feist, I would guess he would, but something tells me this world is much different from that. I figured something would happen to at least one of the wolves somewhere down the road, which in turn could symbolize something happening to a Stark, but I didn't see it coming so soon. I wonder if this completes the symbolism of the antler through the wolf.... Again, I doubt it.
     
  18. Marshall Alsup

    Marshall Alsup Second Unit

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  19. James_Kiang

    James_Kiang Screenwriter

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    Marshall: Please hook me up with that forum now. I won't go over there til I finish the series (if all goes well, I should be able to do a book every 3 weeks or so). Just in case we forget before I do finish [​IMG].

    More spoilers
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    That was some scene with Dany and her new husband. Did I read something right? Is she only 13? Not making a judgment on that (it's fiction [​IMG]) but if so, it's just another example of how it appears Martin is willing to go places many other authors may not. And the scene with Jon visiting Bran... Man, that Catelyn can sure hold a grudge!
     
  20. Kevin Goodwin

    Kevin Goodwin Stunt Coordinator

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    OK, I'll bash Jordan. [​IMG] His books have gotten out of hand. I don't think HE even remembers half the subplots he's got going on. The only reason I'm finishing the WOT series is because I've invested so much time that I need to see how it finally ends! The series started off great (remember the excitement of getting the new WOT book in the early days?), but has gotten long & drawn out. I mean, how can you have an 800 page book in which nothing happens?

    GRRM's series, on the other hand, is getting better & better. I can't wait for the new one to come out. Plus, you never know who's going to be the main character in the next book, because

    he keeps killing everybody off!
     

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