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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 10:56 am 
 

darkeningday wrote:
O_o.

That's akin to watching a hat-picked Renny Harlin flick before settling down to a Michael Haneke marathon. I thought you didn't like shitty fantasy...?


GoT's not that bad. I was actually just thinking that I might put it down early in favor of something else though, because although it's entertaining, it's not as fulfilling as a lot of the other works on my soon-to-read list.
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John_Sunlight
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 12:46 pm 
 

Also not a fan of "We".
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:55 am 
 

I shamefully admit that I haven't read BNW yet. I enjoy Huxley in general, his worldview/philosophy, and I love Fahrenheit and 1984, so I'm looking forward to it, just keeps getting pushed back.
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darkeningday
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:21 am 
 

Have you read We, Nahsil?
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:49 pm 
 

Heard about it but no, not yet.

Today I'm reading Principles of Everyday Behavior Analysis! Yeaaaaaaaaaah!
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HumanWaste5150
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:09 pm 
 

What a party.

For my summer list, i have so far read Man's Fate by Malraux in terms of fiction and a bunch of books in political theory and international relations.

Has anyone read any works by Yukio Mishima and perhaps would not mind recommending a work or two?
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RedMisanthrope
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:00 am 
 

About a third of the way through "2666" (which means I have about 600 pages to go, still) and so far I'm enjoying it. Despite the length, the pages actually fly by and it hasn't dragged once yet. Very much a writer's novel like I heard or read someone say. Very concerned with the fine details of character pathos and dialogues. Looking forward to the infamous 300+ page autopsy report "The Part About the Crimes" section, though "looking forward" is maybe a poor word choice. I've heard its tough.
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DeathRiderDoom
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 4:08 am 
 

About to go pick up Crime & Punishment from a friend shortly. Can't wait to start reading it. Been hearing about it for over 20 years, just never got round to it. I have a very nice outdoor courtyard/garden at my new place, not to mention an awesome fireplace and comfy lounge in which to get plenty of reading done :)
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orionparker
Metal newbie

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:46 pm 
 

DeathRiderDoom wrote:
About to go pick up Crime & Punishment from a friend shortly. Can't wait to start reading it. Been hearing about it for over 20 years, just never got round to it. I have a very nice outdoor courtyard/garden at my new place, not to mention an awesome fireplace and comfy lounge in which to get plenty of reading done :)


That book os going to be my father's day present. I've been wanting to read it for years and now I'll finally have the chance. I also picked up a copy of Jude The Obscure that I need to get into. Right now I'm going through A Song of Ice and Fire series.

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PhilosophicalFrog
The Hypercube

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:38 pm 
 

RedMisanthrope wrote:
About a third of the way through "2666" (which means I have about 600 pages to go, still) and so far I'm enjoying it. Despite the length, the pages actually fly by and it hasn't dragged once yet. Very much a writer's novel like I heard or read someone say. Very concerned with the fine details of character pathos and dialogues. Looking forward to the infamous 300+ page autopsy report "The Part About the Crimes" section, though "looking forward" is maybe a poor word choice. I've heard its tough.


DOPEST BOOK. AFTER READ THE SAVAGE DETECTIVES, EVEN BETTER.

I actually think Savage Detectives is one of the best ever, really.
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Zelkiiro
Pounding the world with a fish of steel

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:43 pm 
 

While I was at the beach, I barreled through Yann Martel's "Beatrice and Virgil" in about 4 hours. Pretty dark and thought-provoking stuff, and I really enjoy the idea of portraying the Holocaust without...portraying the Holocaust.
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Cynical_Misanthropy
Sect of Sorrow

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 6:37 pm 
 

I'm a little over halfway through reading Naked Lunch for the first time. Absolutely bizarre, hilarious, unconventional and entertaining. Direct and blatant probing of taboo material still prevent this from being accessed by many but I have been thoroughly enjoying it so far.
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Napero
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:55 pm 
 

Finished re-reading Neverness by David Zindell for the third time today. It's perhaps my favourite sci-fi novel ever, quite a philosophical and weird book, but highly enjoyable. From imaginary mathematical topology of hyperspace to philosophy of neo-cavemen, it has everything, and oddly, it stay together for 700 pages.

Highly recommended!
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circleofdestruction
Metalhead

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:03 am 
 

Currently reading de Sade's 120 Days of Sodom. Though it does, at times, feel like he was trying too hard, it's probably useful to keep in mind the time it was written. Parts of it are quite funny. I revisited this after reading Perversity Think Tank by Supervert, which I highly recommend to anybody, a lot more directly enjoyable than de Sade. A very thoughtful treatise on the nature of perversion.

Cynical_Misanthropy wrote:
I'm a little over halfway through reading Naked Lunch for the first time. Absolutely bizarre, hilarious, unconventional and entertaining. Direct and blatant probing of taboo material still prevent this from being accessed by many but I have been thoroughly enjoying it so far.

I used to love it until I read his cutup books, which I like a lot more than NL. In fact, I like pretty much anything he ever wrote more than NL, though NL may be more accessible than the cutups. I also enjoyed The Place of Dead Roads a fair amount. The Ticket That Exploded is probably my favorite WSB ever.
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Cynical_Misanthropy
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:01 pm 
 

Well then, I'll be sure to check out those as well :).
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circleofdestruction
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 6:15 pm 
 

Well, if you like NL, you could probably get into Nova Express, Ticket that Exploded, and The Soft Machine, though because of the style, they are less immediately accessible. I also enjoyed Cronenberg's movie of Naked Lunch, though it did lose something as books usually do when make into films. (I used to be completely obsessed with Burroughs, had all the books, books about him, anthologies, spoken word stuff, etc., and hung around on interzone.org and spent my free time trying to make automated cutup machines using flash and javascript. Around the same time, I had a pet guinea pig named Benway.)

Though I would also recommend, along similar lines, pretty much anything by JG Ballard (I like him less, but I love "Why I want to fuck Ronald Reagan" and similar short stories) and anything by Supervert, who I feel is the only writer carrying on in the same vein and still alive/writing.
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phillychease
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:15 pm 
 

Slaytanic55 wrote:
Planning to read Johnny Got His Gun pretty soon. Is it any good?


Might be a little late, but that book is pretty interesting. It was written in a non-conventional style. What I mean is that it was written with a stream of consciousness style. It is all run on sentences, abrupt breaks, etc. It might be difficult to understand at first because of this and the author jumps from one memory to another to the present.

Some songs are based on that book too!
Two songs that come in mind are Metallica - One and The Causalities - Unknown soldier.

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circleofdestruction
Metalhead

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 6:34 pm 
 

Yeah, I enjoyed Johnny Got His Gun as well. I had to look up the word "mick". though, despite the fact that I have ancestors from Ireland. I still have a hardcover copy someone stole from the high school library. ^_^ I usually hate books with a political agenda, even if I agree with it, but this one worked for me because it did make you think about what it would be like to have injuries like that.
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:23 pm 
 

Started reading Sartre's Nausea. Love it. Love the weird ass being-becoming fusion of things static and changing in the descriptions, love the existential themes.
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MazeofTorment
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:22 am 
 

:metal:

Nice, Nahsil....I need to reread it sometime. Really love the part when he's talking about the futility of wanting to live his life like some story and alluding to the constant overflowing that is consciousness. Oh and, of course, the whole "holy shit, that's a tree...it doesn't struggle with being a tree...etc" hahaha Fucking love that shit, glad to hear you're enjoying it.
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:24 am 
 

I loved it when he described some woman's cheeks as "running toward" her ears. He's great at illustrating his ideas descriptively/indirectly.

I'm a fan of French existentialism already, so he's maybe preaching to the choir, but it's anything but stale so I don't mind.
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Grave_Wyrm
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 6:19 pm 
 

American Gods
Neil Gaiman

It was like driving a car uphill with the air conditioner on and NPR playing: it’s comfortable, but dull as shit, changes periodically in poorly edited ways with some compelling tidbits few and far between; the journey takes way too long to crest, and once things level off anti-climactically, there’s still an hour and a half of driving left ahead of you. When it finally fucking ends you probably haven’t learned a damn thing.

I wasn’t genuinely interested until the vigil, and that was over 400 pages in and didn’t last long. Every once in a while, two or three pages would run with fluid imagination like good fiction should, but that’s a dismal percentage. The atmosphere and tension were inconsistent at best and frustratingly bad at worst. Character designs and plot aspects were incomplete and irksome, attempts at surreality and surprise were repeatedly confusing, and philosophical concepts hover at an introductory level.

Sounds worthy of its popularity, huh?

Still, it has a certain naïve charm. Shadow’s a decent character, and there are some periods of quality from the supporting cast. The best parts of the book are the stories-within-the-story: welcome (if contrived) relief from the meandering passages of superfluous narration, unconvincing conventions, and shallow dialogue. It probably should have just been a series of graphic novels. Suspension of disbelief would have had a better chance of survival there, I think.

If you want surreal interactions with questionably real deities and an enigmatic hero with difficulties finding himself, bypass this book entirely and read Gene Wolfe’s Latro in the Mist .. which I’m basically certain Gaiman robbed blind for this par baked, overrated grab bag of mediocre storytelling. In short, I think Gaiman squandered his opportunity.


2.7 * – even though I don’t like it, it isn’t terrible; just adolescent. Youngsters can get more out of it than I can.

(score edited. After reading The Knight, I see now how teenage fiction is supposed to be written, and had to drop this score.)


Last edited by Grave_Wyrm on Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Under_Starmere
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 6:39 pm 
 

That's what bugs me about Neil Gaiman. Most everything he writes seems to have this (possibly intentional...possibly) "young adult" nature to it that makes it all very Nerf-like, and impossible to find at all gripping. But yeah, like you said, it probably would've been better as a graphic novel or something. The only part that was actually genuinely involving was the Odinic crucifixion.
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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 6:52 pm 
 

I don't really see a problem with 'young adult' style writing in principle. In fact a lot of young adult books these days are really great - see anything by John Green or the Hunger Games series, for probably my favorite ones. It's something worth talking about like any other genre and can be done really well.

As for American Gods...I really liked it. Pretty much everything Grave Wyrm said was true about it, but I found it really entertaining as a trash/pulp sort of fiction novel. Really overblown, really self indulgent, but tons and tons of fun and I enjoyed my time with it.
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 7:09 pm 
 

American Gods was pretty boring and underwhelming. I liked Neverwhere more, but Gaiman's still probably overrated.
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Under_Starmere
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 7:12 pm 
 

:lol: Ah, fun...the great equalizer.

Yeah, I definitely don't have anything against "young adult" material in principle...it's just there's something about the way Gaiman goes about things that's very middle-of-the-road in its psychological tone and its atmosphere and that bugs me. It's like he's always trying to go to these dark places but can't help leaving the night light on ;). It's just annoying. But like Wyrm said, maybe if I were twelve years old I'd see it differently. But...how many twelve-year-olds read Neil Gaiman? That's the thing.
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PhilosophicalFrog
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 7:58 pm 
 

I read Winnie the Pooh because I'm constantly working on children's books every week or so. I read it last night before bed.

It is arguably one of the most wondrous and amazing children's stories. Teaching them to actually appreciate story telling, clever wordsmithing, and an amazing sense of pace. There's no BOOM ZAP POW or "The Adventures of Zit-Boy and Farty-Pants" style of children's writing that plagues today's shelves. It's a quiet, extremely funny and just so darn good at developing small characters. It's a shame the Disney version took over so much. But, that being said, it's still an amazing tale.

"I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me" might be one of my favorite mantras ever. It's perfect for any good writer/philosopher to follow this rule of thumb, and act like a little bear, who is bothered by long words and would rather deal in succinct truths.
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Grave_Wyrm
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:01 pm 
 

Gaiman should probably read Winnie the Pooh. He has virtually no economy of language.

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darkeningday
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:18 pm 
 

^ We have a winner. It'd be really great if you'd put GRRM in the same category, but I know that's heresy 'round these parts.
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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:45 am 
 

Under_Starmere wrote:
:lol: Ah, fun...the great equalizer.

Yeah, I definitely don't have anything against "young adult" material in principle...it's just there's something about the way Gaiman goes about things that's very middle-of-the-road in its psychological tone and its atmosphere and that bugs me. It's like he's always trying to go to these dark places but can't help leaving the night light on ;). It's just annoying. But like Wyrm said, maybe if I were twelve years old I'd see it differently. But...how many twelve-year-olds read Neil Gaiman? That's the thing.


Yeah...I can kind of see what you mean. I think he's an entertaining writer and I like his work well enough, but eh I can't really argue literary merit with his stuff that I've read. It's pretty much the literature equivalent to an Arnold Schwarzennegger movie or maybe Big Trouble in Little China, which I believe was the movie-analogy I used last time I spoke about him here. Big, stupid and fun.

I'm about a third of the way through Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury. I've never been so simultaneously perplexed and enthralled by a book. This is like trying to solve a puzzle, figuring out where this is going. Intrigued to read the rest.
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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:00 am 
 

I think Gaiman's main problem is that he is first and foremost a comics writer. He is a good comics writer, but he never seems to be able to pick what he wants to write outside of comics, bouncing instead between this and that genre and style without ever really finding his feet.
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Grave_Wyrm
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:13 am 
 

Hm. Well in light of that, I think I'll avoid his other books and look at Sandman eventually, which will be new to me. There was enough in this book that made me feel a lot of potential. Hopefully he keeps at it and finds that footing later on in his career. He isn't without ideas, just skill. .. Novels are hard.

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Calusari
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:08 am 
 

Nahsil wrote:
I loved it when he described some woman's cheeks as "running toward" her ears. He's great at illustrating his ideas descriptively/indirectly.

I'm a fan of French existentialism already, so he's maybe preaching to the choir, but it's anything but stale so I don't mind.

:beer: Completely agree, about Nausea and French existentialism generally.

failsafeman wrote:
I think Gaiman's main problem is that he is first and foremost a comics writer. He is a good comics writer, but he never seems to be able to pick what he wants to write outside of comics, bouncing instead between this and that genre and style without ever really finding his feet.


It looks like I'm in a good mood, I seem to be agreeing with everything today... This pretty much sums it up for. I absolutely adore The Sandman series, but none of Gaiman's novels even come close to equalling that level of complexity. He just can't seem to transfer that darkness and intelligence successfully, and the characters seem to remain stuck at a certain level, regardless of how 'adult' the acts the engage in might be.

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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:08 am 
 

...I'm drunk, so excuse the presumptuousness, but I could probably do Gaiman better than Gaiman with enough practice. How sad.

(this is me agreeing that he's a normal dude with a decent vocabulary and brain, nothing special)
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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:29 pm 
 

The Sound and the Fury is a hypnotizing work. Really engrossing, and also challenging.
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Grave_Wyrm
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:39 pm 
 

Started The Knight, by Gene Wolfe. Off to a good start. The guy knows how to set and maintain a scene.

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MazeofTorment
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:04 pm 
 

Empyreal wrote:
The Sound and the Fury is a hypnotizing work. Really engrossing, and also challenging.

It's all so good, but I particularly like Quentin's section.

Just finished Go Down, Moses and found it to be a very fresh, riveting read in the catalog of Faulkner. Really feel as though I'd like to turn around and read it again in the near future. I think some of it could almost be described as Faulkner doing Hemingway in terms of some of the themes that are explored.

Also finished another short story by Melville called The Paradise of Bachelors and The Tartarus of Maids. Yet again, its pretty brilliant. Every bit as relevant today (if not much more so) as it was back in his time. Same can be said about Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street.

Been reading a handful of Walt Whitman poems as well. Thinking of hitting up some Emily Dickinson next but we'll see.
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RedMisanthrope
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:27 pm 
 

Empyreal wrote:
The Sound and the Fury is a hypnotizing work. Really engrossing, and also challenging.


Truth. Benjy's part was really frustrating the first time around, but ultimately rewarding. Faulkner is a genius though; I'm trying to get around to "Light in August" this summer. "Absolom, Absolom!" I've heard is his hardest book. One of my professors said he averaged ten pages an hour on that one and compared it to "Gravity's Rainbow".
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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:29 pm 
 

I've read all the parts but the last bit, which I plan to sit down with soon and finish up. Quentin's part was fascinating, although confusing because you let your guard down during the more traditional prose parts, and started paying a little less attention, only for it to go all bat-shit nuts again a few pages later. Jason's part was easier but also got a bit monotonous toward the end. But overall it was still rewarding enough.
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Grave_Wyrm
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:34 pm 
 

The Knight
Gene Wolfe

This is just the first half of The Wizard Knight, and my dislike of American Gods' adolescent style made me want to stop and say a word about it on my way to the second half. In The Knight, Wolfe is intentionally writing for teenagers, and he does it well. The Knight is a description of a life, an autobiography of a child knight’s extensive encounter with concentric worlds of sword and sudden sorcery. It is a worthy and well-told story.

Only with us in spirit are the wider vocabulary and dense atmosphere signature to The Book of the New Sun, deferring here to mostly conversational and fluid language. As always, Wolfe achieves startling character realization with limited, appropriate dialogue and cherry-picked details, along with his impressive ability in open-world plot evolution. Characters change their mind or are killed suddenly, snap decisions are made, companions get left behind absentmindedly, worlds are abandoned for years at a time on a whim; "otherworldly" creatures are players of their own, not just background elements in the life of the hero; ambushes, unbelievable scenarios and the unexpected are commonplace, but The Knight’s sudden transitions are handled with epic-fantasy logic navigated in the colorful and subliminal subtlety Gene Wolfe is adept at.

It has all the traditions of a story of courage and knighthood, with all the mortality, fallibility, and fluidity of a deceptively simple story fit for outer and inner youngsters who can still learn from their legends.


3.8* - Looking forward to The Wizard.

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