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Thread: What'cha Reading?

  1. #491
    Feelin' FiNe Array speculative's Avatar
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    I'm about 1/3 of the way through A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink: Amazon.com: A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future: Daniel H. Pink: Books I saw him on a PBS special talking about the ideas in the book, then I went out and purchased it. The concepts within have been very useful as we create new strategies for our business this year, amongst other things...
    "How can I be, all I want to be,
    When all I want to do is strip away these stilled constraints
    And crush this charade, shred this sad, masquerade"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGeq5v7L3WM

  2. #492
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    The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature Steven Pinker
    Concealment and Exposure: And Other Essays Thomas Nagel
    Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid Douglas Hofstadter
    The Nichomachean Ethics Aristotle
    How to Write a Better Thesis David Evans & Paul Gruba (useful but )

  3. #493
    Was E.laur Array Laurie's Avatar
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    I needed something to read as I was waiting for kids to help at the school the other day. I grabbed The Secret Garden It was one of my faves as a kid. I'm enjoying it

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    Junior Member Array Magia Erebea User's Avatar
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    World War Z By Max Brooks. I'm a bit of a zombie fan.

  5. #495
    The Destroyer Array Colors's Avatar
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    Read a bunch of books, but was too lazy to write up about them! Will start off with a few:

    Martin the Warrior by Brian Jacques: A reread. When I was about 11, I read all the Redwall books available at the time (12, I think). I have occasionally reread Redwall, but haven't read any of the others again, and my last Redwall reading had to have been at least 3 years ago, I think. I remember liking this one particularly though (enough to even remember an important plot point!- which is a rare occurance for me).

    It's very interesting in the path-of-the-warrior way, which I hadn't seen in my first reading of the Redwall series. In that, being born to Luke "the Warrior", Martin is born into the role of the warrior. Born into a world of primarily chaos (warlords and pirates) and many creatures of borderline-selfish/anarachic tendences, only reluctantly checked by guidance/law (squirrels, lizards, shrews). He's always referred as a warrior- even as a slave- he cannot escape from his role, even when the promise of freedom and peace is right before him, in the form of Rose and Noonvale. He's mirrored in that regard by Felldoh, who shows himself the price of not being able to let go of hate and violence through his death.

    They win. But it is at a heavy price, somewhat glossed over in the end, but is a theme that carries over into Mossflower, Redwall, and The Legend of Luke. Martin will learn to become the peacemaker, a founder of the peaceful place to come- and learning of his father's fate definitely helps the healing process, I'm guessing. But Redwall is the true follow-up, in that Matthias has the life not afforded Martin. Matthias can pick up the mantle of warrior, pick up the sword of legend, but he can also put it down- settle down, have kids- because a haven has been created. (Which, if I'm remembering correctly, sort of thematically leads right into Mattimeo, a story of leaving the haven and seeing the world outside.)

    Overall, I'm not sure I understand the story completely, reading it out of sequence like that, but it is notably *simpler* than most of the other Redwall novels- containing relatively few (2 and a half?) simultaneous plots, rather simple subplots at that! Also few battles and strategies. Makes it kind of simplistic, if you don't consider its prequel status. 8/10?

    I Am Legend by Richard Matheson: I've seen the movie, but the two are not incredibly similar, so it didn't factor in much. Interesting ideas and some cool examination into the survival of man alone. Even the character himself finds it interesting that he keeps surviving. What makes him special that he can just keep living? Not merely in the physical standpoint (of some sort of immunity, mayhaps, to the bacterial infection which brings on the vampirism), but in the psychological standpoint, as well- even when he's reached deep levels of despair and dug himself out? Is it mere survival instinct, or a convergence of circumstance that make him uniquely adapted to ... keep trying to live?

    Unfortunately, his lack of curiosity into the vampiric condition is somewhat tedious. Well, he is curious, but not as curious as I think most people would be under the same conditions, and his "reveal" of the bacterial infection that explains both the psychological and physical aspects of the vampiric condition is sketchy science, and not all that amazing to boot. (We can accept "vampireS!" without any long sustained explanation, thank you very much.) It's like its straining to be a plot twist, but fails to twist at all. Also more contemplation about the nature of replacing other species, such as humans displaced previous species before the main character's current situation would be nice, in order to bring more closure to that point. Also, I wouldn't have minded more explanation/exploration of some of the more hard-to-explain aspects: how the world reacted to the plague and the government broke down and how the new society formed/was being run.

    And I kinda thought it would be scarier. It was going for debauched at parts, but eh, too much navel-gazing. Maybe I'm desensitized to that sort of stuff from watching stuff like Hellsing and modern films. Or there wasn't levity to constrast the horror aspects. So disappointing in that aspect. 6/10

  6. #496
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colors View Post
    I Am Legend by Richard Matheson: I've seen the movie, but the two are not incredibly similar, so it didn't factor in much. Interesting ideas and some cool examination into the survival of man alone. Even the character himself finds it interesting that he keeps surviving. What makes him special that he can just keep living? Not merely in the physical standpoint (of some sort of immunity, mayhaps, to the bacterial infection which brings on the vampirism), but in the psychological standpoint, as well- even when he's reached deep levels of despair and dug himself out? Is it mere survival instinct, or a convergence of circumstance that make him uniquely adapted to ... keep trying to live?

    Unfortunately, his lack of curiosity into the vampiric condition is somewhat tedious. Well, he is curious, but not as curious as I think most people would be under the same conditions, and his "reveal" of the bacterial infection that explains both the psychological and physical aspects of the vampiric condition is sketchy science, and not all that amazing to boot. (We can accept "vampireS!" without any long sustained explanation, thank you very much.) It's like its straining to be a plot twist, but fails to twist at all. Also more contemplation about the nature of replacing other species, such as humans displaced previous species before the main character's current situation would be nice, in order to bring more closure to that point. Also, I wouldn't have minded more explanation/exploration of some of the more hard-to-explain aspects: how the world reacted to the plague and the government broke down and how the new society formed/was being run.

    And I kinda thought it would be scarier. It was going for debauched at parts, but eh, too much navel-gazing. Maybe I'm desensitized to that sort of stuff from watching stuff like Hellsing and modern films. Or there wasn't levity to constrast the horror aspects. So disappointing in that aspect. 6/10
    If Iím not mistaken, I Am Legend was the first modern sci fi-horror vampire novel, giving its vamps a scientific rather than supernatural origin. There were two movies based on it before the recent version: The Last Man on Earth with Vincent Price and The Omega Man with Charlten Hesten, the former being closer to the novel than the others.

    I more or less agree with your rating. I Am Legend was probably better if you were reading it the 50s/60s when it was fresh, but now it seems dated and the story, writing and characters arenít that compelling. Also, non-supernatural vampires are less intriguing. If youíre gonna go that route, better to use creatures like the germ warefare mutants from The Omega Man who were fashioned after Charles Mansonís cult, instead of creatures based on traditional vampires.
    i believe that i am in hell, therefore i am there.
    Ėarthur rimbaud

  7. #497
    The Destroyer Array Colors's Avatar
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    Ooo, mysterio, I'll have to check those movies out sometime. Yeah, that's sort of a problem with ground-breakers. If they're copied a lot, sometimes it's not so fresh anymore.

  8. #498
    hey ma! got a tatoo Array prplchknz's Avatar
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    I just read Clockers Richard Price for a class and it was really good, you should read it.

    I'm currently reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest I like it more then the movie and I loved the movie I can barely put it down.
    by @magpie

  9. #499
    The Destroyer Array Colors's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mysterio View Post
    I Am Legend was probably better if you were reading it the 50s/60s when it was fresh, but now it seems dated and the story, writing and characters arenít that compelling.
    Ahh, I thought it was written in the 70s (just cause it's set there, silly me). But it's copyright 1954. NOW I get it a little more.

    A Trial By Jury by D. Graham Burnett: Some very interesting thoughts in here, a nonfiction account of Burnett's own experience serving the jury a murder trial. Nice read if you're into law and the justice system like I am. The idea that merely and incredibly being citizens and alive as people somehow makes us necessary and qualified (!) to judge someone's guilt or innocence. The experience shapes you itself into what it needs you to be, as Burnett explains. Before, they (the jury) didn't really understand justice and law and how they intersect in the human world and by participating, they began to.

    Style-wise, I think Burnett is accurate in calling himself an academe (alright, he's a snobby, unrealistic, romantic and verbose) and he often falls into the mistake of waxing poetic about the situations and shaping them mentally into tableuxs of meaning instead of letting events speak for themselves to the audience. But he doesn't make the mistake of trying to make it much more than his personal subjective interpretation and memory of his time on the jury, and for that I am glad.

    He himself compares it to 12 Angry Men (great movie, btw). And while it is certainly more realistic (it is after all, reality) in its turns, it suffers in comparison, in that Burnett neglects to really flesh out the "characters" of his fellow jurors. A verdict, after all, is not one journey, but the segemnt of momentary convergence of many journeys- and by neglecting to interview his fellow jurors (post-trial), Burnett fails to explain the jury's reasoning. I think if he actually made more of an effort into understanding other people this book could've been better. 6/10
    Last edited by Colors; 03-30-2009 at 02:27 PM.

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    I'm currently reading "Ten Tortured Words" by Stephen Mansfield. I rather like it besides that fact that it depresses me.
    - Caleb

    "I am what I need to be..."

    "Nemo me impune lacessit - No one provokes me with impunity."

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