The Book Thread!

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Re: The Book Thread!

Post by artymon I\/ » Thu 22nd Oct 2020

^Funny, I just happened to find a copy of Lost World! Haven't read either book before, but I like Michael's other books...

Currently re-reading/skimming Andrew Clements' Things Not Seen.

I remember reading this in middle school and being utterly fascinated with the book. It portrays a fairly realistic view what if one day you woke up and were invisible? I feel he did a great job putting us inside Bobby's head, his day to day life, frustrations and thoughts.
Its age shows with mentions of a cell phone being a still up and coming thing, but I think the altogether concept holds. The most glaring part of it is that the book is set in February and midterms are mentioned as why many of Bobby's friends aren't getting online and all at the library/studying. 2020, this wouldn't be the case at all! Midterms or not, there'd be people online, on social media, online gaming, digital researching, or other artistic/engineering projects.

I suspect he would've been warned on going online though.

But man, did Andrew Clements ever call it with the government!


I found it darkly amusing, the dad's first thought within the first five pages is literally, "Don't tell the government"
It gets to the point the school starts investigating young Bobby's disappearance.

Is it bad your parents would rather take the fall for your disappearance and go to prison than take let their child be abducted by the government in the name of science? What does that say about us? And not even just us the United States.

How sad is that that

I don't think the version I had mentioned this, but apparently Andrew's first draft was pretty wild, with subplots about car chases, bank robberies, and globe trotting on airplanes, zany stuff. I do like and appreciate the "grounded" vibe of this version....but kinda wouldn't mind peeking at the original. :lol:


I went to double check I had spelled Mr. Clements' name properly and just learned he died about a year ago. So sad. I read the other books in his "Things" trilogy and another book or two...He was only 70.
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Re: The Book Thread!

Post by Cabaline » Sat 7th Nov 2020

I'm currently listening to The Shining for the first time, I've never read it before. And omg it is about a million times better than the movie!

Danny is so much more complex and intuitive, and his internal monologue is really insightful! Stephen King really captures the way that children link logic and can sense all kinds of things.
Wendy is amazing in the book and I will fight anyone who says otherwise! In the movie, Kubrik did his best to make her bland and a bit pathetic, but in the book she is strong, thoughtful, independent, insightful and she has a bit of the shine too.

Other stick out bits that I've enjoyed are the topiary animals and the snake/hose. I also now really appreciate Jack's slow descent and how the hotel gets to him in really subtle ways. I think it might be worth a re-listen again in the future.
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Re: The Book Thread!

Post by HollyShort9 » Sat 7th Nov 2020

Cabaline wrote:
Sat 7th Nov 2020
I'm currently listening to The Shining for the first time, I've never read it before. And omg it is about a million times better than the movie!

Danny is so much more complex and intuitive, and his internal monologue is really insightful! Stephen King really captures the way that children link logic and can sense all kinds of things.
Wendy is amazing in the book and I will fight anyone who says otherwise! In the movie, Kubrik did his best to make her bland and a bit pathetic, but in the book she is strong, thoughtful, independent, insightful and she has a bit of the shine too.

Other stick out bits that I've enjoyed are the topiary animals and the snake/hose. I also now really appreciate Jack's slow descent and how the hotel gets to him in really subtle ways. I think it might be worth a re-listen again in the future.
When I watched the movie (watched it after reading the book, the first time), I was literally like, "When's it going to be scary?" The book was sooooo good. I think Danny was the most important character in the book, and the least consequential in the movie, which is a shame. Stephen King hates the movie.

I'm reading a book called Driving with Dead People by Monica Holloway currently. It's a memoir about her childhood--her dad was obsessed with gore and would always film unfortunate accidents for his own enjoyment, and her best friend's dad was a mortician.

Another great book I've read recently is Educated by Tara Westover, which is the book that got me into memoirs. Her dad was an uber-religious doomsday prepper and "homeschooled" them (quotation marks because homeschooling when done right is truly amazing, but their version of "homeschooling" just meant "didn't go to school") and there was a lot of abuse in her home from a lot of directions. She escapes, somehow gets herself to college through sheer willpower, and goes on to become highly successful and write this memoir.
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Re: The Book Thread!

Post by Cabaline » Sun 22nd Nov 2020

HollyShort9 wrote:
Sat 7th Nov 2020
Cabaline wrote:
Sat 7th Nov 2020
I'm currently listening to The Shining for the first time, I've never read it before. And omg it is about a million times better than the movie!

Danny is so much more complex and intuitive, and his internal monologue is really insightful! Stephen King really captures the way that children link logic and can sense all kinds of things.
Wendy is amazing in the book and I will fight anyone who says otherwise! In the movie, Kubrik did his best to make her bland and a bit pathetic, but in the book she is strong, thoughtful, independent, insightful and she has a bit of the shine too.

Other stick out bits that I've enjoyed are the topiary animals and the snake/hose. I also now really appreciate Jack's slow descent and how the hotel gets to him in really subtle ways. I think it might be worth a re-listen again in the future.
When I watched the movie (watched it after reading the book, the first time), I was literally like, "When's it going to be scary?" The book was sooooo good. I think Danny was the most important character in the book, and the least consequential in the movie, which is a shame. Stephen King hates the movie.
I really agree with you here! Danny is an amazing character! In the films, he just says a few weird things and walks about with a scared look in his face. But in the book, he adds a layer of raw emotion to the events happening. Because Danny sees unfiltered thoughts, he is able to experience feelings without the filter that the adults try to put it through first. And it really makes an excellent point about how much we hide even from the people we love, without even intending to, purely because everything passes through an internal filter as we process our own thoughts, feelings and emotions! I think using a child, who says is experiencing things that he only partly understands, is an excellent choice which contributes to the ambiguity and uncertainness that the characters feel.

I have just got Dr Sleep on audiobook today, so I am looking forward to listening to it and seeing how the universe expands :D
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Re: The Book Thread!

Post by artymon I\/ » Tue 24th Nov 2020

^Let us know what you think!!!
I admit, I'm so so on it.

>>
<<

This would more or less be a consecutive post thing, but hey, if we can net a post, warum nicht?

So I have finally reached the infamous Clone Saga in Spider-Man. I'm familiar enough with it, I know most of the twists unfortunately, but I don't know all the details and how it unfolds and such. Like I slightly forgot it was coming up and then geeked when I realized who the "mystery man" was.
I'm slightly dissatisfied that so far there is no explanation as to how Ben Reilly survived an explosion and an immolation...but I guess....details, amirite?
There's teases for "our" Spider-Man being the clone. That's part of an eventual twist that it's either revealed or heavily suggested that he's the clone and Ben is in fact the OG Peter Parker.
Of course this is eventually put to rest. It's a fun concept, but can you imagine, the whole Jackal plot was published in the 70s and this story or saga whatever, spans the mid-late 90s. Can you imagine how ticked off the fans would be to have it revealed the Spider-Man they'd been following for over twenty years was naught but a clone? That'd be a mighty slap in the face. *cough*almostasbadasmakingadealwiththedevilthaterasesamarriageof20years*cough*

The plot that just preceded this one involved his parents coming back from the dead...until it's revealed they're actually not his parents (surprise) and not even human, but rather a pair of android / simulacrum creations manufactured by the Chameleon at the behest of Harry Osborn / Lil Goblin Jr.

It leaves Pete kinda messed up.

Annnnnd....well......

It's kinda ticking me off. Dude, get over it.

Yeah, I know, how heartless can you be, that's bound to leave a ton of psychological scars the fact Pete's handling it as well as he is is nothing short of a miracle, etc etc....
Thing is, Pete had his doubts about this guys (his parents/the imposters) from the get-go. I think somewhere in Consecutive Posting I did the math on how long the "parents" were around....but most lamely of me, I forgot. I think it might have been just around two years. Which in comic book time could be anywhere from three months to two actual years. I'll be generous and say around three to six months. Is that generous or conservative? I dunno.
Okay, I doubt they were around longer than a year tops. These are supervillains after all, they have to concoct an inator just to make their tea boil faster.

My point is, they weren't around that long. The real parents weren't around long in Pete's life either. Previously, he's freely mentioned he never knew his parents and considers his aunt and uncle to be his parents, going so far as to specifically say his mom could never be better than Aunt May.
Here, they (the writers) have him acting like it's a fresh wound. Like maybe they had only died a few years ago and omg here they are again! The writers are trying to create a Gwen Stacy type emotional break for Peter.
But it just doesn't gel for me.
Eventually, Pete trusts his "parents" just long enough to reveal his dual identity. Obviously, this was a mistake and near instantly triggers his mystical plot device spider-sense into realizing thusly.
So he finally listens to Aunt May - who had doubts about these people as well and was labeled as being senile - and warns her against them.
He tracks the parents down, discovers the Chameleon plot, blows some things up, etc etc.
At the end of it, he has a mental breakdown of sorts, on realizing this has all been a plot to specifically mind-screw him.

It's like....really? You're going to let yourself be played like that? You're acting exactly how he wants!!!

I get that it would be traumatic. But he takes it too far and decides to cut off the "man" part of his life i.e. and be only the "Spider".

Essentially this just means he uses it as an excuse to completely ignore/ditch Mary Jane and Aunt May, who is in the hospital in a coma. (I know, I know, what's new there)

So that's the mentality we're dealing with when Pete...or "the Spider" enters the Clone Saga. A Peter Parker / Spider-Man that is not his normal self.

It's criminal, by the way, that Black Cat hasn't made an appearance for any of this. She appeared in like one issue of a story that centered around some silly "bio armor" that even the writers got bored with.

Cat is the epitome of embracing/prioritizing the alter ego over the civilian life. That's partly why they broke up. She couldn't quite understand why or how Spider-Man could tolerate being Peter Parker.

And now here he is, unable to tolerate the Man anymore. *shakes head*

I dunno, there seems to be a bit of an identity crisis going on at this time. You've got Doc Ock, Leland Owlsley, and even Daredevil pondering their dual identities. The former two I'll take with a grain of salt since they appear here, but even Daredevil apparently faked his own death to give up his Matt Murdock identity.

Ben's dilemma is that he's hung up on being a clone and yet he's doing a better job at being human than Spidey. Like I said earlier, you can tell the writers were trying to tease that Ben was the real Spidey and Peter the clone. It's interesting, but a slap in the face nonetheless.

Alright. I think I've ranted enough. Apologies.
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Re: The Book Thread!

Post by Cabaline » Sun 6th Dec 2020

I've started Dr Sleep, but I am not sure how I feel about it. I'm a few chapters in and I feel conflicted. The chapters from the point of view of this mystery woman are more confusing than intriguing. I am fine with adult themes in anything but I really feel as though the explicit stuff so far is being extremely forced and is there just for the sake of it.

I'm going to keep going with it and I will finish it no matter what, but so far I'm not loving it as instantly as I loved The Shining.
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Re: The Book Thread!

Post by artymon I\/ » Sat 12th Dec 2020

^Did you end up finishing/continuing? (Thank Odin it wasn't just me.)

Currently reading Ready Player Two.

Loved the first book and the movie, despite the differences between the former and latter. Man, having Alan Silvestri score for the movie was basically like having a mini Back to the Future Part IV. I had so many chills from listening to that!!!

Anyway.

This book here, RP2, I'm not as crazy about. Maybe I ought to re-read the first book just to see if I'm nostalgia-visioning it, but it came off as great. I liked it, I enjoyed it. As uncomfortable as it may be, I can even say I identified with some parts of it.

This one here.....back story first I suppose. The hot rumor I heard was that Mr. Ernest Cline intended Ready Player One to be a one and done. No player two option in mind.

.......and thennnnn the movie came out and was successful enough to warrant a sequel, forcing Cline to write another.

Never a good idea, in my humble opinion, to force someone to do something. Whether they want to or not. As Geri said in Toy Story 2, you can't rush art.

...cause you might not like the results. Okay, pre-ramble out of the way I guess.

The first hundred pages of this read as a recap/reintroduction to the world. And. Not. A. Single. Thing. Happens.

There'll likely be spoilers from here on out, I'll try to be as vague as possible, just so your warned...

Alright, inside the first five pages, Wade finds a new headset that Halliday left behind. It plugs your head directly into the computer OASIS simulation essentially making real life and sim life indistinguishable.

[insert Bohemian Rhapsody] Is this the real life or fantasy?

The next 95 or so pages basically just outline the aftermath of book one and dance around other plot elements, the breakup, introducing the Shards....etc.

But otherwise, nothing happens. There's no day-to-day interactions, nada. It felt very....how does that idiom go? Show me, don't tell me. That's what this book needs. Less Tower of Text of "this happened...and then this happened" summary mode and more into offering even just rudimentary scenes. I guess that would make this book even longer though.

The other thing I have to complain about concerns adult elements. What Cab said just about sums up how I about feel. I'm fine with "that", but it felt extremely overdone. Like the dude couldn't go a page without mentioning how the new Oasis tech was being used for "explicit pleasure".

This could be part of a setup for what will probably happen later (The Big Red Plotdevice Button) but even then, since the button is getting pressed anyway, the non-FG appropriate material wouldn't matter.

This seems to be a recurring theme for Cline, in book one there was that midsection bit where an abundance of detail is divulged over the course of several pages about things Wade does alone...after his break up thing.

I did a comparison by the by, in book one at about a hundred pages in, Wade had already found the first key and explained the world and had character interactions.

My other complaint is Aech. She's kinda acting like a jerk.

Theories: Anorak is going to takeover Wade's physical body in the real world. Or that's the master plan. The shards might not be to build a sim copy of the Siren, but maybe they're the memories that got cut off the AI Anorak.
The button being pressed is inevitable.
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Re: The Book Thread!

Post by Cabaline » Sun 13th Dec 2020

artymon I\/ wrote:
Sat 12th Dec 2020
^Did you end up finishing/continuing? (Thank Odin it wasn't just me.)
I am continuing but it is slow and rough going. I am so disinterested in these "Abra" chapters. None of the characters are grabbing me at all from that storyline, I am currently in the middle of a chapter where it is Abra's birthday party and there is a tedious list of characters all having discussions that I am struggling to make myself care about. Danny's chapters are getting interesting but the problem is that I finally start getting into it and then we shift to a totally different timeline that I feel like I am having to sit through to get back to Dan.

I'm not even halfway through the story yet either. I'll let you know how I find it when I continue but I am not very eager and looking forward to it the way I was with The Shining.
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Re: The Book Thread!

Post by artymon I\/ » Sun 4th Apr 2021

^You're not alone at least. Think I might pick up the Shining again when I finish my current book.

....which is a little number called A Salty Piece of Land by none other than Jimmy Buffett.

Really enjoying it!! I slightly feel like Jimmy's writing isa tad clunky, but I'm not much of an expert on such things. Now, in comparison to RP2 where not a lot happens but exposition, here not a lot happens but that's exactly the point. This guy just follows the wind and sees where life takes him.

I did end up finishing Ready Player 2, my theories all proved wrong....even though I kinda liked them better. I ended up rereading the first book and kinda found Wade just more annoying. Like...it's kinda like what Ray Liotta said to Tim Allen, putting the leather jackets on and riding a motorcycle doesn't make you a biker.

Binging media just because someone told you to (indirectly)/for money doesn't make you a fan

~~

4/24/2021

Finished A Salty Piece of Land, it's not 100% FG standards, but I recommend it if you are a mature devourer of books. Or have the blessing of a guardian.

Currently reading a book by Jess Winfield called My Name is Will (which is not the full title).

So far I'm enjoying it. Funnily enough, it's about as mature as Buffett's book, as in it handles the same topics, but this one feels like it goes a notch more than Buffett.

I suppose that could be because here we're following a college dude...which y'know, nuff said, whereas in ASPoL you're following a dude in his forties.

There's also a secondary story that follows legit Shakespeare.
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Re: The Book Thread!

Post by HollyShort9 » Sat 5th Jun 2021

Cabaline wrote:
Sun 13th Dec 2020
artymon I\/ wrote:
Sat 12th Dec 2020
^Did you end up finishing/continuing? (Thank Odin it wasn't just me.)
I am continuing but it is slow and rough going. I am so disinterested in these "Abra" chapters. None of the characters are grabbing me at all from that storyline, I am currently in the middle of a chapter where it is Abra's birthday party and there is a tedious list of characters all having discussions that I am struggling to make myself care about. Danny's chapters are getting interesting but the problem is that I finally start getting into it and then we shift to a totally different timeline that I feel like I am having to sit through to get back to Dan.

I'm not even halfway through the story yet either. I'll let you know how I find it when I continue but I am not very eager and looking forward to it the way I was with The Shining.
Doctor Sleep started out slow for me too, but by the end I think it's Stephen King's best book... the ending made me cry. Give it a chance if you haven't finished still! :)
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Re: The Book Thread!

Post by artymon I\/ » Mon 7th Jun 2021

I do know I finished it...but I kinda forget how it ended, haven't read it in ages. Maybe I'll give it a second chance at some point.

~~

I finished My Name is Will. That one I could take or leave it. Like, it was alright, buuut I think the peak of the book was the Orion gag.....which was about a paragraph twenty pages in.

I am now reading The Lost World by Michael Crichton.
I've seen the movie (natch) and OG JP....though I've never read the books, which I guess is weird as I've read a ton of other MC books and loved them.
So far, no exception. Lost World is awesome, I chomped through nearly 100 pages this weekend (which is a lot for me these days, I'm slower than I used to be :lol: )
The book is wildly different from the movie.
It follows the basic plot/rotary of characters. Ian Malcolm gets roped into finding/going to a "lost world" filled with dinos.
Now, foolishly, I haven't read the first book, so I don't know all the details of what goes down, I'm assuming it's similar-ish to the movie.
But it seems Ian and all survivors signed non-disclosure agreements to not talk about what went down on Isla Nublar.
The book starts with him giving a lecture at a science institute and this smart mouth type Levine interrupts the presentation to ask questions and somehow manages to get Ian to join him on a venture to find a Lost World.

WHY?!!!
Dude, you barely seem to have escaped from the other island with your life! Why would you wanna go back, much less help someone else find a place like that????

Scientific responsibility? Find the dinos, make sure they stay there? Curiosity?
Oh, and why weren't the dinos on the second island destroyed along with their relatives and related contents of Nublar??
The book says InGen went bankrupt after the JP incident....but there still seems to be power at the second island. So this implies they're not gone? Rebranded?

EDIT:/

Update
August 8th, 2021

I finished the Lost World a little while ago, definitely recommend. I now have a bit of a crush on Sarah Harding, like whoa, what a badass woman.

In the meantime, I delved into Frank Abagnale's Catch Me if You Can, which (supposedly) recounts his various conjobs in his youth. Certainly an entertaining read if nothing else. And it serves to remind that attitude is everything, at least for the 60s/70s. Your word (and artfully forged documents) were all you had. No internet or extensive background checks.
The book goes where the movie doesn't and delves into the prisons he served time in. France sounds like a real charming place. Sorry, Roxy.

Roxanne: *unabashed* If you are caught for a crime, you serve the time. It is prison, not a country club.

Currently reading a book I found at the library called Pirates! by Celia Rees.

Sometimes I have snobbish standards and desire only to read from the crème de la crème, like Michael Crichton or Dean Koontz....and other times simply seeing a gal on a cover with the word Pirates is enough for me.
I'm kinda so-so on this one? Like, the full name of the book is Pirates! The True and Remarkable Adventures of Minerva Sharpe and Nancy Kington. It touts itself as being utterly and entirely true and factual, and is presented as a letter to Captain Charles James for him to publish in his book, A General History of the Pyrates....only the author bluntly decides to oh so scholarly declare Captain James is none other than Daniel Dafoe.
Now, yes, this is something that's theorized and I won't pretend that I know any the better...but it sort of bugs me all the same this author does this.
A) Reveal/out Daniel Dafoe and B) Claim this is a true story when it's easily verified as not.
In context of the book, it came out early 2000s. The internet was (and still is) a developing place. Perhaps it was harder to fact check things on Google....even though by 2007 "googling" something is a household term.
Yet googling either girl will only net results for the book.
Like, dude, Celia, if you want to write a factual feature about female pirates....look no further than Anne Bonny and Mary Read. Better yet? Anne Bonny's fate is sort of unknown. Like yeah, she's definitely dead by now and likely perished in prison...but there is no official record of what happened to her. So if you wanted to take a liberal historical fact twist, you could say this is Bonny's personal journal/memoirs after escaping/being smuggled out of jail.
Or if you just want to tell your own story, that's perfectly fine as well.
Point is, you don't need to gaslight us. There's enough misinformation out there as it is....now more than ever.

Okay. Now let's actually get into this story.
Currently I'm about a hundred pages in. The page number says something like one forty or one sixty....but at least thirty pages of that are preamble junk (copyright, author forward), so we'll just say one hundred.
It centers on Nancy, the daughter of an affluent plantation owner/fleet manager. We get slices of her life growing up, mom died when she was born, thus lacked a female figure, thus sort of leaned into the tomboy life, learned accounting and bookkeeping from the dad, took fencing lessons, the usual.
Now the dad experiences some financial troubles. Thor decides to throw an awesome party with Poseidon and they trash the dad's fleet. So he scrambles to set up this secret marriage thing to pimp his daughter out to an affluent Brazilian dude.
However, in the midst of this, he grows ill and dies (prolly helped along by the new wife). Nancy inherits the plantation and is sent to Port Royal with her brother Joseph (a real winner in his own right, favors rum and coke along with gambling money away).
At the plantation, she meets "the help" Phillis and her daughter, Minerva.

Now, this book takes place in 1722 and there's a load of color talk and depicts slavery.
Being the Mature Literary Analysists we are, we'll take all this at face value as a part of how history was and carry on.
Nancy develops a bond of sorts with the ladies, despite their naturally reserved nature. We don't exactly get to see much of it beyond a horseback depiction of going to a hidden pond and frolicking in Mother Nature's swimsuit, though Nancy assures us this basically becomes a daily habit. I think ( ? )

There's a dude named Duke who sort of runs the day to day operations at the plantation with his mate, the Whip. Typical Grade A jerk designed purely to be hated and garner zero sympathy for when he's ganked later on by Nancy, but more later.

The Brazilian dude comes to collect for Nancy which is about when the penny drops for her on what her brothers and dad were talking about with "doing her part for the family". She gives him the slip and catches Duke abducting Minerva...which is where we get our call to action and Point of No Return and Nancy promptly shoots him in the head, redecorating his bedroom with his brains.

Think my problem here is a) we don't really have enough character development/relationship development between Minerva and Nancy (the book dwells more on Nancy and her male friend William who is not really involved in the story yet)

and b) I would've preferred to see Nancy exude a little more rage in her kill. It's depicted in a very bland emotional state. Almost zero emotion. And let's face it, if anyone found themselves in a situation like that, especially (I'd think) a woman, there'd be a lot of emotion there.
Terror at least. This is your best friend and you have no thoughts? This is the first time you've murdered a person and even though it's for a more than valid reason...it's just...bland.
I'd've preferred to see her, on the coattails of being "betrayed" by her father and brothers, have an emotional epiphany where an anger bubbles over and she decides she's tired of having men decide her life and controlling what she does, what she wears, and how she acts and then decides to blow Duke's head off.

/end rant I think.

Also, Minvera is prolly Nancy's half sister, as they make a note about Minerva's father being unknown/not mentioned/not present.
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