The Book Thread!

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artymon I\/
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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.

EDIT:/

Update
September 25th, 2021

I was totally right about the sister thing.

Rest of the book was alright.

Currently reading Congo by Michael Crichton.

I've sort of heard of this one....in the sense I've seen the book before and seen it listed under his works and figured it'd prolly be worth a read at some point. So far it has been.
Though I haven't quite had the chance to catch up on it....

Update
October 31st, 2021

Still reading Congo (nearing the end), figured I'd toss a few thoughts out.

Definitely enjoying it.

Wasn't quite sure what I thought it'd be about.

Basically, this world research team is searching for diamonds - special blue diamonds - for a third party to use to make super fast computers to build Skynet.

Like, no joke. I'm jumping ahead a bunch, but hey, you don't mind. They go most of the book saying they need to go to Congo, then reveal the diamonds at this lost city and say they need the diamonds for vague reasons and just now it comes out.
The diamonds are capable of running computers that the powers that be plan to equip with laser cannons to fight wars and stuff. But since lasers are too fast for humans to perceive, they have to connect them to the computers to do the work....which is literally almost the plot of Terminator. Super computer put in charge of nukes. Computer becomes self-aware and yeets nukes at human creators.
That aside.
Characters are pretty cool. You've got Elliot, a sort of naive-Nate type, Ross she's our resident alpha-gal all work no play.

Then there's Munro.
He's described as this sort of experienced/gnarled mercenary dude that's spearheaded many an expedition into Congo and other areas before. Basically, he's a combination of Mattias and Indiana Jones.
And his relationship with Amy is so freaking precious.
(Amy is Elliot's gorilla coworker? She speaks in sign language.)

Update
November 6th, 2021

Finished Congo! I was nearly at the end earlier. Not much else to report. One thing I didn't like was that there were bits of dialogue that were said to have been reported later, i.e., after the book i.e., essentially spoiling who lives and who dies.
Like there were several times the book would go, "Later, Elliot was reported as saying, 'Ermagawd, I thought we were all gon die!'"
DUDE. You just don't do that. Keep me in suspense.

Not sure what my next book will be.

Update
January 1st, 2022

Been reading a book called Full Dark by Brad Thor.
It follows this ex-military dude that works as a contractor and basically does a bunch of black ops type missions to take out terrorists and such. It had a pretty strong opening where one of the other protagonists takes down a Spetsnaz team of hitmen.
It's a little red, white, and blue in some areas that surpass my liking. There's nothing wrong with being patriotic and loving your country....unless it hinders you from acknowledging the faults it may have.
No person, place, thing, idea is ever fully perfect. Even the most perfect of things would be imperfect by the very definition of having no imperfections (see Mary Sue).
And sometimes these characters sound just as brainwashed as the terrorists they're fighting. That same "I'm better than you" mentality.
Again, not meant as a barb to anyone or their country, and endless gratitude to those who serve/served for us. 🇺🇸
Anyway, there's this one part where the guy is trying to track this one terrorist and he's relaying everything back to a guy on the computer aka a Foaly type. And he's barking all these orders to this guy. Do this, track that. And that and that.
At one point, the faux-Foaly stops and goes, "Uh.....I'm just one person. I have to bring help in."
The book, of course, takes itself a wee more serious than AF (which didn't not take itself seriously, but y'know, reality check) and so the guy is initially hesitant, but allows the extra help.
Kinda just made me sympathize more with Foaly and his snippiness.

Update
February 8th, 2022

Finished Full Dark. Ended on a cliffhanger that I'm not going to bother following up on. Not that it was bad, just eh. Diversify the reads.

Started Strange Highways by Dean Koontz.

I'd been trying to start it for a few weeks, think partly my head wasn't in the game for it. Also parting....it didn't quite hook me.
Like....the protagonist is this alcoholic dude who comes back to his childhood home to bury a dead dad he hasn't spoken to in years and mopes about what a horrible son he is.
All the while there's a dozen more interesting characters the story has presented us with: The alcoholic's gypsy writer brother (as yet unseen, but mentioned), the philosopher lawyer that studied at Harvard to work in a Podunk coal town.
I'm only 35 pages, so it still has room to entice. I think this is actually just a short stories collection thing; I grabbed the book from a free library thing, so I don't technically know what's all in it.
Side note: I was killing time out and about and was reading in public when a Korean lady approached and asked what I was reading then mentioned her favorite book is the Bible and promptly proceeded to sit down and delivery a summary of a few of the stories.
Nice lady though :)

Update April 11th, 2022

Somehow lost the Strange Highways book and didn't do much reading, until one day I ended up being early at work and had an hour to kill so I snagged a book from the breakroom called Strawberry Tattoo by Lauren Henderson.
It focuses on this British artist chick named Sam Jones who signs on to do some sort of statue work exhibit in New York.
So far it's alright. Sort of has a sex, drugs, and rock n' roll(ish) vibe. Not quite to the Will extent. It's pretty alright, although what sticks out to me is how big a deal everyone makes out of the gal being British. "Oh wow, you Brits have such funny phrases" / "Ermagosh, is it true y'all drink til you drop??"
I dunno....that kind of talk....they don't actually say that, but dialogues along those lines....they don't strike me as being organic.
The impression I get is that these are people in their mid-late twenties.
Maybe it's because of time spent on this forum back in the day, interacting with people from all over, reading Harry Potter, and in combination to working with international people....like I still very much love learning about all the little....idioms and quirks and stuff from other cultures, but....
Dunno. Just seems....not rude...
Like, in the Parent Trap remake with Lindsay Lohan, you've got the kids at camp asking her about life in California, geeking out about movie stars and stuff and she kind of laughs it off, like lol no, I live on a vineyard and make wine yo.
That's kind of how this strikes me. Except there it seems more natural, kids being kids and curious and asking and such.
Here it just....feels out of place. Like this can't be the first time you've met/been around a British person - especially not in a place like New York, especially not when you evidently deal with international people all the time and especially not when you have staff that's international.
So aside from that one complaint, it's fine.

Oddly enough, I just found the Strange Highways book the other day.....maybe I'll finish it.

Update 11/3/2022

Have yet to finish Strange Highways with very little motivation.

Happy to see I wrote down the one author's name, Laura. Was debating to go look up her other works...

Anyway, been reading a short stories collections thing, 13 horror stories from 13 writers in a book collectively called Prime Evil.

I think Stephen King is meant to be the big draw star...which, hey, worked for me.
i'm about halfway through the stories. Some have been hit or miss. Some are entirely unworthy of the tree whose paper they've vandalized with their boring prose.

Just finished one called Orange is for Anguish, Blue is for Insanity. Pretty freaking good. These art students get enthralled into a perplexing mystery from a not-Van Gogh.

Thought the twist would be the faces would be revealed to be all the other critics and artists that went mad, but the twist is still satisfactory.

Update November 16, 2022

Nearly done with the next story, Juniper Tree.

A load of tosh. There are non-FG elements of SA nature involved, but...none of the story at all feels cohesive. I may just be an idiot, but it just feels like a load of unrelated BS quickly crammed and edited into a twenty page draft Peter Straub shoved into the editor's hands when tasked with crafting a short horror story.

I half about a page and a half left but there has been literally nothing of interest to happen.

I seem to spend more time ragging on the bad stories than the good ones.

But it's like....if it's good, it's good. Nuff said. Bad makes me look at it and want to think, what could make it better? Alright, that's slightly BS, way more of a lofty goal than I'm capable. But I guess....it helps to pluck out bits and pieces that I don't like and don't want to wind up duplicating?

Eh.

Really want to re-read Under the Dome.

Update Nov 11, 22 part II

Also caught up on some of the new Spidey mags! No one seems entirely pleased with the new writer and it's not hard to see why. Pretty much any sort of progress or development is shuntered away (allegedly) and we're not given much explanation....yet.

Update
November 23, 2022

Finished Juniper Tree. Just....trash. Felt like the author was bored and wanted to tell his life story/vent child trauma.

Next story was something called Spinning Tales with the Dead
It was better than Juniper Tree....but not by a particularly higher margin.
I feel like it might benefit from a re-read at a later juncture. Maybe two re-reads. One to actually try and digest the story and another to uncover the hidden bits and bobs.

Tales with the Dead
The basic story was three generations (I think) a guy, his son, and his grandson all go fishing and tell tall tales. I think I just wasn't in a good head space as I couldn't keep track of their names and who was which guy which didn't help by me taking breaks. I didn't find them interesting enough to be bothered with differentiating them...and again, this is a me thing, but the story is set by river with the guys fishing. Not much of an angler myself and I just...felt a tad bored on principle.
Idk. Silly, I know.
Conceptually, I think it's not bad.
As I said, the trio are taking turns telling stories. As they talk, a woman appears on the river that they apparently just ignore. She goes about flashing them and smearing blood about herself.
The only sort of vague acknowledgement comes when the grandson...Ephraim... mentions he wishes he had hair like his mom's. I think it's meant to imply that the middle guy ganked his son and wife and goes to the river in some weird atonement ritual, joined by the ghosts of his past.
Like I said, conceptually, not bad.

About to start on a book called Alice's Last Adventure. Written by a guy named Thomas Ligotti. He was born and raised in Detroit, so he definitely knows horror.

And I can legally make that joke too! 😛
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artymon I\/
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Posts: 2519
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Re: The Book Thread!

Post by artymon I\/ » Sun 11th Dec 2022

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.

EDIT:/

Update
September 25th, 2021

I was totally right about the sister thing.

Rest of the book was alright.

Currently reading Congo by Michael Crichton.

I've sort of heard of this one....in the sense I've seen the book before and seen it listed under his works and figured it'd prolly be worth a read at some point. So far it has been.
Though I haven't quite had the chance to catch up on it....

Update
October 31st, 2021

Still reading Congo (nearing the end), figured I'd toss a few thoughts out.

Definitely enjoying it.

Wasn't quite sure what I thought it'd be about.

Basically, this world research team is searching for diamonds - special blue diamonds - for a third party to use to make super fast computers to build Skynet.

Like, no joke. I'm jumping ahead a bunch, but hey, you don't mind. They go most of the book saying they need to go to Congo, then reveal the diamonds at this lost city and say they need the diamonds for vague reasons and just now it comes out.
The diamonds are capable of running computers that the powers that be plan to equip with laser cannons to fight wars and stuff. But since lasers are too fast for humans to perceive, they have to connect them to the computers to do the work....which is literally almost the plot of Terminator. Super computer put in charge of nukes. Computer becomes self-aware and yeets nukes at human creators.
That aside.
Characters are pretty cool. You've got Elliot, a sort of naive-Nate type, Ross she's our resident alpha-gal all work no play.

Then there's Munro.
He's described as this sort of experienced/gnarled mercenary dude that's spearheaded many an expedition into Congo and other areas before. Basically, he's a combination of Mattias and Indiana Jones.
And his relationship with Amy is so freaking precious.
(Amy is Elliot's gorilla coworker? She speaks in sign language.)

Update
November 6th, 2021

Finished Congo! I was nearly at the end earlier. Not much else to report. One thing I didn't like was that there were bits of dialogue that were said to have been reported later, i.e., after the book i.e., essentially spoiling who lives and who dies.
Like there were several times the book would go, "Later, Elliot was reported as saying, 'Ermagawd, I thought we were all gon die!'"
DUDE. You just don't do that. Keep me in suspense.

Not sure what my next book will be.

Update
January 1st, 2022

Been reading a book called Full Dark by Brad Thor.
It follows this ex-military dude that works as a contractor and basically does a bunch of black ops type missions to take out terrorists and such. It had a pretty strong opening where one of the other protagonists takes down a Spetsnaz team of hitmen.
It's a little red, white, and blue in some areas that surpass my liking. There's nothing wrong with being patriotic and loving your country....unless it hinders you from acknowledging the faults it may have.
No person, place, thing, idea is ever fully perfect. Even the most perfect of things would be imperfect by the very definition of having no imperfections (see Mary Sue).
And sometimes these characters sound just as brainwashed as the terrorists they're fighting. That same "I'm better than you" mentality.
Again, not meant as a barb to anyone or their country, and endless gratitude to those who serve/served for us. 🇺🇸
Anyway, there's this one part where the guy is trying to track this one terrorist and he's relaying everything back to a guy on the computer aka a Foaly type. And he's barking all these orders to this guy. Do this, track that. And that and that.
At one point, the faux-Foaly stops and goes, "Uh.....I'm just one person. I have to bring help in."
The book, of course, takes itself a wee more serious than AF (which didn't not take itself seriously, but y'know, reality check) and so the guy is initially hesitant, but allows the extra help.
Kinda just made me sympathize more with Foaly and his snippiness.

Update
February 8th, 2022

Finished Full Dark. Ended on a cliffhanger that I'm not going to bother following up on. Not that it was bad, just eh. Diversify the reads.

Started Strange Highways by Dean Koontz.

I'd been trying to start it for a few weeks, think partly my head wasn't in the game for it. Also parting....it didn't quite hook me.
Like....the protagonist is this alcoholic dude who comes back to his childhood home to bury a dead dad he hasn't spoken to in years and mopes about what a horrible son he is.
All the while there's a dozen more interesting characters the story has presented us with: The alcoholic's gypsy writer brother (as yet unseen, but mentioned), the philosopher lawyer that studied at Harvard to work in a Podunk coal town.
I'm only 35 pages, so it still has room to entice. I think this is actually just a short stories collection thing; I grabbed the book from a free library thing, so I don't technically know what's all in it.
Side note: I was killing time out and about and was reading in public when a Korean lady approached and asked what I was reading then mentioned her favorite book is the Bible and promptly proceeded to sit down and delivery a summary of a few of the stories.
Nice lady though :)

Update April 11th, 2022

Somehow lost the Strange Highways book and didn't do much reading, until one day I ended up being early at work and had an hour to kill so I snagged a book from the breakroom called Strawberry Tattoo by Lauren Henderson.
It focuses on this British artist chick named Sam Jones who signs on to do some sort of statue work exhibit in New York.
So far it's alright. Sort of has a sex, drugs, and rock n' roll(ish) vibe. Not quite to the Will extent. It's pretty alright, although what sticks out to me is how big a deal everyone makes out of the gal being British. "Oh wow, you Brits have such funny phrases" / "Ermagosh, is it true y'all drink til you drop??"
I dunno....that kind of talk....they don't actually say that, but dialogues along those lines....they don't strike me as being organic.
The impression I get is that these are people in their mid-late twenties.
Maybe it's because of time spent on this forum back in the day, interacting with people from all over, reading Harry Potter, and in combination to working with international people....like I still very much love learning about all the little....idioms and quirks and stuff from other cultures, but....
Dunno. Just seems....not rude...
Like, in the Parent Trap remake with Lindsay Lohan, you've got the kids at camp asking her about life in California, geeking out about movie stars and stuff and she kind of laughs it off, like lol no, I live on a vineyard and make wine yo.
That's kind of how this strikes me. Except there it seems more natural, kids being kids and curious and asking and such.
Here it just....feels out of place. Like this can't be the first time you've met/been around a British person - especially not in a place like New York, especially not when you evidently deal with international people all the time and especially not when you have staff that's international.
So aside from that one complaint, it's fine.

Oddly enough, I just found the Strange Highways book the other day.....maybe I'll finish it.

Update 11/3/2022

Have yet to finish Strange Highways with very little motivation.

Happy to see I wrote down the one author's name, Laura. Was debating to go look up her other works...

Anyway, been reading a short stories collections thing, 13 horror stories from 13 writers in a book collectively called Prime Evil.

I think Stephen King is meant to be the big draw star...which, hey, worked for me.
i'm about halfway through the stories. Some have been hit or miss. Some are entirely unworthy of the tree whose paper they've vandalized with their boring prose.

Just finished one called Orange is for Anguish, Blue is for Insanity. Pretty freaking good. These art students get enthralled into a perplexing mystery from a not-Van Gogh.

Thought the twist would be the faces would be revealed to be all the other critics and artists that went mad, but the twist is still satisfactory.

Update November 16, 2022

Nearly done with the next story, Juniper Tree.

A load of tosh. There are non-FG elements of SA nature involved, but...none of the story at all feels cohesive. I may just be an idiot, but it just feels like a load of unrelated BS quickly crammed and edited into a twenty page draft Peter Straub shoved into the editor's hands when tasked with crafting a short horror story.

I half about a page and a half left but there has been literally nothing of interest to happen.

I seem to spend more time ragging on the bad stories than the good ones.

But it's like....if it's good, it's good. Nuff said. Bad makes me look at it and want to think, what could make it better? Alright, that's slightly BS, way more of a lofty goal than I'm capable. But I guess....it helps to pluck out bits and pieces that I don't like and don't want to wind up duplicating?

Eh.

Really want to re-read Under the Dome.

Update Nov 11, 22 part II

Also caught up on some of the new Spidey mags! No one seems entirely pleased with the new writer and it's not hard to see why. Pretty much any sort of progress or development is shuntered away (allegedly) and we're not given much explanation....yet.

Update
November 23, 2022

Finished Juniper Tree. Just....trash. Felt like the author was bored and wanted to tell his life story/vent child trauma.

Next story was something called Spinning Tales with the Dead
It was better than Juniper Tree....but not by a particularly higher margin.
I feel like it might benefit from a re-read at a later juncture. Maybe two re-reads. One to actually try and digest the story and another to uncover the hidden bits and bobs.

Tales with the Dead
The basic story was three generations (I think) a guy, his son, and his grandson all go fishing and tell tall tales. I think I just wasn't in a good head space as I couldn't keep track of their names and who was which guy which didn't help by me taking breaks. I didn't find them interesting enough to be bothered with differentiating them...and again, this is a me thing, but the story is set by river with the guys fishing. Not much of an angler myself and I just...felt a tad bored on principle.
Idk. Silly, I know.
Conceptually, I think it's not bad.
As I said, the trio are taking turns telling stories. As they talk, a woman appears on the river that they apparently just ignore. She goes about flashing them and smearing blood about herself.
The only sort of vague acknowledgement comes when the grandson...Ephraim... mentions he wishes he had hair like his mom's. I think it's meant to imply that the middle guy ganked his son and wife and goes to the river in some weird atonement ritual, joined by the ghosts of his past.
Like I said, conceptually, not bad.

About to start on a book called Alice's Last Adventure. Written by a guy named Thomas Ligotti. He was born and raised in Detroit, so he definitely knows horror.

And I can legally make that joke too! 😛


Update
December 10th, 2022

Finished Alice's Last Adventure.

Decent enough. Like....it was okay. Just....these stories all suffer from being vague as heck.
So Alice was an old lady writer. Not Lewis Carroll's. But named after her.
She's written a series of Goosebump-esuqe books that revolve around a boy named Preston Penn loosely based off a real life childhood friend of the same name.
RL Preston dies, she goes to the funeral, nothing really happens, at the hotel she has a one night stand with a younger suitor, morning after, she starts seeing things.
What things you ask?
Wonderful question.
Couldn't say.
Just she sees things in reflections. Mirror in hotel. In the toilet bowl water. In her house window.
Now, maybe she's just going crazy/senile, only her cat and a small girl also seem to see something in reflections.
It ends with her freaking out over the moon in her window.
*shrugs*

Next one is something called Next Time You'll Remember Me.

Pretty sure the "author" was plastered out of his mind.

It's about a writer that wants comeuppance for alleged stolen stories.

Off the bat I thought to myself, Stephen King did a better job with his version of the story, Secret Window.
(Irony being Stephen prolly was on something and his story is miles better xD )
I think the guy in the story might be psychic and that's where his story ideas are coming from, the real authors that think up the story and write it before him.
Honestly....I guess it sounds cool.
The outline does.
Presentation just comes off bat-crazy.

What's funnier is allegedly, this story was sent in without a name, but the return address matched some author dude.
It's written in first person.
Can't help but wonder if the editor just fumbled it together in attempt to sound mysterious.

Update
December 16, 2022

Finished the short stories book!

Let's see....yeah that one with the Next Time blah blah...like it has the writer just randomly barging into some other author dude's house and demanding compensation....and what's crazier is that the author just shrugs and goes along with it!

I think the main character writer guy is hinted at being psychi - ah yeah, I already said that. Then basically it's a solid theory that he's psychic and maybe it even drives him crazy? I dunno.

Oh what was the next one....?

Ah yeah, The Pool
Whitley Strieber

So....honestly, the little preface on him was about as entertaining as the read.

Basically the guy is alleging he was abducted by "non-human entities" and has written "non-fiction" accounts of the matter.
This story was his first fiction work after experience.
(I'm sorry. I can't help but laugh.)
He says he's not sure they were true "extra-terrestrials" just that they weren't human.
Like...alright, George. Must be them pesky inter-dimensional beings.

Anyway.

The Pool follows a father who wakes up and finds his son in a pool. Like full on in the pool attempting to drown himself.
Dad drives in, retrieves kid - who is stark naked - and the conversation that follows is weirder, in the sense the kid is basically expositioned into a child genius a la Artemis Fowl/Charles Wallace.
Artemis not Fowl claims to...see the world beyond what the dad or anyone can, it's all beautiful, they're there, he wants to join them, blah blah...kid and dad share some whiskey - no joke - dad keeps the event to himself.
I forget exactly what happened next....something to the effect Dad thinks Arty is on drugs and searches his room, finds a music box or something and his perception is changed.

Later that night, the mom and dad are horrified to find the boy has drowned himself in the pool.
It ends implying the dad might follow suit, haunted by the visions his son was having.

Next one, By Reason of Darkness by Jack Cady
Whoa.
I will eat crow and say damn. This one was extremely good. A large chunk of these have vastly been whatever, but this...this was excellent.
I...*starts and stops, thinking how to word it* ... ironically, a little while back, I read that Full Dark military book full of 'Murica rules yall drool propaganda (I can say that, I'm American. Put your ban hammer down) and yeah, that was my takeaway. Just popcorn propaganda. It was entertaining, not thought provoking. Slightly terrifying in how there's very little difference between a patriot and a terrorist mentality. Both believe they're superior and their ends justify any amount of horrific means.

This was also a "war" story of sorts. Essentially you've got three former comrades, each interesting enough to warrant their own full books. You have a character near exclusively referred to as "The Blackbird" a black American with a proclivity for wearing feathers in his hair. Like daaaamn. And who should he be friends with but a Viking dude named North. And the narrator, former rocketeer now lawyer...who's name I can't recall...
So yeah, these three guys went through a non-specific jungle war together. This was written in the 80s, so it's potentially likely to be some riff on Vietnam.
I don't think I can do this justice by summarizing it here.
Weirdly, there doesn't seem to be a lot of information on it out there. It doesn't even rate a mention on Cady's wiki. Least, not that I saw.

I don't want to botch summarize it, but basically, the ghosts and tolls of war's past catches up with these three and they spend a night dealing with them.
I guess the only twist here is that it's not supernatural ooga booga ghost, but more just... the inner demons we have inside us. That make us do crazy and horrible things.

10/10 would recommend reading it.

A common theme I noted in all the stories - I'm not sure if the editor requested this or not - was hunger. In some cases it was a physical hunger, for food or blood; others it was a metaphorical hunger, for peace or war or death.
Again, not sure if the editor imposed/tasked this theme onto the writers or if they all individually incorporated this into their works.
If the second (which cynically I think is not the case here) does that imply the real horror is hunger? Let us think of Tantalus. Surrounded by food and water forever just out of his grasp. Or in Animorphs there's an alien race called Taxxon, essentially giant roaches with razor blade mouths driven by sheer panic instinct to consume consume consume.
Another King story involves a guy stuck on a beach and winds up literally eating himself to death. Yet another, the Langoliers, involves creatures that eat time and remnants of the past.
Kurt Vonnegut said that every character should want something, even if it's just something as simple as a glass of water.
Is that what horror is? To want or need but not have?
Or is that merely the harbinger of horror: That unstoppable force coming to consume, no matter what.

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In no particular order, my top stories were:

By Reason of Darkness
Orange is for Anguish, Blue for Insanity
Night Flier
Coming to Grief

Alice can get an honorable okay
As can the Pool

Less than okay, marginally acceptable is the Blood Kiss

And the rest more or less were a waste of paper.

Update,
December 24th, 2022

Pulled the trigger and re-reading Under the Dome.
The book is a behemoth, but it reads and flows just so freaking well. A testament to what a good writer Stephen is. And, despite it being a thousand pages and loaded with characters, I recall more or less having been able to keep track of them fairly well. Unlike say in the Spinning Tales with the Dead story where it just....poorly defined the scenario and in turn provoked severe disinterest.

The book has a great flow.

Man though. It just starts you off and hits you like a Mack truck. From plane crashes, woodchuck bisections, actual truck crashes, domestic abuse/murder, mutilation....

That last one actually was heartbreakingly disturbing.

This gal is out gardening when the Dome comes down and gets her hand severed. The sheer abruptness of it. She's not some scummy pirate Captain in a fight or doing anything even remotely....just bam, no hand. Just a pulpy, bloody mess.
Cuts to her husband casually making lunch to see her stumble in, slightly delirious and she bleeds out in his arms.
Kinda had one of those moments where I had to just set it down and say it's just a story. Just a story. Like all around, how horrible must that be? As the "Man" to have that happen to your wife? How helpless must that feel. To be the wife and have that happen. Eech.

I do know there's an SA scene later on with another character.
But she at least gets to stick it to the thugs.

Yeah, for whatever reason, the wife and husband thing is most disturbing. More disturbing than the kid murdering his girlfriend or the r*pe scene...those aren't pleasant things to read, but....perhaps it goes back to a principle of that being human evil exacted on humans. Something that would be terrible, but....maybe because it's something you can prepare for? Like in a horror movie how you see the girl or guy walk down a dark alley. Like duh! Clearly would have been a preventable decapitation if you'd only brought your Mossberg for that casual grocery run, Barbara.
(I tease, obviously.)

Update
January 13th, 2023

Surprisingly making great progress in Dome! Yeah, the book's a monster, but the pages really do breeze.

It occurred to me how there are some severely similar elements between Under the Dome and Harry Potter's Order of the Phoenix. Both feature an utterly evil and despicable character that hides under a shroud of sweetness and sunshine....all the while using their (ill-gotten) power to amass an army of authority thugs.

I'm sure Stephen could very well have been inspired by JK and maybe even took a pinch or two of inspiration, although a more scholarly person would be able to cite how people will always fight to acquire and abuse power, especially when cut off from "proper" society/civilization.

It's books like these that make me extremely distrustful of government/politics/religion.

I also can't help but wonder, again, a more scholarly person would be able to give better examples and catch onto little hints here and there better than I...but I wonder....

So the main antagonist....(or I suppose one of, if you consider the Dome and it's....Overseers...antagonists....) is a guy named Big Jim Rennie, played by Dean Norris in the series, fantastic work by him...

Big Jim is a small town used car salesman and town figurehead, as one of it's Selectmen. And also highly religious. He, in addition to a few other people in his pocket, has been keeping the town afloat by running a secret meth lab.

Basically, my theory/curiosity, is King/did King mean to create a parallel between Jesus and Barbie? Both are humble travelers and get on the outs with the baddies.

Ehhhhhh, I don't feel like delving too much into that, to be honest.

Came to the....scene....with Sam. It wasn't quite as bad as I remembered. The aftermath bit, yeah. That poor kid. But I'm pretty sure she gets revenge on some of them.

I was actually quite impressed, at one point she made a reference to the Drunken Sailor song!

Update
January 17th, 2023

Y'know, would've been interesting if I'd been keeping a page tracker as well...especially with this guy. I'm somewhere on 400+ at any rate.

It occurs to me, so Barbie briefs his buddy Cox about the situation inside the Dome. And very much about Second Selectman James "Big Jim" Rennie.

It occurs to me that the military easily knew about some petty barfight Barbie got into with the locals only days or maybe even hours before the Dome went down (and no, that is nowhere near the reason why it's there) I don't exactly know what they know about it, but more or less enough.
My point is that they'd almost certainly have to have a similar dossier on Rennie. See, ol' Big Jim is running a semi-secret meth lab in the town. The late Chief of Police suspected/knew/had his own little file and was in contact with the Attorney General.....so wouldn't the military also have been made aware?
There was zero actual proof, or at least not enough, but there was a lot of stuff with which a case was being built and made. Basically it sounds like if the Dome hadn't come down, Rennie would've gone down probably within a year.
Now yeah, I know, gee, the military doesn't really deal with drugs. Yeah, that's fine. DEA, right? It's still government and you're telling me the agencies wouldn't talk to each other on this? Yeah, bureaucracy, mine is bigger than yours, blah blah.
But this situation is allegedly unprecedented.

My point with all this is that the military wants their boy, Barbie, to be the main mover and shaker inside the Dome, but Rennie isn't good with that and sorely wants to have an excuse to gank Barbie.

Why wouldn't the military tell Barbie about Rennie's extracurricular activities? If it were able to help Barbie get ahead/discredit him, why not? Or, if the government wanted to be dirty...and well, c'mon, it's the government, they could issue Barbie an order to gank Rennie. As a threat to the community a kingpin drug lord whose murder is justified by all the harm he's caused by manufacture of his product.

[misogynistic trigger warning]

Piper you absolute idiotic piece of bible thumbing hypocrite.

This woman bullies Sam into giving the names of the people who raped her and then proceeds to singlehandedly march herself right to the stoop of those responsible and straight up accuses them.

So the guys and girl that raped Sam also happen to be auxiliary police officers.

Like what did you think was going to happen? Even if they weren't "cops" like what was your plan? How irresponsibly stupid of you!
Not only is your own puny pathetic life in danger, but now this poor girl, who's already suffered way more than she had any right to, now she's in danger for outing them.
No, Sam nor Piper shouldn't have kept silent about that. Absolutely out those pigs and hang them (figuratively or literally)....but have a better plan, Piper!!!! You didn't even tell the people at the hospital aka the few "decent" people left in town.
Talk to someone you trust, like Brenda the dead Chief's wife or Julia the newspaper gal, or Barbie, tell the damn bartender at Dippers!

I think that's a falling point for this novel. There's so much shady crap that goes on and it gets entirely missed simply because the townspeople aren't gossipy enough to report to each other.
Rusty and Barbie share a dangerously close moment to this when Rusty tells him about the missing propane.

I get it, you don't quite know who you can and can't trust or even that there is such a thing as you should be keeping note of.

Really sad about her dog though. I won't say that "triggered" me...but I vaguely remembered it as happening moments before it was about to and I set the book down for a bit....reading or watching/hearing about stuff like that doesn't exactly...since...

I can understand why Dean Koontz makes sure the dog always lives. Or the cat.
Just....hits differently.

Update
February 1st, 2023

Took an intermezzo from Dome to indulge in a short story called The Catbird Seat. It's only 6 pages long and easily found online, so go for it.
Basically, there's this super square dude that's so straight laced he doesn't drink or smoke and beverage of choice is milk. He works in some menial firm and this boisterous woman starts working there.
From a viewer standpoint, she's rather amusing. Every bit of dialogue is either something bawling or braying. And she has a bunch of these weird random questions she shouts at Milksop...whose name is Martin?
"ARE YA SITTING IN THE CATBIRD SEAT? ARE YA TEARING UP THE PEA PATCH? AREYA LIFTIN AN OXCART FROM THE DITCH? ARE YA HOLLARIN IN THE RAIN BARRELL?"
They're apparently baseball terms from the South. Catbird Seat being a desirable position and pea patch being a rampage/bad spot, blah blah....
They're entertaining, but only I suspect from the viewer standpoint.
The woman also starts making changes - she's in the boss's pocket and has the boss utterly enthralled.
I'm not sure if she's supposed to be old or exotic/young. Could go either way.
Milksop suspects he's going to get the boot and decides, logically, to off her.
He has some harebrained scheme that involves buying a pack of cigarettes, then goes over to the "ducky" apartment she lives in for a visit.
All the while thinking if he runs into a single soul he'll abandon the plot.
He sees no one but the woman who's pleased as punch and invites him up, offering him a drink and a smoke.
Dumbly, he accepts and she cackles away at the amusing image of him with a stoige and a scotch - wait'll the others hear about this.
Suddenly, Milksop starts babbling about a plot. A plot to blow up the work office and do away with the old goat of a boss (haha, goat).
The woman does not take kindly to this, infact it seems to be the one thing that shuts her up and she coldly tells him to beat it.
The next day, she marches in the Goat Boss's office and brays away the events of last night.
Goat sends her away and summons Milksop........who naturally has no idear what the woman's on about.

......AND THE GOAT BUYS IT!!!! He's like, yeah think she had a mental breakdown bro, she was yammering about how you were drunk and smoking and makin' threats and homie, I know you don't do any of that.

So the story ends with the lady getting dragged off to an institution (and fired).

It was rather entertaining but it occurred to me, it's a bit of a reverse-Uno MeToo card.

(Again, let's be adults, #MeToo is a serious matter, but for story context. Yeah, if someone's done something bad to you or someone you know, they should be punished and publicly shamed)

Like, if the woman hadn't said anything, she'd've kept her job and would've been able to oust Milksop just like her origin downsizing plan. But she went in there full barrel and was done in by the strength of her own overbearing nature.

That was one interpretation anyway.

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As far as the Dome...I'm somewhere past 800. Uh....no real new thoughts to post I guess?

What makes it scary is how easily you could see this happening. Not necessarily an alien force field trapping a town. But just...the concept of total anarchy and power abuse.

Ah yeah, hot take.

So, even if Big Jim consented and handed control over to Barbie, pretty sure the town would still be screwed. Even if Sanders didn't join the Chef...the Chef would've blown the bomb anyway.
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