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Serafina_Pekkala
QUOTE (widowspider @ Jun 13 2011, 08:56 PM) *
Is Fashion wearing out the world?

Really interesting-sounding book.


The Aral Sea has shrunk because of the water needed for cotton production according to my Uzbek friend. So it is very real problem. Fashion has always been about this kind of thing though. Wastefulness.
Everlong
After years of thinking/dithering about it, I'm starting the Culture novel series next week, starting with Consider Phlebas, of course.

This is long overdue, and I hear all the Culture books are, at the very least, great reads.

Raven
And sometimes as grim as hell, too!

The Player of Games is my favourite, along with Use of Weapons and Excession.
Chapman Baxter
I started with The Player of Games, and actually I'd recommend that as a good introduction to the series. It doesn't really matter what order you read them in, except you should read Consider Phlebas before Look to Windward.

Don't get too attached to your favourite characters.
Raven
I think Look to Windward is probably the grimmest book I have ever read.
NiteFall
I would say Excession is probably my favourite Culture novel, but it's not a good starting place by any means.
widowspider
I have never read any of these books. Are they good?
Raven
No, they are very good!
widowspider
QUOTE (Raven @ Jun 30 2011, 01:14 PM) *
No, they are very good!

Cool! I shall investigate them.
sweetbutinsane
I read The Prince of Mist and The Strain on holiday. Both were very good, and I'm never going to look at Pez dispensers the same way again after reading the latter.
widowspider
Murder in the Marais by Cara Black

My friend Jenny is obsessed with the series of crime thrillers from Cara Black so she lent me the first one. The lead character looks like me so I hope I get to play her in the film adaptation. Fun romp - I love crime fiction and this one was good. Computer hacking, neo-Nazis, cover-ups and plot twists, all set in the streets of Paris in the mid-90s.
Sean of the Dead
I recently finished Saturday by Ian McEwan, a few years after finishing my first McEwan novel Atonement (which is one of my favourite books ever) and I really liked it - Perowne is a brilliantly realised and sympathetic protagonist and the Mrs Dalloway-esque free indirect style applied to a man between ambivalence, love and fear (to steal from Donnie Darko) is really brilliantly used. I particularly found the moments in the care home very sad, touching and utterly convincing. I also really liked it because it's set in the exact area where I've been living the past year - I used to walk past the Jeremy Bentham! - and as such I feel a strange connection to it in this sense. It's not Atonement, but it's still excellent and I'm slotting him next to Coe on my list of favourite contemporary novelists.
Hobbes
I liked Saturday as well, very well-written novel. My only real gripe about it is that McEwan clearly did loads of research about neurosurgery to make the main character more believable, which is fine, but then he does spend a bit too long showing off all the things he's learned. Felt at times like he was only putting in such swathes of detail to try and impress people, which irked me a bit. That aside, though, I thought it was really good.

Out of curiosity Sean, have you read any Cormac McCarthy? I got into him about the same time of my studies as you're at now and he totally blew me away. He's basically a contemporary Faulkner but (dare I?) maybe even slightly better. Very much worthy of your time.
maian
McCarthy's a wonderful writer. I don't that I've yet recovered from reading Blood Meridian, though. Such a bleak and brilliant book.

I finished reading Cathedral by Raymond Carver yesterday, which I've been dipping into over the course of the last month. It was amazing, unsurprisingly, and probably his best collection of short stories (it's between that and What We Talk About When We Talk About Love) with some absolutely beautiful pieces. I love the way he captures those little moments that can have profound, life-altering effects on people and their relationships, and the ease with which he captures the sadness of his characters as they just try to get by. Highlights; A Small, Good Thing, which I thought was a great expansion on the original version called "The Bath" since it offered some rare, if conditional, resolution for a Carver story; Where I'm Called From, which may be the ultimate story about alcoholism from one of the ultimate writer on alcoholism; and Cathedral, which was just spellbinding and beautiful in its depiction of how simple human connections can change the way we see the world.

I'm not going on to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, because they sound like awesome books.
Shack
Have finished the first Girl With... by Steig Larsson.

I was expecting to be disappointed, but I was actually pleasantly surprised.

Now onto the second one and it's extremely apparent that a lot of things Salander is doing are similar to the phone hacking scandals. I'm enjoying the slow build and sudden changes of pace so far.

I think once I've got through the three, I'm going to have to read something light and breezy. Recommendations welcome.
mcraigclark
QUOTE (Shack @ Jul 12 2011, 04:39 PM) *
I think once I've got through the three, I'm going to have to read something light and breezy. Recommendations welcome.


I've mentioned him before, but Christopher Moore is a sure bet. Not necessary to read all of them in order (there are some where it's definitely best to). See also: Scarlett Thomas, Neil Gaiman (not always light), Douglas Coupland, Tom Robbins.
Shack
QUOTE (mcraigclark @ Jul 13 2011, 09:17 PM) *
I've mentioned him before, but Christopher Moore is a sure bet. Not necessary to read all of them in order (there are some where it's definitely best to). See also: Scarlett Thomas, Neil Gaiman (not always light), Douglas Coupland, Tom Robbins.


I'm well into the Moore back catalogue, most enjoyably. Will look into Gaiman, Robbins and Coupland. Thanks Mr C!
Sir_Robin_the_brave
Coupland good.
Julie
QUOTE (Sir_Robin_the_brave @ Jul 13 2011, 05:12 PM) *
Coupland good.


Absolutely. I'd definitely recommend Girlfriend in a Coma, Microserfs or All Families are Psychotic as good starting points.
maian
Shack, Hey Nostradamus is also excellent, though that one's perhaps best left for when you want a less light read. It's not that dark, but it's one of his more intense works.
maian
QUOTE (maian @ Jul 9 2011, 12:32 PM) *
I'm not going on to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, because they sound like awesome books.


Just finished the first book and ho-ly shit, it is really fantastic. It has an absolutely relentless pace that more than delivers on the promise of its premise (Kids forced to fight to the death for a television show. Yes, it sounds like Battle Royale but it is very different.) with a exhilarating setpieces, a real sense of peril and some moments that are truly gutwrenching. The world is also nicely sketched out and I hope that the subsequent books (not to mention the film version) expand on those aspects more. I've ordered the other books and they cannot arrive soon enough.
Shack
Muchos thanks Book Team!

Once I've got through all the Girl With'uns, I'll ch-ch-check him out.
Raven
I'll second Microserfs and add The Gum Thief as good Coupland novels.
gulfcoast_highwayman
Read 'A Clash Of Kings' on my holiday. Good stuff all round.

Spoilered for those watching the TV show

I was a little disapointed that there wasn't more of Arya being a ninja, and they need to get Needle back in her hands. Mightily relieved that Bran abd Rickon turned out not to be dead. Weird that Robb didn't appear. John's story betyond the wall got more interesting as it went along.

Tyrion proved once again to be the best. I can't wait to see Peter Dinklage leading the men into battle.


Book 3 is now on order.
maian
QUOTE (gulfcoast_highwayman @ Jul 16 2011, 10:16 PM) *
Mightily relieved that Bran abd Rickon turned out not to be dead.


The mere possibility that they might be really, really upset me when I was reading the book, to the point where I had to set it aside and stop reading for about a day. After Ned's death at the end of A Game of Thrones, I just assumed that anyone was game, and the thought of two of the most innocent characters dying really got to me. Reading that they weren't dead was such a monumental relief.
maian
I tore through The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John Le Carre over the last three days. Beautifully written, frantically paced, and chock full of morally ambiguous characters engaged in double-crosses and con jobs. Le Carre obviously had some considerable experience as a member of the Intelligence Service, and he brought a clear, unflinching eye to the world of spies that is still captivating fifty years later. Alec Leamas is a great central character; bitter, angry and conflicted, soldiering on for King and Country despite the fact he doesn't really believe in either anymore. Le Carre also does a wonderful job portraying the shades of grey that made up espionage during the Cold War. Neither side is portrayed as good, but as two groups of people willing to do absolutely horrible things to win, whatever 'winning' is.

I'm now reading Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy in anticipation of the film version (and because it's been so long since I watched the TV series that I can't remember most of it).
widowspider
^I need to read some Le Carre. I think my mum has all the books at home, may do a sneaky steal when I'm there.

I just started reading Neuromancer by William Gibson. Really great so far.
Shack
QUOTE (Shack @ Jul 12 2011, 09:39 PM) *
Now onto the second one and it's extremely apparent that a lot of things Salander is doing are similar to the phone hacking scandals.


This is becoming ever more true the more I read.
maian
QUOTE (maian @ Jul 19 2011, 12:43 AM) *
I'm now reading Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy in anticipation of the film version (and because it's been so long since I watched the TV series that I can't remember most of it).


Just finished this and loved it. I knew who the mole was from watching the TV series on VHS as a kid, but like any good mystery the pleasure of the story is in finding out how it unfolds, rather than how it ends. Le Carre's skill seems to lie in turning incredibly dense stories - especially ones like this which consist of characters talking at great length, often in an invented technical language and rarely saying what they really mean - into digestible, thrilling games of cat and mouse. It also helps that George Smiley is one of the great creations of espionage literature; cold, bitter, intelligent and worldweary. I'm really looking forward to reading The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley's People once I finish the Hunger Games trilogy.
Everlong
Kraken by China Mieville.

Just finished it. Loved it. Completely mental fun, full of great little concepts, and weird/immoral/intense/heroic/cowardly/'Add your description here' characters. It's all about a museum curator Billy, who tended to a Kraken which one night, gets stolen. Suddenly he's taken by all sorts of monsters and weirdos from the underworld, before being rescued by colleague Dane. Then it's a mad dash around London searching for the giant kidnapped squid.

Features such moments as our heroes fighting off the nasties with an actual star trek phaser, and a gangster who happens to be a talking Tattoo. Bonkers.

I've also bought 'The City And The City' by him recently, that sounds good too. But first, I begin Transition by Iain Banks (gonna get round to his culture novels soon, I was going to start with Consider Phlebas but was distracted by Kraken).
Shack
Finished all the "Girl with/who..." books this morning. Very recommended if hard to keep pace with who everyone is.

Now, thanks to a glowing recommendation from our very own Ed, I've plumped for two John Le Carre books from the library and have the next PJ Tracy one to read as well. Hooray for holidays!
Shack
PJ Tracy - Snow Blind - jolly good. Read in about 3 days.

John Le Carre - The Spy Who Came In From The Cold - I felt I was swimming in a sea I didn't understand. I liked it, but I wasn't sure what the hell was going on. I think my concentration was flagging.
maian
QUOTE (Shack @ Aug 15 2011, 10:03 PM) *
John Le Carre - The Spy Who Came In From The Cold - I felt I was swimming in a sea I didn't understand. I liked it, but I wasn't sure what the hell was going on. I think my concentration was flagging.


I felt kind of the same when I read it, but I think that's at least partially intentional since it places you in much the same position as the characters. I get the feeling that it's more rewarding on a second read, once you know where it's going.
Silky
Started World War Z again today. Mostly to pass the time until I get my hands on Snuff.
ella
QUOTE (Silky @ Aug 15 2011, 10:59 PM) *
Started World War Z again today.


I started this yesterday. Steve just finished it as he is starting a couple of weeks' work on the film next week. So far, so good.
Sean of the Dead
QUOTE (Silky @ Aug 15 2011, 10:59 PM) *
Started World War Z again today. Mostly to pass the time until I get my hands on Snuff.

I really liked this, perhaps even more so when I found out that Max Brooks is Mel Brooks' son.
Silky
QUOTE (Sean of the Dead @ Aug 16 2011, 10:04 AM) *
I really liked this, perhaps even more so when I found out that Max Brooks is Mel Brooks' son.

Really? That's amazing.

QUOTE (ella @ Aug 15 2011, 11:21 PM) *
I started this yesterday. Steve just finished it as he is starting a couple of weeks' work on the film next week. So far, so good.


It's a great book ella, I just hope the film sticks to the same tone.
Shack
QUOTE (ella @ Aug 15 2011, 11:21 PM) *
I started this yesterday. Steve just finished it as he is starting a couple of weeks' work on the film next week. So far, so good.


You'll love it. I rattled through it, although it did make me want to live in a zombie proof house.
mcraigclark
QUOTE (Silky @ Aug 16 2011, 05:37 AM) *
I just hope the film sticks to the same tone.


Not going to happen. Seems the film will take place just before/right as the outbreak begins. The main character will be zipping around the world trying to prevent the outbreak from taking hold. Disappointing.
Silky
QUOTE (mcraigclark @ Aug 16 2011, 11:37 AM) *
Not going to happen. Seems the film will take place just before/right as the outbreak begins. The main character will be zipping around the world trying to prevent the outbreak from taking hold. Disappointing.

Very sad.gif
Oh well, on the plus side, I can still make an indie version, that is much closer in tone to the book
Shack
QUOTE (mcraigclark @ Aug 16 2011, 11:37 AM) *
Not going to happen. Seems the film will take place just before/right as the outbreak begins. The main character will be zipping around the world trying to prevent the outbreak from taking hold. Disappointing.


When I was down in Cornballs earlier in the month, we heard plenty o whispers that Brad Pitt was filming it in Falmouth just down the road.

I'd have preferred a documentary type film, but then it's quite a hard book to film.

Now onto Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. It's great so far.
Raven
QUOTE (maian @ Jul 19 2011, 12:43 AM) *
I tore through The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John Le Carre over the last three days.


Just picked up a copy of this, along with a copy of The Complete Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm.
Shack
QUOTE (maian @ Jul 9 2011, 12:32 PM) *
I'm now going on to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, because they sound like awesome books.


Having read your review, I picked this up on Tuesday. I'd finished it by Friday morning, it's really good. There's a few concessions to the teen market, but it's a cracking read. You're very right about the pace, it never lets up! My main concern as I read about the film yesterday was that it might be softened slightly. I hope the primal side is all kept.

I'll have to get the other books too.
maian
I think they probably will soften it, if only because some of the violence would be a bit too extreme for the demographic that the film will be going after, but I think that they could keep the intensity of the story without conceding too much. I just hope that they keep as much of Katniss' tracker jacker hallucinations in as possible, because those are really messed up in a way which could translate well to a film adaptation.
Everlong
I think it will be toned down graphically a bit, especially a few deaths... Rue in particular, and Cato's. But keeping the tone.

I agree, the trippiness and hallucinations brought on by Tracker Jackers will probably translate to the film rather well.

I'm a little way into 'Catching Fire' myself. Liking it so far, will probably finish the rest of the book this week, almost as fast as I finished Hunger Games (that was done in a few days on commutes).

Speaking of which, the trailer debuts in America tonight.
Shack
I did really like the trackerjackers bit, I didn't know which bits were real at all. Demographic is going to rule in part, but hopefully they'll keep up the pace.

I feel there's more in the Gale story, but I think that'll be extended in the second book.
Raven
QUOTE (Shack @ Aug 15 2011, 10:03 PM) *
John Le Carre - The Spy Who Came In From The Cold - I felt I was swimming in a sea I didn't understand. I liked it, but I wasn't sure what the hell was going on. I think my concentration was flagging.


QUOTE (maian @ Aug 15 2011, 10:11 PM) *
I felt kind of the same when I read it, but I think that's at least partially intentional since it places you in much the same position as the characters. I get the feeling that it's more rewarding on a second read, once you know where it's going.


Finished this in the wee hours of this morning, very good.

I didn't have any problems following it, and I was pretty sure how it was going to unfold from about mid-way through, but that didn't make it any less enjoyable. For anyone planning to read it I would definitely recommend reading Call For the Dead before hand, as it is referenced pretty heavily in this book. Looking forward to The Looking Glass War now!

QUOTE (Everlong @ Jul 28 2011, 10:58 PM) *
Kraken by China Mieville.

Just finished it. Loved it. Completely mental fun, full of great little concepts, and weird/immoral/intense/heroic/cowardly/'Add your description here' characters. It's all about a museum curator Billy, who tended to a Kraken which one night, gets stolen. Suddenly he's taken by all sorts of monsters and weirdos from the underworld, before being rescued by colleague Dane. Then it's a mad dash around London searching for the giant kidnapped squid.

Features such moments as our heroes fighting off the nasties with an actual star trek phaser, and a gangster who happens to be a talking Tattoo. Bonkers.


I read this earlier this year, and am still not sure what to make of it.

The book has a lot of interesting concepts in it, some interesting characters and a good deal of humour and satire, but I can't say I found the overall experience of reading it very enjoyable. In places it was a bit of a slog.
Shack
QUOTE (Raven @ Sep 3 2011, 12:16 PM) *
I read this earlier this year, and am still not sure what to make of it.

The book has a lot of interesting concepts in it, some interesting characters and a good deal of humour and satire, but I can't say I found the overall experience of reading it very enjoyable. In places it was a bit of a slog.


I'm reading it now and I know what you mean. There's elements of Will Self about it and I do find myself drifting off when I'm reading it from time to time, but then something good happens to pull me back in.
Jessopjessopjessop
QUOTE (Raven @ Sep 3 2011, 12:16 PM) *
I read this earlier this year, and am still not sure what to make of it.
The book has a lot of interesting concepts in it, some interesting characters and a good deal of humour and satire, but I can't say I found the overall experience of reading it very enjoyable. In places it was a bit of a slog.


QUOTE (Shack @ Sep 3 2011, 06:08 PM) *
I'm reading it now and I know what you mean. There's elements of Will Self about it and I do find myself drifting off when I'm reading it from time to time, but then something good happens to pull me back in.


I think that is the nature of Mieville's work, in my experience. "Perdido Street Station" is a stunningly weird and original book but massively overwrought at times, as is "The Scar" which I probably enjoyed more but which again was 150 pages too long. I have recurring dreams about Silas Fennec's abilities with the statue. However, I found "Iron Council" inconceivably dull and couldn't even finish it.
Raven
I think I found Kraken a hard read because the language was needlessly complex.

I'm not sure if that makes much sense . . .
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