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Atara
I need a new fantasy series to read, and I am stuck!
Jimmay
I have two books lined up to be read and I thought I'd leave it up to you lovely folks to decide which one I read first.

American Gods- Neil Gaiman

The Historian- Elizabeth Kostova
Jessopjessopjessop
QUOTE (Jimmay @ Nov 27 2007, 11:03 AM)
American Gods- Neil Gaiman

*

I read that because people here wouldn't stop banging on about it, but I didn't like it. Does that help?
Jimmay
QUOTE (Jessopjessopjessop @ Nov 27 2007, 10:13 AM)
I read that because people here wouldn't stop banging on about it, but I didn't like it. Does that help?
*


Sort of. Sarah keeps on mentioning it along the lines of "That's like a bit in American Gods" or "If you found that interesting then you'll love American Gods." I have absolutely no idea what its about though which doesn't help.
Jubei
I bought it for a friend because everyone here kept banging on about it, and then nicked it to read after he'd finished with it. He really like it, and so did I. I like original or different fantasy, like War of the Flowers by Tad Williams. American Gods is like that, fantasy, but unlike enything you've likely read before.
maian
QUOTE (Jimmay @ Nov 27 2007, 10:03 AM)
I have two books lined up to be read and I thought I'd leave it up to you lovely folks to decide which one I read first. 

American Gods- Neil Gaiman

The Historian- Elizabeth Kostova
*


I like American Gods very much. I won't say any more since I went into it not really knowing anything about it and found the whole thing to be a very pleasant surprise. I wouldn't say it was Gaiman's best work but I really enjoyed it.
GundamGuy_UK
QUOTE (Atara @ Nov 27 2007, 09:38 AM)
I need a new fantasy series to read, and I am stuck!
*


Earthsea Earthsea Earthsea EARTHSEA!

Forget the shockingly bad TV miniseries and the okay-at-best Studio Ghibli movie, the books of Earthsea are fantastic.

And at just over £7 for the first 4 you can't go wrong. Then there's a 5th one called The Other Wind and a Tales from Earthsea short story collection, too.

Buy it....
sweetbutinsane
QUOTE (Atara @ Nov 27 2007, 09:38 AM)
I need a new fantasy series to read, and I am stuck!
*


I recommend The Braided Path by Chris Wooding. He's an amazing author and the Braided Path trilogy is really unique and incredible. Take a look here if you're interested. You can use the search inside option to take a peek at part of the first chapter so you can see what it's like.

QUOTE (GundamGuy_UK @ Nov 27 2007, 07:00 PM)
Forget the shockingly bad TV miniseries and the okay-at-best Studio Ghibli movie, the books of Earthsea are fantastic.
*


They sound really good. I might drop hints for the first four for Christmas. smile.gif
GundamGuy_UK
QUOTE (sweetbutinsane @ Nov 27 2007, 07:44 PM)
They sound really good. I might drop hints for the first four for Christmas. smile.gif
*


I really cannot stress how much I love those books. As big of a LotR and Harry Potter fan I am, Earthsea will always be the fantasy series for me.
Llama
QUOTE (GundamGuy_UK @ Nov 27 2007, 08:31 PM)
I really cannot stress how much I love those books. As big of a LotR and Harry Potter fan I am, Earthsea will always be the fantasy series for me.
*

I really need to get round to buying more of that series. The first one was so good.

I'm in the process of being supplied the Ghibli at the moment.
Atara
QUOTE (sweetbutinsane @ Nov 27 2007, 08:44 PM)
I recommend The Braided Path by Chris Wooding. He's an amazing author and the Braided Path trilogy is really unique and incredible. Take a look here if you're interested.
*


Is that the entire trilogy? Sounds interesting, I might give it a bash.

I have bought countless fantasy books and none grabbed my attention quite like The Sword of truth series did. So hopefully this will do the same.
Jubei
So, finished Look to Windward again. That has to rival as one of my favourite of Banks' Sci-Fi I think. It's witty, moving, dark, intelligent, thought-provoking and has enough twists and reveals to more than satisfy me. I often forget just how good some of Iain M Banks books are. I do feel a little sorry for Uagen though. Of all the characters, he is one of the few who perhaps deserves a happy ending and perhaps doesn't get one, although he may not see it that way.
GundamGuy_UK
QUOTE (Llama @ Nov 27 2007, 09:36 PM)
I'm in the process of being supplied the Ghibli at the moment.
*


Don't expect much. I mean, it's an okay movie, but it's nothing like the books.

It's like the first half of book 3 with elements from the others chucked in in a way that book fans don't like.
sweetbutinsane
QUOTE (Atara @ Nov 27 2007, 11:11 PM)
Is that the entire trilogy? Sounds interesting, I might give it a bash.
*


Yep, entire trilogy in one (enormous) book. That's the one I have, though my friend borrowed it off me at the end of August and I haven't seen it since... sad.gif
Raven
QUOTE (Jubei @ Nov 28 2007, 01:36 PM)
So, finished Look to Windward again.  That has to rival as one of my favourite of Banks' Sci-Fi I think.  It's witty, moving, dark, intelligent, thought-provoking and has enough twists and reveals to more than satisfy me.  I often forget just how good some of Iain M Banks books are.  I do feel a little sorry for Uagen though.  Of all the characters, he is one of the few who perhaps deserves a happy ending and perhaps doesn't get one, although he may not see it that way.
*


That's just wrong, you should be slashing your wrists about now!
Llama
QUOTE (GundamGuy_UK @ Nov 28 2007, 04:19 PM)
Don't expect much. I mean, it's an okay movie, but it's nothing like the books.

It's like the first half of book 3 with elements from the others chucked in in a way that book fans don't like.
*

No, I won't - you've warned me against it before! I'm still interested to see it though, even if it's only ok.
GundamGuy_UK
QUOTE (Llama @ Nov 28 2007, 08:41 PM)
No, I won't - you've warned me against it before! I'm still interested to see it though, even if it's only ok.
*


Oh yeah it's worth seeing. It's not like it's a really bad film, it's just nothing like the books to the point that it's best to think of them as two unrelated things.

The author herself said she liked the movie but "that's not my Earthsea, you made your own". And she despised the TV series, so that's pretty much a compliment.

It looks nice, anyway. Even if the case are all white.
Llama
QUOTE (GundamGuy_UK @ Nov 28 2007, 09:04 PM)
And she despised the TV series, so that's pretty much a compliment.
*

I did see an incredibly bad live action of the first book. Was there a film too, or was I watching the series? It was horrible...
mcraigclark
QUOTE (Jimmay @ Nov 27 2007, 05:03 AM)
The Historian- Elizabeth Kostova
*


I read this and didn't like it much. It's mediocre writing at best and the damn thing is three inches thick. I think it tries to be cleverer than it has a right to be with the rapid changes in time period and the whole "letter" thing. She got a $2 million advance for it., but it sold like crazy so I guess that was a good gamble.
Jimmay
QUOTE (mcraigclark @ Nov 29 2007, 12:54 AM)
I read this and didn't like it much.  It's mediocre writing at best and the damn thing is three inches thick. I think it tries to be cleverer than it has a right to be with the rapid changes in time period and the whole "letter" thing.  She got a $2 million advance for it., but it sold like crazy so I guess that was a good gamble.
*


I was a bit put off by the fact that Sarah had gotten to the last quarter and stopped reading it which is almost unheard of. I think I'll stick with American Gods for now.
GundamGuy_UK
QUOTE (Llama @ Nov 28 2007, 11:14 PM)
I did see an incredibly bad live action of the first book. Was there a film too, or was I watching the series? It was horrible...
*


Was it this pile of wank?



Where they got absolutely everything wrong? Seriously, EVERYTHING was wrong in that show. The characters were too old/too young/from the wrong book/simply made-up, the story was nonsense, the style was all wrong.... AND the books have pictures of this false Ged on the books now!

The cover of a book starring a black man of about 13 years old has a picture of a white guy in his 20's on the cover! The only thing they could do to make it more different is have Ged as a woman.

Because heaven forbid making a TV miniseries where the entire cast is black/Native American....
Llama
That was the one. Bloody hell. I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

And I couldn't stop thinking, "But... It's the guy from 'Animorphs'..."
Raven
I've never read the Earthsea books, but the TV version did seem a tad formulaic.

I've started a sci-fi classic, and I'm really enjoying it: The Stainless Steel Rat.
Serafina_Pekkala
QUOTE (mcraigclark @ Nov 29 2007, 12:54 AM)
I read this and didn't like it much.  It's mediocre writing at best and the damn thing is three inches thick. I think it tries to be cleverer than it has a right to be with the rapid changes in time period and the whole "letter" thing.  She got a $2 million advance for it., but it sold like crazy so I guess that was a good gamble.
*


I tried my dardest with this cos I thought I should like it but totally agree with Craig. My pet peeve was that she was trying to write some very interesting plot devices but with really dull characters. In fact, they frequently spoke about how sheltered, shy and quiet they were. So much potential was turned into a ponderous book with little or no energy. Really doesn't make for much of a good read.
GundamGuy_UK
QUOTE (Ursula LeGuin @ Earthsea author)
On Tuesday night, the Sci Fi Channel aired its final installment of Legend of Earthsea, the miniseries based—loosely, as it turns out—on my Earthsea books. The books, A Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan, which were published more than 30 years ago, are about two young people finding out what their power, their freedom, and their responsibilities are. I don't know what the film is about. It's full of scenes from the story, arranged differently, in an entirely different plot, so that they make no sense. My protagonist is Ged, a boy with red-brown skin. In the film, he's a petulant white kid. Readers who've been wondering why I "let them change the story" may find some answers here.

When I sold the rights to Earthsea a few years ago, my contract gave me the standard status of "consultant"—which means whatever the producers want it to mean, almost always little or nothing. My agency could not improve this clause. But the purchasers talked as though they genuinely meant to respect the books and to ask for my input when planning the film. They said they had already secured Philippa Boyens (who co-wrote the scripts for The Lord of the Rings) as principal script writer. The script was, to me, all-important, so Boyens' presence was the key factor in my decision to sell this group the option to the film rights.

Months went by. By the time the producers got backing from the Sci Fi Channel for a miniseries—and another producer, Robert Halmi Sr., had come aboard—they had lost Boyens. That was a blow. But I had just seen Halmi's miniseries DreamKeeper, which had a stunning Native American cast, and I hoped that Halmi might include some of those great actors in Earthsea.

At this point, things began to move very fast. Early on, the filmmakers contacted me in a friendly fashion, and I responded in kind; I asked if they'd like to have a list of name pronunciations; and I said that although I knew that a film must differ greatly from a book, I hoped they were making no unnecessary changes in the plot or to the characters—a dangerous thing to do, since the books have been known to millions of people for decades. They replied that the TV audience is much larger, and entirely different, and would be unlikely to care about changes to the books' story and characters.

They then sent me several versions of the script—and told me that shooting had already begun. I had been cut out of the process. And just as quickly, race, which had been a crucial element, had been cut out of my stories. In the miniseries, Danny Glover is the only man of color among the main characters (although there are a few others among the spear-carriers). A far cry from the Earthsea I envisioned. When I looked over the script, I realized the producers had no understanding of what the books are about and no interest in finding out. All they intended was to use the name Earthsea, and some of the scenes from the books, in a generic McMagic movie with a meaningless plot based on sex and violence.

Most of the characters in my fantasy and far-future science fiction books are not white. They're mixed; they're rainbow. In my first big science fiction novel, The Left Hand of Darkness, the only person from Earth is a black man, and everybody else in the book is Inuit (or Tibetan) brown. In the two fantasy novels the miniseries is "based on," everybody is brown or copper-red or black, except the Kargish people in the East and their descendants in the Archipelago, who are white, with fair or dark hair. The central character Tenar, a Karg, is a white brunette. Ged, an Archipelagan, is red-brown. His friend, Vetch, is black. In the miniseries, Tenar is played by Smallville's Kristin Kreuk, the only person in the miniseries who looks at all Asian. Ged and Vetch are white.

My color scheme was conscious and deliberate from the start. I didn't see why everybody in science fiction had to be a honky named Bob or Joe or Bill. I didn't see why everybody in heroic fantasy had to be white (and why all the leading women had "violet eyes"). It didn't even make sense. Whites are a minority on Earth now—why wouldn't they still be either a minority, or just swallowed up in the larger colored gene pool, in the future?

The fantasy tradition I was writing in came from Northern Europe, which is why it was about white people. I'm white, but not European. My people could be any color I liked, and I like red and brown and black. I was a little wily about my color scheme. I figured some white kids (the books were published for "young adults") might not identify straight off with a brown kid, so I kind of eased the information about skin color in by degrees—hoping that the reader would get "into Ged's skin" and only then discover it wasn't a white one.

I was never questioned about this by any editor. No objection was ever raised. I think this is greatly to the credit of my first editors at Parnassus and Atheneum, who bought the books before they had a reputation to carry them.

But I had endless trouble with cover art. Not on the great cover of the first edition—a strong, red-brown profile of Ged—or with Margaret Chodos Irvine's four fine paintings on the Atheneum hardcover set, but all too often. The first British Wizard was this pallid, droopy, lily-like guy—I screamed at sight of him.

Gradually I got a little more clout, a little more say-so about covers. And very, very, very gradually publishers may be beginning to lose their blind fear of putting a nonwhite face on the cover of a book. "Hurts sales, hurts sales" is the mantra. Yeah, so? On my books, Ged with a white face is a lie, a betrayal—a betrayal of the book, and of the potential reader.

I think it is possible that some readers never even notice what color the people in the story are. Don't notice, don't care. Whites of course have the privilege of not caring, of being "colorblind." Nobody else does.

I have heard, not often, but very memorably, from readers of color who told me that the Earthsea books were the only books in the genre that they felt included in—and how much this meant to them, particularly as adolescents, when they'd found nothing to read in fantasy and science fiction except the adventures of white people in white worlds. Those letters have been a tremendous reward and true joy to me.

So far no reader of color has told me I ought to butt out, or that I got the ethnicity wrong. When they do, I'll listen. As an anthropologist's daughter, I am intensely conscious of the risk of cultural or ethnic imperialism—a white writer speaking for nonwhite people, co-opting their voice, an act of extreme arrogance. In a totally invented fantasy world, or in a far-future science fiction setting, in the rainbow world we can imagine, this risk is mitigated. That's the beauty of science fiction and fantasy—freedom of invention.

But with all freedom comes responsibility. Which is something these filmmakers seem not to understand.


More points and counter-points

In short : The TV series has nothing to do with the books and the author is very annoyed by that.
Raven
She isn't too fond of the Studio Ghibli version either.

When it comes to film adaptations of an author's work, I far prefer the attitude of Philip Pullman, who maintains that his version of his stories are out there for people to read and make up their own minds about, and that what a screen writer or director may do on film is their version of the story.

What annoys me are writers who sign away the film rights to their books, quite often for a large wodge of cash, only to then whinge to the media that what turned up on screen wasn't consistent with their vision.

How many really good book adaptations can you name? And now how many bad ones? I'll wager you can name way more bad adaptations than good.

It would have been simple for Le Guin to look up and say that she had nothing to do with the mini-series - and that she personally didn't like it - and leave it at that, but she seems to have gone out of her way to spread her message as widely as possible.

Whilst I've not heard a good review of the Earthsea mini-series, and it is disapointing for fans that the series was realised as badly on screen, Le Guin just comes across as being a bit sulky about it to me.
GundamGuy_UK
She just seems to be upset at how she was kept in the swing of things initially then they just changed their minds and blocked her out, saying that people who watch TV don't read books and thus won't care about the changes.

She got some hatemail too I believe, from people saying "Why did you let them do this?"


She does like the Ghibli version though, in a Pullman-style way though that it's the directors own story and not her own.
Raven
QUOTE (GundamGuy_UK @ Nov 29 2007, 04:09 PM)
She just seems to be upset at how she was kept in the swing of things initially then they just changed their minds and blocked her out, saying that people who watch TV don't read books and thus won't care about the changes.


The thing is though, any project is going to be subject to commercial pressures and producers, screen writers and directors etc will come and go from something like this - just look at the protracted and rocky path Spider-man took to get to the big screen . . .

To me she seems to have been a bit naive about just how much sway she would have over the final product, and has subsequently thrown her toys out of the pram when she didn't get the level of involvement she expected.

QUOTE
She does like the Ghibli version though.


I'm sure I've read a couple of articles (possibly erroneous?) where she was complaining about that version as well. I'll have a look to see if I can find them, I think one was in SFX, not sure.
GundamGuy_UK
Oh, I agree completely. I can see why she complains though; it really has nothing to do with the books at all. They clearly just wanted the rights for the name, it's like if Uwe Boll made it.

As for her opinion:
QUOTE
Preliminary Note:

Very few authors have any control over the use made of their books by a film studio. The general rule is that once the contract is signed, the author of the books is nonexistent. Such labels as "creative consultant" are meaningless. Please do not hold any writer except the script-writer responsible for anything in a film. Don't ask the book's author "Why did they . . . ?" She is wondering too.
Brief history:

Twenty or so years ago, Mr Hayao Miyazaki wrote me expressing interest in making an animated film based on the (then only three) books of Earthsea. I did not know his work. I knew only Disney-type animation, and disliked it. I said no.

Six or seven years ago, my friend Vonda N. McIntyre told me about My Neighbor Totoro and we watched it together. I became a Miyazaki fan at once and forever. I consider him a genius of the same caliber as Kurosawa or Fellini.

Some years later, when I found that the delightful Japanese translator of the later Earthsea books, Ms Masako Shimizu, knew Mr Hayao Miyazaki, I asked her to tell him that, if he was still interested in Earthsea, I would welcome talking with him about a film.

I had a pleasant correspondence with Mr Toshio Suzuki of Studio Ghibli. In our correspondence, I urged the unwisdom of radical changes to the story or the characters, since the books are so well known to so many readers, in Japan as elsewhere. In order to have the freedom of imagination he ought to have in making his film, I suggested that Mr Miyazaki might use the period of ten or fifteen years between the first two books: we don't know what Ged was doing in those years, aside from becoming Archmage, and Mr Miyazaki could have him doing anything he liked. (There is no other film maker to whom I would make such a proposition.)

In August 2005, Mr Toshio Suzuki of Studio Ghibli came with Mr Hayao Miyazaki to talk with me and my son (who controls the trust which owns the Earthsea copyrights). We had a pleasant visit in my house.

It was explained to us that Mr Hayao wished to retire from film making, and that the family and the studio wanted Mr Hayao's son Goro, who had never made a film at all, to make this one. We were very disappointed, and also anxious, but we were given the impression, indeed assured, that the project would be always subject to Mr Hayao's approval. With this understanding, we made the agreement.

At that time, work had already started on the film: a copy of the poster of the child and the dragon was given us as a gift, and also a sketch of Hort Town by Mr Hayao and the finished version of it from the studio artists.

Work on the film went on extremely rapidly after that. We realised soon that Mr Hayao was taking no part in making the film at all.

I had a very moving letter from him, and later one from Mr Goro. I answered them as well as I could.

I am sorry that anger and disappointment attended the making of this film on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.

I am told that Mr Hayao has not retired after all, but is now making another movie. This has increased my disappointment. I hope to put it behind me.
The Film.

As my son and I could not go to Tokyo for the premiere of the film, Studio Ghibli very kindly brought us a copy, and gave us a private screening at a downtown theater on Sunday August 6, 2006. It was a joyful occasion. Many friends with children came. It was entertaining to get the kids' response. Some younger ones were rather frightened or confused, but the older kids were cool with it.

After the screening we went to have dinner at my son's house. Elinor the corgi behaved with great propriety, while Mr Toshio Suzuki did headstands on the lawn.

Mr Goro Miyazaki asked me just as I was leaving, "Did you like the movie?" It was not an easy question to answer, under the circumstances. I said: "Yes. It is not my book. It is your movie. It is a good movie."

I did not realise that I was speaking to anyone but him and the few people around us. I would have preferred that a private reply to a private question not be made public. I mention it here only because Mr Goro has mentioned it in his blog.

So, in the spirit of everything being public all the time for fifteen minutes, I will give a fuller report of my first response to the film:

Much of it was beautiful. Many corners were cut, however, in the animation of this quickly made film. It does not have the delicate accuracy of "Totoro" or the powerful and splendid richness of detail of "Spirited Away." The imagery is effective but often conventional.

Much of it was exciting. The excitement was maintained by violence, to a degree that I find deeply untrue to the spirit of the books.

Much of it was, I thought, incoherent. This may be because I kept trying to find and follow the story of my books while watching an entirely different story, confusingly enacted by people with the same names as in my story, but with entirely different temperaments, histories, and destinies.

Of course a movie shouldn't try to follow a novel exactly — they're different arts, very different forms of narrative. There may have to be massive changes. But it is reasonable to expect some fidelity to the characters and general story in a film named for and said to be based on books that have been in print for 40 years.

Both the American and the Japanese film-makers treated these books as mines for names and a few concepts, taking bits and pieces out of context, and replacing the story/ies with an entirely different plot, lacking in coherence and consistency. I wonder at the disrespect shown not only to the books but to their readers.

I think the film's "messages" seem a bit heavyhanded because, although often quoted quite closely from the books, the statements about life and death, the balance, etc., don't follow from character and action as they do in the books. However well meant, they aren't implicit in the story and the characters. They have not been "earned." So they come out as preachy. There are some sententious bits in the first three Earthsea books, but I don't think they stand out quite this baldly.

The moral sense of the books becomes confused in the film. For example: Arren's murder of his father in the film is unmotivated, arbitrary: the explanation of it as committed by a dark shadow or alter-ego comes late, and is not convincing. Why is the boy split in two? We have no clue. The idea is taken from A Wizard of Earthsea, but in that book we know how Ged came to have a shadow following him, and we know why, and in the end, we know who that shadow is. The darkness within us can't be done away with by swinging a magic sword.

But in the film, evil has been comfortably externalized in a villain, the wizard Kumo/Cob, who can simply be killed, thus solving all problems.

In modern fantasy (literary or governmental), killing people is the usual solution to the so-called war between good and evil. My books are not conceived in terms of such a war, and offer no simple answers to simplistic questions.

Though I think the dragons of my Earthsea are more beautiful, I admire the noble way Goro's dragons fold their wings. The animals of his imagination are seen with much tenderness — I liked the horse-llama's expressive ears. I very much liked the scenes of plowing, drawing water, stabling the animals, and so on, which give the film an earthy and practical calmness — a wise change of pace from constant conflict and "action". In them, at least, I recognised my Earthsea.
The issue of color:

My purpose in making most of the people of Earthsea colored, and the whites a marginal and rather backward people, was of course a moral one, aimed at young American and European readers. Fantasy heroes of the European tradition were conventionally white — just about universally so in 1968 — and darkness of skin was often associated with evil. By simply subverting an expectation, a novelist can undermine a prejudice.

The makers of the American TV version, while boasting that they were "color blind," reduced the colored population of Earthsea to one and a half. I have blasted them for whitewashing Earthsea, and do not forgive them for it.

The issue is different in Japan. I cannot address the issue of race in Japan because I know too little about it. But I know that an anime film runs smack into the almost immutable conventions of its genre. Most of the people in anime films look — to the American/European eye — white. I am told that the Japanese audience perceives them differently. I am told that they may perceive this Ged as darker than my eye does. I hope so. Most of the characters look white to me, but there is at least a nice variation of tans and beiges. And Tenar's fair hair and blue eyes are right, since she's a minority type from the Kargish islands.


I'm not posting any more massive quotes in here, don't worry.
Ade
I've got a tonne of books I have yet to read, but I just can't seem to resist buying more:

Ian McEwan - 'Atonement'
Mark Haddon - 'A Spot Of Bother'
Raymond E Feist - 'Into A Dark Realm'

I shall be having a very Ready Christmas this year, I think.
Downsy
Finished War of the Worlds by HG Wells and The Game by Neil Strauss

WotW was pretty good although for some reason the author kept using the word 'Tumultuous' every second sentence which started to grate after a while.

The Game was a very interesting book, partly for the subject matter and partly for the story. It is the story of a man who joins the pick up artists scene and becomes one of its major exponents, it covers a number of years in the lives of a group of pick up artists and recounts their story and engineered seduction techniques.
maian
Finished The Shining last night and I really enjoyed it for two reasons: 1. it was a very well-written book which also worked as a great character study and 2. it was interesting to compare the book to the film and see what differences there were. Turns out that there are quite a considerable number of differences.

I particularly liked the chapters that dealt almost exclusively with Jack and the ways in which the Overlook slowly began to take over him. The Snowmobile chapter in particular was quite heartbreaking to read as Jack went from not wanting to leave, to suddenly realising what danger they were all in and knowing that the Overlook wanted to do to them, to becoming convinced that he belonged and sabotaging the snowmobile to ensure that they couldn't leave. The final hundred pages were particularly tense and exciting since I already knew that the end of the book was radically different to the end of the film and so a lot of things came as quite a surprise to me.

A great supernatural novel that far exceeded my expectations.

I'm now turning my full attention to The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut.
Zoe
QUOTE (maian @ Dec 12 2007, 02:49 PM)
final hundred pages were particularly tense and exciting since I already knew that the end of the book was radically different to the end of the film and so a lot of things came as quite a surprise to me.
*


Wasn't it lovely that Jack actually has a chance for redemption through self-sacrifice? That really surprised me. It must be tought to bash your own face in with a mallet...
maian
QUOTE (Zoe @ Dec 12 2007, 03:09 PM)
Wasn't it lovely that Jack actually has a chance for redemption through self-sacrifice? That really surprised me. It must be tought to bash your own face in with a mallet...
*


That was probably one of my favourite moments. King went to such an effort to portray Jack as an essentially good but who is weak and easily led, firt by Al Shockley and, fatefully, by the Overlook, that giving him that final act of courage and allowing him to die rather than kill his son seemed incredibly fitting and touching, making good on his promise that he would never hurt Danny.
Zoe
It's just a wonderful novel.

I was especially glad to see Wendy as such a richly drawn character.

There wasn't a point I was actually scared during reading, but I didn't really expect that anyway. The creepiest moment by far for me was when Jack is thinking about how Wendy and Danny are trying to sabotage him whilst pacifying Wendy through foreplay.

Chilling stuff.
rabbit57i
God's Little Acre by Erskine Caldwell

Written in the 1930s this book is about a farm family in Georgia. The father has been digging holes in his land for the past 15 years in search of gold. He's got a son that has married rich & won't talk to the family. Another son who has married a woman so beautiful that she makes you want to get down & lick something. A daughter who is married to an out-of-work mill worker and another daughter that like to fool around with men.

I got the need to read this book after reading an article in an Illustraiton magazine about a paperback book artist James Avati. There were examples of many of his covers with many of them for Caldwell books. These 50 year old book covers were so intriguing that I just had to find the book and read it. Really says something about his artist ability & creativity.
maian
QUOTE (Zoe @ Dec 12 2007, 03:32 PM)
It's just a wonderful novel.

I was especially glad to see Wendy as such a richly drawn character.

There wasn't a point I was actually scared during reading, but I didn't really expect that anyway. The creepiest moment by far for me was when Jack is thinking about how Wendy and Danny are trying to sabotage him whilst pacifying Wendy through foreplay.

Chilling stuff.
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That bit is very creepy and unsettling. I also didn't really get scared whilst reading it, though Danny getting trapped in the concrete ring then fleeing the hedge animals was also creepy in a more conventional way. I felt the book as a whole worked better with suspense and tension than out and out scares.
Zoe
QUOTE (maian @ Dec 12 2007, 04:26 PM)
That bit is very creepy and unsettling. I also didn't really get sacred whilst reading it, though Danny getting trapped in the concrete ring then fleeing the hedge animals was also creepy in a more conventional way. I felt the book as a whole worked better with suspense and tension than out and out scares.
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You're totally right. Me and Alyssa were talking about that scene the other night and both agreed the concrete tube was the scariest moment.

Much scarier than the way Kubrick expresses the same idea in the film.

Alyssa hasn't read it since she was 13 and can't remember a lot of it, but that particular scene has always stuck in her head.

As for the book as a whole, it's an incredibly skilled work of suspense. There are times when you're on the edge of your seat with one character and then King switches to someone elses point of view and it's so tempting to skip ahead to get back to the action.
maian
QUOTE (Zoe @ Dec 12 2007, 04:54 PM)
As for the book as a whole, it's an incredibly skilled work of suspense. There are times when you're on the edge of your seat with one character and then King switches to someone elses point of view and it's so tempting to skip ahead to get back to the action.
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I completely agree. Sometimes I would be so caught up in what was happening with one particular character, particularly in that last 100 pages, and it would be such a shock to switch to another character. A couple of times I had to resist skim reading the inbetween chapters to get back to whatever I had been so caught up in before.

I really am amazed by just how different the book and the film are. It really is as if they are completely different visions that happen to share the same characters and location. I think the fact that the film is still the one horror film that has such an indelible impact upon me and genuinely terrified me when I first watched it gave me the wrong expectations for the book, though that was a bonus in some ways since, once I got over the expectation that every single page would scare me to death, I could really appreciate what King was doing with the setting and the creation of suspense.
Raven
QUOTE (Downsy @ Dec 4 2007, 08:44 PM)
Finished War of the Worlds by HG Wells and The Game by Neil Strauss

WotW was pretty good although for some reason the author kept using the word 'Tumultuous' every second sentence which started to grate after a while.


I must have read that half a dozen times, if not more, and I've never noticed that.

I bet I will now next time!
curtinparloe
QUOTE (maian @ Dec 12 2007, 02:49 PM)
I'm now turning my full attention to The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut.
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That keeps leering at me from the shelf. I need to read it next.
maian
QUOTE (curtinparloe @ Dec 12 2007, 08:40 PM)
That keeps leering at me from the shelf. I need to read it next.
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It's really terrific.
Downsy
QUOTE (Raven @ Dec 12 2007, 05:25 PM)
I must have read that half a dozen times, if not more, and I've never noticed that. 

I bet I will now next time!
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Sorry about that wacko.gif

I've now 'read' I am America and so are you by Steven Colbert, a pretty interesting book but no way a piece of literature. It's pretty much a whole diatribe on the character he portrays himself as. Very often laugh out loud funny but not memorable.

I've got Dracula to 'read' next but I'm first going to punctuate it with The Mighty Boosh radio shows.

Zoe, I'm glad you enjoyed the Shining, I'm now going to have to go back and re-read it. Can I suggest Jaws if you manage to get hold of a copy?
maian
QUOTE (maian @ Dec 12 2007, 02:49 PM)
I'm now turning my full attention to The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut.
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Finished this last night and it was wonderful. A philosophical discourse on God, religion and existence wrapped up in hilarious comedy and science fiction elements.

I've now moved on to A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain.
curtinparloe
Just finished The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Very well crafted, if somewhat bleak.
Serafina_Pekkala
I shall now be reading The Shining again. I like a lot of King (yes he is formulaic and sometimes cheesy but he is a good writer, people) and haven't read this one in a long ole time. Decades even. Yikes.
maian
QUOTE (maian @ Dec 15 2007, 08:33 PM)
I've now moved on to A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain.
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Finished this late last night and it was a terrific tale and a very witty satire on both the Arthurian legend and the beliefs of Twain's own time. I particularly liked the last couple of chapters since it quite quickly became the best action movie never made and I was surprised by how sad I found the ending to be.

I've now turned my attention to Perdido Street Station by China Mieville.
Outatime
I got Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom for Christmas and I read it in two sittings. It's about the author going back and spending time with his old college professor who is dying of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease). His college professor was a sociologist and the book is made up of discussions between him and the author about lots of different subjects and how Morrie's perspective changes on them as his illness takes over. It's not depressing but not a light read either.
Kimmerv2
Recently finished:

A Cook's Tour - Anthony Bourdain
Kitchen Confidential - Anthony Bourdain
My Life in Paris - Julia Child

(hmmmm . . . am seeing a trend)

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People - Toby Young

And am now working on - The Bullfighter Checks Her MakeUp by Susan Orlean
maian
I had an hour to kill in Borders today so I read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. Seeing as it is one of the most often referenced, adapted and parodied stories ever written, it was quite interesting to read the actual text itself and see where all the subsequent versions of the tale started from. What I didn't realise though was that it is actually a mystery story, and I couldn't help but wish that I had read it when I was much younger, before I knew the twist.

Though I'm not sure how young I would have to have been since, as far back as I can remember, I've always known the twist and can't remember a specific moment when I found it out.
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