Cafe Doom

General Discussions => General Discussion => Topic started by: Ed on December 29, 2008, 06:05:13 PM

Title: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on December 29, 2008, 06:05:13 PM
I have got a huge pile of reading material begging to be read, but I can't seem to get into a novel lately. I'm re-reading a couple of short story collections - Alexei Sayle's Barcelona Plates, and Haunted, by Chuck Palahniuk. Anybody else read those? I'm reading one of each in turn and it's working out quite nicely.

What are you working your way through at the moment? :huh:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Grillmeat on December 29, 2008, 09:36:28 PM
Getting into the "Children of Hurin" by JRR Tolkien via his son Christopher and waiting for the price to come down a bit on the newest collection of short stories by Stephen King  "Just after Sunset"
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: elay2433 on December 30, 2008, 12:13:58 AM
Huge pile over here, too. I've concentrated my efforts on short story this past year, though I did make time for few novels. The only memorable standout was The Woods, by Harlen Coben. I just recently re-read Switch Bitch by Roald Dahl. Great stuff there. It's what inspired me to write in the first place.

Haven't read Barcelona Plates, or Haunted. Good stuff? I've got more short stories to get through than I've got time for, but Id have a look if they came recommended.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: desertwomble on December 30, 2008, 01:47:21 AM
I got 'The Catcher in the Rye' for X-mas this year.

What a hoot!

DW :santa_cheesy:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on December 30, 2008, 03:13:19 AM


Haven't read Barcelona Plates, or Haunted. Good stuff? I've got more short stories to get through than I've got time for, but Id have a look if they came recommended.

I couldn't get into Haunted last time I read it. The stories are all high impact in one way or another, so it's sometimes jarring to read, and by a certain point in the book I felt like the author's main aim was only to shock in whatever crass way he could. That said, I know people who loved it, and there are several stories that verge on brilliance IMO. The story 'Guts' is one of them. If you google the name there's a copy of the story online on the author's site. I'm reading it again in the hope I'll gain a new appreciation for the stories that didn't resonate the first time around.

Barcelona Plates is sometimes crass (eg. the title story), but I think there's more good stories than bad in the book. Some of the cultural references are quintessentially British, so you'll miss the nuances in a couple of the stories. It won't make that much difference, though. All in all it's easy to read, funny, and at times ironic.

Take a look at these links - http://www.cafedoom.com/forum/index.php?topic=1617.0

http://www.cafedoom.com/forum/index.php?topic=1284.0
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on December 30, 2008, 03:19:00 AM
I got 'The Catcher in the Rye' for X-mas this year.

What a hoot!

DW :santa_cheesy:

I read that one last year, expecting it to be amazing after all the hype it got through the years. What a load of old toss. A whole book full of words that add up to nothing happened. :scratch:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on December 30, 2008, 04:34:10 AM
Last night I finished The Anubis Gate by Tim Powers. It's a dense and intricate (confusing!) time travel steampunk thing... Started brilliantly, got a little too confusing in the middle - and hence it took me a while to navigate this section - and ended very well.

Also three quarters of the way through Tuesday's War - a second world war action/love/thriller type thing. It's pretty good, too, though I've now got to the stage where I've had enough of it so I shall be making a concerted effort to polish off the last 150 pages over the next few days.

Then it's that wonderful moment when I go into the library down on the south wing of Del Towers and spend a good twenty minutes perusing all the books I've yet to read, and salivating at the worlds and adventures and heroes and heroines that await me within. I love that moment.  :smiley:

What's top of my list? Lord knows. I have a classics section and a crime section and a sci-fi section, horror, mainstream... biographies... I had a book called Four Kings for Xmas. All about the Duran, Hagler, Hearns, Leonard era of boxing. I have some Steinbeck and Mailer and Hemingway. There are still some John D MacDonalds that I haven't read. Ayn Rand and Tolstoy rub shoulders with Lansdale and Poppy Brite. Alfred Bester and Gene Wolfe look down upon Raymond Chandler and Scott Fitzgerald. I picked up some old John O'Hara's in my local secondhand shop recently and they're buttressed up against A Tale Of Two Cities and A Clockwork Orange. I recently extracted The Boys From Brazil from the crate of books in my garage because (for an unknown reason) I suddenly had an urge to read that again. I have some Val McDermid and some John Grisham, Walter Moseley and Elmore Leonard. I have In Cold Blood by Truman Capote and I have Roadside Picnic by those two guys who's anmes I can't pronounce let alone spell. I have Colin Bateman, Annie Proulx, Dan Simmons, Peter Straub. I have a Bill Hicks biography that I'm really looking forward to reading, so much so that I keep putting it off. I have The Forever War by Joe Haldeman that looks great and then there's all those early Stephen Kings that I keep on my shelf despite the fcat that I've read them all numerous times. He, more so than anyone else, makes me feel that writing is fun, so is always worth rereading once a year.

What a lovely problem this is!

Derek

Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delph_ambi on December 30, 2008, 04:51:27 AM
Currently reading "The Dance is Over" by P Soman Panicker. I 'know' Soman from the UKAuthors site, and always enjoyed his stories, so thought I'd buy his book. I haven't been disappointed.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Mooncalled on December 30, 2008, 09:34:18 AM
I'm currently reading Hotter Than Hell it's an anthology with 12 different authors.  I'm also reading Kelly Armstrong's Living With The Dead.  This is one of the few times I can keep two books going at the same time.  Next I think I'll read the next two of Mary Janice Davidson's mermaid series.  I love Mary Janice Davidson's stuff it's like a Saturday morning cartoon, light, fun, and a total guilty pleasure.   
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on December 30, 2008, 01:53:39 PM
I'm halfway through Stephen King's Duma Key at the moment and as ever he has me spellbound. The book I read previous to this was 'Salem's Lot a very cool Vampire story. I must have read about two thirds of the books King has written and was only ever disappointed by one of them, which was Needful Things.
  I too was shocked by the price of Just after Sunset, £18.99, I think I'll what for the paperback on that one.
  At the weekend I bought 20th Century Ghost, I like to have something waiting on the shelf. It's by a guy called Joe Hill, I've never heard of him before but I often like to read books by authors I know nothing of, spice of life and all that.
  The Forever War, as delboy mentioned, is a great read. After about fifteen years of reading nothing more challenging than the tv guide, a friend recommended it to me. I agreed, somewhat reluctantly, to read the first few chapters and after I had I just kept going. I've been stuck on books ever since. What a wasteland I used to live in.     
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on December 30, 2008, 02:11:30 PM
Joe Hill is one of Stephen King's sons - he apparently wrote under the nom de plume so that he could earn his own place on the book shelf.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on December 30, 2008, 03:12:26 PM
Quote
Joe Hill is one of Stephen King's sons - he apparently wrote under the nom de plume so that he could earn his own place on the book shelf.

Pretty good going then. His old man did it (became a successful author) twice - once as Stephen King and once as Richard Bachman, and now his son's done it. Should this give us all hope? Or is there something in the water up there in darkest Maine??

Quote
I'm halfway through Stephen King's Duma Key at the moment and as ever he has me spellbound. The book I read previous to this was 'Salem's Lot a very cool Vampire story. I must have read about two thirds of the books King has written and was only ever disappointed by one of them, which was Needful Things.

I recall reading Salem's Lot for the first time waaaay back when it was first out and couldn't put it down. Those first few books - Carrie, The Stand, Salems Lot, The Shining are just immense. I stuck with King through the first half of his career but must admit haven't really enjoyed too many of the middle-late era books. Things like Needful Things, The Dark Half, The Girl That Loved Tom Gordon.... they just didn't quite grab me the same way. On the other hand, The Body is immense, as is Pet Sematary and most of IT, so I guess he hadn't lost his touch, just a little bit of consistency. Mind you, that's akin to saying Jimi Hendrix played the odd dodgy guitar solo. Even at their direst these guys are still up there in the stratosphere compared to most.

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on December 31, 2008, 05:25:11 AM
Quote
Also three quarters of the way through Tuesday's War - a second world war action/love/thriller type thing. It's pretty good, too, though I've now got to the stage where I've had enough of it so I shall be making a concerted effort to polish off the last 150 pages over the next few days.

Well, I gave this book a bit of a disservice in the quote above. Superb ending. I shall definitely be buying the next in the series. Good job!

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on December 31, 2008, 06:04:50 AM
Joe Hill is one of Stephen King's sons - he apparently wrote under the nom de plume so that he could earn his own place on the book shelf.

I'm stunned by that. On a whim I buy a book and it turns out to be by the son of one of my favourite authors. Go figure. :santa_shocked:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Geoff_N on December 31, 2008, 02:12:52 PM
Bloody Books have sent me two pre-publication novels to review: Absence by Bill Hussey (an unusual ghost story set in the Fens - very good so far) and Joseph d'Lacey's Garbage (I'm looking forward to reading it after his outstanding Meat.)

For presents I've been given several collections and novels by A.L. Kennedy, and A Void by Perec, The Watchers (a chilling autobio by a paranoid schizophrenic) and amnesia moon by Lethern.

All I need is time...

Geoff
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: starktheground on December 31, 2008, 08:55:55 PM
I'm reading Duma Key right now, or (rather) trying to find time to read it. It's a completely hypnotizing read.

I'm a pretty big fan of Palahniuk, but I was very, very disappointed by Haunted. Nothing good I can say about that one.

I'm trying to decide what to buy with a little Christmas money I received. Too many books, never enough time or money!!!
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Pharosian on January 01, 2009, 04:59:25 PM
Joe Hill's real name is Joseph Hillstrom King.

I listened to the audiobook version of 20th Century Ghosts this past summer, and really enjoyed it. I particularly liked the stories The Cape and Voluntary Committal. The narrator did an excellent job. Joe Hill really has a way of creating memorable characters.

I sought out that collection after having listened to Heart-Shaped Box, a novel by Joe Hill. It was read by a different narrator, but that was a good thing. Most of the characters in 20th Century Ghosts are boys or young men. The protagonist in Heart-Shaped Box is an over-50 rock-n-roll legend who has a collection of morbid curios. One day he buys a ghost online... If your local library has audiobooks available, check it out. I think Joe is a better writer than his old man.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on January 01, 2009, 05:05:44 PM
Do you happen to know whether or not he was formally instructed by his father?
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on January 01, 2009, 06:10:31 PM
Quote
I think Joe is a better writer than his old man.

Sounds like he might be worth checking out.

I'm now reading one of Val McDermid's Tony Hill novels. Very unputdownable, but it does highlight the difference between being a good writer and being a good story-teller. I've said it before within these coffee-stained walls, great story-telling seems to me to be a far more important ingredient at the top level (i.e. best sellers) than great writing.

Now I'm off to read some more...

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Pharosian on January 01, 2009, 07:01:55 PM
Do you happen to know whether or not he was formally instructed by his father?
I don't know, but I wondered the same thing.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on January 01, 2009, 08:12:28 PM
Do you happen to know whether or not he was formally instructed by his father?
I don't know, but I wondered the same thing.

It would be interesting to know the story behind him taking after the old man, wouldn't it? I'd also like to know whether he kept his writing secret for a while, or whether he wrote from a young age under the tutelage of his dad, whether there are opinions about writing techniques they differ on.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: i_abomination on January 08, 2009, 11:03:02 PM
Late on this one -

I haven't read Haunted, but I did recently finish Choke which I can't say I liked too much.  Invisible Monster was great, but Choke, not so much.   There wasn't really any of the brilliance that you've come to expect from Chuck Palaho-oh-oh-nok.  It was just more the same offensives crap, the anarchist femme - I could take it or leave it.  But it was infinitely better than Bradbury's From the Dust Returned which I was three quarters through when Choke came in and happily abandoned.  I just finished Old Flames by Ketchem - he's another hit or miss guy.  Thomas Tessier did a far better job with the stalker-you-dated-in-high-school story in my opinion.  I'm about to start on Right to Life, a second novella in the Ketchem book.   It's a take on the ol' Girl in the Box story.  The broad that was abducted hitchiking from Eugene Oregon and ended up living in a coffin sized box for seven years under her married couple abductor's bed.  The true story of that is too bizarre to improve upon, I can't imagine setting it in New York against a political subtext will actually improve the story, but I'm sure it put shoes on ol' Jack's feet.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on January 09, 2009, 02:26:57 AM
I think the word 'offensive', in all its meanings, just about covers it - I've abandoned Haunted again. The word 'harrowing' springs to mind as well. It's annoying me, so I think I'll wait for the film.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: i_abomination on January 09, 2009, 03:10:28 AM
Yeah - sometimes things aren't worth the effort to read them, haha. 
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on January 09, 2009, 08:15:00 AM
funny how tastes differ, though - like I said above, I know at least two people who thought it was excellent.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: starktheground on January 09, 2009, 07:07:15 PM
funny how tastes differ, though - like I said above, I know at least two people who thought it was excellent.

I know one. But he has zero taste, in my opinion.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Pharosian on January 10, 2009, 12:01:10 PM
I just finished The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness over the holidays, and I liked it a lot... except for the cliffhanger ending. This is Book One of what will be the Chaos Walking series, but Book Two isn't scheduled for publication until the spring. Naturally, I didn't know that when I started reading it, so I was a bit frustrated when I jumped on Amazon to order book two and found that the best I could do was put myself on the list to be notified when it's available.  :( You can pre-order on amazon.co.uk, but not on the US site.

The book recently won the Booker teenage prize and the Guardian Children's Fiction prize in Britain... but like the Harry Potter books, I think this will appeal to adults, too... but you might want to wait until Book Two is available! Unlike the Harry Potter books, this is much darker stuff.

Blurb from the author's website:

     Todd Hewitt is the last boy in Prentisstown.

     But Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in a
     constant, overwhelming, never-ending Noise. There is no privacy. There are no secrets.

     Or are there?

     Just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd unexpectedly
     stumbles upon a spot of complete silence.

     Which is impossible.

     Prentisstown has been lying to him.

     And now he's going to have to run...
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: JonP on January 10, 2009, 12:34:14 PM
Wow, what a amazing premise. One of those "wish I'd thought of that" ones.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on January 10, 2009, 02:06:40 PM
I finished reading Duma Key the other night and I got to say I liked it. At times I wonder were the book was headed, for quite a while the story centres around a guy who is coming to terms with injuries he sustained in an accident. But as I got into the last third of the book all the little things that had happened to the guy on this journey started to fall into place, and that’s when Stephen King’s roller-coaster fired up.

I must admit it’s nice to be on the planet at the same time he is.  :afro:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: i_abomination on January 10, 2009, 07:15:27 PM
I can't say I've been a fan of anything he's written since Desperation - but I did like that one quite a bit.  Nothin else since has really pulled me in though.

I'll still eventually read Haunted, just because Chuck's so damn easy to read, but there's probably quite a bit of other stuff I'll go through first.  I can't wait to get back to bookstores.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: starktheground on January 10, 2009, 11:22:08 PM
I finished reading Duma Key the other night and I got to say I liked it.

I must admit it’s nice to be on the planet at the same time he is.  :afro:


Yeah, it was definitely a good one. Much better than the last King I read: Lisey's story.  :bangh:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: desertwomble on January 11, 2009, 02:35:22 AM
I got 'The Catcher in the Rye' for X-mas this year.

What a hoot!

DW :santa_cheesy:

I read that one last year, expecting it to be amazing after all the hype it got through the years. What a load of old toss. A whole book full of words that add up to nothing happened. :scratch:

Must agree with you on this one, Ed. The book made strangely compulsive reading though, even if the voice of the main character did sound a bit like the 'Diary' feature in 'Private Eye' at times!

DW :cheesy:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: i_abomination on January 12, 2009, 10:31:09 PM
I tried to read Lisey's Story a little over a year ago - maybe it was my mindset, but I just couldn't get into it - not even well beyond the 100 page mark, so I ended up giving up and going with Thomas Tessier.  Even million dollar hands can pen a flub, I guess.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on January 13, 2009, 02:08:53 AM
Same here. I read Cell, which I thought was good, and was looking forward to Lisey's Story, but I couldn't get into it at all.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Woody on January 13, 2009, 02:03:17 PM
Just finished Dean Koontz - The Good Guy, and must say this has been the most satisfying read I've had in a long, long time - not one part of it felt like you could skip over it because it wouldn't impact the story at all. Unlike some of Stephen King's work and James Herbert (two of my favourite authors). The premise is excellent, good guy accidentally becomes target of assassin whilst trying to save assassin's target from being assassinated. The two MCs are brilliantly well written.
My next stop will be Peter Straub's - The Ghost Story
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on January 13, 2009, 02:21:37 PM
I liked Lisey’s story, but I pretty much like anything King does.

I found a book in a second hand store called ‘A For Andromeda’, thought that one was a cool read.    :cool:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on January 13, 2009, 03:46:02 PM
Quote
My next stop will be Peter Straub's - The Ghost Story

Tremendous read! Enjoy. I also loved Mystery and Koko, too. When he's on form Straub is amazing.

Regards,

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Woody on January 13, 2009, 03:55:39 PM
I think Straub has one of the most distinct writing styles and sometimes it takes a bit of effort to get your head around it, which I why I dip into his stuff irregularly. The last one I read, quiet a few years ago now was Mr. X, a very peculiar story and good as well.
Also when King and Straub collaborate those I think are brilliant, especially, for me, The Talisman, but Black House is another good one.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: JonP on January 13, 2009, 04:11:45 PM
I'm currently reading "A Spot of Bother" by Mark Haddon (of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime" fame). If you can imagine what might have happened if Tom Sharpe had written a literary novel, you're close. But probably not close enough. Weirdly, next up is "Pride and Prejudice". Trust me, there is a good reason for this.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Goblinking on January 20, 2009, 10:00:56 PM
Hmmm latest reads about two thirds threw Hyperion by Dan Simmions finished twilight eyes by Knootz recently. Read the who Dark Tower Series last fall I really enjoyed that.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: i_abomination on January 20, 2009, 10:52:09 PM
Same here. I read Cell, which I thought was good, and was looking forward to Lisey's Story, but I couldn't get into it at all.

Cell was good.  Felt almost like old King.  Im a sucker for the multi-character end of the world type of stories though.

I'm still reading Ketchem, though I don't know why.  He's gotta be one of the most overrated horror/ thriller icons.  This is the fourth or fifth book of his I've read and still just find the whole lot of 'em forgettable schlop. 
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on January 21, 2009, 02:51:02 AM
I've just started Burnt Sienna by David Morrell. I loved his book on writing, and I really enjoyed his early novels, but at the moment - in this one - I feel like the set-up is just too obvious: ace military pilot  ("the best his co-piloy ever knew!"), also happens to be world-class artist, has left the military world behind to became a happy and reclusive painter and to never take orders again, but is now pulled back into a deadly plot by a sinister figure who has so much power across the globe that even the FBI can't get near him... so they come to our super-soldier for help...

It's a fast read - very fast - and it's a masterclass in providing just the right amount of description of people and places. But I can't get over the obviousness of the set-up. It feels like one of those Hollywood movies I hate that usually has a short title ("Kill Slug!" "Death Kitten!" "Deadly Tuppaware!!"), stars Mel Gibson or Bruce Willis, and has a zillion of baddies with a trillion guns, none of whom's bullets ever come near our hero...

Nice easy read, though, and every once in a while you need one of those. Especially after a few heavy non-fiction tomes.

Regards,
Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Morbid Misery on January 24, 2009, 03:43:03 AM
Jeffery Deaver, H.P. Lovecraft, Marcia Cole, Peter Robinson, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Clive Barker and Thomas Harris.

These are my favourite authors and although there are many more out there, these author's novels never fail to impress.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: rsmccoy on January 24, 2009, 10:48:08 AM
I just started Blood Lite, the Antho from HWA. I'm halfway through and it is excellent. The Terror by Dan Simmons was also excellent. I liked Duma Key, very smooth read and of course the Minnesota connection was cool. I used to live thee blocks from Lake Phalen. It is creepy deep, a lot of people have died in that lake.

Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on March 11, 2009, 01:57:13 PM
  I just finished Quake by Andy Remic. What an amazing book. The thing is when I first started reading it there was a line near the start that went something like, ‘she grabbed hold of his steely bicep,’ and I thought is he taking the piss here, but I kept on reading it, there’s an addictive quality to the story, and I’m so glad I did.
 
  This particular universe is populated by huge men with bulging muscles and chiselled jaws who are battered beyond belief in endless fights only to come back for more. The only thing that can try to defeat them are the even huger men, mutants, tanks, helicopter gun ships and crazed natives they encounter.

  The end of every chapter is a cliff-hanger, the action is relentless and I had great fun reading a very cool book. :cool:   
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on March 11, 2009, 03:28:03 PM
I decided to try and get my 11 yr-old nipper interested in reading books, so I thought I'd buy him a few classics we could read together. I've bought Frankenstein, Dracula, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Jekyll and Hyde, and finally Crime and Punishment, all Penguin Classics, for about two quid apiece.

The only problem is that I didn't realise just how impenetrable the text is in most of them. I read several pages of Frankenstein aloud to him and then spent three times as much time explaining what all the words meant. If I had more time on my hands I'd like to transcribe it into English that he can read and understand what's being said and narrated. It's frustrating that the language presents such a barrier to enjoying these great stories.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: elay2433 on March 11, 2009, 04:07:59 PM
Have you read any Roald Dahl books to your 11 year old, Ed? Ton of great stuff out there by him for kids. I think most of his kid books are targeted at 7-11 year olds. He's got a book of Ghost Stories (Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories) which has tales that can be enjoyed by adults as well as young adults.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on March 11, 2009, 07:14:37 PM
No, I haven't - I'll take a look at that. Thanks for the tip, Jerry.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Woody on March 11, 2009, 08:08:29 PM
Ed, just a thought - one of the reasons I got into writing was because, through circumstances I'm not willing to go into just yet, I had no opportunity to read stories to my kids, so I created the Brave Dave series - a set of books that appeal to the adult reader and also appeal to kids. Yes, they're not in the same vein as the classics, but that was a deliberate choice. Also the text of the first book was a first attempt, after a professional review and edit.
If you are willing I can send you the first book, without any cost, so you have something that may interest your kid in the written word. And something you may have a good laugh at. If you need further information about this series click here (http://www.bravedave.co.uk).
Just let me know and I'll get the book to you. It was written to be read. And if you're up for this, any feedback would be appreciated, especially from your kid.

all the best

Woody
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: SamLeeFreak on March 11, 2009, 10:23:17 PM
Cell, by Stephen King (though I might switch it with Red, by Jack Ketchum). Either way,  :cheers:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on March 12, 2009, 02:24:45 AM
I liked Cell :afro:

Thanks for the offer, Woody. I'll wait and see how he gets on with a bit of Roald Dahl first - it's not altogether clear at this stage whether he will be up for it, or whether he'll just see it as 'more homework'.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Grillmeat on March 12, 2009, 08:16:10 AM
 I read Cell as well, good book :afro:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: starktheground on March 13, 2009, 07:05:58 PM
I really dug Cell myself.

Ed, if you want to interest your kid in reading something other than classics (just for fun books), you might try the Warrior cat series by Erin Hunter. My son loves em, even if they're meant for older kids. I've seen him literally sitting on the edge of his seat when reading them!
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on March 20, 2009, 02:37:35 PM
I picked up a copy of Four Past Midnight last weekend and was so pleased to see that the first story was The Langoliers. I saw the film many years ago and loved it. The written story is even better.
  Made me laugh though, Stephen King said in his forward that the stories were too short to be books in their own right. Yeah right, I see what he means, the Langoliers is only 318 pages long.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on March 20, 2009, 08:01:09 PM
Is that the one where they come along and eat the residue as time passes?
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on March 21, 2009, 01:27:36 PM
Yeah, that's the one, Ed. The Langoilers are a kind of clean up crew who remove used time. It's a great story and a wonderful concept, wish I could think of something half as good. :scratch: 
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on March 21, 2009, 04:59:56 PM
Yeah - I liked that one. Great concept. I think you're on to a winner if you can come up with a good 'what if' to explore.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: ShadowPeople on April 30, 2009, 01:06:41 PM
Um at the moment I am reading Angels and Demons, but after that I want to read In this Skin by Simon Clark. I have read a lot of his books, but they are beginning to be harder to find, he comes out with a new book every year, but the book stores done keep than longer than a week or two.
If anyone is looking for a good horror writer I would have to say he is a really good one, not to much detail and he just gets right into the story, Blood Crazy is one of his best works and my favorite book of all time!
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on April 30, 2009, 01:37:23 PM
After reading the Da Vinci Code I don't think I'd want to pick up another Dan Brown novel, TBH. I found the DVC quite entertaining at times, but I let out quite a few groans, too. How are you liking the book so far?

I like the cover on In This Skin - http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/c/simon-clark/in-this-skin.htm - if the novel is half as creepy as the jacket then it's likely to be a good read.

Welcome to the forum :smiley:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Bec on May 01, 2009, 05:19:19 AM
I've just bought The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 19, and also Stephen King Goes to the Movies. I've just got to finish reading Bill Hussey's The Absence first.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on May 01, 2009, 06:33:39 AM
I have a bunch of non-fiction and writing relating books on the go, but have just finished the novel I was reading so this weekend I will peruse the shelves and start a new one. I love that moment of choice!

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on May 01, 2009, 11:57:53 AM
I'm still languishing in the doldrums at the middle of Best New Horror 18. Have you read that one, Bec? If so, what did you think of the stories? I've also got #17 sitting on my book shelf unread.

I have a bunch of non-fiction and writing relating books on the go, but have just finished the novel I was reading so this weekend I will peruse the shelves and start a new one. I love that moment of choice!

Derek

Yeah - I like that moment, too. It's a bit like when you're at the airport and just about to depart, looking through the book shop and picking out stuff you're going to read over the next couple of weeks. I always end up buying too many, but that's OK. I'll get around to them sooner or later.

Haven't read any more of my text book 'HWA On Writing Horror'. So far it's all been fairly obvious stuff, or things I've heard before. I'll keep reading it, though. It's interesting all the same.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Bec on May 01, 2009, 01:43:09 PM
No, I haven't read any of the others in the Best New Horror series, Ed. I also have the HWA On Writing Horror on my shelf waiting to be read. Maybe I'll start it this weekend.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Geoff_N on May 03, 2009, 05:13:50 PM
It's difficult finding time to read anything other than the Whittaker fiction comp entries. Just finsihed round four and I have about 10 days before the next batch whizz in. However, I am reading Marisha Pessl's Special Topics in Calamity Physics. It's a bit of a murder mystery road book (yes it is fiction) and I love the wordcraft. For my 3D book group I need to read Mudbound by Hillary Jordan. This is good for me because it has nowt to do with fantasy or scifi but is allegedly good lit. I hope so.

Off on Wednesday to Groningen, The Netherlands, for my book launch of Hot Air. It's a thriller I wrote years ago but won a silver for best unpublished novel. A Dutch Arts Academyy is publishing it. I think they are pretty amateur bunch but they do know how to throw a great party :)

Geoff
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on May 08, 2009, 01:28:42 PM
  I just finished ‘The shrinking Man.’ I’d like to say it’s good but that wouldn’t be true. Instead I’ll settle for saying it’s brilliant, a joy to read and has one of the greatest battles to have ever graced the pages of a book. :afro: Ooh, spiders have never been so scary.

  Whilst I remember, I found a website called ‘moviesfoundonline.com’ There’s a fair few cult classics there that can be watched on-line and in segments if so desired, just make a note of how far into the film you are then go back to that spot when ready to watch more of it.
  ‘The last man on Earth.’ starring Vincent Price is available there.   
 
 

Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on June 14, 2009, 06:47:15 AM
  Well, I give up. It may have been recommended by Stephen King as important and one of his favourites but to me it’s just plain dull. I found over the course of the week that I was drawn less and less to it. There was nothing to grip my attention and the characters  blurred in my memory until I hardly knew who was who and what their motivation was. Dull, dull, dull, that’s my opinion of Peter Straub’s Ghost Story.

  Anyways, I’m of to find the steel helmet, flack jacket and the key to the bunker door. I’ll be okay in there, I’ve got a proper book to read this time. :tdoff:
   
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Woody on June 14, 2009, 08:16:33 AM
Caz, I've just finished Peter Straub's Ghost Story and found it rambling and certainly there were places where the guy used a thousand words when just one or two would have done - I think this book was part of his "Listing" period, where long lists of words mark it out as the fore runner of this period.

I have read Peter Straub books supremely better than this. Mr X. is good and I have found all the King/Straub collaborations brilliant, especially Talisman but Black House is another good one.

Also just finished James Patterson and Howard Roughman's You've Been Warned and although it says "Fear is just the Beginning" on the front cover - didn't strike me like that at all - but a good story anyway, some weird time lines that aren't explained directly but acceptable once all is revealed.

Gone back to James Herbert's The Fog as I have no recollection of reading but know I must have done because I bought the bought when it came out and now see what you meant when you said that the Dark is the Fog with a little bit more colour. Anyway will finish it to see how close the plots are.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on June 14, 2009, 10:23:13 AM
I read Ghost Story probably 25 years ago and recall thinking it was great. But there are many books from that period that I've subsequently reread and haven't thought much of... I do like Straub, though (*). I borrowed Mystery many years ago, too, and thought it was so good that as soon as I'd finished it I went out and bought my own copy. Haven't reread it yet though. I recall enjoying KoKo, too. But then, any book named after a Charlie Parker number is surely a winner.

(*) Recently bought a copy of his non fiction book Sides and couldn't get into it (or rather, I didn't 'get it') at all.

James Herbert... hmmmm. Gave up reading his stuff long ago. We used to pass his and Guy N Smith's books around at school, so for a few years I read them all - Rats, Lair, Domain, Dark, Fog, Spear etc etc. I used to enjoy them all until the end, when every time I felt let down. In the end I simply stopped reading them because of this disappointment. Tried again not so long ago with a book I forget the name of about a hospital for terribly mutant children and realised I should have stuck to my original decision.

Del
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Woody on June 14, 2009, 10:41:39 AM
I would suggest giving '48 or Nobody True a go - I particularly liked '48, not a usual plot for a James Herbert novel - post apocalyptic London after the second world war with neither side winning out right, I suppose it's a bit slipstream as well. That I felt, was really good.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on June 14, 2009, 02:22:20 PM
The Secret of Crickley Hall was awful on many levels, and that put me off ever reading anything from James Herbert's back catalogue.

Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on July 01, 2009, 10:36:28 AM
I'm halfway through Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man....

I absolutely love Somthing Wicked This Way Comes, but generally find Bradbury a bit boring, especially since alot of his sci-fi stories are set on bloody Mars.  But luckily, this is, by and large, proving interesting reading so far...

Next up: Pronto, by Elmore Leonard!
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Woody on July 01, 2009, 03:45:49 PM
The Secret of Crickley Hall was awful on many levels, and that put me off ever reading anything from James Herbert's back catalogue.

I think a lot of things of the artist bent will always have the good and the bad; it's practically impossible to produce excellent stuff all the time.

I remember, many moons ago, when I was heavily into Deep Purple. I'd gone through a spate of collecting every piece of vinyl they produced and then I came across "Come Taste The Band" - it took only 45 minutes from handing over the cash in the shop to me being back there asking for a refund and accepting a refund significantly short of what I'd paid for the album - I needed to get rid of it. However, it didn't stop me trying other stuff - I knew what they could do.

Ed, if you can ever forgive him for that novel (I wasn't impressed by it) and have it cross your mind that you may dabble one more time, try Sepulchre. Over the intervening years since it was first published I've gone back to it at least five times and each time I've never questioned myself as to why I read it in the first place.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on July 01, 2009, 03:51:34 PM
Thanks for the tip, Woody. I'd be willing to have a crack at Sepulchre. I actually quite enjoyed the first half of Crickley, but it dragged on too long, and by the end I was thoroughly pissed off by it on a number of levels.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Woody on July 01, 2009, 04:26:43 PM
... but it dragged on too long,...
It does seem to me that these days verbiage has a higher priority over succinctness in the traditional publisher's mind set.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Woody on July 01, 2009, 05:05:03 PM
Futhermore, once I've finished reading "The Fog", purely for academic reasons now, I'm going to take Sepulchre from my shelf and read it again - it's been a few years.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on July 02, 2009, 02:52:30 AM
Last night I kicked off reading Cinnimon Skin by John D MacDonald.

I've just finished several Robert Parker novels, one a western called Appoloosa in which he takes brevity of language to new extreme. His earlier Spenser novels tended to have much more description, but as he's aged so his use of style has become leaner and leaner, probably too lean, though it does make for a quick, easy and fun reading experience.

Not sure I'll revisit James Herbert anytime soon. I just had too many bad experiences. I did pick up Stephen King's Different Seasons last night and considered re-reading The Body for the umpteenth time. That's by far my favourite piece of King. But I plumped for the JDM instead.

Can't beat a good book on a summer's evening; though it doesn't do the word-count on WiPs much good!

Derek

Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on July 02, 2009, 07:40:17 AM
Have you read Sepulchre, Del? I hear it's good :smiley:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on July 02, 2009, 01:03:50 PM
I read Sepulchre in my James Herbert period back at school - and though I can't remember it per se, I do know that I came away from that period with a determination not to read any more. A determination I broke just the once...
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on July 02, 2009, 04:22:46 PM
Funny how tastes vary, isn't it? :grin:

Woody - maybe you'll read it this time and end up thinking 'wtf did I see in this shit before?' :scratch:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Woody on July 03, 2009, 02:19:24 PM
 :grin:

Who knows? But I'm hoping not.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on July 03, 2009, 02:41:08 PM
I've done that a few times with films I liked in the eighties. I'd say to the missus, "Oh, you've got to watch that film - one of the best I've ever seen." Then we watch it and I wonder just how stupid I was back then - how could I not see how hammy the acting was, how implausible the story, how crap the special effects?

I'm not saying that's how it was with you. Just that it's happened to me a few times - enough to make me wary of recommending anything I read/watched or otherwise appreciated in my teenage years :grin:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on July 04, 2009, 03:57:41 AM
This happens to me all the time with books, TV shows, movies, music, and even my own writing ("Did I write this shit?"). I guess it's simply part of one's natural growth. It would be wrong if it were any other way. Sometimes there's a feeling of disappointment, or even loss, with the realisation that something that was a huge and important part of a period of one's life no longer has the power to move you anymore. But, as I say, how could it be any other way?

Imagine the impact of reading James Herbert's The Rats or The Fog as an eleven year old, brought up on a diet of Enid Blyton, Willard Price, Stig Of the Dump, Warlord, and Magpie. Here  are books full of blood and gore and sex and extreme violence and they're  fast moving and terrifying and the characters are cool and there are sexy women and great set pieces.  How could you not love it? I remember being shocked (and delighted) that people actually put such words and scenes on paper. I remember me and the boys in my English class suddenly using such stuff in our own stories - putting words and ideas into our character's mouths and minds that would have got us into big trouble back home! We loved the rebeliousness of it all. It was great. But imagine the impact of reading that same book after experiencing Hemingway's For Whom The Bell Tolls and King's The Stand and Blatty's The Exorcist. When you've seen The Marathon Man and Jaws and The Postman Always Rings Twice and have experienced the coolness of Clint Eastwood as The Man With No Name or Dirty Harry and have furtively read Harold Robbins and Earl Thompson and when you've read Chandler and Cain and... etc etc.. Suddenly the impact of The Rats is going to be very different.

And that difference in base material is going to be apparant at any age - or rather, between any two ages. The music I've listened to in the last five years creates a massive shadow over the music I listened to thirty years ago. I still enjoy some of the early stuff, but most of it seems dated and simplistic and, sometimes, even fraudulent. Yet, as a fifteen year old I'd have died for those bands.

The interesting question for me is how to take all this experience and create something that has the same effect on others that any one of these pieces of work had on me at any given age.  Just to manage that one fleeting moment of inspiration to someone would be wonderful and make it all worthwhile.

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delph_ambi on July 04, 2009, 05:04:03 AM
Yes, exactly. Thank you Derek for articulating precisely what I hadn't got round to saying.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on July 04, 2009, 06:32:17 AM
I remember reading The Rats for the first time and thought it was the shiznit.  That was when I used to get up early on Sundays to go to car boot sales and rummage around for cheap books about giant animals attacking people.  I still love that stuff though; just recently I read Guy N Smith's Night of the Crabs, which is absolutely amazing.  I just don't think you get books nowadays with lines like "Fuckng hell, it's another one of those bastard crabs!" in it  :grin:

In other news, I'm now reading Pronto, by Elmore Leonard.  Very enjoyable.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on July 06, 2009, 10:00:06 AM
There's an interesting thing happening with some of my reading at the moment. I think it's because I've been reading a half dozen or so crime novels on the trot and thus am getting clued into how these things really work. Suddenly I'm seeing the nuts and bolts, picking up the framework, spotting what the author is doing. I used to sit down with the absolute intention of doing just this but tended to get caught up in the story - become a reader rather than a writer, if you like. But recently, the writer's view is coming to the fore.

I'm not sure I like it, but I think it's invaluable as a writer, if a tad annoying for the reader in me.

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Pharosian on July 06, 2009, 11:00:12 PM
There's an interesting thing happening with some of my reading at the moment. I think it's because I've been reading a half dozen or so crime novels on the trot and thus am getting clued into how these things really work. Suddenly I'm seeing the nuts and bolts, picking up the framework, spotting what the author is doing. I used to sit down with the absolute intention of doing just this but tended to get caught up in the story - become a reader rather than a writer, if you like. But recently, the writer's view is coming to the fore.

I'm not sure I like it, but I think it's invaluable as a writer, if a tad annoying for the reader in me.

Derek

That happened for me when I read three Dan Brown novels back-to-back: Angels & Demons, Deception Point, and Digital Fortress. (I seem to be one of the few people who never got around to reading The Da Vinci Code...) Anyway, if I'd only read one of them, or read the three of them months or years apart, I probably wouldn't have had the same experience, because, as you say, one gets caught up in the story. But by reading them in such close proximity to one another, by the time I finished the third one, I had the eerie sense that they were all basically the same book! From the surface, they are wildly different stories--and despite the snipes I kept hearing about Dan Brown's writing skills, I remained impressed with the amount of research he put into each book--but "under the hood" they all shared the same chassis, engine, and geartrain, so to speak. Instead of being annoyed, though, I was thrilled with the revelation. It was one of those "aha!" moments where I finally started to understand the "structure" of a book.

Since then, I've been fortunate enough to have taken a workshop that discussed story arc and novel structure, so it's not quite so much of a mystery anymore. It's still a daunting prospect to build the structure myself, but at least I can often glimpse the one someone else has built.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on July 07, 2009, 01:55:20 AM
I was very aware of Dan Brown's fishlipping strategy when reading DVC. Apart from that I thought it was much the same in structure as any other mystery/quest story. It starts with a murder and a mystery, the protagonist finds allies, our expert hero is called in, follows a trail of clues while shadowed by the villains, then they all converge at the end for a finale and a twist. Does that sound about right, or would you put it in different terms?

I'm interested because I really want to start (and preferably finish) a novel this year, and the one I have in mind is a kind of murder mystery, but with sci fi and horror elements.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on July 07, 2009, 02:27:06 AM
Yeah, that sounds about right, Ed. Almost the universal plot.

But it wasn't so much that framework that I was thinking about, more the way the flesh is attached to the framework. You know... an engaging conversation between two people that in itself is fun and readable and is shedding light on characters... but now I'm reading between the lines and spotting how throwaway comments are actually fore-shadowing ebemts and clues to come; how the frission between characters - not necessarily the villains - is designed to add a little more tension to the plot and makes teh reader just a little bit more anxious, how a simple plot is complicated by the introduction of (apparantly) unrelated incidents, how the tension of the love interest is introduced and maintained and kept simmering. How the villain, offstage in a lot of crime, is slowly built up into a character capable of threatening even our super-hero MC. How the arc of the story in many of these crime tales is essentially the same, and how, stripped of the mystery the plot itself is usually simple and everything is really about character. All this stuff. I've always had a tendancy to back off when creating my characters - bring them a little closer into the real world, if you like. But reading all these books on the trot I realise that real people aren't what's required. We want apparantly real characters but ones that are actually extremely heroic.

There's nothing new in any of this. It's suddenly just becoming very easy to spot all of this stuff. Like fishing for years and working hard on rivercraft to understand where the big fish are most likely to be, and then suddenly being given a pair of polaroids and being able to see them.

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on July 07, 2009, 01:40:39 PM
  Just finished a book called, ‘Let The Right One In.’ It’s by a guy called John Ajvide Lindqvist, he’s Swedish. I only mention that in case anyone thinks I can’t spell.
  Anyways, I bought this book because I liked the cover, it’s great to be shallow, and it’s turned out to be a good read.
  The story is a run of the mill vampire tale, with an assortment of weirdoes and freaks thrown in. But what stands out about it is the setting and characters. It’s set on what seems like a very bleak housing estate and all involved in the tale have got problems, be they drugs, booze, family troubles or too much interest from the local blood sucker.

  I liked this one for its originality, humour and writing style.   
  The only real niggle I've got with it are some of the character and place names. They're Swedish so I had to settle for a best guess on some of them. Not much of a problem in reality though.
 Well worth the money this one. :afro:       
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on July 07, 2009, 01:50:30 PM
In a similar sense, I love Raymond Chandler, and after reading two of his novels in a row, and then a collection of short stories, I discovered that even when he's not writing Marlowe, he's writing Marlowe.  Which I should be disappointed about, but since Marlowe's such a wonderful creation I don't mind.  

Plus, in the introduction of the book of short stories Chandler actually outlines what sort of qualities a main (hero) character should possess, to make him appear real, but actually properly heroic.  And after that little build-up, I haven't got the book to hand to quote  ;) but it involved 'honour' and 'strong morals' even if they 'bend the rules', that sort of stuff.

In other news: I've finally got round to reading an actual Clive Barker novel, The Great And Secret Show, it seems alright so far.

edit: whoops that top bit doesn't quite make sense following Caz's post haha

I was hoping to see the film of Let The Right One in when it came to my local cinema recently - except they had it for 5 days only arrghhh I've heard it called a 'modern fairy tale', would that be accurate, Caz?
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on July 07, 2009, 02:19:38 PM
Yes, I love Chandler, too. I have that book - The Simple Art Of Murder. That opening essay is great.

I read loads of Clive Barker way back - the Books Of Blood, Hellbound Heart, Weaveworld, and a host of others. I was always really impressed with his vision and also his style. Must get back and read some more, sometime. I bought his biography but couldn't get through it - it started off okay but soon turned into just a book by book review. I was hoping for a little more insight into the man, rather than the work.

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on July 07, 2009, 02:29:29 PM

I was hoping to see the film of Let The Right One in when it came to my local cinema recently - except they had it for 5 days only arrghhh I've heard it called a 'modern fairy tale', would that be accurate, Caz?

It is a work of fantasy and in many ways does resemble a modern fairy tale, a grim fairy tale at that. Lots of monsters.
I was wondering if the film had been out already...damn it, missed it. I’ll be keeping an eye out for the DVD.     
Title: .
Post by: Woody on July 07, 2009, 04:07:08 PM
mustn't have my stuff here, ed keeps it.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on July 08, 2009, 08:45:10 AM
as in the Good Guy (Kill Me Instead), he gets you into a character, then tells you they're going to peg it and then you just have to read on so you get past that bit in order to have some surprises.

I really like Koontz, and hate it when he does this.  In fact, I don't like it when any writer does this (King did it in Duma Key, so I spent the entire book waiting for that particular character to die) unless there's some amazing point or twist to the character dying.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on July 10, 2009, 06:37:40 AM
One of the first(*) ever "writing" books I bought was Dean Koontz'z "How To Write Best Selling Fiction". It remains one of the better how-to books on my shelf, too, though this section always makes me feel guilty:

"Writing, especially in sessions lasting six hours or more, is exactly what's needed to prime the idea pump that lies deep in the subconscious.

"I can almost hear the screams of protest from those of you who are not yet fell-time writers and whol hold down mundane jobs in the 'real' world...

"...if you want to become a full time writer badly enough, if you positively ache for it, you can find two six or eight hour blocks of time every weekend. Then there are holidays, vacations... For a couple of years prior to becoming a full time novelist, and for many years after, I spent 90% of my weekends at a typewriter..."

(*) The railway ticket to Manchester Piccadilly that is tucked inside the book and has been used as a bookmark is dated 1984

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on July 10, 2009, 08:43:12 AM
How many times has Koontz been married? I think the only way I could get six hours of uninterrupted time at the keyboard is if I killed my wife and put the kids up for adoption. Even then, I'd probably just sit down to write when the police turned up ::)
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Pharosian on July 10, 2009, 09:01:05 AM
How many times has Koontz been married? I think the only way I could get six hours of uninterrupted time at the keyboard is if I killed my wife and put the kids up for adoption. Even then, I'd probably just sit down to write when the police turned up ::)

Apparently just once, to his high school sweetheart. Sounds like a similar situation as Stephen King...
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: desertwomble on July 10, 2009, 09:20:41 AM
I think there's a big danger in saying this is how to write because such-and-such a celebrity author says so.

The bottom line is that all writers are different and have differnt ways of getting the job done - just as smokers find different ways to give up smoking.

As far as writing goes, one size doesn't fit all, although Mr Koontz and Mr King et al might try to tell us so.

As an example, Graham Greene used to write 350 words per day, stopping mid-sentence if need be. So is that the way to write to be successful? It was Mr Greene's way!

Personally, I try for a couple of hours of total concentration a day, if I can, with background noise - I can't work without it. After two hours, the focus slowly goes, so it's better that I stop.

DW :cheesy:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on July 10, 2009, 10:59:11 AM
Cool !! Mr Greene's my new hero.

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on July 13, 2009, 04:23:49 AM
Finished Pronto by Elmore Leonard, which was ace.  My review: BREEZY.
Struggling a little bit with The Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker.  Some of it is extremely boring, a fact made worse by the intermittent flashes of genuine excitement.  I don't think it helps that the core characters are rubbish, compared to the 'real' characters, who are interesting.  Hmm.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on July 13, 2009, 05:06:27 AM
I've finished Cinnamon Skin by John D MacDonald. Rare to get anything but brilliance from the great man but I was a bit disappointed in this. The writing was great, the subtle touches of description and characterisation spot on, but... the story was lacking. The bad guy never appeared until the last few pages, and there was never any danger. Normally JDM is a master at putting his characters in a lot of trouble. Here they simply drove and flew around the country searching out the bad guy. And found him. Job done.

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on July 28, 2009, 01:10:21 PM
Not sure if I'm going to finish the book I'm reading at the moment as it has a fair few typos, misplaced words, spelling mistakes, and at one point one of the characters was talking to and looking at himself, this wasn't suppose to be the case. Whatever happened to proof reading. :tdoff: It's one thing for amateurs to get it wrong but I picked this novel up in waterstones and expected better. :bangh: The story's not that bad but it's bloody annoying to keep stumbling over mistakes.   
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on July 28, 2009, 02:35:57 PM
I know what you mean, Caz. One of the many books I'm currently reading is Fear In A Handful Of Dust by Gary Braunbeck and there are so many mistakes in there from a typesetting perspective I swear no one could have proofread it.

Also halfway through Graham Greene's The Quiet American (I've read it several times before. It's great), the huge and mightily brilliant Seven Basic Plots, and... Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist, as recommended. I'm reserving judgement on this last book. Don't want to dismiss it too soon, but so far (page 82) I must admit I'm struggling.

Cheers,
Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Woody on July 28, 2009, 05:21:26 PM
Not sure if I'm going to finish the book I'm reading at the moment as it has a fair few typos...

Which book Caz?
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on July 29, 2009, 01:09:54 PM

Which book Caz?

It's called Skarlet, not a spelling mistake, and is by Thomas Emson. I read one of his books before, a werewolf tale, enjoyed it and didn't notice anything wrong with it. I think that's why I'm so disappointed by this latest one. I read a bit more of it last night and found more errors. Very poor.


Also halfway through Graham Greene's The Quiet American (I've read it several times before. It's great), the huge and mightily brilliant Seven Basic Plots, and... Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist, as recommended. I'm reserving judgement on this last book. Don't want to dismiss it too soon, but so far (page 82) I must admit I'm struggling.




Must admit, I could never read more than one book at a time. I would just get too lost with all the differing characters and plots.
I hope Let The Right One In picks up for you, I thought it great but then we're all different with different tastes. That's the trouble with recommending books. As I mentioned before I bought one that Stephen King said was brilliant and ended up giving it to the local charity shop unfinished. Can't win them all.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on July 29, 2009, 04:26:19 PM
Quote
Must admit, I could never read more than one book at a time. I would just get too lost with all the differing characters and plots.
I hope Let The Right One In picks up for you, I thought it great but then we're all different with different tastes.

I can read loads of books at a time. Sometimes I'm in the mood for one, sometimes another. For me it's no different to being able to follow Brookside, Emmerdale Farm, Crossroads, Coronation Street and Home and Away...  ;)

Last night's chapter of Let The Right One In was pretty neat. But I think my main issue so far is a lack of identification with any of the characters. Not only are none of them remotely like me or anyone I know, none of them are remotely akin to anything that I'd like to be like, if that makes sense. Normally, with a good hero you can kind of say, man it would be cool to be Dirty Harry, or you know what? I reckon there's a bit of  Gordie Lachance  in me. In Let The Right One In I'm still trying to work out which of the characters I'm meant to be siding with - I'm pretty sure it's the bullied kid who pees his pants, squeals like a pig to get out of a beating, wants to be a murderer, and steals things. I'm hoping he gets a bit more heroic as time goes on or I'll be rooting for the ignorant bullies to stick his head down the toilet again. The vampire girl is no better (yet). I know she's driven to kill by her nature, but the nature of her killing (or that of her guardian) does nothing to endear her (or him) to me. So at the moment, I'm stuck for a hero. Compare that to say, Salems Lot, which I guess is the natural comparison and there's a world of difference.

That's the other thing - and it's no fault of the author - but the cover and inside pages are full of comments about Linquist being the new Stepehn King, being King's heir, or having the same power and ability. Comment after comment compares him to King. I've found absolutely no similarities so far. This is neither good nor bad, but I think I had some preconceptions mistakingly set because of these comments. I guess in the world of horror, irrespective of the writer, people are always going to make this comparison. Kind of like Dylan in 1970's rock music. How many new Dylans were there?

Anyway, I shall plough on. I sense that it's starting to develop...

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on July 29, 2009, 05:12:39 PM
I'm hoping he gets a bit more heroic as time goes on or I'll be rooting for the ignorant bullies to stick his head down the toilet again.

 :grin:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Pharosian on July 29, 2009, 11:25:44 PM
I just read The Way of Shadows, first in The Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks over the weekend. Excellent!
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Grillmeat on August 23, 2009, 08:15:37 PM
I just finished reading Plague Pit by Mark Ronson. Read it years ago when I was in High School, still got a kick out it.
I am about to start  Twelve Days of Terror, a Non-fiction piece about a real life series of shark attacks on the Jersey shore. Its supposed to be the inspiration for the original Jaws. We'll see...............
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: desertwomble on August 24, 2009, 03:11:38 AM
I'm gearing up for EF (as long as I get enough writing time) with M.R. James' short stories (great for learning understatement and atmosphere in horror writing), The 19th Mammoth Book of Best New Horror (much better than its Amazon reviews suggest, and full of M.R. James-style understated horror so far!), and a 'best of' Sherlock Holmes (ACD's great sleuth always raises a smile,a nd the works have an undated appeal to them).

I'd recommend all of them!

DW :cheesy:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on August 24, 2009, 03:33:23 AM
I didn't get on at all well with Best Horror 18, so that's put me off reading 17, which I bought at the same time. Perhaps I should try 19 as well.

I've just started reading The Regulators, by King as Bachman. Finding it difficult to get into after just finishing The Tomb, by F Paul Wilson, one of the Repairman Jack series. That was enjoyable, but I sussed what was going on near the beginning, so at a point later in the book where the less attentive would have got a few 'oh wow' moments, I'd already sussed it. Good moments of suspense and thwarting of the reader's expectations.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on August 24, 2009, 03:53:38 AM
I've noticed a massive, no a MASSIVE, correlation between the amount of writing I do and the enjoyment I'm getting from the book(s) I'm currently reading. Which means, at the moment I'm doing very little writing. Sigh. When I've ploughed through the current crop I may have to revert to an old favourite or two in a literary equivalent of a good colonic irrigation.  :shocked:

Del
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on August 24, 2009, 01:02:09 PM

I've just started reading The Regulators, by King as Bachman.

I read the Regulators a while back. It's good even if it is a little crazy.

Just started on 'Handling The Undead' by that Swedish fella again. So far so good. :cool:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Grillmeat on August 24, 2009, 06:14:12 PM
Loved The Tomb by F. Paul Wilson  :afro:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on August 25, 2009, 01:42:47 AM
I particularly liked the way FPW handled the sex scenes - you got the jist of what was going on, but he didn't dwell over it and go into excess detail. It was the first time I had read a crossover novel - a detective story mixed with a supernatural element and a romance. Something there for everybody.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on August 30, 2009, 01:32:08 PM
My brother got me Best New Horror 19 for my birthday the oher week and I've finally had the chance to start reading it!  Just finished Fiends by Richard Laymon.  I love the dirty pervert.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on September 05, 2009, 02:10:52 PM
I was going to take some of my books down to the charity shop, running out of shelf space, and picked up one I thought I might give away. It's called 'The mammoth book of new terror.' I had a quick flick through it and came across a story called, 'Among the Wolves' it is by a guy called David Case. I had a vague recollection of this story and decided to read it again. It's a wonderful tale and is a fine example of how to write the perfect short story. Well worth a look for anyone who hasn't seen it.

The book stays with me now.

Also, just finished, 'Handling the Undead,' it's a cool zombie story.  :cool:   
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on September 05, 2009, 03:04:03 PM
Caz, great call - see my recent thread on David Case. One of my early influences, too.

Cheers,
Del
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: desertwomble on September 11, 2009, 03:35:51 AM
Just finished the post-apocolyptic novel 'The Road' by Cormac McCarthy.

It's on a par with (if not better than) 'The Stand', with two of the most horrifying scenes I've ever read. Real spine-tingly bits, and so vivid.

Well worth a read, and apparently the story comes out on celluloid in mid-October.

DW :cheesy:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on September 11, 2009, 12:28:14 PM


It's on a par with (if not better than) 'The Stand',

Better than 'The Stand.' I'll be checking out that one then.

I noticed that King's latest, 'Just after Sunset,' is now out in paperback, that's another one on my must have list along with any thing by David Case. I checked out your thread, Del. Thanks for the info.

Currently reading 'And the graves gave up their dead.' It cost 3/6 way back in 1964. Cost me £2 for the local second hand book shop.  :cool:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on September 15, 2009, 03:27:56 AM
I'm reading Fabric Of The Cosmos by Brian Greene at the moment. It's basically a layman's (ha!) journey through the world of physics from Newton onwards. It's not always easy, especially as there's no dialogue (although there are pictures), but the knowledge it imparts is stunning and totally thought provoking. For the first time ever I think I understand a smattering of Einstein's Special Theory Of Relativity and a little bit about quantum mechanics. Both are guaranteed to f@#k up your mind big time. The universe is far more amazing than I realised.

I finally finished Let The Right One In (read a few other books in tandem, I must admit). I must also admit I found it hard going. There were a couple of stunning sections in there, but overall it just didn't gel with me. Having said that, I know Caz loved it - so horses for courses.

I just bought King's latest set of short stories too - Just After Sunset, or something. Looking forward to that, although I notice The Cat From Hell is in there, which I recall reading eons ago in an anthology of short stories, so (a) I might have read some of the others, too, and (b) I know they're not all going to be good...

Regards,
Del
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on September 16, 2009, 04:05:13 AM
I read Just After Sunset fairly recently, and enjoyed it, but not as much as Everything's Eventual, his second most recent collection of short stories. 

I've almost finished Best New Horror 19, and have to admit I was/have been a little disappointed by the stories.  There doesn't seem to be as much variety among the themes as past years' collections, but this is offset by some truly ace stories.

Also halfway through Neuromancer by William Gibson.  I keep finding myself switching off, which is funny since it's all about jacking on to experience the matrix.  ha and indeed ha.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on September 21, 2009, 12:36:05 PM
  I read one of the stories in 'Just after sunset' the other day. It centres around a guy who survived the attack on the world trade centre, I won't give anything away about the story. There's some brief description of the torment that the people trapped in those buildings went through, fictional I know but probably very real, and of all the words I've heard and the footage I've seen this story brings home how awful it was for them.

The power of the written word.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: LeeThompson on September 22, 2009, 03:25:18 PM
Critting two friends novels, reading subs for an anthology. I have a pile of new mag's I'm sifting through-- Cemetery Dance Peter Straub issue (I love that guy), F&SF, Shroud 6, Asimovs. Gary Braunbeck's Far Dark Fields. Tom Piccirilli's The Nobody. I think that's it. My memory is horrible. LOL. :)

Lee
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on September 22, 2009, 03:40:35 PM
Wow, that's quite a workload, Lee - good job you enjoy reading, isn't it? :smiley:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: LeeThompson on September 22, 2009, 03:48:42 PM
LOL. Yeah, that's not the workload, Ed. That's the fun stuff. My own novel is the real work. Everything else is just pure pleasure. I'm less busy than I was a month ago though, so it's nice to get a bit of a breather. I use to crit and help a lot of newer writers. But I burned out on it, overwhelmed because I didn't have time to read for fun, or make strides with my own work. I'm relaxing now. It feels wonderful. :)
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on September 23, 2009, 04:24:18 AM
I'm coming to the end of Neuromancer, by William Gibson.  It's very impressive, considering it's supposed to be the novel that invented the words/terms 'cyberspace' and 'virtual reality', but a little too sci-fi for me.  I think I'm going to get back onto Chandler after this; I miss hearing Marlowe's voice  ;)
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Dragoro on September 24, 2009, 06:36:29 PM
Im in the process of rereading The Shining by King and also Bloodmoon by Gaylon Barrow.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: desertwomble on September 24, 2009, 10:37:30 PM
I'm working through 'The Woman in Black' by Susan Hill.

Great little book for learning how to do spooky atmosphere.

DW :cheesy:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: KatYares on September 25, 2009, 05:54:33 PM
Getting ready to start reading Peter Struab's Mr X.  Been a long time since I've read anything by him.
Title: .
Post by: Woody on September 25, 2009, 06:41:13 PM
mustn't have my stuff here, ed keeps it.
Title: .
Post by: Woody on September 25, 2009, 06:49:31 PM
mustn't have my stuff here, ed keeps it.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: KatYares on September 26, 2009, 03:23:02 PM
Getting ready to start reading Peter Struab's Mr X.  Been a long time since I've read anything by him.

Peter Straub is ok, most of the time. I wouldn't recommend Ghost Story, but Mr. X, albeit convoluted, is an incredible piece of writing, IMO.

However, if you like less complicated pieces I would recommend any of the Straub/King collaborations such as Talisman and Black House.

Actually I own most of Straub's early works and did like Ghost Story.

I have both Talisman (which I loved) and Black House.  Personally I think Black House is boring, the long descriptions seemed to go on forever - took me weeks to get through it. 

I made it about ten pages in on Mr X last night before being interrupted, hopefully will get to read more tomorrow.  Tonight, I have to be babysitting Grandma.  :)
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on October 02, 2009, 10:07:11 AM
I must reread Ghost Story. Recall really enjoying it when I first read it, and I remember reading that Stephen King was highly influenced by it when it came to large casts of characters in his novels, starting with Salems Lot. I also picked up a copy of The Hellfire Club from the library the other day for just 25p, so I'm looking forward to that, too. Mystery, by Straub, remains amongst my favourite books, and KoKo was great as well. I think I have Full Circle/Julia and If You Could See Me Now in a box in the garage, too. Great stuff!

I'm still working my way through the wonders of the universe and quantum mechanics in Brian Greene's Fabric Of The Cosmos. It's tough going but some of the revelations are mind bending. As a bit of light relief I took another look at King's On Writing. Not sure it was a wise move. A few things in there made me realise that too much water has passed under the bridge and I'm one of the people that he was scared of turning into as a young writer - still dreaming of making it and still tweaking one of several unfinished manuscripts (usually whilst drunk) at fifty years of age, kidding oneself that there were writers who didn't make it until that age... It's a great and inspirational book, but the reality is pretty tough to hear.

Del
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on October 02, 2009, 01:48:16 PM
King had the multiple advantages of starting at a very early age, at a time when there was a proper market for short stories. He had an academic career, which left him plenty of time to write, and a wife who during times when he had no work and sat at home typing instead, paid the bills.

He made the big time, but for every Stephen King out there there are thousands of mid list and bottom of the list writers who either scratch a meagre living at their craft, or merely subsidise the earnings from their 'proper' career with the occasional sale.

That's just the way it is. I resigned myself to the facts a long time ago, but that doesn't stop me enjoying the writing process, the learning and everything else. It's a hobby to me. One that might pay dividends one day (hopefully) but that's not the main reason I do it.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Dragoro on October 02, 2009, 02:13:01 PM
Yeah, I dont think you need to be "young" to make it in the writing business.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Lobolover on October 19, 2009, 02:19:10 PM
Well, I am reading Rex Stout's "How like a god" in book form and "The fatal inheritance" by Townshend Mayer .

On my reading list is "Concrete" by Ballard in book form and .....well, lots of things . Im thinking of chosing between E. F. Benson Collected Stories,THE FRIEND OF DEATH By Pedro Antonio de Alarcon y Ariza or The Strange Adventures of Mr. Middleton by Wardon Allan Curtis (last two of which I looked for last year and could not find online till recently) ....or I may read something completely diferent , perhaps WINGS TALES OF THE PSYCHIC-ACHMED ABDULLAH or even WRACK AND OTHER STORIES BY DERMOT O'BYRNE (whose excelent colection "CHILDREN OF THE HILLS" I read and reviewed recently)
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: tricjerm on October 21, 2009, 02:35:12 PM
Just finished The Reach by Nate Kenyon and started Aubrey's Door by Sarah Langan.  Both authors who made a mark with their first two books so I felt  a need to check them out. So far I haven't been too disappointed but not too blown away, either.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on November 05, 2009, 02:27:29 PM
I'm nearing the end of The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 20.  Much better than the last one, and there're a few really, really good stories about the 'outside world' turning to shit as something weird happens the main characters. 
Bought two pulp collections of old detective noir frm a discount bookstore, which I'm looking forward to reading.  Also bought a collection of Civil Defence pamphlets from the end of World War 2 which is excellent both to read as an insight into Cold War paranoia, and to see things like THIS:
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v204/babies4feet/BomCasualties.jpg)
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on November 05, 2009, 03:52:05 PM
Hmm, I bet that fellow led under the advertising hoarding is not feeling overly spiffing, and having a van wrestle one to the ground and then sit on you is bound to smart a tad, what....
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on November 05, 2009, 04:37:54 PM
What you don't see is just inside that building there's a fellow with a power drill saying "Who the f'#k put a live cable there!!"
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: LeeThompson on November 05, 2009, 07:11:41 PM
Right now I'm finishing up Straub's Shadowland, new copy of Cemetery Dance, Black Static issue 12 (thanks Ed!), Writers Workshop of Horror (rereading), reading/critting my buddies novel, an astrology book, a tarot book, and Shroud. Have some new novels coming in the mail that I'm excited about. I have Harlan County Horror's from Apex, and that's next on my reading list.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on November 06, 2009, 01:30:33 PM
I finished reading 'Ghostwritten' by David Mitchell the other day. It's a collection of shortish stories with each story having a connection to the previous one. It was mostly done by mention a character who had appeared in the early story and the affects their actions had. I thought it was a good idea and not one I'd seen before. Gotta say though I was baffled by the ending. Ho hum. :afro:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Grillmeat on November 06, 2009, 02:44:29 PM
Quote
What you don't see is just inside that building there's a fellow with a power drill saying "Who the f'#k put a live cable there!!"

Priceless!! :afro:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on November 21, 2009, 01:20:28 PM
I made a start on King's 'Under the Dome' the other day. I'm about a hundred pages in, there's loads of characters, loads of action and a hell of a lot more to read. I just love these epic journeys. :afro:
Title: .
Post by: Woody on November 21, 2009, 08:52:55 PM
mustn't have my stuff here, ed keeps it.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: elay2433 on November 22, 2009, 09:05:27 PM
Quote
Loathe saying it but I've recently finished Dan Brown's "Digital Fortress" and what a damned good read that was.

After I read Da Vinci Code, thorougly enjoying it, I went and bought the rest of his novels. Have to say I enjoyed them all. They were all page turners that I didn't want to put down. I've read reviews here and there about Digital Fortress and how the computer tech talk in the book reveals what an amateur Brown was when it came to accurately describing the inner workings of super computers, etc. I'm not the most computer savvy person out there, but I completely bought it all back when I read it years ago.

On another note, I hadn't yet begun learning about the craft of writing, so I wonder if I were to read them now, would I enjoy them as much? My girlfriend just finished his new novel. It was just okay according to her (and she couldn't make it through Digital Fortress). It's at the bottom of my huge to-read pile, but I'm curious to see if enjoy it as much as I did his previous novels.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on November 26, 2009, 11:22:40 AM
Currently having a bash at Mr Paradise by Elmore Leonard. It's good, but it feels just a little too stripped down, as if Leonard was trying to write a hard-boiled version of himself.

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on December 12, 2009, 08:00:36 AM
Finished reading 'Under The Dome' yesterday. What a great book, I loved it. It's all full throttle action from start to finish. I felt so much a part of the story that at the end I felt a bit sad to be saying goodbye to good friends. Still, such is the way with fictional characters, we never do know where their lives go after we leave. :afro:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: desertwomble on December 12, 2009, 09:01:35 AM
Finished reading 'Under The Dome' yesterday. What a great book, I loved it. It's all full throttle action from start to finish. I felt so much a part of the story that at the end I felt a bit sad to be saying goodbye to good friends. Still, such is the way with fictional characters, we never do know where their lives go after we leave. :afro:

But is 'Under the Dome' vintage SK, or just a pale shadow?

I won't bother with it if it's the latter.

Here in Abu Dhabi, we can only get more recent SK for some reason!

DW :cheesy:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on December 12, 2009, 01:23:21 PM


But is 'Under the Dome' vintage SK, or just a pale shadow?



I think it's up there with his best, in the same league dare I say as 'The Stand' and 'IT', and far better than 'Duma Key' or 'Lisey's Story.' It's a return to form in my opinion, a real roller coaster ride that always had me wanting to read more. It's just a shame I finished it as I miss being a part of that world.

I thought 'Under The Dome' was King at his best. I guess others might not though.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: desertwomble on December 12, 2009, 02:36:31 PM


But is 'Under the Dome' vintage SK, or just a pale shadow?



I think it's up there with his best, in the same league dare I say as 'The Stand' and 'IT', and far better than 'Duma Key' or 'Lisey's Story.' It's a return to form in my opinion, a real roller coaster ride that always had me wanting to read more. It's just a shame I finished it as I miss being a part of that world.

I thought 'Under The Dome' was King at his best. I guess others might not though.

I'll give it a go, then - ask the wife to make that my X-mas present.

DW :cheesy:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on December 12, 2009, 04:57:53 PM
Had five minutes to myself today, during my nipper's guitar lesson, so I took the Black Static issue 13 along that I got FOC a couple of weeks ago. I read the Tim Lees short story, Cuckoos, which was pretty good. I was interesting to see what type of thing they look for in a story.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: PaulH on December 13, 2009, 06:10:30 PM
I'm currently working my way through Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series and thoroughly enjoying them. Irreverent, lots of pop culture references and with a well thought out and consistent world full of things that go bump in the night. I'd recommend them to anyone.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Grillmeat on December 13, 2009, 09:15:46 PM
LOL!
What a small world. A friend of ours gave me the first two books of that series a couple of months ago. I wasn't sure I would like them so I read a couple of other books first. Turns out that they were pretty good. Hope you end up enjoying them as well.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on December 23, 2009, 07:36:25 AM
A friend said my (as yet unpublished) novel was remarkably similar in style to them so I decided to check 'em out, and (worryingly?) they are  ;) suffice to say I enjoy them too, but not keen on the tweeness haha

In other news, I've just finished reading Clive Barker's The Hellbound Heart.  I enjoyed it but it felt a bit rushed in places, and could easily have taken its time to build up a couple of pretty important plot points, I think.  I'm still a little uncertain as to whether I like Barker's style of writing as, by and large, it's well-written and readable, but he occasionally throws in pecuilar variations of known phrases that feel a bit...weird.  Like in The Great and Secret Show, characters say "I don't want your biography" in stead of "life story" which sounds odd, and in Hellbound Heart he describes sex as "mating", which makes sense but still reads weird.
Title: .
Post by: Woody on December 24, 2009, 07:14:55 PM
mustn't have my stuff here, ed keeps it.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on December 28, 2009, 06:39:34 AM
A friend has lent me Spares by Michael Marshall Smith.  I thought Only Forward (by him) was excellent, and I'm really enjoying Spares so far too.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Grillmeat on December 29, 2009, 07:33:01 PM
I just started reading: The Strain by Del Toro and Hogan. Supposed to be the first of a trilogy. Pretty good so far.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on December 31, 2009, 01:40:25 PM
I finished  reading 'Bag Of Bones' today, It's a good book but was not in the same league as 'Under The Dome.' I also went down the town and bought a new book as I was inspired to do so by something I saw on the TV. Here's the opening line, what a great line it is, can anyone guess the book?  "When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere."
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on January 01, 2010, 04:30:10 AM
I'm guessing Day Of The Triffids, when the hero wakes up blindfolded in hospital and everything is very quiet outside... too quiet.

It's a great book. I read it in a single day a few years back.

Regards,

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on January 01, 2010, 05:04:48 AM
I'm guessing Day Of The Triffids, when the hero wakes up blindfolded in hospital and everything is very quiet outside... too quiet.

It's a great book. I read it in a single day a few years back.

Regards,

Derek

Spot on that man. :afro: I've not started it yet but I reckon it's going to be a good read. If it is I think I'll try 'The Midwich Cuckoos' next.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on January 04, 2010, 05:24:35 AM
Can't go wrong with John Wyndham. Sure, it's a little dated, but it's good stuff.

I had an interesting reading moment last night. Currently reading The Lonely Silver Rain, by John D MacDonald. It's the last of his Travis McGee books, written when he was so say thinking about ending the series - although the Big Guy In The Sky got JDM first. Anyway, there was a moment of writing - just a turn of phrase - that really jumped out at me, and I thought to myself that doesn't sound like JDM, that sounds more like... Stephen King. I turned to the front of the book to see the original publishing date - 1985. So Ifigured by then JDM would no doubt have read quite a bit of King. I know way back JDM wrote the forward to Night Shift and I know King and his characters are forever name-checking JDM, so it's a bit of mutual appreciation society. But it was just how this one bit jumped out of me.

Lo and behold, turn the page and Travis McGee is sitting in an airport lounge reading about a cat that has just come back from the dead and is walking all funny...

Del
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on January 08, 2010, 09:41:51 AM
Currently reading a Dick Francis novel from 1970. It's amazing how different in tone it is from US thrillers from the same period, but how hard it is to actually nail down what makes that difference. The main thing I've noticed is the huge amount of adverbs and speech qualifiers that Francis uses:

He asked abruptly
He said accusingly
I said politely
The woman said indifferently
I said mildly
He said offhandedly
I thought remotely
He said noncommittally
He repeated vaguely
I said moderately

All from a few pages in the first chapter. Again, not using such things is probably one of those rules that we have drummed into us from articles and how-to books when the reality is, if you're telling a gripping story, then they don't matter too much. But that said, they do jump out at me.

Derek

Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on January 08, 2010, 12:16:36 PM
I would find that very distracting, not least because all but "I said mildly" are likely to be redundant description of something the reader has already been made aware of by the content of the preceding dialogue, and even then it would have been added too late for you to hear the change as you read the dialogue. It's these adverbs of manner that are widely criticised by writing pros, more than any other adverb. But you're probably right about them jumping out at us because we've read stuff ordinary readers probably don't even notice.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Grillmeat on January 08, 2010, 08:06:44 PM
Starting to read, "Lovely Bones"
I was interested in the book after all the hoo-ha about Peter Jackson's movie treatment of it. Haven't seen that yet but
I will be interested to see how it reads.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: PaulH on January 08, 2010, 09:22:11 PM
Just started reading Me Cheeta... the autobiography of Tarzan's chimp.

And I haven't stopped laughing yet...
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on January 10, 2010, 02:48:53 PM
Having read a couple of great old books over the last week I thought I'd better have a bash at something a bit more contemporary or I might be in danger of being off the pace when it comes to understanding what the current market wants. So I've just tucked into Simon Kernick's Severed. Early days yet - only read the first 100 pages but it looks like it's going to be one of those uber-violent 100 mph thrillers with loads of twists and turns and no let up of pace. Kind of Lee Child meets Harlan Coben, they talk about Dan Brown and James Patterson, and watch a Die Hard movie. Worryingly, I much prefer the stuff I've been reading from the 60s and 70s, where there's more characterisation, at least a semblance of 'this could happen', and some cool, stylish, and hip dialogue. I suspect this is why Simon Kernick is on his 9th bestseller and I'm off to work tomorrow.

Del
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: NoxInflux on January 10, 2010, 03:33:38 PM
Hey hey!

I am reading multiple things at once right now.

The Watchmen graphic novel (I actually own the 12 comic book set released in '86 - '87). I read it a few times already, but it's a classic. Shows what super heroes would be like in real life.... personality disorders, ED (needing Viagra), rape, murder, political side of life, depression, etc etc... Well written. And the art is the way comic art SHOULD be. No frackin  computer colours or heavy handed over done crap. Simple and proper artwork with very intelligent writing.

The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey. Written in the 60's challenging Christanity and it's guilt ridden dogma. Don't let the stigma rule this out. It's quite amusing. Topics include trying to get ahead of the rat race, being intelligent and free thinking, not being afraid of indulgence, enjoyment of sex, explanation of how the seven deadly sins are have a good side, being open minded, being strong (the "might is right" attitude) and other topics. It is almost athiest believe it or not. It's all about freedom of thought and the way you live your life. Personally, the lack of spiritual engagement is the thing that annoys me thus far, but this is a very original book, worth the read. I'm not done yet (maybe 2/5 read). I know this is not fiction or horror, but it IS dark, so I thought it could apply here. It was written in the sixties.

I am going over some books on writing I bought. Value of these books probably nears 400 dollars, more if you value signed books. The main one I am looking at is a compilation about writing horror done by the Horror writers federation (I think I got that title right). It is also signed by the editor and one author. I got all these books, like 7-9 of them I figure, for only 20.00$, haha!

And finally... bit by bit I am reading a compilation called the Necronomicon (no, not the occult version). It is well over 500 pages. It is all short stories by H.P. Lovecraft, who I think is one of the BEST horror writers of all time. Time to time I will pick it up and read a story or two. Some I have read more than once. I like Dagon. It is short, scary and right to the point. Dagon is about a strange encounter at sea that drives a man mad, he develops a morphine addiction, runs out of morphine, is highly paranoid from the event and kills himself. That is a good example of Lovecraft. Ideas and events that drive men mad because the exposure to something so greatly alien and evil beyond understanding is enough to distort reality to the point of suicide! Fun! The book has an all black cover except for a few words and a vague image of Cthulhu in gold.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

Cheers,

Nox Influx
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on January 15, 2010, 02:22:46 PM
I finished reading 'Jurassic Park' the other week,  I picked it for a pound and it's the first time I've been able to finish one of Crichton's books. I've tried reading a few of his books before and find them a bit boring. Too many info dumps and not enough action I guess. Still, the old dyno one weren't too bad.
'The day of the Triffids,' that was much better. I found the style a bit odd at first, a fair few wandering asides, but soon got into the flow of the story and thought it was a good read with great scenes of a desolate, crumbling London. Funny thing is the recent BBC series was much closer to Wyndham's book than was the original film, I thought it would be the other way around, shows how much I know. ::)   
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on January 15, 2010, 02:37:52 PM
I'm about to start on Dean Koontz's Your Heart Belongs To Me.  I think he's the only writer who covers different genres whom I read when he covers different genres to horror.  I could have phrased that much clearer but I'm tired haha  ;)
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on January 15, 2010, 02:40:56 PM
Glad you enjoyed the Triffids, Caz, I think it's a terrific book. As you say, the language is a little odd and very English, but it's a great story. I'm the same with Crichton. I read one of his whilst on holiday with nothing else to read. I think it was called Congo. Don't think I'd have completed it if there had been other options. Didn't do it for me at all. Similarly, I've just finished a modern thriller. I forced myself to get to the end but it was probably amongst the worst books I've read. Soon as read 'The End' I walked outside and threw it in the wheelie bin. I'll be scouring my shelves for a really good book this evening to help cleanse my reading palette.

Del
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: NoxInflux on January 18, 2010, 03:59:24 PM
re: Koontz

I read his book The Taking recently, I enjoyed it a lot.

The Taking has a number a weird events occur in it. It's the first of his books I read, I was impressed.

The guy has quite a number of books under his belt.
Can anyone recommend some of his better ones?  :cheesy:

Nox Influx
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on January 18, 2010, 04:39:24 PM
I'm not really a Koontz fan, although I did read one of his called Chase back a few weeks. It was an early novel of his published originally under another name. I've read a similar 'early' Jack Higgins recently, too. There seemed to be a period several decades ago when writers got to learn the trade in public that way. I wonder if it still happens?

I've got a few others by Koontz on my bookshelf but I'm not sure when I'll get round to them. Currently having a bash at Raymond Chandler's Playback. It's reputedly the weakest of the seven Marlowe novels, but it's still a good read (so far). Also working my way through William Goldman's Adventures In The Screen Trade - his non-fiction book on Hollywood. It's superb.

On top of that I've discovered how easy it is to reserve library books via t'internet. I'm like a kid with a new toy :-)   Just reserved a couple of books for research purposes for the piece I'm currently working on.

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on January 19, 2010, 02:30:49 AM
I read The Taking last year sometime, and liked it. There were times I sat and thought he'd written himself into a corner - I couldn't imagine what could happen next. Good stuff. Fear Nothing was good, too, but not even remotely similar. I've read others, but that was ages ago.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: NoxInflux on January 19, 2010, 11:19:47 AM
Hi guys!

Any Clive Barker fans here? Personally I find some of his work to be EXCELLENT while others (more recent novels) to be so-so at best.

I like the Books of Blood and some short story collections to be the best. Some of the stories in the Books of Blood are killer. The last story in Volume 6 is my personal favourite ... in the Amazon. There's another one involving construction at a church site (if I remember correctly), it's all about obsession with death. His books like The Thief of Always and his recent work does not impress me as much. I think his shorter, older works are classics.

His best movie was Candyman IMHO.

The Hellraiser  trade paperbacks and artwork collections were great though.

Any opinions on this author?

Nox Influx

 :afro:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on January 19, 2010, 01:41:57 PM
Up on the bookshelf I've got 'The Damnation Game,' 'Coldheart Canyon' and 'Everville' by Clive Baker. I enjoyed all of them and I think the guy's a good writer. I also read 'Weaveworld' which I think was one of his.

I've read a fair few Dean Koontz novels.  'The Husband' is the one that I've got on the go at the moment. It's more a thriller story than a horror but still good. One of my favourite books by him is 'Strange Highways.' It's a collection of horror stories as I recall, one long one to start and then several shorter ones. Good stuff I say. :afro: 
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Woody on January 19, 2010, 06:25:18 PM
On my shelf I have Barker's Everville, Damnation Game, Weaveworld (best of his I've ever read; in my personal top 5 books), Imajica & Abarat - a graphic novel with his own illustrations. All very good.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on January 25, 2010, 07:23:35 AM
I have a growing list of must-reads.

I'm currently loving Adventures In The Screen Trade by William Goldman. Possibly the best book on writing I've ever read. I'm going to try and get ahold of the follow-up. Got a couple of books on reservation/order at the library that I need to go through for research for the latest story, so I'm looking forward to that. I've finally got a copy of The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe. Growing up when I did I loved the space-race and the Apollo missions so I can't wait to read that book. I've never heard a bad thing said about it and have wanted to read it for years. Then there's Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo. I've had it on my shelf for a long time and have never had the courage to read it. But now it feels like the time is right. After that little lot it's either No Country For Old Men, Jarhead, Norman Mailer's huge "The Executioner's Song" (about Gary Gilmore), or maybe The Thirteenth Valley - a huge Vietnam war novel that I've read before and have been meaning to reread for a long time.

So many great books, so little time.

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on January 25, 2010, 03:24:23 PM
I've just finished Dean Koontz's Your Heart Belongs To Me.  Quite boring, certainly not much of a thriller or one of his best  :/ shame, cos I was really looking forward to reading it.

Got a belated Christmas present from my girlfriend's parents: a Waterstones giftcard!  So I picked up:

Fevre Dream by George R R Martin
My Work Is Not Yet Done by Thomas Ligotti
Meat by Joseph D'lacey

Started reading Fevre Dream, and it's prety cool so far, tons of character to the prose.  Hopefully it won't involve a really obvious creature/monster, since there's already been a scene involving vampire-like people.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: PaulH on January 25, 2010, 08:15:44 PM
I read Fevre Dream a few years back and absolutely loved it.

Reading Under the Dome at the moment and I have to say it's the best King I've read in quite some time.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on January 31, 2010, 01:15:16 PM
  Okay, I’m running blind on this one as I’ve not read the original book and am basing everything I know on the film version, but I got to say that ‘Blade Runner 2’ (The Edge Of Human) is stunning. It picks up where the film left off and reintroduces all of the main characters, some of which are a real surprise, and tells the story of what happened to them in the aftermath of the replicant hunt.

  It says on the book cover that the guy who wrote it, a certain H W Jeter, is the acknowledged heir to the spirit of Philip K Dick. Well, I’ve not read anything by PKD so I wouldn’t know. What I will say is that the style the book is written in is for me unique. There’s an almost dream like quality to it that captures the feel of the film perfectly. At times there’s tenderness then explosive violence. Mysteries are deepened, veils of secrecy are ripped away. The further I got into the book the slower I read it. It became clear to me that each word and sentence carried great importance, and was not only too good to rush but left me with a fear that I might miss a twist in the tale if I didn’t take great care. Amazing stuff. :afro:

  I rarely recommend books, but for fans of the film this is a must read. Funny thing is I bought the book over a year ago and as soon as I got home popped it onto the book shelf and promptly forgot all about it. Very odd to have had a gem sitting there all this time and not notice it.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rook on January 31, 2010, 03:28:10 PM
Read 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?', Caz!  It's wonderful, as is most of PKD.

I came to the movie first and found the book easily as good as the movie. (my favorite movie, BTW)

Their quite different, but IMO the film caught the tone of the book, and Philip K. Dick's style as well. I don't read his work without Vangelis running through my head.

Harrison Ford is far more atractive than Dick's Deckard, though.

I will keep an eye out for 'Blade Runner 2'.

I am curious, which ending does Jeter take off from?
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on January 31, 2010, 06:35:29 PM
I loved the film Bladerunner, so I like the sound of the sequel book. Thanks for the rec, Caz :afro:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on February 01, 2010, 01:33:49 PM

I am curious, which ending does Jeter take off from?


Hopefully I won't give anything away but the story picks up at the point where Deckard and Rachael have left LA and headed into the wilderness.

It's been a while since I've seen the movie, and I know there's a few versions of it, so I'm not a hundred percent sure if there is a different ending to the one I remember. I'm going to make a point of watching the film again and reading Philip K Dick's story.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rook on February 01, 2010, 07:37:55 PM
:)

ps. I recommend the director's cut. (I refer to the first one; I haven't seen the last, 'Final Cut', yet. )
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delph_ambi on February 02, 2010, 04:12:55 AM
Saw the 'Final Cut' recently. It IS the best. Subtle, unhurried and poignant. Brilliant stuff.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on February 02, 2010, 03:35:09 PM
 I've watched the original version a couple of times, saw it at the cinema when it was first released, and a newer version. The latter had none of the narration that I remember from the first film and I was struck by how little dialogue there is.
 
 Does the Final cut and the Director's cut have the narration or is it missing from both versions? I kinda missed it last time I watched the film. But then again maybe I just think it was good and it's not...dilemmas, I hate 'em.  :scratch:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on February 02, 2010, 04:43:30 PM
My memory's so bad I can't remember which versions I've seen and how they differ from each other :scratch:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delph_ambi on February 02, 2010, 05:23:16 PM
No narration, thank goodness. That was just put in when they tried it out in front of idiot audiences who didn't understand the story.

No driving off into the sunset either.

The director's cut and final cut credit the audience with a bit of intelligence.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on February 03, 2010, 01:15:30 PM
Cheers. I think I'll give the final cut a go as I'm fairly sure I've not seen that version.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on February 04, 2010, 06:48:37 PM
I've just finished a non fiction book about what happens when the oil runs out. It was the scariest book I've read in a long while. Loads of ideas for sci-fi/catastrophe stories, though.

Now reading another 'modern thriller'. Partly to see what the market's doing, and partly for research (it's one of a pile of fiction / non-fiction books written by soldiers that I'm ploughing through in an attempt to understand and then build a more credible background for a character in my latest story). Already I'm regretting it...

Del
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Grillmeat on February 04, 2010, 08:38:34 PM
Just started reading: Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry....pretty good so far.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Bec on February 05, 2010, 07:58:28 AM
I want to read Patient Zero, as I've heard it's good. I've just started reading Stephen King's Misery.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on February 05, 2010, 03:10:17 PM
I would also quite like to read Patient Zero.

Intend to start on My Work Is Not Yet Done by Thomas Ligotti tonight, though I still need to crit two more stories  :smiley:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: PaulH on February 05, 2010, 05:29:43 PM
Finished reading Under the Dome, thought it was excellent and the best King I've read for years. With that said, I did find the story tailed off right at the end and felt a bit anti-climatic. Now reading Turncoat by Jim Butcher
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on February 22, 2010, 01:54:59 PM
Finished reading The Midwich Cuckoos and yeah it was good. Wyndham's writing if full of the dialogue tags that we've been discussion elsewhere at the cafe but then he was writing in the 50s and it's what writers did way back then. There's some real killer lines in the book, "Can any state, however tolerant, afford to harbour an increasingly powerful minority which it has no power to control?" is one of them. He can knock the old socks off with that kinda stuff. :afro:

Noticed one thing with the book that made me smile. The village of Midwich is cut off from the rest of the world by an invisible dome. Nothing's new eh. ::)
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on March 04, 2010, 01:54:26 PM
Quiet in here lately. :scratch:

Anyways, I finished ‘The Prestige’ by Christopher Priest the other day. The story covers the rivalry that develops between two Victorian magicians. I was totally caught up by the imagery and language of the era, so top marks for that. Tesla, the father of weird science, makes a guest appearance, another bonus. The story itself is told from a variety of first person perspectives with a bit of third person thrown in for good measure, not something I’ve come across before but it works so that’s cool. I was a little bit baffled by the ending to the story so backtracked to an earlier section to see if I’d missed something. Apparently not. So a part of the ending was a bit of a mystery to me, but then I thought it was quite fitting for these men of strange magic.  :afro:

Currently reading Philip K Dick’s ‘Our Friends from Frolix 8.’ I couldn’t get hold of ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’ so thought I’d make a start on Dick’s back catalogue with this one. Gotta say it’s not bad. I had heard tell that his stuff was hard to read but so far no problems for me, I’m fairly racing through it.     

Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on March 05, 2010, 04:13:54 AM
Not sure what's top of my list - but I have one of those moments to savour this weekend when I get to pluck a new book from my shelf.

I read a John D MacDonald thriller at the beginning of the week and tonight I'll finish the William Goldman non-fiction book I've been studying for about a month - one of the best books on story-telling I've read. Before that I borrowed a couple of non-fiction books from the library for research purposes. And before that, the last few novels were pretty awful so I'm hoping to luck into a good one this time.

Likely candidates? Maybe a Rober Parker Spenser novel, a James Lee Burke novel, or maybe something a little more  mainstream. I have an Irwin Shaw novel that I might have a pop at. See how I feel later. I love these moments of choice!

Derek

Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on March 05, 2010, 06:53:41 AM
I'm really struggling to finish that Thomas Ligotti book.  It's really not very good.  So, I started reading MEAT by Joseph D'lacey, which has a bit too much repetition/paraphrasing at the start, which is annoying, but then hits its stride and I'm really enjoying it!
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on April 09, 2010, 01:52:37 PM
Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road.’ What a stunning book, I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like it before. An utterly bleak tale, yet there is hope with  the turn of every page. Spellbinding.

A word about the punctuation, or more to the point, the lack of it. It took a while for me to realise, such is the skill of the writer, but after a few pages I noticed that there was a lack of apostrophes, speech marks and commas. In some ways this ruined the fictive dream as I was busy trying to work out a pattern to what was there and what was not. I had the pattern sussed out fairly early on and as I dived deeper into ‘the road’ - and the journey upon it - it became clear that what was missing was of no matter.     

I’m just blown away by the talent of this guy.  :afro: :afro:
 
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: elay2433 on April 09, 2010, 03:03:37 PM
Quote
In some ways this ruined the fictive dream as I was busy trying to work out a pattern to what was there and what was not.

I know what you mean. Someone loaned me McCarthy's 'All the Pretty Horses' and I put it down after about ten pages. I hear the critical acclaim and so I know I should probably give it another shot, but... There's so much to read out there.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on April 09, 2010, 04:32:49 PM
That seemed to be the main sticking point with 'Death With Interruptions' as well. What is it with these famous authors? :idiot:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rook on April 09, 2010, 07:08:27 PM
I've read 'The Road' twice, about nine months apart.

I loved it the first time, and it didn't lose anything for me the second time around. (Recently, I have found myself judging books more by this. It has been surprising how many books, a few of which I was quite entralled with the first time, are unreadable the second. )

It really is a gripping story; spellbinding is the right word, Caz. And I agree, it is unique, at least in my reading experience.

Punctuation differences don't generally bother me, and once I worked out his style, I didn't even notice.

I haven't read 'All the Pretty Horses', or 'Death with Interruptions', though.

I'm reading 'Shutter Island', right now. I picked it up at the thrift store for a quarter. It is a light read, but entertaining enough. I enjoyed the movie a bit more than I am the book, though. I can't put my finger on why; maybe when I'm finished.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on April 10, 2010, 02:45:07 AM
I'm going to have to get The Road and read it after what you two have said about it.

Caz - did you read Death With Interruptions?
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on April 10, 2010, 02:46:51 AM
I must say I found the movie of Shutter Island a huge disappointment. It's all personal taste of course, but it had the same effect on me that I get when I'm realise something I'm reading is a dream. That effect is generally to skip forward until the dream ends or, if it looks like it might be going on a while, choose a different book.

Cormac McCarthy... I've read the first volume of All The Pretty Horses and I've read Blood Meridian. I have a copy of No Country For Old Men and also his play The Stonemason to read. I'm in two minds about McCarthy. There's an undeniable power about Blood Meridian but it was a very tough read for me. I might have another bash one day. All The Pretty Horses...the lack of punctuation and all the Spanish bits again made the fictive dream tough to get into, but again there's a certain power to it. If I recall correctly it's told entirely from an external POV so we never get inside anyone's head, which is always an nteresting technique and lends a certain movie quality and a pureness to it.

I've been reading mostly non-fiction for the last month but am also enjoying novels by James Lee Burke and Irwin Shaw in between the real stuff.

Derek

Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on April 10, 2010, 03:13:56 AM
Do you ever worry about unconsciously regurgitating something you've previously read in something you're writing? I've been thinking about this issue since Tanith Lee mentioned it at WHC. She said she never reads anything within the genre for fear of doing it. Back along, a year or two ago, I remember reading something about a darling of litfic who suddenly fell from grace when somebody noticed she had stolen, verbatim, from another popular work. I can't remember the details, but I get the impression it ended her career, got her novel very quickly pulled by her publisher, and herself no doubt dropped like a hot potato.

Do any of your worry about this?
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on April 10, 2010, 05:37:38 AM

Caz - did you read Death With Interruptions?

Nah, I've not read Death With Interruptions. I might check it out though but it will have to be good if there's a lack of punctuation, it's not something I would guess many writers can get away with.   
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: elay2433 on April 10, 2010, 09:10:36 AM
That was Kaavya Viswanathan, Ed. Here's a link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_Opal_Mehta_Got_Kissed,_Got_Wild,_and_Got_a_Life

I've never worried about unconsciously regurgitating something I've read, but I suppose it's possible. I often find I'll unconsciously attempt to immitate the voice or style of someone I've just read, but not the actual words.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: elay2433 on April 10, 2010, 12:31:54 PM
Quote
I often find I'll unconsciously attempt to immitate the voice or style of someone I've just read...

Not sure if "unconsciously attempt" was the right expression, because "attempt" suggests conscious volition, right? Unconsciously adopt, maybe?  :idiot:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on April 10, 2010, 01:22:27 PM
Thanks for the link. Sad story - not sure whether she did it cynically or by mistake. I don't suppose anybody will ever know for sure.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on April 11, 2010, 03:26:30 PM
I often feel compelled to write a particular *sort* of story after reading something I really enjoy.  For instance, I read Joe R Lansdale's A Fine Dark Line, then felt a strong urge to write something set in the same era as that book.

I'm halfway through Exit, Pursued by a Bee by our very own Geoff Nelder, and then I've got the novelization of Willard to run through, which I'm really looking forward to.

Actually, going back to the first point, I've stopped reading a collection of pulp fiction for the time being because I was worried I was picking up bad habits from the writing styles.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Geoff_N on April 11, 2010, 03:38:52 PM
Sat down for a read of The Stand (SK, 1985). I'll need a lot more sittings - great hook and tension building, characters so far.

Geoff
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: JonP on April 11, 2010, 05:03:03 PM
Just finished reading "Bad Vibes", by Luke Haines and I have to say it's easily the best rock'n'roll memoir I've ever read (even beating Julian Cope's). Actually, probably the best r'n'r book I've read, full stop. Absolutely hilarious.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on April 29, 2010, 01:53:37 PM
I recently finished WILLARD (aka RATMAN'S NOTEBOOKS) and it was brilliant - the whole book was done as diary entires but minus dates and times, and chapters.

Almost finished 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill.  He has a habit of ending stories with a punchline, and quite a few of the endings you can see coming a mile off.  A little disappointing, or maybe overhyped...a couple of really excellent stories in the book, mind you.

Picked up Creepers by David Morrell (he created Rambo!) because it sounded interesting - some people break into an abandoned building and BAD THINGS HAPPEN!  Anyone read anything by him?  He any good?  Am I about to be bitterly disappointed? haha
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on April 29, 2010, 04:25:51 PM
Quote
Picked up Creepers by David Morrell (he created Rambo!) because it sounded interesting - some people break into an abandoned building and BAD THINGS HAPPEN!  Anyone read anything by him?  He any good?  Am I about to be bitterly disappointed? haha

In a word...maybe  ;)

Rambo was great. A couple of his other early works were great. But the last couple of his I've read - Burnt Sienna and Creepers - have disappointed me a lot. So the jury is still out. His book on writing, though, is one of the best!

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: LeeThompson on April 29, 2010, 08:29:11 PM
I read Creepers too and it was okay. Just kinda felt thin like he didn't dig into the characters much. Right now I'm reading Greg Gifune's "Saying Uncle" from Delirium Books. Really digging his work. I've read two of his other books this past month:  "The Bleeding Season" and "Kingdom of Shadows" both well-worth the time and money.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on May 18, 2010, 02:43:24 PM
Picked up a beautifully illustrated copy of Dante's Divine Comedy yesterday because I thought I'd cram some culture into my brain.  Tempered this lucid decision by also purchasing The Mammoth Book of The Mafia haha which contains first-hand accounts from former Mafia infomers etc, which is something I never thought existed (since they'd, you know, get killed once they're found out).  But shows what I know  ;)
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on May 19, 2010, 01:31:13 AM
Currently reading The Thin Red Line by James Jones. Very good, although written in a style that (to today's reader.... this one anyway) feels like it needs a good edit. Like the Rev, I'm tempering this with other reads including Psychology For Musicians and Why Does e=MC2. All grist to the mill!

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on May 19, 2010, 12:44:17 PM
I've been on a bit of a John Wyndham roll just lately and have recently read The Chrysalids, Chocky and Trouble with Lichen. The Chrysalids was by far the best of these, Chocky was good and Trouble with Lichen was something of a let down, a bit long and a bit boring compared to the rest of his stories.
I like Wyndham, he's so very English. Not sure if this is due to the era he was writing in, or it was the way he wanted to sound, or he was just the archetypical English gent. Whatever the reason for his style he'll never be mistaken for someone who heralds from shores other than those of England. :cool:

Currently reading 'The House Of Thunder' by Dean Koontz, and the pages, as ever, are just flying past. :afro:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on May 24, 2010, 07:47:15 AM
Retured some comics to the local library this morning and a couple of books grabbed my attention whilst there:

The Man Who Was Thursday by G K Chesterton and Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill.  The former sounds very interesting, and though I was ultimately disappointed by the collection of short stories I recently read by the latter, I still enjoyed them and am looking forward to seeing how he handles a full-length story.  If it ends with a punchline, though, I shall scream my guts up.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Pharosian on May 24, 2010, 09:14:13 AM
I listened to the audiobook version of Heart Shaped Box and thoroughly enjoyed it. The narrator did a fabulous job. While I don't know whether my experience would have been different actually "reading" the book, I was impressed with the use of language and the character development. The story doesn't end with a punchline if I understand your meaning. I think you'll like it.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on May 25, 2010, 03:52:55 AM
Oh good.  I started reading it last night and it gets right into things, which was a pleasent surprise.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on June 01, 2010, 01:12:00 PM

Recently finished reading ‘Time Hunter. The Tunnel At The End Of The Light.’ It’s by a guy called Stefan Petrucha.

I wasn’t particularly enthralled by the story at the start and found a few typos/missing words that had me thinking, oh dear. I carried on with the story, not because I felt compelled to as I’d won it in the flash challenge competition, but due to the fact that there was something intriguing about it.

The story is set in post war London and centres around a couple of characters who have the ability to move through time by touching people. It’s at about the halfway point, where the heroes of the piece are involved in an investigation into some gruesome murders, that the story started to grip me. There’s some good scenes of the London sewer system, and some not shabby fight scenes where the heroes are involved with Troglodyte like creatures that have escaped from the sewers. There’s a pretty cool city destroying scenario near the end which is dealt with in the way that only time travelling stories can do.

All in, not a bad read.  :afro:

I wouldn’t buy it though, and not because I think it’s a poor story, it’s actually quite good. No, what’s wrong with it is the price. At £7:99 for a hundred page book it’s just too expensive.


Bought a book at the weekend and as soon as I’ve finished it I’ll post a review. It’s called, ‘Under The Paw - Confessions Of A Cat Man.’

Wait…was that someone screaming noooooooooo.   :grin: :grin:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on June 01, 2010, 04:17:28 PM
That's the problem with small press books in general, I think. They often seem to be a bit pricey when compared to the average cost of a mainstream paperback novel. Glad you enjoyed it though, Caz. Thanks for taking the time to write a review :smiley:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on July 16, 2010, 01:48:55 PM
  I picked up Dean Koontz’s ‘Watchers’ for the library the other day, it’s a good service we’ve got here, they phone and send a letter when the ordered book is ready for collection. :cool: While I was there, I picked up a book called ‘The Night country’ by a guy called Stewart O’Nan. I thought I would read this one first as it’s only a couple of hundred pages long and almost gave up after the first twenty odd pages as I couldn’t get into the rhythm of the story, or so I thought, it sort of snuck up on me while I wasn’t watching.

  The story’s about a group of small town American kids who are involved in a car crash, some of them die and that’s what caught me out at the start of the story. The narrator, whom I couldn’t fathom at first, is one of the dead kids. It’s a good idea, not one I’ve seen before, and worked a charm once I got into the flow of the story. All the action takes place a year to the day after the fatal crash, at Halloween, and centres around the survivors, those affected by the crash and the ghosts of the dead. A good old fashion haunting is what it is.

  I liked this story, it kept me guessing, and when the ending arrived, it left me feeling sad and happy. It is a heartbreaker, but one that leaves a smile. :afro: :afro:  

  So, on to ‘Watchers.’
  
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: fnord33 on July 17, 2010, 03:06:11 AM
I'm currently about halfway through Jeremy Shipp's "Cursed" and I am thoroughly enjoying it. At this point I'm tempted to say that his first novel, "Vacation" was better, but I 'd recommend either to a friend. This one is about a guy who thinks he's cursed because somebody slaps the shit out of him every day. He's in love with a girl who he's quasi-stalking who likes to twist everything that she sees into something beautiful and magical.  He finds out that she was cursed the same day that he was and they set out to find out what's going on. It's delightfully strange and intentionally awkward. The constant listing gets on my nerves ever so slightly, but it's one of those things that clicks with some people and not with others. The pace is lightning fast and I am flying through faster than 90% of the books I've read.

The last book I read was "Prometheus Rising" by Robert Anton Wilson. If aliens came to me and said that they were going to destroy the planet then and there if I couldn't make a valid case for the continuation of humanity one of the first things that I would do would be to force them to read this book.

Next I plan to read Ulysses by James Joyce. I've been meaning to read him for years, but never gotten around to it. The other day I picked up a copy of "Portrait of an Artist" and fell in love about ten words in. I've already read about it enough to get the idea so I picked up "Ulysses" and the same thing happened again. If I had a copy of "Finnigan's Wake" I would probably read that, but I've never managed to acquire a copy. I've heard people say that it's impossible to understand without a masters degree in semantics, but I've read a lot of excerpts and they all made sense to me. I probably wouldn't get but about 70% overall, but that's about all that can be said for any truly great work of art. I realize that the previously stated figure is extremely optimistic, but any if the figure was smaller I might be discouraged and miss out on whatever I would get out of it. 
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: desertwomble on July 18, 2010, 04:08:00 AM
I picked up 'Lord of the Flies' yesterday, and I'm halfway through it already.

Now, that's what I call real horror!

DW :cheesy:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Grillmeat on July 18, 2010, 11:37:29 AM
Just finished The Passage by Justin Cronin. Can't say that I was overly impressed. I waded thru it but I think he could have told the same story with a couple hundred pages trimmed out. Just my opinion....
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on August 01, 2010, 02:23:43 PM
Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge is a quick read at only 170 pages, but it sure packs a punch in that time. The year is 1963, the place small town America and the day Halloween.

The October boy has risen from the cornfield and is headed for town, he has a mission to complete after all. Gangs of teenage boys are waiting for him armed with axes, knives and any other weapons they can find. They intend to slice and dice this critter and fulfil their own mission.
So begins the blood letting and car crash violence.

I liked this book. It has a fast pace but holds back on revealing the mysteries to the story too early. It kept me guessing right to the end.

The author’s has a hard-boiled style, and it’s one I admire. He did loose me on a few occasions but that could be down to cultural differences. Not that it mattered, the story was moving along like an out of control freight train so if I did have a couple of blank spots as we hurtled toward midnight what the hell.   :afro: :afro: 

 
 

   

 
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Grillmeat on August 01, 2010, 03:43:12 PM
Took a quick turn through The Hobbit. It has been a few years since I read it last. I guess all the excitement about the upcoming films got the best of me..... :cheesy:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on August 10, 2010, 01:47:35 PM
Just having a dip into Frenchman's Creek by Daphne Du Maurier. So far. so good.

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Bec on August 10, 2010, 02:19:12 PM
I've just started 'Feed' by Mira Grant. A zombie story.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on August 10, 2010, 02:35:11 PM
The more I think about it the more convinced I am that one of these days you guys are going to turn up outside my house dressed in white cloaks and pointy masks, burning inverted crucifixes on my lawn, and insisting that I leave the Cafe. I haven't read or written a horror story all year. I feel like an imposter here, these days...

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on August 10, 2010, 02:51:07 PM
You and me both, Del -- I haven't written much of anything this year :afro:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delph_ambi on August 10, 2010, 04:17:50 PM
Frenchman's Creek is great fun. I always get the impression that Du Maurier really enjoyed writing it.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Pharosian on August 10, 2010, 06:55:21 PM
I'm about 3/4 through Bright of the Sky by Kay Kenyon. It's a terrific epic sci-fi story involving the discovery of another universe adjacent to ours. I can't put it down!
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on August 19, 2010, 03:52:18 AM
Finished Frenchman's Creek and have now moved west, through Devon, and into Dorset for a bash at Moonfleet by Meade Faulkner. It's reputedly very very good so I'm looking forward to it. Really enjoying my reading at the moment - maybe I've just been blessed with lucking into a string of good books.

Frenchman's Creek was superb - some beautiful writing, some great observations on enjoying the moment (Mindfulness - far ahead of its time!) and always the underlying tension and conflict over choosing between children and a new life with her one true love. The second half of the book really comes into its own as a masterclass of plotting. We're told, in the textbooks, to increase the conflict, put ever more and more difficult obstacles in front of our heroes, build towards the black moment, then offer up the final and toughest of all conflict. Du Maurier does all of this perfectly - each chapter ends with a 'must read on' moment.

Great stuff.

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on August 21, 2010, 05:40:10 PM
I'm reading through my holiday books at the moment -- brought several with me, but as always it was a book I spotted in an airport book shop that grabbed my attention first. It's a book called 'The Wolf' by Richard Guilliatt and Peter Honen, and it's a true account of a German commercial raider's (pirate ship) tour of duty during WW1, and it's been compiled by bringing together the records from many different sources. The Wolf was an ordinary freighter to start off with, but the German navy got hold of her, stuffed her with all the latest technology they could lay their hands on, mounted seven six inch guns, four torpedo tubes and mine laying equipment on her, and disguised some of the guns as masts, and hid the rest behind hinged, drop down bulwarks. The masts were telescopic, and the funnels were fitted with hydraulics to change the shape and size of them, to make identification more difficult.

The Wolf's captain was a guy called Karl Nerger, who was picked for the job because he had proven himself in battle, but also because he was seen to be extraordinarily lucky. This luck was sometimes uncanny during the Wolf's voyage. During her fifteen months at sea she operated by looting the ships she captured and sank, and never put into port during the whole time. She sank over thirty allied ships, caused the navies of five coutries to redeploy their ships, sailed four of the major oceans of the world, rounded Australia, and sailed back through the British naval blockade without so much as a scratch from an enemy vessel. At times during her voyage she carried more than eight hundred men, women and children, most of whom had been captured from the ships they boarded. Between 1918 and 1920, seven of the survivors wrote and published books about their ordeal, and by the time of WW2 many more had done the same, yet the story has been largely forgotten. I suppose that's how war goes, isn't it? The victors tend to write all the history books and tell the biggest stories.

The book reaffirmed one thing I already knew. At several points during the book, the authors left the plight of the people onboard and instead told about the wider situation -- what was going on in the press of various countries and what government policies were. I skipped great big chunks of this text, because I wanted to know about the people and what happened to them next. I'm not sure the authors could have done anything much different and still given a full account, but yeah, the lesson is -- info dump at your peril. Stories about people are much more compelling than info dumps.

But anyway, an interesting read, quite disturbing in places.

Fictionwise, I brought along Monstrous Affections, by David Nickle, published by Chizine. I read what I thought was the first chapter, then on the second I felt quite disappointed that the story had gone off at a tangent and featured new characters that had nothing to do with the story so far. Half way through the second one the penny drops -- it's a short story collection, isn't it ::) Damnit. I was all geared up to read a novel, so I put that one down for now and I'm now reading The Regulators, by King, writing as Richard Bachman. It's early days yet, but seems like standard SK fare.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Robert Essig on August 22, 2010, 11:16:43 AM
The Hour Before Dark by Douglas Clegg.  Slow start, but a compelling read thus far.  I'm also reading The Zombist (Library of the Living Dead Press).  Western zombies tales.  Yee-Haw!  I've got a story in this one called "The Faint Ringing of Bells".
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: rottndandie on August 22, 2010, 09:01:11 PM
Just finished The Invasion by William Meikle - a SF/Horror story about an alien invasion. Was pretty good!

Before that I read 33 A.D. by David McAfee - a dark vampire story. I liked that one too.

Next... Bios by Robert Charles Wilson looks interesting. I got a sample of it on my Kindle and I'll probably buy it.

I'm about 3/4 through Bright of the Sky by Kay Kenyon. It's a terrific epic sci-fi story involving the discovery of another universe adjacent to ours. I can't put it down!
Hmmm! This one is currently free for the Kindle. I may give it a go.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Pharosian on August 30, 2010, 08:40:20 AM
Last week I downloaded an e-book called Story Structure—Demystified by Larry Brooks, which I found to be quite helpful in explaining what must occur in a plot for it to work. In the book, he says it doesn't matter whether you outline your plot beforehand or whether you prefer the "organic" process of just seeing where the muse will take you: either way you must arrive at the same point—if you hope to be published—which is to have a properly structured plot. Those who refuse to organize beforehand will simply have to go through more drafts than someone who does some plotting beforehand, OR they must have an instinctual grasp of structure such that they generally know when the turning points must occur (he calls them Plot Points, apparently from his extensive screenwriting experience).

He says the structure is approximately the same in all good stories, regardless of genre or subject matter or overall pace. This is similar to the way that all houses have approximately the same structure, regardless of their architecture: they all have floors, walls, roofs, doors, and windows; some are mansions and some are hovels, but they share those general traits—or they suffer from the lack. In fiction, there are the setup, which leads to the first plot point (or turning point) at about 20-25%; the response, taking us to ~50%; the attack, taking us to the second plot point at about 75%; and the resolution, which takes us to THE END. There is also something he calls "pinch points" (or complications) at about the 3/8 and 5/8 mark.

I'd heard something similar at the novel-writing workshop I attended a couple of years ago, but Brooks goes into much more depth, explaining why the sections can't be too much longer or shorter than the guidelines (too much setup, for example, before getting to a major development, and you risk losing your reader; too little, and you either leave the reader confused or don't establish your characters well enough). He backs this up with examples from movies, which follow a similar structure. Screenwriters refer to a three-act structure, which he says basically combines parts 2 and 3 of the 4-part novel structure. (In fact, I just went back to his website storyfix.com (http://storyfix.com) this morning, and I see that he addresses this very topic!)

If story arc or structure is something that gives you problems, you might want to check out his book. It sells for $14.95 on his website. I bought it for $11.95 on Amazon for my Kindle, but there are some diagrams (formatted word tables) in the back that did NOT translate well on the Kindle.

Frenchman's Creek was superb - some beautiful writing, some great observations on enjoying the moment (Mindfulness - far ahead of its time!) and always the underlying tension and conflict over choosing between children and a new life with her one true love. The second half of the book really comes into its own as a masterclass of plotting. We're told, in the textbooks, to increase the conflict, put ever more and more difficult obstacles in front of our heroes, build towards the black moment, then offer up the final and toughest of all conflict. Du Maurier does all of this perfectly - each chapter ends with a 'must read on' moment.


OK, so after reading the book on structure, and seeing delboy's post about DuMaurier's superb plotting, I went to the library and checked out Frenchman's Creek. I read it this weekend, then created a chapter-by-chapter summary in a spreadsheet to see if her book (published in ~1941 based on the copyright in my copy) conformed to Brooks's guidelines. Sure enough, it does! The turning points and complications happen very close to where they're "supposed" to, and the action escalates in the latter half. The main character has an arc of growth and change... it all works.

Even if you don't want to spring for the book, I suggest visiting storyfix.com (http://storyfix.com) for loads of sound writing advice. He's got a couple of examples of story structure using movies, one of which is Avatar. I found that very interesting.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on August 30, 2010, 01:33:50 PM
Avatar is a master class in the 'Hero's Journey'. It could not have been closer to the format, not only in terms of plot, but also in characters. Personally, though I thought it was a great film, I hate being played like that, and once I spot the HJ in anything, it begins to bug me straight away.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on September 03, 2010, 05:31:40 PM

  Got through a couple of books over the last week or so. The first was ‘The Affinity Bridge’ by George Mann. It’s the first steampunk novel I’ve read and although it was a bit slow in places - also a detective story which I’m not overly keen on - I’ve got to say that it was a good read. All the characters acted in the way I expect people from the Victorian era to act. Maybe they were a bit clichéd at times, but what the hell I liked them. The policeman were gruff, the gents dashing, the ladies would swoon and blush but weren’t afraid to show a bit of leg whilst kicking a door down, there were automatons, airships and a smattering of zombies for good measure. Jolly good show I say. :afro:
 
  The second book was ‘In The Winter Dark’ by Tim Winton. I’m sure there are many people who will understand better than I do what was going on is this story.
 
  A haunting I guess. Memories. Regrets. Guilt. That kind of thing. The characters are memorable, the action clear to mind. There’s a mishmash of narrations and brutal scenes. I wanted the MC to pay for what he did, and in a way the beast that stalked him did just that. 

  This story lingers and I'm not sure why. :afro:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on September 20, 2010, 01:02:03 PM
Read 'Cycle Of The Werewolf' by Stephen King over the weekend. Probably took no more than a couple of hours in total, it's not one of his bigger books.
I liked this story, the reader gets to follow the progress of attacks as they unfold over the course of a year. There's something of a whodunit about the story too.
There's more than a few illustrations in the book and yeah they do add to the enjoyment of the story. Reminded me of all the old Marvel comics and annuals I used to read as a kid.  :afro:
I wouldn't mind giving some of those graphic novels a go some time, but the cost of them is a bit off-putting.   
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: fnord33 on September 20, 2010, 05:45:02 PM
I just finished Murderland 2 by Garret Cook. It was a great story with rich subtext. It was a quick enjoyable read. My only problems with it were that I had expected more to happen (a lot of the book was piecemeal background stuff that did enrich the book but didn't leave enough of the 200 pages to advance the story very far) and there were so many typos that it read like a first draft. You know the grammar is bad when I'M talking about it. It really kind of pisses me off to see such a good book released this way. Muffy has the same problems so I know the kind of flack he'll get for it.

I'm about to start Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. I picked it up and read a few pages from the middle and was immediately blown away by the quality of the writing. Of course the same thing happened with Ulysses and after about 90 pages of nothing happening I decided that it was too long and slow for me to justify the time it would take me to finish. I know it's supposed to be awesome and I do like his style, but I don't want to have to read 900 pages of stream of consciousness. I've heard that Burgess wrote a good companion piece for it. Maybe I'll pick it up one day and give it another go.   
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on September 23, 2010, 10:33:13 AM
Yesterday I found Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub in a charity shop in really good nick for £1.99, and I started reading it today on my lunch break.  So far it's in third person omniscient (I think - there's a lot of 'As we move along the street' type of description) but it's painting a vivid picture of the main town and surrounding area.  Has anyone else read it?  Is it a decent mix of both their styles?  I've only read one short story collection by Straub and remember it was very strange (in a good way).
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on September 23, 2010, 11:38:52 AM
I think Straub is great. Weird but great. Been a while since I've bought anything of his but I have several huge books I'm looking forward to rereading.

I'm currently reading Blood On The Moon by James Ellroy and a book about the Siege Of Leningrad. The latter is probably more horrific than any horror book I've ever read. I've been reading a lot about the Eastern front recently. Some of the stories are so awful it's scarcely believable. What we humans do to each other eh?

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: desertwomble on September 24, 2010, 01:01:07 PM
I think Straub is great. Weird but great. Been a while since I've bought anything of his but I have several huge books I'm looking forward to rereading.

I'm currently reading Blood On The Moon by James Ellroy and a book about the Siege Of Leningrad. The latter is probably more horrific than any horror book I've ever read. I've been reading a lot about the Eastern front recently. Some of the stories are so awful it's scarcely believable. What we humans do to each other eh?

Derek

That film 'Enemy at the Gate' is about Stalingrad. Very well made and conveys the horror of that particular episode of the war.

DW :cheesy:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: LeeThompson on September 24, 2010, 11:06:45 PM
I'm reading Haunted Legends (an antho edited by Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas) and at about half way through I can say it's well worth the money. I've grown a taste for quite horror lately and this book is packed full of it. Very cool.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Grillmeat on November 07, 2010, 05:33:58 PM
I just finished a piece of mind candy from Harper Press' suspense fiction line called "The Doomsday Key"
Now I am off for something a bit more challenging. I am about to start the book: The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks.  Read reviews for it when it first came out so I am hoping it will be an interesting read.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: desertwomble on November 07, 2010, 09:47:55 PM
'100 Selected Stort Stories of O. Henry' is from Wordsworth Editions.

I learned the fundamentals of short story writing from O. Henry, a writer from the States who's so little known in Britain that one of the UK writing magazines refers to him as O'Henry in their critique forms on how to become better at writing shorts - irony or what!

Although some of the stories have highly improbable plots, they're very entertaining and there are several classics in there.

If you want to check him out on the internet, you can't go far wrong reading 'The Gift of the Magi', 'The Last Leaf' (about artsy lesbians and written at the turn of the 20th century), 'The Furnished Room', and 'A Municipal Report' (the latter showing O. Henry to be blind to differences in race at a time when race-consciousness was entrenched in the US).

DW :cheesy:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: jsorensen on November 07, 2010, 10:24:23 PM
I usually get all my books through second hand stores (minus the classics that I get through the school or Kindle) and as such the books seem questionable--Started reading The Omen II--the book is based on the movie, but I figure I'd give it a shot.  So far its been okay.  Unfortunately I had to set it aside while I taught Lord of the Flies (definitely a must read for anyone interested in dark fiction). 
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: desertwomble on November 08, 2010, 02:08:31 AM
I usually get all my books through second hand stores (minus the classics that I get through the school or Kindle) and as such the books seem questionable--Started reading The Omen II--the book is based on the movie, but I figure I'd give it a shot.  So far its been okay.  Unfortunately I had to set it aside while I taught Lord of the Flies (definitely a must read for anyone interested in dark fiction). 

I'd count Lord of the Flies as a horror story. I read it recently, and it's chilling. A definite must.

DW :cheesy:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: starktheground on November 08, 2010, 07:04:15 PM
I read Lord of the Flies in 9th grade English and again on my own as an adult. I agree it's a must read.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: jsorensen on November 08, 2010, 08:40:58 PM
Lord of the Flies is a definite--so is Conrad's Heart of Darkness...
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on November 12, 2010, 01:59:51 PM
I'm having a bash at The Road right now - following the great things I've read about this novel earlier in this thread. At the moment I'm in two minds about it. The writing is undeniably beautiful and moving, some of the imagery is stunning and the word choice is 100% inspired, impeccable, and incredible. The underlying bleakness of the situation also says a whole lot more about humanity and what we're capable of doing to this planet than any amount of documentaries and Sunday supplement articles ever could. It evokes enouh  power to make you grateful and aware of what we have all around us, and it brings home how much we truly and unconsciously take for granted. Wow. All that and I'm only 50 pages in.

However, pretty much any other novel that I got 50 pages into and nothing had happened would have been consigned to the charity bag or wheelie bin. There is, so far, no story, no plot (beyond my wondering what happened, and what might happen). There's no mention of where they are (even though they go through places one of the characters clearly knows) and though this is no doubt intentional (places and names no longer matter, states no longer exist), I find it incredible that the characters wouldn't at least think about this stuff, even if they don't vociferate it. But, of course, McCarthy doesn't get inside their heads very often, so we don't really learn much about them or their past.

So, undeniably beautiful prose - beautiful enough to sustain my interest so far -, but no story. I feel like a bit of heathen when I say that the prose and the message alone is unlikely to be enough for me. Maybe I'm just not literary-minded enough or educated enough  :/ I'll push on, though - I'm sure something will happen soon... a car chase, a bit of hot romance, a bank robbery shoot out, or even some tasty dialogue.

Derek

Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Pharosian on November 12, 2010, 04:14:16 PM

I recently finished listening to Dark Places by Gillian Flynn in audiobook form. It's the story of a woman named Libby Day, who is trying to figure out the truth of events that occurred when she was just seven years old. Her mother and two sisters were brutally murdered in the early hours of January 3, 1985. During the chaos, Libby escaped through her mother's bedroom window and ran across a snow-covered field to hide. She remained there until daylight. At the trial, she testified that her brother, Ben, had committed the crimes. He was convicted and has spent the past twenty-four years in prison. Shortly after the book opens, Libby, who has never spoken to her brother since the murders, begins to have doubts about what really happened that night.

I was blown away by Gillian Flynn's skillful characterization. Through Libby's first person account in present time and the third person accounts from the POV of Libby's mother and brother of the 18 hours leading up to the massacre, the reader learns how events conspired to create the situation that changed (or ended) their lives.

There's Patty, single mother of four, desperately trying to hold things together as the bills pile up and the family farm is about to go into foreclosure. There's Ben, the 15-year-old boy who doesn't fit in but yearns for friendship and finds it in all the wrong places. There's Libby herself, angry and abrasive, trying to cope with unwelcome notoriety and unable to function in the real world. Ms Flynn does an admirable job of making us understand and empathize with these characters, despite their considerable flaws.

The plot is a masterful unfolding of events as Libby puts the puzzle together piece by awful piece, interviewing alternate suspects and people who interacted with Ben and Patty that day.

All told, this is a dark portrait of ordinary people who suffer a lifetime of consequences for a few bad decisions.

I had previously listened to Sharp Objects by this author, and would highly recommend anything she writes. In both cases, the narration was excellent.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: jsorensen on November 12, 2010, 09:55:16 PM
@Delboy
Just wanted to say that I enjoyed The Road--but its not a novel that I actually reccomend to peole as a general rule.  The language, mood, character (although slowly developed), setting are all wonderful.  But you are right--plot is so minimal throughout.  There are a couple of "scenes" that get truly brutal and the end (if you decide to continue) is definitely the only ending possible...but--it is bleak and not action orientated at all.  If you finish it--let me know what you think.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: starktheground on November 13, 2010, 02:10:39 PM
I loved The Road. I had to read it for a reading group, and probably would have put it down after ten pages if I were reading it on my own. It's a completely unconventional read, but I think well worth it. It stayed in my head for days after putting it down. To me, that's the marker of a good book.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Cory Cramer on November 14, 2010, 02:53:30 AM
Sharp Objects and The Road are both on my top ten list for dark novels of the past decade. I haven't read Dark Places yet, but it's on my 'to read' list. Currently I'm reading Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad, not sure what's next on my list. I'd like to read Peter Straub's: A Dark Matter by the end of the year, along with Brian Keene's: A Gathering of Crows, but I need to do some research for the novel I'm working on so I don't know if I'll get to them or not.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on November 14, 2010, 03:36:54 AM
A quick update on The Road. After about page 55 things started to buck-up nicely  ;). Read 100 pages last night as I couldn't put it down. I guess it's geting under my skin, too.

Update Midday Sunday - another hundred pages this morning. Turning out to be rather a good book.

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: jsorensen on November 14, 2010, 02:13:27 PM
@Delboy--glad you're enjoying the book.  It's definitely one of those pieces that quietly gets into your skin.

@Cory--I love Lord Jim.

And just a final note:  I've discovered the absolute paradise--free classics on Amazon through Kindle...just downloaded nine more titles to read (of course I read them through teh laptop--I don't have a Kindle yet...does anyone?  How do you like it?  How does it compare with other readers?

Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Pharosian on November 14, 2010, 02:51:25 PM

And just a final note:  I've discovered the absolute paradise--free classics on Amazon through Kindle...just downloaded nine more titles to read (of course I read them through teh laptop--I don't have a Kindle yet...does anyone?  How do you like it?  How does it compare with other readers?


I've got a Kindle, and I absolutely love it! I would have sworn I wrote up some thoughts about it, but I've searched and can't find my post. Anyway, it's a great device and saves me from having to decide which books to take on vacation, etc., and is much easier to pack than books. I haven't used any of the other readers, so I can't compare them. I will say that I can easily read the Kindle for hours on end with no eye strain due to it not having a backlit screen. The e-ink technology is great, and it's very easy to read in bright sunlight, unlike backlit readers.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on November 16, 2010, 03:45:59 AM
It must be "Apocalypse Month" chez Del; having read The Road I'm now having a bash at Stephen King's The Cell. Nice and cheerful then  :huh:


Regarding The Road (be warned, there may be minor spoilers ahead). I thoroughly enjoyed it (after the first 50 pages) - demonstrated by the fact that I couldn't put it down and read it in a couple of days. That said, I don't think it's going to get into my list of favourite novels (I mean, I read James Patterson and Jeffrey Deaver novels in a few days, too!) and I doubt I'll reread it. Although beautifully written, extremely evocative, poetic, and thought-provoking (and containing some truly horrific scenes that were all the more disturbing for being nestled amongst all that bleak poetry) there were simply too many things that kept pulling me out of the carefully crafted fictive dream. Every time the characters had a conversation I was annoyed by the lack of punctuation. I'm sure there's a valid artisic reason for McCarthy doing this (in all his books), but it's not conducive to maintaining that dream. Similarly, ignoring apotrophes when shortening words - haven't becomes havent - has the same effect.

Then there's the short broken sentences:

Quote
At the edge of a small town they sat in the cab of a truck to rest, staring out a glass washed clean by the recent rains. A light dusting of ash. Exhausted.

I don't actually mind such things (I do it myself), but every time I read one I thought of the crit group here and how Cormac would have got pulled up for such things. And that thought pulled me out of the story. So maybe the short sentence shouldn't be raised as an issue, it just triggers a dream-busting response from this particular reader.

I didn't understand why he never used people or place names. Doesn't the man and his son have names? Why not use them? They look at a map and the man sees place names - but never reveals those names to the reader. Why not? At one point the man recognizes a town - why not give us the name? I assume it's all part of the dream-state Mccarthy was building. Maybe place names no longer matter in the ruined world. Probably not. So maybe there's a 'message' there. But the character was clearly taking note of them, so it felt like a cheat not to share them with the reader. I'm sure people's names still matter though.

Equally, another biggie that pulled me out of the fictive world was "what happened?" We get inside the man's head on (rare) occasions, but never does he reveal what happened. Okay, it's not part of the plot, of the reason for the book, the message, the lesson, or the warning, and going there may have opened up too many huge cans of worms and caused the book to go somewhere McCarthy didn't want to take it. Nevertheless, my dream bubble was popped every time ash and melted roads and burned trees were mentioned because I started to wonder about the cause.

I also couldn't figure out how long ago "it" had happened and why there was so little of the old world left. Clearly the firestorm had been huge - there were no living trees left at all, only dead grass - but there were houses and there were books and there was lots of wooden this and paper that and there was petrol that hadn't burned up. Consequently I had huge trouble picturing an unnamed catastrophe that had destroyed everything, except the things that were needed for the novel. Added to that, I didn't get how little stuff remained. Look at the world outside and there are so many houses, so much stuff, where did it all go? In the book cities and ports and houses (both in the cities and out in the countryside) and bridges survived - but only a few of them. Why? It didn't ring true - and pop went that dream.

So you see my dilemma? A beautifully written book, a very moving book, a book full of horror and only little hope, but one that I couldn't put down, but for all that, one that never quite drew me into its world because there were simply so mnay things about the writing and the content that pulled me out of the dream. All that said, I'm probably criticizing it for not addressing things that it was never intended to address and for not being something that it was never intened to be.

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Cory Cramer on November 16, 2010, 07:45:10 AM
Derek, thanks for posting your reaction to THE ROAD. Since I'm kind of a McCarthy apologist I'd thought I'd give you my take on why McCarthy does things a certain way. The primary answer to almost all of your questions is that McCarthy isn't only writing for readers in 2006. He is writing for readers is 2056 and 2206. Punctuation, apocalyptic technologies, even names of people and places, change over time, making most of what people write now, irrelevant in the fairly close future. The shelf-life of a James Patterson is measured in weeks, while the shelf-life of McCarthy novel is measured in decades.

Of course, writing in such a way will alienate a large group of readers today, but that is a sacrifice McCarthy is willing to make.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on November 16, 2010, 08:04:36 AM
Hi Cory. Thanks for the reply. It's an interesting answer and one that I hadn't considered. But there's no need to apologise on behalf of McCarthy. I'm not new to his work - I enjoyed The Border Trilogy and Blood Meridian (although I understood so little of it!) and as far back as 2004 I searched out the few interviews he'd done (at that point in time) and printed them off as he intrigued me so (I still have the print outs - I guess I ought to reread them). Also, as mentioned above, I did enjoy The Road. It just didn't draw me in as deeply as it may have done for the reasons stated. More deeply than a Patterson or a Deaver though - I trust you understood why I mentioned them! I guess it's a trade-off between the here and now and the future, but interestingly, I can still get drawn into worlds from books written 50 years ago and 150 years ago, so I'm not sure that one needs to be too radical to ensure future engagement.

Kind regards,
Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: jsorensen on November 16, 2010, 08:05:47 AM
I did say that I loved the book, but couldn't reccomend it to anyone.  I agree there is a lot in The Road to put people off--I also agree with Cory that there is more of a timeless quality to the book by removing anything that could be dated.  But maybe, by removing names and actual history (how and why it happened) we focus more on the relationship of the father and son more carefully?  Maybe "the Road" being the only name focuses our attention there--either the actual road or the path the father has chosen?  Maybe there was no reason...definitely a piece that will cause others to become frustrated--and we didn't even mention the complete bleakness of the novel...

oh well--I'm glad you did enjoy it for what its worth, Delboy (by the way, the film version is not too bad either--that is if you like the book, again I don't really tell people to see it, one of those films thats hard to appreciate by most but still...)
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Cory Cramer on November 16, 2010, 09:46:58 AM
I picked up a couple of The Border Trilogies at a recent library sale, but haven't read them yet. BLOOD MERIDIAN is probably my favorite novel ever, but I need to read it a few more times to be certain.

On a separate note, I finished LORD JIM yesterday, and really liked it, but, again, I'm not sure I would call it a truly great novel until I think about it some more. It certainly had flashes of beauty and brilliance.

Next novel in line is THE PLAGUE by Albert Camus.

PS--I think the central theme of BLOOD MERIDIAN is 'just war', but I could be wrong.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Pharosian on November 16, 2010, 10:26:28 AM
I found a Wall Street Journal article (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704576204574529703577274572.html) online featuring an interview with Cormac McCarthy and director John Hillcoat in which CM has the following to say about the cataclysm in The Road:

WSJ: When you discussed making "The Road" into a movie with John, did he press you on what had caused the disaster in the story?

CM: A lot of people ask me. I don't have an opinion. At the Santa Fe Institute I'm with scientists of all disciplines, and some of them in geology said it looked like a meteor to them. But it could be anything—volcanic activity or it could be nuclear war. It is not really important. The whole thing now is, what do you do? The last time the caldera in Yellowstone blew, the entire North American continent was under about a foot of ash. People who've gone diving in Yellowstone Lake say that there is a bulge in the floor that is now about 100 feet high and the whole thing is just sort of pulsing. From different people you get different answers, but it could go in another three to four thousand years or it could go on Thursday. No one knows.

And regarding the difference between Blood Meridian and The Road:

WSJ: Is there a difference in the way humanity is portrayed in "The Road" as compared to "Blood Meridian"?

CM: There's not a lot of good guys in "Blood Meridian," whereas good guys is what "The Road" is about. That's the subject at hand.

JH: I remember you said to me that "Blood Meridian" is about human evil, whereas "The Road" is about human goodness. It wasn't until I had my own son that I realized a personality was just innate in a person. You can see it forming. In "The Road," the boy has been born into a world where morals and ethics are out the window, almost like a science experiment. But he is the most moral character.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: desertwomble on November 16, 2010, 10:35:08 AM
Must admit, I thought 'The Road' was a modern-day retelling of 'The Wizard of Oz' considering the importance of the road to the story, the expectations of what would be there when they reach their destination and the characters they met along the way (the three individuals they meet have certain characteristics similar to the Straw Man, the Tin Man and the Lion).

DW :cheesy:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: starktheground on November 16, 2010, 08:48:37 PM
That's an interesting interpretation. It doesn't fit my vision of the book, but still very original.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Grillmeat on November 16, 2010, 09:57:22 PM
I loved the Road when I read it a while back. I can't say that I have ever read anything like it-which might have a lot to do with why I liked it. I agree with a number of points people brought up. Not a lot of action, characters are slow to develope. A lot of detail as to place and time and what exactly happened to bring on the disaster are not to be found and yet it all adds up to a very meaningful story...
One thing I considered months after I read it was the power of the scenery. It seemed to me that it was almost a character itself. The bleakness, the vast emptiness, the unforgiving nature of it all wrapped up in a kind of constancy (?) Even though you hated it and were relentlessly pounded on by it, you kind of came to an uneasy co-existence with it and I think it was that uneasy truce with the horror of it that really made for the power of this book.
Just my two cents....
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: notsoscarey on November 20, 2010, 09:25:09 AM
I got 'The Catcher in the Rye' for X-mas this year.

What a hoot!

DW :santa_cheesy:

I read that one last year, expecting it to be amazing after all the hype it got through the years. What a load of old toss. A whole book full of words that add up to nothing happened. :scratch:
I had heard so much about The Catcher in the Rye and how it changed people's lives.  Really?  I thought it was a miserable read and I gave my copy away so I wouldn't burn it. 
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Pharosian on November 20, 2010, 11:08:06 AM
I've started listening to the audiobook version of The Road, and I think I'm nearly at the halfway point. The good thing about that is that I don't have to put up with McCarthy's lack of punctuation! It's a bleak scenario, for sure.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on November 20, 2010, 02:02:38 PM
I got 'The Catcher in the Rye' for X-mas this year.

What a hoot!

DW :santa_cheesy:

I read that one last year, expecting it to be amazing after all the hype it got through the years. What a load of old toss. A whole book full of words that add up to nothing happened. :scratch:
I had heard so much about The Catcher in the Rye and how it changed people's lives.  Really?  I thought it was a miserable read and I gave my copy away so I wouldn't burn it. 

Yeah, I was really disappointed. I was looking forward to this amazing 'perfect novel' that I would not just read, but devour, and at the end I would just sit, unable to move -- stunned by the sheer perfection of it all, gutted that it was over, bereft at its loss. But it was dull, dull, dull. All the way through to the end. At least it was consistent, I suppose :scratch:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on November 21, 2010, 01:54:24 PM
Reading too many tales that I didn’t care about could’ve been the reason. Still, I bought King’s latest and didn’t pass it by. Stories have been no fun, zapping aliens was more. And then I found something that captivated me, something that cut into the working day and made me wonder, something that was more important than what was on the next level.
So to speak.

'Full dark, No Stars' is a collection of four shortish stories. I've only read the first one so far and was pulled into the story - in a way I haven't been for a long time - almost from the off. This story is a written confession and at times I though King was being repetitive, as he went back to the foul deed time and time again, but then I realised that what he was really doing was hammering the nails further into the coffin lid. The man is on top form again. :afro:     
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: jsorensen on November 22, 2010, 09:55:09 PM
Looking through Ambrose Bierce's Present at a Hanging and Other Ghost Stories--so far a good read (predictable by today's standards but a good collection of really short pieces--like being at a campfire tale session...when I get some time I thought I would tackle The Ghost Pirates by William Hope Hodgson (since it was on the list of must reads)...
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: jsorensen on November 22, 2010, 09:56:27 PM
Oh, by the way--I thought Catcher in the Rye was an incredible exercise in reader endurance and not much else.  Too bad, I tried to like it but couldn't...
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on November 23, 2010, 02:55:00 AM
Looking through Ambrose Bierce's Present at a Hanging and Other Ghost Stories--so far a good read (predictable by today's standards but a good collection of really short pieces--like being at a campfire tale session...when I get some time I thought I would tackle The Ghost Pirates by William Hope Hodgson (since it was on the list of must reads)...

I keep meaning to read The House on the Borderland by Hodgson. Ghost pirates was good in places, but certainly dated, and sometimes indecipherable.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on November 23, 2010, 03:57:06 AM
Quote
I keep meaning to read The House on the Borderland by Hodgson. Ghost pirates was good in places, but certainly dated, and sometimes indecipherable.

Many years since I read The House on the Borderland but I recall it was dated and indecipherable...

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: shiney on December 03, 2010, 11:09:38 AM
Just finished the CLASSICS MUTILATED anthology...now starting George R.R. Martin's "THE ARMAGEDDON RAG"
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Cory Cramer on December 03, 2010, 12:14:50 PM
Currently reading Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. 100 pages in and digging it so far. I doubt I'll ever write a story from omniscient POV, but nobody does it better than Tolstoy. I would copy him if I ever decided to do so. The themes and psychology of the characters seem to carry the story. They still seem very relevant to me, but I still have another 800 pages left to read.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: desertwomble on December 03, 2010, 12:56:53 PM
I'm reading 'To Kill a Mocking Bird' and am thoroughly enjoying it.

At school, when I was 11, we were given a list of 'must read' books and this was on it. I don't think I got past the first chapter and I never looked at the book again until its 50th anniversary came up this year.

Isn't it funny how teachers can so easily put you off books by recommending them when you're not ready for them?

DW  :cheesy:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: starktheground on December 03, 2010, 08:55:12 PM
Just finished the CLASSICS MUTILATED anthology...now starting George R.R. Martin's "THE ARMAGEDDON RAG"

I refuse to read any more GRRM until he puts out the next book in his series . . .

. . . not really. Just impatient.  :bangh:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: fnord33 on December 04, 2010, 06:59:32 AM
Currently reading The Priest by Thomas M. Disch (one of my favorite writers, but not a very good one). I think that he might have been the first writer to inspire me to write, but every time I read him I am reminded how bad he was at all of the technical aspects. I have a lot of the same problems and it makes me wonder how much of an effect he had on my own style. The voice is rough and clunky and the story is slow to develop, but few people that I have read can challenge him on the grounds of originality or storytelling. Halfway through the subplots are just beginning to interweave and it has suddenly gone from painful to hilarious. It hurts me to think that most people don't have the attention span to get this far in without giving up. The payoff is well worth the wait, but by today's standards he would never have been published. So, which is more important: vision or execution?  Ideally we would have both, but a writer so blessed is more rare than a tropical narwhal.   
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: starktheground on December 04, 2010, 07:40:52 PM
That's very commendable, but it almost seems like a teacher passing a kid because they tried so hard, not because they learned the material. The guy must really, truly love his craft.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on December 07, 2010, 10:06:03 AM
Eeek!! Just did a very approximate count of the unread novels sitting on my shelves and, when divided by my current reading rate, it turns out it'll be around five years before I'm ready to buy something new. Longer, in fact, as the aforementioned count excludes short story collections, non-fiction, and all those scores of books I can't wait to reread. It's  :smiley: because all of these novels are novels I really want to read but also  :/ as there are tons more than I also want to read in my lifetime.

Best I up my reading speed, I reckon.

Not sure what will be next on the list, but a slim volume or two probably, just to get that number down!

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on December 11, 2010, 01:37:39 PM
Finished reading 'Sole Survivor' by Dean Koontz the other day. I'm not sure why some people tend to knock him, I think his stories are well written with lots of action. I know a lot of the times his ending are sentimental and more often than not a bit slushy but what the hell it's always a good read that takes me there. So it's a thumbs up from me then.  :afro:

Current reading is 'V For Vendetta.' Great fun. And after that a book by a guy called Lee Child. It's one in a series he's written about a character called Jack Reacher. Don't know anything about the writer but I've been told that his books are good so thought I'd give one of them a go.   
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Pharosian on December 11, 2010, 03:45:00 PM
And after that a book by a guy called Lee Child. It's one in a series he's written about a character called Jack Reacher. Don't know anything about the writer but I've been told that his books are good so thought I'd give one of them a go.   

I've read the first two books in the Reacher series. I was impressed with his debut, Killing Floor. Yes, there was one rather glaring coincidence in it, but other than that, it kept me on the edge of my seat, so to speak. The second was also good. I think you'll find them fast-paced and fun to read. After a while, though, one begins to wonder just how this guy seems to find so much trouble--or how trouble always seems to find him.

Lee Child took some lumps for book 12 in the Reacher series, though: In Nothing to Lose, lots of people (on Amazon, at least) thought the author had committed the sin of putting his own political views into his character--a character who wouldn't otherwise be the type to have those views. The book got 3x as many 1-star reviews as 5-star, which is very rare. Normally the Reacher books get about 4 stars; Persuader received more than 15x as many 5-star reviews as 1-star, for example.

I hope you've got one of the earlier books in the series...
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on December 11, 2010, 04:10:21 PM
Lee Child is one of those writers we all ought to study, on account of he's worked out what sells and sits down and writes it. Just when you think all the series characters have been created along comes Reacher!

That said, I have a few of his books on my shelf and I never get a huge urge to reach for them. Yet I know when I do I'll read the book in one or two sittings, which kinds of puts him with Patterson, Deaver, Coben, and those guys. Basically the uber-successful guys.

Derek

Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on December 12, 2010, 06:41:47 AM


I hope you've got one of the earlier books in the series...

I just checked and... no, it's number 11. Probably not the best place to start reading about this character but it was the only one the library had in. Now I'm in a bit of a pickle..ho hum.   
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Pharosian on December 30, 2010, 11:44:40 AM
After delph's lofty praise of my CD comp entry, in which she said it reminded her stylistically of Guy Gavriel Kay, I decided I should read some of that gentleman's work, never having done so. I put Under Heaven on my Amazon Wish List, but Santa didn't take the hint. Santa did, however, give me a lovely Amazon gift card. I left Under Heaven on my Wish List and bought Sailing to Sarantium instead (Kindle version). That was Monday, the 27th.

What followed was three days of almost nonstop reading, as upon finishing that book, I had to download its sequel, Lord of Emperors... which I read in a marathon all-day-and-most-of-the-night sitting yesterday, finishing up at just past 5 o'clock this morning.  :shocked:

If you love epic fantasy with lots of richly-drawn POV characters and the occasional diabolical plot twist, all spread against a multi-hued, multi-faceted setting, you'll love these books. Characters from every station in life from slaves to craftsmen to soldiers to royalty take turns telling the story from their unique perspectives.

Was it perfect? No. For some inexplicable reason, the segments for one linked pair of characters are told in present tense, while all the rest stay in past. The so-called Prologue in Sailing to Sarantium takes up 10% of the book! Kay has a habit of using a construction similar to "When he thought about it later, he..." which immediately indicates the character survives whatever is about to happen. Or he'll drop information about a character's far-distant future into the narrative. And every once in a while (not often, mind), he philosophizes a tad longer than one might like when one wants to know what happens next?!

But those are minor nitpicks, easily forgiven when weighed against the sheer brilliance of the writing, the scope of the storytelling, and the bringing-to-life of a vibrant world and myriad characters.

I will definitely be seeking out other work by this author!
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delph_ambi on December 30, 2010, 12:30:42 PM
Quite right too. For what it's worth, my favourite of all his books is 'Tigana'.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on December 30, 2010, 01:31:37 PM
I finished 'The Big Sleep' today. Wasn't sure if I'd like it at first, and there were a fair few characters to keep track of,  but as the story progressed, and I got used to who was who, it started to grow on me. In the end I thought it was a good read and only a tad confusing, as in, how the hell did Marlow fire that gun with his hands cuffed behind his back? But apart from that, and visions of the pc brigade ranting about some of his opinions, it was a lot of fun.
Fancy watching the film again now. I might understand what's going on next time around. :afro:   
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: eagle37 on December 30, 2010, 03:44:54 PM
I bumped into two unexpected treasures the last books I finished. 'Mortal Engines' by Philip Reeve was rather bloodthirsty for a YA novel, with a high last-chapter bodycount (should go down well here) but a phenomenally unusual basic premise about London bolting on a se of wheels and chasing around eating smaller cities.

Second was 'Aberystwyth, Mon Amour'  by Malcolm Pryce. Jasper Forde meets Sam Spade, with a macabre touch to the humour. Recently, reprinted apparently.

Current read: Mr Banks latest offering ('Surface Detail'). Another book cover for an author who must have 'made it' because his name is bigger then the title  :bleh:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on January 02, 2011, 07:09:59 PM
All that glitters… we all know where that’s going. And so I wondered why the words were pasted inside the front cover of ,‘The Reapers Are The Angles.’
Had to find the answer, besides I liked the cover and the blurb was a hit, so I set off on a familiar journey. ’The Stand’ and ’The Road’ had already lit the way.

I‘m in a world full of the dead, travelling, looking for an answer. Memorised by the story unfolding. The landscape’s bleak, the survivors hard. And all the time thinking I know this one, only to be kicked in the teeth at the end. :afro: :afro:   


Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Cory Cramer on January 03, 2011, 02:09:56 AM
Just finished TINKERS by Paul Harding. Probably wouldn't reccomend it for causual readers, but I came away from reading it feeling like it was a special work in many ways, and it has a seizure scene that was worth the cover price all by itself.

Not sure what I'm gonna read next. I still have ANNA KARENINA BOOK 2 left to read, but I think I'm going to poke around my bookshelves and see if something else catches my eye.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on January 14, 2011, 06:09:39 PM
   I like an epic tale so I bought 'The Passage' and found myself in a labyrinth; more than a handful of characters to grab hold of there.
 
  At a couple of hundred pages in I know what’s going on; and anticipate what’s to come. The magic lives. 

Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on January 21, 2011, 06:23:01 PM
"The Passage," update.

Close to the end now, only a couple of hundred pages to go. I feel as battered as the assembled cast.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: desertwomble on January 21, 2011, 08:35:06 PM
Still working my way slowly through 'Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories' - none of which are actually written by the great man himself. Some great stories by relatively unknown authors, though.

Funnily enough, I can only write ghost stories while I'm reading them. They help me get a grip on the slow build up of tension required and the art of spooky understatement.

I'm also reading 'The Secret Garden', a book I first read in Arabic translation! It really is a magic book, with excellently drawn characters and very modern themes. Oh, and if you're wondering, I'm reading it primarily because my daughter's studying it at school.

DW :cheesy:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delph_ambi on January 22, 2011, 03:37:11 AM
I love that book! (The Secret Garden) It's inspired more than one of my better poems in recent years.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on January 26, 2011, 03:11:01 PM
The final paged turned of 'The Passage' and I’m back to the real world. There’s a shame. I’m going to miss that lot, their lives and battles, the quest they set out on.

The military set up an experiment to create a super solider, as they’re apt to do. It goes wrong. A fast spreading plague is released into the world, one with the power to destroy almost all in its path.
A mysterious girl, Amy, may be the one thing that can stop this end of days. She may also be a key, one to unlock the secrets of the past and the future. A band of watchers think so.

An epic story that involves the fate of the world, but never wanders so far that the reader forgets the characters whose lives are caught up in that fate.
And the ending, well there’s something I’m going to wonder about for a long time.  :afro: :afro:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: eagle37 on January 27, 2011, 11:53:19 AM
Just finished an old classic I found at the second hand book stall at NEWCON5. Havent read it for years

The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman

Fascinating treatment of the impcations of relativistic space travel and cultural displacement.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: fnord33 on January 27, 2011, 03:54:50 PM
I'm almost through Grunsidh and Askew, which I enjoyed thoroughly. Next I'm either going to read "Infinite Jest" or "House of Leaves". My only experience with David Foster Wallace was the movie they made of "Brief Interviews With Hideous Men" and it seemed to have been written by a pretentious asshole. I'm leaning towards "HOL" Anyone want to weigh in on these?
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: jsorensen on January 27, 2011, 07:21:44 PM
Just finished The Grove---it was okay, quick read, some interesting moments...now I'm reading Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House.  Amazingly, I've never read it before and so far it is ...well, good--not in an okay way, I mean Jackson knows how to write--loved sections 3-4 of the first chapter.  It was a wonderful look at a master crafting character out of a series of mundane events...great stuff...
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delph_ambi on January 28, 2011, 04:34:03 AM
I've just finished the first three detective stories/thrillers that Stephen Donaldson's publisher insisted he wrote under the name 'Reed Stephens' to keep them separate in the public's eye from the fantasy and sci-fi stuff. Good sense has now prevailed and they're published under his real name. Not that it especially matters one way or another. They're excellent stories and a compulsive read. That's all that counts. So onto something completely different; I'm now having a go at Pride and Prejudice, but in a French translation, rather than the original English which I more or less know off by heart.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on January 28, 2011, 05:21:32 AM
I'm just working through a couple of non-fiction books at the mo', but I always like to have some fiction on the go, so this evening I'll be scouring my shelves for the next read. I always love that moment of anticpation. Not sure what I'll choose yet - I have maybe a hundred unread books all crying out "Choose me! Choose me!"

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: eagle37 on January 28, 2011, 05:50:33 AM

Time for a twist

I'm not telling what I'm reading, I'm asking for recommendations for 'best of breed' Steampunk novels

Regards

Rob
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on January 28, 2011, 06:47:47 AM
I think the only steampunk novel I've read is The Anubis Gate by Stephen Powers. It's probably the classic steampunk novel so I'm sure you've read it. Great book, and one I'm looking forward to reading again one day.

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: leatherdykeuk on January 28, 2011, 07:25:08 AM
Sterling / Gibson 'The Difference Engine'
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: JonP on January 28, 2011, 10:02:53 AM
I struggled through James Blaylock's Homunculus and was a bit underwhelmed. Supposedly for kids, Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve is fab, though.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Pharosian on January 28, 2011, 10:04:27 AM
I just finished Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay. Fabulous! In this novel, he explores the part memory plays in shaping who we are. The "bad guys" are not evil incarnate as they are in some fantasy works. Here, he paints one of the two antagonists in a sympathetic light, and the other as a cautious bureaucrat, whose brutal actions are taken in a manner calculated to achieve his higher goal; he just needs to do a "good job" in his current position so he can move up to a higher one. The main characters are faced with agonizing decisions, their loyalty torn between people they love and the country they want to restore. There are a couple of fiendish plot twists that are wholly supported by everything that has led up to them. I can't say enough good things about this book!
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delph_ambi on January 28, 2011, 10:08:23 AM
Fabulous book, isn't it? I'm so pleased I recommended it and you liked it so much!
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on January 28, 2011, 01:35:48 PM
The only steampunk novel I've read is 'The Affinity Bridge' by George Mann. It's not bad, pretty much a detective story with some zombies thrown in for good measure. 
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Geoff_N on January 29, 2011, 04:25:29 PM
What they hear in the dark by Gary McMahon
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: elay2433 on January 29, 2011, 06:35:36 PM
Just finished The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo - entertaining read. I was reluctant to leave the world Stieg Larsson created. So much so that I almost jumped straight ahead into the second book, but instead decided to take a break. Now I'm reading The Prince of Tides. Pretty good so far.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: desertwomble on January 29, 2011, 09:10:09 PM
Just finished The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo - entertaining read. I was reluctant to leave the world Stieg Larsson created. So much so that I almost jumped straight ahead into the second book, but instead decided to take a break. Now I'm reading The Prince of Tides. Pretty good so far.

I started this book, but got sidetracked with other books.

Will try to grt back to 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' on the 3-hour commute this morning.

DW :cheesy:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Pharosian on January 31, 2011, 04:50:10 AM
Just finished Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. It's a great cautionary tale, and presents many of the viewpoints around so-called security measures. It can be downloaded for free from the author's website: http://craphound.com/littlebrother/download/
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on February 01, 2011, 05:44:47 AM
A friend at work has lent me The Scarlet Imposter by Dennis Wheatley, because she says he writes a lot of occult-based stuff (did he do To The Devil a Daughter?) and so far it's very easy to read but utterly pumped full of exposition and blatant infodumping, that's more amusing than off-putting (ie characters vomit out personal facts that the person they're talking to would actually already know). 

I'm also working my way through 50 Psychology Ideas You Must Know and 50 Literature Ideas You Must Know, both bought from The Works, and both very informative and succinct (each chapter is four pages, and details the main points/ideas behind certain things, such as 'Delusions', or 'Gothic fiction' etc).
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on February 01, 2011, 06:49:35 AM
Dennis Wheatley was one of my boyhood writing heroes - both for his occult novels and his war novels. He was banned for years. Good to see him back!

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: leatherdykeuk on February 01, 2011, 07:48:57 AM
Never did like Wheatley's style, I'm afraid, and reading non-fiction about how vile he was in real life means I never will again.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Grillmeat on February 14, 2011, 10:50:48 PM
I'm about 2/3 of the way thru: 1 Dead in Attic. By Chris Rose
It is a collection of stories he wrote during a two year period (just before and a year and half after hurricane Katrina). He was a reporter there when everything went to hell. Some of the stories are absurd, others are funny and some are just tragic. While most books focused on who was to blame in the aftermath of the disaster, Rose focused on the stories of the people who went thru the disaster and tried to rebuild after. It is all told in first person as he observed it.
The book's title takes its name from the graffiti like short hand that was used to tell searchers and volunteers what areas had been gone thru and what, if anything was inside the buildings. A good read, if somewhat depressing.....
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rook on February 15, 2011, 07:50:20 PM
Finished John Irving's The Fourth Hand today. It was enjoyable. Not The World According to Garp (one of my favorites), but I didn't expect it to be, so I liked it. Irving raises some interesting ideas, and takes a character who should raise all the feminist hairs in one's body, and makes him sympathetic. Irving manages to portray the MC in a manner which brings up a certain sense of sweetness and redemption. Even as the MC continually commits acts of exceeding emotional stupidity against various women in his life.

Think I might re-read Garp, next... It's been an age.  :smiley:

Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: elay2433 on February 16, 2011, 01:26:06 PM
Rook, try A Widow For One Year by Irving. I read it last year and still find myself thinking about it from time to time.

Finished The Prince of Tides. Pat Conroy can really cut loose with some poetically beautiful descriptions. I was initially blown away, but toward the end of the book I was sick of it. A bit overdone I thought. There a few things that bugged me - characters occasionally acting completely out of character, a few over the top situations that made me completely aware that I was suspending my disbelief. All in all it was pretty satisfying, though I don't reckon I'll be picking up another Pat Conroy book, at least not any time soon.

Just finished Stephen King's The Eyes of the Dragon. Pretty entertaining read, though I think it was intended for a younger audience (I'm 31).

Not sure which one to pull from the pile next.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rook on February 16, 2011, 01:48:21 PM
Rook, try A Widow For One Year by Irving. I read it last year and still find myself thinking about it from time to time.

Will do!  :afro:

Just finished Stephen King's The Eyes of the Dragon. Pretty entertaining read, though I think it was intended for a younger audience (I'm 31).

I have that one around somewhere. I started it and that was my impression (of course, I'm twenty-four and it was a couple of years ago, but that was what I thought, too... Nor do I have anything against full blown children's lit.)--  But I wasn't in the mood for the style at the time-- I was looking for something closer to The Stand. (Which is ironic, because I think I ended up reading a John Gardner short story collection instead-- work bearing little resemblence to King.) Keep meaning to go back to it, but there's always been something more inviting.

Into The World According to Garp, and am enjoying it with equal glee as the last time.  :afro:

Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Pharosian on February 16, 2011, 09:16:19 PM
Tonight on my way home from work I popped in disc 16 of the 24-disc story I'm listening to in the car. I've been listening to it for weeks now. It's called The Children's Book by AS Byatt. The best word I can use to describe it is "sprawling." It's the story of several interconnected families, and features a cast of close to 40 characters whose histories we learn to a greater or lesser degree (the Wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Children%27s_Book) says Byatt used an Excel spreadsheet to keep all the characters straight). The central character is Olive Wellwood, who writes children's fairy tales with a dark edge to them. She lives with her husband, her sister, and several children in a house called Todefright in Kent. The story opens in 1895, but some back story covers a period of several years prior to that. The timeline has progressed to 1900 or 1901 by this point, and it supposedly goes up to World War I.

While the writing is accomplished and evocative, by around 8 discs in, I was despairing of ever being able to discern anything resembling a plot. I'm still not sure there's a plot, but at least by now there are a number of interesting character arcs.  I'm not sure I would have been able to get this far reading a physical copy of the book, but the narrator is superb, which helps.

The thing that's unusual is that its focus changes so drastically from one section to another. At some points the narrator goes off on what seem to be tangents, discussing the political climate at the turn of the century or the Paris Exposition or the Victoria and Albert Museum. It's all very adult, talking about the Fabian Society and socialists and anarchists and suffragists... and at other points, the focus is very personal, dealing with one or another of the young people in the story. And at still other points, there are long passages of one or other of the fairy tales which Olive Wellwood wrote for her children.

I can't make a blanket recommendation, but if you're interested in the historical period of the late 19th/early 20th Century and can keep a cast of thousands straight, you might find this an interesting read.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delph_ambi on February 17, 2011, 03:27:36 AM
AS Byatt always strikes me as interesting and worthy and clever and erudite etc etc, but ultimately boring. Probably better to listen rather than attempt to read her books. I've never managed to finish one.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on February 17, 2011, 04:38:54 AM
I'm currently in the midst of The Forgotten Legion by Ben Kane. It's not bad. I think much of it would get hammered in the crit group  :/,  - especially young Mr Kane being way too keen to put all his research on the page. That said, I'm in the midst of doing a lot of learning/research myself around the Roman era so, without my writer's head on, I'm actually enjoying that overt background content. Next up there are a couple of non-fiction books I want to plough through. Then... I'm wanting another bash at War And Peace. I've tried once and failed, but it's a book I want to read at least once in this lifetime so I reckon it might be time to have another try. Anyone read it?

Kind regards,
Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delph_ambi on February 17, 2011, 07:26:47 AM
I've read 'War and Peace' at least twice, though not for a good number of years. Definitely worth it, and a MUCH better read than 'Anna Karenina' which just annoyed me.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: desertwomble on February 17, 2011, 02:07:49 PM
I've read 'War and Peace' at least twice, though not for a good number of years. Definitely worth it, and a MUCH better read than 'Anna Karenina' which just annoyed me.

There was a spoof TV comedy serial called 'Sledgehammer', taking the pee out of 'Hammer'. When asked his favourite book, the hero, Sledge, said "'War and Peace' - the first part of it."

DW :cheesy:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: ozmosis7 on February 17, 2011, 03:36:44 PM
Books a plenty that I promised reviews on, but after that King's - Full Dark, No Stars
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Pharosian on March 23, 2011, 12:08:11 AM
Tonight on my way home from work I popped in disc 16 of the 24-disc story I'm listening to in the car. I've been listening to it for weeks now. It's called The Children's Book by AS Byatt. ...

Yesterday I finally finished listening to The Children's Book. I'm glad I listened to it, but I won't be hurrying out to find any other books by AS Byatt.  ::)  She really ticked me off when one of her characters killed himself for no good reason (another character had killed himself earlier in the book, but that one felt believable and more or less appropriate) and then she killed off a few of the male characters as they fought in WWI. I can't believe the amount of what can only be called historical infodump she included--stuff that had no bearing on her characters--such as the yellow boots worn by one of the monarchs and how many animals he killed on a particular hunting trip. Oh, well.

I've now started Open Season by CJ Box. It's actually Book 1 in the series he writes about a game warden out in Wyoming who solves murders that happen in his territory. A few months ago I randomly picked up what turned out to be Book 8 in the series at the library and really enjoyed it. Since then I've listened to a couple of others, but I'm eager to see how it all started.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on March 23, 2011, 03:03:07 AM
Wow -- 24 disks? I didn't realise audiobooks were that big. I assumed they were only one or two disks long. Keep meaning to get hold of a few, but still haven't got around to it. The plan was to listen to them at work, but I'm not sure it would work out. Turns out I have to concentrate sometimes. I was listening to a short story on my iphone at work the other day and lost a whole chunk of the middle because I zoned out while concentrating on something I was working on. Perhaps my job isn't as mind-numbing as I first thought it was :scratch:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on March 23, 2011, 10:45:43 AM
I'm the same. Can't even listen to music whilst working,let alone an audio book.

Struggling to get much reading done at the moment. Actually half way through Derren Brown's Confessions of a Conjurer which I'm quite enjoying. After that, who knows what's top of the list? Mayb eit's time for another classic?

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on March 24, 2011, 06:53:43 AM
I'm steadily working my way through submissions for an anthology, and when I'm doing that I don't feel like reading an actual book, so I picked up some comics from the local library.  I'm in the middle of Spider-Man Noir at the moment, which is a really cool version of Spider-Man but set in the early 30s, with hardboiled dialogue and action.  Apparently it didn't sell too well, which is a shame.  I also picked up Marvel 1602, which is another alternate take on various characters, this time set in...1602!  Not as serious/'realistic' as Noir but good fun all the same.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Pharosian on March 24, 2011, 08:26:01 AM
I think the average audiobook is around 10-12 discs, each of which hold a bit more than an hour's narrative. The Chldren's Book took the narrator a stunning 30+ hours to read. The longer audiobooks are less common, but not exactly rare. Some even hit 30 discs!  :shocked:

Many of the stories are offered in an abridged version, but after listening to a few of those, I've made it a policy to avoid them. They just don't seem as coherent or as good as the unabridged ones. I'm not saying that there's never anything that could have been cut in the unabridged tales, but it seems that the abridgment process takes too much.

My "commute" is only about 15 minutes each way, so that's where I get my listening in--unless I go on a trip or sit in the car listening (yes, I have an iPod, but I just can't be bothered to do the conversion and copying required). I've tried listening to books at work, but I just can't concentrate on two things at once.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on March 24, 2011, 05:52:43 PM
Thanks for the info, Pharo. You could (assuming the audiobooks are in the same format as music disks) rip them using a free prog like AudioGrabber -- get it at www.download.com and then load them onto your iPhone using this prog called CopyTrans (also free). The latter has changed my life for the better. It's bliss. I can just drag and drop files from anywhere on my computer to load them onto my iPhone... WITHOUT HAVING TO USE iTUNES!!! :cheers: I hated the rigmarole of having to sync the whole damn phone every time I wanted to add or delete a few songs. It's so quick and easy. I'm sure you could get your audiobooks onto your phone with very little grief. As long as they're mp3s the iPhone will play them -- be sure not to rip the disks in any other format :afro:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Pharosian on March 24, 2011, 08:51:13 PM
Thanks Ed, I might just try that out!
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on March 25, 2011, 03:11:16 AM
You're welcome :afro:

I've only tried the free version, so I can't vouch for the paid one. The free version is simplicity itself. Just drag and drop then hit the update button. Takes thirty seconds, total, if that. I used to get so frustrated with iTunes that I gave up on trying to update my phone. It was so slow and laborious to use when my son wanted music on his new iPod that I searched the internet for an alternative -- I left iTunes on overnight -- ten hours, and it still didn't get halfway through what it was supposed to do. Useless crap. Copytrans did it in less than a minute.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: elay2433 on March 25, 2011, 12:50:00 PM
Pharo, you might want to check out audible.com. Taking A.S. Byatt's The Children's Book as an example, the price on amazon for the CD's is $35 vs. the audible cost of two credits ($29.90). Aside from price, ease of use and convenience might be a big factor, especially once you get into ripping CD's, bookmarking, etc. All the files from audible come ready to go. Drop it on your ipod, listen a bit, pause when your commute is over, and pick it back up again whenever.

When I first started listening on my ipod I ripped a few disks to mp3. The pain was that there wasn't any bookmarking. Meaning I couldn't use my ipod for anything else unless I was done with the book, or else I would lose my place or have to fast forward to where I left off. You can bookmark mp3 files, I've since learned, but with audible it's already done. So listen to your book on the commute, use it for music while you're at home, and pick the book up again the next day, right where you left off.

Plus, they've got some awesome deals to get you started. A lot of the books offered on amazon offer the audible version free with a 30 day trial. Also, I think no matter which plan you sign up for, the first three months are only 7.95 (14.95 a month after that). For that you get one credit a month. Most books are only 1 credit, though the behomoth sized manuscripts like The Children's Book often run you two credits.

My commute is a bit longer than yours, and some of the work I do doesn't require all of my attention, so I can sometimes listen at work, too. I go through at least two audiobooks a month (vs. one printed book), so I subscribe to their 2 credit a month deal. Could be worth checking out.

Right now I'm reading Jefferey Deaver's The Vanished man - good stuff. After listening to Stieg Larsson's  The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo I was eager to start the next in the Millenium Trilogy. This one has been a let down. I don't think I'll be listening to the third book.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Pharosian on March 25, 2011, 11:56:26 PM
Thanks, elay! I usually get my audiobooks from the library, which is almost free (I get hit with a fine of a buck or two here and there when I forget to renew in time), but I'm at the mercy of what they have on hand. I've thought of audible.com a few times, and I sometimes browse their collection, but I've never signed up. Tempting, though, especially at $7.95 a month.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: marc_chagall on March 26, 2011, 03:40:08 AM
Reading a light and pacey murder/mystery thriller at the moment: 'The Smile of Deceit' by Eileen Elgey. She's a pal of mine from the local writers' group and self-published this one, intending to just get six copies printed for family and friends, but thanks to local interest she quickly sold over 100. It needs a good line edit, which is what gives it away as self-published, but the story's flamin' good, and I'm gripped. Also just started 'La Gloire de mon pere' by Marcel Pagnol. This will take me much longer to read as it's in French so I have to go slowly.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: jsorensen on March 26, 2011, 09:20:13 PM
Been torn between several things and they're all getting mixed up:  Re-reading Hamlet and To Kill a Mockingbird for classes; trying to read The Riverhouse by G. Norman Lippert and even Christie's And Then There Were None, as well as several shorts on several webzines...There were several other books that I should be reading but the time is short and my attention span is shot at the moment...
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: jingold on March 30, 2011, 09:29:13 AM
Was up until 4 this morning reading Water for Elephants.  Decent story, but it's the setting that makes this book so intriguing.  Circuses and carnivals (especially Depression-era) are fascinating to me... which means I want to read more circus stories.  I've already read The Circus Fire by Stewart O'Nan, which was outstanding and a page-turner in spite of being non-fiction.

Does anyone know any others?
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: elay2433 on March 31, 2011, 02:07:20 PM
It's been a lonnnng time since I read the Deptford trilogy by Robertson Davies, but I rember loving each book. The third book in the series is World of Wonders, and to quote an internet summary "This particular novel tells the life story of the unfortunate boy introduced in The Fifth Business, who was spirited away from his Canadian home by one of the members of a traveling side show, the Wanless World of Wonders."

Sounds a little like what you're looking for, Jingold. I don't remember if it'd stand alone, but if you're up for it the whole trilogy was a great read. I recommend starting with Fith Business and reading toward World of Wonders.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: jingold on March 31, 2011, 03:31:00 PM
Thanks elay! Sounds good. :)

I've never read anything by Davies before.  If it's available on Kindle, I'll download it this weekend!  If not, I'll visit my favorite used book store and buy the whole trilogy.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on April 03, 2011, 12:29:52 PM
I'm currently reading the Writers Workshop of Horror, edited by Michael Knost. I purloined a signed copy from him last March, at the WHC in Brighton. Just goes to show how long it's been in my particular slush pile, doesn't it? ::)

The contributers list like a who's who of the genre, and so far each has had something interesting to say. It must be good, because I only began reading it yesterday and I'm already fifty pages in and looking forward to reading more. That's what I'm going to do now....
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: ozmosis7 on April 03, 2011, 12:31:31 PM
I'm looking to grab that myself soon. His classes are fantastic so far.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on April 03, 2011, 03:01:29 PM
I'm currently enjoying The Camomile Lawn by Mary Wesley. I think I might learn a lot from this novel. Wesley was certainly not afraid to move things along very rapidly - often using just one sentence where I'd have probably written several pages.

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: jsorensen on April 03, 2011, 03:28:29 PM
I'm currently reading the Writers Workshop of Horror, edited by Michael Knost.

The book is a very quick read and definitely very insightful...read it last summer, and, although I disagree with some of the articles (never a bad thing since that just gets me thinking about story construction anyway), I found most of it informative.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on April 03, 2011, 04:46:58 PM
Cool :afro: We're going to have to discuss some of this stuff -- it could be interesting. Del, do you mean 'telling instead of showing' type thing?
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on April 04, 2011, 02:01:19 AM
Quote
Del, do you mean 'telling instead of showing' type thing?

It is telling, Ed, but not in the way that we normally see that debate raise it's ugly head. Wesley simply moves the story on very quickly. Conversations tend to be quite clipped and every line is contributing to the story. Jumping ahead in time is dealt with very simply and easily, usually with just one or two words. All in all, everything is subservient (if that's the right word) to the story. I'll try and dig out some examples when I have more time. It's totally different to the clipped fast paced writing of, say, Patterson, but it's still very fast. One chapter it's the eve of the war. Next moment we're in London and all the main characters have joined up. One moment someone has run out of petrol. The next line someone has gone for a can of petrol, has returned, and their all on their way again. A moment later one of the main characters is married...

It means we're racing through time, but it also means we loose a little depth, but because of the careful method of giving us vital information pretty much all the time we're still building up a pretty good feel for the characters, the story, the conflicts, and so on. It's just a very different way of telling a story to what I'm used to (my tales, generally, tend to take place over a few days in which I describe everything in a lot of detail) and from which I'm sure I can learn a lot.

I'm probably reading too much into all of this, simply because I don't very often read sagas!  :huh:

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on June 18, 2011, 05:22:12 PM
Finished 'The Talisman' not so long ago. What a wonderful far fetched story. I live to discover those worlds. Current reading is an omnibus of Graham Masterton stories, it's not working for me. Still. I've got 'Different Seasons' up on the book shelf if the hammer should fall on the former.   
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Robert Essig on June 21, 2011, 09:31:19 AM
As usual, I am reading a number of books at one time.  That's a bad habit of mine.  But, my wife bought me a treat for Father's Day and I can't put it down. Lemmy's autobiography: White Line Fever.  These kind of books are like candy/crack to me.  Non stop debauchery and rock n roll decadence...good stuff!
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on June 28, 2011, 07:32:51 AM
I'm working my way through Dark Dominion by Bentley Little (not one of his best), and have Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (sp?) to read after that -  if I have time! haha  :cheesy:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Pharosian on June 28, 2011, 08:19:54 AM
Last night I finished The Hunger Games. I enjoyed it quite a bit, and am looking forward to reading the second book in the trilogy, Catching Fire.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: fnord33 on June 29, 2011, 03:01:25 AM
Just finished "the Place of Dead Roads" by William Burroughs. Parts of it were amazing, but the narrative meanders too much for my taste. I prefer his non-fiction. Now I'm reading Henry Miller's "Sexus" and Douglad Rushkoff's "Testament" series.  I'm loving "Sexus." While I can appreciate what Rushkoff is doing with "Testament" it isn't quite as good as I had hoped. It's not bad, but it seems a bit obvious. After being endorsed by Tim Leary, Robert Anton Wilson and Grant Morrison I'd expected a bit more. I'm only halfway through though. We'll see.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: eagle37 on June 30, 2011, 02:52:45 PM
I'm having an odd reading phase. I've gone from Sam Stone's 'Killing Kiss' to the second volume of Paul O'Grady's autobigraphy (hilarious), through Wulf (Steve Harris - abandoned) and now I'm looking forward to timewarping with Asimov's 'End of Eternity'. Havent read it for decades, and picked up a cheap copy at Newcon last year.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on June 30, 2011, 05:38:42 PM
Asimov is one author I keep meaning to read, but haven't got around to yet :scratch:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: elay2433 on June 30, 2011, 07:17:09 PM
Finishing up The Grapes of Wrath right now. Pretty disheartening. I know things aren't anywhere nears as bad as they were back then, but I see a lot of parallels between that time and now (a surplus workforce driving down wages, tent cities springing up along the levees, people going door to door looking for any kind of work).  :/
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on July 01, 2011, 02:04:31 AM
Yep -- makes you wonder whether there really is a plan to keep an underclass of desperate people as a ripe recruiting ground for the army in times of war, and to provide a mill pond to trickle low paid people into crap jobs nobody wants to do.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on July 07, 2011, 03:42:06 AM
I've endured a long series of novels that haven't quite worked for me and thus inspiration for my own writing has been at a low ebb (not only down to inspiration, but it's a contributing factor). So I've gone back to a very old favourite. A book called Tattoo by Earl Thompson. A huge book that I've read several times since I was first given a copy about 35 years ago (*) and which remains a staunch favourite. Not always the greatest writing (Earl would have got slated in the crit group!) but just wonderful story-telling, tremendous descriptions and scene setting and characterisation, and totally fearless. I have all of Earl's books - there's scarcely anything known about him, written about him, and only one scratchy old picture that I've ever seen on the web - and I think he may have been instrumental in making that 13 year old boy want to write. Certainly it's having that effect on me again now.

(*) By a very beautiful girl who was seven or eight years older than 13 year old Del and who used to drive me around the back lanes of Guernsey in her little mini. Just the two of us. Maybe that's why I love the book so much  ;)
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Pharosian on July 07, 2011, 07:58:07 AM
Certainly it's having that effect on me again now.


Yayyyyyy!!!   :cheers:   :dance:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on July 08, 2011, 02:38:09 AM
Good stuff, Del -- those early crushes are much better to look back on than they were at the time, aren't they? :afro:

I feel a bit like I'm getting my mojo back, too. I'm not sure what's triggered it, but my general mood has lifted some, and I seem to have my sense of humour back, which has been somewhat lacking over the past few months. The two seem to go hand in hand for me.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on July 08, 2011, 03:33:43 AM
Good news, Ed. Just watch the naming of those dangerous protagonists!

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rook on July 22, 2011, 08:00:42 AM
Can't believe I didn't post something about Nursery Rhymes 4 Dead Children by Lee Thompson here! Don't know where my head's been lately.  :scratch: I've been tweeting about it for weeks! ::)

I read it last week, and it's truly creepy. I highly recommend it. I put a review up on Goodreads, if you want more details: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/154420426  (http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/154420426)

Reading The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, now. Nonfiction written with a distinct speculative bent. I'm enjoying it, but wonder how accurate it can be...  :/ Ah, still, a serial killer and 1890s Chicago and a world fair--does it really matter how accurate it is?  :afro:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: jingold on July 22, 2011, 05:32:39 PM
I loved Devil in the White City.  Thought it was completely engrossing.

I finished A Dance with Dragons a few days ago.  Sigh.  George R.R. Martin is just plain evil, and that's all I'm going to say about it.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Geoff_N on July 23, 2011, 05:00:41 AM
Del, I get driven by 'little minis' too. ;)

Reading China Mieville's Kraken at the moment. I liked his other weird SF work and was put on the  spot by my local SF book group to select a book for our next monthly meeting. Kraken had been waiting on top of my piano to be read since Crimbo so I chose it. Not sure it was a wise choice now. I have to keep reminding myself that China wrote Kraken as a parody, but it seems to be getting dafter by the chapter.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: elay2433 on August 02, 2011, 06:22:28 PM
Had a spate of installs recently, all landing one on top of another, so I was able to do a lot of reading (listening really) while I worked. Just wrapped up Hearts In Atlantis, The Lost Symbol, Water For Elephants and Slaughterhouse Five, in that order. Some good stuff in there.

The first part of Hearts In Atlantis (Low Men In Yellow Coats) was so good I didn’t want to stop even when it was time to knock off for the day. It was a coming of age story that crossed over into Dark Tower territory a little. I don’t often go back to re-listen to something unless I really enjoyed it. This is one I’m sure I’ll be listening to again. The first part anyway. There are five parts -- two novellas and three short stories all interconnected by way of character relation. I didn’t much care for the rest of it. It was good, but nothing like first part.

I know Dan Brown has taken his knocks around here, but I always said I’d really enjoyed The Davinci Code. And I did. I’d hoped to enjoy The Lost Symbol just as much, but it wasn’t to be. It was fun, but it didn’t keep me interested the way Davinci Code did. Not even close.

Water For Elephants was okay – it moved pretty well. I never formed any sort of bond with any of the main characters though, and so I never really cared for any of them. I just watched the preview for the movie, and it looks to me like it will probably be better than the book.

Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five was a jumbled mess that was surprisingly easy to follow. Though in the end I suppose I just didn’t get it. This is ranked as classic literature. Over my head I guess.

Not sure what to get into next. What’s everyone else reading?
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rook on August 02, 2011, 09:44:05 PM
I'm halfway through Peter Straub's Ghost Story. Pretty good, pretty creepy.  :afro:

And I just started The Great Gatsby, but I'm not far enough into it to say much, other than the writing is lovely.  :smiley:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on August 03, 2011, 01:19:42 AM
Two of my favourite books there, Rook  :afro:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: elay2433 on August 11, 2011, 05:30:39 PM
Finished The Good House by Tananarive Due last night.  :afro: Pretty fricking good. I wasn't really expecting much, but this one pulled me in quick and just never let go. I think it was the characterization that did it. The people seemed so real, all of them, and so did the world they existed in. I won't spoil it for any potential readers, but early in the novel something happened to one character that shocked me. I was blindsided. I couldn't believe it and I was mad, actually mad at the author. I think I even said "No" outloud. Can't remember the last time I did that. I'll be checking out more of her books in the future.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rook on August 11, 2011, 06:28:12 PM
Finished The Great Gatsby and Ghost Story. Enjoyed both of them, Del! :afro:

Now I’m reading Setting Free the Bears, John Irving’s first novel. It reaffirms my assertion that Irving is one of my favorite novelists.  :smitten:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rook on August 30, 2011, 08:50:56 AM
I spent a good portion of our 36h without power, (thank you, Hurricane Irene), reading Shock Totem #4 and John Irving's Widow for One Year. There is some great fiction in #4--Besides Jingold's, Web of Gold by Rennie Sparks, The Many Ghosts of Annie Oren by A.C. Wise and Lee Thompson's Beneath the Weeping Willow really impressed me. Thompson’s is written in second-person POV--and it works exceptionally well. Ken Wood's nonfiction essay about his father is also remarkably well-written and moving.

About a third the way in, Widow for One Year has me completely hooked; almost as enthralling as The World According to Garp--Thanks to Elay for bringing it to my attention. I got it at Borders, which had a surprising selection of Irving novels to choose from, considering the state of their liquidated shelves...50+% off brings out the hordes...

Last week I read Specimen Days by Michael Cunningham. (The Hours, A Home at the End of the World). It's a novel written as three long short stories, the first a ghost story, the second a bit of a thriller, and the third sci-fi, with many connecting elements throughout--Chief among them, Walt Whitman and his poetry. A really fascinating book. I love Cunningham.  :smitten:

Having a good run of books lately...though I did abandon Piers Anthony's On A Pale Horse. Couldn't take the writing style and the MC. Something about it just irritated me.

BTW--Shock Totem has a giveaway on Goodreads, if anyone hasn’t ordered a copy of #4 yet. http://www.shocktotem.com/08/23/2011/goodreads-giveaway/#.TlRATXf2hdo.twitter (http://www.shocktotem.com/08/23/2011/goodreads-giveaway/#.TlRATXf2hdo.twitter) Ends the 12th, I believe.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: jingold on August 30, 2011, 10:50:52 AM
Just finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Not a bad book, just a little disappointing considering all the hype.  The first few chapters are out of control with the infodumping and telling (all on finance too  :buck:), and with the introduction of every character, the reader gets loads more.  IMO, the book is in serious need of pruning.  If I hadn't been stuck on a plane, I might not have finished it.  The title character Lisbeth is really interesting though. I enjoyed all the sections from her POV.

Did anyone else read it?
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: elay2433 on August 30, 2011, 05:38:59 PM
Quote
Thanks to Elay for bringing it to my attention
  :cheers:

Glad you're enjoying it, Rook. I always feel bad when I recommend a book and the person turns out disliking it.

Jingold, I read Dragon Tattoo (or listened to it, rather). I was hooked with the mystery - who was sending the flower? What happened to Harriet? Those initial hooks I think allowed me to absorb the info dumping. That and the characters and setting. Salander was captivating. Blomkvist and Erika Berger's relationship was interesting. The whole Vangar family was pretty intriguing. Even listening to all the finance stuff wasn't too bad for me, as I was kind of learning at the same time and it seemed (at least at the time I was listening) that it was something I needed to know to understand what was going on with Wennerström and Blomkvist. I think I'm more forgiving when it comes to listening, so I can't say how it might've gone down if I actually read it. Plus, the narrator on this one did a fantastic job. There were a lot of characters and he did wonders creating different voices for each. I went ahead and gave the second book a go and felt pretty much how you did about the first one. I wouldn't recommend it.

Did you ever get around to reading Robertson Davies?
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: jsorensen on August 30, 2011, 08:21:20 PM
Although I don't really have the time to read at the moment, I've finally decided to tackle James Frazer's The Golden Bough...so far, it's a great read.  Of course I have one of teh abridged versions and not the 12 volume set...got to compromise somewhere, but I am amazed with how much he was able to research and connect...I'm on "Contagious Magic" at the moment...
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on August 31, 2011, 01:27:51 AM
In a moment of boredom I picked up Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. I ordered it at the same time as American Gods, but after reading the latter it was pretty much destined for oblivion. This seems like a different book altogether, which of course it is, but it's an off shoot of AG's storyline. I've only read four or five pages so far, and I've laughed out loud a couple times (author intended), so if Nelly can keep it up, I think I might just dive in.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on September 01, 2011, 12:56:22 PM
Not writing these days but I still love reading and at the moment I'm nearing the end of Lee Child's 'One Shot.' It's another Jack Reacher novel and is a ton of fun. Other books I've read recently are The Talisman by King and Straub, not much of a Peter Straub fan but after reading this one I might give him another go. I read Black House by the same duo and soon realised it was a follow up to The Talisman, so I got lucky there by reading them in the right order, phew.
Demon Seed by Dean Koontz was pretty funny at times, there's one screwed up computer, and waiting on the book shelf for my attention is Slaughterhouse 5. I've  heard tell it's a classic and the blurb says it's about time travel and the second world war, so I've got high hopes for a good read.
Probably read a few other books since I last dropped in here but I'm damned if I can remember what they were. Hey ho.     
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: chawkins on September 08, 2011, 09:14:34 PM
Ed, I read Anansi Boys a while back, and really enjoyed it. It's not as good as, say, The Graveyard Book, but still a worthy read.

Has anyone picked up Joe Hill's "Locke and Key" series yet? Whether you're into graphic novels or not, it's a must-read.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: jsorensen on September 08, 2011, 09:29:09 PM
--I've picked up Joe Hill's 20th Century Ghosts--read through a couple of the stories and have enjoyed them.  But outside of that, I haven't read anything else.  Hopefully, I'll finish that one and maybe pick up Horns (I think that's it???).  Oh, by the way, welcome aboard chawkins...
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: ozmosis7 on September 08, 2011, 09:43:35 PM
I had a writing friend mention L&K. They said it was fantastic, so I am sold once I get a chance to buy it. I've listened to a lot of Hill's youtube interviews on it, and it sounds great. I've already succumbed to King's DT and Stand graphic novels, but I am typically an Ironman guy for anything off that sort. Seems a lot of big authors are heading that way lately, though.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on September 09, 2011, 01:24:36 AM
Ed, I read Anansi Boys a while back, and really enjoyed it. It's not as good as, say, The Graveyard Book, but still a worthy read.


I haven't managed to get far into it yet, but I have enjoyed what I have read so far.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on September 11, 2011, 12:39:17 PM
Finished Slaughterhouse 5 the other day. Now that's a weird book. I'm sure a lot of folk have analysed the story and can talk in depth about what's going on, but I'm not that smart so I'll just say, weird or not, I liked it.

Went to the library on Saturday. I couldn't remember the name of the Joe Hill graphic novel which was mentioned a few post back, but not a problem I though, all the books are listed by author.
Not so, damn, damn, damn. The thousand or so graphic novels on the shelves are listed by title :pissed: Ho hum, there's always next time.   
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: jsorensen on September 11, 2011, 01:38:11 PM
Never got to Slaughterhouse 5, but if Vonnegut's style was okay with you I would suggest Deadeye Dick, Galapogos, and my favorite of his Cat's Cradle.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Grillmeat on September 17, 2011, 03:19:36 PM
Just finished reading "The Warded Man" by Peter Brett. In the UK it was published as "The Painted Man". Pretty good fantasy read. Just got book 2 of the series called "Desert Spear". I hope he can keep juggling 6 different main character story lines as well as he did with the first book.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rook on September 17, 2011, 05:55:25 PM
Just finished reading "The Warded Man" by Peter Brett. In the UK it was published as "The Painted Man". Pretty good fantasy read. Just got book 2 of the series called "Desert Spear". I hope he can keep juggling 6 different main character story lines as well as he did with the first book.

I read 'The Warded Man', maybe a year(2?) back . As I recall, I enjoyed it, but didn't care for the way he handled the ending. I think it's worth reading though--great universe. :afro: Haven't gotten the second one yet, though...

 :smiley:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: jazminsdaddy on October 17, 2011, 08:59:06 AM
--I've picked up Joe Hill's 20th Century Ghosts--read through a couple of the stories and have enjoyed them.  But outside of that, I haven't read anything else.  Hopefully, I'll finish that one and maybe pick up Horns (I think that's it???).  Oh, by the way, welcome aboard chawkins...

Great book!
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: jazminsdaddy on October 17, 2011, 09:02:02 AM
I have just started John Dies at the End by "David Wong."
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on November 03, 2011, 03:52:12 AM
Currently reading A Fine Dark Line by Joe Lansdale which cost me 30p(*) from the sell-off shelf at my library. Bit different to anything else I've ever read by Joe, but tremendous nonetheless.

I'm finding it really interesting to compare Joe's writing and the way he approaches things to the stories in the CD comp. I think I'm learning a lot from both sources.

Kind regards,
Derek

(*) And I've just downloaded Conan Doyle's The Lost World for free onto my Kindle. What a cheap obsession this is!  :dance:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rook on November 03, 2011, 07:34:21 AM

I'm finding it really interesting to compare Joe's writing and the way he approaches things to the stories in the CD comp. I think I'm learning a lot from both sources.

I recently read Clive Barker's collection The Inhuman Condition and find myself doing the same. Interesting isn't it?

This was the first Barker I'd read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Even The Age Of Desire, which halfway through I wasn't sure about. Great ending. :afro:

Now I've put Weaveworld pretty much on hold for the comp.  :shocked:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on November 03, 2011, 07:40:27 AM
What's happened to Clive Barker? Is he still releasing stuff? ( I'm probably a little off the pace when it comes to the latest releases as I'm trying to catch up on my 200+ book backlog...whilst still buying cheap books from the library and downloading Kindle freebies!). I loved all his early and middle period work - a great vision in all his books.

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on November 05, 2011, 08:21:44 AM
Currently reading A Fine Dark Line by Joe Lansdale which cost me 30p(*) from the sell-off shelf at my library. Bit different to anything else I've ever read by Joe, but tremendous nonetheless.


One of my absolute favourite books! I love the 'folklore' aspect to it - it's like reading a Nick Cave album*

*I know Nick Cave writes books, but I th-SHUT UP!  :grin:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: jsorensen on November 05, 2011, 10:30:28 AM
@Rev--read King Ink I and II and The Ass Saw the Angel--nothiing else which is strange since I'm a huge Cave/Birthday fan...go figure (of fun)... :grin:

Right now reading Ethan Frome...again, go figure...
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Grillmeat on November 06, 2011, 07:25:35 PM
I have just started John Dies at the End by "David Wong."
How did you like it? Almost picked it up a while back but got side tracked.
I just finished: "The Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss. It was an interesting, yet slow, read. I'm glad I stuck with it but I can see how some would not.
I am now reading the final book of the vampire series by Del Torro and Hogan,  "The Night Eternal" just a bit of mind candy really but enjoyed it none-the-less.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: fnord33 on November 07, 2011, 03:54:31 AM
I've been on a graphic novel kick of late. Lots of Garth Ennis, Grant Morrison and Alan Moore. Between Promethea, the Invisibles, Preacher I read 22 books in as many days. I know it's just an illision, but the feeling that I'm finally making headway in the books I want to read is horribly addictive. Going back to traditional novels with "Black Alice" by Thomas Disch and John Sladek. It's decent, but so far pretty bland for those guys.   
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: elay2433 on November 08, 2011, 04:59:34 PM
Just finished Thomas Harris's Silence of the Lambs. Man, I love this tale. This was a book I had no problem reading, even having already seen the movie. Good tight writing, wonderful story that just keeps moving. Not a lot of wasted words in that one.

Before that I listened to Jack Kerouac's On the Road. Pretty good, interesting stuff. It's hardly an actual story, but given the way Kerouac tells the thing, coupled with Will Patton's narration, I wasn't ever bored.

Beore that I listened to Ann Hood's The Red Thread. I had high hopes for this one (having thoroughly enjoyed The Knitting Circle), but it didn't quite measure up. Pretty good nonetheless.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on December 01, 2011, 01:36:39 PM
I've been wondering what all the fuss was about so picked up a Dan Brown book. 'Deception Point' was the one, and hey the guy knows how to write an addictive story. It was about NASA and stuff which pulled me right in and some of the technical jargon probably taught me more about rocks than I really needed to know, but on the whole it was a good read. There were a few things I found pretty far-fetched though. Special forces who seem anything but special...hmmm..I think not.

Anyways, on to Dean Koontz's 'Shattered' now, I love his stuff. :afro:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on December 01, 2011, 04:08:23 PM
Yeah, I like Koontz, too -- easy to read, has a knack of coming up with an interesting premise. I don't know why he gets such a raw deal.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on December 16, 2011, 05:17:50 AM
Thought I'd have a bash at Under the Dome. I've been putting it off for a long time as the beginning was so similar to an old story of mine that just opening King's book made me feel like a plagiarist even though when I wrote my story UtD hadn't even been released and I'd never heard of it. Now mine's been out there a while and I haven't received any hate mail(*) about blatently ripping off everyone's favourite author I feel a bit more relaxed about reading it. It is uncanny though...

Derek

(*) Quite the opposite in fact. My story led to an unsolicited email from a stranger telling me that my tale was her favourite in the book. Such a  thing had never happened before and hasn't happened since; although I did once get a letter intended for the great international rugby player Don Rutherford asking for my (well, his) autograph.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on December 16, 2011, 06:18:08 PM
Recently finished Lee Child's 'Echo Burning.' It was fairly slow for  a Jack Reacher novel, not sure if that was because of a change in tempo or the Texas heat of the story.
Onto something called 'The Strain' now. The follow up, that waits on the bookshelf, is called 'The Fall. And then there's one more. It's end of the world stuff. :cool:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Geoff_N on December 16, 2011, 06:41:12 PM
Caz, reviews of book one of the Strain trilogy shrieked at the poor writing. Apparently del Toro passed on the plot ideas to Hogan to write. Of course the writing style is so subjective but what do you think?
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: notsoscarey on December 16, 2011, 07:37:21 PM
Lovecraft then next is a text of forensic anthropology cases. 
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on December 18, 2011, 06:16:34 AM
Caz, reviews of book one of the Strain trilogy shrieked at the poor writing. Apparently del Toro passed on the plot ideas to Hogan to write. Of course the writing style is so subjective but what do you think?

I'm about a hundred pages in and for the most part enjoying the story. I can see why some say the writing is poor at times, it doesn't happen often but I do find that I have to go back and reread a paragraph or sentence as I'm not always sure what's being said. And then there's the acronyms, so many of them for different law enforcement agencies and the like that at times I have no idea who is being written about and as to what their purpose is within the story.
In short it's a good story where the flow could be better as could the sound of the narration. But then again I'm not sure if that's due to poor writing or my own unfamiliarity with the authors and their styles.     
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on December 29, 2011, 01:32:07 PM
I finished reading 'The Strain' and the second book in the series 'The Fall' and the comments that Geoff mentioned about the writing in the first book is fair. The main problem with it is the asides, there's a lot of them and they go on so long at times that the reader -me- starts to lose track of what the sentence is about. And at times there appears to be no end point to the starting comment in the sentence. But I kept going despite the often confusing writing and I'm glad I did. Most of the problems are ironed out by the second book and the story tears along at a fair old pace.
It's not the best vampire plague story I've ever read, there are two others that I would say are better, but it's still good. And I'm not the only one who thinks that, there is a waiting list at the library for the third and final book in the trilogy. Ho hum gotta wait for that one then.

Current reading is 'Robin Hood versus The Plague Undead.' Quite a mad story but what the hell it seems like fun, and I picked up Stephen King's new book  '11/22/63' for half price in the sales. A time travel story by a great writer, I'm looking forward to that one even if there is no actual time machine. I do like a good noisy time machine with flashing dials and lightning bolts. Which reminds me of Dean Koontz's foray into the genre, 'Lightning Road' I think it was called. Time travel by some big time bad guys, great fun. :cool:       
   
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: fnord33 on December 29, 2011, 04:35:23 PM
I just finished American Virgin, a graphic novel series about an abstinence only advocate whose girlfriend is killed by fundamentalists. It was okay, but not as good as it sounds. Now I'm reading R. Crumb Instigates Violent Overthrow (or something like that). When I get back to "real" books I plan to read something by Haruki Murakami.  My wife discovered him about a month ago and she's already read 5 of  his  books.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on January 01, 2012, 06:31:08 PM
Back to work on tuesday which is bad news. Started on a big journey which is good news. Already meet some old friends along the way.

I was shocked to learn  there is a waiting list for 'The Night Eternal,' third book in 'The Strain' trilogy. The local library has told me there's a potential twenty four weeks before I can get my hands on it. That'll be popular then.       
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Ed on January 02, 2012, 02:55:42 PM
Yeah, I'm back to work again tomorrow -- feeling quite sick at the prospect. I hope the big journey turns out well for you. Good luck :afro:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on January 14, 2012, 01:57:51 PM

Just got back from 1958 - been off on a spot of time travel for the last few weeks - and I gotta say that I had a fine old time there. My guide was a good as ever, he reacquainted me with a few old friends and some things that are best kept at arms length. Told me about a love story, a smattering of conspiracies and a time and place where the world seemed kinder than it is now. But it couldn’t last, time travel it’s such a dangerous thing, so when the butterfly spread it wings I knew that trouble was on it’s way.

Stephen King’s 11/22/63 is a fine story, not his best in my opinion, but better than most could hope to do.  :cool: :afro: :afro:

 
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on January 18, 2012, 12:29:53 PM
I'm enjoying a bit of King at the moment, too: Under The Dome. Huge book. Feels like I've been reading it forever and I'm still less than half way through. Great story-telling, although I still maintain he'd get slaughtered in the crit group - he changes tenses for entire sections, there's author intrusion, cartoonish villains... But I'm still loving it and (hopefully) learning a massive amount about story telling.

One thing that bothers me though is that the population of the town feels awful small - almost like a decent sized village here in the UK - and yet they have a medical centre, a hospital, a radio station, a seperate police force, a disused cinema, three churches, restaurants, used car lots, a downtown district...etc etc... in terms of resources it feels like a city, but in terms of that population it's tiny. Maybe it's the difference between the US and the UK?

EDIT: Just to add some facts and figures. From the fictitious Chesters Mill website "Chester's Mill is a thriving community with nearly two-thousand year-round residents and a Summer population of nearly fifteen-thousand."  From Wiki "Churchdown is a relatively large village, with a population of 11,261"  (Churchdown is where I was raised)

Great book though.

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: marc_chagall on January 18, 2012, 01:07:28 PM
Reading Yann Martel's 'Life of Pi' at the moment. As this won the Booker Prize, I suppose it's 'literary fiction', but don't let that put you off. This fairly zips along, is funny and fast and completely mad. There's a boy called Pi (an odd name, which gets explained) and a tiger called Richard Parker (yes, even odder, but there IS a reason). It's great storytelling. Reminds me of 'stories from other lands' that I used to devour as a child. Pure adventure. How such an entertaining book came to win the Booker is a mystery. Last time I tried to read a Booker winner I felt like slitting my wrists.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on January 23, 2012, 11:02:20 AM
I've almost finished The Town by Bentley Little. It's pretty good, not one of his worst, but has 'told' me about more cool stuff than I've actually "seen" ie the sheriff muses on weird reports he's been receiving of monsters, rather than have the main characters encounter these monsters. Don't get me wrong, there are still some cool/weird things happening (like a church covered in hair) but there's this feeling of Little 'holding back' on the good stuff. I've only got about 60 pages left, though, so maybe it'll go nuts soon  :grin:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: jsorensen on January 23, 2012, 08:41:23 PM
Reading Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter and its a bit of the back and forth thing...like it/don't like it, interesting/drags...I'll finish it and see but its looking like a pretty obvious story at the moment and having no big a-ha moment might crush it... :(
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on January 29, 2012, 01:04:40 PM
Bit of a change for me this one, but I decided to give a Frederick Forsyth novel a go. The book's call 'Avenger' and is an intriguing story about the hunt for a Serbian warlord. There's so many characters in this story, FBI, CIA, SAS and the like and no end of info dumps that it would have been easy to become totally lost, but Forsyth managed to keep me on-board somehow, so good for him. I also learnt about things I didn't know, about the fearless GIs who went down into the tunnel networks of Vietnam for one.
Good book this. I think I'll be spending more time in the company of the author. :afro:   
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on February 01, 2012, 05:45:09 AM
Still ploughing through Under The Dome  :'(  To be honest it's turned into a chore, pace fell off massively in the second half and I've stopped enjoying the book. But I will force myself on...
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Tor Hershman on February 11, 2012, 12:06:54 AM
"My Life As A Small Boy" by Wally Cox
a true classic
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on February 20, 2012, 01:54:34 PM
Finished reading Robert McCammon's 'Swan Song' the other week, I read it in about eight days which ain't bad for a book they weighs in at the best part of 900 pages. The story cuts to the chase fairly quick and after a few brief intros I was thrown into a full scale nuclear war, oh man what pretty colours. But it couldn't last and before long I was following a growing band of survivors as they stumbled over the rubble of wasted cities, There's plenty of scenes of carnage and devastation, all written in a way that made them visual to my mind's eye, and the eventual arrival of the picturesque, if deadly, nuclear winter. And so the quest began.
This is a magical tale with many surprises to be unveiled along the way. Loved it. :afro: :afro:
   
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: starktheground on February 21, 2012, 10:30:31 AM
That was always one of my favorite books, until I reread it a few years ago and some of the magic seemed to have disappeared. I guess it proves things read different depending on the reader . . . even the same reader a decade later!
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on February 22, 2012, 05:40:47 AM
I recall enjoying Swan Song any years ago, too. It's still on my shelf awaiting a rereading but I'm not sure I'll ever get round to it. Too many books, too little time, at my pace of getting through books these days  :/

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: jsorensen on February 23, 2012, 09:08:25 PM
Started reading Joe by Larry Brown.  'Bout 20% through on teh Kindle scale and it's been pretty good so far...
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on February 28, 2012, 09:00:19 AM
Just finished Absolute Power by David Baldacci. In some parts this was a masterclass in suspense writing, although the outlandish plot meant I never quite bought into it as a whole. Still, I'm glad I read it for what I learned about the aforementioned suspense writing.

Kind regards,
Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Pharosian on February 28, 2012, 10:44:04 PM
Just finished Absolute Power by David Baldacci. In some parts this was a masterclass in suspense writing, although the outlandish plot meant I never quite bought into it as a whole.

I can't stand reading (or listening to) books by Baldacci for two reasons: the outlandish plots and his overuse of "said bookisms" in the dialog tags. He explained, he retorted, he confirmed... he did every bloody thing except SAID his lines!   :pissed:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on February 29, 2012, 02:57:54 AM
This was only the first one I'd read by him so it would be a bit premature of me to form too many opinions - also I understand it was his first book (although I also understand that he'd put in many thousands of hours before becoming an overnight success). I agree re. the plot - but it was positively realistic compared to some other thrillers I've read recently, so I guess it's a requirement of the genre. Can't say I noticed the use of any great variety of speech qualifiers (if that's the right term) but maybe I missed it because I was focusing on what he was doing suspense-wise and figuring out how I could use some of those tricks in my own work. I did find him guilty of what I'm often accused of - that of making many of the character's speech all sound the same.

Interestingly, the book I'm reading now (another thriller) is chock full of adverbs, and this time it's very noticeable. Same plot issues as already mentioned above, but a very gripping story nonetheless. Like I said, it seems to be a requirement of the form that story takes precedence over all else in the thriller genre.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on March 18, 2012, 09:49:59 AM
I decided to give 77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz a go. It starts with loads of cool weird stuff straight away, which worries me when there are several hundred pages left...
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: marc_chagall on March 18, 2012, 11:15:00 AM
Am reading a pre-publication review copy of a collection of short stories by Charles Christian, whom some of you will know. They are gob-smackingly good. I'll post a review in due course.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Grillmeat on March 19, 2012, 07:29:28 PM
I'm reading "Best Served Cold" by Joe Abercrombie. Just finished his series: The First Law a couple of weeks ago.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on March 25, 2012, 01:16:24 PM
Been a bit hit and miss on the book front lately. I read a time travel story that was written well enough but just wasn't very good. Characters that all sounded the same no matter where and when they were suppose to be from and a narrator who was more interested in giving me a physics lesson than telling a story, that kind of thing. So after that one I moved on to a favourite and reliable author, Dean Koontz, bless him, he never fails to tell me a good tale. And then I dived into the unknown again. A book that was slow and an author for who no detail was to small not to described in great depth, yet I kept reading, something intriguing about the story and the MC.

'Time And Again' by Jack Finney was worth reading for me even if I did feel as if I was wading through a thick word soup at times. The action's a bit thin on the ground but when it arrives I was sure swept up by it and the ending's one that I never saw coming and is as smart as any I've ever heard. There's also some great old pictures of 1880s New York in the book. My favourite one has got to be where the arm of the statue of liberty is rising out of the ground like a scene from a bad b-movie. Great stuff, and real as well. :afro:   
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on March 25, 2012, 03:11:07 PM
Quote
Been a bit hit and miss on the book front lately.

Seems like ages since I've lucked into a decent novel. So I'm reading some non-fiction at the mo', starting with The Forgotten Soldier (albeit there is a body of opinion that much of it is fiction).

http://www.amazon.com/The-Forgotten-Soldier-Guy-Sajer/dp/1574882864 (http://www.amazon.com/The-Forgotten-Soldier-Guy-Sajer/dp/1574882864)

 Very good and more harrowing than any horror novel I've ever read.

Derek
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: jingold on March 26, 2012, 09:13:27 AM
I'm in the middle of The Night Circus, which is being billed as the 'next' Harry Potter.  Kinda torn on how to feel about it.  It has beautiful description and forms a lovely portrait of a mystical circus.  However, the plot--which sounded wonderful in the book blurb--borders on silly.  Too many POVs make it feel unfocused, the conflict doesn't feel real, and I don't care about any of the characters.

The mood of this novel reminds me very much of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which was a door-stopper of a book, but so, so enchanting.  One of my favorite fantasy novels in the past few years.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on March 26, 2012, 09:54:09 AM
I'm now over halfway through 77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz, and I'm really enjoying it. What I feared might be a quick plateau of horror has ended up being a constant (eurgh I hate saying this) thrill ride (but it is haha). I've just got to a point where my favourite type of horror, 'becoming' (ie changing from human to....something else!), has reared its delightfully ugly head. Plus, Koontz has just introduced two new main characters, one of which is utterly brilliant, and I can't wait to see how they end up!
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: starktheground on March 26, 2012, 03:59:15 PM
I just got 77 Shadow Street along with some other books, and was thinking of waiting on it, but your post has made me excited to read it! Don't get me wrong; I love all things Koontz and read everything he writes, but I haven't gotten as into his books as much as I did a few years ago.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on April 01, 2012, 12:20:00 PM
‘Mister Shivers,’ now there’s a good book. The cover got me interested, the blurb sold me on the idea. I walked into the tale hoping to be impressed, maybe find a gem, something that would be firing on all cylinders. I lit the touch paper and a smooth time machine took me back to a hard and dusty world.

Set at the time of the great depression this is a story about the hunt for a killer and the growing band of vengeance seekers who pursue him. The narrator portrays the land that this desperate band travel through with the lightest of touches. Never bogging the reader down with too many words but always providing enough so that each scene - whether it be riding the rails in a empty cattle truck, or resting the night away in a camp for the displaced - is clear to the mind’s eye. 

Spartan, I’m not sure if that’s the correct word to describe the writing in this book but I think it might be close. I was never bored, I always wanted to know more, I felt connected to the characters and the world that had fallen to its knees and was dying around them.

Yeah, a definite spark of the magic to this one, so damn fine show I say. :afro: :afro:

BTW, Robert Jackson Bennett's 'Mr Shivers' isn't a story about time travel, it's just that lately I've been thinking that some books act just like a time machines should and whisk me back to a place that I could never have hoped to visit.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on April 02, 2012, 02:05:22 PM
Sounds really good, Caz!
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on April 03, 2012, 06:29:20 AM
I'm now onto the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo - and absolutely loving it. First book for a very long time that's had me reading into the early hours when really I should be sleeping.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: starktheground on April 03, 2012, 09:32:51 AM
I couldn't get through the first five pages.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Pharosian on April 03, 2012, 07:38:07 PM
I don't know how many pages I made it through because I was reading on the Kindle, but it wasn't many. But then we saw the movie (the Swedish version) and it was really good. I might give it another go sometime.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: starktheground on April 03, 2012, 10:31:42 PM
That's the only thing I can't stand about my Kindle. (That, and it's not waterproof.) I'm so used to memorizing a page number when I put a book down, I still try to do it with the Kindle. Gets me every time!
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: elay2433 on April 04, 2012, 08:11:46 AM
I was so stoked when I listened to the audio version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo that I bought the next book (audio version) and all three paperbacks for my girlfriend. The second book was okay, but a let down (considering how much I enjoyed the first one). My girlfriend finished all three, but didn't have much to say about the third, so I didn't bother.

I tried watching the swedish version of the movie on Netflix, but didn't make it past the first fifteen minutes. The characters were so miscast (from the ones I'd cast in my minds eye), and the production values were pretty shoddy. Can't wait to see the new one. I'd hoped to catch in theatres, but couldn't make time.

-Jerry
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on April 10, 2012, 01:30:08 PM
A dysfunctional bunch of characters, cowards, drunkards, psychos, what’s not to love.

Chris Wooding's 'The Black Lung Captain' has got all of the above and more. It took me a while, forty to fifty pages, to get into the story but I'm so glad I stayed with it. This is a rip-roaring tale set in a steampunkish world where double dealing pirates set off in search of lost treasure and find a lot more than they bargained for. There's a real sense of humour running through this story and some great airborne battle scenes - these pirates rule the skies not the waves - where giant dreadnoughts slug it out and fighter craft duck and dive as they fight the enemy without, and for one unfortunate sole the enemy within.
The crew of the Ketty Jay - the starring ship of the tale - all have their own back story, and they become all the more loveable because of it. Every one of them is flawed, at times dangerously so, but I guess that's what makes them seem so real.

And there's a ship's cat too that the reader gets to be in the head of. Real genius there and so funny. Loved it. :afro: :afro:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Grillmeat on April 11, 2012, 09:30:42 PM
I reading "The Wise Man's Fear" by Patrick Rothfuss. It is the second book in the King Killer Trilogy. The first one was very slow. I almost gave up about a third of the way thru but hung in there and was well rewarded. Thankfully, the second book has been a much more engaging read. Hopefully, it won't take as long for his third book to come out......
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Geoff_N on April 12, 2012, 02:26:30 PM
Caz, my SFF reading group is reading one of Chris Wooding's books - Retribution Falls. Have you read it?

Before that I am reading for review a bizarro book by Ira Nayman in his hilariously wicked Alternate Reality News Service, Luna for the Lunies. Fridges that report their owners to the authorities for having out of date food, tracking THE butterfly that will cause a hurricane in the US, and more rib-tickling.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Caz on April 14, 2012, 05:06:07 AM
Caz, my SFF reading group is reading one of Chris Wooding's books - Retribution Falls. Have you read it?



I've not read that one yet though the story line from it is mentioned a lot in The Black Lung Captain. They do seem like stand alone books so I don't think the order they're read in is to important, and I will keep an eye out for it. If it's anything like the second book in the series then it will be a barrel of laughs.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on May 01, 2012, 04:23:13 AM
I burning my way through the second of the Millenium Trilogy (The Girl Who Played With Fire). Don't get as much time to read as I like these days (who does?) but these books are simply the best novels I've read in eons. Absolutely stunning. I gather that a lot of folks don't get on with them but there's something that just gels with me - the late Steig Larsson won't be hurried and allows himself to build up character and story and background bit by bit, but there's a 'feeling' to every word (albeit every translated word) that just sits right. The true climax/black moment in book one arrived a hundred or so pages before the end and afterwards we just freewheeled towards the conclusion, but even that free-wheeling was a pleasure.

Before I started on these books someone told me that having read them they now miss them, and I can understand that sentiment exactly. I can also understand why that unpublsihed fourth book is such hot property.

Furthermore, right now in Tesco you can buy all three for under a fiver! That's less than the price of your monthly house/cooking/guitar/computer/photography/dog/film/motorcycle magazine  :tdoff:
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Grillmeat on May 01, 2012, 06:54:37 PM
Currently reading "Roadside Picnic" by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. Had a hell of time getting a copy. Seems they are all over in Europe but finding a copy I could afford in the USA was nearly impossible.....
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: marc_chagall on May 02, 2012, 02:01:22 AM
I love that book! Glad you managed to get a copy despite the difficulties.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Grillmeat on May 05, 2012, 10:02:14 AM
I enjoyed it too. Very short but a lot of interesting ideas and emotions packed into it.
I just started: A Canticle for Leibowitz. A few years back some friends of mine told me that if I enjoyed "On the Beach" (which I did) I might like this as well.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: delboy on May 08, 2012, 02:52:51 AM
Another vote here for Roadside Picnic. Great book.

I'm struggling this year to get through many books at all - although I have read a couple of 700 pagers and Under The Dome which was 900+ pages IIRC (can't check as I binned it...). But now reading Anything For Billy by Larry McMurtry.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Grillmeat on May 08, 2012, 06:11:10 PM
I read "Under the Dome". Can't say it was one of my favorite reads but it wasn't bad.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: marc_chagall on May 09, 2012, 02:27:22 AM
I've been reading DH Lawrence's 'The Plumed Serpent' and it's gorgeous textured writing, but I'm on page 160 and the story (if there is one) hasn't yet started. There's this woman called Kate who's been on holiday in Mexico with some people. The people have gone home but she's still there and has moved to a different apartment, near a lake. That's it. 160 pages! Another 300 to go. I decided I needed a break so picked up some Guy Gavriel Kay. Now he knows how to tell stories, particularly in his earlier writing. Such a relief.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: Rev. Austin on May 09, 2012, 02:38:35 AM
I've started re-reading The Walking Dead from the beginning. It really does feel like re-visiting old friends you've not seen in years!
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: elay2433 on June 13, 2012, 06:54:15 PM
I've done a lot of reading and movie-watching as part fueling the story I'm working on for the After Death anthology. One of the books was Elsewhere, by Gabrielle Zevin. Pretty good story with a fresh take on the after life. Not something I'm likely to re-read, but the pacing was great and the idea was unique (and fresh, as I've said). It's a YA book, but I still enjoyed it (I'm 33).

Reading alot of non-fiction regarding the heroe's journey and monomyth - essays and such by Joseph Campbell.

All great food for the right side of my brain so that the left side can shit out the stories. Or is that food for the left side?  :idiot:

Listened to Orson Scott Card's Lost Gate a week ago. Good stuff there. He had two seemingly seperate stories that intersected in the end. He got them both going early on, but then one story dropped off for so long I nearly forgot about it until it came back near the end. Still, the whole thing worked. And although the book stands well as it is, I suspect this is book one of a longer work. I've gone through alot of his stuff now, and I can't say I've ever been disappointed. Even his mediocre stuff makes for a good read.

Before that, I had the opportunity to listen to a fellow Borderland Bootcamp grunt’s debut novel. Southern God’s by John Hornor Jacobs was a pretty good read. It was cool going to the Bootcamp and meeting some of the pro authors whose work I’d already read and admired, but, man, it is waaaay cooler to have met someone who was more or less like me, plugging away at writing, subbing, resubbing, etc, and  to then find that the novel he workshopped through the Bootcamp was sold to a reputable publishing company. I do a lot of my ‘reading’ in audio format, so it was a bonus for me to find his book available on audible (where I have a membership). He’s got more books due out from Simon and Schuster, too.

http://www.johnhornorjacobs.com/
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: darkfiction74 on June 22, 2012, 11:58:59 PM
Right now I'm reading The Hungry II by Harry Shannon and Steven W. Booth. So far, it's a pretty damn fun read. Coming next is a book by Tim Curran. I recently read Dead Sea by Curran, and it blew me away so I went and bought a bunch of his books. I'm not sure which one I'll read next, but it will be one of his, for certain.
Title: Re: What's top of your reading list?
Post by: elay2433 on October 17, 2012, 12:50:38 PM
Trying to get through 1Q84 right now. Anyone read it? It was pretty intriguing from the start, but it goes on and on without much really happening to advance the plot. I'm nearing the halfway point, but I don't know if I'll finish. It's not one that has me at all eager to read, yet I hate to give it up having gone this far.

Jerry