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kuhla

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Currently reading Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End (1953). I can't click on that wiki link for fear of spoilers. So far it's ok. I don't really know where it's going but there are a few ideas in the book that bother me a little bit. If you find ideas that are very critical of religion unnerving that I cannot recommend this book.

 

Finished that. It's a unique story. I actually found myself getting a bit emotional towards the end of the book. It kind of left me depressed for a little while after finishing it. Most definitely not a "feel good" storyline. The religion stuff I mentioned previously is hardly a main plot point now that I see the full perspective of the story.

 

Now starting American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I've read other stuff from him before and liked it so I hope I like this too. Literally I'm on page 1.

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Now starting American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I've read other stuff from him before and liked it so I hope I like this too. Literally I'm on page 1.

 

With all the time I have had lately, especially with all the laying around trying to feel better, I have finished this. Felt a bit anticlimactic. A bit weird overall. Wouldn't recommend but it's not badly written. The basic premise of the book is that anything or anyone that enough people sacrifice to, in the classic sense of the word, actualize.

 

Now reading http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Handmaid%27s_Tale The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. I've started it a few times but got bored and moved on to something else. I'm going to finish it this time and I'm already half way done with it. It's not long. A bit boring. I'm not expecting action but I would like some kind of drama.

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I hate drama.It's always the stupid woman's fault.

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Now reading http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Handmaid%27s_Tale The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. I've started it a few times but got bored and moved on to something else. I'm going to finish it this time and I'm already half way done with it. It's not long. A bit boring. I'm not expecting action but I would like some kind of drama.

 

Finished this. Boring. Seems more like a mental exercise than anything else. Seems a lot of people read this in high school.

 

Tried to start Stephen King's Dark Tower series because I've seen it recommended here and there but just could not get myself into the western fantasy setting. Stopped after about 80 pages. It's multiple books too.

 

Now reading Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age which feels like.... nano nano nano everything.... kind of hard to put my brain into it but it talks about some nice ideas which feel novel. A lot of description of how he thinks some tech works which is kind of nice.

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Just a few notes about the dark tower series. The "western" is only really evident in the very beginning. It actually switches to modern shortly afterwards. He also makes reference to his other books in his own series (same characters or locations). There was a really good section in that series which is a flashback about the main character, I really enjoyed that segment. The fantasy elements get a little weird after a while, I lost interest after about book 5 or 6. I should really just read the wiki on it.

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Now reading Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age which feels like.... nano nano nano everything.... kind of hard to put my brain into it but it talks about some nice ideas which feel novel. A lot of description of how he thinks some tech works which is kind of nice.

 

Finished that. Some nice bits but didn't really enjoy the story. It started getting weird towards the end and the finally climaxes with an army of naked, 12-year-old chinese girls, speaking in "victorian" english while killing people with pointy sticks. I really wish I was embellishing that but I'm not.

 

 

I've decided to restart reading Hyperion by Dan Simmons. It's a series (4 books) and it is rated highly. I read the first book a long time ago and was frustrated and stopped without finishing it. I re-read the first book maybe 3 years ago and sort of wanted to continue but did not want to invest in the rest of the series. I started the first book again but I have the whole series now so hopefully this time I will be able to continue through.

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Finished that. Some nice bits but didn't really enjoy the story. It started getting weird towards the end and the finally climaxes with an army of naked, 12-year-old chinese girls, speaking in "victorian" english while killing people with pointy sticks. I really wish I was embellishing that but I'm not.

 

Uh, that's more than weird. Sounds like someone needs to go to the bird house.

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Finished that. It's a unique story. I actually found myself getting a bit emotional towards the end of the book. It kind of left me depressed for a little while after finishing it. Most definitely not a "feel good" storyline. The religion stuff I mentioned previously is hardly a main plot point now that I see the full perspective of the story.

I just finished childhood's end. I can understand the melancholy but I felt far more for the overseers than I did for the humans. The books is interesting, strange but interesting.

 

I'm attempting to start up again on Malazan Book of the Fallen Series, but it's fucking huge and while some people really it's style, I have to admit it's like being thown into the open ocean, and then when you feel like you're treading water, they attach an anchor to you. There's so much happening and NOTHING is explained, I mean not history, not backstory, not content. It's the equivalent of being thrust into the middle of another world and someone decides to tell you a story, with absolutely no reference and no lead in. It's not poorly written and I will try my best to stick with it, but I hope the next 2200 pages will be more enlightening than the first 240.

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I've decided to restart reading Hyperion by Dan Simmons. It's a series (4 books) and it is rated highly. I read the first book a long time ago and was frustrated and stopped without finishing it. I re-read the first book maybe 3 years ago and sort of wanted to continue but did not want to invest in the rest of the series. I started the first book again but I have the whole series now so hopefully this time I will be able to continue through.

 

FPHEWWAA. Done. Took a long time to finish the 4 books but it's done. I didn't really enjoy the story but that was purely my subjective opinion. Objectively, I think it deserves recognition for solid storytelling. The whole story does take 4 books to explain with many elements spanning multiple books. A lot of "story boarding" must have gone into this for things to be spanned out so much and still slot into place. There is a lot of discussion about religion and religious iconography so that is a side-disclaimer. Some neat ideas regarding mortality/immortality.

 

 

Not too sure what I'm going to start next. I've exhausted much of the lists I do have.

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Ended up reading The Mote in God's Eye . Wouldn't recommend it. I'll sum it up as first contact and birth control. They try some original ideas regarding an alien civilization but it's not enough to save it as a whole. Some really campy stuff in there too.

 

 

Now reading The Sword of Truth series (about 300 pages in) which is so far very generic fantasy in just about every way. I'm probably about due for something simple and I really don't know what else to read right now. The only thing I've read so far that's not too cliched is they have tried to say that the bad guy is not really bad, that he is doing things because he thinks it's the right thing to do. Moral gray area is always a good thing for proper drama. If I decide to blast through all 12 books I'll report back.

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Now reading The Sword of Truth series (about 300 pages in) which is so far very generic fantasy in just about every way. I'm probably about due for something simple and I really don't know what else to read right now. The only thing I've read so far that's not too cliched is they have tried to say that the bad guy is not really bad, that he is doing things because he thinks it's the right thing to do. Moral gray area is always a good thing for proper drama. If I decide to blast through all 12 books I'll report back.

 

Finished the first book of this and then went to wikipedia and skimmed the plot lines for the whole rest of the series (EDIT: because I could not bare to think of reading another one and I wanted to see how ludicrous it got). I don't think I could properly explain one sentence how bad this book was so I shall do so with bullet points....

  • The good guys are nothing but pure goodness and innocence incarnate.
  • The bad guys are pedophiles, rapists, power hungry idiots with not a single redeeming molecule in their body.
  • A "cute" talking wolf companion.
  • Dragons that you can ride and command.
  • XYZ is mentioned as something very rare. Within 100 pages it will be incredibly prevalent.
  • "No one has ever <insert>." The main characters will do it within the next 100 pages.
  • People traverse the land in varying speeds based on their importance to the plot.
  • There is only one wizard in all the land. By the end of book 1 there was umpteen many.
  • The two main characters are terribly in love but every time, just as they are getting some private time something terrible happens. Heaven forbid they consummate their love.
  • Child characters!
  • No one can overcome this dilemma! Main characters suddenly gain new powers.

You would think this was kind of a young-adult or children's fantasy right? It would seem so at first but there a small sprinkling of moments, that had little to no relevance to the plot, here and there where I wasn't sure it was appropriate for kids. malaphax and I were discussing it and theorized that maybe those moments were put in simply to try and avoid it being slotted into children's category.

 

While I was writing this post, I decided to see if anyone on reddit had mentioned this book. First search result, first reply, highest rated: ""Everyone else here is being too nice. Don't waste your time, this series is fucking garbage.""

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Currently reading Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey and I'm well into it. It's a bit slow but a fair amount of character development and drama. Not a bad story but I feel like I've spent a few hundred pages waiting for something big to happen that keeps getting alluded to. The main character is a prostitute of sorts which means that there are a number of sex scenes but I wouldn't call any of them graphic or "fan service". No magic which, after my last book, is a very good thing although the setting is fantasy. They have a very weird religion in the book that borrows heavily from a christian background but then at a certain point deviates wildly.

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Currently reading Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey and I'm well into it. It's a bit slow but a fair amount of character development and drama. Not a bad story but I feel like I've spent a few hundred pages waiting for something big to happen that keeps getting alluded to. The main character is a prostitute of sorts which means that there are a number of sex scenes but I wouldn't call any of them graphic or "fan service". No magic which, after my last book, is a very good thing although the setting is fantasy. They have a very weird religion in the book that borrows heavily from a christian background but then at a certain point deviates wildly.

 

I actually finished this a long time ago. It was okay. A lot of what I already wrote about it applies for the rest of the book although some things did happen to shake things up eventually.

 

In the meantime I have finished another book. Anathem by Neal Stephenson. The only possible way I could describe the setting is if you took a university, a cloister and a time capsule and smashed it all together in near-future/modern day. I would describe the story as mostly drama with only a little action/thriller here and there. There is a lot of discussions about different philosophies. Some even span multiple pages. Even though that sounds a bit "textbooky", I did enjoy the book and would recommend it provided my description didn't scare you off. It's not SO GOOD as to overcome that.

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Started reading The Stand by the well known author Stephen King. I was/am a bit worried about reading this book almost solely based on the "star power" of the Stephen King name. I'm usually very suspicious of stuff that goes wildly mainstream like that. So far it's ok. I had to take a few days break from it though because it was getting very morbid and my brother's funeral was going to/had just happened so I couldn't handle it. I'm back on it now though. I'll let you know how it goes. It is going to take a while though, the book is LONG. 1400 pages on my ereader although the print version is a bit less than that but still 1000+. We will see if I do some skimming though. There was an entire chapter that was dedicated to "and this person..." actually why don't I just grab an excerpt from it.... I should explain, hardly a spoiler since it's in the beginning of the book, that the premise is of a highly contagious and highly lethal virus...

 

That night they stayed in a Eustace, Oklahoma, travel court. Ed and Trish infected the clerk. The kids, Marsha, Stanley, and Hector, infected the kids they played with on the tourist court’s playground—kids bound for west Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Trish infected the two women who were washing clothes at the Laundromat two blocks away. Ed, on his way down the motel corridor to get some ice, infected a fellow he passed in the hallway. Everybody got into the act.

 

....and there is an entire chapter dedicated to who infected who infected who. Even going so far as to give a few details about their lives and then essentially saying they are going to be dead in a few days time. It's a bit too morbid and detailed at times like that. I think most people would either not be able to stomach it or would skim over it since it has no direct relation to the main characters. Just window dressing on the dying world.

 

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I haven't updated this in a while.

 

I have not read any noteworthy novels lately.

 

I have been reading comicbooks. Sandman series. I have quite a few so it is taking some time.

 

I would like to get back into novels but the problem right now is 3 parts: (1) The ebooks I did download initially was a top 100 list and that has lasted a long time and I have read a large amount of the list now, (2) if I find a new-ish book on Amazon or B&N and then try to track it down on a download site I usually cannot find it, (3) the stuff that is available for download is just raw dumps which means it consists 98% of garbage.

 

"So just buy new ebooks on amazon and read those?" That isn't so easy because I am not using propriety readers. I want my books in epub/mobi format.

 

I'll have to figure something out.

 

I can't go back to simple paperbacks and admit defeat in the name of progress....

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This is some new technology supposed to increase the rate at which people can read. They suggest that most people can hit somewhere around 500 words per minute. Their site has a small test at various rates from 250 to 500. I tried it at 250, 400 and 500. I was able to keep pace at 500 well enough, although I admit it felt like I would need to work up to longer durations.

 

http://www.spritzinc.com/

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After multiple false starts on other novels that I couldn't stick with for long, I am currently reading The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever by Stephen R. Donaldson. So far it's kind of different. Not sure where it is going.

 

This is some new technology supposed to increase the rate at which people can read. They suggest that most people can hit somewhere around 500 words per minute. Their site has a small test at various rates from 250 to 500. I tried it at 250, 400 and 500. I was able to keep pace at 500 well enough, although I admit it felt like I would need to work up to longer durations.

 

http://www.spritzinc.com/

 

250-300 was easy. 350 I was putting in a little effort to keep up. At 400 wpm I was mentally filling in a word occasionally that I missed in a sentence. At 500 I was missing groups of words, mainly longer ones back to back, short words I was fine.

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Some people were bringing up the issues with this type of technology. Mainly due to the fact that you can't really re-read a sentence, and certain less common words might also throw you off. It would probably be great for reading some basic non-fiction or anything relatively easy to read. I would be scared to try reading something more difficult or involved.

 

Here's the reddit discussion about it:

http://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/1yvvam/software_that_speeds_up_your_reading_to_500_words/

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My reading comprehension is notoriously poor because I skip a lot of words in order to speed up my reading. This might be insanely cool.

I can probably do 350 without skipping (but occasional mental hiccups cause me to lose a word or 2). I can do up to 500 with close to the same level of accuracy but I definitely skip words because I can't read them rather than the mental hiccups.

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After multiple false starts on other novels that I couldn't stick with for long, I am currently reading The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever by Stephen R. Donaldson. So far it's kind of different. Not sure where it is going.

 

Admittedly I dropped this and have been reading comics since then. Read through this whole series: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avengers_vs._X-Men and a few other small ones. Unfortunately it has reinforced many of the criticisms I had of comics before I started, mainly that they are juvenile to a fault. It's easy light reading but the stories get so bad sometimes (what are we going to do? well, I just figured out something amazing and now I'm more powerful than god so I can fix this tadaa, how convenient). It's sad because everyone once in a while there is a small taste of something deeper but it's only for a moment. I'll probably finish out what I have and then try to dive back into proper novels.

 

I'm really really close to going back to actual book stores and shopping that way. I had much better luck doing that. I would love to have it in e-reader format but that may be difficult since I modified my reader. I would rather not use my tablet which is not as easy on the eyes but I may not have a choice. I do not want to go back to paperbacks.

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Out of desperation, I bought some paper books from B&N. I wasn't having any luck finding ebooks to download for free that I wanted to read. I didn't want to read anymore comics. I'll let you know if any of them are worth reading.

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Just finished Haze by L. E. Modesitt and would not recommend it for a variety of reasons:

  1. Very little happens over the course of the book.
  2. There is an alternative story with the same main character told in parallel but it has no relevance to the main one (that the book is titled after) and nothing happens in that storyline too.
  3. There is the typical sci-fi theme of "a strange man in a strange land" but it mainly just comes off as the author preaching of what an "ideal" society is like. Usually there is seemingly perfect society with some dark secret. On the other side, the society the main character is from is not so bad but is talked about as if it is truly terrible. It's just very strange.
  4. The people of Haze have extremely advanced technology but are also human. It's never explained properly how they have this tech.

Next up is The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch.

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Next up is The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch.

 

Finished this. It was decent. Based on what I've been told about how GRRM writes there does seem to be similarities (and GRRM does have an endorsing quote on the front of this book).

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