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I like pretty cover art as much as the next person, but it annoys me that there is no product description/synopsis. Are people so darn impatient that you must put up whatever you have on the schedule without even a hint of what the book will be about? Surely in development there was something you could include -- does the story even have a protagonist? Who is it? What does "shy knives" mean? If you have that info, why not put it here or link to it?
So what did everyone get this year? I picked up a bunch of kid-friendly freebies I can pass on to my sister for her classroom (I highly recommend the "Mouse Guard" comic that came in a compilation with "Lumberjanes". It has Gorgeous Art!) and I bought some Rat Queen issues.
Here's a link to the Free Comic Book Day website Link
I'm such a lit geek, I've read the annotated Treasure Island. It was awesome. The only thing I liked slightly less than most of Stevenson's works was The Black Arrow. My favorite Stevenson story is "Markheim," which is a little gem of a morality play, and really displays his deft hand at characterization.
I dunno. The Story of the Stone has
Spoiler:However, SotS is the book I read first out of the trilogy (I didn't know they had a reading order), so I didn't read Bridge of Birds with the same set of expectations of it being better, which skews my perspective on the series.
the most hilarious and shocking encounter with a demon in Hell I've ever read.
I do agree with you about Eight Skilled Gentlemen. I liked the conclusion with the dragon-boat race, but it has a lot of plot problems. Even if you pay close attention it can be impossible to tell what is going on.
What am I reading now, you ask?
Daughters of the Samurai: a journey from east to west and back, by Janice P. Nimura.
It's about five young daughters of disgraced Meiji-era samurai who were deputized to spend 10 years being educated in the United States of America, in order to acquire Western ways and introduce them to Japan. I'm enjoying it so far!
Marco Massoudi wrote:
I really enjoyed the Pathfinder Tale in the Legacy of Fire AP. The half-elf "water druid" was awesome!
This sounds great! The 32 page modules were "just right" for the limited time my group had to play, so this might fill that one-shot niche while also offering more for folks who want to run a longer game. It also sounds like the turn-around time for the final product will be quicker with 3 authors working on their parts at once.
It'd be cool if going forward the modules mix it up between offering "anthologies" for short sessions/one-shots and "mini-campaigns" for those who want something longer with a unified theme or arc.
My recent reads are an interlude of non-fiction:
The Landscape of History: How Historians Map the Past, by John Lewis Gaddis.
The Turk: The Life and Times of the Famous Eighteenth-Century Chess-Playing Machine, by Tom Standage.
Now I'm reading Cry, The Beloved Country, by Alan Paton. It's good, but at times I have trouble distinguishing the speakers due to Paton's style of setting off dialog by em-dash.
the Queen's Raven wrote:
Why does everyone keep bringing up Batman? Zorro, is who Batman was based on. Red Raven and Galt, Zorro and California.
It warms the cockles of my heart to have my lovely home-state compared to Galt. Does that make Governor Brown our Citizen Goss, and our State Senate the Cabinet of Skulls? Thank Desna it's an election year!
Also, it looks like the Red Raven has gained quite a bit of weight since we last saw him, in addition to his wardrobe upgrade.
I finished Barabara Hambly's Darwath trilogy. I'm SO glad I'm done. I won't be revisiting this series. I liked the fight scenes, the aliens, and her use of the two viewpoint characters, but really nothing else about the books. I wanted the villains to win as redemption for their being written as such flat, stupid stereotypes with cardboard swords. The themes in the book don't feel "of a piece" and each separate idea on its own that she introduced didn't quite mesh with the other ideas.
Lord Snow wrote:
Re: spoiler. Dangit, Snow! You made me get teary-eyed.
I still haven't read The Shepherd's Crown because Granny Weatherwax dies!
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Walter M. Miller wrote "A Canticle for Leibowitz," not Delaney. Delaney wrote "Dhalgren" which is a book that really intimidates me (and most books don't intimidate me).
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
False start on Some Summer Lands as I realized I should probably read some of the books I got for Christmas. Mr. Comrade and the Nigerian Princess got me a book by Octavia Butler
Thanks for the heads up about the Clockshop and Huntington celebrations. I remember reading something about it on the Huntington's website but I'd forgotten about it.
When I went to school in Santa Monica my sister would point out this house she said Octavia Butler used to stay at. One of those small Santa Monica stucco bungalows they've probably torn down by now.
Celestial Healer wrote:
Burroughs, along with the other Beats, is one of my dad's obsessions.
I've finished A is for Arsenic, and I've started the last book in the Darwath trilogy. So far it's not so bad, but there's more of a Shaver-like bent to the story once the protagonists start confronting the monstrous "Dark" (a collective monster kind of like a cloaker with ESP and magic).
"[Describing chiral compounds by analogy] Hands have identical components (fingers, thumb, palms and so on) but they are arranged slightly differently on each hand, forming mirror images that cannot be superimposed onto each other (hence the labeling in chiral compounds: l- for laveo, 'left' in Latin, and d- for dextro, 'right.'"
--A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie by Kathryn Harkup.
I finished book two in the Darwath trilogy. Man, was it a slog! It felt like a big book with a skinny book inside it waiting to get out... and it was only about 300 pages! But I'm still probably going to read the last book, "The Armies of Daylight" because I do want to find out what happens to the protagonists. This trilogy isn't really a recommend from me, but YMMV. Be prepared for cardboard villains if you do read it.
I'm now reading A is for Arsenic: the poisons of Agatha Christie by chemist Kathryn Harkup. I'm already at H in the alphabet-titled chapters: H is for Hemlock. If you are a Christie fan and/or a chemistry fan, pick this book up! It goes into all the details about the drugs Christie uses in her novels, the real-life cases that inspired her (and that she inspired!) and how the drugs function to disrupt the body's systems.
In the wings: The Devil's Rooming House: the true story of America's Deadliest Female Serial Killer. I picked this one up at the library and just KNOW I'm going to enjoy it! This is the true case that inspired the classic play/movie Arsenic and Old Lace.
I liked table-reading Shakespeare when I was in college. I felt I learned the most with that combination of hands-on acting and reading, with background reading/research sloughing off of it as needed. I also really liked Shakespeare in high school, but I was reading him on my own as well at the time so I didn't have much trouble with his language. After the weak-sauce of "Romeo and Juliet" I got to study "Henry IV" - & my English elective teacher looked like Falstaff!
They had an article on the recent DVD release of "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" in the Los Angeles Times today. It works as a film, apparently because Tom Stoppard directed it. But it is also post-Walter Benjamin's "Task of the Translator", an Absurdist play working on different levels. Which is kind of why I like Julie Taymor's film "Titus" and her adaptation of "The Lion King" as a play. Things don't always have to resemble themselves. Plays can be films, if the difference of the medium is respected. Kurosawa's "Ran" is a great movie! & I own a comic-book version of the Iliad!
However, my favorite "Hamlet" movie is the scene in Last Action Hero, with Arnold. ; P
Aaron Bitman wrote:
I tried to go back to my undergrad notes and realized the computer they were on was stolen years ago! I think the text I read this in was "The Origins of the Gothic" but it could have been any number of books. Literary Women maybe? WH was written in a Gothic style while not being strictly (or actually) a gothic novel (it's a Victorian novel). The actions taken by the characters ape the extreme psychology and cluelessness of those in Ann Radcliff (which Jane Austen also mimics/satirizes in Northanger Abbey, and which Charlotte Bronte takes more seriously in her themes in Jane Ayre, though that story is partly biographical). I think that's the sum of it.
Mentions Larry Turtledove...
Gregory Feely has a great essay about alternative history and its discontents in his introduction to his short story "The Crab Lice" in Nebula Awards 33. "The Crab Lice" is about the impossibility of alt-hist fiction and the role of the author to effect change. "The Crab Lice" is one of my favorite short stories! Anyway, you aren't the only one who can't stand Harry Turtledove.
Foucault's Pendulum = awesome. Though perhaps not quite as awesome as Michel Foucault, who really has nothing to do with the book. (I had gone in expecting it to be related to his post-structuralist theory and it wasn't, though it is slightly related in that there are the traditional Eco-ian concerns with semiotics).
I couldn't stand Wuthering Heights when I read it as a teenager, but years later I learned it was intended as satire and it completely changed my view of the novel.
The only book I ever really had a hate on for was Humans by Donald E. Westlake. I threw that book across the room and enjoyed the smacking sound it made as it hit the wall. Too bad it was a library book.
I'm still reading Barbara Hambly's The Time of the Dark. It's taking waaaay too long because my suspension of disbelief keeps getting un-suspended. Some parallels to our own world I can stand and accept because they're all part of the portal-fantasy genre: Earth-like gravity, horses, similar weather, etc. This isn't sci-fi, it's fantasy. But she goes too far! Why are the signs of the zodiac the same ones we have in Western culture when they are so obviously specific to the late Greek & Roman cultures of Western Europe? Why is the main symbol of the faith a cross (with no alternate explanation or meaning because a cross in itself could signify lots of things, leaving me to assume Jesus somehow died for the sins of the people of this fantasy world, too?)
Other than that, Hambly is great at describing things, and the "dark" is a really cool concept. Still, not as creepy/scary as I'd anticipated.
Aaron Bitman wrote:
Except in "With folded hands..."
the humans don't take back control, and most of them are totally find with their new robot overlords; it's just that one paranoid guy who thinks its awful. When he tries to take back control, he fails miserably. Your summary of Wall-E reminded me of that story. That's all.
Here are some other writers' perspectives on writing long series fantasy fiction:
I read a dual-language edition of the Quijote/Quixote. I'm trying to improve my Spanish.
I think I'd like The Alloy of Law, since I'd like to read more fantasy/western genre, but I haven't read the Mistborn books. Would I be lost picking up Alloy without having read the previous novels? Or should I stick to reading a plain-old Western?
Following Kajehase's example:
1) Don Quixote, by Cervantes. Loads of humor and much more lighthearted than the Dale Wasserman musical!
2) Hold Tight, Don't Let Go, by Laura Rose Wagner. Set in Haiti after the earthquake, this is the only book that made me cry this year. Excellent!
3) Nightglass, by Liane Merciel. For a story set in Nidal, very tastefully done and the traditional redemption arc made me feel good. It reminded me I haven't read a Western in a long time.
I started Barbara Hambly's The Time of the Dark. Book 1 of the Darwath trilogy. So far it is not as weird/scary as I'd expected it to be. I also had this strange notion that it would be closer to Francis Steven's style of portal fantasy than L.E. Modesitt Jr.'s. It's not... But it's hard to get that gonzo and still be publishable.
I kinda want to write some Francis Stevens fan-fiction.