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RPG Superstar 2015

What books are you currently reading?


Books

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Burgomeister of Troll Town wrote:
There's more to life than trolling Paizo.com. you know, but not much more.

Hyup yup yup.


I've been reading a lot of vampire stories lately. SmiloDan mentioned Sunshine, which I read a few years ago and found to be a bit of a disappointment. The worldbuilding was more interesting than the characters, and I mostly remember learning entirely too much about working in a bakery and watching the protagonist mope around a lot. Still, I'd give it another chance and read a sequel or another story set in that world.

More recently, I just finished reading the Joe Pitt series. It's a story about modern vampires in Manhattan and a fellow who desperately tries to stay neutral and keep out of vampire politics. Also he's generally an unpleasant person (almost an antihero) and a huge dick- I think some of that might have rubbed off on the vampire character that I play on the forums here.


Almost finished with "A Storm of Swords", I pretty much read during work layovers so these books are taking awhile. Wish I had more time.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

loimprevisto wrote:

I've been reading a lot of vampire stories lately. SmiloDan mentioned Sunshine, which I read a few years ago and found to be a bit of a disappointment. The worldbuilding was more interesting than the characters, and I mostly remember learning entirely too much about working in a bakery and watching the protagonist mope around a lot. Still, I'd give it another chance and read a sequel or another story set in that world.

More recently, I just finished reading the Joe Pitt series. It's a story about modern vampires in Manhattan and a fellow who desperately tries to stay neutral and keep out of vampire politics. Also he's generally an unpleasant person (almost an antihero) and a huge dick- I think some of that might have rubbed off on the vampire character that I play on the forums here.

Yeah, I was really disappointed in "Sunshine." I really think the author just wanted to write about a bakery, but is an established genre author, so she tacked on the bit about vampires and stuff. The world building was great, but the main POV character was really annoyingly passive and the other characters were just boring. There was none of that "Oh goody, so-and-so is on the page now!" feeling you get when Arya or Tyrion or Tasselhoff or Loiosh or Ilisidi is on the page.

Also, I was expecting some kind of scoundrel at some point, but there were none.

Overall, it was a big disappointment.

Sovereign Court

I'll just leave this here.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Roac wrote:
I'll just leave this here.

I'm readin' thread fool! Don't you ever interrupt me when I'm readin' a thread!


That was amusing, but I wish it had more verses and less choruses.

Finished Bored of the Rings. Laughed a couple of times, but it was mostly boring.


Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:


Also, finally located a copy of Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Robert Maturin. Listen to this (from the back cover):

** spoiler omitted **

This book better be f!*%ing awesme.

Jesus Christ!

I've been reading this book (on-and-off) since January!

Never in my life have I read such a laborious novel. Moby Dick? Don Quixote? Pfft. Child's play compared to this mo'fo.

Why haven't I given up? Well, because it's pretty good, actually, and I WANT TO KNOW HOW IT ENDS!!

Can't say I'd ever recommend it, though.


tocath wrote:
Trying hard to work my way through The Furies of Calderon but not finding it very compelling. Does it get better?

Did you end up finishing the series? I agree that the first two books were a bit slow (though still infinitely better than WoT...) but I found that things picked up after the

Spoiler:
war with the Canim, and I thought the Vord made for some great fantasy villains.
Overall I found it to be quite readable.

Finished Zainab Salbi -- gonna maybe read some Oz, and TOZ lent me a fantasy novel he liked last time he was over, so I'll probably give that a try. Oh, and The Delusion of Disbelief is still waiting for me as the next nonfiction on my list.

Dark Archive

Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
Never in my life have I read such a laborious novel. Moby Dick? Don Quixote? Pfft. Child's play compared to this mo'fo.

Hey. Hey. Don Quixote was not laborious, it was awesome.

I'm about half way through House of Leaves, which is one of the most interesting and intricate (and terrifying) novels I've ever picked up. Also almost finished with The First Men in the Moon for a class, which was a pretty solid read too.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

How Does Religion Influence Politics? editor: Stefan Kiesbye.
American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century by Kevin Phillips.
Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence by Mark Juergensmeyer.

Plus a load of articles disputing Huntington's thesis.


House of Leaves was incredible. Deliberately labyrinthine and downright weird at times, but incredible. The author manages to tie together so many different stories and themes into one coherent narrative... I hate to pull out the same adjective again but it was incredible.

Even the introduction was great.

Spoiler:
With a little luck, you’ll dismiss this labor, react as Zampano had hoped, call it needlessly complicated, pointlessly obtuse, prolix – your word -, ridiculously conceived, and you’ll believe all you’ve said, and then you’ll put it aside – though even here, just that one word, “aside”, makes me shudder, for what is ever really just put aside? – and you’ll carry on, eat, drink, be merry and most of all you’ll sleep well.

Then again there’s a good chance you won’t.

This much I’m certain of: it doesn’t happen immediately. You’ll finish and that will be that, until a moment will come, maybe in a month, maybe a year, maybe even several years. You’ll be sick of feeling troubled or deeply in love or quietly uncertain or even content for the first time in your life. It won’t matter. Out of the blue, beyond any cause you can trace, you’ll suddenly realize things are not how you perceived them to be at all. For some reason, you will no longer be the person you believed you once were. You’ll detect slow and subtle shifts going on all around you, more importantly shifts in you. Worse, you’ll realize it’s always been shifting, like a shimmer of sorts, a vast shimmer, only dark like a room. But you won’t understand why or how. You’ll have forgotten what granted you this awareness in the first place.

Old shelters – television, magazines, movies – won’t protect you anymore. You might try scribbling in a journal, on a napkin, maybe even in the margins of this book. That’s when you’ll discover you no longer trust the very walls you always took for granted. Even the hallways you’ve walked a hundred times will feel longer, much longer, and the shadows, any shadow at all, will suddenly seem deeper, much, much, deeper.

You might try then, as I did, to find a sky so full of stars it will blind you again. Only no sky can blind you now. Even with all that iridescent magic up there, your eye will no longer linger on the light, it will no longer trace constellations. You’ll care only about the darkness and you;ll watch it for hours, for days, maybe even for years, trying in vain to believe you’re some kind of indispensable, universe-appointed sentinel, as if just by looking you could actually keep it all at bay. It will get so bad you’ll be afraid to look away, you’ll be afraid to sleep.

Then no matter where you are, in a crowded restaurant or on some desolate street or even in the comforts of your own home, you’ll watch yourself dismantle every assurance you’ve ever lived by. You’ll stand aside as a great complexity intrudes, tearing apart, piece by piece, all of your carefully conceived denials, whether deliberate or unconscious. And then for better or worse you’ll turn, unable to resist, though try to resist you still will, fighting with everything you’ve got not to face the thing you most dread, what is now, what will be, what has always come before, the creature you truly are, the creature we all are, buried in the nameless black of a name.

And then the nightmares will begin.

For a while after reading it I insisted on leaving a few measuring tapes around the house. You know, just for fun. At some point at least a few weeks later one of my "friends" lowered one by an inch.


xn0o0cl3 wrote:
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
Never in my life have I read such a laborious novel. Moby Dick? Don Quixote? Pfft. Child's play compared to this mo'fo.
Hey. Hey. Don Quixote was not laborious, it was awesome.

Yes, it was indeed awesome. It also took me a month to read.

Perhaps "laborious" wasn't the right word, but all I meant was that it was a labor...of love. Same with Moby Dick.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Finally got around to reading the copy of Neuromancer that I picked up a while back. A very interesting book.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Finished A Dance With Dragons. Got a subtle but delicious plot point about twelve hours thereafter.

Opted to pick up Elminster's Daughter, which I bought last year. I expect it will be fun and full of neat gaming ideas as Greenwood usually is.


Neuromancer is the shiznit, son!


Sanakht Inaros wrote:
American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century by Kevin Phillips.

I read some of the essays that eventually got compiled into this. Very insightful -- but that's not surprising given the author.


Samnell wrote:

Finished A Dance With Dragons. Got a subtle but delicious plot point about twelve hours thereafter.

Opted to pick up Elminster's Daughter, which I bought last year. I expect it will be fun and full of neat gaming ideas as Greenwood usually is.

Loooooooots of running. (But, in my opinion, the most enjoyable of the Elminster... novels.)

Scarab Sages

Kirth Gersen wrote:
Sanakht Inaros wrote:
American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century by Kevin Phillips.
I read some of the essays that eventually got compiled into this. Very insightful -- but that's not surprising given the author.

I have a paper to write for my International Relations class. My topic is about the role that relgion plays. I've gotta narrow it down so I've chosen to write about how religion plays a role in U.S. foreign policy.


Courtney! wrote:


EDIT: Oh yeah, the book I am actually reading. "The Way of Shadows" by Brent Weeks. Borrowing it from a friend who's reading my Pathfinder novels as I work my way through it. Street urchin trains to become an assassin, and there's a bunch of conspiracy and/or prophecy going on. My friend said the powers reminded him of Exalted, but halfway through I'm not getting that vibe. It's part of a trilogy, so maybe the power level scales up later?

I've been on a major rogue/assassin kick since playing Skyrim, so Exalted or no, this book is suiting my tastes just fine.

Dunno if you've finished that one or started the others, but hecks yeah his power level escalates. You won't find out exactly what's happening or why until the end of the third book, but damn. Dorian also gets pretty powerful...

It's a great series that I've borrowed from plenty in running games.


Just started Elizabeth Cook's The Deed of Paksenarrion, lent to ne by TOZ. So far it's engaging and well-written, with a likable main character. Army basic training in medieval fantasy land is a whole lot nicer than I remember it being from the 20th c. USA, however!

Spoiler:
Other than the attempted rape, which was investigated -- and the culprits punished and discharged -- with far better alacrity and concern than in the modern army.


Finished The Crusades by Thomas Asbridge yesterday (by far the best book on the subject I have ever read), and then picked up Dresden Files: Storm Front by Jim Butcher, which Book Depository had gently brought along with some other stuff just a day earlier.

Caught me right away. I'll be having some intensive reading this Sunday.


R.I.P., Melmoth the Wanderer.

Shadow Lodge Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

loimprevisto wrote:

House of Leaves was incredible. Deliberately labyrinthine and downright weird at times, but incredible. The author manages to tie together so many different stories and themes into one coherent narrative... I hate to pull out the same adjective again but it was incredible.

Even the introduction was great.

I loved it. I regularly mine it for campaign ideas, and read the whole thing about once every six months.

A week of mini-nightmares regarding any dark spots in my house is worth it.

Spoiler:
In my homebrew setting, there is a Xaos-worshipping cult family who live in a hidden underground grove sealed off beneath a mountain range. The passage between the grove and the surface is labyrinthine, shifting, frigid cold, and lightless, and populated by a nameless, voiceless, shapeless, formless, pitch-black thing that can only be warded away by the banshee spirit of the clan matriarch, who is bound to the grove's location and can't wander far from the surface entrance point of the labyrinth. She has free reign of the maze and grove themselves, but outside can't go much more than a few yards from the well-hidden cave that marks the location.

The Minotaur - and perhaps the whole labyrinth itself, in absence of the House - is basically an aspect of Xaos, and possesses its originator's mindless madness, seeing no allies nor enemies (including the cult family itself), simply targets in its domain that it equally attacks, destroys, consumes, confuses, disorients, or ignores completely depending on its insane whim of the moment. It's only kept at bay by the matriarch's ghost because it can't figure out how to attack her.


Conan the Adventurer, Allen Ginsberg's Kaddish and Other Poems and

Spoiler:
The Truth about Israel and Zionism by Nathan Weinstock and Jon Rothschild.

When writing anti-Zionist socialist pamphlets, always let the authors be Jewish.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Finished Elminster's Daughter just now. It transpired three daughters figured into the story, but one only in a last-minute gag. Plenty of neat scenes to steal for games and a truly epic amount of running. Practically the entire first half is a chase scene. Fun enough.

What next? Damned if I know. Maybe some Pathfinder Tales since I've yet to touch one. Death's Heretic and Nightglass both sound interesting.


Samnell wrote:


What next? Damned if I know. Maybe some Pathfinder Tales since I've yet to touch one. Death's Heretic and Nightglass both sound interesting.

Yeah, I’ll drop a recommendation for Death’s Heretic, I can’t really get into why I like it in detail without ruining the story but I will say it is fun, you might like it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dogbladewarrior wrote:
Samnell wrote:


What next? Damned if I know. Maybe some Pathfinder Tales since I've yet to touch one. Death's Heretic and Nightglass both sound interesting.

Yeah, I’ll drop a recommendation for Death’s Heretic, I can’t really get into why I like it in detail without ruining the story but I will say it is fun, you might like it.

Downloaded the sample chapter and read it last night. Liked it. Bought the ePub less than a minute ago.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Michael Jackson's Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch.

I mostly got it because I was just introduced to the drink a week before finding the book, and because it's damn pretty.


Samnell wrote:
Dogbladewarrior wrote:
Samnell wrote:


What next? Damned if I know. Maybe some Pathfinder Tales since I've yet to touch one. Death's Heretic and Nightglass both sound interesting.

Yeah, I’ll drop a recommendation for Death’s Heretic, I can’t really get into why I like it in detail without ruining the story but I will say it is fun, you might like it.
Downloaded the sample chapter and read it last night. Liked it. Bought the ePub less than a minute ago.

Cool man, we should chat about it when you are done.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dogbladewarrior wrote:
Samnell wrote:
Dogbladewarrior wrote:
Samnell wrote:


What next? Damned if I know. Maybe some Pathfinder Tales since I've yet to touch one. Death's Heretic and Nightglass both sound interesting.

Yeah, I’ll drop a recommendation for Death’s Heretic, I can’t really get into why I like it in detail without ruining the story but I will say it is fun, you might like it.
Downloaded the sample chapter and read it last night. Liked it. Bought the ePub less than a minute ago.
Cool man, we should chat about it when you are done.

Assuming I read it at about the pace I read Greenwood, which is of similar length, that should be in about four or five days. But my reading time can be irregular. So sure thing, one of us remembers. :)


Finished David Eddings's Queen Of Sorcery and currently reading Magician's Gambit, Stephenson's Quicksilver waiting for finish somewhere in 3/4th.


Samnell wrote:


Assuming I read it at about the pace I read Greenwood, which is of similar length, that should be in about four or five days. But my reading time can be irregular. So sure thing, one of us remembers. :)

=)


Started Conan the Buccaneer by deCamp and Carter. From here on in with the Conan books it's completely uncharted territory for me and, so far (50 pages in) it's pretty badass. As good as Howard? Maybe not, but it's certainly better than a lot of the crap out there.


On the Pathfinder fiction, I picked up Song of the Serpent and Death's Heretic. I hear there's an upcoming book set in Kyonin so I'll have to pick that up as well.

I'm really regretting not getting hardcopys though, but I get in enough trouble for giving my Core Rulebook a prominent enough place on my bookshelf. (Enough that I actually move it when the lady comes over. :P)

I'll never get used to reading from a PDF.


Finished up The Tragicall History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus.
It wasn't bad, but Kit Marlowe isn't Shakespeare. There were definitely some really good passages and scenes. In the comedy scenes especially you can see similarities, probably tropes of the Elizabethan stage.

The actual plot doesn't really work for me. Faustus doesn't really do anything all that bad with the powers from his devilish bargain. There's no real feeling of corruption, other than the actual act of selling his soul. Little dramatic tension.
I suspect it would have felt quite different to the original audience, where the very idea would have been much more shocking.


What do you mean? He summons up ghosts of dead Trojan princesses to cavort with, knocks off the Pope's hat, and other anti-social activities.

But, yeah, even in Goethe, Faust never really does much that we today would call "evil".

Anyway, if you want more wickedness from your Marlowe, check out Tamburlaine the Great or The Jew of Malta. Evil!

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2013

I don't think Faust is supposed to be "evil" in any of the versions. He's a tragic figure who we are meant to sympathize with because he made some poor choices.


I think "yes" in Goethe, "no" in Marlowe.


Celestial Healer wrote:
I don't think Faust is supposed to be "evil" in any of the versions. He's a tragic figure who we are meant to sympathize with because he made some poor choices.

At least in Marlowe, the extent of his poor choices really seemed to be "He made a deal with the devil." There wasn't even much in his motivation for that beyond "arrogant scholar".


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Twigs wrote:

On the Pathfinder fiction, I picked up Song of the Serpent and Death's Heretic. I hear there's an upcoming book set in Kyonin so I'll have to pick that up as well.

I'm really regretting not getting hardcopys though, but I get in enough trouble for giving my Core Rulebook a prominent enough place on my bookshelf. (Enough that I actually move it when the lady comes over. :P)

I'll never get used to reading from a PDF.

I found that getting a tablet helped incredibly. The focal length is just never quite right with a desktop or laptop and isn't very amenable to adjustment. You can hold a tablet just like you would a book.

There are still books I'd want in hardcopy. Anything I'm going to be referencing more than reading is an obvious example. But straight out prose reading? Digital.


REAMDE a novel by Neal Stephenson. Has some pretty fun presentation of a MMORPG company mixed in with Mr.Stephenson's techno-thriller excellence.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
thejeff wrote:
Celestial Healer wrote:
I don't think Faust is supposed to be "evil" in any of the versions. He's a tragic figure who we are meant to sympathize with because he made some poor choices.
At least in Marlowe, the extent of his poor choices really seemed to be "He made a deal with the devil." There wasn't even much in his motivation for that beyond "arrogant scholar".

At the time, making a deal with the devil was something most of his audience probably considered about infinitely worse than any other possible thing one could even conceive of doing. They do things differently in the past.


Samnell wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Celestial Healer wrote:
I don't think Faust is supposed to be "evil" in any of the versions. He's a tragic figure who we are meant to sympathize with because he made some poor choices.
At least in Marlowe, the extent of his poor choices really seemed to be "He made a deal with the devil." There wasn't even much in his motivation for that beyond "arrogant scholar".
At the time, making a deal with the devil was something most of his audience probably considered about infinitely worse than any other possible thing one could even conceive of doing. They do things differently in the past.

Yeah, exactly. As I said, it probably worked better for the intended audience.


Spoiler:
In Goethe, he knocks up some peasant girl and abandons her, pregnant, as she's waiting to be executed for the murder of her mother. What a guy!

IIRC, she ends up being his "get out of hell free" card. They were more forgiving about selling your soul to the Devil during the Enlightenment.


Faust in yo' face!!


Finished Kaddish. Also read The Quitter by Harvey Pekar and Dean Haspiel. Who would've thunk that Pekar started life as a street thug?!?

On the burner now I've got:

Conan the Buccaneer fits in my Teamsters zipper-book, so I've only been reading it when it's slow at work, hiding in my trucks.

and

Blankets by Craig Thompson, another one of those comics that I bought back when I had a lot more money.


Magician's Gambit and Castle Of Wizardry finished. Reading Enchanter's End Game.


thejeff wrote:

Finished up The Tragicall History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus.

It wasn't bad, but Kit Marlowe isn't Shakespeare. There were definitely some really good passages and scenes. In the comedy scenes especially you can see similarities, probably tropes of the Elizabethan stage.

The actual plot doesn't really work for me. Faustus doesn't really do anything all that bad with the powers from his devilish bargain. There's no real feeling of corruption, other than the actual act of selling his soul. Little dramatic tension.
I suspect it would have felt quite different to the original audience, where the very idea would have been much more shocking.

Jack Faust was an interesting sci-fi take on the Faust story. I thought it was a good telling of what it would look like for a well-intentioned man to be brought over to the dark side by a deal with the devil.

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