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What books are you currently reading?


Books

5,751 to 5,799 of 5,799 << first < prev | 106 | 107 | 108 | 109 | 110 | 111 | 112 | 113 | 114 | 115 | 116 | next > last >>

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Tacticslion wrote:

I've gone all the way through chapter - what, five? six? anyway, the most recent one - which fully finished off the first "story arc" and, I have to say, it's marvelous.

Yes, I think I'm going to spend the rest of my yuletide gift card on getting as many of these as I can.


I never expected to trigger this much discussion with Oz!


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Oz is well worth discussing, in my opinion. In my mind the 14 "core" Oz books were the first modern fantasy series, pre-dating Howard's and Tolkien's earliest works. Before Oz, there were fairy tales, but this was something different. The Oz series gave us grand epics (by children's standards, anyway). "The Land of Oz" showed us that Oz was a PLACE, where life went on even in Dorothy's absence. When I, as a child, picked up an Oz book, I could escape into what felt like a real yet magical world, in which I could actually believe, at least until I put the book down. (Most other fantasies of the time didn't do that for me. For instance, Lewis Carroll's "Alice" books clearly described some kind of dream, or drug trip.)

Oz was definitely my favorite series during my elementary school years. It began my interest in fantasy (which ultimately led me to this website, among many other things). I read those 14 books at least 4 times each. I read over a dozen of Baum's other books as well, and over a dozen Oz books by later authors.

Yeah, I can discuss it.


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Aw man, I thought we were talking about about novelizations of the HBO series!

But seriously, I'm not sure it's possible to overstate the importance of the Oz books. It's similar to the way everyone calls Superman the first superhero, and completely discounts Popeye, who's been doing super powered stuff in a newspaper strip (without eating spinach, most of the time) for around a decade before Superman was published.


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Stream-of-consciousness-wise, for some reason that made me think of this sketch that I just saw recently.

Sorry for the derail (not!). I also loved all the Oz books as a kid. Don't know if I read all 40, but I read a lot of them.


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"Man, f**k Storm; I'd still be relevant too, if I stuck around that many white people!"

Classic.


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Hitdice wrote:
It's similar to the way everyone calls Superman the first superhero, and completely discounts Popeye, who's been doing super powered stuff in a newspaper strip (without eating spinach, most of the time) for around a decade before Superman was published.

Yeah, I wouldn't call the original Popeye stuff superhero material. I started reading E. C. Segar's earliest Popeye stories in the "Thimble Theatre" strips, and he didn't usually save people. More often, he would just walk up to someone and punch him for no reason. "I yam what I yam" was originally his answer to any criticism he got for that defect. That guy had serious aggression issues.

But then, I got disgusted with that strip and dropped it pretty quickly. Maybe Segar wrote Popeye better later. I wouldn't know.


When you say earliest Popeye strips, are you talking about when the strip was called Popeye ('cause the character was so popular that Segar renamed it), or have you read it from the beginning, back when it was just about the lives and loves of the Oyl family under the title Thimble Theatre? Thimble Theatre struggled along for years and years, but once Segar introduced Popeye, the world demanded that he rename the comic and license it for cartoons, like, immediately.

Anyhow, my point was that everyone (critics) ignores Popeye in the genealogy of superheroes just the way they (critics again) ignore the Oz books in the development of the fantasy genre.


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Re-reading the Gore essay, he talks about how after the success of the first Oz book, Baum (who had a background in theater) successfully adapted it to the stage and that, in Gore's opinion, many of the bad jokes and Dorothy's lapse into baby-talk was the influence of vaudeville and other stage-y stuff as Baum wrote them with the intention of adapting them to the stage (the female soldiers as a chorus line, etc.).

That may be the single worst sentence I've ever written, but I'm tired.


@Hitdice: I was talking about Popeye's earliest appearances in Thimble Theatre, starting in 1929. In fact, I started the Thimble Theatre stuff with 1928, thanks to Fantagraphics' series of Popeye reprints. (I tried to clarify that by editing my post to say "E. C. Segar's earliest Popeye stories in the 'Thimble Theatre' strips", but you may have typed up your message before I made that revision.)

And my point was that I'm one of those "everyone" critics who would ignore Popeye in the genealogy of superheroes, although I wouldn't ignore Oz in the development of fantasy. I guess Popeye just doesn't fit my definition of superhero. But other people could have equally valid definitions, according to which Popeye was a superhero, and Oz wasn't a fantasy series.


Okay, sure, so long as you've read Thimble Theatre, I think we're probably on the same page. I just think it's really tough to think of a definition of superhero that doesn't include Popeye, and he predates Superman. Then again, if you want to call Popeye the first superanti-hero, I'm fine with that. :)


Hitdice wrote:
Okay, sure, so long as you've read Thimble Theatre, I think we're probably on the same page. I just think it's really tough to think of a definition of superhero that doesn't include Popeye, and he predates Superman. Then again, if you want to call Popeye the first superanti-hero, I'm fine with that. :)

Doesn't wear tights. No secret identity. Doesn't really fight crime. Not really all that heroic and doesn't hit many of the Superhero tropes.

Kind of a precursor, but there were plenty of those.

The only real thing that distinguishes him from many of the other comic characters of the day is that he had spinach based superpowers.

Or that's how I remember it anyway. I haven't read any early Popeye in years.


The thing that made Superman a superhero was all the times he got shot by criminals, right in the chest, and the bullets bounced off!! Popeye was doing that junk years beforehand, and coming back with the pithy line, "Whattya these're button holes?"

I guess I'm saying that super-powers work at a certain level of absurdity that can only really exist in the funny papers.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dragonchess Player wrote:
Staying in a light-hearted vein, I'll probably dig out Harry Turtledove's Gerin the Fox series (Werenight, Prince of the North, King of the North, and Fox and Empire) to help fill in the time until Cauldron of Ghosts (Weber & Eric Flint) is released.

I guess I timed that about perfectly. Finished the Gerin the Fox series earlier this week and picked up Cauldron of Ghosts today.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Re: Oz books.

L. Frank Baum was one of the authors that got me started reading. I read all 14 of the "core" books and some of the others (I think I stopped somewhere in the 20s); however, by that point I was moving on to other authors (Madeline L'Engle, C. S. Lewis, Anne McCaffrey, Allen Dean Foster, J. R. R. Tolkien, etc.) and my tastes were changing. Also, as I found out later, the "additional" Oz books weren't written by Baum.

Paizo Employee Associate Editor

Loved the Oz books when I was a kid; read dozens. Tried to go back to them a few years ago, but had a hard time getting into them again for some of the reasons mentioned above (racial caricatures, dated portrayals of gender rolls) as well as being creeped out by how blasé the characters are about death and maiming. (Makes sense in context, but when you think about it as an adult—eeeeee! See also this.) But I still wish I could grow a lunchpail tree!

Also! Breaking up my slow-motion Decameron reading with Nnedi Okorafor's Akata Witch (Nigerian urban fantasy) and Molly Gloss's The Jump-Off Creek.


I grew up with the Oz movie, but by the time I found more Oz books, I was far too old and mature to read baby stories - 9, I think. So I missed out and didn't realize their significance in fantasy literature. Playing catchup isn't bad but it's odd from an adult perspective.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Gave up on Kevin Anderson's The Edge of the World.

Started Fiddlehead by Cherie Priest. MUCH better!!! :-D

Silver Crusade

Just Finished SM Sterling(Stirling?)'s The Sky People and [/i]The Given Sacrifice[/i]. Fantastic books, I can't recommend them enough.

Paizo Employee Associate Editor

Akata Witch was great, by the way—sort of a Nigerian answer to Harry Potter, if slightly darker. Totally recommended, and I now have all of the library's books by Nnedi Okorafor on order!


"Lone Survivors: How We Came to Be the Only Humans on Earth" by Chris Stringer. Finally, someone I can agree with (mostly).


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Got up to the point in Moorcock's The Oak and the Ram where I was so rudely interrupted by thieves last year at Socialist Summer Camp.

Down with the Fhoi Myore!

For workers revolution to smash that punk in upstate in NY who stole my stuff!


"The Dark Witch" - Nora Roberts, and "Games People Play" - (a reread)by Eric Berne


I put my time on the book thread's Naughty Step to good use - finished God Emperor of Didcot by Toby Frost, which was very silly and enjoyable, and Two Women in One by Nawal el-Saadawi. Now on Chapayev by Dmitri Furmanov and have Demon in the Mirror by Andrew J Offut to look forward to. Two words: *Vampire Nuns*. Enough said.

Grand Lodge

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Re-reading the entire Dresden Files series in preparation for Skin Game.


I've been reading up on three separate books that discuss English Linguistics.

Why? Because I need to study up on their content for an entry exam, so that I can get to University.

Qadira

Judy Bauer wrote:
Akata Witch was great, by the way—sort of a Nigerian answer to Harry Potter, if slightly darker. Totally recommended, and I now have all of the library's books by Nnedi Okorafor on order!

Don't know if you intended for the pun there, but I found it really amusing :)


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Also started reading Under the Black Flag which, alas, is not about anarcho-syndicalists nor Henry Rollins.


Sheridan Le Fanu's "The house by the Churchyard"
I'm only familiar with his excellent ghost stories, so I'm looking forward to this one, despite my general distaste for non fantastic fiction.


Moved on to the last third of the second Corum trilogy. Also pulled out the Mike Mignola Fafhrd and Gray Mouser comic series again which, conveniently ends right before the book where I left off--the wererat one--so I'm thinking I'll finish up Leiber after Moorcock and then, I think, it's back to Gaskell to finish up the Cija books.

Some great stories in the pirates book, of course. Maybe I'll post some of them later.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

Got up to the point in Moorcock's The Oak and the Ram where I was so rudely interrupted by thieves last year at Socialist Summer Camp.

Down with the Fhoi Myore!

For workers revolution to smash that punk in upstate in NY who stole my stuff!

Down with private ownership!

I've been on an uneventful 12-hour night shift in a place where I can't have electronics. I've been working my way through the Planet Stories line and so far I've finished Gygax's Infernal Sorceress, Henry Kuttner's Elak of Atlantis and The Dark World, and Moorcock's Masters of the Pit. Working on City of Spiders right now.

Of these, Gygax was an unexpected delight. He went full 1E with a myriad of polearm names and castle terminology, although the in-universe terms for various forms of magic were a bit distracting.

Elak wasn't very good. It read like Cliff Notes of a REH novel. The plot just progressed too fast with too little exposition. The Dark World was much better; lots of interesting villains and a big, clever twist on the ordinary guy transported to a magical world trope.

Even when he is consciously pastiching ERB, Moorcock is, of course, Moorcock, and his Mars books deliver.


Reposted here from wherever I inadvertently put it the first time:

Steven Brust's and Skyler White's The Incrementalists. I normally hate co-written novels, but in this case it reads like Steve does the male lead's narrative and Skyler the female's, and it works seamlessly.

About 65% through; so far it's one of Brust's very best, back to the kinds of stuff he was playing with in Cowboy Feng's and Agyar (both of which it strongly reminds me of).


Just finished Bernard Cornwell's The Pagan Lord, and started on We have always lived in the castle by Shirley Jackson.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Just finished Fiddlehead by Cherie Priest. A great conclusion to the Clockwork Century novels--and it even has a difference engine!

Just started A Darkling Sea by James Cambias.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Finished the Moorcock Mars books, now reading the Kobold Guide to Magic. I got it as part of the Deep Magic Kickstarter. It's excellent--how in the world did I miss this thing? I need to start getting the other Kobold Guide books.


Just finished Ghost Brigade by John Scalzi. Going to start Judas Unchained by Peter F. Hamilton.


Chapayev ended with everyone being massacred by Cossacks, which was kind of depressing; seeing as misery loves company, I've now started reading a compilation of existentialist stories (sorry, fictions, just in case you were expecting to be entertained). We've had De Sade, Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky so far. Well worth 50p.


Finished Purvis' True Grit and am thinking about some Leigh Brackett.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Funny you should mention that, Kirth. Leigh Brackett's next up for me as I work my way through the Planet Stories line.


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Leigh Brackett is the shiznit.

Held off on the last chapter of The Sword and the Stallion because I got the distinctive feeling that, like in the last chapter of many Moorcock seriesesses, everyone is going to die.

EDIT: Correction, last two chapters. [Sobs]

Got out my tissues, and am going to sit down and finish it now. After that, I'm moving on to the Illustrated Junior Library edition of The Wizard of Oz that my grammie gave me when I was a wee goblin and I found in one of my boxes.


Was too tired for Brackett to make any sense, or else my e-copy was all garbled up. Anyway, shelved that and am finally re-reading Clive Barker's Imagica, a long-time favorite.


Elizabeth Bear's Steles of the Sky - part three of her Central Asia fantasy trilogy.

Bansh is still best pony.


Kajehase wrote:

Elizabeth Bear's Steles of the Sky - part three of her Central Asia fantasy trilogy.

Bansh is still best pony.

I thought I'd pre-ordered that. I need to check.

It's also made me want to play a horse archer somewhere.


I think the release date was 14 April (and Bokus.com where I bought it) probably jumped the gun on that


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Reading Skeleton Crew by Stephen King.

Finished The Mist and The Monkey.

The first story got my interest in checking out the movie....


I unfortunately read an article about Fight Club the other day in which I learned that Helena Bonham Carter was channelling late period Judy Garland for her role.

You can only imagine the mental images The Wizard of Oz is conjuring...


Back in the day, I used to read Alan Dean Foster's "Humanx" books for old-fashioned space opera. (That title referred to the Humanx Commonwealth, an alliance between humans and the insectoid Thranx.) It was nothing brilliant, but if I just wanted a simple story with intelligent aliens and faster-than-light space travel, Foster could provide one as well as the next author.

Many of those books featured a character named Flinx. I read the first nine Flinx books, and the first ten Humanx books that didn't feature Flinx. When I got that far, I felt that the author was running out of ideas, and the series was running too thin.

But when I'm in the mood for that sort of thing, I can still dig out my old Humanx collection. I finished re-reading the first three Flinx books ("The Tar-Aiym Krang", "Bloodhype", and "Orphan Star"), and I'm now up to the last chapter of the fourth ("The End of the Matter".)


Never liked Foster's Flinx & Pip stuff, although Midworld is a personal favorite.
Someday I need to read Icerigger and Moorcock's The Ice Schooner back-to-back.


I thought some of the scenes in "Midworld" were a bit too implausible, even by science fiction standards. I liked "Mid-Flinx" better, especially the scene where the...

Mid-Flinx:
...flowers killed that woman.

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