What are you reading (non-SF)? (2015-16)

Discussion in 'Other Literature' started by Boreas, May 2, 2015.

  1. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    It seems like I'm still in the mood for thrillers, so I started another Jack Reacher novel, Tripwire.

    I've not seen any Holmes adaptations except for the recent one by Guy Ritchie (I think he did two, but I only saw the first), and that wasn't exactly faithful in terms of mood and style of the originals. I just checked to see how many screen adaptations have been done and, wow, it's quite a few, especially for TV. I'd like to try out the Jeremy Brett version that ran during the 80's and early 90's.

    It's funny you mention Casino Royale. It's the only Bond novel I read during my late teens, and I remember liking it quite a bit. I also remember thinking that it was very different from the movies, less of a caricature and more morally ambiguous. I used to enjoy watching Bond films on occasion, but I've lost most of my interest in the visual aspect of the franchise.

    So, you've now basically transitioned to audiobooks in lieu of reading?
     
  2. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    Not at all .. I've now generally got one book on the go (which I generally read laying in bed during the am and the pm), and I've generally got one audiobook on the go (which I generally listen to on my commute to/from work - 45 mins each way if I'm getting the train to the office). Generally speaking. :)
     
  3. Jack Brewhouse

    Jack Brewhouse Well-Known Member

    Having read some of the original notes on James Bond, he originally was very different. Flemming's intention was to put a very ordinary man into a very extraordinary world, probably drawing on his own experience and seeing himself in those terms. Casino Royale took the main character as a relateable 'everyman' which worked quite well. Sadly, Flemming actually became inspired by the movies and changed his own character accordingly. It still was very different from the movie version. I distinctly remember 'The Man With the Golden Gun.' It opens with Bond having been captured by the Russians, brainwashed and physically scarred with the words, 'Death to Spies' cut into him. He tries to kill M, is de-programmed and sent on a dangerous but meaningless mission just to see if he's got his head straight. It has none of the campiness of the movie, the titular character is simply a thug with a gold-plated revolver.
    Trying to get the kids at school interested in 'Frankenstein' at the moment. Technically it's not non-sci-fi, of course. Some of them are getting it but it's interesting how things have changed. This 200 year old novel is smarter than anything I've seen recently. We might have more technology but the population is definitely dumber than ever before.
     
  4. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Haven't read the novel, yet, but I've seen the 1930's film a number of times. I'm aware that the thematic focus of the film was very different from the original Gothic romance.
     
  5. kenubrion

    kenubrion Well-Known Member

    Totally immersed in Christian Cameron's historical fictions. He's also Miles Cameron as the author of The Red Knight/Traitor Son series but has been writing the former for years and his The Ill-Made Knight and The Long Sword are about a London urchin running away to France to fight with the English knights against the French around 1355-1365 and trying to become a knight. Great story and most in depth look at chivalry and knights that I've read, just great.
     
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  6. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Finished Lee Child's Tripwire. I can't tell yet whether I prefer this novel or the previous one, Die Trying. Same good pace as the first two instalments and the greatest investigative focus yet...but an all too easy mystery that I correctly guessed earlier than I should have. Despite knowing what I knew, it was still enjoyable to read it all the way through and didn't feel too anti-climactic. So far, I think the first book in the series, Killing Floor, remains my favourite in spite of the consistently better and less spare prose with later volumes. Tripwire has had the best villain, and I've liked one particular secondary character very much for her cool head and the strength of will she displays, within reason, when placed in a terrifyingly untenable situation, both physically and psychologically. Child is very good with writing multiple perspectives and easily bringing them together. The transitions between points-of-view have been quite fluid with this novel. Maybe they were with the others, too, but I've noticed it most strongly with this one.

    But now I need to take a break from Jack Reacher.
     
  7. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    Just finished to audiobook of Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill. I enjoyed it quite a bit, it's quite a fast paced horror about an ageing rock star who buys a ghost via an Internet auction site, and the spooky shenanigans that ensue. Really well narrated too, the tone of the narrator really suited the 'tone' of the book.
     
  8. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    Will be starting The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton in the morning. I bought it purely because it was at a reduced price last week, and the blurb sounded good! Saying that I'm not sure if I'm posting this in the right place or whether it's a SF book ...
     
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  9. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    I love this book, like I love pretty much all of Crichton's early books. It's a science fiction thriller. Very short novel. Hope you like it.
     
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  10. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    Yeah it's only an 8 hour audiobook so should have it finished in a few days. Sounds like I made a good choice! :)
     
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  11. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Ah, you got an audiobook again? So, what are you actually reading these days then?
     
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  12. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    Abendau's Heir by @jo zebedee on Kindle at the moment ... Despite a slow start I'm really enjoying it!

    You know I don't think I've read a physical book this year! It's been all kindle and audible.
     
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  13. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Kindle counts as reading. I've got Abendau's Heir, too. I stocked up my Kindle with 10+ self-published SF authors and I keep intending to start on them, but it hasn't happened yet.
     
  14. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Today I received my copy of Broken Harbour by Tana French. This is the 4th instalment in her Dublin Murder Squad (not that I'm reading them in order) I'm not good at keeping two books on the go, but I think I will just read a chapter before saying night-night.
     
  15. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Great book! Enjoy!
     
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  16. jo zebedee

    jo zebedee Well-Known Member

    Hooray! I might have to look at the start at some stage. Or write the prequel....

    I have just finished the three Cormoran Strike novels by Robert Galbraith (J K Rowling). They are fabulous. Well reccommended.
     
  17. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    I have just finished Hunting The Ghost Dancer by A A Attanasio. I haven’t read such an uplifting story in a very long time.
    HtGD depicts complex concepts such as evolution, immortality, fate, and a very profound sense that every being forms part of a perfect megasystem to which we eventually return to.
    The story has a very gentle beginning where Attanasio thrives in describing the anthropological differences between varied tribes and two specific crossing species, the dying out Neanderthals and the newer Cro-Magnons. Enemies as one represents the past and the other the future. The dichotomy of the old, savage culture against the newer developed one, always contrasted with Attanasio’s wider message: myopic egocentrism undermines us and diminishes us, as we all are part of a much wider world.
    Half way through the book the story changes direction and magic and the supernatural claim a primary role. This is not mere fantasy, where witches cast spells and supernatural creatures use thunder and lighting to defeat their enemies. This is a story about understanding that who we are now is due to what our ancestors once were. It means accepting we are not as unique nor as special as we believe we are and, in time, we all return to where we belong. You might call it our maker, primal source, the first music weaver , the initial word, thought. It matters not.
     
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  18. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    I'm so glad you liked it! Yes, I wouldn't really call it fantasy. It has supernatural elements, but to our pre-historic ancestors this realm would have been as real as the mundane one they reside in. For many current tribal cultures (and even non-tribal ones), this realm is vividly real. Just an excellent historical novel with all of Attanasio's strengths but more gently applied than in the extreme conceptualisations of his brilliant and unorthodox science fiction.
     
  19. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    HtGD has really made an impact on me. Maybe I picked the right time to plunge myself into these concepts, or maybe the story is simply brilliant.
     
  20. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    I have a feeling you like moral stories. Attanasio is fundamentally a very moral author. He's concerned with the great themes, those of human fulfilment at a psychological level; themes concerning transcendence, fate, and how to live our lives. It's what also made such an impact on me. And I've always preferred fundamentally moral characters compared to amoral ones, even though amoral ones can be very fun to read. Another science fiction writer like this, but with a very different writing style, is David Zindell. Also, I've mentioned this before elsewhere, but I really recommend you read Eiji Yoshikawa. Only two of his major works have been translated, but they're both grand, epic romances, one at a grass roots level, the other featuring the more sophisticated class of society. You should read the one dealing with grass roots Japan, Musashi. It will have a similar or even greater impact than the kind Attanasio's Hunting the Ghost Dancer gave.
     
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