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  #201  
Unread 10th of February, 2012, 23:36
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See, I liked World War Z. I thought it was rather excellent, in part because it was so fragmentary.

Obviously to each their own. It still remains to be seen whether it would make a decent film. It's one where filmmakers simply could not follow the book faithfully because viewers would be greeted with flashes of scenes like a mirror shattering and reflecting a thousand different pictures.
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  #202  
Unread 11th of February, 2012, 01:33
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http://www.lspace.org/books/reading-order-guides/

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  #203  
Unread 11th of February, 2012, 01:59
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I've read and loved the Watch series. I liked the "Industrial Revolution" ones, but mostly for how they interact with and set up some of the later Watch ones. Hogfather was nice, I like Susan. Equal Rites was okay. I didn't like Colour of Magic, haven't really read any others.
Vimes is easily my favorite character. Night Watch is fantastic.
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  #204  
Unread 11th of February, 2012, 02:26
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Now that would have been extremely helpful for me. I got through "Sourcery" reading in order 1-5, and the only characters I really cared for at all were Rincewind, Cohen, and Death.
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  #205  
Unread 11th of February, 2012, 03:33
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I read most of the disc world novels in order of publication... but I tore through them so quickly (usually would buy 3-5 and then read them that week) that I don't remember not liking any of them in particular... I like the witches a lot and a many times I hear people say they didn't like a particular novel from the series, it's usually the witches they are complaining about, so I guess that would be why I tend to be in the minority...

Since we're on Pratchett I'm going to recommend the Johnny series, Good Omens and The Nome Trilogy ... I mean to get around to reading the rest of the things he's written at which point I'm sure I'll recommend those too.
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  #206  
Unread 11th of February, 2012, 08:14
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I don't delude myself and trying to classify them as something other than children's cartoons so that I don't have to feel weird about enjoying them.
And you shouldn't have to. Stuff written for younger readers/viewers is written for younger readers/viewers, sure.

But that doesn't mean it's only for "kids," or that it's bad or bandwagon-y for an "adult" to like them, either. Most things last for years and are passed to new generations because they have a wider appeal than that time one is below society's nearly-arbitrarily-decided-upon adult age, which keeps creeping upward. "Teenagers" didn't exist as they do now until a century or so ago. Now people aren't expected to be accountable for themselves until post-college.

Genres are fluid and far from set; any book can fall into several categories (many are better for it), but only a pretentious jerk loudly shouts how their traditional fantasy series full of wizards and fantastic creatures and writing that isn't really all that elevated is totally Literary Fiction, not that silly fantasy genre stuff. Sometimes you just have to call a spade a spade.

I keep meaning to try Discworld. The combination of grad school reading and the size of the booklist for the setting makes it a daunting task, though.
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  #207  
Unread 11th of February, 2012, 16:02
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itches: Yeah, I have had Discworld recommended to me by several people. I'm worried that reading it might ruin the fantasy genre. I'm not sure why...

Also, I didn't mean that the rights were recently purchased, just that I had heard about it recently. Sorry you didn't like American Gods. I thought it was excellent. The character development was a little dry but I think thats because Shadow is a little dry. I didn't think it was a reflection of the author.
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  #208  
Unread 11th of February, 2012, 16:12
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LynMars: I keep feeling like I may have offended you somehow but it definately isn't meant. Without calling out any particular books I am sure there are some that you would classify as "children's" and some you would classify as "adult". And I agree, that just because they are classified as such that doesn't mean those are the only ones who could enjoy them.

I'm also not trying to say that it is a high level of weirdness for an adult to like something that was intended for children. In fact, I'm guilty of that for many things myself. However, when sampling a large group and counting how many adults are interested in something that was intended for children does surprise me. Harry Potter happens to be one of those things in my mind.

But I haven't read it or really watched the movies through so I can't judge it. But then, I haven't done the same for Twilight either and do not intend to. I get the feeling you haven't either. I think the whole "don't knock it til you try it" thing could apply here though I wouldn't recommend it. I think I will feel free to keep knocking Twighlight without trying it, in fact.
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  #209  
Unread 12th of February, 2012, 00:23
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Originally Posted by Lune # I think I will feel free to keep knocking Twighlight without trying it, in fact.
Have at it. In that one particular case, you're not knocking anyone with taste.

That said, and this is the real kicker that I discuss in the classes I teach, I'd gladly write empty-headed twaddle like that for even a tenth of what she's earned. Literary merit doesn't amount to much within your own lifetime, as hundreds of now-famous, but then-poor, desperate, alcoholic failures within their own lives would tell you were they able. I'm looking at you, Poe.
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  #210  
Unread 12th of February, 2012, 07:58
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Have a Sorta-Review (once the ASoIaF art stops being distracting)

Lune: It's not a personal offense, more a defense of a genre that I work with a lot, and see many people misunderstanding. Children's Lit has been ignored and dismissed in critical theory as well for a really long time. It's gotten some wind back in its sails in recent years, but it's still a fight. I'm serious about fellow grad students eye-rolling and snarking about how "easy" the Children Lit majors have it, as if their work on, say, 18th century British writers is more important.

I've also heard various people say they won't read Harry Potter simply because "it's for kids" and/or "so popular that it can't possible be good."

We have had the Twilight novels at my bookstore, and I've had long convos with people who love them (one of my coworkers is a huge fan, as are some other good friends whose opinions I usually trust). I've skimmed through all of them when processing those books (or when they're sitting on the shelf and we're dead slow, or when I'm at someone else's house), and even checked out various page-by-page summaries, as people do want to buy them. I have to be at least familiar enough to sell the damned things.

There really isn't much in them that I've seen to make me want to sit down and read them in the way I do with books I truly enjoy (and where my analytical training takes over which can sometimes make it worse!). Thanks to the writing--some people find it really readable, I don't after a page or two--and the storyline, and messages about romance and relationships that it sends, are really discomforting to me, as well as just annoying me structurally. Hence going to the summaries when I realized during skimming that I wasn't going to be able to sit and read them line by line.

Especially in the films, Twilight tries to bring up parallels to stories like Romeo & Juliet (a tragedy that's more warning about lust and selfishness), yet the characters aren't really being held away from each other by external factors--many times it's Edward trying to slow things down and make certain Bella's safe/understanding/ready. Other vampires never struck me as a real threat. The werewolves are just growly in the background and there to form a not-convincing "love triangle." If you're going to use blatant symbolism, follow through and make the warning count.

I have also never been able to reconcile the idea of "we're animated dead, none of our body functions work and it's just the magic in the blood we drink that keeps us going, but we can still get boners/preggers from a mortal lover!" I dislike it in the campy Buffy-verse and anywhere else it pops up, as each setting seems to contradict its own lore more than half the time to make such a plot work. I think the vampires in Twilight neatly get around most of that given their peculiarities, but it still insta-annoys me (it's usually there only because sex sells). Bella's crazy pregnancy and insane labor strikes me as more "WTF?" than sustained horror. The Twilight vampires don't do it for me, and supernatural boyfriend stories don't either, despite my being a sucker for adventure sprinkled with romance, and happy endings.

Meyer did hit on a trend in teen romance (that a lot of older women also enjoy), blending it with horror and fantasy. It's partially one of those cases of market demands, something different from the Harry Potter clones on the shelves. Good for her that she's made money and a career on it, but I personally haven't found anything to make me a fan, despite the attempts of my friends.

In this case, it does feel like a particular thing I "outgrew" a long time ago and really have no wish to revisit, because other things I have discovered since, or never got burnt out on, are more interesting and better done. That's why I don't really care about the dissing of Twilight. I really wanted to give it a chance at one point, and then I couldn't the more I learned.
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  #211  
Unread 12th of February, 2012, 15:26
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Well, your opinions on Twilight almost exactly echo mine. I don't think we are so far off on the other topics. Like the undead romance thing. Why does no one make the obvious comparison to necrophilia here? Its creepy, people! Bram Stoker did it right. It might be a lustful experience for the vampire but for the other individual it is a nightmare. Well, maybe not while they are charmed by after they snap out of it and realize that they just made sweat love to an undead human eating machine they aren't going to react by thinkin "Hey, I want me more of that!"

But then I guess Twilight's vampires are more of the twinkle variety so who knows. Just not a story I'm interested in. But to be fair I do see a lot of this kind of thing in Harry Potter too. I haven't read it or watched the movies but I'm fairly certain there is the whole supernatural boyfriend thing going on there too. I mean even though the "for kids" thing is a small issue none of the complaints you made about Twilight had to do with it being "for kids". There are plenty of other valid reasons to dislike it. And I'm not saying I dislike Harry Potter as I wouldn't really know, but there are some reasons why I'm a bit doubtful I would get into it. And many of those reasons are similar (to a much lesser extent) to my concerns about Twilight.

Anyway, I call this my "just sayin' " defense.

Another issue I have with some books are the ones that you can tell were written with the intention of them being ported over to a movie. Sometimes they are such a transparent marketing ploy that it overshadows the whole plot. On the other hand there are several books that I think would make enjoyable movies if done right. But then there are some obsessive fans of the books who wouldn't like a movie no matter how well it was done. Sometimes I think people just need to sit back and enjoy a movie for it's own merits rather than make endless comparisons about "thats not how it happened in the book/comic". There are times I agree with those commets but those typically are when the change that is made simply doesn't make sense.

Example (Spiderman, Xmen 3, and the lame Superman remake spoilers ahead): I don't mind that Marvel has Nick Fury = Samuel L Jackson. He is just as believable as a bad ass black guy as he is as a bad ass white guy. I actually like the change that Spiderman's web shooters are natural rather than artificial.

However, making Lois Lane try to trade up after Superman takes a brief break to check on his home planet and then she doesn't realize she is preggers with his kid? WTF?! How do you NOT realize this?! I'm guessing the experience was likely a hard one to forget. And then when on a kryptonite island that weakens you to the point where Lex Luthor can kick your ass ten ways til tuesday you still somehow are strong enough to lift the entire freaking thing and throw it into orbit? Look, thats not just unbelievable. Its a HUGE freaking plot hole!

Oh, and making Wolverine kill Jean is stupid. Especially when there were a bunch of little anti-mutant bullets laying around he could have just stabbed her with. No. Just no.

(/rant)
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  #212  
Unread 12th of February, 2012, 17:20
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There isn't really a "supernatural boyfriend" thing going on in Harry Potter so much. There's some romantic stuff, but it's not the focus of the plot; it's an aspect of the "we're growing up" parts of the series, and actually causes Harry quite a bit of stress on top of the actual "fighting the evil wizard trying to rule the world" parts. Besides, the girls he dates are also wizards, so they're on even footing. Of his two best friends, the girl is like a sister (though it's no real spoiler that she eventually hooks up with other best friend).

That's a difference between a paranormal romance and anything actually worth reading. Paranormal romance is just a romance novel with some supernatural elements added in to try and make it different than the typical "when will they get to the sex?" Romance in a story primarily about something else generally tries to add an element of realism and depth to characters and plot complications.
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  #213  
Unread 14th of February, 2012, 12:27
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LynMars: while I don't agree with all of your examples (I did not care for Harry Potter or MLP), I completely agree with your sentiment. Kids/YA fiction is serious business.
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  #214  
Unread 14th of February, 2012, 16:41
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I can understand why people dislike Harry Potter; I pointed out in my first wall o' text that there are flaws and problems. But, she does enough things right that I enjoy that I can mostly overlook them (I had Snape pegged early, though; I think she wrote herself into a corner on that one, or risk undoing all the lessons she imparted in his characterization and conflicts).

And I do agree that MLP won't be everyone's liking; it can be obnoxiously loud and bright or really goofy at times--or shift in tone so suddenly your head spins.

But I also dislike Dickens and Bront, was "meh" on Catcher in the Rye and The Bell Jar (the quintessential troubled youth stories), and there's others I dislike utterly--but they still have their merits and I can see why others would like them. Unless it's the boggling case of Twilight, anyway.
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  #215  
Unread 1st of August, 2014, 04:56
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So yeah, I was browsing about public domain books on my Kindle and came across Fritz Leiber's The Night of the Long Knives. The Kindle version above is free but it is also available in a number of formats at Project Gutenberg - once again, free.

It is a post-apocalyptic novella written in the late 1950's but it doesn't feel terribly dated for all that. I personally love Leiber's writing (I'm pretty sure I posted the Lankhmar series to this thread at some point or another) so maybe that colors my opinion a bit. Anyway, it's a quick read - the Kindle version is only 90 pages or so - and I found it raises some interesting questions, though I think I would have been happier if the ending had gone the other way instead.
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  #216  
Unread 30th of October, 2014, 08:28
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For the past couple years I've been reading NPR's top 100 Scifi\Fantasy list (also comes in flowchart flavor).

So far my favorite fantasy book on the list is The Princess Bride, which I never knew was a book before. The movie follows the book really closely but the extra bits plus the bits about S. Morgenstern make it worthwhile especially if you're a fan of the movie.

Last edited by Lorben; 31st of October, 2014 at 04:57.
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  #217  
Unread 31st of October, 2014, 00:21
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Hey, I read The Princess Bride 5 or 10 years ago - like you, I never realized there was a book. I was wandering through Barnes & Noble and just happened to see it - loving the movie as much as I do, I had to buy it .

And yes, it was a good read.
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  #218  
Unread 31st of October, 2014, 06:14
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I read The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher quite recently. As far as urban fantasy goes, they are spectacular. Finally had the chance to sit down with them.

I read the codex alera right after, they didn't catch me nearly as much. It doesn't help that I found out about the premise behind the story halfway through, and couldn't stop thinking about it in terms of Lost Roman Legion combined with Pokemon.

I am excited for The Aeronaut's Windlass when that finally releases.
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  #219  
Unread 31st of October, 2014, 21:40
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I keep meaning to look into The Dresden Files. I hear good things.
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Unread 31st of October, 2014, 23:40
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I started reading the first book a long while back but I don't know, it didn't really do anything for me. Maybe I just didn't give it a chance to get better.
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  #221  
Unread 2nd of November, 2014, 12:58
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The first book is by far the worst in the series, it was his first book ever and is very formulaic, and was written by him during a writing class as a project. The second book is only slightly better, but the series rapidly picks up in quality after that. If you want to start on a high note and go back and get the rest of the story later, start with book 3.
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  #222  
Unread 5th of November, 2014, 03:35
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Those can be the worst because you know how good it gets if you stick with it. I have the same problem when introducing people do Doctor Who (the new series). If you can get them to stick with it until 'The Empty Child' they're in the clear but it's sketchy up until that point.
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  #223  
Unread 5th of November, 2014, 18:49
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That's why you start them on The Empty Child, and once they're hooked let them go back. That's how I was dragged it.
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  #224  
Unread 11th of November, 2014, 14:55
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I'm rereading Dresden right now. The first book was definitely a writing class project, and was transparent as a freshly cleaned glass door. But the strength of Harry's voice, and his relationships to other characters, worked well enough. By book three Butcher definitely hits his stride.

I'm reading book 5 now and was trying not to obviously cry on the bus during a particularly sad moment. The plots and characters all do come back to one another, and the world builds. Also, strong Old WoD vibe, to me--in all the best ways. Less punk, though.

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  #225  
Unread 19th of April, 2015, 14:27
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*pokes the thread*

So the most recent series I bit my teeth into is Marie Brennan's Memoirs of Lady Trent. Imagine Victorian Era England and neighboring nations, but on a world where dragons are part of the wildlife. Tor.com loves them, and has done articles on all 3 novels so far. I actually need to start on the recently released 3rd book, just in the middle of reading something else at the moment.

They are told from the perspective of the elderly Isabella, now Lady Trent, about her childhood, youth, marriage, and determination to become a dragon naturalist. Intrigue and adventure, and Isabella grows as a character throughout. Very Victorian/Downton Abbey vibe, but it's very readable and fun. Hits on some topics of sexism, racism, classism, colonialism, etc, given the era it's emulating and Isabella's own struggles.

Also, the covers and interior illustrations are done by fantasy artist Todd Lockwood.

Tor's reviews:
A Natural History of Dragons
Tropic of Serpents
Voyage of the Basilisk
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