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Posts posted by Thyroid

  1. A Storm of Swords (published in two parts as Steel and Snow and Blood and Gold)

    Only in British paperback. Dance suffered the same fate. In America and hardcover, it's one volume.

    Or do you have faith that Martin knows exactly where he's going and what he needs to do to get there?

    We know. The three released excerpts from book six - plus a lot of foreshadowing - give a pretty good indication as to how this will happen. In fact, everything ties together in the first two chapters of book six.

  2. Kroms, what's the overall enjoyment level of the series? Does it start off well, then get less gripping as it goes along? If so, how much less gripping? I'm guessing all the books aren't quite equal? (I'm just trying to brace myself if I read them, so I don't get my heart broken if the end later parts of the series are disappointing.)

    I think their quality varies but within limits, in the sense they all go from A- to A+ quality (in my opinion, books 1, 2, 4 being A, 3 being A+, 5 being A- because it takes time to get going).

    Also, how depressing? Depressing in a Requiem for A Dream way? Or in a "the bad guys have won and my favourite character is dead" kind of a way?


    It's depressing in the same way that The Wire is depressing; not the social issues (although there's parallels to the real world), but the way you feel about characters having bad things happening to them. Do you remember how you felt at the end of season three of The Wire? Like that. A few months on, I haven't started season four yet, but I understand that feeling that horrified pain was part of what it made the show so good. ASOIAF is like that.

    That's funny, I love Bronn already and he's barely done anything!

    I love those pairings in ASOIAF. The


    shenanigans in Clash are a good example of that.

    Which reminds me of another thing: how has the TV show has affected the way he's writing the books?

    In very minor ways. Ros will have a cameo appearance in book six, and apparently


    will be given a slightly larger role to play.

    The show and book are different, even down to character motivations. It's generally the same "path", but all the details are changed.

  3. It's true; this series is very much for people who do not typically enjoy fantasy. I find most fantasy rather boring. But this was the first book in years to grab me like that, slowly getting better until, on page 300 or so, it took over my life and ceased all productivity until I finished it. This series is excellent, and I found mysielf being completely immersed in it.

    Characters grow and plots continually twist and turn while always remaining addictive. It has its flaws - the prose is a bit clunky, and a lot of characters are initially not very well-defined, their fleshing-out saved for later volumes post-Game - but I still highly recommend it.

    It's pretty dark and can be depressing, though.

    I love that these books usually have a second layer of things going on that are never explicitly spelled-out. You can figure-out who Jon Snow's mother is, for example, by the time you finish the (I'm going to add letters so you can't guess which number I'm spelling)

    tralalala third wooo


    Ben, your friend is wrong; it is, as you said,

    Varys and Ilyrio

    , though that it's one of those things that Martin hasn't explained and expects you to be able to figure out on your own. He does things like that sometimes, as necessitated by the POV chapter structure of the books.

    You should be able to watch the first season, but don't delve into season two until you've finished A Storm of Swords. Trust me on this.

  4. I have two different suggestions.

    The first is the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, which is a short but absorbing read. You don't need to know much context to hop right in. I could wax lyrical on how much I liked it and how much you need to read it, but I don't need to because this is Benjamin Franklin we are talking about.

    The second is the Mistborn trilogy, by Brandson Sanderson. Whattaturnaround. It's fun, simplistic, and well thought-out. It's not A Song of Ice and Fire. It's not deep, or reflective, or particularly special. It starts slow, gets better, gets good, then addictive and fun. It's the closest thing to a video game I've ever seen a novel go. If I had to pitch it, I'd pitch it as thus: "Mistborn is Final Fantasy IX set in Morrowind, minus all the dark elves." If you need good escapist fiction, without heavy language, especially-three-dimensional characters but a very fun plot and story - lots of twists in this one - go for Mistborn.

  5. I'm not talking about joke books; I'm talking about stories that want to make you laugh, and succeed at doing so.

    Do you know any? Recommend away.

    As a personal request, please try and include what kind of role humour plays in the book. This thread is meant for anyone looking to laugh, and whether your suggestion is generally funny all around or meant to be a parody of a serious subject, please write that out. It's best not to give the impression a certain book is light-hearted joking all around when it's some biting satire of the War on Iraq or something, and vice versa.

    I'll get the ball rolling:

    Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens, is actually pretty funny. It does a lot of the quirky character thing Dickens is known for - and there are quite a lot of minor characters who just make you laugh and then bow out - but also parodies the hypocrisies of early 19th century England, while also squeezing in a lot of (funny) criticism at workhouses. Some of the humour is dark, but lots of it is silly. It's very British.

    A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy O'Toole, is the funniest book I've read. It's about a guy named Ignatius J. Reilly, a prat of a man who causes misfortune to others by simply existing. The humour is satirical, dry, and delivered by a cast of, well, dunces. It's hard to find a favourite character or scene. The way everything comes together at the end is something that would later become a hallmark of shows like Seinfeld. To be honest, I'm not sure how this won the Pulitzer (I suspect it's for its characters and a certain subtle aspect to Ignatius), as that prize usually implies some "literary" book (by reputation) or even dry one, which this wasn't.

  6. I don't mind. Anyway, I didn't see your last post, but, again, it was just one of those days where every other "literary" book I picked-up at the bookshop seemed about families. It was just frustration. I live in Jordan, too, so while we have a number of fairly good bookstores, they're all small compared to, say, Waterstone's, and so the probability of things being one way and not the other is slightly higher.

    Thanks for your informative post on the NYRB books.

  7. On a side note, their NYRB imprint is simply amazing for great books that are outside of your usual stomping grounds. It's ridiculous: I can just about pick up any NYRB book at random and love it, no matter how weird or offbeat the synopsis.

    I've been interested in them though, in all honesty, I will read their pre-1923 works off of Project Gutenberg, but you're right in saying they put out uniquely-looking books. Are there any you specifically recommend, apart from Stoner?

    Here's a list of the books, if anyone wants a peak.

  8. When you say "I found Franzen's portrayal of his characters to be humane and generous", do you mean that he presented them truthfully and as objectively as he could? Because he did do that in The Corrections.

    I know what you mean about things being reminiscent of your own life. For example, the eldest son in The Corrections, Gary, struggles not to be like his father, but finds himself being like that anyway. This struck home for me; and, every once in a while, I feel the notch of that particular arrow still quivering.

    You know, if you like characters so alive they breathe off the page, you would maybe like noir. Jim Thompson (who I discovered through Tim Schafer from an interview he did years ago) write some of the most believable characters in any fiction I've seen, and dissected them gleefully to show things about human nature most people would rather not think about. The Grifters is the best book I've read so far this year.

    Lots of modern literature does talk about other stuff. I think the field is unjustly pigeonholed in that way; there's a huge range of material.

    I know. It just feels like the literary equivalent of, say, spaceships in sci-fiction. Not all sci-fi has spaceships, but there are days when it feels like it does. The day I wrote that, I came home frustrated because everything I'd looked at had somehow been about dysfunctional families.

  9. The Corrections is well worth a read as well, though it's a bit pretentious in places (why use "diurnal" instead of "daily" I'll never know). I did enjoy parts of How to Be Alone.

    I do kind of wish these more modern high-brow(ish) books talked about something besides a dysfunctional family, though. It seems that half the meatier stuff I run into is about that.

    It makes me happy that "genre fiction" (whatever the hell that means) is finally getting its due. It's not like Jim Thompson doesn't write characters like the best of 'em.

  10. I'm surprised neither Herman Melville nor Mark Twain got a mention.

    I've read very, very few of these writers, and there's a handful I hadn't heard of. There's always another book, isn't there? Or another two dozen books, as the case may be.

  11. Using the same methodology that created Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, we now have this.

    To quote:

    It is the mash-up so obvious it is hard to believe no one thought of it already: Sexing up the classics Fifty Shades of Grey-style.

    Clandestine Classics is making all the implied sex in such classics as Jane Eyre,Pride & Prejudice and, yes, Sherlock Holmes explicit.

    Oh, hell yes. God knows I've always wanted to know all the crazy Victorian rompy-pompy going on between Holmes and Watson. All that Freudian pipe-smoking smut.


    I guess I don't mind these existing, because maybe someone will end-up picking-up the classics and hey, that's good. Simultaneously, I find it infuriating. Maybe because someone will make money by writing paragraphs into something someone wrote 200 years ago and these paragraphs are essentially the HBO treatment. (Some minor Game of Thrones season 2 spoilers.)

  12. I've been playing Rayman Origins in ten minutes bout every few days. It's pure fun, and its carefree happiness never fails to cheer me up. I'm only on the second area (so around level 11 or 12), but I think the game ties with Bastion as my favourite game of last year (minus two potential contenders I haven't tried yet, Dark Souls and The Witcher 2).

  13. Yeah, do that. I advise to, at least, read up to and including the fourth before tackling the TV series, because season two, in particular, is maybe 70% different to the source material. They've moved around events from different books, so reading book two and then seeing season two immediately will spoil things from book three. It's a big undertaking, but I think it's worth it.