ThunderPeel2001

Books, books, books...

2111 posts in this topic

@marginalgloss Thanks for the links! I've skimmed through the blog and the comments and frankly I'm even more conflicted about PSS now. Something to think about. Hmm.

 

@Beasteh TC&TC is my favourite of Miéville's, with Embassytown close behind. He really hit his stride with those two, in that the worlds are interesting but they're also concise.

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On 4/3/2017 at 0:28 PM, Beasteh said:

Good timing - I've just finished reading a couple of Miéville's novels. I did read PSS a few years ago, but it put me off reading any of his other works (that and his marxism, although it doesn't really come on strong in his work). Glad I went back.

 

He's incredibly imaginative when it comes to the worlds he creates. All I've read have excellent worldbuilding. Whereas PSS was a rambling epic, these two are mercifully short, and all the better for it:

 

The City and the City -  loved this one until the end (more on that in a moment). Ever been to another culture where something utterly bizzare is treated as normal? The way the two cities ignore each other is exactly that. It's crazy and yet it makes sense somehow. Nods to police drama tropes were a nice touch. The plot benefits from being a whodunnit that mutates into a conspiracy, but upon reaching its denoument, it fails to satisfy.

 

  Reveal hidden contents

Corporations did it to steal artifacts. How mundane! It's meant to read like a fake-out, but just feels like the author bottled it at the critical moment.

 

Embassytown - Miéville does SF, and he does it well! Makes the Ariekei really alien, generally avoiding typical SF tropes (such as "aliens are just like humans with one trait turned up to 11!"). I wish we learned more about their society though. Miéville also chooses to play with language - and this is central to the plot, rather than some kind of nerdery. Plot itself builds to a conclusion, stakes getting ever higher, and then sticks the landing. Probably the best one to read for folks new to Miéville.

Miéville is incredible, and not only would I recommend Embassytown as a great start for most people, I would argue it's his best book. What he does with language is absolutely marvelous. 

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My pile of books to read keeps getting bigger, and that plus the fact that I used to spend so much time and energy just figuring out what to read next made me restrict myself this year (and beyond) to a list of 25 books, all written by female authors from all around the world (just 'cause).

 

I started off with My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, which was such an enjoyable and evocative read that kinda reminded me of one of my favorite books (Éramos Seis by Maria José Dupré). I actually wasn't planning to read the entire series at first, but now I'll definitely have to accommodate them in my list, especially because my dad also started reading them on my recommendation and tore through the last two books in like a week and is now dying to discuss them with me lol.

 

Right now I'm reading The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexievich, which is a nonfiction book about the often forgotten role of women in WW2 with tons of accounts, interviews and the author's own thoughts about the process of making the book. And because this is quite harrowing and not the kind of thing that I can read through quickly, I also just started Prontos, listos, ya by Inés Bortagaray; I'm not super into it yet, but it's so short that I'll probably keep going even if I'm not all that impressed so far. =P

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On 4/25/2017 at 0:46 AM, designiana said:

My pile of books to read keeps getting bigger, and that plus the fact that I used to spend so much time and energy just figuring out what to read next made me restrict myself this year (and beyond) to a list of 25 books, all written by female authors from all around the world (just 'cause).

 

I started off with My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, which was such an enjoyable and evocative read that kinda reminded me of one of my favorite books (Éramos Seis by Maria José Dupré). I actually wasn't planning to read the entire series at first, but now I'll definitely have to accommodate them in my list, especially because my dad also started reading them on my recommendation and tore through the last two books in like a week and is now dying to discuss them with me lol.

 

Right now I'm reading The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexievich, which is a nonfiction book about the often forgotten role of women in WW2 with tons of accounts, interviews and the author's own thoughts about the process of making the book. And because this is quite harrowing and not the kind of thing that I can read through quickly, I also just started Prontos, listos, ya by Inés Bortagaray; I'm not super into it yet, but it's so short that I'll probably keep going even if I'm not all that impressed so far. =P

 

 

If you like The unwomanly face of war you should check out Second hand time and Chernobly prayer both by the same author. Both are really interesting looks into the late soviet union and post soviet Russia/CIS.

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On 5/4/2017 at 1:33 PM, seamus2389 said:

 

 

If you like The unwomanly face of war you should check out Second hand time and Chernobly prayer both by the same author. Both are really interesting looks into the late soviet union and post soviet Russia/CIS.

 

I actually also have those books sitting around in my shelf too and I'll have to get around to reading them for sure! 

 

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:tup:  Steven Spielberg and Duel: The Making of a Film Career is a really great and thorough book about the making of Spielberg's first feature film, the excellent TV movie Duel, that makes a pretty convincing case for it being one of Spielberg's most impressive achievements. It's a combination of history and criticism that, while spending a little too much time recapping plot points for my taste, tells the amazing story of how Spielberg did pre-production, shot and edited one of his best films over the course 2 months. Also, the story of how Federico Fellini became the world's first Spielberg fanboy.

 

It's a pretty quick read and a worthy companion to Carl Gottlieb's seminal book on the making of Jaws, The Jaws Log.

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:tup: The Haunting of Hill House is an absolutely extraordinary horror novel from Shirley Jackson, probably best known for it and her short story "The Lottery". The entire book (except for the opening and closing) is written from the perspective of a maladjusted young woman Eleanor who's just gone through a personal tragedy and is called upon for an extended stay in a notoriously haunted mansion. Because we see the story from her perspective, and because whatever spirits or ghosts occupy Hill House never come out and show themselves, the entire book is about the ambiguous space between Eleanor's sanity, Hill House's malevolent presence, and the awkward forced jovial relationships she has with the other people there, who come to rely on friendship and sarcasm to combat their fear of the mansion.

 

It's a really amazing book that marries supernatural horror with social anxiety and, because of how it uses it's third person limited perspective, Jackson's prose constantly finds fresh ways to describe horrors in plain sight while still existing in a maddeningly ambiguous space. Really cool book. 

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:tmeh: South and West is a new book from Joan Didion that collects her notes and observations from a trip she made through the American south in 1970 with the intent to write a piece that was ultimately never completed. It's certainly unpolished and incomplete feeling, but even as a catalog of sights and overheard conversations it's peppered with really fascinating details, particularly regarding race and the South's insular nature.

 

Hard to give it a firm recommendation when it does feel so thinly sketched, but it's short (easily read in a couple of hours) and I didn't regret my time with it.

 

EDIT: Oh yeah, it also collects her notes on a piece on Patty Hearst that she never ended up writing, but that feels even thinner and less vital.

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I just finished The Honorable Schoolboy which is the followup novel to Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy. Its really good, the focus on Southeast Asia is really interesting. There are some great moments in Cambodia and South Vietnam before their fall to the Khmer Rouge and North Vietnamese respectively. I am now super excited to read the last two Smiley novels.

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