What Are You Reading 4

Welcome to the Sir Terry Pratchett Forums
Register here for the Sir Terry Pratchett forum and message boards.
Sign up
Jul 27, 2008
17,283
403
3,275
Stirlingshire, Scotland
We moved three years ago and we bought our new house, and put in a reading room /library, same deal with floor to ceiling shelves. You think it'll be enough but amazing how quick you can fill them. We do have shelves in other rooms but we are near capacity as well. Time for another bigger house
Or just a big extention saves, all the hassle of moving.
 
Nov 21, 2010
3,545
74
2,650
Reading 'The Body: A Guide for Occupants' by Bill Bryson
 

=Tamar

Sergeant-at-Arms
May 20, 2012
6,054
327
2,550
Just finished: Akata Witch (c.2011), by Nnedi Okorafor. Excellent book, first in a series but comes to a reasonable stopping place. If I find the next volume I'll try it. The next one is Akata Warrior.
 

pip

Sergeant-at-Arms
Sep 3, 2010
8,731
12
2,850
KILDARE
Just finished: Akata Witch (c.2011), by Nnedi Okorafor. Excellent book, first in a series but comes to a reasonable stopping place. If I find the next volume I'll try it. The next one is Akata Warrior.
I recently finished Binti by Okorafor as well. Good writer so may try out that series at some point.
 

pip

Sergeant-at-Arms
Sep 3, 2010
8,731
12
2,850
KILDARE
Starting Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson, its the 2 part of the second Mistborn series and the second set has a bit of a wild west feel.
 

RathDarkblade

Moderator
City Watch
Mar 24, 2015
8,010
382
3,050
44
Melbourne, Victoria
I just finished reading Azazel, by Isaac Asimov. A selection of amusing (if somewhat old-fashioned) short stories, based on the "be careful what you wish for" theme. These must be read to be (dis)believed. ;)

Among them are the man who wished he could fly, in order to prove the Bible is wrong about angels; the lady sculptor who wished her (anatomically correct) statue to come to life, for she loved him so much; the young man who was unsuccessful with women, so he wished for a pheromone boost ... and so on.

What on earth could go wrong? :) Read it and find out ...
 
Jul 27, 2008
17,283
403
3,275
Stirlingshire, Scotland
Rath I have that in my collection just not got around to reading it yet, and also his Magic the final fantasy collection.
Just finished Mindjacked book 4 in the Cyberpunk city series book 5 is out next month so in the meantime I'm reading The future of another Timeline -Annalee Newitz so far not as good as her last one Autonomous.
 

RathDarkblade

Moderator
City Watch
Mar 24, 2015
8,010
382
3,050
44
Melbourne, Victoria
Before that one, I read "You Find Him -- I'll Fix Him" by James Hadley Chase. :confused:

It was recommended to me as being like Raymond Chandler's books. I didn't think much of it, though; it had none of Chandler's thoughtful descriptions or wonderful metaphors -- but it did have action, and plenty of it. (Think of it as the literary equivalent of a James Bond film -- i.e. the hero fights for his life, the hero is nearly beaten, but he's up again, huzzah ... the hero gets the girl, hooray. And so on).

If that's your cup of tea, you're welcome. It wasn't mine. *shrug*
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
6,540
40
2,850
Actually, the literary James Bond goes through the wringer at times. You know the sequence at the end of Dr No where he crawls through the ventilation system? In the book, this is actually part of an obstacle course designed by Dr No to determine human limits to pain and endurance. At the end of it, Bond's pretty beat up, and that's before he faces off against the giant squid.

That being said, the literary James Bond, while more complex than his cinematic counterpart, is also a rather unpleasant fellow, even compared to his cinematic version. So were the books. They may be thrilling reads, but they're also very badly dated, to put it very politely.
 

RathDarkblade

Moderator
City Watch
Mar 24, 2015
8,010
382
3,050
44
Melbourne, Victoria
Fair enough, Quatermass. :) I was comparing the book to a James Bond film, though. I haven't read the books.

When you say the books are badly dated, what do you mean, exactly? Are they (say) sexist/racist, etc.?

Even if they are -- well -- I don't understand the issue. Fleming was writing for the audience of his time. So did Raymond Chandler, or Dickens, or W. S. Gilbert or Mark Twain -- and they all used language and situations that many people nowadays would find objectionable.

But, again: so what?

I've heard of some pressure groups who say that we should ban Dickens, or Gilbert, or what have you. But I think that's nonsense. Why? Let's see ...

- Chandler uses dated language to refer to gays, blacks, and women.
- Dickens uses offensive language about Fagin (and Jews).
- W. S. Gilbert uses the N-word twice (once in "Princess Ida", and once in "The MIkado". Though, to be fair, these were both expunged).
- Mark Twain uses the N-word in "Huckleberry Finn".
- Jonathan Swift describes tiny people in "Gulliver's Travels". (Oh noes! It might be offensive to people with dwarfism!) :rolleyes:

Should we ban them all? Then let's ban "Crime and Punishment", because Raskolnikov kills a woman. (Aah, he killed someone! Aaaah!) And let's ban -- ooh, I don't know -- "Robinson Crusoe", because he refers to cannibalism. (Aaaah! The sky is falling!)

Yes, I'm being ridiculous. But I hope the point is made. :)
 
Last edited:

Penfold

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 29, 2009
8,520
182
2,950
Worthing
www.lenbrookphotography.com
The character of Bond, in the books, was a rather unpleasant bigoted racist, misogynistic alcoholic and I think that the point Q was making is that Bond makes for a very unusual type of hero rather than that the books should be banned. :)
 

Catch-up

Sergeant-at-Arms
Jul 26, 2008
7,725
81
2,850
Michigan, U.S.A.
I'm about halfway through Shakespeare for Squirrels by Christopher Moore and really enjoying it. I'm also doing some required reading (these two words should never be put together) for the local non-profit on whose board I now find myself. WTF? I've been so good at saying no to things lately. Seems I need more practice. Anyway, one is called the Art of Peace and the other is a book about activism and how to organize.
 

RathDarkblade

Moderator
City Watch
Mar 24, 2015
8,010
382
3,050
44
Melbourne, Victoria
The character of Bond, in the books, was a rather unpleasant bigoted racist, misogynistic alcoholic and I think that the point Q was making is that Bond makes for a very unusual type of hero rather than that the books should be banned. :)
Fair enough. :) I'm not accusing Q of saying that -- only that I've heard some groups saying it. For instance, when some theatrical group stages "The Mikado" every so often, there's some group that says "Ban The Mikado! It's offensive to the Japanese." :confused:

It really depends on how the play is staged, though. Some theatre groups create Japanese caricatures, which is obviously inadvisable. But "The Mikado" itself is a parody of the British class system (and funny to boot). So it makes no sense to ban it. :(
 
Jul 27, 2008
17,283
403
3,275
Stirlingshire, Scotland
I have put down The future of another Timeline -Annalee Newitz for a little while and started reading another Cyberpunk one , Cyber Witch - Eddie R Hicks the blurb:
in the year 2082, the neon-lit city of Los Angeles is home to the largest community of witches and warlocks in the world.
 

RathDarkblade

Moderator
City Watch
Mar 24, 2015
8,010
382
3,050
44
Melbourne, Victoria
I'm currently re-reading Orgy Planner Wanted, by Vicki Leon. It's all about the strange and unusual jobs in ancient Greece and Rome. :)

(And yes, even an ancient Roman orgy didn't just "happen". It required serious planning, orchestration and choreography). :p
 

pip

Sergeant-at-Arms
Sep 3, 2010
8,731
12
2,850
KILDARE
Just finished Murder by Other Means by John Scalzi which is the second Novella in a series. Really enjoyed it. Starting a long overdue reread of Night Watch which is still my favourite Discworld book. Also reading volume 7 of Marvels Runaways. Fun series and I like almost every thing Brian K Vaughan writes (except the end of the Lost series )
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
6,540
40
2,850
Fair enough, Quatermass. :) I was comparing the book to a James Bond film, though. I haven't read the books.

When you say the books are badly dated, what do you mean, exactly? Are they (say) sexist/racist, etc.?
Both. Sexist (in The Spy Who Loved Me, which Fleming admittedly disowned, he had the main POV character, a woman, claim that all women love semi-rape), racist (Live and Let Die is perhaps the most infamous) and homophobic (Diamonds are Forever have Wint and Kidd, like the films, and in Goldfinger, Pussy Galore's lesbianism is infamously 'cured' by Bond sleeping with her). But there's a couple of caveats that should be attached.

Firstly, Ian Fleming was most definitely writing for his time. This is something that was pointed out in previous posts. Many works that are brilliant are also of their time, and need to be taken as such, but shouldn't be banned outright, just given advice to that effect. Take, for example, a Doctor Who story called The Talons of Weng-Chiang. That story, despite being one of the best of the classic series, would be hard to show these days, as it doesn't show the Chinese in a flattering light (to say nothing of the main Chinese character being played by an English actor in yellowface). I'm honestly surprised that, in the booklet accompanying the recent Blu-Ray re-released of that story (along with the season it was in) that the only warning was that 'some language may offend'. But the story itself is actually my personal favourite of the classic series, in spite of that, and other faults. It helps that Robert Holmes was one of the best writers for the series, if not THE best.

Secondly, to claim that this is all there is to the Bond books is to do them an admitted disservice. While Doctor No is not exactly a paragon of a Chinese character, he does have an indepth background and interesting motivations, as does a lot of the other characters (Mr Big, Blofeld, Scaramanga, they all get quite some strong background characterisations). Hell, Bond himself actually is more complex than he is in the films: while a nasty piece of work by modern standards, he's also very introspective, with the opening chapter of Goldfinger dedicated to his ruminating over how badly the death of a Mexican thug affected him. Even a number of the Bond girls are also complex in nature, compared to their film counterparts, like Honey Ryder.
 

Catch-up

Sergeant-at-Arms
Jul 26, 2008
7,725
81
2,850
Michigan, U.S.A.
I'm reading A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor, Hank Green's sequel to An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, and it's turning out to be equally as good as the first. It has a sci fi theme, but is actually much more interesting from a human nature/behavior perspective.
 

Tonyblack

Super Moderator
City Watch
Jul 25, 2008
29,545
288
3,525
Cardiff, Wales
I'm reading "Confessions of a Former Fox News Christian" by Seth Andrews from the podcast The Thinking Atheist. He's currently talking about how Roger Ailes, the founder of Fox News, was employed by the Nixon administration to attempt to make Nixon look good on television. Charlene once told me that people that heard the Nixon/Kennedy debate on the radio, tended to go for Nixon. Those that saw him on television though saw him as a disaster. Hence the need to employ Ailes.

An example is a document entitled: A Plan For Putting The GOP On TV News

"For 200 years the newspaper front page dominated public thinking. In the last 20 years that picture has changed. Today television news is watched more often than people read newspapers. Than people listen to the radio. Than people read or gather any other form of communication.

The reason: People are lazy. With television you just sit-watch-listen. The thinking is done for you."

I sadly think this is right. There has been a general dumbing down of society that has become almost tribal.
 

Book of the Month

Good Omens

"Pratchett’s wackiness collaborates with Gaiman’s morbid humour; the result is a humanist delight to be savoured and read again and again."

Latest posts

User Menu

Newsletter