What are you currently reading?

General discussion that doesn't fit in the other boards.
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Panoptic Blur
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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post by Panoptic Blur » Jan 21st, 2011, 08:33

Just finished reading Inversions by Iain M. Banks.

It's a weird book. It's set in the same sci-fi universe as the rest of "The Culture" books, but it's barely mentioned at all. The only overtly sci-fi elements are multiple suns and multiple moons. Instead, the rest of the book is about scheming nobles, harems full of concubines, and kings and generals in late medieval society.

I saw one big reveal coming, partially because the author had to build it up slightly or it would have seemed entirely out of character. The surprise factor was lost, but the build-up was actually pretty well done. Plenty of "war is hell - especially for women" vibe, well-written.

This book is not as bleak as Consider Phlebas, the first Culture book. However, it's so tangentially related to that universe that it's almost a separate book outside the series.

I had also read a non-sci-fi book by the same author, The Crow Road. This is a family mystery where a young man sets out to find his missing uncle, find out what happened to kill his aunt, and make peace (albeit possibly too late) with his father. Along the way he sleeps with an aunt, lusts after a cousin, and eventually ends up with a woman he realizes he loves before she goes to a better place.
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Iain Banks is rapidly becoming my author of the day. I had already read The Wasp Factory over a decade ago, but I think I'll give it another read.
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Panoptic Blur
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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post by Panoptic Blur » Jan 22nd, 2011, 02:55

I'm working on The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein. I'd read Starship Troopers and Stranger in a Strange Land and enjoyed them throughout. Moon is a harder read, though. He constructs a slang language (similar to Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange), which slows down my reading speed quite a bit with its unfamiliarity. Also, the plot so far is relatively solid on the sci-fi - but it also includes a romance element that feels a bit rushed and banal.

I'll admit I'm not particularly interested in romance subplots, although if they're done well then I like them. Both Asimov and Heinlein suffer a bit with time, because they're men writing in the 1950s, with the sensibilities of a bygone age. Their portrayals of women show that quite clearly. (Compared against Iain M. Banks, whose Culture novels tend to include at least one mention of bisexual femme fatale covert agents armed with nanite knife missiles... more of a 1990s vibe, really.)
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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post by Krypto » Jan 26th, 2011, 12:32

The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude - Étienne de la Boétie

An intricate yet concisely woven essay into the root at which tyranny manifests and the source of dictatorship, the prime position adopted lies in the very people themselves whom willingly acquiese with the apparent threat of one belligerent and oppressive ruler. Yet the power is a misconception and an illusion, for if one were faced with the imminence of violence they would only endure physical wounds, however if obedience is not given to an immediate oppressive force than the tyrant cannot hope to impose his or her's dominiance upon the targeted people.

As Napolean said:

'There are only two forces in the world, the sword and the spirit. In the long run the sword will always be conquered by the spirit.

Knowing brute force is ultimately ineffective at immobolising a populace, the tyrant is aware of the succulent gullibility of the mass to be led into their own snare through psychological warfare. This is achieved through tainting the society through the imposition of brothels, taverns, and public games, by which the people will ruin themselves through the slurry of immorality. Combine this with the tyrant claiming all wealth and then re-distributing it in the form of benevolent festivities for the people, and it is easy to see how the populace could disturbingly rever rather than depise their captor. Such was the case with Rome's Nero if memory serves.

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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post by Suture » Jun 17th, 2011, 19:23

'Salem's Lot, by Stephen King

It's proving to be a pretty interesting book so far, I'm usually not a fan of those goo-goo gaa-gaa vampire stories you hear about all the time, but this one is different. It's much much better than those IMHO.
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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post by MoonStalkeR » Jun 23rd, 2011, 19:51

Looking over parts of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration(one of Weston A Price's books) again.

It is worth viewing, even if to just see the photographic comparisons between people on "primitive" diets and those on "modernized" diets.

http://journeytoforever.org/farm_librar ... cetoc.html
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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post by Umnir » Jun 23rd, 2011, 23:18

Im currently reading what are you currently reading in posty
LOL HI!

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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post by Jerry » Aug 9th, 2011, 20:25

I'm in the middle of The so-called bad by Konrad Lorenz. This book is about ethology, especially aggression.
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Panoptic Blur
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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post by Panoptic Blur » Aug 10th, 2011, 23:41

I finished "The Postman" by David Brin, and "Look to Windward" by Iain M. Banks.

I liked the former a lot. I did not particularly like the latter.
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NAto
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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post by NAto » Aug 11th, 2011, 09:21

Research for a thesis :? I need to brush up on my industrial psychology skills ASAP.

Other than that, once the planets align and the fates agree then I can finally read 1984 by George Orwell.

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Panoptic Blur
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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post by Panoptic Blur » Aug 11th, 2011, 16:48

If you do, try reading "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley soon afterwards. It's an interesting contrast of future views.
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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post by NAto » Aug 11th, 2011, 17:42

Panoptic Blur wrote:If you do, try reading "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley soon afterwards. It's an interesting contrast of future views.
I'm not much of a fan of humanist literature :( I don't like humanism in general. I'd probably end up getting upset with the book :lol:

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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post by Panoptic Blur » Aug 13th, 2011, 07:57

About a decade ago, I read Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged".

Earlier today, I lazily wondered if I should read it again, but then I realized it would be marginally more productive for me to go cut the legs off a spider to see how many it still needed to move around.

I played computer games instead.
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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post by Panoptic Blur » Jan 23rd, 2012, 21:45

The Man Who Fell to Earth - Walter Tevis
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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post by Krypto » Jan 24th, 2012, 18:55

Panoptic Blur wrote:Then I realized it would be marginally more productive for me to go cut the legs off a spider to see how many it still needed to move around.
Excellent! Now you are ready to ascend the perilous slopes of Mount Kuthulu, and brave the daunting task of slaying the notorious mother spider Sheograth!

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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post by Suture » Feb 5th, 2012, 03:16

The Shadow Man by John Katzehnbach or something like that...
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