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Charlotte Doyle

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Literary drought [Nov. 30th, 2011|11:29 am]
Charlotte Doyle
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This didn't work at all on Facebook, so I'm hoping with the semi-permanent nature of Livejournal posts these days (what with the friends page being sparsely populated), it'll work better here. I feel like I'm out of books to read and need suggestions. Anyone?
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[User Picture]From: nightswatch
2011-11-30 05:58 pm (UTC)
Have you read the Baroque Cycle? I basically spent the past five months with it on and off, and I love it to death.

Do not read A Dance with Dragons. Just... don't.
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[User Picture]From: red_planet
2011-11-30 10:12 pm (UTC)
I have the first book of the Baroque Cycle sitting on my coffee table. Do I need to read Cryptonomicon first to enjoy it?
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[User Picture]From: red_planet
2011-11-30 10:12 pm (UTC)
Also, what's with the hate for A Dance with Dragons? It was a hell of a lot better than A Feast for Crows.
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[User Picture]From: nightswatch
2011-11-30 11:15 pm (UTC)
I've never read Cryptonomicon, so definitely no. I think there's supposed to be some loose family connections between the Baroque Cycle characters and some in Cryptonomicon, but that's about it.

How was Dance any better than Feast? It introduced even more people I could not care less about, half of it seems dedicated to Roose Bolton's torture porn, and it hardly even takes place in Westeros.
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[User Picture]From: red_planet
2011-12-01 01:12 am (UTC)
Seriously? The writing in Feast for Crows was so shitty it was like GRRM gave up on it halfway through, plus it contained the POVs from the least interesting characters. It's like he suddenly (OK, not so suddenly at all) remembered how to write between the 4th and 5th books.
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[User Picture]From: nightswatch
2011-12-01 02:29 am (UTC)
I'm not going to stand up for Feast, as it's been years since I read it, but I still say Dance isn't any better. With Feast you could at least pretend that it was the "bad half" of book four, but now that Dance is here it's crystal clear that this has gotten too big for Martin. There are an embarrassing number of one-offs or two-offs, and the cool characters who get more than that basically just spend the whole book moping about how things suck now. I remember at least enjoying the Lannister action last book.

In fairness, I don't know how you deliver the goods at this point. I'm coming to think of it as "Lost" syndrome; the early story is so great precisely because of its air of rising tension, but neither resolving that tension nor attempting to ratchet it up even more are going to be as riveting as the beginning was.
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[User Picture]From: red_planet
2011-12-01 03:14 am (UTC)

SLIGHT SPOILER

I see your point, but I still think it's worth reading. Daenerys has never been my favorite character, and true to form her chapters suck a bit. I still enjoyed it as a whole, though. I'm hoping Martin doesn't go into cardiac arrest before he gets the whole thing resolved on paper. I do have the sneaking suspicion that things aren't going to end satisfactorily.
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[User Picture]From: userj
2011-12-03 03:36 am (UTC)

Re: SLIGHT SPOILER

I'm with Marissa on this one. Dance >>>>>>> Feast.

however both books aren't as good as any of the other three. I got a bunch of friends into the TV show that are now reading the books and I'm advising them to stop after book 3 until further notice. :)

BTW my major hope is that rumor is the HBO guys have been given a plot outline by GRRM. So if he croaks, we should still be able to find out what was supposed to happen - assuming the show isn't cancelled. ;)

minor spoilers:

Ryan seriously, what "Lannister action" did you enjoy in Feast? The Jaime wandering around endlessly whining about Cersei fucking people or the Cersei sitting around in King's Landing fingerbanging people?

As for Dance it was... pretty good. Some badass stuff happened (Stannis, Jon, Dany). If the entire book had been 1/2 I think it would have been as good as a Clash of Kings (esp since there would have actually been room to FINISH THE GODDAMN PLOT OF THE BOOK). Also, I finally like Jon after this book, so that says something!!
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[User Picture]From: nightswatch
2011-12-03 04:07 am (UTC)
It's... hard to write a Jaime chapter I won't admit to enjoying. Though I would've said the same of Tyrion before this. I think I mostly enjoyed him finally starting to get over Cersei, not to mention Cersei being brought low by the Sparrows.

I thought you'd enjoy Jon now, since your major objection (his passivity) seemed to be forcibly removed. I could make a very spoiler-ish joke about why you really like him now, but I will refrain. :-)
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[User Picture]From: userj
2011-12-03 05:01 pm (UTC)
lol @ the last... I don't know what that was about and we'll just have to wait and see I guess.

I think what did it for Jon is what you say about him being less passive/his mistakes actually having consequences, combined with every time he interacts with Stannis being AWESOME and HILARIOUS. They are both stubborn, overly serious grumpy pants who still manage to deadpan with the best of them. Realizing that LC Jon is like Stannis made me like him a lot more. That said there were still 2x as many Jon chapters as were needed. I think in about 3 of them all Jon does is count supplies.

As for Jaime, DO NOT GET ME WRONG! I love me some Jaime - his aSoS chapters are the best. However it was pretty clear at the end of aSoS that he was already on the way to making a break with Cersei - if anything, he regressed in affc "...and moonboy for all I know," give me a break. And otherwise he just kind of rode around the Riverlands with a bunch of Freys and interacted with minor characters I didn't care about. Just... ugh.

Interesting to hear that Tyrion's adwd chapters disappointed you more than Jaime's affc chapters. I guess the main impression I got from adwd is that Tyrion is really a complete bastard. But looking back on it in an honest way, he's always been like that. Again fewer chapters would have been good - also can Penny just die please?

Dany's chapters were an extended excersise in frustration even being a huge fan, but I think that was supposed to be the point. Occupying a city isn't exactly fun. Plus the ending!!!

And if every character which has had less than 4 chapters could please die or just not have any more chapters that would be appreciated.
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[User Picture]From: gildeddawn
2011-12-03 02:54 pm (UTC)
I haven't read it, but Stephenson...let's say that he's mixed at best. Does it have enormous pacing issues and a ridiculous, nonsensical ending?
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[User Picture]From: nightswatch
2011-12-03 03:54 pm (UTC)
There are no blue people orgy intervals or unexplained conclusions! Or at least, the endings to the second and third books of the series are very satisfactory. Two wraps its own story up and sets up the third volume, and that wraps up everything.

Quicksilver, the first, might be a stumbling block, as it seemed to be for a lot of people when I mentioned it on facebook. I enjoyed it even when not much was happening because it's still just luxuriating in the dawn of the Age of Enlightenment. I acknowledge that what felt like eccentric and witty banter among Natural Philosophers could be seen as tedious chatter among dead white men by others.

I'll tell you what I told Marissa: check it out, and if Daniel Waterhouse's story leaves you cold, jump to the second "book" (second part of Quicksilver) and read Jack and Eliza's story, because the character is completely different and pretty much always entertaining and hilarious. Then you can just read their parts and Daniel Waterhouse's 1714 chapters, where he is sailing back to England with the fantastic Captain van Hoek.
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[User Picture]From: spiralsong
2011-11-30 10:15 pm (UTC)
If you have not read Lilith's Brood by Octavia E Butler, now is a good time.
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[User Picture]From: red_planet
2011-11-30 10:18 pm (UTC)
I'm on the third book of the Hunger Games right now. If for some crazy reason you have NOT read the series, I recommend it with the caveat(s) that it's not terribly well-written and the characters aren't fully fleshed-out. The pacing and action is great, though.

The Immortal Henrietta Lacks was also good if you're up for non-fiction.
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[User Picture]From: midnightsunryze
2011-12-01 03:18 am (UTC)
Agreed. That trilogy is worth reading, as long as you go into it remembering that it's YA.
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[User Picture]From: salieri
2011-12-01 12:31 am (UTC)
I was recently impressed with Shadow of the Torturer. Also, do you ever read Murakami? I really liked The Wind Up Bird Chronicles and Hard Boiled Wonderland... something.
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[User Picture]From: userj
2011-12-03 03:39 am (UTC)
I found Shadow of the Torturer extremely boring! Stopped about 1/2 way through and it's still on my shelf. :/
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[User Picture]From: salieri
2011-12-03 05:28 am (UTC)
It's definitely more driven by weird narrative choices than plot or character development. I was actually surprised it held my interest as well as it did. But the world is so big and well thought out! There were also a lot of scenes I ended up thinking back on. But I'm not sure I can describe what I like about it any better without sounding foolish.
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[User Picture]From: gildeddawn
2011-12-03 02:52 pm (UTC)
I tried to read Gene Wolfe once and thought it was completely worthless, though it was not that particular novel. There was no narrative thread at all, as I recall. Kind of wrote him off after that.

I've read one Murakami, Norwegian Wood, which struck me as pretty stark and depressing. Are the others as well?
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[User Picture]From: salieri
2011-12-03 04:16 pm (UTC)
I could see someone describing Windup Bird that way, but you should try Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. There's more humor in that story and it's just cool.

I really can't defend Wolfe's narrative style. If that bothered you in whatever else you read I don't think you'll like the Book of the New Sun series any better.

What about a good old Donald Westlake caper? I always enjoy his John Dortmunder novels, though I can't speak to anything else of his.
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[User Picture]From: milachka
2011-12-02 01:33 am (UTC)
You hate every book I have ever liked.
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[User Picture]From: gildeddawn
2011-12-02 02:15 am (UTC)
Not true. The Sparrow AND Julie and Julia.
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[User Picture]From: nightswatch
2011-12-03 03:55 pm (UTC)
Aw guys, the Bungalow Book Club! It's... it's been a while since we've found a new pick.
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[User Picture]From: userj
2011-12-03 03:38 am (UTC)
I am currently reading a book called "Lady's Maid." It is pretty decent, and is a historical fictiony thing about the poets Elizabeth and Robert Barrett-Browning, of whom I knew nothing before reading.
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[User Picture]From: avatarofchaos
2011-12-03 05:42 pm (UTC)
I read, and quite enjoyed, "Assassination Vacation" and "The Partially Cloudy Patriot". ON my too read shelf is "The Poisoner's Handbook" by Deborah Blum.
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