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Thread: What are you reading?

  1. #3751
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    I've been doing a spotty but massive reread of Poul Anderson's work, the aftermath of replacing a near-complete set of paperbacks after a domestic flood (we have now identified 4 common household appliances which can fail in such a way as to lead to standing water in the basement). I have always been struck by his set-piece descriptions of scenes (stars like diamonds, the banked fires of Andromeda, heavens fading from purple to violet above argent rivers), but I continue to be impressed with ideas I would have naively associated with being common maybe 20 years after some of his stories were written. Still, there are times I just sort of wallow indolently in the language.

    And there is always Uncleftish Beholding. Alas, there is no way to link to to without the surroundings giving away what the reader otherwise delights in figuring out as the paragraphs go on.

  2. #3752
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    Voltaire's Candide, translated by John Butt. It's the version I read in college, that I found conveys the book's message the best, at least to me. It's a reprint of the 1950 Penguin Classic edition. Also, Story Trumps Structure by Steven James. It purports to help would-be writers, and may be a help to people like me who don't think in outlines and book formulae.

    CJSF
    "A scientific theory
    Isn't just a hunch or guess
    It's more like a question
    That's been put through a lot of tests
    And when a theory emerges
    Consistent with the facts
    The proof is with science
    The truth is with science"
    -They Might Be Giants, "Science Is Real"


    lonelybirder.org

  3. #3753
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    In an effort not to read my textbook, I found Pushing Ice on my fire. I've been reading it all day long.
    Solfe, Dominus Maris Pavos.

  4. #3754
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    The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan. Despite what seems to be a "protest too much" claim about Asian history being ignored in the West, this work has the magisterial sweep of a historian who never stops reading sources. New to me - how much the duel between Persia and Rome shaped the first five centuries after Christ, and the role of the slave trade all the way to Scandinavia once the Rus traders reached Byzantium (and points east).

    And, over and over - no matter how much people complained about the opening crawl in The Phantom Menace, there are times when taxation of trade routes is a Great Big Huge Deal.

  5. #3755
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    American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

  6. #3756
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    Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan.

    Well, I enjoyed it! Contemporary - one character works at google. Not your normal bookstore!
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

  7. #3757
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    Old Mars, an anthology of short stories edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. Time was, Mars was a fruitful setting for science fiction stories until the Mariner missions showed it to be a dead world. Martin and Dozois asked modern writers to forget about all that and write stories set on the "old Mars". Some people have called it a cheat, but I found it entertaining.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  8. #3758
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    Reread Isaac Asimov's Words From the Myths. It strikes me that either we don't use nearly as many mythical allusions as they did in the '60s or else he exaggerated how often people would use them then.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  9. #3759
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    Reread Isaac Asimov's Words From the Myths. It strikes me that either we don't use nearly as many mythical allusions as they did in the '60s or else he exaggerated how often people would use them then.
    What are some examples? I may have read this book a while back, but I am not sure now.

    CJSF
    "A scientific theory
    Isn't just a hunch or guess
    It's more like a question
    That's been put through a lot of tests
    And when a theory emerges
    Consistent with the facts
    The proof is with science
    The truth is with science"
    -They Might Be Giants, "Science Is Real"


    lonelybirder.org

  10. #3760
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    I finished my copy of Candide. Reading the preface and some online materials makes me wonder why I haven't read more Voltaire. In some ways he seems like my kind of subversive. Have any of you read much of his work?

    CJSF
    "A scientific theory
    Isn't just a hunch or guess
    It's more like a question
    That's been put through a lot of tests
    And when a theory emerges
    Consistent with the facts
    The proof is with science
    The truth is with science"
    -They Might Be Giants, "Science Is Real"


    lonelybirder.org

  11. #3761
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    What are some examples? I may have read this book a while back, but I am not sure now.
    I, for one, have never called anyone a Nestor. Or called forgetfulness "Lethean." (My computer doesn't even know that word!) I did once hold onto the letters for "jovial" for a ridiculously long time in a game of Scrabble, and there are plenty of words in there that get used regularly, but the direct allusions, with the odd exception of "mentor," seem to have mostly gone by the wayside.

    And Voltaire is on my list of authors to get around to, but I haven't yet.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  12. #3762
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    I, for one, have never called anyone a Nestor. Or called forgetfulness "Lethean." (My computer doesn't even know that word!) I did once hold onto the letters for "jovial" for a ridiculously long time in a game of Scrabble, and there are plenty of words in there that get used regularly, but the direct allusions, with the odd exception of "mentor," seem to have mostly gone by the wayside.

    And Voltaire is on my list of authors to get around to, but I haven't yet.
    On a vaguely similar note, do people still say "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" as a joke when meeting people? I remember as a kid reading in my pop-geography books that it was "still a common phrase", but never heard anyone say it, and when I tried it, the joke fell flat because nobody understood (admittedly I was saying it to my friends, who were also around 11.)
    Last edited by KaiYeves; 2017-Dec-14 at 09:47 PM.

  13. #3763
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToSeek View Post
    Old Mars, an anthology of short stories edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. Time was, Mars was a fruitful setting for science fiction stories until the Mariner missions showed it to be a dead world. Martin and Dozois asked modern writers to forget about all that and write stories set on the "old Mars". Some people have called it a cheat, but I found it entertaining.
    I took the companion volume Old Venus on holiday with me, but never got around to reading more than the introduction. So it's back on the pile.

    Grant Hutchison

  14. #3764
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    On a vaguely similar note, do people still say "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" as a joke when meeting people?
    Oddly, someone said it to me just last month - first time I'd heard it in a long time.
    He and I were approaching the summit of a rarely climbed and heavily forested hill from opposite sides, so that we pushed out of the forest into the summit clearing simultaneously. Of course, Stanley and Livingstone met in a village, not in the middle of a forest, but the phrase nevertheless seemed appropriate to the surprising and off-the-beaten-track aspect of our encounter. (I think it only ever works in that sort of situation - I can't recall anyone ever using it in the street or office, for instance.)

    I had a physician colleague whose name actually was Livingstone, and she once spent an entire safari holiday in Kenya using her husband's name (something she didn't usually do), simply because she couldn't bear the prospect of the inevitable "Dr Livingstone" jokes, which she got quite enough of at home without the extra temptation of an African context.

    Grant Hutchison

  15. #3765
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    Now reading Elan Mastai's "All our wrong todays". Halfway through, written interestingly, no idea how it will develop further.
    All comments made in red are moderator comments. Please, read the rules of the forum here and read the additional rules for ATM, and for conspiracy theories. If you think a post is inappropriate, don't comment on it in thread but report it using the /!\ button in the lower left corner of each message. But most of all, have fun!

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  16. #3766
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    Quote Originally Posted by ngc3314 View Post
    The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan. Despite what seems to be a "protest too much" claim about Asian history being ignored in the West, this work has the magisterial sweep of a historian who never stops reading sources. New to me - how much the duel between Persia and Rome shaped the first five centuries after Christ, and the role of the slave trade all the way to Scandinavia once the Rus traders reached Byzantium (and points east).

    And, over and over - no matter how much people complained about the opening crawl in The Phantom Menace, there are times when taxation of trade routes is a Great Big Huge Deal.
    I started this but it didn't grab me and I moved on to something else. Is it worth going back to?

    Currently on "Best love to all" the collected letters and diaries of an infantry officer in the Great War, compiled and written by his grandson. Unlike most of this genre this is actually very well written and very informative.

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