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July 4th, 2008, 19:12
Just finished the Chronicles of the Black Company omnibus by Glen Cook, and I was pretty pleased by it. It starts particularly strong, with a very interesting and gritty world. While that dark edge diminishes somewhat in the later books the characters remain very appealing throughout. I'll be sure to give his other stuff a try.

I'm about halfway into Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. I'm mostly liking it, but the device of frequently jumping backwards/forwards in time to tell the story just doesn't do it for me. It feels a little artificial, a way to suggest layers/intricacies without actually supplying them. Or something like that, not sure if I can describe it. Still- a better than average fantasy adventure, all in all, I'll definitely read to the end. I'm not surprised to learn that it has been optioned for a movie, either, it would be a natural fit.

Once I've finished this I'm hoping to try either The Blade Itself or the first Malazan book, I've heard positive things about both.
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July 4th, 2008, 19:22
Originally Posted by warweasel1 View Post
Just finished the Chronicles of the Black Company omnibus by Glen Cook, and I was pretty pleased by it. It starts particularly strong, with a very interesting and gritty world. While that dark edge diminishes somewhat in the later books the characters remain very appealing throughout. I'll be sure to give his other stuff a try.
Excellent series, indeed. I haven't started the Instrumentalities series yet, but I've got book 1 in my drawer waiting. Now that book 2 is out in paperback, I'll probably start the series soon.

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July 4th, 2008, 19:35
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
Ug, that's a bit of an effort. If you're really reading it "cover to cover." There are bits in there that feel like 40 years in the desert, in a manner of speaking.
Definitely. I'm afraid I just can't stomach all this wanton destruction and murder stuff. I really can't wait for the New Testament when things become more humane and less 'Muahahaha, I'm the baddest guy in the whole downtown'.

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July 4th, 2008, 20:07
Originally Posted by Jaz View Post
Definitely. I'm afraid I just can't stomach all this wanton destruction and murder stuff. I really can't wait for the New Testament when things become more humane and less 'Muahahaha, I'm the baddest guy in the whole downtown'.
There are some lovely bits in the OT too. Ecclesiastes, for example, and many of the Psalms.
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July 4th, 2008, 20:12
Originally Posted by Jaz View Post
Definitely. I'm afraid I just can't stomach all this wanton destruction and murder stuff. I really can't wait for the New Testament when things become more humane and less 'Muahahaha, I'm the baddest guy in the whole downtown'.
Makes me think about Star Wars -> I always loved the dark side and the bad guys. An abuse of force and sometimes it seems the bible goes for this side rather then the light side.

so very, very tired (Star Trek XI quote according to the Simpsons)
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July 4th, 2008, 20:13
There are some lovely bits in the OT too. Ecclesiastes, for example, and many of the Psalms.
And the Song of Solomon. Lyric and romantic poetry with a bit of erotica in my mind—(and that incomparable line of terrible truth, "Jealousy is cruel as the grave.")

I read the King James version very spottily in junior high, but I still go back and read that one. But there certainly is a high proportion of begattery and foreskin hoarding in the OT.

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July 5th, 2008, 04:29
The Bible is awesome! It helps to read it with a guide - a great pairing is the Harper-Collins Study Bible and the Harper-Collins Bible Commentary; it helps elucidate some of the things, both large and small, which are confusing for a modern reader.

Judges is kind of tough, but Samuel and Kings have the material for about 50 rpgs in them, including multiple character classes, numerous adventures, etc…

I have read it cover to cover a couple times (although I cheat a little in Psalms and Proverbs, which are good stuff, but impossible to consume at one sitting).
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July 5th, 2008, 09:12
Thanks for all the helpful comments . I am reading a commented version, by the way, but it still is rather tough reading at times, especially since my reading time is so limited and it IS my plan to read it from cover to cover… especially the OT which I only leafed through back in the days.
The other book I'm cross-reading at the same time is 'Les Diables Verts' by Jean-Yves Nasse, a fact book about German paratroopers in WWII. It's a bit difficult due to the fact that my French is good enough to order green beans but not much else . What wonder that it takes me years to read a book.

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July 6th, 2008, 00:00
I never recommend reading the Bible from cover to cover. However, if you ever need help with understanding anything, just ask and I'll be happy to help out. I still lecture in Biblical interpretation.

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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July 6th, 2008, 00:07
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
The origins of human behavior is what I am interested in, and culture is definitely integrated in that interest
That's the exact reason why I once in the middle of the 90s began reading antique classics. Romans & Greeks - I just wanted to know how they think.

If you want to take a look at rather *real* Roman life, I can very much recommend you the letters of Pliny the Younger - although they are still a bit more developed for a later release as books.

Plus, it is of benefit for understanding a bit more if you learn reading between the lines.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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July 6th, 2008, 00:09
Originally Posted by Jaz View Post
Definitely. I'm afraid I just can't stomach all this wanton destruction and murder stuff. I really can't wait for the New Testament when things become more humane and less 'Muahahaha, I'm the baddest guy in the whole downtown'.
Then you haven't read the Iliad and the Metamorphosis by Ovid.

Strong stuff.

Plus the Epigrams by Martial, no wonder they were forbidden for quite some time !

Not that the Epigrams are full of murder - but full of what you might never see in any politically correct soap opera. It's rather stuff for newspapers like the infamous Sun, or the German Bild and Express.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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July 6th, 2008, 09:18
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
Then you haven't read the Iliad and the Metamorphosis by Ovid.

Strong stuff.

Plus the Epigrams by Martial, no wonder they were forbidden for quite some time !
I read them all - the Iliad is one of my favorite books even though I could do without the parts where eyes fall to the ground (and I also own two copies of American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis which was blacklisted here for quite some time ). But there's a difference - I expect reading about generous killing in a book about a war, or in a book about a murdering psychopath. The Bible, however, is a religious text. Perhaps I'm just not fond of violence against people in religious texts. That's not a Bible-exlusive feeling… I also balked at the description of some of Rudras aggressive antics in the Vedic books, but Rudra was just one aspect of divinity in the Vedes and not the dominating one at that.
I know that there are other aspects of divinity in the Bible as well, and I expect to reach them soon. Anyway, I'm really glad I finished Judges by now .

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July 16th, 2008, 03:33
I'm reading a collection of 1954 SciFi short stories. I've had the book for a long time (it was published in 1986), but finally got around to reading it. As is typical of me trying new authors or new series, I resisted it at first, but finally made myself get into it. I'm loving it! Some of the language is outdated, but it's a great insight in a lot of the paranoia of the mid 50's.


ON a note to Jaz's Bible reading, I've been meaning to re-read it. Through out my upbringing, I've probably read 90% of it, but not in any cover to cover method. My biggest issue is that I can't stand trying to read for long periods the small type and that transparent paper! Stupid reason I know, but it makes it hard to read. I'm going to try to find a version that is printed on a more 'normal' book stock with decent sized type.

The sad thing is that I read, very quickly, cover to cover both Lost Scriptures and Lost Christianities by Bart D. Ehrman, and one of the reason I was able to get into them so quick is that they were printed like normal hard backed novels!

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July 16th, 2008, 11:00
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
I never recommend reading the Bible from cover to cover. However, if you ever need help with understanding anything, just ask and I'll be happy to help out. I still lecture in Biblical interpretation.
But if you don't you miss out on that fantastic chapter with the long list of who begat who, who couldn't be drawn in by powerful, hard hitting prose like that?

Edit - reading the Pollysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby, a colleciton of columns he wrote for a magazine about his reading habits which is making me feel like I really should read more, and branch out to read different things more.
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July 16th, 2008, 11:19
I'm currently reading Liar's Poker which is about the start of the mortgage department in one of the biggest financial institutions at the time. It's quite interesting especially considering the current situation with the mortgage department in the US. I'd recommend it to anyone who's the least bit interested in finances and/or the history of mortgages.


About the Bible. I don't know what version you read and with what commentary, but depending on which commentary and on which perspective the Bilbe is COMPLETELY different. Reading it from a Chistian point of view, from a Jewish point of view or from an atheist point of view gives you completely different meanings.
From what I've seen, the Jewish point of view tends to go much deeper, from the Talmud, Gmara and Mishna to the different Parshanim. The Christian point of view is deep too, but not at all to the point of how it is studied by orthodox Jews. The atheist point of view is the shallowest of all, seeing it only as a semi-historical book.
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July 17th, 2008, 17:18
I just finished reading _Gang Leader For A Day_, by Sudhir Venkatesh. He's a sociologist who spent the better part of a decade hanging out with a crack gang in a Chicago housing project, and the book is a memoir of that period. (He started out with the bright idea of doing field research on the topic, and walked into a crack house armed with a clipboard and a questionnaire that started with 'How do you feel about being black and poor? A) Very bad B) Somewhat bad C) Neither bad nor good D) Somewhat good E) Very good.' Apparently the correct answer, namely "Fuck you," didn't figure on the list.)

It's utterly fascinating; he gives a picture both of the daily life in the ghetto and of the immensely strong social and economic structures that lock people in it. Highly recommended reading for anyone interested in how the other side lives. It's also immensely absorbing; I read it at one sitting.
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July 17th, 2008, 17:46
Another one for my list—though I've seen a bit of that life, and it's far from pretty, or comfortable to read about. It's an underculture that might as well be a different planet for too many people.

I've recently finished a lighter book, but well-written and good summer escapism for the vacation—The Pale Blue Eye, by Louis Bayard. It's a real novel in many ways, but follows the historical mystery meme, with Edgar Allen Poe as one of the main characters involved in a serious of ritualistic killings at West Point. Tons of fun and purple prose in the sections 'written' as epistles from Poe, and some good character and plotting in the rest. From the title poem, in the style of Poe:

"Mid the groves of Circassian splendour
In a brook darkly dappled with sky,
In a moon-shattered brook raked with sky,
Athene's lissome maidens did render
Obeisances lisping and shy:
There I found Leonore, lorn and tender,
In the clutch of a cloud-rended cry.
Harrowed hard, I could aught but surrender
To the maid with the pale blue eye
To the ghoul with the pale blue eye."

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
Last edited by magerette; July 18th, 2008 at 03:45. Reason: sp
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July 22nd, 2008, 08:27
Originally Posted by warweasel1 View Post
Once I've finished this I'm hoping to try either The Blade Itself or the first Malazan book, I've heard positive things about both.
I can easily recommend The Blade Itself. The First Law trilogy is my new favorite series and Joe Abercrombie is my new favorite author. It's pure-fucking-gold meshed with the essence of badass.
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July 22nd, 2008, 11:14
Over vacation I read Twilight Watch, the final book in the Night Watch series. It was fairly satisfying in many ways, but the ending could have been beefed up a bit I think.

Now working through 'No Country for Old Men' by Cormac McCarthy. Nicely stylized work, a bit more upbeat than The Road

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July 25th, 2008, 17:57
I just got back from a little excursion to Marseille. I read Jean-Claude Izzo's Total Kheops while there. It's a hard-boiled detective story set in the city, and was very interesting to read there (although it did have the side effect that I was seeing hookers, dealers, mafiosi, Nazis, and hoodlums of every description at every street corner).

I wonder how it reads in English, though — in French it's perfectly natural to switch from a brutal murder scene to a recipe for stuffed sweet bell peppers in tomato and herb sauce, but I'm not sure how well that sort of thing translates.

Marseille is an interesting city. It's not as welcoming or easy to decipher as most cities in this part of France, but it just started to unfold over the three days we were there. It's chaotic, crazy, varied, colorful, and very very international — not just the Beurs that make the papers (in a bad way, mostly), but Vietnamese, Chinese, Italians, Iberians, Africans, and what have you. I liked it a lot. Great food too.
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