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The Athenaeum - Reading updates and Literary Review from the Obsidian Elite (this means you)

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Last issue saw this:
 

Started this today:

51ShTDvgsXL.jpg

 

This issue - more exciting posts about reading.

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Now reading:

 

61SzLebE9SL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

 

 

51m%2BIh4C2FL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_.jp


"I care nothing for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it"

Abraham Lincoln

 

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Since the other book thread is dead due to going on for too long, I thought I'd make another one.

 

Give some book recommendations or talk about what you're reading at the moment.

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Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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Sometime folks can get too esoteric with their thread naming conventions.

 

I started reading the introduction to MARLBOROUGH’S AMERICA — the premise is such that the First Duke of Marlborough, General John Churchll, greatly influenced America's colonizers and the disloyal officers in the Rebellion of 1776 and made the U.S. the powerful economic and military empire that it eventually became.

Because Walpole.

 

Anyways, I got bored and decided that sports, television, and video games held my interest better.


"Things are funny...are comedic, because they mix the real with the absurd." - Buzz Aldrin.

"P-O-T-A-T-O-E" - Dan Quayle

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I'm the enemy, 'cause I like to think, I like to read. I'm into freedom of speech, and freedom of choice. I'm the kinda guy that likes to sit in a greasy spoon and wonder, "Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecue ribs with the side-order of gravy fries?" I want high cholesterol! I wanna eat bacon, and butter, and buckets of cheese, okay?! I wanna smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in the non-smoking section! I wanna run naked through the street, with green Jell-O all over my body, reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly may feel the need to, okay, pal? I've SEEN the future. Do you know what it is? It's a 47-year-old virgin sitting around in his beige pajamas, drinking a banana-broccoli shake, singing "I'm an Oscar Meyer Wiene"

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I resently finished the Wheel of Time series in english. I had read it previously but in finnish. The finnish publisher had decided to divide each english book into two translated books and then later on into three translated books. This introduced pacing problems to a series, which already had it own pacing problems.

 

I think it is a great fantasy series. It could even be the best Epic fantasy series I have ever read, but it does have some problems.

 

In the eight book Robert Jordan started to do "introduction" chapters where nothing happened, like, these are the characters you know and love and they are doing things we left them doing in the last book. Then in the next chapter things actually start happening. It was so weird for me. Did he think bunch of new people would start to read the series from the eight book? Chapters where nothing happened started to got more common in ninth book and it got even more worse in the tenth book, which is infamous for it.

 

Perrin, the slighty boring Perrin. I felt like even Robert Jordan got bored by Perrin and forgot to give his story the impact it needed.

 

Lastly, I think Brandon Sanderson put bit too much of himself in the last three books, but he is a very good writer so it wasn't a huge problem for me.

 

My favourite moment of the whole series is when Seanchan attacked the White Tower. Aes Sedai are scrambling to fight back and they succeed in holding their ground in one location and make it into their base. The reports of the fight start to come in and they find there is one other location that is fighting back. It is the novice quarters and they are having even more success than the Aes Sedai. "How could this be? How is it possible that mere novices could do this? Egwene." In that moment my minds eye zooms out, swings around the White Tower, and zooms in to Egwene. She standing there surrounded by the rubble from the blasted walls throwing fireballs at the Seanchan. ****ing A, man.


This post is not to be enjoyed, discussed, or referenced on company time.

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Did he think bunch of new people would start to read the series from the eight book? Chapters where nothing happened started to got more common in ninth book and it got even more worse in the tenth book, which is infamous for it.

 

Jordan got 'stuck', the first 5-6 books came out near yearly, then the later ones took comparatively ages while the quality declined due to him having too many characters and having to move people around to get them into the positions he needed at the right times which left half the cast treading water plot wise at any given time but still getting chapters- near exactly the same problem Martin's Song of Ice and Fire has battled for the last decade, though at this point Martin's just taking the piss. Pretty sure the 'recap' type chapters were added to the later books to make sure existing readers remembered what happened 2+ years ago when the last book released rather than for new readers, but they definitely hindered the already glacial pacing even more.

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Did he think bunch of new people would start to read the series from the eight book? Chapters where nothing happened started to got more common in ninth book and it got even more worse in the tenth book, which is infamous for it.

 

Jordan got 'stuck', the first 5-6 books came out near yearly, then the later ones took comparatively ages while the quality declined due to him having too many characters and having to move people around to get them into the positions he needed at the right times which left half the cast treading water plot wise at any given time but still getting chapters- near exactly the same problem Martin's Song of Ice and Fire has battled for the last decade, though at this point Martin's just taking the piss. Pretty sure the 'recap' type chapters were added to the later books to make sure existing readers remembered what happened 2+ years ago when the last book released rather than for new readers, but they definitely hindered the already glacial pacing even more.

 

 

It wasn't so much he got "stuck" as he was technically dealing with a life-affecting disease, which actually did result in his death. That was one of the reasons the writing got slowed down by so much, he was dividing his time between actually writing the story, and making sure there were details and explanations for how the story should go if/when he died before completing it.

 

Apparently, he did make a couple of raaather large spreadsheets detailing characters, arcs, appearances in previous books, plots and subplots they were involved in, etc. Along with copious notes on the world and cultures.

 

Although he did get a wee bit irritated over fans who kept moaning about Matt being "missing" from most of one book - he was all "The previous book ended with a rather large wall falling on him and injuries resulting from it. I didn't think anyone would be that interested in large chapters involving Matt covered in bandages, laid in bed, sleeping and recovering and not doing anything actually story affecting."

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"Cuius testiculos habeas, habeas cardia et cerebellum."

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Also, one of the few ways to use 50 Shades in a positive reference...

 

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"Cuius testiculos habeas, habeas cardia et cerebellum."

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Did he think bunch of new people would start to read the series from the eight book? Chapters where nothing happened started to got more common in ninth book and it got even more worse in the tenth book, which is infamous for it.

 

Jordan got 'stuck', the first 5-6 books came out near yearly, then the later ones took comparatively ages while the quality declined due to him having too many characters and having to move people around to get them into the positions he needed at the right times which left half the cast treading water plot wise at any given time but still getting chapters- near exactly the same problem Martin's Song of Ice and Fire has battled for the last decade, though at this point Martin's just taking the piss. Pretty sure the 'recap' type chapters were added to the later books to make sure existing readers remembered what happened 2+ years ago when the last book released rather than for new readers, but they definitely hindered the already glacial pacing even more.

 

 

It wasn't so much he got "stuck" as he was technically dealing with a life-affecting disease, which actually did result in his death. That was one of the reasons the writing got slowed down by so much, he was dividing his time between actually writing the story, and making sure there were details and explanations for how the story should go if/when he died before completing it.

 

Apparently, he did make a couple of raaather large spreadsheets detailing characters, arcs, appearances in previous books, plots and subplots they were involved in, etc. Along with copious notes on the world and cultures.

 

Although he did get a wee bit irritated over fans who kept moaning about Matt being "missing" from most of one book - he was all "The previous book ended with a rather large wall falling on him and injuries resulting from it. I didn't think anyone would be that interested in large chapters involving Matt covered in bandages, laid in bed, sleeping and recovering and not doing anything actually story affecting."

 

 

The disease slowed the actual writing down for sure- but it didn't result in less happening per book, which is what I mostly meant by him being 'stuck'. A book of their page number every two years is not something I would complain about and Jordan kept things well organised and had almost no outright editing mistakes despite the series size.

 

However, the disease had nothing to do with the drop in amount of meaningful stuff happening per book which is what I meant by him being 'stuck'. It was not writer's block, and I doubt it is for Martin either, it's just the difficulty in getting people from place A to place B at time C without it becoming turgid prose for the sake of it. He knew the start and the end and had most of the main plots obviously plotted out ahead of time, but getting from the various points along the journey was the problem. If anything he probably planned too well, and had problems getting meaningful feeling filler in when needed, main symptom of that being the addition of lots of disposable characters; the Martin equivalent was the aborted five year gap between Storm of Swords and Feast For Crows where a lot of positioning stuff would happen 'off camera' to keep the rest trim. Not really any easy solution to it except to reduce the scale of the series.

 

The Mat quote is actually a good indicator of the problem he had- too often he didn't leave X out of the book even if they had nothing meaningful to do, and that bloated it badly and when he did people didn't like it.

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The cast of characters for tWoT increased with each new book, thus it slowed down over time. The same has happened with A Song of Fire and Ice. Dave Farland likes to tell the story about going to Dragon Con in the early 2000's in consecutive years where he would dine with Robert Jordan's publisher (because at the time Dragon Con had a fraction of its current yearly attendance) and each year the publisher would get a call in the middle of lunch or dinner (Dave said they were having all three meals together because nothing else was going on) confirming that Robert Jordan just signed a contract to extend the series. Both extensions were for three more books. How can a story go from being 3-6 books to 14? Adding more POV characters has a ballooning affect.

Edited by the_dog_days

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George Martin needs to get somebody to write the sixth and seventh book of A Song of Ice and Fire ASAP. I mean, why not? Just give some guidance on the overall plot and how it should go and it should be no problem. 

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I've been reading this piece of crap:

 

%7B8A34F3DD-94B2-4E0A-A305-36C6062432D2%

 

Easily one of the worst sci-fi books I've ever had the misfortune to encounter, with characters and dialogue so wooden that Asimov would shed proud tears seeing how the standard he set lived on even in 1995 (which, I'm told, is when this thing was written), ideas and themes Ian Watson's Warhammer 40k books have better addressed five years before the first publication of this story as gaming literature (which is pretty much the lowest of SFF), and a... final twist that actually kinda works? Surprisingly? It's definitely too little, too late to save the book, but at least an attempt was made.


"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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Could it be an issue with the translation into English? Who did the translation from German?  Eschbach?

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I'll look for it. I read Bob Woodward's book "VEIL: The Secret Wars of the CIA 1981-1987" quite a few years ago. It was almost more of a biography for CIA Director Bill Casey than is was about the agency's activities. But I did learn a lot from it. 


"I care nothing for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it"

Abraham Lincoln

 

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I'll look for it. I read Bob Woodward's book "VEIL: The Secret Wars of the CIA 1981-1987" quite a few years ago. It was almost more of a biography for CIA Director Bill Casey than is was about the agency's activities. But I did learn a lot from it. 

 

You'll definitely learn a lot from this one.

 

I would also recommend Creating Russophobia: From The Great Religious Schism To Anti-Putin Hysteria by Guy Mettan.

 

It really explains a lot.

 

If you're sick and tired of the Russia hysteria or even the China hysteria, this book is for you.

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Could it be an issue with the translation into English? 

 

 

To Hungarian. (English cover image was posted for recognisability.)

 

Apparently it was translated by some guy called Csaba Varga. No idea how good (or bad) he is; it certainly wouldn't be the first book to get absolutely wrecked in translation (looking at you, Malazan Book of the Fallen). But based on the numerous other flaws of the book (paper-thin characters, bad narrative structure), I would wager that even if he is at fault to some extent, he would not be solely responsible for the trainwreck that is this novel.

Edited by aluminiumtrioxid
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"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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I have been having a heck of a time finding a decent fantasy series to hook my attention. I seem to just hate all the magic stuff lately. I guess I might be better off finding something historical fictiony instead. I just want a decent coming of age adventure type story.

 

I also can't find many triathlon history or biographies. I guess it is still too young of a sport to have a decent library.

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I've been reading this piece of crap:

 

%7B8A34F3DD-94B2-4E0A-A305-36C6062432D2%

 

Easily one of the worst sci-fi books I've ever had the misfortune to encounter, with characters and dialogue so wooden that Asimov would shed proud tears seeing how the standard he set lived on even in 1995 (which, I'm told, is when this thing was written), ideas and themes Ian Watson's Warhammer 40k books have better addressed five years before the first publication of this story as gaming literature (which is pretty much the lowest of SFF), and a... final twist that actually kinda works? Surprisingly? It's definitely too little, too late to save the book, but at least an attempt was made.

 

 

Watson's 40k books addressed themes ? :p


Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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