BOOKS: General

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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby Harpua » Sun Apr 30, 2017 10:23 pm

I know that I have posted this in a different thread previously, but a month ago I re-read Cat's Cradle. It blew my mind how much of that novel I had forgotten in a matter of 8-9 years. What's more, I have recommended this book to many people. I now have this cocktail party scenario that plays out in my head, where I am at a party and people are discussing Vonnegut. I have read every sentence he has ever had published, and would naturally want to be involved in this conversation. At some point during this conversation someone brings up Cat's Cradle, and I say "Oh, that is a wonderful book." Then all eyes are on me. I feel that I should contribute more, but... I don't remember a damn thing about it, other than Ice Nine and the last sentence of the book. I am exposed as a fraud.

Granted this pretentious little scene is unlikely to occur, as I am not one to associate with people who discuss literature. In fact, one of my closest friends (who is incredibly well read) and I jokingly refer to our circle friends, and her husband in particular, as "incredibly high functioning illiterates."

Never-the-less, I am now on a re-reading kick that is proving to be necessary, because if I read a book prior to 2013, I have very little recollection of it now.

So far I have re-read Cat's Cradle, Slaughterhouse Five, and Hitch Hiker's Guide: all of which I read in 2008 or 2009, and all of which I mention when I discuss my favorite novels. I am happy to say that re-reading them hasn't changed my opinion of them.
Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.
~4~
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby Harpua » Tue Jun 27, 2017 9:08 pm

** Nonpartisan (Possibly "Anti-Partisan") Political Commentary Trigger Warning**

Two Paths: America Divided or United by John Kasich: 1.5/5

I don't know about you, but what went down in America last year left a bad taste in my mouth. It was ugly, and it left our country more polarized than it has been in a generation.

I was looking for hope when I read this book, and did not find it. Rather than an honest assessment of our situation and a clear blueprint for how we move forward together (meep), I found a biography / campaign journal with a lot of filler.

There was one chapter (A Crisis in Followship) that sizes up the current political climate in America pretty well, but he never says "America will be untied if you vote for me because..." The thrust of his message was "America will be divided if you don't vote for me. Did you know that I was the Chairman of the House Budget Committee the last time America had a balanced budget?"

John Kasich seems likeable, though I disagree with him on many issues. Also there are two words that politicians (especially Republicans) use ad nauseum that make me cringe, and sure enough Kasich had an entire chapter on them. Those words are "G**" and "f****". I have a very cynical theory on this.

Regardless, he has stated that he has no interest in running for office again (** Wink Wink**), so this 300 page portrait of a moderate..ish, rational, and concerned leader must have been entirely academic.
Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.
~4~
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby El Bastarde » Wed Jun 28, 2017 2:16 pm

Image

So I FINALLY got around to starting this and finished it pretty quick once I did. Love how Douglas Adams writes so I was right at home but this book was a bigger mind-fuck than his others. There's so many scenes that are goofy non sequiturs and the book jumps around a lot (Dirk doesn't even show up until 1/3 of the way in) and the cool thing is you realize that many of these non sequiturs are not that at all and they're mostly tied in to the overall narrative. There's a few major clues put in there early in the book where, if you know your history, you'll pick up on but I missed them. Had to go back and reread some parts to put it all together. Regardless, it's quite cleverly done.

I actually already read the second Dirk Gently book years ago ("The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul") but I remember so little that I'm hitting it again.
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby Harpua » Fri Jun 30, 2017 5:05 pm

^ Nice. I have only read two Douglas Adams books: Hitch Hiker's Guide and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. I love his perspective. He has this ability to take mundane things and hyperbolize the hell out of them, then discredit the logical with his twisted brand of pseudo-logic, so when the reader reads something completely asinine, they laugh and think "Yeah, makes sense." (i.e. Shoe Event Horizon)
Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.
~4~
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby El Bastarde » Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:14 pm

^Probably the best two Hitchhiker books though you skipped one there. The last two get a little more weird than the previous ones but they're all good.
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby Harpua » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:57 pm

I just read Life, The Universe, and Everything last night. It was weird, and occasionally incoherent. Some strong parts, but compared to HHGTTG and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, it is very weak. I think I might not be British enough to really enjoy the cricket humor and Belgium bashing (which apparently only occurs in the US version.)

** Edit**

I am shocked that Adams would go back and explain why the bowl of petunias thought, "Oh no. Not again."
Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby El Bastarde » Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:27 pm

I just read Life, The Universe, and Everything last night. It was weird, and occasionally incoherent.

Really? That may be my second favorite behind the original. The Krikkit robots cracked me up, you get the debut of Agrajag which is a hilarious concept and the silliness with Hactar. I mean, yes, it's a bit disjointed and weird but that feels like all his books. The 4th and 5th books are even more weird though the next one does have God's last message to his Creation which is more poignant than anything in the Bible.

I am shocked that Adams would go back and explain why the bowl of petunias thought, "Oh no. Not again."

LOL. That arc is still one of my favorites. He's the best at having random non-sequitors later returning to be relevant things.
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby Buster » Sat Jul 15, 2017 4:01 am

I just re-ordered a used copy of A Long Strange Trip, Dennis McNally on AbeBooks.com. I also got King's 11/22/63. It's been on my list for a while now, excited to read it.
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby Harpua » Tue Jul 25, 2017 4:05 am

The Cubs Way: The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball and Breaking the Curse By Tom Verducci. 3.5/5

Verducci is a pretty well known "baseball guy." In this book he follows all the moves that were made en route to The Cubs winning the 2016 World Series (starting with The Ricketts buying the team). I'm a Cubs fan, so I was tracking literally everything he brought up, in real time. There wasn't any new information. Occasionally there would be an anecdote that I had never heard, but for the most part it was a 300+ page walk down memory lane. If you are a Cubs fan, read it. It is a pretty thorough account of the greatest day of your life. If you are not a Cubs fan, but you are a baseball historian, read it. It is a pretty thorough account of "The Last Great Sports Story" and an undeniably monumental moment in baseball. If you are not a Cubs fan, and you are not a baseball historian, this book is clearly not for you.

The Secret History of Twin Peaks, By Mark Frost 1.5 / 5

This is not literature, it is bad experimental(...ish) fiction that you have to read in order for some of the nonsense that is currently happening on Twin Peaks: The Return to make sense, and even then... The concept of this book (which I concede will look awesome on my bookshelf) is that you are reading an FBI dossier. Agent Cole had Agent Tammy Preston read this dossier to uncover the identity of the person or people who compiled the information. She includes her thoughts in the margin notes. My eyes were well exercised by the time I put the book down... you know...because of all the eye-rolling. There was one section that was supposed to have been written by Dale Cooper, in which he repeatedly mentions his renowned love of pie - FOR NO REASON. Also they threw in President Nixon and a variation of his famed "I am not a crook" soundbite. There was some really interesting true(...ish) history involved in this dossier. I never read about what happened to Meriwether Lewis in school. That stuff is pretty interesting. Learning about Jack Parsons was also pretty cool.

If you are a Twin Peaks fan, who is cool with the fact that you have to read a book to know some of the things that are going on during Twin Peaks: The Return, read it, because not only is it cannon, its mandatory. Otherwise, why would you read this? (BTW, there is another piece of mandatory reading about to be released.)
Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby Harpua » Thu Aug 17, 2017 3:42 am

As I have previously stated, when people know you are an avid reader, they want you to read what they have read, so I get a lot of books as gifts. Due to this, I have quite the queue built up. The next book I read will be one of the following:

The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt
Sailor Song - Ken Kesey (I have read Cockoo's Nest and Sometimes a Great Notion - I consider the latter to be the best American written novel of all time)
Ham on Rye - Charles Bukowski
Tin Drum - Gunter Grass
So Long and Thanks for all the Fish - Douglas Adams

The last one was:

Exit West by Moshin Hamid: 3.5 / 5

This novel is getting a lot of praise these days. It sure is relevant as hell. It is about young lovers who flee a war torn country in the middle east. It is about the refugee crisis. It is about the horrors they saw before they left. It is about how they are treated now. It is about the personal sacrifices each refugee made. I like the premise, I liked that there were elements of magical realism. I liked one of the protagonists. The dude was kind of a dud from the word go, so I never really got connected to him. Also the prose never reeled me in, and that is one of the things this book is praised for. I don't get that praise. It didn't elicit any emotions. There was nothing that struck me as profound. Most importantly, I was never "there."

It is a good book, but it lacked elements that are necessary to make it a 4 or 5 star novel (It is not Midnight's Children or One Hundred Years of Solitude). Weighing in at 230 pages, it is a very quick read. I definitely recommend it.
Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.
~4~
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby El Bastarde » Fri Aug 18, 2017 2:19 pm

I'm in-between books and needed something to read and I found this on the shelf.

Image

A lot nuttier than I remember it. "We're all mad here."
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby GratefulPhish » Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:14 pm

I've actually never read Alice, probably should.

Picked up Between The World and Me today. I know I'm behind the times on this, but I've read a good chunk of it already and really enjoying it. I'd be curious to know what others on here thought of it, I'm guessing some of y'all have already read it.
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Re: BOOKS: General

Postby Harpua » Mon Aug 21, 2017 2:49 pm

GratefulPhish wrote:I've actually never read Alice, probably should.

Picked up Between The World and Me today. I know I'm behind the times on this, but I've read a good chunk of it already and really enjoying it. I'd be curious to know what others on here thought of it, I'm guessing some of y'all have already read it.


I have never even heard of it until just now, and upon researching it, it just made it into my queue.
Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.
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