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Current reading - Page 110

post #5451 of 5495

I'm not generally a reader of bios, but I'm halfway through John Cleese's (partial) auto-biography SO, ANYWAY. I love Python so it's interesting to read about the development of his interests and honing of his abilities, plus it's cool to discover the inspirations for notable routines. It's neither riveting nor hilarious, rather an amusing look at Cleese's pre-Python years. There are certainly several funny bits, such as his anecdote of a sensitive friend's attempt to mercy-kill a sick rabbit, which is funny because it's so awful.

 

Of particular interest to me are the things he's learned about performing (energy levels of musical numbers vs stand-up routines in a variety show), writing (don't try to come up with the perfect punchline, find one that's good enough and move on), work (some days will see zero creative output, others will produce lots of good work, so it averages out to an acceptable level of work), and the comedy genre (futile anger, a la Basil Fawlty, is funny, while effective anger is not.) I wonder if I'm more receptive to learning via the tales of an interesting person than through standard texts.

 

To that end, can anyone recommend a similar book (biography or not) by someone in the horror field? I've read King's ON WRITING, so I'm looking for others. Also looking for good general non-fiction about the horror genre.

post #5452 of 5495

One guy who's stuff is terrific is David Morrell.  He's most famous for creating Rambo, of course, but he's a former professor of literature who's a damn good writer.  He has written several non-fiction books, most of them espionage/thriller but some of them horror or with horrific elements.  He lost a son and a grand-daughter to the same terrible rare cancer and wrote about that loss.  He has also written a few well-received books on writing, including books in the horror genre.

 

A read William Friedkin's memoirs last year and enjoyed them.  You can tell he's an altogether different guy, now - but he does own up to some of the more outrageous or nasty stories about his career. 

 

I will someday read William Peter Blatty's memoirs, mixed reviews but I think you know what you're getting if you've seen his films or read his novels.  

post #5453 of 5495
The Book of Strange New Things was fantastic. A scifi based meditation on love, religion, separation and humanity.

I thought I'd struggle with the hugely Christian overtones of the book (at its core it's about a missionary sent to another planet to teach the natives the Gospels), but the way Faber unpacks the meanings is astounding, and narratively perfect. How would you explain allegorical stuff about sheep or fish when there are no oceans or ruminant animals on the planet?

Very much recommend.

Onto The Long Utopia by Pratchett and Baxter
post #5454 of 5495
Speaking of Baxter, he's writing a sequel to...WAR OF THE WORLDS??!!

I would roll my eyes but apparently THE TIME SHIPS, his sequel to THE TIME MACHINE, is decent:

http://www.avclub.com/article/what-war-worlds-sequel-oh-copyrights-expiring-229335?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=SocialMarketing&utm_campaign=Default:1:Default
post #5455 of 5495
Long Utopia was good. Not sensing much Pratchett in it anymore though. They seem to be devolving into "we have a new problem, here's the fix". The primary big bad, essentially recursive world destroying machines, was interesting enough, but not deeply looked into.

Onto The Dark Defiles by Richard Morgan. Last in the Ringil Eskiath trilogy.
post #5456 of 5495
Just finished Leviathan Wakes yesterday and starting on Caliban's War. I did the same thing with GOT. Started reading the book series when the television series was in its infancy.

Really dug the book and I'm interested to see where it goes. The world building is good. Reminds me in a way of the Mass Effect games.

I heard rumblings it stumbles in later books. Anyone read this series that can verify that? Don't have a lot of time and would prefer not to waste it getting sucked into a disappointment. The first book worked well as a fairly stand alone story and I could walk away after the second if it isn't worth it.
post #5457 of 5495

I liked the fifth book even though it takes a pretty drastic turn in regards to where it takes things with the world it's built... the fourth was difficult to get through but I think it was worth it to get to five.

post #5458 of 5495
Cool. Thanks. I'll stick with it. It's nice having a new series to obsess over. And the characters are good which is the most important thing.

I'll probably start watching the tv series too, but after the first episode it felt rushed.
post #5459 of 5495
Picked up Ancillary Mercy (part 3 of Anne Leckie's Ancillary trilogy) and the last Thomas Covenant book for travel reading.

Dark Defiles is great, but is in the home stretch.
post #5460 of 5495

Are you sneaking into my house and reading my books???

 

I just finished Ancillary Mercy and i`am in the middle of TheDark Defiles..

post #5461 of 5495
Netflix is making an Altered Carbon TV series!!!!

Could be fucking amazing. I love, love, LOVE the Takeshi Kovacs novels.

Holy crap.
post #5462 of 5495
post #5463 of 5495
Pretty good list.
post #5464 of 5495
A) Umberto Eco died. I've only read The Name of the Rose, but I've re-read it about 5 times. Stunning book and a great loss for that alone.

B) The Last Dark has been an unbelievably hard slog. So with less than a 100 pages to go I dipped into a short book which was..

C) A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Sweet Christ this thing broke me. Just an amazing way of covering a LOT of really deep topics. Brilliant.

Back to the slog..
post #5465 of 5495
Spent the weekend ripping through Ken Bruen and Jason Aaron's Max trilogy (Bust, Slide, The Max) in preparation for their newest book in the series, Pimp. They are also some of the most mean spirited books I have ever read. Nearly every character is unlikable in some fashion: at best some of them are absolutely narcissistic and delusional and at worst are outright psychopaths. I mean, when the sole likable (and I'm stretching it) character is only that because she shows some modicum of (misplaced) empathy, jeez it's dark with an emphasis on dark.

They're fun reads, but boy are they rough on the soul.
post #5466 of 5495
I'm enjoying the Robert Howard Conan collections right now. They're a lot better than many of the things they inspired. Very little wasted prose, they really just tell their stories in a straightforward, witty way. There's an excellent TV show waiting to be born from these.
post #5467 of 5495

Gardens of the Moon, Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson, really loving it so far

post #5468 of 5495
Final Covenant book was ... OK. Bit hand wavy at the end, and FAR too much introspecton snd self doubt but a fitting enough capper I suppose. Honestly could have just ended with the 2nd Chronicles though.

Ancillary Mercy was fantastic. A grrat finale that still left me wanting to know so much more about that particular universe.

And, because I occasionally like to put myself through the mill, I'm re-reading 1974 by David Peace.

After that got Half a King by Joe Abercrombie out of the library.
post #5469 of 5495
The Name of the Wind. It's solid, but I'm definitely let down a bit. From the hype I expected something unusual, and this is your basic fantasy stuff, with admittedly better prose than usual. It's fine, but I'm in no rush to get through it.
post #5470 of 5495

Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff.  So far fucking great.  Combine the racial strife of African Americans in 1954 Chicago with bizarre Lovecraftian stories, and actually make it a fun read?  It sounds weird but so far the book just works.  Each chapter is like a completely different type of weird tale, but with interconnecting characters and one large overarching story.  I'm a little over halfway through but already highly recommend it.

post #5471 of 5495

Half a King was entertaining enough, but not so good that I'm in a rush to read the next one.

 

Onto 1977 by David Peace because I need more misery in my off time (unbelievably compulsively readable though).  

 

After that I managed to pick up a couple of books from the OpShop for a couple of bucks.

 

Killing Pablo by Mark Bowden, inspired by the fact the wife and I are currently watching Narcos.

 

And Sick Puppy by Carl Hiaasen, because it looked good.

post #5472 of 5495
Not sure if you've read other stuff by Hiassen, Andy, but try his early (pre-1992) stuff if you haven't yet. It had a blunt edge which sadly seem to disappear in later books.
post #5473 of 5495

Liking it so far.  AUthor it reminds me most of is Tom Sharpe, oddly enough, stuff like Riotous Assembly or the Throwback.


Reminds me, need to re-read some Tom Sharpe stuff.  Used to love it when I was in my teens.

post #5474 of 5495

We lost one of the gems last week, Open Air Books in Toronto.

 

This place was amazing.  Any book on travel, they had  it.  The challenge was finding it and retrieving it without getting buried under a floor-to-ceiling stack of books.

 

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AppleMark

 

 

I hate shopping at a closing sale, but I had to make an exception in this case.  Picked up a bunch of books, including Nick Hunt's Walking the Woods and the Water, something I've been waiting to read for a while.  Hunt, inspired by the classic A Time of Gifts, follows Patrick Leigh Fermor's route across Europe.

 

Hunt is no natural athlete or hardcore hiker.  He is hit by shin splints and various maladies.  But his story of hoofing four thousand kilometres across Europe, from the UK to Istanbul, is epic, and especially poignant given current events.  People aren't so bad - and often, kinder than we expect or maybe even deserve. 

post #5475 of 5495

There used to be one such bookshop where I live too. Even better, the owners parrot, cat, and dog went about freely in it. I have no idea how there wasn't shit all over the books.

post #5476 of 5495

That's a bummer. Independent bookstores like that are dying all over North America. We don't have one at all where I live and we always make a trip down to Jacksonville every couple of months to go to Chamblin Bookmine. My wife has embraced the whole e-book thing but I just can't bring myself to give up the tactile sensation of reading a book. I look at a computer screen every damn day, the last thing I want to do to relax is ... look at another computer screen.

post #5477 of 5495
Picked these up from the library for post-Hiaasen

post #5478 of 5495

I just finished re-reading The Prague Cemetary after an argument with a friend. What a book. What a great, great book. I can't understand how someone could claim to be a fan of Eco and not like this book.

post #5479 of 5495

Just finished 'City on Fire' by Garth Hallberg, a dense, multi-character piece set in mid-70's NYC and culminating in the '77 blackout/riot, where of course all the characters' lives finally intertwine to some level of resolution. It was quite well written, but occasionally dragged - maybe a few too many characters to follow. Just read a little on it and seems the author received a $2 million advance for this, his first published novel. Yow!

 

 

And now, because I somehow in 40 years never got around to it, I will embark upon King's Dark Tower series.

post #5480 of 5495
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Bain View Post

Picked these up from the library for post-Hiaasen

 

Love Kraken.  Up there with No Blade of Grass by John Christopher for me.

 

Gotta read 'City on Fire'.  Not sure if I buy all the hype so I'm glad you enjoyed it.

post #5481 of 5495

Just finished George R.R. Martin's Fevre Dream, I liked it. 

post #5482 of 5495
The Name of the Wind was disappointing. So conventional. And just loaded with one of my pet peeves: 'And then I did another thing better than anyone else and everyone was super impressed with me' over and over again. The protagonist of this book makes Rey seem like a perpetual fuckup stoner.

Next up is A Head Full of Ghosts. Looks like my cup of tea.
post #5483 of 5495
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arjen Rudd View Post

The Name of the Wind was disappointing. So conventional. And just loaded with one of my pet peeves: 'And then I did another thing better than anyone else and everyone was super impressed with me' over and over again. The protagonist of this book makes Rey seem like a perpetual fuckup stoner.

Next up is A Head Full of Ghosts. Looks like my cup of tea.

 

It's weird to agree with you on something. Anyway, I really wanted to like The Name of the Wind and...shit I can't even remember the name of the other book. I was expecting something really fresh and kept feeling like I was reading Harry Potter the DnD Campaign. I'm sure I'll read the next one when it comes out because I'm still waiting for him to do something amazing that I haven't seen done better in other fantasy fiction but who knows?

 

Have you read the Gentlemen Bastards books by Scott Lynch?

post #5484 of 5495
Wow, A Head Full of Ghosts is excellent. Only fifty pages in and there's been about three really creepy horror concepts marching through my head. One about the fundamental horror of Heaven is probably going to keep me up at night.
post #5485 of 5495
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arjen Rudd View Post

Wow, A Head Full of Ghosts is excellent. Only fifty pages in and there's been about three really creepy horror concepts marching through my head. One about the fundamental horror of Heaven is probably going to keep me up at night.

Yep. It is the goods. And it really sticks the landing too. Tremblay is high on my list of new authors to watch.
post #5486 of 5495
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Bain View Post

Picked these up from the library for post-Hiaasen


I literally just finished MADE TO KILL. Loved it. The setting, Ray's relationship with Ada, all great. I didn't expect the sci-fi (if you can call it that) twist but loved where it went. Hopefully Ray will return, he had a great sense of humour!
post #5487 of 5495

Read a terrific horror novel, Those Across the River by an fella named Christopher Buehlman.  Suffice it to say, he's now one of my go-to horror guys, right up there with Adam Nevill. 

 

Quote:
Haunted by memories of the Great War, failed academic Frank Nichols and his wife have arrived in the sleepy Georgia town of Whitbrow, where Frank hopes to write a history of his family's old estate--the Savoyard Plantation--and the horrors that occurred there. At first their new life seems to be everything they wanted. But under the facade of summer socials and small-town charm, there is an unspoken dread that the townsfolk have lived with for generations. A presence that demands sacrifice. It comes from the shadowy woods across the river, where the ruins of the Savoyard Plantation still stand. Where a long-smoldering debt of blood has never been forgotten. Where it has been waiting for Frank Nichols...

 

Nichols' aunt, who leaves him the overgrown estate, posthumously leaves him a letter begging him to just sell the joint; it's very poorly spelled and the syntax is horrible, befitting an old lady next to last in the check-out line, but the point is pretty clear - dump it and take the money, dummy! Of course he doesn't.

 

Nichols is a damaged WWI vet and Buehlman does a terrific job of developing him into a mouse that roars, reminiscent of Dustin Hoffman in Straw Dogs.  Instead of Cornwall, it's a quaint southern town, and something much worse than thugs live across the river.  Buehlman, a playwright, is able to build dread to the point where the reader is wondering what the fuck exactly lives across the river, and lead a soundly satisfying/terrifying climax and conclusion. 

 

Buehlman is a pretty damn funny writer also, with Nichols' narration sometimes sounding like a character from Hammett or Robert B. Parker. Buehlman is a pretty interesting guy...

 

 

 

Anyhow, recommended.


Edited by Subotai - 4/22/16 at 10:28pm
post #5488 of 5495
41Y65sIh-9L._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

A neglected hardboiled masterpiece. Chaze's prose burns with conviction.
post #5489 of 5495

Made to Kill and The Kraken Wakes were both fantastic.

 

Killing Pablo was pretty good.


Went hard out on some 2000AD graphic novels (Judge Death, Judge Anderson, Slaine, Dredd) which were a LOT better than I thought they were going to be.  Chalk up another nostalgia win.

 

Now reading Paul Malmont's The Astounding, the Amazing and the Unknown

post #5490 of 5495

I just read By The Silver Water of Lake Champlain, a short story by Joe Hill. It's a good, quick read but at $4.99, a bit overpriced. 

 

Still, if you like sea monsters, you'll be very satisfied. 

post #5491 of 5495
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Bain View Post

 


Went hard out on some 2000AD graphic novels (Judge Death, Judge Anderson, Slaine, Dredd) which were a LOT better than I thought they were going to be.  Chalk up another nostalgia win.

 

Early stuff? The recent stuff has been excellent.  Mega-City One is down to 10% of its former population, it's almost safer in the Cursed Earth and inside the walls.

 

The IDW Dredd is also growing on me, I admit.

post #5492 of 5495
DEUS EX by Philip K. Dick and Robert Zelazny.

Strange, but fascinating, like most of Dick's religious novels.
post #5493 of 5495
I read Vonnegut's God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. It took like ten minutes. First Vonnegut I've read that I'd be forced to call half baked. It's got a real 60s vibe he usually transcends. But for all that, he's still Vonnegut.
post #5494 of 5495
Quote:
Originally Posted by Subotai View Post

Early stuff? The recent stuff has been excellent.  Mega-City One is down to 10% of its former population, it's almost safer in the Cursed Earth and inside the walls.

The IDW Dredd is also growing on me, I admit.

The very early Anderson stuff, post Slaine the King stuff (which TBH is pretty samey samey - "Slaine gets taken through time by the Earth Goddess to battle enemy x for Celtic tribe y", and the "Day of Chaos" Dredd stuff which is astounding.

Rewatched the Dredd movie last night as well. So, so good. There's been wild speculation about a Netflix TV series with Urban as Dredd. I imagine it will never happen, but holy crap if it did there is so much great stuff to mine.
post #5495 of 5495

One thing, Dredd just gets better with age.  I think Alex Garland has a genuine love for Dredd, as does Urban.  I wouldn't be surprised that if Garland continues to be successful with his directing projects that he resurrects Dredd down the line.  At least I hope so.  Big scree, little screen, I don't care.

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