Sunday Morning Book Thread 02-09-2014: Put A Little Love In Your Heart [OregonMuse]


Dictator Valentines.JPG
A Valentine's Day Card For Jimmy Carter*

*This is not hyperbole. Or, at least, not very much. After all, Jimmy Carter is the guy who was quoted as saying, "When I go to a dictatorship, I only have to talk to one person and that's the dictator, because he speaks for all the people" Yes, he actually said this.


Oh, and good morning morons and moronettes and welcome to AoSHQ's prestigious Sunday Morning Book Thread. And since Valentine's Day is coming up fast, it's time for a little romance. But first, the Bard.


Some Words You Probably Didn't Know Were Invented By Shakespeare

I've heard that Shakespeare, in the course of his writing, invented over 1700 new words, never seen before in the English language. He could do this because, well, because Shakespeare. Not only was he a really smart guy, but perhaps just as important, the English language was in a state of flux, and had been for quite some time. So a bunch of limitations and constraints we take for granted simply didn't apply. The 15th century English printer William Caxton, who lived a generation or two before Shakespeare, is said to have remarked late in his life that he was unable to read the books from his youth, that's how much the language had changed in only a few decades. I know that sounds strange to us, but that's because our English has been more or less stable for centuries and changes have come only slowly and gradually. What's the last big change to hit the English language, other than vocabulary? Contractions?

This piece in the Puffington Host lists 13 words that were actually coined by Shakespeare. I found it interesting because they're actually common words we use every day, rather than some arcane turn of phrase. Like 'gloomy'. And 'radiance'. And 'critical'. Also, 'zany'. That one surprised me. I always figured the origin of 'zany' would turn out to have been relatively modern. Nope, Shakespeare.


How Well Read Are You?

Here's a (long) quiz to gauge your proficiency in world literature. I'm not going to tell you how I did. Let's just say I thoroughly embarrassed myself.

And of those few I got right, a bunch of them were absolute, blind guesses.

I'd have done better if they had included moar sci-fi and zombie titles.


gimme.jpg


Romance Novels - A Guide For The Perplexed

There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not: The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.

(Proverbs 30:18-19)

I've never read one, so that qualifies me to write authoritatively about them.

Let's start out by asking, what is a romance novel? According to the Romance Writers of America, two elements are necessary for a novel to be considered as being in this genre:

A Central Love Story: The main plot centers around individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. A writer can include as many subplots as he/she wants as long as the love story is the main focus of the novel.

An Emotionally Satisfying and Optimistic Ending: In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love.

Other than that, the sky is pretty much the limit. There are a number of officially recognized sub-genres: Contemporary Series, Contemporary-Single Title, Historical Romance, Inspirational Romance, Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense, and Young Adult Romance.

What, no zombies?

Actually, the sub-genre I was thinking of is one I've heard referred to as "bodice rippers" where there is sex and the heroine may not actually be willing.

A classic in this sub-genre would be something like Sweet Savage Love by Rosemary Rogers or Stormfire by Christine Monson which even the positive reviews admit is quite brutal.

But the woman's goal is always the same -- she wants a monogamous relationship with a strong, masculine love interest. Nothing else will do.

And no matter how strong or assertive the main woman character is, the man who gets her in the end is always stronger.

(Women love and admire strength. Or perhaps 'power' is a better word. It's depressing to note that if our culture permitted polygamy, a repulsive toad like Bill Maher, merely because he is the main guy on a TV show, would probably have 3 or 4 wives.)

And with only one exception I've ever heard of, the authors of romance novels are women.

Supposedly the first the modern "romance" novel, the one that really amped up the genre, was a bodice-ripper published in 1972. The Flame and the Flower by Kathryn Woodiwiss is, remarkably, still in print. The Kindle edition goes for $5.69. I think the Amazon blurb is a hoot:

Doomed to a life of unending toil, Heather Simmons fears for her innocence—until a shocking, desperate act forces her to flee. . . and to seek refuge in the arms of a virile and dangerous stranger.

But of course! Nothing like the twin virtues "virile and dangerous" to make a woman's heart beat faster and faster.

This all sounds all traditional and hetero-normist, doesn't it? Might there be a "love knows no boundaries" type deal where the protagonists are not of opposite genders? I didn't think so. But I was wrong.


Links To Stuff Jefferson Said

No, really. I was poking around some earlier book threads, and noticed a link to some of Jefferson's writings from commenter 'Retread'. 3 volumes are available in Kindle editions for the low, low price of $0.00:

Memoir, Correspondence, And Miscellanies, From The Papers Of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3

There's a fourth volume, but it's not available on Kindle as far as I can tell.

The guy wrote a royal boatload of stuff, available on Kindle You can get it on Gutenberg for free, also. So now you know.


Really?

OK, so Amazon has this list, 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime, and is it my imagination, or are some of the selections incredibly lame?

It's just bizarre how many of their "gotta read" books were written within the last 35-50 years.

I mean, The Handmaid's Tale? Really? That's a book that everyone's just gotta read? And Portnoy's Complaint? That's the best you can do? (If it's Philip Roth you want, you'd be much better off with The Great American Novel, which is at least funny in places. Margaret Atwood, however, should not be read by anyone).

So how did the literary toffs at Amazon compile this list? Amazon rankings, perhaps? Psychic readings?

Maybe they would have gotten better results if they had.

To put together the list, Amazon largely steered clear of its “Best Books of the Year” lists, mathematical algorithms, and other formulaic indicators. Instead, it relied simply on months of debate and deliberation from its editorial team.

Oh. In other words, they just pulled it out of their posteriors. That's just great. They should have been honest and called it the '100 Currently Faddish Books to Read in a Lifetime Because There Is No Wisdom Before 1950' list.


Moron Book Promotion

Rand Koch e-mailed yesterday and wants me to let you all know of his book promotion:

Guantanamo Clarity: What You Need to Know, normally priced at $1.99, will be free at Amazon on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday -- February 9, 10 and 11.

It's a short e-book to clear up the mistaken notions (to put it politely) about Guantanamo, what the rules are, and why it's still open.


What I'm Reading

Last week I mentioned long-time moron Sean Gleeson and his compendium of short pieces by authors with the initials SG. One of them was a 1916 account of Japanese women who are hired to do menial work hotels and tea-houses. It is actually one chapter of the book Working Women of Japan by Sidney Gulick, and no, "working woman" is not a euphemism for prostitute. I was actually motivated to download the free Kindle edition, and you know, it's kind of interesting. Gulick was an American missionary who lived in Japan for 25 years starting in 1888, was fluent in Japanese, and wrote a number of books to try and promote understanding and peace between Japan and western countries, which, ultimately, didn't work out so well. The turn of the 20th century was an interesting time for the Japanese, as they had recently decided (1868 ) to ditch their traditional feudal class system and were in the process of modernizing, so it was a time of great social change, some good and some not so good. Gulick saw it all and wrote about it extensively. WWoJ deals with all manner of working women, from farm hands to factory workers, to geisha to licensed prostitutes. It won't appeal to everyone, parts of it are kind of dry, but I'm finding it to be an interesting glimpse into another time and culture.


___________


So that's all for this week. As always, book thread tips, suggestions, rumors, threats, and insults may be sent to OregonMuse, Proprietor, AoSHQ Book Thread, at aoshqbookthread, followed by the 'at' sign, and then 'G' mail, and then dot cee oh emm.

What have you all been reading this week? Hopefully something good, because, as I keep saying, life is too short to be reading lousy books.

Posted by: Open Blogger at 10:35 AM




Comments

(Jump to bottom of page)

1 Continuing the re-read of Tom Clancy and Vince Flynn books. I completed Sum of All Fears yesterday and have moved to Separation of Power now.

Posted by: Vic at February 09, 2014 10:43 AM (T2V/1)

2 There are some weak ones on that amazon list but I have to say I loved reading Goddnight Moonto my kids every night when they were little. Joan Didion's Year of Magical Thinking was an em credible book about her first year of widowhood and came out right when my mom died and held a special place in my heart. She is a wonderful writer. And for fun, Gone Girl is just a great book to read, especially on vacation when you want somethng good and captivating.

Posted by: Keena at February 09, 2014 10:44 AM (RiTnx)

3 When they came for the lousy books, I did nothing.

Posted by: RolandTHTG at February 09, 2014 10:45 AM (qyoyx)

4 English was in such a state of flux back in old Will's day because there had been so many invading armies settling in.

Posted by: Vic at February 09, 2014 10:46 AM (T2V/1)

5 Oh my heavens that pic is so wrong and yet so very, very awesomely hilarious.

Posted by: BornLib at February 09, 2014 10:48 AM (zpNwC)

6 Thanks OM.

Does anyone know of a good book about Gen. MacArthur that is not h8y or a suck up?

I've been having arguments with some MacArthur lovers and would like a good non-bias book about him.

Posted by: ExSnipe at February 09, 2014 10:49 AM (LKJt3)

7 Yay, I have something relevant to say in the weekly book thread! A buddy of mine recently was gifted with a slew of books; one of them is an apparent 1936 printing of Mein Kampf and he's interested in knowing how much this thing could be worth. Neither of us are knowledgeable with regard to antique books but I told him I'd investigate. It's in very good shape with minor damage to the the binding. On one of the leading pages, there's some handwriting: "Gemeindeverwaltung Eltingen" on "3. April 1937." So, how about it, book-reading Morons? Any ideas as to what to do?

Posted by: Sandra Fluke's solid gold diaphragm at February 09, 2014 10:49 AM (M5T54)

8 That's a lot of content OM. Thanks.

I finally finished Atlas Shrugged. The biggest flaw in my view is the utopian portrayal of Galt's Gulch, a happily-ever-after-opia where they are governed by their own better angels. And ultimately rather elitist. Sort of glosses over that whole pesky human nature thing. YMMV.

Posted by: Seamus Muldoon at February 09, 2014 10:49 AM (g4TxM)

9 Monogamy as a cultural practice was instituted by a combination of alpha women and beta men.

The top women opposed polygamy since they didn't want to share the top men. And the beta men opposed it since they didn't want all the hot chicks taken by the uber-studs. Of course, the delta and gamma men opposed it too since they might not get any women at all under polygamy.

But, yeah, monogamy was imposed over the strong objections of the Ruling Class men -- and a large swath of women.

The triumph of monogamy was a victory of the ruling class women and lower class men vs the ruling class men and lower class women.

Posted by: Flatbush Joe at February 09, 2014 10:56 AM (ZPrif)

10 How well read am I? That selection of books is crap. I stopped at #27
after seeing that I had only read one of the books and it has been over
40 years since I read it.



And I read hundreds of books a year.

Posted by: Vic at February 09, 2014 10:56 AM (T2V/1)

11 Let's start out by asking, what is a romance novel?


They left out that it must have a lurid cover. The latest "romance genre" is the bodice ripper with fangs.

Posted by: Vic at February 09, 2014 10:57 AM (T2V/1)

12 Considering that Bill Maher is not a big fan of marriage, I doubt that he would marry three or four women if polygamy were legal.

Posted by: Joshua at February 09, 2014 10:58 AM (oMznd)

13 I'm still plowing my way through The Aeneid and should finish it this week. Some of it can be a real slog as they go through endless recitations of names who are involved in fighting the Trojans. But other parts make for compelling reading when I'm in the right frame of mind to enjoy it (which for some reason ebbs and flows).


For "fun" reading I'm reading Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell. I saw the movie and enjoyed it quite a bit but figured there would be additional material in the book which would be very artfully narrated; and I was right.

Posted by: Captain Hate at February 09, 2014 10:59 AM (AKxhE)

14 Stuff Jefferson Said


I have read 3 biographies of Jefferson including one by his great granddaughter. You really can not get a good read on someone like Jefferson by reading one book.

Posted by: Vic at February 09, 2014 10:59 AM (T2V/1)

15 Of course, we still have a mild version of polygamy in that dominant men are more likely to have a family, then divorce their wife when she ages out of child-bearing years and marry a younger woman and start a 2nd family. There's never a shortage of attractive young women who are fine being the 2nd wife and breaking up the family. And there probably never will be.

There's also a good argument that monogamy produces more peaceful, stable societies. In polygamy you get a large swath of angry, loser men who have no wife or prospect of getting a wife. Those men have little investment is societal stability and peace.

Posted by: Flatbush Joe at February 09, 2014 11:00 AM (ZPrif)

16 Someone posted that 100 books list a while back. Yes, it is crap.

Posted by: Vic at February 09, 2014 11:00 AM (T2V/1)

17 6 I've been having arguments with some MacArthur lovers and would like a good non-bias book about him.

Posted by: ExSnipe at February 09, 2014 10:49 AM (LKJt3)


As I have posted later in the thread get three books on him by different authors. Go to the library.

Posted by: Vic at February 09, 2014 11:02 AM (T2V/1)

18 >>They left out that it must have a lurid cover. The latest "romance genre" is the bodice ripper with fangs.

Ugh, this, and now also the 50 Shades of Whatever knock-offs. Ick.

Posted by: Lizzy at February 09, 2014 11:02 AM (POpqt)

19 I'm fighting a battle to declare 'To Kill a Mockingbird' one of the most overrated books in history. I'm not saying it's a bad book at all or that it's poorly written; but most of the praise is over the top.

Posted by: Captain Hate at February 09, 2014 11:03 AM (AKxhE)

20 Posted by: Sandra Fluke's solid gold diaphragm at February 09, 2014 10:49 AM (M5T54)

If you have any antique or small, non-chain bookstores near you go ask them. Also search the internet for discussion boards.

Y'all will probably get some crap for having an Adolf book, but the best response is to say it was his plan for the future, which few people took seriously.

Posted by: ExSnipe at February 09, 2014 11:04 AM (LKJt3)

21 I read "The Last Policeman" by Ben Winters (I think), and really enjoyed it. Thanks to whichever moron recommended it. IT was good, but did not go in the direction I thought it would. I was expecting the rbig reveal to be a huge worldwide conspiracy type ending, but it was much more mundane. Still quite enjoyable, very easy read.

As for romance novels, my only experience with them was in the late 90's. I was in Chicago for a convention for work, and staying downtown. A cow orker and I went downstairs for breakfast, and when we walked in the dining room, every head turned our way. Unbeknownst to us, there was a romance novel convention going on in the hotel, and the room was filled with fans and authors. Predominantly plus sized housewife types, looking at us like we were fresh meat. It was seriously unsettling. I don't think there were any other men in the room at that hour. We ate and got the hell out. Looking back, I realize I could have had the most debauched weekend of my life had I wanted. Thank god I didn't realize.

Posted by: kalel666 at February 09, 2014 11:04 AM (RUR9F)

22 Maher's objection to marriage are probably all due to divorce law and protecting his money.

As long as we keep divorce laws the same that would be a huge disincentive to polygamy even if we legalize it. Which I expect American will do.

The remaining wives damn sure wouldn't happy with a leaving wife taking so much money from them.

Posted by: Flatbush Joe at February 09, 2014 11:06 AM (ZPrif)

23 I can't tell you how many of my feminist friends have pushed the Handmaiden's Tale on me while ominously warning of the plans of the eeeevil religious right. My response always was:" If you really believe America is truly in danger of becoming a horrible misogynistic theocracy why aren't you buying rifles and learning to use them to defend yourself?" They usually sputter about how violence isn't the answer.

I used to believe that Margaret Atwood was the most annoyingly Canadian author ever. Then I discovered Robert Sawyer. The horror, the horror...

Posted by: Serena at February 09, 2014 11:08 AM (u+ny/)

24 I can't stand writing or reading romance novels. I've tried, repeatedly, to get into the genre because of social pressure, but I honestly don't get it. At all. I suppose it would help if I had a sense of romance in the first place...

Posted by: pookysgirl at February 09, 2014 11:08 AM (kMnHs)

25 I did 49% on the world lit quiz - and that was mostly because I knew the classics and English lit pretty well ... the rest of it, I was guessing more or less.
I remember skimming some of Kathleen Woodiwiss' books back in the day. Meh - not my cuppa. There are more of the funny romance covers, though. They were done by a blogger a while ago - just google "Longmire Does Romance" and they will come right up.

Posted by: Sgt. Mom at February 09, 2014 11:09 AM (Asjr7)

26 I got 58% on the world literature quiz. Not that great, since I consider myself well-read. I did pretty well on the European literature; all the English lit questions I got right, about half the Russian lit. Didn't do well on the Kafka. As for the Asian and South American stuff, I pretty much flunked it all. And most of my guesses were wrong.

Posted by: Dr. Mabuse at February 09, 2014 11:09 AM (FkH4y)

27 The only time I have seen my wife reading those trashy "romance novels" is when she is stuck in a waiting room at DR or hospital. She say in those locations she must have mind pablum.

Posted by: Vic at February 09, 2014 11:10 AM (T2V/1)

28 Shakespeare created many of the phrases and concepts we use everyday. I took a Shakespeare course many years ago and was fascinated by this. (Received an 'A.')

Posted by: baldilocks at February 09, 2014 11:11 AM (36Rjy)

29 Daily reminder:

Castro is still alive.

Posted by: Daily Reminder Guy at February 09, 2014 11:13 AM (6j8ke)

30 I'm fighting a battle to declare 'To Kill a Mockingbird' one of the most overrated books in history....
Posted by: Captain Hate at February 09, 2014 11:03 AM (AKxhE)

I'd pick "Catcher in the Rye" as #1. A piece a crap.

Posted by: ExSnipe at February 09, 2014 11:13 AM (LKJt3)

31 Got the 1984, The Odyssey, The Divine Comedy, Medea, Kafka, Oedipus the King, The Aeneid, Leaves of Grass, Anna Karenina, Hamlet, and The Trial questions right on the quiz, along with 29 I got with educated guessing for a total score of 62%.

Posted by: BornLib at February 09, 2014 11:14 AM (zpNwC)

32 There's also a good argument that monogamy produces more peaceful,
stable societies. In polygamy you get a large swath of angry, loser men
who have no wife or prospect of getting a wife. Those men have little
investment is societal stability and peace.


Where the white women at?

Posted by: Angry Chinese losers at February 09, 2014 11:14 AM (6TB1Z)

33 I've received a few bad reviews for my novel, Tale of the Tigers, due to the fact that it, somehow, got labelled as a romance novel, but is not. A couple of bodice-ripper fans were sadly disappointed.

Posted by: baldilocks at February 09, 2014 11:14 AM (36Rjy)

34 Whoever recommended "Going Clear" about Scientology last weekend, I'll second it. It was equal parts fascinating and disturbing.

Posted by: Adam at February 09, 2014 11:15 AM (Aif/5)

35 I tried to read Clark's Sleepwalkers and finally gave up. How he could manage to make WWI boring is amazing (and I love military history). Plus he has a habit of strong bias in interpreting what people really meant, depending on whether or not he likes them. I could never tell if he was being completely honest about the history--and to be fair, it seemed like the national sport in the Balkans was lying. Probably still is, since everything he was describing there was pretty much the same in the most recent conflict.

Currently reading Brian McClellan's Promise of Blood. Gunpowder mages and rebellion!

Posted by: Sabrina Chase at February 09, 2014 11:15 AM (2buaQ)

36 I'd pick "Catcher in the Rye" as #1. A piece a crap.

Posted by: ExSnipe at February 09, 2014 11:13 AM (LKJt3)

Never read Catcher in the Rye, but I wanted to after watching Ghost in the Shell. A bizarre plot device for an anime, but the series overall was quite good.

Posted by: pookysgirl at February 09, 2014 11:15 AM (kMnHs)

37 33 A couple of bodice-ripper fans were sadly disappointed.

Posted by: baldilocks at February 09, 2014 11:14 AM (36Rjy)

Did you post back that there was no lurid vampire cove5r on the front?

Posted by: Vic at February 09, 2014 11:16 AM (T2V/1)

38 Of course, we now have video games and internet porn -- both of which do an excellent job of pacifying angry, loser men.

Posted by: Flatbush Joe at February 09, 2014 11:17 AM (ZPrif)

39 I only got 42 percent. A lot of those books were oppressed commie third world bullshit type stuff.

Did pretty well on the English and Russian stuff. Totally blew it on the rest

Posted by: Herr Morgenholz at February 09, 2014 11:17 AM (iHvM4)

40 Surprisingly, I only did fair on the Greek stuff. Haven't read it in years

Posted by: Herr Morgenholz at February 09, 2014 11:19 AM (iHvM4)

41 Of course, we now have video games and internet porn -- both of which do an excellent job of pacifying angry, loser men.

And books, especially bodice-rippers. **deftly dodges non-book thread comments bullet**

Posted by: pep at February 09, 2014 11:19 AM (6TB1Z)

42 20

If you have any antique or small, non-chain bookstores near you go ask them. Also search the internet for discussion boards.

Y'all will probably get some crap for having an Adolf book, but the best response is to say it was his plan for the future, which few people took seriously.

Posted by: ExSnipe at February 09, 2014 11:04 AM (LKJt3)



Yeah, I fear this may be awkward to unload as many people are incapable of detaching the author and message of the book from the historical significance of the physical article.

Posted by: Sandra Fluke's solid gold diaphragm at February 09, 2014 11:20 AM (M5T54)

43 I got 60% on the quiz.

Posted by: WalrusRex at February 09, 2014 11:21 AM (E+uky)

44 That Amazon list is shit. Compare most of those titles to the ones referenced in that internet quiz, and it is really sad. Rachel Carson, are you serious?

Posted by: kalel666 at February 09, 2014 11:23 AM (RUR9F)

45 "OK, so Amazon has this list, 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime, and is it my imagination, or are some of the selections incredibly lame?"

Let's see... 1984 and... Fahrenheit 451.

Oh goody they have "Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson. You know you've got a good list if this made the cut. /sarc

The Road by Cormac McCarthy? I'm pretty sure that's his worst book, but hey, Oprah liked it!

Posted by: BornLib at February 09, 2014 11:23 AM (zpNwC)

46 I've been reading Spheres of Influence, the sequel to Grand Central Arena. I got sidetracked by starting my new blog, though.

It's good, but I'm not that fond of the politics parts. I guess I'm too cynical about ANY political stuff lately. Not quite up to GCA, but that's par for the later books in a series, I suppose.

Posted by: Empire1 at February 09, 2014 11:23 AM (tD7CM)

47 Finished The Alchemy of Air: A Jewish Genius, a Doomed Tycoon, and the Scientific Discovery That Fed the World but Fueled the Rise of Hitler by Thomas Hager.

A good story well told. It even has a cameo quote from Tom Landry, the great Cowboys coach.

Nitrogen is the limiting atom of life. 50% of our body's nitrogen atoms are made available to us by the chemical engineering process at the heart of this book.

One percent of all global energy use is needed to sustain our current agricultural output. Is the true target of all anti-energy environmentalists this process? It would explain a lot of the vehemence against dense energy production like coal, nuclear and hydro -- all evil energy according to the Left.

Very good for general audiences, if a tad too basic for chemists interested in catalysis, chemical engineering, gas-phase reactions or water-gas reactions.

Posted by: NaCly Dog at February 09, 2014 11:23 AM (u82oZ)

48 I just finished an excellent book recommended by someone here. "The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea" by Philip Hoare. It's sort of a memoir / discussion of whaling / criticism of Melville and Moby Dick. Nothing great, but an interesting, easy read.

This is what makes Amazon so great. I wouldn't have considered buying it in dead tree, but it's so easy and cheap to put it on the Kindle, that you can take a flyer on a book. If it stinks, no big loss, but if it doesn't, great.

I did not know Melville was ghey for Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Posted by: pep at February 09, 2014 11:25 AM (6TB1Z)

49 Re: 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime

I can't really respect any list that includes the Lemony Snicket series. I'm a full-grown adult (more or less) and tried reading the books because I loved the movie, which was great mostly because of Jim Carey. The books, however, were rubbish. The screenplay for the movie wasn't even written by Daniel Handler (aka "Lemony Snicket"), but by Robert Gordon.

Posted by: Samuel Snicket at February 09, 2014 11:25 AM (7+oD+)

50 Well, my proficiency in world literature is pretty lame. I never heard of half the books. Maybe they should have asked me the name of the chick with the wild hat in "go dog go".

Posted by: Berserker-Dragonheads Division at February 09, 2014 11:26 AM (FMbng)

51 One of the best books I've read in recent years, The Breach by Patrick Lee, has been optioned for a movie. I struggle to describe it without spoiling it, but I will say that it's sci-fi about an interdimensional gate, the objects that come out of it, and the organization that attempts to protect the world from it. The sequels, Ghost Country and Deep Sky, are even better.

Posted by: Emile Antoon Khadaji at February 09, 2014 11:29 AM (CrJzY)

52 Posted by: pookysgirl at February 09, 2014 11:15 AM (kMnHs)

I read "Catcher in the Rye" in the early 70s in high school. We actually had to get permission slips signed by our parents to read it. Afterwards we had to write a book report. Mine was very short and I basically wrote; "It was a piece of crap, and a waste of my time reading it." I got an F. My parents weren't happy about the grade, but understood my opinion about it.

Posted by: ExSnipe at February 09, 2014 11:30 AM (LKJt3)

53 Romances frequently involve a man and woman who dislike each other intensely at first. There has to be conflict, I know, but it's so predictable.

Posted by: mint at February 09, 2014 11:30 AM (KvsiG)

54 Finished To Sail a Darkling Sea by John Ringo this week, a good follow-up to his first Black Tide Rising zombie novel, Under a Graveyard Sky.

Recommendations are easy, if you liked the first book you'll like the second one. If you like Ringo in general you'll probably like the first book.

I'll be starting into Parasite by Mira Grant today. My girlfriend recommended it to me but I'm not entirely sure what it is, but it looks like a sci-fi medical thriller perhaps?

Posted by: BornLib at February 09, 2014 11:33 AM (zpNwC)

55 My daughter and I read all thirteen Lemony Snicket books when she was young. What a slog to read that out loud! Very repetitive and verbose. We kept going to see how all the mysteries would be resolved at the end but none were. Never find out about the damn sugar bowl or anything else. A terrible thing in general but it seemed contemptuous to do that to kids who were curious enough to read through thirteen books. What kind of author would do that?

Posted by: Captain's daughter at February 09, 2014 11:35 AM (ikmY6)

56
Oblather is missing from that photo collage. Major oversight.

Posted by: Guy Mohawk at February 09, 2014 11:37 AM (n0DEs)

57 And speaking of bodice rippers with fangs all should note the Amazon Deal Of the Day


"Vampire Academy" series@ $2.99 each.


http://tinyurl.com/p6wyvyc

Posted by: Vic at February 09, 2014 11:37 AM (T2V/1)

58 The biggest flaw in my view is the utopian portrayal of Galt's Gulch, a
happily-ever-after-opia where they are governed by their own better
angels. And ultimately rather elitist. Sort of glosses over that whole pesky human nature thing. YMMV.


Yeah, Ayn Rand did not hold to any number of Christian ideas, one of them being the one about original sin/corruption of human nature.

Posted by: OregonMuse at February 09, 2014 11:38 AM (cml4O)

59 I am stumped... I cannot come up with a Che Valentine card. Help please!

Posted by: Forty Baht Barack at February 09, 2014 11:38 AM (p2UQZ)

60 "The latest "romance genre" is the bodice ripper with fangs."

If you want one of these that doesn't suck, look for Gail Carriger's Soulless (Parasol Protectorate #1) for a good paranormal romance, steampunk, fantasy of manners.

Posted by: BornLib at February 09, 2014 11:39 AM (zpNwC)

61 58 Yeah, Ayn Rand did not hold to any number of
Christian ideas, one of them being the one about original sin/corruption
of human nature.


Posted by: OregonMuse at February 09, 2014 11:38 AM (cml4O)


She was noted for being a very vocal atheist.

Posted by: Vic at February 09, 2014 11:40 AM (T2V/1)

62 46 I liked Spheres of Influence, the sequel to Grand Central Arena. IMHO this is Ryk E. Spoor's best series. I too wanted less politics and more action like in Grand Central Arena, but it still satisfies.

These two books are fresh "sense of wonder" SF. If you were raised on Doc E.E. Smith's Skylark and Lensman series, you are home again. Very good world creation, with enough in-jokes, shoutouts and references to thrill the heart of a space opera reader.

It's a tad of a throwback to John W. Campbell with the plucky Terrans verses, well, everyone in the Universe, at first.

I eagerly await the third saga of the Grand Central Arena series.

Posted by: NaCly Dog at February 09, 2014 11:41 AM (u82oZ)

63 60 If you want one of these that doesn't suck, look for
Gail Carriger's Soulless (Parasol Protectorate #1) for a good
paranormal romance, steampunk, fantasy of manners.

Posted by: BornLib at February 09, 2014 11:39 AM (zpNwC)


I have no interest in any vampire genre at all. They all fall short of the original by Bram Stoker. That one scared the crap out of me when I was in the 7th grade but I read it from cover to covert.

Posted by: Vic at February 09, 2014 11:43 AM (T2V/1)

64 35. The Sleepwalkers is a bit long, but that in itself is proof that there was no easy, pat reason why WW1 occurred. For too long, too many have been taught that a single assassination of a relatively minor Archduke by a nobody was the "cause" of the conflict. Clark illustrates the complicated historical and political back story of why and how that assassination happened, and he takes his time getting to the actual event...

Posted by: JoeyBagels at February 09, 2014 11:46 AM (Usdw3)

65 She was noted for being a very vocal atheist.

Yeah, I know. I probably should have written "Ayn Rand, being a strident atheist, did not hold to any number of Christian ideas, one of them being the one about original sin/corruption of human nature."

Posted by: OregonMuse at February 09, 2014 11:46 AM (cml4O)

66
I have no interest in any vampire genre at all. They all fall short of the original by Bram Stoker. That one scared the crap out of me when I was in the 7th grade but I read it from cover to covert.
--------

What was Bram like?

Posted by: Adam at February 09, 2014 11:47 AM (Aif/5)

67 OK, whoever did that Valentine's Day for Commies card is a genius.

But there's one glaring omission.

And the missing caption to go underneath the missing picture is: "DON'T BARACK MY HEART! BE MINE!"

Posted by: Vortex Lovera at February 09, 2014 11:47 AM (wtvvX)

68
59 I am stumped... I cannot come up with a Che Valentine card. Help please!
Posted by: Forty Baht Barack at February 09, 2014 11:38 AM (p2UQZ)


My Va-Che-Che aches for you?

Posted by: Judge Pug at February 09, 2014 11:48 AM (NRYdU)

69 I don't think that Catcher in The Rye is as good as it's reputation would suggest, but it's not a piece of crap either. I think some of the hostility toward it stems from the fact that it birthed generations of lame copy cats by unskilled writers....

Posted by: JoeyBagels at February 09, 2014 11:49 AM (Usdw3)

70
*raises hand timidly*

I still have my well-worn copies of Kathleen Woodiwiss' earliest books....

Most of them are still readable (and DENSE - my gosh, I had forgotten how much was packed into all of those old books from the 70's and 80's!); however, "The Flame and the Flower" does NOT stand the test of time.

"Shanna" was THE novel that set the ladies' hearts aflutter back then - and woe betide the innocent young miss whose mother discovered she was reading it in secret....

Posted by: Teresa in Fort Worth, TX (@Teresa_Koch) at February 09, 2014 11:50 AM (PZ6/M)

71
WHAT? No questions pertaining to Obama's past speeches which, as we all know, are destined to become great literary classics?

Posted by: YankingYourChain at February 09, 2014 11:51 AM (KEy1O)

72 48% on the quiz, mostly WAG's.

Posted by: Seamus Muldoon at February 09, 2014 11:52 AM (g4TxM)

73 Is Sun Tzu or Von Clausewitz on that list?
I didn't think so.

Posted by: RolandTHTG at February 09, 2014 11:53 AM (qyoyx)

74 A more cartoonish version of the communist valentine cards:

http://i60.tinypic.com/2vb65ap.jpg

Posted by: The Political Hat at February 09, 2014 11:54 AM (AymDN)

75 66 What was Bram like?

Posted by: Adam at February 09, 2014 11:47 AM (Aif/5)


Don't know, never met him. But his book was spooky as hell. The book is available free at Gutenberg
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/345

Posted by: Vic at February 09, 2014 11:54 AM (T2V/1)

76 I love you Guever-y mucho!

/Che

Posted by: Seamus Muldoon at February 09, 2014 11:54 AM (g4TxM)

77 That literary test isn't that authoritative. If you are familiar with Russian Lit and Kafka--well, that's about half the test. Of course, there is also some multicultural, PC nonsense going on too. Toni Morrison-but no Updike or Roth; Fidel lover Garcia Marquez--but no Mario Vargas Llosa...on and on. You could be very well read score very low.

Posted by: JoeyBagels at February 09, 2014 11:55 AM (Usdw3)

78 Oh great, trivial pursuit to prove how educated you are. Like history class when place names and dates was all you needed. Known what, or why some event happened was never necessary.


Posted by: G. Royal Linkerton at February 09, 2014 11:55 AM (j8dQU)

79 68 My Va-Che-Che aches for you?

Posted by: Judge Pug

Thank you! *raises glass

Posted by: Forty Baht Barack at February 09, 2014 11:57 AM (p2UQZ)

80 78, you're right. And Kafka is the be all and end all of that test....I could never get through him.

Posted by: JoeyBagels at February 09, 2014 11:57 AM (Usdw3)

81 Speaking of romance novels. Here in Jackson, MS last Friday we had a gathering of about thirty struggling writers looking to form smaller writer groups. Groups of people to listen, review, and help with each others writings. One woman, the writer of 22 published romance novels, when she realized many of the others sought to write things as a classic Southern novel physically shoved her hose up in the air as if in disdain. Yeah sunshine show your snobbery. See if I care as I write my best seller.

As for that Amazon list. Bet its a crowd sourced best seller list. Which explains how pop culture it is. And in five years probably 70% of the list will be different. So that list complies with Sturgeon's Law, 90% of what is out there is crap.

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at February 09, 2014 12:00 PM (00E+O)

82 So that list complies with Sturgeon's Law, 90% of what is out there is crap.
Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at February 09, 2014 12:00 PM (00E+O)


***

Muldoon's corollary: Sturgeon was an optimist.

Posted by: Seamus Muldoon at February 09, 2014 12:02 PM (g4TxM)

83 Well, folks I had not planned on it but due to upcoming crap weather I need to go out and do some outside stuff. I'll check back in from time to time.

Posted by: Vic at February 09, 2014 12:03 PM (T2V/1)

84 Missus Muldoon scored a 77% on the quiz. Woot!

Posted by: Seamus Muldoon at February 09, 2014 12:03 PM (g4TxM)

85 I'll admit I haven't read all the way through Atlas Shrugged. However, from my attempt to read through it and my understanding of the plot, my biggest problem with it was Ayn Rand's idea that large corporate magnates would act with principle and sacrifice their own interests to defend the free market--as opposed to happily jumping in bed with the government as long as it benefited them.

After the last 200 years, the latter is what you should expect. The former would be the exception.

Posted by: AD at February 09, 2014 12:04 PM (E31Rf)

86 I got 66% on the book quiz. The problem was I haven't read many books by Latin American writers and even some of the books I had read years ago I couldn't remember some of the answers.

Posted by: FenelonSpoke at February 09, 2014 12:08 PM (XyM/Y)

87 Those Valentine"s Day cards were great.

Posted by: FenelonSpoke at February 09, 2014 12:09 PM (XyM/Y)

88 If you want to see some bad bodice-rippers, here you go: http://covers.unclewaltersrants.com/

You're welcome.

Posted by: biancaneve at February 09, 2014 12:15 PM (2sR50)

89 40% on the quiz....swag all the way.

Posted by: BignJames at February 09, 2014 12:15 PM (HtUkt)

90 I am just about done with a biography of Jonathan Edwards, the subtitle of which is "America's Evangelical" by Philip Guna. Despite being a professor at Chapel Hill, he seems rather respectful of the practice of evangelical faith It i

Posted by: FenelonSpoke at February 09, 2014 12:16 PM (XyM/Y)

91 I am just about done with a biography of Jonathan Edwards, the subtitle of which is "America's Evangelical" by Philip Guna. Despite being a professor at Chapel Hill, he seems rather respectful of the practice of evangelical faith It is a welcome biography. So many people only know of Edwards' sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God" because they read it in high school or college, when Edwards was actually a brilliant, prolific writer who believed in authentic conversion, the quickening of the indwelling spirit of God in one's heart and the changes that this can make on one's behavior.

Posted by: FenelonSpoke at February 09, 2014 12:17 PM (XyM/Y)

92 Sorry, for the duplicate post. My computer is having hairballs again and is coughing up half digested posts.

Posted by: FenelonSpoke at February 09, 2014 12:18 PM (XyM/Y)

93 However, from my attempt to read through it and my understanding of the plot, my biggest problem with it was Ayn Rand's idea that large corporate magnates would act with principle and sacrifice their own interests to defend the free market--as opposed to happily jumping in bed with the government as long as it benefited them.

This.

Rand never bothered to understand that large corporations actually *like* government regulations -- because the cost of compliance puts the squeeze on their smaller competition.

Posted by: OregonMuse at February 09, 2014 12:19 PM (cml4O)

94

"emotional justice" ??!?!?

*facepalm*

Posted by: Running Hobo at February 09, 2014 12:20 PM (l1oyw)

95
my biggest problem with it was Ayn Rand's idea that large corporate
magnates would act with principle and sacrifice their own interests to
defend the free market--as opposed to happily jumping in bed with the
government as long as it benefited them.


I thought Rand had plenty of condemnation for gov-business corruption in both Shrugged and Fountainhead.

Posted by: Guy Mohawk at February 09, 2014 12:22 PM (n0DEs)

96 A discussion of Thomas Jefferson's 'nailery' (hosted at Monticello)
http://tinyurl.com/lj3nlto

I had read something about it, and can't find the book. It included a discussion of an overseer who had a particularly stubborn young male, and Jefferson's discussions about productivity.

Not to denigrate Jefferson as a slave owner. Cite intended to illustrate the attitudes of the time.

Posted by: G. Royal Linkerton at February 09, 2014 12:23 PM (j8dQU)

97 Kindle Daily Deal for $1.99 -- "The Making of the Atomic Bomb" 25th Anniversary Edition by Richard Rhodes. "Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award."

Rated 4.7 out of 5 stars, which is pretty amazing for a 896 page book. I thought the writing in the online sample was very engaging, so I bought it.

http://amzn.to/1eKAA1s

Posted by: fdzimmerman@gmail.com at February 09, 2014 12:24 PM (TV2Em)

98 #97 is correct - and for $1.99 that's a steal. The Making of the Atomic Bomb is actually a book that *should* be on your list. Extremely well read - you learn history, physics, and realpolitik all at the same time.

Also, if you've finally read all of Ambrose's stuff, it's time to shift to Max Hastings. His view of the world is amazing - chilling, bracing, insightful. You will view your "leaders" differently after you've read a few Hastings books.

Posted by: RobM1981 at February 09, 2014 12:34 PM (zurJC)

99 Well I am slightly above average in that reading list which is full of titles only the most dedicated omnivorous and frentic of readers would have found. Or someone working on a Doctorate of Comparative Literature.

Scored 54%. Did not help that some things I had forgotten because it has been awhile since I read Ovid and such. I will blame the land of the Lotus eaters and someone gave me Lethe water.

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at February 09, 2014 12:35 PM (00E+O)

100 Quiz results
Your score Average reader score Expert score
55
Correct 10
Wrong 85% You answered 55 of 65 questions correctly for a total score of 85%.


I knew a fair amount, but did dome good guessing on plenty. And I apparently do not know Faulkner at all, whereas I am up on my Russki classics, standard Western classics and mythology. I want to read the Egyptian one now.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at February 09, 2014 12:40 PM (Z6IPg)

101 80 78, you're right. And Kafka is the be all and end all of that test....I could never get through him.
Posted by: JoeyBagels at February 09, 2014 11:57 AM (Usdw3)

To each their own. I really like Kafka.

Posted by: BornLib at February 09, 2014 12:42 PM (zpNwC)

102 Okay, I'll stick my neck out here and defend romance novels. Pure escapism. How many watch TV shows for action, adventure and a little something on the side. A lot of men wrote what would be today considered "women's fiction" (offhand I'm recalling Yerby, etc.) and scifi always had a strong romantic element, whether personal interactions or scientific and political interactions, and was always defined as "not serious" literature.

Somehow an entire genre has been dismissed because it is considered not serious. I like action and adventure, so a lot of romance novels cover that escapism.

Anyway, I'll defend the genre because some exceptionally good craftsmen write there.

Funny blog and reviews about romlit:

http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com

Posted by: Mustbequantum at February 09, 2014 12:45 PM (MIKMs)

103 As far as the 100 books you should read before you die, I've read about a quarter of them and I will die before I read some of them-take "The Handmaid's Tale", for instance. Absolutely no interest. As I recall, I was the Assistant Manager of a bookstore when that came out. I had no interest in reading in then and none now. I'm sorry if that makes me a churlish, unintelligent boob to the folks who compiled the list. ;^)

Posted by: FenelonSpoke at February 09, 2014 12:45 PM (XyM/Y)

104 "98 #97 is correct - and for $1.99 that's a steal. The Making of the Atomic Bomb is actually a book that *should* be on your list. Extremely well read - you learn history, physics, and realpolitik all at the same time."

You talked me into it. Bought.

Posted by: BornLib at February 09, 2014 12:46 PM (zpNwC)

105 Some men write romance novels under the pseudonyms of women because they figure-probably correctly- that they would not sell with women using their own name.

Posted by: FenelonSpoke at February 09, 2014 12:47 PM (XyM/Y)

106 Gotta figure the editor, etc at Amazon are New York elitists and totally out of touch with the rest of the world. Working my way through the Dune series. While those written by the younger Herbert and Anderson rarely approach the quality of the father, they are entertaining.

Posted by: georgeofthedesert at February 09, 2014 12:47 PM (Eq2MX)

107 Haven't read much lately; the new Flavia de Luce and a one by a blogger that I follow called Antelope in the Living Room, which is acute little book about marriage.

I didn't realize the heroine was always unwilling in bodice rippers.... I'm not sure if I've ever read one, though.

I can remember my aunt reading a series called Angelique or something like that, that I assume were bodice rippers.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at February 09, 2014 12:49 PM (Z6IPg)

108 102 I haven't read many but I can say that I found the fantasy romance novel Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier to be very good.

Here is the review I wrote after I read it four years ago:

Juliet Marillier is an author who first came to my attention when she placed as a finalist in the first David Gemmell Legend Award. I was curious, but not ready to dive into a full blown series such as her Sevenwaters books. Lucky for me, this past year she decided to explore a new setting with Heart’s Blood, the first book of the Whistling Tor, a historical fantasy series set in twelfth-century Ireland.

The story is centered around Caitrin, a young woman literally running from her past. Her desperate flight takes her to the isolated village of Whistling Tor, where she finds herself with no money and no place to go. The settlement seems to have its own share of problems, as the locals tell her about their deformed and reclusive local chieftain and unnatural creatures who they say occupy the surrounding woods thanks to a curse on the land. Caitrin is much more concerned with her own circumstances than local superstitions, and so when she hears that the chieftain’s household is searching for a scribe versed in Latin – a craft and language in which she she has considerable skill – she immediately sets off to his fortress in the hopes of seizing this opportunity.

After a journey through the woods that convinces Caitrin that the villagers might not just be superstitious, she has a chance encounter with the chieftain, one Lord Anluan, which is an inspired homage to the Beauty and the Beast fairytale. Settling in from the shock of their encounter, Caitrin is hired on for the summer and given the task of organizing Anluan’s family’s writings and translating any Latin writing she encounters into Irish, as no member of the household, Lord Anluan included, is able to read Latin. As she explores the writings of Anluan’s ancestors and befriends his various eccentric retainers, Caitrin slowly pieces together the sad history of Whistling Tor. She learns that not only is it true that a terrible curse covers the land, but also that one covers Anluan and all his family as well.

The book is overall excellent. The only real flaw is that Marillier doesn’t seem to quite trust the reader to pick up on subtle or even not-so-subtle cues the first or even second time she mentions them, choosing instead to bring them up over and over again. The result is a story with very few surprises. The funny thing was that even more or less knowing what was going to happen next at any given point, I was still interested in the story because Marillier was able to preserve dramatic tension. If she learns to leave more to the reader’s imagination, or even engage in some subtle misdirection, I think she could become one of the era’s great fantasy authors.

As it is, Heart’s Blood is a wonderfully compelling tale filled with a host of rich and wonderful characters. Marillier offers us an increasingly rare kind of fantasy story, one in which respect isn’t earned in battle, and where bravery doesn’t come from facing death, but from facing life.

Posted by: BornLib at February 09, 2014 12:50 PM (zpNwC)

109 In my observation when it comes to world literature, the less European the work is, the less scrupulous the requirements become for "good literature." The less white the author, the poorer the quality is yet greeted by academia as wonderful genius.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at February 09, 2014 12:52 PM (zfY+H)

110 105 Some men write romance novels under the pseudonyms of women because they figure-probably correctly- that they would not sell with women using their own name.

Posted by: FenelonSpoke at February 09, 2014 12:47 PM (XyM/Y)


Didn't a lot of early women writing scifi use initials or a male name to avoid stereotyping?

Posted by: Mustbequantum at February 09, 2014 12:56 PM (MIKMs)

111 Posted by: Mustbequantum at February 09, 2014 12:45 PM (MIKMs)

Agree! I do not like the sappy ones at all, and I despise Danielle Steele type novels and The Notebook and all the really emotional, sad ones, but I love a good adventurous romance. With humor.

I think that's why I love Georgette Heyer so. So very witty and often laugh-out-loud.

Full disclosure, despite me saying I don't like the sappy ones, I read copious amounts of Barbara Cartland in 6th grade. And Sylvia Thorpe. My paternal grandmother loved her some romance.

And did you mean Frank Yerby, by chance? I have all those somewhere. Also, Gwen Bristow! I do like historical romance if it's accurate and not too freaking sappy.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at February 09, 2014 12:57 PM (Z6IPg)

112 Gotta figure the editor, etc at Amazon are New York elitists and totally out of touch with the rest of the world. Working my way through the Dune series. While those written by the younger Herbert and Anderson rarely approach the quality of the father, they are entertaining.

Posted by: georgeofthedesert at February 09, 2014 12:47 PM (Eq2MX)


The royalties must flow…

Posted by: Kwisatz Haderach at February 09, 2014 12:59 PM (AymDN)

113 Didn't a lot of early women writing scifi use initials or a male name to avoid stereotyping?

I don't know about sci fi, but for a very long time of course many women wrote using initials because it was considered unladylike to write.

Posted by: FenelonSpoke at February 09, 2014 01:01 PM (XyM/Y)

114 62 --

Yes, I found Doc Smith and the Lensman books back when I was 12, and promptly developed a crush on Kim Kinnison. I really loved Grand Central Arena, and the non-political parts of Spheres of Influence are equally good. I'm also looking forward to the next in the series.

Posted by: Empire1 at February 09, 2014 01:03 PM (tD7CM)

115 Trying to avoid The Handmaid's Tale and Atwood, I ran across Sheri Tepper, who wrote some excellent Scifi back in the day. I think she has gone full moonbat, but her earlier novels are very, very good.

Posted by: Mustbequantum at February 09, 2014 01:05 PM (MIKMs)

116 29
Daily reminder:



Castro is still alive.


So is Abe Vigoda.

Posted by: Anachronda at February 09, 2014 01:06 PM (U82Km)

117 I read "The Neighbor" by Lisa Gardner. I generally like her mysteries and this one was quite interesting in a few different ways, including the parole officer's discussion of sex offenders on parole. It was clear from almost the beginning that no one was murdered in the disappearance that set things going, but it was still a pretty good read.


I then read "The Giver" by Lois Lowry which I reviewed this way at the library: "People keep calling this place, the setting of the book, a dystopia but what it is is a communist society, pure communism as it will always end up. People eat what they are given, people work at what they are told to work at, people are given a house that will support their family unit, everyone's sex drive is suppressed because it would disrupt their "peace." This place is a stinking nightmare where discipline rods are used on tiny children and old people, where anyone not fitting in is killed, where the old are euthanized (and who knows who decides when it's time for that). This place is a stinking, horrifying, endless nightmare that consists all and entirely of lies, as communism always has and always will. And above it all, people we never see, are the "elders" who make all of the decisions for everyone else. The peace that is here is the peace of the grave only none of the people. know they are dead."

And I have just started Child 44.


Growing up during the Cold War, I always thought of the Soviet Union as being gray, everything, absolutely everything was gray. I felt this to the point that, when I saw some show on public television interviewing people in Russia and the grass was an insanely brilliant green, I was shocked. But after reading "The Giver," I'm back to all gray, all the time.

Posted by: Tonestaple at February 09, 2014 01:08 PM (B7YN4)

118 I thought this would be good Communist Valentine's Day Card:

Che you'll be mine.

Posted by: FenelonSpoke at February 09, 2014 01:09 PM (XyM/Y)

119 James Tiptree Jr was a pseudonym for Alice B. Sheldon. Girl Who Was Plugged In. But Ursula K. Le Guin? The Word for World is Forest.

Both stories won Hugos. Tiptree's story in 1974 for Novella and Le Guin's in 1973 for Novella.

The one woman who did truly write romance novels set either in a science fiction setting or fantasy was Anne McCaffrey. Restoree anyone? She also wrote classic romance novels such as The Mark of Merlin in which the heroine is threatened by danger or The Lady which is about Ireland, horses, Tinkers, and dangerous love.

The first third of the story that became Dragonflight won the Hugo for Novella in 1968. It was called Weyr Search.

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at February 09, 2014 01:11 PM (00E+O)

120 In my observation when it comes to world literature, the less European
the work is, the less scrupulous the requirements become for "good
literature." The less white the author, the poorer the quality is yet
greeted by academia as wonderful genius.


Exactly. It's affirmative action gone wild.

Posted by: OregonMuse at February 09, 2014 01:15 PM (cml4O)

121 What would be ax example of affirmative action gone wild as far as literature?

Posted by: FenelonSpoke at February 09, 2014 01:20 PM (XyM/Y)

122 I am not a fan of romance novels, even though I am an -ette. However, I have read one series that would be classified as romance that was excellent. It's the Outlander series. I think the author is working on book 8 or 9 now. It's very good, and while it is technically romance and there is a lot of sex (none of which I realized when I decided to read the first one. I thought it was exclusively a time travel novel) I know several men who have read them and enjoyed them as well.

Posted by: Mandy P., lurking lurker who lurks at February 09, 2014 01:24 PM (qFpRI)

123 "98 #97 is correct - and for $1.99 that's a steal. The Making of the Atomic Bomb is actually a book that *should* be on your list. Extremely well read - you learn history, physics, and realpolitik all at the same time."

You talked me into it. Bought.


And me.

Yeah, I'll give reading Jefferson a rest for a week or so.

As for the bodice rippers, don't dismiss all of them as nothing more than soft porn for women, though one clever moron said he encouraged his wife's habit of reading them since he got to 'relieve' her pent-up emotions. The example I have in mind is Georgette Heyer's "Infamous Army: A Novel of Wellington, Waterloo, Love and War." Historians say she got the facts right and I've read that her description of the battle has been included in course material in some war colleges. So there are some gems amongst the dreck.


Posted by: Retread at February 09, 2014 01:27 PM (cHwk5)

124 What would be ax example of affirmative action gone wild as far as literature?

1) Toni Morrison
2) Alice Walker
3) Isabel Allende
4) Maya Angelou

Posted by: pep at February 09, 2014 01:34 PM (6TB1Z)

125 I remember Stephen Donaldson tried to bring back "roynish". Derb, of course, brought back "bezonian".

Posted by: boulder toilet hobo at February 09, 2014 01:36 PM (30eLQ)

126 I guess I should mention a science fiction story in which the human heroes were saved from a native uprising on a distant planet because a romance novelist got her physics right.

"You know," Paula was saying, echoing his earlier thought, "but for that female pornographer, that would have been Konkrook."

He nodded. "Yes. I hope you don't mind, but there will always be a place in my heart Hildegarde."


- Uller Uprising by H. Beam Piper. First publication 1952. Ace edition 1983.

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at February 09, 2014 01:37 PM (00E+O)

127 pep: Rigoberta Menchu.

Posted by: boulder toilet hobo at February 09, 2014 01:37 PM (30eLQ)

128 Just finished the fourth book in David Webers's Safehold series "A Mighty Fortress" - all the books appear to take their titles from the hymm "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God". Setting is much like what I would imagine the Reformation from King Henry VIII 's perspective is, only on a different planet as the result of an alien race's attempts to destroy the human race, and with a strong technology development/ deus ex machina in the form of an avatar mashup. Long books, but they read quite fast, and the characters and plot are interesting..I recommend that you start on the first book of the series and work through them, however.

Posted by: JustDave in GR at February 09, 2014 01:38 PM (Hb4fY)

129 Romance novels tend to be more consistently conservative in worldview than many other genres.

Posted by: Votermom at February 09, 2014 01:39 PM (GSIDW)

130 Ah, another Georgette Heyer fan!

But don't lump her in with bodice rippers.

They are romances, no doubt, but there is no sex whatsoever; usually only a kiss at the end, after the marriage proposal.

Ilona Andrews write good action romance; I believe it's considered Urban Fantasy.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at February 09, 2014 01:40 PM (Z6IPg)

131 124
What would be ax example of affirmative action gone wild as far as literature?

1) Toni Morrison
2) Alice Walker
3) Isabel Allende
4) Maya Angelou


Let me save you some time. If it's being pushed in a HS or college lit class, and it isn't written by a dead white male, it's AA. Are there good minority writers? Sure. But as with every profession, most of them stink, and the really good ones are few and far between. However, when there is an explicit goal of pushing minority writers, then you work with whatever is available, and if they aren't any good, you pretend otherwise.

Posted by: pep at February 09, 2014 01:41 PM (6TB1Z)

132 I discovered the online romance groups because I was following the Amazon rating hoopla -- companies guaranteeing higher ratings. I was really impressed by the general group dedication to historical accuracy and proofreading standards.

Never read Outlander, although I know people who are as dedicated to that world as are those dedicated to Lord of the Rings. Too long, like RR Martin or Turtledove -- shelf-busting logorrhea as far as I am concerned.

Posted by: Mustbequantum at February 09, 2014 01:41 PM (MIKMs)

133 Oh, on the subject of romance novels.. When I was younger and in need of a job/some cash, I looked into writing for Harlequin - they had at that time (for all I know, they still do) a very strict formula one had to follow, so gave that up..

I also plead guilty on the Outlander series..I did enjoy the first couple of them.

Posted by: JustDave in GR at February 09, 2014 01:42 PM (Hb4fY)

134 Pretty sure Ilona Andrews is a wife/husband team.

Posted by: sinmi at February 09, 2014 01:44 PM (MtGCY)

135 Svante Pääbo, "Neanderthal Man" - one of those scholarly-memoir thingies. It's supposed to be a popularisation of the topic.

I'm not sure I approve of the memoir approach. I'd prefer a textbook written at the moron level with lots of pretty pictures. The same information would get across, it'd be better organised, and we'd not be distracted by the author's personal struggles inline with the text. (In the "For Idiots" layout, we might still get these, but in sideboxes.)

Beyond that, there's a lot of information here, and it's an excellent topic, and well-presented (given the problems with the genre). It's also dated - yes, it's dated already. This field moves hella fast. So the book knows that Neanderthal sperm was different (slower) from modern-human sperm, but doesn't know (yet) that the entire reproductive system was different - so he doesn't know that Neanderthal / human hybrids were probably mostly infertile (we only just found this out in the past four months).

Posted by: boulder toilet hobo at February 09, 2014 01:45 PM (30eLQ)

136 1) Toni Morrison
2) Alice Walker
3) Isabel Allende
4) Maya Angelou

Posted by: pep at February 09, 2014 01:34 PM (6TB1Z)

Totally agree, but I will say I think Maya Angelou may have glamoured us all into liking her with that velvet voice of hers.

I have never gotten the appeal of Walker or Morrison. Beloved was even worse than The Color Purple. Just cannot stand the style.

I do like Zola Nurston, but it's been awhile since I read her, so time may have altered my tastes.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at February 09, 2014 01:48 PM (Z6IPg)

137 Yep, husband and wife. She's Russian and he's former mil, but they're Lib. Nice as they can be, and it's not in their books, but pretty Lib for ex mil. (She has a strong Libertarian streak, and he may, too, but I have only ever interacted with her.)

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at February 09, 2014 01:51 PM (Z6IPg)

138 Are there good minority writers? Sure.

Octavia Butler. She's very liberal, but she seemed to have a brain in her head when she was on that panel discussing Frank Herbert's "Dune" (on the miniseries DVD). She outshone the other (white male) panelists anyway. So I suspect Butler's books aren't bad.

Durham's "Acacia" books were decent too. I did read the first one. Good writing and a nuanced view of human nature.

I won't read Jemisin; basically because she's a jerk, not because she's a liberal. Also the "100 000 Kingdoms" book seemed to be an allegory for raaacism based on the dust jacket. There was a bit of that in Durham's book too but he wasn't pounding me on the head with it.

Posted by: boulder toilet hobo at February 09, 2014 01:51 PM (30eLQ)

139 Read John Ringo's "There Will be Dragons" since he was so highly recommended here and that particular book was free on Kindle. Nearly fell out of my chair laughing a couple of times since it looks like he'd fit in *very* well here (he likes longbows for a North American Apocalypse BTW).

Posted by: Polliwog the 'Ette at February 09, 2014 01:57 PM (GDulk)

140 I'll second the mention of Durham. The Acacia books were good (I really need to read the last book).

Posted by: BornLib at February 09, 2014 01:57 PM (zpNwC)

141 I've read exactly *one* Kathryn Woodiwiss novel. If I never read the term "lambent orbs" again it will be *far* too soon.

Posted by: Polliwog the 'Ette at February 09, 2014 01:59 PM (GDulk)

142 As long as we're on the topic of minority authors, are Charles Saunders' "Imaro" books any good?

Posted by: BornLib at February 09, 2014 02:03 PM (zpNwC)

143 Kathryn Woodiwiss, just read the blurb for her 1983 novel Rose in Winter. Geez is that boilerplate.

John Ringo can be an interesting encounter. First and foremost he will tell you how smart and beautiful his wife is. Repeatedly. And he is always talking and full of ideas and opinions while waving his cigar around.

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at February 09, 2014 02:05 PM (00E+O)

144 What would be ax example of affirmative action gone wild as far as literature?

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Emma by Jane Austen
Sylvia Plath
Joyce Carol Oates

But the dishonor of being the most overrated book of all time still belongs to a dead white guy:

Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

Posted by: cool breeze at February 09, 2014 02:06 PM (A+/8k)

145 Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at February 09, 2014 02:05 PM (00E+O)

Sounds like he's pretty intense. Not surprising from his writing. If he was accurate on everything else as he was on the stuff I know something about he must have a pretty amazing classical education (whether through schooling or self-taught).

Posted by: Polliwog the 'Ette at February 09, 2014 02:08 PM (GDulk)

146 http://www.amazon.com/Catherine-Asaro/e/B000APYJX4/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

One author who effectively combines romance and SF. Best known for a big sprawling space opera series, The Skolian Empire. I haven't read any of her stuff in a while but I did enjoy a fair number of her earlier works.

Posted by: Epobirs at February 09, 2014 02:14 PM (bPxS6)

147 1) Toni Morrison 
2) Alice Walker 
3) Isabel Allende 
4) Maya Angelou 

Ughhh dont get me started on Isabel Allende's crap. My commie H.S. English teacher loved her and never stopped harping about how her poor martyred cousin was cruelly overthrown by our evil government in Chile. She seemed to think that cuz I was Hispanic I'd love her. I told her I dont like Marxism just becuase its smeared with magical realism.

Posted by: Serena at February 09, 2014 02:14 PM (u+ny/)

148 Intense or daunting, there is not much between when it comes to Ringo. As if he is a lord ruling his fiefdom and holding court. As for his learning, the impression I got in my one encounter with him, was more self taught. When a person has a really bad curiosity bug it is amazing what can be learned.

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at February 09, 2014 02:14 PM (00E+O)

149 The WSJ had a glowing review of Andy Weir's new novel "The Martian". An astronaut is stranded on the surface of Mars, and has to use his wits, and the small amount of supplies left to him, to survive the three years it will take for NASA to send a rescue ship. The WSJ called it the best hard-science sci-fi novel to come out in years. We've pre-ordered it; I'll post my impression once I've read it, but it sounds like a technogeek classic in the making.

Posted by: Brown Line at February 09, 2014 02:15 PM (a5bF3)

150 I got 49% on the literacy quiz, even though I've never read most of those books. I think I got most of the right answers through cultural osmosis, and I think I did pretty good under the circumstances.

Posted by: rickl at February 09, 2014 02:17 PM (sdi6R)

151 Read the Two Minute Rule by Robert Crais this week. Nice, quick-paced mystery. The protagonist has spent time in jail for a bank robbery (did not get in and out in two minutes since he stopped to perform CPR on bank customer). Had not read anything by him before and will pick up a few more to check out. Thank for the recs from last week, have ordered A Hymn Before War by John Ringo used from Amazon, so I am looking forward to that.

Posted by: Charlotte at February 09, 2014 02:17 PM (u1eI9)

152 #138

I soured on Ocatavi Butler long before her death. Everything I saw from her seemed to have the central theme of 'humans are horrible but the aliens and good noble beings who can save us if we let them.'

This got pretty annoying on its own but when I realized the racial metaphor at work it extra special tedious.

Posted by: Epobirs at February 09, 2014 02:17 PM (bPxS6)

153 While looking something up for my last post I learned that there is a black steampunk sub-genre called, no joke, "steamfunk"

Posted by: BornLib at February 09, 2014 02:20 PM (zpNwC)

154 Started the literature quiz and gave up, I was guessing even on books I've read. It does tell me I need to read more classics.

Read Sue Grafton's 'J Is For Judgement', a pretty good entry in the Kinsey Millhone series. Should get to the end of them by 2015, though Grafton may not be up to 'Z' by then.

Posted by: waelse1 at February 09, 2014 02:21 PM (vCp+C)

155 "Gemeindeverwaltung Eltingen" on "3. April 1937."
Posted by: Sandra Fluke's solid gold diaphragm at February 09, 2014 10:49 AM (M5T54)

1937 is the year Eltingen, Germany ceased existence as an independent city. This seems a govt copy. Maybe it has something to do with this?

Posted by: John Gibson at February 09, 2014 02:21 PM (TFw9A)

156 Steamfunk? Do they speak Jive?

Epobirs, Jack Chalker had his own literary crutches. Rule One - take the male lead character and somehow turn him into a woman.

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at February 09, 2014 02:22 PM (00E+O)

157 Huh. I guess Butler should have kept herself to commentary then. Oh well.

Wouldn't be the first artist who was better as an art-critic (Roger Ebert being another one).

Posted by: boulder toilet hobo at February 09, 2014 02:24 PM (30eLQ)

158 Posted by: Charlotte at February 09, 2014 02:17 PM (u1eI9)

I was lounging on a beach reading a Jack Reacher novel, when the beach boy said you'll probably like Robert Crais. He was right and I have read most everything form him since.


Also finished the first Monster Hunters International book, and thought it was a little better than OK, but doubt I will be seeking out more in the series.


Next up is LOSD by Branca just to be sure.


In general, I think I am spending too much time here and need to read real books more, but the seductive call of a new Ace monologue and the accompanying comments keep me coming back..

Posted by: Hrothgar at February 09, 2014 02:25 PM (o3MSL)

159 Rule One - take the male lead character and somehow turn him into a woman.

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at February 09, 2014 02:22 PM (00E+O)

Lol, no kidding. Quit reading after I realized *all* his books were like that.

Posted by: Polliwog the 'Ette at February 09, 2014 02:25 PM (GDulk)

160 I liked Catherine Asaro until I read some of her earlier stuff - too much Islamic culture apologia for my taste.

An sf/romance / adventure writer I like is Wen Spencer. Her Tinker books were fun.

Posted by: Votermom at February 09, 2014 02:27 PM (GSIDW)

161 Actually, maybe that's the problem with critics writing books.

Critics know what they like and what they don't like. They are especially eloquent when describing something they don't like. So if they write a fictional book themselves, they're going to do best at blasting some social institution in the present day by way of allegory.

This is why George Orwell, the reporter, wrote "1984" and not, say, "Dune".

The problem is that allegory is obvious; and it gets in the way of a, you know, story. Orwell was able to pull it off (it literally killed him but he did it). Most critics can't.

Posted by: boulder toilet hobo at February 09, 2014 02:33 PM (30eLQ)

162 Well not 'all' of Chalker's work is like that but he did fall into that rut. His first novel Dancers in the Afterglow, if memory serves me right, did not have that. His second Web of the Chozen however shows him edging that way when he transforms the male lead into an alien creature who will only hatch female children. And in the Well World books he waited until the second book of the first trilogy; follow-on books were more rampant. Downtiming the Night Side, Wonderland Gambit, and Identity Matrix all had it. And in Red Tape War in which Chalker participated with other writers to write a round robin story, that trope appears again.

And I just proved I have read way too much of Chalker... I think I will go and write my own stories now.

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at February 09, 2014 02:39 PM (00E+O)

163 But don't lump her in with bodice rippers. -Tammy

Having read a few of them, I don't. But I do think those who know nothing of Heyer might very well dismiss her books as such. In my mind her books are the equivalent of Bernard Cornwell for men.

Another such is Dorothy Dunnett. Her Lymond and Nicolo series, a total of 14 books, stick rigidly to accurate history. To the extent that she was known, on occasion, to lament factual history forcing her hand in shaping various plot lines, though she did admit to cheating once or twice with minor events.

Posted by: Retread at February 09, 2014 02:40 PM (cHwk5)

164 "I'm still plowing my way through The Aeneid and should finish it this week."

Which translation are you reading? I recently finished Sarah Rudens' new translation, and thought it wonderful: poetic, yet readable. Much of the AEneid is a tough slog, especially the later books; it's worth remembering that Virgil never finished it, and wanted it burned after his death. But Books II and III, which respectively cover Aeneas's description of the fall of Troy, and the suicide of Dido, are self-contained stories that are amazing reads all by themselves.

As for me, I've just finished Browning's "The Ring and the Book", which his 800-page poetic novel. It's case in the form of a dozen dramatic monologues, about the a murder case in 16th-century Rome which is far too convoluted to summarize here. It took me some effort to get "into" Browning's poetic cadence, but once I did, it was an amazing read, very powerful. I think it's a masterpiece, and well worth the effort to read it.

Posted by: Brown Line at February 09, 2014 02:41 PM (a5bF3)

165 51% on the test. Got some WAGs and also missed some I should've known. Some of the questions were just dumb. I loved Absolem Absolem but there's NFW I can remember who the narrators were.

Posted by: Captain Hate at February 09, 2014 02:44 PM (AKxhE)

166 Also plead guilty on Outlander series. It took me a good part of last year to plow through. I loved it though sometimes it was a bit over the top steamy even for me, but great characters, very evocative writing in terms of putting you in that time in terms of the sights, smells, available medical care, etc. and an awful lot of fun to read.

The last book ended in America during the Rev. War so I am looking forward to the next one. I believe Starz is also casting or filming a miniseries, which I will also (in secret) watch.....

Posted by: Goldilocks at February 09, 2014 02:45 PM (0zaQz)

167 Brown Line, the translation is by Robert Fagles and it reads very well. I agree on Books 2 and 3 being relatively easy reads in a self contained manner.

Posted by: Captain Hate at February 09, 2014 02:48 PM (AKxhE)

168 "I'm still plowing my way through The Aeneid and should finish it this week."

Which translation are you reading? I recently finished Sarah Rudens' new translation, and thought it wonderful: poetic, yet readable. Much of the AEneid is a tough slog, especially the later books; it's worth remembering that Virgil never finished it, and wanted it burned after his death. But Books II and III, which respectively cover Aeneas's description of the fall of Troy, and the suicide of Dido, are self-contained stories that are amazing reads all by themselves.

As for me, I've just finished Browning's "The Ring and the Book", which his 800-page poetic novel. It's case in the form of a dozen dramatic monologues, about the a murder case in 16th-century Rome which is far too convoluted to summarize here. It took me some effort to get "into" Browning's poetic cadence, but once I did, it was an amazing read, very powerful. I think it's a masterpiece, and well worth the effort to read it.

Posted by: Brown Line at February 09, 2014 02:41 PM (a5bF3)


I enjoyed reading the Aeneid. It is also very quotable.

Posted by: Aeneas' Hat at February 09, 2014 02:50 PM (AymDN)

169 Hrothgar, Monster Hunter International was his first book and he's improved considerably since then. Look at his Grimnoir or Dead Six books instead.

Posted by: BornLib at February 09, 2014 02:54 PM (zpNwC)

170 "An sf/romance / adventure writer I like is Wen Spencer. Her Tinker books were fun.
Posted by: Votermom at February 09, 2014 02:27 PM (GSIDW)"

Heard some good buzz. I was planning to pick up her "Eight Million Gods" when it came out in paperback (this summer I think).

Posted by: BornLib at February 09, 2014 03:00 PM (zpNwC)

171 I was looking for biographies on the Clintons at the library and the website gave me options for "content." They were "non-fiction" and "government document."

Posted by: Tonestaple at February 09, 2014 03:09 PM (B7YN4)

172 I can't really respect any list that includes the Lemony Snicket series. I'm a full-grown adult (more or less) and tried reading the books because I loved the movie, which was great mostly because of Jim Carey. The books, however, were rubbish. The screenplay for the movie wasn't even written by Daniel Handler (aka "Lemony Snicket"), but by Robert Gordon.
Posted by: Samuel Snicket at February 09, 2014 11:25 AM (7+oD+)

I'd never say the Lemony Snicket series was great lit either, but the audio books in that seriesread by Tim Curry are a scream. The others, not so much.

Posted by: RushBabe at February 09, 2014 03:35 PM (hrIP5)

173 @35: "I tried to read Clark's Sleepwalkers and finally gave up. How he could manage to make WWI boring is amazing (and I love military history). Plus he has a habit of strong bias in interpreting what people really meant, depending on whether or not he likes them. I could never tell if he was being completely honest about the history--and to be fair, it seemed like the national sport in the Balkans was lying. Probably still is, since everything he was describing there was pretty much the same in the most recent conflict."

Posted by: Sabrina Chase at February 09, 2014 11:15 AM (2buaQ)


Historiography regarding the start of the First World War is only now beginning to emerge from the fog of propaganda generated at the end of the war by Allied politicians and self-loathing Germans, all of whom were anxious to fix blame solely on the Kaiser and his government, for broadly similar reasons.

The Sleepwalkers and July: 1914, by Clark and McMeekin, respectively, are the first two books to present the events of that period in any sort of an accurate context, although neither author is willing to go far enough to state the conclusions that the facts clearly support. Both instead opt for the "everyone was to blame" boilerplate clause. The dead hand of Allied propaganda is still that strong.

Clark gives more deep background, but McMeekin is more entertaining. Both are very readable, however. For those wondering if they are shading the evidence, I can say that I have several books of collected source documents and have been able to verify their statements regarding actions and the dates thereof every time I have done a quick check.

Having read both recently (McMeekin more than once), I am now waiting for my copy of Max Hastings' Catastrophe 1914 to arrive. I am looking forward to that, because I have heard good things about it as well.

Posted by: CQD at February 09, 2014 03:35 PM (d6iMX)

174 Yeah, catcher in the rye is WAY over-rated.

Much "literature" is. Not all, but much.

Posted by: RobM1981 at February 09, 2014 03:38 PM (zurJC)

175 Heard some good buzz. I was planning to pick up her "Eight Million Gods" when it came out in paperback (this summer I think).
Posted by: BornLib at February 09, 2014 03:00 PM (zpNwC)

--

I think you have to be somewhat of a manga & anime fan, or at least familiar with it, to like that one. I liked it, but not as much as her Tinker or Ukiah Oregon series.

Posted by: votermom at February 09, 2014 03:43 PM (GSIDW)

176 I think you have to be somewhat of a manga & anime fan, or at least familiar with it, to like that one. I liked it, but not as much as her Tinker or Ukiah Oregon series.
Posted by: votermom at February 09, 2014 03:43 PM (GSIDW)

I'm golden then.

Posted by: BornLib at February 09, 2014 03:46 PM (zpNwC)

177 One of the things I like about the book thread is that you guys are still posting comments hours after I first put it up.

Posted by: OregonMuse at February 09, 2014 03:56 PM (cml4O)

178 Chalker got pretty predictable but I was seriously hooked for a long time. Back in the BBS days I went by the handle Nathan Brazil, and my first internet mail address was nbrazil@ix.netcom.com, which is long defunct and safe to display here.

I later heard from a number of writers that Chalker was a rather unpleasant person in real life. I only met him on one occasion, when he came to a LOSCON and struck me as a bit shabby. But then, that isn't terribly uncommon, to find out that someone who is seemingly a big success is just scraping by. A big reason a lot of writers kept their regular job, despite their intent to still write after reaching retirement and still have an income, was the health care coverage that was part of their pension.

Posted by: Epobirs at February 09, 2014 03:59 PM (bPxS6)

179 162- Yes, indeed. I used to read a lot of sci-fi. I consumed a lot less when I started realizing >90% of it was pretty bad, started reading more factual and historical stuff. My (elementary school) daughter is now an avid reader, and she wasn't that thrilled with a lot of things offered to "young female readers." I had a lot of ideas for books, so I started putting them down on paper. Finally beat it into shape, published something that I'd not cringe if she read, but also something that has some meat in it for all ages. I learned a LOT about writing, books, business, and self-publishing in the process. Writing is very educational, even if the editing process is frustrating as all getout. But watching The Stars Came Back floating around in the Amazon top 100 charts is very satisfying.
Put down the book, pick up the pen, write the book you wish you could find on the shelf but aren't.

Posted by: Rolf at February 09, 2014 04:05 PM (+O7nZ)

180 One of the things I like about the book thread is that you guys are still posting comments hours after I first put it up.

So do I. In fact I usually check back Monday night to read what I missed during the day and evening on Sunday. It seems to be one of those threads where people wander in and out throughout the day.

Hey, it's snowing Oh, goody. /s

Posted by: Retread at February 09, 2014 04:12 PM (cHwk5)

181 I just remembered one of the best books I've ever read would classify as romance lit: The Gargoyle, by Andrew Davidson. It. Is. Epic. More than anything, it's a story about redemption. The lead character is a coked-up pron star who has a horrific accident.

I just bought two copies of the hardback from abebooks.com for about $3 each. My teenage daughter secretly checked it out the library after I had expressly told her that I thought it would be a bit much for her. Actually, there's one specific graf that sounded far too nihilistic for a younger reader, but she got it anyway and mowed through it. One copy is for her upcoming b-day and the other I sent to someone who could consider it for a movie script.

Posted by: RushBabe at February 09, 2014 04:16 PM (hrIP5)

182 This thread is akin to that little used bookstore and coffee place down the street or half way across town. Place to peruse the stacks and chat with other lovers of the written word. Moves at its own pace.

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at February 09, 2014 04:24 PM (00E+O)

183 This week I read the latest book in the Lucas Davenport series by John Sanford, "Silken Prey", a crime thriller centering around a Minnesota Senate race. At first I was afraid politics were going to spoil it for me, because it appeared he was going to cast the Republican candidate as teh ebil, but it quickly became apparent that just the opposite was true. Based upon his Virgil Sanders series, I would not be surprised if the author has libertarian leanings.

This book was not as dark and grisly as some of the rest in the Prey series, and had more humor injected into the story, more along the lines of the Flowers series. It was one of Sanford's better books, IMO. I enjoyed it very much.

Posted by: grammie winger at February 09, 2014 04:25 PM (P6QsQ)

184 Asaro gave a blurb to Jack Campbell, "The Lost Fleet: Dauntless". Just picked this up used.

It was recommended... sort of... here:
https://www.inkshares.com/projects/the-old-iron-dream

Posted by: boulder toilet hobo at February 09, 2014 04:48 PM (30eLQ)

185 ... actually, that was possibly a different Campbell. Either way I have no real clue what that guy David Forbes was talking about, other than "give me $1000 for being a douche".

Oh well, "Dauntless" is still pretty good so far.

Posted by: boulder toilet hobo at February 09, 2014 04:52 PM (30eLQ)

186 Oh well, "Dauntless" is still pretty good so far.

Posted by: boulder toilet hobo at February 09, 2014 04:52 PM (30eLQ)


As with many SciFi authors, I find Jack Campbell's (real name: John Hemry) forays into the worlds of politics and romance to be somewhat cringe-worthy, but from the perspective of military future-history he is on a par with Weber in his prime (the earlier Harrington books and In Death Ground).

I do wish someone would make movies out of some of these books. If done correctly, they could at least partially dispel the idiotic idea of fleet starship combat as a series of individual fighter dogfights (which never made sense but has acquired a certain crazy conventional credibility from cretins like Gene Roddenberry and George Lucas).

Posted by: CQD at February 09, 2014 05:06 PM (d6iMX)

187 I just finished reading Moneyball by Michael Lewis. It was a free loan from amazon prime. Published in 2003 it was made into a movie a few years ago (for no apparent reason). I enjoyed the book as I am a baseball fan. Basically, it describes how Oakland moved from traditional player evaluations (scouting) to statistical analysis and metrics and the man behind the change. They also had a different take on which statistical categories were most important. However, if you are not a baseball fan you probably will not enjoy it.

Posted by: long time lurker at February 09, 2014 05:25 PM (ok7Un)

188 I'm re-reading a book that was very influential for me when I read it the first time as a high school senior (of my own free choice.)

Hermann Hesse's "Glass Bead Game."

He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1946 for it (published in 1942."

It is an intellectual novel on the dangers of over-intellectualization.

It turned me away from academia at the time and I'm glad I did. Just realized that Hesse was a fag too so a double win.

As to Amazon's list, what, no Heinlein? Most of the entries are trendy stuff but take solace - this too shall pass!

I've tried to read a romance novel or two when they had strong reputations for being chick pron. Even then, boring - although I did some insights into how women "think."


Posted by: Whitehall at February 09, 2014 05:58 PM (BGSrZ)

189 I got a 60% on the quiz. There was at least one that could be answered from a knowledge of geography rather than having read the book, though.

Also, I guess I just don't get the disdain for Romance novels. *shrug* I like them, I write them, I don't see anything wrong with other people liking them, too.

Anyway, I just started reading Monster Hunter International this week.

Posted by: Kort at February 09, 2014 06:06 PM (p8KCW)

190 I got a 60% on the quiz. There was at least one that could be answered from a knowledge of geography rather than having read the book, though.

Posted by: Kort at February 09, 2014 06:06 PM (p8KCW)


Ha. You mean the question that started with "which South American country" and then the choices were: Canada, Latvia, Luxembourg and...Colombia. I got that one right just on basic geography, as well.

No reason for that quiz to be so focused on Austen, Brontë and the damned Russians, however. Why not Hawthorne, Irving, Poe, O. Henry (Porter) and Hardy? And why include the Aeneid, the Iliad and the Odyssey, but exclude Ivanhoe, Gilgamesh and Njal?

And don't even get me started on the lack of a Wodehouse question...

Posted by: CQD at February 09, 2014 06:25 PM (d6iMX)

191 VIC:
What happened to the MacArthur book recommendations?

Posted by: erwin at February 09, 2014 06:33 PM (er+MI)

192 What happened to the MacArthur book recommendations?

My favorite is: American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur, 1880-1964 by William Manchester, a respected and non-polemic historian.

Posted by: CQD at February 09, 2014 06:39 PM (d6iMX)

193 Oh heavens no Hawthorne please. My 11th grade English teacher had an amazing talent for finding horrible books to force on us and The Scarlet Letter was at the top.

Posted by: BornLib at February 09, 2014 06:45 PM (zpNwC)

194 Gah, hate Irving and Hardy. Probably paid enough attention in lectures to answer questions, though. I'm guessing a lack of time or interest from the person making the quiz. To each their own but it's certainly not the definitive guide to being well read.

Of course, I got irrationally pissed off when a silly romance movie used a bodice ripper with a cliche cover as a prop and gave the completely wrong synopsis. Book used was a paranormal romance and they talked about a pirate romance, a sub-genre that hadn't been published for over a decade at that point.

Posted by: Kort at February 09, 2014 06:54 PM (p8KCW)

195 #185

John Campbell was a very influential editor in SF for many years.

The inkshare project looks like a foray into bullshit. Doctrinaire leftism that must smear anyone who strays from the one true path. Orson Scott Card oppose gay marriage, so he is a homophobe? I'm pretty sure, if it ever came to question, that I'd be opposed to people marrying dogs. Does that make me a caninophobe, despite having enjoyed the company of dogs nearly my whole life?

Jerry Pournelle is a fascist sympathizer? You need to work on your reading comprehension, bud.

What this really demonstrates is the adage about every organization that is not explicitly right-wing eventually becoming left-wing. Because for the left, everything is politics. When Jerry Pournelle was leading SFWA, the two big issues were making sure elderly writers who didn't have pensions from regular jobs were not left destitute and pirate publishers who were becoming pretty brazen.

Posted by: Epobirs at February 09, 2014 06:56 PM (bPxS6)

196 "Oh heavens no Hawthorne please. My 11th grade English teacher had an amazing talent for finding horrible books to force on us and The Scarlet Letter was at the top."

Posted by: BornLib at February 09, 2014 06:45 PM (zpNwC)


Hawthorne was highly original. Poe, for example, loved him for just that reason. Perhaps also for the wild haircut and mustache. Anyway, in the evolution of literature, he occupies a pivotal role. Much like Thomas Hardy, whom I find essentially unreadable, even if he is significant.

If The Scarlet Letter was tedious to you, however, perhaps you should try Twice Told Tales (a collection of short stories). More accessible Hawthorne.

Posted by: CQD at February 09, 2014 07:03 PM (d6iMX)

197 "Gah, hate Irving and Hardy. Probably paid enough attention in lectures to answer questions, though. I'm guessing a lack of time or interest from the person making the quiz. To each their own but it's certainly not the definitive guide to being well read."

Posted by: Kort at February 09, 2014 06:54 PM (p8KCW)


Exactly. Although I like some of Irving's stories, I was not commenting on readibility, but rather on their significance as literature. And anyone who would include A Hundred Years of Solitude on a test of literary knowledge should have to answer for why they include one unreadable author and not another.

Under various regimes of academic compulsion, I read a distressingly large number of the books on that list. I may, in fact, still own all of them. Most, however, I would throw away if I didn't have so much shelf space. I do have a section of the library exclusively (n the annex) reserved for "books I never want to read again", however.


Posted by: CQD at February 09, 2014 07:11 PM (d6iMX)

198 I purged everything I didn't want to keep a few years ago. I'm pretty sure I threw away Things Fall Apart as soon as the class was over. I downloaded the Russians for my ereader to read when I'm between things that look good, because I'm occasionally a masochist.

What I noticed from the list is someone who likely works off the assumption, largely unacknowledged among a certain set of literary snobs, that American Literature is too young to be influential, unless it agrees with a certain set of modern sensibilities. This is, of course, complete crap.

Posted by: Kort at February 09, 2014 07:22 PM (p8KCW)

199 Posted by: grammie winger at February 09, 2014 04:25 PM (P6QsQ)

Thanks for the Sandford review. I've read all of them as well but was getting a bit annoyed at the increasing number ofshots he has been takingat repubs. Maybe he's wising up.
Sidenote: My neighbor wound up adopting her son's miniature toy poodle, a cream-colored fluffball named "Lucas." He's the most unlikely "Lucas" you've ever met. When I asked how he came by that name, she said, "It's from a character in a book."
"Lucas Davenport?" I said?
"Yes," she replied. "And if I ever get a girlfriend for him, her name is going to be...
"Weather!" we shouted together.

Posted by: RushBabe at February 09, 2014 08:42 PM (hrIP5)

200 I purged everything I didn't want to keep a few years ago. I'm pretty sure I threw away Things Fall Apart as soon as the class was over. I downloaded the Russians for my ereader to read when I'm between things that look good, because I'm occasionally a masochist.

What I noticed from the list is someone who likely works off the assumption, largely unacknowledged among a certain set of literary snobs, that American Literature is too young to be influential, unless it agrees with a certain set of modern sensibilities. This is, of course, complete crap.

Posted by: Kort at February 09, 2014 07:22 PM (p8KCW)


I completely agree. Funny you mention Things Fall Apart. Other than A Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera it may be my most hated book. And that is in a collection that includes A Man Without Qualities. A few years ago I actually considered burning them all, until I decided that was (1) uncivilized and (2) I didn't have enough "hated books" to make a decent bonfire. What I do have is shelf space. So they survive.

Posted by: CQD at February 09, 2014 08:43 PM (d6iMX)

201 183
This week I read the latest book in the Lucas Davenport series by John
Sanford, "Silken Prey", a crime thriller centering around a Minnesota
Senate race. At first I was afraid politics were going to spoil it for
me, because it appeared he was going to cast the Republican candidate as
teh ebil, but it quickly became apparent that just the opposite was
true. Based upon his Virgil Sanders series, I would not be surprised if
the author has libertarian leanings.



This book was not as dark and grisly as some of the rest in the Prey
series, and had more humor injected into the story, more along the
lines of the Flowers series. It was one of Sanford's better books, IMO.
I enjoyed it very much.

Put it in the to read list then. Thanks.

Posted by: Charlotte at February 09, 2014 09:20 PM (u1eI9)

202 I had a particularly egregious grammar book that was sacrificed to Thor (well, technically used to start a fire while camping) because it was just that awful. I usually have a soft spot for comically awful books and movies but had to make some choices because we moved so many times to progressively smaller apartments.

Posted by: Kort at February 09, 2014 10:04 PM (p8KCW)

203 I had a particularly egregious grammar book that was sacrificed to Thor (well, technically used to start a fire while camping) because it was just that awful. I usually have a soft spot for comically awful books and movies but had to make some choices because we moved so many times to progressively smaller apartments.

Posted by: Kort at February 09, 2014 10:04 PM (p8KCW)


OK, the obvious question is: why were you carrying a grammar book while camping?

Liberation literature excluded, the worst book I ever almost read was some sort of idiotic "Nephilim" novel. Bad spelling, bad grammar and worse plot and dialogue, sent to me by a former client. I do not own this book anymore. I did not burn it (I would remember that with a certain sense of satisfaction), but I probably threw it out with the garbage. It says something that Things Fall Apart never rose to this level of disdain.

Posted by: CQD at February 09, 2014 10:20 PM (d6iMX)

204 CQD:
Thanks. I like Manchester.

Posted by: erwin at February 09, 2014 10:26 PM (3sh6T)

205 Retread,
Glad to see you mentioned Dorothy Dunnett. The Lymond Chronicles are the best set of non-comic historical fiction I've ever read. That woman could write. Of course, the best comic historical fiction I've ever read is George MacDonald Fraser. For any of you that know the name, I STRONGLY, STRONGLY, STRONGLY, STRONGLY recommend you get a copy of Light's Out at Lamppost. Fraser said it was the only one of his books that had so many responses that he could not write individual replies. He also said it brought him death threats, which isn't surprising considering how much it must have infuriated British libs.

The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett and Light's Out at Lamppost by George MacDonald Fraser. Take these recommendations to the bank.
Oh, I got a 52% on the quiz. Should have done better but too long since I read some of those books. Achebe sucks, BTW.

Posted by: mac at February 09, 2014 10:26 PM (pEsGM)

206 We took it with us so we could put it to good use. It was obviously worthless as a way to learn grammar.

Posted by: Kort at February 09, 2014 10:39 PM (p8KCW)

207 We took it with us so we could put it to good use. It was obviously worthless as a way to learn grammar.

Posted by: Kort at February 09, 2014 10:39 PM (p8KCW)


Ah. So premeditation, then. If I may ask, what was the name of this heinous grammar text? Not that I'm planning to buy any books of that sort, but I might want to warn someone else.

Posted by: CQD at February 09, 2014 10:44 PM (d6iMX)

208 No freaking idea, it was over a decade ago, now. All I remember about it was that the introduction was so full of punctuation and spelling mistakes, I originally mistook it as a guide of what *not* to do. When I realized we were actually going to be following it in class, I went home and raged for a few hours then dropped the course. The reason I gave was that the professor was obviously too stupid to actually know what he was talking about. When the bookstore wouldn't let me return the book, we made plans for how to dispose of it.

Posted by: Kort at February 10, 2014 12:28 AM (p8KCW)

209 @208: Under the circumstances, that is probably the most practical use of the text that could be made. I am glad it burned easily...sometimes books (especially the covers) have an higher ignition temperature and thus are difficult to use as kindling.

Posted by: CQD at February 10, 2014 01:06 AM (d6iMX)

210 205 I presume you meant "The Light's on at Signpost"

Posted by: BornLib at February 10, 2014 03:32 AM (zpNwC)

211 210: Yes, I did. Late-night typo here in Asia.

Posted by: mac at February 10, 2014 05:09 AM (pEsGM)

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