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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Discussing Published Hooks & Books » What I'm Reading Now Thread (Page 16)

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Author Topic: What I'm Reading Now Thread
History
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"...and there is nothing new under the sun." --Kohelet (Eccl.) 1:9

Hi, LD.

I've not read much steampunk, other than Jay Lake's Mainspring and...well, I'd include Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. I have also listened to an audio recording of Scott Westerfeld's YA novel Leviathan. I enjoyed the novelty of the genre with my first steampunk reading venture, but each successive foray seemed less satisfying--the one exception being Nick Tchan's WOTF winning story The Command for Love (but it has golems! [Wink] ).

I picked up Lavie Tidhar's The Bookman and Camera Obscura when Border's went belly up, and will thus likely again dip my toe into the steampunk pool someday.

I also feel the same regarding urban fantasy--that it is mostly repetition. Bookstore shelves ooze the stuff. Admittedly, I have not read much UF beyond the first half-dozen Harry Dresden novels--and even put them aside after the first two books to write my own UF Kabbalist novel. This, in the hope to avoid as far as possible, being a mere Dresden reflection. Don't think I succeeded, but it was still a joy to write.

Hmm. You know, I've been striving quite a while now to recapture that joy. I have been feeling guilty about not writing as much as I used to, not completing the half-dozen stories I've (reloaded) on my new computer, and not beginning the second Kabbalist novel I've plotted.

It's also been a year since I've sold anything, or received a personalized rejection letter. both which are very inspiring (especially a sale [Smile] ).

I've been reading far more--reading as a source for inspiration--mostly what I consider excellent fiction (e.g. last evening I re-read Isaac Asimov's The Bicentennial Man, possibly one of the best short stories in science fiction, in my humble opinion. However, setting such a high threshold for my own work is more depressing than inspiring. I need admit I'm a far better doctor than writer.

But Jewish guilt and my Type A personality will only make me self-flaggelate (...where'd I put those cat-o'nine tails?...). I've decided to dedicate time to write daily, even if only a mere paragraph or a sentence revision, to keep the creative cogs oiled...to make the wheel spin faster (though I fear I may be a caged hamster running to exhaustion in his wheel [Wink] ).

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

P.S. I also write too much of my thoughts in my posts here at Hatrack--and these posts are not as erudite or informative as extrinsic's or MattLeo's. I should save my ramblings for the Blog I do not yet have. [Smile]

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LDWriter2
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I've just started getting interesting in steampunk. The one I'm reading is about two British spies-that adds to the draw for me. I am writing two steampunk stories even though one is on hold and the other one was just taken off of hold. That one has what might be a UF flavor to it even with a technique I haven't seen in a story or novel for ages.


I completely understand the rest of your post. I haven't had any positive feedback for five years. Along those lines I decided that I will never be even close to Issac Asimov's level. You're closer to it than I am. When it comes to writing, since things find it hard to get through my skull I will be on my current level for a very long time to come. But at the same time I am a writer so I write. Part of writing is learning--or attempting to--the craft. So I continue.

I doubt you would have that problem so do more, if nothing else study and restudy teaching on writing.

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LDWriter2
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Hmm, reading two novels at once.

The Murphy one I listed already and now "fated" by Benedict Jacka. It's UF something along the lines of the Dresden Files.

I started it sort of, kind oaf by accident. I had to have a blood test and to pick up some medication at the same place. So I took a book to read if need be. The Murphy book is trade back so wouldn't fi in my back pocket. I took 'fated" which would.

Jacka is hmm, well he seems to write abruptly. I think everything is there that should be but it feels abrupt. Not sure if I have ever felt that way about someone's writing before.

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Robert Nowall
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Once again I missed a first-of-the-month posting---but, then, except for some overtly political books which I won't bring up here because it'd involve discussing politics, I didn't really read any outstanding new stuff this month, though I picked up several things I plan to read...

There was one new book: Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust, by Ken Scott and Bobby Owsinski. Ken Scott was (and still is) a recording engineer turned producer, who worked with and on a lot of important and interesting music from the late 1960s on. And I'm a sucker for books about the Beatles---this goes beyond that, of course, and remains interesting---and the sections on the Beatles did actually answer a couple questions about oddities in the Beatles catalog.

I re-read a couple of books, which I think I recommended, years and pages ago, but in case I haven't I'll recommend them again:

The Candy Bombers: The Untold Story of the Berlin Airlift and America's Final Hour, Andrei Cherny.

1960: LBJ vs. JFK vs. Nixon: The Epic Campaign That Forged Three Presidencies, David Pietrusza.

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LDWriter2
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I'm behind on my reading list. Started and finished a couple already.

But I wanted to add a series I read a while back.


If you like UF especially the Jim Butcher type, you will like the Dog Days series by John Levit. Good descriptions, humor, well thought out hero- who is also a musician, and an interesting little...um dog.

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LDWriter2
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I read "Singularity" by Ian Douglas. The last book in a trilogy.

If anyone has noticed my comments it's the book I said was both hard SF and Space Opera. I think Ian fuses them in an entertaining way. He is great at action scenes, emotional turmoil and setting events up. But one thing though he tends to repeat things more than necessary. If it's been a while since he described how a law of physics effects a ship under a certain condition maybe he could give a short reminded but he goes back and restates the whole reasoning. I wanted to shout I know that already after the third time.

But that is my only main problem with his writing. There are a couple of points in the story I wasn't too thrilled with but most readers may not care. The futuristic world he developed is pretty much a liberal's dream for society but it's possible something could happen along those lines.

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LDWriter2
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Reading "A Hard Day's Knight" by Simon Green.


His latest paperback Nightside book. I say paperback because the next hardback is out.

Green does have an interesting way of writing, with a strange--maybe twisted--sense of humor but exciting and suspenseful too. Even though not as suspenseful as some writers. The type of story where you hang on because you never know what is coming next.

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Meredith
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Finally found a really, really good YA fantasy. SERAPHINA, by Rachel Hartman.

Dragons, intrigue, secrets, a dash of romance. Great fun.

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History
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Recent reads:
The Gates by John Connelly. An acccident at CERN (the bif particle collider in Europe) leads to the inadvertant opening of the Gate to Hell just in time for Halloween and young Samuel Johnson, his trusty dachsund Boswell, and their friends must save the world, the universe, and everything. An educational spoof in a style I can only describe as Douglas Adams meets Stephen King.

Elak of Atlantis by Henry Kuttner. One of the first imitations of Conan, and one of the best. Collects the Weird Tales stories of the 1930's. http://www.amazon.com/Atlantis-Planet-Stories-Henry-Kuttner/dp/1601250460/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1343678910&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=Elak+of+Atlantis

Numerous classic Ballantine Books Adult Fantasy series ed. by Lin Carter:
Collections:
Dragons, Elves, & Heroes published 1969. http://www.amazon.com/Dragons-Elves-Heroes-Lin-Carter/dp/0345217314/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1343679008&sr=1-1&keywords=Dragons%2C+Elves%2C+and+Heroes
The Young Magicians published 1969 http://www.amazon.com/Young-Magicians-Lin-Carter/dp/0345217306/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1343679069&sr=1-1&keywords=the+young+magicians

These two volumes collect stories and excerpts from the great classic fantasy epics of the ancient and modern world.

Novels:
The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath H.P. Lovecraft's early fantasy works in the world of human dreams and nightmares. This is young HPL as inspired by Lord Dunsany. One of my favorites. http://www.amazon.com/DREAM-QUEST-KADATH-Edited-introduction-Carter/dp/B001626SU2/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1343679437&sr=1-10&keywords=dreamquest+of+unknown+kadath
Also Jason Thompson's graphic adaption: http://www.amazon.com/Dream-Quest-Kadath-Other-Stories/dp/0983989303/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1343679437&sr=1-3&keywords=dreamquest+of+unknown+kadath

Khaled by F. Marion Crawford. published in 1891. A jinn becomes human and seeks to gain a human soul and salvation by earning the love of the Sultan's daughter, but she cannot comprehend what love is or why it is important. Free on Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Khaled-A-Tale-Arabia-ebook/dp/B004UJ8MDE/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1343678594&sr=1-2&keywords=Khaled

Currently reading former Hatracker Martin Davey's Blood of the Gods, the second in his anticipated 4 book series. One of the best of the self-published authors I've read as yet. http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Gods-Earth-Book-ebook/dp/B008BTNLDU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1343679756&sr=1-1&keywords=blood+of+the+gods

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob
(Vacation Day 3. Brain cleansed and rested. Tomorrow I write.)

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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quote:
Originally posted by Meredith:
Finally found a really, really good YA fantasy. SERAPHINA, by Rachel Hartman.

Dragons, intrigue, secrets, a dash of romance. Great fun.

Glad to hear it, Meredith. Sounds like my kind of book.

Have you read TOOTH AND CLAW by Jo Walton? The above description fits it as well (IMO, that is).

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Robert Nowall
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Here's a few:

The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King---The Five-Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea, Walter R. Borneman. An interesing history of how the naval side of World War II was fought and won, interesting because of how it dives into the biographies and histories of these four men (and some others along the way).

Superman: The High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero, Larry Tye. Not a biography, or one of those things that picks up the details out of the literature and compiles them into a whole---the whole Superman saga is much too muddy for that to be satisfactory to anybody---but a history of the creation and marketing and place in Western culture of Superman. The comic books, radio, TV, movies, they're all here, them and the people who did them. The colorful characters met along the way. Who created what. And the messy legal battles, too.

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Robert Nowall
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Oops! Clicked too soon. Here's a few more.

Shooting Victoria: Madness, Mayhem, and the Rebirth of the British Monarchy, Paul Thomas Murphy. Did you know there were at least eight serious attempts on the life of Queen Victoria? Well, I didn't. It's interesting to see how the modern monarchy, and the British justice system, were shaped by these attempts.

I Got a Name: The Jim Croce Story, Ingrid Croce and Jimmy Rock. A biography of one of my favorite singers, another one of those who died too young, by his widow. I knew some of this, but certainly not all---and there was a certain amount of behavior that, well, I found disillusioning. But I'd prefer to know more than to wallow in ignorance, and Croce remains a favorite.

Witness, Whittaker Chambers. I've had this for awhile. I've read several accounts from people who've said reading this was a life-changing experience. My life has already been changed, along those same lines, by other books---among them, a straight biography of this same Whittaker Chambers---so I wasn't expecting that kind of effect. I didn't get that, but some of the info was interesting, maybe all the more so because of what's come out in retrospect that backs it up. Chambers also goes into more depth and detail into his own life than most other sources, too.

(And I've got other books still waiting for me. For instance, the abovemention Witness was compared to The Confessions of St. Augustine by several people, but I hadn't read it before, which inspired me to pick up a copy of Confessions. More as it develops.)

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LDWriter2
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Speaking of Mary Robinette Kowal as we some were on the intro forum...

Before I get further into it I need to say that I am reading "Shades Of Milk And Honey" By her.

A very interesting world indeed. A slow beginning, but it gets into the world and Jane. And Mary's writing keeps me reading, she is a good story teller and I like to read stories.

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Meredith
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quote:
Originally posted by LDWriter2:
Speaking of Mary Robinette Kowal as we some were on the intro forum...

Before I get further into it I need to say that I am reading "Shades Of Milk And Honey" By her.

A very interesting world indeed. A slow beginning, but it gets into the world and Jane. And Mary's writing keeps me reading, she is a good story teller and I like to read stories.

Wait until you get to Glamour in Glass. [Smile]
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LDWriter2
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Besides me typing too fast there and leaving things, like letters and words out, in that last post I am intrigued. I can see it going in three different directions but I will have to wait to see if I'm close with any of those ideas.

I forgot to mention it's not what I usually read but that doesn't matter now that I am into it.

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LDWriter2
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I am also reading "Prince Of Wolves" by Dave Gross. It's part of the "Pathfinder" series. I got it free.

Kowal's book is in my Nook, Saturday I had a flat tire and needed to sit somewhere for an hour or so. I didn't want to take the Nook, for fear of dropping it or leaving it.

Prince is written in an interesting manner. We have had discussions here about different POVs and such, this book would be a good example of two techniques at once. First every other chapter Gross switches between two MCs. Second: one MC is writing a journal to share with someone he is looking for. The other MC is in the usual First Person. Danger abounds and the MCs each have their share of tension of various types.

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History
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Its been awhile, but I just re-read/listened to every completed work by JRR Tolkien. IN regard to LOTR, I am struck by its lack of the commonly expexted novel narrative structure. It flouts conventions and at times rambles where it wills, ignoring (in the second two books) main protagonists for hundreds of pages to follow other protagonists' adventures, and having hundreds of pages of denouement after the climax. Pacing is off; there are digressions regarding correlates with unknown and unexplained histories...

...and it all works.
The power and depth of world-building and the eternal themes of overcoming adversity, of good and evil, of love and loss, of loyalty and betrayal, of nature and industrialization, of fair things eternal and fair things passing overwhelms and flaw in story construction.

Which I find personally reassuring.

I also possess famed Mists of Avalon and Darkover author Marion Zimmer Bradley's two chapbooks from the 1970's entitled The Jewel of Arwen and The Parting of Arwen, the later being very short and quite an exquisite account of Elrond and Arwen's last moments and speech together. These little chapbooks are collectors' items, but they have been scanned for reading on line:

http://www.timelineuniverse.net/MiddleEarth/JewelofArwen.htm
http://www.timelineuniverse.net/MiddleEarth/ThePartingofArwen.htm

I am unsure if, or how, MZB received permission to write and publish them. How did she not infringe on the Tolkien copyright? Jewel was reprinted in DAW books The Year's Best Fantasy Stories ed. by Lin Carter (1975) with the legal page indicated "reprinted by arrangement with the author" and no mention of the Tolkien Estate.

These two brief works are essentially fan fiction by a professional author which were published for sale. I have not seen another example of this. Tolkien fan fiction by amateurs is prevalent on the web and most is...poor. Some is not (e.g. the novel Isildur by Brian Crawford http://tolkien.cro.net/talesong/isildur/contents.html ), but none have been printed by a publisher and offered for sale to my knowledge--with the exception of a couple short derivative fan works within the many critical essay reprints in The Tolkien Treasury.

After completing months traveling in all Tolkien's completed works, I am left with a sadness knowing that there is no more--and doesn't this best suggest how successful and great a storyteller he was?

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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Robert Nowall
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Do you count the posthumous releases, from The Silmarillion on down through the Histories and so on, as complete works? Since I learned of it, I've found the depth of Middle-Earth one of the greatest charms of Tolkien's work.

Somehow I missed these particularly Marion Zimmer Bradley works---y'know, I saw the titles back then, I think, and, somehow, never connected them with Tolkien. (I have Carter's The Year's Best Fantasy volumes 2 through 6, but not #1.)

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History
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Hi, Robert,

"No." I did not include the Histories or even Unfinished Tales as part of my current revisiting of JRR Tolkien, just his completed fiction (including the recent Children of Hurin and Sigurd and Gudrun).

Admittedly, I only read the first five of the histories cover to cover (and the Lhammas, the extensive linguistic philological section of Book five, almost did me in. Who goes to such depths? And I thought I was obsessive.) I did read segements of the later works, concerning the Istari (Wizards) and the unfinished stories that end Book Twelve. I am now in mind to go back to them and take on Book Six. But it is more stories I am interested in. I happen to possess many of the Iron Crown Enterprises Middle-Earth Role-Playing adventure books--though I never have played a single role-playing game (which demonstrates the extent of Tolkien collecting obsession [Wink] ). I bought them to learn even more about Middle-earth (especially the lands and architextual triumphs) and to glean from them new stories to enjoy. Last night I picked up #2009 Palantir Quest
http://www.icewebring.com/ICE_Products/M2/M2_2009_Palantir_Quest.php We'll see how far I get before I give up slogging through the disruption of the dice roll matehematics and character stats.

I am glad to provide you the thinks to the MZB Arwen stories. Enjoy. The Parting of Arwen is my favorite of the two.

We're showing our age to reference DAW Books' The Year's Best Fantasy edited by Lin Carter. [Wink] Whatever limitations he had as a writer, despite over 26 published works, Lin was a great editor and scholar of the history of fantasy literatire. His anthologies, and his introductions to them, are excellent. I also just completed his Balantine Books' Adult Fantasy Series anthology New Words For Old, and if you wish to be blown away by imaginative power, read Clark Ashton Smith's poem The Hashish Eater that was included therein but can also be found on line.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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Robert Nowall
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Took me almost ten minutes to dig my way into my library to find the books...forgetting I had my card index at my fingertips, with all the information, right behind me. Not certain why I don't have #1---but I bought #2 and #3 used, so probably it never turned up in my obsessive searches of the local bookstores. (There was no online anything in those days, for those of you who were born later.)

*****

A quick skimthrough of both Bradley stories proved interesting...as far as fanfiction (which these are) is concerned, one almost never sees one of the top-talent big-name writers doing any, and that accounts for the quality of the work. I must sit down and read them more thoroughly later today, if I get the chance.

Bradley was on the verge of her breakthrough with The Mists of Avalon when she wrote these---that puts her at the height of her powers when she wrote (or at least published) these.

(I'm impressed---it makes me feel better about turning out the occasional fanfic myself.)

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History
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I've never actually written fanfic.
Though I came closest to doing so when the outline for two novels came to me in a rush to complete the long-desired and long-lamented trilogy that was hoped for after the Joss Whedon film Serenity (based on his iconic short-lived sf television series Firefly).

The Firefly/Serenity series was the first creative work to thrill and inspire me to the degree the LOTR did when I was a lad. Boy, did I miss feeling that way.

Coincidentally, professional author Steven Brust (known for his excellent fantasies concerning Vlad Taltos) wrote a fanfic Firefly novel, My Own Kind of Freedom, that he ultimately made available for free: http://dreamcafe.com/firefly.html

So it seems my two most-beloved fictional worlds have fanfic written by professional authors. [Smile]

Respectfully,
Dr. Browncoat Bob

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LDWriter2
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Actually I finished this one tonight, I kept forgetting to say something about it.

Kinda long title here:

Christopher L. Bennent's Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations; Forgotten History.


A very interesting story filled with plenty of both real science and techno babble and ST history. For me it was hard to tell them apart at times. From the rather long acknowledgements in the rear, some of the theories and comments about time studies are real. Sometimes I think there's very little done with the study of time and time travel but every so often there is a report that states "oh yes there is". Enough real chorno study is happening to have real theories.

And along those lines some might find this book more intellectual than exciting. There is some ship battles and races against the clock but most deals with theory and ST history, specifically James Kirk's 17 now 18 temporal crimes that we know about. In this case it helps to have a knowledge of ST history including the animated shows. I only have small memories of the animated shows. Most of them I only saw once years ago. Unlike most past ST books this one draws heavily from a couple of those eps at times. A change in ST policies I believe.

But over all this book is not badly written. Some of the action scenes could use more tension and surprise but as I implied earlier action scenes are not the primary focus of this book. Dennis does do a good job keeping everyone and every theory straight, not to mention shifts in POV and time.

Oh, it also clears up a couple of lose ends some Trekkers and Trekies have been wondering about. How they were able to do certain things.

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Robert Nowall
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Didn't make the first-of-the-month posting...but, then, nothing except a few political books I won't go into here impressed me that much. Also things were kinda confused in my life and that distracted me.

I did reread A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn: The Last Great Battle of the American West, by James Donovan. I think I recommended it in this thread several pages / several years ago. It's a terrific book with great suspense (even though the outcome is known), does a good job recreating "what happened" (and detailing the how and why of the recreation in the endnotes). Also I think with this I could pinpoint just went so terribly wrong for Custer at Little Bighorn.

(Nathaniel Philbrick also has a good book about Custer's Last Stand---which I started rereading as soon as I finished this one.)

*****

On Star Trek books---I've read dozens and liked a few, one (Ishmael by Barbara Hambly) quite a bit, but one of the problems is definitely in the details---the books might establish something, but neither other writers nor the series proprietors had to respect it. (Someone said a few years ago that the books gave three different names and fates to the female Romulan Commander from "The Enterprise Incident" (I think) from the Original Series. Probably four or five more names and fates by now.)

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History
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I've been on a fantasy - sword & sorcery kick and have just finished James Enge's tales and novels of the 600 year old laconic alcholic humpback Morlock Ambrosius (son of Merlin), a Maker and Seer, whose infamy (partly untrue) is legendary (for who could be alive after 600 years) and is something parents use to keep disobedient children in line all across the continent of Laent where the sun and three moons traverse the sky west to east.

Enges' writing style, inimical of his protagonist, is terse, almost Spartan in its lack of oververbage and efficiency. And yet his characters are richly developed and fully realized as physically, intellectually, and emotionally relatable beings. There are moments of brilliant humor,but never overplayed. The stories are clever and entertainng. Perfect? No. But I found the time reading and (in some cases re-reading) them worth it.

The novels (the second of which are interconnected stories, mostly revised from those printed in Black Gate magazine in the last decade) are:

Blood of Ambrose
This Crooked Way
The Wolf Age


Free sample chapters are available at Pyr Books; e.g. http://pyrsamples.blogspot.com/2009/04/blood-of-ambrose-by-james-enge.html
http://pyrsamples.blogspot.com/2009/10/this-crooked-way-by-james-enge.html

The just released first of a "prequel" trilogy, that I have not read yet, is A Gile of Dragons.

A number of his Morlock short stories are free to read on-line:

A Book of Silences
http://pyrsamples.blogspot.com/2009/03/book-of-silences-by-james-enge.html

Fire and Sleet
http://pyrsamples.blogspot.com/2009/03/fire-and-sleet-by-james-enge.html

A Covenant with Death
http://pyrsamples.blogspot.com/2009/04/blood-of-ambrose-by-james-enge.html

The Red Worm's Way
http://www.jamesenge.com/redworm.html

A gem of a flash story: The Gordian Stone
http://www.everydayfiction.com/the-gordian-stone-by-james-enge/

and one, Traveler's Rest (enjoyable but not my favorite), can be downloaded for free to Kindle.
http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=james+enge&tag=googhydr-20&index=stripbooks&hvadid=6588423401&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=5838621092041338883&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt= b&ref=pd_sl_75bag7larj_b

The most recent Morlock short story The Singing Spear (which first hooked me on Morlock) appeared in the collection Swords And Dark Magic, a collection of today's contemporary s&s writers, which I recommend if you enjoy this genre.
http://www.amazon.com/Swords-Dark-Magic-Sword-Sorcery/dp/0061723819

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

[ September 03, 2012, 12:29 PM: Message edited by: History ]

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Utahute72
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I have been reading the Longmire series. A bit out of the wheelhouse for this group, but an interesting well written series none the less. Reminds me a lot of the series Tony Hillerman wrote.
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Utahute72
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Robert, there is also a good book on Custer, "Son of the Morning star", which may interest you. I know I start reading something and it sends me down a path where I start reading a lot of similar stories. I read "The Legacy of Heorot", which cause me to then read "Eaters of the Dead", the Original "Beowulf" and "Grendel".
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Robert Nowall
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By Evan S. Connell, if I recall right...I read it when I was a kid, but, offhand, don't remember much of it...though it was more of a biography of Custer than an account of the battle. The two books I mention give some weight and space to the activities and histories of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, among many others---essential to any understanding of what went on.

The Battle of the Little Bighorn is one of those events that fascinate me, like the fall of the Alamo or the sinking of the Titanic or the assassination of JFK---important, but with details sketchy and accounts often contradictory.

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mayflower988
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I just finished reading Origin by a former classmate of mine, Jessica Khoury! It's an amazing YA sci-fi/fantasy novel about a genetically-engineered immortal girl living in a lab in the Amazon rainforest.
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LDWriter2
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Reading "The Janus Affair" by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris

Steampunk to the core. Second in a series about two special British agents solve the unusual. One is a bookish nerd you might say. But he has his moments and secrets. Actually everyone has secrets. Even the boss of the agency---a forerunner of MI5. At one point in the first book it seemed that he was working for the bad guy but it turned out his secret had nothing to do with the case the two were working on. The first book revealed two of his secrets but not at once. The writers hinted at it at first. This book reveals her--his partner--secrets or two and maybe the boss's also.

Good writing, good scenery, interesting machines and restaurants, Emotional tensions of various types and reasons.

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Brent Silver
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Finished Earthfall by OSC--the Homecoming series is the first thing I've read by him in over a year, really. I've enjoyed it quite a bit and started on Earthborn.

I'm also reading Grimm's Fairy Tales for the first time and remain highly amused that these were children's stories. I've no complaints since I've always been a fan of horror, but still, it's amazing what they could get away with in earlier centuries than you could probably get away with now in the kids' section.

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LDWriter2
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Okay, I am starting a new book, even though I haven't actually read anything in it I wanted to get it on here now instead of half way through or after I finish it.

The Book is "All Spell Breaks Loose" by Lisa Shearin.

Great writer but I'm not really sure if I want to read this one now. It's been calling me as usual for Lisa's books but this one will be sad. I haven't even touched it yet and I know that for it's the last one in a great series. Lisa is a good writer, she came up with a great world and hero. Not to mention situation. But it's the last one..... I'm going to miss Raine Benares and I hope Lisa will come back to her some time in the future.

This being the end was a surprise, I hadn't realized that Raine was going to have only one adventure. A very long one-six books-and actually there are many mini adventures mixed in but one thing to solve. That brings me to the one criticism I have of Lisa or thought I did. Raine's continual problem with a certain Rock--which is all I will say about it--I kept thinking it's time to deal with it and go on to another adventure. Well, she ain't, going on that is.

But Lisa is still writing a new UF series coming out next year or the year after since she has just started it. 25,647 words as of Sept 13. So it may not be on the shelves 'till the year after...so long to wait.

But I recommend the Raine Benares books. Great Fantasy.

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Robert Nowall
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Somewhat delayed, but, again, little excited me other than these two books.

Endtown 1 and Endtown 2, Aaron Neathery.

These are collections of an ongoing Internet Comic---but my experiences with reading online and on my Nook Color have only reinforced my affection for reading printed books. (I've also spent some time this month printing out, cutting out, and then taping up in spiral notebooks, the successor strips to these---if more books come out, I'll get them, too.)

The comic? Well, it's (mostly) about the adventures of a couple of characters in a post-apocalyptic world. Albert is (apparently) human, but Gustine has mutated into the form of a rhino---this is a world populated by a lot of anthropomorphic creatures, with the advent of World War Three and a new form of radiation causing the human population to (mostly) mutate into various animal forms. Endtown is a community of such mutants, some six years after the disaster, mutants who are under constant threat from unmutated "topsiders" who want nothing more than to destroy them (or worse), while the mutants have to struggle just to gather up leftover food (mostly beans, it's said). But they threaten nobody and are (mostly, again) just trying to survive and come to terms with what they've become.

I've been a sucker for this sort of thing, from Pogo on down through Rocko's Modern Life---but this provides justification for why they all are what they are.

The strips in these books are also laugh-out-loud funny---you wouldn't think something so post-apocalyptic would be so funny---but you can strip that away and you're left with compelling and often tortured characters who hold your interest and make you want to follow their adventures.

It's an ongoing strip on GoComics, beyond these books---but, if you take an interest, be warned that the humor departs for lengthy times, particularly this last month-and-a-half---and what remains is the human drama of it all...but it's well worth the effort.

In any case, here's a link to the ongoing stuff:

http://www.gocomics.com/endtown

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Robert Nowall
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Breaking in a little early to mention these books I've gotten my hands on:

American Science Fiction: Four Classic Novels: 1953-1956, The Library of America (Gary K. Wolfe, editor.)

---and---

American Science Fiction: Five Classic Novels: 1956-1958, The Library of America (Gary K. Wolfe, editor.)

For the record, the novels included are:

The Space Merchants, Frederik Pohl & C. M. Kornbluth
More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
The Long Tomorrow, Leigh Brackett
The Shrinking Man, Richard Matheson
Double Star, Robert A. Heinlein
A Case of Conscience, James Blish
The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
Who?, Algis Budrys
The Big Time, Fritz Leiber

Every one of these are all classics of science fiction, now nicely available in a neat Library of America edition. Mine is a boxed set, but the volumes are available separately. I got it from Amazon-dot-com, but it should pop up in any of the big chain bookstores sooner or later.

I've read and reread, enjoyed and studied these since I first encountered them---Double Star is the first adult Heinlein book I ever read---and, for you serious SF writers and students of the genre, who haven't read these books, go and get this set and read them right away. You can't understand the written form of SF unless you've read these.

[edited 'cause I managed to omit one whole novel]

[ October 11, 2012, 06:49 AM: Message edited by: Robert Nowall ]

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Matt.Simpson01
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Recently, I've listened to all the currently published Iron Druid Chronicles books. I love them, and would recommend them to anybody who wants a good fantasy book that doesn't get too seriously weird on them.

I started listening to the Dresden Files books last week. I admit, these books are drawing me in. I like the action in them. the supernatural aspect is believable instead of just out there.

I also am getting started on the third novel in the Camulod chronicles by Jack Whyte. The series is a play on the Authurian legend in England, but set at first about 100 years before Romans leave the island. It is a good series to read, a very well done job of putting together legend and history.

As my bathroom reader, I just started the Heaven Makers by Frank Herbert. Only a few pages in, but interesting from the start.

School affects my time to read, so i get it in when i can. Only ten more classes til i get my degree though, so nonessential reading gets put on hold a lot.

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wirelesslibrarian
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Just finished reading Son, by Lois Lowry. It's the long-awaited sequel to Newbery winner The Giver, one of my all-time favorite books. The Giver was my first foray into a dystopian world, and sort of the yardstick I use to measure all other dystopian tales. Anyway, Son did not disappoint. The story is told from the perspective of Gabe's birthmother, and details her struggles to be reunited with him. Are Gabe and Jonas featured within the story? Read it to find out!
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LDWriter2
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Reading "Dreadnaught:The Lost Fleet, Beyond the Frontier" . By Jack Campbell.

Space Opera. First in a second series about Captain John, "Black Jack" Geary.

Last series he beat up the bad guys and brought home a fleet that had been trapped. But he found some aliens on the way now he has to find out about the aliens. There are all types of other stuff going on.

Campbell is a good action writer, a great universe he thought up, but some of the interpersonal relationships seem a bit on the cardboard side. Overall though I am still reading, and recommend it to those who like SO.

Oh, Matt. I've thought about reading the Iron Druid series more because of a recent book I didn't realize was part of a series when I looked it over. I need to take a second look at the first one.

And Wireless that is what "Son" is about. I've seen it advertise, including on my Nook Book Newsletters, but had no idea what it was about or that it wasn't general Fiction.

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LDWriter2
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Reading "Lie & Omens" by Lyn Benedict. Part of a series--Shadows Inquiries.

I have mixed feelings about this series.

It's not my favorite, it's darker than usual even for UF, I don't like where Lyn goes all the time with the plot and I'm not totally sure I like the MC. But Lyn is some writer, she knows: how to do suspense, how to put her MC in danger time after time and she does the Try and Try thing, David talked about in one Kick, very well. One could learn to write better by studying her style.

And It's the model and half the inspiration for one of my WIPs. The way it's going it could take another year to finish that WIP and when I do I will have to go back over it since I'm adding characters and background as I go along as I recall it is suppose to be modeled after Lyn's work.

And I wonder if she is related one way or another with another writer. The other half of the inspiration. Both writers use a character with the same problem, and both names the bad guy side of magic users and mythical creatures. Maybe they are the same person or have read the same how to book on plotting (shoulder shrug)

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Robert Nowall
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Well, a few, and on the first of the month, yet:

The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Best-Kept Secret: The Unknown Studio Musicians Who Recorded the Soundtrack of a Generation, Kent Hartman. Yeah, I knew about a lot of these guys, names and records and all...even then, some of the things they played on surprised me...and there's a wealth of info I didn't know, some of which is jaw-dropping.

Final Victory: FDR's Extraordinary World War II Presidential Campaign, Stanley Weintraub. Even when you know some of these things, it's nice to see them lined up again, often with facts that are wholly new. (And I particularly enjoyed a part working its way through my hometown---it gives some validity to my existence.)

Fatal Dive: Solving the World War II Mystery of the USS Grunion, Peter F. Stevens. An interesting and forgotten story that turns on a long-forgotten problem at the outset of World War II...this account takes it through all angles, the personal and the technical, the 1940s and the present-day. Well worth a read. (A big thick expensive book, though.)

Monty Python's Flying Circus: All the Bits: Complete and Annotated. What it says (though the movies are excluded---separate volume, maybe?) The scripts for the TV series, annotated---which means obscure-to-Americans Briticisms are explained, variations between script and screen, where they almost burst out laughing at each other. Previous editions just printed the words, and this explains them---and it's not crude or condescending about it like some other annotations I could mention.

I'm partway through The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965, William Manchester and Paul Reed. Some of you might have seen one of my rants about incomplete series and multivolume biographies where further parts never appear. This was a big offender: the first two parts were published in 1983 and 1988, the writer became dreadfully ill and unable to complete it (he died in 2004), and it has at last appeared, completed by another.

It's an intensely interesting exploration of Churchill, his life and his times, a biography and a history all rolled into one. I'll recommend it (though I haven't finished it and have spotted, I think, one error).

My SF reading was mostly rereading two favorite old "Star Trek" novels: Spock Must Die!, James Blish, and Ishmael, Barbara Hambly. Battered old copies, long out of print, I think. I bought a couple new books (also reprints) but haven't read them.

I had more time for reading 'cause I was on vacation. I may have forgotten a book or two, and may make a post or two about them when I remember them...

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History
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My reading drops off when I'm trying to write. I simply am unable to find time to do both. It is "either-or" for me, unfortunately.

That being said, I've read:
The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon. This literary cross genre (alternate history, sf, murder mystery) novel won the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and Sidewise Alternate History awards for Best Novel in 2008 as well as nominated for the British SF Association and Edgar Poe Awards. It is the kind of story I admire. The language sings. It is rich and deep and as flavorful as a three layer chocolate pudding cake with a fresh strawberry riding upon a sugar-coated mint leaf and the crest of a dab of whip cream, homemade of course. I recognize for some readers this command of language may distract from the story, but as writers we can help but admire his prose. The world and characters are real and rich, and the mystery multifaceted, spiraling first slowly but inevitably with increasing speed toward its climax at the center of a personal, socio-political, and ethical maelstrom. Despite its impressive list of rewards, readers and critics either hate or love it (much like the response to my October novelette The Witch's Curse, in retrospect). I can appreciate why it one the Nebula and Locus Best Novel Awards, but was surprised it won the fan-based Hugo. It is a literary work. Non-genre, imho. It gives me hope.
http://www.amazon.com/Yiddish-Policemens-Union-Michael-Chabon/dp/0007149824

I'm also in the midst of another literary cross-genre author with a great command of language and vocabulary: The Frozen Rabbi by Steven Stern. "...the story of how a nineteenth-century rabbi from a small Polish town ends up in a basement freezer in a suburban Memphis home at the end of the twentieth century. What happens when an impressionable teenage boy inadvertently thaws out the ancient man and brings him back to life?" --http://www.amazon.com/Frozen-Rabbi-Steve-Stern/dp/1616200529/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1351883749&sr=1-1&keywords=the+frozen+rabbi
It is entertaining, often funny and sad simultaneously, and an accurate portrait of the past and the present societies it depicts and the eternal search for meaning in our lives.

FInally, for light breaks, I've discovered all the Elfquest comics I used to collect and read beginning in the 1970's are available free on line for on-screen viewing! There were so many knock-offs that I stopped buying them (couldn't afford to back then), but now I can read the entire series (all 6500 pages) at my leisure. The original storyline by Wendi and Richard Pini I believe is better than the later knock-offs where guest writers and artists were invited to dabble--but I'm not done yet. http://www.elfquest.com/gallery/OnlineComics3.html

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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babooher
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I finally got my hands on Kevin J. Anderson's Clockwork Angels. It is based on Neil Peart's lyrics (primarily from the Rush album of the same name). It has artwork from Hugh Syme. I'm a fan of everyone I've listed. The book is steampunk and for me seems to err on the YA side. The many allusions to the lyrics (both old nd new) will give a Rush fan a smile, but I also find myself pushed out of the story when I see the wink and nod to Rush songs. It is an interesting experience to listen to the music that inspired the book. Kind of like a soundtrack.
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LDWriter2
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Reading, Finally, "Ghoststory" by Jim Butcher.

I say finally because I waited 'till it came out in paperback--actually I think it'sTrade--and it's been sitting on my pile of new books for a couple of months. I decided to read it out of order.
Jim has some good writing in this one...he does know how to turn a phrase. And he knows how to punish his character, to make him feel unsure and not be a superman. When I go back over my NaNo Novel that is one thing I will be looking for. Even though my hero is hundreds of years old and has abilities above that of mortal man he is not perfect nor should he be. I need to make him doubt more, get more bruises almost get killed more. I did that a couple of times but in other fights he might be just too perfect.

Without writing any spoilers with this one or the previous book, I just want that there's something in that previous book me and my wife and probably a bunch of Butcher fans, suspect. If what we suspect is true Butcher is being very coy about it as you would expect. Even though right now there was something that, could say it ain't so. But we shall see.


But in either case I am reading the book way too fast. About half way through already. Of course I've been reading it for a week.

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Meredith
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I'm currently reading Lois McMaster Bujold's CAPTAIN VORPATRIL'S ALLIANCE. She sucked me right in to spending way too much time reading--again.
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LDWriter2
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Reading Patricia Brigg's "Mooncalled" finally. It's first in a series.

It's about a female auto mechanic who can turn into a coyote...no she isn't a were but a type of skinwalker. She gets mixed up with wolves and vampires a couple of feas, murder and mystery.


I like Patricia's writing but this one didn't quite seem my style, after a couple of people over on the Jim Butcher web site encouraged me to I bought it.

It's UF and/or paranormal. I'm not quite sure if I like what Patricia has done with the werewolf and vampire myths but her writing has me hooked.

If you like stories about werewolves and vampires and such or just plain good writing buy it.

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MattLeo
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I'm reading Charles Portis's satirical western novel *True Grit*, which happened to be Roal Dahl's favorite novel. I'll do a book report when I'm done.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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quote:
Originally posted by MattLeo:
I'm reading Charles Portis's satirical western novel *True Grit*, which happened to be Roal Dahl's favorite novel. I'll do a book report when I'm done.

Looking forward to that, MattLeo.

By the way, have you seen either of the movie versions of the book?

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MattLeo
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quote:
Originally posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury:
quote:
Originally posted by MattLeo:
I'm reading Charles Portis's satirical western novel *True Grit*, which happened to be Roal Dahl's favorite novel. I'll do a book report when I'm done.

Looking forward to that, MattLeo.

By the way, have you seen either of the movie versions of the book?

I've seen both. I love seeing John Wayne onscreen, but I have to say 13 year-old Hailee Steinfeld gives him a run for his money in the "charismatic performance" department.

It's been years since I've seen the Wayne film, but any movie with John Wayne in it instantly becomes a "John Wayne movie". I thought the Coen brothers movie put the spotlight back were it belongs, on young Mattie Ross. She's one of the great fictional characters of all time. I'll have more to say in my book report.

Since I'm speaking of the movies, I liked the soundtrack for the Coen brothers movie. There's a piano motif that runs through the score, and I kept thinking, "that sounds like an old hymn." It turned out, it was. It was Leaning on the Everlasting Arms:

quote:
What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

...which if you recall the iconic scene from both movies where Rooster is carrying Mattie to McAlester's store is another one of that movie's ironic touches.

I'm not surprised Dahl loved the book. Not only does it have a mix of adventure and dark humor *True Grit* is a writer's novel. I keep running into things I wish *I'd* written. It's even got a few writing insider-jokes.

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Robert Nowall
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Neglected to put up anything on the first of the month...haven't read much of anything that was compelling, except maybe some political books I won't bore you with.

I did finish The Last Lion: Defender of the Realm, mentioned above...that made for an interesting read.

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History
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I listen to Books on CDs on my commute. I recently listened to Dean Koontz' Odd Thomas, the first of a number with this character who sees the dead and invisible phantoms attracted to violent death, has a sixth sense/innate homing capability, and a sometimes irritating humility and naivite. I have heard a lot about Dean, but not read him. He has mass appeal and is quite successful. He is much like Steven King in the "sparseness" of his writing style, memorable characters, and the horror of the commonplace. While predictable, the end of the story is moving, and overall the story is long on character and just not outré enough for my tastes. And yet... the climax is a shooting spree in a busy mall at holiday time. Thus I found this week's tragedy in the Clackamass Town Center mall all the more disturbing.

I've discovered one of my favorite books of all time, Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale is available on CD. I first read this when beginning medical school. The beauty of the prose awed me (it still does) and convinced me I had made the right choice in giving up writing for a medical career.

This reminded me of a number of fantasy works that I found ground-breaking yet few of today may recall. While every fantasy lover knows Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, and most know Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast and Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea]trilogies, how many of you recall Richard Adam's Shardik (harsh reality fantasy of war and politics and religion written decades before Martin's Game of Thrones or Erikson's Malazan novels), or Alan Garner's The Weirdstone of Birmingham (which contains a crawling underground scene that no claustraphobe will be able to finish), or David Lindsley's A Voyage to Arcturus, or Austin Tappan Wright's Islandia, or Lovecraft's Dunsanian pastiche The Quest of Unknown Kadath?

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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Robert Nowall
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quote:

This reminded me of a number of fantasy works that I found ground-breaking yet few of today may recall. While every fantasy lover knows Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, and most know Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast and Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea]trilogies, how many of you recall Richard Adam's Shardik (harsh reality fantasy of war and politics and religion written decades before Martin's Game of Thrones or Erikson's Malazan novels), or Alan Garner's The Weirdstone of Birmingham (which contains a crawling underground scene that no claustraphobe will be able to finish), or David Lindsley's A Voyage to Arcturus, or Austin Tappan Wright's Islandia, or Lovecraft's Dunsanian pastiche The Quest of Unknown Kadath?

In order from LOTR on down: yes, yes, yes, yes, no, no, no, yes...though the names are all familiar to me.

How many have read any of Lord Dunsany's novels?

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quote:
Originally posted by Robert Nowall:
How many have read any of Lord Dunsany's novels? [/QB]

I have, though Dunsany is best known for his short stories.

My favorites:
The King of Elfland's Daughter
Don Rodriguez: The Chronicles of Shadow Valley
The Charwoman's Shadow
The Curse of the Wise Woman
The Blessing of Pan


Then again, I'm a Dunsany collector.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

P.S. I left Eddison's The Worn Ourobourous, Morris' The Well At World's End, and James Branch Cabell's works, particularly his Poictesme novels and his scandalous Jurgen.

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