What book are you reading right now?


#241

Finished off “Musashi” the other day, then finished “All You Need is Kill” today. AYNiK is a pretty light read, but different enough and entertaining to boot.

Now to find something else for the commute…


#242

Finally reading a book I bought a while back. Starting Strength, by Mark Rippatoe.

Two chapters so far on how to do a proper squat. Including some physics, a ton of biology, and some geometry. What attracts me to this guy is his statement that no matter what your current physical condition is you can improve your life by becoming stronger. Imagine you, then imagine you physically stronger, is there any way in which that second you is worse off?

Plus he’s made comments about weight loss and strength that resonate with me. To paraphrase… If you are fat and weak, life is hell, if you are fat and strong life gets better. And if you continue to become stronger eventually you will start shedding fat. So you’ll never be a 32 inch waist again, but you’ll make it up a flight of stairs without collapsing.

It’s all free weights, and basically 5 exercises, squatting being the most important.


#243

Funny, I always thought the important struggle was against the Wizarding bureaucracy. The one that imprisoned people on the slightest of evidence, controlled what the papers could publish up to and including manufacturing stories to further their agenda, and was more than willing for people to die in order to maintain the narrative.


#244

I think the Harry Potter corpus is large enough and vague enough that people will be seeing what they want to see in it for generations to come.

Kind of like how Tolkien had to constantly deny that The Lord of the Rings was more than incidentally related to his experiences in the World Wars. Sure, there’s probably some scenes and feelings, but the main story isn’t meant to be an allegory.


#245

I picked up a couple of Peter S. Beagle’s books recently (Summerlong and In Calabria) and should start reading them, but I wanted to bring something to everyone’s attention. I spotted it on Dana Simpson’s Twitter feed. Her comic strip, Phoebe and Her Unicorn, was inspired by how unicorns are describe in Peter’s book, The Last Unicorn.

What it comes down to is Peter has a lawsuit against his former agent for “elder abuse, fraud, defamation, and breach of fiduciary duty, among other related allegations”. The elder abuse allegation is about finances instead of physical or mental abuse, though forcing someone who is in his 70s to go on a pretty grueling tour for the 30th anniversary of the movie, which lasted over two years, could qualify. The agent cut the tour short and then promised over 5000 personally-signed apology postcards, which Peter was required to sign.

There’s a lot more about this on the flayrah website, including descriptions about how that agent was attempting to get financial control of Peter’s assets and have him declared senile.

The website also points out that the books by Peter that have been published by Tachyon Publications are “the only safe way to purchase Beagle’s works and make sure the money actually gets to him”.

I happened to get those two books at a Barnes & Noble, so I don’t know if the proceeds of purchases made through B&N or Amazon could somehow wind up in the former agent’s hands, though an injunction to prevent that sort of thing was filed 11 days ago.

 
Other relevant items:


#246

I am about a third of the way through Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and I just started reading it Thursday night. Figured I better get going before the movie is released on March 30th.

Earth in 2045 is a mess from overpopulation, pollution, corruption, etc. Land’s scarce, so trailer parks went vertical with people rigging structures to support mobile homes, busses and more placed on top of each other. There’s a virtual reality game called OASIS that pretty much everyone lives in whenever possible because it’s Better Than Life or even Second Life. It also has commerce and schools because the person that created it took that into account, basically giving away access to the game and setting up in-game purchases and a foundation for school funding.

When he dies, his video will announced a massive treasure hunt with full ownership of OASIS and $240 billion as the treasure (“half a trillion” for the upcoming movie). He was a teen in the 1980s, so anything and everything 80s is studied by everyone worldwide to find clues. At some point after where I stopped this morning, the evil “we want OASIS for ourselves” corporation is supposed to show up and make things interesting. Veruca Salt’s dad probably wouldn’t have had any chance of matching the resources they’ll put into the search (based on what I saw in the movie trailer).

The book is written from a “how I did it” perspective because the author/main character wants to clear up the misconceptions about how he solved the quest. Should be interesting to see how this goes.

Since the premise of the book is a treasure hunt set in the teen years of OASIS’ founder, there is one pop culture reference after another, and in fact, that’s how gunters (egg hunters) test each other’s worth and knowledge. Steven Spielberg is directing the film, but he limited how much of his own films are referenced to avoid being accused of “vanity”. Watch trailer 1 and trailer 2 for just a hint of how much is going to be in there.

 
Cline is working on a sequel. Can’t wait.


#247

This is what prompted me to read it too. The movie announcement pushed me to finally read it. I liked it. Lots of references for people of a certain age (of which I am one). The movie will be interesting as there are a lot of commercial tie-ins I know they would want but I’m not sure they will be able to get them. The movie trailers seem to point to a rebel subplot that wasn’t really in the book but I’m still very curious to see it when it comes out.

Also I’m starting Artemis by Andy Weir this week.


#248

The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz. It’s the second in a series about population control through nanotechnology implanted in unsuspecting people chosen by a clandestine group of people, and one rogue FBI agent’s quest to stop them after the suicide of her husband which she claims was actually a result of programming by these nanoparticles.

Also, Game of Thrones book two.


#249

I finished Ready Player One a week or so ago. I hope the movie doesn’t suck. Loved all the 80s references. Didn’t know he was working on a sequel. Not sure where he can take it after how the book ended.

And please tell me you saw the same parallels I did between the IOI Corporation and giant telecom companies like Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T.


#250

Just finishing The Mote in God’s Eye (Niven & Pournelle, 1971). Still one of my favourite works of science-fiction. And I love how they predicted cloud computing and iPads back in the early seventies, right on the money, but a bit funny that they projected these inventions for the year 3017 not 2017.

And yes, the year is why I’m reading it again now hehe.

One thing I can’t quite get over is the historical sexism in the book. It’s displeasing.


#251

A lot of older science-fiction has this to various degrees. It’s to the point where I feel like re-releases of some of these works should probably include some sort of disclaimer or, better yet, an unemotional foreward or afterward that establishes context.

Then again, I think that would be the way for Disney to handle the called-for release of Song of the South, so I might be crazy. (In this case, make ti a library-grade release with a bundled documentary explaining the actual history and highlighting the good and bad parts.)


#252

Oddly enough, the really old Sci-fi is better and worse than this. While there are plenty of women that need rescuing, there are also plenty of women right there next to the men fighting space aliens or helping fly across the universe. Now, not too many of them are in charge, unless they are totally hawt alien queens or something.

I think most of the people who are reading these books are aware of why they are that way though, it’s like expecting a cave painter to get perspective drawing correct. And I’m sure 50 years from now people will look at the stuff written today and have all kinds of problems with it. “Why is everyone so focused on race and gender in these books?” Or why aren’t the men in these books wearing control collars?

And yeah, it’s an awesome book. Pournelle and Niven were a great crunchy hard scifi team. Footfall is also one of my favorite books… but the hardback I had was such a beast to read at a gabillion pages.

As a side note, when will ebooks wise up and put links in them for the maps, cast of characters, or language pages, so you can flip back and forth?


#253

Oh my goodness yes, this should be done by everyone.

Mmm, kinky


#254

Read “Krabat” by Otfried Preußler whilst in primary, and some 38 odd years later got the itch to re-read it again.

Seems the newer version doesnt make mention of the girl’s name or her title (still remember the original book mentioned Kantorka way back).

Was a good read, but a bit on the short side. Think I’ll pass it on to my kids for a read. As well as some of pterry’s books (light fantastic, colour of magic etc).


#255

You made a mistake. You said “some” by which you could only possibly have meant “all”.

Aaaaaaand now I’m sad he’s dead again. Curses.


#256

I need to break out my Nanny Oggs Cookbook. There’s a fish recipe in there that I need to try because Sir Terry Pratchett told me it was good when he signed the book for me. :cry:


#257

I’m a little jealous. Also I’m still sad that back in the early 2000’s I got to go to a dinner and meet with him and I didn’t bring anything to have him sign so I didn’t hop in line to meet him. I’ve gotten a few signed copies of his books since then.

I bought Gratch ‘Powers of Darkness: The Lost Version of Dracula’ for Xmas and I want her to finish it quickly so I can read it. Basically, in 1900 Dracula was translated to Icelandic but the translator decided to improve it. So you now have Dracula but with more sex, blood, Norse mythology and vampire gorillas.


#258

I’ve got a copy of Nanny Ogg’s Cookbook, but I don’t think I’ve actually tried any recipes from it. Still, we did finally get a Kitchen scale so we can weigh out ingredients…


#259

I can easily imagine that the Easter egg hunt wasn’t the only thing Halliday hid in the OASIS. So plenty of sequel fodder in that basic idea. As for parallels, maybe, but now I’m thinking more of Omni Consumer Products.

I should start right in on his second book, Armada.


#260

And I have been, making it to about 2/3 of the way through so far. Armada is a good companion to Ready Player One because they both incorporate a lot of pop culture references. The premise of this one is that a larger number of the TV shows, movies, books and video games made since the 1970s have been a coordinated effort. And if you thought the global financial crisis of 2008 was because companies were being stupid with their money…