Author Topic: Rate the last book you just read  (Read 97965 times)

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Offline drwfishesman

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #945 on: March 02, 2018, 10:11:09 AM »
The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov. 8/10

A classic and interesting, but would it have killed him to put a female character other than the shrew wife in the first book? I guess it was 1951 when written, but still.

Premise is great, and how he shows the evolution of the Foundation is really interesting when you look at empires from history.


My first exposure to Sci-fi was my grandfather's from the 30-50s.  Its amazing how much blatant sexism I just didn't notice as a 12 year old.  I've tried reading the Lensmen series as an adult, yeesh.  I didn't notice the racism because typically weren't any non white characters.

I like the books, don't get me wrong, but if I hear the term "the men of this world" one more f'n time......

The second book in the series had a strong, smart, confident female character. But they described her as being like a man, and standing with the men as an equal.....jesus....
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Offline amysrevenge

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #946 on: March 02, 2018, 03:09:41 PM »
I'm continually fascinated by Golden (and Silver) Age SF and the things taken for granted.  Imagine the strangest, most wild, different, futuristic society, and yet the 50s-est things are all still there - gender roles, everyone smoking all the time, computers getting bigger and bigger (in volume/mass).
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Offline Ah.hell

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #947 on: March 02, 2018, 03:19:46 PM »
I'm continually fascinated by Golden (and Silver) Age SF and the things taken for granted.  Imagine the strangest, most wild, different, futuristic society, and yet the 50s-est things are all still there - gender roles, everyone smoking all the time, computers getting bigger and bigger (in volume/mass).
The thing that gets me about written sci fi, why even mention smoking?  Let alone, Scientist Bob puffed on his cigarette while analyzing samples in his lab.  I forget what story it was but, literally a guy smoking in biology lab, why? Were clean rooms not a thing?

Getting drunk or high, sure, makes sense.  People do that and it might be related to the plot.  Smoking on film, it probably would have seemed odd to folks if no one was smoking  because there were probably people smoking in the theater but would you even notice if they omitted constant references to smoking in a book? 
« Last Edit: March 02, 2018, 03:26:33 PM by Ah.hell »

Offline superdave

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #948 on: March 03, 2018, 06:56:39 PM »
The Color Purple  5 / 10
So I am trying to diversify my reading habits both in style and author so I wanted to give this a try, knowing it is considered a classic of modern female African American literature.  It is also a book that contains neither wizards, nor robots so a big change of pace for me in terms of content.

So with that in mind, I really wanted to like this. And I did like parts of it.  I found the main character endearing and I enjoyed seeing her grow from such a defeated person into a person with a life of love of happiness.  But there were a lot of problems for me.  The writing style (a series of letters) makes the narrative disjointed and hard to follow.  Characters pop in and out and I felt like important narrative events happened "off-screen".  A major portion of the book regards the happening of a character that is effectively introduced in the middle and who's story is kind of boring. The last third of the book felt very rushed and the first third felt glacial. 
(click to show/hide)

I feel bad about not liking this.  I really did want to.  But by the end I was wondering what the Pulitzer Committee was thinking that year.
I disavow anyone in the movement involved in any illegal,unethical, sexist, or racist behavior. However, I don't have the energy or time to investigate each person and case, and a lack of individual disavowals for each incident should not be construed as condoning such behavior.

Offline Sawyer

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #949 on: March 22, 2018, 11:43:02 AM »
Fantasyland by Kurt Andersen - 5/10

Just too depressing to be enjoyable.  A sweeping history of how magical thinking has flourished in the United States, Fantasyland covers everything from the Puritans to patent medicine to our current president.  While I think most of his ideas are correct, it turns into a sort of unfalsifiable hypothesis:  everything crazy thing we have done is an expression of inherent American character, every bit of rational push-back is an aberration.  This might be a good introductory book into the world of skepticism, but there's very little new information here.

One of the premises that was just barely touched on in this book is how science-fiction and fantasy exacerbate the rejection of reality.  I thought this was a little silly at first, but then ...

In a bizarre coincidence, nearly every form of fiction I consumed over the past month seemed to deal with time travel (more specifically "loops" of time).  First there was the DODO Stephenson novel.  Then I played Braid.  Then I watched a Star Trek: TNG episode where they are stuck in a time loop.  I wanted a break from this topic so I picked up a Discworld novel, Pyramids.  Oops, so much for that plan.  I think there was even a This American Life segment about a guy time traveling to find his girlfriend a Valentine's gift.  The common theme that time is malleable started to creep into my subconscious, and I found myself daydreaming of performing tasks backwards in time.  Once I awoke in the morning to the dog asking for food, and thought "I'll go back two hours and feed her then so she doesn't wake me up now..."

Anyway Pyramids by Terry Pratchett - 9/10. 

Currently reading a Sean Carroll book about time.  Flirting with disaster?   :laugh:

Offline slippery_gypsy

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #950 on: March 30, 2018, 11:13:25 PM »
Is it really bad that i really really disliked The Foundation series and We are Legion we are Bob series ?
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Offline Redamare

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #951 on: April 01, 2018, 03:40:17 AM »
Yeah it's bad.
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Online Harry Black

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #952 on: April 01, 2018, 09:17:10 AM »
The Color Purple  5 / 10
So I am trying to diversify my reading habits both in style and author so I wanted to give this a try, knowing it is considered a classic of modern female African American literature.  It is also a book that contains neither wizards, nor robots so a big change of pace for me in terms of content.

So with that in mind, I really wanted to like this. And I did like parts of it.  I found the main character endearing and I enjoyed seeing her grow from such a defeated person into a person with a life of love of happiness.  But there were a lot of problems for me.  The writing style (a series of letters) makes the narrative disjointed and hard to follow.  Characters pop in and out and I felt like important narrative events happened "off-screen".  A major portion of the book regards the happening of a character that is effectively introduced in the middle and who's story is kind of boring. The last third of the book felt very rushed and the first third felt glacial. 
(click to show/hide)

I feel bad about not liking this.  I really did want to.  But by the end I was wondering what the Pulitzer Committee was thinking that year.
I doubt its for me either but I often think its important to consume some media that gives us more common ground with other people, even if it doesnt always mean as much to us as them.

Offline superdave

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #953 on: April 02, 2018, 09:09:59 AM »
The Stranger
Albert Camus

I am not really sure what to make of this book.  The main character is a sociopath but I think we are supposed to be rooting for him somehow? He makes terrible choices, hangs out with terrible people, and does terrible things.  I think it's sort of an "in-joke" with the author and that people who don't sympathize with the main character are just tools of society who insist on things like meaning and feelings.  Well, nuts to that.
I disavow anyone in the movement involved in any illegal,unethical, sexist, or racist behavior. However, I don't have the energy or time to investigate each person and case, and a lack of individual disavowals for each incident should not be construed as condoning such behavior.

Offline superdave

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #954 on: April 09, 2018, 10:54:05 AM »
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
As YA fiction 8/10
As any old book 6.5/10

So when the first Harry Potter made it's way to the states I was about 15, and had already read a ton of books in this genre.  Had this series come out 5 years earlier, I would have probably been all over it but by that time, I had already found the Dark Tower and that was that.

So I always wondered, was this series worth the hype or was it just the right book at the right time.  And I think mostly the latter, though the book is not without merit.
Rowling's prose and storytelling is very tight and well paced.  It didn't drag and didn't overwhelm you with details, like many books in this genre can.  Most importantly, Rowling struck gold with creating Hermione Ron and Harry.  These characters are fun to like and as imagine as a kid very easy to identify with.  She was also very clever with creating a compelling central mystery to the series.  Both of these are reasons why younger readers would just love to get their hands on the next book.

But as far as the story and the world she builds, it's pretty boilerplate and cribs liberally.  I don't have any issues with this ethically.  By the time she wrote the book, there were very well established core elements to the fantasy genre.  But having read a ton of YA fantasy already, I was bored with it.  A young person reading this for the first time must have found it amazing.

Which brings me to my final point.  The genre was ripe for a story like this.  The generation that grew up with Tolkien, L'engle, and others, had already grown up and there was not a great replacement yet.  This filled the gap very well.  And I think most importantly, while the book doesn't standout out in many ways aside from what I said above,  it really doesn't have any flaws.  It's a very well rounded piece of writing for a first time author. 

So why lowish scores.  My biggest gripe is that despite all the book does well, it doesn't challenge the reader very much compared to the great YA fiction books.  I'd love for Harry to face more ethically difficult situations and for some of his problems to be solved a little less easily.  If those happen in the later books, they could be great. 
I disavow anyone in the movement involved in any illegal,unethical, sexist, or racist behavior. However, I don't have the energy or time to investigate each person and case, and a lack of individual disavowals for each incident should not be construed as condoning such behavior.

Online Noisy Rhysling

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #955 on: April 09, 2018, 12:47:00 PM »
I'm continually fascinated by Golden (and Silver) Age SF and the things taken for granted.  Imagine the strangest, most wild, different, futuristic society, and yet the 50s-est things are all still there - gender roles, everyone smoking all the time, computers getting bigger and bigger (in volume/mass).
The thing that gets me about written sci fi, why even mention smoking?  Let alone, Scientist Bob puffed on his cigarette while analyzing samples in his lab.  I forget what story it was but, literally a guy smoking in biology lab, why? Were clean rooms not a thing?
For the same reason people smoked a lot in movies, the money was good. Tobacco companies would support movies that had smoking, and work against those that didn't. Tobacco advertisers liked to see people smoking in the pulps.
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Offline Redamare

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #956 on: April 10, 2018, 03:10:41 PM »
That, and it genuinely was part of everyday life, and really does convey a certain aesthetic. It's entirely possible that a lot of people wrote smoking into their work without giving the tobacco companies a single thought.
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Online Noisy Rhysling

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #957 on: April 11, 2018, 06:04:59 AM »
That, and it genuinely was part of everyday life, and really does convey a certain aesthetic. It's entirely possible that a lot of people wrote smoking into their work without giving the tobacco companies a single thought.
Yep. But the companies testified to basically bribing the movie makers to add smoking scenes. Filed under "Insidious Advertising."  ;)
"Sunday's horoscope is note worthy because of its strange, sudden and wholly unpredictable and inexplicable occurrences, affecting all phases of life." Your Horoscope" L.A. Evening Herald Express, Sat, 12/06/41

Offline Redamare

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #958 on: April 12, 2018, 04:42:22 AM »
true. I was thinking more of writing.
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Online Harry Black

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Re: Rate the last book you just read
« Reply #959 on: April 12, 2018, 02:55:25 PM »
Why Im No Longer Talking To Wjite People About Race by Rennie Eddo-Lodge
This is an amazing and thought provoking book about race relations and the history thereof in the UK, read by the author.
Yes. She addresses the title you dont like in the first paragraph.
No, its not an absolute rule.

I found it thought provoking and challenging. There was alot I didnt know, since race relations in the US dominate that area of media (hence I sought this out).
She really breaks down alot of principles and ideas that SJWs catch flak for using, and explains them in a way that is surprisingly patient and thorough.

I wouldnt expect the book to change many minds, but I think there are a few folks here who arent really on a 'side' who might appreciate it even if they dont agree with everything she says.
I still, for example, disagree with her definition of racism, but I must say, she did make a compelling case.

 

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