Book Club

Book Club

Postby chelsea on Fri Dec 03, 2004 11:50 am

On my bedside table at the moment:

Non-Fiction - Chuck Palahniuk

A collection of twenty four essays by the author of Fight Club. This book is one of his best, for sure. Chucks strength is in short stories, and reading through his novels you can see that each chapter is essentially it's own little story. Non-Fiction details a tarot reading by Marylin Manson, a day spent in a dalmation costume, The Rock Creek Testicle Festival, the murder of his father, life as an escort, and a few annecdotes documenting the making of the movie Fight Club among other things. This book is mana from the heavens. Absolute gold. Also, lookout for Haunted, his new novel coming next year.

Living to Tell the Tale - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Probably only enjoyable for a hardcore GGM fan, this is his autobiography. Garcia Marquez is a Nobel Prize winning author, and with good cause. Check out "Innocent Erendira and other stories" or "One hundred years of solitude" to get started on the track to enlightenment.

The World According to Garp - John Irvine

Dog eared, I can't put this book down. Currently reading for the fourth time.

I'm due for new books and so are you. Recommend some good novels.
What's on your bedside table? Discuss.
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Postby maggie on Fri Dec 03, 2004 12:27 pm

Such top shelf stuff, Chelsea! I'm gonna sound like a 12 year old as a result of my latest reading habits. Ya see, I've been on a 'juvenile' bent for 2 or 3 months now. But hear me out...

I bought my sis-in-law, who's 12, the first three Lemony Snicket books a while back and recently picked them up, read them and enjoyed them immensely. They're short, fun and clever. That led me to recall that I wanted to read:

The His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman. I'd seen mention of the (3) books from Neil Gaiman and it sounded interesting but it had slipped my mind until, after reading the above mentioned box set, I found Lyra's Oxford, a companion to the series on a marked-down table. It's a small book and a short short read, but its bound very neatly and contains a map and other doodads and it firmly cemented my resolve to read the series. Especially as it constantly made me want to hop up and draw. A very good thing.

So on my bedside are Northern Lights (aka "The Golden Compass"), the first of the three books. I'm 7/8 the way through and it also makes me want to draw. Fans of Harry Potter or the like will enjoy this, but bear in mind that it's darker, moodier and aimed a bit higher literarily. Children who struggled through reading the Potter books will not fare well here. In fact, I'd say the writing is more akin to adult fantasy literature than kiderature (a term which I just now coined, I think*. heh) like the Potter books. Nonetheless, those who read it will enjoy themselves. I've already bought the second book in anticipation of finishing the first.

Also on standby for days/nights when I'm in a different mood are:
Bill and Hillary by Christopher Anderson. The story of the former president and his wife and how they came to be who they are.
The Genesis Code by John Case. For late night 'thriller' moods. A science mystery/thriller a la Davinci Code.
Destination Unknown by Agatha Christie. The current of the ubiquitous Christie books on my bedside table. Unique in that this is a thriller, not her usual mystery book.
The Third Reich Day By Day edited by Peter Darman. Part of my current research. Highly recommended (full of reference pics!) to anyone painting with a broad literary brush in their stories. My Balustrade army in Katie Galaxy is based on the early 'Brown Shirt' years of the reich.

* - Update: It seems such an obvious play on a word that I'm a little amused now that it's not more prevalent. But according to Google only two other people have come up with it before. Odd.
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Postby chelsea on Fri Dec 03, 2004 12:38 pm

Oh, The Genesis Code is ace! If you're getting into "kiderature" check out anything by Francesca Lia Block. She writes teen fiction, mostly aimed at girls, but I've shown her book "Dangerous Angels" to just about every person I've ever met and even the hardest and toughest of men have admitted it was the best book they've read in a long time. It's out of print, so you can't get it at book stores no more, but Amazon usually have a bunch of copies.

Seriously, if you ever buy another book in your whole life, it had better be this one. You wont regret it.
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Postby Anomic on Thu Dec 16, 2004 10:30 am

I am currently reading J.G. Ballard???s Crash
and for the current script I am re-reading Nietzsche???s The Birth of Tragedy (am really interested in the schism between Apollonian and Dionysian)
as well as reading/researching LRRP (Lurps)/ long-range reconnaissance patrols their use and theory.

If anyone is interested in kids/teen fiction I strongly recommend Gary Crews Strange Objects, it???s absolutely packed with ideas not only playing with the idea of ???history??? but also questioning the notion of knowledge and narrative (Foucault style).

I am also reading the short works of Oscar Wilde to my daughter just because she likes to see Dad cry, why doesn???t the swallow just get the fuck out of there??
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Postby David Bird on Sun Dec 26, 2004 9:51 am

Hi folks

I stand in mute awe at the diversity of books you're all reading.

Santa has left some fiction in my stocking (for the 'supposed' spare time I've got to be reading these days):
Dan Brown's DIGITAL FORTRESS
Lorenzo Carcaterra's PARADISE CITY
Anyone heard of these?

When I last had time to spare (was back in B.C. - before children) the last 3 pieces of fiction I was reading were:
- James Ellroy's THE COLD SIX THOUSAND, his most recent foray into the moral bankruptcy of the United States
- Nick Bantock's THE FORGETTING ROOM, the adventure of a man being drawn into 'a series of surreal conundrums of perception and memory' in the studio of his deceased grandfather
- a strange 'novelisation' of Orson Welles' MR ARKADIN, credited to him, but officially denied by him that he ever 'wrote' a book version.

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Postby Craig on Mon Dec 27, 2004 5:30 pm

Over this new year break I'm finding much needed time to really read some books.

I'm currently reading a number of trilogies. Babylon 5: Legions of Fire by Peter David. Soon to start the second book, when my local bookshop gets the third in for me.

His Dark Materials:
I'm almost finished "the Subtle Knife", the second book in the series. This series has got some excellent ideas in it. I borrowed it from my local library. They keep it in the new YA (Young Adult) section with TPBs of XMen (but not Joss Whedon's). As soon as I'm finished SK I go straight into The Amber Spyglass. Now, I've got one up on all those kids who have read Harry Potter, and are so smart (Altho I read Prisoner of Azkhaban there's something missing ....), but, Harry's no Lyra.

The 'multiverse' is one of my favorite fictional ideas used effectively by such diverse folk as DC Comics, Michael Moorcock and Robert Anton Wilson, amongst others. The device's (Allethiometer, Subtle Knife) are both original and unequaled in fantasy lit.

According to the author's site http://www.philip-pullman.com "Lyra's Oxford" is a bridge to the next book ..... Also has recent news on the movie (Chris Weitz's name is also linked to the proposed Elric of Melnibone (2006) film).

Michael Chabon's "Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" is next on my read-list.

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Postby maggie on Tue Dec 28, 2004 12:52 am

I know exactly what you mean about 'His Dark Materials', Craig. I'm about through 'The Subtle Knife' as well and am already eagerly looking forward to the 3rd.

But what I really wanted to say is how much I envy your impending experience of 'The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay'. It's one of the best books I've read in the past 10 or so years. Anyone who hasn't considered it, please do. You will not regret it. An instant classic. That phrase is a bit overdone, but in this case it's completely true (true enough to have won Chabon a Pulitzer). Magnificent writing and an amazing story. One of those "ohmygod, how'd it get to be 4 a.m.!?!?" reads.
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Postby Egofreaky on Tue Dec 28, 2004 9:28 am

Chelsea: If you haven't read Pahalnuik's Choke yet, go do so now... It's like he'd just finished writing Fight Club and said "Hmmm, now let's right something REALLY fucked up"

At the moment I'm somewhere inthe middle of David Brim's Uplift series, and am peppering that out with Scott Adam's set of management books (currently on The Way of the Weasel)
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Postby chelsea on Tue Dec 28, 2004 1:58 pm

Choke was the first Palahniuk book I'd read. It's my favourite of his and I'd say it's maybe my third favourite novel? A very good book.
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Postby Laocorn on Wed Dec 29, 2004 4:05 pm

johnny the homicidal maniac - is pretty much all I'm readin at the moment... actually give me 5 more minutes and I'll be finished...

other then that I've got Needful Things by Stephen King sitting here that I still have to dig into...
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Postby maggie on Thu Dec 30, 2004 11:56 pm

chelsea wrote:Choke was the first Palahniuk book I'd read. It's my favourite of his and I'd say it's maybe my third favourite novel? A very good book.


In a bout of hometown pride, I would like to note that both Palahniuk and Mike Mignola live in my old home town, Portland, Oregon. Sadly I never met either of them. :/
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Postby makepeace on Mon Feb 07, 2005 7:16 pm

My wife recently finished reading the farseer/liveship books by Robin Hobb and has started reading the Magician series by Raymond Feist but is not 'getting into it' like she did with the Hobb books.
Can anyone recommend some fantasy novels (preferably a series) that would have the same emotional hook as Hobbs books?
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Postby Doctor Radium on Mon Apr 11, 2005 4:57 pm

Just read:

"The Baroque Trilogy" by Neal Stephenson. Took bloody ages too as the the three books (Quicksilver, The Confusion and The System of the World) are a hefty 800+ pages, and just too damn full of annoyingly intriguing facts, ideas, characters and some very jokes. I really did not realise that the birth of the scientific method, international currency trading, alchemy, newspapers and the rudiments of computing were all so intertwined, fascinating and amusing. Also features a fabulous bitchfight between Leibinitz and Isaac Newton over who invented calculus first, a afscinating look at 18th century London and the adventures of the great Vagabond King "Half-cocked Jack" Shaftoe plus the secrets of King Solomons gold. Great stuff but read it in bursts like I did or you risk information overload.


Midnight Tides: Malazan Book of The Fallen #5 - Stephen Erikson I'm kinda over most high fanstasy - quite frankly I just do not want another piss-poor mort d'arthur (the original was bad enough) written by an inevitably bearded American with lots of plotting skill but no characters and no believability, but there are a few authors working in the genre who have the stuff - and Erikson is one. Erikson is a trained anthropologist and it shows in his writing, with believable societies and races clashing in a truly epic struggle. Add to that some truly innovative and well written set-piece battles, terrific (and sometimes down-right hilarious) dialogue, memorable characters and a world that feels dangerously real and you have an author who really is leading the pack in a genre that despite it's rising popularity is growing increasingly stale. The latest tome draws some deft parallels with current world economic and political situations, adding a further level of interest for the astute reader. Can't reccommend this one (or any of the books in this series) highly enough.

Maul - Tricia Sullivan I'd never heard of this writer before, literally buying this one on a whim in a remaindered bookshop, but if her other novels are anywhere as good as this one then I could just have a new author in my top 10. With two, equally interesting plot strands, this novel comes across as one of the most culturally subversive novels I've read in years, packed with action, humour and the very best in designer labels darling. With it's barbed commentary on the role of women and the derranged status of men in 21st century consumer society this book treads dangerous ground - in fact it's lucky she's a woman as any man who wrote a novel like this would immediately have a feminist fatwah on their head. Be warned: there is much violence, a wee bit of drug use, a hell of a lot of shopping, plenty of sex and liberal use of the "c" word, but for those with the stomach this is well worth hunting down and it's easy to see why the title was short-listed for the prestigous BFSA award. One of the funniest, most daring and compelling books I've ever read. Head to http://books.guardian.co.uk/reviews/sci ... 10,00.html for a far better review than mine, with all the salient plot details.
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Postby Doctor Radium on Mon Apr 18, 2005 3:08 am

Also just finished Zeitgeist by Bruce "The Chairman" Sterling. One of the founding fathers of the "mirrorshades" group responsible for cyberpunk (at least as most folks know it - don't get me started!), Sterling still manages to come up with the goods 20 years after his groundbreaking posthumanist Schismatrix sequence. In Zeitgeist it's 1999 and freakish denizen of wayout political/technical/economic/popculture scenes Leggy Starlitz has gone legit...sort of. He's managing one of the highest selling (outside of the USA) girlbands of all time G7, and prepping himself for the end of civilisation when one or two...complications step in - a Turkish heroin smuggler and terrorist who thinks he's some sort of bizarre mindmeld between Attaturk and James Bond, his previously unseen 10 year old daughter who shares his mysterious ability to never show up on surveillance cameras, a cancer ridden Soviet fighter ace and smuggler who has somehow "borrowed" Slobodan Milosivec's private (inflatible!) stealth plane and then suddenly the G7 girls start dying...oh and a disreputable papparzzi photographer has just turned up with Lady Di's festering corpse in a hatbox...Can anyone say Culture War?

There's too much going on in this feisty little paperback but then with someone of Sterling's talents this can only be a good thing. Bizarre, surreal and very insightful - if only some of the "brainstrust" t the Pentagon had read this book before deciding to send troops to Afghanistan & Iraq...
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Postby Caleb on Tue May 24, 2005 8:31 pm

Eugh.... just found this thread.... ewwww.... Chuck Palahniuk .... oh god. I have never ever ever been remotely disturbed by violence of any kind until I read one of his short stories.
I sat thru se7en, saw, hannibal without throwing up but I almost couldn't finish "Guts" from his latest collection of stories "Haunted." Apparently people passed out at readings on his book tour.

ewww eww ewww ewww auuurgh!. Fucking genius writer tho.

I'm reading Middlemarch... god it's boring. Plus george eliot is a woman. sooo boring. Just finished Tigana (best fantasy novel ever written. all bow before it.) and have to read Things Fall Apart again before my english exam on thurs. (Good novel, year 12 ruined it.) Much recommended book of the month - Perfume by Patrick Susskind. Gad it's good. better then good. eerie.

EGAD! and whoever it was, (i'm sorry, i'm in edit, i forget the quote) who said that Strange Objects is a good novel I must object. I had to do it in year 10 and write numerous essays on its godawfulness and I truly believe that our obsession with pretending West Australian history is remotely interesting (Mandragora, i'm looking at you too) makes our literiture sooooo dull. Speaking from the perspective of a young adult you can't honestly believe that we can stomach that tripe. We did To Kill a Mockingbird straight after and it made Strange Objects look like an obvious mallet painted a painful shade of red. At least pretend to not write down to us.
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