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2014 50 Book Challenge - Page 91

post #1351 of 2249

What? HP 1,3 + 4 are totally rad (in a 'I read this when I was 10 and loved it') - everything else is fucking awful.

 

Susannah Clarke's length, though can be intimidating - I lent it to one of the kids at school though.

post #1352 of 2249
23. Nana - Emile Zola.

This is a social satire of France under Napoleon III. It charts the life of Nana, the capricious courtesan incarnate, from debut in the theatre, to a life of wealth backed by the consumption of myriad fortunes. Zola's naturalism allowed him to document various characteristic types and let the drama unfold by imagining their interactions. This is one of a series of his books examining different aspects of society in such a way.

24. The Prism and the Pendulum - Robert P. Crease.

The ten most beautiful experiments in science are explained together with the history of the experiments and experimenters themselves. After each experiment is a brief interlude in which a philosophic idea is examined in the context of the experiment. Being in physics I did not mind that all ten experiments are physics experiments, though scientists in other areas may feel they have cause for complaint.
post #1353 of 2249
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

What? HP 1,3 + 4 are totally rad (in a 'I read this when I was 10 and loved it') - everything else is fucking awful.

Susannah Clarke's length, though can be intimidating - I lent it to one of the kids at school though.

Not that much more intimidating than HP7's 800pp, surely.

I read HP1 when it first came out and found it a yawn. Truly, Rowling's only new idea was quidditch; pretty much everything else in the book is rehashed from others' work. That's fine, and quite common, but what is not common is the slavish herd mentality cult that grew around this totally deriviative and unremarkable book, with people even claiming that Rowling was solely responsible for children reading. It pissed me off, frankly, that it got all this adulation while authors that she'd borrowed from, like Diana Wynn Jones, were represented as influenced by HER. Pretty good effort considing Jones was writing her books about a boy wizard in the '80s. And FFS even Russian vampire goth lit was being marketed as influenced by Rowling. The whole scam made me want to up-chuck; it's the complete triumph of marketing over content.

Clarke's book has ideas in it I can't recall seeing anywhere else. I'm far happier to immerse myself in 1000pp of something new and interesting over 800pp of formulaic dreck in need of a bloody good edit.
post #1354 of 2249
I thought Quidditch derived from DeLillo's nuclear football in End Zone, which also spawned Eschaton in Infinite Jest?

Or possibly the big set pieces from Ender's Game, now that I think about it.

Seems like a lot of books have used this?
.

Edited by noob - 12/9/13 at 4:29pm
post #1355 of 2249
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post


Not that much more intimidating than HP7's 800pp, surely.

I read HP1 when it first came out and found it a yawn. Truly, Rowling's only new idea was quidditch; pretty much everything else in the book is rehashed from others' work. That's fine, and quite common, but what is not common is the slavish herd mentality cult that grew around this totally deriviative and unremarkable book, with people even claiming that Rowling was solely responsible for children reading. It pissed me off, frankly, that it got all this adulation while authors that she'd borrowed from, like Diana Wynn Jones, were represented as influenced by HER. Pretty good effort considing Jones was writing her books about a boy wizard in the '80s. And FFS even Russian vampire goth lit was being marketed as influenced by Rowling. The whole scam made me want to up-chuck; it's the complete triumph of marketing over content.

Clarke's book has ideas in it I can't recall seeing anywhere else. I'm far happier to immerse myself in 1000pp of something new and interesting over 800pp of formulaic dreck in need of a bloody good edit.

 

Epic rant, CD, epic.

 

I'd challenge you on the uncommon nature of a slavish, herd foaming at the mouth over something both dull and unoriginal - seems cyclic in an art form where marketing triumphs over substance (and seems to have since, basically, Victorian times).

 

People are idiots, but I enjoyed reading the earlier books - even if they were complete rehashings of someone else's ideas. For a 9, 10, 12 year old the originality isn't really that relevant. It probably has a lot to do with age - I can't imagine an emotionally mature person enjoying reading about a self-centred fail whale like HP.

 

Surely one must feel similarly about other massively popular shit: Eat, Pray, Love, or most vampire books (which are just rehashing 'the vampyr' a poem by Maxwell), etc, etc, etc.

post #1356 of 2249
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

. Truly, Rowling's only new idea was quidditch; pretty much everything else in the book is rehashed from others' work. .

Quidditch was only a new idea because the game made zero logical sense. One could explain that away as a sign of wizard "quirkiness", but really, the rules are illogical. None of the game matters except for the seeker.
post #1357 of 2249
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nil View Post

Quidditch was only a new idea because the game made zero logical sense. One could explain that away as a sign of wizard "quirkiness", but really, the rules are illogical. None of the game matters except for the seeker.

Wrong forum, Nil, but do you think Rogers will play Sun?
post #1358 of 2249
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nil View Post


Quidditch is a cleverly created vehicle to paint HP as an outsider who is fundamentally important, yet still part of a larger group, sort of

 

We can spin this another way ;)

post #1359 of 2249
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post

Wrong forum, Nil, but do you think Rogers will play Sun?

It's been a full six weeks since he broke it. Considering we're still in hunt for the NFC North lead, something I'm completely surprised about, I think he has to. If we win out I think it's likely we'll get the title. I doubt the Lions' ability to win 3 in a row.
post #1360 of 2249
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

Epic rant, CD, epic.

smile.gif A pet hate of mine.
Quote:
Surely one must feel similarly about other massively popular shit: Eat, Pray, Love, or most vampire books (which are just rehashing 'the vampyr' a poem by Maxwell), etc, etc, etc.

I do. Don't get me started on Dan Brown or 50 Shades.
post #1361 of 2249
Clockwise counting 97/50: Juan Gabriel Vasquez - The Secret History of Costaguana (2007) 

Colombian novelist Vasquez has written a fictional 19th century historical account of the Colombian province Panama and the plans for building the canal. At the centre of the story is Jose Altamirano, whose search for his father leads him to the centre of Panama's revolutionary history and from there to the centre of literary history as his experiences influence Joseph Conrad in the writing of Nostromo.

This is great stuff, albeit heavier going compared to Vasquez' widely acclaimed and recent 3rd novel The Sound of Things Falling and possibly a tiny bit less amazing. Vasquez is here depicting another phase of tragic Colombian history and it seems his debut novel, The Informers, which I have yet to read, is likewise taking its base in Colombian history.

There is no doubt that Vasquez is one of Latin America's most important contemporary  novelists. I will eagerly follow his writing from here on.
post #1362 of 2249
Clockwise counting 98/50: Tana French - Faithful Place (2010) 

This is French' 3rd novel about the Dublin police and the solving of mysterious old crimes. A distinct difference between this book and its two predecessors, is that Faithful Place is primarily a story about a dysfunctional violent family in a poor and rundown part of Dublin. Her earlier two novels have been more straightforward psychological whodunnits. 

French is a good and entertaining writer and her crime novels are certainly one step up from the normal fodder served in airport bookstores. 
post #1363 of 2249
Quote:
Originally Posted by California Dreamer View Post

I do. Don't get me started on Dan Brown or 50 Shades.

 

I have a DB rant - but more about how idiotic people were in their reactions tot he novel 'Da Vinci Code' which states 'THIS IS FICTION' yet still people assume it's a re-telling of history based on research, etc.

 

It's all a bit silly, really.

post #1364 of 2249
Yep. And on 50 Shades, fusty old man me just wonders when it became socially acceptable for professional women to read soft porn on the train.
Edited by California Dreamer - 12/10/13 at 2:39am
post #1365 of 2249
25. Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway.

A group of wealthy (mostly) Americans travel down from Paris to Pamplona for some fishing and to watch the bull fights. All the men are in love with Brett ("curves like the hull of a racing yacht"). The narrator, Jake, has lost his prospects of a relationship with her due to a war injury rending him impotent. Meanwhile, amid the drinking and restlessness of the Fiesta, bickering amongst the suitors ensues.

Decided to read this, a favourite, to bring up 25 books.
Edited by aKula - 12/10/13 at 3:08pm
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