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sleeping_satsuma 17-02-2005 20:30:40


Originally posted by King_Ghidra
i only read in two situations at the moment:

1) at the train station or on the train (maybe 20 minutes total a day)

2) in the bath (maybe 45 mins a couple of times a week if i need a really relaxing soak)

occasionally i read outside of that to finish a book off

i read at a decent speed, but by comparison with normal books i absolutely whizzed through the his dark materials trilogy

i was surprised by how quickly i made it through one hundred years of solitude, i thought that was going to be quite a chore - but when i read war and peace last year i think that was literally a couple of months if not more

reading on the train is cool because i can work through a book at a gradual but steady pace and still have an opportunity to think about what i'm reading

Must...erase...image of bath....from mind..... :D

sleeping_satsuma 17-02-2005 20:51:58


Originally posted by Funkodrom
:eek: How do you read so slowly?
I never seem to have time to read, or rather I've got into the bad habit of spending all my time on the net or watching TV in the evenings. Also there are so many things I want to read that I just flit from one to another. Plus I'm an unnaturally slow reader. Its like I'm afraid to miss the detail or something. For someone who did an English degree its very weird I know! DH whizzes through books in a few days, It'll take me about a month to read an average novel

The Bursar 17-02-2005 21:10:23

I think broadly speaking there are two reading speeds. There's "slow" where you read every word, as if internally reading aloud, and there's "fast", where you see what is written and your brain parses it into meaning.

zmama 17-02-2005 21:17:40

I literally "see" the scene as a whole when I read...not the words so much

Funkodrom 17-02-2005 21:37:22


Originally posted by sleeping_satsuma
ah funny story- I bought it off amazon, showed it to DH and he said 'I've just unpacked that! Turns out I must have bought it last year, so now I have two copies! Haven't read either of them yet !

you can have one if you want- I'll pop over to reading for a drink after work or something. I've got that other book of yours too that I've had for about a year so I can give it back finally. Never read that either.

Cool. I'll buy it off you if you want.

I think I have one of yours too? Jeff Noon? Or did I give that back.

Funkodrom 17-02-2005 21:38:24


Originally posted by zmama
I literally "see" the scene as a whole when I read...not the words so much
Yeah. That's pretty much it.

Which is why I have to slow down if I need to pay attention to every word.

sleeping_satsuma 19-02-2005 14:51:56


Originally posted by Funkodrom
Cool. I'll buy it off you if you want.

I think I have one of yours too? Jeff Noon? Or did I give that back.

Just buy me a beer or something. I think you gave Jeff Noon back.

sleeping_satsuma 19-02-2005 14:57:56


Originally posted by The Bursar
I think broadly speaking there are two reading speeds. There's "slow" where you read every word, as if internally reading aloud, and there's "fast", where you see what is written and your brain parses it into meaning.
When I read text books I can skim/precis them at the speed of light which is why I never revise or spend ages prepping for essays, but with fiction I feel compelled to soak up every word. Having said that, if I'm really into a book I'll go faster. I suspect for most people its the other way around.

I also find it really hard if I've enjoyed a book, to pick up another and get into it because its really fresh in my mind and i cant then be convinced by the second book. I can never remember any details after either, just the main thrust of the plot. It must be to do with how we all process information.

jsorense 23-03-2005 22:17:58

I just finished Kim Stanley Robinson's The Years of Rice and Salt (2003). As an alternate history it was mildly interesting but for its 763 page (paperback) length, I did not think it was worth it for me.

Next up is John McPhee's Assembling California (1993). I think I should have read this one 12 years ago.:nervous:

RedFred 24-03-2005 02:46:28

John McPhee is perhaps the best non-fiction author of the 20th century.

Qaj the Fuzzy Love Worm 24-03-2005 04:22:38

I'm currently reading the OpenGL Redbook and Bluebook reference manuals. They're no War and Peace, but interesting.

I think the butler does it.

King_Ghidra 24-03-2005 08:57:15

Finished Amis' London Fields a few weeks back, had to skim read the last 150 pages because i got bored. Amis is a brilliant writer but his storytelling is so laboured - Effectively all his stories are crap thrillers. London Fields, far more than something like Money, is dragged out way beyond its life. Amis can write brilliantly about absolutely anything but to put together a cohesive novel seems to be something of a struggle.

Now reading Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, which is not only a mammoth 750 pages but is also extremely confusing, dense and insane. However it is touched rather heavily by genius. 200 pages in so far.

MOBIUS 24-03-2005 11:44:47

So he's a 'brilliant writer', but he bored the pants off you...:p

MoSe 24-03-2005 11:53:51

another Pynchon reader, yes!
I still miss that one tho.

Currently halfway Paul Bowles' "The Sheltering Sky" (in english).
Must decide what to bring on to my seaside week :)
Can't bring down too much weight tho, or I'll exceed the limits when I'll pack in a 4kg sardinian pecorino mold (wheel? sp?) on my flight back :D

King_Ghidra 24-03-2005 11:59:37


Originally posted by MOBIUS
So he's a 'brilliant writer', but he bored the pants off you...:p
i know you used the smiley there and of course it does sound funny, but i hope you can see what i mean

amis is brilliant in his use of language, his imagination and turn of phrase, he is daring, controversial, spins out amazing paragraphs on particular topics - but that does not mean he can tell a good story

i would compare it to watching that korean keepy up guy vs watching an actual football match. the keepy up guy can do stuff that makes you go woah! but you wouldn't sit and watch it for 90 minutes, it would be bloody boring

fp 24-03-2005 18:23:18

If a writer can't hold the attention of his audience then I call him a bad writer. The best writers use language in interesting, beautiful and inventive ways and still manage to tell a good story. Amis can only do half the job and is therefore only half a writer. There are people who manage to tell an interesting story well and yet write as though they squeezed the language out of their arse (Da Vinci Code, anyone?). They suck too, but at least one can manage to finish the books without falling asleep. ;)

fp 24-03-2005 18:23:53

That keepy up guy is pretty cool to watch, though. :D

fp 24-03-2005 18:25:34


Originally posted by fp
The best writers use language in interesting, beautiful and inventive ways and still manage to tell a good story.
Also, we might need to dust off the Captain Obvious AE for this one. Fuck it, I can't write either.

Darkstar 24-03-2005 19:18:18

Different audiences need different language use to interest them. So being a good writer using interesting, beautiful, and inventitive ways does no good if you are talking over the head or below the knees of a particular reader. But that is so obvious, even Captian Obvious would explode trying to say it. Luckily, I'm too thick for such a minor thing to trouble me.

BigGameHunter 24-03-2005 21:47:23

Many back issues of Model Railroader magazine.

zmama 25-03-2005 04:03:24

Game strategy guide

RedFred 26-03-2005 08:14:30

Gravity's Rainbow was great... even better than V. or The Crying of Lot 39.

alsieboo 28-03-2005 09:20:50

Penny Vincenzi - Forbidden Places. I'm a bit upset because it doesn't have the Lytton family in it, but it's proving to be almost as good.

Also read Falling Sideways - Tom Holt. Interesting concept, people evolved from frogs, only needing a bag of sugar to change dimensions, cloning costing about £100. Good book though.

Sir Penguin 28-03-2005 10:05:03

Complete Adventurer, by Jesse Decker.

This 3.5 edition supplement of the D&D system is the latest member of the Complete family--following Complete Divine, Complete Warrior, and Complete Arcane. "Adventurer" doesn't focus on any specific class type, but rather on skill use and character customisation. It introduces/updates the Ninja (updated from Oriental Adventures), the Scout (like a Ranger, but with roguish abilities instead of divine spellcasting), and Spellthief (a rogue/arcane caster who can steal his opponents magical power) base classes, and includes about two dozen new and updated prestige classes. Fewer base and prestige classes stand out as awesome in this book than in Complete Arcane (which I finished a couple weeks ago). Class features in Complete Adventurer are comparatively limited in power, instead giving characters high skill points per level and numerous class skills. A major focus is multiclassing, and opening up character classes to multiclassing--for example, there is one prestige class, the Shadowbane Inquisitor, that requires a character to have the turn undead and sneak attack class abilities. It allows Paladins to multiclass freely with the Rogue class. Another prestige class, the Fochlucan Lyrist, requires that a character be able to cast 1st-level arcane and divine spells, and have the bardic knowledge and evasion class abilities--this PrC is good for Bard/Druid/Rogue characters, and basically allows the character to advance parts of all three classes at once.

A lot of players will probably be mostly interested in the new skills and feats, which I haven't read about yet, instead of the new classes. Like I said, the classes aren't flashy, but they are great for rollplaying, which will definitely attract some players. The options presented allow for some interesting and unique characters, for those players who don't just want to kill things. Dungeon Masters will find some very useful classes for their higher-level NPCs, and many ideas for class adaptation and world integration.

I am very impressed by the Complete series of books, in general. I own all of them except for Divine--they are the only D&D books I own aside form the Player's Handbook and Monster Manual. They are extensive (running upwards of 200 pages each), informative, and imaginitive. Each gives three new or updated base classes (including Epic progression descriptions), a whole bunch of new prestige classes, DM notes, new skill uses, new feats, new spells, new magic items and monsters, new organizations, campaign ideas, and on and on. They really are complete, so much so that characters of any class will find items of interest in each. They come highly recommended.


BigGameHunter 30-03-2005 08:22:25

Do all my old D&D books no longer apply?
I was hoping to sell them on Ebay...

Sir Penguin 30-03-2005 09:52:51

There's lots of supply, but not much demand at all for non-3.0 or 3.5 edition D&D books on eBay. There isn't even much demand for 3.5e books, although I have been foiled out of a copy of the Draconomicon a couple times. I bought all my D&D books at the opening bid.


jsorense 30-03-2005 18:28:17

Nerd Forum!

Qaj the Fuzzy Love Worm 30-03-2005 18:43:22

I was in the neurologist's waitiing room the other day, and found this masterpiece, which I enjoyed immensely purely for how utterly crap and laughable it was:

I remember when these things first came out in those school book club coupons.

Sir Penguin 31-03-2005 02:16:00


Originally posted by jsorense
Nerd Forum!
Fossil forum!


RedFred 01-04-2005 03:11:52

:lol: at that illustration.

What could be worse? A shuttle that can't land because of a wing on the bottom of the craft... the giant man-eating space fern... having a really big bird crap on your briefcase... or living on a planet with a red halo and a really wacky cloud pattern?

Sir Penguin 01-04-2005 03:37:50

You get to choose!


BigGameHunter 01-04-2005 06:27:47

That's the beauty. I loved those books.

Currently reading "Mockingbird" by the guy who wrote The Man Who Fell to Earth.

It's one of those "society is winding down and robots run the show" books. Good so far.

Qaj the Fuzzy Love Worm 01-04-2005 22:22:14

Hey, the book said it was a planet of evil mind stealing aliens. Or it was abandoned. Or there was an antimatter storm or some bollocks like that.

Gotta dig the captain's hat, though.

King_Ghidra 10-05-2005 09:12:22

Finally finished Gravity's Rainbow on the weekend. Throughly enjoyed it, and it is quite breathtaking as a writing achievement, if not so satisfying as a narrative :clueless:

Started The Tale of Genji today. I may have this one finished by christmas...

Fergus & The Brazen Car 12-05-2005 13:38:11

Just finished a biography/reminiscence of Bruce Chatwin by one of his former editors, ' With Chatwin '.

Kitsuki 12-05-2005 16:12:03

I read the TV guide this morning.

Immortal Wombat 12-05-2005 16:50:40

I've just finished a biography of Achirimbi, who was Fon of Bafut in the early 20th century, as Cameroon was passed from German to British to independant administration. It was pretty good, although it was more of a study of village life than a biography as such.

Am now reading Foucault's Pendulum, having heard good things about Eco.

Kitsuki 13-05-2005 13:21:44

On a more serious note, reading Alan Clark: The Last Diaries. The man was a legend.

alsieboo 14-05-2005 15:30:38

P.J Tracey - Want to play?

just the same as all those other crime novels really, just with a little less romance.

Starting a new trilogy, 'The Magicians Guild' by Trudi Canavan. Seems good so far, it's a fantasy series, about a bunch of magicians, obviously, who are hunting for this girl from the slums who has untrained magic. She seeks help from a gang, who take her to theives for protection, and all the while the magicians are seeking her out, yadda yadda yadda.

Greg W 14-05-2005 15:37:11

I'm reading Bono - On Bono. Pretty cool, convos he had with a friend/journalist over the years. I never realised he knew his wife since school...

King_Ghidra 09-06-2005 10:23:43

About a third of the way through The Tale of Genji. It's cool, a very strange, alien culture from a 21st century western perspective, but yet still very easy to get on with and it is beautifully written.

One problem is the sheer number of characters and the fact that they are often referred to by different terms. Similarly as the passage of time goes on, the character who was the emperor now becomes his eminence the retired emperor and the previous retired emperor gets another name and now the new emperor's wife who was called one title now gets another, etc, etc.

Keeping track of the sheer number of wome nGenji has on the go is another challenge. He has a formal wife and then various ladies who he is courting, some sexually, some not and it's all very complex, especially as they all declare undying love to each other every time they talk.

Fergus & The Brazen Car 09-06-2005 11:33:08

Reading James P. Blaylock's 'The Homunculus'.

Very amusing, and it isn't about William Hague.

' "Does the night seem uncommonly full of dead men and severed heads to you?" Langdon St. Ives, Victorian scientist-of-leisure, grapples with the vivisectionist, animator-of-the-dead Narbondo. Homunculi, the late Joanna Southcote, and carp run amok in late-Victorian London. '

Darkly atmospheric, Homunculus weaves together the stories of Narbondo -- a mad hunchback who works tirelessly to bring the dead back to life, of the members of the Trismegistus Club -- a surly group of scientists and philosophers who meet at Captain Powers' Pipe Shop, and of the homunculus -- a tiny man whose powers can drive men to murder.

Scabrous Birdseed 09-06-2005 17:49:39

Reading a set of accounts of Swedish architectural debate 1890-1930, charting the decline of "style" architecture and the ascent of, in turn, national romantic arts-and-crafts-inspired brick architecture, scandinavian neo-classicism and functionalist international style modernism. It's great fun!

jsorense 10-06-2005 03:46:22

I am just fininishing up John Keegan's "Six Armies in Normandy" (1982)
Did you know that the Canadians and French actually faught in WW II?;)

Fergus & The Brazen Car 10-06-2005 09:59:38


Originally posted by jsorense
I am just fininishing up John Keegan's "Six Armies in Normandy" (1982)
Did you know that the Canadians and French actually faught in WW II?;)

Yes, and unlike the Americans, the Canadians didn't wait to be attacked first to join in against the Axis. ;)

BigGameHunter 10-06-2005 19:41:27

Wow, could that be because they had a real governmental connection to England whereas ours was merely idealogical?
Do ya think?

jsorense 10-06-2005 19:56:26

Well, the British did give them a nice vacation at the French resort town of Dieppe. :(

Fergus & The Brazen Car 11-06-2005 09:50:34


Originally posted by BigGameHunter
Wow, could that be because they had a real governmental connection to England whereas ours was merely idealogical?
Do ya think?

Perhaps it was because they realized the world extended beyond the boundaries of North America ?

RedFred 11-06-2005 22:36:22

The allies knew that the raid in Dieppe would fail before it was launched. Basically the Germans got wind of it, but for the allies call it off would be to reveal to the Germans that their Enigma coded messages were compromised.

For more on this topic there is an excellent book: "A Man Called Intrepid".

Scabrous Birdseed 08-07-2005 17:32:04

I just read a collection of short stories by Ray Chandler, connected by the fact that they'd all been "cannibalised" (chandler's own words) in his novels. Two short stories make up significant bits of The Big Sleep, three contribute extensively to Farewell, My Lovely and so on. A very interesting read, especially the early ones he nicked bits off for The Big Sleep.

The most interesting thing about them is how crap they are.

They lag behind in all the areas that make Chandler's novels great - interesting, detailed and poetic descriptions of a fully realised fictional world, psychological realism, complex characters, deep emotions. The locations are largely clichés, you never feel you're in them the way you do in the novels. The characters, even the hero, are pretty flat too. None of the sleuths have Marlowe's strange warped moral sense, his stubbornness, his soft interior, his wit - they've just got the other bits, the hard exterior, the knight-like allegiance to the client, the hard-boiled lingo.

At that point he was still very much an oil executive turned pulp writer. The later stories get progressively better, but none compare to the novels he wrote later.

I still really wanna read Playback. How can Penguin publish six out of his seven novels in two volumes? Why not three in one and four in the other?

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