What have you been reading?

Johnny Blade

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Books are media after all.
I've been rereading the Brother Karamazov for about the third time and some of Aristophanes's comedies in between to lighten the mood. Brothers K grows and grows on me with each rereading, and Aristophanes is still so freaking actual It's scary.
What about you?
 

Voros

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The Brothers K has some of the best and worse of Dostoyesvsky, obviously the Grand Inquisitor is brilliant and the explanation of Hell but that sentimental ending...for me The Devils is the best of the huge Dostoyesksky novels.

I'm reading The Coming Insurrection by The Invisible Committee a radical left manifesto by some pseudo-French terrorists in the late 2000s. The grandiose statements and paranoia strike me as silly but it is written with that panache and polemical style that is very French.
 

Necrozius

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Non-gaming book that I'm working through: The Book of Runes by Ralph Blum. It was given to me by a Wiccan ex-girlfriend.

I'm fascinated with the Tarot and I-Ching, not as New Age claptrap but as tools to tap into other parts of my brain when trying to get a different perspective on challenges in life. I also love cultural anthropology, and while I don't believe in magic or divination (Carl Sagan and the Amazing Randi are the greatest) I still have a guilty pleasure for learning about occult matters*.

So far it's very interesting. Only a few eye rolls. The author is really into pan-theism, that is, he seems to dig a lot of religions, or at least where they intersect.

I would have liked a bit more history on Norse mythology and Asatru though. Perhaps there's more to it later.

* Not to psychoanalyze myself, but for some reason the occult is sexy to me. Might be due to having an overbearing, hyper-Christian mother and that my first girlfriend was a crazy goth chick (not the same person who gave me this book). Who knows.
 

Voros

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The Golden Deer collection is a pretty impeccable selection of fantasy classics but a lot of those books are easily accessible used and these budget ebooks are often shittily formatted with loads of typos, etc.
 

Baeraad

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I'm working my way through Night Film by Marisha Pessl with some difficulty. It's all very stylish and evocative, but I feel like the plot (which revolves around an investigation into the supposed suicide of the daughter of a reclusive and controversal movie director) is moving at a pretty slow pace and not giving me a lot of reasons to care.

Part of it is that the protagonist / narrator really grinds against my nerves, too. I'm sure that's very intentional - he's supposed to rub the reader the wrong way and make them feel a bit uncomfortable with being in his head - but all the same, he's just such a charmless douche. And not even in a particularly interesting way, just your well-tread garden-variety smarter-and-more-worldly-than-thou intellectual workaholic.
 

Stevethulhu

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I've been ploughing my way through James Barclay's Chronicles of the Raven. It's your fairly typical action fantasy series, with a mercenary team of ridiculously badass people trying to save the world yet again. But it's also fun, doesn't take itself too seriously and has no pretenses of being High Art or Great Literature. And the characters are gloriously cheesy fun, too.
 

The Butcher

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The Golden Deer collection is a pretty impeccable selection of fantasy classics but a lot of those books are easily accessible used and these budget ebooks are often shittily formatted with loads of typos, etc.
Tell me about it. The inexistent shelves of my Kindle library are lined with regret.
 

Dumarest

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Just ended a solid month of Western novels, mainly Louis L'Amour. Currently getting to the end of Le Capitaine Fracasse by Théophile Gautier, which I intend to follow up with either Captain Nemesis by F. van Wyck Mason, The Privateer by Jon Williams (creator of the Privateers and Gentleman RPG), The Marvelous Land of Oz , or else some Alexandre Dumas, likely La Reine Margot or The Forty-Five Guardsmen. In my experience you can never go wrong with Dumas and are always guaranteed, at the very least, a thoroughly entertaining read.
 

Dumarest

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The Golden Deer collection is a pretty impeccable selection of fantasy classics but a lot of those books are easily accessible used and these budget ebooks are often shittily formatted with loads of typos, etc.
Is this a book of Hindu/Indian mythology?
 

Dumarest

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Books are media after all.
:heart:
I spend far more time reading than I do watching TV and haven't seen a film in the theater in 5 years, discounting two educational IMAX movies at the science museum while chaperoning my kids on school field trips.
 

Voros

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Is this a book of Hindu/Indian mythology?
No it is a ebook package of public domain fantasy novels but as I said I'd be wary of shitty formatting and even typos, etc.

With Le Guin passing I was thinking of revisiting the Earthsea novels. I think she was a much better fantasy writer than sf, I found her sf too didactic for my tastes although The Word for World is Forest is an exciting novella if a bit too obviously a Vietnam fable.
 

Dumarest

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Finished Le Capitaine Fracasse , the last couple of chapters were a bit of a slog because of predictability. Everything before that was a lot of fun, though.

Now reading The Splendid Century, about France during the time of Louis XIV.

Also reading The Collected Short Stories of Louis L'Amour Volume 3 .
 

noman

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Every damn book I've been reading since 2016 that isn't a tech manual or an RPG book has been about politics. No, not partisan politics, though I've found myself getting into Thomas Sowell recently, but general, forest-not-trees, political texts. :closed:

That's excluding manga, which is one of my guilty pleasures. :pizza:

No where else to post this, though I thought I'd post it here:

https://japantoday.com/category/features/lifestyle/what-happens-to-unsold-manga-some-of-it-becomes-toilet-paper

TLDR version: Failed manga get recycled into toilet paper. :ooh:

Can you imagine that? I have to assume the Japanese manga market is hyper-competitive, with high degrees of stress for the producers. Then you add this? Jesus.

I mean, I've seen published, American authors lose their shit over somebody trashing their book in Amazon reviews. This is worse. "If I don't sell, people will literally be wiping their asses with my work." :cry:

This actually explains a lot to me. Almost every manga I take an interest in gets delayed due to the writer's heath issues. The author of the much loved / much despised High School of the Dead died back in 2017, I just found out. Health issues. :sick: I'll never know what happens to those kids. :angry:

Anyway, just a random noman curiosity. As you were.
 
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Dumarest

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Bardelys the Magnificent by Rafael Sabatini, looks likely to join my Flashing Blades "Appendix N," as it were.

Speaking of such, I'd be curious to see various referees' "Appendices N" for the various games they have run or are running. Maybe I'll post mine for Flashing Blades...
 

Voros

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Paperbacks from Hell by Will Erickson and Grady Hendrix. A history of 70s and 80s horror fiction. Tremendously entertaining and amusing review of this rapidly fading era of publishing history. Lots of proper Michael McDowell love here.
 

Stevethulhu

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I've been reading The Witcher books and I've come to a realisation from them.

That is, I can't be bothered with what I'm not calling travelogue fantasy. Stories where people are seemingly forever going to a place, but never quite getting there. I'm done with that knd of endless journey, get to a place, find you have to go to a new place kind of structure. It seems to me that it's more about selling books than telling a story that's interesting and enjoyable.
 

noman

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I've been reading The Witcher books and I've come to a realisation from them.

That is, I can't be bothered with what I'm not calling travelogue fantasy. Stories where people are seemingly forever going to a place, but never quite getting there. I'm done with that knd of endless journey, get to a place, find you have to go to a new place kind of structure. It seems to me that it's more about selling books than telling a story that's interesting and enjoyable.
My avatar is triggered. :shock:
 

Dumarest

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md6774813510.jpg

(Sometimes movie novels are pretty good. A few are even really good. For instance, the Flash Gordon novel is quite good. It even has a whole section about Flash's upbringing and background that is not in the film.)
 

Voros

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I'm a bit of a collector of film novelizations. The Alan Dean Foster novelization of Alien is far better than one may expect.

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Paul Monette's novelization of Werner Herzog's bizarre 'remake' of Nosferatu The Vampire is equally bizarre and inspired in its own way.

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TheophilusCarter

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I'm a bit of a collector of film novelizations. The Alan Dean Foster novelization of Alien is far better than one may expect.
I read a ton of ADF when I was a lad, including that ALIEN novelization, which I thought was quite good (esp. since my folks thought I was too young for the movie ... ). And of course, the SPELLSINGER series ... :smile:
 

Stevethulhu

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I'm a bit of a collector of film novelizations. The Alan Dean Foster novelization of Alien is far better than one may expect.

View attachment 758


Paul Monette's novelization of Werner Herzog's bizarre 'remake' of Nosferatu The Vampire is equally bizarre and inspired in its own way.

View attachment 757
I had that Alien novelisation, too. I always felt that the version of the Alien presented in the books was much better than what we ended up seeing as the film series developed. Especially the thing about it taking two people and turning them into facehugger eggs. Which always seemed a much more sensible way to incorporate the host species DNA into the next generation of Xenos.
 

Dumarest

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Brushing up for Flashing Blades...these are my go-to nonfiction reference materials for the time of Louis XIII, Anne of Austria, Cardinal Richelieu, Louis XIV, and Cardinal Mazarin:
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If anyone knows other good material, let me know, especially if they contain good illustrations of people and places. I'm not a stickler for 100% accuracy (Alexandre Dumas played fast and loose with facts and dates) but I like to know enough that I can give a good description and make things feel real for players.
 

Dumarest

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Planning for Boot Hill, even thinking about mocking up my own Boot Hill sourcebook/campaign book to maybe share someday if it passes muster, and as such I am delving into this nifty book of true newspaper articles and stories from yesteryear:
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My copy has no dust jacket so the cover is nothing interesting to see.
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Who doesn't like a nice map?
 
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Dumarest

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When I was a Firefighter, the Mendocino station where we sometimes had coordination meetings, used to be the old Sherriff's Office, it was cool to kick back with some beers after the meeting and read through the reports from the 19th Century: "Found four men smoking a beef in the woods, suspected stolen steer, went back to nearby ranch and formed posse to hunt them." Or "300 Russians drinking in the woods near big river, suggest avoiding area." Though by Russians I suspect they meant Finnish.
Why Finnish? The Russians had settlements in Northern California up by Bodega Bay and thereabouts, and the Russian River runs right through Sonoma and Mendocino.
 

The Butcher

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When I was a Firefighter, the Mendocino station where we sometimes had coordination meetings, used to be the old Sherriff's Office, it was cool to kick back with some beers after the meeting and read through the reports from the 19th Century: "Found four men smoking a beef in the woods, suspected stolen steer, went back to nearby ranch and formed posse to hunt them." Or "300 Russians drinking in the woods near big river, suggest avoiding area." Though by Russians I suspect they meant Finnish.
Sounds like a Wild West random encounter table waiting to happen!
 

Voros

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My wife picked this up for me for our anniversary.

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Course it is more of a picture book. Actually reading this, a great Romanian novel from the 30s just translated into English. It is actually a pretty short read about Fascism and anti-semistism in everyday life.

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And on my Audible I'm listening to this Stephen King novel I probably last read when I was 13 or 14.

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Dumarest

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I'm kind of cheating since I probably won't read these until next week, but coming up in the queue is:
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This hardcover is packed with great illustrations. I got it at Barnes & Noble for maybe $10 at most; it seems to be a perennial in their bargain section alongside the Burton translation.
 

Voros

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Gautier is hard to find. The Penguin edition M de Maupin is out of print last I looked (although available on Kindle) so I was stoked to find a copy. NYRB republished this great collection of his short stories.

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Dumarest

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The image I posted isn't actually my copy, it was just the nicest image I could find with a quick search. I found a hardcover from 1944 on the cheap. One of the upsides to my tastes not being trendy or hip. Sometimes I get lucky and find good stuff for 25 cents to a dollar at a library fundraiser sale, once in a rare while I find something for around the same price at a charity thrift store. Mostly the thrift shops are jammed with crappy paperbacks of pop fiction I have zero interest in, though; the sort of books people get at airports and read on a flight and then dump knowing they'll never read it again.
 

Baeraad

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I appear to have gotten hooked on a genre called "bizarro fiction," which is, uhm... really, really surreal and often incredibly gross science fiction / fantasy / just plain flat-out weird stories. Think The SCP Foundation in story form. Last read story, Everytime We Meet At The Dairy Queen, Your Whole Fucking Face Explodes by Carlton Mellick III. Yeah.

I'm not sure how to even feel about it. On the one hand, I have officially become the exact sort of person I've been rolling my eyes at my whole life - the kind who revels in bad taste and insanity for insanity's sake. Whatever pretensions I had of being highbrow have well and thoroughly evaporated at this point. But on the one hand... ye gods. It's just so gloriously, magnificently weird.

I can read another fantasy story about a bunch of misfits trying to save the world... or I can read a story about anthropologists studying a primitive tribe of superheroes.

I can read another science fiction story about the convoluted politics of an oppressive galactic empire and its approach to waste disposal... or I can read a story about Bigfoot as a hardboiled cop who doesn't play by the rules.

I can read another serious literature story about a bunch of humdrum people and their dysfunctional families and failing careers... or I can read a story about a boxer with armadillos for hands running from the mob in a world where people drive robotic dinosaurs instead of cars.

Can anyone really blame me for choosing the second option each time? Can anyone really?`:tongue:

In my slight defense, bizarro stories also seem to be strangely literary most of the time. They've got deep character development, intricate settings, social satire, and touches on a lot of deep issues and insecurities that don't usually get examined. But... they've also got werewolf women fighting epic duels against six-armed chainsaw-wielding mutants across the backs of giant hermaphroditic wolves. And I'm not actually sure which part I'm really tuning in for. :errr:
 

Dumarest

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I love high culture (McCarthy, Tolstoy, Melville, Beckett) and 'trash culture' equally. It is usually the middle brow stuff that I dislike.
Me too. I studied capital-L literature. I despise literary snobbery. A great deal of lowbrow material is better written than the "serious" literature. The only thing I dislike more than the snobbery is middlebrow material with pretensions of grandeur and import.
 
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