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What Are You Reading?

Discussion in 'The Vapor Lounge' started by JeeSee, Jun 7, 2012.

  1. JeeSee

    JeeSee Cultured Curmudgeon

    Messages:
    238
    Location:
    India
    Title is self-explanatory. Just post what you're reading currently, and maybe a couple of sentences as to what you think of it. You could be reading multiple books as well, of course.

    I'm reading Rabbit, Run by John Updike, which has the potential to become one of my favourite novels. I'm near the end, but I haven't quite decided yet. Hm.
    Also reading the Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell. Lovely insights into the pragmatic mind of my favourite philosopher.
    And finally, Zen and the Art of Screenwriting by William Froug. Well written, I like reading the interviews with other screenwriters and he really manages to hold his shit together by stressing that screenwriting has no 'steps' but is more of an organic process (as opposed to Syd Fields, who strikes me as a formulaic Hollywood hack... which isn't to say I've learnt nothing from his books). But er... that's more for work, so I'm not sure many people here would be interested.
     
  2. Vicki

    Vicki Herbal Alchemist

    Messages:
    6,857
    Currently, I'm reading a book called "Imzadi," by Peter David. :D

    After that, "Q Squared," by Peter David. :D
     
  3. jeffp

    jeffp psychonaut

    Zen and the Art of Screenwriting sounds interesting. I have Syd Field's "Screenplay" but I find it boring, it was always a chore to study but I know it's revered as a how-to text. I took a few creative writing classes in college with a brilliant man, Manny Fried, who was a Broadway playwright and novelist and a victim of blacklisting in the '50's - really amazing, ballsy and dynamic person. Anyway he actually had very little to say about the "how to" of writing. In his view, there were only two processes to good writing: one, that the story have an emotional structure, that it have a sense of conflict, and that there is a change from start to finish. Two, don't bother learning how to put it together. Just write and the structure will find itself. That's his view for whatever it's worth.

    Anyway the last time I read a book with "Zen" in the title was back in college; "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance." I disliked the book, there wasn't enough said about motorcycle maintenance. I may pick up this title, though. Thanks!
     
  4. JeeSee

    JeeSee Cultured Curmudgeon

    Messages:
    238
    Location:
    India
    You're welcome, it's nice to find someone else interested in the same field as me here! I myself possess a copy of Syd Field's 'Four Screenplays', and although it was very interesting to see how he studies Dances With Wolves (lovely screenplay and film) and Thelma and Louise (likewise), I mainly only checked his opinions on structure so I could find my way around them. It's like my theatre teacher used to tell me - if you want to find your way out of the box, you need to know what the box is first. You're lucky, studying under someone who's had such a broad-minded approach to writing. A lot of people's careers were destroyed with the Communist scare of the McCarthy era... I assume you're referring to this when you say 'blacklisted'? If so, I sympathize.
    Froug takes a similar approach: he states that the only thing you should be doing in your screenplay is not losing track of your theme. I agree in that I think a screenplay must not necessarily have something to say, but it must know how to say it (confusing, I know, but it makes sense in my head). A few things he advocates really did help though - most importantly, he stresses that you have to stop going back to what you've written and editing it... you'll never finish what you're writing that way. This is what multiple drafts are for in the first place - nobody expects the first draft to be perfect. I realized that this was exactly what I was doing wrong. Although I still can't sometimes help myself, I try to keep this at a minimum.
    On both topics, I'm currently reading the screenplays to three films - Drive, the Shawshank Redemption and Enter the Void (all films I greatly admire, the latter two rank amongst my all-time favourites) in order to glean an insight into emulating something wonderful without borrowing from it at all. I'm trying to write a completely different screenplay using structures/themes/forms found in all three while trying to get something new out of it. Practice, practice.
     
  5. TheDudeNextDoor

    TheDudeNextDoor Abiding

    Messages:
    1,281
    "A Man in Full" by Tom Wolfe. It's quite excellent.
     
  6. crawdad

    crawdad floatin

    Messages:
    2,667
    Location:
    potano territory
    when i get to reading, i read a bunch then take a long break...just how it is.

    i find the progress of nature on this planet to be very fascinating so ive been quite interested in ecology. read a book about a year ago or so and recently read it again. its called "The Forest and the Sea" by marston bates, i highly suggest it to anyone who is passionate about the world around them especially the mystifying aspects...its one book i wish i had read it when i was younger, will be part of my childs reading when they are old enough. published in 1960 im sure its dated, yet still very accurate in general.

    also read some tolstoy, "Family Happiness", "Three Deaths," "The Three Hermits," "The Devil," "Father Sergius," and "Master and Man" all contained in a small book you can get cheap online if not local. family happiness and master and man being my favorites, each provide a good deep look into the philosophical questions one should ask while struggling with the social tolerance of each subject.

    at the moment, im stuck on them dang louis lamour books, i like them a lot but just read about 30 or so and feel im in a rut, tried picking up other books but the writing style differences from one author to the next bores me and im back on the range with hopalong in my mind...its almost like needing a strain change.
     
  7. fidget

    fidget Well-Known Member

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    341
    Great book.
    I read it many years ago and only last week lent it to my 73 year old retired english teacher mum (who has read an average of 5 terribad formulaic chick lit books a week for 60+ years).
    She liked it.
    Got her into James Lee Burke last year which she loved.
    I've just finished Skagboys the Irvine Welsh Trainspotting prequel and am near the end of That's How I Roll by Andrew Vachss.
    Stonemouth by Iain Banks is next.
    You can't beat a good read.
     
  8. cluffy

    cluffy Vaker

    Messages:
    815
    Location:
    Northeastern US
    I read 'Shantaram' by Gregory David Roberts a few months ago and it's right up there with my favorite, 'Atlas Shrugged'. It reads like butter, can't wait for the prequel!!
     
  9. StickyShisha

    StickyShisha Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,779
    [​IMG] The Mote in God's Eye by American writers Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, published in 1974

    EDIT to add: don't ruin it for me, i have never read it before.
     
  10. yelooo

    yelooo Member

    Messages:
    23
    [​IMG]

    Apologies for the bump, I was gonna start a thread like this but I did a search first.

    I'm a huge fan of Russian literature and Tolstoy's last novel seems to me to be very underated. Although not really comparable to Anna Karenina or War and Peace, Resurrection is a novel that deserves to be resurrected!
     
  11. JeeSee

    JeeSee Cultured Curmudgeon

    Messages:
    238
    Location:
    India
    Just finished with Bring Me the Head of Ryan Giggs by Rodge Glass. It was alright I guess. I'd have enjoyed it a lot more if I was even remotely into football. It seemed stretched out a bit and I couldn't wait for the end after a while, tbh, but it's not bad. Quite enjoyably written, except for the fact that you know the underdog's fucked from the beginning.
    Now reading Fortress in the Eye of Time. Fantasy is very much more my breed of book, and I'm enjoying reading Cherryh for the first time despite the occasionally overwhelming wordiness. The protagonist is a lovable idiot and the complicated worldbuilding, although confusing, is a nice change from the dreadfully inept Simoquin Prophecies I read recently.
     
  12. bigtvapes

    bigtvapes Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    343
    "Blood Red Turns Dollar Green" by Paul O'Brien is the last book I finished. I LOVED it. IT's a fictional account (based on some real stuff) of a territorial pro wrestling promoter in the 1970s as his company grows out of new york.

    I'm a big pro wrestling fan, and that helps. But this book aint about pro wrestling. It's about money, power, respect, etc. Like 70s gangster stories? This one is perfect! Great read, well paced, and not too pretentious at any point. Just a great fleshed out story to enjoy. Loved it loved it loved it.
     
    JeeSee likes this.
  13. djonkoman

    djonkoman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,733
    the title of the book I'm reading in since a few days is 'grutte wurden', a frisian book, about a group of frisians in the roman era. (not mentioned yet in the book is that it is likely these frisians are a lot different from presentday frisians, maybe even a completely different tribe, these are the ones known to the romans as 'frisii', they disappeared from history for a few hundred years when the waddensea broke trough, the people later settling here that became arch enemies of the franks are known as the frisians too, so the name would suggest a relation, but how far that relation goes is unknown as far as I know.)

    before this I also read a frisian book about redbad, a famous frisian king(who kicked the franks' asses on a few occassions), what I liked about that book was that it was written/told from a pagan view, just like the frisians of that time(6-8th century or so) would've had. and it even used the frisian names for the germanic gods(like weda, wich is the frisian name for the god that is called odin in norse and wodan in german)
     
  14. farscaper

    farscaper Well-Known Member

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    2,439
    The Walking Dead Graphic Novels...
     
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  15. wonderfox

    wonderfox Active Member

    Messages:
    128
    The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks. Very interesting book by Dr Sacks detailing some bizarre, yet astounding neurological cases he has dealt with throughout his career.
     
    JeeSee likes this.
  16. Tamataz

    Tamataz Icelander

    Messages:
    188
    College books...
     
  17. crawdad

    crawdad floatin

    Messages:
    2,667
    Location:
    potano territory
    *old thread alert*

    the expanse tv show (in case you didnt know) is based on a book series, im on book 2 now and really enjoying the action space opera. if you dig the show you will really like the books...if you are into sci fi dramas check it out. im reading while watching and its not ruining anything imho since im into the characters and story, tv show follows the actual story pretty good but how some of the characters handle situations and such are different. its nice to be reading again.
     
  18. StickyShisha

    StickyShisha Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,779
    I'm reading the Enders Game series. Its kind of dark
     
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  19. crawdad

    crawdad floatin

    Messages:
    2,667
    Location:
    potano territory
    ^ read the book enders game when i was in jr high not knowing there were other books. ive withheld from watching the movie until i re-read the book since its been so long and apparently the movie falls short of telling the story.
     
  20. kuzko

    kuzko Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    87
    Just finished a short story science fiction anthology called Omega, includes a George R.R. Martin short story.

    About to start 100 Great Fantasy Short Stories, an anthology edited by Isaac Asimov.
     
    JeeSee likes this.
  21. mccringleberry

    mccringleberry Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    467
    Neil Strauss - The Truth
     
  22. StickyShisha

    StickyShisha Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,779
    it won't hurt to see the movie first. Whole story lines aren't in it, and if you read the book first, it would guarantee not enjoying the movie.

    i don't usually feel that way about the whole book/movie thing.
     
  23. ichibaneye

    ichibaneye Vapriot, Traveler & Vaporizer/ing lover!

    Messages:
    778
    Location:
    The Honeycomb Hideout
    Do I Stand Alone, by: Jessie Ventura
    And
    Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by, John Perkins
     
  24. little maggie

    little maggie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,673
    The early Frankenstein (1818). It's very different from the version most of us are familiar with and that may not have been updated by Shelley. Anyway I just assumed that I'd read the novel at some point and I don't think I ever did. Really interesting. I just finished the Strange Case of the Alchemists Daughter which is how I ended up reading Frankenstein.

    Also reading Mink River which is kind of odd and fun.
    [​IMG]
     
  25. JeeSee

    JeeSee Cultured Curmudgeon

    Messages:
    238
    Location:
    India
    I hated Frankenstein. It was juvenile, info-dumpy and positively boring. Easy to tell it was written by a teenager.
    Just finished Anathem (science fiction) by Neal Stephenson, who's good with his science but quite a terrible writer otherwise. Now reading Old Glory by Jonathan Raban, which is a beautifully written travelogue of the Englishman's journey down the Mississippi. To give you a taste of his dreamy writing voice, here's a small excerpt (yes, I'm enjoying this book enough to actually type out an excerpt):

    'It was reprehensibly easy. We started to catch fish from the first cast. They hooked themselves with a careless snatch at the plug, and one could feel them thrumming deep down at the end of the line like an electric current. As I reeled them in from under the boat, they changed from one metal-colour to another, coming up, struggling, through the peaty water: first an indeterminate flash of dull pewter, then a powerful glow of polished brass, finally a brilliant threshing of pure silver as they came wallowing to the net. Killed, their lovely colours went instantly to a cracked, grey glaze. Their spiny dorsal fins folded into a ragged heap on their backs. It seemed altogether too close a rehearsal of real life, this violently accelerated transition from excitement to shame.'
     

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