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Which book are you reading currently? #2

Discussion in 'Booktalk' started by Taluntain, Oct 6, 2004.

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  1. Enagonios Gems: 31/31
    Latest gem: Rogue Stone


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    It'll stay a great experience, don't worry. As for me, I'm reading The Warrior's Tale. forget who it's by though...
     
  2. JSBB Gems: 31/31
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    @ Enagonios - Alan Cole and Chris Bunch perhaps?

    They wrote a book of that title as part of the Antero series.
     
  3. Ancalìmon Gems: 14/31
    Latest gem: Chrysoberyl


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    I just finished Patrick Süskind's "The Perfume", one of the best books I've ever read! It's about a man who is born without a personal scent and has supernatural sense of smell. He devotes his life to finding the perfect perfume in a surreal journey, with an incredible climax. Comes very highly recommended!
     
  4. Sir Ai Rayzor Gems: 7/31
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    I've just begun reading George Orwells' 1984, and my God its boring in the beginning.

    Does it get any better? - I can't really skip reading the book because it is needed for an assignment at school.
     
  5. Spellbound

    Spellbound Fleur de Mystique Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Just finished Book 7 of WoT -- Lord of Chaos. Best of Jordan's WoT books so far. I'm about 1/4 through Book 8 now and it's shaping up to be just as good. Quite a surprise, after the abysmally boring read of Book 5.
     
  6. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    My favourite WoT is book seven, Lord of Chaos in close contest with Fires of Heaven which seems to be turning point in WoT quality for many of the WoT critical people out there. A Crown of Swords is when it turned for me, the book is good but not nearly as good as Lord of Chaos and for me the first clues of the plunge in quality which will be more evident in 9 and 10 is seen in that one.
     
  7. Viking Gems: 19/31
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    Finished The Pillars of the Earth - I have to say it's an excellent read.

    Re-reading The Catcher in the Rye. Must be nearly 20 years since I read it last.
     
  8. The Kilted Crusader

    The Kilted Crusader The Famous Last words "Hey guys, watch THIS!" Veteran

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    Still trying to truck through this James Barclay book. It's really quite boring. I think I might go back and continue the WoT and get up to date with it finally (I'm only on book 4)
     
  9. Shrikant

    Shrikant Swords! Not words! Veteran

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    Dan Brown's Deception Point.

    Like this guys attitude. "The . . . are real organisations. All technologies described in this novel exist."
     
  10. Enagonios Gems: 31/31
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    @JSBB
    Yeah, that's them. The first one was called The Far Kingdoms i think. I'm kind of irked as I've misplaced it now that it's started to get interesting... while I wait for it to turn up, I'll get back to The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco :)

    @Sir Ai Rayzor
    It's a very depressing book is all I can say. It drags you into it because you start feeling good that the state of things stand as they are (chaos, etc.) as opposed to that kind of world/society. I'm a pretty apathetic person and it freaked the hell out of me.
     
  11. Aldazar Gems: 24/31
    Latest gem: Water Opal


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    Lian Hearn's "Brilliance Of The Moon" book 3 of the Otori Trilogy.
     
  12. AMaster Gems: 26/31
    Latest gem: Diamond


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    Not really "a" book, but I'm currently reading through the entire run of the Preacher comic book by Garth Ennis. Dear lord, this stuff is so very wrong, but so very funny
     
  13. Arahar

    Arahar Hmm, it's a dwarf. Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder

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    Flavor of the Month: Arabwel :D

    and

    The Two Swords: Salvator (I know but I have to finish the series)
     
  14. Shrikant

    Shrikant Swords! Not words! Veteran

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    Dan Brown: "Digital Fortress"
    Finished it in one night. Fastest 600 pages ever.

    Going on to Stephen King's "Gunslinger". It part of a series right? What is it called? And the name of the next book please!
     
  15. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Gunslinger is part of the Dark Tower series isn't it?

    I'm now reading "Assassin's Quest" by Robin Hobb. Just finished "Royal Assassin" which, as recommended by several other people here, was quite awesome. Thanks for the tip, guys.
     
  16. AMaster Gems: 26/31
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    "Fevre Dream", by George R. R. Martin.

    I can't believe I actually purchased a trade paperback. If it were anyone but Martin...
     
  17. Burndamage Gems: 1/31
    Latest gem: Turquoise


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    Yeh, the Gunslinger is part of the Dark Tower series and the next book is called The Drawing Of The Three.
     
  18. Hugo Gems: 15/31
    Latest gem: Waterstar


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    The Witches Hour (back-translated from Dutch) by Anne Rice.

    It god damn brilliant, it's been *ages* since I enjoyed a book this much
    :borg:
     
  19. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    His Excellency: George Washington.

    This is the much anticipated new book by Joe Ellis. It is currently #3 on the New York Times Best Sellers List. The guy has somewhat of a checkered career as writer, historian and professor of American history. One of his other books, Founding Brothers, was a huge popular and critical success. And I was impressed by not only his writing but his approach to the Revolutionary generation in that book. I highly recommend that book to anyone who is looking for an introduction to both the Revolutionary generation and Ellis.

    But sometime ago, Ellis was discovered to be teaching in his class a fraudulent account of his own "military exploits" during the Vietnam War, which turned out to be fabrications. He was suspended from his chair at Holyoke and was somewhat disgraced in the media.

    The next book I read of his was, American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson. By the end of that book one got the sense that there was an undertone of disapproval that Ellis felt towards his subject, Jefferson. It was still a pretty good read, because of the author's fine style, and that the book was true to its intent - focusing mostly on the aspect of Jefferson's character, not his accomplishments. But in the end Ellis rasies more questions about Jefferson's character than he answers.

    Next he was attacked in another very recent book, Past Imperfect: Facts, Fictions, Frauds - American History From Bancroft And Parkman To Ambrose, Bellisles, Ellis, And Goodwin.

    The writer, Peter Hoffer, includes Ellis among an infamous group of historians (as he sees them) who have in some way discredited those working in the craft of history. I have not read the book for myself but I did see an interview with Hoffer on C-Span's Booknotes.

    Now we have Ellis' latest effort - His Excellncy. Again, Ellis' craft is wonderful. He is certainly a very good word-smith. Ellis' intent again is the character of Washington; he wants to peel away the marble and get at the man beneath the American myth. In this regard the book is a resounding success. The reader comes away feeling as if he/she has a pretty good grasp of Washington, the man, as rendered by Ellis, using first rate primary sources and following the life-path of Washington's major actions and judgments. Washington comes across as a real human, faults and all, not a marble statue. Did you know that Washington was in reality a somewhat petty cheapskate, who watched over his personal finances as closely as he watched over the birth of his country? And that he died one of the wealthiest men in America at that time?

    But there is a huge downside to this book, IMO. Ellis feels he has to become an advoctate not only for his subject, but for Washington's politics as well. On the whole, I agree with this approach. But any historian has to be very careful not to appear an advocate of a particular political agenda, whether in the present, or in the past, because the writer's credibility as an objective source could be easily be called into question.

    In Ellis' case, he is an almost rabid advocate for the Federalist cause. Ellis is almost vicious in his attacks on Jefferson, Madison and the Republicans. And even in odd passages in the book, Ellis goes out of his way to remind us of what back-biters and political dogs Jefferson and his Republican followers were. But Ellis' attacks are also directly on Jefferson's character, rather than just his politics.

    As an admirer of Jefferson, I am still aware of Jefferson's many faults and contradictions of character. But all of the Founders share many of these faults and contradictions. Ellis does in the last chapter illustrate how Hamilton, a Ferderalist, may have been plotting to sieze control of the young republic, using an aging Washington as a tool for the advancement of his own ambitions. But rather than using this as a possible vindication for Jefferson's fears, Ellis makes it appear that somehow Jefferson's imaginary fears and reality somehow dovetailed into a real situation.

    I encountered many of the same attacks on Jefferson in Ron Chernow's book on Alexander Hamilton, another highly regarded recent work. But in that book, it is almost to be expected, since Hamilton and Jefferson were at opposite ends of the spectrum, while Washington is regarded generally as a unifying and more moderate figure.

    I apologize for the length of this post, but I felt that the importance of Ellis' latest book further opens the rift between objective history (as much as it exists) and the historians who feel, or may be in reality, advocates of a political doctrine or agenda, rather than just admirers of their subjects. Besides, some SPers may want to take a closer look at this otherwise very good book on Washington, or some of Ellis' other works on the Revolutionary generation.

    [ December 14, 2004, 03:24: Message edited by: Chandos the Red ]
     
  20. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Chandos! Do you ever read or do anything that is NOT related to early American political history? If you're not careful, you'll turn into a Founding Father and everyone will laugh at your funny beard.
     
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