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What Are You Reading?: January 2008

FnordChan said:
George MacDonald Fraser is dead, alas. Fraser was best known for his vastly entertaining novels about Harry Flashman, a mid-19th century British soldier who in public was the hero of the empire and in private was an utter sonuvabitch who survived to old age by being a cowardly, greedy, alcoholic, womanizing bastard, which is obviously a lot more entertaining than reading about, say, righteous schoolboys like that asshole Tom Brown.

:lol I actually enjoyed Tom Brown's Schooldays. Can't find the sequel anywhere! Still, it's probably a boring Oxbridge tale. Anyway, good to see that the villain of that piece (Flashman) was utilized so well in a future series of books. If what you say is true, it's good to see fan fiction surpassing its origins. :p

I'll give it a whirl as someone who loves 19th century-based fiction. (see: Sharpe, Hornblower, Aubrey, etc.)
 

Eric P

Member
FnordChan said:
George MacDonald Fraser is dead, alas. Fraser was best known for his vastly entertaining novels about Harry Flashman, a mid-19th century British soldier who in public was the hero of the empire and in private was an utter sonuvabitch who survived to old age by being a cowardly, greedy, alcoholic, womanizing bastard, which is obviously a lot more entertaining than reading about, say, righteous schoolboys like that asshole Tom Brown.
FnordChan

if you have access to netflix, check out Ripping Yarns by Palin and Jones of Monty Python Fame.

The first episode is a great send up of Schooldays.

Tomkinson’s Schooldays

England 1912. Tomkinson (Michael Palin) is a new boy at Graybridge school. He tells of the horrors of the school life: beating the headmaster (also Palin), the fight with the grizzly bear (Jones), being nailed to the wall on St. Tadger’s day, having to ask permission to breathe after 10 p.m. and Grayson (Ian Ogilvy), the school bully, who gets everything he wants: alcohol, cigarettes and company of unmarried Filipino women. One day, Tomkinson is shot during French translations. His mother (Gwen Watford) visits him in hospital, he begs her to take him home, she refuses and tells him that his father, a polar explorer, has returned to the Antarctic, because he’s got a woman there. Tomkinson decides to escape. During a rugby match he simply runs for it, but is caught by the school leopard. Then he tries to get out disguised as a woman and is caught by the Spanish master (Jones), trying to rape him. In model boat club, Tomkinson builds a full scale model icebreaker, but is told to melt it down by Mr. Ellis (Terry Jones). When a polar explorer comes to the school to do a speech, Tomkinson hides in his trunk, but has to discover, that the polar explorer was only Mr. Ellis. After three weeks detention in the school maggot pit, Tomkinson is remarked by the school bully. He tells him, that he and the chaplain controlled all the way out of the school, but would let Tomkinson test the chaplain’s new tunnels. An hour later, Tomkinson finds himself behind the headmaster’s writing desk, completely drunk, with 200 cigarettes and accompanied by Suki (Chai Lee), the half-naked, unmarried Filipino lady, as the tunnel finishes too early. He is sentenced to the most awful penalty: The 30-mile hop against St. Anthony’s, a Buddhist public school. During the first half of the hop, all of the Graybridge students die of exhaustion and just as Tomkinson feels his end near, Grayson comes and gives him a sniff of some white powder. Tomkinson is the first Graybridge student to ever win the hop and he hops on to his home, where he finds his mother entangled with a half-naked man. He again tries to persuade her to let him stay, she again refuses. He is about to leave when another half-naked man joins them: his father (Terry Jones). Tomkinson returns to Graybridge, where he is appointed new school bully, Grayson having been offered a place at Eton. Tomkinson sees his chance in changing Graybridge, but decides he’ll have to do it in small steps and continues in just the same way as Grayson.

the whole series is excellent, but some of it is very culturally specific (The Testing of Eric Olthwaite) i'm guessing because i couldn't get into it.
 
Eric P said:
i've always been intrerested in this series but have never read any thing in it.

can you make a suggested place to start for me?

Start with the first book, Rumpole of the Bailey - watch out for omnibuses - and move on from there. You can find the reading order here. And don't forget, he's still writing them.
 

Eric P

Member
Tim the Wiz said:
Start with the first book, Rumpole of the Bailey - watch out for omnibuses - and move on from there. You can find the reading order here. And don't forget, he's still writing them.

watch out for omnibuses as in don't get them or do get them?

yeah, just released a new one, i've noticed
 

FnordChan

Member
Tim the Wiz said:
I'll give it a whirl as someone who loves 19th century-based fiction. (see: Sharpe, Hornblower, Aubrey, etc.)

Sounds like you'll love Flashman; go forth and start reading posthaste. Meanwhile, that reminds me that I need to get back on the Aubrey/Maturin wagon (or boat, as the case may be), having been distracted by losing the first volume when I was halfway through it a couple of years ago.

Eric, the Tom Brown's School Days riff sounds like a hoot. Also, in a similar vein, check out Down With Skool. (I'm kicking myself for missing a Ronald Searle exhibition when I was visiting NYC last week.)

FnordChan
 
Eric P said:
watch out for omnibuses as in don't get them or do get them?

yeah, just released a new one, i've noticed

I'd get them if I could. Personally, I've only got them separately, but if I had to buy them again today I'd look out for omnibuses - my book shelves demand that. Guess it depends on what you want. Each book is a collection of short stories in any case, and omnibuses are perhaps more practical for people like me who have too many books already. You probably won't have a choice, unless you order, anyway.
 

Eric P

Member
FnordChan said:
Eric, the Tom Brown's School Days riff sounds like a hoot. Also, in a similar vein, check out Down With Skool. (I'm kicking myself for missing a Ronald Searle exhibition when I was visiting NYC last week.)

FnordChan

good lord that looks difficult to slog through

Tim the Wiz said:
I'd get them if I could. Personally, I've only got them separately, but if I had to buy them again today I'd look out for omnibuses - my book shelves demand that. Guess it depends on what you want. Each book is a collection of short stories in any case, and omnibuses are perhaps more practical for people like me who have too many books already. You probably won't have a choice, unless you order, anyway.

ok, thanks
 
FnordChan said:
Sounds like you'll love Flashman; go forth and start reading posthaste.

Indeed.

FnordChan said:
Meanwhile, that reminds me that I need to get back on the Aubrey/Maturin wagon (or boat, as the case may be), having been distracted by losing the first volume when I was halfway through it a couple of years ago.

You should. Each novel is relatively self-contained, and I've found the quality to be relatively consistent as well. O'Brian is like a machine. I hope you're also on the Hornblower boat, though. In my opinion, there's nothing better in the genre. Why else would I have a signed copy from the series? :)
 
The Rest is Noise - Alex Ross

Great book on twentieth century music. From classical to jazz to minimalism, a wide-ranging and sprawling account of the development of music in a wider cultural setting. Very very impressive.

Ended up on the NYT list of 10 best non-fiction books of 2007.

 

Eric P

Member
i went out at lunch to find the first rumpole omnibus or the first flashman book

i found neither and instead picked up The Practical Guide to Racism

A Practical Guide to Racism tackles America’s tragic flaw from a new, illuminating perspective. As a world-renowned expert on ethnography, as well as phrenology and the rhythm method, C.H. Dalton is uniquely qualified to offer his perspective on this difficult topic.

The book is divided into nine chapters, one for each of the nine races: Whites, Blacks, Jews, Asians, Indians (and Injuns), Arabs, Gypsies, Hispanics, and Merpeople. In each chapter, Dalton provides a comprehensive and unapologetic handbook to the race in question, as well as a history of their oppression, and a guide to the stereotypes about them and their basis in fact.

In several helpful appendixes, Dalton examines, in turn, sexual races like Gays and Women, ancient races like Phoenicians and Doozers, and interracial dating. He also provides a handy guide to “The Good Ones” from each race, and their crania.

Finally, Dalton has compiled the first complete glossary of racial epithets, including a selection of his own suggestions for additional slurs. Like “Frazetta,” a slur for a rugged, muscled white person holding a battleaxe. (E.g., “Hey, look at that Frazetta standing triumphantly over the corpse of that Orc!”)

Read an exceprt here
 

John Harker

Definitely doesn't make things up as he goes along.
I'm near to finishing Wizard and Glass.

And let me tell you....


Cuthbert and Alain >>>>>>>>>> Eddie and Susannah

:(
 
ElectricBlue187 said:
great book as usual. I'm afraid the ending will disappoint me like Speaker for the Dead did

I gave up after Speaker for the Dead. The Shadow/Bean novels were enough for me, and as you said, the ending for Speaker was disappointing. In my case, it just turned me off completely.

Not a fan of his Alvin the Maker books either. Reminds me of Carnivale actually. You know there's something there, but you just can't be bothered plowing through such convoluted text.

John Harker said:
I'm near to finishing Wizard and Glass.

Prepare for a slide downwards in quality, however, it still makes for a great read and the backlash for the last book is somewhat misguided in my opinion. The end is solid for me.
 

Mifune

Mehmber
A Clash of Kings.

So far not enjoying it as much as the first book.

Also, I just finished Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City. Fascinating book about the Chicago World's Fair at the end of the 19th Centuty and H.H. Holmes, America's supposed first serial killer. I really want to check out more of Larson's stuff.
 
Picked up Flashman at the Charge. Just brilliant. You can throw another recommendation my way any time you want, FnordChan. :)
 

jon bones

hot hot hanuman-on-man action
This month I'll still be reading (and hopefully finishing):


and I'll finish up:
Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall (Bill Willingham)
Swamp Thing, Vol. 1 (Alan Moore)
 


I was interested in all the fuss in regards to Dawkins. Figured I'd start here.

ooooo, just noticed someone else just read it. What'd you think?
 

Doodis

Member


Pretty good so far. Seems very "Splinter Cell"-ish, but in a real-life way, not a video game way. If that makes any sense.
 

deadbeef

Member


I just picked this up tonight. I have fallen in love with David Simon from watching The Wire. So, I am starting this now.
 

oatmeal

Banned
Girlfriend bought me some books that SHE loves for Christmas.

Life doesn't work that way unfortunately, but I'm giving them a shot.

I'm reading "The Husband" (worst title ever) by Dean Koontz.

It's decent so far...
 


just finished A Clash of Kings a few weeks ago. i have never been into a series of books like this before, i'm fucking loving it.

for those of you just starting A Clash of Kings, i too didn't enjoy it as much at the beginning, though i think that was in part to them introducing minor characters at the beginning. after the cliffhanger of Thrones, I wanted to start off right where it ended, but instead was given Stannis' old priest.

i really enjoyed Clash though, it definitely does pick up, you just have to allow the book to reclimatize itself.

question: i really want to get into some earth based futur(istic) sci-fi... does anyone have any suggestions?
 

Holtz

Member
Finished this:

Great stuff, every book in this series is better than the last, Cornwell is the best when it comes to historical fiction. Can't wait for the next one.
Then started with:

Really enjoyed it as well. Guillou is very good at writing historical fiction, not as good as Cornwell, but still pretty great. Was surprised at the high price this book goes for at Amazon, i got the entire trilogy for cheap. :D
Getting started on the second book now. After i'm done with them, will finally start on the Emperor trilogy, been saving that for last.
 
To the OP: I used that piano book when I started. There's probably 6 months to a year's worth of material in there, depending on how much you practice. It's very good for someone who is just beginning.
 
Was reading The Road, but left it at my parent's house 3 hours away over New Years.

Now am reading World War Z, and have Out Stealing Horses and I Am America (And So Can You) arriving from amazon.
 

muckhole

Member
Working through I Am America, Life Of Pi, and I picked up World War Z after seeing so many folks in here reading/recommending it. Pretty good stuff, so far.
 
Green Shinobi said:
To the OP: I used that piano book when I started. There's probably 6 months to a year's worth of material in there, depending on how much you practice. It's very good for someone who is just beginning.

That's good to hear. GAFfers have been very helpful in this endeavour of mine. It's been pretty awesome of you guys.
 
I very rarely read, but I just finished Good Omens for the first time (pretty good, though lags a bit from time to time with too much needless detail), and re-read one of my favorite books, High Cotton again. Freaking awesome short story collection.




Also, my girlfriend got me these for Xmas and I've been flipping through them and love them so far.

 

Eric P

Member
Soka said:
I very rarely read, but I just finished Good Omens for the first time (pretty good, though lags a bit from time to time with too much needless detail), and re-read one of my favorite books, High Cotton again. Freaking awesome short story collection.


i think this is the first time i've ever seen Joe R on one of these lists

one of my absolute faves!

check out "bumper crop" or "the drive in"

my first exposure to him was early 90s with the story By Bizarre Hands. It was the last story in the first volume of the excellent Borderlands anthologies.

"woooo goats!" "wooo goats!"

his stuff just sticks with you.
 

DjangoReinhardt

Thinks he should have been the one to kill Batman's parents.
Read:

Fantasyland: A Season on Baseball's Lunatic Fringe - Sam Walker
McSweeney's 25

Reading:

Lords of the Realm: The Real History of Baseball - John Heylar

On-deck:

Winter '07 Zoetrope
 

Relix

he's Virgin Tight™


Awesome book, loving every page of it.



Quick read.

And finally, I am reading every single thing I have written for my story everyday. Very cool stuff.
 

ivysaur12

Banned
Just finished:



Amazing book, one of the best I've read in a long time.



Couldn't find the picture of the cover I have.
 

Eric P

Member
Subarushian said:


Note: Uk cover

hot book

i love suggesting that to people.

the sequel is merely ok. there's no pressing need to read it

ivysaur12 said:
Just finished:





Couldn't find the picture of the cover I have.

this was my first roth book and i absolutely loved it. the description of the scenes where he finds his daughter and how she's living in penance for her actions. ugh. sad. I've got portnoy's complain on my shelf, but i've got a million books on my shelf waiting to be read.
 

QVT

Fair-weather, with pride!
The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffery Steingarten is fantastic and anyone who eats food should read it immediately. Go out and buy it right now, even if you like and read nothing but GRRMurder.
 
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