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Rate the Last Book You Read #2

Taake

Maybe it was taquitos. Maybe he lived for taquitos
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The Kreutzer Sonata - Leo Tolstoy. 4/5
I think this is what it feels like to be trapped on a subway with a homeless man raving about how everything is going to hell and how everything is filth... I feel really lucky to finally be free of him, but some of the things he said kind of made sense and I won't be able to get him out of my mind for a while...

The basic storyline of this short novel is that two men meet on a train, one man is a murderer and he proceeds to tell the other man how jealousy drove him to kill his wife (not a spoiler, it's on the back of the book). The book is a brilliant but staggering journey through the psychology of this murderer, he raves and rants and moralizes about marriage, women, the evils of sex, the sham we call love etc... To say the least his is not a particularly pleasant mindset to be in. This is an angry, bitter person who's driven mad by jealousy and doesn't even see his wife as human (this is literally a realization for him at one point). Also we're in luck ladies, we should only have sex about every 18 months or so, to procreate and rear kids, a sex life for a new mother is beneath even animals!

All that said, it is utterly fascinating and such a brilliant portrayal of complex emotions. Most people won't go so far as murder, but the irrationality of his thoughts feel very sharply portrayed.

If nothing else it is a very good demonstration as to why a) divorce is a good thing, bad matches happen, and b) stay away from jealous dudes. Don't mistake insanity for passion!

I feel like I need to go read or watch something with happy couples now...

The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger (1951) 9/10
A slow burn. But once I got into it, it was a very sharp, witty, sad, and at times moving novel. I was convinced of the world and its characters and dialogue was thrilling.
Glad you lied it, it's one of my favourites.
 

Mr Trick

Scooby
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The Kreutzer Sonata - Leo Tolstoy. 4/5
I think this is what it feels like to be trapped on a subway with a homeless man raving about how everything is going to hell and how everything is filth... I feel really lucky to finally be free of him, but some of the things he said kind of made sense and I won't be able to get him out of my mind for a while...

The basic storyline of this short novel is that two men meet on a train, one man is a murderer and he proceeds to tell the other man how jealousy drove him to kill his wife (not a spoiler, it's on the back of the book). The book is a brilliant but staggering journey through the psychology of this murderer, he raves and rants and moralizes about marriage, women, the evils of sex, the sham we call love etc... To say the least his is not a particularly pleasant mindset to be in. This is an angry, bitter person who's driven mad by jealousy and doesn't even see his wife as human (this is literally a realization for him at one point). Also we're in luck ladies, we should only have sex about every 18 months or so, to procreate and rear kids, a sex life for a new mother is beneath even animals!

All that said, it is utterly fascinating and such a brilliant portrayal of complex emotions. Most people won't go so far as murder, but the irrationality of his thoughts feel very sharply portrayed.

If nothing else it is a very good demonstration as to why a) divorce is a good thing, bad matches happen, and b) stay away from jealous dudes. Don't mistake insanity for passion!

I feel like I need to go read or watch something with happy couples now...



Glad you lied it, it's one of my favourites.
Cool. You read any of his other books. I will be reading more.
 

Mr Trick

Scooby
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Black Canary Volume 1: Kicking and Screaming - Brenden Fletcher, Annie Wu, Pia Guerra, Lee Loughridge 8/10
I love the energy and flair of these stories. The level of detail about touring life in a band, but the dark comedy of them trashing every tour they tour is great fun. Its truly engrossing and funny throughout with great design.
 

Taake

Maybe it was taquitos. Maybe he lived for taquitos
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Dr. Zhivago - 5/5 IF the book had left out the romance, with the "romance" it's more like a 2 /5 stars. (by Boris Pasternak)
I'm sure the romance is all romantic in the movie adaptations but if you're looking to this book for one of the "greatest love stories" as the cover proclaims... don't bother. For every one page of romance there is like 30 pages of war, starvation, torture, misery and death. Now, I enjoyed those parts. This book is the perfect example of a story that is character centered but not character driven, the characters makes almost no choices, Yuri (Dr. Zhivago) at one point fights in the civil war, on a side he's not on because he "submits to events" and no one can be a bystander in a war. He does his best not to hurt anyone, but the point is, this whole book is essentially about submitting to events that on a big scale are out of your control. The main point of the novel (beyond ideological critique) is demonstrating the bleak pointlessness of war and how it literally tears peoples lives apart. Even before though the characters are kind of drifting along, reacting to things, a lot of bad things, that happen to them.

The descriptions are vivid and beautiful though, you can tell Pasternak is a poet, dialogue is not his forte however and mostly, there is not a lot of it. He skips over big chunks of time because the characters are not the driving force as mentioned, the events are - so for instance it's not important to see how Yuri starts an affair, it's enough to tell that it's been going on for a while. The whole book is, narratively, more about telling than showing.
That's fine, for the critique of war and of the Red army (Pasternak evidently wanted social reform, but not a communist revolution), for the romance however...

...eh. No. There is no romance really. There's Yuri saying pretty things, there's Pasternak giving fancy descriptions, but there's no emotion. It's a poetic man's lofty idea of idealized love which means it's basically a cloying paper castle.
At the end of the day, Yuri is just another man with fidelity problems and the affair is actually kind of sad because its basically solace. Not to mention, he makes a total of about four choices in this book...
Three of those are decisions to abandon the three women he has started families with, and that includes his 'great love' Lara, whom he abandons in just the worst way and for no real reason other than stubbornness then shrugs, and writes a lot of poetry because the grief fuels his work. Lara does not come to a good end, but it's cool beans for Yuri not to know or care about her ends, he gets re-married, gets some more kids, and then abandons them too for his goddamn poetry. He came to way too good of an end himself for my taste, by the end I despised him. To the Gulag with you, Yuri! (If I got my say)

At the end of the day, Yuri is not a good title character because he is fundamentally washed out and beige. Lara however is an infinitely more interesting character and had the story been told from her point of view, it might've been a bit more colorful because Lara actually makes decisions, not always good ones, but she shows herself to be a capable and mostly clever individual who can take care of herself. Until she gets entangled with Yuri and gets his beige all over her, that is.

This turned into a rant, but the 'romance' of this book made me so angry. It's a waste of space and just made the title character look terrible and unsympathetic. The rest of the novel is a master piece! But lord spare me from this type of poetic man, I'd rather have the type that told me my beauty was effulgent. ;)
 

Mr Trick

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Tokyo Ghoul Vol.1 - Sui Ishida (2015) 7.5/10
Loved the show. This was a nicely stylish, and intense read, but well paced too.
 

white avenger

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"Guns Of The South" by Harry Turtledove 8/10

A group of South African white supremacists travel back in time and provide General Lee's Confederate forces with modern assault rifles, AK-47's. Obviously, the South wins the war, but the interesting , and somewhat unexpected, part comes with the aftermath of that war.

I've read several articles and books speculating what the result would have been if Lee's army had been able to win the war (they very nearly did) before it became an act of attrition. This novel, despite its obviously outlandish premise, is quite possibly the best and well thought of the lot.
 

Mr Trick

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The Birds: Short Stories by Daphne Du Maurier - 8/10
A diverse range of short stories, with plenty of suspense, wit and twists. It would make a good introduction to Du Maurier. Nice edition too.
 

ItMustBeBunnies

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Sineya
Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece by Stephen Fry 9/10

I really enjoyed this. Fry is a very witty and entertaining writer. He does retell the stories of Hades and Persephone, and Pandora etc., but he avoided stories like Troy and Hercules and concentrated more on lesser known myths. The footnotes were a bit distracting but very interesting. Loved it :)
 

Taake

Maybe it was taquitos. Maybe he lived for taquitos
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A nasty story - Fyodor Dostoyevsky 6/10
Dostoyevsky is one of my absolute favorites and for a reason. He really understands people and his writing reflects this, his politics and his religious views in a clear way. A nasty story is not my favorite because the support of a vertical class structure is far too clearly put for my taste and I just cannot condone it. However, the writing is superb and literally anyone who's been too drunk at a party can read this and just squirm with discomfort. Always remember to stop drinking before the violent diarreah hits you, just saying.

That said, the rigid class ideals are just too harsh for me in this book.

Notes from the Underground - Fyodor Dostoyevsky 9/10
I love this one. There is so much here, in terms of society and religion, and especially when you compare it to the book it's a response to What is to be done? (Nikolai Chernyshevsky) which in itself was a response to Fathers & Sons (Ivan Turgenev). Dostoyevsky is devilishly convincing, he makes the most appalling characters appealing somehow. The young underground man is extremely frustrating, but he is supposed to be, and on a feminist note Dostoyevsky gives the "low" prostitute the moral high ground. She doesn't need to be saved or patronized by anyone. You go girl.

Anyway, about halfway through I started to think... wow, this must be what it was like in Ted Kaczynski's head. A brilliant mind, emotionally handicapped and uncapable of dealing with human relationships, but a brilliant mind. It was a bit startling.

Fathers & Sons - Ivan Turgenev 4/10
This was kind of heartbreaking. See, I love Dostoyevsky, but politically, philosophically, religiously, I'm much more in Turgenev's camp, so I was really excited to get to this one. I thought I'd be all "yay" and instead it was more like
giferdotcom.gif
(from gifer.com)
The writing was beautiful, but the story... the characters... I felt like Turgenev turned me to Dostoyevsky's point of view more than Dostoyevsky does.
It didn't work for me at all. I mean, I felt more sympathy and understanding for the above mentioned underground man, whom I likened to the frigging Unabomber, than I had for Bazarov in this book. Also it gets an award for most drawn out and ridiculous death scene! I mean, we're talking
200.gif
(giphy.com)

It's not a good sign when the read feels like "die already! just die! Please, could you die now?"
I feel like this book, single handedly, turned me more conservative.

Fun fact, Turgenev coined the term 'nihilist' with this novel. To be clear, it's not a bad book, I can see why others like it. As mentioned, the writing is beautiful, it's not remarkable, but it's beautiful. I was just on team Father generation in this one, not team Sons, which means I'm an old fogey stuck in the past, valuing ideals that the youngens have thrown off in their search for a brave new world.


Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece by Stephen Fry 9/10

I really enjoyed this. Fry is a very witty and entertaining writer. He does retell the stories of Hades and Persephone, and Pandora etc., but he avoided stories like Troy and Hercules and concentrated more on lesser known myths. The footnotes were a bit distracting but very interesting. Loved it :)
I listened to this as an audiobook not long ago, really enjoyed it too. His take on the myths was great! I especially enjoyed the creation of man and Zeus stepping on the blue and purple ones, ruining them. :)
 

sk

The Overlooked One
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Sineya
I've finally finished The Wheel of Time series.
14 books. It took me ages. lol I can't even remember when I last read something else.

It's hard to rate it though. The quality varied a lot through the series.
The beginning is brilliant. The first 5-6 books was amazing. I loved it.
Then the pace slowed considerably. It was almost a dead stop for a while there. I was close to giving up actually.

It feels awful to say it but I almost feel like Robert Jordan's death kinda saved the series.
When Brandon Sanderson took over he seemed determent to actually finished the series and the pace picked up again.
The last few books was actually really good. Can't say it reached the same level as the beginning but I at least enjoyed reading the books again.

/SK
 

Fuffy Baith

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Reread all of the Hunger Games books again. Well audiobooks. lol. I really enjoyed The Hunger Games more than I remembered, and I think it might be the best written of the 3 books. But Catching Fire is still my favorite because it expands the world and we get more information about the other victors and past hunger games. Mockingjay is still my least favorite of the 3, but I was surprised by how well the movies were adapted from it. There's still a lot of good in it, but the pacing is too slow.

The Hunger Games-8.5/10
Catching Fire-9/10
Mockingjay-7/10
 

brinkster130

Riley's BFF
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Sineya
The Woman in the Window - A.J. Finn 7/10
Easy to get through and enjoyable; but once you've read this type of suspense thriller, haven't you read them all?
 
Taake
Taake
You have, but they still have their charm :)

badsister

Angel's Avenger
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The man in high castle
10/10 well maybe I'm biased cause i love Philip K Dick
 
J

joseph

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The other one was getting close to the posting limit, so here's a new one :)

I just breezed through book 1-4 of The Vampire Diaries by LJ Smith in like five days :D (The Awakening, The Struggle, The Fury and Dark Reunion), if you like 90's YA fiction then I'd definitely recommend these. They were a bit cheesy sometimes (like I could've done with out the very last chapter of the last book), but overlooking that they're great. LJ Smith isn't afraid to get bloody or kill some people off. She's also good with backstory and continuity.

After reading these it was easy to see where Joss found some inspiration for Buffy! All in all, great fun and easy reads, with a lot of cool characters (even if Elena the lead isn't necessarily one of them).
hot flush by Michelle Heaton she is a singer in England that had cancer a good book but very shocking would read an Alyson Hannigan Bio if she ever writes one.
 

SES SA

Potential
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A Game Of Thrones By: G.R.R. Martin. Loved it. I watch Game Of Thrones, and I'm reading the books. I really love book version of the characters, rather than the TV ones. My favorite being Sansa. It's good read. But I feel like a lot of people won't read it. Because of the show. But I'm doing both. I'm now on book 2: A Clash Of Kings. Which is good so far. I'm on chapter 1. Ayra. But I will say; the preface for a clash of kings was boring. :D
The books really are the way to go. I watched the first season because of Sean Bean and had the series read by the time season 2 came out. I was pumped to see Stannis and like you I prefer the book characters in almost all cases. Are you up to date on the TV series? I find most of the prologues tough reads, but I did like Cressen.
 

HoppyHippy

My arse is not pansy!
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Sineya
Breathe by Tim Winton. A quick read with amazing imagery and beautifully described moments of nature. A snapshot of a boys' life, before the real world hit him. 8/10 (probably rated higher because I enjoy the beaches where the book is based).
 

Taake

Maybe it was taquitos. Maybe he lived for taquitos
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2/5 "Enlightenment Now: The case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress" - Steven Pinker

I actually thought I'd be the target audience for this book. Only a couple of pages in I knew I was in for a long and torturous ride however (one that included that word "progressophobia", ugh…). Don't get me wrong, he had a lot of good things to say (basically, stop whining things are better) but his style and reasonings were awful. It was an abysmal read. It gets two points because I do think there's something to the "stop complaining so gosh darn much you ingrates" of it all, but on the whole this was my experience reading it:

throwing-book.gif
Will not be reading anything from this guy again.
 
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