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Thread: Summer Reading List

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    OPINION Summer Reading List

    Well, the summer officially begins with the solstice on the 21st. So it's timely that I will begin another list today and work through them over the summer. I hope to see some more participation in this thread, I know some people are reading what I am writing because there's no way that I viewed that last thread 160 times.

    So please let me know: what are you planning on reading this summer?

    I'm reading some horror this summer along with some short stories and other psychologically engaging texts.

    At the Mountains of Madness: and Other Weird Tales - H. P. Lovecraft
    Prayers to Broken Stones - Dan Simmons
    Who's Afraid of Virgina Wolf - Edward Albee
    Yellow Dog - Martin Amis
    The Gunslinger (Dark Tower 1) - Stephen King

    If I make it through the first Dark Tower, and if I like it, I reserve the right to continue reading the series throughout the summer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rafiki View Post
    Well, the summer officially begins with the solstice on the 21st. So it's timely that I will begin another list today and work through them over the summer. I hope to see some more participation in this thread, I know some people are reading what I am writing because there's no way that I viewed that last thread 160 times.

    So please let me know: what are you planning on reading this summer?

    I'm reading some horror this summer along with some short stories and other psychologically engaging texts.

    At the Mountains of Madness: and Other Weird Tales - H. P. Lovecraft
    Prayers to Broken Stones - Dan Simmons
    Who's Afraid of Virgina Wolf - Edward Albee
    Yellow Dog - Martin Amis
    The Gunslinger (Dark Tower 1) - Stephen King

    If I make it through the first Dark Tower, and if I like it, I reserve the right to continue reading the series throughout the summer.
    I loved the Dark Tower series. Perfect summer reading.

    Here's mine:
    Einstein: The Life and Times - Ronald W. Clark (currently reading)
    The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer - Siddhartha Mukherjee
    Bag of Bones - Stephen King
    Fletch Won - Gregory Mcdonald
    Le Morte d'Arthur - Sir Thomas Mallory

    I also want to get into The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series at some point.





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    Quote Originally Posted by Gonzo View Post
    I loved the Dark Tower series. Perfect summer reading.

    Here's mine:
    Einstein: The Life and Times - Ronald W. Clark (currently reading)
    The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer - Siddhartha Mukherjee
    Bag of Bones - Stephen King
    Fletch Won - Gregory Mcdonald
    Le Morte d'Arthur - Sir Thomas Mallory

    I also want to get into The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series at some point.
    Thanks for posting! Einstein's theories were expounded a bit in one of the last books I read for spring. I, for one, cannot fathom what kind of mind it would take to come up with General and Special Relativity. I admire physicists but find their way of thinking completely mind-boggling. Interestingly, Einstein didn't win the Nobel prize for these cornerstone theories, but instead won for proving that photons behaved as both particles and waves. YET- Quantum Mechanics proved experimentally that once observed, the probability wave collapses and photons behave only like particles, which is effing crazy IMO.

    Let us know how the books turn out. I am definitely into legends like Arthur and feel they teach us a lot about ourselves.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rafiki View Post
    Thanks for posting! Einstein's theories were expounded a bit in one of the last books I read for spring. I, for one, cannot fathom what kind of mind it would take to come up with General and Special Relativity. I admire physicists but find their way of thinking completely mind-boggling. Interestingly, Einstein didn't win the Nobel prize for these cornerstone theories, but instead won for proving that photons behaved as both particles and waves. YET- Quantum Mechanics proved experimentally that once observed, the probability wave collapses and photons behave only like particles, which is effing crazy IMO.

    Let us know how the books turn out. I am definitely into legends like Arthur and feel they teach us a lot about ourselves.
    It's an incredible book so far. I heard Walter Isaacson's biography of him was good as well, and it's a little more contemporary (Clark wrote his in the '71), so you get more info on how his theories have impacted us today.

    A friend recommended Mallory to me a while ago. I just found a full copy (usually split to 2 volumes) in a 3 books for $10 deal. It's ****ing massive for an old epic, so I'll likely read the lighter stuff in between this giant biography. It has the smallest font I've ever read I think, has to be 9 pt, with quotes being in 8. It's never taken me this long to get through 300 pages (of 778, not including notes). Hopefully I can get to the other books!

    Of all the books on my list, I'm looking forward to The Emperor of All Maladies the most and will be reading it next.

    My wife is reading David Cross's I Drink for a Reason. I might throw that one in too, probably on my flight to L.A. next month.
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    Well, I finished a collection of H.P. Lovecraft's stories last night. They were enjoyable to read, not only because of his obvious command of prose, but also because of the way he develops horror into his stories.

    The themes in almost all of his stories seem to be centered around an obsession to gain hidden or primeval knowledge, and the horrific consequences of this search. In some the search is for knowledge of black magic, in a couple it is a faraway land, and in a couple it is a search for scientific knowledge in the form of anthropology and geology.

    I was very interested to see how he fostered a feeling of horror. The way he does this is by obscuring the image of the horrific, or leaving vital details out. Lovecraft doesn't go overboard on an image dump of the horrific things the characters see, and often times will tell you that its basically indescribable and moves on. Sometimes a character will shriek in terror, but will be unable to convey what they saw. What I think this does, is allows the reader to use their imagination to build a personal monster. It is effective because what one person thinks is scary doesn't always translate to another. With a blank monster, we can all fill it in with something we think would be particularly horrific and the desired effect is achieved.

    He also has a great habit of ending some of his short stories with a reveal, in this edition usually written in italics. It's a real "dun dun dunnnn" moment, but I love that in horror stories.

    Before I began reading the stories, I was aware of his Cthulu mythos, but only superficially from popular and internet culture. Surprisingly Cthulu himself never appeared in the collection of stories I read, but his children appeared in one (as powerful land octopi).

    All in all, I would recommend this to others. It has some tedious moments, especially his alternative earth history about Elder Ones or the Great Race (which reminded me of nautiluses), but I thought it was a good diversion and some of his short stories are particularly memorable.

    If you have a half hour and want a taste, check this short story out:
    http://www.hplovecraft.com/writings/...fiction/td.asp
    It is true that I have sent six bullets through the head of my best friend, and yet I hope to shew by this statement that I am not his murderer. At first I shall be called a madman—madder than the man I shot in his cell at the Arkham Sanitarium. Later some of my readers will weigh each statement, correlate it with the known facts, and ask themselves how I could have believed otherwise than as I did after facing the evidence of that horror—that thing on the doorstep.
    BTW I love the opening paragraphs of his stories.
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    Last night I finished reading Dan Simmons' short story collection Prayers to Broken Stones. I have previously read his Hyperion Cantos and I was surprised to see that a lot of the same themes were repeated in some of his short stories. It seems that his short stories kind of led up to his masterpiece (Hyperion) like seeds lead to a garden. I also appreciated his introduction to each section, which was not necessary, but helped in contextualizing the state of mind he was in while writing.

    His horror style is similar to what I know of Stephen King, being that most of them involve either vampiric people (either literally, metaphorically, or figuratively) or psychics. His story about the "cancer vampires" called Metastasis was probably my favorite and combines both of those themes. The most disturbing imagery of the story was when the main character was performing oral sex on his fiance and looked in a mirror to see a cancer insect peeking out from between her labia.

    I found a .pdf of this short story and you can read it here: http://www.univeros.com/usenet/cache...Metastasis.pdf

    Anyway, up next is a play in written form Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee. I saw the last half of the movie based off this play starring Elizabeth Taylor and damn near fell out of my seat at how dark, psychotic, and great it was.
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    Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was very bizarre. I think the dominant theme of the play was power and powerlessness. The two main characters (George and Martha) exert control through their use of psychological games. Martha goes as far as to attempt adultery with a party guest, but alas he had the whiskey dick.

    It was funny but the amount of abuse the two main characters give each other is stunning. The weirdest part of the whole thing is when it was revealed that the whole time they do these "games" they are participating in some sort of intellectual grandstanding. It seems that the manipulation of others' emotions is their principal form of pleasure.

    Odd..

    Anyway, I'm already reading Amis's Yellow Dog. So far, so good. I hope it doesn't end with the same depression-laden prose as his The Information did. I enjoy his writing immensely. He is very witty but can sometimes show off.
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    I'm already done with Amis' novel Yellow Dog. It was worthy. It was perverse and violent. The review said it had to do with masculinity, and I can see that. It really is an unflinching look at the darkest desires of men: for power, for gratification, for love.

    What Amis does very well is capture in his characters what Thoreau said: "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." You can sympathize with the characters because they're very flawed, their thought patterns are realistic, and their motivations can be disjointed and illogical. I saw this in The Information and in this novel. Thankfully Yellow Dog has a happy ending, which I think is almost necessary in a novel which can evoke despair.

    So last night I picked up The Gunslinger, the first book of seven in Stephen King's The Dark Tower series. Already I'm seventy pages in. I probably won't reply to this thread until the series is all read. At the pace I'm setting I will have it done before the Equinox.
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    I've read Vonnegut's Sirens's of Titan, Cormac McCarthy's The Road, S. C. Gwynne's Empire of the Summer Moon, and Phillip Roth's The Humbling, so far this summer. I would recommend all except for "The Humbling". It's not as good as the earlier Roth stuff I have read. "Empire of the Summer Moon" was really good, even though it can get repetitive in the details at times. Gwynne seems to sum things up often, especially when changing topics, which is sometimes good. I'm looking forward to starting "Blood Meridian" by Cormac McCarthy next week.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3rd and long View Post
    I've read Vonnegut's Sirens's of Titan, Cormac McCarthy's The Road, S. C. Gwynne's Empire of the Summer Moon, and Phillip Roth's The Humbling, so far this summer. I would recommend all except for "The Humbling". It's not as good as the earlier Roth stuff I have read. "Empire of the Summer Moon" was really good, even though it can get repetitive in the details at times. Gwynne seems to sum things up often, especially when changing topics, which is sometimes good. I'm looking forward to starting "Blood Meridian" by Cormac McCarthy next week.
    Of those, all I've read is The Road. I even started a thread on it, somewhere down the list. It was good. I haven't read any more of McCarthy's work, but I've heard good things about Blood Meridian.
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