Recommended Posts

 

Sarah Vowell writes some magnificent non-fiction, and what's better is if you partake in her writing on audiobook then you're treated with her reading them herself (as with the video above). Her otherwise dry voice lends another layer to the sarcastic sense of humor and irony that she finds and writes about in her books.

 

Here's a longer reading of the first hour of Unfamiliar Fishes:

 

While Unfamiliar Fishes is a sort of basic history of Hawaii, it's an enjoyable book. She draws a lot on the physical scene of Hawaii in general and writes about going to the places certain events took place to find and describe the parallels of the then vs the now and other supporting factors for whatever chapter she's on.

 

The same concept is applied in Lafayette In The Somewhat United States where she explicitly talks about what she does and why for a bit. She was originally trained formally as a art historian and her creativity, research, and writing most often relies on the visual: settings, art, people, monuments, etc. This is woven into her Lafayette book as she goes from monument to the Frenchman to another and celebratory re-enactments for battles he was evolved in to not only record who Lafayette was (an adventurous nineteen year to twenty-something year old with no sense of danger or irony fighting for Enlightenment ideals), but also how he was viewed in the early 19th century and is seen as now.

 

It gets really heartwarming when she stands at the base of a monument to him in the middle of the Pennsylvanian countryside talking to a woman who lives right next door to the sandstone column as her son mows the lawn, and across the road a passive-aggressive Quaker "peace garden" lays in the shadow of Lafayette's war memorial (where he was shot in the calf in one early battle). And how an actor in Connecticut I think learned who Lafayette was and became the man to regularly portray him in annual reenactments, and whose job has helped reshape people's Francophobia. And comparing contemporary history with 18th century America by talking about the failed Congressional Republican plan to bring back all the American dead in France while ignoring all the French dead who fought for OUR freedom.

 

And to cap it off: the grave of Lafayette himself, where in France the French government partakes in what is often described as the most heartwarming display of patriotism for America every fourth of July. By the French. On French soil. Where they fly a fresh American flag over the unpaid French general's grave every fourth. Its truly emotional on a human level.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is the early 1800s. Napoleon Bonaparte has ascended as the emperor of France, and he's stomping all over Europe, taking what he wants with impunity.

 

Also, there are dragons.

 

 

This is the basis of the Temeraire series, my personal favourite series. We get to see how dragons interact with historical events, and how each country treats them. It also has some super fun characters, such as Iskierka ("I am the only fire breather in England, therefore everyone should listen to me") and Temeraire himself.

Thoroughly recommend it to anyone who likes history, fantasy, or just a fine read.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On August 27, 2016 at 4:03 AM, David Coleman said:

How about a discussion on books?

What are some of your favorite?

 

I like The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini and Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan. :( I know I haven't read them.)

The Inheritance Cycle is epic! Glad to see that someone else is a fan. :) 

 

I like A Song of Ice And Fire (Game of Thrones books), Pillars of the Earth, and also loved the Redwall and Warrior Cats series when I was growing up. ^^ 

 

My favorite genre is fantasy. 

 

Currently, I am reading Prisoners of the Sea by Florence Kingsley. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I absolutely love Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and I still have yet to read some more of his works like Journey to the Center of the Earth or his long-lost work, Paris in the 20th Century. Though I did read Robur the Conqueror, which is essentially 20,000 Leagues, but it's a giant airship instead of a really rad submarine. Though it is rather unfortunate that the copy I got was riddled with typos. 

Oh and I recently got Metro 2034 after reading Metro 2033 for a school project. I can't wait to read that!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My favorite book is a taut psychological thriller, which also employs techniques that bring a "meta" element into it and force the reader to participate in the gradual tearing down of walls that stand between the protagonist and a new perspective of himself which would have him embrace his monstrosity.

After reading it cover to cover, you as the audience must evaluate your own role in creating the situation, as well as the ultimate outcome. At any point, the protagonist's plaintive prayers to stop increasing his torment and anxieties could be answered, but to do so is also to leave your own curiosity unsatisfied. You want him to fail in his efforts to retain his old identity. You push ahead while he falters against your drive, causing him to fail time and time again. His every desperate facade crumbles in the wake of your forceful needs.

How could you put him through this? Would it have been better for him to persist in his self-denial? Is his final relief at the failing shackles that bound his true nature worth the misery and fear? If you had NOT participated, would you have ever known for yourself just how far he could be pushed without accepting his monstrous nature?

Was it worth it, reader? Are you proud of yourself?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Spoiler alert: the above book was ...

 

The Sesame Street classic, The Monster at the End of This Book

screen480x480.jpeg

 

 

Anywut, I just got in a couple of favorite reads in dead tree format: Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan and Infinite World by Vincent Di Fate.

Infinite Worlds is really kind of a coffee table book, in that it's huge and features gratuitous amounts of full-color images. But it's also nearly encyclopedic in the number of different sci-fi and fantasy illustrators it covers, from the Golden Age through the late 90s (when it was published). Niche? Maybe, but definitely a beautiful volume full of interesting bios and commentary on the field of sci-fi art, by one of the major names in that field!

Pale Blue Dot is Carl Sagan taking what he's learned about humanity by studying the the stars and planets, not to mention his work on the two monumental Voyager space probe missions, and laying out a potential pathway for our species to exist as a space-faring civilization. That includes making sure we always have an Earth to call home, as well as making other planets more Earth-like along the way.

 

Also, more out of principle than likelihood of reading them all, I just bought the latest Humble Book Bundle: Science Fiction By Real Scientists. Sadly it does not include Contact, but it does feature lots of sci-fi by other scientists and several guidebooks for sci-fi authors who want to use real science to inform their writing!

... I really didn't intend for my recent book splurge to be so science-focused and internally consistent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My favorite book right now is The Isle of the Lost by Melissa De La Cruz.

 

It is a really good book if you like fantasy or if you like the Disney villains. I highly recommend it.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

book books?
i do read comic books, mostly Conan the Barbarian.
i do have some other more standard books with no pictures on, tho i dont really read much anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been getting back into reading lately.

Recently I've read both The Client and The Pelican Brief, by John Grisham, and they're both great and recommended. Currently reading A Canticle for Leibowitz for my YouTube channel, so far it's interesting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll admit I've never been a real big reader. Though I like pictures, I hate how so many book authors have a need to describe every little detail as if writing poetry. I'd rather use my own imagination than have every last detail painted out for me. Plus it's soooo boooring having to read through all that. :P So, I'm partial to "tween" girls books, like American Girl, Magic Attic Club, Stardust Classics, fictional "diaries" like the Dear America series. I did enjoy the first two "Princess Diaries" books. I loved the AG Mystery and Girls of Many Lands series from the '90s. And I've been a total sucker for anything AG "Samantha" since the '80s. The only classics I've ever really liked are Louisa May Alcott's books (like "Little Women"), and Jane Austen ("Sense and Sensibility", "Emma", etc). As of now, I have to mention two that are my favorites-

 

"Deborah" by Margit Heppenstall

A young girl is kidnapped and sold into slavery, where she matures and eventually falls in love with an orphaned slave boy belonging to another master. When they save their masters' lives, they're rewarded with their freedom and they go home to her family.

 

"Catherine called Birdy" by Karen Cushman

A drunken medieval Lord is trying to marry his young daughter off to a rich man, no matter how old or vile they may be. But she comes up with some of the most genius and HILARIOUS ways to get her suitors to lose interest in marrying her.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/27/2016 at 5:03 PM, David Coleman said:

How about a discussion on books?

What are some of your favorite?

 

I like The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini and Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan. (I've been meaning to read Harry Potter. :( I know I haven't read them.)

I've read both of the series a couple times over because I love them a lot. Warrior Cats and Wings of Fire are also some of my personal favorites.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a heads-up! September 25th-October 1st is when the American Library Association celebrates your freedom to read with Banned Books Week!

Quote

Hundreds of books have been either removed or challenged in schools and libraries in the United States every year. According to the American Library Association (ALA), there were at least 311 in 2014.  ALA estimates that 70 to 80 percent are never reported.

Explore these pages for more information:

More information on banned/challenged books can be found on the American Library Assocation's frequently challenged books pages.

Your local library might have a display set up showcasing some of the frequently challenged or banned books! It's a nice way to get reading recommendations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Huge maze runner fan (I liked it before the movie came out) however I also liked the fault in our stars (also before the movie) and eragon (I'll admit this was after the movie)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah a topic on the subject of literature, I find fiction fascinating, among many other genre's, particularly that of one Garth Nix. The Seventh Tower series was quite an exhilarating read. :D 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now