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The "What Are You Reading?" Thread (necroed)

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Re: The "What Are You Reading?" Thread (necroed)

Post  Steamblast Mary on Thu Sep 25, 2008 7:52 pm

"Nation", the latest Terry Pratchett. Am pleased to report it's shaping up very well.

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Re: The "What Are You Reading?" Thread (necroed)

Post  Prof. George of Chaos on Thu Sep 25, 2008 8:16 pm

You mean to say it's out already, Mary?

Ooooh...This does not bode well for my studies.

There is so much fine taste in this thread. I'm thinking I have to check out this China Mieville guy.

Tonight I polished off a couple of short stories from Cory Doctorow's Overclocked, a few of Yeats's poems and was given a book on the Twenties and one one Christopher Brennan's poetry, as they were being expunged from my school's library.

On some levles I think BNW is a better dystopian warning than 1984. Very good book.

Has anybody else here read Mary Wolstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Women?

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Re: The "What Are You Reading?" Thread (necroed)

Post  Gazongola on Fri Sep 26, 2008 12:18 am

Sorry, BNW? And remember 1984 was written for its time really.
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Re: The "What Are You Reading?" Thread (necroed)

Post  Gazongola on Fri Sep 26, 2008 12:19 am

Oh! Brave New World. I see. Never read it. Although I have heard many great things of Aldous Huxley.
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Re: The "What Are You Reading?" Thread (necroed)

Post  Mrs. Sullivan on Fri Sep 26, 2008 12:33 am

Prof. George of Chaos wrote:You mean to say it's out already, Mary?

Ooooh...This does not bode well for my studies.

There is so much fine taste in this thread. I'm thinking I have to check out this China Mieville guy.
<snip>
Has anybody else here read Mary Wolstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Women?

Yes, I have read Mary Wollstonecraft's Vindication, although it has been some thirty years ago. Nevertheless, a classic foundation of feminist rhetoric.

Mieville is wonderful - I have read Perdido Street Station and The Scar, and am looking forward to Iron Council. I can recommend these books highly. I tried Un Lun Dun, but it was a bit too childish for my taste (and I generally enjoy children's books).

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Re: The "What Are You Reading?" Thread (necroed)

Post  neon_suntan on Fri Sep 26, 2008 10:26 pm

Just finished Bret Easton Ellis' - Lunar Park.

I'll never look at Ferby's or Terby's the same again

I'm waiting for a freidn to finish reading Iron Angel the sequel to Scar Night, so in the meantime I'm reading A Users Guide to The Shipping Forecast, those in the know should now whistle "Sailing By" Smile

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Re: The "What Are You Reading?" Thread (necroed)

Post  Jemima Annabelle Clough on Fri Sep 26, 2008 11:02 pm

Do you know if it exists as an MP3? It's very relaxing, and it work very well before the shipping forecast set to music that I have on my computer Smile

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Re: The "What Are You Reading?" Thread (necroed)

Post  neon_suntan on Sat Sep 27, 2008 7:40 pm

Jemima Annabelle Clough wrote:Do you know if it exists as an MP3? It's very relaxing, and it work very well before the shipping forecast set to music that I have on my computer Smile

Sailing By or The Users Guide to The Shipping Forecast?

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Re: The "What Are You Reading?" Thread (necroed)

Post  Jemima Annabelle Clough on Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:07 pm

neon_suntan wrote:
Jemima Annabelle Clough wrote:Do you know if it exists as an MP3? It's very relaxing, and it work very well before the shipping forecast set to music that I have on my computer Smile

Sailing By or The Users Guide to The Shipping Forecast?
Sailing By Smile

And is the Users guide To The shipping Forecast any good?

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Re: The "What Are You Reading?" Thread (necroed)

Post  Prof. George of Chaos on Sun Sep 28, 2008 1:11 pm

Gazongola wrote:Sorry, BNW? And remember 1984 was written for its time really.

Oh, I find no fault with the quality of Orwell's writing, it's just that 1984 expresses a dictatorship which holds it's power through war and a governmental policy of brainwashing anyone who deviates from the party line by even the barest margin, whereas the totalitarian regime in Brave New World is maintained through keeping the populus distracted and content while the rulers get on unchallenged because everybody is having too good (though deeply hollow, I think) a time. Those who don't buy into the party line are deported to a place they can have no effect on proceedings where they are from.
We devote so much time to bread and circusses nowadays. On some levels it is a very fine thing to have a society which has leisure to engage in such things, but where we allow them to distract fromother, important things going on around us we have a very large problem, so this is the level on which I am perhaps a little more owrried by Huxley's work (which is, incidentally, magnificent) than Orwell's (which also does extremely well, if I recall rightly).

Mrs. Sullivan, it's quite the galvanizing piece, isn't it? That exhortation to be worthy of
respect, rather than mere passive vehicles for adoration...It seems to me that that is a very important aim for everybody to hold.

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Re: The "What Are You Reading?" Thread (necroed)

Post  Dax on Sun Sep 28, 2008 5:38 pm

In a similar vein, you might want to try reading Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here. Its a somewhat satirical novel of the story of the downfall of American Democracy. Lewis' socialist views are definitely evident in this story - it was very fashionable to be something of a "pinko" in the '30s. But the book is definitely an interesting read in today's political climate.

Also, you might look for a very interesting novel by Taylor Caldwell titled The Devil's Advocate. Very worthwhile.
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Re: The "What Are You Reading?" Thread (necroed)

Post  Abraxas on Sun Sep 28, 2008 5:44 pm

Brave New World is maintained through keeping the populus distracted and content while the rulers get on unchallenged because everybody is having too good (though deeply hollow, I think) a time. Those who don't buy into the party line are deported to a place they can have no effect on proceedings where they are from.
Funny, though both written some time ago, 1984 seems to describe the cold-war fears, while Brave New World seems more plausible as something Our governments would actually try to pull off...(except for the sex, you know Bush hates sex)

*and thanks for the Sinclair Lewis recommendation, there's an author I've heard about but never gotten around to picking up*
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Re: The "What Are You Reading?" Thread (necroed)

Post  OldProfessorBear on Sun Sep 28, 2008 8:25 pm

Dax wrote:In a similar vein, you might want to try reading Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here. Its a somewhat satirical novel of the story of the downfall of American Democracy. Lewis' socialist views are definitely evident in this story - it was very fashionable to be something of a "pinko" in the '30s. But the book is definitely an interesting read in today's political climate.

Absolutely! I first happened upon a copy in my earlyish teens, when I didn't fully understand all the implications. Really ought to re-read it, if I can find my copy.

Highly recommended.

OPB, Pinko.

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Re: The "What Are You Reading?" Thread (necroed)

Post  Steamblast Mary on Sun Sep 28, 2008 8:34 pm

With reference to things written that reflect their time in terms of government playing on the things the tell us to fear, I think "V for Vendetta" sums that up very well. The graphic novel (Alan Moore and David Llyod) was written in the 80's Cold War climate and depicts a post-nuclear society struggling for food, etc. The film, well... just watch it.

On a lighter note, I thoroughly enjoyed "Nation". Not a Discworld book, in fact set in a world remarkably similar to our own, but with a typically Pratchett blend of humour and incisive observations.


Am about to embark on Derek Landy's "Skullduggery Pleasant: Playing with Fire", the second in the series. Enjoyed the first one a great deal, there's a certain type of children's book that, if you can disregard some obviously-writen-for-children elements, are damn' good fun. Justine Somper's Vampirates series are another good example.

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Re: The "What Are You Reading?" Thread (necroed)

Post  Jemima Annabelle Clough on Sun Sep 28, 2008 9:34 pm

Just started reading a book I've been meaning to read for years - A Conneticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Loving it so far Smile

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Re: The "What Are You Reading?" Thread (necroed)

Post  Dax on Sun Sep 28, 2008 10:35 pm

OldProfessorBear wrote:

OPB, Pinko.

Or possibly, "Society Pink"? Smile Not making any judgements, merely trying to keep perspective of the times in which these works were written.

I also recall a "future history" novel from the '20's titled The Red Napoleon. Very much of a ripping yarn, in which an asian warlord assumes control of the communist state of Russia and attempts to conquer the world. It was written in the first person by a WWI war correspondant, Floyd Gibbons, and included some particularly vivid imagery of land and sea battles - including trench warfare in the no-man's land of ruined Manhattan. I don't recall that it was a particularly feasible book from a geo-political standpoint, more of a cautionary tale against US isolationism. I might have to dig that one out again for a good read.
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Re: The "What Are You Reading?" Thread (necroed)

Post  The V.A.P. on Sun Sep 28, 2008 11:13 pm

Starting on Conrad's "The Secret Agent". It's a bit easier read that "Heart of Darkness" Wink
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Re: The "What Are You Reading?" Thread (necroed)

Post  Gazongola on Mon Sep 29, 2008 12:58 am

Again along the lines of current reflections, I like the way Robert Rankin's books have evolved with the ages, even if most of them are set in Brentford, a place where I have never been. From his views on Thatcher right the way up to Chavs in the modern day.
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Re: The "What Are You Reading?" Thread (necroed)

Post  Herr D÷ktor on Mon Sep 29, 2008 1:46 am

Alas, the Brentford of the books is of a multiplicity of Brentfords down the ages, and the real one seems to always be stuck in a state of 'early closing'!

Usually, the Rankster has a new novel out every august, but this years opus isn't due til the end of december!

So I'm consoling myself with Pratchett's 'Nation'- which is shaping up to be very entertaining!
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Re: The "What Are You Reading?" Thread (necroed)

Post  neon_suntan on Mon Sep 29, 2008 3:02 am

Jemima Annabelle Clough wrote:
neon_suntan wrote:
Jemima Annabelle Clough wrote:Do you know if it exists as an MP3? It's very relaxing, and it work very well before the shipping forecast set to music that I have on my computer Smile

Sailing By or The Users Guide to The Shipping Forecast?
Sailing By Smile

And is the Users guide To The shipping Forecast any good?

There's a clip of it here

The Users Guide... is part memoir and part detail, I've only just started it, but my dad as a former Merchant Seaman and current armchair sailor thoroughly recommended it!

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Re: The "What Are You Reading?" Thread (necroed)

Post  OldProfessorBear on Mon Sep 29, 2008 3:10 am

Dax wrote:
OldProfessorBear wrote:

OPB, Pinko.

Or possibly, "Society Pink"? Smile Not making any judgements, merely trying to keep perspective of the times in which these works were written.

I also recall a "future history" novel from the '20's titled The Red Napoleon. Very much of a ripping yarn, in which an asian warlord assumes control of the communist state of Russia and attempts to conquer the world. It was written in the first person by a WWI war correspondant, Floyd Gibbons, and included some particularly vivid imagery of land and sea battles - including trench warfare in the no-man's land of ruined Manhattan. I don't recall that it was a particularly feasible book from a geo-political standpoint, more of a cautionary tale against US isolationism. I might have to dig that one out again for a good read.

"Parlor Pink" is the term I've heard.

I wonder if that novel had any influence on Moorcock's Bastable Trilogy. Certain elements of your description suggest scenes and themes from all three books.

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Re: The "What Are You Reading?" Thread (necroed)

Post  Guest on Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:04 am

A friend of mine gave me a copy of Faust. The Goethe version with illustrations by De La Croix. It's really a gorgeous book, and I hadn't read it until now.

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Re: The "What Are You Reading?" Thread (necroed)

Post  Prof. George of Chaos on Mon Sep 29, 2008 6:00 pm

Thank you for the reccomendations, Dax. It Can't Happen Here and Devil's Advocate. I shall watch out for them.

Abraxas wrote: [...] while Brave New World seems more plausible as something Our governments would actually try to pull off [...]

That was rather my point, Abraxas. If you want a passive population, give them bread and circuses. Even the Romans knew that. We mustn't let it work.

Also, joy! Due to a sale at my University's book shop wherein the price of two Penguin Classicsis worth three Penguin Classics I am now the very pleased owner of Lady Chatterley's Lover (D.H. Lawrence), On The Road (Jack Kerouac) and The Picture of Dorian Gray (which needs even less explanation than the other two), and thismorning I began The End of Mr. Y, by Scarlett someoneorother. It has some interesting ideas in it so far, but it reads like Youth Lit. I'm not far in yet, though, and it seems to be improving the further I get.

Does anyone here know the derivation of the term 'pinko'?
Perhaps something to do with the colour-symbolism attached to Communism..?


Last edited by Prof. George of Chaos on Mon Sep 29, 2008 6:01 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Forgot to ask a Question)

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Re: The "What Are You Reading?" Thread (necroed)

Post  Gazongola on Tue Sep 30, 2008 1:37 am

Herr D÷ktor wrote:Alas, the Brentford of the books is of a multiplicity of Brentfords down the ages, and the real one seems to always be stuck in a state of 'early closing'!

Usually, the Rankster has a new novel out every august, but this years opus isn't due til the end of december!

So I'm consoling myself with Pratchett's 'Nation'- which is shaping up to be very entertaining!

Not an incredibly huge fan of Pratchett, but I seem to have been able to bare a few of his books. A fair few in fact. I am currently reading Armageddon: The B Movie. Not read it yet. I also have the Da Da De Da Da Code to finish.
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Re: The "What Are You Reading?" Thread (necroed)

Post  von Corax on Tue Sep 30, 2008 2:18 am

Prof. George of Chaos wrote:
Does anyone here know the derivation of the term 'pinko'?
Perhaps something to do with the colour-symbolism attached to Communism..?

That would be my guess. Somone who is/was a devout Communist Party member, born and raised in the arms of the Party and the State, would be "red" (the Party colour) while someone claiming to espouse the Party line and Party principles while at the same time enjoying the benefits of a less-totalitarian society would be a somewhat-less-intense, more watered-down shade of red, which is to say "pink."

That's only a guess, though; if you're truly curious perhaps you could ask Michael Quinion?


Last edited by von Corax on Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:14 am; edited 1 time in total

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