Books

Ah, one book series for all those fantasy-lovers and "Harry Potter" fans I *MUST* recommend is the `Spooks` series written by Joseph Delaney. Having read many other fantasy books, in my opinion this by far outshines the rest. I wouldn't like to reveal too much at once, but if you're into demons, witches and spirits, this is the book you'd like to get. I'd say this isn't for a younger audience, even though that most would assume so, but the story AMAZING and probably hard for those under 12 to understand. But I'm 15 so... just take a look!
 

stexx

formerly Agithos
for any of you aspiring artists I recommend finding a copy of Burne Hogarth's dynamic anatomy! great illustrations and summaries to help you develop your style while also remaining anatomically correct.

Bridgman's constructive anatomy is also a great one!
 
i just finished The Martian by Andy Weir and had a lot of fun the whole way through. it doesn't take itself seriously beyond ensuring that the science they throw out could theoretically be right, and a lot of the cheap jokes thrown around genuinely made me chuckle because i never grew out of my middle school reading habits.

i then tried to pick up the Vampirates series by Justin Somper... the first book was mindless and fun based on novelty (i mean come on, vampire pirates!), but then book two lost its novelty, and book three was a poorly written bedtime story for children. which, if anyone is in the market for it, there's six books in the series.
 
If anyone has not read either "The Necronomicon: The Wanderings of Alhazred" or simply known as the "Al-Azif" as well as the novel "Alhazred" I highly recommend everyone checking it out.

I will go into more detail of their synopses and general, primary ideas on the thread I started regarding metaphysical knowledge and arcane lore, if anyone is interested in the true nature of what we deem as the "Necronomicon" although, the real necronomicon is beneath the throne of our creator.

Also, I suggest finding a copy of the Delomelonicon or the Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows. I never got to finish this ancient text due to losing it when I had moved one time but I plan on getting another copy. There are many copies out there by various different transcribers but they all essentially describe the same concept and that is a compilation of older sacred texts, as far as I am aware.

If anyone has read any of these texts, please share with me your ideas and knowledge of them. I'd love to learn more regarding these arcane mysteries.

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Valzy

Destroyer of Worlds
is a Contributor Alumnus
I finished The Traitor Baru Cormorant and its sequel The Monster Baru Cormorant recently. Traitor was amazing, but Monster was mediocre.
 

Myzozoa

to find better ways to say what nobody says
is a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Past WCoP Champion
i dont read too many books these days but mainly i just read the stuff referenced in Sianne Ngai's groundbreaking book Ugly Feelings. So I've posted before about this book before, and how I was reading Melville's The Confidence Man: His Masquerade, which is amazing and extremely timely, in order to follow up on this book's discussions. Now that I'm gonna be at home I'm ready to look at Quicksand and Passing (which is now being made into a movie) by Nella Larsen, who was a novelist of the Harlem Renaissance. She only wrote 2 books before she abruptly switched to focus on her career in nursing, where she was involved in early 20th century discourses on black education.

I also once again really want to recommend The Beautiful Ones are Not Yet Born, it is post-colonial novel and the passages on weed, public transportation, and working night shifts are iconic descriptions of the lives of ppl surviving in an emergent capitalist system. P short book too.
 
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Celticpride

To Elysium
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Currently reading 10% Happier by Dan Harris. Someone got me it as a Christmas gift a few years back and I’ve finally decided to read it. First ~third is ok so far, not bad enough that I’ve had to put it down but not pulling me back in either.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was one of the most thoroughly engrossing books I’ve ever read and I can’t recommend it enough. The Girl Who Played With Fire was pretty good but nowhere near as good as the first book.
 

Valzy

Destroyer of Worlds
is a Contributor Alumnus
I finished reading the Book of the Ancestor trilogy by Mark Lawrence. Very engaging series, although it starts out slowly in the first book.
 
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i am currently re-reading cannery row by john steinbeck, which i read for the first time about two years ago for my ap lit class my senior year of high school and have named as my favorite book ever since. it is not disappointing me. i still think it is extremely good - the lighthearted parts are still funny and the darker parts are still haunting. it's a pretty short and very episodic novel (almost more of a novella imo) but it works really well.

"Our Father who art in nature, who has given the gift of survival to the coyote, the common brown rat, the English sparrow, the house fly and the moth, must have a great and overwhelming love for no-goods and blots-on-the-town and bums."

fuck yeah, dude. stan john steinbeck
 

wyc2333

A=X+Y+Z Y: Hard Work
is a Pre-Contributor
when i was 18 years old, my parents gave me a book called Atlas Shrugged. time flies, when i review this book, although i can't agree everything in it, individualism and ration still impress me.
 

tcr

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a week or two ago I took it upon myself to read Anthem - Ayn Rand so here is my analysis of it

What I gathered from the book was the idea of human individualism being the peak of the human experience. I have not read Atlas Shrugged or any of her other works so I'm not sure if they are more economically based or not, but I didn't see any arguments towards the stereotypical 'capitalism vs communism' struggle. Rather I viewed the material from the lens of the ego.

The story starts off similar to the Giver, if anyone's ever read that. It's a very dystopian world, where the people lack their own autonomy. All actions undertaken are for the collective and dissent is forbidden. People have no 'real' names to signify independence, their jobs are chosen by the elders who's jobs were chosen by them, and there are remnants of a caste system in place in the setting in Anthem. Individuals are forbidden to love or seek a relationship that is outside of the "designated mating time," all aspects of the history before the collective takes over are forbidden. There is no 'I' there is only "we" and this is reflected in the language throughout the novella save the last chapter. All of this is some critique of the social environment that Ayn Rand escaped from, presumably, pre world war 2 USSR. Since the story situates entirely upon the lone individual, I failed to see any arguments that Rand made specifically about economics, or even a political argument.

The story starts off with the individual of the book going about his day per usual until he is assigned his position within society - Street Sweeper. He desperately wants to be a Scholar and believes he has the talent for doing so. While undertaking his duties he finds a secret tunnel which is said to be outside the gaze of the collective, an area from "the forgotten time." The individual meets a woman and finds himself fascinated with her, lingering his gaze on her and exhibiting symptoms of love. They are forbidden to meet except for the designated mating time which even then there is no guarantee they will be assigned together, but after the original trespass of finding the secret tunnel, the individual approaches the woman and they enter a relationship amongst each other, keeping secrets from the collective. The individual ends up discovering electricity within the tunnel. During the climax of the novella the individual bursts into the chambers of the Scholars to present them his discovery, and try to usher a new era of their knowledge. He is swiftly shut down as they fear that advancement, discern that he did forbidden things and brought forbidden knowledge, and chased out of the town. It is here where the man and woman find a cabin reclaimed by nature, an area outside of the collective's gaze, and it is here where they learn "the forbidden word" that is "I."

That is a short enough summary of the book, a very quick paced dystopian novella. The setting is very much hyperbolic, it is an extreme absence of the ego in which man lives to serve other man. There is no "I" only "we" and the character's struggle is discerning the meaning of his life in the nature of this fact. I thought it fascinating this argument even though I thought it was devolving from some ascension. Rand argues throughout the novella that it is individual struggles that encapsulate the human condition, and in some ways I think she is right. Analyzing from a Buddhist / Brahman angle it is only when suffering is recognized as a fact of living that true appreciation for the good can be realized; In another sense, the departure from individualism to collectivism has an end goal of the elimination of suffering. An elimination of starvation, of failure to realize one's dreams, of failure to maintain a relationship, of breaking the impermanence of life through a collective unity. Yet, it is through this tactic that the human condition is reduced from a life to an experience, devoid of feelings and emotions and trials and triumphs.

On the other hand the novella implicitly argues toward recognizance of the ego, of the individual, as peak humanity. Humanity is self-actualized through giving in to the "I" within them. I think this argument is wrought with pride and from a theological standpoint inherently wrong. In analyzing it from a Brahman-esque point of view, the goal of humanity should be to realize their place within the circle and to transcend suffering by recognizance of the One. Another sense would be to analyze it from a Heraclitean viewpoint, the unity of opposites and a constant state of flux within the universe being the one truth. When I described my thoughts after the book to my girlfriend I used a metaphor. It was almost like the arguments of Truth as I understood them were going one way, from individual I to collectivist we, on one side of a highway; on the other side of the highway was Rand, with the exact opposite argument.

I wished to read this book because I have heard a great many people disparage the author online, calling her arguments incoherent, outright wrong, and her literary style amateurish, as well as a greater sect of people who I suspect have never actually read any of the material but know Ayn Rand as "the libertarian bible" and so stigmatize her for that. I wished to read it to make my own assumptions. From a literary standpoint I think the only reason I was able to stomach Anthem was because it was only 100 pages. The writing was very choppy and hard to digest. It was certainly amateurish considering modern standards. I am unsure if I were to read something like Atlas Shrugged, which I have heard is maybe 10x as long, if I would actually be able to handle it I think I would be bored to tears at the end. From a political standpoint, the arguments made in this book were non-existent. There was the implicit critique of communism through a pitting of collectivism vs individualism, but certainly it was much more about the social aspects of the latter. It was an interesting enough book to read, at the least.

I think the next two I am going to read are Judith Butler's Performative Acts and Bodies that Matter, the former of which I have already started
 

wyc2333

A=X+Y+Z Y: Hard Work
is a Pre-Contributor
several years ago, my mum recommended me to read Rich Dad Poor Dad, but i was addicted to stupid fucking games. atm i think reading this book can hf.
 
I'm almost done reading "Pleasure" by Gabriele D'annunzio. Next, I'll most likely read "The Prince" by Macchiavelli, then "The Canterbury Tales" by Chaucher, followed by "The City of the Sun" by Campanella, and then I'll see what to read next. Most likely "Confessions of a Mask" by Yukio Mishima, but I have another 8 or so books that I bought that I could choose from. Now that I think about it I'll most likely read the "Confessions" by Saint Augustine right after The City of the Sun.

Non-fiction wise, I am currently reading "The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem" by Nathaniel Branden, and I'm going to read "Bronze Age Mindset" by Bronze Age Pervert, followed by "Mind-Made Prison" by Mateo TabaTabai.
 
Currently reading: The Republic by Plato

So far I'm very pleased with it and have enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. After I finish I'm not sure what else I'll pick up but it'll definitely be something Greek.
 
thoughts on recently read stuff

Mistborn trilogy:
Starts out with a nice, simple goal that's easy to get invested in (most of the world is enslaved or in poverty, this guy who's responsible is a dick and needs to die) and a cool magic system and some simple but likable enough characters. The world building and foreshadowing over the trilogy is excellent, the magic system is great, it's all-around a very enjoyable read.

Stormlight Archive 1-3:
Moves slow at times (especially the introduction, which has multiple prologue chapters with characters that don't appear again for a long time) but the payoff is fantastic. The fantasy world is incredibly fleshed out and alien in its culture, ecosystem, and conflicts, possibly moreso than any work of fiction I've seen. Probably the most hype I've been for a new book (4th one comes out this November!)

The Farseer trilogy:
Extremely slow, dense fantasy. The world, characters, and even some of the challenges faced by the protagonist are relatively mundane compared to the above two but still extremely engaging, creating a well-told story that still leaves a lot of room in the universe for more.

Discworld:
Huge series with a lot of variation in quality. At its best, it's a wacky comedy with enough of a story and worldbuilding to move things forward (see: Guards Guards!, Men at Arms, Sourcery) that's consistently entertaining to read. There's a bit of an issue sometimes with weak subplots that steal the spotlight from the more interesting ones (Mort, Reaper Man, Wyrd Sisters). Small Gods is less outright humorous than some of the above but probably my favorite on the whole with a fantastic ending.
 

brightobject

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Finished the handmaiden's tale a couple weeks ago. Hard to deny the skillfulness with which the book is written, and I feel that it is deserving of its status as a classic dystopian novel. With a sizeable footnote attached...

This big asterisk being that the book benefits enormously from appropriation of slave narratives and storytelling traditions. At its core its quite literally an alt-history/thought experiment that asks "what if slavery happened to white (cis) women, wouldn't that be Scary?" The inspirations are obvious--there is a smuggling route called the Underground Femaleroad for God's sake--but I don't think there's an excuse to stop there, and this lack of an appropriate and respectful acknowledgement of the cultures Atwood is mining here hurts the book immensely. It doesn't help that all of the BIPOC are written out of the book's universe in one sentence (hint: they all got genocided) and the only other presence of poc is some Japanese tourists traipsing through this fascist dictatorship state (model minority myth anyone?).

Despite my ambivalence on the book, I don't regret reading it and do recommend it in spite of the problematic elements. Its characters are still very rich, the story is tense and portrays with nuance the paranoia-inducing, ego-obliterating effects of living in Gilead. Beyond that it encourages a larger discussion about the way we look at histories of violence (structural and individual) both intentionally through its layers of frame narratives and unintentionally through its appropriation of Black trauma for its white feminist perspective.

Reading The Handmaid's Tale also made me pretty wary about watching the TV show--many of the book's more graphic moments are powerful in context of the control and restraint the main character maintains over her story as she willingly recalls and recounts it through audio recordings. Adding a relatively omniscient camera to all of this would put that documentary (?) aspect of the storytelling under a lot of strain--this aspect once again being something that is very much inspired by the oral traditions of slaves.

(here's an article that focuses more on the tv show, but its criticisms remain very relevant to teh book https://www.salon.com/2019/06/05/we...m-in-the-handmaids-tale-and-when-they-see-us/ )



Total tangent btw but if anyone has any recommendations on good books / resources for learning about nords / vikings (their politics/ morality esp) please point me to them!
 
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UncleSam

Leading this village
is a Forum Moderator Alumnus
Station Eleven is a really engrossing, timely, and moving ensemble drama about how society might deal with a flu so deadly it creates an apocalyptic world. Would definitely recommend.
 
Mistborn trilogy:
Starts out with a nice, simple goal that's easy to get invested in (most of the world is enslaved or in poverty, this guy who's responsible is a dick and needs to die) and a cool magic system and some simple but likable enough characters. The world building and foreshadowing over the trilogy is excellent, the magic system is great, it's all-around a very enjoyable read.

Stormlight Archive 1-3:
Moves slow at times (especially the introduction, which has multiple prologue chapters with characters that don't appear again for a long time) but the payoff is fantastic. The fantasy world is incredibly fleshed out and alien in its culture, ecosystem, and conflicts, possibly moreso than any work of fiction I've seen. Probably the most hype I've been for a new book (4th one comes out this November!)
Big recommendation for these, as well as everything else by Brandon Sanderson. He's arguably the best fiction writer alive, and he just doesn't stop making great books.
 
Big recommendation for these, as well as everything else by Brandon Sanderson. He's arguably the best fiction writer alive, and he just doesn't stop making great books.
Yeah, I've been generally pretty impressed by his stuff, even the standalone titles like Warbreaker (which he's made freely available, interestingly) or Shadows For Silence are generally engaging and creative.

To be fair I have been a bit disappointed by the second Mistborn trilogy, it's still enjoyable but it definitely drags a bit compared to the first. I chalk it up to the fact that it wasn't originally planned as part of the series.
 

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