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The Idiot Board Readers Corner - General Discussion

Discussion in 'Books' started by ReverendGodless, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. Nettdata

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    Re: The Idiot Board Book Club

    Neil Peart's Ghost Rider



    Just finished this the other day.

    For those of you not familiar with the back story, Neil Peart is the long-time drummer/songwriter for Rush, that fantastic 3-piece Canadian band. Yes, I've long been a huge fan. Uber-fan even.

    Anyway, a while ago he lost his daughter in a bad traffic accident. It crushed him and his wife, and caused a whole bunch of unfathomable issues between him and his wife. His wife moved from anger and bitterness to having no reason to live, and passed away shortly after.

    To say he was crushed and slightly adrift would be an understatement.

    He then hopped on his motorcycle, and went on a nomadic ride across Canada and the US to try and find himself, heal himself, and reconnect with the world around him. All while keeping a journal.

    It's an excellent read, and an intimate look into a grieving and healing person's physical and emotional journey.



    To this day, when he goes on tour with Rush, he and a small group of friends/associates bike the back-roads between gigs.

    He's also written a number of other books discussing his various biking trips around the world, and they're sitting on my bookshelf, waiting.
     

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  2. KIMaster

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    Re: The Idiot Board Book Club

    Finally finished reading Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood. This is the first work I've read by him, but he is easily one of the greatest authors I've ever encountered, right up there with my two favorites, Steinbeck and Kundera. His ability to describe and notice subtle emotions, sensations, and thoughts is unlike anything I've ever come across, and he does it in a very direct, powerful tone. His development of plot and characters are absolutely masterful.

    He typically writes about somewhat science fiction works, but this is more of a semi auto-biographical work about a young university student's life, and the two girls he's involved with. The fact that such a pedestrian subject is one of the best books I've ever read should say something about its unique perspective.
     
  3. ReverendGodless

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    Re: The Idiot Board Book Club

    I don't care for the themes (ghosts, psychics, paranormal mumbo jumbo) of hardly any of Stephen King's books... But, I love his writing. He could write 500 pages about an hobo taking a shit on a picnic table and I would be entranced.

    Because you're afraid of getting hooked?

    What is it with these fucking books?

    My lady-friend, who enjoys Palahniuk and Tom Robbins, who read and enjoyed Confederacy of Dunces, who has never touched a Mitch Albom book, just finished the second Twilight book. But, get this: She claims they are terrible, that she finds them only mildly interested based on their popularity with her more respected, educated friends. She makes it sound like she's reading them as part of a social experiment. I say bullshit. She's hooked and she's embarrassed that she's hooked. She's watching the fucking movie upstairs as I write this.

    Even a few of my guy friends, the kinds of guys who loudly and unabashedly fart in line at the book store, complain about these books. They chuckle at how horribly written they are; how sad it is that they are the most popular books in the US. But, when pressed, these 35 yr old, football fans admit to reading them. Some have read more than one.

    I assume they have some kind of Dan Brown-like appeal. You know the story is going to be predictable and the writing is going to be sophomoric, but the combination of an interesting theme and quick, addictive pacing does not allow you to put the fucking thing down. You almost feel dirty for finishing it.

    Thoughts? Comments? Feedback?
     
  4. mikebegood

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    Boys Will Be Boys is like Friday Night Lights on coke, in other words fantastic. Keeping in line with the sports theme, is anyone excited about the new Simmon's book? The footnotes drive me nuts, but it will be interesting to see what he does with a full volume of new material rather than rehashed columns.
     
  5. swood

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    Re: The Idiot Board Book Club

    Slightly. While I've heard they read like bad fan-fiction, or the author's wet dreams, there has to be a reason why so many people shit their pants over these books, and I'm tempted to read the books to figure out why. I found a copy on a book swap shelf in my hotel in Greece this summer, picked it up and it fell apart. I take that as a sign from God, and I'm never going to try to read it again.

    Vampires that sparke? Fuck that.
     
  6. valeo

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    Re: The Idiot Board Book Club

    Just an idea for everyone, you may want to check out a site called http://goodreads.com. It's a social networking site for readers. You can import contacts onto it and group books you have read, rate, and review them. Also, you can set preferences for your friends so whenever they add ratings or reviews you get a notification. Its a good way to get recommendations from people who have the same interests as you. I know myself and Corman are on it and I have gotten some good reads off of looking at his books.

    And I am not spamming for the site, I just think its a better way of getting recommendations than this. Especially once there's a couple hundred posts in this thread.

    Also, would anyone be interested in participating in a book discussion kind of thread? I know Ryan ran a couple of really good ones on the old board, but I don't know how many of the people interested in that have made it over here.
     
  7. Costello

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    Re: The Idiot Board Book Club

    My most recent purchases were Alice's Adventure's In Wonderland/Through The Looking Glass and Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman.

    I thought I was in for a long slog with Alice since the extended Penguin version I bought is HUGE. Turns out the stories are only about 100 pages long each, the rest is exposition and critique. So I finished the first story in a night. There's not much to say about a classic, except that no-one should be put off by the 'children's book' tag, AAiW is clever and entertaining and a worthwhile read for anybody.

    I'm about 1/3 through Feynman and it's brilliant. His attitude towards life and other people is wonderful to read, as is the insight you get into a genius mind. I especially enjoy his judgments of others' thinking, like his account of his dealings with philosophers. Genuinely warm and funny and inspiring.
     
  8. gtg2k

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    Re: The Idiot Board Book Club

    Over the past year, I've discovered the works of Dan Jenkins. If you love sports and hate people educated beyond their intelligence, then you'll love Jenkins' books. The one's I've read so far:

    Semi-Tough: This one is probably his most well-known, and was made into a movie with Burt Reynolds, aka God, and Kris Kristofferson in the 1970's. The book follows the adventures of fictional New York Giants' running back Billy Clyde Puckett in the Super Bowl against the "dog ass" New York Jets. I laughed out loud more at this book than I do at most movies.

    Dead Solid Perfect: One of his first books. This has some relation to Semi-Tough in that the main character is Kenny Puckett, the uncle of Billy Clyde, and his quest to win the PGA championship. This book actually made me realize that golfers were a lot less boring than I thought.

    Slim and None: This one is about Bobby Joe Grooves, a golf pro looking to win his first major championship, as well as his romantic adventures with the mother of a younger golfer. This book made me laugh even more than Semi-Tough.

    The Franchise Babe: This one is about a golf writer covering the LPGA, and getting romantically involved with the mother of a young female pro. Almost as many laughs as Slim and None.

    I'll admit that his books seem to follow a formula, and have a bit of an anti-Northern bias, but I find them very down to earth and enjoyable, and recommend them to anyone looking for a relaxing read.
     
  9. seelivemusic

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    Re: The Idiot Board Book Club

    I am also reading "Infinite Jest" by David Foster Wallace but I'm almost done. Its very well written and I find it very interesting because there are many humorous references to Boston AA without being insulting.

    I didn't like "Sex, Drugs, and Coco Puffs" by Chuck Klosterman. I really wanted to like it as I identified and am familiar with most of essay's subject matter but I guess I just didn't get it.
     
  10. RCGT

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    Re: The Idiot Board Book Club

    This book is great. Feynman is (surprisingly enough for those who only know him by his work) a charming bastard of a writer. His insights into life prove that his was not a one-track mind; he really gives you the sense of a guy who wasn't just inquisitive about nature and science, but about everything. And he's funny to boot. In short, I second that.

    I'd like to think that she's telling the truth. It's the same reason people watch terrible movies like Shark Attack 3 or read stories about Roy Orbison wrapped in cling wrap. Yes, it's hilarious how terrible they are, but at some level it becomes fascinating. You start to wonder who the intended audience is, what the thought process was behind the creation of the book. It's just another way of stepping into someone else's head. Ergo, a social experiment.

    Or maybe I just have a clingy hard-on for Roy Orbison.
     
  11. ReverendGodless

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    Re: The Idiot Board Book Club

    I cranked right through Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution by Richard Dawkins. I stick by my previous review that I made 1/4 of the way through: This book should be required reading for students and the young-earth crowd. It is written for those who either do not know, or who are unconvinced (or refuse to be convinced) that evolution is fact, therefore it is dumbed down a bit. And, if you've already got your head around the basics of evolution and natural selection, you're probably not going to learn anything monumental. But, that's not saying it doesn't contain a lot of great information, examples and resources. Bottom line: If you're looking for a book to provide ammunition to use against your creationist facebook friends, you've hit the jackpot.

    Next up: The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century by George Friedman. First impression at 100 pages in: Eye-opening.
     
  12. Currer Bell

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    I decided to start reading them for similar reasons, to see what the hype is about. I've read the first two, and haven't gotten around to putting a hold at the library for the 3rd.

    It just doesn't do that much for me. It held my attention when Belle was trying to figure out what Edward's deal was, and then the author's description of how her vampires are different from the usual. After that it was just pretty typical damsel in distress and longing glances. And the intensity of Belle's feelings for Edward are kind of off-putting. The second one was tedious (I despise love triangles), with only one part that gave me the creeps (last scene in Italy).

    I'm going to keep reading them because it is hard for me to let go of any series that I've started. But it will be kind of like Man vs. Food when he's to the point of shoveling it in his mouth just to finish the damn thing.

    I just finished Watchmen. If you are like me and you just crawled out from under a rock, Watchmen (a graphic novel) is somewhat of a murder mystery involving some retired caped crusader/vigilantes. Like Batman, they had no powers, just costumes and the desire to fight crime. One of them is murdered, and the only vigilante still in action, Rorschach, tries to find out whodunit. A very simplistic explanation, but there you go.

    Right now I'm reading Strangers, by Dean Koontz. A handful of people all over the U.S. are suddenly gripped by paralyzing fear that manifests itself in different ways. I'm only on the first chapter, but I've read roughly 5,429 of his books and I'm guessing it is a secret government experiment.
     
  13. Dry

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    I just finished reading Sense and Sensibility. I loved it. I find that the hardest thing to keep up with when reading some of the classics is the sheer numbers of characters involved. But Austen pulled it off, it's a great book.

    I've just started Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. My friend recommended it to me by saying it's the only book he's ever read twice. So I thought I'd check it out. The brief synopsis I have so far gleaned from it's pages is that in the future, an ideal society has been created by World Controllers through genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs. It's a fascinating idea which is presented excellently. So far, I'm enjoying it.
     
  14. Bob the Builder

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    Re: The Idiot Board Book Club

    I hope this thread stays lively. I have gotten so many books in my waiting to be read pile from y'all (both here and at TMMB). Love reading people who seem to have a brain recommend books. Cheers.
     
  15. chrisb

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    Embarassingly enough, I loved Twiglight and read the whole series. Sure it's a bit cringeworthy and it's definitely not great literature. It's more like Baywatch or Neighbours. At any rate, it's a lot better than Wuthering Heights (apparently the author's inpiration) which I vaguely remember as pointless melodrama (although it's a couple of decades since I read it, so maybe I'd be able to appreciate it better now that I'm not an idealistic teenager).

    I read Atlas Shrugged a couple of months back. Once you get into it, it's a great story, but I guess that style of writing isn't everbody's cup of tea. I have to say I skipped the long speech at the end because a) it was boring and repetitive, and b) it's just logically flawed. There are a lot of good ideas in there, but I think it's easy to get sucked into the cult around her philosophy that ironically enough is based more on faith than objective reasoning. In particular her explanation for the 'bad guys' motivation is just lame: it's pretty clear that greed/self-interest was frequently their motivation as well (both in the real world and her fictional world), but she can't admit that because it contradicts her hypothesis that unregulated greed is always good. But overall, her criticism of people who think the world owes them a living is spot-on.

    I'm half-way through The Black Swan at the moment and I'm really enjoying it. Basicly it's about how poorly humans comprehend probability and how bad we are at predicting the future. It's rare to find an author who can make statistics interesting.
     
  16. walt

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    When I hear the women at work rave about how wonderful Twilight was and how well it was written, it's all I can do not to laugh in their faces. Someone earlier referred to it as the authors wet dream, and that is a pretty good way of putting it. I read the first book more out of curiousity than anything, then just to see how long it'd take for Edward to rip Bella's throat out. By the time my wife told me there was three more, my own stack of "books to be read" down to nothing, I plowed on through the series. I wouldn't say it totally sucked, but I wouldn't call it great either. Maybe if I was a 13 year old girl, I'd feel differently, but I still don't get why so many grown women fawn over the characters in this book.

    As for book recommendations:

    Pillars of the Earth - Ken Folette - Set in the Middle Ages. When people ask me what its about, I tell them its about building a cathedral, but with lots of something for everyone. Seriously, there's a lot of sub plots rolled into one that all come together in the end. Lots of fighting, drama, raping and pillaging that was the Middle Ages.

    Chronicles of Amber- Roger Zelazny - This is a fantasy/ sci fi set of novels about a royal family of the one true world, "Amber", which casts shadows of itself and of alternate worlds, our own Earth being one of them. The royals can control and manipulate these "realities" as they fight for the right to assume the throne left by their now missing father. Again, hard to describe the entire plot in one post, impossible actually, but a damn good read. Anyone who has taken my recommendation on this one has not been disappointed.

    Animal Farm - George Orwell - Sometimes I think it's more relevant now than when Orwell wrote it.

    Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Jesus' Childhood Friend - Christopher Moore - The title is pretty self explanitory. After 2000 years Biff is resurrected to write his own gospel, filling in the teen and early adult years of Jesus the Bible leaves out. Unlike the other gospel wirters though, Biff is crude, vulgar, and as one angel called him, " an asshole." Extremely funny.
     
  17. ReverendGodless

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    Keep me posted on The Black Swan. It's on my to-read list.

    FOCUS:


    Survival of the Sickest by Sharon Moalem, MD looks at disease from the standpoint of evolution. Some of the most deadly and/or prevalent genetic diseases we run across today, from an evolutionary standpoint, make a lot of sense. Although we have no use for these diseases now, they helped our ancestors survive various predicaments and have been naturally selected and passed on as a result. A few examples: Sickle cell resists malaria. Diabetes is essentially your body's antifreeze system gone haywire. Excess glucose in our bloodstreams lowered the freezing point of our blood and, therefore, helped our ancestors survive the last ice age. Hemochromatosis (too much iron in the body) protected against the bubonic plague. Sure you may survive the plague just to die of hemochromatosis at 40, but as far as natural selection is concerned, that's plenty old enough to reproduce.

    Another couple of interesting gems gleaned from this book: some parasites have the ability to 'control' hosts. Although this isn't the best example from the book, it is perhaps the best example for this forum: Herpes may cause people to be more promiscuous. A burning sensation on your junk tends to make sex more pleasurable. So, when a herpes breakout is imminent, sex is a little more urgent and people tend to seek it out more. As a result, the herpes virus indirectly provides itself with more chances to spread. This also explains KY's heat-inducing lubricant product line.
     
  18. rei

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    Re: The Idiot Board Book Club

    Okay when I was like eleven, I used to read a lot of fanfiction. Some of it was good but a lot of it was bad, self-insertion Mary Sues hooking up with their fantasy characters (from Gendo Ikari to Mewtwo) creating elaborate fantasy worlds just to appease their author avatars, sometimes changing the very nature of some characters so they'd be more perfect for their self-inserted self to hook up with, regardless of how unfeasible or dumb it is.

    And that is why twilight sucks.


    Focus: I've been on an (auto)biography kick lately. I'm currently reading Reach for the Sky, which is about Douglas Bader, a guy who lost both his legs in the early 20s due to him crashing a plane, but later (legless) became a flying ace in WW2. I'm enjoying it.
     
  19. TrembleTheDevil

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    Re: The Idiot Board Book Club

    Tremble the Devil: the story of terrorism as Jesus Christ, James Bond, and Osama bin Ladin would tell it is the most approachable and accessible book ever written about terrorism.

    You don’t want to look. Some doors, you think, are better left shut tight. But it is still there. It’s just hiding, waiting. We’ve been telling ourselves that it disappeared a long time ago. And yet deep down you know that’s a lie. Just because something is unseen, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t still there.

    And worst of all.

    You know that we've only increased its power and inevitability by keeping it shut away. Only made it angry. Despite not being able to see it, you can still feel it stir as its breathe flutters over the pages of the news and flickers across your television screen.

    As our economic system crumbles and the prospect of international conflict grows in likelihood – the unnerving certainty that something terrible is about to happen has slowly been slipping out of the shadows and into the everyday events happening right in front of us all.


    Here's a review:
     
  20. Sherwood

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    As a train commuter (about 90 minutes round trip, much longer if i have to work late and take a non-express train) I've become a fairly prolific reader. Lately I've begun trying to read books that are a little more difficult than Palahniuk and Ellis, so I thought classic 20th century American lit would be a good place to start:

    Hemingway - For Whom the Bell Tolls. It's not the Easiest read in the world, and it took me a fair amount of time, but Hemingway really does tell an amazing story. And while the book is by no means short I have to agree with the general consensus about him that he simply does not waste words. Everything is vital to the story. And the first love scene between Robert Jordan and Maria is fucking brilliant.

    Steinbeck - Grapes of Wrath. I enjoyed this story A LOT more than I thought I was going to. I've liked everything of Steinbeck's I've read (Tortilla Flat is one of my favorite books, and East of Eden sits on my bookshelf, too intimidating to read) but I was wary of this one. The story is fantastic, though it takes a little while to get used to the dialogue. And the ending of the book is absolutely tremendous, one of those books that makes you wish you were reading it with someone else so you can talk about the last few pages.

    The last book I finished is something I think everyone in their mid-20's should read, BEFORE seeing the movie: Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. That book is a goddamn experience, and absolutely awesome. I say you should read it in your mid-20s because frankly, I'm not sure I would have understood it 5 years ago.

    For everyone talking about Klosterman, I highly recommend reading his first novel, Downtown Owl. While he spends the first few pages seeming like he's trying way too hard to write a witty novel, it does settle down and the story is really good.

    Right now, I have East of Eden, On the Road and The Sun Also Rises waiting on the shelf, but I decided to take it easy and read The Princess Bride, which I didn't even realize was a book before it was a movie. William Goldman wrote the screenplay immediately after he wrote the novel, so while there are some differences, nothing really changes in terms of the plot and the pacing. I know everything that's going to happen, and I know when it's going to happen, but I don't even care. It's just so goddamn good, just like the movie.

    What sucks, is that I'm highly against hardcovers. I hate them. And yet, every time I walk into the book store, Klosterman's Eating the Dinosaur and Super Freakonomics are taunting me. Fucking hardcovers. I think there's another new book I want to read, but it's also a hardcover.