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Messages - Geemont

Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 ... 51
1
The Book Corner / Re: Are book series overtaking novels?
« on: May 24, 2013, 07:30:15 pm »
I don't read episodic character series.  Trilogies like Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars or James Ellroy's Underworld books are OK as they are more like one continuous story told over multiple volumes.  But if it's the same character doing something similar book after book -- Why Bother?  David Weber's Honor Harington books come to mind.  Did I read five books in the series?  Or did I read the same book five times?  With Weber it can be hard to tell.  The repetition and familiarity might be comforting to some readers, but I prefer to explore the unknown and relish differences.

And I do think series are becoming more prevalent. 

Here is a true story.  I once asked a panel of suspense writers at a book expo in Seattle why there are so many series in the genre and fewer standalone novels.  The most telling answer come from an author with a popular series who decided to write a standalone thriller.  His publisher kicked the book back and asked it be rewritten as part of his series.  Thrillers being thrillers, he said, they are very much alike, and he did a find and replace on the main character name, wrote a few extra scenes explaining why the main character was out of his normal venue, and walla!  It sounds so easy it almost sounds fake.

2
Book Klubs / Re: May 2013 Group Book Count
« on: April 30, 2013, 09:55:12 pm »
NO.TITLEAUTHORSUBJECTFORMATLENGTHFINISHEDRATING
1. Imago Octavia E. ButlerScience FictionKindle 3342 locations 05/04/20133.99 Stars
2. The Black Company Glenn CookFantasyKindle 4594 locations 05/04/20132.99 Stars
3. Against a Dark Background Iain M. BanksScience FictionKindle 8707 locations 05/07/20134.00 Stars
4. Chronicle in Stone Ismail KadaréNovelKindle 3972 locations 05/09/20134.00 Stars
5. The Sense of an Ending Julian BarnesNovelKindle 2161 locations 05/14/20134.99 Stars
6. Revelation Space Alastair ReynoldsScience FictionAudio 22:12 hours 05/17/20134.50 Stars
7. Parallel Stories Péter NádasNovelKindle 27782 locations Currently Reading
8. Gun, With Occasional Music Jonathan LethamScience FictionKindle 3547 locations Currently Reading
9. The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood James GleickGeneral ScienceAudio 16:17 hours Currently Reading


***** Reading Stats For 2013 *****
    FORMAT       JAN       FEB       MAR       APR       MAY       JUN       JUL       AUG       SEP       OCT       NOV       DEC     TOTAL
Locations
    30,610
    21,188
    44,574
    32,051
    22,776
         0
         0
         0
         0
         0
         0
         0
   151,199
Pages
       640
       765
       229
       889
         0
         0
         0
         0
         0
         0
         0
         0
     2,523
Audio
     43:12
     38:05
     39:20
     28:55
     22:12
      0:00
      0:00
      0:00
      0:00
      0:00
      0:00
      0:00
    171:44

3
The Book Corner / Re: Kindle's Daily Deal -- Does it influence you?
« on: April 17, 2013, 07:34:21 pm »
I get the daily email, but I rarely buy unknown titles or authors.  Typically, when I buy, it's a book I know or already own as a DTB.  For example, I bought Anathem by Neal Stephenson as a daily deal even though I have the hardback.  At $1.99 who could say no?  Every now and then an unexpected title stands out and says buy me, such as Memoirs of a Gnostic Dwarf (Contemporary English Language).  But most of the time the titles are my cup of tea.

4
The Book Corner / Re: Do you genre hop or stick to one?
« on: April 15, 2013, 08:03:09 pm »
Hopper.  

Over the last twelve months: 120 books, five genres.  I keep a data base, so stats are easy for me. 


Fiction, Literature: 35.00%
Fantasy, Science Fiction: 27.50%
Non-Fiction: 24.17%
Crime, Mystery, Suspense: 10.00%
Horror: 3.33%

5
Book Klubs / Re: April 2013 Group Book Count
« on: March 30, 2013, 05:46:19 pm »
NO.TITLEAUTHORSUBJECTFORMATLENGTHFINISHEDRATING
1. Original Face Nicholas JoseCrimeDTB 308 pages 04/01/20133.00 Stars
2. Memory Wall Anthony DoerrNovelKindle 3157 locations 04/04/20132.75 Stars
3. Sympathy for the Devil Kent AndersonNovelDTB 399 pages 04/08/20134.75 Stars
4. A Wizard of Earhsea Ursula K. Le GuinFantasyDTB 182 pages 04/11/20133.50 Stars
5. A Gay and Melancholy Sound Merle MillerNovelAudio 21:27 hours 04/17/20134.75 Stars
6. Van Gogh: The Life Steven NaifehBiographyKindle 24101 locations 04/22/20134.50 Stars
7. Dreams in a Time of War: A Childhood Memoir Ngugi wa Thiong'oMemoirAudio 7:28 hours 04/23/20133.00 Stars
8. Deryni Rising Katherine KurtzFantasyKindle 4793 locations 04/25/20132.50 Stars
9. Revelation Space Alastair ReynoldsScience FictionAudio 22:12 hours Currently Reading
10. Parallel Stories Péter NádasNovelKindle 27782 locations Currently Reading


***** Reading Stats For 2013 *****
    FORMAT       JAN       FEB       MAR       APR       MAY       JUN       JUL       AUG       SEP       OCT       NOV       DEC     TOTAL
Locations
    30,610
    21,188
    44,574
    32,051
         0
         0
         0
         0
         0
         0
         0
         0
   128,423
Pages
       640
       765
       229
       889
         0
         0
         0
         0
         0
         0
         0
         0
     2,523
Audio
     43:12
     38:05
     39:20
     28:55
      0:00
      0:00
      0:00
      0:00
      0:00
      0:00
      0:00
      0:00
    149:32

6
The Book Corner / Re: The Song of Achilles - fiction or fact?
« on: March 18, 2013, 07:46:08 pm »
I read it last year.  Not a bad novel, but very little history, I think.  Achilles and Patroclus are fictional, or so far removed from the actual people they represent, nothing but a shadow of a grain of truth remains.  But they still could have been homosexual lovers.

Also, there probably wasn't an "author" named Homer.  The writings of Homer are transcriptions of oral tales told over many hundreds of years.  The Iliad is older than the Odyssey and probably represents a more primitive psychological view of Men and Gods. (Or so says Julian Jaynes in The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind with a chapter on the Iliad and the Odyssey.)

7
Not Quite Kindle / Re: If you were a dictator...
« on: March 13, 2013, 10:05:51 pm »
1. Spread secret rumors and tales that I can only be removed from office by The Chosen One born with special magic powers.
2. Hire ghost writers and filmmakers to tell illegal stories of Hope about the The Chosen One. Enure there are sufficient "contrabrand" copies for everyone to read or watch.
3. Ensure the people who like and believe stories about The Chosen One are successful; ensure people who are critical or disinterested are fed lots and lots of heavily carcinogenic foods.
4. Publicly fear the coming of The Chosen One. Fear nothing else.
5. Do whatever I want to whoever I want whenever I want in any way in way secure in the knowledge that there can never be a Chosen One born with special magic powers and keep the people hopefully waiting and praying for that <i>special</i> day when he or she comes to take me down.


8
The Book Corner / Re: WOOL OMNIBUS by Hugh Howey
« on: March 07, 2013, 09:23:16 pm »
I really liked the first three stories and the changing narrative prospective, but it started losing steam at part four when the story coalesced around one character, and it lost my interest at part five.  It lacked the previous inventiveness and sense of place in the silo and focused more on providing a resolution. It also bordered on one the gravest clichés a science fiction author can make.  The Tribe of Lost Children.  Four stars for the first four parts, two for the fifth, for an overall rating of three.  There are prequels out there, but I'm going to take a pass on them. 

9
I've read two books by each author before, but I doubt I'll ever get around to reading a third - barring unexpected immortality or imprisonment with limited libraries. There are so many other writers and other books to discover; and neither of these authors are what I'd call good wells for repeat visits.

10
Not Quite Kindle / Re: What's your favorite song, ever?
« on: February 28, 2013, 09:52:50 pm »
Besides, does the final movement of Beethoven's 9th Symphony count as a song? ;)

It would get my first vote.

I'm not usually a big fan of singing in music, but for a "song" I'll have to do some scrounging for ideas.  When Washington state made pot legal, it got me thinking about great music to get baked by, and this song came to mind.  I like even when I'm not baked.  (And I haven't been in 20 years).

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJh9OLlXenM" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJh9OLlXenM</a>

11
Book Klubs / Re: March 2013 Group Book Count
« on: February 28, 2013, 01:19:33 pm »
NO.TITLEAUTHORSUBJECTFORMATLENGTHFINISHEDRATING
1. Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945 Max HastingsHistoryAudio 31:31 hours Quit Reading at 5:04
2. The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought Susan JacobyBiographyKindle 3386 locations 03/02/20134.00 Stars
3. When Gravity Fails George Alec EffingerScience FictionKindle 4735 locations 03/05/20134.25 Stars
4. Deliverance James DickeyNovelAudio 7:35 hours 03/07/20135.00 Stars
5. The Paris Wife Paula McLainHistorical NovelKindle 5300 locations 03/10/20134.00 Stars
6. Moravagine Blaise CendrarsNovelDTB 229 pages 03/11/20133.00 Stars
7. The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo Tom ReissBiographyAudio 13:35 hours 03/15/20133.75 Stars
8. Anathem Neal StephensonScience FictionKindle 17456 locations 03/23/20134.99 Stars
9. Angelmaker Nick HarkawayScience FictionAudio 18:10 hours 03/30/20133.99 Stars
10. The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer Siddhartha MukherjeeGeneral ScienceKindle 13697 locations 03/30/20133.00 Stars
11. Within a Budding Grove Marcel ProustNovelKindle 9318 locations Currently Reading
12. Original Face Nicholas JoseCrimeDTB 308 pages Currently Reading
13. A Gay and Melancholy Sound Merle MillerNovelAudio 21:27 hours Currently Reading


***** Reading Stats For 2013 *****
    FORMAT       JAN       FEB       MAR       APR       MAY       JUN       JUL       AUG       SEP       OCT       NOV       DEC     TOTAL
Locations
    30,610
    21,188
    44,574
         0
         0
         0
         0
         0
         0
         0
         0
         0
    96,372
Pages
       640
       765
       229
         0
         0
         0
         0
         0
         0
         0
         0
         0
     1,634
Audio
     43:12
     38:05
     39:20
      0:00
      0:00
      0:00
      0:00
      0:00
      0:00
      0:00
      0:00
      0:00
    120:37

12
 $1.99 for


$2.99 for



13
Can you use the 10 digit ISBN as people have found works for paper editions?

IS there an ISBN for audible books? ???

Amazon uses an ASIN for Audible editions - No ISBN, so far as I can tell.  Audible uses neither.

Do the queries to the Amazon KindleStore database only look for "books"?  I noticed the Link Maker will pull DTB and Kindle Books, but not audiobooks of any kind.  I'm guessing this feature uses a similar process.

14
Ha! It works, even for books that are out of print and only available from affiliates.

Great!  However, it doesn't work for Audible books with an ASIN. I get the following message:

"ASIN not found in Amazon database: This item is not accessible through the Product Advertising API."

I wonder if the Audible Books aren't aren't hosted on the Amazon systems, but only linked to Audible.

15
Let's Talk Kindle! / Re: Cats and Kindles?
« on: February 24, 2013, 01:24:59 pm »
The only real trouble with Cats and Kindles in learning to read and turn pages one handed.  One hand to hold and operate the Kindle, the other to pet the cat.  The trouble can surmount when there is more than one cat and the hand with the Kindle isn't doing its proper duty.

16
The Book Corner / Re: DAEMON by Daniel Suarez
« on: February 23, 2013, 09:51:58 am »
I listened to the unabridged audio in 2010 and thought the first half was very good.  The second half was entertaining, or sorts, but way past plausibility and at times I wanted to hurl my iPod across the room.  But it was bad in the way a bad movie can be good, making you laugh at the silliness, were BAD is GOOD.

17
Not Quite Kindle / Re: Meteor explodes over Russia
« on: February 17, 2013, 10:09:17 pm »
Asteroids are nothing new under the sun.  It's only a matter of time before one really big one hits the planet.  Of course this is geological time and a 1000 years is like second in a year.

18
The Book Corner / Re: When do you stop following a book series?
« on: February 17, 2013, 09:57:57 pm »
When I feel like every book is the same.  Sometimes that's 2 books in.  Sometimes it's 20 books in.  Sometimes it never happens.

This is pretty close to what I think, but I'd say the sameness will creep into every series eventually. No author is immune.   As a rule of thumb, books four and five are the red hot danger zone were most start to fail. I did read nine books in George  MacDonald Fraser's Flashman Papers, but that is about as far as I have ever gotten in a series.

Episodic series where the reader can read the books in any order, by their very nature, must rely heavily on sameness.  It's just plugging in formulas.  Unless the events of the story fundamentally change the character, there is no way to escape this outcome. 

19
For the people who see movies or become part of the story:  What happens when you read non-fiction, essays, or other writing that isn't necessarily about people, just ideas.

20
Very nicely done!   It's always curious to see what other people are reading.


21
The Book Corner / Re: Novels Your Parents Read
« on: February 16, 2013, 07:42:28 pm »
Despite my mother going back for a Masters in English Literature later in life, I can't remember her reading much when  it wasn't assigned for a class, except for an occasional pop psychology she saw a TV talk show.  I do read "literature" but not for class, and never the kinds of books talked about on the TV.

My father read a lot of WWII "action" novels.  I enjoy WWII history and historical fiction, but don't much care for the action novels.

22
No.  I must  not be into visuals.  I would like to think I more inclined to read the way people did 100 years ago before the Age of Film, engaging with the words, and not attempting to create imaginary moving pictures.

But I admit that some books seem to be written as if the authors are imaging the story played out the movie in their heads.  I guess there are a lot of readers who enjoy that style, but I find it unpalatable, and don't re-read the authors who write like that.

23
Well, the Amazon CSR said he'd call back with an answer Tuesday, and now it's after business hours in Seattle.  I'd be miffed it it were out of order.  I wonder if Amazon knows it's fixed.  That would be unnerving. Or maybe the CSR is just backlogged.



24
The Book Corner / Re: What's your favorite crime series?
« on: February 13, 2013, 05:37:29 pm »
Well, it's not really a series, more of a trilogy, or one very long novel, depending on how you want to look at it, but James Ellroy's Underworld books are some of the best crime fiction I've read in years.  Start with American Tabloid.



25
The Book Corner / Re: humor recommendations?
« on: February 12, 2013, 10:27:08 pm »
Perhaps the only novels to ever make me laugh out loud, the Flashman books are also some of the best historical fiction around.  The premise is that a Victorian soldier, who is widely praised for bravery, service to country and queen, and a respected gentleman is actually a cad, a rake, a coward, a lair, and a womanizer, who gets himself jammed into all the great battles and political  conspiracies of the 19th century, then must extract himself with skin and reputation intact.  And bed all the beautiful women along the way.  

For a flavor, here is the opening sentence of book two:  "If I had been the hero everyone thought I was, or even a half-decent soldier, Lee would have won the battle of Gettysburg and probably captured Washington."



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