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    1. Unpopular opinion: "Show don't tell" isn't always the best strategy

      This is way too often offered to you as this magical pill to solve all fiction writing problems. But as a reader, I don't think this is always the right strategy. It's best applied only in one...

      This is way too often offered to you as this magical pill to solve all fiction writing problems. But as a reader, I don't think this is always the right strategy. It's best applied only in one situation which is work of Realistic Fiction where you're absolutely sure the background story very much relates to the contemporary world your audience live in.

      But one can never really be sure of that, right? Consider the possibility that your works of fiction might be read hundreds or even thousands of years from now when the reader would be living in a very different world with a different setting? In that case, actual telling of the background story or the world and artifacts around your characters will help a lot.

      Now I'm not saying it's always wise to describe the mahogany furniture or the fickle weather in great detail like earlier authors used to do, but the other extreme of just showing without telling anything about the background of that story is just as much problematic.

      25 votes
    2. Which books or authors have had the greatest impact on your worldview despite never having read them?

      Some (hopefully obvious) caveats before we begin. By definition, everyone sharing examples here has not deeply engaged with the source material, so they're likely to have misconceptions from...

      Some (hopefully obvious) caveats before we begin.

      1. By definition, everyone sharing examples here has not deeply engaged with the source material, so they're likely to have misconceptions from cultural osmosis.
      2. If you have read the source, feel free to share whether the common knowledge is accurate, a common misconception, or the first time you've seen it interpreted that way.
      3. If it was a video game, classical music, or other non-book that influenced you, those are also welcome.

      Some answers from asking a similar question elsewhere

      • Marx
      • The Bible
      • F.A. Hayek
      • Aristotle
      • Milton Friedman
      • Socrates
      • Plato

      I'll post my answer as a comment to give it equal weight to the others.

      8 votes
    3. What are you reading these days?

      What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction or poetry, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk about it a bit.

      16 votes
    4. Tildes Book Club Discussion - The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin

      Warning: this post may contain spoilers

      This is the third of an ongoing series of book discussions here on Tildes. We are discussing the Dispossessed.
      Our next book will be Project Hail Mary around the end of June.

      I don't have a particular format in mind for this discussion, but I will post some prompts and questions as comments to get things started. You're not obligated to respond to them or vote on them though. So feel free to make your own top-level comment for whatever you wish to discuss, questions you have of others, or even just to post a review of the book you have written yourself.

      For latecomers, don't worry if you didn't read the book in time for this Discussion topic. You can always join in once you finish it. Tildes Activity sort, and "Collapse old comments" feature should keep the topic going for as long as people are still replying.
      And for anyone uninterested in this topic please use the Ignore Topic feature on this so it doesn't keep popping up in your Activity sort, since it's likely to keep doing that while I set this discussion up, and once people start joining in.

      24 votes
    5. Tildes Book Club discussion - Piranesi

      Warning: this post may contain spoilers

      This is the second of an ongoing series of book discussions here on Tildes. We are discussing Piranesi.
      Our next book will be Ursula le Guin the Dispossessed, around the 16th or 17th of May.

      I don't have a particular format in mind for this discussion, but I will post some prompts and questions as comments to get things started. You're not obligated to respond to them or vote on them though. So feel free to make your own top-level comment for whatever you wish to discuss, questions you have of others, or even just to post a review of the book you have written yourself.

      For latecomers, don't worry if you didn't read the book in time for this Discussion topic. You can always join in once you finish it. Tildes Activity sort, and "Collapse old comments" feature should keep the topic going for as long as people are still replying.
      And for anyone uninterested in this topic please use the Ignore Topic feature on this so it doesn't keep popping up in your Activity sort, since it's likely to keep doing that while I set this discussion up, and once people start joining in.

      23 votes
    6. What is your opinion on Dan Brown novels?

      Brown's Da Vinci Code was one of the first "proper" novel I had started with when I was a kid. I liked it enough at that time to buy his other novel, Angels and Demons soon after that. His books...

      Brown's Da Vinci Code was one of the first "proper" novel I had started with when I was a kid. I liked it enough at that time to buy his other novel, Angels and Demons soon after that. His books are usually categorized as Historical Fiction but you also wouldn't be wrong in calling them Realistic Fiction I think. Needless to say, massive controversy also surrounds Brown just like many other famous authors. At least /r/books is filled with many posts filled with both love and disdain towards this author!

      What do you think about Dan Brown novels, have you read any of them?

      13 votes
    7. Tildes Book Club - 2024 summer schedule

      Following this month's discussion of the Dispossessed, we are set up for Project Hail Mary towards the end of June. After that we will discuss Ocean at the End of the Lane at the end of July,...

      Following this month's discussion of the Dispossessed, we are set up for Project Hail Mary towards the end of June. After that we will discuss Ocean at the End of the Lane at the end of July, Small Gods at the end of August and This is How You Lose the Time War at the end of September.

      I look forward to reading with you.

      11 votes
    8. What are some of your favorite history books and why?

      What are some great history books that stuck with you after you finished them? Or that led you down deeper rabbit holes of learning? I’m not even looking solely for nonfiction (historical fiction...

      What are some great history books that stuck with you after you finished them? Or that led you down deeper rabbit holes of learning? I’m not even looking solely for nonfiction (historical fiction is great too).

      I’ve been on a huge history kick lately…just all periods. I want to learn everything and have been craving more and more awesome, gripping and engaging history books. Some stuff I’ve enjoyed recently:

      Accidental Presidents by Jared Cohen- presents an amazing background of various presidents who died in office and were succeeded by their vice president, who each became unlikely leaders and changed the course of US history in a myriad of ways. Super interesting and tons of tidbits that I never knew!

      Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder - I admit I don’t know a ton about WW2 and the Holocaust beyond most of what you learn or hear about in popular culture. This book was mind boggling and devastating. The amount of killing and torture that Hitler and Stalin effectuated on their own people is astounding and horrendous.

      The Women by Kristin Hannah - I know this isn’t “history”, but historical fiction, but I still loved the emotion in this book. I have never dove much into Vietnam war era stories so this was super interesting. I would love to learn more about this time in world history.

      SPQR by Mary Beard - I’d love to expand my knowledge of the Roman Empire…candidly I haven’t finished this book (it’s been a bit dry for me), but the topic is so intriguing I really want to keep at it and learn more. Any Roman History book suggestions?

      26 votes
    9. What are some non-science-fiction books that are deep, insane, mind-bending, etc?

      What I am really asking is, what would be fantasy's (and other related genres) equivalent to authors such as Greg Egan (Permutation City), Peter Watts (Blindsight), or Greg Bear (Blood Music)?...

      What I am really asking is, what would be fantasy's (and other related genres) equivalent to authors such as Greg Egan (Permutation City), Peter Watts (Blindsight), or Greg Bear (Blood Music)? Intense books that are about different realities, transhumanism, personal identity, etc, but from a non-sci-fi standpoint?

      46 votes
    10. Tildes Book Club - Voting thread 2 results - requesting feedback from library users

      Thanks for your participation. We got three solid winners from this voting thread, Terry Pratchett Small Gods, Neil Gaiman Ocean at the End of the Lane, Amal El Mohtar and Max Gladstone This is...

      Thanks for your participation. We got three solid winners from this voting thread, Terry Pratchett Small Gods, Neil Gaiman Ocean at the End of the Lane, Amal El Mohtar and Max Gladstone This is How you Lose the Time War.

      Library users please check availability and reply to this thread if any of these three should be sorted to the end of the schedule. We still have the Dispossessed and Project Hail Mary to read in May and June before starting these new books. After receiving feedback I will set a schedule for the summer.

      Somehow Anathem made it through the screening process and is unfortunately nearly a thousand pages which does not fit a monthly book club structure. We will vote again in the Fall.

      19 votes
    11. Most bingeable book series?

      Warning: this post may contain spoilers

      Forget highbrow literature and critics for a moment. What's a book series that stayed engaging and enjoyable throughout?

      Bonus points if you don't have to provide a disclaimer for those one or two books in the series that are "a bit of a slog but still really good!"

      My top nominations are:

      1. Red Rising: Never read anything quite like it. As an ADHD haver, reading something more than once is the bane of my existence. Not for this series. Endlessly re-readable and highly engaging throughout. Starts out as Roman hunger games in space, turns into peak Game of Thrones in space. God, it's so good.

      2. Harry Potter: Not sure I need to explain this one. Plenty to hate about this series and the author, but they aren't popular for no reason. I find the world to be magical, whimsical, and the story to be very engaging. The later books are particularly good.

      3. The Bobiverse: this is the most fun series on my list. The name and premise will turn most people away from this one and it's a real shame. I could not stop reading these and I'm dying for more. If this story went on forever and maintained its current quality, I don't think I'd ever get bored of hearing it on audiobook.

      66 votes
    12. What are you reading these days?

      What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction or poetry, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk about it a bit.

      21 votes
    13. What are you reading these days?

      What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction or poetry, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk about it a bit.

      12 votes
    14. Tildes Book Club - Meta discussion - Should we read nonfiction as well as fiction and with what frequency?

      On the original book nomination thread, a couple of people nominated nonfiction. If we read nonfiction, I want to have a separate voting thread for that category so that everyone can submit books....

      On the original book nomination thread, a couple of people nominated nonfiction. If we read nonfiction, I want to have a separate voting thread for that category so that everyone can submit books. However, should we? This thread is a chance to vote no for nonfiction and if voting yes to suggest a frequency such as 1 in 3 books, 1 in four books, 1 in six books etc.

      If voting yes, please suggest a rate to read nonfiction books in proportion to fiction ones.

      Edit , I am counting these as alternative options. Either we read some nonfiction or we don't, so please vote in a way that reflects your honest opinion.

      18 votes
    15. Book recommendations, specifically

      (A follow-up to Game recommendations, specifically) This is a topic for book recommendations, but not just any standard book recommendations. This is a topic for book recommendations where you...

      (A follow-up to Game recommendations, specifically)

      This is a topic for book recommendations, but not just any standard book recommendations.

      This is a topic for book recommendations where you have a very specific thing that you're looking for.

      Maybe you're looking for a certain type of story that can't easily be summarized with genres and tags. Maybe you're looking for a book that will evoke a particular feeling that's hard to put into words.

      Whatever you're looking for, share your desired specificity below, and let people try to recommend books that fit it.

      33 votes
    16. Tildes Book Club - Voting thread 2

      As soon as Deimos graciously adds the nominated book titles, we will be voting on the next set of books to read for the book club. Voting will close end of day Thursday May 2 Pacific time. If you...

      As soon as Deimos graciously adds the nominated book titles, we will be voting on the next set of books to read for the book club. Voting will close end of day Thursday May 2 Pacific time.

      If you plan to read with us, please upvote as many as five titles. We will select at least four, possibly more if there are books with solid support. Each voting thread requires Deimos to work, and I am going to have less availability for a few months so we want to select books to read for the next few months.

      I look forward to reading and discussing with you all.

      23 votes
    17. Tildes Book Club - Second nominations thread

      Edit nominations are now closed If you think you might be interested to read with us, please name between one and five books you find intriguing and think others might enjoy. We will later have a...

      Edit nominations are now closed

      If you think you might be interested to read with us, please name between one and five books you find intriguing and think others might enjoy. We will later have a voting thread so that each nomination gets an equal shot to win votes with no early nomination advantage.

      Please feel free to nominate both fiction and nonfiction and consider nominating a diverse selection of books and authors. Books should be 600 pages or shorter. The first books in series are fair game for nominations if they tell a complete story.

      If anyone is curious about the timing, we still have two books to read from the original nominations, but I will be traveling a lot this summer and may not be in a position to manage a nomination and voting thread then, so I want to get this sorted earlier.

      21 votes
    18. Tildes Book Club - We will be discussing Piranesi the third week in April

      Thanks to everyone who discussed Cloud Atlas and to those who attempted to read it and to those who read along at home. Piranesi is significantly shorter than Cloud Atlas. I hope you will join us...

      Thanks to everyone who discussed Cloud Atlas and to those who attempted to read it and to those who read along at home.

      Piranesi is significantly shorter than Cloud Atlas. I hope you will join us in reading and discussing in a month.

      33 votes
    19. Multiauthor poetry anthology recommendations

      I've recently finished Mary Oliver's A Poetry Handbook and have begun writing my own poems (just for fun). I feel though that I may be limited by my having read little poetry. So, I'm searching...

      I've recently finished Mary Oliver's A Poetry Handbook and have begun writing my own poems (just for fun). I feel though that I may be limited by my having read little poetry. So, I'm searching for anthology recommendations to get some inspiration.

      I'm not really looking for collections of "classics," just a large collection of poems generally considered to be "very good," and maybe leaning more towards contemporary (late 19th century onwards?). But I'd welcome recommendations outside of these guidelines too if anyone feels particularly strongly about some collection.

      3 votes
    20. What are you reading these days?

      What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction or poetry, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk about it a bit.

      16 votes
    21. What books helped you deal with the anxiety of life's uncertainties?

      Be it fiction or non-fiction, what books did you find helpful for accepting the uncertainties of life? I used the word anxiety in the title, because that's the angle I'm mainly interested in right...

      Be it fiction or non-fiction, what books did you find helpful for accepting the uncertainties of life? I used the word anxiety in the title, because that's the angle I'm mainly interested in right now, but in no way I'm just asking about psychology books. All kinds of books are welcome.

      29 votes
    22. What are you reading these days?

      What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction or poetry, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk about it a bit.

      14 votes