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    1. I'm trying to recall a short story I read about 10 years ago in English class in school. It would probably be fair to call it "sci-fi", but I'm not sure how important that is. What I remember: the...

      I'm trying to recall a short story I read about 10 years ago in English class in school. It would probably be fair to call it "sci-fi", but I'm not sure how important that is.

      What I remember: the story was set in the midst of an escalating arms race, Cold War-style, and the characters were chiefly military personnel (I think).

      At some point, a chief actor obtains technology that is designed to (from memory) "disintegrate all weapons (certain materials/metals?)" within a vicinity.

      I believe the technology is then used, and what ensues is a world-enveloping nuclear winter. I'm not sure how the weapons disintegration tech leads to a nuclear winter. It's also quite possible that I'm conflating two separate stories I read in that class.

      Anyone have any idea what short stories I could be thinking of? This would be at the very latest pre-2010 stuff, and knowing my English teacher (old bloke from Yorkshire) probably 20th century. Probably.

      7 votes
    2. The last thread was pretty dead, but thanks to a encouraging message I decided to give it another go. This time: Portuguese. Brazilian, European and African Portuguese is welcome here (and of...

      The last thread was pretty dead, but thanks to a encouraging message I decided to give it another go.

      This time: Portuguese. Brazilian, European and African Portuguese is welcome here (and of course other places as well =)! The only writer of Portuguese that I know by name is Paulo Coelho, so I look forwards to your recommendations.

      So, without further ado:
      What are your favourite texts originally written in Portuguese?

      13 votes
    3. I am currently enjoying a very thought-provoking semester of American Literature. Prior to this class, I wouldn't have considered fiction as useful in my everyday life, as opposed to something...

      I am currently enjoying a very thought-provoking semester of American Literature. Prior to this class, I wouldn't have considered fiction as useful in my everyday life, as opposed to something like a self-help book. What I've found is exactly the opposite, and I have found novels such as Great Expectations to be even more influential than anything I've ever read.

      So I ask you all, what is the greatest lesson you've learned from classical fiction?

      13 votes
    4. What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk a bit about it. Past weeks: Week #1 · Week #2 · Week #3 · Week #4 · Week #5 ·...

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

      Past weeks: Week #1 · Week #2 · Week #3 · Week #4 · Week #5 · Week #6 · Week #7 · Week #8 · Week #9 · Week #10 · Week #11 · Week #12 · Week #13 · Week #14

      15 votes
    5. I am well aware of the ongoing ebooks vs. physical books debate, and I have no interest in kindling that fire here. Instead, I am seeking recommendations for books that are arguably better in...

      I am well aware of the ongoing ebooks vs. physical books debate, and I have no interest in kindling that fire here.

      Instead, I am seeking recommendations for books that are arguably better in physical form due to their makeup. House of Leaves is a perfect example, with its textual trickery essentially requiring physical pages. Coffee table books also fit the bill, for example. Some textbooks and reference books technically do as well, though I'm not interested in recommendations in those areas unless you have something in mind that's an absolute standout.

      21 votes
    6. It's a simple question, or is it? How would you measure best? Complexity? Realism? Creativity? Detail? I think it's fairly obvious that Tolkien has set the gold standard of all worldbuilding, but...

      It's a simple question, or is it? How would you measure best? Complexity? Realism? Creativity? Detail?

      I think it's fairly obvious that Tolkien has set the gold standard of all worldbuilding, but more recent authors like GRRM, Brandon Sanderson and JKR or the late Terry Pratchett have also created beloved worlds.

      Some, like GRRM, are apparently more interested in complex worldbuilding itself rather than finishing their novels while others like JKR use the worlds more as a window dressing without keeping it fairly consistent. Is it alright if the Wizarding World is inconsistent if it serves the plot? How complex can Westeros become before it gets in the way of the story?

      I think that GRRM and JKR are both extremes on the spectrum. When reading The Song of Ice and Fire, I felt like GRRM needed a proper editor to reign him in while JKR managed to build a fantastical world in 7 books which, upon closer inspection, makes no sense. On the other hand you have Terry Pratchett, who with the Discworld was clearly more interested in creating a parody of the real world, but still managed to make it very interesting and unique.

      Thoughts?

      21 votes
    7. So I haven't read any books since my senior year, where the ones I did were for book essays. That was about 3 years ago. I was, however, a fanatical reader in my formative years, all throughout...

      So I haven't read any books since my senior year, where the ones I did were for book essays. That was about 3 years ago. I was, however, a fanatical reader in my formative years, all throughout elementary school. I read lots of Fantasy like Harry Potter, the Magyk series, Skullduggery Pleasant, Percy Jackson, stuff in that vein. As of late, my ADD addled brain has decided to let go a tad and I want to get back into reading

      This might be very vague but I'll try my best. I'm looking for books similar to (or maybe kinda detached from, if you think a tangential connection is sufficient enough to warrant an outlier) the books I mentioned earlier. I'm also very open to Sci-Fi, but I like world/race exploration the most. Interesting Alien species and odd planets/phenomena. I prefer novels where the author has a good grasp on the English language, with some wit or neat descriptors, but Tolkien-esque long-in-the-tooth verbosity wears me out after a while. I recall greatly enjoying some Halo novels as well.

      This is getting a little long in the tooth, but lastly, if there's anything even remotely comparable to the SCP Foundation collection of stories, I'm way into it. I've also been picking up and putting down House Of Leaves for a while, and it has some neat stuff, but it rambles quite often. Not so much that I want to put it down, but it makes me restless trying to get to the meat but having to wade through the writer's extraneous verbose ramblings. I don't know if this will give enough info but I'll greatly appreciate anything thrown at me!

      22 votes
    8. What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk a bit about it. Notes: I could not start the thread yesterday on Friday like...

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

      Notes: I could not start the thread yesterday on Friday like I used to, I'm sorry for the delay.

      Past weeks: Week #1 · Week #2 · Week #3 · Week #4 · Week #5 · Week #6 · Week #7 · Week #8 · Week #9 · Week #10 · Week #11 · Week #12 · Week #13

      17 votes
    9. I'm reading The Constant Gardener by John LeCarre and looking in Wikipedia for date of publication (2001) ran across the fact that it was loosely based on a true story. Now, it turns out I'm a...

      I'm reading The Constant Gardener by John LeCarre and looking in Wikipedia for date of publication (2001) ran across the fact that it was loosely based on a true story. Now, it turns out I'm a frequent fan of such 'maybe almost true life books' and especially movies. Usually the extent of the 'trueness' of the movie is revealed at the end of the story.

      It's often rewarding and adds to the emphasis of the story, which in itself interesting. But do any readers here avoid getting background on a story before reading? Do you think this is a type of spoiler? And does knowledge of a book being based on real events affect your opinion of the book in any way?

      And finally, does anyone else often turn to Wikipedia, before or after reading a story to gain insight on its background?

      8 votes
    10. Last time we had some discussion whether it'd be best to discuss authors from different countries, or authors writing in different languages. I think it'd be best if the focus is on the language,...

      Last time we had some discussion whether it'd be best to discuss authors from different countries, or authors writing in different languages. I think it'd be best if the focus is on the language, but I won't get mad if you post Nabokov in the thread about Russian. So, without further ado:

      What are your favourite texts originally written in Korean?

      9 votes
    11. I've never read Marcel Proust, and I know very little about his work. But every serious reader of literature I know absolutely gushes over him, but never seems to be able to explain what's good...

      I've never read Marcel Proust, and I know very little about his work. But every serious reader of literature I know absolutely gushes over him, but never seems to be able to explain what's good about it or what the books are even about.

      The scarce pop-culture references I see to his work (like in "Little Miss Sunshine") seems to cast an affection for Proust as kind of a mark of being an unmoored and depressive romantic.

      So is he worth reading? The full collection of "Remembrance of Things Past" is nearly $100, so that's not a trivial amount to invest. Is there a recommended/definitive translation or edition I should read? What should I keep in mind or be open to if I do try giving it a shot?

      By that last question I mean like, I'd have hated "Catcher In the Rye" if I wasn't told ahead of time to approach it from the mindset of a 15 year old boy. Or I kind of hated 'Madame Bovary" but when explained to me that this was Flaubert's exercise in trying to make people see themselves in an adulteress, a generally reviled archetype, and this was groundbreaking for the time lets me at least appreciate it for accomplishing what it's set out to do. Are there any literary contexts like I this should have in my head before I delve in?

      11 votes
    12. It does not need to be the most important, just a book that has truly changed you. My personal pick is Albert Camus' "The Rebel"; it provided structure for a lot of nebulous thoughts that were...

      It does not need to be the most important, just a book that has truly changed you. My personal pick is Albert Camus' "The Rebel"; it provided structure for a lot of nebulous thoughts that were floating around in my head.

      27 votes
    13. This is kind of a meta question I suppose, but I was wondering: where do folks here purchase books online? (As an aside, I check out books from the library often and I would highly recommend that...

      This is kind of a meta question I suppose, but I was wondering: where do folks here purchase books online?

      (As an aside, I check out books from the library often and I would highly recommend that you do too, but there are certain books that I want to keep, highlight, and write on. The library usually doesn’t sell these.)

      13 votes
    14. This is a general, "what books have themes or content that would make for great movies" question. Graphic novels are included here. Could have posted in ~talk or ~movies, but I'm seeking the...

      This is a general, "what books have themes or content that would make for great movies" question. Graphic novels are included here.

      Could have posted in ~talk or ~movies, but I'm seeking the opinions of dedicated readers, who've had the thought in considering a story, "I'd really like to see the visuals for this", or "a movie/series adaptation could expand on these themes".

      Also, what were your biggest disappointments in the rendering of a book into a movie/TV series?

      My picks:
      Ursula Le Guin, The Dispossessed. Can't say that it's likely to get the nuanced treatment it deserves, but an even-handed visualization of socialist vs. capitalist societies is overdue, and it's got spaceflight and FTL information transfer.
      Warren Ellis, Transmetropolitan. Not that he's ever going to grant the rights, but this one's a no-brainer for American cinema - brash, loud, splashy, violent, with bigger-than-life characters and themes.
      James Tiptree, Jr. (a/k/a Alice Sheldon), Her Smoke Rose Up Forever. I'd love to see a short series based on this collection.
      China Mieville - anything from the New Crobuzon books. The baroque ruin backgrounding the scenes, and the panoply of characters, should make for amazing cinema; a little judicious editing will be needed to make the stories work for the screen.
      [Obscure] Norman Spinrad's Bug Jack Barron, subject to timely and relevant updates for 21st Century media. There's a great theme about how selective presentation of video clips and the editor's viewpoint influences the story being told.
      K.W. Jeter, Farewell Horizontal, this one's gonna have great visuals, trust me.
      John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, remade as a story about border migration.
      Joe Haldeman, The Forever War - man, is it ever time for this one in the U.S.
      Dan Simmons, Hyperion - the World Tree, the Shrike, and plenty of other opportunities for fine visuals.
      Salman Rushdie, Haroun and the Sea of Stories. Another candidate for an anthology series; perfect for animation.
      Tibor Fischer, The Thought Gang - it's a heist story, but also a comedy and a satire. Kind of amazed no one has made it into a movie before.

      Biggest recent disappointment - The adaptation of Richard Morgan's Altered Carbon. Edited to completely discard the political messaging and amplify the sex/violence. Turgid, poor special effects, and gruesome acting.

      22 votes
    15. What do you want to read in 2019? For me, I've not read nearly enough Terry Pratchett, so I think I'm going to devour a lot of his works. I've promised my daughter that we're going to read the...

      What do you want to read in 2019?
      For me, I've not read nearly enough Terry Pratchett, so I think I'm going to devour a lot of his works. I've promised my daughter that we're going to read the Hobbit together when we finish her current bedtime story (so excited for this). There's a lot of non-fiction in my want to read list as well, Homo Deus, and Other Minds spring instantly to mind.

      36 votes
    16. Hello ! I've been interested in reading some works from famous Beat Generation authors like Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Carolyn Cassady, Allan Ginsberg, etc. I have yet to read any of their...

      Hello !

      I've been interested in reading some works from famous Beat Generation authors like Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Carolyn Cassady, Allan Ginsberg, etc.

      I have yet to read any of their works but I'm not quite sure where to start. I've been thinking of 'On the Road' by Kerouac but the reviews I've been reading have been mixed. It doesn't seem like it's for everybody, especially considering the writing style. I've also been thinking of 'The Dharma Bums', also by Kerouac since it seems to be more spiritual, which is something that really resonates with me.

      Anyway, if you have any recommendations/opinions I'd be more than happy to hear them. Thanks !!!

      9 votes
    17. What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk a bit about it. Notes: I could not start the thread yesterday on Friday like...

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

      Notes: I could not start the thread yesterday on Friday like I used to, I'm sorry for the delay.

      Past weeks: Week #1 · Week #2 · Week #3 · Week #4 · Week #5 · Week #6 · Week #7 · Week #8 · Week #9 · Week #10 · Week #11 · Week #12

      23 votes
    18. This is the first post (a test post, to see if there is any interest) of a series of posts where we can share our favourite texts in foreign languages. I will try to include the large languages,...

      This is the first post (a test post, to see if there is any interest) of a series of posts where we can share our favourite texts in foreign languages. I will try to include the large languages, and some small as well. You're welcome to request a language too. So, without further ado:

      What are your favourite texts originally written in Italian?

      15 votes
    19. I'm young, I'm looking to understand more ways of looking at the world. What books do you recommend people to read that had profound impacts on your world outlook, character, or anything else like...

      I'm young, I'm looking to understand more ways of looking at the world. What books do you recommend people to read that had profound impacts on your world outlook, character, or anything else like that. Future me says thank you.

      Edit List (Books listed so far by Title):
      "Accelerando" by Charles Stross
      "A Clockwork Orange" by Anthony Burgess
      "A People's History of the United States" by Howard Zinn
      "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson
      "Brave New World" by Huxley
      "Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software" by Charles Petzold
      "Collected Fictions" by Jorge Luis Borges
      "Crime and Punishment" by Dostoyevsky
      "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" by Philip K. Dick
      "Don Quixote" by Cervantes
      "Daughters of the Dragons" by William Andrews
      "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
      "Fragile Things" by Neil Gaiman
      "Good Omens" by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
      "Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid" by Douglas R. Hofstadter
      "Great Books" by David Denby
      "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams
      "History of Violence" By Édouard Louis
      "Homo Deus" by Yuval Noah Harari
      "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie
      "Ishmael" by Daniel Quinn
      "Kafka on the Shore" by Haruki Murakami
      "Maus" by Art Spiegelman
      "Naked Economics" by Charles Wheelan
      "Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss
      "Neuromancer" by William Gibson
      "Paid Attention" by Faris Yakob
      "Personality-Shaping Through Positive Disintegration Processes" by Kazimierz Dąbrowski
      "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" by Yuval Noah Harari
      "Shogun" by James Clavell
      "Slaughterhouse Five" by Kurt Vonnegut
      "Tao Te Ching" by Lao Tzu
      "Tales of Power" by Carlos Castaneda
      "Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science" by Peter Godfrey-Smith
      "The Ancestor's Tale" by Richard Dawkins
      "The Bible" by :contentious_topic_here:
      "The End of Eddy" By Édouard Louis
      "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt
      "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood
      "The Lucifer Effect" by Philip Zimbardo
      "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" by Julian Jaynes
      "The Selfish Gene" by Richard Dawkins
      "The Singularity Is Near" by Ray Kurzweill
      "The Stranger" by Camus
      "The Tao of Pooh" by Benjamin Hoff
      "The Three-Body Problem Trilogy" by Cixin Liu
      "Where Mathematics Comes From" by Lakoff and Nunez
      "Where I'm Calling From" by Raymond Carver
      "1984" by George Orwell

      21 votes
    20. I'm learning Spanish and feel like reading is really helping me get to the next level. I've read 1984 and one part of Harry Potter in Spanish but now I'm thinking of trying some original,...

      I'm learning Spanish and feel like reading is really helping me get to the next level. I've read 1984 and one part of Harry Potter in Spanish but now I'm thinking of trying some original, non-translated literature.

      What Spanish-language books would you recommend (that are not too difficult to read)?

      6 votes
    21. I've read a few novels, I think an excellent short novel is Elevation by Stephen King. It's not what you'd expect from a Stephen King novel (no horror elements), but it's a great read. I can't say...

      I've read a few novels, I think an excellent short novel is Elevation by Stephen King. It's not what you'd expect from a Stephen King novel (no horror elements), but it's a great read. I can't say too much without spoiling it, but here's the blurb:

      The latest from legendary master storyteller Stephen King, a riveting, extraordinarily eerie, and moving story about a man whose mysterious affliction brings a small town together—a timely, upbeat tale about finding common ground despite deep-rooted differences.

      It starts off a little slow, but give it a little bit of time. It's readable in an afternoon, I think I spent 5 or so hours reading it.

      7 votes
    22. I was telling someone about a psychology book I'm reading at the moment. Intending to read it themselves they messaged me later to ask for the title. And I felt a bit unsettled at sharing it!...

      I was telling someone about a psychology book I'm reading at the moment. Intending to read it themselves they messaged me later to ask for the title. And I felt a bit unsettled at sharing it!

      Whilst it's interesting and I'm enjoying it, I doubt I'll remember its lessons or claims in a year or two. Which got me thinking about books that I read years ago which still help me understand the world.

      So I thought I'd make a post asking which books other users still found helpful year(s) later.

      tldr; share books that are:

      • Non-fiction (or at least serious fiction).
      • First read over a year ago.
      • Have been helpful to you multiple times since.
      19 votes
    23. What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk a bit about it. Edit 2019-01-16: Add the link for Week #11 below. Past weeks:...

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

      Edit 2019-01-16: Add the link for Week #11 below.

      Past weeks: Week #1 · Week #2 · Week #3 · Week #4 · Week #5 · Week #6 · Week #7 · Week #8 · Week #9 · Week #10 · Week #11

      11 votes
    24. English is my third language. Although I can read, write and speak simple english without effort but when reading any novel from the past I find the need to keep a dictionary by my side and use it...

      English is my third language. Although I can read, write and speak simple english without effort but when reading any novel from the past I find the need to keep a dictionary by my side and use it very often- almost 2 to 3 times per sentence. I know there's no shortcut other than learning those words but I was wondering if I can speed it up so I don't need to distract myself with a dictionary.

      11 votes
    25. This is my 2019 project, to gain some understanding of the subjects of income and wealth inequality. I've prepared a reading list but was just wondering if there is a proper way to go about it....

      This is my 2019 project, to gain some understanding of the subjects of income and wealth inequality. I've prepared a reading list but was just wondering if there is a proper way to go about it. I'm from a third world country and didn't go to college, if that's of any help.

      19 votes