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  • Showing only topics with the tag "fiction". Back to normal view
    1. The Sandman comic series has probably been the strongest influence on my life in recent times. Does this resonate?

      Written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by various brilliant artists, The Sandman series has definitely had an enlightening and positive influence on my life. Much like Dream will say, it feels...

      Written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by various brilliant artists, The Sandman series has definitely had an enlightening and positive influence on my life. Much like Dream will say, it feels like the comic speaks true words.
      For me — and I struggle with having had no role model — this comic series provides exactly that, in a way.

      I wonder, whether people here have read it, or bits of it, and what their opinions are.

      16 votes
    2. Is Tolkien's prose really that bad?

      Recently I was reading through a discussion on Reddit in which Tolkien's writing and prose were quite heavily criticised. Prior to this I'd never seen much criticism surrounding his writing and so...

      Recently I was reading through a discussion on Reddit in which Tolkien's writing and prose were quite heavily criticised. Prior to this I'd never seen much criticism surrounding his writing and so I was wondering what the general consensus here is.

      The first time I read through The Lord of the Rings, I found myself getting bored of all the songs and the poems and the large stretches between any action, I felt that the pacing was far too slow and I found that I had to force myself to struggle through the book to get to the exciting parts that I had seen so many times in the films. Upon reading through The Lord of the Rings again recently my experience has been completely different and I've fallen in love with his long and detailed descriptions of nature, and the slower pacing.

      Has anyone else experienced something similar when reading his works? Are there more valid criticisms of his prose that extend beyond a craving for the same high-octane action of the films?

      13 votes
    3. Book Review - Turn Of Mind by Alice LaPlante

      Turn of Mind is a mystery. It's for the most part written in journal format. Interestingly it's a journal that sits in the house of a person with Alzheimer's disease. Jennifer White was an...

      Turn of Mind is a mystery. It's for the most part written in journal format. Interestingly it's a journal that sits in the house of a person with Alzheimer's disease.

      Jennifer White was an orthopedic surgeon in Chicago. Once brilliant, Dr. White is now in the later stages of the disease and the journal is written in by family members and housekeepers to help her remember who she was and who she is. A fractured portrait emerges of a cold and strong minded woman who has had a full life that she remembers in bits and pieces. Amidst the pages is mention of a neighbor, Amanda, who has been murdered. Slowly things come together for the reader while Dr. White's disease progresses into confusion.

      Yet she still has moments of lucidity, remembering the details of her profession, where she was considered one of the best and most respected hand surgeons in the country. Her deterioration is something she's at times very aware of, and it is this that makes the book so powerful.

      The narrative often lapses into Jennifer's past memories of both her parents and her children. This adds authenticity to her mental condition but also made me impatient for what seemed to be more important details. As Jennifer is interviewed by police officers and pulled into interaction with her grown son and daughter, we can begin to understand the horror of this disease, especially regarding how hard it is to trust people who may be trying to manipulate the sufferer for their own purposes.

      I'd put this near the top of my list for books enjoyed in 2019. It brings to mind The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon, narrated by an Aspberger's spectrum person. Turn of Mind is a hard book to read, but it's even harder to put down once you get into it.

      4 votes
    4. What's the next big fantasy series?

      I missed the Witcher, Harry Potter, and Game of Thrones boats-- what's the next big fantasy series that's starting right now? Like one book's been recently released and it was a shock how good it...

      I missed the Witcher, Harry Potter, and Game of Thrones boats-- what's the next big fantasy series that's starting right now? Like one book's been recently released and it was a shock how good it was, and all of its readers want more?

      I want to hop on a train that'll take me into a fantasy land when the getting's good.

      29 votes
    5. The greatest lesson you've learned from classical fiction?

      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?

      12 votes
    6. Can anyone help me remember a sci-fi short story about disintegrating weapons and nuclear winter?

      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
    7. What's the deal with Proust?

      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