what are you reading?

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JayneWonders

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My library selection for this week is Calypso by David Sedaris.

Oh, maybe it is my age, but, I laughed out loud on every page.
His discussion about guestrooms in Company Man was priceless, and fit me.
It is a series of short writings, or it seems that way so far. semi-autobiographical.


@Carolla - thank-you for the recommendation
 

BetteTheRed

Resident Heretic
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Just finished The Midnight Bargain, by Polk. Really, really enjoyed it. Harry Potter for grown-ups, with real moral/gender ethics imbedded. Really good. Also, fun.

And I'm having a bash at Homo Deus, having thus far failed to finish Sapiens, lol.
 

jimkenney12

Well-Known Member
Homo Deus can be either depressing or instigating. It provided me with extra incentive to push for UBI along with supporting checks on the power of the big tech companies. I started a Facebook page 4 years ago for discussing the book. The page has Harari in the title. Facebook screens out entries with homo in them
 

Luce NDs

Well-Known Member
Tapper's The Devil May Dance is an excellent example of Kabbalah and Parable at it's dark and finest form for hiding information (intelligence) for those that do not wish to know due to backlash from the conscience! The sense of anachronism is fierce as the characters in the book represent powerful corruption in another time and place! American Mafia? It is all part of what resides in the myth of psyche ... or is it?

Thus we may reflect or Harari's tomes ... as juicy or juice for the sol ... light by day and then something growing at night ... trees of the darker forest scheme? Conspiracy of vert nature? May however quench some overblown emotions ... the Shadow is said to know!

Can an individual imagine that someone could bury knowledge and intelligence in a myth for excavation and digestion? That's the dirt of that process ...

Some say dis believable and thus dis pelt ... and the hair is scraped from the document to make the thing less fuzzy! Parchment ... withered hide in place as medium! May stick with one longer than love marks in the sans ... without exceptions? The abstract of Kabbalah is alway exceptional in its ambiguity and instigation of further curiosity and interest ... the actions may be repeated ... and even come back at Jah!

Imagine the understanding of pro-science versus con-science ... always a for and against regarding the perspectives and views of rye virtue!

And it may be registered in history, denied by numinous cults ... and so much is redacted and altered ... just to flatter the powers ... albeit maybe not that positive ... celebrating stuff laid out by powers! More celibate questions ... as we are told it is best not to agitate the pool of power!

Pro fun ditty ... expressions from backstage of the showcase!
 
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Mendalla

Agnostic pan(en)theist gorilla
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Courtesy of Hoopla, I may have a new favorite author. The gentleman is Kieron Gillen, a British writer of comics and graphic novels. I have read two of his series, both for smaller publishers (he also does work for Marvel).

Once & Future is about a monster hunter and her grandson dealing with a rather nasty version of the return of King Arthur. Underlying the whole series is that idea that stories affect reality and we can change the stories but do so at our peril (e.g. they kill Beowulf before Grendel appears, forcing the grandson to "play" Beowulf). 18 issues to date, compiled into 3 graphic novels, but it is open at the end so I imagine more will come at some point.

Phonogram is one of Gillen's first works, drawing on his experiences clubbing and as a music journalist. It deals with a group of phonomancers, people who create magic from recorded music (symbolism anyone?). There are three graphic novels, each compiling a story arc from the original comic run. It is more magic realism than outright urban fantasy in many of the stories, though the last story arc (which does appear to end the series) is more overly magical.

He has one more creator-owned indie series, The Wicked + The Divine, so I may tackle that next.
 

BetteTheRed

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Mendalla, despite my love of Gaiman, I still don't really know how to approach graphic novels. Tips?
 

Mendalla

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Mendalla, despite my love of Gaiman, I still don't really know how to approach graphic novels. Tips?
In what way? How to decide what to read? In how to approach reading them?

I generally just look for ones that align with my general taste in literature. So I found Kieron Gillen because Once & Future deals with Arthurian themes and urban fantasy, both genres I am into. Fact is, I am not really into superheroes so I tend towards fantasy, s-f, etc. comics and graphic novels. There's a few specialized superhero titles I might take a boo at sometime (Gaiman did a cool concept called Marvel 1602, which reimagines Dr. Strange, Nick Fury, the X-men, etc. in the Elizabethan era) but I generally don't bother with the mainstream superhero titles.

Also, I look for writers, like Neil and Kieron, that I have liked in the past. So once I knew I liked Kieron's writing, it was a no-brainer to go for Phonogram (his first comics). Ditto Gaiman and Sandman. Finding artists I like helps, too (see below for some comments on the visual aspect). Dave McKeon, who has worked with Gaiman a lot among others, is one I really like.

One thing to remember is that many graphic novels are compiled comic books, so it is sometimes important to keep in mind that the "chapters" were, at one time, issues of a comic book and that the original readers wouldn't have seen the next "chapter" for a week or a month or whatever. Thus you may get multiple cliffhangers or climaxes in a volume. Not always, but it happens. For instance, in Sandman : Preludes and Nocturnes (the first volume), each issue was basically a separate story about Morpheus trying to recover his artifacts and with them, his power. In one he teams up with John Constantine for an horrific tale of addiction, in another he goes to hell and confronts Lucifer (the same Lucifer who later became the star of the TV series of that name), in another, a madman uses Morpheus' magical gem to unleash horrors on an all-night diner (one of the best, most harrowing horror stories I have ever read).

Another thing to keep in mind is that comics and graphic novels are a visual medium as much as they are a literary one, so the visuals really matter. These aren't just illustrated books where the pictures accent or add some visual colour to the text and can be glossed over. Some, sometimes much, of the storytelling actually happens in the pictures. In Sandman, for instance, there are whole pages, even multiple pages, with no text at times. The story happens entirely in the pictures. Gillen does that, too, in Phonogram. So it is important that the artist and writer be in some kind of sync, not just an artist drawing pictures of the writer's words. Kieron Gillen works a lot with a fellow Brit named Jamie McKelvie and the two mesh beautifully, with McKelvie's visuals integrating perfectly with Gillen's words to tell the story. Gaiman has a history with several artists, including the aforementioned McKeon.

Not sure if that's what you're after. I do think it helps that I have been reading comics since childhood so visual storytelling is very much a thing I have grown up with. My love of vampire fiction, for instance, can probably be traced (at least partially) to reading Marvel's Tomb of Dracula back when I was really probably a bit young to be reading it. It was about as intense a horror series as the Comics Code allowed in the Seventies. I also read Marvel's WWII titles (which, among things, gave Nick Fury's original backstory) and some of their superhero titles, mostly Captain America. Then in the eighties, a friend got me into the X-Men for a time (some of those story arcs later became part of the Fox X-Men movies). And I have been a Batman fan seemingly forever, though I have rarely read the comics beyond some of the classics, like The Dark Knight Returns and Killing Joke.
 

BetteTheRed

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That's very helpful. For a person with a houseful of art, much of it a bit odd, I am not a hugely visual person. (My collection is largely static, doesn't follow another, I can look at each piece over and over again and find different things; I do like to re-arrange it occasionally.) I like radio more than TV, music more than talking books. When I read, which I do a lot of, I don't get pictures in my head. I have a very non-visual inner life. Except for the odd strip (Calvin & Hobbes), I've never followed any sort of comics at all. I will persevere with the graphic novel, though.
 

Mendalla

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I will persevere with the graphic novel, though.
SInce you're already a Gaiman fan, the obvious recommendations would be the original Sandman series (forget how many graphic novels there are, but I think it's around a dozen including a prequel he put out just a few years ago) and the two spinoffs about his older sister Death (Death : The High Cost of Living is the first, forget the title of the second).

Just be aware that Sandman gets very, very dark and very, very intense at times. This is a young Gaiman who did not pull his punches. 24 Hours (issue 6 of Sandman) is horror that even shocked this horror fan. Don't get me wrong, it's f-ing brilliant writing and art. But wow, it is the living definition of intense, disturbing storytelling.

Issue 2 (or maybe it's 3), the John Constantine story, comes close as well.

And visual element is part of that. Things that you have to imagine in his novels are made explicit by some very good artists in Sandman.

But if you want something a little less disturbing, one possible starting point would be one of the Sandman graphic novels that are essentially collections of standalone stories rather than part of the main arc. Volume 3, Dream Country, is one and contains Gaiman's World Fantasy Award winning story A Midsummer Night's Dream, which is rather an interesting take on Shakespeare's play. IIRC, this collection hews more into fantasy than horror. And it has a beautiful story about kitties and their dreams.

Unfortunately, Hoopla does not have Sandman (or at least London's Hoopla collection does not have it) but does have an omnibus of the Death stories.
 
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jimkenney12

Well-Known Member
I read most of Will Schwalbe's The End of Life Book Club, then decided it be would be a good book to read to my wife, something I have not done for a decade or so but did early in our marriage. It will probably be a few weeks before we finish. I am also reading Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood. Will Schwalbe was or is in the book publishing business and his book references many books and authors. Crossing over to Safety and a book on Illness Etiquette are two I will seek to find and read. Neil Gaiman's American God's Eason a par with Terry Pratchett's Disc World books.
 

Jill

Well-Known Member
I'm reading (Pope Joan: A Novel by Donna Cross); actually it is La Papesse Jeanne because I came across the French translation and the story of a female pope by chance and the idea of a woman at that lofty level in the middle ages intrigues me. If the historical fiction is based on life as it actually was back then (the 800's), the men of the day set a model for today's Taliban. I'm about 3/4 of the way through, Jeanne is in Rome but in a dungeon, not on a throne. The story is rounded out with supposed dialogue between main characters so it is easy reading. When finished with this book, the next one will have to be a straight historical account of Pope Joan so that I can compare the easy-read story with what really happened. History does indicate that she really existed.
 

Luce NDs

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I'm reading (Pope Joan: A Novel by Donna Cross); actually it is La Papesse Jeanne because I came across the French translation and the story of a female pope by chance and the idea of a woman at that lofty level in the middle ages intrigues me. If the historical fiction is based on life as it actually was back then (the 800's), the men of the day set a model for today's Taliban. I'm about 3/4 of the way through, Jeanne is in Rome but in a dungeon, not on a throne. The story is rounded out with supposed dialogue between main characters so it is easy reading. When finished with this book, the next one will have to be a straight historical account of Pope Joan so that I can compare the easy-read story with what really happened. History does indicate that she really existed.

Recall such obscure things are dark for reasons to satisfy the powers that fear intelligence ... in myth intelligence was traditional flighty ... sometimes expressed as ephemeral as expressions vary in traditions .... to support confusion in the powers! Very reminiscent of the rumor's about the Pope Borges's daughter ... as she learned literacy from secessionist trends ... having lived in a structured home where a lot of alien manuscripts were dealt with on how to put down the vernacular (common stuff)! A psyche in confinement ... fundamental to such exposure ...

I'm reading John Gresham's The Appeal ... one of the lead in lines refers to the matter of politicizing justice! This could not be a virtue could it ... yet what is the evidence?

Imagine a whole world constructed on lines that are mostly lies ... corrupt laws of power? Potentially an abstract as you listen to such absolutes that flatter factors of power hoping to follow suit. The there are the fringe folk ... BPD ... discussed in neurological science and something like elves dancing ... or dancing like the devil --- Jake Tapper's version of corruption in reality!

Non existentialism personified as something appearing incomplete? Thus intellectual fallacy and how it falls upon us ... even in our blindness! When one step away from consciousness we see the horrors and chimera ... as the other half ... demiurges?

Is intellect taken lightly and easily put down ... seems the evidence was mist ... a bit wholly! Eire beyond us blew it through ... Celtic blarney? Something to reconsider ...
 

Luce NDs

Well-Known Member
It is said no matter where you observe the real world one will find corruption .. the good is perhaps where one finds the least of the worst!

Is that sort of like looking at the corruption of life in reality from the alternate ... an imaginary world in the adding up of unreal numbers?

I don't know ... but this is something denied by folk that declare they know everything ... quite contrary to normal eh?

It appears to me that what we don't know is more dangerous than all we claim to know as an illusion!

It is a state of mind fertile for the growing of satyrs ... if Eeyore into knowing what I mean ... few do!
 

BetteTheRed

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I have found a really fun little PI series though the library, have read books 5 and 1, they're detective stories, no worries; apparently, there's 8 now and a pre-quel or two. But it's written by the co-protagonist, the dog. Specfically a 100 lb German Shepherd who failed K9 training, but gets along with his PI, Bernie, just fine.

Chet and Bernie series, by Spencer Quinn. An attempt at the mind of a dog. Quite an entertaining perspective. Uses the word perp a lot, and seems to divide the human world along those lines.
 

Mendalla

Agnostic pan(en)theist gorilla
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I discovered Cassandra Khaw (they/them) on the weekend. Burned through a terrific hard-boiled horror (yes, that's a thing) novella called Hammers on Bone and now sampling their first novel, a transhuman cyberpunk novel called The All-Consuming World. There is a sequel to Hammers on Bone that I will probably read, too.
 

Luce NDs

Well-Known Member
Sam Harris on human hostilities in the social mannerisms (gaining of reason and desire to get out)? Then I shall go on to Shiller and Irrational Exuberance ... a curious concept carried out for no reason ... perhaps for blind faith?

Can't see it? Then the isolated self may be all loched up ... cellulated? Part and part of the containment issue for folks without reason ... institutionalize them ... and the crazy tears down their abode ... the very dirt on the heavens above resonance? And Joe-heh bounces off ... into the billy bonged ... struck by pure wile ... resembles a Thornburg! Fair Eire heh ... that aura ... like a crown ...
 
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