Great Books- what are you reading now?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Melf, Jul 7, 2009.

  1. Emperor Xan

    Emperor Xan Troubadour

    I just finished reading book three of William Gibson's Bridge Trilogy: "All Tomorrow's Parties." It's interesting as a piece of speculative fiction for as much of what it says as it doesn't. What is humorous is that the story takes place about 4-5 years ago after the Big One hits California and nanotechnology exists but is highly regulated.
  2. kveldulf

    kveldulf Chevalier

    As an infantryman you will definitely appreciate Rommel's "Attacks". Non-military folks sometimes get bogged down with it since it literally follows him through his campaigns as an infantry leader, but his descriptions of terrain, tactics and troop movements are fascinating. At least they were for me : )

    The East Africa campaign in WWI is fascinating as well, partly because it was such an unusual campaign. The German commander, LTC von Lettow-Vorbeck ( ... ow-Vorbeck), conducted a brilliant unconventional campaign against the British and managed to operate almost completely off the land with a mostly African force. The campaign included a German cruiser bottled up in a river, a German zeppelin which flew from Bulgaria to Africa and back, and a battle in which both sides were routed by swarms of bees. If nothing else, the East Africa campaign is a relative relief after reading about the meatgrinder of the European Theater..

  3. geekpreacher

    geekpreacher Spellbinder

    I'm currently rereading the Paul Kidd books done by WOTC. The titles and stories are based off of old D&D modules. White Plume Mountain, Descent into the Depths and Queen of the Demonweb pits.

    Personally, I've enjoyed them in the past and was wondering what you guys might think of them.
  4. Druvas

    Druvas Spellbinder

    Paul Kidd's D&D books are fantastic! I love them and he is a very good writer. The amount of humor thrown in is just right. The other aouthors in that series were okay, but Kidd was the best!

    I just dove into Alice in Wonderland/ Through the Looking Glass. I realized a couple of weeks ago that I had never read these. Mr. Carroll was a strange man...
  5. kveldulf

    kveldulf Chevalier

    Just finished A. Merritt's "Face in the Abyss", the latest book in my quest to read every novel mentioned in the AD&D 1e DMG's "Suggested Reading" list.

    Have to say, I was disappointed with this one. Ever see a TV show or movie that is ok, but just doesn't grab you and you find yourself counting ceiling tiles or mentally going through your grocery list when you should be paying attention? It was kind of like that.

    The plot was standard pulp fare, with an American adventurer checking out rumors of lost gold in South America and stumbling onto a lost civilization. The locations and descriptions were good, there were some interesting settings and ideas, but the characters and writing style just did not grab me. Maybe it's Merritt's journalistic background coming through, but the story came across as workmanlike but uninspiring. This is my first Merritt title, so I'll see how his other novels are as I work my way through the reading list.

    My reaction may have also been colored by having read John Scalzi's "Ghost Brigades" right before "Face"; Scalzi not only writes a rollicking good story but is a great character writer as well (side note - if you like science fiction, especially military sf, check out Scalzi's "Old Man's War" and its sequels - you won't be disappointed).

  6. Emperor Xan

    Emperor Xan Troubadour

    I just finished Joseph Campbell's "The Masks of God, Vol. III: Occidental Mythology". Depending on how well you can distance yourself from an objective study, I highly recommend the books. I cannot stress the usefulness of these books for fantasy gamers.
  7. rossik

    rossik Footpad

    im reading "the fall of atlantis", by marion z. bradley.

    nice book, the first in the Avalon line (so i think). as im still reading, i cant say much, but im liking the divisons of priests, mages, and such.
  8. geekpreacher

    geekpreacher Spellbinder

    I've been meaning to read those books. I tried to watch an old PBS show with Campbell on it but found him to be a very boring speaker. I've heard the books are much better reading.

    As to another book I just finished it was by Jim Butcher and it was the sixth in his Codex of Aleara series titled, "First Lord's Fury." It was a good book and there was a ton of action in it. It may or may not be the end of the series but it does bring a journey of six books to a good closing point. Of course, I recommend pretty much anything by Butcher because I'm also a fan of his Dresden Files books. I must say I was surprised by his endeavor into "traditional" fantasy and I like his take on it.

  9. Melf

    Melf Administrator Staff Member

    I like Jim Butcher's stuff too. I have to grab the 6th Alera book. I read the others a few months back and they were pretty decent.
  10. Emperor Xan

    Emperor Xan Troubadour

    I finished Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers: The Story of Success." If you don't want to have your faith shaken in the self-made man myth, don't read this book. Should you be interested in reality and understanding what forces shape the world (fairly or otherwise) in terms of who is likely to be successful and why, then you should definitely read this book. For myself, it has been extremely helpful and enlightening.
  11. Druvas

    Druvas Spellbinder

    Getting ready to dive into the The Complete Chronicals of Conan. I have never read any of the original Conan stuff so this ought to be good.
  12. geekpreacher

    geekpreacher Spellbinder

    You're in for a treat. If you've read other Conan books by other authors, you will find that the originals are much better and grittier. You'll also find that REH is NOT politically correct so take that into account.

    After you read the Conan books, you need to pick up Solomon Kane as well as the Bran Mak Morn stories.
  13. Druvas

    Druvas Spellbinder

    The only Conan I know is Arnie. I am looking forward to delving into this monstrous tome. And I'm only PC in polite company. :twisted:
  14. geekpreacher

    geekpreacher Spellbinder

    HA! Then we'll have a lot of fun hanging out. :cool:
  15. Druvas

    Druvas Spellbinder

    I imagine so. :D
  16. geekpreacher

    geekpreacher Spellbinder

    Well, I just finished reading some interesting books for my New Testament Theology class but I thought I'd share that I seriously ROCKED in my presentation for this class. It's this type of thing that makes me wonder if I should ever write a book. It's fun doing the research and getting everything together but hard to just get started.

    Anyone hear ever written a whole book? If so, how did you get started and what was it on?
  17. Emperor Xan

    Emperor Xan Troubadour


    As for getting started, I basically panicked for a month while staring at my outline and wondering WTF I got myself into. After that, I started applying my research paper writing skills to the job. I went through about 300-400 index cards with up to a paragraph each of information pertaining to the section of the book. As to the book's subject matter, it was on planes of existence, mythological motifs, and how to use them to create your own extraplanar structures. Well, that's what I try to tell myself. ;)
  18. shalaban

    shalaban Chevalier

    Well if Richard is too modest to say so, let me say that I found Cosmos Builder to be a much needed and brilliantly useful book! It helped immeasurably in codifying the interaction between Heka, Castings, and the Multiverse for my DJMGRPG.

    It allowed me to create a Cosmological Dimensional Matrix, a concept that allows one to quantify a given plane of existence and its place in the Multiverse in relation to other planes. It is also a trans-mobile diagram that you can share your Multiverse with friends if you want too.

    So, THANKS R.B.! :D
  19. kveldulf

    kveldulf Chevalier

    In the lastest episode of me reading my way through the recommended reading list from the back of the AD&D 1e DMG, I just finished John Bellairs' "The Face in the Frost".

    Great read.. "Face" is nonstandard fantasy, mixing medieval European fantasy with time travel / dimension hopping elements. The plot follows a pair of wizards as they attempt to thwart the evil plans of a rival wizard. I won't give away any of the details, but the writing is lively with colorful descriptions and well drawn characters. Along the way the two main characters run into such eccentric types as incompetent men at arms, a petty king wiling away his years building a magical planetarium of sorts and a monk with a talent for plant magic.

    For anyone who plays a magic user in an OD&D or AD&D 1e game, this novel makes for great inspirational reading. Heck, for any player of older editions it makes great inspirational reading.

    Best of all, if you are weary from slogging through the latest modern fantasy series of 6+ novels each 800 pages, "Face" clocks in at a mere 174 pages of fantasy goodness. If you have checked it out yet, you're missing out.

  20. red wizard

    red wizard Troubadour

    I have recently finished reading Brian Greene's Fabric of the Cosmos, which is amazing for it's concise illustrations of both Einstein's theories of relativity and for it's explanations of quantum physics, string theory and M-Theory. I am now reading Beyond AI by J. Storrs Hall, PhD. I am really shocked at how much quantum theory plays into the design of a working AI. This book is in turn leading me to become interested in learning more regarding the ideas of Descartes, Kant and Wittgenstein in so far as how they view consciousness and intelligence.

    My next book to read is Terminator and Philosophy, I'll Be Back, Therefore I Am a series of papers on philosophy and artificial intelligence edited by William Irwin. Great stuff!

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