2016's What fiction or non-fiction book are you reading?

Tanniel

Journeyed there and back again
#21
I never knew critical theory could be so exciting
Me neither, I certainly didn't think so at university when it was required reading. It's as if I didn't intellectually mature until my late twenties, long after I finished my studies and left university. I'm basically re-reading my whole collection of critical theory books, finally understanding them. And thank you! Weekend promises more courage.
 

Diziet Sma

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#22
Me neither, I certainly didn't think so at university when it was required reading. It's as if I didn't intellectually mature until my late twenties, long after I finished my studies and left university. I'm basically re-reading my whole collection of critical theory books, finally understanding them. And thank you! Weekend promises more courage.
I remember you mentioning the fact that reading these books help you in your own writing and naturally, they are also part of your formative years.
Because of work, I’m reading some papers regarding the criticism of social-cognitive theory: in a nutshell (in case you are not familiar with it) this theory defends that portions of an individual’s knowledge acquisition can be directly related to observing others within the context of social interactions, experiences, and outside media influences. Basically, one can learn from observing others, as opposed to only be able to learn form own experiences.

Well, this is probably an unsound mental leap, but I was thinking earlier whether in your experience, does this formation in practical criticism actually weigh in your favour as a writer, and help you correct those weaknesses you might be aware of. Or, as the article defends, this theory is not sound as a link can’t be found between observational learning, in your case reading literary criticism to improve yourself as an author (this not being a direct personal experience) and self-efficacy. “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them" type of theory...

Friday= Wine= won’t take it personally if you don’t comment… at all.
 

Placida

Owns a Ring of Power
#23
Currently Reading
"Complete Works of Francois Rabelais" (Tough reading as it is a 1930's edition and much of the language is archaic but I vowed to finish it. Currently about 2/3 through)
"Collected Stories of Arthur C Clarke" (All of his short stories/novellas. I pull this out of the library when I have free time and also am about 2/3 through it but much easier reading than Rabelais)
"Sea Without A Shore" by Sean Russell (This might go on my "Couldn't make it through" pile. I stopped for too long and have lost the thread. About 1/3 through)
"The Road" by Cormac McCarthy (just started for book club)
"Killing Patton" by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard (about halfway through it)
"One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.com" by Richard L. Brandt (Audiobook just started)
 

Diziet Sma

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#24
Currently Reading
"Complete Works of Francois Rabelais" (Tough reading as it is a 1930's edition and much of the language is archaic but I vowed to finish it. Currently about 2/3 through)
"Collected Stories of Arthur C Clarke" (All of his short stories/novellas. I pull this out of the library when I have free time and also am about 2/3 through it but much easier reading than Rabelais)
"Sea Without A Shore" by Sean Russell (This might go on my "Couldn't make it through" pile. I stopped for too long and have lost the thread. About 1/3 through)
"The Road" by Cormac McCarthy (just started for book club)
"Killing Patton" by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard (about halfway through it)
"One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.com" by Richard L. Brandt (Audiobook just started)
Did you finish Ann Rice's book? I know it doesn't belong to this thread. Just wondering...
 

Placida

Owns a Ring of Power
#25
Almost. It was an audiobook loaned from the library. I had to return it with 1 and 1/2 disks left. I will check it back out next visit. I'm really liking it so far. It has vampires, ghosts and witches as well as a few humans in it. I love her language and the plot is definitely interesting. I am wondering if the storyline ends at the end of this book or it continues into the next book. I hope the library has it. LOL
 

Tanniel

Journeyed there and back again
#26
I remember you mentioning the fact that reading these books help you in your own writing and naturally, they are also part of your formative years.
Because of work, I’m reading some papers regarding the criticism of social-cognitive theory: in a nutshell (in case you are not familiar with it) this theory defends that portions of an individual’s knowledge acquisition can be directly related to observing others within the context of social interactions, experiences, and outside media influences. Basically, one can learn from observing others, as opposed to only be able to learn form own experiences.
Well, this is probably an unsound mental leap, but I was thinking earlier whether in your experience, does this formation in practical criticism actually weigh in your favour as a writer, and help you correct those weaknesses you might be aware of. Or, as the article defends, this theory is not sound as a link can’t be found between observational learning, in your case reading literary criticism to improve yourself as an author (this not being a direct personal experience) and self-efficacy. “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them" type of theory...
Friday= Wine= won’t take it personally if you don’t comment… at all.
As with anyone with writing in his blood, I am sufficiently narcissistic about it to always reply to questions on the topic. Whether I can give a good reply, that's another question.

I can try to describe what use I have observed from reading literary criticism and let you judge whether that fits your theory or not.

Directly, it helps me understand better how to achieve certain results I am aiming for. E.g. the book I just finished explained how the literary tradition of a culture begins in continuous poetry, moves to discontinous prose, then continuous prose, and finally discontinuous poetry. In other words, its myths are written in the form of long poems (like the Poetic Edda), after which it develops proverbs, sayings, fragmented stories (the games of wisdom between the gods and mortals), then full-length stories (such as the sagas of heroes), and finally songs, poems of limited lengths (like folk ballads). Thus, when building my world and creating songs, stories etc. to weave into the culture, I know that if I want to replicate the effect of a myth, I should choose the form of continuous poetry. If I want this tale to sound like it happened a few hundred years ago before contemporary times (for the book characters), I write it like a fairytale. If I want it to seem recent, I write it like a folk song or ballad.

Indirectly, though this is a little different, the best example I can think of is when I was revising a play. I was asked by the theatre to re-write the dialogue in iambic pentameter for audience appeal. I had originally written the dialogue in that manner, then re-written it to be without meter, and was now re-writing yet again, back to iambic pentameter. Before I did this, I (re)read Paradise Lost aloud (which is all written in that meter). I found afterwards that writing the dialogue was far easier than the first time. Arranging the phrases into the right meter simply flowed, came easily with little effort from my side. I do believe that having read/spoken +10,000 lines of iambic pentameter, my brain became wired to think along those lines and naturally compose the sentences in that meter.
 

Diziet Sma

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#27
As with anyone with writing in his blood, I am sufficiently narcissistic about it to always reply to questions on the topic. Whether I can give a good reply, that's another question.

I can try to describe what use I have observed from reading literary criticism and let you judge whether that fits your theory or not.

Directly, it helps me understand better how to achieve certain results I am aiming for. E.g. the book I just finished explained how the literary tradition of a culture begins in continuous poetry, moves to discontinous prose, then continuous prose, and finally discontinuous poetry. In other words, its myths are written in the form of long poems (like the Poetic Edda), after which it develops proverbs, sayings, fragmented stories (the games of wisdom between the gods and mortals), then full-length stories (such as the sagas of heroes), and finally songs, poems of limited lengths (like folk ballads). Thus, when building my world and creating songs, stories etc. to weave into the culture, I know that if I want to replicate the effect of a myth, I should choose the form of continuous poetry. If I want this tale to sound like it happened a few hundred years ago before contemporary times (for the book characters), I write it like a fairytale. If I want it to seem recent, I write it like a folk song or ballad.

Indirectly, though this is a little different, the best example I can think of is when I was revising a play. I was asked by the theatre to re-write the dialogue in iambic pentameter for audience appeal. I had originally written the dialogue in that manner, then re-written it to be without meter, and was now re-writing yet again, back to iambic pentameter. Before I did this, I (re)read Paradise Lost aloud (which is all written in that meter). I found afterwards that writing the dialogue was far easier than the first time. Arranging the phrases into the right meter simply flowed, came easily with little effort from my side. I do believe that having read/spoken +10,000 lines of iambic pentameter, my brain became wired to think along those lines and naturally compose the sentences in that meter.
Thank you! I’m in debt to your “writer narcissism”. Ignoring how unorthodox this observation is regarding its procedure, I think that it relatively confirms that not until you wrote for the second time in iambic pentameter and after reading aloud Paradise Lost, you acquired an improved skill and were consequently happier with the result.
Reading and speaking are complete different skills, which require your brain to engage differently. By doing this, you owned the experience and extricated the ability you applied later on your writing: all empirically tested!:confused:

Anyhow, it was a boring paper written very clumsily, and I needed to link it to something more concrete. Your “literary criticism” popped into my head.
By the way, is the iambic pentameter the preferred meter in Danish as it is in English? In latin languages, depending on the theme, it tends to be the achtsilbig and elfsilbig( this one closer to the i. pentameter but with different accent structure) the preferred ones. Just a commenting…
 

Diziet Sma

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#28
Almost. It was an audiobook loaned from the library. I had to return it with 1 and 1/2 disks left. I will check it back out next visit. I'm really liking it so far. It has vampires, ghosts and witches as well as a few humans in it. I love her language and the plot is definitely interesting. I am wondering if the storyline ends at the end of this book or it continues into the next book. I hope the library has it. LOL
I really like Rice. I have bookmarked it. Hope you get it back!
 

Tanniel

Journeyed there and back again
#29
Reading and speaking are complete different skills, which require your brain to engage differently.
I hadn't thought about the difference between reading and speaking, but you're probably right that it made the difference. I'm not sure I was of much help to you, but happy to reply regardless.


By the way, is the iambic pentameter the preferred meter in Danish as it is in English?
In matters of meter, Danish functions similar to English (they're sufficiently close related for that). I haven't counted as such, but I recall one of my textbooks (the one that basically taught me what meter is) saying that iambic meter was as common in Danish as English or German, though it also pointed out that there was no intrinsic reason for this (none of those languages being iambic by nature any more than they are trochaic, for instance). I guess it is a matter of popularisation, one form just becoming so widely known that it is imitated, or maybe it is the fact that it is a very easy meter to write in (only trochaic is as easy), and it allows you to end the sentence with a stressed syllable (unlike trochaic), giving your sentence more finishing punch; ending on a strong rather than weak note.
 

Diziet Sma

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#30
In matters of meter, Danish functions similar to English (they're sufficiently close related for that). I haven't counted as such, but I recall one of my textbooks (the one that basically taught me what meter is) saying that iambic meter was as common in Danish as English or German, though it also pointed out that there was no intrinsic reason for this (none of those languages being iambic by nature any more than they are trochaic, for instance). I guess it is a matter of popularisation, one form just becoming so widely known that it is imitated, or maybe it is the fact that it is a very easy meter to write in (only trochaic is as easy), and it allows you to end the sentence with a stressed syllable (unlike trochaic), giving your sentence more finishing punch; ending on a strong rather than weak note.
I see! I’m sure this is this case, as it happens with the other arts. Zß, the Spanish endecasílabo (elfsilbig) is from Italian origin adopted successfully during the Renaissance as it provided more rhythm.The Troqueo correspond to our Hexámetro and it wasn’t very successfully adopted.
Jeez! This is stuff I haven’t thought about since my school days: looong time ago…!
 

Placida

Owns a Ring of Power
#32
@Elvira I finished Blackwood Farms. The plot was tied up nicely but I checked and the next one in the series ("Blood Canticle") continues with the same characters. I will see if my library has it in audiobook. Otherwise, I might just do it the old fashioned way and read it. :rolleyes:
 

Diziet Sma

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#33
@Elvira I finished Blackwood Farms. The plot was tied up nicely but I checked and the next one in the series ("Blood Canticle") continues with the same characters. I will see if my library has it in audiobook. Otherwise, I might just do it the old fashioned way and read it. :rolleyes:
Thank you Placida. Have you checked Blood Canticle reviews? kind of diabolical. The Vampire Chronicles was loosing steam after the 5th book. I read Blackwood Farm meant a recovery in quality but not sure whether she managed to maintain it after checking out Blood Canticle...
 

Andrew.J

Journeyed there and back again
#34
Earlier this month I decided I wanted to read some classic books I've never had the chance to read. So far I've read two: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and Metamorphosis by F. Kafka. I decided to explore Kafka a bit more, as I didin't like Metamorphosis as much as I thought I would and started The Castle and have bought a copy of The Trial I'm planning to read as well. Dorian Gray, however, I enjoyed reading very much. I was thinking of reading or watching The Importance of Being Earnest too, which I've often heard is Wilde's best work.

Do you have any classical recommendations or favourites?
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#35
I haven't been able to come up for air from Christian Cameron's The Ill-Made Knight and its sequel The Long Sword, which are historical fictions about Sir William Gold and his rite of passage from street urchin in London in the mid-1300's to a knight of renown. If you like Miles Cameron (his other author name) and the Red Knight/Traitor Son series, this is for you. No magic, just totally realistic and well researched chivalry and knights during the Hundred Years War and the crusades. It's a mesmerizing tale with much insight into the behind the scenes machinations of European heads of state and Christian church leaders, and lots of warfare of course. The battle scenes however are not even close to the ones in Traitor Son but there is so much back story that needs to be told. Christian Cameron has said that The Ill-Made Knight is his favorite of his books.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#36
I haven't been able to come up for air from Christian Cameron's The Ill-Made Knight and its sequel The Long Sword, which are historical fictions about Sir William Gold and his rite of passage from street urchin in London in the mid-1300's to a knight of renown. If you like Miles Cameron (his other author name) and the Red Knight/Traitor Son series, this is for you. No magic, just totally realistic and well researched chivalry and knights during the Hundred Years War and the crusades. It's a mesmerizing tale with much insight into the behind the scenes machinations of European heads of state and Christian church leaders, and lots of warfare of course. The battle scenes however are not even close to the ones in Traitor Son but there is so much back story that needs to be told. Christian Cameron has said that The Ill-Made Knight is his favorite of his books.
I'm definitely going to read those books kenubrion. It'll be just the thing for me after I finish the Discworld main sequence.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#37
I'm definitely going to read those books kenubrion. It'll be just the thing for me after I finish the Discworld main sequence.
If you're a fan of chivalry and the history of Europe from 1350 on, you will like these. Also I was thinking of you when I was reading Neal Stephenson's The Baroque Style, since so much of the story occurs in Denmark.
 

fbones24

Journeyed there and back again
#38
Read "Mountains of Mourning" by Lois M. Bujold in one sitting. Great little story. On to "The Vor Game." I like reading these Vorkosigan stories in between more "heady" reads.
 

Diziet Sma

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#39
I have just finished Hunting The Ghost Dancer by A A Attanasio. I haven’t read such an uplifting story in a very long time.
HtGD depicts complex concepts such as evolution, immortality, fate, and a very profound sense that every being forms part of a perfect megasystem.
The supernatural and the natural collide and merge in an exotic and fancy way. A clash between the dying out Neanderthals and the newer Cro-Magnons. Enemies as they represent the dichotomy of the old, savage culture against the newer developed one, always contrasted with Attanasio’s greater message.
I truly enjoyed it!
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#40
I was just mindlessly browsing through the Amazon recs they threw at me after I bought something, and Brings the Lightning popped up and I checked it out just based on the cover illustration. Traditional cowboy tale in the vein of Louis L'Amour, a debut work, and it's great, well written, exciting, lots of outdoorsmanship which I still participate in at this advanced age. It's about the lives of people recovering from the US Civil War and migrating to the new western lands to start over again.