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  • #76
    I liked Michelle Obama's book better, I thought she was the better storyteller. I enjoyed them both. I just started reading War & Peace.

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    • #77
      I'm reading Night's Edge: Dancers in the Dark\Her Best Enemy\Someone Else's Shadow. Three short stories, one of them by a Barbara Hambly, who had been prone to writing Highlander fanfic in ages past.

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      • #78
        Originally posted by dubiousbystander View Post
        I'm reading Night's Edge: Dancers in the Dark\Her Best Enemy\Someone Else's Shadow. Three short stories, one of them by a Barbara Hambly, who had been prone to writing Highlander fanfic in ages past.
        Do you like it?

        I have finally succumbed and started checking out The Witcher. Since I found out it is based on a Polish book series, I just started reading The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski. It opens with a sex scene, yay! So far, so good : )

        I belong to the group of people, if I know a visual medium is based on a written medium, will insist on reading first and watching later.

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        • #79
          Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

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          • #80
            Originally posted by MidnightBlue View Post

            Do you like it?

            I have finally succumbed and started checking out The Witcher. Since I found out it is based on a Polish book series, I just started reading The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski. It opens with a sex scene, yay! So far, so good : )

            I belong to the group of people, if I know a visual medium is based on a written medium, will insist on reading first and watching later.
            The three stories were okay. Not in my general area of interest, but okay.

            I haven't checked out The Witcher books. I did read Leviathan Wakes, which both helped and caused some jarring when watching Season 1 of The Expanse.

            I've read Les Mis, which shone light on some bits of the movie (I've never been in a position to see it live), and made other bits of the movie so annoying. It was really great to read the background for the priest. Also, I read A Tale of Two Cities, leading me to regard that as a prequel to Les Mis.

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            • #81
              I am about less than half way through The Last Wish. I am liking it better than I expected but I also didn't go into this with high expectations. I do have to check words up on Google for every other page; so many creatures, how does anyone keep track of them all?

              Les Misérables is my favorite work of literature. If you like Victor Hugo, you may also like Honoré de Balzac. I recently finished reading Balzac's Père Goriot.

              I read A Tale of Two Cities years ago, Dickens is such a master of the written word. He has the ability to craft sentences which rhythmically and audibly evoke feeling. It's quite lush.

              As a counterpoint to Dickens, I would recommend Graham Greene. His economy with words is like wizardry. With just a few choice words, he evokes an atmosphere which I have never felt with any other writer.

              Hmm, didn't mean to write so much. Bibliophile am I.

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              • #82
                I'm now reading "Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America" by Ibram X. Kendi.

                Heckuva book. Devastating, too. Incredibly informative just how sickening racism is, and all of the gymnastics people went through in an effort to justify slavery and racism.

                https://www.ibramxkendi.com/stamped-from-the-beginning

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                • #83
                  Ibram X. Kendi is on my list of authors to read. Given everything that has happened in the United States I am actually avoiding reading books on racism because it's just too upsetting. I've stopped speaking to certain people due to their stance on racism. The fact that some people still don't get it is astonishing to me.

                  So I finished The Last Wish, I give it 4 out of 5 stars. It's definitely one of the better books I've read this year. I also finished Sword of Destiny and The Road With No Return. I'm currently on Blood of Elves. Oh the one thing that keeps running through my mind is why didn't Geralt give her a code name? She just keeps going around saying her name is Ciri, she might as well say, "Kill me now!"
                  Last edited by MidnightBlue; 10-11-2020, 07:03 AM.

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                  • #84
                    Blackout by Candace Owens.
                    Worth reading.

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                    • #85
                      I've been enjoying the time-travel books by Connie Willis. Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the Dog, Fire Watch (and the short stories also in that book).

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                      • #86
                        Continuing my whole I must read the books before I watch the series, I started reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and I'm bored. It's a massive book at 850 pages and I'm about 100 pages in and it's not really keeping my attention. I am mystified by its popularity. I've met the main protagonists and I don't find either one particularly appealing.

                        As far as similarities to Highlander is concerned, Outlander is set in Scotland and that's about it. I would say the Witcher book series would be a much better fit than the Outlander books (based on just 100 pages) for Highlander fans. I am debating on whether or not to keep going with Outlander ...

                        Has anyone else read it?

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                        • #87
                          Originally posted by MidnightBlue View Post
                          Continuing my whole I must read the books before I watch the series, I started reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and I'm bored. It's a massive book at 850 pages and I'm about 100 pages in and it's not really keeping my attention. I am mystified by its popularity. I've met the main protagonists and I don't find either one particularly appealing.

                          As far as similarities to Highlander is concerned, Outlander is set in Scotland and that's about it. I would say the Witcher book series would be a much better fit than the Outlander books (based on just 100 pages) for Highlander fans. I am debating on whether or not to keep going with Outlander ...

                          Has anyone else read it?
                          I have read them all. Yes, there is no relation between Highlander and Outlander. Well, unless you count the "This happened to her for no particular reason that anyone really knows." Although the author definitely knows and has peppered hints here and there. In a way it's the reverse of Highlander. Mr. Widen's thought was a person from hundreds of years ago living in the present and dealing with how the world has changed, and his life is misunderstood history. Well, my version.

                          This is a person suddenly hundreds of years in the past, having to deal with how different the world is, and how everything she knows could potentially get her burned at the stake.

                          You are only 100 pages in, at least as of this post you wrote. In some ways this connects with Lord of the Rings, an author with a tendency to extremely detailed story-telling. Realism despite the plot, being the mysterious sudden time-travel.

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                          • #88
                            Dodger
                            by Terry Pratchett
                            Quite fun, but then it's Pratchett, so why wouldn't it be.

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                            • #89
                              Yesterday I finished reading The Slynx, by Tatyana Tolstaya. Pretty strange story, good and weird, but in a few cases a long list of names and titles. Still, good.

                              Before that, I enjoyed the audio for Akata Witch, by Nnedi Okorafor. It was a good story, YA, set in Nigeria, and has a sequel, Akata Warrior. Someday I shall borrow that from the library, too.

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                              • #90
                                Pratchett is always fun.

                                Okay, I gave up on Outlander about half way through. It was after the forced marriage.

                                I am now on The Tower of the Swallow, the 2nd to last book in the Witcher series. I probably would have finished the whole series by now if I wasn't waiting to check it out of the library and I would still be waiting for another 7 weeks so I just gave in and bought the last two books.

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                                • #91
                                  I just read the first of three books. It's The Last Policeman, by Ben H. Winters.
                                  It's well-written, and easy to follow. This teaser video for it is a little too quick-changing, but reasonable. I like it.

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                                  • #92
                                    ... ... Now I've gone on to listening to the audiobook for Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles.

                                    I thought I'd read it before, but I'm only in the first part and don't remember any of it at all. Either this means I never read it, or it means I read it and at the time, nothing in there bothered me. The reason being that none of it felt out of the ordinary. I don't mean as in lacking imagination. In my youth, I surely thought it was very imaginative.

                                    But now... Oh now.
                                    The first part is all about a Martian husband and wife. It is so completely human normal. Only set against an exotic backdrop. It is also human toxic. The woman dreams and speaks of her emotions. Her husband is sarcastic and dismissive at her. When he knows that she's dreaming about the future, he gaslights her and bullies her into staying at home. He goes out and murders what she'd dreamed of in jealousy. She knows what he's done, but goes into a sort of madness where she forgets the wrong and continues in this dead marriage. And all of that is so very poisonous and normal. Then of course the second mission, where the men from Earth are like children, and end up slaughtered by a well-meaning psychiatrist who then goes mad because he can't believe the evidence that didn't die with them. Then the third mission, where the men from Earth are suckered into peace, but are then slaughtered, with just enough question: Were they slaughtered because in the night, when they thought too much about it, they feared being slaughtered? Or were they slaughtered because that was the plan all along?

                                    I suppose that might be answered later in the book, but right at this time, the book has not aged well for me.

                                    Now I'm at the last mission, where there seems to be no Martians around to do any slaughtering, only the men from Earth themselves. And only one of them, One who ignores his own monstrosity in order to build up all other humans as the monsters. Or does he? What was Bradbury's intention there? I'm not going to check and spoil myself. I'm going to continue to read the book. Right now, though, it's disconcertingly poisonous.

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                                    • dubiousbystander
                                      dubiousbystander commented
                                      Editing a comment
                                      It might be the film adaptation I'm remembering. I swear I must never have read this book before. Got to the rains! Now in the part where the sisters, getting ready to go to Mars, one with her fear of the dark, the other who just said she didn't want to go. That's where I am now.

                                    • dubiousbystander
                                      dubiousbystander commented
                                      Editing a comment
                                      I was wrong. I am almost at the end of the book now. Have actually listened to There Will Come Soft Rains.

                                      I realized that I'd mixed this up with Stranger in a Strange Land! I have never read this book before. It's something, and something terribly sad.

                                    • dubiousbystander
                                      dubiousbystander commented
                                      Editing a comment
                                      I am braving the 1980 movie. An hour 21 minutes in. It's not quite as painful as I thought it would be. They skipped out on the second landing and went straight to the third. Spender is played by a black man. Sigh.

                                  • #93
                                    I recently engaged in this conversation with a friend online:

                                    Friend: indeed, I recall seeing far more of an outcry over fifty Shades of Gray, which was completely consensual, then I have over this issue with Wonder woman.

                                    and I am still waiting for the outcry or backlash over what happened to Johnny Depp.

                                    Me: I've seen those, too.

                                    Friend: 12:23 AM
                                    his career was ruined while she is still actively starring in things like Aquaman 2 and other roles, and may even get a part in the pirates of the Caribbean franchise, that he was kicked out of.

                                    and she was the one doing the abusing. all indications are that he was largely innocent victim.

                                    Me: 12:23 AM
                                    You know, there was this whole plot in Shades of Gray about the woman who seduced 15 year old Gray and made him her sub for a while, and how once that news hit his foster-mother it caused rage, and of course the lady in his relationship was furious about it. BUT since this didn't come out until later in the series, it's possible it slipped under the radar.

                                    Friend: 12:24 AM
                                    I have never read the story nor seen the movie. all I know of is the public outcry about how he is a monster and a rapist for abusing his secretary, even though everything that happened between them was consensual. I am much more of a dominance and submissive player than a sadism and masochism player, so something like their SM relationship really isn't my cup of tea.

                                    though, interestingly, it has apparently sold over 125 million copies in something like 50 different languages, and the overwhelming majority of people buying the book are women.

                                    Me: 12:26 AM
                                    Gray, who as a child had to live in a room with his mother's cooling corpse after she died of a drug overdose, was a thoroughly messed up teen on the verge of committing suicide, when a friend of his mother's, who has a secret life as a dom, saw the vulnerable boy and took him on as her sexual sub. blah blah blah "MY God, Gray, that woman is a child molester!" "No, she gave me what I needed." "The bleep she did!"

                                    Me: 12:26 AM
                                    She is not his secretary, by the way.

                                    Friend: 12:27 AM
                                    okay, I thought she was a secretary. as I said, I've never read the book or seen the movie.

                                    Me: 12:28 AM
                                    He meets her because she interviews him in place of her friend. She's clumsy and nervous, and bears a faint resemblance to his mother. He fixates on her because he's damaged and deals with his trauma by controlling everything about the women he is with because of an underlying terror of finding them dead from drug overdose someday.

                                    Friend: 12:28 AM
                                    ha!

                                    Me: 12:28 AM
                                    I read all three books, as it's been my experience that I like to know whatof I speak. Borrowed them from my neighbor.

                                    Friend: 12:29 AM
                                    so instead of him just enjoying the role of being a dominant, and her just enjoying the role of being a submissive, they had to make it about emotional trauma and mental damage, instead of it just being a thing that they both enjoy.

                                    Me: 12:29 AM
                                    On the rape in WW, a lot of comments are from people who haven't watched it yet, but some have, in much the same way.

                                    Yes, of course they had to. Christ, the real reason this was such a hit is that it's a completely standard romance novel, except for the S&M.

                                    Friend: 12:31 AM
                                    indeed, which is why I withhold my judgment about the movie. I am simply referring to things that I have read about it, and the sources for that information.

                                    which is unfortunate, because it paints BDSM as being something that damaged people do instead of something that normal healthy people enjoy.

                                    Me: 12:31 AM
                                    Tragic damaged massively rich man meets lovely pure innocent virgin who teaches him the meaning of true love and heals his damage.

                                    Also false, actually.
                                    About the BDSM.

                                    Friend: 12:33 AM
                                    I recall seeing memes at the time saying that if Christian Gray lived in a trailer instead of being a billionaire, it wouldn't be a romance novel but instead would be a CSI episode.

                                    Me: 12:33 AM
                                    Once he has been healed of his trauma by the true love of the girl who has never had any sexual experience before him, including never having had an orgasm, they enjoy a healthy BDSM relationship. Which is how the third book resolves, so of course no one notices.

                                    No, actually, on that one either.

                                    Friend: 12:34 AM
                                    that's interesting and heartening. the author manages to come full circle and turn the BDSM relationship into a healthy thing, although having to have started it as an issue of damage.

                                    Me: 12:35 AM
                                    Standard romance novel.

                                    Friend: 12:35 AM
                                    the meme is suggesting that the reason why it is acceptable and even a sexual fantasy among women is because he is rich.

                                    Me: 12:35 AM
                                    Told you. I read the whole damned thing.

                                    Friend: 12:36 AM
                                    indeed, but as you know, no one will read past the first book. those who like it will continue reading, but they weren't the ones who were offended by it anyway.

                                    those who are offended by it won't ever finish the story to find out how it ends.

                                    Me: 12:36 AM
                                    Yes, the meme would. But it is not. He never does her any real physical harm, and half of their problems are because as a pure innocent, she keeps trying to be what she imagines he wants her to be, which causes conflict as she won't use her safeword because she's afraid he'll reject her if she can't handle it.

                                    Well, by the third book I was skipping past the sex scenes as they were boring and not involving character development.

                                    Friend: 12:38 AM
                                    you see, none of this ever comes out when people are complaining about how abusive the story is.

                                    and as someone who has never read it, nor seen the movie, I would never know any of this about it unless you had just told me.

                                    I see the complaints from the complaint department, and that's all the more that ever gets exposed about the story.

                                    Me: 12:38 AM
                                    Of course, in reading these stories there is some hilarity, as I've also read the Twilight books, of which these stories were originally a fanfic.

                                    The whole reason the relationship is unhealthy is because he's messed up, and she saves him, so they can have a healthy relationship! Just add "BDSM" in front of the word relationship each time.

                                    Friend: 12:40 AM
                                    sure, but she doesn't change him by changing the BDSM nature of the relationship, apparently.
                                    that's the part that I find unusual and refreshing.
                                    it seems that the author recognizes healthy and consensual BDSM relationships even if the naysayers and critics do not.

                                    Me: 12:41 AM
                                    She learns that the sub really does have control. If I understand about BDSM relationships. And HE learns that he doesn't have to... control the sub? Sorry, I'm not good with phrasing.
                                    She learns to set her limits, and he learns to trust her and conquers his fears.

                                    Friend: 12:42 AM
                                    you're freezing is perfectly okay.
                                    and that is correct. in any consensual relationship the submissive is ultimately in control because they can ultimately say no.

                                    and the dominant does not necessarily have to be in control of the situation, because the submissive is there voluntarily. if they were not there voluntarily, then it is not a consensual relationship.

                                    Me: 12:43 AM
                                    It's not a very well-written book, and as with many a tale, the people reading it take what they take, and miss a lot of the message in favor of the sex or whatever.

                                    Friend: 12:43 AM
                                    it seems that I may actually have to read these books, because the way you are describing it, even though you feel that your description is clumsy, is remarkably good and very telling about what the author is actually conveying over the series of books.

                                    again, contrary to the naysayers and critics, it sounds that the story turns into a remarkably healthy journey of discovery for both of the characters.

                                    Me: 12:43 AM
                                    YES.
                                    Er... and damnit, I am not a fan because romance novels where the hero has to be saved from his mess by the love of the innocent virgin are really, really not my thing.

                                    Friend: 12:44 AM
                                    see, you think your description is clumsy, and yet I took away enough from it that now you have enticed me to actually read the series.

                                    well done!

                                    Me: 12:44 AM
                                    Thank you, thank you, I am proud.
                                    Of course, if you read it and go "What the hell," I'm prepared for that.

                                    Friend: 12:44 AM
                                    as well you should be. take a bow if you can do that without blocking your head on something.

                                    Me: 12:45 AM
                                    Hopefully I can figure out how to phrase what I saw in the WW movie, but possibly I can't.
                                    I know that a lot of people are looking at it from the pain of society dismissing men being raped by women.
                                    That pain IS valid, I promise I know that.

                                    Ah, found her name. In 50 Shades, when Anastasia found out about the pedophile woman, she was furious and out for blood.

                                    Friend: 12:54 AM
                                    I certainly understand where you're coming from in the Wonder woman movie, because I am usually in favor of giving the benefit of the doubt. but I'm not sure anyone gets a pass these days.

                                    I find it to be a difficult situation. while it is true that an adult woman ended up in a DS relationship, that apparently involved SM and sex, with an underage boy, by his own admission it was very good for him.

                                    Me: 12:57 AM
                                    Yup.

                                    Friend: 12:58 AM
                                    Western society views all adult/child sexual relationships as being necessarily evil.

                                    does Japan view it the same way?

                                    Me: 12:59 AM
                                    But his true love, Anastasia, shows the counterpoint that though it may have kept him from committing suicide, it meant that the first two books were all about her having to heal his damage, as it NEVER was healed, just glossed over.
                                    Instead of getting the counselling and help he needed (if that's truly possible), he took desperate control of every woman he got involved with after her.
                                    And that, there, is the plot.

                                    Friend: 1:01 AM
                                    I agree, and again it's a tough call. it saved his life, but didn't exactly fix the problem. but at least it saved his life so that he was still alive to fix the problem later.

                                    Me: 1:02 AM
                                    Ayup. And now you see one more thing. As people were fixated on why they THOUGHT was happening in the books (romanticizing abuse of innocent girl by rich guy), nobody noticed the story.

                                    Friend: 1:02 AM
                                    which is, again, why I'm always very careful to withhold my personal judgment about things that I have not read or seen myself.

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