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What are you reading?

rousseau

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For something a little more esoteric, local left-leaning, literature type booksellers Brown and Dickson announced a store-wide 50% off sale today.

A married couple co-owns the store, who are both regular authors themselves, and the husband just released a book about a cutting edge, Gay Canadian artist who lived in London, Ontario and died of aids in the 80s. I wanted a copy but their own books can be a little steep, the sale knocked it down far enough however that I just bought one. For 12.50 well worth a Friday night read.

At half off I also bought some of the same owners poetry, too.
 

ruby sparks

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In the middle of That Glimpse of Truth: 100 of the finest short stories ever written David Miller.

That looks great. I'm a BIG fan of the short story form.

My favourite anthology is 'The Art of the Short Story', because it includes some bio about each author, and a short critical analysis or some explanatory text by the author themselves, alongside each story (though not all cases of it being by the author are about the particular short story featured).

51QCdgofcLL._SX344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Short-Stor...the+short+story&qid=1564167462&s=books&sr=1-2

Published 2005 so not that much out of date.
 

James Brown

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Stephen King often includes an Afterword in his Short Story anthologies explaining where he got the ideas for each story, how they came about, etc.

Some people don't like seeing how the sausage is made, but I enjoy it.
 

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Southern Exposure (1946) by Stetson Kennedy, an analysis of conditions in the Jim Crow south at its 'height', which is an oxymoron. This book couldn't have received any positive reviews in the southern press, as he unsparingly delineates the hellscape endured by the laborer class and the connivance of law enforcement in forced peonage (aka the convict lease system and the notorious vagrancy laws.)
 

James Brown

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Pyramids by Terry Pratchett.

After decades of neglect, I'm working through the Discworld pantheon.
 

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Hitler: A Study in Tyranny by Bullock.

I got to the "good" part where he acquires power and starts having people murdered a week or so ago, and now he has his eye on the Sudetenland. There's also a nice chapter I just finished about his ideological views (materialism and a crude form of Social Darwinism, according to the book).
 

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Hitler: A Study in Tyranny by Bullock.

I got to the "good" part where he acquires power and starts having people murdered a week or so ago, and now he has his eye on the Sudetenland. There's also a nice chapter I just finished about his ideological views (materialism and a crude form of Social Darwinism, according to the book).

Don't worry. The Czechoslovak army is very strong, well positioned, and quite capable of resisting German incursions. As long as the Czechoslovakians retain the support of the British, Italians, and French, the Germans won't have any chance of successfully invading the Sudetenland.
 

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Just finished an amazing non-fiction book called "Italian Fantasies", by Israel Zangwill.
 

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War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy - About halfway through this book. I can see how it has earned its accolades. I do find it a bit hard to keep track of the characters because of the different names they can be called.
 

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I've recently finished The Magician's Assistant by Ann Pachett and am currently re-reading The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey.

While the books and authors are very different, both books are beautifully written and both evoke myths and dreams and an altered sense of reality. In the Magician's Assistant, a woman has recently lost her husband and the love of her life, who was gay and whose lover had recently died of AIDS. She moves through her grief, and her dreams are inhabited by conversations with her husband's dead lover while at the same time, she learns that her husband was not who he claimed to be and indeed, has a mother and sisters still living. As she processes her grief, she also deals with the practicalities of meeting for the first time, her mother in law and sisters in law and navigates those relationships in a vastly different environment than the one with which she was familiar.

The Snow Child is set in Alaska, during homesteading days and centers on a middle aged couple who decide to homestead Alaska, struggling to establish a farm in a very harsh and very beautiful environment. Just as the wife is beginning to think she cannot continue, they catch a glimpse of a little girl who has taken the scarf and mittens from the snow child the couple built in a very rare moment of happiness and escape from their hardships. Over the course of some years, they gradually form a relationship with this child whose existence is doubted by their few neighbors and who often seems more enchantment than reality.

In each book, the authors write beautifully, with vivid descriptions and a sometimes dreamlike, mythic and allegorical way.

They play with perception and reality and each starkly contrasts dreamlike sequences with some very solid reality.
 

rousseau

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Stumbled on a copy of The Collected Poems of Cavafy yesterday at the bookstore in town I don't usually visit. At seven dollars it was a steal. Will have to get in there more often.

Also showed a bit of restraint recently and only have one book out of the library right now, which I'm going to attempt to read word for word, in it's entirety. Which is The Rise and Decline of the Zairian State by Crawford Young.

After I get through that I want to take out The Politics of Cultural Pluralism by the same author and try to read it word for word. I checked it out a number of months ago and it was one of the most difficult books I've looked at, so I wanted to give it proper time and attention.
 

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Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari.

Not a lot of factual information that is new to me but insights and interpretations I've never considered.

The way common myths allow co-operation.

Gave me an understanding of the minds of the deeply religious and the historical underpinnings of the mindset. Also should be required reading for any religious person who has ever spoken about Science as a capital letter monolith, a force for evil and the diametric opposite of religion. (Though, TBH, the book also gave me an insight into how science looks threatening to the religious.)

Good read. Highly recommend it.
 

rousseau

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Stumbled on a copy of The Collected Poems of Cavafy yesterday at the bookstore in town I don't usually visit. At seven dollars it was a steal. Will have to get in there more often.

Also showed a bit of restraint recently and only have one book out of the library right now, which I'm going to attempt to read word for word, in it's entirety. Which is The Rise and Decline of the Zairian State by Crawford Young.

After I get through that I want to take out The Politics of Cultural Pluralism by the same author and try to read it word for word. I checked it out a number of months ago and it was one of the most difficult books I've looked at, so I wanted to give it proper time and attention.

Quite enjoying The Collected Cavafy, much more than I thought I would.

His style is similar to mine in that it's a bit more explicit, and he has some interesting ideas. I've also not read many complete collections, so it's fascinating reading them in chronological order. After he hit 40 he really flourished.
 

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Stumbled on a copy of The Collected Poems of Cavafy yesterday at the bookstore in town I don't usually visit. At seven dollars it was a steal. Will have to get in there more often.

Also showed a bit of restraint recently and only have one book out of the library right now, which I'm going to attempt to read word for word, in it's entirety. Which is The Rise and Decline of the Zairian State by Crawford Young.

After I get through that I want to take out The Politics of Cultural Pluralism by the same author and try to read it word for word. I checked it out a number of months ago and it was one of the most difficult books I've looked at, so I wanted to give it proper time and attention.

Quite enjoying The Collected Cavafy, much more than I thought I would.

His style is similar to mine in that it's a bit more explicit, and he has some interesting ideas. I've also not read many complete collections, so it's fascinating reading them in chronological order. After he hit 40 he really flourished.
If you enjoy his poetry, I strongly recommend Daniel Mendelsohn's video interview on translating Cavafy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1F9PpFtiChw
 

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The Uninhabitable Earth. Reading it a few pages at a time, because it's so disturbing. Jesus Tapdancing Christ. If only Trump and his core base would read.
 

rousseau

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The Essentials of Zen Buddhism by D.T. Suzuki, edited by Bernard Phillips.

I checked it out of the library a few months ago, and liked it so much I bought my own copy this month, have been going through it and making notes.

Very beautiful collection of Suzuki's essays, compiled near the end of his life. If you can grasp the historical element - zen being a kind of ancient psychotherapy - it proves to be quite the interesting read. I've also noticed how similar some of the concepts are to those I found in The Happiness Trap (Acceptance and Commitment therapy) recently.
 

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As it happens, I've just dug into Andrew Skilton's Concise History of Buddhism. Not exactly as easy a read as the title would seem to apply, but already useful and refreshingly non-partisan for a work of its type. I also picked up but haven't started in on Conze's Buddhism. I have several Buddhist students this term and wanted a refresher on the tradition so I won't make an ass of myself in lecture over something silly.

Also in queue: Zora Neale Hurston's Barracoon, a recently re-published ethnographic interview with one of the last surviving African men to have a living memory of surviving the Middle Passage.

And my evening reading of late has been the Oxford guide to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
 

rousseau

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The Gardener and the Carpenter. A parenting book arguing that the more recent 'parenting' model is broken, and that parenthood should be more focused on providing the conditions to allow your kids to experiment, be creative, and learn from a diverse set of people and inputs.

The premise is on point, but it reads like another stretched out book that could have been reduced to a long form journal article. I'm ok with reading a couple hundred pages, and I get why people who aren't versed in science would find it interesting, but there's so much noise I'm finding it a slog to get through.
 

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Obit and The Dead Beat, about obituaries and the people who write them.

I'm enjoying them.

From the dead beat:

Selma Koch, a Manhattan store owner who earned a national reputation by helping women find the right bra size, mostly through a discerning glance and never with a tape measure, died Thursday at Mount Sinai Medical Center. She was 95 and a 34B.

Also, because I admire a good long sentence (a long sentence that's good), these from the same source:

Thomas exercised a Southern flair for shaggy tales about odd, inherently funny people like the queen of chopped liver, the king of kitty litter, and the Goat Man (“You take a fellow who looks like a goat, travels around with goats, eats with goats, lies down with goats and smells like a goat and it won’t be long before people will be calling him the Goat Man”—so that one began). [71 words.] He wrote his loosey-goosey riffs on short deadline, and “he sometimes ran into career turbulence because of an acknowledged tendency to carry things like sentences, paragraphs, ideas, and enthusiasms further than at least some editors preferred,” as Michael T. Kaufman wrote diplomatically in McG.’s opituary in 2000. [47 words.]
 

James Brown

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Up From Slavery, by Booker T. Washington. I wish I had half the self-motivation and industry that he did.

The Sins of the Father, by Lawrence Block. I've read this a couple of times, and each time I'm surprised by the ending. I enjoy Block's hard-boiled mysteries--I enjoy most of Block's writings--but for some reason the plot evaporates in my mind after a couple of days. Still, When the Sacred Ginmill Closes is my favorite of the Scudder novels.
 

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I enjoy Block's hard-boiled mysteries--I enjoy most of Block's writings--but for some reason the plot evaporates in my mind after a couple of days.

He writes fast. He doesn't revise. And he doesn't worry about who dun it, saying, "I'll find out when the reader does."
 

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A World Lit Only By Fire by William Manchester.

It's basically a book about how awful the Middle Ages were and how we got out of them.
 

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A World Lit Only By Fire by William Manchester.

It's basically a book about how awful the Middle Ages were and how we got out of them.
I finished this a few days ago (fantastic book), and now I'm reading Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel (also a good book).
 

rousseau

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First footsteps in East Africa - Richard Francis Burton.

Fascinating times.

Let me know how you like this one, I downloaded a bunch of these and was reading an Expedition to the Zambezi a few months ago.
 

rousseau

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The Structure of Freedom: Correlations, Causes, and Cautions - a series of essays on how life/liberty/freedom comes into existence in communities. Nice essay by Peter Berger in here that I wanted to read again.

Indigenous Peoples of North America: A Concise Anthropological Overview - as it sounds, believe I pulled this one from the Goodreads account of Politesse.

The Politics of Cultural Pluralism - Went ahead and bought this one because I couldn't pull it out of the library. By Crawford Young.
 

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1947: Where Now Begins by Elizabeth Asbrink (translated from the Swedish).

My brother sent me this book a few months ago and it’s finally made it to the top of the stack by my bedside. Wow! I’m blown away. History, but not “first this happened, then this happened,” but beautifully written, emphasizing the “story.” 1947 set the ball rolling for the post WWII world we still live in.
 

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First footsteps in East Africa - Richard Francis Burton.

Fascinating times.

Let me know how you like this one, I downloaded a bunch of these and was reading an Expedition to the Zambezi a few months ago.

It's more a diary with footnotes after each entry. The interest lies in the times and attitudes of the period, which are, ahem, not exactly politically correct.

Burton was a fascinating character, mastered something like 20 languages and numerous dialects, translator, explorer, master swordsman....like something out of a fictional novel.
 

WAB

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First footsteps in East Africa - Richard Francis Burton.

Fascinating times.

Let me know how you like this one, I downloaded a bunch of these and was reading an Expedition to the Zambezi a few months ago.

It's more a diary with footnotes after each entry. The interest lies in the times and attitudes of the period, which are, ahem, not exactly politically correct.

Burton was a fascinating character, mastered something like 20 languages and numerous dialects, translator, explorer, master swordsman....like something out of a fictional novel.

Fine poet, too.
 

Politesse

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The Structure of Freedom: Correlations, Causes, and Cautions - a series of essays on how life/liberty/freedom comes into existence in communities. Nice essay by Peter Berger in here that I wanted to read again.

Indigenous Peoples of North America: A Concise Anthropological Overview - as it sounds, believe I pulled this one from the Goodreads account of Politesse.

The Politics of Cultural Pluralism - Went ahead and bought this one because I couldn't pull it out of the library. By Crawford Young.

Bob Muckle's book! I know the author, he's a hoot and a half.
 

rousseau

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The Structure of Freedom: Correlations, Causes, and Cautions - a series of essays on how life/liberty/freedom comes into existence in communities. Nice essay by Peter Berger in here that I wanted to read again.

Indigenous Peoples of North America: A Concise Anthropological Overview - as it sounds, believe I pulled this one from the Goodreads account of Politesse.

The Politics of Cultural Pluralism - Went ahead and bought this one because I couldn't pull it out of the library. By Crawford Young.

Bob Muckle's book! I know the author, he's a hoot and a half.

Well let him know that his one page summary of North American indigenous religion is what I've been looking for for a few years. Now if only I could get a comparative summary from different regions..
 

rousseau

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First footsteps in East Africa - Richard Francis Burton.

Fascinating times.

Let me know how you like this one, I downloaded a bunch of these and was reading an Expedition to the Zambezi a few months ago.

It's more a diary with footnotes after each entry. The interest lies in the times and attitudes of the period, which are, ahem, not exactly politically correct.

Burton was a fascinating character, mastered something like 20 languages and numerous dialects, translator, explorer, master swordsman....like something out of a fictional novel.

When I was reading Livingstone briefly I wanted to get a glimpse of some of the tribes at the time, which it offered. Also some of the engravings were worth the cost of admission.

Actually, I've been reading about Africa in various forms for about a year and a half now - prehistory, history, explorations, travel writing, anthropology, modern politics.The more one reads the more one realizes the severity of Europe's destruction of the continent. It's a shame when there were formerly such beautiful and interesting cultures across the continent.
 
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Fentoine Lum

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It's more a diary with footnotes after each entry. The interest lies in the times and attitudes of the period, which are, ahem, not exactly politically correct.

Burton was a fascinating character, mastered something like 20 languages and numerous dialects, translator, explorer, master swordsman....like something out of a fictional novel.

When I was reading Livingstone briefly I wanted to get a glimpse of some of the tribes at the time, which it offered. Also some of the engravings were worth the cost of admission.

Actually, I've been reading about Africa in various forms for about a year and a half now - prehistory, history, explorations, travel writing, anthropology, modern politics.The more one reads the more one realizes the severity of Europe's destruction of the continent. It's a shame when there were formerly such beautiful and interesting cultures across the continent.

Europe's destruction of that continent, as it did with others.
 

rousseau

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Economy and Society by Max Weber. The internet tells me this was the most influential work of sociology of the twentieth century. I like it a lot so far.

The Agrarian History of Western Europe: 500 - 1850. I bought the original Dutch version of this for my father-in-law for Christmas (finally pulled him in secret santa), and have been browsing through it (browsing through an English version from the library, not the Dutch version).
 
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Rhea

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Sometimes my kids give me books I "have to read." Most of them are excellent. This last one surprised me a bit, but it was indeed excellent for its genre. So, yeah, my 17yo daughter told me I needed to read a YA gay love story with semi-explicit sex. Well, all right. The girl has good taste, so...


OMG it was so cute. And well written. Obviously not intended to be erudite or intellectual, but a damn fun read. And of course I get to talk frankly with my daughter about sex and relationships, so, parenting win, I guess, too.

Red, White and Royal Blue

...tells the story of the 22yo son of the president of the US (the first female one) and how the 24yo second grandson of the Queen of England falls in love with him. During her (The US President’s) re-election campaign. And of course what that does to the campaign, and how the elderly Queen reacts to such a thing.

Some favorite lines, "How did I ever convince myself I was straight?" and "dear thisbe, i wish there wasn't a wall. love, pyramus" and "100% probability that question is not hypothetical," and "Sexual Exploration: Healthy, But Does it Have to be the Prince of England?"

Chuckle lines; "who would expect a campaign to hinge on a private e-mail server, anyway." Also, "You're kind of short for a Storm Trooper, aren't you?"

I liked how the American, Alex, is written as confident, outgoing, public-oriented. He's not angsty or self-hating, he's just a smart, ambitious, bubbly good kid. And so his "sexual crisis" is not unhealthy or destructive. Meanwhile the English Prince is polished, excruciatingly trained for public and pretty much resolved that being gay is not something he ever gets to be because of "duty." In other words, both are believable characters for their positions in life.


Anyway, if you like YA books, if you like love stories, if you like a little political setting and if you like a little Royals-watching, you may enjoy this book.
 
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rousseau

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The Fourth World: An Indian Reality. Another I saw on the Goodreads account of Politesse. I delved into the first chapter which was a bit painful, but there was some substance there.

A History of Business in Medieval Europe: 1200 - 1550. I picked this one up as a kind of throwaway read, but it's actually quite good so far.
 

rousseau

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Neo-Colonialism: The last Stage of Imperialism by Kwame Nkrumah, independence leader of Ghana.

Down we go further into the African rabbit-hole..
 

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Modoc. Ralph Helfer

Chaucer, A European Life Marion Turner

Tomorrow, When the War Began John Marsden (Highly recommend this for teenagers.)
 

rousseau

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The Harmless People - Elizabeth Marshall Thomas. Fascinating, narrative driven work of anthropology on hunter-gatherers in the Kalahari desert in the 50s.

And because it's winter and the library is a good lunch-break destination..

Before Modern Humans - Grant McCall. A work of archaeo-anthropology published in 2015, that theorizes about our prehistory before modern humans, during the Paleolithic (old stone age) era. So far I've read it's introduction, which is a survey of the history of the field.

I'm still chipping away at many of the above books I've mentioned, but recently unloaded The Fourth World, Causes of Freedom, Concise Anthropology of the Indigenous, and the two Max Weber volumes. But there's still a pile of books sitting on the side-table in our study.
 

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The Harmless People - Elizabeth Marshall Thomas. Fascinating, narrative driven work of anthropology on hunter-gatherers in the Kalahari desert in the 50s.

And because it's winter and the library is a good lunch-break destination..

Before Modern Humans - Grant McCall. A work of archaeo-anthropology published in 2015, that theorizes about our prehistory before modern humans, during the Paleolithic (old stone age) era. So far I've read it's introduction, which is a survey of the history of the field.

I'm still chipping away at many of the above books I've mentioned, but recently unloaded The Fourth World, Causes of Freedom, Concise Anthropology of the Indigenous, and the two Max Weber volumes. But there's still a pile of books sitting on the side-table in our study.

Goodness, you outpace even me on the reading. Let me know if Anthropology of the Indigenous is any good.
 

rousseau

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The Harmless People - Elizabeth Marshall Thomas. Fascinating, narrative driven work of anthropology on hunter-gatherers in the Kalahari desert in the 50s.

And because it's winter and the library is a good lunch-break destination..

Before Modern Humans - Grant McCall. A work of archaeo-anthropology published in 2015, that theorizes about our prehistory before modern humans, during the Paleolithic (old stone age) era. So far I've read it's introduction, which is a survey of the history of the field.

I'm still chipping away at many of the above books I've mentioned, but recently unloaded The Fourth World, Causes of Freedom, Concise Anthropology of the Indigenous, and the two Max Weber volumes. But there's still a pile of books sitting on the side-table in our study.

Goodness, you outpace even me on the reading. Let me know if Anthropology of the Indigenous is any good.

In fairness, I very rarely come close to finishing any of these titles.

A topic has to really grab me to read it cover to cover, the last one being The Rise and Decline of the Zairian State by Crawford Young. Usually what I'm doing instead is checking out a stack of books, having 5 - 10 at any given time, and picking away at the parts I'm interested in until I lose interest. Some go back to the library pretty quickly, others I hold on to for months and still don't finish.

The Anthropology of the North American Indigenous I mentioned in that post was your friends book, which I browsed through a few times. Looked good, but I'm losing interest in the topic.

Another factor is that it's getting cold here and the library is a good place to stretch my legs on lunch-breaks. Really hard to walk out of there without checking something out.
 

spikepipsqueak

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Just finished An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

Highly recommend it.

This is the sort of book that kept me reading SF when I was a kid.

I learned some things about the world I live in that I didn't already know, the author had some insights about people that were useful and an interesting premise.

What more could you want?
 

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Does anybody have any recommendations for books with a dragon theme? In case it isn't obvious: fantasy/sci fi.

NOT Tolkien and not McCaffey. I'm looking for a gift for my son who is a big Tolkien fan and has all the books and would not likely be a fan of McCaffey.
 

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Does anybody have any recommendations for books with a dragon theme? In case it isn't obvious: fantasy/sci fi.

NOT Tolkien and not McCaffey. I'm looking for a gift for my son who is a big Tolkien fan and has all the books and would not likely be a fan of McCaffey.
define dragon theme - like, as in, prominently features dragons as central characters? or takes place in a world where dragons exist? or a more generalized 'sword and sorcery' style high fantasy?

i just finished The Burning White by Brent Weeks, the 5th and final book of his Lightbringer series.
it was an unbelievably huge disappointment, to the level where i'm seriously wondering if someone murdered Weeks and ghost wrote this as a prank.
the first 4 books are uniformly and consistently the best new fiction i have read in the last 10 years (and i devour fiction ravenously, probably reading 15-20 books per year) and i was just mad for this author, and the level to which he utterly shit the bed in the last book is frankly mind blowing.

with martin and ruthfuss both having gone full blown fat-bearded-recluses-who-don't-put-out-work, weeks being replaced by a pod person, scott lynch had a nervous breakdown, and peter brett just finished his series so won't put anything new for years... i kinda think that basically brandon sanderson is the only viable Big Deal author left in high fantasy right now.
thankfully he's a rather prolific writer, but g'damn it's depressing to have so little to choose from.
 

Toni

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Does anybody have any recommendations for books with a dragon theme? In case it isn't obvious: fantasy/sci fi.

NOT Tolkien and not McCaffey. I'm looking for a gift for my son who is a big Tolkien fan and has all the books and would not likely be a fan of McCaffey.
define dragon theme - like, as in, prominently features dragons as central characters? or takes place in a world where dragons exist? or a more generalized 'sword and sorcery' style high fantasy?

i just finished The Burning White by Brent Weeks, the 5th and final book of his Lightbringer series.
it was an unbelievably huge disappointment, to the level where i'm seriously wondering if someone murdered Weeks and ghost wrote this as a prank.
the first 4 books are uniformly and consistently the best new fiction i have read in the last 10 years (and i devour fiction ravenously, probably reading 15-20 books per year) and i was just mad for this author, and the level to which he utterly shit the bed in the last book is frankly mind blowing.

with martin and ruthfuss both having gone full blown fat-bearded-recluses-who-don't-put-out-work, weeks being replaced by a pod person, scott lynch had a nervous breakdown, and peter brett just finished his series so won't put anything new for years... i kinda think that basically brandon sanderson is the only viable Big Deal author left in high fantasy right now.
thankfully he's a rather prolific writer, but g'damn it's depressing to have so little to choose from.

He was/is a huge fan of Tolkien--and has the books, dvds, etc. I got him a pair of chinese dragon bookends and I thought another book/series of books featuring dragons would be good to go with. He's smart, philosophical, into languages and history.
 

James Brown

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He might like Tad William's Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy (first book in the series is called The DragonBone Chair). It's similar to Tolkien in that the dragons are rarely seen but are powerful agents of change (which is how I prefer my dragons, if at all.). If Martin's series is R-rated, then William's is definitely PG, but Martin cited it as inspiration for Game of Thrones.

An older series (might not be in print) is Guardians of the Flame by Joel Rosenberg, which showcases a dragon. Later books in the series, the dragon even takes on a sense of humor which might or might not appeal.

I've never bothered with McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series. Same with Paolini's Eragon series. But of course, they both feature dragons heavily.

Here's a long list of Dragon Lovers books, almost none of which I've read.
 
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