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Reading Thread/Discussion 
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Post Reading Thread/Discussion
For those of us who enjoy having our noses stuck within a nice 1000 page doorstop.


Wed Jul 13, 2011 3:29 am
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Post Re: Reading Thread/Discussion
*Brings Argo into this thread* :lol:

Oh wait, does this mean this thread will be full of spoilers?

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Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:19 am
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Post Re: Reading Thread/Discussion
I'd imagine that anything too spoilerish would be spoiler tagged.

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Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:20 am
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1000 pages, huh? Snow Crash still lies on my shelf, catching dust.

Recently, though, I finished Century Rain by Alastair Reynolds. In it Wendell Floyd, U.S. born immigrant, investigates the death of Susan White, a young woman likewise from the States, in the Paris of 1959. Very noirish.

He came to France to fulfill his dream of becoming a professional jazz musician, but his aspirations were cut short and now he ekes out a living in Paris, where he founded a little detective agency for extra income. Complicating his investigation of White's death, who officially fell from an unsecured railing, are the facts that his ex-lover and ex-band member Greta plunges into his life again while looking after her dying mother, the Parisian police gives him a rough time because his partner Custine, a former policeman, left them on rather unfriendly terms and is viewed as a traitor as well as certain nationalistic-extremist political elements that gain more and more ground. They discover clues that suggest Susan White might have been a spy, like her habit of collecting many magazines and books, sending them somewhere, as well as a beefed up radio receiving an unknown pirate station.

Mulling over these things, he visits the city park with Greta and meets a political prisoner on day release... HITLER!

Wha-what? Exactly.

Skip to 2263. In the ice desert of old Paris Verity Auger, full-time archaeologist, is in a bit of trouble. One of her students has been wounded by the malicious nanobots that gobbled up humanity in 2077, making a sudden end to her dig. Back in orbit she has to stand trial over whether or not the risks she took were justified. In order to evade said trial she agrees to undertake a secret mission: retrieve certain objects left behind by an operative called Susan White...

Reynolds did an awesome job of mixing a noir crime/detective with a sci-fi novel, full of action, believably written characters with all too human flaws and mind-blowing ideas.

(No spoilers because you learn all this fairly early on, due to the viewpoint alternating between chapters.)

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Wed Jul 13, 2011 7:24 am
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Post Re: Reading Thread/Discussion
Since reading House of Leaves, I've become interested in really weird books. They take a little while to get what they're about so it's hard to get into them at first, but it's fun enough past that point that I think it's worth it.

I doubt I'll ever managed to read and enjoy Finnegan's Wake though. *shivers*

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Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:41 am
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I'm currently reading the second book in Stephen King's Dark Tower series. It is...significantly less interesting than the first book. I don't mean to say it's bad, it's just that after having my imagination captured by a desolate world of gunslingers, men in black robes, and ruins of a bygone era, a junkie's troubles with the mob reeaally isn't very interesting.

I'm also working my way through a complete collection of H.P. Lovecraft's works in one book. It's a big book!


Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:48 am
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The Drawing of the Three starts off kind of slow, but trust me, it gets better.

Anyway, I just got Redwall out of the library, which is something I've been meaning to do for nigh on three years now. I haven't read too much of it yet, but Cluny seems like a good villain.
Liam wrote:
Reynolds did an awesome job of mixing a noir crime/detective with a sci-fi novel, full of action, believably written characters with all too human flaws and mind-blowing ideas.

(No spoilers because you learn all this fairly early on, due to the viewpoint alternating between chapters.)

I'd recommend Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus, by Orson Scott Card. It's one of the few books that I was assigned to read that I've actually enjoyed. The genre is a sort of mix between sci-fi and and historical fiction. Kind of like Century Rain, the point of view changes a lot throughout the story, between a few researchers in the future using a time machine variant to look into the past, and to the past, shown from the point of view of none other than Christopher Columbus. It's definitely worth checking out.

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Thu Jul 14, 2011 12:14 pm
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Post Re: Reading Thread/Discussion
Just finished up all the books that are out of Naomi Novik's "Temeraire" series. I found the most current one, Tongue of Serpents to be too short for my liking and while I'm not sure I want to outright buy the next one that's coming out in March, I will for sure visit the library for it. It does have one of the best developed dragons characters I've ever followed, but the pace somewhat drags and given that the setting of the books is in 1900's England, it can be harder to follow the quips, insults and topics at times. Still worth a read.

Currently I've got sitting on my desk "A Dance with Dragons" which I expect i'll finally start digging into this weekend, I'm also making pretty good time though Tom Clancy's "Dead or Alive" which is well done for a 900 page spy/counterterroist thriller. Also got a few of Dale Brown's novels sitting here in the McLanahanverse, but as I want to read them in order, I'll likely have to have my local library have to do some ordering for me as there's 17 novels in that series and I've only got about..4 on hand.

Later this year there's the end to the Eragon series to look forward to and the next book in Rick Riordan's "Heroes of Olympics" to look forward to. I polished off all the books in the Percy Jackson series in about 2 weeks a few months ago and I find the characters rather enthralling. I know there's tons of unpublished greatness on the internet but when you sit down to a real series like "A Song of Fire and Ice" fanfic and tripe like the stuff on SoFurry.com feels like junk food. Good thing that aside from hardcovers I have Rick's stuff to purge my mind.


Thu Jul 14, 2011 12:46 pm
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Post Re: Reading Thread/Discussion
Coatl_Ruu wrote:
Anyway, I just got Redwall out of the library, which is something I've been meaning to do for nigh on three years now. I haven't read too much of it yet, but Cluny seems like a good villain.


Redwall was one of the series that got me back into anthropomorphic fantasy 15 years ago. It's good stuff, but be warned, after you read a few, the flaws in his character types as well as the author's own biases really become glaring and too much to handle. Plus the series has some rather glaring tropes.


Thu Jul 14, 2011 12:49 pm
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Post Re: Reading Thread/Discussion
Foxstar wrote:
Currently I've got sitting on my desk "A Dance with Dragons" which I expect i'll finally start digging into this weekend


Let us know if it actually has dragons in it. *giggles*

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Thu Jul 14, 2011 1:59 pm
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Sleet wrote:
Foxstar wrote:
Currently I've got sitting on my desk "A Dance with Dragons" which I expect i'll finally start digging into this weekend


Let us know if it actually has dragons in it. *giggles*


It does but the dragons are not at all anthro or smart. More like dangerous horses.


Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:56 pm
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Post Re: Reading Thread/Discussion
Right now I'm taking my time reading though a book called American Gods. I guess it could be called a contemporary fantasy of sorts... Basically, in America, people of all cultures have mixed, and with them, brought their beliefs and gods. But in modern day, many of those beliefs have waned... and new ones have popped up. These old gods (like say, some of the Egyptian ones) are unhappy that they're being generally ignored and pushed aside for, say, the god of TV. This means war...

The book, in my opinion, has a very, very VERY slow start to it, and it quite confusing until a good ways into the book. I mean, if I didn't read the description on the back, I'd have no idea what would have been going on... There are also a couple of random scenes in the book where you can tell the book is aimed at an adult audience... just to warn ya. Like, fertility gods n' all. XD

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Fri Jul 15, 2011 3:41 pm
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That sounds awesome! And it's by Neil Gaiman too. Grr, I need to get through my books faster. D:

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Fri Jul 15, 2011 3:46 pm
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I really really really love the Series of Unfortunate Events books.

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Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:09 pm
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Post Re: Reading Thread/Discussion
Free books Online:
Mind and Body by Aaron Dunlap In a crazy Jason Bourne, Manchuria Candidate like cross crazy stuff is going down. A good action novel.
Cory Doctorow's Fiction Fiction focused on current events and technology
Baen Free Library Books published by Baen whose authors have agreed to make available online
Free Radical by Shamus Young Ever read the Talking Points, on the escapist? Or DM of the Rings? Yea, that guy wrote a sweet book. Go read it

Technology Centric Books:
Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson - See below
Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson - Going into computers? READ THIS NOW!
Free Radical - Shamus Young

Military SF:
1632 - Eric Flint - A small town in West Virginia is transplanted to Germany in the Hundred Years war, decent read
Polseen War series - John Ringo - Aliens contact earth warning it of it's pending invasion. Problem is the "helpers" are out to hamper our effectiveness
Ender's Game series - Orson Scott Card (beware of the Ender trilogy starting with the Speaker of the Dead, gets preachy and confusing in the 3rd book)
Honor Harrington series - David Weber - A story of a ship captain and her exploits. Most accurate "real" space combat I've read, think deceleration and acceleration
World War series - Harry Turtledove - aliens invade during WWII, great alternate history

Space Opera/Fantasy Epic:
Pandora's Star/Judas Unchained - Peter F Hamilton - Great space opera, highly recommended. Deep characters and a plot that will keep you turning pages
Otherland Series - Tad Williams - Very interesting style, great read
Codex Alera - Jim Butcher
Tawny Man/Golden Fool series - Robin Hobb

Sci Fi/Fantasy Comedy:
Dragon and the George series - Gordon R oliphants - oliphants has a gift for crazy but brilliant mentors, Cornelius an AAA+ wizard
The Magnificent the war of 1812 - Gordon R oliphants
All books - Terry Prachett - comedic genius
Dresden Files - Jim Butcher - A wizard detective based in present day Chicago. It's Chicago, read it!

You can find some suggestions in an older thread here

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Last edited by zeekgenateer on Sat Jul 16, 2011 2:49 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Jul 16, 2011 2:40 am
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Post Re: Reading Thread/Discussion
Most everything by Tom Clancy I would recommend. Language warning and all that, though.

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Sat Jul 16, 2011 2:42 am
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Post Re: Reading Thread/Discussion
Tha Housefox wrote:
Most everything by Tom Clancy I would recommend. Language warning and all that, though.


I just finished up Dead or Alive by him. It was a nice ride but be warned, it's detail heavy.


Sat Jul 16, 2011 8:41 am
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I'm reading, or well when I get around to it the War of the Ancients trilogy. :P

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Foxstar wrote:
I just finished up Dead or Alive by him. It was a nice ride but be warned, it's detail heavy.

I've heard this as both praise and criticism of Clancy. I like detail; I grew up reading Tom Clancy's novels and (depending on other distractions) can get through one in a few days.

I'm also a big fan of alternate history novels, particularly those by Harry Turtledove. Aside from a few alt history and sci-fi novels, I mostly read non-fiction.

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Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:38 pm
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Dissension wrote:
Foxstar wrote:
I just finished up Dead or Alive by him. It was a nice ride but be warned, it's detail heavy.

I've heard this as both praise and criticism of Clancy. I like detail; I grew up reading Tom Clancy's novels and (depending on other distractions) can get through one in a few days.


To me it's a fine line, but in spy novels and such, the gathering of info, the development of plans and following the characters around is highly important. I think too many people are spoiled on stuff like Burn Notice and MI to realize that all that cool stuff takes a lot of footwork. (Don't get me wrong. I deeply love Burn Notice)


Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:51 pm
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I am a sucker for detective fiction. Christie, Doyle, and Chesterton, to name a few...

After a long pause in reading, I am finally about to read Dante's Divine Comedy. Not just the Inferno. I have been waiting for this for a few years now.

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Sat Jul 16, 2011 9:38 pm
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Post Re: Reading Thread/Discussion
Foxstar wrote:
Redwall was one of the series that got me back into anthropomorphic fantasy 15 years ago. It's good stuff, but be warned, after you read a few, the flaws in his character types as well as the author's own biases really become glaring and too much to handle. Plus the series has some rather glaring tropes.

I'll keep that in mind. The plot so far seems to have been pretty predictable, but it's enjoyable despite that.

Also, something to add to the list of books that can be found online for free: Blindsight, by Peter Watts. It's a hard sci-fi novel that deals with themes like perception and the nature of consciousness - the concept of "I". The story takes place in some vague time in the relatively near future. Cybernetics are omnipresent, space travel is advanced, and vampires walk the earth for the first time since the Pleiostocene era (it makes sense in context >_>).

A ship called the Theseus has been launched to investigate some alien... thing detected at the edge of the solar system. The protagonist is an information analyst with half his brain removed, and a member of a crew consisting of a linguist with four personalities, a biologist/surgeon who's given up his own neural pathways for machine augmentation and perception, and a top-brass soldier known for treason. They are all lead by an frighteningly intelligent vampire.

Be warned, it can get pretty graphic. And pessimistic. Despite that, it's a great book. :3

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Sun Jul 17, 2011 4:03 pm
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Any of y'all read the Animorphs series?


Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:58 pm
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naylorfan90 wrote:
Any of y'all read the Animorphs series?

I've read some of them. I've also read the Hork-Bajir chronicles, Ellimnist Chronicles, and Andalite Chronicles.

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naylorfan90 wrote:
Any of y'all read the Animorphs series?


Read them all years ago. Good stuff, though it gets very dark towards the end.


Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:57 am
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Yeah, I heard that. It almost makes me want to try reading them if I had unlimited time (which I don't).

I never read the books but I watched the TV show like a dumb little kit.

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Same here, I've only read like half a book from the series when I was younger, since I'm still smitten by Enid Blyton then, and will not read anything else. I regret that decision now, since I can't find those books anymore...

Anyway, any recommendations for novels about the judiciary system, attorneys and such? I wanna expand my readings on these topics away from John Grisham.

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I read book 1, cause my cousin had it, and I was at their house.
kurowolfe wrote:
Anyway, any recommendations for novels about the judiciary system, attorneys and such? I wanna expand my readings on these topics away from John Grisham.

I tried reading "The Jury" and it just didn't really hold my attention. I don't think I've read any books about the judiciary system other than "Mosnter" by Walter Dean Myers.

However, I am rereading The Malazan Book of the Fallen series by Steven Erickson :D
Starting on Gardens of the Moon today, and I am excited.

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Reading Picture of Dorian Gray for school. Maybe I'm just not reading it correctly, but to me it seems to be mostly an excuse plot for Oscar Wilde to write dialogue about the human condition and life in England in the 19th century (I think it's London, but I'm too lazy to check at the moment). Maybe it'd be great if I had lived there then. I'm not quite halfway through though, so here's hoping the plot picks up soon.

Oh, also Dorian Gray sounds like he looks exactly like Marilyn Monroe.

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Post Re: Reading Thread/Discussion
CaptainPea wrote:
Reading Picture of Dorian Gray for school. Maybe I'm just not reading it correctly, but to me it seems to be mostly an excuse plot for Oscar Wilde to write dialogue about the human condition and life in England in the 19th century (I think it's London, but I'm too lazy to check at the moment). Maybe it'd be great if I had lived there then. I'm not quite halfway through though, so here's hoping the plot picks up soon.

Oh, also Dorian Gray sounds like he looks exactly like Marilyn Monroe.

a few things: that's exactly why he wrote it, it is London, the plot does pick up a bit, and LOL at your theory of Dorian's appearance.

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Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:15 pm
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Finally got started on "A Dance with Dragons" yesterday.


Sat Jul 30, 2011 9:24 am
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CaptainPea wrote:
Reading Picture of Dorian Gray for school. Maybe I'm just not reading it correctly, but to me it seems to be mostly an excuse plot for Oscar Wilde to write dialogue about the human condition and life in England in the 19th century (I think it's London, but I'm too lazy to check at the moment). Maybe it'd be great if I had lived there then. I'm not quite halfway through though, so here's hoping the plot picks up soon.

Oh, also Dorian Gray sounds like he looks exactly like Marilyn Monroe.


Funny, I always imagined David Bowie.


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I've just finished reading a novel after like 2 months of not reading anything apart from fanfics, and I have to say, I miss holding on to a paperback.

The novel's a completely different story from what I expected though, but it's a great story nonetheless. :D

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copper wrote:
I am a sucker for detective fiction. Christie, Doyle, and Chesterton, to name a few...

After a long pause in reading, I am finally about to read Dante's Divine Comedy. Not just the Inferno. I have been waiting for this for a few years now.


Wow, Divine Comedy... that's a book that I wanna read someday. I've tried it once some years ago, but it's so incredibly hard XD There are some different versions of it here, though (some are adapted to prose). Mine is the one that had the original italian text, side by side with its translation. Well... I quitted after a few pages :oops: It were still too hard to me xD Maybe I'll try it again soon? =)

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So, Oscar Wilde finally decided to stop goofing off and put a plot in Dorian Gray. I honestly believe the first nine chapters should have been cut down to, let's say four or five. There was quite a bit of rambling going on and the characters weren't doing anything particularly telling most of the time.

Of course, a chapter later, he decides to tell me everything the character knows about foreign instruments and tapestries. I think Mr. Wilde could have afforded to use a few less pages.

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I don't really put too much stock into whether or not a book is a "classic." If it's good, it's good. If it's bad, it's bad. I really liked To Kill a Mockingbird though!


I liked Tee-Kam well enough. It wasn't fantastic, but I can't say a lot of things are. The only thing I didn't particularly like was that it got a bit too loose with its plots. I don't mind subplots, but I think their prominence episodic nature in this case made the book feel like a few short stories that shared a common plot (which it kind of was), if that makes sense.

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I actually liked Huckleberry Finn! Tom Sawyer wasn't the best, though.

I found Huck Finn inexcusably dull. There were plenty of parts I liked, but they were spread too thin, and I think Mark Twain just has a knack for making anything kind of boring.

And, as you may have surmised from my complaints, I like tight plots with direction and momentum. That's why a lot of books frustrate me, because they become a series of events rather than a story.

Sleet wrote:
Hey, I'm not the only one! A lot of students call it their favorite book that they're forced to read against their will by their high school teachers.

I still acknowledge that opinions will vary and not everyone is going to like it.

I'd probably list Animal Farm or Mice and Men for that. That they're both short is just a coincidence.
I kinda liked Things Fall Apart, but it felt a little confused.

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Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:24 pm
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Post Re: Reading Thread/Discussion
Finished up with Dance with Dragons, rereading Naomi Novik's 'Termeraire' series again. Best dragon-human rider series I've ever read.


Sat Aug 20, 2011 7:19 am
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Foxstar wrote:
Finished up with Dance with Dragons, rereading Naomi Novik's 'Termeraire' series again. Best dragon-human rider series I've ever read.

Those were quite good. I think my favorite Dragon fantasy/comedy series would have to be Gordon R oliphants's Dragon Knight series starting with The Dragon and the George. Gordon R oliphants does an amazing job with characters. Carolinus the mage is the perfect insane, wise, and arrogant archetype. Scenes with him swing from bellyaching laughter to serious introspection. Can't recommend it enough!

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Post Re: Reading Thread/Discussion
Okay, having finished Dorian Gray, I can put forth my total opinion, which is that it's a good idea that was poorly written.

There are quite a few intriguing ideas and characters at the heart of it, but they're so hard to see against the distracting glare of how badly paced and weirdly structured the whole thing is. I mean, the first six chapters could have easily been condensed, since the section- nay, the entire book- consists mostly of Lord Henry enjoying to the sound of his own voice. Once it starts to finally get interesting, what with Sibyl's suicide, Dorian's portrait aging, and the skip ahead in time, Wilde suddenly decides it's time to let loose his character's entire encyclopedic knowledge of pointless miscellany for an entire chapter.

It recovers a bit with Basil's visit, and begins to become interesting again with his murder, which really gives the sense that the chain of events that sets up the climax has begun. This is completely untrue, as the body is disposed of discreetly and nobody finds anything out, meaning what looked to the reader like the rising action turned out to just be... something that happened. It was still important, since it showed what a horrible person Dorian had become, but it really made it seem like the plot was kicking in. Then Wilde pulls the exact same trick with James Vane, whose exciting reappearance, confrontation, and subsequent hunting of Dorian turns out to end with him getting unceremoniously shot to death by accident with minimal effect on the plot Then, after a short, awkward exploration of Dorian's attempt to change, he just up and decides to stab his portrait and accidentally kill himself and the book. Yay? It wasn't a bad story, but it feels like Wilde suddenly wants to write a different book sometimes.

It's as though he was writing towards an ending, found out he had more paper and kept writing... twice, and then had to hastily come up with another way to finish it. He sets up these really exciting plot points, and then decides that they should have a relatively mundane impact on the plot for whatever reason. It frustrated me.

So, yeah. There's that. Maybe I'm being an ignorant youngster, but it was not that great.
Oh, and Dorian Gray definitely should've been played by Marilyn Monroe in a film adaptation. The image became more and more amusing as the book progressed.

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Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:45 pm
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Post Re: Reading Thread/Discussion
he was just trying to make you think something exciting would happen. it's a statement about how people who live lives of infamy die in relatively un-exciting ways....

nah, he just didn't end it as well as he could have.

I didn't like how he failed to adequately explore exactly why the portrait was aging. does just saying "I'd sell my soul..." really constitute a binding contract with a demon of some sort?

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Wed Aug 24, 2011 11:11 pm
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Extremerator
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Post Re: Reading Thread/Discussion
I didn't think that was really necessary, it seems like asking that would be like asking how magic works in Harry Potter, or where exactly Oz is (which actually does frustrate me). Of course, these books have almost nothing in common with Dorian, but it's what popped into my head. It's just a premise that you have to accept.

I was actually hoping when I first read that that it was going to turn into a story about Dorian slowly going insane. Which it kind of was, but not in the way I had been thinking, and without the "slowly".

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