Books moral and immoral

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Artemis@BC, Sep 6, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Messages:
    4,889
    I got confused when I saw that title, I thought you were talking about Player One by Douglas Coupland. Which was not very good, imo. I hope Ready Player One is better!
  2. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2003
    Messages:
    30,173
    it's definitely not the Coupland book! ;)
  3. Artistic Skaters

    Artistic Skaters Drawing Figures

    Joined:
    May 24, 2002
    Messages:
    4,268
    Just finished The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro & I would recommend it. It's about a young woman who is a talented artist but currently persona non grata of the art world due to a previous incident with one of her professors. She agrees to copy a Degas painting from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum - one of the paintings stolen in 1990 during the famous theft that was front page news. Part of the deal is the return of the original painting to the museum & a one woman show for her with a well known contemporary gallery. Baking layers of paint with formaldehyde in an industrial oven in the loft - what more could you ask for? :lol:

    Now I'm reading The Night Strangers - a ghost story by Chris Bohjalian. Can't read this one late at night. I've read several of his, starting with Midwives (also recommended).
  4. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2001
    Messages:
    38,304
    I posted about this elsewhere, but I think this a better thread for it--has anyone been following the "sock puppet author scandal"?

    The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy
    Fake Reviews: Amazon's Rotten Core
    The Author and the Sock Puppet
    Amazon Tackles Review Problem, Deletes Wrong Reviews--I know some people have wondered about Harriet Klausner and her many reviews. Her secret has been outed and it's mentioned in this link.

    I have never found customer reviews to be all that persuasive because reading tastes are so personal, but I do tend to scan book reviews if there are a lot of them.
  5. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

    Joined:
    May 24, 2003
    Messages:
    19,413
    I read online book reviews the same way that I read restaurant and hotels reviews: for something in them, usually a detail, that specifically resonates in a strong positive or negative way, ignoring the rest and ignoring people who expect something unrealistic for the genre or what they're paying. For example, if someone mentions mold in the bathroom or thin walls, I'm :scream:, but if someone sounds like a :drama: because it took them eight minutes to checkout at the exact check-out time in a big hotel, or if the car valet service is slow or the restaurant not kid-friendly, these are irrelevant to me most of the time (although it's good to be reminded to check out earlier). Likewise, if someone expects Tolstoy in romance novel, that person's opinion isn't relevant, or if the main praise is for lavish descriptions of scenery or long discussions of period clothing, I know the book is not for me, but understand it's perfect for someone else. I'm always happy to know that a book, hotel, restaurant, play, etc. is not for me before I spend time or money on it.

    A college friend who did some great short story and academic writing and book criticism back in the day has finally published her first novel, after releasing an excerpt on amazon, which I liked a lot. I thought it was funny after I bought the eBook, I was invited by amazon to write a review and found that the first reviews are from her husband, sister-in-law, and a mutual college friend.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  6. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2001
    Messages:
    17,469
    The reviews that drive me nuts are the ones that are no more than plot synopses. I can get that info elsewhere for heaven's sake - what I want are clues as to what it's like to actually read the book. Don't get me started on people who give a book one star and say it's terrible and then go on to say they didn't read past the first few pages.
  7. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2001
    Messages:
    38,304
    I tend to assume that's the case when it comes to most books--that at least some of the positive reviews are from friends and family.
  8. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2002
    Messages:
    10,337
    Back when I actually dated, I was talking to a guy from Eharmony who was a self published author. So, being me, I looked up his books on Amazon. The reviews were obviously fake - "The next John Grisham" "The best book I've ever read" "This author is a superstar". When I stopped laughing, I googled his name. He actually had been sued by a book company for lifting their ISBN numbers to inflate his sales. Never understood how he did it, but I found it insane. :scream:

    And back to books - I'm now reading "Knife Cut", it's about a surgeon and a 16 year old patient who hangs herself in the shower. It promises a gut wrenching twist. So far, it's an interesting character study.

    Not sure if anyone's into very deep history or Freud, but I found this link on Amazon - all Acheron Press is free - not sure how long it'll last: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_pg_1...keywords=acheron press&ie=UTF8&qid=1359839531
    genevieve and (deleted member) like this.
  9. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Messages:
    12,791
    I'm still reading Angela's Ashes. I'm not quite half way through, and I started on September 30th. I think this is the longest it's ever taken me to finish a book. No one I know hasn't enjoyed this book, and I just can't see why, I'm just not loving the writing style at all, and it's hard to get past.
  10. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2001
    Messages:
    5,159
    Angelskates, I read Angela's Ashes when it was first published. I thought it was well written, but the most depressing thing I'd ever read. Several years later I went to an author reading with Frank McCourt and his brother Malachy. Malachy read first and had the audience in stitches. I'd expected that after reading his book. What I didn't expect was Frank having us laughing as well. I'd totally missed the humor in "Angela's Ashes". If you listen to the audiobook it's like a totally different animal than the printed version.
  11. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Messages:
    12,791
    I don't think it's poorly written, just the style makes it hard for me to read. I may try the audiobook after the paper version for comparison. I'm definitely not seeing much humor either...
  12. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2006
    Messages:
    9,266
    Christoph Niemann, Abstract City. Compilation of "doodle blogs" that he did for the NYT. Hilarious stuff, as well as an interesting epilogue in which he talks about his creative process.
  13. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2006
    Messages:
    9,266
    Midwives: definitely enjoyable but creepy and disturbing, too.
  14. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2002
    Messages:
    10,337
    I'm such a book geek! My favorite author just answered a comment I posted on his facebook page and I'm all :swoon: and :eek:
  15. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Messages:
    9,142
    I finished Room on the plane ride to Thailand, and I really, really liked it. It was really well-done for a very tough concept. Hats off to Ms. Donoghue. I'll have to check out her other stuff.

    Started Gillian Flynn's second book, Dark Places, which so far is, IMO, clearly the worst of her three books but we'll see. It's trying way too hard.
    genevieve and (deleted member) like this.
  16. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2009
    Messages:
    7,591
    I have two books going right now - Patterns on the Sand by Gamel Woolsey, and Irène Némirovsky's Le Vin de solitude. I really like Woolsey's prose style - she was primarily a poet and it really is a shame that she wrote only two novels, neither of which was published during her lifetime. As for Némirovsky, I think she had issues with her mother. The mother in Le Bal was regrettable; Jézabel was a monster; Bella in this novel is not off to a good start. But it's Némirovsky, so I'm intrigued.
  17. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2002
    Messages:
    4,637
    I needed a change of pace from the rather intense/grim stuff I've been reading lately so I picked up Jayne Castle's (aka Jane Anne Krentz) "The Lost Night" and am whipping through it. It's another in her Harmony SF series with ties to Kentz's Arcane saga, set on a planet where the colonist have developed psi talents in order to co-exist with the rements of a previous Alien civilization. I like Castle's world-building, even it seems an awful lot like a transplanted Washington State coast. :) I love the "dust bunnies" - fluff-ball pets with fetishes for glittery purses and Barbie-doll figures. :) Her characters do tend to be one-dimensional though - evil is Truly Evil and good is Heavenly Good. But it's light and fluffly and fun to visit.
  18. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Messages:
    4,889
    I finished Barabara Kingsolver's latest, Flight Behaviour. It's not my all-time favourite of her books, but I enjoyed it very much. I particularly liked the protagonist's growth over the course of the novel.
  19. KCC

    KCC Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Messages:
    938
    Slightly OT... I went to Powell's bookstore in Portland last weekend and was so overwhelmed! Besides a endless sea of books, the place was jammed with people. (Loved the books, hated the crowds.) I found one space that did not have anyone else in it, pulled down a book, and it was on "how to make a whip". I read about the finer points of braiding leather for 15-20 minuets until I could again venture back out in the mass of humanity. What a place! Next time I go there, it will be a weekday morning instead of a weekend.
  20. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Messages:
    9,142
    Okay, so, Dark Places sucked me in shortly after the previous post. It's far and away the grisliest of her books though. And if you've ever considered reading it, there's a pretty graphic animal torture scene that had me squicked out, and I don't normally get very squicked over that sort of thing. Plus the murders at the center of the book are pretty horrific and are described in detail more than once.

    The growth of the main character was done slowly and believably, and I appreciated most of the supporting characters, even if they were terrible people. The ending made sense and was a heck of a lot more satisfying than either Gone Girl or Sharp Objects, IMO. Significantly so. It's interesting to be able to see how much she grew as a writer between each book, as well.
  21. Erin

    Erin Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2001
    Messages:
    4,921
    Thanks for sharing about Dark Places - I bought it together with Sharp Objects but haven't gotten around to reading it. I'm not sure what to do now, though. I am fairly squeamish so the animal torture and graphic murders would be tough to get past, but the rest of the book sounds worth reading.
  22. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2002
    Messages:
    4,637
    I finished P.D. James' "Death Comes to Pemberley" during the blizzard and enjoyed it, even if I'm not the biggest Jane Austen fan. It was nice to get the postscript on the Darcys and the Bennett clan and get a sort of closure on all their stories.

    I'm now reading "Cut to the Heart" by Ava Dianne Day (who wrote the Fremont Jones mystery series I've been listening to in the car). This one feature Clara Barton tending an injured Colonel in South Carolina during the Civil War while a derragned serial killer stalks the area collecting body parts for his "experiments." Clara Barton was born in my hometown so I've always been interested in her life and family (her birthplace is a small museum). This is fiction, but Day used original sources in her research and so far she seems to have captured the characters well.
  23. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Messages:
    30,402
    i havent been keeping up with the thread so i dont know if this has been mentioned, but i just finished former people: the final days of the russian aristocracy by douglas smith. i really enjoyed it. it focuses on a couple of families. the details are really sad. one of the amazon reviewers said people who like downton abbey will like it. :lol:
  24. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2001
    Messages:
    38,304
    Amazon is apparently planning to sell used ebooks.

    *blink* *blink*

    I find the concept mindboggling. And very bad. Because my experience with used textbooks has been that such things are, in the long run, very bad for the consumer.

    As is explained here: http://curtisagency.com/blog/2013/02/psst-wanna-buy-e-book.html
  25. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Messages:
    9,142
    That's just... weird. I just can't get the concept of a piece of data being 'used', in the traditional sense. It's the exact same piece of data as a new one, in this case.
  26. Spinner

    Spinner Where's my book?

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2001
    Messages:
    3,729
    All the authors I've read/spoken with about this are "terrified" and "pissed". Yes, their words. It's not hard to imagine some crafty tech geek finding a way around protections, making a zillion copies of an ebook and reselling them all. This is such a strange concept, but Amazon wants to rake in the dough and this is another way to do it.
  27. modern_muslimah

    modern_muslimah Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Messages:
    3,908
    Selling a used e-book seems incomprehensible. I'm not sure how this benefits anyone except Amazon in the long run. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if many book buyers will realize this.
  28. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2001
    Messages:
    17,469
    This part of the article Prancer linked makes the most sense to me:

  29. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2001
    Messages:
    38,304
    Everything has already been done but the resale.

    Is there a business that doesn't want to rake in the dough? There are a lot of people in the book business who believe that Amazon's primary goal in all things book-related is to drive publishers out of business and corner the market themselves, and everything they do tends to be seen in that light, so it's very possible that a lot of the reaction is just paranoia. OTOH, a lot of the things that Amazon can be hard to see in any other light.
  30. jeffisjeff

    jeffisjeff Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2002
    Messages:
    14,515
    My husband and I were talking about this last night and he was wondering whether Amazon cared much about their book (regular and e) sales these days since it seemed to him that most of their profit must come from other stuff. Then I saw this today:

    http://news.yahoo.com/amazon-shares-climb-kindle-e-book-optimism-205601182--finance.html

    But that doesn't really help me understand the concept of a used e-book.
  31. Spinner

    Spinner Where's my book?

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2001
    Messages:
    3,729
    Yes, I think we all know this. Pirating abounds.



    I don't believe Amazon wants this at all, nor did I imply it. I just said they want to make money, which they do. If implemented, this is another way. But as Jenny astutely pointed out, it could all be just to make it go away.
    Prancer and (deleted member) like this.
  32. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2001
    Messages:
    38,304
    I didn't say that you said it, nor did I imply it. :confused:

    But the fact remains that a lot of people in the book business think Amazon wants to run book publishers out of business so they can corner the market for themselves, and see this as another step in that direction.

    That doesn't mean they are right, but the perception is certainly there.
  33. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2010
    Messages:
    2,421
    "Sweet Tooth" by Ian McEwan was a good, breezy read. I didn't expect that as it is about Britain's MI-6 and thought it might turn tragic. I'm also reading Laurie King's "The Pirate King." She and Holmes are traveling with many actors and crew to a movie shoot in Lisbon. This mystery is fun.
  34. made_in_canada

    made_in_canada INTJ

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Messages:
    4,194
    I found a Book Crossing book at work yesterday. It's "Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict" which isn't something I'd normally pick off the shelf but it literally fell into my hands so I feel I owe it a try anyway.
  35. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2002
    Messages:
    10,337
    Hardcovers arriving this week included "Firefly", a gorgeous hard cover full of series facts and screenplays - worth it for any fans of the show; also received my long lost copy of Massie's 'Catherine the Great' - it was shipping in September!! And the last one was a sequel to "The Forgotten King", called "The Broken Sword".

    Kindle wise, I'm reading "Swan Song" and love it. A bit gory in spots, but I guess anything written about the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust should be icky.
  36. Evilynn

    Evilynn ((Swedish skating dudes))

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2001
    Messages:
    2,441
    The used ebook thing is extra interesting since Amazon does't even sell ebooks, they lease them. :p

    I finally finished Clean Code, which was very good but took me ages to read. I'm currently giving Lois McMaster Bujold a second try with The Warrior's Apprentice (from her Vorkosigan series), and it's a very easy read and is quite funny in places, but I'm just not compelled to pick it up and continue reading. I'm not sure what to read once I wrap that up either. I seem to be stuck in a bit of a rut.
  37. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2002
    Messages:
    4,637
    A very Eville friend introduced me and my Kindle to www.freebooksifter.com over the weekend. Appently it find several hundred new ebooks offered for free every day on Amazon and then sorts them by category for you. I've found several that look interesting. My locig is that while I might balk as spending real money for electronic literature, I can adjust to getting bits and bites for free.

    Meanwhile on the paper front, I finished the Clara Barton book - I'd give it a B; and started James Patterson's third Witch and Wizard YA "Fire". I also have Clive Cussler's "Atlantis Found" going on audio in the car. I like it a lot more than I expected to and it's great for long car trips.
  38. rjblue

    rjblue Re-registered User

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2001
    Messages:
    5,867
    Have you read 1Q84 yet? I finished it a few weeks ago, and it's made it to my "know I'll re-read this one" pile. It's good if you're in the mood to question the nature of reality. Connie Willis's To Say Nothing of the Dog is a good choice if you are in the mood for another funny but well written book.

    I just finished the last of the Christmas stack my darling husband bought me. Here's the order I'd rate them in:

    #1. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami- I don't know how I could find three pages of a character sitting and watching the moon so enthralling, but I did. I have to go read ALL his other books if they are this good.

    #2. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon - just the right mix of heartbreak and hope.

    #3. The Time Traveller's Wife- I liked this a lot more than I was expecting

    #4. Oryx and Crake- I liked this less than I was expecting. I forgot how annoying I find it when Atwood writes SF like this. She explains every single detail, as if her audience won't get it without it being spelled out.
  39. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Messages:
    9,142
    I finished a couple books this week while on vacation. The Big Sleep was mostly what I was expecting, though as a person who knows little about cars/cigars/alcohol/etc. in the modern society, I feel like I missed a buttload of references of similar items from when the book was written. And it's hilariously politically incorrect, but that I definitely expected. I get that this detective is apparently quite famously popular in the hardboiled genre but I thought he was kind of an ass. Or is that part of the appeal?

    I also read Mariette in Ecstasy by Ron Hansen, which was just beautiful. The prose was amazing, poetic and lyrical. Again, as an atheist who has never gone to any sort of actual church ceremony except 1 wedding and 1 funeral, there were a lot of things about Catholicism I had to look up or which I'd never heard of before. I would highly recommend this book though. It's not at all as cliche as one would expect a stigmata story to be, and is mostly about the beauty of worship combined with the various nuns dealing with their feelings as a postulant in the convent experiences the stigmata, and the ways in which their reactions are Christian and un-Christian. Really, really beautiful book, and not very long.
  40. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2002
    Messages:
    30,355
    I've been on a major Henry James kick: Wings of the Dove, Portrait of a Lady, finally took on the Golden Bowl and the Golden Bowl won. It's the insufferable pointless circumlocution, devoid of beauty or literary value. You can sick a departmentful of English grad students on me, I don't care. The story is great, the characters are beautifully constructed, fascinating, complex 3D creatures who slog through the squelchy and quicksilvery mire of James' prose. So I put it aside for now, love the story and characters, hate the writing.

    Moved on to his buddy Edith Wharton and her Twilight Sleep which resulted in another love/hate relationship. Going through the interminable and stupendously boring daily to-do lists of one Pauline Manford, a wealthy New York matron, for the first 100 or so pages was inducing of real and not twilight sleep. Then things obtained shape and direction and I obtained perspective and so started pitying Mrs. Manford quite a bit. The Gothic, Northanger Abbey-ish denouement would have pleased Catherine Morland but I found it OTT. The book does have value though and I would recommend it to Wharton fans.

    And now I am reading To Marry An English Lord. My husband wanted to know if this is a manual :lol: No, just real life stories of wealthy American girls who bought themselves English titles and coronets. This book apparently inspired Downton Abbey and there was indeed and American heiress named Cora who married an Earl and became a countess. I deserve a little frivolity after all that James, although naturally, James references abound.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.