Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Artemis@BC, Sep 6, 2012.
Just picked up Room - sounds like it's worth the shot!
I also started reading it late at night. Not smart
Yes, I'm curious too. I'm pretty sure that I have a paper copy of this book hanging around, and I remember reading the first few pages and never got into it so I gave up, but I also don't feel like I really gave it a fair shot. I keep forgetting to try it again.
On the topic of JK Rowling...trying to decide whether I should give the Harry Potter books a shot. Yes, I know I am several years too late. I'd never been very interested because I don't like fantasy. But I just got back from a vacation with several HP fans who assured me that they aren't into fantasy either, but really like HP and that they're just very well-written books. Any thoughts?
I think you should give them a shot. When I first read them, I wasn't into fantasy and I wasn't into young adult books and I loved them. Keep in mind, though, that the first two or three books are written for a younger audience than the later books. I think she wrote them to correspond to the ages of the characters so that the books become more adult as Harry and the readers grow up.
I agree that the books are very well written. She does a very good job of drawing you in and making it feel like you are experiencing what the characters experience.
Agreed. I had a student who had never finished a book blow through it in two days.
I read the first Harry Potter book and liked it. Not sure why I never picked up the rest, but there's always stuff I wanted to read more.
I agree with your friends. I didn't read them until a couple of years ago mostly because of the hype, and I also don't like fantasy particularly. They are very well written and JK Rowling obviously put a ton of effort into the details of the characters, the setting and the story. They are totally worth a read, imho
I can read some fantasy, but it's not my thing for the most part. But HP doesn't start out as hardcore fantasy, more like a combination of classic English boarding school books with fantasy - though it does become darker and less school-oriented as it goes on. I enjoyed the earlier books in the series; later on I think Rowling's editors were afraid to tell her that even she needed editing. Anyway, I'd say it's worth a try.
Rowling herself has said that OOtP needed a lot more editing than she gave it
That is exactly the one I had in mind; it needed to have about 200 pages worth of text cut out... a pity Rowling did not do anything about it at the time OotP would have also been vastly improved if she'd written Harry as anything but the most stereotypical teenager imaginable.
I actually thought that was one of the strengths. Here's a boy who's had the most unusual and unpleastant upbringing, lives in a fantastical world, has seen death, has met his parents' killer face to face, has a crushing destiny ... but is still an ordinary teen with ordinary teen trials & tribulations. Perhaps a bit less of the teen angst would have been a good thing, but not a complete rewrite.
For Erin, be aware that the series gets more complicated and sophisticated as it goes on -- growing with the age of the characters and the readers (and, I think, as Rowling learned her craft). The Philosopher's Stone is somewhat juvenile in its tone, but don't let that turn you off. I'm not saying it's a bad thing to be juvenile or unsophisticated, but if you don't read a lot of children's/YA lit you might get turned off by that more than the "fantasy" content.
I agree to some extent; I wouldn't have wanted everything about Harry to be a reaction to the magical part of his life, either. Still, I felt that the ordinary teen aspects were played up too much for someone who's had the experiences he did, and not in a very compelling way, either - Harry just seemed so paint by numbers in OotF and occasionally later. To me it seemed lazy, like the more normal parts of the character weren't well thought out. Surely somewhere between those extremes Rowling could have found a more interesting way to develop his character? She did a far better job with some of Harry's peers, IMO.
Trying to think of what I would have liked to see, I guess Buffy the Vampire Slayer might be a good model. Buffy also had quite a bit of supernatural events to deal with, faced a ton of responsibility and darkness in her life, and while I didn't feel she was defined entirely by these things, they certainly played a major part in her life. There were times when she was more of a typical teen/young adult, but the way the different parts of her life combined seemed more realistic to me.
Originally Posted by rfisher
All my fellow Potter fans need to read Ben Aaronovitch's Midnight Riot. To quote one reviewer, "Midnight Riot is what would happen if Harry Potter grew up and joined the fuzz. A hilarous, keenly imagined caper."
I checked this book out from the library, and couldn't get into it at all. Other than the aspect of someone learning they are a wizard and then getting trained, the two books really aren't that similar. The main character was kinda boring, and his relationships with his mentor and Lisa were never really believable.
Room is fantastic. I think the narrator takes a bit of getting used to, but once I did, I couldn't put it down.
I'm reading Where'd You'd Go, Bernadette which is funny and quirky so far. I'm really enjoying it so far.
BTW, Emma Donoghue has a new book out, just published a couple of weeks ago: Astray. It's a short story collection. I haven't read it yet but it's on my list. Many novel writers aren't as good in the short story format, but I have a feeling she will be. Plus I love having short stories as a kind of literary palate cleanser between novels.
I've been trying to read HP for years, but just haven't been able to get through the first couple of books even though I've been assured that they get better/more complex. I actually do enjoy reading YA, though, so maybe that's not the issue. The first time I tried reading them, my reaction was "I love Tamora Pierce's Alana books so much more than this... I should go reread those."
It really depends on your point of view. I loved the first HP, liked the second one quite a bit and from the third one on thought they got worse and worse and I disliked them more and more, to the point where I haven't even bothered to read the last one even though I've owned a copy since the week it was published.
I love Harry. I've read or listened to the audio at least 5 times now. In fact, I think Jim Dale and I are ready for another round in the car.
I bought Room for Kindle. I can't believe I don't have wireless yet though. I haven't been able to download any of my books since I got here. Frustrating. There's a Starbucks in a different district. I may have to go to that just to use my Kindle. Plus I miss Starbucks [/typical American]
Ha! I don't even have a Kindle yet. I read ROOM at the Barnes & Noble (while drinking a Starbucks frap )
There's a very limited selection of books in English here, and they're mostly classics that I've already read So, a Kindle seemed like the smart decision.
Can you download books to your computer and then sideload the files to your Kindle? I don't have wifi at home so that's what I usually do, and the same thing goes for books I get from other sources.
I have no idea what you just said. Sideload??
I am going to spoil Maigret Stonewalled since it has left me so incredulous:
Maigret is investigating a suicide by a man who has with him an old, bloody suit that wasn't his and that he took with him everywhere he went. The man was miserable, an alcoholic with a blue collar job, a wife and a child. However, he seemed to have a better education than would have been expected.
Maigret unwinds an old story involving a group of students in their early 20s meeting to drink, party and talk a mixture of Marx, Confucius and Jesus Christ that they called philosophy. And of course, they considered themselves super-enlightened and were going to make the world a better place while despising petite bourgeoisie and other usual suspects.
This took place 10 years before the narrative. It was a mixed socio-economic group with the haves and have nots taking part in the festivities on the regular basis. But the odd man out was a Jewish student who was as wealthy as some of the others but wouldn't pay his "fair share" which was meant more than the poorer students, and who seemed to despise the others quite a bit and even refused to get drunk with them. He only came to observe and to sneer, it seemed.
So one night the kids talk about how easy it would be to kill someone (what was that great book about murder in a New England college?). And on Christmas Eve they get drunk/doped up enough to seriously consider it. Who shows up, all annoyingly sober and clean-cut but the Jew. He refuses to go buy them more alcohol because in his opinion they are drunk enough. And they are because the Jew gets killed and dumped into the river. The body is never discovered The group inevitably breaks up and most move on. But the one who dealt the fatal blow ends up hanging himself. And one other ends up blackmailing the well off remainder of the group.
Maigret unwinds this whole story and in the end decides to drop the case. Why, one might ask? Because the surviving men in the group have children, for one. And because the good God in Heaven takes it upon Himself to do police work--the survivors were punished enough by their remorse. Never mind that 2 out of 3 of them tried to kill Maigret at various points of the investigation. Never mind that they aided, abetted and concealed a murder. But they have children now and have suffered enough. And nothing is more funny than life anyway. Fin.
Really???? I would have been shocked that Maigret took it upon himself to be the judge and the jury in this case had I not known a little something about Simenon. Maigret goes after the murderer with steady ferocity in all other novels I've read so far. But not in this one.
When I was in Copenhagen over the last few days, I watched a lot of American TV with Danish subtitle late at night. (Most of the shows I had never heard of.). There was one episode of something where there was a couple (maybe divorced) both of whom were on death row. The father was a psychopath who raped and killed many teenaged girls, and the mother was convicted for killing their son, although the body was never found. The wife was to be executed an hour or so after he husband, the governor wouldn't issue a stay for her, etc.
The detective -- maybe Dan Hedeya? -- is sure the son is alive, and the crime team tracks him down. He's a excellent cellist, who was adopted and raised by a wealthy family for whom the mother had cleaned house. The mother insists on being put to death, because she's not worthy and she doesn't want to ruin her son's life, and the detective decides to grant her wish and not pursue it, so the state executes an innocent person and facilitates her suicide. WTF?
I'm surprised to hear that this isn't limited to bad TV.
Sorry for the misunderstanding What I meant to ask was if you can download files to your computer, then connect the Kindle to it with the cable and transfer the files. It's not as quick but at least it gets you the books you want if you have internet access but not wifi.
Just finished The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter. I liked the beginning, with the establishment of the worlds and the characters. The middle was a bit plodding;
maybe it's just me, but I would've liked to hear a lot more about the cool animals on the different Earths, most of which were only mentioned briefly. The journey itself wasn't very interesting. The ending was... unsatisfying. My principal reaction to it was basically "And the point of all this was...?"
There is a second book planned, I found out just now, and that's good, 'cos there were quite a lot of loose ends at the end of TLE, and somehow it didn't feel like it was setting up for a sequel. (Perhaps I've gotten too used to George R.R. Martin's epic cliffhangers, which makes me want to offer the author endless supplies of coffee/money/chocolate if only the sequel would come faster. )
Next stop: Metro 2033. And The Art of District 9, which arrived from New Zealand the other day.
Thank you so much! I had no idea this was possible Awesome. Thanks again.
I think this was an episode of Criminal Minds?
Yes, I think you're right.
Criminal Minds often has stupid story lines.
But it also has Shemar Moore.
What? I watch him for his acting.