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Old 07-25-2013, 01:44 AM   #211
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No, you won't. Liar.
While reading, I'm going to imagine every piece of violence described in the book is happening to you.
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Old 07-25-2013, 02:28 AM   #212
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Bored Meridian?
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Old 07-25-2013, 08:20 AM   #213
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I got a question for everyone: is it imperative for you to like the main character in order to enjoy a book?

I saw this essay on HuffPo about how readers today seem to want to relate to the main character.



Evan Gottlieb: Do We Need to Identify With a Protagonist to Enjoy a Novel?

I'm the kind of reader who needs a "psychologically plausible" character than someone who I would want in my everyday life. I have considered putting down books because of characters I didn't like, but there were other reasons to continue reading besides them. There's more to a book rather than the main character, to me at least.

So, what's everyone's criteria?
while it's true several of my all-time favorite book/movie/tv characters have been ones i can relate to, i wouldn't say it's necessary. i wouldn't say i relate to a single character from mad men, but i love that show. interesting characters are much more important.

in order to be interesting (because holy vagueness, batman), they can't be one-dimensional--i'm a sucker for moral ambiguity and gray areas. i generally hate good guys who only do good things, are always happy, constantly helping others, and are nice to everyone. i also hate bad guys who want to take over the world just because they're the bad guy with no motivation other than they're a villain and that's what villains do. but pretty much anything between can be acceptable.

and once some motivations are established, a basic characterization is fleshed out, they're allowed to go through changes and develop, but nothing disappoints me more than when a well-crafted character starts doing things for the sake of the plot. for example, in the last book in a particularly lengthy series, my favorite character had some weird moments as peacekeeper, voice of reason, and fell for a couple tricks in ways that i find it difficult to believe he ever would have been cast in previous books. yes, he's gone through a number of changes and developed considerably over the course of those books (and i am biased because i wanted an epic and awesome death for him in the second to last book, and was rather bummed out i didn't get it), but the author also spent most of his other scenes making sure to point out that even though he's slightly more patient, worldly, and less likely to hold a grudge, he's still going to put himself first, is still a cynical, sarcastic, often scary, and dangerous character. i'd much rather have killed him off entirely than have to suffer through him breaking up fights, giving advice to others/sitting and chatting, being easily seduced by succubi, pretty much everything he did in the book after the one where he should have died.
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:05 AM   #214
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I've finished Cloud Atlas.

It's certainly a very imaginative, ingenious and immensely ambitious book. As expected, it was somewhat uneven and a bit anti-climactic, but the latter is also due to the wonderful structuring of the book, going reverse in time (or not?) in the second half, leaving the stories that left me slightly underwhelmed at the beginning in the end. The futuristic chapters were excellent, especially the Sonmi section which is one of the better dystopian stories I've read. The Luisa Rey storyline was pretty much a trashy thriller with some great and some cringe-worthy moments, but it was certainly an entertaining read. I love the meta-feel of the novel, where my exact criticisms about it get reflected in the book itself in the next chapter.

So, although I do have some problems with it, it was a fascinating read. I'm curious about the movie. I know that it got very polarizing reactions, which is not surprising since there are so many things that could go wrong with it. It already seems miscast in places to me (Tom Hanks as Zachry??), and I've heard about some actors actually getting "yellow faces" which is pretty fucking ridiculous, but the visuals look fascinating and both Tykwer and the Wachowskis seem to have their heart in the right place.

Next up for books - Infinite Jest. Now this is going to be quite a journey, since I've never read a 1000+ page novel before. David Foster Wallace was such a fascinating individual. I've read his essays on Lynch and Kafka and we seem to have similar tastes and conclusions about their work (although I could never articulate or go so much in depth into them as he did of course). I've also read his short story "The Depressed Person" and I love his style of mixing tragic with hilarious. In any case, it seems his writing is my cup of tea.
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:37 AM   #215
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Finished 1984, at a breakneck speed I rarely reach with any novel. What an absorbing, terrifying experience. The world Orwell creates is so well thought out and logically structured that the fantastical elements of the story begin to feel scarily real. The prose itself is thought provoking and deliciously eloquent. It's one of those great novels that I could discuss for hours.
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:43 AM   #216
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1984 certainly deserves a re-read. This time in the original language. Orwell was a genius. Homage to Catalonia is a wonderful piece of work.
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:38 PM   #217
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I've finished Cloud Atlas.

It's certainly a very imaginative, ingenious and immensely ambitious book. As expected, it was somewhat uneven and a bit anti-climactic, but the latter is also due to the wonderful structuring of the book, going reverse in time (or not?) in the second half, leaving the stories that left me slightly underwhelmed at the beginning in the end. The futuristic chapters were excellent, especially the Sonmi section which is one of the better dystopian stories I've read. The Luisa Rey storyline was pretty much a trashy thriller with some great and some cringe-worthy moments, but it was certainly an entertaining read. I love the meta-feel of the novel, where my exact criticisms about it get reflected in the book itself in the next chapter.

So, although I do have some problems with it, it was a fascinating read. I'm curious about the movie. I know that it got very polarizing reactions, which is not surprising since there are so many things that could go wrong with it. It already seems miscast in places to me (Tom Hanks as Zachry??), and I've heard about some actors actually getting "yellow faces" which is pretty fucking ridiculous, but the visuals look fascinating and both Tykwer and the Wachowskis seem to have their heart in the right place.

Next up for books - Infinite Jest. Now this is going to be quite a journey, since I've never read a 1000+ page novel before. David Foster Wallace was such a fascinating individual. I've read his essays on Lynch and Kafka and we seem to have similar tastes and conclusions about their work (although I could never articulate or go so much in depth into them as he did of course). I've also read his short story "The Depressed Person" and I love his style of mixing tragic with hilarious. In any case, it seems his writing is my cup of tea.

Glad you enjoyed the book. As for the film, it bothers me to see the term "yellowface" thrown around, because in actuality ALL the main actors get to play as characters of other races. That means Halle Berry and Bae Doona are both in "whiteface" too. The idea of allowing these actors to cross lines usually preventing them from taking these kinds of roles is a great one, and underlines the themes of the novel. It should never have been controversial because it was about inclusion.

Infinite Jest is a monster, but you'll be laughing so hard through much of it you won't mind the commitment.
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Old 07-27-2013, 04:52 AM   #218
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Let me just say, I think all of the race-crossing was horrible.
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Old 07-27-2013, 06:35 AM   #219
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Old 07-27-2013, 10:17 AM   #220
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Finished 1984, at a breakneck speed I rarely reach with any novel. What an absorbing, terrifying experience. The world Orwell creates is so well thought out and logically structured that the fantastical elements of the story begin to feel scarily real. The prose itself is thought provoking and deliciously eloquent. It's one of those great novels that I could discuss for hours.
I still remember that book. The ending reminded me of North Korea (or how I would breakdown if I lived there). The book will last and last. Maybe if in 300 years there are no dictatorships the book will finally be irrelevant.
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Old 07-27-2013, 12:10 PM   #221
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Just finished a couple of books, one of which was sweet (What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty - Alice bonks her head and wakes up having forgotten the last ten years), one of which was just okay (The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan - ballet girls at the Paris opera, Degas, murder, etc).

Then started a book I'm absolutely in love with: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. I've heard raves about it for years, but every time I'd read a description of it (aging minister in the 1950s pens a letter to his young son) it didn't appeal to me.

So glad I finally picked it up. It's just gorgeous.
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Old 07-29-2013, 03:06 AM   #222
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Infinite Jest is a monster, but you'll be laughing so hard through much of it you won't mind the commitment.
I'm about 80 pages in and I'm laughing throughout. The James Incandenza filmography has to be one of the funniest things I've ever read. And I almost skipped it when I saw it was an 8-page footnote!

In any case, it's not an easy read. This will definitely take a couple of months.
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Old 07-29-2013, 03:12 AM   #223
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Yeah the filmography had me in stitches.

Not sure if you've arrived at the Eschaton play-by-play part yet but that was also a hilarious highlight.
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Old 07-29-2013, 01:03 PM   #224
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Even though the season doesn't start until September, I've started my opera reading. I like to read the source material for the operas I'm going to see.

Carmen, by Prosper Merimee.

I know the story to this, but I thought it would be fun to read the novella anyway. The edition I have is a cheap pocket book from 1888, so that was fun. I also had the music in my head as certain scenes came up. The book differs from the story considerably, but the core story is still there. Nobody likes the Gypsies.



Billy Budd, by Herman Melville.

Oh Good Lord. I remember some of you slogging through Moby Dick a while back, and I hadn't read any Melville since college and it wasn't Moby Dick, so I wasn't able to join in. Jeez. This guy might be mistaken for a hack, with all the asides and allusions. At times the English major in me appreciated some of the writing, but mostly I was just exasperated. I'm not worried about the opera; its Benjamin Britten, and he's wonderful.
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Old 07-29-2013, 01:18 PM   #225
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I was never forced to read Moby Dick, but instead had to slog through Billy Budd. I thought I was off the hook, but somehow, I suspect Budd is worse. I can't remember a damn thing except it was the most miserable reading experience of my life.
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