Book club

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webberg
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Book club

Post by webberg »

Have we ever had a book club?

Do we want a book club?

Has anybody read anything worth sharing in lockdown (#1 or #2)?
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Wolfmiester
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Re: Book club

Post by Wolfmiester »

Yes why not, great idea.
Although you personally will probably scoff at my lockdown reading ... I managed to scamper through all of the Game of Thrones volumes.
Huge tomes, and whilst at the very beginning I thought "this is dull", by half way through book 1 I was totally hooked and couldn't put them down.
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webberg
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Re: Book club

Post by webberg »

I managed to miss Game of Thrones on the TV and have not read the books.

I have a real personal issue with what I would call "fantasy" novels being both a hard core science fiction fan since I could read and holding Lord of the Rings as the supreme example of the fantasy genre.

(It's been said that after LoTR, everybody else is just moving the furniture around in Tolkein's universe. )

However I have read a good mix of fiction and fact.

I started with Iain M Banks - Matter - hard core sci fi and well worth dipping into.
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Re: Book club

Post by Peter_S »

Not sure that this would apply to a virtual book club, but I recall the book club that our friend and Free Spirits member Gaye McOnie attended. It was originally a "wine and book club", but they discovered that the book part took away time from the wine part, so they dropped the books. :lol:
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Re: Book club

Post by Wolfmiester »

We could easily kick off a virtual wine tasting club Peter ;-)
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Re: Book club

Post by webberg »

Or we could read exclusively, books about wine, whilst drinking wine?

On the wine front, my wife and I had - pre lockdown #2 - some very nice Chilian red called RAVANAL. I'd recommend it.

Otherwise we are into our Portuguese varieties at the moment.

On the book front I'm about to launch into Paradise Lost which I last read perhaps 25 years ago but which is the basis for a lot of modern novels including His Dark Materials (which I can't decide is either brilliant or rubbish).
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Re: Book club

Post by JonT »

webberg wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 11:19 am His Dark Materials (which I can't decide is either brilliant or rubbish).
My view Book 1 and 2 - brilliant.
Book 3 - what on earth happened!!?? Rubbish in my opinion.

My Christmas Break reading will be the two Book of Dust prequels that are now out. I have treated myself to both of them in hardback.

P.S. I haven't watched HDM on BBC. Any good? I tend to avoid adaptations of books that I love. Speaking of which, I am about to re-read Brave New World on the back of the recent TV adaptation, and hearing Yuval Noah Harari absolutely raving about the book in an interview I listened to while erging.
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Re: Book club

Post by Wolfmiester »

The BBC adaptation is excellent Jon. 10x better than the film.
Just my opinion, and its all subjective.
1st book of Dust was just ok for me, very slow.
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Re: Book club

Post by webberg »

The Book of Dust needs to decide if it's a young adults book or a darker and more sinister turn on the first three.

For me. finding some resonance with a much younger main character was difficult as I'm either lending him more wisdom and experience than he had or demonstrated or assuming that he was a pawn being pushed around with little or no free will. Either way I struggled.

I agree with Jon as well. IN the original trilogy the first two books built nicely but the third rather ducked the main point. This is why I'm reading Paradise Lost again because Milton, despite all his troubles and physical disabilities, took on the thorny question of whether belief in a god would guarantee you eternal life or whether it was all superstition.

The culminating battle between "good" and "evil" was meant to be a triumph of life over death, rendering mankind immortal. Milton decided that the battle would be fought literally for ever and never produce a winner. Pullman instead tries to say that the battle is fought over infinite universes in infinite ways and never comes to a conclusion.

Milton at least refers the reader back to their own belief and judgement, whereas Pullman does not.

I know Pullman struggled with his Catholic upbringing and I think subsequent loss of faith and the first two books are certainly a long essay on the failings of establishment, traditional views of religion and the unquestioning followers. The existence of an external and visible "soul" is a very clever element in that story line. However he seems to be having doubts about his own position in the third book.

They say that truth is not a mystery for writers or insomniacs. On the basis of the third HDM book, I'd struggle to say that Pullman was either.
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Re: Book club

Post by Iain »

Not reading much since I stopped needing to commute. Read GoT series on 2 hr each way commute for 9 months (amongst others). Enjoyed it, but I think the proliferation of characters would mean following it at a slower pace would have been a struggle. I found HDM went down hill in the second book. I always thought that it was trying to tell an interesting tale rather than address weighty themes. So while the church is in evidence, it was never clear to me whether it was the source of all the suffering or the institution in which the perpetrators of that suffering thrived. As for the last book, I couldn't take it seriously.

Reread the Bronte novels. Never quite took to Wuthering Heights and a bit bored by the repeated story in each of the Charlotte Bronte novels (Jane Eyre is great, particularly the opening parts about her childhood, but the others add very little). Really enjoyed the first 3 of Jean Auel's Earth's Children novels. Interesting to have the impact of a "different world" from Fantasy dealt with by a different time in history. However, they cover very different ground. Book One is about the contrast of Neanderthal and Homo Sapiens, 2 is essentially exploring the impact of Homo Sapiens advances embedded in a love story, while xenophobia seems the theme to the third. After that I strongly recommend avoiding.

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Re: Book club

Post by Paul Victory »

I've read a lot of SF and Fantasy over the years. I read LOTR when I was about 17 and GOT around the time they started the TV series. I thought Dune was a great book, but the sequels got gradually worse (A bit like the Matrix movies). I read a lot of books by Stephen Donaldson, including the 1st and 2nd Thomas Covenant trilogies and the Gap series. I've also read a lot of Isaac Asimov, including all his Foundation and Robot books. I agree with the comments about His Dark Materials - the first two books were great, the 3rd book not so much (the 3 legged whatever they were really lost me). I also read Brave New World, 1984, various HG Wells and Jules Verne books and even the John Carter books by Edgar Rice Burroughs (archetypal pulp fiction). And quite a few books by Robert Heinlein and Ursula Le Guin. And a number of other books by other authors.

Nowadays, I mainly read thrillers (more pulp fiction) such as the Jack Reacher books by Lee Child, some of the books by Michael Connolly, Harlan Coben, David Baldacci, Linwood Barclay and even some (but only a small proportion) of the various books published under the various James Patterson franchises. And a few of the plethora of Scandinavian thrillers.

I'm always glad to hear new recommendations.

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