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On 6/6/2018 at 4:36 PM, Soda Jerk said:

I'm alright with the long descriptive passages, but I find there's some really quick passages which seem to be the exact opposite, lacking context and with dialogue that seems a bit like gibberish, and it leaves me thinking "u wot m8?" so I go and re-read the previous couple of pages leading up to it to see if I've missed something important.

That flowchart is super helpful. I'd read that Mort and Guards, Guards are good starting places and two of the best, so I might skip to those and come back to Colour of Magic when I get a better understanding of the writing style. 

I had time to look at that flow chart a bit and I definitely think Guards, Guards is the best place to start (I got an essay below on the Watch and related Ankh-Morepork city arcs below, If you want). The Death books: don't think I read Mort (which I think is about someone who is Death's apprentice, and marks the shift as Death as a straight-up antagonist to a more sympathetic character), but again no duffers after that, even if Hogfather and Thief of Time are the better ones (and some of the series best; bit more on Death below). The Witches arc is, as I said, definitely the most consistent in terms not just of quality (all good; a few great including the best, as I remember) but also in terms of characters and setting (they're the rural, fairy tale-like, side of things; Ankh-Morepork, the world's largest city, is the setting of most of the other threads and they get blended up and criss-cross because of that). They again probably build to the final non-teen fiction one, Carpe Jugulum, being the best.

The Watch books do get better (around the Fifth Elephant and Night Watch, maybe Thud! being the best ones)  but I don't think there's a duffer in there. They later get mixed in with the "Industrial Revolution" ones which I wouldn't have first thought of as a discrete sub-series or arch;  but thematically that makes sense (after I typed the stuff below it occurs to me that there is a literal if fictional industrial revolution, in the biggest city at least, of Discworld's previously generic-Middle-Ages-ish fantasy universe. Relatively late on in the series). Reading back and forth and dipping in and out like I did: they ("Industrial Revolution") are more like standalone novels where the Watch characters make sort of heavy cameos (or are involved as non-protagonists, maybe semi-antagonists - you get to see how some of the central figures look to others. The most central guy in the Watch, Vimes, in particular. The Patriarch of the city is all over both of those arcs in that respect, too I think). The "Industrial Revolution" books are more complicated, while being obviously direct parodies of real world historical/political topics (Making Money is literally about the generic-middle-ages-fantasy Discworld city printing cash, and from there modern monetary policy and political economy; Going Postal is actually about a postal service; and so on). The Watch is generally about social justice, inclusion, and progress in that. If you had to pick one theme (the first too are more like parodies of crime fiction and real world police; which again makes it hard to split out the Ankh-Morepork threads as discretely as the chart does). "Feet of Clay" is literally about getting a troll or golem into the watch. "Monstrous Regiment" is similarly about vampires and werewolves who drink only (bovine?) substitute-blood in. Obvious parallels with racism, homophobia etc. and the reversing of. But lighter, more optimistic Zootopia kind of world view...

The Death books also read like stand-alones: definitely Thief of Time and I think the Hogfather, because he isn't a protagonist. They (definitely Thief of Time) have I'm pretty sure one-off protagonists, with sections from Death's POV (so a POV-character, in a Song of Ice and Fire-speak). Death turning up at some point is also the "they killed Kenny!" of Discworld. Cameo at minimum in every one, I think.

The Rincewind ones, which started out as the centre, look like the weird black sheep sibling now the whole thing's done. The Last Continent (where he goes to a fictional Australia which is so heavy it stops the flat plant from tipping off the elephants' and Turtle's back. Ahem) is the only really good one, with Interesting Times being worth it. First couple are borderline guff, as you've discovered. Even Unseen Academicals (a football parody in Ankh-Morepork; again the parodies make it such as that I couldn't have thought of a flowchart like this. As a start), written after all the good stuff (but TBF, into his illness) I thought was a mixed bag and nothing special. The fact I read it years after my first (years' long) binge and at the tail end of dipping in now and again (and all his teen-fiction phase), I wondered whether he'd lost it, his illness had caused him to lose it, or it wasn't that good in the first place and I'd improved my taste. Its place in that chart does make me more confident in recommending the above as "great" and so on...

...and to make me want to read the science ones, at least. Oh, and the Ancient Civilisations odd couple are in the "worthwhile", though not "great" pile. Is what I thought when I read them.

Edited by scottyboy
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  • 3 weeks later...

Since I had a pile of books that were half bought by me and half bought for me and not being read, at New Year I made myself a plan to read a book a week this year. Here is what I have read so far:

 

1. You Don't Know Me but You Don't Like Me - Nathan Rabin
2. The Perfect Fool - Stewart Lee
3. Me: Moir - Vic Reeves
4. With the Old Breed - Eugene Sledge
5. The Tom Hanks Enigma - David Gardner
6. POST - Eric Grubbs
7. Scale - Keith Buckley
8. A Room of One's Own - Virginia Woolf
9. Set the Boy Free - Johnny Marr
10. Pigeon English - Stephen Kelman
11. World War Z - Max Brooks
12. Everything is Horrible and Wonderful - Stephanie Wittels-Wachs
13. 1 Dead in Attic - Chris Rose
14. Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen
15. Fire and Fury - Michael Wolff
16. Beyond Band of Brothers - Dick Winters
17. Sorry to Disrupt the Peace - Patti Yumi Cottrell
18. And This is True - Emily Mackie
19. Gunning for Greatness - Mesut Ozil
20. Black Wave - Michelle Tea
21. My Autobiography - Sir Alex Ferguson
22. Flights - Olga Tolarczuk
23. Behind the Paint - Violent J
24. Uncommon Type - Tom Hanks
25. Orlando - Virginia Woolf
26. Little Me - Matt Lucas

Just 26 more to go!!!! Made me realise I clearly gravitate towards autobiography, so as a result I tried to buy some more fiction to counteract it. I won't go into details because this thread/forum is dead as fuck, but if anyone wants to talk about any of these, hit me up.

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3 hours ago, E.C said:

Just 26 more to go!!!! Made me realise I clearly gravitate towards autobiography, so as a result I tried to buy some more fiction to counteract it. I won't go into details because this thread/forum is dead as fuck, but if anyone wants to talk about any of these, hit me up.

The 50-a-year-challenge thread was going strong for a couple of years... only fizzled out at the start of this one, as everyone seemed to fail last year. Your list will be catnip to Spoony if he happens to turn up though. I had a look and I'm only on 11.

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I recently put away "Dreamcatcher" by Stephen King  which was absolute balls and took me 4 months to wade through because I hated it. After that "A Decent Ride" by Irvine Welsh, a fun and surprisingly breezy caper considering it features a scene in which a guy fucks a dead body. Currently reading "Quite Ugly One Morning" by Christopher Brookmyre which I think I might hate too. 

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43 minutes ago, James Broonbreed said:

At what point would you give up on a book if you hate it? 

I decide at 10% if I'm going to read the rest of it. It's rare for me to bin a book off at 10% but it has happened (usually Kindle store 99p shite). If I decide to finish it I usually try and struggle through to the end, unless I really really hate it. Its usually old stuff that trips me up in that respect, I always have good intentions of reading the classics but I just can't get tuned in to old fashioned writing. Wuthering Heights is about the only exception, but I have a long list of unfinished classics. I'm an impatient reader, I like to race through and find out what happens so slow-paced stuff with loads and loads of dialogue or description sends me to sleep. 

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I used to be so quick to give up on books, but then some grow on you as you read so even though the first 20% is slow/dull, by the end you're hooked...sometimes.

For example, I had the opposite effect reading Orlando by Virginia Woolf - really enjoyed the first half then by the end was begging it to be over.

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Mid-career footballer autobiography is the weirdest genre of book, but Ozil using an Arsenal pun in the title makes me really want to read it.

Is it as terrible as it sounds?

I read Theo Walcott's for a laugh some time ago. Some tabloid kept posting daily excerpts from it, and I was hooked at just how fucking boring he is, I just had to go out and ILLEGALLY DOWNLOAD buy it.

 

I'm still struggling with The Colour of Magic. I keep putting it down and reading comic books instead and never going back to it. I'm about 60% in, so it'd be daft to bin it off now, but it's just so... draining and not at all fun to read.

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19 minutes ago, Soda Jerk said:

Mid-career footballer autobiography is the weirdest genre of book, but Ozil using an Arsenal pun in the title makes me really want to read it.

Is it as terrible as it sounds?

It is pretty bloody dull. The German language version is called "The Magic of the Game" or something like that. So obviously the publishers have given it that shite pun.
I finished reading it on the way to Arsene Wenger's last home game and whilst outside the Emirates, in an Arsenal shirt, I was re-arranging my bag and placed the book momentarily on top of a bin nearby. Another lad, also in an Arsenal shirt, said "haha yeah mate I'd do the same with that book tbh"

 

So that gives you some idea of it's quality.

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23 hours ago, E.C said:

Since I had a pile of books that were half bought by me and half bought for me and not being read, at New Year I made myself a plan to read a book a week this year. Here is what I have read so far:

 

1. You Don't Know Me but You Don't Like Me - Nathan Rabin
2. The Perfect Fool - Stewart Lee
3. Me: Moir - Vic Reeves
4. With the Old Breed - Eugene Sledge
5. The Tom Hanks Enigma - David Gardner
6. POST - Eric Grubbs
7. Scale - Keith Buckley
8. A Room of One's Own - Virginia Woolf
9. Set the Boy Free - Johnny Marr
10. Pigeon English - Stephen Kelman
11. World War Z - Max Brooks
12. Everything is Horrible and Wonderful - Stephanie Wittels-Wachs
13. 1 Dead in Attic - Chris Rose
14. Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen
15. Fire and Fury - Michael Wolff
16. Beyond Band of Brothers - Dick Winters
17. Sorry to Disrupt the Peace - Patti Yumi Cottrell
18. And This is True - Emily Mackie
19. Gunning for Greatness - Mesut Ozil
20. Black Wave - Michelle Tea
21. My Autobiography - Sir Alex Ferguson
22. Flights - Olga Tolarczuk
23. Behind the Paint - Violent J
24. Uncommon Type - Tom Hanks
25. Orlando - Virginia Woolf
26. Little Me - Matt Lucas

Just 26 more to go!!!! Made me realise I clearly gravitate towards autobiography, so as a result I tried to buy some more fiction to counteract it. I won't go into details because this thread/forum is dead as fuck, but if anyone wants to talk about any of these, hit me up.

I really liked Pigeon English. There was talk of it being commissioned for TV but I don't know if it ever happened. 

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I'd probably chuck a fiction book somewhere between 20-50% if it wasn't any good. Doesn't happen often though; must have great taste in choosing books. I think Norwegian Wood was the last one I wanted to set fire to, ended up finishing it (after first giving up at 50%) because of the 50 Book Challenge thing.

A non-fiction book (for years I read little but; not so much now) I might persevere because I'm trying to learn something or hear an argument, even if it isn't stylistically great. If not it's more likely to sit on a shelf with a bookmark for months/years rather than actually tossed. I've only dunked 1 in the non-fiction column this year, because I've been on chapter 3 of a pop-economics/politics book, that the Baffler guy wrote, for about a year. Maybe I'll drop kick it now that's occurred to me.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On ‎7‎/‎15‎/‎2016 at 9:23 PM, Soda Jerk said:

Finally cracked back on with the NOFX book and I'm about 2/3 of the way through. Blimey, it is dark as fuck, and that puts it very lightly. They were all involved in some pretty heavy antics back in the 80s. It seems miraculous that they weren't killed, several times over, all of them, especially Erik Sandin. 

Each member writes a chapter at a time, and the next chapter sort of follows on. On a few occasions, what one of them thought happened actually didn't happen, or not how they thought it did. Example, (huge spoiler incoming if you're planning on reading it) Erik Melvin thought that an acquaintance of his, Raymond, a huge, gnarly, dangerous guy who killed people for fun, tried to rape his girlfriend Iris, but Iris told Melvin that she managed to escape. Fat Mike clarifies in the following chapter that she actually was raped, but she didn't want to tell Melvin, because he would try to confront Raymond and then most definitely be killed. The book then states that Melvin didn't find this out until it was put in print in this book.

LA in the 80s sounds like a warzone.

wOOP! Just finished this book. I actually listened to the audiobook (12hrs whoops) as it makes it a little more intimate or something... some INCREDIBLY dark stories. Kinda left me feeling really miserable for the rest of the day/s like when I used to watch Breaking Bad and just feel so grim.

The stories are maaaaaad, but when things start to go nice and Hefe joins you know it's somewhat plain sailing from then on...

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7 minutes ago, E.C said:

wOOP! Just finished this book. I actually listened to the audiobook (12hrs whoops) as it makes it a little more intimate or something... some INCREDIBLY dark stories. Kinda left me feeling really miserable for the rest of the day/s like when I used to watch Breaking Bad and just feel so grim.

The stories are maaaaaad, but when things start to go nice and Hefe joins you know it's somewhat plain sailing from then on...

I didn't know that Hefe didn't even like punk when he joined. One of the lighter "oh wow" discoveries of the book.

I too felt a bit numb afterwards. Way more grim than I expected of a band that sings about lesbians and pretending to have a vagina.

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2 minutes ago, Soda Jerk said:

I didn't know that Hefe didn't even like punk when he joined. One of the lighter "oh wow" discoveries of the book.

I too felt a bit numb afterwards. Way more grim than I expected of a band that sings about lesbians and pretending to have a vagina.

Also interesting to learn why they never play Scotland anymore. I had always noticed their tours would go to maybe Newcastle or thereabouts, but never further. Didn't realise it was because they all worried they'd be brutally murdered by a Glaswegian biker gang (??)

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3 minutes ago, E.C said:

Also interesting to learn why they never play Scotland anymore. I had always noticed their tours would go to maybe Newcastle or thereabouts, but never further. Didn't realise it was because they all worried they'd be brutally murdered by a Glaswegian biker gang (??)

I'd heard about that some years ago, but never a confirmation of it. I always thought it was a myth.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have nearly finished Fear and Trembling by Kierkegaard. I find it really hard to read. Would anyone say his writing style is quite dense or is it infact I who is dense?

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On 6/6/2018 at 10:36 AM, Soda Jerk said:

I'm alright with the long descriptive passages, but I find there's some really quick passages which seem to be the exact opposite, lacking context and with dialogue that seems a bit like gibberish, and it leaves me thinking "u wot m8?" so I go and re-read the previous couple of pages leading up to it to see if I've missed something important.

That flowchart is super helpful. I'd read that Mort and Guards, Guards are good starting places and two of the best, so I might skip to those and come back to Colour of Magic when I get a better understanding of the writing style. 

Late to this but I've read a lot of Discworld and I'm not a huge fan of the Rincewind and Withces books so I sympathise with Colour of Magic being a bit hard to follow.

Try reading the City Watch series (Guards.Men at Arms, Feet of Clay, Jingo, The Fifth Elephant, Night Watch, Thud!, Snuff).  You don't really need to read every discworld book as long as you read the mini series inside the whole collection in the right order.

After that the Moist Von Lipwig series is great.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just finished No Logo by Naomi Klein (book 31). I bought it when I was like 13-14 (around when it was released) and was like FUCK THE SYSTEM then read about 1/5 of it and gave up and it sat on my shelf for like 15 years.

Started again and finished it. Has made me hate any/all brands. Some grim stories of corruption and human rights abuses. Good book though!

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Just finished Island Story by JD Taylor. About a guy from London who cycled round the entire British Isles over 4 months and spoke to people in shops, pubs, tourist spots etc to get a kind of consensus of how people live across Britain. Started out hating it as it was almost written as a stream of consciousness diary "I see a tree, I pedal on. Ahead, the city opens it's arms to me. The heavens open. I get soaked" etc etc, but either I got used to it or the author adjusted his style as he wrote and by the end I was chuffed for him to make it home *spoiler*.

Next is 'My Year of Rest and Relaxation' by Ottessa Moshfegh (coolest name ever). It's about narcotic hibernation, should be interesting!

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On ‎8‎/‎17‎/‎2018 at 11:31 AM, E.C said:

Next is 'My Year of Rest and Relaxation' by Ottessa Moshfegh (coolest name ever). It's about narcotic hibernation, should be interesting!

Just finished this - was good, and beautifully written, but the story all led and built to the end/big reveal which kinda fell flat...dunno...

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  • 4 weeks later...

Was on tour so got a lot of reading done:

The Autobiography Of - Malcolm X
Beyond Belief - Jenna Miscavige Hill
The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt
Fascism: A Warning - Madeleine Albright
The First Bad Man - Miranda July

 

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  • 1 month later...

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