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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Spinebenders' LiveJournal:

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Saturday, October 7th, 2006
2:21 pm
Crossposted from my main LJ
...but worth sharing:

I'd intended to finish a take-home exam by Friday so I could relax this weekend, but my good intentions fell prey to procrastination.... and The Hallowed Hunt, by one of my favorite authors, Lois McMaster Bujold. (I always forget she's one of my favorite authors, but then when I look at a list of her books, I realize that I've read just about everything she's published. Which I think probably makes her one of my favorite authors.) It's a damn good book -- and not at all the bodice-ripper that the dubious summary under the link seems to imply. I highly recommend it, along with its siblings, The Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls. Bujold has mastered the trick of setting multiple stories in the same universe without fixating -- or making her readers fixate -- on one time period, group of characters, or country. Sometimes there are character cameos, and Chalion and Paladin do have a lot of crossover between them, but the books still stand alone very well.
Monday, August 28th, 2006
12:14 pm
For those of you who enjoy contemporary literature or books that have the word "fuck" in big bold letters across their covers, as I do, may enjoy the following book:

Title: The Fuck-Up
Author: Arthur Nersesian
Genre: Fiction
Summary: A man in NYC in the mid-80s fucks up. A lot. Hillarity ensues.

The thing I particularly liked about this book, aside from the fact that I got lots of raised eyebrows from professors and friends who saw me carrying around a book that said "FUCK-UP" in large letters, was the way this books makes you consider karma and whether or not it's fate or your own actions that dictates when bad things are going to happen to you.

Overall, I give it a B+ and recommend it pretty strongly.

Another recommendation would be The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst, for those of you who like books about the 80s and England and gay culture or who find this man's eyes pretty.
Friday, July 14th, 2006
3:37 pm
A copy of The Outlaws of Sherwood, by Robin McKinley. I always swear I'll read anything McKinley writes - she is one of my favorite authors, EVER EVER EVER. But I've never read Outlaws because somewhere along the way, Robin Hood stories started to turn me off.

I'm not really sure why, just as I'm not really sure why I flinch and run away at the prospect of anything Arthurian. My best guess is that I've seen these things done BADLY so often that I'm afraid to pick the next one up and watch the trainwreck.

But I trust my woman Robin. So I'm going to hold my breath and jump, and hope she's there to catch me.
Wednesday, December 7th, 2005
11:10 am
Alex Garland - The Coma
Title: The Coma

Author(s): Alex Garland

Genre: Fiction

Subject: The story of a man in a coma, trying to get out.

Reader's Notes: This is a very short book, and I recommend it immensely.  Actually, I read it about six months ago, and forgot to make a post about it, but here you go.  The thing that I really loved about it was how BELIEVABLE I thought it was -- it honestly read like someone's dream sequence.  I bought it utterly.  And it was so slickly done, including the gorgeous block-print illustrations between chapters that are black on one side and faded gray on the other, like a dream that really does smear into itself.  This book is awesome, and such a quick read -- I think I read it in a total of two hours. 
Sunday, July 10th, 2005
8:25 pm
Empathy for the Devil?
So I was just wondering from all you avid readers out there... how often do you empathize (or at least identify on some level) with the characters you read about?

Usually, this is not a problem for me. Give me a hero, I can understand how he feels about the problem at hand. A villain? I can understand why he might be upset with the world after what he's been through. But one of the last novels I read? Could not identify with the main character at all, and finished with a feeling of being cheated, somehow. I was just wondering if this happens to you a lot?
Friday, July 8th, 2005
1:42 pm
Just kidding. Reading an awesome book. Will talk about it when I finish. <3 <3
Sunday, June 19th, 2005
1:14 pm
Request from the Studio Audience!
Okay, having finally finished the book series I've been working on for like, the past year or so, I need to dig into my bottomless pit of things on my reading list and bring up something new to read. Problem is, I don't know what to pick. So, I come to you, gentle readers, to ask you, what from my reading list should I dive into next? I've narrowed down the possibility to several choices(since I have no particular order in which I'm going), so I guess I'll list them here, and if anyone has anything they would want to recommend, or something looks interesting and want me to read it and let you know if it's worth reading, lemme know! <3 <3

So we've got as possiblities:
--The Green-Sky Series, by Zilpha Keatley Snyder: An old trilogy I started way way way back when and never finished. Had to go used book store hopping to find them. ^^;
--The Myst books: Stories set in the realm of the Myst computer game. Yay for backstory!
--The Chronicles of Narnia
--Something from the stack o' books I got from a guy who went to the local annual library book sale and picked up more than he could handle. There's a couple interesting possiblities in here, including something called "The Getaway Special" by Jerry Olton, which apparently includes smart butterflies and grumpy trees, and something called "Death Day" by William C. Dietz. I can't quite figure out what book's about, since it didn't come with a cover, but it seemed intriguing. Also got something called "The Roads of Heaven" by Melissa Scott, which, by the look of the cover and the book description, looks like it's gonna be something akin to a trashy romance novel, but IN SPACE!! Always fun.

So what should I read next? <3 <3
Thursday, June 2nd, 2005
12:49 pm
Title: Stravaganza: City of Masks

Author: Mary Hoffman

Genre: Fiction > Teen > Fantasy

Subject: A boy from our universe gets transported to an alternate universe Venice and has lots of adventures.

Reader's Notes: A girl that I've been babysitting for along about ten years gave this book to me to read after I got back from Italy last year, and I'm just now getting to it. XD; This is part one of a series that also features AU!Siena and AU!Rome, and, judging from just the first ten pages, they're very good. I was angry that I had to go meet my dad for lunch because it meant I had to stop reading. XD I'll let you know how it goes.
9:11 am
Question for Elisel
Do Eddings' Belgariad books really have anything to do with chess, or are they just cute titles that go together that he thought would be neat? Just curious.

Also, anyone who has read them and would recommend them/not recommend them?
Tuesday, May 31st, 2005
11:15 am
Regina's Song - David and Leigh Eddings
"...People out there in the world of normal have to face reality every day, and reality is usually flat and grey and ugly, and time only runs in one direction, and doorknobs can't talk. A true nutso doesn't have to put up with that. We can make our world as beautiful as we want it to be, since it has to do what we tell it.
"Isn't that neat?"

I finished this book in about a day and a half. Like most of what Eddings (or rather, the Eddings, as he seems to have either 'fessed up to his wife's involvement, or is desperately trying to placate her) writes, it's an easy, entertaining read that manages to be vaguely humorous in all but the most dire moments. Like his other books, it has a large, likeable cast of characters.

But there the similarity ends. Get this: It's a new story! Holy crap!

I should pause, here, to say that for the most part, I've stopped reading Eddings. I liked the Belgariad and the Mallorean a lot, and I even enjoyed the Elenium, but by the time I'd read it and tried to get through the Tamuli and Redemption of Althalus, I was bored with his one-trick pony. It's undeniably a good trick, to be fair - but it's still the same story, told over and over in variation.

However, I've suspected for a long time - ever since I read The Losers years and years ago - that Eddings' fiction is actually better than his fantasy. Regina's Song confirmed that suspicion. It's told from the perspective of Mark Austin, a childhood friend and big-brother figure to a pair of identical twins, Regina and Renata. In high school, one of the twins is murdered, and the other one goes off the deep end. Rehabilitating her is complicated by the fact that nobody's entirely sure which twin is dead, and the remaining one can't say, either - she has no sense of individual identity, and no memory of that night.

I can't speak to the accuracy of the science in the book, but it reads believable, and although Eddings leaves the reader with a couple of loose ends in a book that isn't really loose-endsy, overall I was very pleased with this one.

Oh, yeah. And there are wolves. It was a valiant attempt, but Eddings couldn't resist sneaking wolves in.
Wednesday, May 18th, 2005
1:12 pm
More fun with biographies!
I've been meaning to post this for a while, since I think several here might be interested in it.

Title: A Dab of Dickens & A Touch of Twain
Author: Elliot Engel
Genre: Biography, sorta
Subject: The lives of several of the big names in American and British Literature, including Shakespeare, Twain, Dickens, Poe, Fitzgerald, and so on. However, while one does get the big points of their lives, some of the littler points are also included--the things they probably didn't teach you in English class, like how Poe was inspired to write "The Raven", F. Scott Fitzgerald's decadent life, and how there is a segment in "The Canterbury Tales" that is probably the raunchiest bit of language to come out of Chaucer.
Reader's Notes: These essays are basically all of Engel's lectures, which he is rather well known for, put into a more tangible form. I had heard a couple of his lectures before reading this(namely, Shakespeare, Poe, and Twain), so I was kinda biased going into it, but they really are wonderful reads. They're not dry at all, and are rather fun and humorous. What I think makes them worth reading though are how, by adding things that are not generally known about the authors' lives, he gives them a more human, more tangible quality, which allows the reader to connect more. Another neat thing about the essays are how Engel occasionally shows how certain phrases that are now commonplace in the English language came to be and how they were connected to certain authors, such as the phrases 'box office', and 'minding one's p's and q's'. It's chock full of little gems, and is delightful to read. I definitely recommend it.
Monday, May 9th, 2005
3:06 pm
So I'm curious.
So, kids, I have made no more progress on Peter and the Starcatchers than I had back when this merry band of outlaws strung ourselves together, and the reason is very simple.

I am afraid. I love the original so much that I am simply terribly, terribly afraid that I will be disappointed, and it keeps stunting my efforts to read this book, which I have no reason to believe will be bad. Not the original, certainly, but lord, I made it through Susan Kay's overly effusive Phantom, which I found too many parts Lloyd Webber and not enough parts Leroux.

My question to y'all is: have you ever encountered books like this, books that you were afraid to read despite any overpowering evidence that said book would be a bad idea? If so, why were you afraid?

Inquiring Alis want to know.
Friday, May 6th, 2005
8:02 pm
Gates of Fire
Picked this back up to re-read the last 150 pages or so. It still makes me cry.

A brilliant retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae. Fucking brilliant.

Gates of Fire, by Steven Pressfield.

Have I never recommended it to you before? Well, read it. It's JUST THAT GOOD. Shit.
Wednesday, April 10th, 2024
6:20 pm
le big fat books?
I really loved Queen Margot, so I was wondering if anyone could recommend another Considerably Large Book, around 500 pages (or more, as long as it fits in a regular-sized bag), any genre at all?
Tuesday, March 29th, 2005
4:34 pm
Hey yall! I took some books out of the library today after several months (I was scared to take any out because I had some outstanding fines, but I finally sucked it up and paid them). Anyway, I took out:
1) South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami
2) The Castle of Crossed Destinies by Italo Calvino
3) Queen Margot on Skeiler's recommendation <3
4) The Decay of the Angel by Yukio Mishima

What I wanted to ask, though, was kind of random...anyone know of any good sociology/anthropology/behavioral/evolutionary biology/psychology sort of books that are necessary reads? I know that's kind of a broad scope, but since I stopped taking classes, I haven't been able to find any good social science/natural science kind of authors to read.

Any recommendations would totally be appreciated. I tried looking for some Mary Douglas, but all of the good stuff was taken out.
Sunday, March 20th, 2005
10:01 pm
Dubious Reading

I picked up a book tonight that looked... well, interesting to say the least and "really really bad, but interesting" to say more. I haven't read it yet, so I will let you all know how it went when I am through — but I do not have very high hopes for this book. And, really, it's supposed to break up the depressing monotony of reading six tragedies in a row.

Title: Lady Be Good

Author: Susan Elizabeth Philips — doesn't this scream "repressed WASP romance writer" to you?


From the back of the book:Collapse )

I can't remember for the life of me now why I picked this up. But, I will let you know how it goes. XD

Wednesday, March 16th, 2005
9:16 am
Two Books, Polar Opposites, Go Me!
This past weekend I finished two books, Reading Lolita in Tehran and the novelization of the PC puzzle game The Seventh Guest, which you may or may not be old enough to remember, seeing as how I played it on my Macintosh Quadra. ^^;

Book The First: Lolita in TehranCollapse )

Book the Second: Seventh GuestCollapse )
Sunday, February 27th, 2005
5:44 pm
Dumas, "Marguerite de Valois"

I finally have an opportunity to read something for pleasure, and as I promised I would post about what I reading, here am I. This is not current fiction, so I don't know how many of you will actually pick this up, but it's a favorite of mine and I reccomend it very highly.

Title: Marguerite de Valois

Author: Alexandre Dumas

Genre: Historical Fiction

Subject: Being an account of the marriage of Maguerite de Valois and Henri de Bourbon, the massacre of St. Bartholomew, and the death of Charles IX.

Reader's Notes: Like I said, this is an all-time favorite of mine. If you're a sucker for tragic romances, like I am, you'll love this. It makes me cry every damn time, and is really a very touching story -- beautifully written and absolutely charming, as only Dumas can make it.

4:05 pm
Saturday, February 26th, 2005
3:10 pm
Biography time!
Title: His Excellency
Author: Joseph J. Ellis
Genre: History, biography
Subject: A certain George Washington, that little known Founding Father.
Reader's Notes: I was surprised to discover this actually is just as good as the hype made it out to be. (Totally didn't expect that to be the case.) One of the things I really like about it is that Ellis' focus is on Washington's personality, and how it influenced how he reacted to events; he does a wonderful job of making Washington come across as a human being, without marginalizing how impressive the dude really was.

Because I'm on a history kick, and it made me giggle a little when I saw it on the shelves, I shall soon have a report on Mount Vernon Love Story, though I think I may have to skip through any sex scenes, (though, um, thus far it's not really shaping up to have any) because it just feels like stumbling in on your parents naked, somehow.
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