What are you currently reading?

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Just an observation:

Every single one of Dan Brown's books involves a young intrepid professor being thrust into an adventure with a distressed and highly educated female.

All of them.
 

J77

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Dan Brown's got a formula, his books are readable, doesn't mean they're any good, but they're readable...

Just started on The Flood by David Maine.

Pretty good - Yahweh tells Noe about the forthcoming flood, and Noe pisses himself :biggrin:

Nice adaptation of the old tale, so far...
 

siddharth

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siddharth said:
Me and my friends were planning to watch this as well. Before the government came and banned it :grumpy:.

In fact, I've always wondered, if the government can ban films for hurting the sentiments of certain religions, why doesn't it ban religious films and documentaries for hurting the sentiments of the non-believers?
I can watch it after all

Controversial Hollywood film The Da Vinci Code has been cleared for release in India after protests by Christians.

Censors gave it an adult rating but said disclaimers stating it was fiction were needed at the beginning and end.
What irony :rofl: :rofl:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4995122.stm" [Broken]
 
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arildno

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yomamma said:
Why is everyone saying that they'll never read the Da Vinci Code...?
Hmm..because it is unoriginal and badly written?
 
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jhe1984 said:
Just an observation:

Every single one of Dan Brown's books involves a young intrepid professor being thrust into an adventure with a distressed and highly educated female.

All of them.
And don't forget, they all start start with someone being murdered. And there is an (H)assassin who tries to kill the professor and/or the woman. :biggrin:
 
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arildno

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Badass assins are bad assassins.
 
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What was that you were saying, arildno? :tongue:
 
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arildno

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Some half-assed joke, I think. Rather asinine, now that I review it. :frown:
 
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as soon as my GRE is over, im gonna resume my complete collection of sherlock holmes...
BTW, i enjoyed Dan Brown's books, although less so after each successive one because they were TERRIBLY formulaic.
 
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jasc15 said:
as soon as my GRE is over, im gonna resume my complete collection of sherlock holmes...
BTW, i enjoyed Dan Brown's books, although less so after each successive one because they were TERRIBLY formulaic.
Same here. I bought a two-volume set of the all the short stories and novels. I've read the first two novels and the first two short stories, and plan to continue after my exams are over, which, btw, starts in about 23hrs and 45 mts. :surprised
 

JamesU

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arildno said:
Hmm..because it is unoriginal and badly written?
so it was unoriginal...SOMEWHAT poorly written...it was still interesting....and at the least entertaining
 
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Well, the physical geography book arrived today and I'm looking forward to reading through it; so far it looks good. However, it was published in 1976. Have there been any major breakthroughs in physical geography since then, or can I trust that the information in the book will be accurate? :rolleyes:
 

Danger

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Geographer said:
Have there been any major breakthroughs in physical geography since then
Mount Fuji has been torn down to make way for a Starbuck's. Other than that, not much.
 

JamesU

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I got To Kill A Mockingbird today from the school...they make us read too much...

Anyway, I'm not that far into it as to comment yet...
 
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i never really liked to kill a mockingbired. i know a lot of people who did though. i found it a bit boring.
 
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"Angels and demons", or what would occur if the Illuminati tried to blow up Vatican City with an antimatter bomb. :bugeye:
 
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I have heard that "Angels and Demons" is also being made into a movie .
I bet my last nickel that they won't allow shooting at the Vatican .
They'll have to make do with a virtual Vatican perhaps .

Ah .. Sherlock fever ... I am hooked to the intrepid genius .
Currently reading volume 2 .
 

JasonRox

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arunbg said:
I have heard that "Angels and Demons" is also being made into a movie .
I bet my last nickel that they won't allow shooting at the Vatican .
They'll have to make do with a virtual Vatican perhaps .

Ah .. Sherlock fever ... I am hooked to the intrepid genius .
Currently reading volume 2 .
Um... I say they will shoot it at Vatican. For the money, they certainly will.
 

Moonbear

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jhe1984 said:
Just an observation:

Every single one of Dan Brown's books involves a young intrepid professor being thrust into an adventure with a distressed and highly educated female.

All of them.
Does that make it any less fun to read? I'm curious, of those who are criticizing Dan Brown's books so vehemently, do you also generally dislike action movies, or spend time criticizing those too with comments like, "you couldn't really do that?" I enjoyed Dan Brown's books, but then I can also watch an action movie with no plot just for the sake of entertainment without getting all tied in a knot over gaps in the story line.

Then again, I've read books that are supposed to be by great writers, that get lots of praise, and I just don't see what's so great about their writing. I just read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, because I've heard over and again people praising her writing. I had read one of her books when in college, and didn't like it at all, but then that was for a class and I was under pressure to read it in a limited time, so thought I could have just missed something, so gave her a second chance. Most of the sentences are short and choppy, and often are not even complete sentences! It was frustrating and confusing, if not downright annoying, and this is an author whose books are assigned for college level English courses, so English departments seem to be endorsing her writing as "good." So, why does she get praised as a great writer and Dan Brown, whose book I don't recall being riddled with grammatical errors, knocked down as a bad writer? Maybe it's just those who like the particular type of story vs. those who don't? Some might argue it's about how well the book is planned and how well the plot lines are tied together, but then I still don't see that in Margaret Atwood's writing. The book ended abruptly, in my opinion, without any effort at tying in the plot lines she started. It seemed like she wrote herself into a corner, didn't know how to resolve them, or wasn't creative enough to think of a good ending, so ended with a very unsatisfying, cop-out ending. In contrast, I think Dan Brown did a decent job of wrapping up all his plot lines. Yes, his stories are somewhat formulaic, but then I've seen very few modern writers who really do write novels with drastically different plots in each one. They often follow a common theme. Having only read two of Atwood's books, I can say they too had quite a bit in common; they basically take political views that are anti-feminist and exaggerate them beyond all credibility.

So, can someone tell me what makes a book worthy of being labeled literature and being taught in English courses vs being relegated to the "light reading for the beach" type category, other than the personal tastes of the instructor?
 

Moonbear

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Gale said:
i never really liked to kill a mockingbired. i know a lot of people who did though. i found it a bit boring.
I didn't like it much either. Not that I can remember much of it. I had to read it in high school, and that was when the focus of English classes was dissecting books to find all the "symbolism" hidden in them. I was pretty darn good at BSing my way through that stuff, though remain unconvinced any of it really meant anything to the author, especially since I would just make up crap as I went along and was always praised highly for it. :rolleyes: My favorite one to make fun of is the Great Gatsby. There's that part where they notice the optometrist's billboard with the big eyes on it, and both times I had to read it for courses (once in high school, once in college), that was discussed as symbolizing God watching over them...I guess Cliff's Notes must have made up that one. I read it as just the sort of goofy, weird thing someone notices and finds hilarious when they're drunk, which was the state of most of the characters throughout most of the book.

Right now, I'm reading The Eleventh Commandment by Jeffrey Archer. So far, I'm enjoying it. It's about a CIA assassin who, at least so far as I've read, is unknowingly caught up in an attempt by the CIA director to undermine the President by framing him as responsible for ordering the assassination of political candidates in other countries who would threaten his political position in the US. I'm about 1/3 of the way through the book, so don't know how well the set-up will be followed through.
 
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I have to say I can't stand Dan Brown's books. Well I've only read two, and they were Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons. They were readable, but all in all it was some of the worst writing I've ever come across.

At the moment I've started re-reading Nevil Shute's 'So Disdained' and after that I'm going to read Clive Cussler's 'Inca Gold' 'cause I still haven't read that one.
 

Moonbear

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big man said:
They were readable, but all in all it was some of the worst writing I've ever come across.
Can you, or anybody claiming it was bad writing, please clarify what you mean by that? Does that mean you didn't like the plot, or it was too outlandish to believe, or it rambled on without a clear plot, or it was riddled with grammatical errors, or it just didn't hold your interest, or as a mystery the ending was too predictable, or it just wasn't original enough, or what? What do you consider an example of good writing, and why? Maybe this is why I was never interested in being an English major, but I've never been offered an explanation of what makes something a bad book, a good book, or a great book, other than the personal preferences/tastes of the reader.

I mean, sure, I can judge textbooks: Is the information presented accurate and fairly up-to-date? Are there sufficient examples and sample problems for the students to practice, and does the solutions manual, if available, present clear explanations of the solutions? Is the order of presentation of the material consistent with my pedagogical needs? Is the level of presentation appropriate to the background of the students in my course?

But when it comes to novels, especially fiction, is it just a matter of personal opinion, in which case one should simply seek the opinions of those with similar tastes when looking for recommendations of reading material, or is there some more objective criterion for what makes a book better or worse written than another? I gave contrasting examples above of a book that folks here are claiming is poorly written (The DaVinci Code) and one that gets the endorsement of English professors (The Handmaid's Tale), and to me, the former is the better written of the two, based on grammar, word-choice, plot development and resolution, and sheer entertainment value. I should note that in terms of plots, both books actually have something in common, that they take bits of real events in history or modern society, and stretch them into a conspiracy theory, completely exaggerated level of prediction of future events, particularly revolving around extremist religious views associated with Catholicism/Christianity.

Does a book have to be a chore to read to make it worthy of literary acclaim? I'm really trying to understand how this distinction is made. If it's all chalked up to personal preference, I'd love to know that too, because then it makes it much easier to realize others just have different tastes than me, thus our difference of opinion in books we choose to read, rather than the seemingly more prevalent attitude I've run into that certain books are "must-reads" by anyone who is educated, while others are just the cheap, dimestore novels to be read by the ignorant masses (in which case, I'll join the ignorant masses any day, and keep reading what I enjoy :biggrin:). Sometimes I wonder if the attitude of elitism (I'm not referring specifically to anyone here, just a general attitude I run into when discussing books in "educated circles") surrounding the reading of certain works of "literature" is more of a badge of honor that you persevered and survived reading the book to the end rather than that the book is really worthy of reading. But, if there really is something that defines the difference other than personal taste, I'd like to know what it is.
 
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Moonbear said:
Maybe this is why I was never interested in being an English major, but I've never been offered an explanation of what makes something a bad book, a good book, or a great book, other than the personal preferences/tastes of the reader.

Depth, metaphor, commentary. These things make a good book. Compare something by Kafka or Dostoevsky to 'The Da Vinci Code'. Its not even remotely comparable. As my english teacher explained to us 'It's not about what you interpret the book to mean. Its about whether there's actually anything there to interpret'.
 

arildno

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And why should "interpretability" be a criterion for good literature?
What about the story being just a good yarn?
(And have no doubt: Masters like Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky DID spin great tales!)

I found the movie better than my expectations (admittedly nil); perhaps I'll pick up Dan Brown's book at some time and read it.

By the way, Moonbear, I quite enjoyed "A handmaid's tale"..
 
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Gokul43201

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I couldn't stand book XYZ by author ABC; it is some of the worst writing I've come across. And then, I decided to read book X1Y1Z1, also by author ABC. Did I mention he's an atrocious writer?
 
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