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Thread: What's the last book you read?

  1. #1741
    Senior Member uncanny hats's Avatar
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    *scratches head* The Secret History has been on my queue, because, a couple years ago, a bunch of people on here gave it glowing reviews. Also, it's apparently linked to Brett Easton Ellis' books, and that intrigues me.

    I dunno, I haven't it read it, but it's often recommended (as a lot of Brat Pack authors' books are) as a representative of Generation Jones, which is often seen as "underdeveloped."

  2. #1742
    It's only linked to Bret Easton Ellis in the sense that he and Donna Tartt were classmates at Bennington, which is the inspiration for the setting of Secret History as well as Ellis's Rules of Attraction. There's also apparently a throwaway reference in Attraction to "that weird Classics group...probably roaming the countryside sacrificing farmers and performing pagan rituals", but Attraction was published in 1987, well before Secret History. Most Donna Tartt interviews and bio pieces I've read assert that Ellis's reference was to a group that Tartt herself was in, and which obviously served as inspiration for the clique in The Secret History.

    Honestly, when people tell me they dislike Secret History, the reason I expect them to give is that they couldn't empathize with Richard, the first-person narrator. I find him empathetic, personally, but he's also a lying, snivelling, weak, weasel-ish sort of person who does and says many questionable things.

    I'm actually seeing an entire sub-genre of thrillers where an elite, empowered, snobbish or eccentric group of students become entangled in murder or violence of some kind. The Secret History is the first example as far as I know, but Marisha Pessl's Special Topics in Calamity Physics and Tana French's The Likeness also qualify. Does anyone know of any other novels (or films, or anything) that follow that same pattern?
    "See everything as an illusion, and enjoy it even though you are not of it."
    ~Alanis Morissette, paraphrased

  3. #1743
    Tens Across the Board Banjee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Markness View Post

    I'm actually seeing an entire sub-genre of thrillers where an elite, empowered, snobbish or eccentric group of students become entangled in murder or violence of some kind. The Secret History is the first example as far as I know, but Marisha Pessl's Special Topics in Calamity Physics and Tana French's The Likeness also qualify. Does anyone know of any other novels (or films, or anything) that follow that same pattern?
    Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose.

  4. #1744
    Quote Originally Posted by Banjee View Post
    Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose.
    I read that last year and really liked it! I also really like Iain Pears's An Instance of the Fingerpost, which frequently gets compared to The Name of the Rose.
    "See everything as an illusion, and enjoy it even though you are not of it."
    ~Alanis Morissette, paraphrased

  5. #1745
    Militia of the Mind toriMODE's Avatar
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    Tina Fey's Bossypants - A very comical insight into Tina's professional and persona life. It was a fast read.

  6. #1746
    'If you existed, I'd divorce you.' spyk_'s Avatar
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    The Book of Dave by Will Self. An interesting and witty satire on religion, based around a mentally disturbed cabbie in early 00's London who buries a book for his estranged son, only for the book to be used as a basis for an entire culture in a future where most of England lies underwater. The two stories are told side-by-side, and the way Self mirrors the contemporary and future narratives with each other is intriguing. I struggled with it at first, but it really gathered pace in the final third. I'd never read a Self novel before, and I think this was an appropriate introduction. I might check out Umbrella in the not-too-distant future.
    Last edited by spyk_; 04-26-2013 at 12:05 AM.

  7. #1747
    better be home soon baronette's Avatar
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    "The Second Coming" by John Niven.

    His portrayal of Jesus in the modern world is especially amusing. Enjoyed this more than "Kill Your Friends".

  8. #1748
    Senior Member Lilith's Avatar
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    Continuing with the time travel theme, I read Tempest by Julie Cross. The protagonist, Jackson, has to go back in time to save his girlfriend's life. I feel the more I think about the book, the less I like it. There's smaller things like the constant use of "?!" instead of just a question mark and the lazy and stereotypical characterization of one of the minor characters as "angry man-hating lesbian feminist".

    I don't really understand why the protagonist needed to have other superpowers besides the time travelling. They didn't even make sense, like when the protagonist looked at pictures of self-defense, and because he had a photographic memory he immediately learned it after a couple of tries. First of all, it would have made perfect sense for the guy to have had self-defense classes in his adolescence, since his father was supposed to be this paranoid CEO of a huge corporation afraid of something happening to his kids. And what the fuck does photographic memory have to do with learning self-defense, it requires muscle memory! This gets even more interesting when Jackson learns to understand farsi overnight (Brave New World style) but doesn't learn to speak it -- because speaking has to do with muscle memory!

    The foreshadowing at the beginning was very heavy-handed and I also thought the ending was a bit contradictory. At first Jackson was like "love conquers all," then after couple of hours of nothing happening he suddenly changes his mind? I would understand if he had thought that before the bad things happening and then changed his mind... Probably the ending was supposed to make the reader more eager to keep up with the trilogy but it just made me angry. Why are so many YA books written in trilogies anyway? It's starting to get tiresome.

  9. #1749
    ANUSTART Lathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lilith View Post
    Why are so many YA books written in trilogies anyway?
    $

  10. #1750
    Senior Member Lilith's Avatar
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    I know that. It's just getting to a point where I need to consider whether I want to invest time on reading yet another trilogy, which actually means that the author gets less money.

  11. #1751
    'If you existed, I'd divorce you.' spyk_'s Avatar
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    The Bell Jar. Well, that was....intense. Probably not the best time for me to read that. I know I'll come back to it again soon though.

  12. #1752
    That's so Shakespearean... Canoodlefish's Avatar
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    Three Men in a Boat/Three Men on a Bummel by Jerome K Jerome

    If you like Sterne's Tristam Shandy you'll enjoy this combo. Part anecdote, part landscape description, part mythical retelling, it's a non-adventure peppered liberally with humour. As is generally agreed, the first is better than the second.
    Last edited by Canoodlefish; 05-02-2013 at 08:53 AM.
    "Never build a dungeon that you cannot get out of."

  13. #1753
    Tens Across the Board Banjee's Avatar
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    The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood-- Truly a bizarre one. It's a sequel that occurs at the same time that the events in Oryx and Crake take place. The US has been taken over by corporations that poison us and sell us the cure. A renegade band of folks bond together to form a guerailla type of attack, wiping out almost all humans on earth. Those that survive try to make sense of this "Flood". I enjoyed it. Very creepy and bizarre, and it kept me up at night with anxiety. Atwood has this thing where she creates highly plausible, frightening dystopian scenarios. The US is well on it's way to this horrific world. For those of you who haven't read the first novel, don't feel as if you ave to read it to enjoy this one, you don't. it may actually help if you read this one first then worked back to read Oryx and Crake.
    Last edited by Banjee; 05-02-2013 at 03:34 PM.

  14. #1754
    I am not a loony beanstew's Avatar
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    ^ Thanks for the review Banjee. I loved Oryx and Crake so will seek that out.
    Maybe for once, someone will call me "Sir" without adding, "You're making a scene."

  15. #1755
    I LOVE Oryx and Crake but I wasn't a fan of Flood. I didn't feel it like it added anything to the story of that universe that I didn't already "get" from the first novel.

    Does anyone know if the third book coming out this year picks up where Oryx and Crake left off?
    "See everything as an illusion, and enjoy it even though you are not of it."
    ~Alanis Morissette, paraphrased

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