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About davidh219

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  • Birthday 04/02/1991

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  1. Doctor Who Series 10 + New Doctor?

    I've been less interested in the bigger story arcs so far with Capaldi than I was with Smith, there's just not as much mystery and intrigue and it's not operating on that grand, universe-shattering scale. On the other hand, some of the answers we got for Smith's story arcs were disappointing and/or overly cheesy, and there have been some absolutely stellar Capaldi episodes when taken on their own. Into the Dalek, Listen, Kill the Moon, In the Forest of the Night, The Zygon Inversion, Heaven Sent, etc. If there are three episodes in a season that truly move me emotionally, I call that a grand success, because it doesn't always happen. Series 5 had exactly one, the van gogh episode, one of the best the show has ever done. That and Matt Smith's charisma carried me through it. In general I wish they would focus less on bombastic, long plot arcs with villains and epic fights and silly looking monsters and instead focus on having a bunch of stand alone, subtle, character-focused episodes, because that's always when the show is at it's absolute best. The Doctor as a character has a lot of intellectual, philosophical, and emotional depth that they just aren't taking advantage of like 90% of the time. If I was writing the show, almost every episode would be like the van gogh episode, or Human Nature/Family of Blood, The Doctor's Wife, etc.
  2. Doctor Who Series 10 + New Doctor?

    I quite enjoy Capaldi. I feel like each actor has been a logical progression of the character. Eccleston was self-loathing and indecisive, unable to come to terms with what he did during the time war. Tennant got over it and became proactive, even ruthless and arrogant, wanting to change fixed points in time and exert his will on the universe and losing it when things don't go his way. Smith finally got over the guilt and the depression and allowed himself to really connect with people and enjoy life again, being almost child-like in his optimism, offering second chances and seeking peaceful compromise where Tennant never would have and achieving a place of zen-like acceptance, but after losing so much and suffering so much out pops Capaldi, a hardened and calloused doctor that no longer suffers fools lightly, that struggles to feel emotional attachment and empathy, that has resigned himself to the idea of sometimes sacrificing innocent life for the greater good and killing what and who need be killed with absolutely zero hesitation, to prevent more loss, to keep things from spiraling out of control like his predecessor did. Capaldi is just straight up cool in a way the others haven't been, and it's refreshing. Also, Doctor Who has always been in turns beautifully written and an idiotic embarrassment, regardless of who's playing the doctor. Any time I hear somebody say a particular run was better or worse than another I just assume they're only remembering the good and forgetting the bad.
  3. Have you ever visited a book fair ?

    To be honest I buy most of my books on amazon, whether used or new. I'm sure in depends on the area, and you're in an entirely different country than me, but in my experience used bookstores in Chicago are mostly novelty experiences. You go for the atmosphere and/or because you like the owner's tastes and want a small, curated selection to browse to help you pick your next read. And you pay a premium for it, sometimes as much as that book would cost new on amazon. Certainly not the cheapest place to buy used books. The Newberry book fair is the only real exception to that. You'll pay, on average, I'd say $1.50 per book, because they are all donated and the proceeds are to help the library, so it's more like a thrift store in that sense. I walked out of there one time with something like 24 books for less than 40 dollars. HUGE selection, like multiple enormous rooms. Especially if you're looking for any non-fiction, thrillers, or dramas. I'm mostly a fantasy and scifi geek and their selection there is rather lacking, but I've found some decent stuff. I would recommend finding the biggest book fair you can that's selling freely donated books for some sort of charity or non-profit goal, as they'll be the cheapest and most worthwhile.
  4. Have you ever visited a book fair ?

    I go to a used book fair every year just because it's supposedly one of the biggest in the country and I already live here so it's easy to get to. I can usually only go on saturday though and the pickings get somewhat slim by then. You really need to show up on thursday or friday. Even if I only leave with a couple books it's still fun though. https://www.newberry.org/newberry-book-fair
  5. Bonus Content

    Very rarely I have come across a fantasy novel that will have a short story set in that universe included at the end. One of the Queen's Thief books by Megan Whalen Turner has one, for instance. I'd say that's probably my favorite type of bonus content. Interviews with the author can be interesting as well. Samples of other books I rarely read because they are almost always for the next book in a series and I'll already know if I'm buying it or not based on how much I liked the book I just read. But they have convinced me to buy a book here and there. I probably wouldn't have bought Fairest by Marissa Meyer if not for the sample included at the end of Cress, simply because it's a side novel/prequel to the main series that I probably would have overlooked since it's not necessary to the story.
  6. What are you listening to?

    New At the Drive-In album is incoming in a couple months, so I've been listening to their old stuff a lot, as well as the two singles they released. Been playing quite a bit of Zelda: Breath of the Wild recently, and I really love the soft, atmospheric soundtrack, so been listening to that a lot as well.
  7. What Are You Watching Now? - 2017

    Just recently finished Stranger Things. It was quite good.
  8. Bullet Journal

    I tried doing this once. Didn't keep up with it for very long. At some point I finally had to accept I'm just not the kind of person who actually likes writing in a physical notebook. It's a romantic writer affectation that's aesthetically appealing, but it's just too slow and none of the data is easily searched and altered. Everything in my brain just gets dumped into wikidpad, which I can't say enough nice things about. Unfortunately the android wikidpad app is useless garbage so if I'm out of the house and need to write something down I use google keep on my phone and transfer it into wikidpad when I get home.
  9. Hardback vs paperback

    I prefer paperbacks, personally. I have quite a few old books, and haven't noticed that hardcovers hold up any better over time as far as paper quality and such. If you're not the type to subject your books to things that will cause the paper covers to get bent, I don't see that hardcovers are any advantage in that sense. They also don't have the cover illustration printed onto the front cover, it's on a separate dust jacket, which is far more fragile than the thick paper of a paperback. My shabbiest looking books are hardcovers with jacked up dust jackets. The real answer, though, is that I literally do not care. Whatever's cheapest. The only strong feeling I have about the physical form of books is deckled edges, which are monumentally stupid and need to stop immediately.
  10. How many books have you read this year?

    17 so far. Every year I wind up reading around 75 books so that's basically on par. I'm nothing if not consistent.
  11. The Last Film You Saw - 2017

    Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. My girlfriend finally got me to read the books, and we've been re-watching the movie version together each time I finish one. I just finished book six, so that's the movie I just saw. It was bad. All of those movies have been bad. The last non Harry Potter movie I saw was Arrival, and it was very, very, very good. Best scifi movie that's come out in at least the last five years, maybe more. Can't recommend enough.
  12. Things in books that annoy you

    I hate when authors modify the word 'said' with useless adverbs like loudly, sharply, gently, gleefully, etc. J.K. Rowling is especially bad with this in the first couple Harry Potter books, she almost never lets that verb stand on its own. Ideally, you shouldn't be modifying that word with adverbs ever, because the reader glosses over the word and it becomes invisible, which is what you want. If you draw too much attention to your dialogue tags, you're taking attention away from the dialogue itself, which should stand on its own. The tags are just there so that the reader knows who's speaking. To have a book that does it like 70% of the time was quite frustrating and distracting. I hate when authors kill off characters purely for shock value. Killing off a character is the easiest thing for a writer to do. Making their death feel inevitable and symbolically cathartic is hard. That's good writing. Shock value deaths that nobody saw coming are not. It's why I have no interest in actually reading Game of Thrones, and why I'm basically hate-watching the show. Martin is a hack, imo. Long descriptions of setting or of a character's appearance that serves no other purpose than the visual. If your writing is good, any description should also be imparting character, plot, or general world-building at the same time. I don't care what that meadow looks like unless the way it looks has something to do with what the dark lord did here 100 years ago and helps the hero figure out his next move. Don't spend an entire page telling me how beautiful the grass in it is for its own sake. I've seen fantastical meadows before, I get the idea. Similarly, I know what a beautiful woman looks like. Just tell me she has red hair, light skin, and is gorgeous and I know what I need to know. Don't linger on the specifics and pile on adjectives, it's just boring and awkward. Furthermore, leaving it open to interpretation means that she is, in fact, gorgeous to all your readers, regardless of taste. If you over-describe her, I might not find her as beautiful as you do, and if it's important that I find her beautiful, then you've just undermined your character and my experience. I don't mind love triangles as long as they make sense and aren't vapid and tacked on. I've found that usually if a book has a love triangle, at the very least some thought has been paid to the romantic aspect. Much worse is the book where romance was clearly a far secondary consideration and yet it was half-halfheartedly included anyway, because every book has to have a romance subplot to be marketable. Screw that. Don't put a romance in your book if it doesn't fit. I'm looking at you, J.K. Rowling. Harry and Ginny have no chemistry and he starts obsessing over her out of literally nowhere. I hate when authors with an agenda who refuse to play devil's advocate with their characters. The best authors are people who you would have a hard time guessing their exact political and religious beliefs accurately just from reading their work, because they aren't afraid to write characters who are wholly unlike themselves and are capable and willing to write those characters believably and respectfully without resorting to strawmen or stereotypes. Brandon Sanderson is a mormon and yet his work never comes across as overtly religious or preachy to me, and he writes a very believable and respectable atheist that doesn't make me feel like he's misrepresenting people like me just because he believes differently.
  13. Fantasy I second the recommendation for Sanderson's Mistborn series. Vin is one of the most brutal, effective, straight up cool warriors I can think of in a fantasy series. She can turn a room full of enemies into a room full of body parts real quick, but she does it without being super masculine, macho, emotionless, etc. which is a cliche a lot of male writers fall into when writing female characters who are extremely good at fighting, they'll just turn them into typical male power fantasy protagonists with stereotypical masculine personality traits, but with a different pronoun, which usually rings false to me. Overly macho male characters don't usually sit well with me either, but I'm a fairly feminine guy. Point is, Vin affirms that personality traits typically seen as feminine such as being quiet, introverted, unassertive, shy, graceful, gentle, caring, emotionally vulnerable and expressive, finding no joy in violence, etc. and being a horrifying killing machine are not mutually exclusive, which I'm all the way into. The Emperor's Soul, also by Brandon Sanderson, is another good one. Sanderson in general is quite good at writing believable female protagonists. Warbreaker is another good one. Both of these books are much less action-oriented, though, so I don't know if they fit the "hold her own in a fight," requirement, but Mistborn definitely does. I really liked Elphaba in Wicked, but she doesn't really fight anyone, per se. Patricia McKillip writes wonderful female characters. And male characters, for that matter. She's just a great character writer. There's not a lot of action in her books though, so her female characters don't really get into physical fights. It's mostly politics and character relationships. They're incredible though. Alphabet of Thorn is a great place to start. Abhorsen series by Garth Nix. I don't even know what to say. You have to read this. Do it. Scifi If you're into young adult books at all, I'd recommend The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. Cinder and Scarlet kick serious butt and there are two other female characters who aren't the fighting type but certainly strong in their own ways and well written. No love triangles, but there are four very different, very compelling romances involving eight people. I'm not super into romance generally, but she made me really invested in not one, but four relationships. Quite a feat. If you're interested in a chilling and compelling female villain, there's a side novel showing how the main antagonist of the series came to be who she is called Fairest, which I recommend you read between books 3 (Cress) and 4 (Winter). That's all I got off the top of my head. I'm not much of a scifi guy, unfortunately.
  14. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

    This is legitimately one of the best books I've ever read. I honestly didn't find it scary at all, though, and I'm always surprised when I see people who were scared by it. It didn't seem like much of a horror novel to me. More like an experimental literary fiction tour de force masquerading as a horror novel. I liked how he played with the idea of a documentary, complete with academic commentary on that documentary with in depth footnotes, while all the time even our fictional narrator acknowledges that it's not a real documentary. A fictional documentary that's not trying to be funny (mockumentary) but instead trying to be so detailed that it unnerves you with how real it feels and seems is...quite something. Powerful concept. And he completely inverts that at the end when the documentary breaks the fourth wall into johnny's world, which cascades into breaking the fourth wall of our world. And then there's the parallels between johnny truant's life and danielewski's that make you wonder, how much of that is coming from a real place? Are those letters from johnny's mom the exaggerated way danielewski saw his own mentally ill mother at some point in his younger days? Johnny is also a bit of an unreliable narrator which is always fun. God, this book is so good. It's hard to even talk about it, though. I feel like I need two cups of coffee and an hour of quiet time just to gather my thoughts on it.
  15. Tolkien's world may not be original now, but it was wholly original when it first came out. Everything that the epic fantasy genre is started with Tolkien. Fantasy as we know it started with Tolkien. Dungeons and Dragons would not exist without him and, by extension, video games would be wholly different. The only author who could be said to have an earlier influence on modern fantasy is George MacDonald, the author of arguably the very first modern fantasy novel, but even those were still more like extended fairy tales for adults than the epic fantasy we know today. It was Tolkien that took those ideas and really bridged the gap and created the template people would be copying for the next forty years, and then trying very deliberately not to copy for the next twenty (Game of Thrones). As much as I feel lukewarm about Tolkien's work and think modern epic fantasy authors have surpassed him in almost every respect, especially character and plot, to not give due credit is downright criminal. We've been living in Tolkien's shadow for sixty years, whether we like it or not. Harry Potter's influence is practically non-existent in comparison. It has changed literally nothing about how stories are written because it was just a generic copy of everything that came before.