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Everything posted by Kolinahr

  1. I'm not sure if this should go here or in crime, but they were written long enough ago and have an iconic enough standing that I'm going to chance it and put them here. Feel free to move me if I am in the wrong! I started reading the first Tom Ripley novel the other day and due to various commitments am only half-way through, but I am enjoying it much more than I expected. Despite, or perhaps because of, the remote tone of the novel, which offers only a very thin internal narrative from the main character, I find it very engaging, a unique and unexpected portrait of a sociopath. Ripley is far from the confident con-man I was expecting from what I knew of the story, but is instead a refreshing mixture of a man both daring and riddled with self-doubt. The books were written long enough ago that the style is no longer in line with those common to modern crime or thriller novels, but the enigmatic psychological portrait is definitely keeping me engaged despite any stylistic reservations I have! Has anyone else read the books? What do you think in general of Highsmith's writing, or her main character?
  2. I was recently re-reading a couple of authors whom I enjoyed a great deal when I was younger. One in particular really pushed some underlying themes I was able to blithely remain ignorant of as a child, but which have now become painfully obvious to me as an adult reader. I won't name names because I'd rather not focus on any one author or theme in particular, but I was wondering to what extent the rest of you feel comfortable navigating author agenda. If an author is in favour of a particular philosophy or life-view, or seems to want to inspire certain action in the reader that you disagree with, are you able to largely ignore this if the writing is enthralling enough? Or does the issue ultimately become too distracting? If so, which books did this happen with?
  3. Author Agenda--distracting or no?

    I have to disagree with that, if only because these are children's books and most kids don't have the framework in place to see the allegory. I loved Lewis's writing as a child and a young adult, but recently ended up watching Prince Caspian with some Arab people, and it was truly a terrible experience. Because they didn't have any background on the books or movies, they didn't seem aware they were being insulted every ten seconds, but Hollywood definitely made sure to cast ethnically this time (funny how they can manage to do that when putting people in a negative light, but when someone complains about a white-washed lead, suddenly there just "aren't enough ethnic actors") and I really wanted to just bury my head in the sand in mortification because all of the messages about race and religion were embarrassingly heavy handed. And don't even get me started on The Horse and His Boy...
  4. Lauraloves Reads 2016

    When I first read Half Blood Prince, I was completely electrified by it. It is my favourite HP novel by far because it gave us so many answers about the past of many of the characters, and then it had that, at the time, completely shocking ending. I like the dark ones, though.
  5. What's the weather like?

    Be careful!
  6. What's the weather like?

    29 degrees right now with a high of 34 today. Hurrah! Cooling down at last, so I think I will go for a walk. ...or maybe not. We are now having a sandstorm.
  7. Athena's Reading List 2016

    I think with both Jordan and Sandersen I'm in the awkward position of liking their ideas better than their executions. Jordan was a fantastic world builder who suffered a bit in the self-control department. I often felt that he enjoyed the world creation more than he really liked to craft stories, while Sandersen has some very clever ideas and does seem to enjoy completing plots, but lacks a certain finesse in the novel medium. Actually, I attended a lecture he lead this past year at the Emirates book festival in Dubai, and found him to be an excellent speaker who really knows how to sell his ideas. I decided to read his original books after that, but found myself curiously less satisfied than I was just listening to him talking about them. Stylistically I think that he functions better as a performative teller of tales than as a novelist, but that is where the path to success is now, so...*shrugs*
  8. Athena's Reading List 2016

    WoT used to be one of my favourite series, but like many people, I became extremely frustrated with the bloated writing of the later books. Sandersen did rein it back in a lot in his contributions, but I have some issues with his writing style (his excessively casual tone can be very distracting, for one thing), so on the whole I really like books 1-5, and not much after.
  9. Hello from a Coloring Book Enthusiast

    Hi, Maria. Publishing your colouring book sounds exciting. Have you released any art in the past?
  10. Physical book vs Electronic copy

    Currently having electronics-related reading issues! I have been stuck on the same book for weeks now, almost unheard of for me, simply because I can't be bothered to open my tablet. There are some other issues to blame, perhaps, such as the fact that I've recently become something of a news hound and a lot of my free time is being consumed with videos about American elections and racial violence, Syria, climate change, science, etc, but I do feel if I had more paper books available to me right now that I wouldn't be quite so distracted, if you can call it that.
  11. What's your current news about?

    Really terrible what is happening between with the police and the black community. Like many people across the world, I have been watching the story develop with hopes of some profound change coming out of the horrors. We shall see.
  12. What's your current news about?

    My husband works here.
  13. What's your current news about?

    I remember living in Europe and being totally blown away by how expensive petrol was compared to Canada (where I'm from originally). But the countries are much smaller and it's infinitely easier to set up an efficient public transportation system. People are therefore far less physically and psychologically dependent on their cars, which I find to be the healthier option. UAE doesn't have much of a train or tram system either, despite being a small country, but it's also a very young country, with an almost entirely brand new infrastructure, and I know that there are some transit projects in the works.
  14. The Once & Future King by T.H. White

    I never encountered this series as a child, nor have yet to read it as an adult, though I might now, but have been mostly aware of it because Magneto is reading it in prison in the original X-Men films! I remember reading or hearing somewhere that it is supposed to have been the first book the character read in English, and actually, because I've moved around a fair bit, reading children's books in a second or third language, as an adult, has often been the case for me too. It's not at all the same as reading children's classics as a child, but it does convey something of the same sense of limited understanding simply due to the hazy nature of one's linguistic absorption during the middle stages of language learning!
  15. What's your current news about?

    It's 1.64 UAE Dirhams here per litre, which is actually 0.45 American dollars, and shockingly cheap, but this is an oil country. Still a bit shocked, though, as I've never done the math before.
  16. What's your current news about?

    I'm sympathetic to your situation, but also astounded by how cheap your fuel is there! (It's very cheap here, too, but most places I have been too are far, far more expensive).
  17. Author Agenda--distracting or no?

    This reminds me of the Russian novels I was discussing a couple of weeks ago. A lot of them have heavy political messages that have been diluted by the passage of time. Some people complain it makes the books nonsensical, but I wonder if it might not make them a lot more tolerable, as well.
  18. Top 5 (or 10) Wednesday

    Pretty well anyone from a well written book! I mean, stories rely a lot on protracted personal suffering to provide tension, and most of my favourite characters suffer fairly horrifically.
  19. The Last Film You Saw - 2016

    Hmm, all right. Thanks.
  20. The Last Film You Saw - 2016

    How was the Portman film for quality?
  21. Black Mirror

    This sounds really excellent and I have to check it out. The effects of technology on the brain and socialisation is one of my favourite topics, and a few months ago in Dubai I heard a terrific lecture from British neuroscientist Susan Greenfield about this very topic, with particular focus on the effects of social media and the way it distorts our perceptions and psychological development. There are some very scary implications in a lot of this recent research.
  22. I wonder what he would make of the entire Aesthetic movement he inspired, which certainly takes what he said at face-value, and is probably responsible for a lot of the more shameless trends in modern arts.
  23. Short Stories

    Seconding the Gaiman recommendations! For a long time, they really outstripped his novels in quality (imo, those have only caught up recently with such eerie and rather short entries as Coraline and The Ocean at the End of the Lane).
  24. It does seem that Wilde had a very conflicted relationship with his own aesthetic philosophy of art and beauty for their own sakes, utterly divorced from moral considerations. I used to think that he meant it completely ironically, but have since read too many expository quotes indicating otherwise. However, the heavy irony in his dramas, as well as the very clearly critical message in Picture also indicate a significant measure of disapproval for the self-indulgent aesthetics of popular society and culture. An ambivalent man in many things, was Mr. Wilde.