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#51 Posted by ll_Exile_ll (3014 posts) -

@xanadu said:

I made a thread poll awhile back asking if I should get a kindle paper white or a regular kindle. Got a paper white not too long ago and started reading The Witcher books. Im half through the first book and digging it a lot. Its surprising to see how good of a job CD Project RED did translating the tone and atmosphere of those books into those games. Can't wait to read the the initial series and start a new play through of the Witcher 1-3 with a new perspective!

I am actually in the midst of doing exactly this right now. I read all the books within the past couple months and then began a full series playthrough. It'll be my second playthrough of each game and the first time playing them one right after the other and obviously first time after having read the books. I'm on the Witcher 2 at the moment.

It was very interesting playing the first game again for many reasons. For one, it the first time I've played it with the foreknowledge of the sequels, and it certainly feels even rougher now than it did the first time since I know how great 2 and 3 are. It was also very interesting playing it after reading the books, for both good and bad reasons. There're a ton of references and callbacks to stuff from the books that I really enjoyed, but there are also several decisions they made with the story and characters that kind of rubbed me the wrong way.

It really made me wonder what fans of the books thought of the first game back when it originally came out, because if I didn't already know where CDPR takes things with 2 and 3 and how well they pull everything off, I think I would have been very disappointed with the game from the perspective of having just come off reading the books.

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#52 Posted by dudeglove (13707 posts) -

@sinusoidal: I maybe read it two or three times? I'll admit I was a teenager at the time, but I think it does a decent job of chastising religion/religious institutions and giving a semi-decent explanation of the concept of faith. Or you could just read the Grand Inquisitor chapter from Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov, I dunno?

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#53 Posted by ToxicFruit (1922 posts) -

I'v started working my way through the Terry pratchett diskworld books for the first time. I'm up to Pyramids and am enjoying the hell out of this world .

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#54 Posted by Sinusoidal (3608 posts) -

@ll_exile_ll: I'm doing the same thing! Except I hadn't played the games before. I finished all the Witcher books a while back, and then played through the first game. Wow, that game is dated. I finished it and took a break to play some newer stuff before GOTY 2016 discussions. I'm thinking of firing up The Witcher 2 this week.

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#55 Edited by Kscorps (67 posts) -

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski.

It is incomprehensible, yet gorgeously written. I don't think anything I can write can do it justice, but if postmodern stuff is your thing I think you'll be very happy with it.

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#56 Edited by pyromagnestir (4505 posts) -

I want to keep this thread going, so I'll write an update.

I finished Black Hawk Down, everything I said about that book in a previous post still stands. Real good book.

I also finished The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, don't have much to say about it other than that book was pleasant.

Also finished Black Swan, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. It has nothing to do with that mind trippy ballet movie, it's a non fiction book about statistics and probability and predictive models and economics and stuff, it's kinda hard for me to pin down but the main theme is most predictive models are garbage because they don't or can't account for hugely impactful but very unlikely events, which the author dubs black swans. The ideas it presents are interesting, though I kinda wish it had gotten into them on a more technical level, as most of the book is explaining the ideas on a general level or the author going on strange tangents (although if it had I probably wouldn't have been able to follow them sooooo...).

But the tone of the book is a bit off putting. At points the author comes off as stuck up, at other times petty. Some parts of the book are autobiographical, and other parts of the book are about straight up fictional characters who are presented as being real and doing things that never happened. So like I said it goes off on a few tangents. It's weird. That, more than any of the actual math or ideas presented, made it hard for me to get through, as evidenced by the fact that I actually started this book back in mid November but didn't finish it till February.

I have since learned that some of the horrible people in the Trump administration are big on some of Taleb's ideas. Not sure how I feel about that. I can appreciate the ideas. But those people are still horrible. If some people who weren't horrible used his ideas I'd certainly feel okay with that.

And now I'm in the middle of 14 by Peter Clines, it is a story about a guy who moves into a new apartment building that has a lot of odd quirks to it so he and his fellow tenants start to look into them and uncover more weird things and a deeper mystery. It's been really fun so far. My only problem is I went in thinking it was gonna be more creepy, but it's really just been about solving a mystery, not even remotely scary. But it's got me hooked so I'm tearing through it a lot faster than I planned.

And also in the middle of Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life by Jon Lee Anderson. I've been trying to look more at the how people see the world from various perspectives and he sounded like an interesting fella and certainly that has been the case thus far, as he's someone who passed medical school but went on to become a ruthless communist revolutionary guerrilla soldier.

Right now I'm at the part where he's a fighter in Fidel Castro's Cuban Revolution and the events that happened make it seem almost like a farce. If you wanted to make a dark comedy about a bunch of young adult men wanting to play war and running around in the mountains trying to start a revolution you could use this as direct inspiration. I almost can't understand how it switches from this to Fidel winning and being in power. But I suppose I shall learn how that happened soon enough.

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#57 Posted by ToastMan (189 posts) -

Just finished reading "You Died - The Dark Souls Companion". It was a good read.

It's basically about the game as a phenomena. The writers mainly write about how the game affected the gaming world. Stuff like the experience of reviewers at the time of release when there was no knowledge pool to draw from. Or discussing the psyche of "troll" invaders and how it compares to their real-life persona. They also pepper in between all of that some "flavor" chapters in which they take the areas of the game and kind of illustrate them in a novel-like fashion.

I liked it mainly because it was clear that the two authors were really passionate about Dark Souls. Like, a lot. Because of that, the book has a good tone and it is fun to read. Recommended!

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#58 Edited by BrunoTheThird (825 posts) -

I'm still slowly but surely getting through old classics and newer horror/fantasy stuff.

I recently finished Dunwich Horror (Lovecraft) and The Scarlet Gospels (Clive Barker's Hellbound Heart sequel). Loved Dunwich -- the characters are his most human and understandable he's ever done -- and liked a lot about Scarlet. The descriptions in the latter were exquisitely done, and Pinhead (the hellpriest) is as sordid as ever, in a good way, though he has never seemed so real. Barker gives him actual motivations of his own this go round, and he doesn't come across as the pleasure-seeking demon he did in the original. He has tired of punishing the greedy and curious, and decides to find Satan himself (whom is very well rendered by Barker as a melancholy angel who has had plenty of time to realize how his hubris was his downfall, and not his holy father, though he still harbors the same tiring emotions). They don't just bump into him, either, his entrance into the story is as laborious and cryptic and fucked up as you'd expect if it were a real event. Some found it corny, but I was enthralled.

Currently I'm reading Weaveworld and Neuromancer, and loving both. Next on my list is Ringworld by Niven, which was the main inspiration for Halo.

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#59 Posted by dr_monocle (391 posts) -

I'm reading a few things right now, but mainly it's Nemesis Games-the fifth book in the Expanse series.

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#60 Edited by SethMode (1931 posts) -

@dr_monocle: I have a question for you, if you have the time. I am on book 3 right now of the series. I'm going to block this bit as spoilers because it kind of is:

Does this series ever really raise the stakes? In three books the formula has been the same: POV characters slowly build toward their meeting and then together they take on the antagonist. Each time, there are numerous close calls, but no one ever dies. Even those that kind of die, don't really die (Miller). Overall, I enjoy the books for the most part, but with about 5 hours left on 3 (I am listening o the audiobooks at work) it seems like it is basically going the same route as the previous 2. I don't want everything to be Game of Thrones, but one of the things I like about that series (at least, the early books), it's that the things feel like they have stakes because characters die and the plot takes crazy left field turns against convention. I feel like this hasn't been the case with The Expanse series (again, so far).

I look forward to your (and any other Expanse readers for that matter) opinion!

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#61 Posted by Bfinstad86 (52 posts) -

Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon and Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. They are both really insightful, however they can also be a bit of a bummer towards the middle with all the parallels to real life. Don't read them if you're having a bad day. If you're a fan of the Stalker series, you should pick up a copy of Roadside Picnic pronto.

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#62 Edited by Entandra (1 posts) -

I've been on a big cyberpunk kick for the last few years. So I've been reading through some cyberpunk and sci-fi classics.

At the moment...
I'm reading through Neuromancer by William Gibson.

So far the sheer characterization is incredible. The subtle nuances that spell out who these characters are is something to be appreciated. I'm about halfway through at the moment, but the world-building, along with how stylish every description is just has me enamored. I realize this is regarded so highly for a reason, but there have been a few times where I've stopped and reread a sentence just because of how fucking cool it was.

I'm really looked forward to finishing this and moving onto my large backlog of books. I'm debating about starting The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin, Dune by Frank Herbert, or A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick.

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#63 Edited by WezqApe (86 posts) -

I finished the Southern Reach trilogy a little while ago. That was a seriously weird bunch of books. I really liked the plot, even though it occasionally felt like it was trying too hard to be weird and mysterious.

After all that weirdness I finally decided to start going through the Horus Heresy series. So far it's been surprisingly well written. I expected mindless war porn but I've been surprised by actually good characters and story.

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#64 Posted by dr_monocle (391 posts) -

@sethmode: Not sure what I should demarcate as a spoiler, but since I'm a big ol' whiny baby about them I'll err on the side of caution:

That's definitely a general concern that I have about the series especially since the authors, Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham, have said that writers shouldn't be afraid to kill off their characters (I'm getting this from a tweet that I don't have ready for citation so don't take it as complete gospel). It's also pretty ironic considering how often this series gets compared to A Song of Ice and Fire, but anyway... I'm not really sure how to answer this question fully without spoiling anything so I'll just say that Nemesis Games will absolutelymake the characters feel vulnerable in a way that you're looking for. However, I will also say that the general plot styling of having all the POV characters converge on some kind of threat at the end remains constant, so if that is what is turning you off then maybe you'd want to move on. I think it doesn't bother me because this series is so character driven and I love the characters enough that I ignore the formulaic nature of the books even though I am most certainly aware of it.

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#65 Posted by Colonel_Pockets (1315 posts) -

I'm gonna go through my DC books over the next couple of months. I will start at Batman: Year One and see where I end up.

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#66 Posted by BrunoTheThird (825 posts) -

Great choice, I love Year One. I also have The Killing Joke, Dark Knight Returns, and, kinda weird, Batman & Dracula trilogy. Still haven't read The Long Halloween though *sigh*. I'll impulse buy it one day.

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#67 Edited by James_ex_machina (1067 posts) -

The Dumbest Kid in Gifted Class - Dirty Dan Ryckert

Off-Centered Leadership - Sam Calagione owner of Dogfish Head Brewing

Console Wars -

The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

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#68 Posted by caska (263 posts) -

@sethmode: It's hard for me to really write anything other than the old adage of RAFO (read and find out) because it's so hard to parse the spoilers out of everything haha. I think the easiest thing to say is just to sit back and enjoy the ride with the knowledge the yes, the stakes are upped and yes, shit happens :). There's very much a beginning, middle and end to each of their books so that formula doesn't really change but I would definitely persevere and make it through to the other side of Nemesis Games before calling it quits though!

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#69 Posted by SethMode (1931 posts) -

@dr_monocle: @caska: appreciate it duders! I didn't mean to make it sound like the formula of each book bothered me so much (I, too, love the POV characters -- especially Avasarala)...I just did begin to think "Is this how each book is going to be?" as Caliban's War came to an end. But, I have enjoyed Abbadon's Gate regardless of this fact and look forward to keeping with it. I have a job that allows me lots of Audible time so I have no qualms sticking with it. I'm super happy to hear that the stakes get raised! Although now I get to go back to being stressed out about characters dying like I was while listening to the first book so....thanks?

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#70 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1269 posts) -

I finally finished The Way of Kings (audiobook) last week. I originally purchased it when the Kindle version was on sale way back in 2013. Then I purchased the paperback, the audio version, and finally I bought myself a Kindle Fire this past Christmas. I think the world is far more fascinating than most high fantasy, but Brandon Sanderson suffers from the same issue that pretty much EVERY fantasy author does these days: he needs a fucking editor who's not afraid to tell him that it's okay to write a book that's less than 1,000 pages long.

To take a break from fantasy, I started listening to I Am Malala. It's fascinating and moving.

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#71 Posted by ht101 (2119 posts) -

I finished Prep to Pro by Jonathan Abrams last week. It's a book about the generation of NBA players who jumped from high school to the NBA. It was an excellent read that brings you into the stories of the players you know(Lebron, Kobe, Kevin Garnett, etc...) and also tells you a bunch of stories about the kids who didn't make it for one reason or another. It's both heartwarming and terribly sad. If you love basketball/the NBA definitely check it out.

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#72 Posted by SloppyDetective (1594 posts) -

@kscorps: a friend loaned me that book a million years ago. I've yet to crack it open because it's so intimidating.

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#73 Posted by SloppyDetective (1594 posts) -

I just found a pretty cool app called Serial Reader. It's free on Android and iOS (one time premium upgrade if you fancy), it takes classic books in the public domain and breaks them up into 10-20 min chunks you read daily.

I just started reading A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain in it. I started Huck Finn as a kid but never finished it, so this is my first real dive into Twain. I have to say he has a real way with words. Reading his writing is like watching someone excel at their passion; a lot of love and craft in it.

It has a pretty decent selection of classics in multiple genres.

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#74 Posted by Aarny91 (3961 posts) -

Reading Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie which is the second of The First Law trilogy. These books are surprisingly funny, even in the darkest moments there's still a bit of humour in the writing.

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#75 Posted by inevpatoria (7428 posts) -

I just started reading A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

I think this'll be the year I finally put Connecticut Yankee on my docket. I've been a Twain fan for too long without ever having read this book.

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#76 Posted by sparky_buzzsaw (8844 posts) -

@aarny91: Love me some Abercrombie. That guy has a good taste for dark humor and writes some fantastic action scenes. The Heroes is a fantastic example of how to write great battles in novels without being boring or overly slavish to details that just don't interest the reader.

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#77 Posted by ATastySlurpee (646 posts) -

Recently picked up Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi. The bestseller that was the basis for GoodFellas. Been wanting to read it for awhile and finally took the plunge.

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#78 Posted by hermes (2597 posts) -

I am almost ashamed, because I acquire this book though kindle when my phone was in my pocket (I swear), but I recently read the first Miss Peregrine book.

I wasn't impressed. The premise of the book is paper thin (doing some research, I found that the author created the narrative around a set of black and white pictures, so I guess it is no surprise), the characters are unlikable, even by the standards of young teen adventure books (doesn't help that the book can't decide if the characters are meant to be kids, teenagers or even young adults, and they even change descriptions mid-book) and it takes forever to get going: the "peculiar children" are introduced in the second half of the movie, the main antagonist is introduced like three quarters in, and the entire conflict is resolved in 2 chapters.

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#79 Edited by BladeOfCreation (1269 posts) -

@sloppydetective: Hey, that is GREAT app recommendation for people who may find the classics a bit...boring. I'm gonna check this out. Thanks!

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#80 Posted by Sysyphus (183 posts) -

Going to start on The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

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#81 Posted by OpusOfTheMagnum (647 posts) -

Just went through The Mission The Men and Me, not for the first time. If you lead people in life or in your profession, I highly recommend it. There's a reason it's popular for business/management types. It's also a really good look into a very guarded community and organization: Delta Force.

@ll_exile_ll: The books are steller. They get better too imo. I started listening to the most recent one when it was released on Audible and just hit a wall with it sadly. Maybe I should try again.

Having some context from the games made learning about the characters and stuff pretty great and Witcher 3 had a lot more impact after the books.

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#82 Posted by SloppyDetective (1594 posts) -

@nate_is_my_fake_name: I've really enjoyed it so far-so much so I read ahead one day. I've had mixed results reading 19th century and older. This app breaking them into small daily chunks makes it way easier to digest.

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#83 Edited by ripelivejam (13130 posts) -

@nate_is_my_fake_name said:

I finally finished The Way of Kings (audiobook) last week. I originally purchased it when the Kindle version was on sale way back in 2013. Then I purchased the paperback, the audio version, and finally I bought myself a Kindle Fire this past Christmas. I think the world is far more fascinating than most high fantasy, but Brandon Sanderson suffers from the same issue that pretty much EVERY fantasy author does these days: he needs a fucking editor who's not afraid to tell him that it's okay to write a book that's less than 1,000 pages long.

i totally agree with this. i appreciate the detail but at the same time you should tell a damn cohesive story. i think GURM can get away with this better than most because his characters are mostly interesting and there's some fantastic world building, but even he is guilty of word vomit and ADwD (though i liked it quite a bit more than the average person it seems) could have lost like 200 or 300 pages and been just fine without it.

Wheel of Time has like 2 or 3 whole books that could have been cut to like 4 or 5 chapters.

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#84 Posted by CrazyBagMan (1642 posts) -

Just finished Dark Matter by Blake Crouch and really enjoyed it.

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#85 Posted by DinosaurCanada (938 posts) -

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman. Haven't read any Haldeman so I decided to start with his most popular and supposedly best. I love how it portrays the far flung outer reaches of space as this grueling harsh wasteland, and not this colorful carnival of crazy aliens and freaks. Refreshing in the world of action space operas.

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#86 Posted by Slasktotten (90 posts) -

@bribbins: I've got about 30pages left of Shadow of The Torturer, excellent stuff! Have to say though, is it just me or is Wolfe's depiction of woman rather dubious? They all seem to worship Severian...
Anyhoot it's really cool nonetheless albeit a little hard to follow at times.

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#87 Posted by Undeadpool (6947 posts) -

11/22/63

Stephen King has been knocking it out the damn PARK since finally putting the Dark Tower series behind him. A man finds his best friend stricken with cancer after the previous day being fine, turns out there's a time portal to 1958 in the refrigerator of his diner. What could possibly go wrong with trying to stop the assassination of JFK? Everything. The past harmonizes. History wants to remain.

If you enjoyed "Life is Strange" then you owe it to yourself to read this book. If you didn't, or haven't played it, you still probably should. I have never been so emotionally moved by a book as I was by this.

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#88 Edited by Sahalarious (751 posts) -

I just picked up 11/22/63, eager to start it! Over here its been The Saga of the Swamp Thing, by Alan Moore, and its just a beautiful story so far, writing that elevates graphic novels as a whole and art that is simply hypnotic. I recommend it highly to just about anyone.

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#89 Posted by viking_funeral (2881 posts) -

Postcards from the Edge (quick read), Console Wars (bedtime read), and A Wild Sheep Chase (again).

I have some Carl Jung on my phone's Amazon Kindle app, but I get maybe 10 pages every 2 weeks of that read.

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#90 Posted by ATastySlurpee (646 posts) -

@gtb08 said:

I just picked up 11/22/63, eager to start it! Over here its been The Saga of the Swamp Thing, by Alan Moore, and its just a beautiful story so far, writing that elevates graphic novels as a whole and art that is simply hypnotic. I recommend it highly to just about anyone.

Its actually one of the few Alan Moore works I actually like.

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#91 Posted by Sinusoidal (3608 posts) -

I decided to read all of Discworld from the beginning having only sporadically read a few of them over the years. That was a mistake. Terry Pratchett is great, but one can only read so much humorous fantasy before one needs something else. And the Discworld books' quality is a bit inconsistent. I just finished the tenth book, Moving Pictures, and it was the first book I felt a bit disappointed with. Especially coming after Guards! Guards! which is probably one of the best Discworld books.

I'm taking a break to read Daniel Suarez' Daemon duology that a friend recommended. It being a gory, techno-thriller sounds like it's just about as different from Discworld as is possible.

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#92 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1269 posts) -

@sloppydetective: If I'm not mistaken, isn't that the way that a lot of 19th century novels were published? In little chunks in magazines and whatnot.

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#93 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1269 posts) -

@undeadpool: There's a Hulu-exclusive series of 11/22/63 with James Franco as the lead. It was really good.

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#94 Posted by SloppyDetective (1594 posts) -

@nate_is_my_fake_name: I've heard that before, but I'm not sure how prevalent it was, or how many of the books that app offers were released that way.

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#95 Posted by Undeadpool (6947 posts) -

@undeadpool: There's a Hulu-exclusive series of 11/22/63 with James Franco as the lead. It was really good.

Was it? I read the book and...I'm not sure James Franco could pull that off.

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#96 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1269 posts) -

@nate_is_my_fake_name said:

@undeadpool: There's a Hulu-exclusive series of 11/22/63 with James Franco as the lead. It was really good.

Was it? I read the book and...I'm not sure James Franco could pull that off.

I thought he did a great job. Maybe we have different ideas of James Franco's acting abilities? Haha.

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#97 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1269 posts) -

@sloppydetective: Ah, okay. Anyways, it sounds great and I'm definitely gonna check it out.

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#98 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1269 posts) -

@nate_is_my_fake_name said:

I finally finished The Way of Kings (audiobook) last week. I originally purchased it when the Kindle version was on sale way back in 2013. Then I purchased the paperback, the audio version, and finally I bought myself a Kindle Fire this past Christmas. I think the world is far more fascinating than most high fantasy, but Brandon Sanderson suffers from the same issue that pretty much EVERY fantasy author does these days: he needs a fucking editor who's not afraid to tell him that it's okay to write a book that's less than 1,000 pages long.

i totally agree with this. i appreciate the detail but at the same time you should tell a damn cohesive story. i think GURM can get away with this better than most because his characters are mostly interesting and there's some fantastic world building, but even he is guilty of word vomit and ADwD (though i liked it quite a bit more than the average person it seems) could have lost like 200 or 300 pages and been just fine without it.

Wheel of Time has like 2 or 3 whole books that could have been cut to like 4 or 5 chapters.

Everything I've ever heard about WoT makes it sound plodding and needlessly wordy. I doubt I could even get through the audiobooks.

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#99 Posted by ichthy (1359 posts) -

I'm veeeery slowly making my way through Death's End, the third book in the Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy.

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#100 Posted by Aarny91 (3961 posts) -

@sparky_buzzsaw: Every battle in the series so far has been a treat to read. The guy really can make them thrilling as all hell.