Patrick Hand

What are you reading right now ?

818 posts in this topic

I've been having a heck of a time finding something fun to read befor going to sleep (well I read in bed.....befor going to sleep.....)

I was trying to read DosadiBy Frank Herbert.....I'm about 1/4 into it... it's well written, but it just isn't catching my attention....

So I just got another Terry Pratchett book Men at arms.... OK... so it's like reading a comic book... it's still lots of fun.....

When I was at the used bookstore, I found another book... now I lay me down to eat by Bernard Rudofsky (turns out that he also wrote The Unfashionable Human Body) I've read part of the first chapter.... and it sounds fun. I just wish he listed some sources.... some of the information, I'd like to find more about......

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I'm supposed to be reading Old Man & The Sea for book club this month as well. Thankfully it's short. Although I hate Ernie's lack of quotation marks!

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I was watching bits of a favorite movies last night (M. Hulot's Holiday) when it occurred to me that the ensemble story really is a work of art, but it's difficult to get right. I think this is an extension of the fact that our minds can only keep track of 5-9 things in short term memory (and, thus, consciousness). Of course, if you can get something past the ST memory and into the LT memory, that's a different animal entirely. But I would guess that, for most people, stories (movies, stories and whatnot) tend to reside in the short term memory unless a person becomes a fan of a particular story.

I am reminded of one of my favorite books, Tales of the South Pacific (James Michener), which is very much an ensemble story and which has literally dozens of notable characters. It is a bit easier to digest, however, in that it is written in the style of a s series of loosely related short stories. Still, several characters (at least 5-9 of them) are recurring and important to the overall structure of the novel - loose though it is. Interestingly, the best character of the lot - Tony Fry - isn't included in the much lauded musical based on the book.

OTOH, there are huge ensemble cast books like Red Storm Rising (Tom Clancy) where it became nigh impossible for me to figure out who was who. This may be more of a criticism of my inability to differentiate one character and their location from another - even with the character list and locations given. I think this is due mainly to the similarity between the various characters. Or it may just be that I can only keep track of 5 items it ST memory rather than 9.

For myself, I like writing stories with character ensembles. My first effort (unfinished) got so out of hand that I needed a list of characters to figure out who was doing what. (Which may well be why it's unfinished.) My second (which is still underway - in a very low key way presently) is a bit more focused. In fact it follows the concept of the MIchener novel. At least I don't need a list of characters to keep track of their goings on.

So I guess I like ensembles. When writing, it's nice because you can switch between characters, depending on who you feel most like writing about. (Or, perhaps, whose persona you wish to mentally adopt.) When reading, so long as I can keep track of things, it gives the story a brighter, easier aspect. At the same time, it allows you to focus on the characters you like and look forward to them re-appearing when they're not around. It works similarly for movies, I suppose.

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In writing stories with a cast it is refreshing and relaxing, I find, to switch viewpoints. It's why my little funtime is my dumb little thing in RR. I typically write/draw historical fiction in the visual format of graphic novel, which, because of just the nature of the beast, almost always features a single dominant protagonist. Why is that? I have my theories...

I do need to write that up sometime soon, a theory of how the presentation of a visual work to a mass audience, by whatever means, is linked to a function of similarity to national symbols, like Uncle Sam, or the British Lion; and that creating a 'popular character' (like, say, Jack Sparrow, or Spiderman, or Bugs Bunny) creates a kind of ad hoc nation, and the protagonist or main character is acting as a 'national symbol' of sorts. Also, that these national symbols or icons occur in predictable patterns throughout human history in the use of popular cultural icons... which means I'll have to dig through the thousands of scans I've got of narrative art from the dawn of time to now. Bummer.

Comes to mind because I've been reading Hobbes' LEVIATHAN again, and thinking about how much the illustration of The Leviathan influenced me a long time ago...

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Well what have I been reading....actually I have a tendency to read more than one book at a time. It keeps me from getting bored.

Right now I am reading....The Guardship by James L. Nelson. I find it to be a very nice historical fictional piece.

Women Sailors & Sailors' Women by David Cordingly is so far very interesting.

I am also reading Viruses, Plagues & History by Michael B. A. Oldstone, which is quite fasinating.

And I just got a new book that I started reading through called The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures by John & Caitlin Mattthews.

I am always looking for good historical fiction and nonfiction books to read so if any one has any suggestions I would greatly appreciate it.

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I finished with Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid awhile back, ripped through Chin Ning Chu's Do Less, Achieve More: Discover the Hidden Powers Giving In and am now reading Don't Sweat the Small Stuff--and it's all small stuff by Richard Carlson. (Thanks to Jacky Tar, who sent this to me in the plunder exchange.)

I may actually start Master and Commander soon. It's been sitting on my bookshelf for several years... (I really like the character of Dr. Maturin in the movie and am hoping for more of same in the books. I am sort of patterning my character after parts of him - with a pirate twist. With perhaps a bit of Captain Misson's ol' ex-priest pal Caraccioli thrown in for good measure.)

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Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)

cover.jpg

I wish the 1975 TV version starring Tim Curry were available on DVD!

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I have just recently started re-reading Culpeper"s Colorful Herbal......It is a very well done book giving both historic and modern day uses of the herbs. The pictures are beautiflly illustrated with a complete description format of each herb.

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John Elting's SWORDS AROUND THE THRONE: the story of Napoleon's Army.

Capt. William

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*

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im reading Charles Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle. its not pirate but its great

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As usual, too many things at once... On Basilisk Station, GURPS Ultra Tech, The Sea Rover's Practice, Dampier's A New Voyage yadayada... and I'm always looking at the next book purchase... like right now, trying to figure out how to get $500 to buy that ultra cool book!

:P

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On a side note, "Beagle" is a premium name for a ship IMO. "My God, man! Do you know what that is?! It's the dread ship Beagle!" :lol:

I am currently reading Portrait of Myself, the autobiography of photographer Margaret Bourke-White. It is an extremely well-written and fascinating account of the life of a very independent woman's rise to the top of her field beginning in the late 20s. Simply splendid.

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pyrate: the republic of pirates

non- pyrate: wicca for one and Before Scotland

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"Empire of Blue Water" by Stephan Talty. It's a really good biography of Morgan and the Brethren. :rolleyes:

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the Jim Butcher series on Sci-Fi.. the Dresdan Files

and then the latest James Paterson book.

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As usual, too many things at once... On Basilisk Station, GURPS Ultra Tech, The Sea Rover's Practice, Dampier's A New Voyage yadayada... and I'm always looking at the next book purchase... like right now, trying to figure out how to get $500 to buy that ultra cool book!

:huh:

A man after my own warped heart! :huh:

Capt. William

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A "novelization":

reliquary.jpg

... the literary equivalent of junk food!

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Currently, Life and Death of the Wicked Lady Skelton by Magdalen King-Hall

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Under the Black Flag and Widdershins (Charles deLint)

Oh, for those of you that like fantasy fiction/scifi, I highly recommend 'The Scar' by China Mieville. It's even got pirates B)

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Giles Milton's White Gold

and

Daniel Vitkus's Piracy, Slavery and Redemption (again)

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The World Is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman

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Currently, Life and Death of the Wicked Lady Skelton by Magdalen King-Hall

Really? Cool! Oh, wait...skelton. Never mind. B)

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'Wicked Lady of Markyate Cell' A good read for those who like Highwaymen

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I'm in the process of reading Nelson's Trafalgar and Patrick O'Brian's HMS Surprise.

I've heard about the sea rover's practice and I would love to read that, but I have no money to buy it and it would appear no libraries around me have it. Booo :lol:

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