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Thread: What are you Reading?

  1. #1421
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paint_It_Black View Post
    I love how King used the Bachman pseudonym to really try out some different stuff to his usual fare. I mean, I guess that's always the point of writing under an assumed name, and in reality King didn't deviate all that far from his established genre I suppose. It's not like he started writing romance novels. Whatever. I'm digressing. Point is, King usually pleases me the most when he gets furthest away from his typical horror routine. He also really shines at novellas and short stories, which is perhaps surprising considering his novels tend to be epic tomes that go on forever. The Bachman books had a tendency to incorporate interesting sci-fi concepts done in a fairly high-brow manner, meaning the sci-fi was allegorical more often that merely gratuitous fun. Bachman could arguably be said to have more literary credibility than King, but only because King's amazing work, such as the seminal collection Different Seasons, is generally overshadowed by his supernatural fare.

    Anyway, did you enjoy it?

    Didn't he invent the Richard Bachman pseudonym so that he could publish more books because authors weren't really supposed to publish more than one book in a year?

    I love Stephen King anyway (especially The Dark Tower series - nearly finished it) and I hear The Stand is supposed to be amazing, so looking forward to getting around to that. I don't care how many people think his fiction is low-brow, he's a damn good author.


    I'm currently reading GRR Martin's A Dance with Dragons Part 1.

    I'm also reading Tolkien's translation of Beowulf - I'm more looking forward to his retelling of it, Sellic Spell which is also included in the book, as I've read Beowulf enough times in the last few years.

    And I've just finished Native Tongue by Suzette Haden Elgin, a novel about a future world where men reign supreme and women are second class citizens. It was very good minus the whole man-hating vibe. But other than that, there was interesting sci-fi and linguistic elements in it.

  2. #1422
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alison View Post
    Didn't he invent the Richard Bachman pseudonym so that he could publish more books because authors weren't really supposed to publish more than one book in a year?
    Haha, really? I hadn't heard that, but yeah, could be. I don't believe that would be a problem for most authors. But then, most authors aren't coke-fuelled writing machines. King has entire books he can't remember writing, supposedly.

    I agree that King is a very good author. A nice blend of mainstream appeal and real talent. I think he was the first author I became obsessed with. I read everything of his I could get my hands on for about a ten-year period, starting at 11 or 12. I like to think I'll go back to him at some point, try to finish The Dark Tower series at least.

    Have you read Insomnia? That's one of my favourites and ties in nicely with The Dark Tower too.

    The Stand is great, though I found the ending to be hugely disappointing. Still, everything else was awesome. It also ties in with The Dark Tower, or rather The Dark Tower ties in with it. I seem to remember Roland's group travelling to the world of The Stand briefly in one of the books. Might have been the same time they went to Topeka, KS and saw the World Famous Topeka Zoo. That was fantastic for me because I was living in Topeka when I read that. Anyway. Also, the primary antagonist of The Stand appears in The Eyes of the Dragon and possibly some other work.


    Quote Originally Posted by Alison View Post

    I'm currently reading GRR Martin's A Dance with Dragons Part 1.
    Ha, me too. Well, sort of. I've taken an extended break.
    Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Bill Hicks

  3. #1423
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paint_It_Black View Post
    Have you read Insomnia? That's one of my favourites and ties in nicely with The Dark Tower too.

    The Stand is great, though I found the ending to be hugely disappointing. Still, everything else was awesome. It also ties in with The Dark Tower, or rather The Dark Tower ties in with it. I seem to remember Roland's group travelling to the world of The Stand briefly in one of the books. Might have been the same time they went to Topeka, KS and saw the World Famous Topeka Zoo. That was fantastic for me because I was living in Topeka when I read that. Anyway. Also, the primary antagonist of The Stand appears in The Eyes of the Dragon and possibly some other work.
    I haven't read Insomnia, but I'm sure I will get around to it eventually.

    I like how The Dark Tower ties in with lots of his books - I just read the fifth Dark Tower recently and it tied in with Salem's Lot which was pretty cool. And I think you're right about The Stand world being Topeka, as they look at a newspaper which mentions the super flu.

    I think I also started reading King when I was around 10 or so, and I remember each week buying a new book by him, which was pretty handy seen as even grocery stores will stock his books.

    I think besides The Dark Tower (so far) my favourite would be Carrie. The (original) film was great too!

  4. #1424
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alison View Post
    I think I also started reading King when I was around 10 or so
    Did your parents know/care? It amazes me how most parents will take at least some interest in the kind of things their children are watching or the games they are playing, and then pay no attention at all to what their kids are reading. I remember reading It when I was 11 or 12, basically the same age as the protagonists of the book, and it fucked me up pretty bad. I mean, that book is terrifying. It would freak me out even now, but as a kid, reading it alone under the covers in my room at night it sort of traumatized me. It got so bad I had to ask my mum to take it away from me. But then, because I needed to know how it ended, I just sneakily took it back and kept reading it.

    I think books are so powerful, the written word searing itself into your mind in a way audio/visual content just can't manage. King's books tend to have really well developed characters that you really grow to care about, particularly since his novels tend to be very long, and then he does horrific things to them so that by that point it kinda feels like he's doing it to your own friends or family. As an adult we have barriers but as a kid I feel like I was completely immersed in whatever I read, it became completely real for me while I was reading it, and King was a terrible choice for a child. I'm really curious whether you had any bad experiences with it yourself and whether you would let your own kids read the same kind of stuff?
    Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Bill Hicks

  5. #1425
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paint_It_Black View Post
    Anyway, did you enjoy it?
    Well yeah, I guess I did. The end seemed a little rushed though.
    Lots of psychological and physical chasms and subsequently deaths.
    Of the Bachmann books I enjoyed reading 'Blaze' the most.
    Turn the lights on.

  6. #1426
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paint_It_Black View Post
    Did your parents know/care? It amazes me how most parents will take at least some interest in the kind of things their children are watching or the games they are playing, and then pay no attention at all to what their kids are reading. I remember reading It when I was 11 or 12, basically the same age as the protagonists of the book, and it fucked me up pretty bad. I mean, that book is terrifying. It would freak me out even now, but as a kid, reading it alone under the covers in my room at night it sort of traumatized me. It got so bad I had to ask my mum to take it away from me. But then, because I needed to know how it ended, I just sneakily took it back and kept reading it.

    I think books are so powerful, the written word searing itself into your mind in a way audio/visual content just can't manage. King's books tend to have really well developed characters that you really grow to care about, particularly since his novels tend to be very long, and then he does horrific things to them so that by that point it kinda feels like he's doing it to your own friends or family. As an adult we have barriers but as a kid I feel like I was completely immersed in whatever I read, it became completely real for me while I was reading it, and King was a terrible choice for a child. I'm really curious whether you had any bad experiences with it yourself and whether you would let your own kids read the same kind of stuff?

    My dad actually bought me my first Stephen King book. I really don't think they gave it much thought to be honest. When I was around 10 I also read a book Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt, which has rape and incest and masturbation and stuff, and my parents never said a word to me about it! I only realised when a teacher said it to me in school that maybe I shouldn't have been reading it. I also read American Psycho when I was about 13 or 14 - that was the one book my mom ever told me I couldn't read - so naturally I read it. I think reading that at such a young age accounts for my high tolerance (and enjoyment) of gore and violence in books and films.

    I don't think I ever had any bad experiences with reading King - I'm sure a few scenes in The Shining were disturbing to me, and I remember having nightmares about a scene in The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (the wasp scene), but nothing drastic.

    I agree that its quite funny in a way that books never really receive the same level of censorship as a film, despite the fact that books have changed the world and can be extremely influential on a person - it seems to be this general consensus that books are boring and the people who read them are the innocent nerds. A lot of my friends would never even pick up a book because they don't think it could ever be exciting. As you say, you can really immerse yourself in a book and make deep connections to the characters - perhaps when reading a book you are able to create your own images of them, and almost invent subconsciously some other traits for them, whereas in other media you aren't really allowed do that - book characters can be made your own in a way. And then it can be really heart-wrenching when something happens to them, because in a weird small way, they are also your character.

    Wow, I really think I'm talking shit here!

  7. #1427
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alison View Post
    Wow, I really think I'm talking shit here!
    Nope, nailed it. I think maybe because we do get to subconsciously fill in the gaps it's also easier to empathize, sometimes, with a character who is merely words on a page rather than one being portrayed by a living, breathing human being. Or maybe there's an added connection because they get to be a voice in my head, and usually the only voice in my head is me, so that feels sort of intimate. Or something. Okay, now I'm talking shit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alison View Post
    I agree that its quite funny in a way that books never really receive the same level of censorship as a film, despite the fact that books have changed the world and can be extremely influential on a person - it seems to be this general consensus that books are boring and the people who read them are the innocent nerds.
    Definitely. And also the idea, which I generally approve of, that books are sort of sacred and any attempt to censor them in any way is wrong. But the fact that they don't even come with any kind of age restriction is kind of amazing when you think about it. Are people just assuming that any kid actually willing to pick up a book and read it must also have the maturity to cope with the content? Because that's an incredible assumption. Particularly in the western world where protecting the kids is often taken to such extreme levels that we actually damage kids by sheltering them too much. The world of books is just this weird little bubble where the rules don't apply.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alison View Post
    I think reading that at such a young age accounts for my high tolerance (and enjoyment) of gore and violence in books and films.
    I've never considered this before, but now I wonder if my choice of reading material at such a formative age might have contributed to my tendency towards depression and nihilism. Huh. I wonder if I could sue Stephen King? Haha.

    I'm weird when it comes to violence and gore. I love it, particularly in some sort of battle scene, but at some point in my twenties I stopped being able to enjoy movies like Saw. The whole torture-porn genre just makes me feel ill. I guess it is the sadistic element rather than the violence or gore itself. I empathize too much and it's just not a fun time.

    Yeah, I'm really straying off-topic, but the bbs is dead and I have nothing better to be doing.
    Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Bill Hicks

  8. #1428
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paint_It_Black View Post

    I've never considered this before, but now I wonder if my choice of reading material at such a formative age might have contributed to my tendency towards depression and nihilism. Huh. I wonder if I could sue Stephen King? Haha.

    I'm weird when it comes to violence and gore. I love it, particularly in some sort of battle scene, but at some point in my twenties I stopped being able to enjoy movies like Saw. The whole torture-porn genre just makes me feel ill. I guess it is the sadistic element rather than the violence or gore itself. I empathize too much and it's just not a fun time.

    Yeah, I'm really straying off-topic, but the bbs is dead and I have nothing better to be doing.

    I do wonder how much books can shape who we are - I guess its a hard one to find out. But in general reading books increases your intelligence, and intelligent people are more likely to be depressed - maybe you can sue the literary world in general then. And some studies say that reading fiction increases a person's empathy.
    But I am sure there must be some link with particular books and genres people read too. I love to read melancholy books about loneliness that are heart-wrenchingly depressing, and I really don't know why. I literally cannot resist buying books that look like they're going to depress the hell out of me (I bought Too Loud a Solitude by Bohumil Hrabal just because of the title).

    It's a very interesting topic. Books can really expose you to things that would otherwise be censored. No matter how they may have messed me up, I'm kind of happy that they did...I think...

  9. #1429
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    I Think that images/movies/games are more censored because it can be definitely more shocking than reading a terrifying scene...

    When you watch a movie or play a game, you're watching somebody else's vision of horror.

    When you read, even if it's scary, I think your brain always makes it bearable. You create the vision.

    When I was 11, my older brother started to read "It". The cover of the book had that horrible clown on it, sneaking through a manhole. I didn't sleep for a week just because of the cover and didn't walk on a manhole for... years.
    But a year later, I read the book and other King's stuff... It was scary but it NEVER had the same effect on me than this book cover.

    The funny thing is you never feel closer to the characters feelings and thoughts than when reading a book. Game of Thrones is a perfect example. Especially because of the way it's narrated. It's a lot easier to feel close to the characters with the books than with the TV show...
    But the Red Wedding felt more shocking in the TV show than in the book...
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  10. #1430
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harleyquiiinn View Post

    When you watch a movie or play a game, you're watching somebody else's vision of horror.

    When you read, even if it's scary, I think your brain always makes it bearable. You create the vision.
    That's quite interesting because for me the opposite is true. As a kid I had no problem with scary films or games or really images of any kind. But when reading, when creating the vision as you put it (I like that), my mind doesn't seem to have the same safety mechanisms in place as yours.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harleyquiiinn View Post
    But the Red Wedding felt more shocking in the TV show than in the book...

    I find that hard to judge, myself. In the books it was literally shocking in the sense that I had no suspicion it was coming. When I later watched the show I couldn't really be shocked because I knew what to expect. I just can't gauge it fairly because I can only be surprised the first time.
    Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Bill Hicks

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