Staying at home is the norm... What are you reading?

Hawki

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 5, 2020
7,507
909
118
Country
Australia
Gender
Male
Dracula (2/5)

So, I'm probably going to be called a cultural neanderthal for this, but...I really didn't like this book. Frankly, I'm astounded it became the basis for the modern vampire myth after reading it. I 'get' the idea of vampires, and their popularity, even if I've never really been into vampires myself, but this book? Really?

Okay, anyway, going to deal with this in point form as to why I dislike it, so:

-Why is this written entirely in journal entries? Sometimes, it works, such as the ship log that crashes into the shore (where we learn how Dracula picks off the crew), but most of the time it's unneeded, and if anything, undercuts any sense of tension. Furthermore, all the characters apparently have eidetic memories, because they can record in their journals exactly who says what, and when. I guess the reader struck lucky that the characters all kept journals.

-The story frontloads itself. As in, Harker in Transylvania is more interesting than anything that comes afterwards. These are the most interesting parts of the book in that it takes place in a foreign land (well, foreign to most readers), has a palpable atmosphere, and features Dracula the most (for a book called "Dracula," Dracula himself features very little). But after that, as we get into drama in the UK...meh.

-Things drag on quite a bit. When Lucy gets bitten by Dracula, she gets worse, then better, then worse, then better, then worse, then better, and so on, and so on, and zzz...I get that diseases may not always degenerate the victim in a linear fashion, but even so, goes on too long for my liking. Furthermore, how does Van Helsing get to pop to and from London and Amsterdam so quickly?

-On the subject of Dracula himself...I'm sorry, this novel, in of itself, does little for me. Everything we learn about his backstory mostly comes from Van Helsing (telling us how he attended Scholomance), and okay, sure, but he doesn't feature enough, and his motivations seem to be "I'm evil." I'll give the novel credit, when it actually delves into vampire lore in the context of its setting, it can be interesting, but there's little of that. So much of it is devoted to what's essentially character drama. Which would be fine, if I actually cared about any of the characters, but I don't. The only ones I could really invest myself in were Harker (by virtue of being the sole protagonist at the start), and I guess Van Helsing, only by virtue of him 'talking funny.' Yay...

I can admit, reading this now, over 100 years after it was written, may have done the novel a disservice. Everyone's been exposed to the idea of Dracula and the general tenents of vampires, so going back to the novel now, maybe the 'myth' has ruined the 'canon,' so to speak. But sorry, just didn't enjoy this. It was a drear to read through.
 

Hawki

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 5, 2020
7,507
909
118
Country
Australia
Gender
Male
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (3/5)

Another "classic" book I've read, another book I'm not fond of.

In fairness, what I dislike about AiW is probably why it's so well regarded - it doesn't have a standard plot (structure), and is short, insane, and nonsensical. Nonsense written with intelligence, yes, but nonsense all the same. Also feels a bit of a cop-out that Alice is dreaming. Yes, I knew that going in, but the book literally ends in a snap, as Alice wakes up, and...yeah. That's that.

I think kids would like this more than adults, TBH, and I guess that was who the book was written for, but as a thirty-something cynical bastard, yeah, not for me.
 

Drathnoxis

Artificial Person
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
3,606
453
88
Country
Canada
Gender
Male
Dracula (2/5)

So, I'm probably going to be called a cultural neanderthal for this, but...I really didn't like this book. Frankly, I'm astounded it became the basis for the modern vampire myth after reading it. I 'get' the idea of vampires, and their popularity, even if I've never really been into vampires myself, but this book? Really?

Okay, anyway, going to deal with this in point form as to why I dislike it, so:

-Why is this written entirely in journal entries? Sometimes, it works, such as the ship log that crashes into the shore (where we learn how Dracula picks off the crew), but most of the time it's unneeded, and if anything, undercuts any sense of tension. Furthermore, all the characters apparently have eidetic memories, because they can record in their journals exactly who says what, and when. I guess the reader struck lucky that the characters all kept journals.

-The story frontloads itself. As in, Harker in Transylvania is more interesting than anything that comes afterwards. These are the most interesting parts of the book in that it takes place in a foreign land (well, foreign to most readers), has a palpable atmosphere, and features Dracula the most (for a book called "Dracula," Dracula himself features very little). But after that, as we get into drama in the UK...meh.

-Things drag on quite a bit. When Lucy gets bitten by Dracula, she gets worse, then better, then worse, then better, then worse, then better, and so on, and so on, and zzz...I get that diseases may not always degenerate the victim in a linear fashion, but even so, goes on too long for my liking. Furthermore, how does Van Helsing get to pop to and from London and Amsterdam so quickly?

-On the subject of Dracula himself...I'm sorry, this novel, in of itself, does little for me. Everything we learn about his backstory mostly comes from Van Helsing (telling us how he attended Scholomance), and okay, sure, but he doesn't feature enough, and his motivations seem to be "I'm evil." I'll give the novel credit, when it actually delves into vampire lore in the context of its setting, it can be interesting, but there's little of that. So much of it is devoted to what's essentially character drama. Which would be fine, if I actually cared about any of the characters, but I don't. The only ones I could really invest myself in were Harker (by virtue of being the sole protagonist at the start), and I guess Van Helsing, only by virtue of him 'talking funny.' Yay...

I can admit, reading this now, over 100 years after it was written, may have done the novel a disservice. Everyone's been exposed to the idea of Dracula and the general tenents of vampires, so going back to the novel now, maybe the 'myth' has ruined the 'canon,' so to speak. But sorry, just didn't enjoy this. It was a drear to read through.
I thought Dracula was pretty good, actually. It's been a number of years, though so I don't remember the details enough to debate any of your points. But I thought it was interesting and suspensful and an enjoyable read. I liked it more than Frankenstein anyway.
 

Hawki

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 5, 2020
7,507
909
118
Country
Australia
Gender
Male
Kidnapped (2/5)

Another "classic," and one that I didn't enjoy (again).

Set in the 1750s in Scotland, Davie needs to get back home to claim his inheritence, or something, I...really just didn't care. I think a lot of how much you enjoy this novel will have to do with how much you know about Scottish history in this time period, because if you don't know much about it (like me, admittedly), you're going to be lost.
 

Dalisclock

Making lemons combustible again
Legacy
Escapist +
Apr 18, 2020
7,464
2,121
118
Country
United States
Gender
Male
Dracula (2/5)

So, I'm probably going to be called a cultural neanderthal for this, but...I really didn't like this book. Frankly, I'm astounded it became the basis for the modern vampire myth after reading it. I 'get' the idea of vampires, and their popularity, even if I've never really been into vampires myself, but this book? Really?

Okay, anyway, going to deal with this in point form as to why I dislike it, so:

-Why is this written entirely in journal entries? Sometimes, it works, such as the ship log that crashes into the shore (where we learn how Dracula picks off the crew), but most of the time it's unneeded, and if anything, undercuts any sense of tension. Furthermore, all the characters apparently have eidetic memories, because they can record in their journals exactly who says what, and when. I guess the reader struck lucky that the characters all kept journals.
It's done to make it seem more "Real", like you're reading the articles and journal entries from a "real" event, kinda like how some movies will try to look like Amuater recorded footage from normal folks or incorporate what look like real news broadcasts.

With that out of the way, it's not nearly as fun to read from a modern perspective because of this and feels like a product of it's time. I can appreciate that kind of thing and the book didn't do much for me either when I read it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BrawlMan and Hawki

09philj

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
1,863
562
118
Kidnapped (2/5)

Another "classic," and one that I didn't enjoy (again).

Set in the 1750s in Scotland, Davie needs to get back home to claim his inheritence, or something, I...really just didn't care. I think a lot of how much you enjoy this novel will have to do with how much you know about Scottish history in this time period, because if you don't know much about it (like me, admittedly), you're going to be lost.
Kidnapped is really, really boring. Dracula's kind of an uneven marriage of gothic horror and Guys Being Dudes: Vampire Hunters but I do rather like it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BrawlMan

Dalisclock

Making lemons combustible again
Legacy
Escapist +
Apr 18, 2020
7,464
2,121
118
Country
United States
Gender
Male
1173 BC: The Year CIvilization Collapsed by Eric H. Cline.

A 200 page or so historical discussion about the Bronze Age Collapse, the centuries leading up to it, what we know about the event itself and finally the possible reasons behind it. It's a decent read though a bit dry at times. A fair bit is a discussion of connection between the Near East/Eastern Mediterranean civilizations of the Bronze Age using surviving records(of which there aren't a ton) and archaeological evidence. It was reading the discussion about just how interconnected these cultures were, with Anatolian kingdoms asking Egypt for Grain because of a Famine, large cargos of Bronze which ended up at the bottom of the sea in a shipwreck(like a lot of bronze and obviously not the only one transporting this stuff), Mycenaean artwork showing up in Egyptian Ruins(likely because the Egyptians contracted someone from the Greek cities to paint it) and a Egyption carving with the names of numerous cities from around the Mediterranean on it, in such an order it suggests someone went on tour around the region on what one can only imagine to be a rather fun boat trip. It points to the conclusion the entire region constantly interacted with each other.

If you're coming into this for a "MYSTERY SOLVED!" conclusion, you're not gonna get one. Instead there's some talk about how it was likely a number of things all coming to bear around the same time(around the year 1200 BC) including Climate Change causing a loss of cropland, Famines, social/political instability, war, and a bunch of dudes called Sea Peoples attacking Egypt at the very least(and getting trounced in battle). Cline basically argues while the Sea Peoples had some role to play, they probably get way too much credit as a roving horde bringing down everything in their path and it was likely Systems Collapse instead. The fact only the Egyptians actually talk about them(even captured some and interrogated them) and there were cities (Such as Babylon) which were sacked, FAR from the mediterranean means it was more then just these guys to blame(and we don't really know who the Sea Peoples were, other then being some kind of coalition or something from places we can't identify). Essentially that basically the stress on the civilizations of the time from all these factors just too much and brought the entire region down, pushing the region into a couple centuries of Dark Ages out of which the Classical World would Emerge.

Sadly a lot of this uncertainty is because while there is evidence writing wasn't that rare, much of it just didn't make it to us in the intervening 3000 years(Egypt tended to write a lot in stone and maintained a fair bit of continuity of civilization meaning more ancient stuff survived) so we're guessing from the ruins of ancient ships and cities(such as Mycenae and Troy) for a lot of this. Hell, keep in mind that Homer didn't do his thing until centuries after this all went down, so the Epic cycle is basically legend to him and by the time Classical Greece showed up n the scene, they had these 1000 year old ruins just lying about the place from the previous civilization.

 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: BrawlMan

BrawlMan

Lover of beat'em ups.
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
10,295
3,205
118
Detroit, Michigan
Country
United States of America
Gender
Male
Dracula (2/5)

So, I'm probably going to be called a cultural neanderthal for this, but...I really didn't like this book. Frankly, I'm astounded it became the basis for the modern vampire myth after reading it. I 'get' the idea of vampires, and their popularity, even if I've never really been into vampires myself, but this book? Really?

Okay, anyway, going to deal with this in point form as to why I dislike it, so:

-Why is this written entirely in journal entries? Sometimes, it works, such as the ship log that crashes into the shore (where we learn how Dracula picks off the crew), but most of the time it's unneeded, and if anything, undercuts any sense of tension. Furthermore, all the characters apparently have eidetic memories, because they can record in their journals exactly who says what, and when. I guess the reader struck lucky that the characters all kept journals.

-The story frontloads itself. As in, Harker in Transylvania is more interesting than anything that comes afterwards. These are the most interesting parts of the book in that it takes place in a foreign land (well, foreign to most readers), has a palpable atmosphere, and features Dracula the most (for a book called "Dracula," Dracula himself features very little). But after that, as we get into drama in the UK...meh.

-Things drag on quite a bit. When Lucy gets bitten by Dracula, she gets worse, then better, then worse, then better, then worse, then better, and so on, and so on, and zzz...I get that diseases may not always degenerate the victim in a linear fashion, but even so, goes on too long for my liking. Furthermore, how does Van Helsing get to pop to and from London and Amsterdam so quickly?

-On the subject of Dracula himself...I'm sorry, this novel, in of itself, does little for me. Everything we learn about his backstory mostly comes from Van Helsing (telling us how he attended Scholomance), and okay, sure, but he doesn't feature enough, and his motivations seem to be "I'm evil." I'll give the novel credit, when it actually delves into vampire lore in the context of its setting, it can be interesting, but there's little of that. So much of it is devoted to what's essentially character drama. Which would be fine, if I actually cared about any of the characters, but I don't. The only ones I could really invest myself in were Harker (by virtue of being the sole protagonist at the start), and I guess Van Helsing, only by virtue of him 'talking funny.' Yay...

I can admit, reading this now, over 100 years after it was written, may have done the novel a disservice. Everyone's been exposed to the idea of Dracula and the general tenents of vampires, so going back to the novel now, maybe the 'myth' has ruined the 'canon,' so to speak. But sorry, just didn't enjoy this. It was a drear to read through.
If you want a (then) modern retelling of Dracula, just watch or read Jojo Part 3. Albiet, more action focused and way better characters. Or just play Castlevania Bloodlines again.
 

BrawlMan

Lover of beat'em ups.
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
10,295
3,205
118
Detroit, Michigan
Country
United States of America
Gender
Male
Battle Angel Alita: Mars Chronicles. The series is still on going and takes place after Last Order, and before it too (the flashback chapters). While the series does start out immediate after LO, MC mainly delves in to Alita's (Yoko, is her birth name) past.
...........

My God is her past dark! There is so much creepy imagery and violence, but it does sever a purpose. So far I am loving the story, because even though it's mostly flashback, you're learning more about Alita and her past of those around her. LO's problem is that went overboard on the fight scenes and not much plot progress happened. Hopefully, whenever it comes out, volume 8 of MC will dampen down on the flashbacks, and get back to the present time. Other than that, I am still hooked. So far, I've read all 7 volumes of MC.
 

Breakdown

Oxy Moron
Apr 5, 2020
692
101
48
down a well
Country
Northumbria
Gender
Lad
Eon, by Greg Bear.

The first two thirds of the book are great, and then it goes off the tracks. It was a slog to finish in the end.
 

Hawki

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 5, 2020
7,507
909
118
Country
Australia
Gender
Male
Frankenstein (1/5)

Look, I'm willing to admit that maybe I just don't "get" Frankenstein. After all, I didn't "get" War and Peace either. But, I'm sorry, I just couldn't get into this, not its writing, not its plot, not its characters. But...Ugh.

Again, maybe I'm a cultural neanderthal, but...fuck it.
 

Drathnoxis

Artificial Person
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
3,606
453
88
Country
Canada
Gender
Male
Frankenstein (1/5)

Look, I'm willing to admit that maybe I just don't "get" Frankenstein. After all, I didn't "get" War and Peace either. But, I'm sorry, I just couldn't get into this, not its writing, not its plot, not its characters. But...Ugh.

Again, maybe I'm a cultural neanderthal, but...fuck it.
Frankenstein just isn't very good because Victor is a massive idiot. To quote myself

Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.

*spoilers incoming*

Was alright, I guess, but man was Victor Frankenstein an idiot! He spends years bringing his creature to life, takes one look at it and runs away and goes to sleep. I don't think he could possibly be any more irresponsible. He immediately decides it's a monster without any further investigation and then doesn't even try to dispose of it or anything, he just basically hopes it will go away if he tries not to think of it. And it does for a while, until it comes back and murders his brother and asks for a companion with which to disappear into the wilderness of Africa with. Frankenstein agrees and then goes on a sightseeing tour around the United Kingdom for... some reason. He finally gets around to working on creature #2 before he decides he doesn't want to do it after all and reneges on his promise. The monster threatens to make his life miserable and Frankenstein is basically 'whatevs.' Then he dumps the remains of his project in the ocean and promptly falls asleep in his boat, floats adrift for hours until he has no idea where he is, and almost dies. Then his friend is murdered, and Frankenstein never seems to connect that his creation may not intend to kill him, but actually intends to kill everyone he ever loved. He then does absolutely nothing about it and decides he'll get married, and what a shocker, the monster kills his wife.

What a moron! The only time he tried to take an ounce of responsibility for his creation was when it was already too late and everyone he ever loved was dead. And then he has the audacity to lecture the crew of a boat trying to find a way through an ice-field about courage and honor and all that nonsense when they want to give up. What a hypocrite! Basically the whole plot wouldn't have happened if Frankenstein hadn't been holding the idiot ball the entire book and had either raised or destroyed his creature instead of running screaming into the night.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dalisclock

Drathnoxis

Artificial Person
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
3,606
453
88
Country
Canada
Gender
Male
Murder Can Spook Your Cat - A murder mystery that was on my shelf. It was pretty boring. For most of the book we aren't even sure if the death is a homicide and the story is mostly focused on the guy the protagonist is dating that is a complete jerk and she doesn't know why she's dating him but doesn't dump him... because.

I'm still reading Les Miserables, but I hate it. I'm about 60% of the way through and it's becoming a really terrible love story between two people that have never spoken and just looked at each other in the park for a couple months, and the narrator just keeps going on and on and on and on about how beautiful love is, and the beauty of the innocence of young girls, and how divine love is, for CHAPTERS AND CHAPTERS. It makes me want to puke. Also the book is just coincidence piled upon coincidence. Somehow all the main characters keep running into each other. Like Jean Valjean keeps accidentally running into Javert like he's the only cop in the world. Also the narrator keeps going off on extremely long tangents on all kinds of topics that barely have anything to do with the book, like convents and the battle of Waterloo. This book is firmly in the Moby Dick category of 'classics.' Except Moby Dick was considerably shorter, I believe.

I took a break from the book and read The Princess Bride, which was pretty good and coincidentally lambasts the exact style of book that Les Miserables is.
 

TheMysteriousGX

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 12, 2020
4,097
1,803
118
Country
United States
Tone shift!

Happy Kanako's Killer Life

225693DA-2BDD-4943-ADB4-C660138CFCCA.jpeg


Kanako is a much abused former office worker who was bullied out of her former job. Accidentally applying to an Assassination Firm, she finds out that she's a natural when she effortlessly takes out her former boss, who had a hit put out on him because he's a dickhead.

And so it goes. Despite the obvious potential for this to be very dark, the manga does not do that. It's a bright and cheery comedy.

19EF9D3C-89D5-49D7-ADC7-33DF3D09881D.jpeg
 

09philj

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
1,863
562
118
The Atrocity Exhibition, which is an experimental novel by JG Ballard. It is a series of chapters that don't really constitute any kind of ongoing narrative thread but are connected through repeated motifs and the recurrence of certain characters, albeit in new guises and roles. It is unlike anything else I have ever read and a work that captures something particular about modernity through imagery that is familiar yet alien and completely depraved. It is a perversion of science fiction that selects as its fantastical element the idea that people might attempt to gain an fuller understanding of the modern world through analysing the connection between celebrities, car accidents, and sex. I like it, but I am very surprised that anyone else liked it enough that I could just walk into my local branch of Waterstones and buy it.

RONALD REAGAN AND THE CONCEPTUAL AUTO DISASTER. Numerous studies have been conducted upon patients in terminal paresis (GPI), placing Reagan in a series of simulated auto crashes, e.g. multiple pileups, head-on collisions, motorcade attacks (fantasies of Presidential assassinations remained a continuing preoccupation, subject showing a marked polymorphic fixation on windshields and rear trunk assemblies). Powerful erotic fantasies of an anal-sadistic surrounded the image of the Presidential contender.
 

Hawki

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 5, 2020
7,507
909
118
Country
Australia
Gender
Male
Read some stuff:

Sonic the Hedgehog Free Comic Book Day 2021 (2/5)

Avatar Free Comic Book Day 2021 (3/5)

Gears of War Omnibus: Volume 2 (5/5)

Sonic the Hedgehog 30th Anniversary Special (4/5)

Mega Man: Volume 1 – Let the Games Begin! (4/5)

The Witcher: The Last Wish (3/5)

The Honest History Book (3/5)
 

lostinreality

Regular Member
May 20, 2021
33
17
13
Country
UK
Do ya'll have any Sci-Fi mangas or books to recommend? I'm honestly looking for something in that genre, but it has been lackluster as of late...

On another note, what I've been reading so far:

Assassin's Creed Book Series – weird, I never knew this had a book version and found it while strolling through a book store. The writing is meh, but it holds the same AC storyline :D
 

TheMysteriousGX

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 12, 2020
4,097
1,803
118
Country
United States
Do ya'll have any Sci-Fi mangas or books to recommend? I'm honestly looking for something in that genre, but it has been lackluster as of late...

On another note, what I've been reading so far:

Assassin's Creed Book Series – weird, I never knew this had a book version and found it while strolling through a book store. The writing is meh, but it holds the same AC storyline :D
John Scalzi does good sci-fi. Old Man's War is a fun space fighting one about geriatric people getting new bodies and fighting for space colonies, Lock In is a FBI crime story on an Earth where some people drive around robot bodies due to a neurological condition, and Fuzzy Nation is a fun story about a disbarred lawyer turned mining prospector taking on an interstellar mining consortium
 
  • Like
Reactions: lostinreality

Drathnoxis

Artificial Person
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
3,606
453
88
Country
Canada
Gender
Male
Do ya'll have any Sci-Fi mangas or books to recommend? I'm honestly looking for something in that genre, but it has been lackluster as of late...
For Science Comedy I'd recommend Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy or Yahtzee's Will Save the Galaxy for Food series, which was really good.

For more traditional Sci-Fi I enjoyed Azimov's short stories and thought the first couple Foundation books were really good.
 

lostinreality

Regular Member
May 20, 2021
33
17
13
Country
UK
John Scalzi does good sci-fi. Old Man's War is a fun space fighting one about geriatric people getting new bodies and fighting for space colonies, Lock In is a FBI crime story on an Earth where some people drive around robot bodies due to a neurological condition, and Fuzzy Nation is a fun story about a disbarred lawyer turned mining prospector taking on an interstellar mining consortium
Thank you for the wonderful recommendation. Old Man's War sounds like something up in my alley, Lock In sounds like a fun thriller, and Fuzzy Nation sounds absolutely bizarre–I love it! Will be giving a look if any are in my local book store.
For Science Comedy I'd recommend Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy or Yahtzee's Will Save the Galaxy for Food series, which was really good.

For more traditional Sci-Fi I enjoyed Azimov's short stories and thought the first couple Foundation books were really good.
This sounds akin to that parody zombie movie, scout's guide to a zombie apocalypse(?) will check this out, sounds like a good fun read. I read Azimov! Love his stuff really.

Thank you both for the suggestions!