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Jason Tandro
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PostJason Tandro Posted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:24 am   Post subject: TerraEarth Book Club Reply with quote

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Okay there wasn't much initial interest in this , but I'm gonna start it anyways. I'll make a recommendation each month for some books to read, but really we can discuss any book that we are reading.

March Recommendations:
Fantasy: The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
Horror: The Woman In Black, Susan Hill
Wildcard: The Last Juror, John Grisham
Video Game Related: The Fall of Reach, Eric Nylund


I've been reading The Hobbit. While I have read the book and listened to the audiobook several times already it's still one of my favorite fantasy books. This may make me lose all my fantasy credibility, but I've never read The Lord of the Rings books (well I got about halfway through Book Two of the Fellowship of the Ring, but then I stopped). The Hobbit, while it is definitely aimed at a more general audience, is also an enjoyably told story. There are parts of Lord of the Rings that read like a history textbook, and you don't get as much of that in The Hobbit. It's obviously a more concise and focused story as well, though it leaves room for expansion (which obviously it then does). I'm sure you're all familiar with the story so there's not much else I can tell you. Check it out, if you haven't.

The Woman In Black will be a new one for me this month. I saw the movie on the night I asked Stef to marry me. I didn't realize there was a book until recently. I plan on sitting down with that when I'm done the Hobbit. It's a short book too, so I could probably knock it out in a night. (I'm a very fast reader).

The Last Juror is part legal thriller but mostly a "slice-of-life" kind of story. John Grisham is my absolute favorite author and I think this might be my favorite story. Without giving away too much of the story, it's about a man who sets up a newspaper in Ford County, MS and his life adjusting to the people in it, especially an old African-American woman who is serving on the jury of a very publicized case. Like most of Grisham's novels the tone flits around as life does. There are funny moments, intriguing moments, scary moments and probably one of the saddest moments I've ever read in a book. I was 19 when I first read the book and I just about teared up on the bus while reading it. Not everybody is into these kinda books, but if you pick it up I think you'll enjoy it.

The Fall of Reach is the Video Game Related entry for this month. It's based on the Halo series, so suffice to say if you haven't played Halo you have no interest in it, and if you have played Halo, you may have already read it. But if you haven't it's worth a read. It doesn't exactly mesh with Forward Unto Dawn or Halo: Reach, but this precedes both so there has to be a bit of differences. However they are very subtle and actually Halo 4 takes a LOT of the story elements of its game specifically from this book.

So you can either join along and read one of these books or make your own recommendations. Or just talk about whatever you've been reading.
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PostEverPhoenix Posted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:36 am   Post subject: Reply with quote

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I generally (almost exclusively) read fantasy fiction, and yet I've never read The Hobbit. I watched the first part of the movie, and am going to judge the book by the style of that, and what I remember from Lord of the Rings. Feel free to correct me if I'm completely off the mark, but it doesn't look like the kind of book I'd enjoy. The incredibly slow pace of the movie is part of it - if it takes a hour for anything to happen, is the first chunk of the book going to be a dinner party? I read LotR many years ago, and I don't remember it leaving much of an impression as an awesome book. Other books I have read have done that, but LotR didn't. Also, I have a general dislike for what I'll call "Dungeons and Dragons Fantasy" (even though, by my research, it was Tolkein who popularised this, not Gygax) - elves, dwarves, orcs, baseless magic, wizards, etc. Don't get me wrong - High Fantasy is great. I love world-building and things like that. I just prefer less... generic (again, I know, LotR introduced them to the world of fantasy, but I'm reading now, not 50 odd years ago) fantasy magic, creatures, etc. Well-thought-out magic that can be understood on a good level. Simple names, likable characters...

Onto a more constructive part of this post - recommendations, and what I'm currently reading.

Recommendations
Anything by Brandon Sanderson. Seriously. This guy is amazing. Although if you want a single book to read, not a series, I would suggest Elantris.

Currently Reading
Or attempting to, whatever. The Traitor Spy trilogy by Trudi Canavan. It's a sequel trilogy to The Black Magician. I'm on the first book.
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Jason Tandro
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PostJason Tandro Posted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:15 am   Post subject: Reply with quote

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Well, EP, the number 1 thing I have to say about the movies is this. They add a bunch of crap in the film that either:

a) didn't happen at all
b) happened in the same point in the timeline, but not actually in The Hobbit
c) would allow them to reuse as many old images from the original series as possible.

The "dinner party" takes place in the first chapter of the book. In the very next chapter you are dealing with the trolls at the campsite. In a rare feat, the movie is actually slower paced than the book (mainly because they chose for some reason to stretch the damn thing out into three when Rankin / Bass (while they missed a few minor details and one or two major details) fit it into 90 minutes.)

Ironically the Rankin / Bass Hobbit is actually a bit truer to the book in terms of tone, pacing, etc. And frankly I think the music is better. Tolkien does tend to drag on a bit, around the middle it focuses a little too much on this one section, but otherwise it's a completely different experience from what you're expecting. I'd pick up a copy at a library and just thumb through it and you'll get an idea of the pacing.
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Postinferiare Posted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:51 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote

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Piping up to say that anything they used to elongate the movie out to be able to do 3 movies is actually history from the Silmarillion and the encyclopedia that Tolkien wrote later. So while The Hobbit is a lot of silliness in the book, I'm actually a little grateful for the stuff that otherwise happened behind the scenes and getting some introspection into the history of Middle Earth as opposed to nothing. It's probably why I didn't enjoy The Hobbit as a book as much as I enjoyed Lord of the Rings. I like good worldbuilding stories, and injecting more of that element into a book I otherwise thought was all right? Was fine by me.
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PostSoulBlazerFan Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:43 am   Post subject: Reply with quote

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inferiare wrote:
Piping up to say that anything they used to elongate the movie out to be able to do 3 movies is actually history from the Silmarillion and the encyclopedia that Tolkien wrote later. So while The Hobbit is a lot of silliness in the book, I'm actually a little grateful for the stuff that otherwise happened behind the scenes and getting some introspection into the history of Middle Earth as opposed to nothing. It's probably why I didn't enjoy The Hobbit as a book as much as I enjoyed Lord of the Rings. I like good worldbuilding stories, and injecting more of that element into a book I otherwise thought was all right? Was fine by me.


We must also not forget that the Hobbit we have today is different from the original source book. Tolkien rewrote a portion of the book (Mostly the Gollum stuff) to be more inline with LoTR, as lines in the original book contradicted things in LoTR. Also, as legend goes, there was a plan to rewrite the Hobbit to be further closer to LoTR, but his death stopped this. As it so happens, a friend of Tolkiens has these notebooks of sidenotes and planned expansions to the book, and these were supposedly used to extend the new films, alongside the added material from the Silmarillion.
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Jason Tandro
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PostJason Tandro Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:16 am   Post subject: Reply with quote

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The version I have of The Hobbit actually was a compilation of the rewrite and some "ghost written" stuff based on Tolkiens notations. Though to be fair the changes are subtle, i really couldnt tell the difference.
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Jason Tandro
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PostJason Tandro Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:52 am   Post subject: Reply with quote

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Okay so along with having read the entire Hunger Games Trilogy in June, I just got myself an Audible account. I downloaded the complete version of World War Z, and re-bought Lewis Black's "Nothing's Sacred" because I really like it.

But the main thing I picked up was Yahtzee Croshaw's (as in Zero Punctuation) Mogworld. I tore threw that and I have to be honest it is probably the funniest book that I have ever read. Having Yahtzee himself read it to you is even funnier.

If you haven't had a chance to look into it, I highly recommend it. It's got the best elements of British Humor such as Douglas Adamas and Monty Python, mixed with gaming and internet culture humor.
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