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Books and Comics



  • 117 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • dumps said:

    What are you reading?


    Been stalled out on the tie-in stories leading up to the "Civil War" arc in Marvel Comics. I am hoping to get into the actual Civil War stories soon, though.

    Two new books I read in the past two weeks:

    "The Girl on the Train" - For some reason, I was thinking this was going to be some kind of supernatural thriller based on the two-sentence explanation of the story, but it ended up being a murder-mystery sort of thing. The story was pretty good with a fair number of twists, but ended satisfactorily and I don't feel like I wasted a book credit ordering it from Audible. Interesting character development and almost a Pulp Fiction-like narration, with interwoven narrations from three of the main characters spaced out over different times over the course of a year. Wouldn't recommend it highly, but is a quick read and didn't lose my interest.

    "The Girl With All The Gifts" - This book has been near the top of the Audible lists for science fiction, and at first I wasn't sure how good it would be since it is not too dissimilar from several other post-apocalyptic/zombie/flesh-eating-monster stories that have already been saturated heavily in all forms of media. This story was different in a couple of ways that made it hold my interest a little longer. First, the development of the zombie/undead as characters was handled very well. Second, the time invested in the "science" behind the zombie/undead outbreak was actually very well thought out and seemingly well researched for something that couldn't possibly happen (or could it???). Highly recommend this book if you're not tapped out on the genre.

    Might stray back into non-fiction for a bit. Been hearing lots of good things about "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" and had a paper copy of the book given to me as a Christmas gift by my residency director that I haven't touched. I blew an Audible credit on the audio version so I'm going to give it a listen and see if it's all it's cracked up to be. Perhaps I'll be more effective afterwards in some way. I'll keep you posted.
  • You know you're, like, officially the MC expert in our group now.
  • I believe that "7 Habits.." is pretty good.  I've read it twice...I don't know if that makes me 14 times more effective or not, though. :)
  • What's the math on that?  Squared?
  • dumps said:

    You know you're, like, officially the MC expert in our group now.

    LOL. I *do* appreciate the gesture, but that's like saying you're officially the Simpsons expert in the group because you quoted a few episodes from 20 years ago. 

    I will say this much, though: I actually *got* the reference to Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet during the credits in Age of Ultron. I've come a long way in a short time. 
  • I may be "aware" of characters and situations from the Marvel Universe, but you've definitely read a shitload more comics than I have.
  • I will say that I have learned a ton about X-Men from the podcast I've referenced a few times, Xplain the Xmen. They review X-Men chronologically and highlight stories and arcs. It's been invaluable on its own, but has led me to look at several early Uncanny X-Men arcs (like Dark Phoenix).

    I might start looking into the Avengers comics, too. And I still want to dive into Thanos as well at some point. Gotta make that Marvel Unlimited subscription worth it!
  • MattyDoo said:

    I will say that I have learned a ton about X-Men from the podcast I've referenced a few times, Xplain the Xmen. They review X-Men chronologically and highlight stories and arcs. It's been invaluable on its own, but has led me to look at several early Uncanny X-Men arcs (like Dark Phoenix).

    I might start looking into the Avengers comics, too. And I still want to dive into Thanos as well at some point. Gotta make that Marvel Unlimited subscription worth it!

    A while back. I borrowed the Infinity Gauntlet series where Thanos first gathered the jewels from a guy at the comic shop I go to. I can't remember the name of the series, but it was pretty good. It was neat seeing how he tricked In-Betweener, Champion, Collector and the rest. Good stuff!

  • dumps said:

    What are you reading?

    Was going to read "7 Habits" but got an email saying my rental of one of Bill Bryson's books was available from the Free Library of Philadelphia. As such, I was sidetracked into reading "At Home" by the aforementioned Bryson.

    Not sure if I've talked much about Bryson in the past, but he's slowly becoming one of my favorite authors. I initially started reading his stuff with "A Short History of Nearly Everything" a few years back, which really opened the door to a lot of my more modern interests in science, space exploration and, ultimately, medicine. But most of his books are really easy reads about different aspects of history. I highly recommend "One Summer" if you're interested in a really good review of the summer of 1927 in the U.S. Fantastic historical read.

    What he does is paint pictures of what life was like during particular historical periods using simple modern examples as the impetus to explore origins of things. "At Home" explores the history of domesticity, using each room of his own house as a backdrop to explore the history of different home areas, the origins of words that we use commonly yet don't always recognize where they originated, and how these fit into the context of what was going on in larger society and the environment at the time.

    His books are super easy reads, usually brought down to the level of casual conversation, and though this book is a little heavier in British history than I'd prefer, overall it's a fascinating read and an interesting history of both the home and the different rooms and lifestyles that led to their modern development and use. I swear you'll never read a more interesting review of a staircase.
  • As an aside from Matt's erudite commentaries on literature, I am picking up Marvel's main series of Secret Wars.  It is confusing as hell, and makes very little sense.  Even the wikipedia page isn't much help.
  • Heh, I'm nothing if not erudite. Assuming, of course, by erudite you mean having a giant penis.
  • Wasn't that the saying from Full House? "How erudite!" I'm pretty sure that was what she was saying. Right? 
  • dumps said:

    What are you reading?

    Just completed the latest in my review of the works of Bill Bryson, titled "Made In America." The book was a lengthy but interesting review of the English language told through the lens of American cultural history. Truly remarkable storytelling and featured a lot of interesting historical tidbits about American culture. Kinda neat to see how words became part of the language.

    I looked over the rest of Bryson's work and did not find many others to be terribly interesting from my perspective, but I will likely re-read his enjoyable
    "A Short History of Nearly Everything" very soon.

    Have any of you read Bryson?
  • dumps said:

    What are you reading?

    Just finished "How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century, and the Patient Zero of Piracy" by Stephen Witt in the past couple of days. I'm a big fan of historical fact-based narratives, and this one piqued my interest because it actually tells the story of OUR history, right as we lived through it.

    We've all participated in or been affected by Napster and mp3 technology, and this books dives into the history of the file format and the pirating of music and the evolution of the music industry throughout this time. It tells the stories of the record executives and music pirates from their perspective and how everything evolved from the early file-sharing sites to the present day.

    Interestingly, the author notes that he was a 1997 high school graduate, which I thought made the parallel that much more compelling.

    It's a relatively short book (9 hours of audio) but was fascinating and pretty well written. Highly recommended.

    I'm also still slogging through "Civil War" and its many tie-in comics. Very very cool stuff.
  • edited July 2015 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    dumps said:

    What are you reading?

    I diverted back into Stephen King territory again, reading "Mr. Mercedes," the first of a trilogy. It was a good read, a pretty standard cop/evil criminal story, but there were a few legit twists that kept it interesting. In typical Stephen King fashion, there are certainly uncomfortable parts (cataloging the thoughts of a psycho killer lends itself to some odd moments) but otherwise the characters and plot development were solid and well reasoned.

    I appreciate King's most recent works more and more. I've found that he's combined the best parts of his early writing (strong character development and realistic dialogue) with stories that venture out of the pulp thrills and horror of his earlier works. Not that I don't appreciate those works, but his maturity and continued improvement as a multifaceted storyteller have been very evident in the stories I've read from the past few years.

    I grabbed "Finders Keepers," the second in the trilogy, to read next. Since it just came out, I expect it'll be another year or so before the third is out. I don't think the stories are connected outside of the main characters, though, so the break in reading continuity shouldn't be a big issue (unlike with "The Three Body Problem," where I might have to reread the original after the last two of that trilogy are translated from Chinese).

    Haven't opened comics in a couple of weeks, but hope to get back to Civil War soon. I'm also at least a couple issues behind in "The Walking Dead," so I'll be back into those soon too.
    Post edited by MattyDoo at 2015-07-21 14:04:17
  • dumps said:

    What are you reading?

    So I've continued down the Stephen King trilogy path with the second in an expected three-part trilogy of books surrounding a few central characters, and just finished "Finders Keepers" this afternoon. Much like the first book in the trilogy, it's an interesting departure from King's earlier works, and I find that the murder/detective/group of vigilante investigators angle is really enjoyable in this instance. The second book does advance the story of several main characters and advances plot threads that were laid out in the first book, but outside of those peripheral connections the main plot of the story doesn't centrally revolve around those characters as much as a couple of new characters.

    That said, I found this book just as compelling, with a few edge-of-your-seat moments. By creating antagonists that have the right level of criminal insanity, there's a constant uncertainty about what the characters will do and how they will react to situations, and I like that a lot. They've also set things up very nicely for the third book, which if it follows the same time schedule as the first two won't be out for at least another year, which is disheartening.

    The stories are fun and have nice twists and turns and are very meticulously laid out with a lot of character internal monologues and thought processes. It's interesting getting into the motivations of characters from their own perspective and King writes some of the most brutally descriptive prose I've seen. The series is no "11-22-63," but it's enjoyable in its own right and well worth the price of admission. Highly recommended.
  • What are you reading?
    I've only just begun, but the first sentence of "Seveneves" by Neal Stephenson is making this 800-page monster sound ridiculously awesome:

    The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason.

    Sometimes the first sentence is hokey, and sometimes it sets a unique and interesting tone. Only a few pages (minutes) into this one and I'm excited!
  • Just started reading The Martian.  Not far int, but it's great so far!
  • dumps said:

    What are you reading?

    Just finished a couple of books. Thanks to the good folks at Goodreads, I can just link to my reviews. As such, here ya go...

    "Seveneves" -

    "The Fold" -

    Just started reading "Nexus" by Ramez Naam (the first of a trilogy) and so far it's OK.
  • Still reading about 10 DC monthlies - my favorites are Batman, Grayson and Justice League.

    Considering starting "The Interior Castle" by St. Theresa of Avila. It's considered one of the big spiritual greats of our time, and I've never read it. Maybe it's time.

  • Oh, and I started reading the Harry Potter books to my kids. Almost done with #1. Michael is impressed with the sheer length of the series....he can't stop talking about it lol.
  • dumps said:

    What are you reading?

    Finished Book 2 of Ramez Naam's "Nexus" series, titled "Crux." Very good. My brief review:
  • edited January 2016 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    dumps said:

    What are you reading?

    Everything I've read in 2015...
    Post edited by MattyDoo at 2016-01-10 22:42:52
  • Holy shit, Matt.
  • I just finished reading Sandman Overture. It is a prequel (or more appropriately, overture) for the Sandman series that was written some 20+ years ago. It was both a wonderful love letter to fans of the original, and an incredible piece of artwork and story-telling on its own. Upon finishing it, my first impulse is to pick up and reread the original series.  I will emphasize again, the original Sandman series is one of those must reads (along with things like Watchmen, V for Vendatta, etc.) for anyone with an interest in comics. It does take a few issues to hit its stride, but once it does, becomes one of the best series written to this day - not just as comics, but as fantasy/sci-fi in general.

    I am currently reading through a collection of the original Conan stories. They have been very entertaining, and much like reading HP Lovecraft is fun to see the roots of a lot of modern Horror, these stories show the roots of a lot of modern horror and fantasy. The stories aren't complex by any means, but simple fun mindless pulp.  And the writing is definitely a product of its times, particularly with the portrayal of women. But I knew it'd be like that going into it, so once you get over that the collection provides many short, fun, and imaginative tales.  
  • edited January 2016 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    dumps said:

    What are you reading?

    Just finished the novelization of The Force Awakens:

    Started reading "The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory"

    I enjoyed the book about music piracy in the late 1990s and early 2000s and this one popped up as a similar type book underscoring how pop hits are made, how they've become (and, I guess, always been) formulaic in structure, and where the music industry is headed. So far, just a few dozen pages (hours?) into it, I've enjoyed it.
    Post edited by MattyDoo at 2016-01-10 22:42:19
  • dumps said:

    What are you reading?


  • edited January 2016 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Post edited by MattyDoo at 2016-01-10 22:43:35
  • One of my Goals is to finish reading a number of books that I half-started. I have a bad habit of starting a book, getting distracted from reading it for a couple weeks, and then deciding it is easier to start something new than it is to remember the plot that had taken place so far ...

    First up, I just finished His Majesty's Dragon. This book was a lot of fun, a piece of historical fantasy that takes place in Britain during the Napoleonic era. The fantasy element, as can be gleamed from the title, is that dragons exist as non-fantastical creatures that are bred for, and used in, war. The book creates a fairly believable setting, with logical explanations on the tactics used as they would apply to warfare circa 1800.  The writing style is very reminiscent of Jane Austen, and makes for a refreshing change of pace from your standard fantasy novel.

  • Still can't make it through Sandman without being emotional.  I would definitely call Overture a love letter to fans of the original, though I've used that phrase a bit often lately.  Not as good as the original, but an odd sort of mix of things fitting in front of, yes, but also after, in-between and throughout the original.  Did not like certain aspects of it, but there is no denying it was certainly an appropriate addition to the story.  
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