Author Topic: What are we reading?  (Read 677353 times)

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Offline Gusington

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5400 on: April 03, 2021, 01:06:18 PM »
Just started You Are Invited by Sarah A. Denzil.
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Offline MengJiao

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5401 on: April 03, 2021, 02:55:53 PM »
Just finishing "Aces Falling" by Peter Hart


  Sounds marvelous!  I'm reading a commentary on the Iliad to get a little of the old spear-in-the-bronze-thing kick into my Dungeons and Dragons thing.  I've gotten to book IV and so far things are just getting stranger and stranger as Alexandros (the name of Paris in most places in the Iliad) is being dragged along by his helmet when Aphrodite miraculously zips him off to re-seduce Helen.  Helen is extremely annoyed with the whole thing but everyone else is about to just stop the war for lack of interest.  Zeus has to get the war restarted since the duel has been broken up by Aphrodite, so he sends Athena (as a meteor "Pallas" apparently being the meteoric version of Athena -- apparently a real meteor at some point) to get Pandourous to shoot Menelaus with an arrow thus violating the truce and thus getting the war underway, though at some point Hera has to threaten to eat somebody's liver just to get the action moving.  I wonder if this was all supposed to be sort of comical?  I mean in 700 BC when it was probably performed by large choruses of temple maidens imitating various weird accents -- more like a 1930s musical extravaganza than your basic grim tale of war.

Offline ArizonaTank

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5402 on: April 03, 2021, 08:23:02 PM »
Just finishing "Aces Falling" by Peter Hart


  Sounds marvelous!  I'm reading a commentary on the Iliad to get a little of the old spear-in-the-bronze-thing kick into my Dungeons and Dragons thing.  I've gotten to book IV and so far things are just getting stranger and stranger as Alexandros (the name of Paris in most places in the Iliad) is being dragged along by his helmet when Aphrodite miraculously zips him off to re-seduce Helen.  Helen is extremely annoyed with the whole thing but everyone else is about to just stop the war for lack of interest.  Zeus has to get the war restarted since the duel has been broken up by Aphrodite, so he sends Athena (as a meteor "Pallas" apparently being the meteoric version of Athena -- apparently a real meteor at some point) to get Pandourous to shoot Menelaus with an arrow thus violating the truce and thus getting the war underway, though at some point Hera has to threaten to eat somebody's liver just to get the action moving.  I wonder if this was all supposed to be sort of comical?  I mean in 700 BC when it was probably performed by large choruses of temple maidens imitating various weird accents -- more like a 1930s musical extravaganza than your basic grim tale of war.

I would not be surprised if it was supposed to be comical. There really isn't anything 'new under the sun.'  My favorite example is Melius Gloriosus the over the top Roman general in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Forum" ("Stand aside everyone! I take large steps"' that guy). Turns out Melius is right out of a Roman comedy from the 2nd century BC, as are several of the other characters. So your book sounds like some comic fun.

Here is the Wikipedia entry for the play; "Melius Gloriosus"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miles_Gloriosus_(play) 

And if you have never seen it, here is his hilarious entrance in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum", well worth you time.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vN-ttCBHyx8
« Last Edit: April 03, 2021, 08:35:38 PM by ArizonaTank »
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Offline JasonPratt

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5403 on: April 03, 2021, 09:56:25 PM »
I'll always wonder whatever happened to the pretty brunette at the back of one of my college English classes, who caught up to me after one class a few weeks into the semester, to tell me she also thought Hector was the true hero of the Illiad, after I devoted an essay to that in class -- which our teacher asked me to read aloud so that he could mock it, as he thought! She was impressed with how well I defended it, and we talked it over on our walk up the hill to the big pyramid library at UTK, but there she got into a Camaro parked nearby, waving back to me and saying she'd see me next class.....

...but she never came back to class for the rest of the semester, and I never saw her again. sigh. I hope nothing awful happened to her, but I have to wonder.

Several years later I read Chesterton's The Everlasting Man for the first time, and learned he also agreed! (This idea also appears briefly in Chesterton's commentary on the Canterbury Tales, as I discovered a few minutes ago while ascertaining my memory was correct and I hadn't been thinking of his Heretics/Orthodoxy duology instead.)
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline Tripoli

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5404 on: April 04, 2021, 09:29:54 AM »
I'll always wonder whatever happened to the pretty brunette at the back of one of my college English classes, who caught up to me after one class a few weeks into the semester, to tell me she also thought Hector was the true hero of the Illiad, after I devoted an essay to that in class -- which our teacher asked me to read aloud so that he could mock it, as he thought! She was impressed with how well I defended it, and we talked it over on our walk up the hill to the big pyramid library at UTK, but there she got into a Camaro parked nearby, waving back to me and saying she'd see me next class.....

...but she never came back to class for the rest of the semester, and I never saw her again. sigh. I hope nothing awful happened to her, but I have to wonder.

Several years later I read Chesterton's The Everlasting Man for the first time, and learned he also agreed! (This idea also appears briefly in Chesterton's commentary on the Canterbury Tales, as I discovered a few minutes ago while ascertaining my memory was correct and I hadn't been thinking of his Heretics/Orthodoxy duology instead.)

You could write a short story about that vignette.  Seriously.  It is an excellent jumping off point for a short story.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2021, 09:31:29 AM by Tripoli »
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Offline JasonPratt

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5405 on: April 04, 2021, 11:23:47 AM »
If I wrote a short story on that, I'd hint that she was Athena, I think.  :dreamer: (i.e. Wisdom in Christian theology.)
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline Tripoli

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5406 on: April 04, 2021, 01:14:45 PM »
Seriously, you are a good writer.  If you had the time and inclination to do so, that would be a good short story, made even better because it is based on a real-life event.  With your knowledge of history and literature, you could do something with that vignette.
“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” -Abraham Lincoln

Offline Gusington

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5407 on: April 04, 2021, 03:18:22 PM »
'The Girl in the Black Camaro' by Pratt. It writes itself!  :nerd:
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Offline MengJiao

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5408 on: April 05, 2021, 06:47:48 AM »
If I wrote a short story on that, I'd hint that she was Athena, I think.  :dreamer: (i.e. Wisdom in Christian theology.)

  The problem there is of course Athena is not very pro-Trojan...though after the sack she is not happy with the violation of her sanctuary if I remember correctly.  I guess there is room for an Divine Wisdom Athena in a black Cammero.  And it is odd that the last pagan temple Christianized in Rome was the Temple of Minerva in about 750 AD.  She could time-travel in that Camero and run over some Roman prelates in 620 AD thus saving the temple etc. etc. and also avoiding going back to English class.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5409 on: April 05, 2021, 01:45:11 PM »
Ah, true, she wouldn't be pro-Trojan. Or pro-Hector, more relevantly. (Theoretically you could be anti-Trojan and still think Hector is the true hero of the Illiad.)
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline MengJiao

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5410 on: April 05, 2021, 06:11:42 PM »
Ah, true, she wouldn't be pro-Trojan. Or pro-Hector, more relevantly. (Theoretically you could be anti-Trojan and still think Hector is the true hero of the Illiad.)

   Another problem is that in the very beginning of the Iliad, the invocation specifies that the story is about the anger of Achilles.  I guess Achilles could be the main character and Hector could be the "good guy" or best character or nifty antagonist, but the poet (the monumental poet as G. S. Kirk calls the author of the big version focused on the anger of Achilles that we have as the Iliad) thinks the story is about the anger of Achilles.  Of course the big final version incorporates at least 500 years worth of material and legends and whatnot and the "anger of Achilles" is more of a plot device maybe than the real core of the story.

   Even stranger, some commentators think that Achilles does in fact belong to the near final layers and is not one of the original heroes, but then that would lead one to think that both Hector and Achilles were added as more rounded characters later with Hector as a foil to Achilles, which probably means, given who Achilles' mother is, that there's a strange invisible phase in the transformation of the whole Archaic divine world...the only trace of which would be in the Spartan poet Alcman...yes, they found a fragment of his on papyrus in a crocodile mummy (you can't make this stuff up) where Thetis created the world...yes as part of one of those extravaganzas put on by the temple maidens...you know...like the Iliad.  But maybe one of the more serious ones....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcman



Offline JasonPratt

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5411 on: April 06, 2021, 10:49:27 AM »
Oh we agreed that the poem (in its received form) was ABOUT Achilles as the main character. That's obvious on the face, and throughout the structure, although you could also argue for several deutero-protagonists.

I do that myself in my novel: the main protagonist, Portunista Athalia, doesn't show up until chapter 2, although she's mentioned in the (fictional) Preface as a key reason why the novel is being written (by the fictional Preface Author). But she's often a villain protagonist for a while, even though her support crew are heroic secondary protagonists. Then Book 2 comes around, and (aside from numerous and increasing villainous antagonists) I introduce 'ista's counterpoint, a heroic antagonist named Gavoda who functions VERY much like Hector, in the sense of being a morally better person in charge of defending a city attacked by Portunista's army -- and going down in flames. (Which corresponds to 'ista's low point morally. Afterward I develop their characters in opposition by showing 'ista's moral development and Gavoda's moral ruin progressing along.)

Now of course, one factor in the Hector/Achilles main hero debate, is how concepts of the heroic have changed since the Illiad (at any level of compositional development); a change that can be arguably seen in process for the Odyssey, and which kicks over not-coincidentally for Virgil's remix of the Odyssey following Aeneas the refugee from fallen Troy. Classical heroes weren't so much moral exemplars as people who succeeded in causing the effects they intended with their power (up until any tragic flaws take them down through hubris or whatever), and so who served as practical and idealistic examples in that sense.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline MengJiao

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5412 on: April 06, 2021, 02:23:00 PM »
Oh we agreed that the poem (in its received form) was ABOUT Achilles as the main character. That's obvious on the face, and throughout the structure, although you could also argue for several deutero-protagonists.

I do that myself in my novel: the main protagonist, Portunista Athalia, doesn't show up until chapter 2, although she's mentioned in the (fictional) Preface as a key reason why the novel is being written (by the fictional Preface Author). But she's often a villain protagonist for a while, even though her support crew are heroic secondary protagonists. Then Book 2 comes around, and (aside from numerous and increasing villainous antagonists) I introduce 'ista's counterpoint, a heroic antagonist named Gavoda who functions VERY much like Hector, in the sense of being a morally better person in charge of defending a city attacked by Portunista's army -- and going down in flames. (Which corresponds to 'ista's low point morally. Afterward I develop their characters in opposition by showing 'ista's moral development and Gavoda's moral ruin progressing along.)

Now of course, one factor in the Hector/Achilles main hero debate, is how concepts of the heroic have changed since the Illiad (at any level of compositional development); a change that can be arguably seen in process for the Odyssey, and which kicks over not-coincidentally for Virgil's remix of the Odyssey following Aeneas the refugee from fallen Troy. Classical heroes weren't so much moral exemplars as people who succeeded in causing the effects they intended with their power (up until any tragic flaws take them down through hubris or whatever), and so who served as practical and idealistic examples in that sense.

   The novel sounds intriguing.  Looking at how people control their plots can be very instructive!

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5413 on: April 08, 2021, 01:35:09 PM »
The full published text can be found here on the forum as a pdf file, btw!

http://www.grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=14075.0
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline Toonces

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5414 on: April 14, 2021, 11:42:22 PM »
Man, when I don't keep up with this thread I fall too far behind!

I recently re-read and re-finished several Anthony Bourdain books, including Medium Raw and The Nasty Bits. Followed closely with his two fiction novels, Bone in the Throat and Gone Bamboo.  I don't know why his books aren't more popular.  Bone and Bamboo are just good, campy, beach reads in the finest sense of the genre.  What really strikes me, especially reading Bourdain's fiction, is that the guy is just a good fucking writer.  He's not the next Dickens or Hemingway or....Joyce.  But he writes well.  Well above average.  I read his books and honestly sort of marvel at the skill, even if it's only slightly above average.  Maybe it's just simple post-graduate level fiction writing.  But it's good.  The stories are good.  Simple, but good.  It's like a street carne asada burrito; you're not going to get some 5-star meal, but it's going to taste good, familiar, it's going to fill you up til the next meal.  No more and no less.  Considering the guy is a fucking chef, what more should you expect, if even that much?  And that's the thing, I know a little of Bourdain's education and I think he's smarter than he lets on.  He finished HS in 3 years and went to Vassar before going to CIA.  He's not a dumb cook; I think he's a good, smart writer who cooked to pay the bills until his writing hit.  I think he's an imposter; he was never about the cooking.  He has always been a writer with cooking as a side gig?  Yeah, maybe.  I think that's more likely even though he never says it.

I'm still working through Twilight of the Gods, which got much better once through that first 100 pages.  Toll continues to find interesting aspects to the war that I haven't considered before.  The series is certainly worthwhile, especially if you can get it on sale.

I have recently been dabbling in a few fiction books.  I started a book called Going After Cacciato by Tim O'brien.  I learned of this book because my son read The Things They Carried for 12th grade English and he thought I'd like it.  When I got around to asking him what the book was about he couldn't articulate a sentence, so I blew it off.  Anyway, O'Brien popped in some feed and when I read more articulate reviews he seemed like an author I might enjoy.  So I borrowed Things and Cacciato from the library.

I started with Cacciato, and I'm at 40% in and, I have to be honest, it's not grabbing me.  I understand that this is an ah-ha! book but I don't know that I have the patience to carry through to that point.  I understand that Things is more awesomer and traditional, so I'm thinking that might be the way to go.

I've also just re-started Metro 2033.  I read this a long time ago, more than 10 years, when I was on the Boat and I remember staying up to finish it, sacrificing sleep which is so oh-so-precious on a Navy ship.  I've wanted to give it a closer read as I seem to remember skimming over a lot of it.  I'm only on page 12 so I'm still just getting re-started.

I have a book that I've been reading off and on for decades called The Boardwalk Jungle by Ovid Demaris.  I've never finished it, and I'm not sure I will this time either.  It's about the mob and the corruption underpinning the creation of gambling in Atlantic City.  Since the book was finished in the 80's it loses a lot of its relevancy.  It ends with the Trump era in AC, and AC was still a place to be when the book ends.  Gambling, Trump, and Atlantic City in general are so, so different from the late 80's at this point that it's really only interesting for the mob stories, and as an historical document.  Since I'm not well-read on the rise of gambling in AC, the context is largely lost on me.  Still, it's one of my dad's books and I've been trying to finish it for years, so I feel like I need to finish it, even if I skim it, just to get closure and then get rid of the book.
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