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  • 5 weeks later...

Dune-Frank_Herbert_(1965)_First_edition.

Late last year I was reading a feature (maybe it was a profile of the movie coming later this year?) where the author made reference to Dune as being impenetrable to a lay audience and full of gobbeldy-gook. I first read the book about two decades ago, so I figured it was a good time to pick it back up and re-read.

I'm happy to say the opposite is true. Far from being impenetrable, I found it all but impossible to put down once I got momentum going. I think it has aged beautifully. I think it is well deserving of its "classic of the genre" status.

Dune's brilliance, to me, comes from the combination of its world-building, characters, prose (better than I remembered), and plot (schemes within schemes). I think Dune ends up as more than the sum of its parts. In not being overly reliant on any one aspect of story-telling, it succeeds in a way that a lot of classic sci-fi does not under contemporary scrutiny. Herbert's focus on character and location give Dune timelessness in ways that sci-fi novels overly reliant on cool/novel technology can never be. I also can't believe how middle-eastern the book is having re-read it after travelling to the region.

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I'm not at all excited about the 2021 movie. I get wanting to bring this story to a wider audience who is never going to read a 600 page sci-fi book from the 60s. Dune is just so fulfilling to those of us who love it. However, even with low expectations for the movie I fully expect to be disappointed. The Lynch movie at least nailed the production design and a lot of the casting, even if it ended up a colossal mess. The story is just very difficult to cram down to a 2-3 hour script without losing a lot of the richness that makes Dune what it is.

But hey, paging @cutestory! When was the last time you (re)read it, Jeffy who is known to us as Maud'dib, and how did it hold up for you?

Edited by TMoney
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  • 2 weeks later...

TheQueensGambit.jpg

Absolutely wonderful. This is a great complimentary read to those who have watched the show, or a wonderful journey for those who have not seen it yet. I'm really impressed by Tevis as a writer.

Ender's Game is one of those books you give to precocious young people who might feel ashamed of being smart. Maybe it is time to re-think that default option and give them this classic instead.

Best compliment I can give the book is I read it in a single day. It hooks you and won't let you go.

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On 1/17/2021 at 4:25 AM, TMoney said:

I also can't believe how middle-eastern the book is having re-read it after travelling to the region.

I read it for the first time a few months ago, and I found it very similar to you.  It was really well-paced, I felt propelled from one plotline to the next, my unhappiness at leaving one storyline outweighed always a little by excitement to revisit another.  It's really a great story, laid out well.  The discussions about reading order and canon are impenetrable and detract from the experience somewhat, but what can you do?

I highlighted the above because I think the sort of Arab fetishism the writing about the Fremen exhibits did not age the same way the rest of the book did.  Obviously public conceptions about the Middle East have shifted greatly here in the West, and I'm personally very fond of the kind of romanticized Bedouin culture seen in works like Dune and Lawrence of Arabia, but I also think it's a  little skin deep.  The noble savage thing is a well worn trope and it fits the larger hero's journey nicely, but it does feel like a bit of moralizing on Herbert's part.  It also removes me from the fantasy somewhat, as the other major factions don't seem to have the same obvious real-world counterpart.

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39 minutes ago, TMoney said:

One hundred precent, Tyler. I am in total agreement. That is part of why I have zero interest in Herbert's sequels. He caught lighting in a bottle once, but trying to stretch it out beyond the one book has no appeal to me.

I listened to Dune this year and enjoyed it thoroughly.  The sequel, no thank you.  It was a total struggle and it'll be the last of the series that I bother with.  

In other news I (unsurprisingly) took @en480c4's recommendation and have now listened to Gideon the Ninth and Harrow the Ninth.  The former is effing fantastic.  The second was more difficult, for reasons I will not divulge (spoiler) but finished incredibly well and has me looking forward to the final book in the trilogy to see where the story goes.  The audio books are highly recommended, the narration and narrator are brilliant. 

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I actually slogged through all of the sequels and it was rough. I got on such a roll that I read his son's cheesy prequels and such. In my defense, commuting on the streetcar was a painful slog at the time and I fully associate the sound of the MUNI announcement chime with Dune and the Guild. 

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I have some books waiting for me.

This year will be very, very long again.

I'm reading the book about SR71. IMO one of the most beautiful planes in the world. I have been lucky enough to see it twice (and a F14A and others) on the deck of the Intrepid (NY). 51c2060b9858eaa2121321859baed8dd.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Robert Caro - The Path to Power

pathtopowerbookshot-e1553888803110.png

What can I say? Best book on politics I've ever read. Maybe best book on history I've ever read. There are certain books that I know if I see them on someone's shelf that we will get along instantly.

Caro is a national treasure. This is so well written and so meticulously researched. It is a 1,000 page monster but it goes down smooth because the history, cast of characters, setting and Caro's prose are so compelling.

The first book is less a strict biography of LBJ but more a history and study of America in the beginning of the 20th century with LBJ as a the central character. Texas politics, the Hill Country, the Great Depression and the New Deal all are described so brilliantly. I hope to finish the other 3 volumes this year.

There is a chapter in the book about the daily hardships of rural America pre-electrification that is just an absolute knockout and can be read on its own as a great piece of non-fiction.

Edited by TMoney
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  • 3 weeks later...

Fun read today. Offering up for sports fans...

"Fleming Field was the appropriately abysmal home of possibly the worst team in the history of paid play. They were called the Yonkers Hoot Owls, and their story is a lot like the movie “Major League” … albeit without the uplifting arc or happy ending. In amenities, in attendance and in the independent Northeast League’s standings, the Hoot Owls were dead last, then dead altogether. They lived for just a single, financially ruinous summer."

https://www.mlb.com/news/featured/the-worst-baseball-team-ever 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

If there are any Eggers fans here, he's giving the eBook version of his latest, The Captain and the Glory, away free. 

https://store.mcsweeneys.net/products/the-captain-and-the-glory-e-book 

“A very short, allegorical novella, but capacious enough for all of your emotions about this period in history, from amusement to grief to irony to horror… As good as you can imagine, and ultimately, almost a hallucination of hope.” 
—Virginia Heffernan, Slate’s Trumpcast

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  • 4 weeks later...

Not reading this (GoodReads reviews are mixed), but I like the cover and I was listening to Rumours again, wondering about the production method:

Shorter, but effective (surprisingly close to disaster) – Rumours: https://vintageking.com/blog/2017/11/fleetwood-mac-rumours/

and Tango in the Night (ditto): https://www.salonhttps://www.salon.com/2017/04/02/he-could-be-brash-he-could-be-harsh-he-was-very-motivated-the-real-story-behind-fleetwood-macs-tango-in-the-night/.com/2017/04/02/he-could-be-brash-he-could-be-harsh-he-was-very-motivated-the-real-story-behind-fleetwood-macs-tango-in-the-night/

and Tusk is on order...

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Connie Willis - Doomsday Book

image.jpeg.c22b2ca121349747370fca3f4d4bb42c.jpeg

I had the hardest time getting traction with this one. It starts slow. The characters and setting are unfamiliar. I wondered where it was going.

Then it picks up… and… it is devastating. Especially after the events of the last year or so.  “Apocalyptic,” as one of the characters would say.

It is very deserving of all the awards it has won.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Atlantic’s The Uyghur Chronicles: One by One, My Friends Were Sent to the Camps
https://www.theatlantic.com/the-uyghur-chronicles/

“When our turn came, we entered the second office. Güljan, from our neighborhood committee, was waiting for us. She had us sign a registry. In addition to our fingerprints, she now said that they would also be taking blood samples, voice samples, and facial images. My wife looked at me anxiously.

Nearly everyone I knew from the labor camp where I’d been imprisoned two decades earlier had already been rearrested. My turn would clearly come soon.”

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just learned I only have months to live. This is what I want to say

I’ve been a journalist for more than 60 years. So after doctors delivered the news, I sat down to do what came naturally, if painfully: Write this story.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/07/21/magazine/i-just-learned-i-only-have-months-live-this-is-what-i-want-say/ 

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