New users: Please register in the usual way and then send an email to jasper(at) with your username, and write something 'Ffordesque' so we know you are a real reader, and not some idiot trying to flood the forum with dodgy Nike and Gucci gear. Thank you - Jasper

Still having trouble? Click Here for a guide to the Fforde Fforum

last updated : April 11th 2010

Nextian Chat : The fastest message board... ever.
General Information 
Goto Thread: PreviousNext
Goto: Forum ListMessage ListNew TopicSearchLog In
Goto Page: 12Next
Current Page: 1 of 2
Posted by: EgonSpengler (
Date: August 19, 2012 12:28AM

A serious topic on what have we been reading.

<takes off clown nose>

Recently I've been having a spiffing time with Dorothy L Sayers and the early Wimsey novels. Quite the toffee nosed sleuth festival has been going on. But a turn has occurred and now through no natural segue 'Contact' by Carl Sagan has landed on my open book pile. It seems to be an excellent novel and it seems a shame he only wrote one(?).

Any one else? I could have necro'd an old thread but got bored after going back four pages.

Re: Serious...
Posted by: CannibalRabbit (
Date: August 21, 2012 12:36PM

Me, I'm caught up in Edward Rutherfurd's Dublin at the moment. Before that was Simon Winchester's The Man Who Loved China, and pTerry's Snuff - that one didn't feel quite right.

Re: Serious...
Posted by: MistyCat (122.58.102.---)
Date: August 21, 2012 01:55PM

Most of the last <big number> of books I've read have all come from the library. I record everything I read, and I'll copy/paste a few from that list this month (I'm too lazy to trim the date due column):

Rowan Atkinson Dessau, Bruce. 14/9/2012,23:59
<Meh. I'll look for another biography. I think Rowan is underestimated, because of Bean.>
Hugh Laurie : the biography Bunko, Anthony. 14/9/2012,23:59
<I haven't read Laurie's best-known book "The Gun ...Seller?" yet. I shall. This biography could have been better written.>

Reversible errors Turow, Scott, 1949- 27/8/2012,23:59
<very much like a John Grisham novel. I've gone off Grisham/>

The Fry chronicles Fry, Stephen, 1957- 4/9/2012,23:59
<Fry is... Fry. Anyone not like Fry?>

Son of Heaven Wingrove, David (Book - 2011) Aug 27, 2012
<This could be very interesting as the start of a huge series. >

The Lost Gate A Novel of the Mither Mages Card, Orson Scott (Book - 2011) Aug 04, 2012
<I like Orson Scott-Card very much. From the Valentine/Demosthenes/Peter/...(I forget) political discussions down to the "A war of gifts" simplicity, ... I like them all. Alvin Maker...>

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time Haddon, Mark (Book - 2003) Aug 09, 2012
<From the point of view of an autistic child. Fascinating - designated Young Adult. So? I read comics, too. And Nietzsche. Comics are better. "Art raises its head where creeds relax.">

The Mechanical Messiah and Other Marvels of the Modern Age Rankin, Robert (Book - 2011) Aug 13, 2012
<I don't like Rankin quite as much as I once did. Maybe I've just gone off sprouts.>

The Grays Strieber, Whitley (Book - 2006) Aug 19, 2012
<I want more of this. Much more.>

Burning Tower Niven, Larry (Book - 2005) Aug 07, 2012
<Ain't no such thing as a bad Niven book.>

Surface Detail Banks, Iain (Book - 2010) Aug 07, 2012
<There's an interesting difference between Iain Banks and Ian M Banks. (Same guy.)>

Valhalla Holt, Tom (Book - 2000) Aug 08, 2012
<Holt's right up there with Jasper. No, really. "Blond Bombshell" - loved it.>

OK, there's more, but that'll do. That'll do.
Comments? Anyone read and liked/hated/Meh any of those?

Some of those are re-reads. I intended to edit a bit because this is pretty much flow-of-consciousness, and add a few re-reads from my own collection but I may have exceeded my boring limit. I should have added something more impressive from earlier reading too, but what the heck. That's what I've been reading.
Oh, not including non-fiction (except the biographies.) Does non-fiction count?

Re: Serious...
Posted by: Ian (
Date: August 21, 2012 07:04PM

<Disagree with Misty>Sorry but you're on your own with the auto/biographies. I've read a few and just can't get into them. Even all the Douglas Adams autobiographies, and I'm a huge fan.</Disagree with Misty>

<Agree with Misty>It's not just you who thinks the bite-size brassica has lost some of its earlier flavour. The last two Rankin books have been no where near as good as his earlier stuff, I'm thinking back to the great Brentford trilogy here.

I have however just finished the Flan O'Brien books, which where excellent, and you can really see how they influenced Rankin's work.

Iain Banks may be very different with the letter "M" in the middle but a lot of the sci fi stuff still has the same disturbing understanding of war and brutality seen in the "M-less" work. If you liked Surface Detail try Use of Weapons, or better yet the much shorter (sadly) The Player of Games.

As for Tom Holt, yes, not just in the same league as Mr Fforde, but right up at the top with him. The Portable door trilogy is still a regular re-read. And Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Sausages shows he's not out of ideas yet.</Agree with Misty>

<Agree with CannibalRabbit>Finished Pratchett's Snuff the other day and yes, not quite right. But still worth a read.</AGREE with CannibalRabbit>

To be continued. (the train is just about to stop).

Re: Serious...
Posted by: EgonSpengler (
Date: August 21, 2012 08:45PM

Crikey, what an incredible number of books I haven't read!

On 'The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time': It is fascinating, and strikes close to home with anyone who has relevant experience. It really should be required reading.

A ridiculously good author is Stanley Ellin. I've begun his crime short stories and the writing is incredibly elegant and simulataneously prosaic. Anything to avoid proofreading the thesis again! <Notes ostentatious mention of thesis. Approves>

Re: Serious...
Posted by: Ian (
Date: August 21, 2012 08:52PM

I have rather peculiar reading habits compared to some people I know. Usually having several books on the go at any one time, a couple downstairs, a few for bed time, one at work, one for the train and of course one in the bathroom. Also if I find an author I quite like, I'll read everything they publish, good or bad. This means I'm still buying the sort of stuff I got for my kids when they where 10ish. Mostly do sci fi and fantasy with straight fiction filling the gaps, so now reading:

Alastair Reynolds - Revelation Space, have read five of his standalone novels but this is the first in a series.

Dan Simmons - Hyperion (omnibus), can, without fear of contradiction be referred to as a tome. My arms get tired after thirty pages.

Gary Gibson - Stealing Light, should finish this tonight, he's new to me and now on the weekend shopping list.

These three are all dark "hard science fiction" and great stuff if you're into the whole space opera culturesque thing.

Jim Butcher - Cursors Fury, the third in the Codex Alera series. Only started reading these because I enjoyed the Dresden Files books but it's good quality fantasy.

Tad Williams - The Mountain of Black Glass, part three of the Otherland story, sci fi/fantasy/cyberpunk genius.

Roddy Doyle - Oh, Play than Thing, had to read this after A Star Called Henry. Strange mixture of Irish history and fiction almost fantasy. But after reading Joyce, O'Brien and Doyle have been a pleasure.

Tom Sharpe - Wilt on High, third Wilt book, based around these parts and amusing in a sitcom/slapstick sort of way.

New Scientist - Does Anything Eat Wasps? Following Do Polar Bears Get Lonely? And Why Don't Penguins' Feet Freeze? Great childlike questions posed and answered by readers of New Scientist magazine. Every bathroom should have a copy (along with a copy of The Meaning of Liff).

Re: Serious...
Posted by: bunyip (
Date: August 22, 2012 08:16AM

I feel inadequate.

All I've read lately is:

'Snuff' and I agree it is not as strong as other Pterry productions but I wonder if it setting up a follwing story?

"Why Call Them Back From Heaven' by Clifford Simak, published 1960. It's a good read with a weak ending.

'The Big Time' by Fritz Leiber. Interesting but not compulsive.

And I read the fine print on one of my medicines which said 'not to be taken with alcohol', so I bought the alcohol when I got there.

Re: Serious...
Posted by: CannibalRabbit (
Date: August 22, 2012 01:57PM

Have loved the Tom Sharpe, bit not read in a very long time, must revisit. Roddy Doyle is an addiction - finished The Deportees not long ago. Nice guest appearance by Jimmy Rabbitte from The Commitments.

Posted by: zendao42 (
Date: September 05, 2012 10:18AM

Anybody else get a giggle when ES used Serious as a post title?

I've been been reading exclusively from my Nook this year,
so it's a combo of new, old & long overdue-
at the moment, said device is in bedroom with sleeping husband
& I won't risk awakening him with a retrieval attempt...

So, can't give the full list but currently re-reading LAMB
& also spend quite a bit of time on Twitter
cuz all the tweets will fit on bumper stickers
& I'm unlikely to fall asleep before finishing one...

Signature or shameless self-promotion?
You decide:



Re: Serious...
Posted by: bunyip (
Date: September 12, 2012 06:01AM

I recall some toffee sounding English tart who commentated on TV on the cross country horse events as always saying something or other was ' seriously ....'

Given the parodists claimedthat when 'she came a cropper at a water jump she got several gallons of country runoff up that hooter of hers' she is probably fairly easy to identify if one is of the disposition to watch cross country horse events.

So calling a topic 'serious' is not at all out of character.

cf Yahoo Serious in 'Young Einstein' and the splitting of the beer atom.

Re: Serious...
Posted by: MuseSusan (
Date: September 12, 2012 03:59PM

I must admit that I am very much of the disposition to watch cross country horse events, but I don't get much of a chance what with neither owning a tv nor having local events I can attend.


Most recently I've been rereading (after a long time) James Herriot's whole series, All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, All Things Wise and Wonderful, and The Lord God Made Them All. I'm struck by how marvelous the writing is: he's a good storyteller, blending humor, the occasional heartache, and so many more emotions into each story. Every once in a while, he'll stop and throw in a description of the beauty of the Dales that just makes me melt.

In a more Ffordian vein, I recently read Connie Wills' To Say Nothing of the Dog, which I loved. I need to read more of her books!

Re: Serious...
Posted by: OB (
Date: September 12, 2012 05:25PM

Some days ago MC mentioned Stephen Fry and asked if anybody doesn't like him.

I always get the impression that under the veneer of self satisfaction that he exudes, he doesn't in fact like himself.

Stephen Fry.... you big quit us.

I've just reread "Before the Golden Age", an anthology of science fiction stories chosen and edited by Ise Asimov. Brilliant.

Re: Serious...
Posted by: MuseSusan (
Date: September 12, 2012 08:03PM

My understanding is that Stephen Fry has pretty severe bipolar disorder, so that may well contribute to his not liking himself too much, especially in his depressive states.

But to answer the original question (or rather to fail to answer it), I most definitely love him.

Re: Serious...
Posted by: SkidMarks (
Date: September 12, 2012 08:57PM

With the exception of his unexplainable love of all things Apple, I find him interesting, thought-provoking and generally one of the good guys.

I do not, however, support anyone who hasn't seen through the Twitter con.

Re: Serious...
Posted by: CannibalRabbit (
Date: September 13, 2012 11:38AM

The Twitter con? A mass conspiracy 140 chars at a time? The ultimate in serialisation.

Re: Serious...
Posted by: SkidMarks (62.6.182.---)
Date: September 13, 2012 12:25PM

I was thinking more of the con that the outpouring of random thoughts without the application of any filter would be anything other than an e


Re: Serious...
Posted by: OB (
Date: September 13, 2012 08:45PM

I'm quite sure that Stephen (the modern take on Dr. Johnson) knows exactly what he's doing.

Re: Serious...
Posted by: EgonSpengler (
Date: September 17, 2012 11:17AM

Have moved on to 'Hopscotch' by Brian Garfield as a I liked the movie. Jung's 'Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious' continues to loom at me, unread, from a nearby shelf. 'Ivanhoe', 'The Princess Bride' and some short stories from various people in the rotation...

Re: Serious...
Posted by: MistyCat (122.58.102.---)
Date: September 17, 2012 02:33PM

Back in my coal-fired steam modem dial-up days I started a free account (December 2006) with LibraryThing.

I entered five books into my MistyCat account before I decided I mightn't live long enough to do my whole library, and I haven't been back until this thread reminded me just now.

Allow lots of time to poke around.

Re: Serious...
Posted by: bunyip (
Date: September 18, 2012 02:30AM

I appreciate Stephen Fry's work but I am, not sure if I would like to be near him for a long stretch of time.

Goto Page: 12Next
Current Page: 1 of 2

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
This forum powered by Phorum.