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About Angury

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  1. Don't you think that what is considered a 'good book' is subjective? I know there are classics out there, but even then there's a variety of opinions on those books and how good they really are. I know plenty of people who cannot stand Wuthering Heights for example, whereas it's one of my all-time favourites. An action-packed novel might not appeal to someone who is looking for well-developed characters and a poetic flow to the writing. Regarding your George Martin comment, I agree. I feel that the books have gotten to the point now where you forget what is happening to each of the characters, as things are becoming so complicated. I trust he has some good plot points planned though, he was always good at adding a twist when you least expected it.
  2. I think it's a different matter where children are involved. It's up to the parents to filter what their kids can and cannot read. I completely agree with you, but like I said, unfortunately it is a business. Supply and demand and all that. How do you get around the system? I suppose self-publishing is one way, if you can do all the advertising yourself. I also forgot to mention another current fantasy author - Terry Pratchett. I have recently become obsessed with this man, and although his novels don't have much "depth," I would say he is an excellent writer, and the Discworld series are one of the best fantasy series out there (IMO ofc ).
  3. More people are applying to university than before, at least in the UK. We have greater access to information than we have ever had. Science is moving at a phenomenal rate. Just a glance at the past fifty years will show how much we have moved forward, and that is thanks to the education we receive. More people have access to education than before - the boundaries between classes are slowly dissolving. More universities are introducing access courses and extenuating circumstances for kids who come from lower backgrounds to try and give everyone an opportunity to learn. This is the sort of opinion I cannot understand: why does it matter to you what other people read? As long as they are enjoying the book, isn't that all that matters? Can you imagine how dull our world would be if everyone read the same books? It is only through our differences that we can move forward, with everyone having their own unique perspective on the world. If we read the same books, we cannot add a lot to the conversation. I have read some awful books, but I don't regret those experiences one bit, because I have still learnt something. I also cannot understand how you can accuse Martin of abandoning a plot when he hasn't finished the series yet. He is a slow writer, but I would prefer that he takes his time over his work and produce a masterpiece, than rush through the plot just to please his fans. To be fair, books are a business. And in business, you need profits. Also, there is a way to filter out the 'flops' - just don't read em! There are some excellent websites out there which give reviews for books, and you can use this knowledge to decide what you want to read. There are also some fantastic book forums (this one included) where you can receive advice about what to read next.I would hate to impose limits on what can and cannot be published. There will be an audience for a book, regardless of how awful we think it is. Just because we do not enjoy a novel, does not mean we must stop everyone else from enjoying it as well. I love listening to people who have enjoyed books which I cannot stand. It gives me a different perspective on what I have read. I still don't agree with them most of the time, but that's part of the fun - how much can you learn from someone who enjoys the same things you do?
  4. What do you mean by declining standards? You don't think most aspects of our education have improved? Greater opportunities, greater resources etc? I have noticed this as well. There are a few books which have stood out to me due to the authors beautiful use of words, and storylines that capture the meaning of humanity, and have been disappointed that the author isn't well known. However, regarding Fantasy I do think there are some excellent series out there, and I don't believe they have to be hidden from plain sight. The main one that stands out to me is A Song of Ice and Fire by George Martin. His series deviates from the typical "good vs evil" storyline which has become so common in the genre, and delves into the more profound question of what is good and evil. I think it is very easy to fall back onto nostalgia and claim that things aren't as good as they once were. Yes, things are changing: self-publishing appears to be gaining momentum, and ebooks are affecting the way we look at reading in general etc, but I don't think all of these changes have necessarily had a bad impact. Also, to those having a dig at Harry Potter etc, I think it is important to remember that it is these sorts of books which are introducing kids to the joys of reading. I certainly don't think I'd have picked up another book if it wasn't for Harry Potter. It doesn't matter what someone chooses to read, as long as they are enjoying it, and are reading something in the first place. Who are we to tell someone what they should and shouldn't read?
  5. I think Stephen Fry sums up my thoughts rather well: I love my Kindle, it's the best thing I've ever bought. I always bring it with me when I go out, but when I'm at home I tend to read physical books. I still love going into bookshops and staring at the shelves. Physical books are a work of art, so I will always buy them. For me however, ebooks were one of the best inventions as I tend to read quite thick novels anyway.
  6. I'm surprised House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski isn't on the list, it is normally mentioned in lists regarding "difficult books." Anyway, I have To The Light House on my to-read list, but other than that I can't say I've even heard of the rest of the novels.
  7. I've gotten to the stage now where I will buy a ton of books but never get round to reading them, because I have so many and am unsure where to start. So I think in that way it's bad. Like everything, I think reading is fine in moderation. Thanks for posting that, I especially liked quote 25: "Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the blast of a trumpet." - Ralph Waldo Emerson. Since I've begun highlighting sentences on my kindle, I've noticed how helpful it is to note down sentences that really stand out to you.
  8. Haha, that is brilliant. I'm definitely going to read Going Postal now - thanks for posting that. Have you seen the Hogfather by the way? That's on my Terry Pratchett to-read list (along with Reaperman), but I only found out recently it's also a TV series!I'm glad it was made into a TV series and not a book though; I always get a bit apprehensive when I hear a book I like is being turned into a film.
  9. This is one of my favourite books, and after reading some of the reviews here regarding symbolism etc, I may reread it. Atticus is my all-time favourite book character. I was a teenager when I read this book, and his words had a big impact on me - particularly this one: The character Mrs Dubose also made me think. Hearing about her story of addiction and realising that deep inside she was a strong character despite her appearances was powerful for me. I think it was a beautiful way to teach Scout and Jem such a lesson. I wonder if I reread this book now, it will still have the same impact on me as it did when I was a teenager. I loved the narration of the story through Scout's eyes as well. I think it was a good way to handle such a topic, seeing the racial vibes being played out through a child's point of view. One of my favourite scenes is where Atticus is protecting Tom Robinson from a mob, and Scout randomly starts talking about some guy's son. I thought it was a poignant moment, how even the toughest looking men can be touched by a child's innocence and brought back to reality.
  10. Ugh, I can't stand pointy shoes. I feel like I'm a witch. Back on topic, has anyone read Pratchett's new book Raising Steam? I read somewhere that it's about the character Moist Von Lipwig, so I'm thinking about reading Going Postal first as that's the book where he first appears, followed by Making Money. I know you don't have to read the books in any order, but I prefer to follow the characters arcs throughout the novels. It was nice reading the Nightwatch novels and watching Sam Vimes mature throughout.
  11. I would recommend picking a character and starting off with one of their books from this list: http://img.docstoccdn.com/thumb/orig/3480123.png Personally, I enjoyed Mort as Death is my favourite character. Small Gods is good as well, it was fun linking the plot to the religious orders in our own world. That's one of the things I love about Pratchett's writing - there are always some hints about the real world dropped here and there. You don't have to read the series in chronological order - I began reading The Colour of Magic but didn't really enjoy it as grasshopper mentioned, so don't feel that you have to stick to a pattern. Just choose whatever book takes you fancy!
  12. One of the things I enjoyed in this series is the fact that there isn't the "good side" and the "bad side." The characters change as the story progresses, and you begin to understand their motives for doing what they did, even if you don't agree with them. There are some characters who I hated in the first book but have now become one of my favourites. I like the idea that no one is inherently good or evil - people just adapt to their circumstances and do what they must to survive. In the end, we're all flawed and motivated by family, wealth and power. It's a pity the books take so long to be released, but I'm not too fussed. I prefer that George takes his time with the story and makes the writing & plot perfect, than get it out there as quickly as possible for the fans without really putting in the effort to make it a good read. Having said, there's been such a long gap since the last book was released, I'm beginning to forget certain parts of the plot and what has happened to some of the characters. I think I'll need to reread the series.. not that I'm complaining.
  13. Interesting read, thanks for posting it. It was written in a respectable way which was nice given the topic. I only started reading Pratchett's books in January this year but already I'm hooked. The guy is a genius in the way he references things in his books and adds humour. One of my favourite quotes from one of his Disc World books: "It would seem you have no useful skill or talent whatsoever," he said. "Have you thought about going into teaching?" He also did the Dimbleby lecture in 2010:
  14. I agree with this - I think generally people are somewhere in the middle and adapt to the circumstances. Your last point is very interesting - sounds like the lecture gave a lot to think about. I've just google'd Alan Watts, you've captured my interest. Anyway, I read Susan Cain's book last summer and I enjoyed it. I liked the way she provided examples for her points, and it was clear that she had done her research. It was also a bit of an ego-booster for me, since I've always been a bit ashamed of my introversion. I think growing up in a culture where preferring solitary activities and one-to-one conversations to parties is tagged with labels such as "weirdo" led to that feeling of shame, so Susan's book was a nice way of telling myself that there are benefits to being introverted. Not that being 100% introverted is a good thing - and I agree with the previous poster who said that there weren't enough disadvantages mentioned in the book. I believe there should be a balance. I was far too introverted as a child, which had an awful impact on my relationships whereas now I'm so much happier because I've been able to find that balance. Looks like I've just written my entire autobiography here.
  15. I began reading this book a few months ago then stopped half way through. Not because I didn't enjoy it - it's one of the best books I've read in a while - but because it took effort on my part. I'm going to get back into it now after reading this thread though. I remember it made me think and I regret not writing stuff down while reading it initially, as I had a lot of thoughts going through my head. I generally read to relax and almost switch off, so reading this type of book was a bit new for me, which is probably why I stopped before I could finish it. As much as I was enjoying it, I became exhausted. After finishing it, I might look for similar books on the topic - my experience with this book has made me realise I don't use my brain as much as I should!
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