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Books Read 2020

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Scuzz
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Scuzz »

Fool"s Quest by Robin Hobbs, book 2 of the Fitz and the Fool Trilogy.

I think this book may be my favorite book in the entire series so far. Hobbs waste little time as pretty much everything is already set up story wise. And unlike GRRM she seems to have an idea where to go with it. There is action, suspense and even some surprises. For instance I was amazed to realize that
Spoiler:
the Fool
was actually a character in the Liveship Traders Trilogy.

As is my normal practice I will now read something else before returning to read the final book in the trilogy, but I am looking forward to it.




Book 7 for the year.
Last edited by Scuzz on Tue Jun 02, 2020 3:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by TheMix »

I really enjoyed the various Hobbs series. My one regret is that I read them out of order. So it took away some of the worry when reading a series where you know what the outcome is because a later series referenced the events.
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by hitbyambulance »

Raymond Carver - Where I'm Calling From: New and Selected Stories : a compilation of short stories ranging from the late 1960s to the late 1980s (until his death). very few of these were what one would call 'uplifting' (many involve characters as they're down-and-out and without much hope for the future) but this guy can write. i've already re-read a couple, and i might well return to a few more some years from now just to experience them again.

many of the middle-period works were heavily edited by Gordon Lish to as spare and utilitarian a form as possible, but i found those to be a little too barren.

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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Scuzz »

TheMix wrote:
Tue Jun 02, 2020 3:14 pm
I really enjoyed the various Hobbs series. My one regret is that I read them out of order. So it took away some of the worry when reading a series where you know what the outcome is because a later series referenced the events.
I skipped the Tawny Man Trilogy after being disappointed by the Liveship Traders Trilogy. Now I wish I hadn't. I will probably read it at some point after finishing this last trilogy. I didn't think the Liveship books were terrible, the first book was good, but man that second book was dull and the third wasn't much better.

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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Isgrimnur »

Winter's Heart: Wheel of Time Book 9

Foundation: The History of England from Its Earliest Beginnings to the Tudors

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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Rumpy »

Reading The Andromeda Strain. I bought the sequel awhile back and wanted to read the original novel but couldn't find a physical copy as it was out of print, and ended up buying it on Kindle. It's amazing how prescient it feels, especially in his acknowledgements. The acknowledgements feel as though they could have been written during this pandemic.
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Re: Books Read 2020

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Finished The Hobbit, by JRR Tolkien.

It's an obscure fantasy novel that I heard about. Read the associated "Lord of the Rings" books if anyone else here is aware of those, but never read this book which acts as kind of a prequel of sorts. Pretty interesting book - I'd recommend it.

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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Jaymann »

El Guapo wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:34 am
Finished The Hobbit, by JRR Tolkien.

It's an obscure fantasy novel that I heard about. Read the associated "Lord of the Rings" books if anyone else here is aware of those, but never read this book which acts as kind of a prequel of sorts. Pretty interesting book - I'd recommend it.
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Re: Books Read 2020

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Jaymann wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:43 am
El Guapo wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:34 am
Finished The Hobbit, by JRR Tolkien.

It's an obscure fantasy novel that I heard about. Read the associated "Lord of the Rings" books if anyone else here is aware of those, but never read this book which acts as kind of a prequel of sorts. Pretty interesting book - I'd recommend it.
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But whatever you do, do not try to stretch it into a trilogy!
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by hitbyambulance »

i should get around to _The Silmarillion_

i've read several translations of "Beowulf" (Heaney, Chickering and Gummere), but not the Tolkien one... so that will be the next i get to.

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Re: Books Read 2020

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I've started The Silmarillion two or three times. I have no desire to start it again.
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Re: Books Read 2020

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ImLawBoy wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 5:18 pm
I've started The Silmarillion two or three times. I have no desire to start it again.
It took me at least two or three pages.
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Re: Books Read 2020

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I have owned it for 40 years and never even started it.

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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by hitbyambulance »

i spent about 30 minutes reading the entirety of Ali Almossawi _The Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments_ (available online here: https://bookofbadarguments.com/) - i found one of the goodreads critiques amusing:
- Chapter 1: ‘validity of propositions’ is a category mistake; there is no attempt to distinguish the invalid argument from consequences from the valid reductio ad absurdum.
- Chapter 2: the anti-evolution example is very uncharitable: the common ancestry of primates and humans can be considered irrelevant if our common ancestors were sufficiently monkey-like and did swing from trees.
- Chapter 3: there is no attempt to distinguish authority from testimony; arguments from authority are strictly speaking always fallacious, but this is not made clear; in fact, the distinction between deductive validity and inductive strength is never taken seriously outside of the ‘Definitions’ section.
- Chapter 4: the example shows it is precisely the question whether ‘faith’ is used ambiguously here or not, so discarding the argument from the start seems too hasty.
- Chapter 5: notions of bivalence and vagueness are not dealt with; the picture example is misleading.
- Chapter 6: the simple fact that correlation or temporal precedence do increase the chance of two random events to be causally related is ignored; moreover, often they are our best tools to make causal judgements.
- Chapter 7: the examples are bad; the appeal to fear might reduce as a subtype of the argument from consequences.
- Chapter 8: the notion of representativeness carries all the weight but is not elaborated upon.
- Chapter 9: Sagan’s example makes a caricature of even the stupidest ufologist; the complicated notion of the burden of proof is only glanced over.
- Chapter 10: this fallacy reduces to circular reasoning.
- Chapter 11: the genesis of beliefs and arguments can, in many ways, be relevant to their assessment.
- Chapter 12: this type of reasoning may also reduce to other fallacies; it can sometimes be a useful form of, in the words of Arne Naess (if I recall correctly), ‘symptomatic argumentation’.
- Chapter 13: the picture is misleading; the truth of the consequent may still increase the probability of the antecedent.
- Chapter 14: inconsistent behaviours and standards can often be rightly criticised.
- Chapter 15: a slippery slope is often a useful inductive reasoning tool, even though it is not deductively valid.
- Chapter 16: this whole chapter is confused.
- Chapter 17: the example contradicts the picture in the appeal to authority chapter; the circumstantial ad hominem may reduce to the genetic fallacy.
- Chapter 18: the TV-show example is not charitably interpreted.
- Chapter 19: I find it hard to see the relevance of the picture to the text; the text examples are so far from any real-world reasoning that you are glad that the book is over.

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Re: Books Read 2020

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Jaymann wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 8:13 pm
ImLawBoy wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 5:18 pm
I've started The Silmarillion two or three times. I have no desire to start it again.
It took me at least two or three pages.
Isn't it basically a Lord of the Rings wikipedia in book form?

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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Holman »

El Guapo wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 3:21 pm
Jaymann wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 8:13 pm
ImLawBoy wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 5:18 pm
I've started The Silmarillion two or three times. I have no desire to start it again.
It took me at least two or three pages.
Isn't it basically a Lord of the Rings wikipedia in book form?
It's more like Tolkien's Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus.
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by hitbyambulance »

i'm doing two different library summer reading challenges. i just got this message from one of them:

Image

it would be funny to win this, as i read The Martian as quickly as possible just to get it over with (found the writing incredibly annoying) and [jeff_v] Ready Player One was a basic, pandering, condescending, cynical cash-grab intent on going for the easy nostalgia rush with no redeeming value whatsover [/jeff_v] that i abandoned one-third of the way through. those two would be instant Little Free Library donations

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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Jeff V »

Is there a better prize for not winning that stack?

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Re: Books Read 2020

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That's a disappointing stack. All but two of the books seem to lean heavily towards one demographic.
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Re: Books Read 2020

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I enjoyed The Martian and Ready Player One. RP1 enough to read the follow up, The Martian not as much.
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Re: Books Read 2020

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I enjoyed the Martian. Not a fan of the ending so much but I liked the thinking that went into it. Of course I read Neil Stephenson too.
Last edited by Scuzz on Thu Jun 11, 2020 4:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Books Read 2020

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I just finished up The Andromeda Strain and just started The Andromeda Evolution, a sequel written 50 years later.
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Re: Books Read 2020

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Scuzz wrote:
Thu Jun 11, 2020 3:15 pm
I enjoyed the Martian. Not a fan of the ending so much but I liked the thinking that went into it. O course I read Neil Stephenson too.
and i just found out my mom actually read The Martian and enjoyed it. that was unexpected..

i think i've read everything of Neal Stephenson except the Baroque Cycle and the Mongoliad (which is supposed to be an author group collab, but it's clearly a Stephenson project)... oh and that new one, Atmosphæra Incognita... ok, so not everything.

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Re: Books Read 2020

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The last Neal Stephenson I read was Anathem. I loved it, but I haven't felt compelled to read any of his more recent ones.
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Re: Books Read 2020

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Rumpy wrote:
Thu Jun 11, 2020 4:10 pm
The last Neal Stephenson I read was Anathem. I loved it, but I haven't felt compelled to read any of his more recent ones.
I have that on the shelf waiting to be read. I like Stephenson's work but I do admit to skipping over the two page explanations of how things work.

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Re: Books Read 2020

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Rumpy wrote:
Thu Jun 11, 2020 3:43 pm
I just finished up The Andromeda Strain and just started The Andromeda Evolution, a sequel written 50 years later.
To be clear, it's a sequel written by a different author (Daniel Wilson) despite having Crichton's name plastered on it. I'm hit or miss with Crichton, although it's been ages since I've read anything by him. I do recall liking Andromeda Strain when I read it (probably 25 years ago), so I'll be interested in hearing how this sequel stacks up.
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Re: Books Read 2020

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ImLawBoy wrote:
Thu Jun 11, 2020 4:33 pm
Rumpy wrote:
Thu Jun 11, 2020 3:43 pm
I just finished up The Andromeda Strain and just started The Andromeda Evolution, a sequel written 50 years later.
To be clear, it's a sequel written by a different author (Daniel Wilson) despite having Crichton's name plastered on it.
Yes, I should have mentioned that, but felt it was obvious enough it wasn't actually a lost manuscript or something like that :D That said, it seems to be done fairly well as far as I can tell. It doesn't feel like a simple cash grab, but something that's had some actual thought put into it.
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by hitbyambulance »

Scuzz wrote:
Thu Jun 11, 2020 4:14 pm
Rumpy wrote:
Thu Jun 11, 2020 4:10 pm
The last Neal Stephenson I read was Anathem. I loved it, but I haven't felt compelled to read any of his more recent ones.
I have that on the shelf waiting to be read.
i've mentioned this before, but the first third of this book is the best thing he's ever written, imo

i'll probably get to the Mongoliad next. i made it about halfway through the first book before quitting - wasn't doing anything for me.
Scuzz wrote:
Thu Jun 11, 2020 4:14 pm
I like Stephenson's work but I do admit to skipping over the two page explanations of how things work.
you might appreciate The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. as Nicole Galland (the other author) keeps that tendency in check throughout that book. (but genrewise, note this novel is nowhere near SF - i'd say 'urban fantasy' - and the story is fun, but really not to be taken seriously)

the new one (Fall; or, Dodge in Hell)....i see where he was trying to go with it. i get it... but the execution is goofy (and again, more of a fantasy novel). i did crank through all its nearly 900 pages in the three-week library loan period, which is a speed-reading record for me.

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Re: Books Read 2020

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hitbyambulance wrote:
Thu Jun 11, 2020 5:36 pm
Scuzz wrote:
Thu Jun 11, 2020 4:14 pm
Rumpy wrote:
Thu Jun 11, 2020 4:10 pm
The last Neal Stephenson I read was Anathem. I loved it, but I haven't felt compelled to read any of his more recent ones.
I have that on the shelf waiting to be read.
i've mentioned this before, but the first third of this book is the best thing he's ever written, imo
Agreed. It's such a great concept. I'd love to see this novel done as a miniseries.
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Hipolito »

The Cooperating Witness by Mike Avery (ebook, LibraryThing Early Review). This legal thriller/mystery is about the defense of a murder suspect, in a case that both the FBI and the mob have a lot of interest in. I liked and identified with both the mediocre, burned out defense attorney Bobby Coughlin and his ambitious, empathetic young intern Susan Sorella. Despite smooth prose and a few vivacious scenes of food and cooking, the writing is a bit dry. When Susan befriends another woman, their first conversation is just an exchange of curricula vitae, lacking real rapport. And a chapter from the POV of FBI agents is all bluster and procedure, like a bad cop show. But the story ends in an exciting trial that honors the rules of evidence without getting bogged down in them. 5 out of 8 sips of grappa.

Unplugged by Joe Barrett (ebook, LibraryThing Early Review). This novel, which is about a tech tycoon who decides to ditch his smartphone and unplug from the world, begins with some of the funniest writing I've ever read. I laughed so hard it hurt, no exaggeration. Though this book isn't sci-fi, it reminded me of the droll farce of Douglas Adams's novels. I was really interested in how the unplugged lifestyle would work, and how the protagonist would manage all the idiots and manipulators in his life. The book dials the humor down a bit when the protagonist, finally liberated from distraction, looks inward and figures out who he wants to be. He gets involved in a social cause, a romance, and an identity mix-up that he doesn't want to resolve just yet. The climax has the nuttiness of a John Hughes movie until it crosses a line, and crosses it hard. Though I didn't enjoy the ending as much as the beginning, it makes its point well: attention is everything. 5 out of 8 defenestrated iPhones.

Winning the Game of Work: Career Happiness and Success on Your Own Terms by Terry Boyle McDougall (ebook, LibraryThing Member Giveaweay): This is the first book I've received through the LT Giveaway program. The author, a career coach, gives advice on finding your own path, listening to your internal cues while managing the "gremlin" on your shoulder, breaking away from your ingrained beliefs and others' expectations, avoiding perfectionism, dealing with toxicity, gaining recognition, delegating, and getting stuff done. I've heard a lot of this advice before from other sources such as the Jocko Podcast, though the material on delegating is new to me and I think it will help. There is a lot of biographical fluff which can be skipped or skimmed as it's not vital for understanding the main points. Each chapter ends with a list of brainstorming questions; I didn't bother answering them, though others may find them useful. In general, this book can be helpful to those who feel stuck in their jobs or simply want to do better. 5 out of 8 pomodoro timers.

Pursuing Fedhisss: An Outer Space Odyssey by William A. Glasser (ebook, LibraryThing Early Review): Two alien scientists named Urr and Fedhisss land in small town America. Fedhisss has destructive plans and Urr wants to stop him. This brief, breezy book feels like the extraterrestrial movies that were popular in the 1980s. It also takes time to raise questions on physics, metaphysics, and philosophy. It's fun, but the climax is not as exciting as I hoped it would be. 4 out of 8 slices of the best damn apple pie in the county.
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by hitbyambulance »

for one of the local library system's reading challenge this year, one of the requirements is to 'read with a friend' the same book. i have discovered just how unusually difficult such a task can be. one friend swears i only read 'geeky and intellectual' books lol, but her list is 80% chick lit (by her own admission), which it is true, i have no real interest in reading as a genre, but really, i'll read anything if it's good. i've presented multiple, multiple authors and she has not affirmed to any, but she will not make any suggestions herself. another seems to not want to read anything at all. yet another just wants to read their own books.

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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by hitbyambulance »

moving from other thread, what should be the next Pynchon i read?

i've only completed The Crying of Lot 49, and that was over two decades ago. i got a few hundred pages into Against the Day when it was released before dropping it (tho i was abandoning a lot of books at that time).

i also have here:
V. (bought this years ago in a clearance bin)
Gravity's Rainbow (found in a sidewalk 'free book' pile last night)
Inherent Vice (on loan from the library)

Vineland, Mason & Dixon, Against the Day and Bleeding Edge are also possibilities. he really was on a writing spree in the late 2000s/early 2010s, huh. and exactly 50 years between the publishing of his first novel and his last.

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Re: Books Read 2020

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I've read Gravity's Rainbow and Inherent Vice and I started (but never finished) Against the Day. I'm a bit over 300 pages into Bleeding Edge right now. Gravity's Rainbow was amazing, but it's a challenge on par with Against the Day (which I do intend to get back to one day . . . .). If you're not sure, maybe save it until later. Inherent Vice and Bleeding Edge are much lighter (lightness being relative in the world of Pynchon) and are both quite fun. Bleeding Edge has a Daikatana reference in it, for whatever that's worth. They both actually feel quite similar in that they follow off-the-beaten-path detective/investigator types. If you're into trigger warnings, Bleeding Edge confronts 9/11 head on.
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Jaymann »

You may have sold me on Bleeding Edge, I'm all about the obscure references. I actually played Daikatana, though it's doubtful if I finished it.
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Re: Books Read 2020

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I finished Daikatana! It wasn't nearly as bad as its reputation, although the poor companion AI and lackluster ending were legit complaints.

[edit]And Bleeding Edge has a lot of tech references to the post-dot com boom era circa 2001. (The Daikatana reference is to a piece of software that is never going to be released, much like the game).[/edit]
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by hitbyambulance »

i'm now thinking to read Inherent Vice and Bleeding Edge sequentially. that helps clarify the direction i'll take here, as the former needs to go back to the library when it reopens anyways. the other books can just siiiiit in the bookshelf some while longer...

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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Jeff V »

ImLawBoy wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 3:10 pm
I finished Daikatana! It wasn't nearly as bad as its reputation, although the poor companion AI and lackluster ending were legit complaints.
I had it show up on my doorstep uninvited. When I asked my editor at Computer Games Magazine if she sent this to me, she claimed I was marked for death. They did not send it, Eidos took it upon themselves to spread the misery to every journalist in their database. Not only did I not play it (it's reputation preceded it and besides, I had no assignment for it and there was zero reason for me to play anything I wasn't getting paid for), but I believe I never played an Eidos game ever again.

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Re: Books Read 2020

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Jeff V wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 7:22 pm
ImLawBoy wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 3:10 pm
I finished Daikatana! It wasn't nearly as bad as its reputation, although the poor companion AI and lackluster ending were legit complaints.
I had it show up on my doorstep uninvited. When I asked my editor at Computer Games Magazine if she sent this to me, she claimed I was marked for death. They did not send it, Eidos took it upon themselves to spread the misery to every journalist in their database. Not only did I not play it (it's reputation preceded it and besides, I had no assignment for it and there was zero reason for me to play anything I wasn't getting paid for), but I believe I never played an Eidos game ever again.
Too bad for you. You had a free decent game you could have played.
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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by hitbyambulance »

James Joyce Ulysses - only took two decades (and four? attempts) to get around to finishing this. this book smacked me around here and there. the effort that went into writing this... i'm feeling very much about starting it over again right away, with what i now know... but yes, i will be re-reading this in the future. there were times when i feared reading _itself_ was ruined for me... that i would never experience anything like this again. more accurately, i do feel that _how_ i read novels has been changed by the experience of reading this one. i honestly feel people should attempt to read this just to experience _that_ chapter (the last one, and especially, the final two pages).

Don Gifford with Robert J. Seidman Ulysses Annotated: Notes for James Joyce's Ulysses - this was essential for getting more out of the aforementioned book, just for the sheer number of references to 1904 Dublin that mean nothing to most people now.

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Re: Books Read 2020

Post by Jeff V »

ImLawBoy wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 12:52 am
Too bad for you. You had a free decent game you could have played.
Maybe it was made decent in the decades since it's release, but it widely panned at the time. Now, I was one of the go-to writers for reviewing shitty games (no-holds barred reviews were fun to write) but I didn't play FPS games and likely would have had nothing good to say were it a paradigm of the art.

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