Just bringing this discussion over to ning...

What books are you reading right now that don't have a narrative driven by images as well as words?

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Ewww.... moldy!  Are you sure the main character in that coffin isn't a zombie?

doc photo said:

Just started "Book of Lies" by Brad Meltzer. There is a comic book connection in the plot involving Jerry Siegel and his father. The protagonist just discovered a copy of Action Comics #1 hidden in a false compartment of a coffin. Yikes! And it wasn't even bagged and boarded!

Finally finished this. I wanted to mention to Figs, and anyone else who is a fan of The Third Policeman: this book reminded me of the Flann O'Brien novel. And that was before I read some commentary that made that connection. It features an extremely unreliable narrator, whose memory is wandering. There's some question about exactly when he is telling his story, and his "status" for lack of a better, non-spoiling term. It's a challenging narrative, in a good way. If Wolfe wasn't identified with science fiction and fantasy the novel wouldn't be classified that way: it's just a modern novel, not a genre one.

Mark Sullivan said:

I'm reading Peace by Gene Wolfe. As always the language is rich and evocative, more "literary" than any other scifi author I have read. This novel isn't really science fiction, at least not yet. It's a book about memory.

I'm reading Last Call by Tim Powers. It's a novel that trades a lot in poker, tarot, and strange magic and the secret history of Vegas. I'm all-in.

I like most of that. I may have to put it on my list.

Rob Staeger said:

I'm reading Last Call by Tim Powers. It's a novel that trades a lot in poker, tarot, and strange magic and the secret history of Vegas. I'm all-in.

All Quiet on the Western Front..... *also known as "nothing new inthe West"

And "The Coalwood Way"...overlapping sequel to "Rocket Boys"....

Kirk G said:

All Quiet on the Western Front..... *also known as "nothing new inthe West"

Over the weekend I bought a hardcover copy of Larry McMurtry’s When the Light Goes Out, the fourth part of the Duane Moore series, for a buck. (I stopped reading at Duane’s depressed.) I guess my next quest is to find Rhino Ranch, the conclusion of the quintet, but I may want to read The Last Picture Show, Texasville and Duane’s Depressed again before moving on to the final two.

I also bought a paperback copy of Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, but I’m saving that until after I’ve had the opportunity to listen to the 11 hour (!) audio version of Revenge of the Sith.

Just finished The Haves and the Have-Nots: A Brief and Idiosyncratic History of Global Inequality by Branko Milanovic. It's a short and very readable treatment of a serious economics question. He can't avoid introducing some economics concepts, but manages to explain them clearly and concisely. I have to say that it's ultimately a bit depressing, because while some things are getting better (e.g. dramatic economic improvement in China and India), others are getting worse (the distance between First World and Third World nations has grown to the point that Milanovic posits that areas like Africa could be described as "Fourth World").

I'm reading The People Who Knock on the Door by Patricia Highsmith. I picked it up expecting a crime novel, but so far, it's not. But it's very well written, regardless.

I've just read The Marrying of Ann Leete: A Comedy by Harley Granville-Barker. 1899. In Three Plays by Granville-Barker, text from Project Gutenberg.


In the late 18th century the daughter of an aristocrat marries the gardener because she wants to live a non-artificial life.


Despite the subtitle, there's only a little humour in the play (the opening sequence could be played for comedy, and there are two broadly-written characters in the final act). It's also not a romance; the heroine doesn't marry the gardener because she's in love with him, but because she believes it will mean a worthwhile life. The final scene, in which they start their married life together, is tender. I thought the story impossible.


Granville-Barker's other works include a series of preface volumes to plays by Shakespeare that used to be widely-known.

I am reading The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull which explains and defines the names and terms Professor Tolkien used, how his earlier poems and The Hobbit were integrated into his opus, the differences in various editions and his feelings on the subject matter. Most interesting to date was learning that Strider/Aragorn was originally a rough and tough hobbit called Trotter and if Tom Bombadil was God or an aspect of God.

I loved what they said on the DVD that they never said that Frodo and the other hobbits didn't meet Tom and Goldberry, they just didn't show it!

Here is Tolkien's quote on the back cover:

"Hardly a word in its 600,000 or more has been unconsidered. And the placing, size, style, and contribution to the whole of the features, incidents, and chapters has been laboriously pondered. I do not say this in recommendation. It is, I feel, only too likely that I am deluded, lost in a web of vain imaginings of not much value to others--in spite of the fact that a few readers have found it good, on the whole. What I intend to say is this: I cannot substantially alter the thing. I have finished it, it is 'off my mind': the labour has been colossal; and it must stand or fall, practically as it is."

---J.R.R. Tolkien, 1951

Over the weekend I re-read Star Wars, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye and The Empire Strikes Back. Because I wasn’t quite ready to re-read Return of the Jedi, I started reading Darth Plagueis. I was going to say that Darth Plagueis is the most recent Star Wars hardcover, but I got an e-mail coupon this morning for Apocalypse, the final volume of the “Fate of the Jedi” series, at B&N.

It has been only 15 years since I last re-read the movie adaptations, but it has been 35 years since the first, last and only time I have previously read Splinter of the Mind’s Eye. Splinter was the first original Star Wars novel after the release of the film. I read that one, then Han Solo at stars End “back inna day,” then gave it up. SotME is written by Alan Dean Foster and features a skirmish between Luke & Leia and Darth Vader. First of all, I thought “who is Alan Dean Foster to write a Star Wars book?” (I didn’t know at the time that he had ghost-written the novelization of the original screenplay.) I determined that if SotME wasn’t mentioned in the rumored Star Wars sequel (and I reasoned that it wouldn’t be), it wasn’t in continuity and therefore a waste of my time.

I’ve mellowed a bit over the past three decades, though, and decided to give it a second shot. There’s really no reason SotME couldn’t be in continuity, really, except the paperback, the comic strips and the comic books all present “skirmishes” between Luke and Vader, and they can’t reasonably all be “in continuity.” It was an enjoyable read, though. I had forgotten many of the details since I first read it.

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