Re: Vampire Weekend

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Last summer's nanny recommended that series (trilogy?) and I have it on my bookshelf. Right next to all the other books I genuinely intend to read someday.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 5:27 AM
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My trashy reading lately has been scifi, which I hadn't read since high school. Lots of fun novels since then! I've got more than a summer's worth.


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 5:46 AM
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I like to compromise with Proust's little-known Teen Vampires in Paris series.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 5:48 AM
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How is this different from Buffy minus slayage?


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 6:00 AM
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4 - not sure. Never saw Buffy. (I know - heresy.)


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 6:05 AM
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I'll read it if w-lfs-n and McManus promise to read it, too. Then we will have a new Unfogged reading group.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 6:11 AM
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3: For a long time I had been returning to my coffin early...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 6:14 AM
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I'm rereading Watership Down right now.

And to tie that into the vampire theme and kids' books (younger age): Bunnicula* is great (at least the early ones were, have not read recent ones).

And here's a good dumb, stupid, clever kids' book The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin.

*comes bp approved per the Archives.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 6:24 AM
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Parfois, à peine ma sang éteinte, mes yeux se fermaient si vite que je n'avais pas le temps de me dire.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 6:26 AM
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Oh my God! When he talked about eating Madeleines I thought he meant cakes!


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 6:29 AM
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I'll read it if w-lfs-n and McManus promise to read it, too.

My son, I have read enough Romantic Vampire to last me a lifetime. Much of it approaching pron for women, like Laurrell Hamilton (I got thru 6 books)...wait, forget the "approaching" part...but most of it as Beck describes, various degrees of tension. I have a bookcase full. Well, actually, she does. I may come back with recos.

I am also 2-3 Jim Butchers, a couple John Sandfords, and maybe a Crais or Coben behind anyway.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 6:37 AM
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Eastern Promises disappointed me last night. Pretty good for what it was, but my reaction was "Is that all?. I'll have to think on it.

The Wednesday night movie was a doc on the rise & fall of neo-expressionist Chuck Connelly. I liked that one.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 6:46 AM
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Much of it approaching pron for women

...and the problem with this is?

Personally on a lovely rainy summer day (wettest summer for decades, joy) I think you can't do better than a horror novel.

*settles down with Salem's Lot*

Actually, I'm also re-reading Agatha Christie. Afternoon tea and murders.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 6:46 AM
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...and the problem with this is?

No problem, except whether to reco Hamilton to preteens. By the end of the series and the fairy series, I was getting bored with the orgies & power fantasies.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 6:51 AM
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Also, Dorothy Sayers.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 6:54 AM
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"Much of it approaching pron for women"

...and the problem with this is?

The problem with this, in my mind anyway, is twofold: (1) equating erotic stimulation produced by written descriptions of fictional characters with erotic stimulation produced by a particular variety of visual images of actual people, and (2) the suggestion that one form of stimulation is "for men" and one "for women."

But anyway, not to get sidetracked. Back to the forbidden vampire love!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 6:57 AM
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I think this series was described to me as poised to be the next Harry Potter-esque phenomenon. Aren't they making a movie based on it?

I haven't read them yet, but now that they are Becks-approved, I might pick them up.


Posted by: pasdquoi | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 7:05 AM
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I have to confess to only recently having discovered Miley Cyrus. There. I said it.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 7:19 AM
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While I agree with your second point, Di, there's a long tradition of written pronography.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 7:21 AM
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16:

1) I certainly didn't equate anything in four words, but prose pron is still pron.

2) I know the intended audience, and the demos of purchasers, or think I do. Hamilton is apparently successful enough that I can claim she knows what she is doing.

Butcher & Sandford & Crais & Coben probably are intended crossover, but still have more female readers than male. I'd bet on it.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 7:22 AM
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bob: No problem, except whether to reco Hamilton to preteens.

Probably not, unless you're a long way away from their parents. ;-)


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 7:23 AM
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Actually, 20.3 might have been better served by choices from the bookcases full of crime & detective fiction by female writers with female protagonists that I am staring at as I type.

It probably is a good idea to have an intended audience if you are writing commercial genre fiction.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 7:30 AM
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there's a long tradition of written pronography.

Well, I'm a wholesome and pure young thing who is concededly not entirely familiar with these things, but I thought the proper term for "written pron" was "erotica." Anyway, it seems like the difference is significant enough that the terminology should be distinct. But I'll buy it if you are saying I am just lacking an understanding of these things.

I certainly didn't equate anything in four words, but prose pron is still pron.

I meant that using the same term to describe both equates the two things. But, see above, maybe that's just my wholesome and pure naivete...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 7:33 AM
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My wife just read Twilight and she loved it as a trashy read too.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 7:37 AM
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http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1099212/

The movie is supposed to be out in December.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 7:39 AM
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This post reminds me: the other day, I randomly picked up No Country For Old Men at a friend's house. Read the first two chapters like nothing. Now I want to read it, but having seen the movie, I know its not the light summery read to which Becks refers.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 7:49 AM
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25:Good for Kristen Stewart. May she make millions and become a housegold name.

23 is correct. The distinction is absolutely important, especially at some fringes. I grovel.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 7:50 AM
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light and breezy
Proust is difficult, must be not for me, never could read past a few first pages and then total attention dissipation
there is a popular song about birches, so it has a line 'mojet eto est' vse chto ya v jizni uznayu - maybe this is all i'll know in this life', very true, there are things one can or cannot know and understand


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 7:54 AM
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I love Miley Cyrus.


Posted by: stroll | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 7:55 AM
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Butcher & Sandford & Crais & Coben probably are intended crossover, but still have more female readers than male. I'd bet on it.

You think Butcher and Sanford are targeted to women? I haven't read Crais and Coben so I can't comment, but the Dresden books and most of Sanford's stuff seems pretty much run of the mill fantasy and mystery/suspense that I would think would be more popular with men.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 8:03 AM
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Heh.

1) Was going link the Amazon page, then realized Becks had linked. Meyer is apparently Mormon, likes Orson Scott Card, and the first review is not flattering with criticisms that imply the book is Patriarchy.

2) I also expect that as someone who has read or knows of the subgenre, my reaction will be similar to what I felt about Harry Potter. Been there, done that, "better". "Better" in scare quotes because the genre writers didn't become billionaires, so obviously Rowling did something right.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 8:08 AM
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30:Not really targeted, but women are overwhelming the audience that reads fiction.

Similarly, Sue Grafton ( I could name dozens) writes crossover. I don't think it's "targeted." I would say that if you want men to be more than 30% of your target audience you probably have to write with that in mind.

Why Grafton etc keeps me while Hamilton lost me (remember I read six), to the degree gender or preference is a factor (and there are other factors), is probably pretty complicated. It was a gross power fantasy where the men (werewolves and vampires actualy) were always being saved by the superduperheroine?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 8:17 AM
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And here I thought this post was actually about the excellent band Vampire Weekend.

I haven't read the books you speak of, but the band, with the album of the same name, is excellent summertime entertainment as well.


Posted by: crutan | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 8:26 AM
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Once she snags this god-like specimen (whose unbearable beauty is mentioned several times per page) the text makes it quite clear that she has fulfilled her only duty on earth, and that she is ready to die happily. The worst part of this message is that her goal in life is completed by giving up her personhood to a man who is condescending, arrogant and patronizing, often simply mean to her, and constantly threatening her with violence. He doesn't want to hurt her, but she might drive him to it.

Reading this book and realizing how passionate people are about it, is like watching feminism die. Go devote your heart, life and soul to a man now girls, it's all your good for.

...review by throwntothewind. Meyer's a Mormon.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 8:32 AM
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I thought the proper term for "written pron" was "erotica."

I think the difference between pron and erotica is partly in the quality of the bindings. There's visual erotica too--there the term mainly means "not as hardcore".

I guess I'm just not the sweet naive young thing I used to be, though I hasten to assure anyone who cares that I am not an aficionado of pron or erotica.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 8:36 AM
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Well, I'm a wholesome and pure young thing who is concededly not entirely familiar with these things, but I thought the proper term for "written pron" was "erotica."

I believe "erotica" means "pr0n for women". no matter what the media.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 8:39 AM
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36:Nope, on reflection I agree with DK.

There is a huge difference between snuff pedophile fiction and a snuff pedophile video. Pr rape fiction and rape video. Like, an infinite gulf. If I remember correctly, the differences between obvious fiction and live action has been, or is the pipeline, of the courts.

All the above are certainly horrors, and there should be more discussion, but this distinction is basic.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 8:49 AM
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I have your light summer reading right here.

Okay, I'm lying, but people should buy that one if they don't mind being depressed. I did a little research & suggested some edits, & it's really really good.

As far as actual light-ish summer reading: I've now read two things by Eric Ambler, a thriller writer from the 1940s & 1950s, which are fun. There's a definite formula but it's well executed.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 8:50 AM
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37: I fail to see how this relates to the difference between "prn" and "erotica".

though I'm willing to believe that at this juncture of history 95% of the market for visual prn is men, and 95% of the market for written prn is women. I have never heard a man refer to experiencing non-visual prn, and all the "anthologies" at the bookstore seem to have pink covers.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 8:56 AM
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37: That a rape video would be far more vile than rape fiction doesn't mean the rape fiction is not pornography. Something doesn't have to be The Most Horrible Thing I Can Imagine to qualify as pornography, nor does it have to be proven that someone was victimized in its manufacture. I wouldn't put snuff pedophile fiction in the erotica category.

Oh goody, let's have a What is Porn argument.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:02 AM
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I am Porn.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:03 AM
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mcmc: first off, what the hell is "prn" ?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:03 AM
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I have never heard a man refer to experiencing non-visual prn

You need to get out more.

Although now I will call it erotica.

I am too active in this thread, and I promised to get the names of other Romantic Vampire fiction from the shelf, like Tanya Huff. I have a feeling it won't matter, Twilight is apparently a social phenomenon like Potter, and it would be pointlessly antisocial to criticize it.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:05 AM
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Aha, Becks saw a trailer for the upcoming movie version of Twilight and wanted to get this post out while she could still purport to be ahead of the rest of us on this issue.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:08 AM
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26: If you're worried about already knowing the plot to No Country For Old Men, why not pick up a different McCarthy? If you're worried the rest of his work won't have that same sense of desolation and desperation -- well, don't be. Although yeah, not summery.


Posted by: Tom | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:12 AM
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I wouldn't put snuff pedophile fiction in the erotica category.

I don't know--is this a big genre? I wouldn't expect this category to be large enough to justifiy its own aisle in the bookstore. And if it doesn't get its own aisle, I don't know where we'd put it other than in with the erotica. (One certainly hopes it's not self-help.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:14 AM
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37:If you want some other way or word of distinguishing between the virtual and that using real live people, ok fine, but I think the distinction is radical, essential, categorical.

Not all live action X involves victimization, and some virtual Y is words-fail-me. I might call some fiction or animation evil erotica, but whether there is a continuum or not is another very ugly complicated argument. 18? 16? 14?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:17 AM
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may I rephrase, since my initial response to Di Kotimy wasn't serious anyway.

in my experience, many women are embarrassed about referring to "porn", and say "erotica" instead. this conflates actual porn with things that have some merit other than their stimulation value, which is probably the original meaning of "erotica" anyway. also, it creates the word "erotica" as used in marketing, which is usually used to market porn to women. That is all.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:18 AM
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||

Dear over-excited bouncer kid from last night: why did you ban me? I had already left the bar! And anyhow I didn't do anything! Don't get me wrong, it makes me feel a little like a badass, and it's a crappy bar that I'm happy to have to opportunity to never visit again, but you left me a little confused. Did I really just look at you wrong?

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:18 AM
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Did the bouncer mention that he commented here, Sifu?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:22 AM
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46:Just Putrid Stories

Not to my taste. Brick-and-mortar is so like ancient, dude.

Becks probably is mad at the way the thread has gone, and I'm sorry if responsible. I am not enjoying this.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:24 AM
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I have a feeling I really don't want to read the stories behind the link in 51, and that I'm going to it when I do.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:30 AM
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50: you never know.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:36 AM
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Yeah, sorry. Did not mean to derail the thread. Everyone please get back to discussing fluff fiction.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:36 AM
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52 somehow dropped the word "regret".


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:43 AM
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mcmc: first off, what the hell is "prn"

It's a little something I like to call a "typo".
Or a planet in a faraway star system where there are dragons.
No, wait, that's Pern.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:43 AM
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To return to the original thread, and to continue the theme of gender difference, I have found that the "Best American Sports Writing" series can make good, if uneven, summer reading.

I tend to like essay collections for vacation reading because I'm never sure how long my attention span will be. The BASW collections have the advantages of being available cheap used, generally having high quality writing, being easy to read, and being a big enough step from my normal reading habits to represent a break.

I admit, I got started, having picked up this edition randomly from a used bookstore bargain bin, and that none of the other ones I've read have been quite as good. But that one for me shows the strength of the form. Richard Ford's piece on hunting is beautiful, Halberstam's essay on fencing is solid reading, and the description of Marge Schott as an owner of the Reds is laugh out loud funny.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:46 AM
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I read a Wodehouse collection recently on vacation, I think because it had been mentioned here on Unfogged. It was a perfect vacation read.


Posted by: pasdquoi | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:53 AM
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Becks, hon, when you need trashy book recommendations, come to me. I read a lot of Young Adult stuff, some of it trashy. I'm on a trashy book kick right now (mostly the books that got good reviews at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. So I got your back.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:00 AM
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48

I basically agree. Erotica is just high class porn.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:09 AM
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As for light reading, how about Dick Francis?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:13 AM
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Thing is, generally speaking, humans want a relationship, whereas vampires just want sex.

I apologize if this comment has already been multiply pwned. I just finished baking and eating blueberry scones. YUM!

Oh, and: still no baby! Come out of there, Baby Brother.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:26 AM
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The problem with this, in my mind anyway, is twofold: (1) equating erotic stimulation produced by written descriptions of fictional characters with erotic stimulation produced by a particular variety of visual images of actual people, and (2) the suggestion that one form of stimulation is "for men" and one "for women."

Isn't Di on the record as finding visual depictions of sex acts boring as hell?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:29 AM
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Stephanie Meyer in TIME April 24.

Over at EoTAW I got into a thread about Heinlein, and of course there has been a gratifying amount of discussion of Thoma M. Disch recently. As someone who has read mntns of genre fiction, I have this thesis, well completely underdeveloped intuition, that the ways "bad" or "mediocre" prose interacts with its readers' imaginations is misunderstood and understudied. By lacking clarity & precision, "bad style" leaves space for readers to engage and participate with the text on their own terms.

I think the same is true for movies. When a bad actor plays his part inadequately, you have to imagine how you would act in that fictional situation.
With Bardem or Morton, all you can do is watch and identify with their interpretation.

Disch in one interview said that the ways text works with the visual imagination is mostly unstudied. Delany has said the same. I don't think we understand reading or aesthetics as a process yet


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:35 AM
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The Road is perfect summer reading. Lots of white space on the page. Relatively simple sentence structure.

Not hard to remember the character's names.

I give it my highest recommendation.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:41 AM
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On my last trip I read the first volume of George R. R. Martin's ginormous "Song of Ice and Fire" fantasy series. It's funny, because I really enjoyed it, but now that I am back home I can't muster the energy to read the next one and am instead reading a huge tome on the Strategic Defense Initiative.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:44 AM
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63: You could also read that as me finding the wedding night boring as hell...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:44 AM
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66: you're such a lightweight, snark.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:45 AM
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64 cont: I can do this better with movies, I think.

When an actor delivers a line, an expression or other body language that feels inauthentic or discordant, that very instantaneous judgement can create a better alternative performance in the mind of the viewer.

People who insist on high quality, OTOH, never get past the critical judgement. They will refuse to "engage with bad art." except to reject it.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:47 AM
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You could also read that as me finding the wedding night boring as hell...

It all depends on whose wedding night it is.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:47 AM
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66: you're such a lightweight, snark.

As an added bonus, "Way Out There in the Blue" features a bunch of current Bush malefactors. Maybe it's that the collapse of Martin's fantasy Europe into a continent-wide total war doesn't a sense of outrage like seeing Douglas fucking Feith's name in print.

Oh, and I just finished "Entities", the collected novels of Golden Age-era British s.f. writer Eric Frank Russell.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:48 AM
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Eric Frank Russell is great. I read a huge collection of his short stories years ago, and all I can remember (aside from the aforementioned greatness) is one story where a "computer" was this dude with a slide rule, and another where he talked about a "cancer bug". Ahh, anachronism.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:49 AM
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I'm just about to start Memories of My Melancholy Whores. Garcia Marquez: As much fun to read as trash!

||

Sifu, you've got to stop sneering at bouncers. They don't want to have taken all those steroids for nothing.

|>


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:54 AM
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By lacking clarity & precision, "bad style" leaves space for readers to engage and participate with the text on their own terms.

I agree with this. I have used this as part of the defense of adolescent appreciation of comic books.

I don't know how one explains the feeling, that I have only experienced with serial fiction, of encountering a clunky line of dialog and thinking, "that line feels wrong, but I believe that it's a clumsy attempt at reflecting the character feeling X. I will behave as if the character had actually said X, and pretend that X is canon."


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:56 AM
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Garcia Marquez: As much fun to read as trash!

Not universally true. The Autumn of the Patriarch was a real slog, I found.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:57 AM
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...finding visual depictions of sex acts boring as hell?

Most are boring as hell. The biggest fans of such stuff require vast quantities of new & fresh material.

I can imagine visual erotica surrounded by relationship & drama material that could bear repeated viewings (Don't Look Now? Last Tango? Breillat?) and lord knows it has been tried (all softcore is about context) but hardcore hasn't been considered fit subject matter for real film artists.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 10:58 AM
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I am also 2-3 Jim Butchers behind

The idea behind The Dresden Files is wonderful and the few televised episodes that I watched were a lot of fun, but Storm Front didn't entertain me enough to make me want to pick up another one. Do you think the others are better or about the same?


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 11:02 AM
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And of course, the hottest trend in prn is amateur videos, which is all about context (this is a real nice woman). Some can be very erotic, but my general conclusion from watching it is that there are a whole lot of people, if not the majority, in fucked-up sexist exploitative relationships.

See below on "Inequality in Emotional Involvement in Romantic Relationships".

I've ruined Beck's thread. I'll get to the Romantic Vampire novels yet. Chelsea Quinn Yarbro may have preceded Anne Rice, not sure.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 11:08 AM
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OK, I don't mean to rile up Becks, but the last 2 books I finished were Thoreau's Maine Woods and Cape Cod But I haven't read them in 15 years, and they're both about, essentially, camping vacations, something I don't think I'll get to do this year.

AB & I both love Cape Cod, but both have a history of going there with now-deprecated exes. We'll see what the future holds.

I'm also getting through the Thurber Carnival. Some of it is gob-smackingly brilliant, but too much of it is kind of depressingly misogynistic. Mitty is certainly not his only hen-pecked husband. But he loves dogs.

This spring I read several of Ayun Halliday's memoirs, which aren't trashy, but are certainly light and fun and funny.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 11:12 AM
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77:Mattters of taste. I don't recommend much.

And being years behind, I can barely remember them by title, dammit.

Toward the end of my reading, I thought Butcher was falling into a Marvel trap, where he had to keep making Dresden ever more powerful facing ever more powerful opponents in ever more complex plots, sacrificing some qualities that made the early character and stories empathetic. Such is series writing:see Rowling.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 11:14 AM
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Oooh, great beach reading! I read this book next to the pool in a day, and I loved it, the way I loved "The DaVinci Code" on the beach in Bordeaux. I think of it as emotional pron for women, not erotica. i.e. it presents the ideal man who anticipates and caters to your every desire without any effort from you.

And would make a fun book group to discuss the fine line (or not so fine line) between the image of the ideal male as presented and stalker/abuser behavior.


Posted by: Sam-I-Am | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 11:16 AM
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The Autumn of the Patriarch was a real slog, I found.

Oh well, even Homer nods, Soup. I also found AOTP pretty hard going.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 11:19 AM
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81:I don't cook or eat out, so don't know much about pastries or have any recipes.

I really am outahere.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 11:21 AM
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Oh well, even Homer nods, Soup. I also found AOTP pretty hard going.

Fair enough, I was being harsh. 100 years... or Love in the time .., etc. are certainly good beach reads.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 11:21 AM
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I 90% agree with the premise that erotica is just a marketing term for pr0n for women, but I suspect that part of the reason the term's become debased is that, with the death of censorship, the role of sex scenes in books has changed.

The way I understand it, used to be that you were either writing smut, which got away with having sex scenes by flying under the censors' radar, or you were writing erotica, which got away with having sex scenes by being 'literature.' With the death of censorship, the former evolved into modern pr0n writing, and the latter evolved into Harlequin romances and various genre fictions that included sex scenes. The 'literary' origins of the latter resulted in some of the awfulness of the writing, with turgid this and heaving that mimicking the high-falutin' language of Real Literature.

But anyway, now that any book can include sex scenes, they've become hackneyed and hard to do well, and most "literature" shies away from sex scenes except as opportunities to show a damaged character (traumatizing sex encounter, traumatized character unable to have sex, etc.).

So we're left with the erotica category effectively meaning explicit sex stories that are written to appeal to the presumed desires of het women - monogamy, romance, not too many 4-letter words, etc. I would imagine that some of the better genre stuff that includes sex scenes probably qualifies as erotica in the older sense of placing sex and sexuality in a context and narrative*, but I doubt it gets separated out as such.

* As opposed to just throwing sex scenes into whatever the genre story might be.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 11:26 AM
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77: The second Dresden Files book is atrocious--shallow, obvious plot, weak characterization & sloppy writing generally. Probably written in a rush after the first one sold. Robust tells me they get much better after #2, so I recommend skipping to the 3rd.

I've read rather more YA fiction than I can reasonably justify in the last couple years. I believe Scott Westerfeld has gotten the Unfogged love before--I devoured the "Pretties" trilogy, & Robust says Westerfeld's YA vampire (-ish) books are as good or nearly. Also, I want to buy copies of Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching books & hand them out to young girls at random, but I suppose that would give entirely the wrong impression.


Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 11:34 AM
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I like the novels of Garth Nix although I think they are intended for females half my age.

Sabriel
Lirael
Abhorsen


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 11:36 AM
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86: It is my considered opinion that I would feel less like a doofus if I had excoriated the sloppy writing of a best-selling novelist in a sentence with correct punctuation. Grrr.


Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 11:40 AM
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I'll read it if w-lfs-n and McManus promise to read it, too.

Sorry, my Light Summer Reading this summer is The Man without Qualities.

I saw the selfsame woman reading the selfsame collection of what was obviously porn with vampires on the no. 6 bus in Chicago a few times.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 11:40 AM
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Also, I liked the first two or three books of the G. R. R. M. series to which snark refers supra. I stopped reading only because the next book hadn't come out in a timely enough fashion.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 11:42 AM
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The Man Without Qualities is not that hard to read. It's just really long, and not much happens.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 11:50 AM
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Just like the summer!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 11:50 AM
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My old roommate suggests the Nero Wolfe books.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 11:54 AM
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Must be in the (evening) air - Entertainment Weekly's cover story is about Stephenie [sic] Meyer, Twilight's author - and there's another article about the movie itself. Why, it's Cedric Diggory!


Posted by: Moira | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 12:05 PM
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the summer is rather short, it's over after the 11th of July
congrats, me


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 12:29 PM
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93

I liked the Nero Wolfe books also. Feminists might find some parts objectionable however.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 12:48 PM
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Hmm. I adore the Nero Wolfe books and the cozy little homosocial household it depicts.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 12:52 PM
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I go for elf-and-dragon-type books, myself, when I want lame fiction.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 1:01 PM
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Nero Wolfe was/is awesome. The way he'd cheat at the number of beers he permitted himself everyday by removing a bottle cap or two from his desk? So great. I wish I could do nothing but solve crimes, tend to my orchids, and eat Fritz's cooking.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 1:04 PM
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I find there is an entirely different classification of reading from `beach reading', which is stuff I'll read when laid flat with a cold. I can be very discerning about bad fiction then, in a strange way


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 1:05 PM
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I should note that the characters in "Twilight" are chaste -- as far as we can tell -- and I've heard there is no sex in any of the books in the series because of the author's religion. [As Chanson at Letters from a Broad points out, as if vampires aren't against her religion!] The lack of sex is why I call it "emotional pron."

Sorry if that was already clear from other comments.


Posted by: Sam-I-Am | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 1:12 PM
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Summer reading:

Alan Furst [a bit inconsistent, but when he's on, he's on]

Christopher Fowler's 'Bryant and May' books [basically geriatric detectives from the Peculiar Crimes Unit solve occult crimes in London -- the first one isn't as good as the later ones, I think. The gentle absurdism is very English.]

Robert Harris's 'Blair' novel: The Ghostwriter, is pretty good.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 1:21 PM
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94:Go movie! Although it probably won't need my help. I have been rooting for Kristen Stewart since
Speak, which isn't light entertainment. There's this interest I have in young actors, which is partly grandfatherly, partly about guessing or watching which ones get Oscar nominated or make big money or have careers into their 40s. It's my replacement for watching rookies evolve in sports.

Not just women, men like Nick Stahl & Skeet Ulrich & James McAvoy and Vincent Kartheiser.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 1:35 PM
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72: Eric Frank Russell is great.

Indeed. Especially so as a newish driver and having a wasp fly into one's car.

Have you tried James Schmitz?


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 1:39 PM
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And watching actors is more fun than sports, because there are so many factors involved in success beyond talent & determination.

Naomi Watts finally getting good leads at 33+. I knew her when. And then there are people like Ian McKellan.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 1:49 PM
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Oh, I meant to say earlier that I'm very intrigued by bob's theory about the effectiveness of crappy fiction/film. I have no idea how you'd go about confirming the theory, but it's interesting.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 1:59 PM
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I highly, highly recommend this book as summertime reading. A novel about superheros. It manages simultaneously to be a fun, trashy read and a profoundly self-aware examination of the deeper symbolism behind trashy fantasy. Superhero origin stories are our fairy tales and have that same uncanny psychological depth to them.

Sifu Tweety in particular would I think love the book -- some of the humor reminded me of his style.

The closest comparison is I guess Michael Chabon's book Kavalier and Clay, except it's not really that close. I always feel that Chabon, impressive as he is, has this sort of heavy and ponderous "look at me!" quality in his writing. It's like all his stylistic pyrotechnics are a distraction and even a bit of a chore to read at times. This book is just as deep, if anything deeper, but has a far lighter touch, and is willing to set sail completely into fantasy.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 4:20 PM
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Ooh, I second PGD's recommendation.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 4:52 PM
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If you like mysteries, how about P. D. James?

This summer I've also been reading Richard Russo. If you like somewhat depressing themes in a comic style, he's good.

I also second pasdquoi on P. G. Wodehouse. It was one of the few things that took my mind off my dissertation. Just don't let the adolescent male geeks see you reading it.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 4:55 PM
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I highly recommend Half-Life by Shelley Jackson, but it has pretty bad-ass stylistic pyrotechnics. WHICH I FRICKIN LOVE. Hers, not s.p.'s in general. It's not a beach book.

I saw her speak at the Festival of Books. "I started out with the question, 'What is it like to be a conjoined twin?'" she said. "And that brought me to the question, 'What is it like to not be a conjoined twin?'"


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 4:59 PM
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Sign up now quick to tor.com for their newsletter - they have been giving free downloads of about 15 or so books to subscribers and are just about to make them all available again in one go. Some blah in there but some great enjoyable reading stuff including Cherie Priest's Four and Twenty Blackbirds and Jo Walton's Farthing and some other good stuff I can't remember.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 5:00 PM
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Recent light reading: Christopher Moore, Charles de Lint, Martha Grimes, Charlie Stross, Ian McDonald, Neil Gaiman, William Gibson, Kim Harrison, Elizabeth George, Robert Parker. Looking forward to the new Joe Haldeman, Diana Wynne Jones, Bob Crais. It's mysteries and SF for mindless enjoyment. Non-fiction: cooking, random bios, random science, usually physics/medical.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 5:03 PM
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Christopher Moore is fun. Russo can be--cf "Straight Man".


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 5:42 PM
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Martha Grimes and William Gibson are "light"? I guess by dint of their genres. But I would put them at the least easygoing end of their genres.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 6:24 PM
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Wait, I got Martha Grimes confused with someone else...

Barbara Hambly, I guess. That name does not sound familiar. I may have read three of her books while thinking they were by Martha Grimes, which seems like a more appropriate name somehow.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 6:26 PM
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115: Um, dude, I think you like, broke the blog.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 7:17 PM
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The only way to fix it is to unify the end of the thread with the beginning. Christopher Moore, as mentioned in 113, wrote a more humorous book than Twilight, entitled You Suck, on a similar theme.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 7:27 PM
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Everybody else has a life. I have cider.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 8:17 PM
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114: William Gibson is definitely light. There's really not that much to distinguish his novels from regular thriller/mysteries except a more stylishly imagined setting, sassier protagonists and the fact that he can write a sentence.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 9:22 PM
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Proust isn't exactly light reading (page and a half long sentences, enough said), but if you are going to read him vacation is exactly the right time. You need to be able to lose yourself in him to get the full effect. He's amazing, try him some time.


Posted by: tkm | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 11:15 PM
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Same thing with Marie-Claire Blais.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 11:16 PM
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As for light stuff - I'm the SF and fantasy type. In the urban vampire sub genre I've done Hamilton (ok noir meets vampire at first, crappy hardcore D/S porn later), Huff (ok mindless noir meets vampires), Kat Richardson (fun), and LA Banks (black Buffy - mediocre).


Posted by: tkm | Link to this comment | 07-11-08 11:20 PM
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I may be alone in this, but I've come to actively dislike fluffy books. I just reread Becks' original post, and it's like an anti-recommendation to me. I like fluffy movies, and don't mind fluffy TV shows, so I don't know why books are different.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 12:38 AM
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a vampire who has pledged to no longer drink human blood

A Blcak Ribboner?


Posted by: Trevor | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 1:32 AM
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If Laurel K. Hamilton is wrong, I don't wanna be wrong. And I'm pretty sure Laurel K. Hamilton is wrong.


Posted by: NBarnes | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 2:50 AM
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Mrs OFE turns to Georgette Heyer for her bodice ripper fix, on then grounds that the quality of the writing doesn't set her teeth on edge, unlike most subsequent efforts.

119. I think it's important that your mindless reading be sufficiently literate that the bad writing doesn't impair your mindless enjoyment.

Detective recommendation: Reginald Hill. Forget the crappy television versions, the books are funny and appalling and well written.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 6:45 AM
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Bob is absolutely right about Laurel Hamilton's vampire series. Towards book four (?) it started indulging its more childish, unpleasant side. I still don't know how it got that way since I read books 1 and 2, thought they were ok, and then in the library picked up the latest---and was just horrified.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 7:07 AM
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Echoing OFE: Reginald Hill is terrific. I remember particularly enjoying Recalled to Life and The Wood Beyond. Oh! And the one about the Kindertotenlied. And the one about the mining strike.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 7:52 AM
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Sure, Gibson is light. What's considered `Genre fiction' is mostly quite light (nothing wrong with that) for whatever reasons. I think this treads close to the edge of the question of whether or not `genre' is a very meaningful classifier for books. Lots of people will use it as a way of dismissing the bad (80% of everything is crap) while simultaneously `elevating' certain books out of the genre into `literature' or whatever. This seems bogus to me. If pressed for `SF' and not light I guess I'd come up with things like maybe a canticle for liebowitz or the handmaids tale (likewise fantasy e.g: midnights children) but I don't know how useful an exercise it is.

People have given some great examples here of beach/plane books, I think. I'll have to read everything later for ideas.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 8:50 AM
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light reading, when i was young and was having relatively more free time during uni for example i used to read a lot of sci-fi, the Angelique series like romance novels, detective stories, non-fiction like a lot of books on WWII or any other period i could find, though never was into things supernatural like vampires etc
then now when i start to read something 'light' and something is not up to my mood or taste, i immediately drop it, the feeling is can't waste my time on this, though meantime don't do anything worthwhile too
especially if it's a newly written books, or for example blogs, one perceivedly false or pretentious word or sentence and i can't read further
i blame ADD coz it can't be the book-bestseller, just this feeling of like urgency, time shortage is disturbing


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 8:56 AM
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-a, sneaky bstrd


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 9:02 AM
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HEY HELP!
Somebody hereabouts recommended a great site for buying plane tickets, and now of course I can't find the site or the reference on Unfogged. What are some great ticket-buying sites?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 9:06 AM
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orbitz isn't bad, jackmormon. I don't think they've always got the best results, but they have a pretty good site. Where are you going ? (international?)


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 9:13 AM
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i used cheaptickets.com
bought two one-way tickets to and fro the west coast, together it got around 450 and the department's travel agency said they could give me for like less than 400, but that was for a round-trip and i was planning to go other places, not return from the same city
on my coming back the AA flights were postponed like 300 of them they said, i wondered why coz my flights were ok and i enjoyed the cloudless sky all the way back


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 9:14 AM
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j-mo, you can't use it to make bookings, but this is pretty much the most comprehensive source for routings and published fares out there. You can compare the options, then go directly the website of the carrier you choose and book directly, saving fees. The software underlies a lot of the online travel sites.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 9:18 AM
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ITA is the tech under orbitz anyway; at one point they were the only one, but I don't know if others are licensing it now. A couple of years ago at least, it was a much better engine.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 9:20 AM
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Thanks! I think it was "cheaptickets," but someone had pointed out the ita place before. I'm dragging my honey to northern california at the end of august; HE IS GOING TO MEET THE FAMILY WHETHER HE LIKES IT OR NOT. Dammit.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 9:22 AM
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You may be thinking of Kayak.com, which Matt F recommended in the thread on travel destinatins for Stanley (it was where he had found a cheap fare to Costa Rica). There may be others in that thread.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 9:24 AM
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130:I will admit to having read several of the Angelique novels in my youth, mostly looking for the dirtyparts.

122:I promised to glance at the vampire bookcase. And it is a whole bookcase, although only three feet high.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 9:30 AM
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Vampire Weekend keeps putting me in mind of Werewolf Bar Mitzvah (boys becoming men, men becoming wolves).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 9:45 AM
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I find it slightly alarming that Meyer has read all of Anne Rice, but not Stoker.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 10:23 AM
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139 cont:Wow, running thru the depths of that case, I found a Lucius Shepherd, 2 Connie Willis, and my old 1st ed pb of On Wings of Song

Tried to leave out straight horror & werewolf fiction. Many of these I haven't read, but they are what the lady has kept from 30 years. Many are "vampire detective", said vampire dicks usually not evil, so romantic. I'll star the ones I have more confidence in as "romantic" or otherwise good for the Becks crowd.

P.N. Elrod, Tanya Huff, Barbara Hambly, *Elaine Bergstrom, *Linda Lael Miller, Christopher Golden, (*?) Lee Killough, *Clark Hays & Kathleen McFall, *P.D. Cacek(funny), *Kim Newman, Wendy Haley

& Roxanne Longstreet, who set her novels in Dallas, and then I think Arizona.

On checking via Amazon:Bergstrom rocks, LL Miller is a vg romance writer who has ventured paranormal...I should have a title but I am not pulling dozens again, Golden is genre horror check with Amazon for plots...hell, I ain't checking these all. You might try Elrod if you like Butcher. Bergstrom, Cacek, and Newman are recommended.
There are many many others, straight horror, that I could've mentioned. They Thirst is an evil romp.

Huh. The Lucius Shepherd is a vampire novel, The Golden. I read way too many books back when.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 10:23 AM
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The Cacek is from a woman's POV:"The fucking hookup. What was his name? What was that bar? I got a bad hangover and holes in my neck"

I'm a lot more fluff, in some ways, than the lady. She likes blood & bombs.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 10:29 AM
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Searching the web on "Elrod Cacek Longstreet" I found this List. Embarrassing how many of those I have read, even unspeakable atrocities like the Brian Lumley series.

Tanith Lee wrote some decent ones way back when.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 10:45 AM
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The Uglies/Pretties/Specials series by Scott Westerfeld is a great read and would probably fit your summer reading criteria. Bonus: three novels in the series, so if you like the first one you can keep going.

If you're into murder mysteries at all, check out Michael Connolly's series of Harry Bosch detective stories. First one is The Black Echo - there are around 12 in all (I believe). Quite good.

OK, I can't resist - a couple more: City of Falling Angels by John Berendt and Blue Latitudes by Tony Horwitz. The latter has another book out this summer called A Voyage Long and Strange, exploring the earlier parts of American history.


Posted by: KJ | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 10:54 AM
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The Lemony Snicket books are terrific.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 10:58 AM
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Robin McKinley (sp) wrote a rather sweet vampire YA standalone novel called Sunshine, which I'd recommend to anyone. I forget the details, but it did strike me as somewhat more ethical and sane than the average in that genre.

Tickets purchased. Yayyyy, and thanks to everyone for the suggestions.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 11:15 AM
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115: Martha Grimes writes the Richard Jury mysteries.

By "light", I mean something one can carry about without the need to resort to wheeled luggage. Something under 400 pages. I do read non-genre fiction, but I feared mentioning that would bring down accusations of Proustiness. I mean, I do like Camus and Amis and Waugh and Fitzgerald.

126: I also read Georgette Heyer. OT, but related: I once attended a party at the Brighton Pavilion where everyone was in full Regency attire. The couple celebrating their anniversary were members of the Heyer Society.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 11:17 AM
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Camus and Amis, eclectic
i adore the former and never read and not planning to read the latter
maybe i'll try Waugh and Heyer to see whether they are droppable


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 11:27 AM
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There's two Amises. Martin Amis's books are mostly awful, unreadable, or both, and the ones that are good are mostly satires of things you probably aren't familiar with anyway, read.

then his father, Kingsley Amis, wrote some good funny novels.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 11:30 AM
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i thought about the son
the father i'm not sure maybe he's of W&H caliber
another one to add to the list of tries


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 11:32 AM
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Elmore Leonard.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 11:39 AM
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I am interested in the Kingsley Amis collection of writings on drinking if anyone wishes to give it to me.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 11:41 AM
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Bonus: three novels in the series

Four now, as Extras came out in the last year and is a lot of fun and nicely continues the series even if Westerfeld kind of bobbles the end. Mike G. recommended the first book and I have really enjoyed them. Another fun pair of books by Westerfeld is Peeps and The Last Days, both very summery and asphalty and set in New York and are about vampires and zombies.

I can't resist throwing out, yet again, that if you're looking for good summer reading you can never go wrong trusting in the awesomeness of Raymond Chandler. I remain convinced that The Long Goodbye is the great American novel.

Yesterday I nearly picked up Nick of Time but instead grabbed Twilight. I also picked up The Instant Enemy on the theory that MacDonald is Chandler's natural heir.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 12:15 PM
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Man, people are doing the carnal desires like crazy today. This is dead, dead, dead!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 12:49 PM
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According to wikipedia, Ross Macdonald is actually the PRIMARY heir to Raymond Chandler, not the NATURAL heir.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 12:51 PM
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I've only skimmed the thread, so this may have been covered, but it seems the big news is that Gail Collins is a member of the Mineshaft. I wouldn't have guessed, although now of coruse I'm speculating as to who.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 12:59 PM
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156: [citation needed]

I haven't Wiki'ed the guy but the dude at The Regulator told me he was the 'natural' heir.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 1:14 PM
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Sigh, here is where you can find what Wikipedia says about Ross Macdonald. Also, there are new sites called Lycos and Webcrawler where you can find other references on topics just by searching for a word!

I just thought it was funny that you said "MacDonald is Chandler's natural heir", and I looked the guy up, and the first sentence of the "legacy" section of his biography is:

Macdonald is the primary heir to Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler as the master of American hardboiled mysteries.

So not only do you agree with the consensus, you agree with what Wikipedia considers to be a FACT.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 1:19 PM
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150: Kingsley, not Martin.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 1:29 PM
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159: I'm just pokin'. I'm glad to hear the masses agree with the dude at the bookstore!


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 1:37 PM
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Fatman: You never noticed the "[citation needed]"s all over Wikipedia?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 1:42 PM
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Ah, but that claim at Wikipedia doesn't have one of those. It's not even a quote from somebody else, it's a fact. Nobody disputes it!


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 1:46 PM
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Gail Collins is a member of the Mineshaft. I wouldn't have guessed, although now of course I'm speculating as to who.

I'm betting it is someone who complains a lot about the mainstream media, maybe stras. The radical left stuff is really just a cover, isn't it...Gail.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 1:58 PM
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I don't do beachreading. Read what you like, when you like it.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 3:15 PM
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You know what's great beach reading? The Fannin mysteries, Epitaph for a Tramp and Epitaph for a Dead Beat, by David Markson, Official Novelist of Unfogged.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 3:18 PM
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I'm reading Hao Wang's sketch bio of Kurt Goedel.

Goedel preferred American pop music to Austrian pop music and to classical music, liked movies, strongly preferred America to Austria in general, left Austria to escape the Nazi draft, was interested in the supernatural, was a bit of a lady's man in his youth and was completely dependent on his wife, was extremely and actively interested in American politics, over a long period refused medical treatment for several serious diseases, and died of starvation because he had a lifelong policy of eating as little as possible.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 3:28 PM
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Wasn't the official diagnosis for Gödel schizophrenia, onset at age 30 or so? Wang met Gödel at Princeton, and by that time he wasn't capable of doing any real mathematical work.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 3:40 PM
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Ok, according to wikipedia he did his work on the axiom of choice and the continuum hypothesis at princeton when he was in his thirties, and the crazy work on time travel around the age of 40, when he stopped publishing.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 3:44 PM
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Wang reports that Goedel was still cogent, but that his interests had shifted from logic and mathematics to philosophy. His medical diagnosis seems to have been episodic depression, with a side of paranoia. But he wasn't disfunctional until the last few years of his life.

Wang might be making the best case for him. However, some of the facts (almost daily talks with Einstein) indicate that he was still competent.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 3:46 PM
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re: 167

Years back, I read and enjoyed Ed Regis' book on the Institute for Advanced Study (Who Got Einstein's Office?). There's a fair bit in that about Godel in his later years.

It was so long ago, and I knew much less then about the science (and maths) and scientists (and mathematicians) involved, so it's possible I'd change my mind. But I remember it as a fun and informative read.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 4:03 PM
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Second the rec. for George R. R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" series; first book is "A Game of Thrones."

China Mieville is fantastic. His short story collection "Looking for Jake" is a nice intro; his 3 novels set in the same dark fantasy/Marxist world start with "Perdido Street Station."

Megan is totally right about just reading what Smart Bitches, Trashy Books recommends.

Kim Harrison's vampire series is recommended for those who liked Hamilton before she became too much of a bad fanfic parody of herself.

On the YA front, Tithe (& sequels, but I haven't read them yet) by Holly Black is good. So is Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr. On the less fantasy but more gender-bendy side, The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner rocks.

Sean Stewart has many good books, but I especially recommend Galveston.

Not so light, but awesome: L. Timmel Duchamp's anarchofeminist sci-fi dystopia series, starting with "Alanya to Alanya."

Jo Walton's "Farthing", recommended above, is indeed awesome.

Paul Park's "Princess of Roumania" series: also awesome.

In fact, I need to get back to reading that now!


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 4:07 PM
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"Well, right now I'm re-reading all of Nabokov in the original Russian but when I want to relax with something light and breezy I break out some Proust."
It's gracious of you all not to point out that most of Nabokov's works were written in English.
Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 5:18 PM
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I suspect that Becks has been visiting Steve at Language Hat, who does exactly those things.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 5:26 PM
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Have you read any Kim Harrison? Or Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire series? David Wellington's trilogy (13 bullets, 99 coffins, one more as yet untitled) is good, but gory gory gory--no floofy shirt wearing vamps here.


Posted by: Julie Dorn | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 5:46 PM
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174: Yes, since on July4th the post was about a reading of a Nabokov story, followed immediately on July 5th by a post that starts: I've started reading War and Peace in Russian (something I've been wanting to do for many years).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 5:50 PM
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And recently he and his wife spent over a year reading all of Proust. IIRC they read it in English with the French ready at hand.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 6:00 PM
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||
Tweety, if you're at Fenway, I'm jealous.
|>


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 6:10 PM
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178: if I'm at Fenway, I'm jealous too.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 6:13 PM
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179: Don't toy with me like that.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 6:17 PM
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Hey you're the one trying to make me jealous of me for being at Fenway when I'm not.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 6:18 PM
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Alright then. Now I'm just jealous of all those other people.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 6:23 PM
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It's gracious of you all not to point out ...

Wasn't it! That is, until you did.

that most of Nabokov's works were written in English.

On recipe cards, no less. Wonder if anyone's read them that way.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 8:25 PM
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There's probably money in the Facsimile Recipe Card Lolita.

If duplicate post, it's because of and error message.

Not My Fault.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-12-08 9:18 PM
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Oh, what ever. Tonight was a slaughter. But god, I love Wakefield when he's on.

In other news, will no one acknowledge the wonderful recommendations I made?

No. No one will.


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 07-13-08 3:14 AM
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then his father, Kingsley Amis, wrote some good funny novels.

Try "One Fat Englishman". Kingsley Amis was a drinking buddy of an uncle of mine (and when I say drinking, I mean starting at 2.00 pm and going straight through). He worked in the mornings. Hideously right wing and mildly racist in the way that people of his generation thought was mildly anti-racist. But funny.

148.3 is great.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07-13-08 4:21 AM
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To tie together two personalities in this thread, here are the Nabokov quote and Martin Amis paraphrase that I posted over in the "most pretentious ever" thread:

Nabokov: I think like a genius, I write like a distinguished author, and I speak like a child.

Martin Amis: To paraphrase and slightly adapt Vladimir Nabokov: I think like a genius, I write like a distinguished man of letters, I talk like an idiot.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-13-08 8:39 AM
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two versions of one story, very on topic, though not about a vampire
a princess and a cannibal
very funny lyrics


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07-13-08 9:29 AM
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187: holy shit. What an asshole.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-13-08 10:36 AM
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