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EMT 05/08/22 | Main | Do You Really Need More Proof Of The Stupidity And Laziness Of Our Media? Because Here Is A Perfect Example: Unions Are Resurgent...Except...They Really Aren't
May 08, 2022

Sunday Morning Book Thread - 05-08-2022 ["Perfessor" Squirrel]


050822-Library.jpg

(Click for larger image - ht: IrishEI)

Good Morning, Horde! Also, Happy Mother's Day to all members of Horde who have borne children! Or is it Happy Birthing Parent Day? I can't keep up with the times...

Welcome to the prestigious, internationally acclaimed, stately, and illustrious Sunday Morning Book Thread! The place where all readers are welcome, regardless of whatever guilty pleasure we feel like reading (asking for a friend!). Here is where we can discuss, argue, bicker, quibble, consider, debate, confabulate, converse, and jaw about our latest fancy in reading material, even if it's nothing more than [CENSORED BY DISINFORMATION GOVERNANCE BOARD]. As always, pants are required, unless you are wearing these pants...(Deep fryer not included - ht: Misanthropic Humanitarian, who posted these on the ONT for Monday, May 2, 2022)

So relax, find yourself a warm kitty (or warm puppy--I won't judge) to curl up in your lap, heat up that [CENSORED BY DISINFORMATION GOVERNANCE BOARD] for your mom, and crack open a new book. What are YOU reading this fine Mother's/Birthing Parent's Day?


PIC NOTE

IrishEi sent me some pics of the Czech National Library, which has been undergoing some conversations about redesigning the existing, beautiful structure with
THIS MONSTROSITY
--in every sense of the word, since it resembles some Lovecraftian horror engorged with books. Fortunately, the proposed design was rejected because sometimes common sense can rule the day. Prague is arguably one of the most spectacular cities in all of Europe. Why would anyone want to defile it? (Yes, I know, lefties in the art world have neither taste nor appreciation for classics in either literature or art. Idiots.) Anyway, the Czech National Library is a cultural treasure that deserves to be preserved for all time.

PONDERING THE IMPONDERABLE

Christopher R Taylor posted the following in an afternoon thread a few weeks ago:

This is completely off an amusing and heart-warming topic, but I realized something last night as I was drifting off: nearly all fantasy has a very "conservative" or traditional good vs evil moral and world outlook. Its almost always good people who are traditionally and Biblically understood as righteous, against evil people who are traditionally understood as evil.

There are some more recent aberrations like the woeful His Dark Materials crap and some more woke silly fantasy that hasn't caught on at all, but fantasy is one of the few, rare pockets of old fashioned understandings of good and evil.

Westerns used to be, but they've gone full deconstruction and now there's no real daylight between the hero and their opponents (see Unforgiven, for example).

Posted by: Christopher R Taylor at April 19, 2022 02:00 PM (KZzsI)

I think he makes an excellent point that fantasy, perhaps moreso than any other genre, really explores the dichotomy of good v. evil. Ideally, the "good" side should win in the end, though often the heroes have to go through enormous struggle and suffering to achieve that end. They take us on that journey of suffering and we get to see how they wrestle with the question of good v. evil. The temptation is always there to give in to evil. Overcoming that temptation is a key challenge in the hero's character development.

A friend of mine who teaches a fantasy literature class says that there are three main characteristics to fantasy literature. First, as mentioned above, is the struggle between good and evil (sometimes presented as order v. chaos--see Michael Moorcock). Second, there must be metaphysical and/or supernatural elements to the story. Most often this is presented as magic or fantastic creatures, but it could also be some representation of a divine or infernal presence (i.e., drawing upon Christian mythos). Third, it must have a "hero's journey" somewhere within the story. You can have fantasy without it, I suppose, but it's usually present in some fashion or other. The classic fairy tale is a prime example of fantasy literature.

Are there any genres of literature that do an equal or better job of exploring the conflict between good and evil? How do those genres do it differently than traditional fantasy?

Wolfus Aurelius chimed in with the following comment last week:

Larry Niven's comment on fantasy (yes, he has written some very good stuff in the genre) was that if you are writing fantasy, you have an obligation to deal with universal concepts. He added, "One may ignore any obligations, of course."

Knowing LN's work as I do, I'm sure he's never let "dealing with universals" get in the way of a good story.

Posted by: Wolfus Aurelius at May 01, 2022 11:11 AM (c6xtn)

Fantasy deals with larger-than-life, universal concepts such as good v. evil, order v. chaos, the fate of nations or worlds, the hero's journey, etc.

If you prefer a different genre, what are the key characteristics that define that genre? For example, mysteries seem to be characterized by a puzzle for the reader to solve. What "universal concepts" does your preferred genre explore?

How are "universal concepts" explored in nonfiction?

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050822-Joke.jpg
(Confession time! Which Moron's library is this?)

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BOOKS BY MORONS

Vixen-War-Bride.jpg I've been reading Ace of Spades for at least a decade and since retiring from the Air Force last year, I've been following my real passion of writing books. My first book series, The Vixen War Bride is available at Amazon.com (sorry, it's not available anywhere else yet. I was taking the path of least resistance). Link and blurb are below.

The fourth book in the series comes out next month, and I sure wouldn't mind an Ace of Spaces recommendation to help me with the sales. I also wouldn't mind sending you a signed hardcopy or two (not that they're worth anything) if you would like to use as door prizes, fire wood, etc.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Thomas J. Doscher

The Vixen War Bride

With the destruction of their home colony, Captain Ben Gibson and his Army Rangers have nowhere else to go.

Six months after humanity's victory in Earth's first ever interstellar war, a group of soldiers are tasked with running a convoy refueling base in a rural part of the occupied enemy world. When they arrive, they find the local village has been abandoned in anticipation of their arrival by the panicked residents. Fearing a possible humanitarian crisis, the troops have to go into the alien wilderness to find them, reassure them that the humans are not the savages they've been taught they are and bring them back.

And it won't be easy. They will have to overcome language barriers, a fearful and hostile population, cross-cultural miscommunications, almost no support from the Army, and their own demons to succeed. With no idea where to start, it looks nearly impossible until the sudden arrival of a dirty, disheveled priestess who confesses to a host of war crimes and demands she be executed for them.

Comment: This looks like there's quite a bit of weirdness going on in this story! Throw an army platoon into hostile enemy territory with little to no information and see what shakes out. What could possibly go wrong?

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Moron author Robert Zimmerman from the website Behind the Black is looking for a freelance indexer to help him create the index for the print version of his book Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space.

Anyone interested in being a freelance indexer can simply post a comment at Behind the Black.

It's currently available in electronic format at the usual sources at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc., or you can purchase it directly from his publisher HERE.

You can also find his other books under the Books drop-down menu on his website.

conscious-choice.png In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice. The book shows that slavery was never inevitable, and that the different response to the lure of slavery between the southern and northern colonies in America demonstrated this fact. While the evil of slavery grew and prospered in the south, in the north it was soundly rejected. Instead, the northern British colonies established free societies, so free that their descendants inevitably rose up to fight a war to end slavery in the south.

These are the same conflicts at the heart of today's current events. Individual freedom, limited government, and personal responsibility are being constantly challenged by the modern cultural focus on power, race, identity politics, and a blind dependence on centralized government. By showing the contrast between those failed southern colonies and the rest of America, Conscious Choice will give modern Americans the historical background of their country that they need in order to make the right choices for the future.

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MORON RECOMMENDATIONS

Currently reading portions of A Companion to JRR Tolkien by Stuart D. Lee. Mainly because lots of people here talk about LoTR. I'm mostly interested about the origins of Galadriel and Ungoliant. And as I was looking through the various chapters one sentence jumped out. [...] "the Battle of Pellenor Fields; the eucatastrophe of Aragon's unexpected arrival..."

This past week we've been witness to a secular-temporal eucatastrophe; the Fall of Twitter, Major Stronghold of the Woke. Elon Musk's unexpected arrival, the sudden joyous turn of events and sudden joyous moment.

Posted by: 13times at May 01, 2022 09:57 AM (QcZeT)

Comment: This should not be confused with The Complete Tolkien Companion by J.E.A. Tyler and Kevin Reilly. Or The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: Boxed Set by Wayne G. Hammond. There are a lot of Tolkien Companions out there! Don't be fooled by imitations! Though the three mentioned on this page are certainly all excellent sources for anyone who really wants to know about Tolkien and his works. I like the one by Tyler and Reilly because it's a handy reference book for much of the lore, rather than focusing on Tolkien himself. Great to have on hand when reading Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, or The Silmarillion.

J.R.R. Tolkien is credited with coining the term "eucatastrophe," which affixes the Greek root "eu-," meaning "good," to "catastrophe," which normally denotes something bad happening in a story. The end result is a word that means a good ending out of a situation that normally ends badly. As 13times points out, we are living through some eucatastrophic events in history right now. The end is still very much in doubt, but we can pray for a happy ending.

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Cracked open a used book copy of a novel I had read in the early '70's- The Peaceable Kingdom by Jan de Hartog.

It's an admittedly fictionalized account of the beginning of the Quaker movement in 17th cent England and the challenges they faced in mid-17OO's America a century later.

Very long and dense, vivid characters, and an unobtrusive sense of place and time.

For me, this is one reason why re-reading novels is not a waste of time- the insights and understanding that I brought to the book 40+ years later improved the reading experience immensely.

Posted by: sal at May 01, 2022 11:24 AM (bJKUl)


Comment: I'm not that familiar with the time period or the Quakers in general. However, sal makes an excellent point that re-reading a book years or even decades later can lead to deeper enjoyment based on accumulated life experiences. I know I've had that epiphany recently when re-reading books that I first read when I was a young squirrel. I find so much more meaning to them, now that I have a broader and deeper well of knowledge from which to draw.

+++++

I actually have something for the Book Thread for once! It's getting willowed, but I'm still posting it.

Yesterday my order of the three Guild Wars books (Ghosts of Ascalon, Edge of Destiny, Sea of Sorrows) arrived. I've read the two that were published in 2011 and 2012 when they came out, but never the one from 2013. They did a fantastic job of introducing the world and gameplay without going into specifics like skills and attributes. Plus the writing was great ("You're the jackass brother I never had!").

Posted by: pookysgirl, GW2 fan...atic at May 01, 2022 01:30 PM (XKZwp)


Comment: Just because you are late to the party doesn't mean I'm not watching! For those who are not in the know, Guild Wars is a "massive multiplayer online role-playing game" (MMORPG). Like a lot of them, it has its own dedicated fanbase and even a book franchise. I'm not familiar with this particular game and book series, but I've read a few of the novels published for World of Warcraft (another MMORPG). They aren't too bad. It helps when the author already has experience writing for this genre. For instance, Jeff Grubb, the co-author of this series, is a frequent author for Dungeons and Dragons books and materials.


More Moron-recommended reading material can be found HERE!

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That's about all I have for this week. Thank you for all of your kind words regarding my Sunday Morning Book Thread. This is a very special place. You are very special people (in all the best ways!). The kindness, generosity, and wisdom of the Moron Horde knows no bounds. Let's keep reading!

If you have any suggestions for improvement, reading recommendations, or writing projects that you'd like to see on the Sunday Morning Book Thread, you can send them to perfessor dot squirrel at-sign gmail dot com. Your feedback is always appreciated! You can also take a virtual tour of OUR library at libib.com/u/perfessorsquirrel. Since I added sections for AoSHQ, I now consider it OUR library, rather than my own personal fiefdom...

PREVIOUS SUNDAY MORNING BOOK THREAD - 05-01-22 (hat tip: vmom stabby stabby stabamillion) (NOTE: Do NOT comment on old threads!)

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