Thursday, January 31, 2008

Leisure time

If you'll take a look at the green bar to your right, you'll notice I've updated my reading list. I hadn't changed the list since before I graduated, so I figured I should clear out some of the school books, which I'm not really reading anymore. For posterity, the list right now says:

What I'm reading right now (or trying to)
What I recently finished reading
Note that just because I say I'm currently reading something doesn't always mean that I'm reading it particularly actively. Collapse, for instance, has been in my bathroom for probably about two years.

Nice to be out of school, that's what I say. Also I'm playing a crapload of World o' Warcraft. My priest Kazimus is now doing regular guild raids at level 70, and I'm starting to move my warrior up the ladder. Yay free time!


  1. My sister was reading one of Terry Goodkind's books and hit a very pro-atheistic spot and asked if he was an atheist on account of having hit them before and being the goto guy for atheism matters in my family (though my whole family is atheist). I was pretty sure he was and double checked. Terry Goodkind is actually objectivist. The books are fine, but when he draws the good evil lines, remember he's a Rand-whore so don't expect shades of gray.

  2. I can get behind that recommendation for Wizard's First Rule, but I'll do you the favor of warning you of a few things, assuming your cousin hasn't:

    The first four books are all really very good; they're viscerally gripping and appeal to a very simple, reactionary part of you.

    After that, the books become a device for Goodkind to spread his Objectivist philosophy (they might all be, but that visceral energy is strong enough in the first four books that I didn't notice). Richard, the main character, is prone to long speeches about Objectivist morality that only get longer as the series progresses. This isn't helped by the fact that Goodkind's prose is kind of clunky, and he frequently reiterates entire paragraphs and recaps the entire series up to the page you're on.

    The real problem caused by this is that a war will begin in the third and fourth book that you might (I did) want to finish badly enough that you might (I did) put up with those flaws just to find out how the story ends. I'm on book nine, and the series has only been decent since book five. I only enjoy it because I've picked up on when and how long to skim.

    Enjoy the first four, but with that warning.

  3. Good luck with Wizard's First Rule. I started that one--twice--and couldn't make it past 100 pages. I got really disgusted when the wizard stirred some potion in a pot and the girl stood over his shoulder and watched--for two hours. Umm, yeah.

    I also have gazed speculatively at Collapse. That came out just shortly after I finished Guns, Germs, and Steel, and so I had then become a fan of Diamond. But I felt like GGS was such a struggle to get through--a satisfying one, but still a huge effort--that I haven't worked up the courage to tackle Collapse.

    I'm kicking myself for not reading Ancestor's Tale yet. Frankly, I'm intimidated by huge books on evolution due to my dearth of educational background on the subject. I've read a couple of Dawkins' others (Selfish Gene, Blind Watchmaker) and I usually walk away from one of his books with a satisfied feeling and yet strangely unfulfilled. I remember enjoying the ride, but I can't remember much about the book itself. Curiously, though, I'm currently reading his Unweaving the Rainbow and enjoying it immensely--it's like Dawkins doing his best to impersonate Sagan--and even imitation Sagan is better than no Sagan at all.

    Tatarize, are you the same bright fellow from's Atheist/Agnostic forums? Hello and well met!

  4. Well, I'm about three chapters into Goodkind and so far it doesn't really blow me away. The way the girl was introduced seemed kind of ham-handed to me, what with her and Richard giving each other smoldering glances and her smiling and saying "I never had someone call me friend before!" It just seemed a bit too much like an adolescent fantasy.

    I hadn't realized the series was so long, and I'll definitely take it with a pound of salt when the objectivism rears its head. I haven't read Atlas or Fountainhead in a long time, so maybe this will serve as a refresher course.

  5. A word of warning on the Terry Goodkind novels. I read the first 5 and then one night I got totally drunk at a party and started talking to this girl about wizards. I think I was so drunk that fiction was bleeding into reality(you know, what the religious do when sober). The next morning I woke up and I was like "WTF, did I think wizards were real or was I just fucking about). I choose to hope for the later.

    His fiction is quite dark. The hero goes through a lot. At one point there is also demon sex. Not in the first book though.


  6. I loved Guns, Germs, and Steel so bought Collapse as soon as it was available. Yeah, I'm still working on it too. Not as interesting as GGS but I'm sure it's just as important.