The best damn waste of time!


Total posts: 5111
Some of you have heard this story before:In 1998 I was a high school freshman and I noticed a buddy of mine reading a pretty thick fantasy looking book. It was The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan and he said it was pretty good. It was the first book of the Wheel of Time series with 8 books released at that time. Over the next couple years I read books 1-8 and 9 soon after it was released. A few years after that a prequel novel was released and I read that followed by book 10 (2004). A few more years go by and book 11 is released but I don't get around to reading it. I figure I will eventually. I know that plot threads are numerous and thick like MDW's body hair but that things need to start wrapping up. The author plans on finishing the story in book 12. The author dies before writing book 12. He was diagnosed with his illness before he died so he planned on how to finish the story. He wrote as much as he could and left notes and outlines to be completed after he died. His wife and publisher chose Brandon Sanderson to finish the series. They all decided that it would be too much to complete in book 12 so the series will be 14 books. As of this posting book 13 has been out for a while and the final book is planned for release between March and November of next year.My WoT hiatus was ended when I noticed a coworker riding around with book 6. I decided I should reread the series and get caught up. In fact my only resolution of 2011 was to get caught up in the series which I have done today. This is a year that included starting a graduate degree and getting engaged. In 2012 I will be ready for the end of an endeavor that started for me in 1998.Here's what I think of the books: The criticism for the series is pretty well known. Jordan's later books grind to a near halt in plot pacing. Introspection and characters being mildly perturbed is the name of the game. But the first 6 books move along at a pretty good clip. The second book is the most fun book I've ever read. With the post-Jordan books Sanderson does a pretty good job of keeping the style but he said in interviews that he wasn't making an effort to because he feared it might become parody. But the plot shenanigans pick up significantly with books 12 and 13. Big things happen like when something happens in 24 and you're like "AW MAN" it's like that heavy. The threads start coming together and characters grow and change. Most everything in the universe is pointed towards book 14 and I'm predicting it will deliver on expectations.So if you've got a few spare years in your life go ahead and try it. I'm guessing they'll release a hardcover box set or something of the whole series when it's completed so I'll probably pick that up. Y'all could borrow them if it comes to that.Also a company called Red Eagle Entertainment has the rights to the movies/TV/games. Haven't heard much about any effort on the movies but they hired Obsidian to make a WoT game. Could be pretty sweet.
Total posts: 68

I'm about 2/3 of the way through book 10 of the series. First six are good seven's okay.

I have some complaints about the series the biggest being Jordan's obsession with new meaning-less characters. I do feel he spends a rediculous amount of time describing every servant/minor character that might happen to be present at a meeting that lasts 5 minutes. Unfortunately this meeting requires 50 pages because of the descriptions. I heard Sanderson brings the story to a manageable point. At some point these authors need to start bringing the story to a close and just don't feel they can do it yet. This is the main reason I won't start reading a Song of Fire and Ice series.

Another complaint I have right now is that book 9 had a huge climactic event. Then we are spending all of book 10 going around and finding out what each of the other characters have been doing up to that point. So essentailly nothing new happens! However I now enjoy the characters and their perspective stories.

There have been nights that I have been able to put the books down! In contrast there have also been nights that I couldn't get through a few pages because I was disinterested in the current plot line Jordan was following. I definitely feel the series is worth the read especially if you are a fan of fantasy novels. I can't wait to see how the story ends!

Total posts: 5111

Book 10 is by far the most laborious to read. Stick with it there's some really cool parts in the following books. The fact that you've been following plot threads for so long really adds to the payoff. Even if the threads were frustrating and tedious.

Total posts: 1323

If anyone is looking for a good sci-fi series I started reading the Gateway series by Frederik Pohl and it's excellent. I've only read the first two books but they've both been fun fast reads.

Once I finish that series it's on to Ender's Game - which is being made into a blockbuster film for 2013 written and co-produced by the author himself and rumored to star Harrison Ford.

Total posts: 5111
Just finished Bonhoeffer by Eric Metexas. Pretty much a play by play of the man's life. He was a German preacher/theologian during the rise of the Nazis and was arrested and hanged. An interesting study of how he reconciled Christian ideals with wanting to kill a man and the role of the church in those circumstances. In America he found a church that was changing with the fashion of the times and in Germany he found a church willingly co-opted by the Nazis. He wasn't really in to either of those. Not a really exciting read since it's more of an accounting than a story but any time you learn about Nazis and someone who opposed them there's something worth taking. Back to textbooks for a while.
Total posts: 1366

I'm working my way through the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. Midway through the second book. Surprisingly dark but pretty  interesting read. Plot moves very well and you will want to finish them all once you start the first one.

Total posts: 1045

read them all.   good stuff.  worth the read.

Total posts: 2394
(Updated 1/12/2012 12:38 AM)

I read the first book and it's pretting gripping although I've heard the second is the best.  I'm planning on reading the rest but I took a little detour to check out Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.  It's a nonfiction book discussing the different methods of intuitive reasoning employed by our minds and how the heuristics we use to make quick decisions can lead to irrational or illogical thinking.  I'm only through the first chapter but it's a fascinating read so far.

Kahneman was a guest on Fareed Zakaria's show and they discussed one of the examples from the book:  A baseball bat and baseball cost $1.10 together.  If the bat costs $1 more than the ball how much does the ball cost?

Did you initially think the ball would cost [MOUSE OVER]? Well it's actually [MOUSE OVER].

The problem stated above isn't very difficult and some of you may have intuitively got the answer correct (I didn't).  If you think about it long enough you can find the right answer but the point about "fast" thinking vs. "slow" thinking is profound.  When posed with questions similar to the one above our minds jump to an intiuitive answer which seem logically correct and in most cases these assumptions lead to a valid conclusion but in many cases the answer is completely false.  These principles aren't limited to complex math problems but you can find examples in economics politics occupational stereotypes and most likely every facet of our lives.

The book explores some explanations for this and other phenomena and how they impact the decisions we make in our lives.  

Here's an explanation in my words of why we get the question above wrong.  As stated our minds utilize heuristics to simplify a problem to reach a conclusion in a more efficient manner.  For example when you see my gingerbread avatar you automatically know that the character is sad.  Why?  We've seen faces all our lives and we've become extremely efficient at detecting emotion.  This is an example of fast thinking.  However when faced with a more complex situation like counting all the letter a's in this post or pinpointing someone's voice in a noisy room we're forced to utilize the slow thinking part of our mind.  What happens during this process is that we tend to substitute the actual question for a simplified question we already know how to answer.  Instead of applying that example to the real question we conclude that the answer to the real question is the same as the answer to the simplified question.  So in the example above we know the total is $1.10 and another number that was given to us is $1 and we need to find a difference so the intuitive thing to do is subtract the two numbers to get [MOUSE OVER].  

Anyways I find it intriguing and would recommend at least the first chapter (since that's all I've read so far).  I'll let you know if the rest gets boring.

Total posts: 1076

So I've played with this idea in my head for a long time. But now I think I'm actually going to commit to re-writing  Episodes 1-3. I feel like Star Wars fans deserve it. There already may be fans versions in existence but that is of no concern. I already have a lot of the major plot points figured out and I plan on referencing Red Letter Media's epic reviews of the trilogy frequently. 

Perhaps this belongs in "The Project". I figure I can knock it out in about 2-3 years if I put in at least one good day of writing per month. I may be soliciting my fellow nerds (yes that's you!) for opinions.

Total posts: 5111

jar jar / quai gon romance?