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Topic: PBS - Consulting the Stars - Finding the Must Reads

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Subject: PBS - Consulting the Stars - Finding the Must Reads
Date Posted: 10/8/2009 1:40 PM ET
Member Since: 11/8/2006
Posts: 871
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I'm using the PBS rankings to find great books I might not otherwise read.  Anybody else use the rankings?

I just requested and received,

IMAJICA:  Featuring New Illustrations and Appendix by Clive Barker.   4.6 Rating by 22 Members (Horror and macbre, basically new for me)  Is this Clive Barker at his best?

KINDRED by Octavia Butler.   4.4 Rating by 48 Members  (a hidden gem by black female science fiction writer, rare in itself )

OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon  4.4 Rating by 177 Members  (I've never read a romance book, thought I would try just one, this appeared best) Is there a better romance book, for men?

I view a rating above 4.2 with a min. 20 rankings a sign of a great genre busting book.  It would be cool if PBS had a best rankings listing by genre with a minimum number of votes to qualify. 

Another example:  Pride and Prejudice - 4.5 with 60 rankings.

Anybody else find a stellar new read through PBS?

Date Posted: 10/8/2009 3:15 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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 I recently read Kindred. It's worth a read.

Date Posted: 10/8/2009 3:44 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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Kindred is fantastic.  I read Outlander a few months ago because of its popularity here, and I have rarely (if ever) hated, hated, HATED a book more.  I've had wonderful luck with new mysteries, however.  Deborah Crombie immediately comes to mind.

Date Posted: 10/8/2009 6:18 PM ET
Member Since: 11/8/2006
Posts: 871
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Caviglia...this is a great site for finding new mysteries.   I'm just getting into Karin Fossum.  I rarely read mysteries before PBS.

I almost prefer to call Butler a writer of speculative fiction.

Date Posted: 10/8/2009 6:50 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
Posts: 4,546
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Octavia Butler was one of the finest writers of speculative fiction ever, IMHO.  The Parable of the Sower and The Parable of the Talents are two of my favorite books.  She had talked about writing a third Parables book, but it never came to fruition. 

Another interesting speculative fiction writer is Nalo Hopkinson.  Her first novel, Brown Girl in the Ring, received much critical acclaim when it was released.  I've read everything except her newest one and haven't been disappointed in any of them. 

Date Posted: 10/8/2009 10:22 PM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2007
Posts: 747
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Kerry,


I picked up Outlander in a bookstore a few years ago.  Not sure why, since I had never heard of the author and the whole time travel isn'y my genre.  But I never read an 850 page book so fast in my life.  The whole series is simply amazing.  I'm thinking I need to re-read them since Gabaldon's new book came out. 

CR

Date Posted: 10/9/2009 12:34 AM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2007
Posts: 3,237
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I have never used the rankings. Where are they located? Oh wait, do you just mean the star rankings on individual books? I was thinking there was some kind of master list somewhere...

(HATED Outlander. ;-))



Last Edited on: 10/9/09 12:37 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/9/2009 2:06 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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Janelle - you have no idea how happy that makes me.  I felt so alone!

Date Posted: 10/9/2009 3:02 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2007
Posts: 5,637
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I've read Kindred and liked it.

I've found lots of good reads through PBS, but I have to say Outlander was not one of them. I didn't (couldn't) finish it. It was just awful. I really don't understand why so many people love it so much. And to add insult to injury, the copy I recieved from PBS I'm not comfortable posting, so it was a wasted credit.

I discovered Kelly Link through PBS (I wishlisted Pretty Monsters because the cover was pretty!), and now I love, love, love her.



Last Edited on: 10/9/09 3:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/9/2009 3:08 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2007
Posts: 5,637
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I will say though that I don't take the star ratings too seriously. I know quite a while back when TPTB changed the BIR list, we had to rate all books in order to put them on our BIR list. More than a few members posted that they just clicked a random star, no matter how they felt about the book, just to get it over with.

Date Posted: 10/9/2009 3:27 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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And to add insult to injury, the copy I recieved from PBS I'm not comfortable posting, so it was a wasted credit.

As was mine.  But I did get rid of it in the BB for a credit. 

I mean, I couldn't get through Twilight, but at least I think I have an intellectual understanding of it's appeal.  Outlander I just do not get.

My star ratings are pretty random and meaningless.

Date Posted: 10/9/2009 7:34 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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I've been tempted many times to read Outlander. I love time travel and I love men in kilts, but I don't like frilly romance and poor writing.

What makes it so awful? Is it because the beating and violent sex? What? Tell me.



Last Edited on: 10/10/09 8:09 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/9/2009 8:29 PM ET
Member Since: 11/8/2006
Posts: 871
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I had better luck with my copy of OUTLANDER.  I requested the $15.00 trade paperback.  A very nice copy.  I would recommend this printing. 

If I do not like OUTLANDER I will surely pass it on.  THE ROAD also creates a Love-it or Hate-it reaction.  Those who do not like OUTLANDER, did you

read THE ROAD?  If yes, did you like it.   I couldn't put it down.  Just curious.

 

I find after about 20 to 30 people rank a book, the star scoring system puts books mostly between 3 and 4 stars. 

I also double check ratings with Amazon since the link is provided.  They have more complete reviews.

Date Posted: 10/9/2009 9:15 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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Terrible writing, Mary Sue-like protagonist, insufferable characters, plot holes, creepy, smirky wife beating, homophobia, lack of control over her own story, um, sadly, I could probably go on. 

Date Posted: 10/9/2009 11:04 PM ET
Member Since: 10/14/2005
Posts: 142
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I didn't like Outlander. Got it on CDs from the library. Listened to several and finally gave up.

Date Posted: 10/11/2009 8:53 AM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
Posts: 4,546
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I hated Outlander for exactly the reasons Caviglia stated.  With all of the love heaped on these books, I was beginning to think I was the only one who thought they were absolutely atrocious. 

Date Posted: 10/11/2009 9:38 AM ET
Member Since: 10/11/2008
Posts: 1,415
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Ugh...as you can see in my siggy...i'm slowly reading Outlander because of the hype.  I'm about 60 pages in and I feel indifferent, unaffected.  I'll keep going as I'm really only doing 5-10 pages a day because I have a friend that is willing to give me the rest of the series and she says after about 100 pages I'll be hooked.  Hmmm...dunno about that one.

The Road---haaaaaaaaaaaaaated it!  How did that win the PP?

Date Posted: 10/18/2009 10:08 AM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2005
Posts: 7,756
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Well I for one take the star rating seriously on my own books I've read, but don't even pay attention to the overall star ratings. I don't think my reading preferences are in sync with a lot of the members' here. I liked The Road. I have the first 4 or 5 Outlander books here to read, but haven't got to them yet. I don't care for romance, but I don't mind a little bit thrown in here & there. I don't ususally get on the bandwagon and read what everyone else is -- if I'm still interested when the hoopla dies down, that's the time I'll read something popular. The last book that grabbed me was Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. It had its flaws, but it was enjoyable. Right now I'm reading The Inheritance trilogy by Christopher Paolini, which I know many people think as awful, but I'm not expecting anything but fluff right now. I like to mix up my fluff and my more serious stuff.

eta:  And as for the book in my siggie, The Winter Oak, don't even bother.  It was terrible.



Last Edited on: 10/18/09 10:09 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
rpc
Date Posted: 10/20/2009 3:10 PM ET
Member Since: 7/24/2009
Posts: 229
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I'm a fan of the Outlander series, though I do have to say that I think the first one (Outlander) is my least favorite.  After reading the first six books and enjoying all of them, I reread Outlander and found that it was not written nearly as well as the other books.  I think because it was Gabaldon's first novel it's more fomulaic than the others, but I'm glad I kept going with the series.  Her writing has just gotten better and better, IMHO.  My favorites are the second, third, and sixth (I'm waiting to read the seventh until winter break).  

Of course, Outlander isn't for everyone!  There's quite a lot of violence throughout the series (which makes sense, as it centers around two different wars), and I've also heard people complain about the amount of sex in the books.

Date Posted: 10/21/2009 10:31 AM ET
Member Since: 5/5/2008
Posts: 988
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I love the Outlander series.  I'm re-reading them now because I've got Echo In The Bone and it's been 3 years since A Breath of Snow And Ashes came out .  But to me, they are just as good the second time around!

Bonnie (LoveNE) - ,
Date Posted: 10/21/2009 4:45 PM ET
Member Since: 2/17/2007
Posts: 5,982
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I absolutely love the Outlander series! It had everything...suspense,humor,battles,and history. I don't understand how anyone would say Claire was not in control...she is a very strong character throughout all the books. She is tougher than any of the women and is respected because of it. The last book is the only one I ever had a problem with, the last 100 pages were a big disappointment. I will still be buying and keeping the next one! The Road was very dark and depressing. I could not get through it. I've kept it and will try again someday.

Date Posted: 10/21/2009 5:02 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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I am another that loved the Outlander series.  It seems to be one you either love or hate.  I would love to hear what a man has to say about it. As far as homophobic I suggest that one read the other books before making such a statement. The villain is a sexual sadist men or women it didn't matter.

Date Posted: 10/21/2009 5:29 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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As far as homophobic I suggest that one read the other books before making such a statement.

No thanks.  I have no idea if Diana Gabaldon is homophobic in her personal life or what her take was in her other books.  The one book I read had that creepy 1950s view of homosexuality (predator! evil! unclean! hide the children!) that I was surprised to see in a modern novel.  Although I would not be at all surprised to hear that was not Gabaldon's intent, as her control over her own writing seemed a little lacking.



Last Edited on: 10/21/09 5:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Bonnie (LoveNE) - ,
Date Posted: 10/21/2009 10:49 PM ET
Member Since: 2/17/2007
Posts: 5,982
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Caviglia, you did get the part of Jerelyns post that said sadist right? Gabaldon is discussing a sadist nothing to do with homosexuality in this book nor the next 6. One of the main characters is gay and is always treated with respect in her writings. Not quite sure what you mean by her not having control over her writing...

Date Posted: 10/22/2009 1:11 AM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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No, I read it.  There was also that other character who came to the castle (can't remeber his name) and all the young boys had to be kept out of his reach.  Two men in the book who were sexually attracted to other men.  One was a creepy sadist, the other was a creepy pedophile.  When I say she had no control over her story, I mean just that.  The story just vaguely meandered around in fits and starts.  She dropped plot points and picked up others arbitrarily.  The characters were clichéd and inconsistant.  Obviously, this is all just my opinion.



Last Edited on: 10/22/09 1:13 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
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