Standing the Test of Time

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Postby Willem » Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:29 pm

Quatermass wrote:Can we please drop the issue already? Otherwise I know that there'll be hurt feelings in the end, or more than before, and I want to avoid that on both sides. :(


I'll delete my post above then ;)
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Postby Dotsie » Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:37 pm

It's getting to the point where this forum is more like a blog. Discussion that disagrees with Q is not welcome, obviously. Well, you're wrong. Disagreement is an essential part of any discussion, which is expected on a public forum.

Q wrote:And the reason why it is unconnected is that what I do with my own personal reading material is my own business, whereas I am obviously required to explore as many avenues as possible as a scientist. There is a difference between staying in my comfort zone and being wilfully ignorant.

There's the difference then. As a scientist I'm well within my comfort zone when I'm being challenged, and I read articles because I enjoy it, not because it's a requirement.
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Postby Quatermass » Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:39 pm

Willem wrote:
Quatermass wrote:That is both a silly suggestion, Dotsie, and almost completely unconnected. If someone told me about a relevant journal article to my research, of course I would read it. To not do so would be to invite disaster. In fact, I'm fairly good at reviewing the literature. I just wish that I had a job that would allow me to demonstrate that. :(


It's not that silly really.
On the one hand you have a friend or relative who probably knows what you like and dislike recommending something you might like too.
On the other you have a colleague who knows your area of expertise recommending something to expand your knowledge in that area.

Both take their prior knowledge of you and your interest and make suggestions to help you out. One on the personal field, helping you relax and enjoy things. One on the professional field, helping you do your job better.


It is still different, and not a good comparison. On the one hand, I have my personal things, things that I want to do. On the other, I have my professional things, things that I am obliged to do.


Willem wrote:It seems like you think that nobody can possibly know you well enough to know what you like - and to make that point you purposely reject their recommendations. You are indeed the judge of liking something. But people that know you CAN have a good idea if you'll like something too.
Taking more recommendations from people will undoubtedly lead to your reading more crap than before. It will also lead you to books, shows and movies that you could have found yourself, but weeks/months/years before you would have. And it might lead you to gems you'd never have discovered yourself!
Plus, it's more sociable :) These recommendations are made to help you enjoy yourself, not as a 'Ha-ha, I've found something cool before you found it yourself'. Get off that high horse, mingle with the commoners. It makes life a lot easier for both yourself and the plebs around you :)


There are only two people I can think of offhand who have a good track record where that is concerned. An old friend from high school introduced me to many good British comedies, but also ones that didn't click with me. He also introduced me to a number of video games I wouldn't have tried otherwise.

A friend of the family is also one with a good track record. She was particularly responsible for getting me onto the Vorkosigan Saga, and I have asked her opinion about a number of science fiction books that I intended to read. But she and I disagree about quite a few science fiction series, quite amicably.

But for the most part, I look for new stuff to read myself. I have my own way of getting into new things. And it works. And remember Lord Vetinari's motto: Si non confectus, non reficiat.

As for being sociable, please don't use that tack. It doesn't work, I don't like socialising. And as for that whole thing of mistaking people's suggestions for boasting, I do not. I just do not like being told what I might like to read.

Now, can we please drop the issue? S'il vous plait?
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Postby Quatermass » Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:52 pm

Dotsie wrote:It's getting to the point where this forum is more like a blog. Discussion that disagrees with Q is not welcome, obviously. Well, you're wrong. Disagreement is an essential part of any discussion, which is expected on a public forum.


Excuse me? I have justified what I do and why I do it. And I am trying to prevent further conflict, as I can see it starting to escalate.

Dotsie wrote:
Q wrote:And the reason why it is unconnected is that what I do with my own personal reading material is my own business, whereas I am obviously required to explore as many avenues as possible as a scientist. There is a difference between staying in my comfort zone and being wilfully ignorant.

There's the difference then. As a scientist I'm well within my comfort zone when I'm being challenged, and I read articles because I enjoy it, not because it's a requirement.


I do read papers for enjoyment too, albeit in my favourite subjects. In fact, I have four boxes full, as well as a number of PDFs on my computer.

Dotsie, I respect what you are trying to do, in making me aware of what is expected of me in professional academia. But I do not appreciate you judging my reading habits in my personal life and extrapolating them to my non-existent professional life, in which I know I will be reading papers because it is necessary.
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Postby Dotsie » Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:55 pm

I thought you wanted to drop the issue. Did you want the last word first? If you're going to behave a certain way at work only because you have to, you're not going to be very comfortable, are you?

Now we can drop the subject.
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Postby WannabeAngua » Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:17 pm

I'll happily take recommendation from friends and people I know, but sometimes, when they ask me if I liked it, they get hurt when I tell them I really didn't fancy it. :(
I try to put it a bit nicer than "I hated it" of course....
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Postby spideyGirl » Fri Apr 22, 2011 7:31 pm

shegallivants wrote:
spideyGirl wrote:
shegallivants wrote:Will discussion still thrive and people hand these books over to their kids? I don't think we can say for sure, but I would really really like to think so.


Don't shoot me but tv can help wth this too. For example the TP books at the moment are too grown up for my son to read, but he loved the tv series of Hogfather, Colour of Magic etc... When I look up at my TP book collection it makes me smile to know that in the future he will have so much to discover and when he reads the books those tv series are based on! Whereas since the late 80's I have had to patiently wait for each new story. Still feels like Christmas when a new one comes out :D May get him started on some of the TP books for children now, even if it's just me reading to him first. :D


That's a continuation of the earlier point about the internet democratizing the process, I think. There are so many more mediums that books can expand into nowadays, there's a greater chance of their legacy surviving. And all of these fields- fanfiction, television, movies- are quite populist, aren't they? Fan-driven. But then again, has this ever not been the case? I know I made a point earlier about how survival used to depend on academics in white towers, but raisindot's mention of Lieber and my immediate inclination to go track the books down show the enduring power of word-of-mouth. It's just intensified now, in that fans have and can impel so many more avenues for expression. In the end, if something is extraordinary like DW, and enough people love it enough, that's how things endure, right? :D (The force is with you etc :lol:)



My lad started reading Truckers today! :lol: :lol:

He kept stopping every couple of sentences after laughing and just had to read it out to me, it may take a while :D
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Postby Tonyblack » Fri Apr 22, 2011 8:02 pm

:D :D :D That's lovely!
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Postby meerkat » Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:29 am

Best way to read any Pratchett book! I have had to stop reading it on the bus. People look at me in a funny way. Can I help it if I laugh out loud? :lol:
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Postby ChristianBecker » Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:37 am

I think that TP has a good chance of standing the test of time. Some books especially, like Small Gods, Jingo, perhaps Going Postal, The 5th Elephant, Thud...
Others do stand a chance as well, IMO. Take Wyrd Sisters. A parody of a work as well known as Shakespeare will probably find sooner or later its way into some department of English literature at Univeristies across the world.

Since HP was mentioned earlier: At the university where I studied there already were courses about HP. At that time I was appalled (I do like HP, but I just started reading Rowling this year) - partly because I thought (and still think) that Pratchett would be worthier of a university course than Rowling (or Nick Hornby for that matter).
One of my Latin professors also recently held a lecture about similarities between ancient epics (Odyssee, Aeneid) and HP (and compared Aeneas and Harry).
So I think chances are that sooner or later some of the staff at universities, colleges and schools will discover Pratchett as well and do their share in making his work last.

As for the argument that some of the things TP is referring to will be outdated/ not understood anymore: This is a minor problem. Homer wasn't fully understood in the times the first written editions of his works appeared. And that was not only "insider jokes", but basic things as vocabulary. Even now, after more than 2500 years of reading Homer, not all the meanings of the words he used are clear.
I guess it will be a very interesting task for future Pratchett researchers to find out what some of the references might allude to - there will probably be books about whether "Millenium hand and shrimp" is just some gibberish or has a deeper meaning.

Sometimes I wish I could travel in time...

On a sidenote: In the matter of recommendations I'm quite like Quatermass - thought I'd support him a bit.
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Postby deldaisy » Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:56 am

Shegs.... handing DOWN DW books? :D

Our DW books have lept up and down the generations. I started reading them after my teen daughter recommended them to me... she is now 23 and we buy the new editions to each other.... the teen has been subliminly saturated and although she hasn't got into them CAN join in aDW conversation simply because of overhearing conversations.

NOW she (the teen) is interested in reading them.... and we are handing them on to her.... (down? up?) .... if we can get them off the wee one.... she doesn't understand them at all; she just loves the words on the page.

Its certainly become a family affair.
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Postby Tonyblack » Thu Apr 28, 2011 11:11 am

ChristianBecker wrote:I think that TP has a good chance of standing the test of time. Some books especially, like Small Gods, Jingo, perhaps Going Postal, The 5th Elephant, Thud...
Others do stand a chance as well, IMO. Take Wyrd Sisters. A parody of a work as well known as Shakespeare will probably find sooner or later its way into some department of English literature at Univeristies across the world.

Since HP was mentioned earlier: At the university where I studied there already were courses about HP. At that time I was appalled (I do like HP, but I just started reading Rowling this year) - partly because I thought (and still think) that Pratchett would be worthier of a university course than Rowling (or Nick Hornby for that matter).
One of my Latin professors also recently held a lecture about similarities between ancient epics (Odyssee, Aeneid) and HP (and compared Aeneas and Harry).
So I think chances are that sooner or later some of the staff at universities, colleges and schools will discover Pratchett as well and do their share in making his work last.

As for the argument that some of the things TP is referring to will be outdated/ not understood anymore: This is a minor problem. Homer wasn't fully understood in the times the first written editions of his works appeared. And that was not only "insider jokes", but basic things as vocabulary. Even now, after more than 2500 years of reading Homer, not all the meanings of the words he used are clear.
I guess it will be a very interesting task for future Pratchett researchers to find out what some of the references might allude to - there will probably be books about whether "Millenium hand and shrimp" is just some gibberish or has a deeper meaning.

Sometimes I wish I could travel in time...

On a sidenote: In the matter of recommendations I'm quite like Quatermass - thought I'd support him a bit.
I liked Harry Potter too, but I can't see it lasting the test of time and being read over and over, because there's simply not enough depth to it.
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Postby ChristianBecker » Thu Apr 28, 2011 11:22 am

Tonyblack wrote:I liked Harry Potter too, but I can't see it lasting the test of time and being read over and over, because there's simply not enough depth to it.


Yes, that's what I think, too. It's surely very entertaining, buit that's about it.
On with their heads! I'm the clown prince of fools
if you don't get the joke it's your loss
Love and laughter you see are the new currency
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Postby inca » Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:38 pm

Tonyblack wrote:I liked Harry Potter too, but I can't see it lasting the test of time and being read over and over, because there's simply not enough depth to it.


On the other hand, isn't that what was said about Tolkien either? And while it still has to go some hundred years to rise to Shakespearian level, it's a classic without a doubt.

HP is accessible, comprehensible. In that way it has something to offer, I feel. (And I could easily see it being a children's classic like for example "The Neverending Story" by Michael Ende.)
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Postby ChristianBecker » Fri Apr 29, 2011 5:42 am

inca wrote:
Tonyblack wrote:I liked Harry Potter too, but I can't see it lasting the test of time and being read over and over, because there's simply not enough depth to it.


On the other hand, isn't that what was said about Tolkien either? And while it still has to go some hundred years to rise to Shakespearian level, it's a classic without a doubt.

HP is accessible, comprehensible. In that way it has something to offer, I feel. (And I could easily see it being a children's classic like for example "The Neverending Story" by Michael Ende.)


Yes, I think you're right there. However, this is not the forum and thread to discuss the depth and accessibility of HP. Perhaps we could open a thread in another forum, if need be.
On with their heads! I'm the clown prince of fools
if you don't get the joke it's your loss
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Exile yourself to the unforgiving continent of Wraeclast!
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