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 Changing Tastes

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Dinwar
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PostSubject: Changing Tastes   Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:22 pm

I got a book on taphomy the other day. Taphonomy is the study of everything that happens between "animal dies" and "Scientists discover"--basically how things become fossils.

The scary part is, I've found myself reading it for the shear joy of it.

The title says "Introduction to Taphonomy", but unless you're a paleontologist I doubt you'd understand most of it--you'd simply get lost in the jargon. But for me, I've found that it's extremely accessable and makes perfect sense. More importantly, I've found that I'm starting to evaluate things I've seen before in terms of what the book is saying, weighing the evidence of the book against the evidence from the rock record and my own observations. I know that's what you're supposed to do, and what being a scientist is all about, but this goes beyond merely "Hey, these facts are interesting". The last time a book made me laugh this hard was "They Shoot Canoes, Don't They?" (think The Red-Green Show in paperback form). I got to a part where it was talking about how small mammal faunas can't be used to determine paleoecological data, because small mammals are typically deposits of owl pellets and fecal matter, and I lost it. I'm working on a project right now where every scientist in SoCal has said "These small mammal bones mean this is a desert environment!"

This being me, I not only was thinking about what the book was saying, but also about how I was thinking about its. Specifically, it struck me that I finally know SoCal paleontology, at least a bit. I can speak intelligently about it. My emmersion in the literature changed my tastes in books. Don't get me wrong, I still love fantasy--but rather than technical manuals being dry and boring they're facenating and entertaining at this point.

I'm curious--has anyone else ever expanded their taste in literature in a similar way? If so, care to share what happened?
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rainshadow
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PostSubject: Re: Changing Tastes   Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:28 pm

My story is by far less interesting, but simply picking up WFR years ago was a change for me. I never was much of a fantasy reader, yet here I was, attracted to a big thick book because it had a red dragon on the cover. I was fascinated by the cover.

Who knew the kid who wasn't a fantasy guy would latch onto a novel just because it had a dragon on the cover? Without that cover, which happens to be one of Terry's least favorite covers, as I understand it, I discovered the world of Richard Cypher and Kahlan Amnell... and my life has never been the same.

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talonnolan
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PostSubject: Re: Changing Tastes   Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:14 am

I've always loved fantasy. I think I've really only read one sci-fi book in my life (Ender's Game). I would flat out refuse to read anything else. Then as I started to question my beliefs I branched into philosophy and books on atheism.

But honestly the weirdest, biggest, literature change came when i bought and read The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film, a few months back.

I shouldn't of liked it. I should of found the facts boring. But far from it, I was fascinated and thoroughly entertained. I couldn't put it down. And I think it only took me two days to read it.

I bought The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, the next day. I've read some of it, and do plan on finishing it. But I just haven't been as drawn to it as the first. I'm sure I'll buy the third when it comes out though.




rainshadow wrote:
Who knew the kid who wasn't a fantasy guy would latch onto a novel just because it had a dragon on the cover? Without that cover, which happens to be one of Terry's least favorite covers, as I understand it, I discovered the world of Richard Cypher and Kahlan Amnell... and my life has never been the same.

Indeed, Terry flat out hates that cover. He told me and my friends about it the first time i went to a book signing of his in Portland. He gave like 6 reasons why he thought it was terrible. And my friend who got me into the books (and who went to the signing with me) said the same thing RS. That's why he started WFR, because he loved the cover.


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PostSubject: Re: Changing Tastes   Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:20 pm

For me, reading fantasy is my ground state. I have been reading fantasy since I learned to read and will probably continue until I die (eyesight and mental state permitting). I also try to read popular science books about evolution and genetics because, as an evolutionary geneticist, it is useful more me to appreciate how the public (and my students) percieve what I do.

With regard to non-fiction books, I have gone through many phases, generally relating to events in my life. In most cases, I have found myself caught up in a situation and have felt the need to know more about it. So, for example, during 2001-2004, when I was active in the anti-war movement, I read a lot of books on the history of the Middle East. Last year, as a new father, I delved into the literature on pregnancy, childbirth and infant development. This year, I have been elected to lead the union at my workplace and I have found myself becoming interested in employment law, conflict resolution and the causes of social inequality.

I first encountered WFR when my ex-girlfriend read it, back in about 1997. From her description of the plot, it sounded like very generic fantasy and the picture on the cover seemed to confirm this, so I didn't bother to read the book myself. More than ten years later, a friend persuaded me to give the book a try and I was very glad to have done so.
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PostSubject: Re: Changing Tastes   Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:49 pm

Heh... as it turns out, I still am not a big fantasy reader... though I am working on the Mistborn Trilogy (Sanderson) and after that will hit on The Wise Man's Fear (Rothfuss)... two authors that I find flat-out intriguing.

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Hippocampus
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PostSubject: Re: Changing Tastes   Tue Jun 14, 2011 5:49 am

One thing that I find really interesting is to read two books on completely different subjects at the same time, just to see the odd connections that I end up making.
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