Literature anyone?


New Metal Member
May 2, 2001
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Being an oh so outstanding part of Opeth´s art, their lyrics are discussed on an othe place in tjis forum. I think Mikael has developed his style and improved in creating eerie scenarios in a poetic way. I´m veryinterested in books and literature, so I´d like to know: What books do you read? Is anyone interested in poetry? I love the works of Burroughs and Ginsberg, the poetry of William Blake, Gottfried Benn and Pablo Neruda and (of course) Tolkien.
I have read some poetry here and there, but prefer drama and epic literature. Tolkien is my all-time favorite, but some others worth mentioning are: Raymond E. Feist, Jack Vance and brothers Strugatski (spelling?). Not to forget Fedor Dostojevski.

Some plays of Shakespeare are very enjoyable to read, also.

i read a lot, though not necessary 'literature.' though Wordsworth's Prelude is a really good epic poem, written in milton's style. very good. i'm not a romantic (in the classical sense that wordsworth and blake were romantics) but i find them to be incredible reads. I like blake a lot, almost he pictures more than the poems. also a fan of Stephen kings dark tower(the gunslinger) series. that's about all i read from him, i mean i've read others, but i like that the best. not a tolkien fan. i'll just read norse mythology instead. i read a lot of philosophy...dewey and rorty especially.

np: katatonia : teargas ep: sulphur
The first book I remember reading seriously (I mean, I actively sought it out because I really wanted to read it) was Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. After that I've been a fan of fantasy literature, and read the rest of Tolkien's production, Dragonlance series and some scifi (years back I used to go to the city library after school just to browse through the shells to see if I'd find something intriguing), some Stephen King too.

I've had an interest in Shakespeare because I'm interested in English and especially Victorian English, but yet I haven't read any of his plays or poems.

Speaking of reading, do you usually listen to music while reading? I usually put Opeth or Dark Tranquillity playing loud enough to block all outside noise (like traffic, other peoples' actions in the apartment, etc.) so that I can totally be absorbed into the book. Headphones are ideal. ;)

I had just started reading Dragonlance Chronicles for maybe 4th or 5th time when Dark Tranquillity released 'Haven', so I listened to it every time I read DL. So now everytime I listen to Haven I get mental images of different Dragonlance scenes. It's pretty cool. :)

(NP: Dimmu Borgir - Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia)
For the most part, as in the rest of my life, metal has been the inspiration for me to read a few epics...Paradise Lost, The Kalevala, Inferno. But I have picked up a few other classics along the way like Beowulf, Leviathan and my current bedtime companion: Machiavelli's `the prince`. It's a bit of a dry read, but I am picking up a few techniques for enacting my future plans of global domination.
I think reading some well written prose definitely enhances one's ability to apreciate and define good lyrics. If you haven't read anything more involved than the good ol' Penthouse Forum, I encourage everybody to go and educate themselves.
It's easier to understand yourself and the world around you when somebody has already written everything down for you.
A whole lot of fantasy goes down... not every thing is high quality, but think Katherine Kerrs Deverry-series stands out as very good. And of course the all-time fantasy classics by Tolkein.

In the classic horror genre I'm a big fan of HP Lovecraft. If there's anyone who can scare the shit out of me, it's Lovecraft. When I was younger I couldn't read it when the sun had set...

Jeff Noon is another great writer. There's a master of words and language! He's more in the (weird) Sci-Fi genre though.

...and among the classics we have Paradise Lost by Milton. Fantastic piece of work (the first half is best).

Poems. A lot of obscure stuff, but if I'm going to mention something that people recognize it'll have to be Poe. I think his poems are great, but I don't like the horror stories (Lovecraft's better there)
Originally posted by Orchid
do you usually listen to music while reading?

When I read magazines or newspapers I usually listen to music, but I can´t manage to read a book when the music is on. The essence of reading is ( in the best case) the complete absorption of your conscience by the words in your book. The result is a feeling like being melted and mixed up with the emotions/ expressed thoughts of the poet. This process is similar to intense listening sessions of music. Managing both at the same time overbends my capacities. By the way, I found the dragonlance scenarios rather boring, what really affected me was "Earthsea" from Ursula K. LeGuin ( very romantic, decent style, wonderful characters, less battle) and Michael Moorcocks "Eternal Champion"- series (especially the "Elric"-books -psychedelic, a really dark, cynic character). Moorcock has also participated on a few releases of 70´s space-rock dinosaurs Hawkwind.
I read some fantasy every now and then....preferably Tolkien
and that sort of more "serious" fantasy :)

I like Shakespeare, and I read Poe and Lovecraft quite frequently (including their poems).....I also write poems of my own every now and then =)

I actually don't read a hell of a lot as I spend a lot of time absorbed in other various forms of media... but my favourite book of all time would be George Orwell's 1984. It's interesting, actually, because it's standard English 12 reading here and I've spoken with so many people my age who hated it.

Via listening to Ulver, actually, I became familiar with William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, which has some very very cool passages, but isn't something I could sit back and read on a Sunday afternoon and relax, y'know?

On another note altogether, I'm also partial to Douglas Adams' The Hitckhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and am actually currently writing a slightly similar humour/two-author-improv-style book with a friend of mine entitled (seriously) Seductively Vibrating Bowels. It's kinda Improv "one word game" expaned into installments with Theatresports-style rules thrown in, sent back and forth over email for about a year now, translated into a novel. I hope one day you'll all be able to purchase it at your local book store (although I'm not holding my breath).

RETROSPECTIVE NOTE: I wrote this before I heard about Douglas Adams' death. It's really too bad... he was working on the film screenplay adaptation for Hitchiker's Guide - I sincerely hope someone else finishes it and the film is released, dedicated to his memory.
I've read and enjoyed so many books in my life that's it's hard to make a list of favourites that isn't pages long.

I love most of Tolkien's writing, as well as a lot of other fantasy and some science fiction, such as Tad Williams, Neil Gaiman, Douglas Adams...

I tend to have a fescination with cat-related stories in a variety of genres, but especially in fantasy and science fiction.

I generally preferred to write poetry over reading it, but over the last year I've learned to appreciate W.B. Yeats and Edith Sitwell, among others.

I like many works by Poe. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the original "Dracula" and "Frankenstein." I like some Tolstoi and some Dickens, Shakespeare, Marlowe, Milton, Chaucer, Lovecraft, Galsworthy, Twain, Beckett, Joyce, Leacock...

I'm especially fond of Oscar Wilde and W. Somerset Maughm.

And on top of that I ahve a weakness for Golden Age British mystery novels.

And I'm going to stop here before I get too carried away.

Oh - and I can hardly bear to do anything without music on, so I almost always listen to music while I'm reading.
the music always capture my attention and distract me from reading so i can never do that
i love poetry and epic fantasy novels - the best of which i have found is Janny Wurts - the Wars of Light and Shadow - well worth reading for anyone who likes epic fantasy, or even if you don't
Clive Barker is also a highly talented writer, although i find his prose more clinical
Aikael's lyrics seem very inspired by gothic poetry, such as Poe (another of my favourites)

and about music - i love to listen to music while reading - sometimes it creates a wonderful atmosphere for the feelings in the book, even though you tend not to actually hear the music
and afterwards, i always associate that song or whatever with the emotions i felt at taht time in that book....
make sense?


i also think music and literature go hand in hand, they are very complimentary
I went through about a three or four year block were after I picked up my first epic fatasy novel I had trouble putting them down. Funnily enough after a about 20 odd books I though I'd better get to the prescribed reading for the genre, namely Tolkien's LoTR, and guess what, I was entirely non-plused (sp?) after reading it. You absolutely have to appreciate the amount of skill and effort required to to create a living breathing world, but as a piece of literature I found it didn't 'read' to well. I found the tongue-in-cheek style of the hobbit on the other hand to be entirely enjoyable especially for such a short book. The Silmarillion on the other hand was entirely frustrating, it read like an encyclopedia, and should only be read for further understanding of the history of Tolkien's Middle Earth, and never as a stand alone novel to be enjoyed on it's own merits.

Sorry about the spiel, but I only went to such efforts because I'm one of the few people I know who while enjoying the fantasy genre, didn't particularily enjoy most of Tolkien's works. Go Figure.

Some of the best reading I've had would have to be by David Eddings, though two 5 book series of his are appreciated better the younger you read them (the first time).

Oh and as far as music association with reading goes, that really seems to work in my favour. After a little searching through a music collection I could find music that 'fit' with the reading of certain novels, and highten the experience. A prime example for me would surprisingly enough be listening to Arcturus - La Masquerade Infernale while reading LoTR, they just seem to go together......
I don't read nearly as much as I should. During school, I only read my assigned chapters -- but now I'm done (!!!), so maybe I can discover the joys of reading for personal pleasure.

Speaking of Shakespeare, I'm going to watch a 3 1/2 hour production of Hamlet tomorrow. Can't say I'm looking forward to it. :cry:
thank F*** someone finally said sth AGAINST Tolkien!!! i read Lord of the Rings some years ago, and i ended up enjoying it, but it was tedious and mind numblingly boring for a loooong time - basically, the last book was worth reading, and it would not have been as good if i had not dragged myself through the first 2

i think he is not a terrible writer, but he is incredibly over rated
I read a lot, as I believe it is one of the last remaining ways to receive unadultered information, music being another way. This works only for fiction, as fact in itself begs verification which is not as common as fallicy, unfortunately.
I used to read fiction a lot, until my previous boss told me that he finds fact more enthralling because it's about stuff that actually happened. While not distracting form that opinion too much, I find fiction just as acceptable because of the way it is written, not necessarily what the story is about. The way the writer shows how characters react and deal with situations, we perceive in our lives.
Music allows for energy transmitance, which most often can't be described succinctly in words alone.
I find poetry is the meeting point of these two outlets, where the higher level of understand of pure ideas via musical engery mixes with what we can physically perceive to give us a collage of the greater truth.
In our current world of mass hypnosis and information overflow, I find sanctuary in a single viewpoint at a time....a book/poem allows only for the one viewpoint at a time, without commentary bullshit and social acceptance which we currently drown in.

Put more simply, these individual views via music and prose test our inner truth, which is needed (along with disgretion) in these turbulent times.
Beautiful thread, goddammit !

Right now I'm going through a long Franz Kafka period. It took a while to get accustomed to concentrating on all the details he includes in his writings. Now I can firmly state that he is probably my favourite writer. I can relate to the way he saw the world.

Re: Tolkien. While not mind-shattering to me, I still loved the way you could just stop for a while in the middle of the action and wonder at the setting. I'd love to return to that world someday - not for the plot, but for the world. My favourite moment was the story with Tom Bombadil, and I was disappointed when I heard they didn't include it in the movie. For me Tom Bombadil and his hut were a large part of that "sense of wonder".

I never listen to music when I'm reading a good book - you can enjoy neither when you try to do both.

D Mullholand
Hmm, this is an interesting thread. I am reading J.M. Coetzee's "Age of Iron", in which at one point an old woman sits in a window looking out, and I came to think of "Windowpane".

For some reason I imagine that most people who listen to Opeth read a lot as well. Is it so? Do you read? What do you read?

Coetzee is good, I recommend him. Quite beautiful passages from time to time, I've always enjoyed that. It is like great lyrics, you read 'em, and goddamn, it just sounds great, so you read them out loud.

Else I am a big fan of Neil Gaiman and Stephen King, but I like mostly everything. Still trying with "Paradise Lost" though, maybe I could just read the arguments at the start of each passage :) .

Be good...