Do you need to understand everything that you read?

Parson

This world is not my home
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#24
Neither Tanyloghertry nor tanyloghetry is found by Google. Now you've got me curious. Is that a thing or a joke.
 

Lumens

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#25
I Googled it too, after coming up with it, to make sure it was ungooglable.

Well, until now. One result. I feel like I have changed the world, just a little. :D
 

vanye

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#28
Since I rarely feel that I understand whatever is going on around me in the real world, I do not feel that understanding everything I read is necessary or even desirable. It would probably only confuse me.
 
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#29
That sounds interesting. On my to read list.

And welcome to Chrons too! :)
Thanx for the welcome.

It's a polarizing story. Everyone I discussed it with either loved it or hated it. I never encountered anyone that thought it was ok or interesting. There seemed to be no middle ground.

. The author is evidently familiar with Greek mythology or legend as there is a woman that turns into a tree and the main character wears one sandal. All the characters are fully developed, solid, feel real, but their environment is fluid, surrealistic, and changeable.

. The whole story is from the main characters viewpoint. There are gangs, musicians, and deaths that are accidental, intentional, and, at least in one case, possibly subconsciously spontaneous. There are quiet contemplative moments, times of deep philosophical discussion or debate, creative artistic moments, sex, violence, rape, rage, empathy, sympathy, and charity.

. You never find out what happened to this large town or small city although the rest of the nation appears to be aware of it due to the media. There are residential sections with houses that are perpetually burning but never burn down and houses that are burning at one time and are fine at another. A monastery with monks, a rich man in his mansion behind security gates and walls throwing parties, printing the local paper, printing the main character's writings making him somewhat of a celebrity, and a visiting astronaut.

. The author has had his mental issues which, in my opinion, he uses to great effect in writing the story. This was a popular title at first printing and has won awards. I will be interested in your opinion when you finish.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress had TANSTAAFL which most pronounced tahn'stahful being an acronym for There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, implying that free stuff is paid for by someone by sweat equity, mental anguish, or real money. In the case of some "soup kitchens" it's paid with loss of dignity or self respect (so mental anguish).

You grok that?
 
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Penny

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#30
I love books that develop their own slang or use word replacement to add to the atmosphere.
A good example of this being the Deathlands series. many words have had their meanings changed and other words have been mangled over 400 years of nuclear winter.
For example. cars are called "wag" - referencing wagons raiders and bandits are often called "coldhearts" towns are called Villes, that kind of thing. I think this can be very interesting. it can be hard to understand but rewarding once you figure out what is going on.
There was a similar book... clan of the cave bear maybe? a prehistoric one where the character learned the language of those around them.

Books like that normally take a while to click and then you stop noticing the words are not english.

I think in that way, as long as the context is there most words make sense or eventually make sense. once you lose the context because there are too many words you do not understand. then it gets hard.
similarly if the context becomes broken because of surreal or chaotic imagery, thoughts or theories can devolve into nothing but mush for people not familiar with them and able to make contextual jumps.

I tend to stop reading older books even ones that are well known like Jules Vern or even frank herberts dune. the words they use tend to be highly complex, they are used in old ways we no longer use. and sentences become long-winded or oddly formal. puts me right off.
I still understand what is being said but the context is destroyed by the older forms and structures of it making it difficult to understand when a word you don't know crops up. it also makes it hard into get into the zone of reading and become immersed.

So yeah as long as the context is there, as long as there are not too many new words breaking it up and as long as it is structured familiarly to the reader, I think most people can get through a book even with themes or words they don't understand.

Also, its handy to keep Wikipedia open on a smartphone ;)
 

hitmouse

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#31
Old books likr Jules Verne and Frank Herbert???
Verne is 19th century French and Herbert is 1960s USA. Herbert's language is hardly archaic.
 

Parson

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#33
In @Penny's defense, I would say that Herbert does have a bit of an ancient feel. But he certainly does create his own words and at least in Dune proper he there is a sense of depth and permanency that moves the novel into a Classic not to be missed.
 

Paul_C

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#34
Not for me, if I'm enjoying the story.

M John Harrison's Kefahuchi Tract trilogy is my usual example. There are lots of things that aren't explained and there are points where different threads intersect where, as long as you've been paying attention, you recognise their entanglement, but there's no guarantee you'll be any the wiser.

They're so enjoyable to read that I will certainly read them again (twice through so far) and for me, part of the fun is that it isn't all tidied up into a neat bundle and some parts remain, to me at least, unknowable.
 
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#35
Yes, generally I want to understand what I am reading. With just a few exceptions nit understanding something generally will turn me off of reading something. I have to really be into something for me to stick with it otherwise I will switch to something I do understand.
 

reiver33

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#36
When I started reading early Gibson he used slang and referenced events with no explanation, because they'd be contemporary to the characters - this being not so much science fiction, as a story that just happened to be set in the future.

So, no, sometimes you just have to go with the flow and hope that an obscure reference will make sense later...
 

Penny

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#37
I was using the two books as an example that even more recent books written in certain styles can make understanding via context hard.
I read and liked both, but it takes a few pages of hard work and determination to stick through books that are generally different to a style you are used to reading.
That lag time can be enough to stop some people reading a book completely if they have trouble understanding it.
 

Lumens

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#38
Yes. Everything except 'grok'. ;)

As for William Gibson, I love his books but always struggled to understand his sleek language. That was before I moved to an English speaking country though. Perhaps I should reread him now...
 

CTRandall

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#39
Ain't it lovely sitting out on a summer evening and listening to the frogs grok? Of course, it's not nice at all when you've been out drinking all night, you get back home and your friend groks all over the bathroom. Still, it makes my mouth water when I think about groking up a tasty stir-fry. Now do you grok 'grok'?

Grok and roll, baby! Grok and roll!
 

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