I've enjoyed reading Iain Banks', Use of Weapons, critiquing poems, talking on the phone too much and hanging out with people in general...
from Use of Weapons:
"He opened the cottage door wide. You could see anything in the rain. The individual drops became streaks with the slowness of the eye; they merged and re-emerged as cyphers for the shapes you carried inside you; they lasted less than a heartbeat in your sight and they went on forever.
He saw a chair, and a ship that was not a ship; he saw a man with two shadows, and he saw that which cannot be seen; a concept; the adaptive, self-seeking urge to survive, to bend everything that can be reached to that end, and to remove and to add and to smash and to create so that one particular collection of cells can go on, can move onwards and decide, and keeping moving, and keeping deciding, knowing that - if nothing else - at least it lives.
And it had two shadows, it was two things; it was the need and it was the method. The need was obvious; to defeat what opposed its life. The method was that taking and bending of materials to one purpose, the outlook that everything could be used in the fight; that nothing could be excluded, that everything was a weapon, and the ability to handle those weapons, to find them and choose which one to aim and fire; that talent, that ability, that use of weapons.
A chair, and a ship that was not a ship, a man with two shadows, and...
'What are you going to do with me?' The woman's voice was quivering. He looked round at her.
'I don't know; what do you think?'
She looked at him with her eyes widening, horrified. She seemed to be gathering her breath for another scream. He didn't understand it; he'd asked her a perfectly normal, pertinent question and she'd acted as if he'd said he was going to kill her.
'Please don't. Oh please don't, oh please please don't,' she sobbed again, dryly. Then her back seemed to break, and her imploring face bowed almost to her knees as she drooped again.
'Do what?' He was mystified.
She didn't want to hear him; she just hung there, her slack body jerked by sobs.
It was at moments like this he stopped understanding people; he just had no comprehension of what was going on in their minds; they were dened, unfathomable. He shook his head and started walking around the room."
The first part is the best, but I thought I'd include some more, just because it goes into a demonstration of the previous text and is particularly amazing. UNfortunately I don't think I could ever include enough of this to really bring out the beauty of it because Iain Banks' ability to interweave story and details and let you come to conclusions and then break them and then open up a whole new door for you is amazing...the relavance of the symbolism is too much to explain in one small section. Anyways, I love his work...extremely good. I recommend him highly to anyone.