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    1. What are you reading these days?

      What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction or poetry, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk about it a bit.

      11 votes
    2. Science fiction that presents immortality in a good light?

      It seems incredibly common in works of science fiction that touch upon technological immortality to focus on every possible way that such a technology could go wrong, create problems, or worsen...

      It seems incredibly common in works of science fiction that touch upon technological immortality to focus on every possible way that such a technology could go wrong, create problems, or worsen social dynamics.

      Among the negative outcomes that have attained trope levels of frequency, off the top of my head, I can name the following:

      1. Immortality becomes available only to the ultra-wealthy, allowing them even more power to abuse everyone else, leading immortal people to be antagonists in a pretty generic dystopian plot.

      2. Immortality subtly twists the morality of its beneficiaries, causing them to lose sight of "the real meaning of life" according to the author's worldview, and the protagonist usually fights for society to recognize how important death and endings are

      3. Immortality causes people to go insane, become monsters, or otherwise utterly lose their humanity (this is more of an extreme version of case #2, but I feel it's distinct in the way a story plays out)

      4. Immortality ultimately leads to the extinction of the human species due either to biological effects of the immortality technology in question, or due to cultural/societal shifts that lead people to stop reproducing

      I'm sure there are many others that I'd recall if prompted, but my point is that I don't think I can name any science fiction that involves immortality technology that doesn't also decry it as ultimately a harmful development.

      Are there any works of science fiction that any of you can think of that do more to celebrate the idea or look forward to it with some optimism?

      16 votes
    3. What are you reading these days?

      What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction or poetry, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk about it a bit.

      10 votes
    4. Can anyone recommend a good collection of Greek mythology for children?

      When I was a kid I loved the stories of ancient Greek mythology and I think my daughter would enjoy them too. What are some good collections for a 7-year-old? Her name is Ariadne, so I’d be...

      When I was a kid I loved the stories of ancient Greek mythology and I think my daughter would enjoy them too. What are some good collections for a 7-year-old? Her name is Ariadne, so I’d be especially interested in ones that feature that character as more than a footnote (though preferably the less traumatizing versions of those particular stories).

      14 votes
    5. What are your favorite short stories?

      What are some of the best, most influential, memorable, or otherwise impactful short stories that you've read throughout your life? If possible, please link to a PDF or other text so that we can...

      What are some of the best, most influential, memorable, or otherwise impactful short stories that you've read throughout your life? If possible, please link to a PDF or other text so that we can enjoy it too.

      21 votes
    6. Any self-help/motivational books that don't focus on an individualistic perspective?

      Just wanted to preface this by saying that I don't know much about self-help lit and do not mean to offend anyone who enjoys it as a genre. I've been talking to a friend of mine who primarily...

      Just wanted to preface this by saying that I don't know much about self-help lit and do not mean to offend anyone who enjoys it as a genre.

      I've been talking to a friend of mine who primarily reads self-help literature (a genre I've never really delved into), and what struck me was the highly materialistic/individualistic focus that a number of these books seem to have (most being focused on becoming an entrepreneur who drives a Lamborghini and retires by 40 living off of their crypto/stocks/real estate investments). The failure of the individual to achieve these goals can apparently be overcome through positive thinking, changing one's mindset, etc, and the focus seems to be largely on material goods and the general definition of "American-style" success. My general feeling is that a large part of self-help as a genre is focused on the failings of the individual rather than societal ills (or, the Jordan Peterson style of motivational thinking), and that got me wondering if anybody had some books that differ from the mold somewhat, possibly talking about improving yourself not only as an individual but also as part of the community, perhaps offering some sort of a leftist perspective that touches upon commodity fetishism, etc.

      If anyone had any suggestions, I'd love to take a look at them.

      15 votes
    7. What are you reading these days?

      What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction or poetry, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk about it a bit.

      12 votes
    8. What are you reading these days?

      What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction or poetry, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk about it a bit.

      14 votes
    9. Children books and short stories about death

      I need to read some fiction children books about death (for research) -- any age group preferably for young children. Stories both realistic and fantasy/fantastical that doesn't gloss over the...

      I need to read some fiction children books about death (for research) -- any age group preferably for young children.

      Stories both realistic and fantasy/fantastical that doesn't gloss over the suffering and pain children can experience, possibly with dark overtones.

      Stories featuring Death as a character would be great too.

      Thanks!

      6 votes
    10. How do you read books that defy interpretation, logic, semantics or even language itself?

      After loving Waiting for Godot in the theater years ago, I recently tried to read the novel Molloy, by Samuel Beckett, in the Portuguese translation. It was a humbling experience. Most of the time...

      After loving Waiting for Godot in the theater years ago, I recently tried to read the novel Molloy, by Samuel Beckett, in the Portuguese translation. It was a humbling experience. Most of the time I did not know who was talking, where they were talking, to whom they were talking, or what they were trying to talk about. The words were definitely arranged in interesting ways that pleased me at times, but I can't really say if what I was doing could be qualified as reading.

      Half the book doesn't even have paragraphs, it is just one continuous block.

      Maybe that is the point? I don't know. Critics do seem to get a lot more from these than I do, to the point that I ask myself "are they just deluding themselves, creating meaning where there is none just to justify their very existence? Wouldn't a work with little to no meaning render critics useless anyway?".

      I don't know, I'm rambling. I'm looking at Molloy defeated, like one day I looked at Joyce's Ulysses.

      Maybe I should read these books without thinking, like listening to music with lyrics in a language I don't speak (I can kinda do that in a movie, but a movie is only 2 hours...).

      Maybe I'm not worthy.

      6 votes
    11. What are you reading these days?

      What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction or poetry, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk about it a bit.

      11 votes
    12. What are you reading these days?

      What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction or poetry, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk about it a bit.

      12 votes
    13. What are you reading these days?

      What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction or poetry, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk about it a bit.

      12 votes
    14. Quarantine Book Awards

      Since we're coming on 1 year since the global lockdown, I thought I'd hold an awards show for the books that helped get me through it. This can also serve as a recommendation list for anyone...

      Since we're coming on 1 year since the global lockdown, I thought I'd hold an awards show for the books that helped get me through it. This can also serve as a recommendation list for anyone looking for new reads.

      Best Historical Fiction The General of the Dead Army by Ismail Kadare. Tells the story of an Italian general and a priest, both unnamed, sent to Albania sometime in the '60s to retrieve the bodies of soldiers who died there during WWII. A lot of the book deals with uniquely Albanian topics, but "young men dying uselessly in pointless wars" is a damn-near universal theme.
      Best Memoir Lithium Jesus by Charles Monroe-Kane. Primarily chronicles the author's struggle with mental illness, faith, and purpose. Most of it stays in the "look at all these unhealthy coping mechanisms I used to have" territory. Sometimes it veers into " weren't some of those unhealthy coping mechanisms cool as hell?" humblebrag territory.
      Best Non-Fiction Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran. The author is journalist for the Washington Post who was in Iraq during the American occupation, and published shortly after he left in 2006. Recounts how America absolutely bungled the rebuilding of Iraq in 2003-2004. Chandrasekaran shows the equal mixture of ignorance, greed, incompetence, and arrogance, all the while without coming across as overly polemic.
      Best Historical Non-Fiction Kristallnacht: Prelude to Destruction by Martin Gilbert. I anxiety-binged up due to certain global events. Goes almost hour-by-hour from the build-up to until the rebuilding from the events of Kristallnacht across Germany. Most of Gilbert's work is fantastic.
      Best novel I couldn’t finish due to real life circumstances Station Eleven by John Mandel. I tried reading it in May, but the story revolving around societal collapse brought on by a plague hit too close to home. I only managed to get two chapters in. It’s being adapted by HBO and is by all accounts fantastic.
      10 votes
    15. What books do you think every eighteen year old should read?

      My niece turns 18 later this month. I'm getting her a Kindle and loading it up with as many "welcome to adult" books as I can. Not really "self-help" books per se, but more "understanding your...

      My niece turns 18 later this month. I'm getting her a Kindle and loading it up with as many "welcome to adult" books as I can.

      Not really "self-help" books per se, but more "understanding your life and place in the world now that you're finally recognized by society as an adult". Here's the first few books I put on the list for ideas of what I'm going for (all non-fiction so far but I'm open to any fiction that fits the bill):

      I would include Sapiens and Homo Deus on the list but I know she's already read or reading them (after I gifted them to my brother / her dad and he passed them on to her).

      What would you add to the list? What books do you wish someone had given you at this age that would have helped you navigate your early adulthood?

      22 votes
    16. What are you reading these days?

      What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction or poetry, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk about it a bit.

      10 votes
    17. What are you reading these days?

      What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction or poetry, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk about it a bit.

      6 votes
    18. What are you reading these days?

      What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction or poetry, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk about it a bit.

      15 votes
    19. What are you reading these days?

      What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction or poetry, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk about it a bit.

      8 votes