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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. Previous topics Previous topics are listed in the wiki.

      12 votes
    2. Tildes' Book Backlog Burner Event: Week 1 Update Thread

      What is this? See here for full details on the event. Post Your Update How did your week go? What books did you get through? How did you feel about them? What's up next for you? Focuses for Week 2...

      What is this?

      See here for full details on the event.

      Post Your Update

      • How did your week go?
      • What books did you get through?
      • How did you feel about them?
      • What's up next for you?

      Focuses for Week 2

      • Books in a genre you don't normally read
      • Books that you own physical copies of
      • Books with more than 400 pages

      Let's burn through these backlogs!

      8 votes
    3. Tildes' Backlog Burner Event: Shrink your unread books list this April!

      What is this? First off, this is NOT an April Fool (I promise!). I know that many of us will be stuck at home for this month, I know that many of us could likely use something to pull our...

      What is this?

      First off, this is NOT an April Fool (I promise!). I know that many of us will be stuck at home for this month, I know that many of us could likely use something to pull our attention away from the news, and I know that many of us have accumulated quite the to-read list of books. As such, I'm thinking it could be fun for us to tackle those lists together and collectively clean up our clutter! Let's all burn through our backlogs!

      The goal isn't necessarily to completely clear them, just to put a dent in them.

      How does it work?

      Your "backlog" is all those books you've been meaning to get around to read, but never have yet! For the purposes of this event, an item can be removed from your backlog in one of three ways:

      • Finished: you completed the book

      • Moved On: you tried it out, but it didn't hold your interest or wasn't for you

      • Removed: you are choosing to remove this from your backlog without reading it, likely because it no longer interests you, but really for any reason at all

      Use this thread to talk about your backlogs, plan for the month, and once you start reading, inform us of any backlog downsizing and their associated categories. Give us a list of the books you removed. Tell us why you moved on from what you were just reading. Gush about how a particular item held your interest long enough to see it through. The goal of this isn't to read every book you own; it's to explore what you already have in the way that's best, and most meaningful, for you. If you're not enjoying a book, dump it and move on!

      If you're not sure what you might write, take a look at a previous backlog post for games to get an idea. Also if you want to keep track of statistics or anything else like that, go for it!

      What's the timeline?

      I will post an update thread weekly, each Wednesday, for the four weeks of April. At the end of the month, I think it would be neat to tally how many collective books we all removed from our backlogs, as well as what the best finds were from our collective digging into our libraries. I expect we'll turn up some good hidden gems, as well as interesting insights.

      Each week, I'll also include some "focus" areas which can help narrow down choices for what to read. Those are just recommendations for fun, however. Read whatever you like, whenever you like, however you like! If it's in your backlog, then it's automatically a good choice!

      Do I need to sign up?

      You don't have to do anything to officially join or participate in the event other than post in these threads! Participate in whatever way works for you. Also, because this is ongoing, it is okay to make more than one top-level post if you're updating the thread with new information.

      Focuses for Week 1:

      • Books that have been on your to-read list for more than a year
      • Books that have single-word titles
      • Books that are less than 200 pages

      Let's burn through these backlogs!


      Meta Note: I am also running this same event for ~games as well. I am not active in the other media-focused communities on Tildes, but I encourage someone(s) to pick this up and run it concurrently for ~movies, ~tv, ~anime, and/or ~music (and any other places you think it might fit). I like the idea of it being sitewide, with people participating in their media format(s) of choice. Any runners for those groups have my full permission to steal this wholesale, tweak it for their target group, and post it there.

      17 votes
    4. Down to earth, present or near-future, science or science fiction stories featuring space?

      I just finished binging The Habitat, the awesome podcast about NASA's simulated mission to Mars. And I'm feeling the urge to read something along those lines: fiction or true stories and indulge...

      I just finished binging The Habitat, the awesome podcast about NASA's simulated mission to Mars. And I'm feeling the urge to read something along those lines: fiction or true stories and indulge my fascination with space (and things coming from it) and how that relates to contemporary imagination.

      Any suggestions?

      11 votes
    5. 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. Previous topics Previous topics are listed in the wiki.

      10 votes
    6. How do you all do "deep readings"?

      I'm reading a book right now that I am finding fascinating, but I don't want to forget the thoughts and ideas presented in each chapter by the end. I was wondering what you all do when reading...

      I'm reading a book right now that I am finding fascinating, but I don't want to forget the thoughts and ideas presented in each chapter by the end. I was wondering what you all do when reading books like this. In college, I would usually jot down a few notes on the chapter I was reading, but I always found the act of interrupting my reading to write to be very disruptive.

      • Do you take notes and highlight directly in the book, or use another notebook or software?
      • Do you take notes as you go, or wait until the end of a chapter or section?

      I want to arrive at a system that works well for me, so I'm looking for suggestions here.

      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. Previous topics Previous topics are listed in the wiki.

      14 votes
    8. What are some good books about pandemics, epidemiology, and/or infectious diseases?

      Understandably, my interest has piqued on this topic cluster (as I'm sure it has for many others), and I should have more time than usual to read in the coming weeks. I also am spending far too...

      Understandably, my interest has piqued on this topic cluster (as I'm sure it has for many others), and I should have more time than usual to read in the coming weeks. I also am spending far too long jumping around aimlessly to assorted news articles and would like to tame that nervous energy into a more focused approach on longer writings.

      While I'm interested in non-fiction primarily, I'm also open to fiction suggestions. Also, anything that lands in the ballpark of what we're dealing right now with the novel coronavirus fits (though it certainly doesn't have to be specific to coronavirus, nor COVID-19).

      7 votes
    9. 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. Previous topics Previous topics are listed in the wiki.

      21 votes
    10. On Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire and other works

      I recently finished reading Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire, and prior to that I read his novel The Monkey Wrench Gang. I was left feeling quite differently than what I was expecting to feel. I'm...

      I recently finished reading Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire, and prior to that I read his novel The Monkey Wrench Gang. I was left feeling quite differently than what I was expecting to feel. I'm an outdoorsman, a conservationist and an activist. I spent a good portion of my time last year on The Colorado Plateau, much of it in the places Edward Abbey has been and discusses frequently in his work. There is a distinct emotional connection I feel to this land, so my mental conflictions are especially notable. I recently wrote a friend a letter, much of it including my thoughts on Abbey thus far, and I felt posting the relevant excerpt here would be a good conversation starter. Let me know what you think!

      "I just finished Abbey's Desert Solitaire, while I enjoyed many aspects of the work, it also left me feeling conflicted. I wholeheartedly concur with many (but not all) of his views on conservation. He challenged my views in some positive aspects as well, his disdain for the automobile in national parks, for example. Other views of his I cannot ignore or absolve him of. His views on traditional family values (read: misogyny) are quite apparent in The Monkey Wrench Gang and seep into this work as well. Furthermore, his views on indigenous peoples are outdated, even for his time. His incessant diatribe on the blights that impact Native Americans and other indigenous populations, blaming their own attitudes (victim blaming, if you will), while simultaneously railing against the federal government and The Bureau of Indian Affairs is at best hypocritical (while also patently racist).

      Edward Abbey's actions also do not reflect his writing. The man continually rants about the ongoing destruction of this Earth, he blames everybody (The National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, the modern consumer, tourists, oil and gas corporations, mining companies, logging businesses and wannabe outdoorsmen) but himself. He went so far as to work for the NPS, while admitting their culpability in their own decimation. During his time there he constantly capitulated to the tourists, the modern consumers in their iron contraptions. Some federal employees I've met have set out to change their respective agencies from within, but what did Abbey do? He left. He saw a problem, railed against it, and left.

      So I ask: Why didn't he do more? It has been suggested that Ed had engaged in some less-than-peaceful activities, "eco-terrorism" they call it. I personally don't believe it, I believe that any actions taken were never near the magnitude of the happenings of The Monkey Wrench Gang. Ed's books were his personal fantasies, which while not a guide, a reference point. He prefaces Desert Solitaire, describing it as an elegy. Almost as if he is passing an extinguished torch on to our time. It is frustrating and demoralizing to say the least. While grateful to read his words and as much as I concur with his notions, I disagree with hits actions (or lack thereof). I finish this book left feeling angry."

      4 votes
    11. Book Recommendation: Anti-Social by Andrew Marantz

      I just finished Andrew Marantz's Anti-Social: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation, and I think it's a book that would interest a lot of the people on...

      I just finished Andrew Marantz's Anti-Social: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation, and I think it's a book that would interest a lot of the people on this site. Marantz is a journalist for the New Yorker who embedded himself with alt-right influencers and social media companies. This book is a compilation of all of those stories; part memoir, part retelling, part observation, part commentary.

      Despite its title, the book is not a one-dimensional hit piece. I actually strongly dislike the title as I feel it's a bit too barbed for a book that's rooted in extensive, thoughtful contemplation. The author is honest, open-minded, and critical. I hate the word "balanced" for all of the baggage it brings to the table, but it really feels like the best word to use, especially as an antonym for "unbalanced". He deftly handles a lot of different subjects here. He doesn't shy away from giving criticism where its due, but he's also not quick to judge, trying to understand the broader picture first before casting any judgments about it.

      I mention it here because I think it has a lot of relevance to Tildes as a site, as well as the type of people that have congregated here. It covers a lot of ground of direct interest to Tildes: the role of social media platforms to police speech and ideology; how the structure of social media creates influence; how bad faith actors can manipulate systems; how noxious ideologies continue to appeal and propagate. I also know that Tildes trends toward the left, and as someone far on that side myself, I appreciated this book for giving me what I feel was a fair and thoughtful window into the lives of certain high-profile people on the right. It's easy to think of them as a monolith, but I was surprised by the differences between all of his various character portraits. Marantz never loses the individual humanity of his subjects, even when some of them are abjectly abhorrent people.

      I should mention that the book is very US-centric, as that was where he focused his journalistic efforts. As such, readers outside the US might not appreciate it as much, but I still think a lot of what he shares is relevant no matter where you are located since we all share space together online.

      6 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. Previous topics Previous topics are listed in the wiki.

      11 votes
    13. I've received a school project where I need to read a book but I've never really wanted to read a book and don't know many books at all. What book should I read?

      People like me are why I believe the slippery slope is a fact, not a fallacy... I'm asking this in the context of a school project mainly because of 2 things: 1: 2 of the questions of the project...

      People like me are why I believe the slippery slope is a fact, not a fallacy...

      I'm asking this in the context of a school project mainly because of 2 things:

      1: 2 of the questions of the project are about main and secondary characters and their physical and psychological characteristics, so the book is gonna require those unless I'm misinterpreting those questions.

      2: The project is for March 12th so something like 1984 with 300+ pages is probably too long. (Although there are provably many technicalities to blur this, like how much text there is in a page and the actual amount of pages I can read in a given time and how much time can I dedicate to reading the damn book.)

      19 votes
    14. Feeding an ebook addiction

      I read a lot (my wife gets mad at me because I read so much faster than her), and these days I do most of my reading on Kindle. Fortunately there are ways to do this for little or no money. If...

      I read a lot (my wife gets mad at me because I read so much faster than her), and these days I do most of my reading on Kindle. Fortunately there are ways to do this for little or no money. If you're interested here are some ways to get more ebooks without spending a lot of money:

      1. Project Gutenberg is the grandparent of free book sites, with 60K+ public domain works.
      2. MobileRead has an entire forum for fresh uploads of public domain works in Kindle format (they have other formats too).
      3. The Libby app (iOS/Android) makes it trivially easy to borrow ebooks from your local library.
      4. The Hoopla app (iOS/Android) is another way to borrow from your local library.
      5. The Library Extension browser add-on (Chrome/Firefox) will alert you when a book that you're looking at online (say, on an Amazon product page) is available at your local library. (This covers print as well as ebooks)
      6. BookBub will send you a daily email with books that are currently on sale at the major ebook stores.
      7. I'm not sure how I got into this one; I think it was when I registered a new Kindle for Christmas. But in any case, Amazon is currently in the mode of offering me a $1 ebook credit on every order I have shipped, as long as I'm willing to take non-prime shipping and wait a few days. As far as I can tell this option is available on every Prime order, so I shamelessly take advantage. Need a $4 USB-C cable to replace one that's fraying? Hey, I can get it a few days later and add $1 to my credits. Until they stop this, I'll keep breaking every order up into individual single-item orders. It's not even worse for the planet, because their warehouse software recombines everything into as few boxes as it can anyhow.
      17 votes
    15. 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. Previous topics Previous topics are listed in the wiki.

      19 votes
    16. The Sandman comic series has probably been the strongest influence on my life in recent times. Does this resonate?

      Written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by various brilliant artists, The Sandman series has definitely had an enlightening and positive influence on my life. Much like Dream will say, it feels...

      Written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by various brilliant artists, The Sandman series has definitely had an enlightening and positive influence on my life. Much like Dream will say, it feels like the comic speaks true words.
      For me — and I struggle with having had no role model — this comic series provides exactly that, in a way.

      I wonder, whether people here have read it, or bits of it, and what their opinions are.

      16 votes