10 votes

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 comments

  1. kfwyre
    (edited )
    Link
    Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change by Ellen Pao My point of reference for Pao is, I'm assuming like many here, when she became CEO of reddit. I'd heard about her discrimination suit...

    Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change by Ellen Pao

    My point of reference for Pao is, I'm assuming like many here, when she became CEO of reddit. I'd heard about her discrimination suit against her former employer but didn't follow it, and didn't even really pay attention to her becoming CEO until she received blowback for her decision to remove hate subreddits.

    The book has four main focuses. It begins with a summary of her life and upbringing in typical memoir style; then it shifts to her time at Kleiner Perkins and her subsequent lawsuit; then she talks of her time at reddit; following that she talks about starting up Project Include.

    It was interesting getting to hear Pao's story from herself. The world of venture capital and money at that scale is so far removed from my everyday experience that some of what she talked about felt alien to me. At other times, the harassment and microaggressions she discussed were so familiar it was like she was writing about some of the workplace environments I've been in (yes, even as a teacher).

    Even though she lost her lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins, I have no doubt she was subjected to gender discrimination at her time there.

    With regards to reddit, I was already starting to sour on the site at the time, and the community's response to her banning hate subreddits accelerated that (I ended up leaving the site for good the following year). I always expected hateful people to hit back when told their behavior was unacceptable, but I didn't expect that moment to become a sort of referendum for the site on hate itself, and I was aghast at how many people sided with the hate subreddits out of principle.

    I also think the event became a great example of how harassment and abuse hides behind "valid" reasoning or rhetoric. Shortly after banning those subreddits, Victoria Taylor -- community manager for AMAs -- was fired. This was, from my perspective, a more "valid" reason to be angry at reddit leadership, and that's exactly what it became: a reason to justify the pre-existing and continued abuse of Pao.

    I am in no way attempting to argue that any of the direct harassment that Pao received was in any way legitimate or deserved. It wasn't, and no one should ever have to be subjected to that. Instead, I believe that harassers and abusers often seek out a principled reason behind which to hide their bullying. Taylor's firing became the "reason" that people clung to which let them openly abuse Pao while calling it "justice" and either believe that they were (or at least appeared to be) "fighting for what's right".

    I didn't know, until I read the book, that Pao didn't actually fire Taylor, and that it was Alexis Ohanian's decision instead. Pao even alleges that he did it as a way of destabilizing her leadership.

    That said, I don't want to come across as a full Pao apologist. Some of the stuff she talked about as her focus of CEO at reddit -- improving the experience for advertisers and focusing on significant user growth -- makes my skin crawl, as I feel those are fundamental problems with modern internet platforms. Despite our alignment in values on ending things like increased inclusion and decreased workplace discrimination, I have a hard time aligning myself with the things that she was encouraged to prioritize and focus on with regards to her experiences in venture capital and platform leadership.

    Overall, it's still a worthwhile read for anyone interested in the topic, and if anyone's only interested in the reddit section of the book, you could easily read that section on its own without going through the whole thing.

    9 votes
  2. wervenyt
    Link
    Around a month back, I made the mistake of thinking "I'm sure the Recognitions will be a lot quicker of a read now!" And that's how I've spent the past week on 100 pages. This time around, it...

    Around a month back, I made the mistake of thinking "I'm sure the Recognitions will be a lot quicker of a read now!" And that's how I've spent the past week on 100 pages.

    This time around, it feels much less bleak, more like a tragic accounting of the failings of postwar humanity than the endless rushing of well-reasoned hot air out of Gaddis' educated-but-hopeless worldview I found last September. Recktall Brown is no longer a caricature, just an archetype broken by design, Fuller isn't a fool, just a victim, and Otto isn't pathetic, he's pitiful.

    I'm not really sure that the author wanted that sympathetic side to shine as much as I'm seeing today, because his boiling rage continues to ripple through the pages. Regardless of anything characterwise, that Cuff ad juxtaposition is irredeemable.

    6 votes
  3. dysoco
    Link
    Finished very recently: Tender Is The Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica Read this in Spanish as I'm from Argentina as well; very very short book (you probably can read it in 1 or 2 sittings) about a...

    Finished very recently:

    Tender Is The Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica
    Read this in Spanish as I'm from Argentina as well; very very short book (you probably can read it in 1 or 2 sittings) about a near future where human meat consumption is legalized because other animals can no longer be eaten because of a virus; doesn't go too much in-depth of course as it's a short book but it has a lot of exposition about how the society works which I always like. Kinda feels like a Black Mirror episode. I've read from people that it was a very hard read for some people because of disturbing scenes, I didn't have any problems but beware, because there's of course human meat consumption and the like and the book can get somewhat graphic.


    The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
    I loved this book, again, short book, again can somewhat disturbing for some people probably (specially some animal cruelty), I had heard many good things about Iain Banks but I wasn't ready to go full in-depth into one of his long sci-fi series so I picked this one up

    I really enjoyed the first person narration, how the book was written, the little rituals that the character had and overall his view of the world and his reflections on everything, kinda reminded me of another book I loved which was Piranesi albeit with a very different tone.

    The only think I wasn't fond of too much was the ending, but whatever, the ride was short and enjoyable either way.


    Currently reading:

    Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

    I saw the movie once, didn't like it too much, but I've heard SO many great things about this trilogy, it's pretty much in every book suggestion thread, so I gave it a go, it's short as well, can't talk anything about the book yet though because I just started it and haven't read almost anything.

    6 votes
  4. tomf
    Link
    I'm rereading The Butcher's Boy by Thomas Perry... the first time I read it (three days ago) I felt like I missed something. When I finished, I started over again. Ultimately, I didn't miss a lot...

    I'm rereading The Butcher's Boy by Thomas Perry... the first time I read it (three days ago) I felt like I missed something. When I finished, I started over again.

    Ultimately, I didn't miss a lot -- but I did mix up the characters in this one scene, which explains my confusion. Pretty good book, too. Its the first in the trilogy.

    After this I'm going to either go for A Gentleman in Moscow from Amor Towles or finally get around to Cary Elwes's Princess Bride BTS book.

    5 votes
  5. autumn
    Link
    I finished three books while at the beach this week. The Last Graduate is the second in a series of young adult fiction about a magic school. Think Harry Potter, but with real stakes and people...

    I finished three books while at the beach this week. The Last Graduate is the second in a series of young adult fiction about a magic school. Think Harry Potter, but with real stakes and people actually in danger of dying.

    The other two I read are in a different series together. Jane Doe and Problem Child. The first one was really good. It’s been awhile since I’ve read fiction that wasn’t targeted toward young adults. Definitely didn’t expect myself to be rooting for a sociopath, but I was about halfway through the first book. Now I want to research more good thrillers!

    5 votes
  6. skybrian
    Link
    I've been binge-reading Giant Days by John Allison and others. It's a long series of comics about three undergraduate women sharing quarters at a university in England. You could say it's "slice...

    I've been binge-reading Giant Days by John Allison and others. It's a long series of comics about three undergraduate women sharing quarters at a university in England. You could say it's "slice of life," except with 500% more drama, often having to do with poor judgement, bad relationships, family, or all of the above. (There is also sex, drugs, and horribly inconsiderate people with bad taste in music.) Yes, it gets exaggerated like a sitcom or soap opera, but somehow the exaggerations are ones that I kind of like.

    I've been casually reading the RSS feed for Allison's web comics (currently on badmachinery.com) for many years now. He has an extended universe of characters with quite a bit of crossover between his different projects, though I didn't pay much attention to the links at the time. (It was neat when a very young kid showed up in Giant Days who is now the main character in Allison's current web comic.)

    There are certain recurring themes. His main characters are often (but not always) young women or girls, and they are usually witty; on just about every page there will be some unusual turn of phrase in the dialog. I have no idea which places in Allison's comic are real, but the characters tend to have a lot of local ties. Sometimes there is British humor that I don't entirely get, but not so it's hard to follow.

    I read the first three issues via Kindle Unlimited and then subscribed to Comixology to read the rest.

    5 votes
  7. [2]
    Nivlak
    Link
    Predator: If it Bleeds I think I saw someone here on tildes talking about it a while back so I picked up a digital copy through libby and I gotta say I am really enjoying it. It’s a collection of...

    Predator: If it Bleeds

    I think I saw someone here on tildes talking about it a while back so I picked up a digital copy through libby and I gotta say I am really enjoying it. It’s a collection of short stories written about Predator encounters through different eras of humanity, past, present and future.

    My favorite so far was a story about a group of Vikings who were on their way to sack a rivals keep but instead run into a group of predators out for a hunt. It’s so good and some of the stories give insight into the predators thoughts and ideas and culture. I highly recommend it if you’re into this type of thing.

    3 votes
    1. cfabbro
      Link Parent
      I wasn't the one who recommended it, but I have also read it (and all the other novels) too. And since you enjoyed If It Bleeds, I would recommend checking out all the other Predator, Alien, and...

      I wasn't the one who recommended it, but I have also read it (and all the other novels) too. And since you enjoyed If It Bleeds, I would recommend checking out all the other Predator, Alien, and Alien vs Predator novels. They're definitely not high art or classic literature, by any means, but I still found most of them (esp the AvP trilogy) pretty fun reads.

      3 votes