12 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.

21 comments

  1. [2]
    Woeps
    Link
    I'm reading the Three body problem and pride and prejudice at this moment. But I'm thinking of first finishing the Three body problem because the way of writing is so different between the two...

    I'm reading the Three body problem and pride and prejudice at this moment.
    But I'm thinking of first finishing the Three body problem because the way of writing is so different between the two that it kinda breaks my flow.

    5 votes
    1. anadem
      Link Parent
      Mixing Three Body Problem with Pride and Prejudice would be difficult! I love Austen but Three Body Problem defeated me; I just couldn't get into enjoying reading it, so gave up after several tries.

      Mixing Three Body Problem with Pride and Prejudice would be difficult! I love Austen but Three Body Problem defeated me; I just couldn't get into enjoying reading it, so gave up after several tries.

  2. [2]
    boxer_dogs_dance
    (edited )
    Link
    Just finished the Book Thief which is beautifully written and sad. Also finished Eva Luna by Isabelle Allende. The story was full of surprises, including a trans character, not common at the time...

    Just finished the Book Thief which is beautifully written and sad.

    Also finished Eva Luna by Isabelle Allende. The story was full of surprises, including a trans character, not common at the time it was written. It's set in an unnamed latin american country. It kept me interested and invested in the story.

    4 votes
    1. CrazyProfessor02
      Link Parent
      Ah yes the book that just loves to smack you with the feels. I agree with you that the Book Thief is written beautifully, it has been years since I had read it, and it is one of my favorite books...

      Just finished the Book Thief which is beautifully written and sad.

      Ah yes the book that just loves to smack you with the feels. I agree with you that the Book Thief is written beautifully, it has been years since I had read it, and it is one of my favorite books of all time. The way Zusak had wrote it from the perspective of Death was an interesting choice and a very good one.

      And I had tried to read the Messenger (the other book by him that my school library had) by Zusak, and it was not the same as the Book Thief. For me, it did not hook me the same way that the Book Thief did.

      1 vote
  3. [7]
    RheingoldRiver
    Link
    I've been reading about the Medici: The Rise & Decline of the Medici Bank, 1397-1494 The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall Catherine de Medici: Renaissance Queen of Rance currently, Death in...

    I've been reading about the Medici:

    • The Rise & Decline of the Medici Bank, 1397-1494
    • The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall
    • Catherine de Medici: Renaissance Queen of Rance

    currently, Death in Florence: The Medici, Savonarola, and the Battle for the Soul of a Renaissance City and Isabella de' Medici: The Glorious Life and Tragic End of a Renaissance Princess

    I would recommend all of these, although I am starting to be familiar enough with the years of Giovanni di Bicci through Lorenzo the Magnificent that I don't really want to read more about this part of the dynasty. But, Savonarola fascinates me and Isabella is a few generations later so I think I will finish these two and then move onto another topic.

    In fiction, I read The Daughters' War by Christopher Buehlman, which is just gorgeous. I think my closest comparison is to the film Letters from Iwo Jima although it's been a while since I saw that movie - but I recall it being about human relationships in the horrors of war, which is this book big time.

    Also adored Floating Hotel by Grace Curtis, A Market of Dreams and Destiny by Trip Galey, and Someone You Can Build a Nest In by John Wiswell.

    4 votes
    1. [6]
      fefellama
      Link Parent
      What about the Medici family do you find so fascinating? I know very little of them other than the basics, so I'd love to hear your perspective.

      What about the Medici family do you find so fascinating? I know very little of them other than the basics, so I'd love to hear your perspective.

      1. [5]
        RheingoldRiver
        Link Parent
        A few things! First, the approach to banking at the time was FASCINATING because of the usury laws. So the ways for a bank to make money had to effectively charge interest for loans without...
        • Exemplary

        A few things! First, the approach to banking at the time was FASCINATING because of the usury laws. So the ways for a bank to make money had to effectively charge interest for loans without appearing to charge interest for loans; and to give interest on deposits without appearing to give interest on deposits. So there was a lot of currency exchanging, and shared risk and stuff. The other thing is they are connected to SO many Renaissance artists/inventors/scientists - Brunelleschi, Donatello, and Michelangelo are the main ones people associate with the Medici (I think) but they also supported Leonardo da Vinci and later Galileo and a bunch of other artists.

        Also, I think the "battle" between Lorenzo the Magnificent and the Renaissance arts on one hand, and Savonarola on the other hand, which culminated in the Bonfire of the Vanities is a really interesting struggle.

        Also, there was so much going on. They were expelled from Florence multiple times, they supported the condottiero Sforza in Milan, they married into the French royal family (and Catherine de' Medici was regent during all the Wars of Religion in France, and she opposed Mary Queen of Scots, she was super interesting in her own right). Three of them were Pope, the power in the family passed from one branch to another after Alessandro poisoned Ippolito and then was murdered by Lorenzaccio (all three of these being Medicis, some of them illegitimate). They had rivalries with a bunch of houses (the famous one probably being the Pazzi) and those were all interesting.

        So it's partly there were just so many of them at a really exciting time and place in European history and partly I enjoy history that feels like narrative fiction haha

        3 votes
        1. [4]
          fefellama
          Link Parent
          Well you've convinced me, just borrowed The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall on audiobook to listen to once I'm done with my current book. That all sounds super interesting, thank you for such a...

          Well you've convinced me, just borrowed The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall on audiobook to listen to once I'm done with my current book. That all sounds super interesting, thank you for such a detailed answer!

          1 vote
          1. [3]
            RheingoldRiver
            Link Parent
            Awesome! I hope you enjoy it!! I'd recommend if possible, listening to the audio while reading along with either a physical or e-book, there are a LOT of names and that book goes through pretty...

            Awesome! I hope you enjoy it!! I'd recommend if possible, listening to the audio while reading along with either a physical or e-book, there are a LOT of names and that book goes through pretty fast with a lot of people relevant to the history.

            There's also a new biography on Catherine de' Medici that just came out last month. I saw it at a bookstore I was at a couple days ago and thought "hmm do I really need to read another biography of Catherine de' Medici, probably not" so I didn't get it..........and then like 5 minutes later I walked back in and picked it up HAHA so I don't know yet how it compares to the one I read already but I'm excited for it!!

            3 votes
            1. [2]
              ChingShih
              Link Parent
              How do I subscribe to your upcoming in-depth review of the two books so I know which one to read? Can we get a hashtag Medici up in here? Haha. Sincerely, someone who hasn't yet started reading...

              How do I subscribe to your upcoming in-depth review of the two books so I know which one to read? Can we get a hashtag Medici up in here? Haha.

              Sincerely, someone who hasn't yet started reading The Borgias.

              2 votes
              1. RheingoldRiver
                Link Parent
                Haha! I've been thinking that I should write up a review of all the Medici books I read when I'm done with this topic! If I do, I'll post it to Tildes and tag you in a comment, I bookmarked this...

                Haha! I've been thinking that I should write up a review of all the Medici books I read when I'm done with this topic! If I do, I'll post it to Tildes and tag you in a comment, I bookmarked this comment so that I remember!!

                2 votes
  4. [3]
    DefinitelyNotAFae
    Link
    The Vorkosigan Saga: I finished The Warrior's Apprentice and I think that Miles would have really vibed with me at 15. Today I'm a bit over his casual sexism (given his mother I'd think he...

    The Vorkosigan Saga: I finished The Warrior's Apprentice and I think that Miles would have really vibed with me at 15. Today I'm a bit over his casual sexism (given his mother I'd think he wouldn't have adopted that bit of his society quite as much as he did even if he's "good" for a Barrayaran) and him being a 17 year old that lies so hard he wins in the end, mostly accidentally. But I get the appeal.

    Scales and Sensibility - a regency novel where every lady must have a dragon on her shoulder. This was fun for the "Bridgerton is good but I find Austen herself boring" sort. It follows one of 3 orphaned sisters, who have been split up by family so no one is unjustly burdened in taking care of them. Our MC is essentially the maid to her cousin before running away and running into a handsome and kind gentleman and his scholarly friend. Then magic happens, literally. It bopped along and I really appreciated it avoiding many of the traditional tropes around lies in romance/romcom/romantasy stories - there are lies for certain but they're far more open among our main potential couple, just hidden from everyone else. Worth a read on KU or with a few bucks on Kindle for sure.

    Cascade Failure - reminiscent of Firefly in its way of being a bit grittier but still far more speculative - FTL jumps and AIs for example - Jal is labeled a deserter from The Guild. He's found by an old friend (and his AI captain/ship) but they stumble on a distress call and get wrapped up in a much larger problem, giving Jal time to become part of the family. Can they really turn him in? Should they? Excited to pick up the sequel.

    Rereading the Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes due to the Unspoiled podcast covering it. (Highly recommend the podcast!) I am having the experience of recalling nothing about this book except it being about President Snow, until I listen to it and then remembering it again. Having reread the original trilogy recently, which definitely holds up*, I can't tell if this says something about the quality of the prequel or just that I only read it once a while ago.

    *The movies have absolutely influenced how most people think of the books, along with general derision for YA and such. They're really good at conveying things like PTSD, not just from the games but the trauma of living in the districts and nearly starving, and how absolutely vapid the reality show that is the games has become.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      first-must-burn
      Link Parent
      I always forget that Bujold even wrote these books. The ones that I have read have been enjoyable, especially Mirror Dance, though it goes to some very dark places. If you haven't, I hope you get...

      The Vorkosigan Saga

      I always forget that Bujold even wrote these books. The ones that I have read have been enjoyable, especially Mirror Dance, though it goes to some very dark places.

      If you haven't, I hope you get around to her books set in the World of Five Gods. The Curse of Chalion is my favorite, and one of my favorite books of all time, but they are all good, including the Penric and Desdemona short stories.

      She has another fantasy series called the Sharing Knife that I read a long time ago, but it honestly did not have much impact, as I can barely remember anything about it.

      2 votes
      1. DefinitelyNotAFae
        Link Parent
        Apparently I'd missed her entirely as a teen. I'm absolutely up for trying her other series. Fortunately when I can find them they're often available on library apps, unfortunately when they're...

        Apparently I'd missed her entirely as a teen. I'm absolutely up for trying her other series. Fortunately when I can find them they're often available on library apps, unfortunately when they're not they're somewhat harder to get.

        But it's been a fun ride so far. Even if Miles is the space version of The Great Brain from the series of the same name.

        2 votes
  5. [2]
    smoontjes
    Link
    I finally finished Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir. I really loved Gideon the Ninth - super entertaining and just fantastic throughout. Harrow, on the other hand, was mostly a slog for me. It was...

    I finally finished Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir. I really loved Gideon the Ninth - super entertaining and just fantastic throughout. Harrow, on the other hand, was mostly a slog for me. It was written to be deliberately confusing which really got on my nerves. It was less so mystery and more so outright confusion. I had a really hard time staying focused while reading and had more lapses in attention than I usually do when reading.

    Spoilers below.

    I posted 2 months about it and while those who replied to me are totally right that it really does all get explained, and it's super satisfying.. but I just don't know that it was quite worth the wait. I read some Goodreads reviews that really reflect how I feel about this book, this review I agree with a lot. Also this. I could keep going but this one in particular can more or less speak for me:

    Harrow the Ninth was insanely confusing, and I am both annoyed and impressed at the same time.

    Harrow the Ninth is purposely designed and structured to confuse the heck out of its readers; the narrative wants us to truly witness how things are seen from Harrow’s perspective. The narrative switches timelines constantly, and to make things even worse, almost all the characters behaved differently from the way they were in Gideon the Ninth, and the narrative also juggles second-person and third-person narration non-stop. In other words: almost nothing is believable, and almost everything doesn’t make any sense for the majority of the book.

    So yeah I felt like I had a lot of work to do. I'm already a very slow reader so that doesn't help. I still love the universe and the characters, but 350-400 pages of this was way too much. If the book had been half as long or if the payoff had come sooner, then maybe I would have loved it. The biggest mistake Muir made in Harrow is that the snark and comedy from Gideon is almost entirely absent from those first 70% of Harrow. I think I would have been fine with being confused if those dozens of chapters were still written like Gideon, but most of it just wasn't entertaining or exciting. There were cool things with for example Ortus. And the threesome was hilarious. So the lack of fun reading is also why Harrow was somewhat disappointing for me - I'm still ultimately leaning towards it being an overall worthwhile read despite there being these very large bumps in the road. Perhaps my expectations were also too high? To quote yet another review: "I might be a Gideon fan, not necessarily a Tamsyn Muir fan."

    Harrow the Ninth was 3/5 for me (the end really does make up for a lot) whereas Gideon the Ninth was 5/5.

    Up next is book 3, Nona the Ninth. Honestly I think it's probably mostly because I already bought it that I started it. I'm about 50 pages into it and I like it a lot so far!

    2 votes
    1. DefinitelyNotAFae
      Link Parent
      I think you'll enjoy Nona more, it's still confusing but, less so, and though your main POV lacks snark, she has earnestness (with plenty of snark coming from those that surround her ) I really...

      I think you'll enjoy Nona more, it's still confusing but, less so, and though your main POV lacks snark, she has earnestness (with plenty of snark coming from those that surround her )

      I really enjoyed Harrow, personally, but it came from me really wanting to figure out the mystery of it all, and from going back and finding all sorts of clues upon re-read. Re-reads of all three books reveal things about the entire story, whet Harrow was doing during GtN, what things John Gaius is saying in HtN (there's a point where he makes a Kumbaya, my Lord comment and another where he absolutely says something like Jesus Christ but they're nonsense words to Harrow) that let you in on bits of what happened to get things to this point 10k years ago.

      It's definitely the hardest read of the three because of thar confusing framing. And it makes sense how you felt! You're definitely not alone. I hope Nona vibes with you. Or at least that you meet Noodle.

      💀

      3 votes
  6. SpruceWillis
    Link
    I finished Snow Crash last night and I must say, I'm kinda disappointed. There was definitely stuff I enjoyed and it's not a bad book at all, I just think that having loved the Sprawl trilogy I...

    I finished Snow Crash last night and I must say, I'm kinda disappointed.

    There was definitely stuff I enjoyed and it's not a bad book at all, I just think that having loved the Sprawl trilogy I figured I'd love Snow Crash as well so I definitely overhyped it a bit.

    The characters are fun, Hiro and YT are cool and Ravens a proper bad ass villain. They'll definitely stay with me for a while, pizza delivering samurai-hacker, futuristic Amazon delivery skateboarder that surfs highways, and a biker with a hydrogen bomb set up with a dead man's switch.

    The setting is cool, it's like a parody of cyberpunk, that kind of dystopian anarcho-capitalism taken to it's satirical extremes.

    The themes of linguistics, human development, history, and philosophy are all very interesting and it all comes together in a fun way with the last 140ish pages being pretty incredible, non-stop action. Reason is one of the coolest weapons I've come across, a rail-mini gun!

    The book is almost prophetic in describing aspects of the future, artificial intelligence, Google Maps, delivery gigs, digital avatars, the metaverse, virtual reality, data gathering through analytics and video, Wikipedia, all in a book written in 1992, crazy.

    It's a shame though that the preceeding 300 pages ranged from good to meh in my opinion. There's a lot of world building which I generally don't have an issue with but I feel like Stephenson loves doing it, he explains the quasi-autonomous burbclaves, franchulates, remnants of the US Government and political relationships between the different sovereign corporations like 3 or 4 times. Feels like he throws detail after detail at you so it really starts to drag a bit and feels like the plot takes a backseat to the setting for a good chunk of the novel. Also, YTs sex scene is gross, I'll leave that at that.

    I'm glad I finally got round to reading it but it wasn't as good as I'd hoped.

    Now onto Annihilation!

    1 vote
  7. btpound
    Link
    I just finished How to Interpret the Constitution by Cass R. Sunstein. As dense as it was I cannot imagine it being any more simplified to detriment. It was very informative, and while I...

    I just finished How to Interpret the Constitution by Cass R. Sunstein. As dense as it was I cannot imagine it being any more simplified to detriment. It was very informative, and while I definitely don't have a constitutional interpretation theory I subscribe to, I definitely know what I do not subscribe to. The author makes his biases upfront and does a good job getting diverse opinions in.

    I just started Seeing Like a State by James C. Scott and am very intrigued by his ecological framing so far. It is not what I expected from the summary but I think it is effective for the points he has made early in the book.

    1 vote
  8. Thomas-C
    Link
    I've been rereading Bandits in the Marsh/Water Margin. I read it the first time around ten years ago, and for whatever reason decided to do so again. I love that story, so much awesome shit...

    I've been rereading Bandits in the Marsh/Water Margin. I read it the first time around ten years ago, and for whatever reason decided to do so again. I love that story, so much awesome shit happens. It begins with weird mystical stuff immediately and all the different stories are fun. I like how the author talked about himself in the preface:

    Alas! Life is so short that I shall not even know what the reader thinks about it, but still I shall be satisfied if a few of my friends will read it and be interested. Also I do not know what I may think of it in my future life after death, because then I may not be able to even read it. So why think anything further about it?

    "Hell yeah" is what I would say. The very beginning has a moment I liked. A man walks up a mountain to talk to the shaman at the top, a Taoist. He's delivering a letter from the emperor requesting help with a plague, so while he's determined, he's also stressing pretty hard. He starts to doubt the use of the task, when a snake shows up, spits at him, and he feints. When he wakes up, a younger monk on a cow is there with him, playing a flute. The younger monk basically tells him "oh yeah so, the shaman isn't here but he heard about you, you're good, things are gonna work out, so you can head back". The man is baffled but decides, well the snake spit was scary enough and the monk can't lie, so he heads back down the mountain, back to the monastery/village. They let him know, that was the shaman, that he's pretty young but nevertheless omnipotent, all good. Then the guy spots a door to the "Subdued Fiends Hall", and asks the monks about it, if they'll open it. They say no, that that's obviously a bad idea, and the guy just loses it on them. Demands to go in and instigates a mess of shit because he's had it with monk stuff.

    The book tells tons of stories and they all have a bit of emotional depth to them along with awesome shit, like a guy fighting a tiger barehanded. I read this, Three Kingdoms, and Dream of Red Mansions around the same time, and remember all of them having that certain sort of depth. The time since I last read it makes it feel pretty new to me so I'll probably go through those again too.

    1 vote
  9. [2]
    anadem
    Link
    Just finished The Last Ride of the Pony Express, Will Grant's account of his fairly recent ride over the two thousand miles of the trail used by the pony express riders. Although his ride took...

    Just finished The Last Ride of the Pony Express, Will Grant's account of his fairly recent ride over the two thousand miles of the trail used by the pony express riders. Although his ride took about a hundred days versus the ten days or so of the express, his book makes the whole Pony Express enterprise seem audacious and really quite crazy. In particular, getting an express rider across the desert involved a huge amount of collateral work keeping stables of horses fed and watered.

    I used to ride a lot when I was younger, and loved the book 'Tschiffely's Ride'. Tschiffely spent over two years riding ten thousand miles from Buenos Aires to Washington DC, so his book left Will Grant's seeming a little tame though a lot more than I could handle.

    1 vote
    1. RheingoldRiver
      Link Parent
      this sounds interesting to me, which one of the two books would you recommend more to someone with 0 subject knowledge going in?

      this sounds interesting to me, which one of the two books would you recommend more to someone with 0 subject knowledge going in?