What have you been reading?
Since it doesn't look like @basicbaconbitch is around (or they just intended it to be a one-time thing), I guess I'll post this!
What have you been reading? What do you think of it? No need to do a big review if you don't feel like it, but I think we'd all love to hear your thoughts! Recs or discussion of each others' reading habits is encouraged!
Quick question: Do we want regular threads like these? Personally I think ~books is lacking a place to just drop in and talk about something that isn't news or a specific discussion topic, but maybe I'm alone on that.
For the past week or so I've been diving through some classics that I hadn't gotten to before since I realized there's huge gaps in my reading history and so far I've had next to no contact with canonized literature in my university classes (got that mandatory Shakespeare coming up though!).
Anyway, first I went for Wuthering Heights. I found many parts of it to be a bit of a slog, as it had a hard time transferring momentum with the whole multi-generational thing. It had to put in work to make me care about each of the three, and while it succeeded at doing so, it fucked with the pacing and felt very stop-and-go. Both Catherines really had my attention and I'd like to revisit it to get a better, more complete idea of how exactly those characters worked. Oddly, I wasn't too interested in Heathcliff himself. I plan on reading some analysis and reviews of the book then diving back in, because I got less from him than I was meant to. For me most of the interest came from the effects of such a horrible person, not necessarily interest in that person.
While I said it was a bit of a slog to get through and I was only somewhat positive upon finishing it, I've found that it's stuck in my head and I can't help drawing comparisons between it and the other things I've been reading and watching since. That alone impresses me, and I'm going to give it another go once I find a printing where the text doesn't destroy my eyes.
Next, I did Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Honestly? Not a fan. I respect the concept of gonzo journalism a whole lot so I thought this would be my shit, but that's not the case at all. I feel like a lot of the appeal of this is meant to come from it being a fuckin' crazy adventure with moments of righteous hippie-bashing thrown in, but the wildness of that adventure goes to some truly disgusting places, and I think that leaves it at a weird crossroad: If you read it as a celebration of what the main characters are doing, as if they're wiser than those in the 60s who thought drugs would bring them true enlightenment, then some really awful things like the rape scene are supported in a way that I can't possibly get behind. If you read it as being critical of their antics, then it's at odds with itself as 9/10 of the book is spent humorously portraying exactly that and the enjoyment comes from watching that shit unfold. It doesn't really put in the work to have a more nuanced view of itself than that, if that makes sense.
I realize there's more to it and not everything it has to say is just what I'm talking about, but there being more doesn't negate the problem I have with what is unquestionably there.
Right now I'm going through Brave New World, and I'm going to pick it back up the second I hit "Post Comment". So far, I'm also not crazy about it. It seems to be a blueprint for everything I don't like about Young Adult stuff today. In particular, what rubs me wrong is the way it separates its world by repeating almost exactly the same sequence where a character will say "we do things this way, unlike people in the past who did things [the way we do things in the real world]" then all the characters will gasp and call it gross or whatever. That's some Suzanne Collins-tier world building, imo. Painful to read. I think I have some problems with it thematically but I won't get into those before I've even finished the book!
I also picked up All Quiet on the Western Front, but I'm going to put it off for now because the copy I got from the library is already falling apart and I don't want to be the one to rip a page out.
Stephen King's The Stand, the extended actual version or whatever it's known as. It's really testing my perseverance at nearly 1500 pages, but I really love all the characters so far at about 600 pages in so I think I'll be able to finish it. I'm not loving it as much as It, though that could change
I've finished Five To Rule Them All (which I was reading last time I answered this question), and replaced it with The Eighties by Frank Bongiorno - a study of the 1980s in Australia.
I'm still reading The Death and Life of Superman - but I'm up to the last chapter (this has been my bedtime reading, so I've only been reading a chapter or so every night).
I'm not against it, but I think 3 threads in 3 weeks might be a bit too often:
Any readers in the house? What are you reading?
What are you currently reading?
Yeah, it's hard to judge because I don't know what the average reading pace for people on this site would be. I figured 18 days was far enough out for another, but I didn't realize how close to the one before it that was.
I like the /r/books weekly "what books did you finish reading and what books did you start reading" thread. Once a month would probably work better with our smaller group though.
I read a book called Poison City, and am going to eventually start the sequel, Clockwork City.
They are about a magic police force, and a particular detective in said magical police force who is searching for the killer of his daughter. He has a sidekick, his demonic talking dog, Dog, and his Revenant boss. Together they battle and fight for their lives while trying to search for the killer of his kid.
The first book was awesome. I hold high hopes for the second.
I'm currently reading Crossroads of Twilight by Robert Jordan (Book 10 of the Wheel of Time series). I've gotten somewhat distracted by other things--it's going to take me a long time to get through this one.
CoT is a slog (and happened to be the last one published when I started). Knife of Dreams picks up the pace a little, and the three that Sanderson did tie it up nicely.
I've heard that things pick up a little, so I'm optimistic. I need to keep reading though, or I'll never make it there. Currently DnD podcasts are distracting me haha
I'm reading Conn Igguldens series Conqueror about the mongol empire. I'm loving it, great historical fiction.
Also read his series about Caesar previously, which was also much to my taste!
Just finished exams, so reading pace is being increased!
Currently working on Hyperion by Dan Simmons. Really enjoying it so far. I've been wanting to check it out for a while now and I'm glad I finally did. It's a long but pretty easy read, surprisingly humorous, and brutally violent at times.
I was reading The Conspiracy Against the Human Race by Thomas Ligotti but I had to put it down almost half way through. It ended up being a little too dark and depressing for me and it was starting to really seep into my psyche. I typically stick to fiction/sci fi stuff so it was a nice challenge and change of pace but it ended up being a little too much. Maybe I'll revisit it later on.
Planning on hitting Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About The World - And Why Things Are Better Than You Think next.
I've been on a online serial novel kick for a while now, so my book (where "book" means a complete story with a publisher and all that) consumption has been really low.
That said, I'm currently really loving A Practical Guide to Evil. The writing is solid, the editing is good for the back chapters (and responsive to reader's notes on the latest chapter) and there's enough of a community that there's commentary and discussion with each chapter if that's your thing. Technical details aside, it's a great ongoing story about a woman fighting for her country the best she can, and the depths to which she'll go to take care of her companions and troops. There's some fantastic discussion of Narrative and the weight it brings to stories that adds an interesting light to the plot, but I don't want to spoil it further than that.
Also concerned with Narrative and worth a read is Worth The Candle, which I was surprised that I liked as well as I did. It's one among a large number of "person falls into RPG world where they're aware of the mechanics" web serials, and entrants in that field are often poorly written and socially awkward in the writing. Unlike most, it doesn't fall into sordid harem fantasy or quick power levelling to absurdity, nor is it a level-up fantasy where the character is quickly so powerful that there's no challenge or conflict. The characters are interesting, the mechanical underpinnings coherent, and the world weird and compelling. I gave it a pass for months being skeptical of it, but it's truly worth checking out.
The Just City by Jo Walton - it was honestly the dullest book I finished. Just read Plato's Republic instead, way more direct.
Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - this was a short and solid read. She's written it as a letter to her friend, who has a daughter, but the suggestions are entertaining to read and honestly just good for being a better human altogether.
Finished Glasshouse by Charles Stross a few weeks ago. It's definitely an interesting look into the construction of societal norms and the conflict between individuals and society, but where it really shined was the setting. Probably one of the most fascinating and well developed hard SF settings I've ever seen. I'm currently (off and on) reading through Inversions, which is one of the Culture novels by Iain Banks; it's a bit experimental in that it takes place mostly on an uncontacted primitive planet, rather than the all across the vast scifi galaxy like the other works, but so far it's pretty entertaining.
I haven't been reading too much (a huge shame) but I've been slowly working my way through Carrying the Flame by Michael Collins and Book 3 to Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan. The former because it was recommended to me as a sci fi writer and the later because I love Percy Jackson and all Riordan does.
I am currently reading Birthright by Nora Roberts for the past few days.
It is about a woman named Callie Dunbrook who arrives in a small town to do some work. After giving an interview on TV she is confronted by a woman who claims that Callie is her child that was kidnapped when she was three months old as she has striking similarities to the woman and looks like the age progressed pictures the woman has.
This starts a chain of events while Callie tries to discover the truth behind what happened and those who are responsible.
Overall, it is a decent book and I've liked everything that I've read by Nora Roberts thus far.