16 votes

What are you reading this week? #2

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

Past weeks: Week #1

34 comments

  1. [3]
    Grand0rbiter Link
    I'm reading Flowers for Algernon. What an awesome book! I'm thinking of reading We Always Lived in The Castle next. I finished the tv series Sharp Objects and people said this book has the same vibe.

    I'm reading Flowers for Algernon. What an awesome book!

    I'm thinking of reading We Always Lived in The Castle next. I finished the tv series Sharp Objects and people said this book has the same vibe.

    10 votes
    1. hotcouch Link Parent
      Ooh I read that one in highschool and it was insanely powerful. We did a whole study on it.

      Ooh I read that one in highschool and it was insanely powerful. We did a whole study on it.

    2. kfwyre Link Parent
      We Have Always Lived in the Castle is great. It has a very unique atmosphere and delivery.

      We Have Always Lived in the Castle is great. It has a very unique atmosphere and delivery.

  2. cadadr Link
    I mostly reading linguistics stuff because I am a literature BA and want to do a linguistics MA. I've been doing online classes, now I've started reading chapters from the Linguistics Handbook,...

    I mostly reading linguistics stuff because I am a literature BA and want to do a linguistics MA. I've been doing online classes, now I've started reading chapters from the Linguistics Handbook, ed. Aronoff, Rees-Miller. Each chapter has its own characteristic: the one on field work was very friendly and light, but the one on phonology was a hard read TBH. I've got some ten more chapters to read (reading only select chapters, currently morphology is open in a pdf viewer waiting for me), then I'll go on to An Introducton to Language by Fromkin, which is on every reading list of every MA program I looked at so far, so it has to be useful. I'm also waiting for Language Contact: An Introduction by Sarah Grey Thomason to arrive. I plan to specialise in language contact/variation, so that's an important read.

    Because of the situation above, my normal readings stagnate a bit. That will be the case for the coming months unfortunately, but I need to make the best out of my time to learn the core concepts of the new field (luckily I'm not totally ignorant of it, but nowhere near a BA in the field). Still, I'm reading other, nice stuff! I've put down yesterday night a very interesting one: Voyage autour de ma chambre of Xavier de Maistre, or actually a shitty Turkish translation thereof by Işık Ergüden. It is a posmodern book from the 18th century. The author had a duel around 1794 and was confined to his room in the Castle of Torino for 42 days. This text relates to that experience with a static narrative and lots of little bits of reflections and secondary little storylines around it. It resembles a Beckettian text to me, maybe say Mercier et Camier, with a similar duality employed throughout the novella. I can suggest it w/o a second thought: a fun, interesting read it was.

    I haven't progressed with de Beauvoir, but also picked up Das Unbehagen in der Kultur of Freud, translated to turkish by Haluk Barışcan. I've read his book on sexuality where he exposes his ideas of the oedipal complex and infant sexuality etc., and now this after quite some time. IDK how much ground his views hold these days within the discipline of psychology these days (not much I guess), but reading him is both a good addition to one's cultural lexicon (many references to him abound everywhere), and is fun given you get to follow the refined reflexions and ideas of a very prominent philosopher. It's a bit like reading Plato: it's not concretely useful in that most of it is sort of falsified, but it's an important part of the literature in humanities and an interesting read.

    In other news, I've also started the New Testament. I had this project of reading the bible cover to cover (I'm irreligious but it is the backbone of western literature), but I felt like it would go nowhere if I did not read both testaments concurrently. I was in the middle of 1Cr, now I skipped to Esdra in the old testament, and just started reading Matthew.

    6 votes
  3. [3]
    EscReality Link
    I just started "The Nightingale" by Kristin Hannah. I bought it on a whim when it popped up in my Amazon suggestions , I am a sucker for period fiction and have a soft spot for the first half of...

    I just started "The Nightingale" by Kristin Hannah. I bought it on a whim when it popped up in my Amazon suggestions , I am a sucker for period fiction and have a soft spot for the first half of the 20th century (and I buy to many books on Amazon so the system knows).

    Currently I am not far enough into it to actually comment on the writing/plot but I am looking forward to it.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      helbonikster Link Parent
      The Nightengale was my favorite of the books I read last year. So so good.

      The Nightengale was my favorite of the books I read last year. So so good.

      1 vote
      1. EscReality Link Parent
        Good to hear. I still haven't gotten much time with it since I commented, but It's nice to know my time will not be spent in vain.

        Good to hear. I still haven't gotten much time with it since I commented, but It's nice to know my time will not be spent in vain.

  4. [5]
    roboticide Link
    I'm on book four of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. Wanted a big (fantasy) series to fill the void after finishing the Song of Ice and Fire and The Culture series, but it's very...

    I'm on book four of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. Wanted a big (fantasy) series to fill the void after finishing the Song of Ice and Fire and The Culture series, but it's very different. Much more high fantasy, sword & sorcery than ASOIAF is, and I'm not sure how I feel about it overall. The whole plot seems so much more contrived and cliche than how things largely happened in ASOIAF.

    But hey, at least it's a finished series, and if they ever make a show/movie out of it, I'll be ahead of the curve for once.

    4 votes
    1. [3]
      dubteedub Link Parent
      You should really check out Brandon Sanderson's Cosmere works if you want some more fantasy. His Stormlight Archive and Mistborn series are amazing. He has developed a whole universe of lore and...

      You should really check out Brandon Sanderson's Cosmere works if you want some more fantasy. His Stormlight Archive and Mistborn series are amazing. He has developed a whole universe of lore and each series takes place on a different planet within that universe, each with their own separate and distinct magic system.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        roboticide Link Parent
        I keep hearing good things about Sanderson, and his work is on my "To Read" list, but I just haven't gotten around to it yet. He finished off The Wheel of Time after Jordan died, so I feel like...

        I keep hearing good things about Sanderson, and his work is on my "To Read" list, but I just haven't gotten around to it yet. He finished off The Wheel of Time after Jordan died, so I feel like it'll be a pretty good series to start afterwards.

        I appreciate the additional vote of confidence for it though.

        3 votes
        1. dubteedub Link Parent
          Yeah, I think Sanderson's Stormlight Archive is easily the best fantasy I have ever read. He also is a super fast writer and pumps out a few books a year. He even tracks the percentage complete...

          Yeah, I think Sanderson's Stormlight Archive is easily the best fantasy I have ever read.

          He also is a super fast writer and pumps out a few books a year. He even tracks the percentage complete each project is on his website and gives an update at the end of every year on his plans / timeline for future books.

          https://brandonsanderson.com/

          3 votes
    2. liberty Link Parent
      I read The Eye of the World and had the same ideas that you observed. I liked it, but ultimately I did not continue with the series, as I don't really want to spend so much time reading something...

      I read The Eye of the World and had the same ideas that you observed. I liked it, but ultimately I did not continue with the series, as I don't really want to spend so much time reading something that seems like it has a standard high fantasy cliche plot. I've read so much of that stuff in the past that ASOIAF was a nice departure from that with all of the political scheming and plot complexities.

      1 vote
  5. 4rm Link
    I've been re-reading the Animorphs series. They're pretty short, so I can knock out like a book a day, but they're also a lot better than I remember (after getting through the first few pages of...

    I've been re-reading the Animorphs series. They're pretty short, so I can knock out like a book a day, but they're also a lot better than I remember (after getting through the first few pages of each book, which recap the series in nearly an identical way every. single. time). I think most of the mature themes went over my head when I first read them as a kid, but I've been really enjoying the questions brought up throughout the series. So far my favorites have been The Andalite Chronicles and The Hork-Bajir Chronicles.

    4 votes
  6. borja Link
    I just started 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari. Sapiens and Homo Deus covered the past and future. This book tackles the challenges we're facing or about to face, and so far...

    I just started 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari. Sapiens and Homo Deus covered the past and future. This book tackles the challenges we're facing or about to face, and so far it seems better than the other two books (maybe I'm biased because I'm into these topics). Great read!

    3 votes
  7. [3]
    nsz Link
    Schild's ladder - Greg Egan Just started it and so far it's been a lot of physics talk. Really intersting take on experimentation and what a true future civilization might look like. Looks like...

    Schild's ladder - Greg Egan

    Just started it and so far it's been a lot of physics talk. Really intersting take on experimentation and what a true future civilization might look like. Looks like faily a good setup for the rest of the book.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      polomi Link Parent
      It seems that you picked it up following my recommendation! I hope you'll like it. I'm very interested in what you think of it as the story goes. Feel free to PM me if you don't want to post,...

      It seems that you picked it up following my recommendation! I hope you'll like it. I'm very interested in what you think of it as the story goes. Feel free to PM me if you don't want to post, although I won't be replying in depth until you're done to avoid any kind of spoilers.

      Ah and, yes, every Egan book can be summed up by

      so far it's been a lot of physics talk

      But it's a lot more than just that, once you let the plot gather its momentum.

      1 vote
      1. nsz Link Parent
        Yes I did! How awesome. Yeah I'm getting that feeling as Cass is prepping for her return trip to earth after running the experiments. Maybe I'll make a post when I'm done depending on how much I...

        Yes I did! How awesome. Yeah I'm getting that feeling as Cass is prepping for her return trip to earth after running the experiments. Maybe I'll make a post when I'm done depending on how much I have to say, or a reply to your original post? Not sure what the etiquette should be for necro posting on here, with the collapsed comments it kind of feels ok. But yeah so far it's been good.

        1 vote
  8. Krael Link
    I've been chewing through Brandon Sanderson's work the past week or so. The Stormlight Archive books were so damn good that I immediately turned around and bought the Mistborn trilogy after...

    I've been chewing through Brandon Sanderson's work the past week or so. The Stormlight Archive books were so damn good that I immediately turned around and bought the Mistborn trilogy after finishing Oathbringer.

    Just started Hero of Ages, can't wait to see how this story ends.

    3 votes
  9. [5]
    zoec Link
    I finished Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish. It was a depressing but sobering read. The follow-up reading, naturally, could be Shoshana Zuboff's The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, but...

    I finished Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish. It was a depressing but sobering read. The follow-up reading, naturally, could be Shoshana Zuboff's The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, but maybe a change of pace is going to do good for me. I'm considering Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde.

    3 votes
    1. [3]
      cadadr Link Parent
      I always try to alternate between fiction and non-fiction, and between light and heavy stuff. I'm easily moved by books, thus try to avoid reading depressing stuff back to back. The Foucault books...

      I always try to alternate between fiction and non-fiction, and between light and heavy stuff. I'm easily moved by books, thus try to avoid reading depressing stuff back to back.

      The Foucault books seems interesting, unfortunately I'm needing to postpone studying philosophy these days because other stuff I have to study. But the wiki page about the books says:

      In a later work, Security, Territory, Population, Foucault admitted that he was somewhat overzealous in his argument that disciplinary power conditions society; he amended and developed his earlier ideas.

      And about that "later work" on its own wiki page:

      Security, Territory, Population is a part of a lecture series given by French philosopher Michel Foucault at the Collège de France between 1977 and 1978 and published posthumously based on audio recordings. In it, Foucault examines the notion of biopolitics as a new technology of power over populations that is distinct from punitive disciplinary systems, by tracing the history of governmentality, from the first centuries of the Christian era to the emergence of the modern nation state. These lectures illustrate a radical turning point in Foucault's work in which a shift to the problematic of the government of self and others occurred.

      I'd personally add this book as a natural next step after reading Discipline and Punish.


      All the books you list seem interesting reads, but if I were you I'd add a classic novel somewhere in between those three. I read Fathers and Sons (Turgenev) recently, and it was mildly surprising to rediscover the fact that reading can be about entertainment and killing time too (not that the book was not intellectually loaded, quite the opposite, but still it is not "condensed" and thus makes an easy read). If I'm allowed I'd suggest that you read... My Name is Red by Pamuk. It is a very entertaining read yet packed with lots of information about its time (namely the 16th century Ottoman Empire). Hope I'm not going too far making this sort of direct suggestion, sorry if that is the case.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        zoec Link Parent
        Hey! There's nothing to feel sorry about! I like receiving reading list recommendations. Your books sound very interesting. This year I didn't read much classical fiction, but I actually like them...

        Hey! There's nothing to feel sorry about! I like receiving reading list recommendations. Your books sound very interesting. This year I didn't read much classical fiction, but I actually like them a lot.

        I was reading about Foucault's so-called "ethical turn" (overlapping with the "shift to the problematic of the government of self and others occurred"), from the University of Tennessee Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy page. I felt very interested in his later works, but time!

        1 vote
        1. cadadr Link Parent
          Glad they are interesting to you! Also, thanks a lot for the link, I wish I knew that website existed before!

          Glad they are interesting to you! Also, thanks a lot for the link, I wish I knew that website existed before!

          1 vote
    2. zoec Link Parent
      Oh, I'll also probably try Foucault's The Hermeneutics of the Subject.

      Oh, I'll also probably try Foucault's The Hermeneutics of the Subject.

  10. [2]
    dubteedub Link
    I'm mostly done with Good Omens by Terry Pratchet and Neil Gaiman. I've honestly been pretty underwhelmed with this one. It's the second time I've tried reading it and while some of the characters...

    I'm mostly done with Good Omens by Terry Pratchet and Neil Gaiman.

    I've honestly been pretty underwhelmed with this one. It's the second time I've tried reading it and while some of the characters / interactions are great, I feel like theres a ton of filler. It also doesnt quite have the charm and humor of Pratchet, or the surreal world building of Gaiman.

    2 votes
    1. cadadr Link Parent
      Collabs in literature are always a bit weird, aren't they? I've generally avoided them, but I must admit I did like the one collab authored book I read: Altai by Wu Ming. The author(s) are five...

      Collabs in literature are always a bit weird, aren't they? I've generally avoided them, but I must admit I did like the one collab authored book I read: Altai by Wu Ming. The author(s) are five rather young Italians, and the pen name is supposed to mean both "five", and also "nothing" (not sure). But maybe that was because I didn't know the individual authors, and thus did not expect to encounter their particularities in the book. The book itself is about a 15th century Sephardic Jewish family called Nasi and a venetian Jewish-convert detective. The Nasi family comes to Constantinople and tries to get the empire to conquer Cyprus and give it to Josef Nasi so that they can build a Jewish nation. The plot does have an antisemitic smell to it, but I think the book is not at all; it is actually critical of the antisemitism present in the era in Europe. It's a fun read if you're interested in historical fantasy (and yet most of the events are real, also, the Nasi family does exist and they do have a role in the Ottoman vs. Venetian war over Cyprus, AFAIK).

      2 votes
  11. [3]
    super_james Link
    The new Peter F. Hamilton: Salvation. I'm about 80% in and I'm starting to feel like maybe this is Peter re-booting the commonwealth universe but done right and updated for 2018. I'm a big PFH fan...

    The new Peter F. Hamilton: Salvation.

    I'm about 80% in and I'm starting to feel like maybe this is Peter re-booting the commonwealth universe but done right and updated for 2018.

    I'm a big PFH fan but prefer it when he's in more hard-scifi near-future stuff than the crazy future Void books.

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      polomi Link Parent
      Having never read any Hamilton, would you say that this could be a good entry point? I heard some criticisms that I can't even remember that made me avoid him for a while, but I'm willing to give...

      Having never read any Hamilton, would you say that this could be a good entry point? I heard some criticisms that I can't even remember that made me avoid him for a while, but I'm willing to give him a chance eventually.

      1 vote
      1. super_james Link Parent
        Hmm tough call! If you get into this you'll be waiting a year or more for the next one. I'd just get Pandora's Star tbh I've always forgotten what's going on when I read trilogies as they come...

        Hmm tough call! If you get into this you'll be waiting a year or more for the next one. I'd just get Pandora's Star tbh I've always forgotten what's going on when I read trilogies as they come out! But maybe you're different.

        1 vote
  12. [3]
    emnii Link
    Hey, I finished City of Stairs! That was an excellent novel. Looking forward to City of Blades. But between the two, I've started Killing Gravity by Corey J White. I made the mistake of reading...

    Hey, I finished City of Stairs! That was an excellent novel. Looking forward to City of Blades. But between the two, I've started Killing Gravity by Corey J White. I made the mistake of reading the third book in the series before the first two (whoops), so I guess I kind of already know what's going to happen even if I'm not sure what the order of events were, which I'm learning now. It's a good quick read so far, really closer to novella size than full novel.

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      cadadr Link Parent
      I think knowing how a novel or the like will end is not that big of a deal. After all, it's not only about how the story will be finalised. A good novel has lots of niceness in the in-between. And...

      I think knowing how a novel or the like will end is not that big of a deal. After all, it's not only about how the story will be finalised. A good novel has lots of niceness in the in-between. And sometimes the ends are so bad, one wants to rip them apart from the book and reread. Nuova Grammatica Finlandese was like that for me, it was an interesting novel, but the author has betrayed his work by adding a final chapter ruining the whole narrative with rather expected, but bleak endings to the stories of main characters. If he had not included that chapter, the novel would've ended with an open ending, quite apt for the general "air" of it. The book is from 2007 circa, but he concludes as if he were a Russian realist.

      2 votes
      1. emnii Link Parent
        I tend to agree. I would've preferred to have read them in order, but I probably wouldn't have picked up the third for review if I knew I was two books behind. But I'm glad I did because I enjoyed...

        I tend to agree. I would've preferred to have read them in order, but I probably wouldn't have picked up the third for review if I knew I was two books behind. But I'm glad I did because I enjoyed it well enough and they're all novella+ size so it's easy for me to catch up.

        2 votes
  13. whisper Link
    Glen Cook's just-released Black Company novel, Port of Shadows.

    Glen Cook's just-released Black Company novel, Port of Shadows.

    2 votes
  14. Gonzo Link
    Currently working my way through the Dude de Ching: It also has plain English translations of the verses next to the Dudeist versions. The prose itself is relatively straightforward and easy to...

    Currently working my way through the Dude de Ching:

    It’s basically a translation of the Tao Te Ching (the holy book of the Taoists), only it utilizes lines from The Big Lebowski to transform an ancient and challenging bunch of philosophical poems into the parlance of our times.

    It also has plain English translations of the verses next to the Dudeist versions. The prose itself is relatively straightforward and easy to understand, but it's fairly heavy stuff about life and philosophy.

    Free ebook version can be found here

    2 votes
  15. liberty Link
    Fiction: A Canticle for Leibowitz Non-Fiction: 12 Rules for Life Both have been enjoyable and are not in the realm of what I would typically read. They were gifted by a friend.

    Fiction: A Canticle for Leibowitz
    Non-Fiction: 12 Rules for Life

    Both have been enjoyable and are not in the realm of what I would typically read. They were gifted by a friend.

    1 vote