What are you reading these days? #18
What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk a bit about it.
Past weeks: Week #1 · Week #2 · Week #3 · Week #4 · Week #5 · Week #6 · Week #7 · Week #8 · Week #9 · Week #10 · Week #11 · Week #12 · Week #13 · Week #14 · Week #15 · Week #16 · Week #17
Finally I can be back to reading books freely! Almost.
I've read Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus, which I talked about last week. It was a great read, and also surprisingly relevant for todays (and all the history's, for that matter) political problems. Prometheus is made to suffer by the new king of gods, Zeus, because he helped humans by giving them the fire. He's bound to a mountain and made to suffer. He talks of Zeus as a despotic head of a junta, and complains he himself had helped him rise to power, but now see what he got for that help. I won't spoil all the relevant bits of the play, it is 43 pages anyways. As I noted last week, the translator was Azra Erhat. It was a perfect translation, a joy to read. And my edition also included relevant bits from Hesiodic texts, and the poem titled Prometheus by Goethe, which were a nice addition.
I read my first ebook ever last week! The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It is such a famous book, by Robert Luis Stevenson, so it doesn't need much introduction. Just that I really enjoyed it. Thanks a lot, @9000, for linking me to the http://standardebooks.org/ website! I was sceptical about ebooks generally, and I haven't read much literature in English, so it's been a nice start for me.
I am currently reading Understanding Phonology by Carlos Gussenhoven and Haike Jacobs, which, just as title suggests, is an advanced introduction to the field of phonology, a subdiscipline of linguistics that studies how speech sounds are classified and combined to form language constructs. It is one of the main pillars of the entire discipline of linguistics, so it is important to have a good understanding of phonology for anybody who wants to study linguistics (but who am I to say that, I'm only a beginner myself). It is nice, definitely more fast-paced than other introductory texts, but, a few pages in, looks like a good resource TBH.
The other book I'm about to start reading is Dost "Friend" by the Turkish author Vüs'at O. Bener, which I talked about last week. I haven't started reading it yet, so can't say much about it just yet.
After listening to Kate Bush's mindblowing song "Wuthering Heights" too many times I just had to read the book it was inspired by. So these days I'm reading Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. I've heard from other people (it is a famous book after all) that it's the most boring book they've ever read, but I've read maybe a sixth so far, and it's actually funny. I've been laughing out loud in several scenes, and while I haven't come that far into the story, it seems promising. I look forward to finishing it, and relisten Bush's homage.
Other than that I've been reading a lot of essays in a Swedish magazine published by Lund University. Oh, and just for fun, I've started (slowly) reading through the Svenska Akademiens grammatik, an in depth-view of Swedish grammar.
Good luck, i hear our grammar is hard to learn for an outsider. Even we have a hard time to understand it´s logic sometimes. Or perhaps you are Swedish as well?
Indeed, I am Swedish. Glad to see another one on here!
Heathcliffe, it's me, Cathy...
i have it on my shelf somewhere and to be honest, i don't find it boring but i would argue that the way it's written more than anything has made the book age pretty poorly and resulted in it garnering that reputation. it's kinda dense and it's a bad book for someone who doesn't like non-contemporary prose to read (which is a lot of people), because that's basically the entire book.
I guess you probably meant to reply to iiv
oh, yes. this is miraculously the first time this has happened. at least it's not that far away from the parent comment!
I've been (slowly) reading The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains.
It's interesting, from what I've read so far it's mostly been talking about how the brain adjusts to different experiences and technology, and some of the previous changes we've already gone through from technology that's so prevalent now that we don't even really think of it as "technology" any more (like writing). It's fascinating to read about how famous scholars thought books would destroy people's ability to remember anything, and other historical facts that I didn't know about, like that for a long time people always read out loud and that reading silently was almost unheard of.
I'm still reading the Wheel of Time series. I'm currently on Lord of Chaos. I'm starting to feel a real sunk-cost fallacy feeling involving this series. I really want to know what happens, but the story has slowed down considerably.
This is what keeps me from even starting Wheel of Time. I've heard so much about how some of those novels are just nothing by filler that I don't even want to start it. And damn, 14 books and they're all 700+ page monsters? That's a lot of reading. I didn't even finish Malazan :|.
How dare you! Malazan is my favorite fantasy series of all time, and I have read it four time already... and yes, I do believe that technically makes me a masochist. ;)
Did you at least get to Deadhouse Gates and the Chain of Dogs? That is probably my favorite storylin of the entire series... I cry at the end every time. :(
I did! I made it through Toll the Hounds! I'll probably wrap it up eventually, but the allure of new books is hard to resist.
Oh damn... I don't know how you stopped there. The final two books are by far the most exciting, as everything and everyone starts to finally collide and all the various conflicts finally get wrapped up! I would definitely recommend trying to get back into it before you forgot the bajillion characters in the series.... or you might have to start all over again. :P
Yeah, that’s the same thing my friend who’s read them told me. I’m going to do it, mainly because I told myself that I’m going to do it ;)
Not to give anything away, but do the chapters involving the “accepted” ever pickup? Even when the events in those chapters should be exciting, I’ve grown bored reading them. I can’t tell if my boredom comes from the pacing of their chapters or the character’s internal conflicts. Half of the group’s choices and resulting actions seem like divine coincidence to move the story along.
I want to say I'm deep into Seven Blades in Black by Sam Sykes, but I'm only a third into it. But I'm really enjoying it so far, despite my reservations when it starts with someone recounting their past exploits. I'm still mad about my experience with The Name of the Wind, which I did not like and did not finish. My first Sykes novel, though The City Stained Red has been in my backlog for a while.
On a related note, reading on a Kindle makes it kind of hard to gauge how big a book is, particularly side-loaded stuff. I've got a position (not a page count) and a percentage, but that's about it. I had to look up the page count on Goodreads and it's twice the size of my usual 300ish page novel, which explains why it feels like I'm going slower than usual.
I'm reading three different books right now.
Loved Masters of Doom. I don't do non-fiction often, but Masters of Doom was worth the read.
I read Ghost in the Wires, which was essentially Kevin Mitnick's autobiography, at least as it relates to the first half of his life as the most wanted hacker and eventual freedom. Fascinating stuff.
still working through my "in the process of reading" list from about two months ago, which was:
and also Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, '72 by hunter s. thompson, which i just binge read because i like it. now that the semester is winding down, i might actually be able to finish some of these.
inshallah, i have finished Buda's Wagon: A Brief History of the Car Bomb. pretty good book on a niche topic. if strange weapons of war and their proliferation are your thing, i would recommend. i have no idea which of the other three i want to attempt to finish off now, though. i'm only like a third of the way through When the War Was Over, and i have almost no progress on either City of Dreams or Prisoners of the American Dream, and i really don't want to start another god damn book, lol.
I mentioned this in the last one, but I'm currently reading Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I'm just over 50% through it, and I'm absolutely loving it. In super simplistic terms, it's about a ragtag group of misfits coming together to pull off an impossible heist. It's book one in a duology, set in the Grishaverse, an ever expanding universe of stories which I'm already looking forward to delving into. I feel like I'm just taking the first bite of a delicious and lavish meal, and I can't wait to gorge myself.
Other reads in the past month:
Warcross by Marie Lu: The story was semi-compelling, but the plot felt way too rushed. Book one in a trilogy. The second book, Wildcard, is currently out, but I don't feel super compelled to continue the series. I may get back to it if I run out of higher-priority books. 3.5 stars.
The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin: I had been hearing some buzz around this book for a while, so when I saw it in one of my favorite indie bookstores last fall, I figured I'd give it a shot. I really knew next to nothing about it other than it was Chinese sci-fi, set against the backdrop of the cultural revolution, and had been translated into English by Ken Liu, a renowned sci-fi author in his own right. I literally had no expectations for this book, but I ended up enjoying it immensely. The other two books are definitely in my tbr list now. 4.5 stars.
Three Body is great! It's such a neat idea that's written so well. Fair warning: the second one is a little weaker, in my opinion, but the third is absolutely incredible and well-worth the hard hiking of book 2.
Interesting. I wonder if it has anything to do with the translations. The first and third books were translated by Ken Liu, while the second was translated by Joel Martinson. Did you notice a distinct style change in book two?
Maybe? I'm not sure, I read them a little while ago. But at the time I wondered the same thing! I think part of it could be described by the translator, but there's also plotting and other large-scale things that weren't as interesting, which a translator wouldn't have control over. But it's still worth reading, I think.
I think what I didn't like about the second book was how long it took to get going, and all the politicking in like the first third. It felt...sketched out? I'm not sure, it's been a little while.
You are right about the poignant endings, though. The entire series kept that up which I really liked, and really made up for the weaknesses in other parts of the plot.
hm, that makes sense. Maybe I should revisit it, I might've been coming at it from somewhere else before.
I just finished Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie, and while my full thoughts are here I can sum them up by saying: it was alright, I thought it served more as a bridge between the first and last novels than as its own work, and I thought the main character was a little too good.
I've just started White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo yesterday and The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth today. I'm excited to get into them!
I felt really let down by Ancillary Sword, and Ancillary Mercy. Maybe my expectations were too high because I really liked Ancillary Justice but I just didn't enjoy those two follow ups as much.
Oh no, Mercy is a let-down too? Don't tell me too much, I'm going to read it, but I was really hoping it'd be a great finale to the series.
Sorry to say your complaints about Sword could be directly applied to Mercy. I had those same complaints.
Ooh, I might have to check that out. <3 Everything Roman Kingdom/Republic/Empire related, especially military history... and the Biblical influence element is something I haven't read much on.
I recently read Pax Romana: War, Peace and Conquest in the Roman World by Adrian Goldsworthy and I would highly recommend it if you're similarly interested in the subject.
p.s. The Roman Army and the New Testament = $111 for the kindle version... WTF?
Oh, neat. Are you a historian or biblical scholar yourself? And yeah, if you could ask that would be cool. I prefer not to pirate books... but $111 is pretty far outside my price range and for a digital version that seems rather unreasonably high.
I wasn't aware those subreddits existed or that there was such a large Biblical scholar community on reddit; Cool. Also, much appreciated for reaching out to him.
<sigh> publishers... can't live with 'em, and would rather live without 'em. ;)
It sounds like I will probably have to wait for the paperback, I guess. Thanks for making the inquiry for me though.
I am slowly working my way through Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King. It's a collection of short stories. So far its good! I've never ready any of his books before and I don't read any kind of horror so I figured I'd branch out a bit and thought this was a good place to start. It's interesting so far and some part ls I've had to skim over a bit because I'm very squeamish lol.
I'm also very slowly working my way through The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan. I've been reading it during my gym time. I just use the bicycle for 20-30min so it's a very focused time that's helping me get through the book much better than when I first tried to read the book. I'm enjoying it so far and I like reading about his thoughts. It's an important book that I think people should read. It's a shame how much it's getting out of date however.
Much like @ras I’m also working my way through the TWoT (The Wheel of Time) series. I’m currently on book 5, The Fires of Heaven, and I think I’ve started to hit the filler slowdown but, I’m doing my best to soldier through. Altogether, I’m on a bit of a fantasy kick. Prior to TWoT, I read through Brent Week’s Lightbringer series (so far), Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles (I need a conclusion!) and all of Sanderson’s Cosmere (so far). I’m hoping to transitions my reading habits over to some historical literature (if not historical fiction) if only to avoid appearing “under-read”. I’m open to suggestions if anyone can help me bridge that gap.
Part of the reason I started TWoT is that I figured by the time I was done Rothfuss or Martin may have been able to finish their series! Lol
As far as recommending historical fiction goes, it really depends on what you're interested in. But given you're on a fantasy kick, Brian McClellan's Powder Mage Trilogy might be a good place to start testing the waters for you. It's magical fantasy but with a more historical fiction feel to it than most other fantasy books I have ever read.
But if you want more realistic historical fiction with only some minor fantasy/scifi elements, then Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series is quite good too.
And if you want no fantasy elements whatsoever then there is an absolute ton of excellent series to choose from. I personally enjoy military history a great deal, so Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey–Maturin series (which the Master & Commander movie was based on) is one of my all time favorites.... as is C.S. Forrester's Horatio Hornblower series, Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe series, and James Clavell's Asian saga.
However if you let me know what kind of history (time period, region, etc) you are interested in, I can make some more specific recommendations for you, since I read a ton of historical fiction. :) Historical Literature I am less well versed in though.
I just finished the fourth and last, of the books of the Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons.
And damn, it is amazing.
Initially, my thoughts ran along the lines: this author is obsessed with John Keats, and sure he is, and I'll say this: there is way, way, way too much going on here, way too much, all in all, I guess it is silly, though amidst the gorge of thousands, ripped to pieces by the shrike so terrible, the more people hanging, suffering but living, on a spike on the "tree of pain" ─ "silly" is silly; and the story, it is amazing. In the first two books, Hyperion and the The Fall of Hyperion there's what, 7-8, 9 ─ 10 main characters that the narrator is constantly switching between? Simmons seems to enjoy writing about pain. Though in the third and fourth books, he's pretty much only going about love. Which by the way has become a primitive force of the universe, according to him, it's a bit stupid really, but what the hell isn't, which also is a point he makes.
Nothing makes sense, they are within ruins hundreds of thousands of years old; and they're from the future? Obviously through the use of "anti-entropic fields". Well, every story has their nonsensical parts. This is Sci-Fi, this is war, or, I won't spoil. Quoting a goodread review (which gives 2 stars. Personally I'd rate it 4,5176M⊙):
─ that is, forgetting about everything, especially the countless Keats-references. And yes, that is way too much; and it is amazing, would recommend.
It's Sci-fi, mad Sci-fi, I reckon. Good night.
Children of Men by P.D. James.
Loved the film adaption several years ago and saw this in the library so picked it up on impulse. Only just started it but already it's quite different from the film.
Hey, thanks for sharing! BTW I just posted this week's thread here, you may want to post this again over there as that's where most of the activity will be on.