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.
Previous topics are listed in the wiki.
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.
Previous topics are listed in the wiki.
I've been reading Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon, which I've been really enjoying. I've never really read any hard-boiled detective fiction before, and apparently Hammett is the best. It's quite enjoyable, and I've learned what "gooseberry lay" and "gunsel" mean.
I've also got a lot of books waiting to be read from the library:
OF course, who knows when I'm going to get to read these books -- I'm getting married next weekend so I'm pretty busy these days! Hopefully after that I'll be able to get on some serious reading though.
The Maltese Falcon is fantastic. It was one of the first hard boiled detective novels I read. I highly recommend all three versions of the movie.
I didn't realize there were three versions! I only knew of the one with Humphrey Bogart.
There's the first version from 1931, a remake from 1936 and the most famous version from 1941 with Humphrey Bogart.
The special edition of the 1941 version they released a few years ago has all three versions of the movie. The Bogart one is a classic, but the 1931 version was made before the Hays Code came around, so it has more of the sexual overtones of the novel. Both the 1931 and 1941 versions both take most of their dialogue straight from the novel though so they're very similar.
Wow, that's awesome! I'll have to go digging :)
Just finished my nth re-read of the Count of Monte Cristo, now reading a python programming book (I'm learning), the 8th book of the Expanse series (Tiamat's Wrath), and about to start (again) Will Durant's The Story of Philosophy.
Monte Cristo doesn't need an intro, python will hopefully one day be work related.
Expanse is a sci-fi series (made into a TV series, 4th season starting in December) and the 8th book was published a wee while ago, and it should be the last act before the conclusion (the authors release novellas that happen before/between books too). I started reading on a rec from a friend and was immediately hooked and basically devoured all the books that had been published until then. The world building is pretty neat, since it's Earth, Mars, etc., only as humanity expands into the system and beyond, the characters are interesting and there are plenty of funny parts. What's not to like?
Durant's book I've tried reading a few years back, but work got in the way, so I'm going to try again (now that work is definitely not any easier, because I'm an idiot).
I've heard such good things about the Expanse; and I love that kind of space-opera type thing. My one thing about Monte Cristo is it's so long!
You should give it a whirl. It's really really good. I was actively surprised at how much I got sucked in to that universe.
And Monte Cristo is long but there isn't one extraneous word. The build up to the end is superb and the imagery is second to none. I honestly don't know how many times I've read it and I've done it in three different languages (original French was the hardest).
From memory, monte cristo is episodic and was originally released chapter by chapter.
So it’s better to think of it as many small novels rather than one huge book.
I read it a fair few years ago, and while there were many engaging elements, I did not walk away very impressed. It all just felt like wish fulfilment - and considering it was all a big revenge fantasy, not very thoughtful wish fulfilment. Monte Cristo is an obvious author insert. In content, it read like an 1800s comic book to me - which is fine for what it is, but it’s not exactly what I was hoping for going in.
Thanks for the nuanced discussion!
I've been reading Outrageous Conduct, a book at the accident on the set of The Twilight Zone movie that killed three people.
It's a very well reported and thorough book that doesn't let anyone off the hook for what happened. The story is shocking and it's amazing that John Landis kept getting work after this happened.
I've been on a Star Trek novel binge as of late, and the book I just finished might be my favorite out of all of them. The Antares Maelstrom by Greg Cox is a great story about how the crew of the Enterprise has to deal with a futuristic gold rush on a planet and starbase not equipped to deal with the rapid influx of prospectors looking to stake their claims on the planet before everybody else does. In this book, each member of the bridge crew has their own assignment as the logistical consequences of such an influx of population arise one after another. I loved this book simply because it features each member of the crew performing at their maximum capacity to solve the various situations that arise. It really portrays each character as competent and capable. I highly recommend it if you are interested in Star Trek novels.
oooooh baby! Star Trek books are something I just started looking into.
Where would you suggest someone starts?
So I am only reading books based on the original series because that's the only series I've seen so far, so I can only recommend those, nothing from TNG or onward. For someone just starting out, I would definitely recommend Crisis of Consciousness by Dave Galanter. It explores the personalities of the crew members and aspects of the universe that the show never could, and it isn't too heavy on unnecessary references to the show. It's what I started out with, and it's a great place for anyone else to start with, regardless of their familiarity with other ST books. If you like that, I also recommend Dave Galanter's other book, Troublesome Minds, which is similarly great.
nice! I'm on it! I got about a dozen TNG books -- pretty much what folks were suggesting around reddit and some other places.
Thanks for this!
Just finished Neuromancer. Great worldbuilding, and I can see why it was so iconic and influential, but I didn't actually enjoy reading it too much- this is actually the fourth time I've read it, but the first time I've gotten to the end. For some reason, I just find Gibson's prose inscrutable, half the time I wasn't sure what was going on, the other half I didn't know why it was going on. It felt like an almost disconnected sequence of striking scenes, but after reading the wikipedia summary and tvtropes page, it doesn't seem like I really missed anything, so I guess that's just his style.
I also finished 2312, by Kim Stanley Robinson, a few weeks ago. While there was an overarching plot tying the whole thing together, it's honestly not super relevant to a lot of the book's events, and I thought the book as a whole read more as a comprehensive tour of KSR's near future solar system setting, with its associated technologies and ideologies, and it works since I'm pretty sure that was his intent. Not strictly a sequel to the Mars trilogy, as it's, for some reason, in a subtly different timeline, but it basically serves as one, and presents an interesting vision of a technological departure from everything from capitalism and markets to gender. I'd definitely recommend it.
I'm currently reading Neuromancer and I feel the same way. He constantly makes up and uses words without ever explaining what they actually mean.
I read Neuromancer after it being recommended to me repeatedly, and I completely agree with you. I just don't think Gibson is my cup of tea.
Yeah, it's been a few years since I read it, but I had a similar impression of The Difference Engine, which he co-authored. If you're interested in cyberpunk books though, I'd definitely recommend trying Snow Crash instead. It's a loving but relentless parody of 80's cyberpunk that's a great book in its own right, with surprisingly prescient social commentary (much more so than Neuromancer IMO), and above all else, it's just fun to read.
I finished 2312 this summer and felt similarly. Kim Stanley Robinson's worlbuilding is the strongest part of the novel. Not just the colonies and the terraforming technologies and such (I've not read very much science fiction, so I don't know how original the idea is, but the whole structure with Terminator on Mercury is so interesting to me!), but as you said, also the commentary on gender and biological changes to humanity in general.
I thought that the story was useful because of its discussion about the impermanent/vulnerable nature of space exploration, but it did feel sort of secondary to the systems that KSR was designing.
I've been reading The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. I've just started it, but it's a really interesting read set during the Civil War. It's historical fiction, but he tries to stay as accurate to the events as possible as far as I can tell. Highly recommend it.
I read the 2016 run of The Flintstones, the limited run from DC, it's really, really good. One of the chapters involving the Great Gazoo makes a metaphor of civilization being humanities baby toy, and how humanity will learn and grow with it until it's current iteration is no longer required, or they will just break it in a fit of rage and it definitely makes you think. It's just 12 issues but it feels like it could have gone on a while.
I've been in a bit of a loss for what to read the pass few months. Partially reading things, rereading books/series but rereading Christian Cameron's Long War series (tbh only rereading the last two books this time) and rereading God of War book put me on a bit of a Greek kick. So...
For the first time i'm reading the Iliad. I know the general story from cultural stuff and ive had a few false starts reading it in the past. I started with Alexander Popes translation which is poetic but apparently not "accurate" and i really enjoyed the 7 books i read but all the gods names were the Latin/Roman form which i found difficult to keep up with as i know most of them in their Greek form from the fiction i read and the style meant i was losing a lot of story. So i put it down and picked up the Fagle translation which is apparently the recommended translation for uni students. I missed a lot of content apparently and i somehow ended up rereading again. This translation feels very modern but loses a certain something compared to Pope. I'll probably catch up to where i was in Popes translation and the read Fagle then Pope for each book.
A Pilgrimage of Swords a novella by Antony Ryan. A classic bunch of badarses on a quest to receive benediction from a mad god. Fantastic novella that reminded me of how great fantasy can be. It reignited my love for fantasy. I wish it was longer or becomes a full book series.
The above book made me return to fantasy with the The First Chronicles of Druss the Legend by Gemmell. I started the Drenai Series earlier in the year but got burned out after 3 books (i think it was) and the whole timeline order is not publication order, and there are multiple subseries, which again are not in publication order. This time i skipped straight to Druss. I'm only a few dozen pages in but its really fun watching a young Druss when the last time i saw him he was a wizened old Legend.
I've been busy with work from uni for the last couple weeks, but what I've been reading on and off for the past couple months is the "1632" series by Eric Flint. The premise is a cosmic event which causes a modern small mining town in West Virginia called Grantville to be transported into the middle of Germany during the height of the Thirty Years War. The "up-timers" use modern tactics and jerry-rigged military technology to defend themselves, and after making an alliance with the King of Sweden, establish a new "United States of Europe" in part of the German region while fighting the monarchs of France, Spain, England, and Denmark.
It's a really interesting series because it deals with such a broad range of topics, from engineering and finding resources to recreate technological advances hundreds of years early, to the societal and economic effects the event had on the people of Europe as well as the up-timers' own adaptations. Another aspect of it which is unique is the way in which it's written. Because the event created such broad geopolitical ripples and different plot threads, the series has many books which can be read in just about any order to get the full picture of what's going on, as well as several spinoffs created in collaboration with other authors to flesh out the universe even more. For example, I'm currently on 1635: The Cannon Law, which focuses on a group of characters in Rome dealing with the Papacy's reaction to the up-timers' religious freedom doctrine, but there are other threads which deal with England and Scotland, Germany, Russia, the New World, etc. It's a huge body of work and I don't think I'll be finishing it any time soon, but it's been a fun read so far!
I'm about halfway through The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. I'm about 20 years later than everyone else reading this, but I'm quite enjoying it.
I'm more of an audiobook person nowadays. At least, it gets me to consume books again.
I just finished Exhalation by Ted Chiang. Wonderful short stories. It really invites you to think deeper about the themes that each story tries to convey. My favorites are: the merchant and the alchemist's gate, The truth of fact the truth of feeling, and Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.
I'm currently listening to "23 things they don't tell you about capitalism" by Ha-Joon Chang. I'm still very early in the book.
I finished David Walton's Three Laws Lethal a couple days ago and started with Stephenson's Fall; Or, Dodge in Hell. I loved Walton's book and will check out his others too. As for the Stephenson: I like it, but holy crap there's a lot happening, and happening quickly. It looks like it's starting to get pretty juicy over the next couple chapters, so I'm thrilled!
Honestly, I'm not reading a bunch recently. Have gotten caught up in other things that doesn't leave a bunch of time for reading.
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
Well this was an odd book with probably the most unreliable narrator I’ve ever seen. At the beginning I was pretty confident that all these events were actually occurring. But at the end now, I’m not really sure any of this happened at all. I don’t know where the reality stopped, and drug fueled psychotic breaks started. And that disconnect was really interesting, it was unique and different and a viewpoint I don’t read very often.
Something I find interesting is how much I actually cared for some of the characters. I honestly didn’t expect to like anybody, or really feel bad for anybody especially with the conversations they have in the book. But each of the side characters make me question what type of person this really is, when not looked at through the eyes of somebody with deep psychological issues. Are they really horrible people, or do you only see the small bits that frame them as horrible individuals? The female characters really stood out for me, they felt like they had stories and personalities and such. But you never read about any of that, instead you just see them as sacks of meat to have sex with and abuse. It also makes me wonder though, what is the actual conversations going on without the narrator tainting everything with drugs and such.
Overall, I would probably be willing to read this book again just to see if I can pick up more on where reality breaks down. I think it would be interesting to see how this effects my viewpoint on the events and characters.
I really liked the movie, but now I think I should also read the book.
My company is expanding and we're hiring more remote employees, I've started reading "Remote" by Basecamp but it's honestly a trifling read with low information density.
Does anyone have book recommendations for Remote management or to inculcate more accountability and responsibility in employees?
Currently reading the Stormlight Archive books by Brandon Sanderson. So far, I love them. So far, it feels like each book NEVER. ENDS. This is both good and bad, because while sometimes it goes slow, it's actually quite good for most of the book. It just has a LOT of things packed into it (at least Way of Kings did, I feel like Words of Radiance might've been a bit slower but not sure).
I'm kind of all over the place. I started reading Foundation a week or two ago but I wasn't really pulled into it - I think I just wasn't in the mood - so I've started a few other books since then. I started an HP Lovecraft collection titled The Call of Cthulu, which includes that story and many others. I figured since its October and "spooky season" I should read some horror or other spooky tales. I also am about 1/2 of the way through Cats Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut and I'm enjoying it so far but less so than I did Slaughterhouse 5. So far its not extremely clear to me where the story is going or how it's all going to come together. Nonetheless it is very good and makes me want to read even more Vonnegut.
I know this topic is old but I just finished "Where The Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens and I thought it was a great book! A little sad but wonderfully written. I wrote a deeper review of it on my blog:
I'm also reading Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky which is great and available for free on guttenberg.
I want to get back into A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, but my god it is NOT an easy read. I'm not looking to be spoon fed information about the setting and characters, but this book just reminds me why I'm not really a fan of "stream of conscienceness" writing.
I'm on the second book of Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)'s C.B. Strike series. I loved the TV series that came out a few years ago and have really enjoyed the first book.
It's a fairly straightforward style / structure -- but her writing is extremely natural without sacrificing detail.
It's a shame she was accidentally outed as Robert Galbraith.
I just completed Tade Thompson's Rosewater Redemption, which was a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. Hard to talk about without spoiling the first two books though. It does get a bit deux ex machina in the end, but it's not a terrible stretch. I've read so many botched endings to great books or great trilogies that I'm okay with it.
Next up is Peter Watts is An Angry Sentient Tumor. Love Peter Watts, just hope this essay collection get too navel gaze-y.
I'm reading Thinking fast and slow from Daniel Kahneman, a book about human psychology and some economics.
I started it because we had a test on a few of the early chapters, in a requirements engineering course for my degree.
I kept on reading because it is a really interesting read about how our brains work.
The writing style, makes it really easy for someone without background knowledge to get a good introduction on it.
Just finished this book; for some reason it took me a very long time to read (~3 years), but as I was reading last couple of chapters they stood out to me as particularly good... what, as I now realise, might be a result of one of the cognitive biases described in the book..
Anyway, it seems to me like prospect theory and loss aversion are most talked about, but the discussion on experiencing self and remembering self were most notable.
I'm reading the last chapters a lot slower, but I had a test on it that forced me to read about 90 pages a week.
I'm still enjoying the book but now there's no pressure I'm reading a lot less.
I finished Brave New World last week. I had felt like it's one of those classics that many people read in high school that I had missed out on. I liked the first half better than the second; I found Bernard and Lenina to be more interesting characters than John. I did appreciate his Shakespeare references though, I've been involved in community theatre productions of many of the plays he mentioned. This was the first book of Huxley's that I've read, but after looking up his bio I think I may check out The Doors of Perception sometime.
I've just started reading V. by Thomas Pynchon. I'm only a dozen pages in, but I'm liking the humor so far. Seems like there might be a lot of oddly-named characters to keep track of though. This is my second of Thomas Pynchon's after The Crying of Lot 49. I also have a copy of Gravity's Rainbow in my to-read pile, but it may be a while til I get to it because I like to read on my lunch break at work, and that book is too thick to fit comfortably in my manpurse bag.
i was recently picking through my local libraries section of zen/buddhist/tonglen books. most of which i've either read, or just flipped through. the library selection sucks, and they actually got rid of a few books which were good that i wanted to pick up. it's better than no library though. i was hoping they would have more books on folk lore, which i got into a lot a few years back. the ones they do have are pretty racist or focus on stereotypes rather than story telling.
other than that, i've mostly just been on my activism game. reading a lot of news. keeping up with human rights, climate change, and other important activism happening around the world. some of it scares me.