14 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.

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16 comments

  1. boredop
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    Last night I finished reading Up Jumped The Devil, the definitive biography of the delta blues legend Robert Johnson. The authors are Bruce Conforth and Gayle Dean Wardlow, two blues scholars who...

    Last night I finished reading Up Jumped The Devil, the definitive biography of the delta blues legend Robert Johnson. The authors are Bruce Conforth and Gayle Dean Wardlow, two blues scholars who have been researching the details of Johnson's life for more than 50 years. They mostly relied on interviews with people who knew him (many conducted in the 1960s, but some as recently as 2011) and plenty of original documents to build a complete story of Johnson's life and travels, without falling back on any of the "sold his soul to the devil" nonsense.

    5 votes
  2. cfabbro
    (edited )
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    It's probably not the most "sophisticated" of fiction compared to what others are reading, but after getting 2 free months of Marvel Unlimited, I have started reading some Marvel comics on my iPad...

    It's probably not the most "sophisticated" of fiction compared to what others are reading, but after getting 2 free months of Marvel Unlimited, I have started reading some Marvel comics on my iPad and plan to binge as many as I can in that time.

    I started with Matt Fraction and David Aja's 2012 run of Hawkeye, because I heard good things about it, I like how he's just "ordinary" (at least compared to most superheros), and I love the more minimalist art style. It's living up to expectations so far!

    p.s. Thanks for the heads up about the deal, @moocow1452.

    5 votes
  3. [3]
    Rez
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    I finished the Three Body Problem sci-fi series trilogy. Felt the last book was the weakest. Started The Conspiracy Against the Human Race, a philosophy book. Plan to read Watchmen afterwards -...

    I finished the Three Body Problem sci-fi series trilogy. Felt the last book was the weakest. Started The Conspiracy Against the Human Race, a philosophy book. Plan to read Watchmen afterwards - the movie on opening weekend was my first exposure to the property, so while I've read plenty of parts of it online and know how the canon differs, I've never given it a complete read through.

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      ThyMrMan
      Link Parent
      I really wanted to read Three Body Problem, got halfway through the first book and just put it down. I just felt like it was going nowhere, nothing much felt like it was happening and what was...

      I really wanted to read Three Body Problem, got halfway through the first book and just put it down. I just felt like it was going nowhere, nothing much felt like it was happening and what was didn't intrigue me as much as confused me. One of those major books many people hype up, but I just didn't feel was worth it all.

      1 vote
      1. Rez
        Link Parent
        It did take a while to get going at the start of each book, and it's more an "ideas" sci-fi series than something with good characters. But if you're interested in a lot of "big" sci-fi concepts...

        It did take a while to get going at the start of each book, and it's more an "ideas" sci-fi series than something with good characters. But if you're interested in a lot of "big" sci-fi concepts then it's an excellent vehicle for those ideas. I dropped off at the start of the second novel before sitting down and powering through the rest. If you want to just read spoilers and discussion online then I think you could get enough out of it that way - not as much as reading it, but enough to have another perspective on how the fate of spacefaring civilization might all play out.

        2 votes
  4. ThyMrMan
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    Well this is another round that I didn't read very much at all, focused all my time on the Watchmen graphic novel. Wanted to do another reading of it with the show airing, to refresh myself of...

    Well this is another round that I didn't read very much at all, focused all my time on the Watchmen graphic novel. Wanted to do another reading of it with the show airing, to refresh myself of everything about it. But realized after I finished I didn't really want to do a write up for it, don't really know how much I have to say about it that is different or unique. Would just end up being two sentences saying I loved it still and go read some other review for a deep dive...so I didn't do anything for it.

    Also don't know why but graphic novels and manga seem to take me so much longer to read than a normal novel, maybe because I spend time looking at the images? But where as I can read a 400 page book in 3 days or so, a 400 page graphic novel takes me a week normally.

    Also random question, isn't this thread supposed to be on Fridays? Seems like it keeps alternating between Thursday and Friday, or is a matter of different timezones being different days.

    4 votes
  5. [2]
    Surira
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    I'm reading Dune for the first time. I've become a very bad fiction reader, with about 99% of what I consume on social media, news, magazines, online articles, etc... So, it's a bit slow going,...

    I'm reading Dune for the first time. I've become a very bad fiction reader, with about 99% of what I consume on social media, news, magazines, online articles, etc... So, it's a bit slow going, but I'm enjoying it so far.

    4 votes
    1. Tlon_Uqbar
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Man I'm jealous. Wish I could read Dune for the first time again. It's definitely pretty dense, but so worth it. One of the best-realized sci-fi universes out there. If you like it, the later...

      Man I'm jealous. Wish I could read Dune for the first time again. It's definitely pretty dense, but so worth it. One of the best-realized sci-fi universes out there. If you like it, the later books in the series are just as good, imo.

      4 votes
  6. Tlon_Uqbar
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    In the middle of Baudolino by Umberto Eco right now. I'm a big fan of his, so not surprised that I'm really liking it. It's more of the "absurd historical adventure" side of Eco rather than...

    In the middle of Baudolino by Umberto Eco right now. I'm a big fan of his, so not surprised that I'm really liking it. It's more of the "absurd historical adventure" side of Eco rather than "maddeningly complex conspiracy theories" side, which is making for breezy enjoyable reading.

    4 votes
  7. blake
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    I'm just starting The Histories, the translation by Robin Waterfield. I'm not even through the introduction yet haha!

    I'm just starting The Histories, the translation by Robin Waterfield. I'm not even through the introduction yet haha!

    4 votes
  8. Grzmot
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    I finished The Great Firewall of China, a great book written by a CNN correspondent, who lived in Hong Kong. It tells in detail the social effect of the firewall, how China approaches it and most...

    I finished The Great Firewall of China, a great book written by a CNN correspondent, who lived in Hong Kong. It tells in detail the social effect of the firewall, how China approaches it and most importantly how it is expanding it's soft power across the globe.

    3 votes
  9. emdash
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    Currently into the second chapter of Shape Up by Ryan Singer of Basecamp; which discusses concrete procedures and mechanisms for tightening the development & release of software in SaaS...

    Currently into the second chapter of Shape Up by Ryan Singer of Basecamp; which discusses concrete procedures and mechanisms for tightening the development & release of software in SaaS companies—without invoking concepts like agile, scrum, burndowns, etc.

    3 votes
  10. grahamiam
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    I'm a huge fan of books that play with established stories, like adaptations of the Jesus story in The Master and Margarita or Jesus Christ Superstar. So it's probably no surprise that I...

    I'm a huge fan of books that play with established stories, like adaptations of the Jesus story in The Master and Margarita or Jesus Christ Superstar. So it's probably no surprise that I absolutely loved Circe, which i just finished this week. It's incredibly well- written and nuanced. It reads like a very modern story that stays true to the spirit of the mythology, especially in regards to fate and the motivation of the gods. It also had a really satisfying ending. A+ would recommend.

    2 votes
  11. skullkid2424
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    I just made it to book 3 of the Shadows of the Apt series by Adrian Tchaikovsky. Pretty interesting concept of various human-bug races. (Mantis are good duelists, spiders are trickey, ants are...

    I just made it to book 3 of the Shadows of the Apt series by Adrian Tchaikovsky. Pretty interesting concept of various human-bug races. (Mantis are good duelists, spiders are trickey, ants are warriors, etc). With longer series like this (10 books) - I'm always interested in seeing how the author grows over time. Oftentimes the writing gets better, and the storylines/character developer later on is more in depth.

    2 votes
  12. moocow1452
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    I've also gotten deep into Marvel Unlimited, like @cfabbro. Lots of One Offs, What If's, and in particular, I ran through the Eternals run. It was certainly a thing. Similar in tone at other...

    I've also gotten deep into Marvel Unlimited, like @cfabbro. Lots of One Offs, What If's, and in particular, I ran through the Eternals run. It was certainly a thing. Similar in tone at other publishing houses is the Umbrella Academy volume, Hotel Oblivion. I'm enjoying it so far, but I don't think I'm getting any of it. Had the same issue with the previous volume, Dallas, where there was too much happening with too many characters and I latch onto a few subplots and skim through other stuff.

    2 votes
  13. kfwyre
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    I just finished with The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein, and I loved it. It completely blew me away. One of the best books that I've read in a good long while. The author details the life of...

    I just finished with The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein, and I loved it. It completely blew me away. One of the best books that I've read in a good long while.

    The author details the life of Sandra Pankhurst, an Australian woman who runs a business specializing in the extreme cleaning of houses -- for example, the homes of hoarders living in piles and mold, or homes of suicide victims who are, sadly, often left to decompose for days or weeks. She has a knack for the job, as well as a particular skill with the clients, working hard to put mentally ill and emotionally broken people at ease while she uproots, for their own good, much of their comfort and sense of place.

    The book jumps back and forth between recaps of present day cleanings and the backstory of Sandra's life which is, quite surprisingly, where the true heft of the book lies. Though the tales of the cleanings are compelling in their own right, it's Sandra's life that fully absorbed my attention. Sandra's story is unusual, arresting, and thoroughly (and repeatedly) heartbreaking. I cried at multiple points.

    What makes the book so interesting is that it is very much an intimate portrait of Sandra, who is a fascinating, admirable, and frustrating subject all at the same time. The author doesn't try to have any sort of narrative distance and is instead openly mesmerized by and affectionate for Sandra. The author spends time with her, asking her questions and involving herself in her life. The book isn't an attempt at an objective documentary but instead a snapshot of the time they spent together, but it reveals a truth that objective reporting simply couldn't tell. Sandra is absolutely magnetic as a person, and the author transfers this for us, reproducing it in her writing so that we as readers feel it as well. The book has a personal intimacy unlike nearly all other non-fiction.

    It's also buttressed by the author's rich, beautiful descriptions. At times it's too much, as the book can sometimes dip into a mode akin to literary fiction, which makes the author's insights feel artificial rather than lived. But, when it's right, it's right, and her prose and analysis absolutely soar off the page and into your heart.

    It's a thoroughly, deeply human book -- a wonderful exercise in empathy and understanding. When I first picked it up I was admittedly doing so because of its promise of lurid tales of human squalor. I wanted to satisfy a base curiosity through tales of decay and destitution. This is not a book for that. It instead focuses on the human amidst all the mess to find a much more noteworthy and hopeful story, which is exactly how Sandra approaches her own work.

    It's not quite a biography and not quite a memoir, despite having elements of both, but I highly recommend it if you're looking for something along those lines.

    1 vote