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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38 comments

  1. [11]
    Whom
    Link
    I've been keeping a bit of an art diary on one of my sites. I think there's some missing stuff in-between when I last posted and when I started keeping this table, but this should do well enough:...

    I've been keeping a bit of an art diary on one of my sites. I think there's some missing stuff in-between when I last posted and when I started keeping this table, but this should do well enough:

    Date Title
    Creator Format Comments
    11/22/19 The Fire Next Time James Baldwin Paperback Essay Collection The obviously good things are good, the obviously less good things are less good. There's so much I can talk about with this, but my thoughts aren't sorted out yet and I don't want to make a fool of myself. What complicates this all is that whenever I disagree with Baldwin on something, he throws in a comment that complicates it so much that I don't know if we disagree or if he's saying something I agree with but with a level of nuance that's just too much for me.
    Remember the thing Pace said about Wheatley.
    11/20/19 - DROPPED Pulphead John Jeremiah Sullivan Paperback Essay Collection Fucking hell. Essay collection #3 where I read one of the best things I've seen in years, then run into bullshit that spoils the experience. "Essay collections are hit-or-miss" is as obvious as a statement can get, but it's getting tiring. I'm tired of left-field transphobia I didn't have my guard up for. I'm tired of being the butt of a joke.
    11/16/19 Penguin Cafe
    npckc itch.io Visual Novel npckc games are always sweet, and this is no exception. Captures the mindless awkwardness of sitting around waiting for someone by leaving the majority of the playtime open for playing a clicker game, checking texts, and sipping your drink. This has the npckc charm, but isn't quite as interesting as their best work.
    11/16/19 Agnes Grey
    Anne Brontë Hardcover Novel I'm never quite sure if I should be honing in on the bitter moments or the sweet ones, but both are excellently done. For the inevitable comparison to her sisters, having read this I can now say that my thoughts go Emily > Anne > Charlotte. Of what I've read from the three, what stands out from Anne is her sense of humor, which comes through in this powerful (and witty) rage that often seems to leave the voice of the narrator and become direct ranting. I love that shit.
    6 votes
    1. [9]
      Whom
      Link Parent
      Hm, it got cut off. Here's the rest: Date Title Creator Format Comments 11/13/19 - DROPPED How To Be Alone Jonathan Franzen Hardcover Essay Collection The introduction and first essay are...

      Hm, it got cut off. Here's the rest:

      Date Title
      Creator Format Comments
      11/13/19 - DROPPED How To Be Alone
      Jonathan Franzen Hardcover Essay Collection The introduction and first essay are brilliant. The problem is, when Franzen isn't busy reflecting on how much of a bitter asshole he can be (which he is SO good at doing), he's just being a bitter asshole. I dropped it immediately after reading the next essay which is about how we actually have toom uch privacy and let the private invade the public. Ugh.
      11/9/19 The Summer Book
      Tove Jansson Hardcover Novel The Summer Book was a good time. It's interesting how much it plays with the lopsided nature of interactions between adults and children that is typically ignored in this kind of "old person hangs out with little kid" story in favor of making the elder act like a child. The grandmother is clearly acting as an adult and she does not play at her granddaughter's level all of the time. These disconnects between them make their closer moments even sweeter.
      11/8/19 Slouching Towards Bethlehem
      Joan Didion Paperback Essay Collection Joan Didion's voice is, throughout most of this book, hidden from sight under stacks of dull localized bullshit about the least interesting place on Earth: California. When it does get a chance to shine, I find myself wanting the bullshit stacks back, as when she cares enough about a topic to insert herself into it, smug cynical bullshit is all that we get. In the world of Didion, everyone who cares is a misguided fool and she's enlightened with the gift of emotional distance. It's deeply frustrating.
      On the other hand, "On Keeping a Notebook" is brilliant and the reason I switched to this commentary format instead of scores. So it kinda balances out.
      11/8/19 The Reluctant Fundamentalist Mohsin Hamid Paperback Novel I dig this, which is a relief. The previous books I've been reading for this postcolonial literature class have all either had no radical bite to them or been otherwise painful. This, on the other hand, is a head-on criticism of American imperialism, capitalist work culture and the spirit which drives it, and racism in the time immediately following 9/11. It's told as one big monologue which totally works in its favor, but ultimately builds to this "holding up a mirror" moment that isn't particularly compelling. Not that it ruins the rest of the book, but it does fall a bit flat. It's a smooth read, Hamid is really fucking good at injecting loads of charisma into this long monologue, the only moments where that skill starts to slip is when that mirror-turn is being set up. Hamid also kinda bites Murakami, but it's not too bad.
      11/7/19 The Hobbit J. R. R. Tolkien Hardcover Novel I'm not sure I like this much. What I remember liking about Tolkien was the extreme effort and overwhelming detail put into LOTR which is impressive despite being so unnecessary. That overload of extra shit is fun in and of itself, and The Hobbit is really stripped back. It's a children's story, of course, and if I ever adopt I'd love to read it to my kid...but it just feels a bit tedious for me reading it alone.
      6 votes
      1. [5]
        kfwyre
        Link Parent
        I love your formatting, your honest blurbs, and the breadth of your book diet. Thanks for sharing that with us! Like you, I thought that The Reluctant Fundamentalist was well-written, and I think...

        I love your formatting, your honest blurbs, and the breadth of your book diet. Thanks for sharing that with us!

        Like you, I thought that The Reluctant Fundamentalist was well-written, and I think it's particularly noteworthy for being a literary example of the "silent protagonist" trope, which is usually reserved for videogames. I read it around the same time I replayed the Half-Life 2 series, and I was struck that their narrative deliveries were nearly identical. Much of HL2 is Alyx Vance talking to a silent Gordon Freeman, just as most of Hamid's book is Changez talking to a silent American. I don't know that I can think of another example in literature where this technique was used, much less as skillfully as Hamid does.

        4 votes
        1. [4]
          Whom
          Link Parent
          Thanks! I've been having a great time focusing on books a bit more than usual lately, so hopefully I'll keep having more to share :) I did really enjoy the silence of the American, and I think a...

          Thanks! I've been having a great time focusing on books a bit more than usual lately, so hopefully I'll keep having more to share :)

          I did really enjoy the silence of the American, and I think a lot of what makes the book so interesting is how good Hamid is at playing with that. Though I do think a lot of the problems also stem from it...for instance I think it really invites readers to think in terms of "what do you think happened?" that to me is kinda shallow and boring. I discussed it with a lot of people who are normally really great to speak to about literature, but we kept getting to these dead ends where we had to circle back to that question and not much came of it. Not that the kind of ambiguity that the one-sided monologue / silent protagonist introduces is inherently bad, but I feel like the novel relies too heavily on plot (and the truth of that plot) to get away with it without sacrificing what it's actually getting at.

          3 votes
          1. [3]
            kfwyre
            Link Parent
            I can definitely see how trying to fill those ambiguity gaps would be off-putting. To me it's much more interesting to consider why they're there or how they're effective. Because I read it years...

            I can definitely see how trying to fill those ambiguity gaps would be off-putting. To me it's much more interesting to consider why they're there or how they're effective. Because I read it years ago the details and even overall plot have faded with time, but I still remember fondly how skillfully the writing makes the unnamed American both a non-entity and a real presence at the same time.

            2 votes
            1. [2]
              Whom
              Link Parent
              Yeah, I don't mind some ambiguity...just falls flat for me here. You're right, the American sits in this strange middle place in your mind. You're not often consciously thinking about him, but...

              Yeah, I don't mind some ambiguity...just falls flat for me here.

              You're right, the American sits in this strange middle place in your mind. You're not often consciously thinking about him, but you're constantly nudged to never forget his gaze. We're able to see through what we imagine his eyes to be, without being over-burdened with the attention-grabbing of an actual character or the expected responsibility of the author to treat that person as a person.

              I heard some people making points about that being a flip of colonial literature tropes of colonized non-characters, but I don't feel familiar enough to say if I'd make that argument. It's interesting either way. Have you read Hamid's other work? I wonder if I should try out some more.

              2 votes
              1. kfwyre
                Link Parent
                I haven't read any other of Hamid's work, so no recommendations there -- sorry! I'm actually flat out awful at exploring authors, as I tend to bounce around indiscriminately in my reading rather...

                I haven't read any other of Hamid's work, so no recommendations there -- sorry! I'm actually flat out awful at exploring authors, as I tend to bounce around indiscriminately in my reading rather than diving into a specific focus.

                2 votes
      2. [3]
        tomf
        Link Parent
        I'm working through Didion's work! I started with The White Album then went to A Year of Magical Thinking. I think I'll do Slouching next, followed by South and West and Blue Nights. I absolutely...

        I'm working through Didion's work! I started with The White Album then went to A Year of Magical Thinking. I think I'll do Slouching next, followed by South and West and Blue Nights.

        I absolutely love it when she digs in deep on the details... like municipal water supply. I don't mind cynical stuff, but your notes are a great head's up!

        I had no idea games like Penguin Cafe existed. What are some titles you'd suggest?

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          Whom
          Link Parent
          Slouching Towards Bethlehem is something I ultimately dislike but I still think is totally worth checking out. There's some moments where all my criticisms fall away and I'm just left in awe at...

          Slouching Towards Bethlehem is something I ultimately dislike but I still think is totally worth checking out. There's some moments where all my criticisms fall away and I'm just left in awe at her observational skills.

          By "games like Penguin Cafe" I'll assume you just mean visual novels, but if you mean something specific about Penguin Cafe then correct me and I'll try to hit you with more recommendations. To start out, I'd recommend:

          2 votes
          1. tomf
            Link Parent
            nice! thanks for the visual novel links. I'll check 'em out.

            nice! thanks for the visual novel links. I'll check 'em out.

            2 votes
    2. Staross
      Link Parent
      I'm finishing The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and there's not much humor in it, maybe I should have gone with Agnes Grey. I thought Charlotte's Jane Eyre was excellent though, hard to say if I prefer...

      I'm finishing The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and there's not much humor in it, maybe I should have gone with Agnes Grey. I thought Charlotte's Jane Eyre was excellent though, hard to say if I prefer Wuthering Heights over it.

  2. [3]
    Atvelonis
    Link
    I just finished reading Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. I'm not really sure what the right word is, but I walked away feeling a bit directionless, or apprehensive. It was a good read probably...

    I just finished reading Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. I'm not really sure what the right word is, but I walked away feeling a bit directionless, or apprehensive. It was a good read probably for that reason. The narrator is sort of dulled to life; he has interests, but goes through the motions like a machine. School, work, eat, repeat, with his hobbies almost as a distraction, but with no actual purpose. He can talk to people well enough to hold a conversation, but doesn't have many real friends; when he interacts with another person, other than the romantic interests of the story, he makes almost no effort to engage with them intellectually. The fact that they are autonomous creatures like him, with their own lives and their own perceptions, is barely something he recognizes. When he does make a new friend, he does so almost as an instinct or habit, or out of boredom, not because he actually cares about them. He simply responds to input.

    It's depressing to witness in the story and personally hits me kind of hard because, lately, I've been feeling as though that's the way I often end up interacting with people. What is this person saying to me? What can they offer me? Who should I talk with to get this emotion I want? The novel's desensitized take on sex is a little disillusioning and I found myself becoming more and more disgusted with the narrator as the novel progressed, sexually and emotionally. Everything he does just makes his situation morally worse, somehow, even if what's happening isn't even really a bad thing. His character resonates with me in a way that I don't like because his life feels variously pointless, or wasted, or just hopelessly wrong in a way that can't even be defined by words.

    I'm glad that I read Norwegian Wood, but I think I need to go for something a little happier next!

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      dnaq
      Link Parent
      Murakami is one of my favourite authors, and for something a little bit lighter, and a bit more surrealistic I would recommend Kafka on the Shore.

      Murakami is one of my favourite authors, and for something a little bit lighter, and a bit more surrealistic I would recommend Kafka on the Shore.

      2 votes
      1. mieum
        Link Parent
        I've been wanting to read this for a long time! I've only read his short stories, which I encountered after a Raymond Carver binge.

        I've been wanting to read this for a long time! I've only read his short stories, which I encountered after a Raymond Carver binge.

        1 vote
  3. [3]
    ThyMrMan
    Link
    Went pretty heavy into the sci-fi this round. And was pretty mixed in good books and bad and how much I enjoyed them. Also looked at my Good Reads yearly goal and noticed I'm still 5 books behind...

    Went pretty heavy into the sci-fi this round. And was pretty mixed in good books and bad and how much I enjoyed them. Also looked at my Good Reads yearly goal and noticed I'm still 5 books behind schedule, don't know if I can hit it this year.

    The Last Dance by Martin L. Shoemaker

    Series: The Near-Earth Mysteries Book 1

    This book ended up being more of a collection of short stories, than a fully cohesive story for me. Jumping between recollections of events from over the years, you learn about the characters relationships with each other and how they came to work together. But my issue comes with how the main character was dealt with and built over the chapters. By the end you know the side characters building up to getting a complete picture of who the main story is actually about. By in this trip I feel like the investigator who you are viewing these stories with ends up being very under-developed since they are just listening and not participating in the stories.

    Now that isn’t to say I didn’t like this book, I really did. I found myself invested in the characters heavily and wanted to see what methods were being used. It constantly kept my attention the entire way through. One issue I would have to mention is I just couldn’t visualize any of the locations very well. It seemed like many of the scenes could have taken place in a white chamber because the setting and layouts wasn’t well described for me. In some books I don’t find it to be an issue, but a realistic science journey where your trying to piece together details to form opinions I feel really needed it.

    Score: 4/5

    The Hammer of God by Arthur C. Clarke

    This book definitely shows its age and you can instantly tell that an old school sci-fi author wrote it. From the start it takes a different approach to building up to the climax and events of the story, in a kinda meandering way that makes me question how any of these events matter until they suddenly do. All this leads to a very satisfying conclusion that works well, if a little open ended.

    But it isn’t without any issues at all, most of it comes down to character relations and romance I feel. An issue most of the old school sci-fi authors seem to suffer, they are great at big ideas but rather terrible at people. I wasn’t really crazy impressed by any of the characters, they fit into place and did what they needed but never really felt like they did more. And the main character I instinctively dislike due to the way he handles his relationships with his previous wife and kid. It almost comes off as a man who got tired of dealing with something and decided to just say “well that was fun for a while, time to see what else I can get though”. He acts like he fondly remembers the old times and reminisces, but just left them and started a brand-new family. And never do you learn what the various family members actually think about what happened and whether they actually care.

    Overall for me, this is a classic sci-fi story. Read it for the ideas and science and future tech but expect nothing at all from the characters or relationships.

    Score: 3/5

    Colonization by Scott McElhaney

    This collection has some stuff that works, but also a far bit that just didn’t work well for me at all. The first 2 books I found really good they came together in a really good story that kept me interested. The science was good enough that I didn’t question stuff and it stayed interesting. But I wish they were expanded and longer actually.

    This is a problem that I had with all 5 novels, but it got worse the farther into the novels it got. Everything moved really, really fast with no breaks or delays or time to stop and collect yourself. Plot points seem to just pile on one after another and the pile of points gets higher and higher as more get introduced with each novel but never truly explored in a satisfying way. This started showing for me in the last book which seemed like it was doing a ton without much more exploration of the events.

    The characters suffer in this method as well for me, with some lightning fast character development that seems random. In 10 pages they meet, fall in love, get married, and decided to start having kids. And you barely even have a chance to see any relationship between the two develop, sure an attempt to hide it happens but it doesn’t work all that well. This happens again to an extent with the new teen characters, but I think it works a bit better. Though the romance still feels awkward, though it kinda sorta works given these are teenagers who are pretty isolated to a small group.

    The worst for me is the final grouping and romance, it really felt random and out of place. Suddenly introducing this brand-new group that would have massive importance to everything in the final novel felt out of place. And the relationship and history being told via flashback story isn’t the most graceful, I feel it could have been worked in better somehow.

    Overall it was decent, but I think it needs more work. I understand the idea of having these short classic sci-fi style novels. Something you can easily sit down and read in an hour without trouble, but it just didn’t work for me perfectly.

    Score: 2/5

    Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds

    Well, this felt like a hodgepodge of various ideas and books that ended up with a mess. Combined with politics and power struggles between characters that didn’t feel realistic. Ending with an unfinished universe that just leaves me disappointed.

    The characters and politics were somehow the most unbelievable part of this book. It has this dual power struggle thing going on between the two main female characters, whose role changes between major sections in a very unrealistic way. It keeps flip flopping between these two and it just gets annoying to flip between perspectives and be expected to believe that everything is still functioning. And that a third party didn’t get pissed off by this point and thrown them both out an airlock and remade the government in a logical way. The characters outside of the politics weren’t overly interesting, they filled roles and didn’t really have massive influence because of who they were.

    The flow of the novel hurt it also, it jumps between events and years at almost random it feels like. It will glance over dozens of years of development in moments, but spend pages going into what doesn’t feel important. Major events just get solved in time skips and you don’t see how they solved or overcame the issue. At a point they even had what seemed like a major religious sect growing, but after the next time skip and leader change, they have vanished, and the characters talk in past tense about the event about how horrible it was. But what happened exactly? It never gets explained or detailed, just forgotten about completely.

    The worst part for me is none of the ideas feel original. I didn’t see anything in this novel that made me think it was new or creative future tech, instead it was things I’ve seen before. It is rehashing and combining old ideas into a single book and as you read, you stop and say “Wait, isn’t this almost identical to this other novel I read the other year?”. I couldn’t point out a single idea in this book that I feel is original and will stick with me. So I come back to the hodgepodge idea, cause that is what it is, a hodgepodge of other novels just stuck together to form a novel.

    Score: 2/5

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      cwagner
      Link Parent
      I must say, I confused your complaints about Pushing Ice with Permafrost, mainly because a few of those things (flipping between perspectives, 2 female characters) happen there as well, only I...

      I must say, I confused your complaints about Pushing Ice with Permafrost, mainly because a few of those things (flipping between perspectives, 2 female characters) happen there as well, only I loved Permafrost (and wished it was a series instead of a stand-alone novel).

      As I had planned to read Pushing Ice eventually, did you read a lot of his other works and did you like them more?

      2 votes
      1. ThyMrMan
        Link Parent
        I haven't read any of his other novels yet, but I'm planning on it. It seems like he likes his Big Dumb Objects and I just love those. I can deal with the ideas not being very original, but I just...

        I haven't read any of his other novels yet, but I'm planning on it. It seems like he likes his Big Dumb Objects and I just love those. I can deal with the ideas not being very original, but I just couldn't really get over the characters. It just felt really unbelievable that everyone would put up with this power struggle between two people for what ends up being like 100 years, like somebody would have gotten annoyed and deposed of these two girls already.

        3 votes
  4. [6]
    Keegan
    Link
    I've recently started The Brothers Karazamov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. I'm reading a translation from Russian to English by Pevear and Volokhonsky. Dostoevsky is probably better known as the author of...

    I've recently started The Brothers Karazamov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. I'm reading a translation from Russian to English by Pevear and Volokhonsky. Dostoevsky is probably better known as the author of Crime and Punishment.

    I've barely started the book, and it already seems like it will be a long read, due to the length and complexity. It is intriguing though so far.

    6 votes
    1. krg
      Link Parent
      There were some moments that straight up made me shed a tear (or two). A lot of Christian moralizing, but I'd be damned if it wasn't written beautifully and poignantly. I read this version...

      There were some moments that straight up made me shed a tear (or two). A lot of Christian moralizing, but I'd be damned if it wasn't written beautifully and poignantly. I read this version translated by Ignat Avsey.

      4 votes
    2. [2]
      mieum
      Link Parent
      Have you read Notes from the Underground? It's the only Dostoevsky I've tried reading, and I couldn't get into it. I know he is so cherished, but something didn't fit. Maybe it was bad timing? I...

      Have you read Notes from the Underground? It's the only Dostoevsky I've tried reading, and I couldn't get into it. I know he is so cherished, but something didn't fit. Maybe it was bad timing? I was reading a lot of Bukowski at the time...

      Maybe I'll try again with The Brothers Karazamov. =]

      2 votes
      1. Keegan
        Link Parent
        I have not. I took a long break from reading before this book due to increasing amounts of work and not allotting time to read, but now I have and I can read again.

        Have you read Notes from the Underground?

        I have not. I took a long break from reading before this book due to increasing amounts of work and not allotting time to read, but now I have and I can read again.

        1 vote
    3. [2]
      ras
      Link Parent
      I loved this book. However, there are some long stretches of “wtf am I reading”.

      I loved this book. However, there are some long stretches of “wtf am I reading”.

      1 vote
      1. Keegan
        Link Parent
        Oh yeah I'm definitely feeling the same sometimes haha.

        Oh yeah I'm definitely feeling the same sometimes haha.

        1 vote
  5. mat
    Link
    I'm currently re-reading Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching series, which is one of my favourite sub-series in the Discworld books, with the intention of finally reading The Shepherd's Crown at the...

    I'm currently re-reading Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching series, which is one of my favourite sub-series in the Discworld books, with the intention of finally reading The Shepherd's Crown at the end. Pratchett was a huge influence on me when I was growing up, and his books are the safest of safe, cosy places for me to go (I rarely re-read anything but I re-read Pratchett). I've thought about reading The Shepherd's Crown several times since it came out - I bought it day one - but for the longest time I wasn't ready to live in a world where there was no more unread Pratchett. I may well not be ready yet, we'll see in a couple of books time.

    Might as well recount the time I met him, while I'm here. I'd gone to a theatre to see him talk, some time in the mid-nineties before he was quite so famous. My English teacher has driven me and a couple of others to the theatre that evening, and I slunk off to the bar for a cheeky underage pint before the event started. It was very quiet, so I sat at the bar and after a while a guy came and sat next to me. We chatted about the kind of small things you talk about over a beer, he was very pleasant although eventually apologised for having to dash off, donned a wide-brimmed black hat and stalked out of the bar with a swish of his long black coat. I thought no more about it, finished my drink and made my way into the auditorium. The man I'd been talking to walked out on stage and said "Good evening, I'm Terry Pratchett". He remains the most famous person I've ever met and I had no clue at all.

    6 votes
  6. [5]
    acdw
    Link
    I just finished The Name of the Wind, on many's recommendation here. It was good! Now I'm re-reading The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, which of course is also great.

    I just finished The Name of the Wind, on many's recommendation here. It was good!

    Now I'm re-reading The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, which of course is also great.

    5 votes
    1. [4]
      markh
      Link Parent
      Did you read the sequel to Name of the Wind? It’s called The Wise Man’s Fear, and it is very good.

      Did you read the sequel to Name of the Wind? It’s called The Wise Man’s Fear, and it is very good.

      1. [3]
        acdw
        Link Parent
        Not yet -- I've got like 10 books from the library I've got to get through, and I think I want to space out the trilogy so that I don't have to wait too long for the third installment. But I'll...

        Not yet -- I've got like 10 books from the library I've got to get through, and I think I want to space out the trilogy so that I don't have to wait too long for the third installment. But I'll get there!

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          markh
          Link Parent
          Book three will be completed when GRRM finishes Winds of Winter - I don’t think it’s coming. :D

          Book three will be completed when GRRM finishes Winds of Winter - I don’t think it’s coming. :D

          1 vote
          1. acdw
            Link Parent
            Yeah I've heard it's kind of ... clogged up. Ah well.

            Yeah I've heard it's kind of ... clogged up. Ah well.

  7. cwagner
    (edited )
    Link
    I recently read The Zones of Thought Series. From my goodreads review: I read a lot of questionable books. 0.99€ series, Kindle Unlimited books. I often don’t mind some questionable writing. But...

    I recently read The Zones of Thought Series.

    From my goodreads review:

    An amazing first book. But in book 2, there is a scene (if only, many, many pages!) that reminds me of a bad horror movie. You know when someone does something, and you scream "Nooo! Don’t do it!"?

    Now imagine that in slow motion. Really slow motion. For 20 minutes or more, we see an extremely obvious betrayal. One with very few nuances and that becomes so obvious that even a blind person would be able to see it. And it’s still going on. Everything exactly, as one would imagine it to happen (and believe me, I’m not one of those people who normally sees things coming, this is really sledgehammer level).

    I kept skipping over pages and it just wouldn’t end. At this point I decided to just stop reading. I was getting too annoyed by this part.

    If you think you can get over something like this, the rest of the trilogy might become better again. But I can’t.

    I read a lot of questionable books. 0.99€ series, Kindle Unlimited books. I often don’t mind some questionable writing. But this was seriously too much. The amount of cringe I experienced while slogging/skipping through those many pages. I guess I now know why all the top lists have "A Fire Upon the Deep" (the first book) and not any of the others. I really can’t understand the rating for the full series. I’d have loved to find out what happened with the story, but the price is too high.


    Well, so once I put the book away, I started on Glynn Stewart’s new series "Peacekeepers of Sol" with book 1: Raven’s peace. It’s another typical Stewart book, no surprises, solid writing, fun story. Gotta love the pace he pumps out new books at ;)

    Humanity helped win the interstellar fight against a slaver empire and free their subjugated races. But when you remove an empire that existed for thousands of years and suddenly have 100s of warlords and mini groups left to their own devices, chaos and not trade and prosperity might ensue. This series is about what humanity will do now and how much they’ll interfere and help.


    This was followed by Murder by Magic, also by Glynn. A short novella and a prequel to the Onset universe. Way too short, but I guess that’s what it said ;)

    Follows a side character of the Onset series and hist first case as a supernatural FBI-adjacent investigator.


    After I was done with that one in just a single evening, I trolled around on Amazon and got recommended a 4-part series for 0.99€. I checked goodreads and the Terradox Quadrilogy didn’t seem to bad. I am currently reading the first part, it’s not amazing but also doesn’t seem bad at all.

    Can’t say too much of what this is about, but it seems amoral, power hungry politicians have Earth in an iron-clad grip. One of the two ships on its last trip sending some few to a base near Venus suddenly crashes into a planet that appears out of nowhere. Breathable air but no Flora or Fauna. And that’s as far as I got when I started it 2 days ago ;)

    edit: 20% in. Can’t say it’s amazing but it’s certainly decent and I’m enjoying it. Amazing price especially considering what I paid for Zones of Thought

    5 votes
  8. eve
    Link
    I just finished a couple of books, most notably Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir, and boi did I love it. It took me a bit and I had to rush a little towards the end because it was due soon, but I...

    I just finished a couple of books, most notably Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir, and boi did I love it. It took me a bit and I had to rush a little towards the end because it was due soon, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! Sci fi magic, necromancers, and loveable lesbians galore.

    I loved the whole setting of the book! The empire seems to be in decay and the way the books written, this isn't a bad thing. It's a fact and even in places written as sometimes beautiful. I liked that take along with just everyone's ideas on death and spirits. I'm probably not doing the book justice at all, but I think I'll pick up a physical copy at some point so I can have it in the future to reread.

    4 votes
  9. anahata
    Link
    Finished what is going to be the first of many readings of the yoga sutras (part of the training program I'm in, but definitely going to revisit). It's hard to summarize the wisdom; describing it...

    Finished what is going to be the first of many readings of the yoga sutras (part of the training program I'm in, but definitely going to revisit). It's hard to summarize the wisdom; describing it or talking about it limits the wisdom and insight by way of providing a personal interpretation. It's also not for everyone; the reader needs to be in a receptive mindset to really get the best of it, there needs to be a patience and openmindedness. I could go on and on, but I'll just say that it was something I needed to read right now.

    In between this and other training books, I've been reading The Two Towers. Tolkien's work is of a slow, leisurely pace that I had trouble with when I was younger but I'm enjoying now. There's so much detail, so much worldbuilding, and I just love digging into it. Again, not for everyone, but it's something of an obligatory read for a tabletop gamer and I'm enjoying it besides.

    And in between all that, I'm reading a bit of poetry here and there. Charles Bukowski, Catullus, Emily Dickinson, Mary Oliver. I'm getting more into writing poetry myself, and reading many poets to get a feel for how they do things. Catullus and Bukowski are very gritty and real, yet also very male; Dickinson's prosody is just fascinatingly different and unique. Oliver's work is an invocation and exhortation of nature, something I feel I need living in the middle of a big city.

    And probably Friday, squeezed in with precarious balance, I'll be thumbing through the Deities and Demigods D&D book because my character in my Saturday game may have become the god of learning and understanding in a new pantheon and I need to familiarize myself with all that means and update my character sheet accordingly.

    4 votes
  10. mieum
    (edited )
    Link
    I've recently started Greek Lessons (희랍어 시간) by Han Kang; author of The Vegetarian, Human Acts, and The White Book. It's my third novel of hers. The last one, Human Acts, messed me up pretty bad...

    I've recently started Greek Lessons (희랍어 시간) by Han Kang; author of The Vegetarian, Human Acts, and The White Book. It's my third novel of hers. The last one, Human Acts, messed me up pretty bad so I took a little hiatus and read Steinbeck non-stop for a year (I'm still not done!).

    Edit: a word

    4 votes
  11. moocow1452
    (edited )
    Link
    Made my way through Umbrella Academy and both runs of Gotham Academy, Gotham is the far stronger offering, almost to the point where it's kinda disappointing when Batman shows up and it becomes...

    Made my way through Umbrella Academy and both runs of Gotham Academy, Gotham is the far stronger offering, almost to the point where it's kinda disappointing when Batman shows up and it becomes Yet Another Batman Book for a time. These were through Hoopla.

    In Marvel Unlimited, I read the Eye of the Camera follow up to Marvels, and it didn't really need to happen, and it kinda gets lost in the whole "Gosh golly, didn't comics get dark for a bit." But it ends nice and I am glad I read it.

    Started the latest Doctor Strange run, Strange kinda has a Rick Sanchez thing going on with chasing after space magic and having to deal with Galactus being banished to the Magic realms. It's interesting, Strange has some genius pain from being right all the time, but it's still in progress.

    Also started the 2012 Hawkeye run. Lots of style, and Hawkeye isn't exactly as much as a boy scout in the MCU. I like the Art too.

    3 votes
  12. krg
    Link
    I haven't been reading much, these days. Dammit, I need to get back in the habit!

    I haven't been reading much, these days. Dammit, I need to get back in the habit!

    3 votes
  13. [2]
    markh
    Link
    I’m about 90% of the way through American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Surprisingly, this is the first book of his that I’ve read and it is excellent so far. I’m almost certain I will finish it before the...

    I’m about 90% of the way through American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Surprisingly, this is the first book of his that I’ve read and it is excellent so far. I’m almost certain I will finish it before the weekend is up.

    2 votes
    1. markh
      Link Parent
      ...so I finished it. I really liked it. It was a fun read, lots of cool characters, and enough guessing to really motivate you to keep reading. I had a few guesses throughout the book that were...

      ...so I finished it. I really liked it. It was a fun read, lots of cool characters, and enough guessing to really motivate you to keep reading. I had a few guesses throughout the book that were mostly right, especially at the very end, which felt very satisfying.

      I know it’s considered a bit of a classic, but I highly recommend reading it.

      3 votes
  14. YoungAndMild
    Link
    The First Philosophers: The Presocratics and Sophists by Robin Waterfield Waterfield organizes the fragments of all the Greek philosophers we have (which are scarce), offering some small...

    The First Philosophers: The Presocratics and Sophists by Robin Waterfield

    Waterfield organizes the fragments of all the Greek philosophers we have (which are scarce), offering some small introductions to each thinker before laying out, in full, what pieces of information we have from each, along with some blurbs about how each thinker was treated by his contemporaries.

    It is very interesting to see how the Presocratics treated their own religion, believing both in polytheism and a quasi-monotheism. By favorite line so far is from Xenophanes:

    No human being will ever know the Truth, for even if they happen to say it by chance, they would not even known they had done so.

    And his annoyance at the gods were anthropomorphized with human emotions:

    One god, greatest (heis theos…megistos) among gods and human beings,
    Not at all like mortals in either body or thought…

    It's very interesting, too, to see how the Greeks attempted to understand the cosmic origins of the world. Some (like Thales) seemed to believe that Water was an important element, and was the basis of all existence (which is not a bad guess!).

    1 vote