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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12 comments

  1. Algernon_Asimov
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    I've just started reading Under The Southern Cross by Henry Cornish. It's a contemporaneous description of the Australian colonies in the 1870s, as observed by an English-Indian journalist/writer...

    I've just started reading Under The Southern Cross by Henry Cornish. It's a contemporaneous description of the Australian colonies in the 1870s, as observed by an English-Indian journalist/writer who visited here. The book was originally published in 1879. It's partly interesting and partly dry. When it's Cornish's own words about his experiences and observations of the people, it's fascinating. But every now and then, he quotes huge slabs of someone else's writing, or he'll devote a few sections to statistics about wheat yields in South Australia. I skip those bits. :)

    Also, it's a second-hand paperback printed over 40 years ago, and the book has literally fallen apart. There's a severe vertical split along the length of the book's spine, and the book is now literally in two pieces.

    Meanwhile, I'm also reading Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol for my lighter reading. I watched the Muppet movie version of 'A Christmas Carol' last weekend, and was struck by how much of Gonzo's dialogue (he was playing Dickens himself, in a narrator role) was obviously Dickens' own words - which got me curious enough to buy an e-book version of the novella.

    It's not bad. It's a bit overworked in parts, and I can understand why parts of it are omitted in most adaptations. But it's still nice to see the source material for this classic.

    7 votes
  2. [3]
    placeholder55
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    Currently, I'm reading A Short History of Nearly Everything, a really cool non-fiction book that goes over a lot of scientific and historical facts starting at the beginning of the universe and...

    Currently, I'm reading A Short History of Nearly Everything, a really cool non-fiction book that goes over a lot of scientific and historical facts starting at the beginning of the universe and moving forward. I definitely recommend picking it up if you like to learn. Not sure if this counts, but I've also got The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital coming in the mail, though I haven't started reading them yet.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      DonkeySlingshot
      Link Parent
      I love Bill Bryson. I'm reading his "Notes from a Small Island", detailing his travels around the UK for one last time before he moves back to the US. One of the most hilarious authors and...

      I love Bill Bryson. I'm reading his "Notes from a Small Island", detailing his travels around the UK for one last time before he moves back to the US. One of the most hilarious authors and brutally honest, it's always exciting reading his travelogues.

      2 votes
      1. placeholder55
        Link Parent
        I haven't read any of his other books. I should definitely check them out.

        I haven't read any of his other books. I should definitely check them out.

  3. determinism
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    I picked up a book called "Decentralism: Where it came from - where is it going?" by Mildred Loomis. I don't actually remember who recommended it to me because I've been consuming a lot of media...

    I picked up a book called "Decentralism: Where it came from - where is it going?" by Mildred Loomis. I don't actually remember who recommended it to me because I've been consuming a lot of media adjacent to permaculture/homesteading and also anarchism and left-wing political philosophy. There are elements of both subjects in this so I could have seen the recommendation from anywhere. Reading it felt like finding an important puzzle piece that connects many seemingly disparate movements and organizations that I've been aware of throughout my life.

    The author introduces the concept of decentralism by giving examples of "centralizing tendencies" in various aspects of society: education, industrialization, agriculture, political organization, mass media, etc. I'm still not clear exactly how anarchism is distinguished from decentralism by the author. I think she probably just associated a sort of radicalism with anarchism and is apprehensive about that term. She gives a brief summary of what she describes as "decentralist" thinkers spanning from the mid-1800s to early 1900s, including their biographies and core ideas - most of them were libertarian and anarchist pamphleteers. The final entry in the list is Henry George who she devotes a short chapter to. His proposal to address the ills of society was effectively to let a governing body own all real estate and "rent" usage rights based on the property value, thereby preventing it from being commodified.

    She follows that introduction by discussing more contemporary thinkers such as Ralph Borsodi who started a decentralist "School of Living" which Loomis was a part of. Finally, she lists several ongoing homesteading projects, decentralist organizations, land trusts, and key figures that had some nascent beginning in the School of Living. Many of these projects exist in my home state of Ohio and it was exciting to see familiar place-names and institutions of cities and towns that I've lived in. I'd always wondered what their relationship was or if there was some common thread that linked them.

    I can't say the book does a great job of defining what decentralism is or acknowledging its challenges. I view it as a useful launching point for inspecting some of Ralph Borsodi's ideas. There are some elements that are clearly pseudoscience from my perspective. I already buy in to the "holistic" approach to agriculture but there are elements of "biodynamic" mysticism and the anti-authoritarianism and anti-industrialism in his philosophy tends toward a predictable skepticism of modern science. I think somewhere in there, the author mentioned that Borsodi's wife was treated for cancer with a diet of juices. I guess this was even before chemotherapy existed so I can't be too judgemental.

    Overall, I thought this book was useful for giving a "big picture" perspective of Ralph Borsodi's School of Living and decentralism in general. It connected a lot of dots to things that I was already vaguely familiar with and I'm fairly convinced that "decentralism" is a term that Borsodi or Loomis invented and it never gained very much currency outside of their circles.

    4 votes
  4. bilbodwyer
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    I'm about half-way through The Secret Commonwealth by Phillip Pullman, and really enjoying it so far. It's great to be back in Lyra's world with the Magisterium and daemons. The story took a...

    I'm about half-way through The Secret Commonwealth by Phillip Pullman, and really enjoying it so far. It's great to be back in Lyra's world with the Magisterium and daemons. The story took a little while to hook me in, but it's properly got the talons in me now, I'm itching to get back to it all the time to know what happens next.
    Pullman is a fantastic author, I love his work. His descriptions aren't overdone, and leave enough room for your own interpretation of things, which I adore. But his characters are where he truly shines. Lyra, now about 10 years older than in His Dark Materials, still feels like Lyra, but just older. I know that's an obvious thing to say, but I genuinely feel like not many authors can pull that off. To capture the changes that a person goes through during adolescence but also the ways they remain the same is remarkable talent. Hats off to him.

    2 votes
  5. hamstergeddon
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    Been slowly going through the third Warcraft Chronicles book (I'll be honest...it's my current toilet reader...). For anyone unfamiliar, it's a trilogy of books that goes through most of...

    Been slowly going through the third Warcraft Chronicles book (I'll be honest...it's my current toilet reader...). For anyone unfamiliar, it's a trilogy of books that goes through most of Warcraft's lore from the creation of the universe to semi-recent events in the game. It's a pretty broad overview of events, skipping some small details, but I'm really enjoying it. It's nice to see Blizz put some effort into standardizing its lore a little bit, even if it meant some retcons of in-game events. Unfortunately despite some allusions to further books in the series, it's sounding like #3 is the end of the line :( Would be nice to see the series progress and keep up with WoW's storylines, but that's typical Blizz, I guess.

    Plus there's some beautiful new artwork that really brings things to life. Here's a gallery of the first book's artwork if anyone's interested - https://imgur.com/gallery/GTYdp

    2 votes
  6. ibis
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    I've been reading 'The Simple Path to Wealth' by JH Collins. As someone who knows nothing about finance (and doesn't necessarily want to know any more than I have to), I've found it to be pretty...

    I've been reading 'The Simple Path to Wealth' by JH Collins.

    As someone who knows nothing about finance (and doesn't necessarily want to know any more than I have to), I've found it to be pretty useful. I like his philosophy, the book is informative, and it lays out an easy way to build wealth via investing for people who don't want to think about it very much. As far as I can tell, the author is well thought of in the online finance community, and so I trust his advice.

    Since I'm on holidays now, I've also cracked open an Agatha Christie book. There is a good reason she's the best selling author of all time - her books are always reliably entertaining.

    2 votes
  7. Surira
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    I have 4 books I'm trying to get through over the holidays, 3 of which are from the library (so gotta finish em quick!) and 1 of which I own. The library books first: Season of the Witch by David...

    I have 4 books I'm trying to get through over the holidays, 3 of which are from the library (so gotta finish em quick!) and 1 of which I own.

    The library books first:

    • Season of the Witch by David Talbot
    • Super Pumped by Mike Isaac
    • Play Bigger by Al Ramadan

    And the one I own is Dune by Frank Herbert.

    I'm probably 3/5 through Dune (which is awesome), just started Season of the Witch, and just picked up the other two. I borrowed Season of the Witch due to some recommendation in the Reddit SF subreddit so I could learn more about the recent history of the city I now call home, Super Pumped because I want to learn about toxic work cultures to avoid, and Play Bigger due to a recommendation from a family member. I'm guessing Super Pumped and Play Bigger may have some interesting overlap... we shall see.

    1 vote
  8. ThyMrMan
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    Been a slow couple weeks for me, not really reading much. Have been trying to read through Pandora's Star and currently at the halfway mark, but man it is just so long. Also the various stories...

    Been a slow couple weeks for me, not really reading much. Have been trying to read through Pandora's Star and currently at the halfway mark, but man it is just so long. Also the various stories have very different levels of quality and enjoyment for me, some I like some I don't and I just don't see where the story is going from here. Got to just put more time into it, want to at least finish it. Sunk Cost Fallacy and all that just makes me want to finish it.


    The Burning Dark by Adam Christopher

    Series: Spider Wars Book 1

    Sci-Fi horror books always interest me, it gives the perfect backdrop for a good solid horror to stalk the cast and good excuses for why they can’t just call the cops. And this one had me going for the entire thing, well that is till it didn’t. At some point it all just started to fall apart for me, something that felt rather carefully crafted in the beginning seemed like it just fell apart at the end. Explanations about what was happening didn’t click for me and didn’t feel satisfying. I don’t know if it was a matter of trying to finish the book quickly, or he just didn’t know what to do with the ending. But what we got didn’t satisfy me at all despite how good it all started.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m going to read the next read the next two books in the series. While wasn’t terrible, the ending just made me lose all interest in the rest of the series. I don’t really care enough about the deeper lore and such behind any of the enemies they have introduced. Definitely not enough to read the next books in the series.

    Score: 2/5

    1 vote
  9. ras
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    I'm continuing my flashback to the 2000's by reading The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. I'm about halfway through and I'm loving it. I think I tried to read it in 2001 or 2002 but just never got...

    I'm continuing my flashback to the 2000's by reading The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. I'm about halfway through and I'm loving it. I think I tried to read it in 2001 or 2002 but just never got around to finishing it.

    I finished The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay right before I started The Corrections. It's probably in my top ten list right now. I don't know how I'd never read it before now since I also love comic books.

    I also recently read A Warning by Anonymous. Meh. It was a lot of stuff we already know about Our Great Leader. He's a 'short-fingered vulgarian' and we elected him anyway.

    1 vote
  10. jahnu
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    "How To Do Nothing" by Jenny Odell. Has me analyzing how I use my time and communication forums.Understanding more deeply how I am turning myself into a transaction in terms of relating to and...

    "How To Do Nothing" by Jenny Odell. Has me analyzing how I use my time and communication forums.Understanding more deeply how I am turning myself into a transaction in terms of relating to and interacting with media platforms.

    1 vote