11 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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9 comments

  1. mat
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    I'm currently reading I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett. It's the second to last book in the Tiffany Aching series, the last of which was the posthumously published The Shepherd's Crown. I...

    I'm currently reading I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett. It's the second to last book in the Tiffany Aching series, the last of which was the posthumously published The Shepherd's Crown. I bought the latter book on the day it came out and it's only just now I think I'm ready to read it, but I wanted to re-read the whole series so I don't miss anything in the finale. It's been a long time but I think I can cope with there being no more unread Pratchett in my world. I may not reach the end of The Shepherd's Crown, I'm not sure.

    Before that I was reading Children of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky, which was a slightly disappointing, albeit not terrible, followup to his genuinely superb Children of Time. I recommend anyone who likes sci-fi read the latter but maybe not the former.

    GNU Terry Pratchett.

    7 votes
  2. Keegan
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    I am still reading an English translation of The Brothers Karamazov. I've finally gotten past the long stretches of "wtf am I reading" (even though those philosophical portions are interesting,...

    I am still reading an English translation of The Brothers Karamazov. I've finally gotten past the long stretches of "wtf am I reading" (even though those philosophical portions are interesting, they aren't something I would seek out to read), and now am actually having some significant parts of the plot play out.

    some spoilers here

    I'm at the point where Dmitri has been accused of Fyodor's (his father) murder. In what has been revealed so far, he says he didn't do it, and the reader is being led to believe that he didn't, even though the police think he did, since all hints they have lead towards him doing it.

    I like this part, because it allows me to question Dmitri myself, as I have noticed some inconsistencies in what we saw the night of the murder and what Dmitri is telling the police.

    Currently Dmitri believes that someone else committed the murder of his father, but there are really no other possible suspects that would have been both nearby and have a motive. I suspect the other Karamazov brothers slightly, but Ivan is supposedly in another place far away, and Alyosha is a monk who is incredibly unlikely to commit such a crime.

    4 votes
  3. kfwyre
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    I just finished with Tell: Love, Defiance, and the Military Trial at the Tipping Point for Gay Rights by Margaret Witt and Tim Connor. It is the story of Major Margie Witt (the lead author, though...

    I just finished with Tell: Love, Defiance, and the Military Trial at the Tipping Point for Gay Rights by Margaret Witt and Tim Connor.

    It is the story of Major Margie Witt (the lead author, though the book is written in third-person) who served as a flight nurse in the United States Air Force for nearly twenty years. She was a beloved member of her unit and provided outstanding medical care, but after she was outed as gay she faced a suspension and eventual discharge for violating the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy regarding gay service members. She filed suit, the eventual outcome of which was the impetus for the United States to overturn its "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and allow gay and lesbian service members to serve openly.

    The book is an interesting story, though it goes pretty in depth with its descriptions of military and legal proceedings, many of which went over my head. Had I read the book instead of listening to the audiobook I would have been able to supplement my understanding by looking things up, but I listened to most of the book while driving so I had to take everything at face value.

    That said, I still thoroughly enjoyed the book. I love reading stories of queer pioneers and role models, as I grew up without stories like hers. The book also talks a lot about the history of queer service members in the US military, and it was in this exposition that I learned about another: Perry Watkins, who was an openly gay service member for over a decade in the late 60s and 70s (what courage!). The book frequently references Randy Shilts's Conduct Unbecoming, which has been on my to-read list for over a decade now, so this might be the push I need to finally sit down with it.

    Outside of that, I'm halfway through a book that my husband gifted me for Christmas: Queer: A Graphic History by Meg-John Barker and Julia Scheele. I'm loving it so far. It's a great introduction to, well, the word "queer" and all of its various lenses: descriptor, identity, queer theory, and queer studies. It covers a lot of ground and reads more like a textbook than a graphic novel (this is a good thing, IMO). It's not formalistic or prescriptive at all, and instead simply lays out different, often conflicting perspectives in an attempt to bring clarity and understanding to what can be very murky topics. I haven't finished it yet so I can't give my full thoughts, but I can say that I really appreciate what I've read so far.

    EDIT: I finished with the book. I think it's a great primer on queer theory. It reads like an easily accessible SparkNotes version of the topic, with a broad who's who of queer discourse. It doesn't go into depth at all but gives plenty of jumping off points for further reading or study.


    Also, for anyone who caught my Reading the Alphabet challenge thread, I'll be posting little updates in these threads at the ends of my comments. I've decided to do three separate scorecards: one for print books, one for graphic novels, and one for audiobooks. They're pretty much empty right now but I plan to fill them in as the year goes! The audiobook one will be the easiest one (I'll likely be able to fill up two full scorecards by year's end), while the print one will be the hardest. I finished 50+ audiobooks last year but only about 10 print books. I need to get reading!

    Current Alphabet Challenge Scorecards

    Print Books

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    Graphic Novels

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    Q: Meg-John Barker; Julia Scheele - Queer: A Graphic History
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    Audiobooks

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    W: Margaret Witt; Tim Connor - Tell: Love, Defiance, and the Military Trial at the Tipping Point for Gay Rights
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    3 votes
  4. Whom
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    Been playing a lot of games instead of reading and just starting on a few books, but here's what I've finished lately: Date Title Creator Format Comments 12/31/19 That Time I Got Reincarnated as a...

    Been playing a lot of games instead of reading and just starting on a few books, but here's what I've finished lately:

    Date Title Creator Format Comments
    12/31/19 That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime vol. 1 Fuse Digital Light Novel Fuse ain't much of a writer, at least not after translation, but this gets by well enough on a clever and funny premise. I'll follow it for a bit, see where it goes.
    12/30/19 The Latehomecomer Kao Kalia Yang Paperback Memoir If I'm honest, because The Song Poet is one of my absolute favorite books ever I loved this simply because I want to read more of Kao Kalia Yang writing about anything at all. With how much this and her later work overlap, it's hard not to be constantly comparing them. This book is passive, giving us events and feelings with the goal of familiarizing the reader, likely because the author wanted to tell a stories which had rarely been written down and spread before. With that work done after this memoir, there was much more of an opportunity to be interpretive and making sense of it all. I prefer that approach, but this is still beautifully written and worthy of the praise it's received.
    12/17/19 The Sirens of Titan Kurt Vonnegut Paperback Novel Beautiful but clumsy. Clearly the blueprint for the work of Douglas Adams, though I was primed to think that going in by Adams' own statement to that effect. Still, it's hard not to be constantly thinking about Adams who took so much but, in my opinion, did it better. This floats in a strange area, where it comes off as a half-formed Adams but also a half-formed Vonnegut, less pointed than his previous novel but not as lean and playful as his later work would be. Everything in this was topped by Vonnegut himself and other people, especially considering a lot of the clumsy missteps that really remind you that this was published in 1959. Still well-worth a read.
    12/14/19 The Sound and the Fury William Faulkner Hardcover Novel I have a hard getting much out of this as a whole that I can comment on, but the moment-to-moment experience of reading it is something special. This deserves more effort from me sometime, I can tell that much.
    12/7/19 Reform or Revolution Rosa Luxemburg Hardcover Pamphlet Really, I probably could've left this at what others say about it, as the content beyond that is mostly either too grounded in the times or in her personal beefs to be all that worthwhile. While Luxemburg's argument is solid, for me this is mostly valuable as a way to dip my toes back into a world I've been a bit distant from for a while. I'm a much better reader than I was back when I was reading more things like this (including the bits I had read of this before), but it's helpful to ease my way back into the style common in so much socialist writing.
    3 votes
  5. grahamiam
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    I read a book I thought was called The Book of Dust but is actually called La Belle Sauvage. Big fan of the original His Dark Materials trilogy and even reread it a couple of years ago, but the...

    I read a book I thought was called The Book of Dust but is actually called La Belle Sauvage. Big fan of the original His Dark Materials trilogy and even reread it a couple of years ago, but the new one is not on the same level. However, I love Pullman's world so much that I'll keep reading him regardless.

    I'm finishing up Kokoro by Natsume Sōseki. I really enjoyed the first half, but the second half shifts to another character's PoV and has not been nearly as good. I can't recommend it when there are so many other great books.

    I'm also reading the Berserk manga from the beginning because I'm a huge Dark Souls fan and heard about connections between the games and the manga. I picked it up because manga chapters seem like a good thing to read during breaks at work, but the content of Berserk means it's NSFW, so it's no longer fulfilling that need.

    In that vein, does anyone have a manga recommendation for something similar to Inio Asano's Solanin? Preferably one that's mostly SFW. I've read some of Inio Asano's other work and haven't been a fan.

    2 votes
  6. Algernon_Asimov
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    I'm still reading Under The Southern Cross by Henry Cornish. This is a fascinating book. The writer has a way of making you feel like you're right there. I just finished a section where he...

    I'm still reading Under The Southern Cross by Henry Cornish. This is a fascinating book. The writer has a way of making you feel like you're right there. I just finished a section where he describes his cross-country coach trip from Wodonga to Wagga Wagga (the then-unfinished gap in the Sydney to Melbourne railway), and I could practically see inside the coach and feel the jolting of the rough road and watch the passing scenery. He also has an occasional dry wit that he lets show. I'm really enjoying the book.

    I'm supplementing this with Stephen Fry's novel The Liar. I don't remember reading this book before, but passages feel familiar as I read them. More importantly, I'm not really liking it. It's a bit disjointed. The central character is annoying (and not in a good way). It's clever, but not funny. I'll see how far I get before I give up.

    2 votes
  7. cwagner
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    I am currently reading The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley. It’s essentially Old Man’s War, only even more depressing and, because why not, it’s non-linear with a pretty novel way of time travel....

    I am currently reading The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley. It’s essentially Old Man’s War, only even more depressing and, because why not, it’s non-linear with a pretty novel way of time travel. Oh, and of course it’s super dystopian, like most of her stories.

    Like everything else I’ve read from her ever since I read the Bel Dame Apocrypha (Dystopian Bio Punk or something :D), I’m loving it.

    If you liked Old Man’s War, give this a try.

    Once I’m done (currently at 5X%), I’ll see what from the Stellaris book recommendation list sounds like I want it next.

    2 votes
  8. mrbig
    (edited )
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    I just finished Attract Women Through Honesty, the dating-advice/self-help book by the author of The Art of Not Giving a Fuck. It does contain good pointers and reinforces many of my intuitions....

    I just finished Attract Women Through Honesty, the dating-advice/self-help book by the author of The Art of Not Giving a Fuck. It does contain good pointers and reinforces many of my intuitions. At the same time, books like that make me sad about humankind (all genres). The things we look in our partners reflect how selfish and primal we still are, and the whole thing about not showing "neediness" (short for weakness...) is a curse to every man. The book makes great efforts to show we should show our emotions and demonstrate vulnerability, but only in a way that actually enhances our perceived strength.

    So this a book that proposes a new masculinity that is updated to the current times and is enhanced in many ways, only to defend a new form of virility that ends up reintroducing many of the failings of the dated and misogynist advice from machismo and the pick-up-artists community. I'm not saying this is necessarily bad advice, it's just sad to realize how such advice remains relevant. I kinda wished for a novel proposal that abandoned the classic notions of virility altogether, but I realize this may be asking too much from a self-help book (even from an author that shows a reasonable level of intellectual sophistication).

    I'm heterosexual, and a cisgender man when it comes to appearance and external behavior, but my psychological composition is heavily androgynous. All these generalizations and preconceived ideas about masculine psychology are to me extremely inconvenient, and I believe that's true about many of us (the same line of reasoning is certainly true about all genders).

    It doesn't help that the author repeats over and over that creating true emotional connections is the ultimate goal, only to reiterate his success on sleeping with over 100 women all over the world (roughly the same count the historical Casanova had in his 70s. The author is 35) and approaching about 3 times that. I mean, nothing against having lots of sex, but if this is not the goal of the book what is the relevance of this information?

    BUT, for what its worth, I think the main takeaways of the book are solid:

    1. try not to come off as creepy, but accept the fact that it'll happen from time to time.
    2. Be open and blunt without being an asshole. State your intentions. If the woman is firmly uninterested, you'll know that early one and will save time, energy and humiliation (even if you can achieve something here, why would you want to be with a person with no real interest in you?). If she's unsure, the effort may be worth it. Your call. If she is clearly interested, go for it. He calls it polarizing: creating a set of expectations that is clear from the very start. Saves a lot of anxiety, and I have done it before. The book made me realize how right I was.
    1 vote
  9. markh
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    I picked up On Writing by Stephen King and it’s been great so far. If you’re interested in learning more about King, his upbringing, his writing, or how to write in general, I recommend it.

    I picked up On Writing by Stephen King and it’s been great so far. If you’re interested in learning more about King, his upbringing, his writing, or how to write in general, I recommend it.

    1 vote