15 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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19 comments

  1. [2]
    no_exit
    (edited )
    Link
    I'm on V by Thomas Pynchon for a while now. I read Crying of Lot 49 last year and loved that for its paranoiac humor, V has that as well but the plot is so much more sprawling and unfocused...

    I'm on V by Thomas Pynchon for a while now. I read Crying of Lot 49 last year and loved that for its paranoiac humor, V has that as well but the plot is so much more sprawling and unfocused (intentionally so, that's simply his maximalist style) that I've had some trouble staying as engaged with it. That's also more of a problem with my utterly decimated attention span these days though. I really need a social media sabbatical. Still generally enjoying it.

    3 votes
    1. krg
      Link Parent
      Pynchon is usually a wild, sprawling ride. I've only read Inherent Vice, Crying of Lot 49, and Gravity's Rainbow, but I'd like to read more! Plus, there's something to be said for being a Great...

      Pynchon is usually a wild, sprawling ride. I've only read Inherent Vice, Crying of Lot 49, and Gravity's Rainbow, but I'd like to read more!

      Plus, there's something to be said for being a Great American Author® and still being so elusive.

      3 votes
  2. [3]
    eve
    Link
    I am currently reading Get A Life Chloe Brown. It's a spicier than I thought it would be romance book which hey, I don't mind one bit. I just didn't know how heavy it was going to be and was a...

    I am currently reading Get A Life Chloe Brown. It's a spicier than I thought it would be romance book which hey, I don't mind one bit. I just didn't know how heavy it was going to be and was a little shocked when the first sexy bits popped up lol. But otherwise I enjoy the book for the most part! There are small annoying bits that are in part too true to reality in a boring way. Like interactions between the main character, Chloe, and her two sisters. Some of the back and forth goes for a bit too long. But otherwise it's very refreshing in terms of the cast. Chloe is a chubby black girl in Britain who has fibromyalgia and is a web designer! Its a very nice thing to see chronic Illnesses represented in a romance novel (not necessarily the most inclusive genre). It's very well written in that regards.

    But from the last time I posted, I finished reading the 3rd book of the Murder Bit Diaries by Martha Wells (All Systems Red). Still so delightfully good. I also finished Lovely War by Julie Berry. Also a romance book, but set during WWI and it follows a group of lovers as told by Aphrodite and a couple other Greek gods. I really enjoyed it and boi howdy I cried a couple times. It was super enjoyable!

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      no_exit
      Link Parent
      I'm not much for romance novels myself, but my girlfriend likes the authors Beverly Jenkins and Alyssa Cole for their breaking of the genre mold too. I read the first one of these last year and...

      I'm not much for romance novels myself, but my girlfriend likes the authors Beverly Jenkins and Alyssa Cole for their breaking of the genre mold too.

      I finished reading the 3rd book of the Murder Bot Diaries by Martha Wells (All Systems Red). Still so delightfully good.

      I read the first one of these last year and thought it was good fun, I'll have to check out the rest soon!

      3 votes
      1. eve
        Link Parent
        Oh excellent! I'll have to check them out, thank you for the suggestion! And yes definitely check out the books if you can, they're really good sequels or at least I think they are. Wells writes...

        Oh excellent! I'll have to check them out, thank you for the suggestion! And yes definitely check out the books if you can, they're really good sequels or at least I think they are. Wells writes very consistently even through the evolution of the main characters self.

        1 vote
  3. milkbones_4_bigelow
    (edited )
    Link
    I just re-read Jesus' Son a heartbreaking collection of short stories by Denis Johnson. The closing line of "Work" stopped me dead in my tracks. "Your husband will beat you with an extension cord...

    I just re-read Jesus' Son a heartbreaking collection of short stories by Denis Johnson. The closing line of "Work" stopped me dead in my tracks. "Your husband will beat you with an extension cord and the bus will pull away leaving you standing there in tears, but you were my mother."

    3 votes
  4. asep
    Link
    I'm learning Dutch at the moment so I've been working my way through Dutch Harry Potter. Really interesting differences especially when it comes to names, the one that I can't get over is that...

    I'm learning Dutch at the moment so I've been working my way through Dutch Harry Potter. Really interesting differences especially when it comes to names, the one that I can't get over is that Dudley Dursley is called Dirk Duffeling which turns his perception at least for me from this fat chonker of a kid to a bully straight out of a cheesy 90s movie.

    3 votes
  5. sandaltree
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    I'm reading Convenience Store Human (コンビニ人間) in Japanese. It's a book about a woman in his late 30's who's a bit socially awkward and still working in a kiosk shop, which is usually a job...

    I'm reading Convenience Store Human (コンビニ人間) in Japanese. It's a book about a woman in his late 30's who's a bit socially awkward and still working in a kiosk shop, which is usually a job considered for students and immigrants with no higher education. It's a pretty interesting narrative about the work culture. The main character Furukura has a pretty weird way of looking at the world so sometimes I really have to bend my thinking to understand her, not to mention the foreign language.

    I've been studying Japanese seriously (dabbled a bit before) for about a year now and it's my first "real" book in Japanese, so I'm pretty excited. I'm at the point where I know maybe 80% of the most common used kanji so I don't have to look those up too often. There's still a lot of vocab I don't know, though. I use a website that has parsed the text of the book and ordered the words in list of frequency. I put all the unknown words that have >2 frequency in an SRS and according to the stats I now know 80% of all the words in the book. I'm surprised over 20% of the words occur only once, but maybe I shouldn't be.

    Reading is still a bit slow and sometimes weird grammar trips me up, so it's been hard to keep a daily session. I guess writing this is one of the ways I'm trying to make myself accountable. ^^

    Anyone else reading in Japanese?

    3 votes
  6. hamstergeddon
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    Was excitedly waiting for this thread to talk about my most recent read, and then I missed it by 2 days! Last week I decided to look into books that inspired or were inspired by the Fallout game...

    Was excitedly waiting for this thread to talk about my most recent read, and then I missed it by 2 days!

    Last week I decided to look into books that inspired or were inspired by the Fallout game series. I'm really fond of the series (even 76, believe it or not!), but there's not much left for me to do in the games, so I Figured I'd look into similar books. I found few lists of books and they shared at least these three:

    • A Canticle For Leibowitz
    • I Am Legend
    • The Postman

    I read I Am Legend a few years back, before I played Fallout, and I definitely see how the book may have inspired the game. Modern takes on zombies (including Fallout's Feral Ghouls) borrow heavily from the Vampires in I Am Legend.

    I looked at the descriptions of the other two and Canticle sounded kind of dry. But Postman? I was instantly hooked by the premise. It's post-apocalypse in the US and this guy stumbles upon a preserved postman's outfit from a bygone era. He puts it on and is mistaken for an actual postman by the older folks in a settlement who can still remember the good 'ol days. He plays it up and it starts to giving the locals hope and they begin handing him letters to deliver to all over Oregon. Everything kind of snowballs out of his control after that and long story short he ends up unintentionally establishing an actual postal system.

    The book's basically about retaining one's humanity throughout crisis by clinging to hope and reminding yourself what it actual means to be a decent person. Beautiful message (told much better than I can explain it) and a really good book. My only complaint is that there's a lot of weird stuff peppered in the 3 part of the book. It was originally a multi-part story told in a magazine, so it feels a little disjointed at times and that weird stuff doesn't help.

    But now that that's been read, I jumped into Canticle for Leibowitz and it is a little bit dry, and not particularly interesting at face value, but somehow I can't stop reading it? Only a few chapters in, but I'm definitely seeing this one through to the end.

    2 votes
  7. tomf
    (edited )
    Link
    okay, so... I'm almost halfway through Snowden's Permanent Record. I think this would be a thrilling or more interesting book for non-technical people who weren't familiar with the pre-popular...

    okay, so... I'm almost halfway through Snowden's Permanent Record. I think this would be a thrilling or more interesting book for non-technical people who weren't familiar with the pre-popular internet / bbs scene. The first half was mostly a slog.

    It does pick up once he gets talking about his actual contributions to the system he made us aware of, but I don't think I would recommend this as a good book for technical types. The story of his childhood is important to the overall context of his actions, but like I said... a bit of a slog.

    I do think this would be an excellent book for non-technical folks -- mainly to help them become of the state of privacy and all.

    quick edit: it picks up in the last half. It's definitely written for non-technical folks, which is realistic.

    A really nice note -- toward the end, he includes some passages from his girlfriend's diary with a few names changed. It's a nice touch.

    2 votes
  8. cardigan
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    I'm rereading The Interpretation of Dreams in honor of its 120th anniversary. The core dreams that are analyzed still haunt me: Irma's injection and "Father, can't you see that I'm burning?". I...

    I'm rereading The Interpretation of Dreams in honor of its 120th anniversary. The core dreams that are analyzed still haunt me: Irma's injection and "Father, can't you see that I'm burning?". I don't want to get into a discussion of the book and its author's merits here, but I recommend it to anyone who's been curious about it.

    1 vote
  9. kfwyre
    Link
    Here are the audiobooks I've finished since my last update: Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy I went in expecting a rundown of for-profit colleges and the ways...

    Here are the audiobooks I've finished since my last update:

    Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy

    I went in expecting a rundown of for-profit colleges and the ways they're exploitative, and I certainly got that, but what I didn't expect was to get a more reflective look at the greater economic forces that drive enrollment in those schools in the first place. I also didn't expect an on-the-ground view of the experience of working for them. The author, it turns out, was a recruiter for two for-profit colleges.

    There's a lot of wisdom in the book, and it covers a lot of ground. The author has an effortlessly readable/listenable style that is both relatable and informative. I'd recommend it to anyone who has heard of for-profit colleges or has the sense that they're bad, but can't quite put their finger on why or how.

    Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don't Know

    Gladwell's books are always thoroughly engaging while being questionably convincing. He's a great storyteller, always finding fascinating plotlines and telling them skillfully. Furthermore, he does a great job of planting puzzles or conundrums early in his writing, then waiting for a long time to resolve the tension, which is a great engagement strategy. You don't want to put his books down because not only is he telling you good stories, they're also building towards meaningful conclusions.

    With that said, I have a very hard time being uncritical of this one. His main idea is that, with strangers, we assume they are being truthful, which opens us up to friction when they are not. Furthermore, he explores the converse of this: people who are being truthful but appear not to be. He tells lots of interesting stories along the way, but many of the choices he uses seem ill-advised or even downright counterintuitive.

    Brock Turner and Jerry Sandusky are both brought up as examples of how strangers can misinterpret one another, rather than as examples of someone who can take advantage of our tendency to "default to truth." He has perfunctory criticisms of their behavior, certainly, but seems to miss the forest for the trees in both of their stories.

    The same goes for the story that bookends the book. He anchors the entire text with the death of Sandra Bland. He argues that the dominant cultural narrative of the events of her traffic stop, arrest, and death, are oversimplified. At the end of the book, he recontextualizes the entire event, using the points he has been trying to make across the entire book, and I found his culmination unsatisfying and one-sided.

    She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story that Helped Ignite a Movement

    This reads very similarly to All the President's Men, but with a focus on Harvey Weinstein instead of Richard Nixon. It details the steps the journalists took to try to break the story, as well as Weinstein's efforts to try to cover it up. It's an uncomfortable read that will make your skin crawl, but it's also a portrait of courageous and dedicated women who worked together for justice. In that way, it's inspirational, but it's hard to celebrate that aspect knowing that it came about because of such awful exploitation.

    In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto

    I don't know what to make of this one. Pollan speaks with a conviction that's appealing, and the whole book is written like a catchy exposé. The Book The Food Industry Doesn't Want You To Read! He scratches the itch of distrusting companies and provides arguments that make a lot of intuitive sense. On the other hand, he comes across as anti-science, with tons of appeals to tradition. It's not that he's necessarily wrong, it's just that this same type of writing could be used to support, say, anti-vaccination standpoints.

    I thought it was interesting, and I'm sure he's right about much of his recommendations, but the book left me with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth.

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    1 vote
  10. ras
    Link
    I just started The Topeka School by Ben Lerner. I'm only about 8% in, so I don't have a real feeling about it yet other than it feeling dark and ominous (which may be helped by the tornado on the...

    I just started The Topeka School by Ben Lerner. I'm only about 8% in, so I don't have a real feeling about it yet other than it feeling dark and ominous (which may be helped by the tornado on the cover). I've got to read more books this year. Finding the time to do so is harder than it's ever been for me.

    1 vote
  11. [4]
    starcloak
    Link
    Started reading Elric of Melniboné. I hadn't really heard anything about it except that when Conan was checked out of the library this is what was recommended. I'm really enjoying it so far. It's...

    Started reading Elric of Melniboné. I hadn't really heard anything about it except that when Conan was checked out of the library this is what was recommended. I'm really enjoying it so far. It's fast paced and has a different flavor from most fantasy that's popular.

    1 vote
    1. [3]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I haven't read the Elric Saga yet (though it's on my 'To Read' list), but I do love me some "grimdark" fantasy... so if you want some more recommendations along similar lines, I would...

      I haven't read the Elric Saga yet (though it's on my 'To Read' list), but I do love me some "grimdark" fantasy... so if you want some more recommendations along similar lines, I would wholeheartedly recommend checking out the following series once you're done with Elric: Joe Abercrombe's The First Law trilogy, Glen Cook's The Black Company, and my all-time favorite fantasy series Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen.

      Fair warning about Malazan though, it's not particularly fast paced (although it is at times), and it's not for the feint of heart. It's an incredibly, incredibly dense series and Erikson provides no handholding whatsoever. He just throws you right in the middle of the world he created, complete with its own totally unique magic systems, hundreds of thousands of years of history and lore, with dozens or races, gods and religions, and a storyline with hundreds of principle characters in the series... so it's easy to get completely lost if you don't consume it all in one go... which at 3,325,000 words total, over 10 novels, is a big ask for most people. :P

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        starcloak
        Link Parent
        It's funny, Malazan is actually at the top of my to read list, but I read Gardens of the Moon a few years ago and so I knew it's one you need to pay close attention to. I thought I'd ease back...

        It's funny, Malazan is actually at the top of my to read list, but I read Gardens of the Moon a few years ago and so I knew it's one you need to pay close attention to. I thought I'd ease back into reading fantasy with something a little more forgiving.

        1 vote
        1. cfabbro
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          LOL... that was probably a wise decision. Malazan is great, but incredibly daunting. :P

          LOL... that was probably a wise decision. Malazan is great, but incredibly daunting. :P

          1 vote
  12. chungkng
    Link
    Just finished reading The Tuner of Silences by Mia Couto (Jesusalém in portuguese). Incredible, poetic prose. This was my second book by the author and I loved it as much as Sleepwalking Land...

    Just finished reading The Tuner of Silences by Mia Couto (Jesusalém in portuguese). Incredible, poetic prose. This was my second book by the author and I loved it as much as Sleepwalking Land (Terra Sonâmbula) which I read a couple years ago and plan on re-reading this year.
    I still have to decide what I'm reading next but I'm thinking of re-reading The Stranger.

    1 vote
  13. enticeing
    Link
    I recently finished reading Leviathan Wakes, I was really sucked in for the last couple chapters. I finished the first chapter of Caliban's War a week or two ago, and need to get back to it...

    I recently finished reading Leviathan Wakes, I was really sucked in for the last couple chapters. I finished the first chapter of Caliban's War a week or two ago, and need to get back to it...

    1 vote