21 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.

Previous topics

Previous topics are listed in the wiki.

16 comments

  1. Micycle_the_Bichael
    Link
    Short on time today so I wont dig into my thoughts on these books too much. I'll just link to them, paste a short summary, and say about where I am in the book and short thoughts. The Master and...

    Short on time today so I wont dig into my thoughts on these books too much. I'll just link to them, paste a short summary, and say about where I am in the book and short thoughts.

    The Master and Margarita

    Summary

    An audacious revision of the stories of Faust and Pontius Pilate, The Master and Margarita is recognized as one of the essential classics of modern Russian literature. The novel's vision of Soviet life in the 1930s is so ferociously accurate that it could not be published during its author's lifetime and appeared only in a censored edition in the 1960s. Its truths are so enduring that its language has become part of the common Russian speech.

    One hot spring, the devil arrives in Moscow, accompanied by a retinue that includes a beautiful naked witch and an immense talking black cat with a fondness for chess and vodka. The visitors quickly wreak havoc in a city that refuses to believe in either God or Satan. But they also bring peace to two unhappy Muscovites: one is the Master, a writer pilloried for daring to write a novel about Christ and Pontius Pilate; the other is Margarita, who loves the Master so deeply that she is willing literally to go to hell for him. What ensues is a novel of in exhaustible energy, humor, and philosophical depth, a work whose nuances emerge for the first time in Diana Burgin's and Katherine Tiernan O'Connor's splendid English version.

    Thoughts

    I'm about half way through the book. I'm mostly enjoying it but I definitely feel like I lack enough knowledge of 1930 russian society to get some of the references/jokes. All in all a good read though.

    Stamped From The Beginning

    Summary

    The National Book Award winning history of how racist ideas were created, spread, and deeply rooted in American society.

    Some Americans insist that we're living in a post-racial society. But racist thought is not just alive and well in America--it is more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues, racist ideas have a long and lingering history, one in which nearly every great American thinker is complicit.

    In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. He uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to drive this history: Puritan minister Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and legendary activist Angela Davis.

    As Kendi shows, racist ideas did not arise from ignorance or hatred. They were created to justify and rationalize deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and the nation's racial inequities.

    In shedding light on this history, Stamped from the Beginning offers us the tools we need to expose racist thinking. In the process, he gives us reason to hope.

    Thoughts

    Great book in the roughest way. As a straight cis white dude who went to a school that taught a whitewashed history this book really made me confront a lot of my biases and preconceived notions. Lots of time spent reflecting on American history compared to the history I was taught. Cannot suggest this book enough.

    Republic of Equals

    Summary

    Political equality is the most basic tenet of democracy. Yet in America and other democratic nations, those with political power have special access to markets and public services. A Republic of Equals traces the massive income inequality observed in the United States and other rich democracies to politicized markets and avoidable gaps in opportunity—and explains why they are the root cause of what ails democracy today.

    In this provocative book, economist Jonathan Rothwell draws on the latest empirical evidence from across the social sciences to demonstrate how rich democracies have allowed racial politics and the interests of those at the top to subordinate justice. He looks at the rise of nationalism in Europe and the United States, revealing how this trend overlaps with racial prejudice and is related to mounting frustration with a political status quo that thrives on income inequality and inefficient markets. But economic differences are by no means inevitable. Differences in group status by race and ethnicity are dynamic and have reversed themselves across continents and within countries. Inequalities persist between races in the United States because Black Americans are denied equal access to markets and public services. Meanwhile, elite professional associations carve out privileged market status for their members, leading to compensation in excess of their skills.

    A Republic of Equals provides a bold new perspective on how to foster greater political and social equality, while moving societies closer to what a true republic should be.

    Thoughts

    Can't really say too much about this one as I have only got one chapter in. However, I posted on tildes a while back an interview with the author done by citylab so I am pretty excited to read the book.

    The Deep

    Summary

    The water-breathing descendants of African slave women tossed overboard have built their own underwater society—and must reclaim the memories of their past to shape their future in this brilliantly imaginative novella inspired by the Hugo Award nominated song “The Deep” from Daveed Diggs’ rap group Clipping.

    Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners—who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one—the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.

    Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities—and discovers a world her people left behind long ago.

    Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past—and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity—and own who they really are.

    Inspired by a song produced by the rap group Clipping for the This American Life episode “We Are In The Future,” The Deep is vividly original and uniquely affecting.

    Thoughts

    I can't really say anything about this book because it isn't out yet :P but I have had a preorder on this book for a while now and I am so so so excited to read it and want others to read and support Rivers Solomon so I'm including it.

    3 votes
  2. [2]
    eve
    Link
    Slowly making my way through Sabrina & Corina, a collection of short stories that focuses on Latinas of Indigenous descent living in the American west (Colorado so far lol) by Kali...

    Slowly making my way through Sabrina & Corina, a collection of short stories that focuses on Latinas of Indigenous descent living in the American west (Colorado so far lol) by Kali Fajardo-Anstine. So far I very very much love it. All of the stories have been really interesting and as a native Coloradoan it has this incredible vividness when they talk about locals either in the mountains or Denver. It's a place I'm very familiar with, but it's given a new light by the intimate nature of the things each character goes through, some of it destinctly latina. If I don't finish it before my loan is up I'll just put a hold on it again. It's a very tempting book to get a physical copy of!

    4 votes
    1. georgebcrawford
      Link Parent
      Cheers, I'll check it out! I'm trying to branch out from books by people that look like me (ie white dudes), and this sounds great.

      Cheers, I'll check it out! I'm trying to branch out from books by people that look like me (ie white dudes), and this sounds great.

      1 vote
  3. Staross
    Link
    I started Villette by Charlotte Brontë. I love it so far, I feel like she could write about anything and I would like it, there's something vicarious and personal about the way it's written that...

    I started Villette by Charlotte Brontë. I love it so far, I feel like she could write about anything and I would like it, there's something vicarious and personal about the way it's written that gets me. It also seems more realistic than other Brontë's books which I think I'll appreciate.

    3 votes
  4. mrbig
    Link
    Finished the first chapter of The Sword of Destiny, the second book in The Witcher series. This story was on the Netflix show. I'm most certainly not that guy that says books are always better....

    Finished the first chapter of The Sword of Destiny, the second book in The Witcher series. This story was on the Netflix show. I'm most certainly not that guy that says books are always better. That is just not true. But in this particular case, it is.

    spoiler

    It's the episode with that dude that turns out to be a dragon. To start off, in the book the story is way more complex and disturbing. The are a lot more characters with defined personalities. As far as I can remember, at least two awesome characters do not appear (or are entirely unimportant): an echo-activist-druid and an arrogant knight (basically a fanatic paladin).

    The hostility between Yeneffer and the dwarfs goes way beyond a simple animosity: at some point they make plans gang rape her. And when Yeneffer's clothes tear apart revealing one of her boos, Jaskier (the bard) stares at it unapologetically. He was clearly toned down for TV, and IDK if that’s good thing. Witcher’s world is dark and cruel, and its inhabits reflect that.

    Besides, Yeneffer is not just a little mad with Geralt, she truly hates his guts from the get go, making her transition to affection later on more surprising and dramatic.

    And the fighting is much longer and convoluted in the book. The caravan being larger, there are many waves in which we can "see" the dragon employ and his enemies employ multiple techniques to a variety of thrilling results.

    3 votes
  5. cwagner
    Link
    I finished Sword of Kaigen (note, I was confused last time why that book was on my wishlist: The author’s blog helped me, the book was a finalist in Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy...

    I finished Sword of Kaigen (note, I was confused last time why that book was on my wishlist: The author’s blog helped me, the book was a finalist in Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-off). What an amazing read. All I wanted was more of the same world. So I went to Amazon and got her first two books from the Theonite series (taking place 15 years after the events in SoK). Well, I was in for an awakening as the main character was a teenager and apparently her books before her smash hit "Sword of Kaigen" were YA – and I hate YA. Luckily her writing is great enough that I blazed through both books anyway. Sadly I was in for a second rude awakening: She discontinued the series for now as she doesn’t know how to keep going while keeping to her newer standards of quality. I can understand it, but it still sucks :/ But I will give whatever she writes next a try, I love her style.

    Fittingly, I now started reading Mark Lawrence’s Book of the Ancestor Series with The Red Sister. After I loved Broken Empire, I didn’t like The Red Queen's War. But Red Sister is amazing and I can’t wait to finish it and continue the trilogy :)

    3 votes
  6. georgebcrawford
    Link
    Currently on The Winter of the Witch, by Katherine Arden. It's the third book in the Winternight Trilogy, and I'm loving it. Unlike most series I get into, I left months between books. While this...

    Currently on The Winter of the Witch, by Katherine Arden. It's the third book in the Winternight Trilogy, and I'm loving it. Unlike most series I get into, I left months between books. While this was initially due to the setting changing,

    spoilers from the magical woods of Vasya's home to the bustling, brutal world of Moscow
    I found myself enjoying it more having let the story "sink in" rather than blowing through it.

    I liked but didn't love The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu, mainly because I got bored with how prevalent

    spoilers the VR stuff became.

    I'm still not sure if I'll continue with the trilogy or not.

    I also finished The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell, after seeing it suggested here on Tildes. Loved it, though I skimmed over a lot of the socialist theory in the first half of Part Two. It felt realllllly dated. However, the timeless nature of some socialist ideas came roaring back towards the end, to the where I highlighted a bunch to take to work for my non-union friends, as way to spark some discussion.

    Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion was a nice quick read, with a fantastic backdrop, wonderful internal monologues, heartbreaking scenes and observations, eg

    spoilers when Maria swears to herself to always fill her shopping trolley as if she's shopping for a happy household, even though her husband is absent and she barely eats.

    My main criticism of the book is the dialogue. Nobody talks like that. Perhaps a sign of the era in which it was written, as Didion is no hack. Also, I'm somebody who loves Joe Abercrombie - a lot of his dialogue is a little "nobody talks like that!" sometimes...

    Sirens of Titan by Vonnegut was awesome. My notes from a couple of weeks ago just say "Sharp. It strikes me that sci-fi from the 50s and 60s didn't go into as much detail about technology as modern sci-fi." I posted a bit about that here

    2 votes
  7. SkewedSideburn
    Link
    Currently I'm reading "Blindsight" by Peter Watts, since pretty much all of my twitter timeline recommended it. Space-vampires in Sci-Fi feel too cheesy for me, but I like his style. I also like...

    Currently I'm reading "Blindsight" by Peter Watts, since pretty much all of my twitter timeline recommended it. Space-vampires in Sci-Fi feel too cheesy for me, but I like his style. I also like how he keeps dropping interesting tidbits about real life things (like The Chinese Room, for example). I'll keep on reading for now, see how I like it

    2 votes
  8. wundumguy
    Link
    Wheel of Time. Only 1/12 of the way through...

    Wheel of Time. Only 1/12 of the way through...

    2 votes
  9. rglover
    Link
    Fear by Thich Nhat Hanh Was in a fearful and anxious state due to some personal stuff around the holidays and picked this up on impulse. About ~90% through it. Was pleasantly surprised as only a...

    Fear by Thich Nhat Hanh

    Was in a fearful and anxious state due to some personal stuff around the holidays and picked this up on impulse. About ~90% through it. Was pleasantly surprised as only a short portion of the book was about "what is fear" and why it exists. The majority is more practical. Ways to ground yourself during the day. How to create more peaceful moments. Avoiding the "watering of negative seeds" was a favorite idea/lesson from the book—learning to be conscious of when your mind is just exacerbating a matter to the point where negative stories consume your thoughts.

    It's definitely got a Buddhist slant to it (the author is a monk), but I wouldn't let that discourage anyone who is attracted to the subject matter.

    2 votes
  10. [3]
    DonkeySlingshot
    Link
    I've been reading through the Coyote trilogy. Currently on the fifth book, definitely one of the funnest book series I've ever read (right behind Dark Tower series) The premise is one of space...

    I've been reading through the Coyote trilogy. Currently on the fifth book, definitely one of the funnest book series I've ever read (right behind Dark Tower series)

    The premise is one of space colonization. 100ish years in the future, a habitable planet is found outside of our solar system. Earth is dying, overpopulation is destroying ecosystems and poverty and inequality is massive. 200 candidates are selected, they take a 100+ year ride through space while in suspended animation. I don't want to spoil much, but they arrive at Coyote, the name of the planet, and begin to survive. The planet has never seen human life before, so they must start from scratch, braving the wildlife, trying to grow crops, surviving the 3 year long winter.

    It's fantastic, quite a ride.

    2 votes
  11. emnii
    Link
    I recently finished The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders. It's a good novel about trying to find the middle ground between extremes and what that could cost. What I...

    I recently finished The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders. It's a good novel about trying to find the middle ground between extremes and what that could cost. What I particularly appreciated was the character development. Another review I read compared it to The Left Hand of Darkness, and while I liked this novel a lot more than Left Hand, that's a very apt comparison. People change in this book.

    I just started The Traitor Baru Cormorant. I'm too early in it to form an opinion really.

    1 vote
  12. mrzool
    Link
    The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow! Loving it so far.

    The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow! Loving it so far.

    1 vote
  13. moocow1452
    Link
    So I have three months of Kindle Unlimited for a buck, and I've been reading a bunch of comics. It had the first few volumes of Giant Days, which was really good, and they also had a bunch of the...

    So I have three months of Kindle Unlimited for a buck, and I've been reading a bunch of comics. It had the first few volumes of Giant Days, which was really good, and they also had a bunch of the Regular Show tie-in run, which translates great to the comic format since there isn't really a continuity to keep track of, (except that Skips doesn't know computers, come on guys!) and you can enjoy the comic without paying attention to it if that makes any sense. On the docket is Adventure Time, Lumberjanes, and probably Irredeemable, since the whole run is on there. Maybe come of the Comixology Originals too.

    1 vote