10 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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7 comments

  1. StevieSamoyed
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    I've been self-isolating due to being immunocompromised, so I've been reading a lot! Mostly things I've read before, was in the process of reading and just finished this week, and a few newer...

    I've been self-isolating due to being immunocompromised, so I've been reading a lot! Mostly things I've read before, was in the process of reading and just finished this week, and a few newer things.

    I've been in isolation since Sunday, and I have read:

    Homo Deus - Yuval Noah Harrari (2015). I liked this book on first read through so I'm reading it again!

    Event: Philosophy in Transit - Slavoj Zizek (2014). I read a lot of critical theory/philosophy but not a lot of Zizek, so I picked up a book of his before isolating. I enjoyed it, but I found that he could have made the book a bit shorter. He makes his points quite well but elaborates for long sections and I find myself saying "move on" as I read.

    Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1866?). Dostoyevsky is a friend's favourite author but I had never read this. I did it over the span of about 16 hours with some breaks and I gotta say, it was not my favourite book. I really enjoyed the themes of paranoia and the class struggles within the book, though, so I will probably read this again at a slower pace in order to catch more symbolism. I think the first half of the book was probably my favourite part.

    What is Power? - Byung-Chul Han (2005). I am a big fan of Byung-Chul Han, and I have a great deal of his works now, but this one was a recent buy. I think the first chapter of this book is a great resource for anybody trying to understand how power works from the critical theory perspective. I think it is likely a must-read for any student in the humanities. It's an older work of his, but I enjoyed it a lot.

    The Expulsion of the Other - Byung-Chul Han (2018). I went a re-read this book after reading the above as any further reading by a philosopher usually illuminates their work, especially reading older works and comparing it to the ideas in recent works, and how they have changed or shifted along with the recent history of the world. Since a lot of my interest in critical theory is especially to do with this idea of the Other, this book is perfectly in my wheelhouse. I'll also plug The Agony of Eros for anyone who likes the idea of the Other, most especially in a capitalist society.

    Foundation Trilogy - Isaac Asimov (first collected 1951?). One of my favourite trilogies, and I'm savouring reading and thinking about the universe Asimov created. I've done about 30-40 pages a night on top of my non-fiction reading, and I've loved every minute of it!

    King Lear - Shakespeare. My favourite Shakespeare play. Crushed it on the first day in isolation to reminisce in the times I've seen it live and my favourite adaptations. Seriously one of Shakespeare's greatest works! Reading it again even made me revisit an essay from my first year as I saw some familiar themes erupt.

    I don't really read a lot of fiction, but after Asimov I am going to move on to the entire collection of W.B. Yeats: poetry, plays, and essays. After that, I think I will re-read some of my favourite post-colonial works :)

    5 votes
  2. tomf
    Link
    I started ZeroZeroZero by Roberto Saviano -- and also the series. I really liked his other book, Gomorrah (and LOVED the series.) Its the typical 'here are a bunch of crazy stories about the...

    I started ZeroZeroZero by Roberto Saviano -- and also the series. I really liked his other book, Gomorrah (and LOVED the series.)

    Its the typical 'here are a bunch of crazy stories about the inner-workings of cartels!' -- so if you love it, you'll love this.

    I finished The Kill Artist (Gabriel Allon 01) by Daniel Silva this morning. About 1/3rd in I realized that I just read this last year, but I'm going to go through the entire series (alternating), so I figured why not stick with it.

    The book is excellent. As a buddy on IRC said, 'its the perfect blend between tradecraft, art history, and excitement.'

    5 votes
  3. joplin
    Link
    Just finished up The Fated Sky, which was the sequel to The Calculating Stars. It was quite satisfying. In the first book a meteorite hits Washington DC and wipes it off the map in 1952. Former...

    Just finished up The Fated Sky, which was the sequel to The Calculating Stars. It was quite satisfying.

    In the first book a meteorite hits Washington DC and wipes it off the map in 1952. Former WWII pilot Elma York and her husband Nathaniel are working at NASA (well, NACA at the time). They realize that this is going to cause a runaway greenhouse effect and destroy the Earth in the coming decades, so they help get the space program up and running to the point where they can colonize the moon. Much of the book centers around Elma's struggle to become an astronaut during the sexism and racism of the 1950s.

    In the second book, they start work on getting humans to Mars. It's the early 1960s and things haven't changed much. It starts off with a terrorist attack on her shuttle back to Earth from the moon. The Earth First group is a radical black group that fears that they'll be left behind on a dying Earth as humans start colonizing the rest of the solar system.

    Overall, very well written; it kept me very engrossed. I highly recommend both books.

    3 votes
  4. cwagner
    (edited )
    Link
    I finished reading Mountain of Mars (Starship’s Mage series) by Glynn Stewart a few days ago and had nothing new lined up. I stopped reading series that aren’t yet finished (this is for epics,...

    I finished reading Mountain of Mars (Starship’s Mage series) by Glynn Stewart a few days ago and had nothing new lined up. I stopped reading series that aren’t yet finished (this is for epics, periodical series like Starship’s Mage are still fine), so a lot of the stuff I eventually want to read, is not there yet.

    After going back through the Goodreads Awards in Fantasy and Science Fiction, I finally found my pick in 2014: Sand by Hugh Howey, famous for the amazing Silo Trilogy.

    Can’t say much about the book yet, only about 50 pages in. But I certainly like it :)

    edit: typos

    3 votes
  5. kfwyre
    Link
    Audiobooks Dipped into some modern feminist commentary with my audiobooks. First up was Lindy West's The Witches Are Coming. She's incisive, funny, and insightful. The book is mostly social...

    Audiobooks

    Dipped into some modern feminist commentary with my audiobooks.

    First up was Lindy West's The Witches Are Coming. She's incisive, funny, and insightful. The book is mostly social commentary, with parts of it veering into memoir territory, and I appreciated her uncompromising honesty and directness.

    Next up was Tressie McMillan Cottom's Thick: And Other Essays. West tempered her directness with humor, but Cottom speaks only directly, with forceful intent. She also sets her sights more on race, as well as on power structures and systems of oppression. Her essays were personally challenging for me to listen to. She speaks with a conviction that is both undeniable and powerful, but it's also rooted in a deep, enduring pessimism. I don't begrudge her for that in the slightest, as it is no doubt earned and justifiable. In fact, the way she speaks about her life, race, sexual violence, and society at large remind me of the way I speak about education.

    Following these was Ronan Farrow's Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators. It primarily focuses on Farrow's investigation of Harvey Weinstein and his history of sexual assault spanning decades, before expanding to include other powerful individuals exposed in the #MeToo movement and era (e.g. Matt Lauer). The subject matter is chilling and disturbing, but I'm glad that we're living in a time where widespread sexual harassment and assault are coming to light and are finally starting to be dealt with in the manner that they should be. We have a long way to go, but we're at least on the right path.

    Print Books

    Though the beginning portion of my comment doesn't show it, I am actually attempting to break my non-fiction audiobook habit, so I successfully completed two fiction books that I actually read myself. In print! I realize this isn't noteworthy to anyone but me, but it's been a good long while since I've done that.

    I started with Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day. It's a slow-moving, contemplative book about an English butler near the end of his career. I loved it, but I have to acknowledge that it was very hard to get through -- not because of the book itself but because reading it required me to quiet my noisy, anxious mind. In some ways I like the book not just for what it was but because it forced me into a sort of meditative state.

    I followed this up with Blake Crouch's Dark Matter. Pretty much a complete opposite to Remains, this book was a pulpy sci-fi thriller. It wasn't amazing overall, and its attachment to science is pretty loose at best, but it had some nice twists and moments. The book read like it was intended to be shot as a TV series or movie.

    Currently Reading

    Finally, because I don't know what's good for me, I just started up two books on epidemics.

    One is The Next Pandemic: On the Front Lines Against Humankind’s Gravest Dangers by Ali S. Khan, which I'm listening to the audiobook for.

    The other is Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, which I'm reading in print.

    I haven't gotten far enough in either to give any opinions yet, and I'm hoping they'll alleviate some of my anxieties about the COVID-19 outbreak (whether by clarity or by catharsis), but I also acknowledge that they might make things worse. We'll see.


    Current Alphabet Challenge Scorecards

    Print Books

    A:
    B:
    C:
    D: Dark Matter (Blake Crouch)
    E:
    F:
    G: Gracefully Grayson (Ami Polonsky)
    H:
    I: Ishiguro, Kazuo - The Remains of the Day
    J:
    K:
    L:
    M:
    N: Nevertheless She Persisted: Flash Fiction Project (Various Authors)
    O:
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    Graphic Novels

    A:
    B:
    C:
    D: Drawing Power: Women's Stories of Sexual Violence, Harassment, and Survival (Various Authors)
    E:
    F: Fies, Brian - A Fire Story
    G:
    H:
    I:
    J:
    K:
    L:
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    N:
    O:
    P:
    Q: Queer: A Graphic History (Meg-John Barker; Julia Scheele)
    R:
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    Audiobooks

    A: Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation (Andrew Marantz)
    B: Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth (Rachel Maddow)
    C: Cottom, Tressie McMillan - Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy
    D:
    E: Edward Snowden - Permanent Record
    F: Farrow, Ronan - Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators
    G: Gladwell, Malcolm - Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don't Know
    H:
    I:
    J: Jodi Kantor; Megan Twohey - She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement
    K:
    L: Lee, Justin - Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate
    M: Margaret Witt; Tim Connor - Tell: Love, Defiance, and the Military Trial at the Tipping Point for Gay Rights
    N: Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia (Peter Pomerantsev)
    O:
    P: Pollan, Michael - In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto
    Q:
    R: Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man's Fight for Justice (Bill Browder)
    S:
    T: Tressie McMillan Cottom - Thick: And Other Essays
    U:
    V:
    W: West, Lindy - The Witches Are Coming
    X:
    Y:
    Z:

    3 votes
  6. moocow1452
    Link
    I read Prez, the 2015 Reboot from DC. It only ran for 6 Issues and there was supposed to be another arc to it, and while I'm disappointed it didn't work out it's full run, I can see why any...

    I read Prez, the 2015 Reboot from DC. It only ran for 6 Issues and there was supposed to be another arc to it, and while I'm disappointed it didn't work out it's full run, I can see why any continuation has been postponed indefinitely, because it is too fucking real.

    Synopsis and World Details of Prez (2015) In order for Corporations to run for President of the US, age limit has been revoked, and Vote via Twitter is a legally available option. This results in Beth, aka Corndog Girl, being declared the winner of Ohio after a video of her getting stuck in a Corndog frier goes viral. Ohio is courted by both parties during the vote at the House, and enough states decide to vote for Beth to try and get smoozed on that she is voted in as the new President, and has to deal with a public health crisis, degradation in public trust, senators bought out by corporations, and the only things the parties can agree upon is that the Prez has got to go. It is terrifying how well this has aged, and I can only hope that it doesn't become more prophetic in the future.
    1 vote
  7. CALICO
    Link
    I've read a couple since my last post in these threads. The Bormann Testament, by Jack Higgins. A spy hunts for a former Nazi and the manuscript he wrote, allegedly outing Nazi's who flew under...

    I've read a couple since my last post in these threads.

    The Bormann Testament, by Jack Higgins. A spy hunts for a former Nazi and the manuscript he wrote, allegedly outing Nazi's who flew under the radar after the war.
    It was okay. I didn't really like it, but I think it just wasn't my jam. Y'know?

    The Andromeda Strain, by Michael Crichton. Ironically topical given what the world is going through, but it's been in my book stack for a while now. I'd never read it previously, not seen the film.
    Not knowing what to expect going in—other than an otherworldly disease—I found myself gripped until the end. I didn't love the ending of I'm being honest, but overall I quite enjoyed the book. Crichton has a way of writing an engaging story.

    Currently I'm roughly 250/950 pages through my paperback of The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett. I went into this one completely blind. I just knew it was a bestseller, and honestly I thought it was going to be something in the Fantasy genre. I don't have a wonderful history with Historical Fiction, but I can't put this book down. I care way more about an out-of-work Mason, and this uptight Monk than I ever thought I would. And it's set during The Anarchy? Sign me the fuck up. I'm ready.
    For reference among those have read it before, I'm shortly after Tom & Friends arrive in Kingsbridge. I anticipate finishing it within the next few days, and I dread running out of pages. I'm enjoying this so much.

    1 vote