17 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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24 comments

  1. [4]
    Comment deleted by author
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    1. thundergolfer
      Link Parent
      How did you find The Divide? My girlfriend is a big fan and from what I've heard about his research on podcasts it sounds like really good work on global inequality.

      How did you find The Divide? My girlfriend is a big fan and from what I've heard about his research on podcasts it sounds like really good work on global inequality.

      1 vote
    2. [2]
      Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      I assume from the books you've listed that your non-fiction reading is mostly politics and current affairs (i.e. not history or linguistics or biology or physics or philosophy or any other...

      I assume from the books you've listed that your non-fiction reading is mostly politics and current affairs (i.e. not history or linguistics or biology or physics or philosophy or any other non-fiction topic I might recommend). Is that a correct assumption?

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        Comment deleted by author
        Link Parent
        1. Algernon_Asimov
          Link Parent
          No. That's not the type of non-fiction I read. (Which is why I was asking.)

          No. That's not the type of non-fiction I read. (Which is why I was asking.)

  2. Grendel
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    I've been working my way through Crime and Punishment the last week or so. I had added it to my kindle library long time ago and forgotten about it (I don't use the kindle app often). I actually...

    I've been working my way through Crime and Punishment the last week or so. I had added it to my kindle library long time ago and forgotten about it (I don't use the kindle app often).

    I actually really like it. The character growth is very interesting and engaging, and I'm amazed at how relatable the book feels considering it was written in the 1850s. It has been an easier read than I thought it would have been, and it has kept my attention pretty easily. My only struggle is keeping track of the many characters. My only prior experience with Russian literature was One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, which I struggled with and didn't finish (I was probably too young for it at the time).

    6 votes
  3. [3]
    emnii
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    I've put down Seveneves by Neal Stephenson for a second time, but I'll talk about why in a minute. The first time I put it down, it was because I thought it was just a disaster story. The moon is...

    I've put down Seveneves by Neal Stephenson for a second time, but I'll talk about why in a minute. The first time I put it down, it was because I thought it was just a disaster story. The moon is destroyed and that destruction threatens to destroy Earth, and that's what I thought the whole novel was about. I thought it would end at "and everyone who made it off world is okay". But I'm kind of an idiot and picked it up without reading the back of the book. It's clearly not stopping at the disaster, which I would know if I read anything about the book before I started reading it. I'm into it, but it's super detailed on stuff that maybe doesn't need that much detail. I just read a lot about delta V and now I'm hoping it's going to pay off sometime because I think it's only relevant to one particular problem and I got too much information.

    I put it down for a second time yesterday because I just got an ARC for Axiom's End by Lindsay Ellis. I'm far too early into it to voice an opinion. I've been excited about this book since she announced it because I'm a fan of her Youtube videos.

    4 votes
    1. aethicglass
      Link Parent
      To be honest, that's just kinda Stephenson's writing style. He goes into ridiculously granular depth on things that aren't relevant to plot. It's better to think of his books less as a...

      To be honest, that's just kinda Stephenson's writing style. He goes into ridiculously granular depth on things that aren't relevant to plot. It's better to think of his books less as a storytelling device and more as an output of a collection of things he's been geeking out about recently. He's amazingly good at making difficult concepts understandable though, so if any of the topics that he's writing about is something that interests you for any other reason, it can be an absolute joy to read through. For everyone else, I think they just kind wonder why the hell he's been going on about the metallurgy of 17th century currencies for so goddamn long.

      4 votes
    2. cwagner
      Link Parent
      Heh, I learned a lot about orbital mechanics reading seveneves :D I found it interesting though and enjoyed the book a lot.

      I just read a lot about delta V and now I'm hoping it's going to pay off sometime because I think it's only relevant to one particular problem and I got too much information.

      Heh, I learned a lot about orbital mechanics reading seveneves :D I found it interesting though and enjoyed the book a lot.

      2 votes
  4. [5]
    Algernon_Asimov
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    I finished Hidden Figures which I started reading a while ago. I noticed that my reading has, ironically, decreased while I've been spending more time at home - because I did a lot of reading on...

    I finished Hidden Figures which I started reading a while ago. I noticed that my reading has, ironically, decreased while I've been spending more time at home - because I did a lot of reading on the train while travelling to work or other places. It took me a while to realise I'd stopped reading, and to make the effort to read more at home (rather than get distracted by silly things like television or Tildes or Reddit).

    Anyway, back on topic, I recommend Hidden Figures. It's a very interesting and well-written history of black women's employment at NASA's predecessor, NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics).

    I'm also reading Wonder Woman: The Golden Age Omnibus Vol. 2. I bought the first three volumes of this series a while back, and I've been working through them deliberately slowly. They're a treat. I sit down, read one or two individual comics (each one takes only about 15 minutes), then put it away for a while. The book is physically impressive: it's big and heavy. It's not comfy armchair reading; it has to be read on a table or a desk. But it's nice to dive back into Wonder Woman's origins. The volume includes comics from three different titles. It's noticeable that the plots are different in each title. In 'Sensation Comics', for instance, Wonder Woman usually gets involved in some clash with the Nazis or the Japanese (or their agents). She's fighting for democracy and freedom! In her own title, 'Wonder Woman', she's usually involved in something a bit more character-specific, like something on Paradise Island or involving Mars (God of War) or some other non-WWII adventures. I'm finding I enjoy the 'Wonder Woman' comics more than the others. It's all very dated, but it's still fun. And, Wonder Woman and her lady friends (love Etta Candy "Woo woo!") do seem to get tied up a lot...

    I'm reading Asimov's Azazel, a collection of stories about George and his two-centimetre demon/alien friend Azazel. Asimov warns people in the introduction that this collection is nothing like what people are used to, and he's right. It's funny! It's witty. It's Wodehouse-esque at times. It's lovely bedtime reading.

    And... I am "reading" an audiobook (does one read an audiobook or listen to it?) for the first time. This came about by random. A while ago, I bought the DVDs of the TV series 'I, Claudius' - a BBC production based on Robert Greaves' novels I, Claudius and Claudius the God. I hadn't got around to watching them until recently, and the series is surprisingly good - especially when Derek Jacobi (playing the titular character) comes on screen. I found out he won a BAFTA for this series, and it was well-earned.

    Anyway, I decided to read the book, so I went to my bookshelves... and remembered that I had disposed of it somewhere along the way, together with a few other paperbacks about Roman history. So I decided to buy the ebook version. And while I was searching for the ebook, I stumbled across the audiobook versions of I, Claudius and Claudius the God, as read by Derek Jacobi. Well, that's a no-brainer! So I bought the audiobook of I, Claudius and have started listening to it. It's fascinating. It's brilliant. I admit most of the charm is in Jacobi's reading. He's just great. I could listen to him for hours - and it looks like I will be.

    The book itself is a fictionalised autobiography by Claudius, the Roman Emperor. It starts with his childhood in the household of the Emperor Augustus and his wife Livia (Claudius's grandmother), and covers the whole of Claudius's life through four Emperors (including himself). It reads like a soap opera, with everyone conniving and manipulating everyone else - and the villain Livia poisoning everyone she doesn't like! It's fun. And, like I said, Jacobi's reading is worth listening to. The book is written in the first person, so Jacobi gets to read it in character as Claudius, and he's brilliant at it.

    4 votes
    1. cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I, Cladius was pretty low budget in terms of the sets and scenery, but the costumes were decent, and the acting was absolutely superb. It's one of my favorite series and I highly recommend it as...

      I, Cladius was pretty low budget in terms of the sets and scenery, but the costumes were decent, and the acting was absolutely superb. It's one of my favorite series and I highly recommend it as well. I really should check out the books though, since I still haven't read them yet. Thanks for reminding me they exist. :P

      2 votes
    2. [3]
      KapteinB
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I saw the film adaptation of Hidden Figures a couple of weeks ago (though I didn't know at the time it was an adaptation of a book). It was also great! It reminded me a bit of The Imitation Game,...

      I saw the film adaptation of Hidden Figures a couple of weeks ago (though I didn't know at the time it was an adaptation of a book). It was also great! It reminded me a bit of The Imitation Game, though I liked Hidden Figures better, maybe mostly because the protagonists are more likeable.

      edit:

      And, Wonder Woman and her lady friends (love Etta Candy "Woo woo!") do seem to get tied up a lot...

      I recall reading somewhere (probably Cracked, but I can't find the article) that the guy who created Wonder Woman was really into BDSM.

      2 votes
      1. Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        Yes, he was. There was a movie 'Professor Marston and the Wonder Women' about his three-way relationship with his wife and mistress, involving BDSM.

        I recall reading somewhere (probably Cracked, but I can't find the article) that the guy who created Wonder Woman was really into BDSM.

        Yes, he was. There was a movie 'Professor Marston and the Wonder Women' about his three-way relationship with his wife and mistress, involving BDSM.

        2 votes
  5. [4]
    chungkng
    Link
    Started reading Blue Mars, the last book on the Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson. Having just reached the second chapter I can't say much, but I am certain that this will be as great as the...

    Started reading Blue Mars, the last book on the Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson. Having just reached the second chapter I can't say much, but I am certain that this will be as great as the other two books in the trilogy. KSR is an amazing sci-fi writer, he can draw your attention to the most uniteresting of things in an engaging and detailed fashion. This trilogy is my favorite thing in the world right now, I highly recommend it.

    4 votes
    1. [3]
      Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      I've read this trilogy a few times. It's genius. It's rightly considered a classic of science fiction. After you've finished, see if you can find The Martians, which contains some short stories...

      I've read this trilogy a few times. It's genius. It's rightly considered a classic of science fiction.

      After you've finished, see if you can find The Martians, which contains some short stories and essays that add on to the main trilogy. It's also worth a read.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        chungkng
        Link Parent
        Thank you so much for the recommendation :) I just gave the synopsis a look and I will definitely be reading this some time after I finish the trilogy. By the way, how did you manage to read it a...

        Thank you so much for the recommendation :) I just gave the synopsis a look and I will definitely be reading this some time after I finish the trilogy.
        By the way, how did you manage to read it a few times? It took me like two months to read each one of the first two books. Guess I'm a very slow reader lol

        3 votes
        1. Algernon_Asimov
          Link Parent
          In my younger days, I use to read a lot. And I read fast. The combinations means I got a lot of reading done.

          In my younger days, I use to read a lot. And I read fast. The combinations means I got a lot of reading done.

          2 votes
  6. [2]
    Fal
    Link
    I've finished reading the sci-fi novel Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky. It was a pretty interesting read, and had some really interesting ideas. At the beginning of the book, I actually...

    I've finished reading the sci-fi novel Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky. It was a pretty interesting read, and had some really interesting ideas. At the beginning of the book, I actually found myself more invested in the spider section of the story than the human end, but the human story started to pick up as I kept reading. Overall, definitely a book I would recommend (although I haven't read much sci-fi before this month so maybe I have no idea what I'm talking about).

    I also completed two books of the sci-fi trilogy The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu, a Chinese author. The first book, The Three Body Problem was definitely a lot of fun to read, although one I have trouble describing. The scale of the ideas presented are vast, and sometimes very surreal. The translation is also extremely well done. While translation between Chinese and English can be clunky at times, I barely noticed it, and the writing seemed to flow well. The second book, The Dark Forest continues the story, this time from the perspective of a different character. While a little less surreal than The Three Body Problem, the themes and ideas presented are no less grand, and the final theory presented at the conclusion, the dark forest theory, paints a grim view of the universe (I'm not really familiar enough with the subject to really know if it's a valid theory, but I thought it was fun to consider nonetheless). I'm currently about to start Death's End, the final novel, and am hoping that its a good finale for what has so far been a fantastic series.

    4 votes
    1. cwagner
      Link Parent
      I’d say it depends on available technology. Assuming what we assume to know about absolute limits, I don’t think it’s valid. With the technology available in the books, it probably is. And that is...

      I'm not really familiar enough with the subject to really know if it's a valid theory

      I’d say it depends on available technology. Assuming what we assume to know about absolute limits, I don’t think it’s valid. With the technology available in the books, it probably is.

      I've finished reading the sci-fi novel Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky.

      And that is what I started two days ago :) Really loving it and can’t wait to see what happens between Spiders and Ants :D

      3 votes
  7. aethicglass
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    Currently on the last book of The Witcher series (out of 8). Was honestly not expecting much more than pulp fantasy. Hoo boy. I'm honestly thinking I might just go through and read them over again...

    Currently on the last book of The Witcher series (out of 8). Was honestly not expecting much more than pulp fantasy. Hoo boy. I'm honestly thinking I might just go through and read them over again when I'm done. There could be a dozen more of these books and I would just keep reading them. It makes me really sad that I'm on the last one.

    4 votes
  8. JoylessAubergine
    (edited )
    Link
    Chung Kuo Recast* Series by David Wingrove. *From what i can gather he "recast" from his series in the 90s because he was unhappy with some decisions the publishers forced on him, so he is...

    Chung Kuo Recast* Series by David Wingrove. *From what i can gather he "recast" from his series in the 90s because he was unhappy with some decisions the publishers forced on him, so he is re-releasing the series with additional books, prequels and adding things in the books to improve the story or change the things he was pressured to do. If you do pick up the series make sure you get the recast version.

    These are great. The essential plot is that China conquers the world and creates an artificial habitat ruled over by a consortium of 7 Emperors. The two books are prequels, the first in England after massive economic global collapse that set us back to practically medieval systems with guns. The second shows the first habit from the POV of the Chinese, the later conquests and the older protagonist from the first book adapting to this new Chinese world. Books three onward take part 150 years later following the problems and struggles of a single unified earth.

    These arent easy books to read, i nearly dropped their first one because there is a lot of racism and stereotypes, which is often a feature of even good post-ap fiction. However the racism is kind of necessary. Of course there'd be racism if one race conquered the entire world and killed 3 billion people while eradicating your culture. The Chinese are often also stunningly racist but again they would be if they unified the entire planet, especially when the propagandists get involved and rewrite all of human history. There are a lot of European negative stereotypes, many of which the characters live up to so it isnt a one way street at all and the authors love and knowledge of Chinese history and culture shows through.

    The characters are complex, they are often evil people, they use and throwaway people without second thought. We have the POV from everyone from World Conquers to feral children, Madams to CEOs, Pit fighters to police. Women are kind of under represented on a comparative level but that may change in later books.

    Sort of ran out of steam. Its a very similar feeling to read Game of Thrones for the first time or any of those messy fantasy epics. Very good books, highly recommended if you like massive complex SFF with many shades of grey.

    4 votes
  9. mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    Just started Consider Phlebas. I love all the ideas behind The Culture but was too afraid of not being able to follow the story (ADHD). It seems to have a very large scope. So far it’s not that...

    Just started Consider Phlebas. I love all the ideas behind The Culture but was too afraid of not being able to follow the story (ADHD). It seems to have a very large scope. So far it’s not that complicated. I have trouble understanding exactly what’s going on when it comes to physical actions, the author is very detailed and sci-fi terminology is even harder for a non-native speaker.

    It doesn’t help that he's Scottish and uses many words even my Kindle dictionary doesn’t “know”.

    But I get the ideas, dramatic shifts, and general narrative. That’s enough for me. I’m certain I’ll have to refer to a Wiki at some point, but, in this case, I say it’s probably worth it.

    I simply cannot continue not knowing this universe :)

    3 votes
  10. Atvelonis
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    I recently finished The Eight Mountains by Paolo Cognetti. It reminds me of the love I have for the mountains and the wilderness in general; the sense of freedom that they offer me, as opposed to...

    I recently finished The Eight Mountains by Paolo Cognetti. It reminds me of the love I have for the mountains and the wilderness in general; the sense of freedom that they offer me, as opposed to the suffocating presence of the city (even the suburb), with its all-encompassing and oblivious self-absorption. A split life. But it also reminds me of the complexities and inevitable problems associated with this lifestyle that I will surely always dream of inhabiting, which all serve to restrain or perhaps simply hide my restlessness. I was very moved by one passage near the end of the novel (emphasis mine):

    "What I had to protect in myself was my ability to live alone. It had taken time to get used to solitude, to turn it into a place that I could adjust myself to and feel good in; and yet I felt that the relationship between us was always a difficult one. And so I would head back towards the house as if to re-establish our understanding. If the sky was not overcast I would soon switch off the head torch. I needed no more than a quarter-moon, and the stars, to make my way along the path between the larch trees. Nothing was stirring at that hour, only my footfall and the river that continued to splash and gurgle as the wood slept. In the silence its voice was clearest, and I could make out the sound peculiar to each bend, rapid, waterfall—muffled by the vegetation, then becoming gradually sharper over scree. Higher up even the river went quiet. This was the point at which it disappeared beneath the rocks and ran underground. I began to hear a much lower sound, of the wind that was blowing in the basin. The lake was a nocturnal sky in motion; the wind was pushing flurries of small waves from one side to another, and as it changed direction it extinguished and rekindled along its lines of force the gleams of stars reflected in the black water. I stood still, watching these patterns. It seemed to me to recall the life of the mountain before mankind. I did not disturb it; I was a welcome guest. I realized again that in this company I would never be alone."

    3 votes
  11. krg
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    Started The Sot-Weed Factor by John Barth last Friday. ~350 pages in. It's a farce in the vein of Don Quixote with a good helping of Confederacy of Dunces thrown in.

    Started The Sot-Weed Factor by John Barth last Friday. ~350 pages in. It's a farce in the vein of Don Quixote with a good helping of Confederacy of Dunces thrown in.

    1 vote
  12. Surira
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    Still working on Dune....

    Still working on Dune....

    1 vote