14 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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12 comments

  1. [2]
    goodbetterbestbested
    Link
    Currently, I am about to finish Bertrand Russell's A History of Western Philosophy. It doesn't pretend to be an "objective" account of philosophy and that, along with Russell's easy writing style,...

    Currently, I am about to finish Bertrand Russell's A History of Western Philosophy.

    It doesn't pretend to be an "objective" account of philosophy and that, along with Russell's easy writing style, makes it a joy to read. Russell slags off pretty much every philosopher he talks about and his British aristocratic condescension comes through clarion-clear. He also has some pretty out-dated ideas about "civilized peoples" and invokes ethnic stereotypes liberally, which sits uncomfortably by his Fabian socialist sensibilities.

    I read a review of A History of Western Philosophy recently that suggested the best way to enjoy it is to out-condescend Russell himself, who spends most of the text condescending toward other philosophers. That made me laugh, because I had been doing that since the beginning, and it has made the read truly fun--Russell is no stranger to self-contradiction and casual bigotry himself.

    And all the while I'm putting raised eyebrows and "lol" in the margins, I'm also learning quite a bit and refreshing my memory of things I have learned before. I'm really excited to get to the Nietzsche chapter, because I have heard that Russell hates Nietzsche, which is a feeling I mostly share (I believe that the post-WW2 rehabilitation of Nietzsche went way too far--the guy talks about blond beasts and the German nation and the righteousness of war too much for me to buy it's all a metaphor for personal growth.)

    6 votes
    1. mrbig
      Link Parent
      I never finished this book but the impression I got was that it could be called: “Bertrand Russel: Why I Don’t Like Anything”.

      I never finished this book but the impression I got was that it could be called: “Bertrand Russel: Why I Don’t Like Anything”.

      4 votes
  2. skybrian
    Link
    I finished the volumes of the "Ascendance of a Bookworm" that have been translated into English; the next one is supposed to be out in June. Unfortunately, there has been more magic, combat, and...

    I finished the volumes of the "Ascendance of a Bookworm" that have been translated into English; the next one is supposed to be out in June. Unfortunately, there has been more magic, combat, and aristocratic politics as is seen in typical high fantasy, and less about making things, economics, and business. But it's still pretty fun, there is a good bit about making a printing press, and I like the characters, so I'll keep reading the series as new books come out. From Wikipedia it seems there are many more books to be translated.

    4 votes
  3. [2]
    kfwyre
    Link
    I finally finished with David France's How to Survive a Plague (the audiobook is >24 hours long). It's wonderful and harrowing and important and resonant and heartbreaking and every other word of...

    I finally finished with David France's How to Survive a Plague (the audiobook is >24 hours long). It's wonderful and harrowing and important and resonant and heartbreaking and every other word of praise and meaningfulness I could throw at it. I'd previously read and loved Randy Shilts's And the Band Played On which was also about the AIDS crisis, but the main issue with that book is that it stops in 1985, leaving so much of the story untold. Plague continues past this, giving the full arc of the story in America. Thank you again, @tindall, for recommending this to me.

    Alison Bechdel's Are You My Mother? was a good companion piece to her pivotal Fun Home. She has wonderful visual composition, and I appreciate that she's constantly searching (often over-searching) for meaning in her life and her experiences. It was an interesting contrast to the nihilism that's widespread right now.

    Jonathan Van Ness's Over the Top was surprisingly dark. I went in expecting a light read with his usual vivaciousness, and while it's there in spades, I didn't realize he was going to delve into some pretty significant personal demons and low experiences. For anyone interested in the book, I highly recommend listening to it, as being able to hear JVN's voice narrate his writing adds so much to it.

    Diane Chamberlain's Big Lies in a Small Town was unexpectedly good. It's not the type of book I usually read, but a co-worker recommended it wholeheartedly. After I begrudgingly picked it up, I was surprised to find that I couldn't put it down! The book tells parallel narratives about two women: one in the 1940s who painted a mural, and one in the present day who's restoring the mural. The book has quite a few twists and turns and keeps an unexpectedly brisk pace. It certainly has its flaws and is clunky in parts, but I can't deny being drawn fully into its narrative, eagerly turning the pages in order to find answers and resolution.


    Current Alphabet Challenge Scorecards

    Print Books

    A: Asimov, Isaac - Foundation
    B:
    C: Chamberlain, Diane - Big Lies in a Small Town
    D: Dark Matter (Blake Crouch)
    E: Emily St. John Mandel - Station Eleven
    F:
    G: Gracefully Grayson (Ami Polonsky)
    H: Hate Inc.: Why Today's Media Makes Us Despite One Another (Matt Taibbi)
    I: Ishiguro, Kazuo - The Remains of the Day
    J:
    K:
    L:
    M:
    N: Nevertheless She Persisted: Flash Fiction Project (Various Authors)
    O:
    P: Possession, The (Annie Ernaux)
    Q:
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    Graphic Novels

    A: Alex Robinson - Box Office Poison
    B: Bechdel, Alison - Are You My Mother?
    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:
    M:
    N:
    O:
    P:
    Q: Queer: A Graphic History (Meg-John Barker; Julia Scheele)
    R: Robinson, Alex - BOP!: More Box Office Poison
    S:
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    W:
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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: Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs (Michael T. Osterholm; Mark Olshaker)
    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: How to Survive a Plague (David France)
    I: Ijeoma Oluo - So You Want to Talk About Race
    J: Jodi Kantor; Megan Twohey - She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement
    K: Khan, Ali S. - The Next Pandemic: On the Front Lines Against Humanity's Gravest Dangers
    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: One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy (Carol Anderson)
    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: Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story (Jacob Tobia)
    T: Tressie McMillan Cottom - Thick: And Other Essays
    U:
    V: Virginia Eubanks - Automatic Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor
    W: West, Lindy - The Witches Are Coming
    X:
    Y:
    Z: Zeisler, Andi - We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement

    4 votes
    1. tindall
      Link Parent
      I'm so glad that you got as much out of the France book as I did. It really changed a lot of my thinking about American politics, healthcare, and the enduring legacy of queerphobia. I had no idea...

      I'm so glad that you got as much out of the France book as I did. It really changed a lot of my thinking about American politics, healthcare, and the enduring legacy of queerphobia.

      I had no idea that JVN wrote a book, I'm definitely going to take a look at that!

      3 votes
  4. cwagner
    Link
    I recently finished Dogs of War and it was a good dog! Good book I meant. It turned out to be a lot more transhumanist than I would have expected. I’ll absolutely recommend it if you are into...

    I recently finished Dogs of War and it was a good dog! Good book I meant. It turned out to be a lot more transhumanist than I would have expected. I’ll absolutely recommend it if you are into that. It’s action packed as well :)

    I then quickly finished The Long Way Down (Daniel Faust #1) by Craig Schaefer. Urban Dark Fantasy Detective Noir. Or something. Think Harry Dresden if he was poor, not as complain-y, had far fewer moral qualms, and simply doesn’t manage to save everyone.

    Switched right to Redemption Song, the 2nd book in the series which I’m currently reading. If you like The Dresden Files or Noir mixed with Urban Fantasy, you’ll enjoy it.

    4 votes
  5. Fal
    Link
    I finished reading Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. It was... ok I guess. I'm not super qualified to discuss the validity of his argument, but personally, basing a large segment of his...

    I finished reading Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond.
    It was... ok I guess. I'm not super qualified to discuss the validity of his argument, but personally, basing a large segment of his argument on Africa and the Americas being longer north-south and Eurasia being longer west-east doesn't seem right somehow. He also seems to get needlessly specific at some parts, like the exact types of seeds grown in certain areas, etc

    4 votes
  6. [3]
    krg
    Link
    About 2/5 of the way through Pynchon's Mason & Dixon. It's Pynchon...with 18th-century vernacular. I sometimes lose focus with his free-association description of things and have to re-read often....

    About 2/5 of the way through Pynchon's Mason & Dixon. It's Pynchon...with 18th-century vernacular. I sometimes lose focus with his free-association description of things and have to re-read often. But, when I'm able to focus properly, those sentences flow very nicely. And his repertoire of knowledge is vast. I've found this rundown of every chapter that I've been consulting when I finish a chapter, just in case I missed or glossed-over anything. I'm no true intellectual...

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      mose
      Link Parent
      My favorite book ever. Completely wondrous and delightful, was hooked with that first "Snowballs have flown their arcs..." A similar book that is also really great and doesnt go too......

      My favorite book ever. Completely wondrous and delightful, was hooked with that first "Snowballs have flown their arcs..."

      A similar book that is also really great and doesnt go too... pynchon...on you, is The Sot Weed Factor by John Barth. Lacks the magic of Mason and Dixon imo but still fantastic

      3 votes
      1. krg
        Link Parent
        Ya, read The Sot-Weed Factor not too long ago. I was near-immediately reminded of it when I started Mason & Dixon.

        Ya, read The Sot-Weed Factor not too long ago. I was near-immediately reminded of it when I started Mason & Dixon.

        3 votes
  7. ohyran
    Link
    Ok so got stuck at "The Hanged Artist" - a sort of "What if Franz Kafka survived TBC and became a surrealist detective with a massive cockroach sidekick" book. It's fun BUT its slightly samey...

    Ok so got stuck at "The Hanged Artist" - a sort of "What if Franz Kafka survived TBC and became a surrealist detective with a massive cockroach sidekick" book. It's fun BUT its slightly samey...

    3 votes
  8. starchturrets
    Link
    I just finished reading The Honor of the Queen. The first chapters are a bit boring, but all in all, it’s a very fun sci-fi book.

    I just finished reading The Honor of the Queen. The first chapters are a bit boring, but all in all, it’s a very fun sci-fi book.

    1 vote