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.

39 comments

  1. [4]
    deing
    Link
    One of my christmas gifts was Iain M. Banks' Use of Weapons, which i completed earlier this month. It's not the first Culture novel i've read — that'd be The Player Of Games, somewhere in late...

    One of my christmas gifts was Iain M. Banks' Use of Weapons, which i completed earlier this month. It's not the first Culture novel i've read — that'd be The Player Of Games, somewhere in late June 2020 — but it combined the delightful prose, epic worldbuilding and meaningful political and moral commentary that i already loved about Banks with a twist that in my opinion just makes you reevaluate everything you think know about the story until that point. I'd really rank it as one of the best books i've ever read.

    Use of Weapons spoilers, don't open especially if you're near the end and are convinced that no major surprise could possibly come up now

    Learning that the badass dude you've happily followed along in flashbacks and the forward storyline doesn't just have a Suitably Mysterious And Probably Dark Past, but is himself the Chairmaker that haunts his memories, the one that did the worst of conceivable things simultaneously to his (not-quite) sister and (not-quite) brother, was a real gut punch for me, especially as i didn't see it coming at all.

    I expected some subversion, of course, and did find quite a few hints, for example in the initial poem, but they lead me to a completely wrong set of assumptions¹ on what was awaiting me. It's a reveal that forces you to completely reexamine your opinion of "the young man Cullis had called Zakalwe" and it's … beautiful, really. Few books have fucked with my emotions like this one.

    Reading it a second time, it feels almost blindingly obvious at times what you missed the first time. For example, the two only mentions of the phrase "use of weapons" happen in these bits (although one might get distracted by the expressiveness and emotionality of the text)

    Chapter VIII

    And [the flashback POV character] had two shadows, it was two things; it was the need and it was the method. The need was obvious; to defeat what opposed its life. The method was that taking and bending of materials and people to one purpose, the outlook that every­thing could be used in the fight; that nothing could be excluded, that everything was a weapon, and the ability to handle those weapons, to find them and choose which one to aim and fire; that talent, that ability, that Use of Weapons.

    Chapter I

    Intending to rub his eyes, he raised one hand and found the pistol in it.
    He put it to his right temple.
    This was, of course, he realised, exactly what Elethiomel wanted him to do, but then, what chance did one have against such a monster? There was only so much a man could take, after all. […] Such consummate skill, such ability, such adaptability, such numbing ruthlessness, such a Use of Weapons when anything could become weapon...

    You also get a bunch of early exposition on how Elethiomel is so much more more cunning and ruthless than Cheradenine. The main flashback POV character plans like two or three decapitation strikes before your POV switches to Cheradenine immediately before he dies from to another (or rather, the first) of the sort.

    The use of weapons permeates this novel so much that i can't really come up with a more apt title — Elethiomel uses weapons of incredible versatility, is used as a weapon himself (and lets himself be used that way, in a combination of atonement and that being the only thing that he really can do, probably), once he "stops working" at the end we see Diziet just going on and grabbing a new gun for SC.


    ¹ For example i assumed Zakalwe would turn out to be some sort of Changer and/or betray the Culture!

    Still at a loss for words, there's so much more i'd like to write about this. There's a podcast reading and discussing this novel (as well as the other Culture novels) in five parts, i'd recommend that too.

    7 votes
    1. [3]
      spctrvl
      Link Parent
      I reread that myself recently. It's an amazing thing about the culture series that I always feel that whichever book I last read feels like the best one, but if I were really trying to be...

      I reread that myself recently. It's an amazing thing about the culture series that I always feel that whichever book I last read feels like the best one, but if I were really trying to be objective, it'd probably be Use of Weapons tied with Surface Detail. Do you plan on reading any particular book in the series next? Surface Detail might actually be a good follow-up, or maybe Excession.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        deing
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        So far i've read (in order) The Player of Games, Use of Weapons, Excession, Consider Phlebas, Inversions and The State of the Art, all of them as eBooks. Consider Phlebas probably is my least...

        So far i've read (in order) The Player of Games, Use of Weapons, Excession, Consider Phlebas, Inversions and The State of the Art, all of them as eBooks. Consider Phlebas probably is my least favorite full-length novel of those; Excession was much more to my liking. Despite the intricate conspiracies, looming threat of the OCP, and weird human part of the story, i found one notion in particular from the book oddly reassuring: even for hyperspatial godlike AIs beyond our comprehension¹, the comment sections… still suck.
        Actually, i'm currently waiting on a collection with physical volumes of all novels². It's been delayed a bit because it's shipping from the UK (had i noticed the books a few months earlier the wait now probably would be shorter, haha). Of the remaining ones i'll probably read Surface Detail first, then!

        Update: they've arrived! Started reading Surface Detail. So far, rather enjoyable.


        ¹ Noticed just now that the only times so far that i actually got to see "inside" Minds or independent drones was when they were damaged enough that they're more or less running on the last-ditch backups of their backup processing units.
        ² Even though i consume most media (books, music, film, shows…) digitally, i still very much like having physical artifacts around that actually remind me of the stuff that's buried somewhere on my hard drives.

        2 votes
        1. spctrvl
          Link Parent
          Excession was my most recent reread, and I liked it much more than the first time around. I think the idea was an exploration of the Culture's misfits and mentally unhealthy, a juxtaposition of...

          Excession was my most recent reread, and I liked it much more than the first time around. I think the idea was an exploration of the Culture's misfits and mentally unhealthy, a juxtaposition of its supposedly utopian society and the broken beings it still produces, and even how living in paradise can produce humans more alien to us than the godlike Minds. Which definitely helps explain why so many of the characters, and particularly the human characters are just... unlikeable*.

          *Fuck Genar-Hofoen for his life goal of joining a star-spanning hierarchy of pain and suffering because his privileged ass gets to come in at the top. At least Ulver was just bratty.

          2 votes
  2. [2]
    nacho
    Link
    I'm reading Anthony Beevor's Stalingrad. It's a narrative of the history from the pivotal Second World War theatre in the city, written in 1998. He's spoken to a lot of the primary sources, and...

    I'm reading Anthony Beevor's Stalingrad. It's a narrative of the history from the pivotal Second World War theatre in the city, written in 1998.

    He's spoken to a lot of the primary sources, and has spent considerable time in Soviet archives, which brings a lot of perspective to the table alongside traditional German sources.

    It's very interesting to see this battle in the lens of the late 1990s. I really enjoy reading old non-fiction. It's often a two-for-one with regards to showing attitudes of the recent past and the topic itself. The downside is of course that one has to check up on the field/topic itself to get a corrective for the development in the field over the past decades.

    6 votes
    1. streblo
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      If you haven't read it, The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive & the Secret History of the KGB is a great and somewhat related read. Also good by Andrews' is his Defend the Realm: The...

      If you haven't read it, The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive & the Secret History of the KGB is a great and somewhat related read.

      Also good by Andrews' is his Defend the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5 and Keith Jeffery's The Secret History of MI6 . A central thread in all these books is one of the greatest intelligence coups of all time -- the defection of Kim Philby. You can also read Kim Philby's autobiography: My Silent War. In pretty much every one of these books you need to pay attention to where the information is coming from and grains of salt and all that but still very interesting.

      3 votes
  3. suspended
    Link
    Currently reading Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History. I'm 75 pages in and he's covered early Protestant evangelical Christianity and Mormonism. Very well written and researched.

    Currently reading Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History.

    I'm 75 pages in and he's covered early Protestant evangelical Christianity and Mormonism.

    Very well written and researched.

    5 votes
  4. [4]
    JoylessAubergine
    Link
    I just finished the first book of the Story of the Stone (Better known as Dream of the Red Chamber) translated by David Hawkes. It's a really fantastic book, may be the best translation of any...

    I just finished the first book of the Story of the Stone (Better known as Dream of the Red Chamber) translated by David Hawkes. It's a really fantastic book, may be the best translation of any book. For what is essentially a book about the lives of a rich Chinese aristocrats writing poetry and getting into argument it is phenomenally engrossing. Chinese literature is a pain to translate and often feels stilted and confusing, David Hawkes translation is a magnum opus though. Not only has he managed to make the different names easy to recognise, not only has he made the story and prose flow, he even rewrote the poetry so that is brilliant too. I really enjoy the book but its a massive one at ~2000 pages in 5 volumes. While it was great i'm not sure i want to read another 1500 pages.

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      cardigan
      Link Parent
      I'm coincidentally reading the first volume of Journey to the West, another one of the big four classic Chinese novels. Dream of the Red Chamber and Water Margin always struck me as such extremely...

      I'm coincidentally reading the first volume of Journey to the West, another one of the big four classic Chinese novels. Dream of the Red Chamber and Water Margin always struck me as such extremely poetic titles, but I never actually learned what either one was about. The task of translating either of these books, especially unabridged, seems just superhuman to me. My translation is the one done by Anthony C. Yu. The notes and scholarship can be overwhelming at times, but I'm also glad to have them, as I'd be even more lost without them. I'm finding it pretty engaging as well. I can understand why it's so beloved.

      5 votes
      1. Fal
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I read Romance of the Three Kingdoms (another one of the big four classic Chinese novels) some time ago, and while there were some notes on events referenced in the story, what was really helpful...

        I read Romance of the Three Kingdoms (another one of the big four classic Chinese novels) some time ago, and while there were some notes on events referenced in the story, what was really helpful for me was the four-page list of characters at the beginning of the book. I'm familiar enough with Journey to the West as having a fair few characters, but having read neither Dream of the Red Chamber or Water Margin, I'm curious if having a massive cast if common in Chinese literature

        1 vote
    2. suspended
      Link Parent
      I'd argue that One Hundred Years of Solitude as being the best translated book.

      ...may be the best translation of any book.

      I'd argue that One Hundred Years of Solitude as being the best translated book.

      3 votes
  5. SuperGracchiBros
    Link
    Imperial Life in the Emerald City. It's which is about America absolutely bungling the rebuilding of Iraq in 2003-2004, through an equal mixture of ignorance, greed, incompetence, and arrogance....

    Imperial Life in the Emerald City. It's which is about America absolutely bungling the rebuilding of Iraq in 2003-2004, through an equal mixture of ignorance, greed, incompetence, and arrogance.
    It's written by a Washington Post journalist who was in Iraq during this time, and is really well-written.

    4 votes
  6. snakehonk
    Link
    I just re-read Harriet The Spy, which I haven't read since I was about 12. It still holds up for me. I nearly cried at the same part that made me cry when I was a kid. Very strange to re-read...

    I just re-read Harriet The Spy, which I haven't read since I was about 12. It still holds up for me. I nearly cried at the same part that made me cry when I was a kid. Very strange to re-read something that was so important to me back then, I can almost trace certain aspects of my personality/outlook directly to this book. There's a line in the movie "You've Got Mail" where Meg Ryan's character says "When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does."

    I also read two of the sequels, which I didn't know existed. They were okay, but lacked the charm of the original. Or maybe I am not the intended audience anymore! After all, I'm not a young adult in the late 1970s.

    4 votes
  7. [3]
    mir
    Link
    Currently reading DeLillo's Mao II, after having finished White Noise sometime last year. I'm only about 30 pages in so far, but the prologue has gripped me more than most books I can remember -...

    Currently reading DeLillo's Mao II, after having finished White Noise sometime last year. I'm only about 30 pages in so far, but the prologue has gripped me more than most books I can remember - although that may be due to the fact that I have just finished Jon Fosse's The Other Name, which I found to be somewhat of a slog. In contrast to Fosse's use of repetition and circular plot, DeLillo's prose is nothing short of electric - I find myself reading parts of it aloud, just to hear the words.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      krg
      Link Parent
      If you're enjoying DeLillo, give Libra a read. His best work, I'd say. Though, I've yet to read Mao II...

      If you're enjoying DeLillo, give Libra a read. His best work, I'd say.

      Though, I've yet to read Mao II...

      2 votes
      1. mir
        Link Parent
        Thanks for the recommendation, it's on my to-read list (along with a number of other books - quarantine has actually been less productive for me reading-wise than I'd hoped).

        Thanks for the recommendation, it's on my to-read list (along with a number of other books - quarantine has actually been less productive for me reading-wise than I'd hoped).

        2 votes
  8. reifyresonance
    Link
    Just finished the Rememberance of Earth's Past trilogy (The Three Body Problem, The Dark Forest, Death's End) by Cixin Liu. It's science fiction surrounding and continuing from first contact, and...

    Just finished the Rememberance of Earth's Past trilogy (The Three Body Problem, The Dark Forest, Death's End) by Cixin Liu. It's science fiction surrounding and continuing from first contact, and is very well written. Additionally, it's written by a native mainland Chinese author, and translated into English, so comes at the genre a bit differently than other sci-fi. Definitely recommend, first two books 5/5, last one 4/5.

    Every Grain of Rice: simple chinese home cooking by Fuchsia Dunlop. Broke my rule of not reading cookbooks by British people, esp when they're not about british foods. Not disappointed, just not... appointed. I might try a few of these recipes (I did make the egg fried rice and the bok choy in superior broth, but that's only 2) but most of them I would not be excited to cook. Also spent too long talking about the circumstances of the recipe and not how to actually do it. Did appreciate the section at the beginning about the various tools in a Chinese home kitchen. Can't rate it until I cook more from it, but tentative 2.5/5.

    3 votes
  9. JamesTeaKirk
    Link
    I'm currently reading Homage to Catalonia by Orwell and Gorilla and the Bird by Zack McDermott. I always have one political book for active reading, and something a little lighter for reading...

    I'm currently reading Homage to Catalonia by Orwell and Gorilla and the Bird by Zack McDermott. I always have one political book for active reading, and something a little lighter for reading before bed. I was not exactly prepared for Gorilla and the Bird; I'm moving through it very slowly as it's making me reflect on my relationship with my mother in a somewhat emotionally taxing manner.

    I'm absolutely loving Homage to Catalonia; I've never read anything quite like this. It's a personal account of Orwell's time in the Spanish Civil War fighting with the anti-fascist unions. Orwell has a way of making everything a joy to read (even if it's 20 pages of confusing explanation of the various political parties in Spain or an extended rant about genital crabs in the trenches).

    That being said, I'm trying to get through them as quickly as possible so I can start reading Al Franken's memoir Giant of the Senate. I found a really nice hardcover copy for 4 bucks on thriftbooks and it has really positive reviews which is rare for political books (at least in terms of the user-generated reviews on GoodReads).

    3 votes
  10. [3]
    tomf
    Link
    I finished Anna Karenina, which was awesome. Another 'classic' that deserves the high praise. After that I breezed through the first two James Bond books. These are fun and way better than the...

    I finished Anna Karenina, which was awesome. Another 'classic' that deserves the high praise.

    After that I breezed through the first two James Bond books. These are fun and way better than the movies, which tend to be either too shallow or goofy. I always picture Sean Connery when I think of Bond -- and I think he was the only one who was truly perfect for the role.

    Anyone have any fun, pulpy recommendations that fall in line with Bond or Max Allan Collins' Quarry series? So much in this genre is corny and sticks to the same structure. Even Collins' books have the same predictable structure after three or four.

    I started Star Wars: The High Republic: Light of the Jedi, which was the first of a new series --- but what a snooze fest. Too many characters, little to no action, a lot of 'and they went here, then this happened, so they went here...' -- so I stopped about 3/4 through and won't look back. Of the ~30 Star Wars books I've stopped, this is the second. The first was most likely geared toward teens or something and had Ben Solo. I'm all Legends and refuse to accept emo Ben Solo, even though this is the way forward.

    I'm really pacing myself with Eve Babitz's Slow Days, Fast Company. I still prefer Didion, but the book is fun. It's my 'in bed' book and will take at least another week before I'm through it.

    ... I think I'm going to read No Country for Old Men again after Moonraker.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      Deimos
      Link Parent
      Which translation of Anna Karenina did you read? I tried to read it a couple of years ago, but the writing felt so awkward that it turned me off pretty quickly. It felt like I was reading...

      Which translation of Anna Karenina did you read? I tried to read it a couple of years ago, but the writing felt so awkward that it turned me off pretty quickly. It felt like I was reading fanfiction or a book intended for young adults with limited vocabularies.

      An example from one of the first few pages:

      There happened to him at that instant what does happen to people when they are unexpectedly caught in something very disgraceful. He did not succeed in adapting his face to the position in which he was placed towards his wife by the discovery of his fault.

      2 votes
      1. tomf
        Link Parent
        I did the Maude translation in audiobook form, performed by David Horovitch. For the most part the translation felt very natural with a good flow. The one you quoted is Constance Garnett. Here's a...
        • Exemplary

        I did the Maude translation in audiobook form, performed by David Horovitch. For the most part the translation felt very natural with a good flow. The one you quoted is Constance Garnett.

        Here's a list of translations I've seen mentioned

        • Nathan Haskell Dole - 1887
        • Constance Garnett - 1901
        • Constance Garnett, Revised by Leonard J. Kent and Nina Berberova - 1965
        • Louise and Aylmer Maude - 1918
        • Rosemary Edmonds - 1954
        • Joel Carmichael - 1960
        • David Magarshack - 1961
        • Margaret Wettlin - 1978
        • Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky - 2000
        • Kyril Zinovieff and Jenny Hughes - 2008
        • Rosamund Bartlett - 2014
        • Marian Schwartz - 2014

        I couldn't find all translations, but here are some comparisons. If the Maude one is off, its because I transcribed it from the audiobook. The words are right -- but don't blame them if the punctuation is off.

        Constance Garnett

        Everything was in confusion in the Oblonskys' house. The wife had discovered that the husband was carrying on an intrigue with a French girl, who had been a governess in their family, and she had announced to her husband that she could not go on living in the same house with him. This position of affairs had now lasted three days, and not only the husband and wife themselves, but all the members of their family and household, were painfully conscious of it. Every person in the house felt that there was no sense in their living together, and that the stray people brought together by chance in any inn had more in common with one another than they, the members of the family and household of the Oblonskys. The wife did not leave her own room, the husband had not been at home for three days. The children ran wild all over the house; the English governess quarreled with the housekeeper, and wrote to a friend asking her to look out for a new situation for her; the man-cook had walked off the day before just at dinner time; the kitchen-maid, and the coachman had given warning.

        Maude

        Everything was upset in the Oblonskys house. The wife had discovered an intrigue between her husband and their former french governess and declared that she would not continue to live under the same roof with him. This state of things had now lasted for three days, and not only the husband and wife, but the rest of the whole family and the whole household suffered from it. They all felt that there was no sense in their living together and that any group of people who had met together by chance at an inn would have had more in common than they. The wife kept to her own rooms; the husband stalked away from home all day; the children ran about all over the house uneasily; the English governess quarrelled with the housekeeper and wrote to a friend asking if she could find her another situation; the cook had gone out just before dinner time the day before and had not returned; and the kitchen-maid and coachman had given notice.

        Pevear and Volokhonsky (also rls'd through Oprah's book club)

        All was confusion in the Oblonskys’ house. The wife had found out that the husband was having an affair with their former French governess, and had announced to the husband that she could not live in the same house with him. This situation had continued for three days now, and was painfully felt by the couple themselves, as well as by all the members of the family and household. They felt that there was no sense in their living together and that people who meet accidentally at any inn have more connection with each other than they, the members of the family and household of the Oblonskys. The wife would not leave her rooms, the husband was away for the third day. The children were running all over the house as if lost; the English governess quarrelled with the housekeeper and wrote a note to a friend, asking her to find her a new place; the cook had already left the premises the day before, at dinner-time; the kitchen-maid and coachman had given notice.

        Rosamund Bartlett

        Everything was confusion in the Oblonskys’ house. The wife had found out that the husband was having an affair with the French governess formerly in their house, and had announced to the husband that she could not live with him in the same house. This situation had been going on now for three days, and was acutely felt by the couple themselves, as well as by the members of the family and the household. The members of the family and the household all felt there was no point in their living together and that people meeting by chance at any coaching inn had more connection to each other than they did, the members of the family and the Oblonsky household. The wife had not left her rooms, the husband had not been at home for three days. The children were running about the house as if lost; the English governess had quarrelled with the housekeeper and written a note to a friend, asking her to find her a new position; the cook had walked out the day before, right in the middle of dinner; the scullery-maid and the coachman had given notice.

        Schwartz

        The Oblonsky home was all confusion. The wife had found out about her husband’s affair with the French governess formerly in their home and had informed her husband that she could not go on living in the same house with him. This had been the state of affairs for three days now, and it was keenly felt not only by the spouses themselves but by all the members of the family and the servants as well. All the members of the family and the servants felt that there was no sense in their living together and that travelers chancing to meet in any inn had more in common than did they, the Oblonsky family members and servants. The wife would not leave her rooms, and the husband had not stayed home for three days. The children raced through the house like lost souls; the English governess quarreled with the housekeeper and wrote a note to a friend asking to find her a new position; the cook had walked off the premises the day before, during the midday meal; the scullery maid and the coachman had given notice.

        Anyway, I hope this helps. It looks like they're all somewhat easy to find in ebook or paperback.

        tldr; I like Maude.

        5 votes
  11. [2]
    Paschik
    Link
    I read Ubik a couple weeks ago, from Philip K. Dick the author of The Man in The High Castle, and to be honest it was pretty good. It's a 'sci-fi capitalist dystopia'-kind of book, but that's...

    I read Ubik a couple weeks ago, from Philip K. Dick the author of The Man in The High Castle, and to be honest it was pretty good. It's a 'sci-fi capitalist dystopia'-kind of book, but that's mostly the setting. The writing style is unique and it feels very refreshing (compared to some programmers-turned-authors I've read; looking at you Niel Stephenson and Andy Wier).

    3 votes
    1. Paschik
      Link Parent
      Also, read Clockwork Orange. Amazing prose!

      Also, read Clockwork Orange. Amazing prose!

      1 vote
  12. [7]
    kfwyre
    Link
    I just finished with Dale Beran’s It Came From Something Awful. The tagline to the book, “How a Toxic Troll Army Accidentally Memed Donald Trump into Office” sounds like something written for its...

    I just finished with Dale Beran’s It Came From Something Awful.

    The tagline to the book, “How a Toxic Troll Army Accidentally Memed Donald Trump into Office” sounds like something written for its buzzword marketability rather than an actual summary of the book’s contents, so if the subtitle turns you off, please know that the actual book is far more substantive and insightful than its cover makes it appear. Trump isn’t really the focus at all.

    The book is instead a study of 4chan and other internet forums over time, along with the concurrent online culture that developed in and around them. Anyone who spent time online in the 90s and 00s will recognize much of what he talks about whether you ever went to 4chan or not. Meanwhile, Beran is able to demonstrate a pretty incredible media literacy on account of his own time spent on the boards themselves. Much writing on this topic has an outsider-looking-in quality to it, but Beran has a clear and well-considered insider perspective.

    His writing is far from objective, and in fact what makes the book so compelling is his effortless blending of social, cultural, and philosophical commentary. His writing is filled with trenchant insights, though their accuracy and gravity are certainly up to debate.

    It is a good counterpoint to Angela Nagle’s Kill All Normies which I also liked but for different reasons, and it pairs well with Andrew Marantz’s Antisocial. Marantz focuses on the alt-right as lived in the real world, whereas Beran’s book focuses almost exclusively on their online spaces, long before they were ever alt-right.

    I think It Came From Something Awful is valuable for anyone who grew up and felt more at home in digital spaces than in-person ones, a population which I suspect might have high representation on Tildes.

    2 votes
    1. [3]
      streblo
      Link Parent
      That sounds like a good read! Just wondering, the title has to be a pun on the Something Awful forum right? I haven’t read their boards since well before Trump, but I never really found it to be...

      That sounds like a good read!

      Just wondering, the title has to be a pun on the Something Awful forum right? I haven’t read their boards since well before Trump, but I never really found it to be the vanguard of alt-right the same way 4chan was. Curious if the author disagrees?

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        kfwyre
        Link Parent
        Yup! The title is a reference to 4chan’s founder, Christopher “moot” Poole, who was a Something Awful user before he made 4chan. Discussion of Something Awful occurs in the book a little bit, but...

        Yup! The title is a reference to 4chan’s founder, Christopher “moot” Poole, who was a Something Awful user before he made 4chan. Discussion of Something Awful occurs in the book a little bit, but it’s entirely historical rather than current, so I have no idea how the author would feel about it now.

        2 votes
        1. streblo
          Link Parent
          That makes sense — never knew about that connection. I will have to check this out — I love internet archaeology.

          That makes sense — never knew about that connection. I will have to check this out — I love internet archaeology.

          2 votes
    2. [3]
      streblo
      Link Parent
      Sorry to keep bothering you but can you expand on this? :P From a cursory glance both books seem to have a similar thesis? Which book would you recommend if I had time to read just one?

      It is a good counterpoint to Angela Nagle’s Kill All Normies

      Sorry to keep bothering you but can you expand on this? :P

      From a cursory glance both books seem to have a similar thesis? Which book would you recommend if I had time to read just one?

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        kfwyre
        Link Parent
        You’re not a bother at all! It’s been a while since I read Nagle’s book so I actually don’t remember most of the specifics of what I liked about it. I remember thinking she had a sort of deep...

        You’re not a bother at all!

        It’s been a while since I read Nagle’s book so I actually don’t remember most of the specifics of what I liked about it. I remember thinking she had a sort of deep academic cynicism that I found arresting. At points the book felt more like a doctoral thesis than standard cultural commentary, though tonally it felt exactly like the pessimistic missives I tend to scatter around this site every time the topic of education comes up. I think, in hindsight, I appreciated the book mostly because it let my wallowing in the early Trump era feel substantive.

        That said, I think Beran’s book is definitely the better of the two. It has a bigger scope, with better historical information which is interwoven with continually thoughtful cultural commentary. You mentioned liking internet archeology in your other comment, and Beran’s book very much fits that. There isn’t much of that archaeology to be found in Nagle’s book (or Marantz’s, for that matter).

        3 votes
        1. streblo
          Link Parent
          Thanks, I think I'll add it to my reading list then! Currently re-reading Dune at snails pace trying to finish before the movie comes out but the pace is pretty glacial these days. :P

          You mentioned liking internet archeology in your other comment, and Beran’s book very much fits that.

          Thanks, I think I'll add it to my reading list then! Currently re-reading Dune at snails pace trying to finish before the movie comes out but the pace is pretty glacial these days. :P

          2 votes
  13. KilledByAPixel
    Link
    I just finished reading a very odd yet fantastic novel called "Pedro Páramo" written in 1955, translated from Spanish. It takes place in a ghost town and is quite the mind bender, with many...

    I just finished reading a very odd yet fantastic novel called "Pedro Páramo" written in 1955, translated from Spanish.

    It takes place in a ghost town and is quite the mind bender, with many beautiful and dark passages. Not at all what I expected, reminded me of post modern literature. I did some research afterwards and found out that the original Spanish version is standard high school reading in most Spanish speaking countries. Very cool stuff, I would recommend if you want something different and relatively short.

    2 votes
  14. [2]
    joplin
    Link
    A few years ago I read Spin by Robert Charles Wilson. I then read Vortex which it turns out is the 3rd book in the series, not the second. I decided this week that I wanted to read Axis (the 2nd...

    A few years ago I read Spin by Robert Charles Wilson. I then read Vortex which it turns out is the 3rd book in the series, not the second. I decided this week that I wanted to read Axis (the 2nd book), but I didn't remember everything that happened in Spin, so I'm rereading that first. I do recall really liking it, though! These are hard sci-fi books that explore the possibilities that come when an unknown alien race puts the entire Earth into a slow time bubble, where 50 million years passes outside the bubble while only a year passes inside it. This allows them to do things like send probes to other planets and start terraforming them or kicking off evolution and having them ready in a reasonable time for modern Earthlings to use them in a few years of their time.

    2 votes
    1. joplin
      Link Parent
      I just finished up Axis. Overall I liked it. This book takes place on a planet that the aliens from the first book made for humans. The characters mostly refer to it as "The New World". It follows...

      I just finished up Axis. Overall I liked it. This book takes place on a planet that the aliens from the first book made for humans. The characters mostly refer to it as "The New World". It follows an author who's trying to figure out why her father disappeared while researching the new planet and the peculiar people who moved there from Earth when she was a child.

      1 vote
  15. boredop
    Link
    I just finished a book about the history of baseball cards: Mint Condition by Dave Jamieson. The chapter about the boom years of the '80s brought back some good memories.

    I just finished a book about the history of baseball cards: Mint Condition by Dave Jamieson. The chapter about the boom years of the '80s brought back some good memories.

    2 votes
  16. [3]
    aditya
    Link
    It was brought to my attention that I never read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo when I was younger, so I'm currently remedying that. I've finished Part 1 of the first book, and I'm all strapped...

    It was brought to my attention that I never read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo when I was younger, so I'm currently remedying that. I've finished Part 1 of the first book, and I'm all strapped in. :)

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      cfabbro
      Link Parent
      Have you seen the movies? I love them (the original Swedish trilogy, anyways), but I haven't read the Millenium books yet so am curious how they compare, and if they're worth reading even after...

      Have you seen the movies? I love them (the original Swedish trilogy, anyways), but I haven't read the Millenium books yet so am curious how they compare, and if they're worth reading even after having seen all the movies.

      1. aditya
        Link Parent
        I have not! I will once I finish the book.

        I have not! I will once I finish the book.

        1 vote
  17. kilroy
    Link
    I'm currently in the middle Bill Porter's translation of the Diamond Sutra and also reading Blame!, a manga. I've read the former before, but wanted to give it a reread.

    I'm currently in the middle Bill Porter's translation of the Diamond Sutra and also reading Blame!, a manga. I've read the former before, but wanted to give it a reread.

    2 votes
  18. yuvraj
    Link
    Mary Queen of Scots by Antonia Frasier. I've been on a biography bender lately.

    Mary Queen of Scots by Antonia Frasier. I've been on a biography bender lately.

    1 vote